World No Tobacco Day is observed around the world every year on May 31. The member states of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987. It draws global attention to the tobacco epidemic and to the preventable death and disease it causes.
It aims to reduce the 3.5 million yearly deaths from tobacco related health problems. From 1988 the WHO has presented one or more World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) Awards to organizations or individuals who have made exceptional contributions to reducing tobacco consumption.
Here is your Today in History -
May 31, 1678 -
The lovely young Lady Godiva, aged 17, rode naked on horseback through Coventry, England, to protest the high tax rate established by her own husband, Earl Leofric of Mercia. Her protest worked and he lowered taxes.
I strongly endorse this type of civil disobedience, and remind the ladies out there that taxes are pretty high just about everywhere these days.
May 31, 1819 -
Great New Yorker and even greater poet, Walt Whitman is born.
May 31, 1884 -
Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, head of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, patents corn flakes. The good doctor believed in a vegetarian diet and a regimen of exercise. The good doctor also believed in proper elimination. At his sanitarium, Kellogg made sure that the bowel of each and every patient was plied with water, from above and below. His favorite device was an enema machine that could run fifteen gallons of cold water through an unfortunate bowel in a matter of seconds.
Every water enema was followed by a pint of yogurt — half was eaten, the other half was administered by enema “thus planting the protective germs where they are most needed and may render most effective service”. The yogurt served to replace the intestinal flora of the bowel, creating what Kellogg claimed was a squeaky clean intestine.
Aren't you glad you know this now.
May 31, 1889 -
Relentless rain and inadequate maintenance causes the South Fork Dam to fail, unleashing a 35-foot-high wall of water on Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
2,209 people are entombed beneath a pile of debris half a mile wide.
May 31, 1902 -
the Treaty of Vereeniging was signed, canceling the Bore War for lack of interest. (The Bore War should not be confused with the Boar War, which was much more exciting on account of tusks.)
May 31, 1921 -
After a white woman claims that a black man had grabbed her arm in an elevator, the largest race riot in U.S. history breaks out in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Marauding whites set fire to the exclusively-negro Greenwood district, leveling its 35 city blocks of black-owned businesses.
The official death toll is reported as 36, but later historians estimate it was more like 300.
May 31, 1963 -
Nun Nu Thanh Quang, a Buddhist monk, immolates himself at the Dieu de Pagoda in Hue, Vietnam.
That has got to hurt.
May 31, 1969 -
The National Legume Collective negotiates intensely all through the early part of 1969 with John Lennon and his new wife, Yoko Ono to record their new promotional song, Give Peas a Chance. The agreement ends abruptly when the organization actually hears Ms. Ono's voice.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono then decide not to waste the experience and record Give Peace a Chance, the first single recorded by a solo Beatle, from their hotel bed (not as a political statement as some have argued but because of the bloated feeling from eating a non-stop diet of peas for the past five months).
A pilot show (The Seinfeld Chronicles) created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld premiered on Thursday, May 31, 1990 on NBC. The show often described as "about nothing" was not an immediate success.
After the pilot was shown, on July 5, 1989, a pickup by the NBC network did not seem likely and the show was actually offered to Fox, which declined to pick it up. However, Rick Ludwin, head of late night and special events for NBC, diverted money from his budget, and the next four episodes were filmed. I wonder what ever happened to those guys?
May 31, 1996 -
Timothy Leary dies quietly in his sleep, thereby failing his intended mission of killing himself live on the Internet.
On a brighter note, a longstanding Moody Blues prophecy is fulfilled.
And so it goes.