Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Yesterday may have been the 46th anniversary of KISS’s first album, but we had other things to celebrate. Not many things, but we had this:

National Crab Stuffed Flounder Day

What an oddly specific celebration. I suspect this celebration originated along the American east coast, where flounder is in greater abundance. Finding flounder in Edmonton is, from what I can fathom, highly unlikely, if not impossible. A Google search revealed a band named Prairie Flounder, as well as an adoptable pit bull named Flounder. No one seems to be offering the fish for sale.

Here’s something weird. Flounders are born with one eye on either side of its head, like a normal fish. As the larva grows into a full-on fish, one eye migrates to the other side of the body. Then the flounder can hide from predators by lying flat on the ocean floor, looking up through two similarly-pointing eyes.

Alas, we had to settle for crab-stuffed sole, which is much easier to locate in this inland beef-n-agricultural mecca. It was alright. Not the most memorable meal from this little experiment. Also, I suppose it was not 100% true to the prescribed celebration for the day. Actually, fuck it – the sole is also a flatfish, and is very closely related to the flounder. They’ve even got that weird eye thing going on. I’m calling this (a) a genuine celebration, and (b) an adequate one.

National Battery Day

To celebrate this we checked our batteries in our smoke detectors, game controllers, remote controls and we even ran a test on our electronic meat thermometer. They all grabbed high scores; we’ve been good to our batteries.

Even the battery of my phone defies its age. I have an iPhone 6s+, and when I found I needed a charge in the middle of every work day, I tried ordering one of those $25 kits to replace it myself. I followed the Youtube video, kept meticulous track of all those near-microscopic screws, and miraculously I didn’t destroy my phone in the process. These are entirely doable, and it’s a cheap way to extend the life of your phone.

The word ‘battery’ was invented by Ben Franklin through the course of his electricity experiments. By the end of the 18th century, scientists like Alessandro Volta were putting together the guts of what would become the electric battery. The first rechargeable battery was a lead-acid concoction made by Gaston Planté in 1859. It took another century for the first alkaline batteries to hit store shelves.

There are, in case anyone was asking (I know no one was asking), B batteries. The standard for naming batteries was ironed out in 1924. The smallest single-cell batteries were A, then B, then C, then D. Smaller batteries came along and they were termed AA and AAA. These were ideal for electronics, while Cs and Ds were handy for larger items like remote-control vehicles, jumbo flashlights and 1970s marital aids. The A’s were used on early laptop batteries, but they fell out of use – it made sense to use the similar but smaller AAs for most electronic gadgets. The B still gets used in Europe, but even there it’s winding down.

I hope everyone spent National Battery Day in the most fulfilling and wholesome way possible. Then shed that wholesome shit, because the fun celebration comes up next:

National Drink Wine Day

I appreciate the specificity with this celebration. It’s not just Wine Day, it’s Drink Wine Day. That eliminates any confusion. Don’t clean your jewelry or soak your hamster in wine; drink it.

We had only red wine in the house, and that would have been a disastrous pairing with our crab-stuff flounder-ish sole. Instead the wine was consumed on its own after dinner. Perhaps we’ll do better with our pairings for Mulled Wine Day (March 3), Strawberry Rhubarb Whine Day (July 18) or simply on National Wine Day (May 25). We’re all about the practice for this celebration.

The earliest wine we’ve been able to discern from human history comes from the nation of Georgia, circa 6000 BC. It had spread to the middle east within a thousand years, and to Europe not long after that. Now pretty much every country on the planet has some type of wine they specialize in. You can order cobra wine in Vietnam, and you’ll get a glass of rice wine with a splotch of freshly-killed snake blood. The ancient Greeks felt that bubbles in wine were due to the moon, or possibly evil spirits. And the average age of a French oak tree that gets chopped down to make wine barrels? 170 years.

Wine is one of humankind’s greatest achievements, of that there is no question. I’m thrilled we get to toast it numerous times this year. Cheers!

Thumb Appreciation Day

Why do we need a day to appreciate our thumbs? Face it, our thumbs are what defines us as humans. Without them we couldn’t tie our shoes, eat a sandwich or slap a bass (all of which are essential human tasks). I couldn’t discern who came up with this ridiculous plop of revelry, but the thumbs are here in the calendar and here in our hearts. Allow me to once again meander through the words of author/oracle Tom Robbins, who had much to say about the thumb:

“In school you learn that it is the thumb that separates human beings from the lower primates. The thumb is an evolutionary triumph. Because of his thumbs, man can use tools; because he can use tools he can extend his senses, control his environment and increase in sophistication and power. The thumb is the cornerstone of civilization!”

I could not have possibly phrased the truth so eloquently with a million monkeys working a million typewriters.

Not entirely certain how we’ll pull this off without a lawsuit from our coworkers, but…:

  • National Tug Of War Day. If our coworkers won’t join in and play, I’m sure the dogs will.
  • National Chocolate Mint Day. Days like this are what make this project worthwhile.

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