Thursday, February 13, 2020

Today is light on the single-day celebrations, so we’ll pad things out a bit with a look at some larger-scope parties happening in the world.

National Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day / Get Out Your Guitar Day

Better late than never, here’s a video to cover both of these February 11 celebrations.

Oglethorpe Day / Georgia Day

James Edward Oglethorpe, a British soldier and Member of Parliament, was not a fan of big cities. He saw the English countryside depleted of skilled workers, and cities like London brim-packed with the poor and a ballooning criminal element. So Jimmy went to work. In the fall of 1732 he took a ship to the new world.

Jimmy founded the colony of Georgia with a plan of agrarian equality. The colony would be based around family farming, and farms would be limited to 50 acres. Servants (and given the time and place I think we all know what ‘servants’ means) would be granted a 50-acre chunk of land of their own after putting in their term of service. Needless to say, that part didn’t come to fruition.

The colonists arrived near where Savannah is now located on February 1, 1733. He negotiated (and given the time and place I think we all know what ‘negotiated’ means) with the Yamacraw tribe for some land, and Georgia was born. Jimmy then moved to have slavery banned completely within the colony. Jimmy was inclusive. All religions were welcome – except for Roman Catholics, but that was due to some friction with nearby Spanish Florida.

The down-side of vetoing slavery (to the privileged; obviously the slaves weren’t seeing this down-side) was that runaway slaves from the Carolinas were hiding out in Georgia. Also, there was no one willing to do slave-type chores for no pay, which was terribly inconvenient to the white European land owners. So when Jimmy left the colony in 1743, they quickly switched over to being pro-slavery.

But yesterday we celebrated Oglethorpe’s Georgia, one of free humans with the dream of holding off poverty and decay by constructing an agricultural utopia in the new world. Welcome to existence, Georgia. We enjoyed some peanuts and some Coke in your honour. Stay tuned for National Georgia Day on August 3, when we’ll be enjoying more of your culinary legacy.

Freelance Writers Appreciation Week

Freelance writing is difficult work. Not so much the writing (although if you’re doing it right, there should be some degree of difficulty), but in tracking down the work. This modern era has created an eternal playing field, with so much room for blogs and journals and articles. It has also democratized the skills needed to fill all that space – so many people consider themselves to be writers or photographers at this point, it seems impossible to stand out.

This is why most recipes you find online are prefaced with a meandering narrative about how this dish affected the author’s childhood, how it brings back memories of some softball championship, maybe a particular Christmas involving a beloved hobby horse, or the summer vacation in Wenatchee when they lost their virginity. Those aren’t recipe sites, they’re food blogs, and those are freelance writers hoping to draw enough clicks upon which to build a career.

I tried the freelance world just as the demand and supply for online writers were simultaneously blowing up. It was a tough gig. I found that coaxing my text into fanciful pirouettes and brain-tickling swoops and swirls was doing nothing for my income. I snagged a few little gigs here and there, and my two years being contracted by a regional brewery to write their label copy was a blast.

We could consider this to be an act of freelance writing, I suppose – albeit with an emphasis on the “free” part. At this time we are not attempting to monetize this project, despite my contributing around 1,500 words every day to this site. But our target here is a mental health win, and a renewed perspective on the world around us. If you know any freelance writers, feed them some encouragement and love this week. Let them know their strengths, and bolster them with a dollop of confidence as they hit the bustling world they’ve chosen.

And if you happen to be hiring a freelance writer… please don’t offer ‘exposure’ as payment. At the very least, bake them that special pecan pie you enjoyed back when the hometown Chesterfields won that softball tournament.

National Week of Chastity

Held since 1998 every Valentine’s week, the National Week of Chastity is sponsored by a Christian organization which promotes chastity as a way of living pure, of not besmirching your nether-regions with unGodly shmushing against someone else’s.

We here at Celebrate366 industries have no interest in furthering this agenda. If you are unmarried and choosing to withhold your genital oomphs until after a ring has been placed upon your finger, awesome – do your thing. If you’re single and you want to get down and dirty? Get both, so long as it’s consensual and safe.

Instead we’re redefining the National Week of Chastity. This one goes out to those who are single and will be neither bumping nor grinding this week, whether it’s by choice or circumstance. This is Valentine’s Week, and for some folks that’s simply a reminder of what they won’t be experiencing. Look, if there’s one thing we’ve learned in our 6 weeks of excessive revelry, it’s that a designated day is just a day. Usually it’s a day with a gazillion other designations, so if no one is scootching a big ol’ heart-shaped box of chocolates your way this week, so what? Embrace your chastity and take part in one of the numerous other parties this week, whether it’s Get Out Your Guitar Day or National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day.

And if your goal is to talk others into chastity because it fits your beliefs and your world-view, maybe just back off and let people do their own thing.

Humpback Whale Awareness Month

Are you aware of humpback whales? So are we! I guess we can call this one celebrated then. But just for fun, let’s learn a bit more about our big ol’ sea-mammal friends.

  • Humpbacks were hunted right to the brink of extinction, until a 1966 moratorium decreed that this was not a particularly good thing. Since then, humpbacks have slid all the way to the other end of the extinction spectrum, and we don’t have to worry about losing them.
  • The map of where humpbacks can be found is basically a map of all the world’s ocean areas, except way up north and down south where the ice never melts.
  • Humpbacks have stubble. Specifically, their heads and jaws are covered in little hair follicle knobs called tubercles. Why? Probably just so they look a little more bad-ass than other whales. Darwinian advantage.
  • Females are generally larger than the males.
  • You can tell specific whales apart based on the markings on their tail flukes. A catalogue of all known North Atlantic whales is on file with the College of the Atlantic, presumably in one of those binders they use for mug shots.
  • When it’s time to mate, males gather in groups around a female, beating the shit out of one another to win the right to get funky with her. So humans aren’t that different after all.
  • The whale “songs” (you know, the ones that saved humanity in Star Trek IV) are generally made by males, either to get the ladies in the mood or to show domination. Depends if it’s Barry White or death metal, I suppose.
  • All whales within a certain region sing the same song, so you’ll hear the same tune coming from every North Atlantic humpback, but a very different melody among the Pacific crew.
  • Humpbacks use the bubble net method of feeding: they encircle a school of prey (they’re into salmon, haddock, herring – the good stuff), and blow bubbles around it, getting tighter and tighter, trapping the fish in an ever-shrinking wall of bubbles on all sides. Then a whale swoops below the fish and swims straight up through the middle of the bubble-circle, devouring dinner in one big gulp.

There you go. Awareness achieved.

Today we’re back in the thick of a heap of interesting celebrations:

  • National Cheddar Day. Tonight will include a cheese platter with three different kinds of cheddar. Gotta do this one up right.
  • National Tortellini Day. Torts for dinner. Always a favourite.
  • Galentine’s Day. This is a day for gals to go out for coffee or a drink together. Jodie has parent-teacher interviews into the evening so this is firmly in the maybe column.
  • World Radio Day. A good day to tune in some great radio.
  • Get a Different Name Day. I’ll look into the headaches of changing my name. No, seriously, I might do this.
  • Kiss Day. This is part of the “Valentine’s Week” thing that some website is trying to promote. Whatever, we’ll do some lip-smacking.

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