by Bob Curtis, Local Secretary

May 2015

Here are some little known and less cared about facts (primarily from Wikipedia):

The month May was named for the Greek goddess Maia, who was identified with the Roman era goddess of fertility, Bona Dea, whose festival was held in May. Conversely, the Roman poet Ovid provides a second etymology, in which he says that the month of May is named for the maiores, Latin for "elders," and that the following month (June) is named for the iuniores, or "young people" (Fasti VI.88). The Mayday procedure word originated in 1923 by Frederick Stanley Mockford (1897 -- 1962). A senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in London, Mockford was asked to think of a word that would indicate distress and would easily be understood by all pilots and ground staff in an emergency. Since much of the traffic at the time was between Croydon and Le Bourget Airport in Paris, he proposed the word "Mayday" from the French "m'aidez" (Translates to: "help me!"). Before the voice call "Mayday", SOS was the Morse code equivalent of the Mayday call. In 1927, the International Radiotelegraph Convention of Washington adopted the voice call Mayday in place of the SOS Morse Code call. The Mayday was defined as corresponding to the French pronunciation of the expression "m'aidez." Making a false distress call in the United States is a federal crime carrying sanctions of up to six years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $250,000, and restitution to the Coast Guard.

What is wrong with this sign?
The problem is that there is no such time as 12 am or 12 pm! These do not exist! The times are noon and midnight! 12:01 am is just after midnight and 12:01 pm is just after noon. Case law in traffic court is revealing in this regard. Signs like this are held to be invalid! -- Regardless of what digital clocks and computers might say.... To quote the wikipedia article on the subject: It is not always clear what times "12:00 a.m." and "12:00 p.m." denote. From the Latin words meridies (midday), ante (before) and post (after), the term ante meridiem (a.m.) means before midday and post meridiem means after midday. Since strictly speaking "noon" (midday - meridies (m.)) is neither before or after itself, the terms a.m. and p.m. do not apply.

Mensa national elections are coming up again, and as we did two years ago, the articles which candidates sent us have been posted on our website Our gifted youth members are very active under the direction of Stephanie Glenn and coordinate their activities on their Facebook group page. Our next big event is our August picnic at Van Saun Park.