Sunday, January 5, 2020

art by the lovely & talented Deb Wagar

At last, a more restful, manageable day. With our return to work looming like a snarling gargoyle just two days away, it’s time to start devising how to snake the obnoxiousness of real life throughout the optimal reality of our perpetual celebration.

National Spaghetti Day

Spaghetti sauce is an easy go-to for working parents. You don’t even need a recipe; just throw some shit in and make it happen. That was the plan yesterday: fry up some beef, fry up some Italian pork sausage, toss in some onion, garlic, carrots, peppers, basil, oregano, and the tomato-ey goodness and boom: sauce is done. The only inconvenience was the timing of putting it all together while struggling to watch overtime in the Bills-Texans game.

Hey, here’s something I didn’t know. Spaghetti is actually a plural of the Italian word “spaghetto”, so I suppose if you’re down to your final noodle you could boast about possessing but one spaghetto remaining on your plate. If you were down to your last in a bowl of Spaghetti-O’s, you’d say you had only one Spaghetto-O left to eat. You know what? Don’t do this; it won’t get a laugh.

Spaghetti came to popularity in the United States in the late 19th century, when it was usually served overcooked with a sauce made from spices that were more local, like bay leaves and cloves. Adding oregano and basil and such wasn’t popular until much later.

National Missouri Day

Thanks, mom!

As mentioned previously, this is not an official commemoration of Missouri joining the union (that would take place in August). These state days are a concoction of, and they’re just for fun. Since they expertly space out these days to one per week, it makes more sense to pay attention to these made-up commemorations than to actually honour the date of admittance as a state, especially since we intend to celebrate these glorious days with food.

My (Marty’s) mother was gracious enough to bake us a St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake, which is a glorious, delicious thing. The cake produced a batch of 24 servings, which was a smidge more than the three of us were prepared to ingest, so our coworkers will be getting treats on Monday morning.

As for Missouri herself, we are happy to celebrate the Show Me state (whatever the hell that means) with such a delicious treat. Neither of us have ever been, but that arch in St. Louis looks so ridiculously weird we will certainly make a point of dropping in someday. Famous Missourians include Walt Disney, John Goodman, Don Cheadle, Redd Foxx and Kevin Nealon. Also, Chuck Berry was born in Wentzville, so one could argue that rock ‘n roll itself has Missouri roots.

National Trivia Day

For me, every day is National Trivia Day. But for accuracy, yesterday was it. I love silly, useless trivia, and my brain contains much more of that than actual useful information. Can I change the oil on my car? No. But I can sing you the entire theme song to Perfect Strangers. Can I repair even the simplest faucet leak? Not a chance, but are you interested to know that the greatest year ever for US box office returns (when adjusting for inflation) was 1946?

For this day I let Jodie off the hook with a few pop culture factoid-drops, then set about creating my monthly trivia contest for my co-workers, which I’ll unleash on them during our lunch hour game next Wednesday. In the meantime, it will comfort me to remember that, before he appeared as TV’s Mr. Belvedere, Christopher Hewett replaced Hervé Villechaize as Mr. Roarke’s assistant on Fantasy Island for the last season, after Mr. Villechaize was fired for being difficult and incorrigibly creepy. I love trivia!

Today is just as light, but we have a field trip. Unfortunately, it’s a field trip that has canceled our last opportunity to sleep in before returning to work. But these are the sacrifices we make to party.

  • National Bird Day. The good folks at the Edmonton Nature Club put us in touch with a retired RCMP officer who enjoys bird-watching in our river valley. We’ll be meeting up with him for an introduction to bird-watching.
  • National Whipped Cream Day. For as long as I have been alive, or at least since my early exposure to silent-film slapstick and Saturday morning cartoons, I have wanted a pie in the face. This dream comes true today.
  • National Screenwriters Day. We will be paying tribute to some of our favourite lines from screen history. How? It’s a surprise.

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