Saturday, March 28, 2020

Yesterday was my half-birthday. How did I remember this for the first time in years? Am I more acutely in tune with the dates now that I’m writing about them every day? Or is my brain simply seeking things upon which to glom, for lack of external stimulus? The latest news says we may be house-bound for up to eight months to conquer this virus. That’s most of the remainder of this project. So the question is: do we wipe the slate and aim to start again next year? Or does this project become a testament to our resilience and our embracing of an outside world from which we are presently deprived? Given that we’d have to change the site name to Celebrate365 (which is not available) for the former, it’s going to have to be the latter. Which brings us to:

National Scribble Day

This holiday is but a year old, created by author Diane Alber to move her book, I’m NOT Just a Scribble. The message of the book is that every artist began by scribbling, and we should encourage kids to scribble and draw and to get wild with their crayons and such. I can’t argue this – our daughter started out with crazy scribbles and now she possesses a flair for illustration that I could never touch. Diane was right.

Neither Jodie nor myself would ever be held up as an example of artistic brilliance so far as drawing is concerned. I’ve seen Jodie sketch out stage concepts and set designs, and she surpasses my skills by a country mile or two. I used to draw stickmen comics for my friends. I never got any better than that.

So what is the difference between a scribble and a doodle? We have at home some great doodles by our kid, and a years-long doodle creation by our beloved friend Laurel. But a doodle can have meaning and composition. Generally speaking, if you don’t lift your pen or pencil off the paper, and if you do it hastily and without any regard for the final product, it’s a scribble. So we scribbled and it wasn’t pretty. But then, maybe someday we’ll be great artists. Who knows? Lots of time to learn a skill right now.

National Joe Day

Do we interpret this day as a day to have a “cup of joe?” We have a cup of coffee every day… but why do they call it Joe?

Driftaway Coffee’s website traces the first use of ‘Joe’ meaning coffee in print to the 1930s. They came up with two plausible theories: Martinson Coffee, founded in 1898 by a guy named Joe, has trademarked the term, suggesting their company may have once been known as Joe’s Coffee. Or possibly Joe was such a vivacious soul, people just referred to the drink by his name. Alternately, Secretary of the Navy Joe Daniels banned all alcohol on US Navy ships in 1914, so the strongest drink you could get on board was coffee, which came to be known as a “cup of Joe”.

So, do we go with an exuberant company owner or a naval protest against a silly rule? Either makes sense.

To celebrate this day, we each enjoyed some morning coffee, then I reached out to my buddy Joe. I haven’t talked to Joe in a while, and he’s one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met – I’d be willing to wager some serious money he’d put Martinson Coffee’s Joe to shame. I used to drive Joe to work every day back when we toiled in the cubicles of Dell Computers. His stories – actual or emphatically embellished – were the fuel that propelled me through my days. The man has lived a thousand lives, each more twisted and weird than the pages of any fiction could hold.

Happy day to all you Joes and Joe-lovers out there.

World Theatre Day

Oh, the cruelty of telling a theatre teacher that she cannot celebrate World Theatre Day by going to see a live show. Jodie’s every day is theatre – she lives it and breathes it. Tonight we would have likely headed out to the Citadel to see the Beatles-song adaptation of As You Like It. Instead, we were isolated at home, dust accruing on every stage in town.

World Theatre Day has been held since 1962 by the International Theatre Institute. They acknowledge that there will be no in-person celebrations this year, but didn’t really supply much in the way of alternatives for folks. I pointed Jodie at BroadwayHD, a Netflix-like service that features a number of mostly outdated Broadway performances. Still, some look quite intriguing, including a performance of the Scottish Play (ask your theatre geek friends) starring Patrick Stewart.

Jodie ultimately spent her afternoon reading some theatre instead, specifically Love/Sick by John Cariani. She loved it, but it wasn’t the real thing. We are both looking forward to the return of live theatre, and this order to shut it down just makes us appreciate it more.

Quirky Country Music Song Title Day

Alright, let’s celebrate some of the greats today. I’d make a playlist to listen to all these gems, but the day is solely about the titles, not the music itself, and I’d rather dig into some funk & soul on this isolation trip. But I’m a little curious about these:

Johnny Cash – Flushed From The Bathroom of Your Heart

Billy Ray Cyrus – Burn Down The Trailer Park

Roger Miller – My Uncle Used To Love Me But She Died

Zac Brown Band – Sic ‘Em On a Chicken

Tammy Wynette – Fuzzy Wuzzy Ego

Alan Jackson – I Still Like Bologna

Kitty Wells – It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels

Roger Miller – You Can’t Roller Skate In A Buffalo Herd

Bobby Bare – Drop Kick Me Jesus (Through The Goalposts of Life)

Johnny Cash – Dirty Old Egg Sucking Dog

Tim McGraw – Do You Want Fries With That

Kenny Chesney – She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy

Johnny Cash (again) – Every Time I Itch I Wind Up Scratching You

Homer & Jethro – She’s Made Toothpicks Out of the Timber of My Heart

The Bellamy Brothers – Boobs

Ashley Monroe – Weed Instead of Roses

Joe Diffie – Leroy The Redneck Reindeer

Willie Nelson – Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die

Alan Jackson – Three Minute Positive Not Too Country Uptempo Love Song

Those are all actual songs. They actually exist. People have paid money for each of them.

National Whiskey Day

Now we’re dipping into something I can truly celebrate. While I left Jodie to reap the party associated with World Theatre Day (such as it was), I took the reins for this one at her request. Looking at the stock I had on hand, I simply had to choose between Scotch Whisky and Irish Whiskey.

I did the sensible thing and chose both, of course.

No one knows how long whiskey has been a part of human culture, but I’d be willing to bet it goes back to the advent of agriculture. As soon as we discovered grains, we learned that, when fermented, great things can happen. As for the spelling of the word, it’s a general rule (with heaps of exceptions) that Irish and American whiskeys use the ‘ey’ ending, while most other countries drop the ‘e’.

I say, who cares? Whiskey or whisky, this is top-tier drinkin’. It’s an acquired taste – I think for most of us it tastes like rancid ass-juice the first time it hits our lips. But as our taste buds grow and learn to wrap themselves around whiskey’s subtle notes, the act of sipping becomes an experience.

There are dozens of varieties of whiskey. Canadian whisky, which many here simply refer to as ‘rye whisky’, even though it may be blended from multiple types of grains, is our shining source of national alcohol pride. Crown Royal, Wiser’s and Canadian Club are known around the world, and we should certainly be celebrating that. We should also be celebrating globalism, as it has brought all the worlds whiskies to our local liquor stores. Lately I’ve enjoyed the single-malt scotches, though the good stuff can put a nasty dent in the wallet. But yesterday that didn’t matter. Yesterday was all about celebrating that good stuff.

A crazy busy Saturday, and one in which we will probably have to venture out for supplies. Ugh. Real world. Can’t wait to be hiding again. Here’s what’s up:

  • National Weed Appreciation Day. This day we are supposed to look at the beneficial weeds with medicinal value, like dandelions. But let’s face it, I’ll smoke some weed.
  • National Something On A Stick Day. Food tastes better when on a stick, right? We’ll eat some.
  • National Black Forest Cake Day. We won’t be buying and eating an entire cake, but our favourite doughnut shop makes a great black forest doughnut. That’ll do.
  • Earth Hour. An hour of electronic quiet.
  • Children’s Picture Book Day. We’ll see if we have any lying about. The plan was to go check some out at a library, but of course…
  • Eat An Eskimo Pie Day. I don’t think you can even get these here – we looked in a number of places. Luckily, we found something we’ll call close enough. Never turn down celebrations involving ice cream.
  • Piano Day. It’s the 88th day of the year, so this makes sense. We have a keyboard that makes a decent piano sound, I guess we will use that.
  • Respect Your Cat Day. Don’t have a cat. We will respect other people’s cats, from a distance.
  • National Hot Tub Day. This we do have. Into the tub! We’ll see if we can keep Liberty, our active and addled new golden retriever, out of it.

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