Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May

The month of May is named after Maia, a Greek goddess and mother of Hermes. Shockingly, May is the fifth month of the year in both the Gregorian and Julian calendars. 

Apparently, May is also a very bad month to get married... due to Mary Queen of Scots' unfortunate history, and the fact that she got married in May. But it is a good month for U.S. Presidents. No U.S. president has ever died in the month of May, hopefully this will help George H. W. Bush make it through the month.  However, Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy, were born in May.

Spring is in full bloom. Tender blossoms exude their sweet fragrance as winter's bitter frosts recede. The warming air and diaphanous mists incite the passions and thoughts turn naturally to the ardor of spring - to love, rebirth, renewal, and salad.

You may not have known it, but in the United States, May is National Salad Month. By an astonishing coincidence, the second full week of May is National Herb Week. It's a time to celebrate the verdure of the earth with verdure on a plate. Or in a bowl—salad is just that versatile! 

Carnivorous readers disinclined to celebrate National Salad Month can choose from any of the following celebrations, all of which last the entire month of May:

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 
National Smile Month 
Digestive Diseases Awareness Month  
Hepatitis Awareness Month   
National Barbeque Month  
National Bike Month 
National Egg Month  
National Hamburger Month  
More Than Just a Pretty Face Month  

May 1, 1941 -

Orson Welles’ innovative film, Citizen Kane, a film about a man's unnatural love for his sled, opened in New York City, 77 years ago on this date.

Film making was never the same.

May 1, 1957 -
The first film Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn made in color, Desk Set, premiered on this date.

This is the eighth of the nine films they starred in together. They did not make another film together (Spencer Tracey's last,) until nearly ten years later.

The Salad Days

Today in History:

May 1 is recognized as May Day pretty much everywhere but the United States, Canada, and South Africa. Modern May Day celebrations throughout the world typically feature huge outdoor gatherings of people, brightly colored signs and banners, and a whole lot of tear gas.

The holiday has its root in the American labor movement of the 1880s, specifically the Haymarket tragedy of 1886. Depending on whom you ask, the Haymarket tragedy was either caused by overzealous cops with way too many guns, or overzealous anarchists with way too many bombs (i.e., one).

Actually, it no longer matters whom you ask, because all eyewitnesses would give you pretty much the same answer (i.e., none—they're dead).

Either way, nervous, well-armed cops and edgy, bomb-throwing anarchists are not a combination one encounters often in the annals of the Nobel Peace Prize. As a result, Americans ignore May Day and instead celebrate Labor Day, which features plenty of beer and barbecues and very little tear gas.

We may be complacent, but dammit, we know what to do with a steak.

May 1, 1776 -
The Illuminati, modeled on the Freemasons, and formed to promote logic, science, and reason as opposed to any kind of tradition or dogma, was founded on this date.

The group was almost immediately outlawed when people got the idea that it was trying to infiltrate governments, and has been a staple of conspiracy theorists ever since.

But don't tell anyone you heard it from me.

May 1, 1888 -
Nikola Tesla received several patents relating to the alternating current (AC) synchronous motor, alternating current (AC) transmission, induction magnetic motor, and an electricity distribution system on this date. (US Nos. 381,968-70; 382,279-82)

He would later sell the rights to his rotating field motor to George Westinghouse.

May 1, 1915
A thoughtful German government took out advertisements warning anyone on ships flying British flags that they did so at their own risk.

That very day, the ocean liner Lusitania left New York, flying a British flag.

They bought their tickets, they took their chances.

May 1, 1930 -
The on again/ off again planet Pluto was officially named on this date. The name was suggest by an eleven year-old girl named Venetia Burney from Oxford, England.

The name was selected from three suggestions by a unanimous vote of the members of the Lowell Observatory. The other two possible names were “Cronus” and “Minerva.”

Hang on Venetia, it still may be a planet.

May 1, 1931 -

The Empire State Building in New York City was dedicated by President Hoover from the White House in Washington DC where he pressed a button that switched on the lights. The 102 story skyscraper, at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street in New York City, was the first higher than 1,250 feet. (I can see it just down the street from my office.)

Excavation had begun in January 1930, construction commenced in two months later, and its cornerstone was laid in September 1930. The steel framework rose at a rate of 4-1/2 stories per week. The building's construction was completed in a phenomenal one year and 45 days.

It reigned as the world's tallest skyscraper until 1954, but it still remains an icon for all things New York.

May 1, 1947

Evelyn McHale leapt to her death from the observation deck of the Empire State Building and landed on a limousine.

A photography student named Robert Wiles took a picture of McHale minutes after her death. The photograph was published in Life magazine and the picture has left her known as 'The Most Beautiful Suicide'.

May 1, 2003 -
President Bush announced that "major combat operations in Iraq" were over in a speech (commonly known as the "Mission Accomplished" speech) on the USS Abraham Lincoln on this day.

The speech sparked a lot of controversy in the following months as guerrilla operations continued in Iraq as the vast majority of casualties, both military and civilian, occurred after the speech..

Coincidentally, on May 1, 2011, exactly eight years after the speech, President Barack Obama announced that U.S. Navy SEALs had killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

And so it goes


Before you go - What is it with all these rock stars from the 60's - Van Morrison is release an album of Jazz infused originals and standards

Find some time to listen to it; it'll grow on you.

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