Sunday, May 31, 2020

Yesterday many folks celebrated their first return to a restaurant, to a hair salon or maybe to a retail establishment in months. Our most sacred celebration came with a return to our optimal summer serenity: Jodie’s lounge chair and my hammock, basting beneath an assertive sun. And we’ve been waiting a lot longer than two months for this; I believe I snagged only three visits to my hammock last year, as the majority of the paltry number of pleasant days seemed to land on a weekday. This year that won’t matter. I’ll devote my lunch hours to the sun if I need to. With a little luck, we shan’t want for warmth and summer this year. And no matter what the weather serves up, we’ll still have this stuff to deal with:

National Creativity Day

This day was created by ScreenwritingU, a company which delivers online courses on how to write a screenplay. The point is to encourage folks to poke and prod their creative side regularly until something spews out. It’s a great idea, though this year we are constantly in a state of oozing creativity. So how could we stretch our brains in new ways?

My hope was that we could take part in some sort of creative exercise that is outside our comfort zone. Fortunately, because we’d been putting off National Paper Airplane Day since Tuesday, we got to dabble in a bit of aerodynamic origami. We also added a bit of artistic colorful flair since drawing is most certainly outside the skill set of both of us. Jodie opted for colourful flourishes while I recreated the plane from 1980’s Airplane! instead. It looks like a big Tylenol!

We could have danced. We could have jammed with some of the instruments we have laying about the house which we cannot play. We could have tried to sing the harmonies of “Helplessly Hoping” by Crosby Stills & Nash but we’d have failed miserably and probably annoyed the hell out of our dogs. We could have sculpted, but the only material we have here we could sculpt with is potatoes, and we’d have to boil and mash them first. That seems like a lot of wasted tubers when we could just pick up a marker and draw.

So we stretched our creative muscles a little yesterday. That’s a good thing for everyone to find the time for, lockdown or no lockdown.

National Water a Flower Day

This is at least the fourth or fifth gardening-related day this year, which makes sense given the season. But this one doesn’t even feature nudity (World Naked Gardening Day flew past us on May 2), so right away it’s less fun.

We aren’t doing a lot of gardening, but we do have a few plants milling about, puffing out oxygen and generally photosynthesizing like a boss. I tried to insist to Jodie that this day – which has no verifiable origin from what my research could tell – was about watering only a single flower. It’s not National Water the Flowers Day, is it? Still, she insisted on watering all of our plants. I helped out by practicing some mime for the plants, still tapping into the National Creativity Day spirit. I think they appreciated the gesture.

It’s important not to over-water your flower (or “flowers” if you prefer). This is what I’ve been told, and given that I can’t even keep a pot plant alive for more than a month I’ll simply believe what I’m told and not question it. Of course, had we waited a day nature would have supplied plenty of sky-originated water for our modest crop, but where’s the fun in that?

This was a weird day with a weird name. I’m looking forward to Hug One of Your Children Day.

National Paper Airplane Day

We missed this one by a few days, but dammit we weren’t going to let it pass us by. A couple years back we attended a Vancouver performance by Ben Folds in which fans were encouraged to scribble their song requests on a paper airplane, then launch that airplane onto the stage in hopes Mr. Folds would pick up their crashed craft and plunk out their desired tune. That was our last attempt at crafting a paper airplane. It’s a skill that comes up surprisingly infrequently in adult life.

But that all changed yesterday. We thought it would be fun to indulge in a competition of sorts, to see who could pilot the most formidable paper-based vehicle of flight. I won’t boast about my victory so much as say that we each put in a solid effort, and neither my wife nor I will be fielding any scouting calls from Boeing anytime soon.

Paper became widely produced in China around 500BC, and origami became fashionable not long afterward. It’s not unreasonable to suspect that folks had some fun with aerodynamics around this time too, though clearly nothing they built sparked any inspiration for human-sized aircraft. The folks who eventually devoted their careers to pioneering flight and figuring out the physics regularly attributed their passion to the building of paper crafts.

When it comes to fabricating a model plane, you might think using balsa wood would make for a more realistic simulation of real-life physics, and in some ways (in particular where drag and the aerodynamics of wings are concerned) you’d be right. But paper has a higher strength-to-thickness ratio, so a card-stock plane will be a better equivalent to how steel would perform on an actual plane. So these things aren’t just for killing time in class or requesting favourite songs anymore.

National Hole In My Bucket Day

For some reason, and I could not locate an origin story for this thing anywhere, someone decided that one of the most inane children’s songs in the history of melodies deserved its own special day. Fuck.

I’m not a fan of most children’s songs, and I wasn’t back then either. That one about the dog named Bingo doesn’t go anywhere. Old McDonald has a bunch of animals – there, I saved you from listening to the same melody on repeat for five minutes. The one about rowing your boat isn’t bad, and with enough people singing it as a round it can turn into a nonsensical spew of overlapping musical psychedelia, and that’s great. Plus it draws from the same theme as Christopher Cross’s “Sailing”, a song which I quite enjoyed as a child.

This silly tune is about a guy named Henry who has a leaky bucket and can’t figure out how to fix it on his own. Read a book, Henry. Jesus. So the guy asks this clueless Liza person, and she ends up telling him through a lengthy run-on explanation that he needs a working bucket in order to fix his defective bucket. At no time does she offer her own bucket to help out – no, we just get this simplistic melody and a meandering solution. Thanks for nothing, Liza.

The roots of this song trace back to Germany in the 1700s, which is pretty impressive. Not a lot of songs from that era have oozed forward through generations. Do kids still sing this tune? Does anyone actually like this tune? And is it just me, or is Christopher Cross’s “Sailing” not the greatest song of the Yacht Rock era?

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Loomis Day

Mahlon Loomis was probably a blast to hang out with. The guy spouted off crazy pseudo-scientific ideas that probably earned him many an eye-roll by his contemporaries, then when it came time to put them to the test, he nailed it. I mean, he didn’t really prove anything, but he sure as hell changed the world.

Loomis was a dentist who bounced around with his family, practicing all over the place. He patented a set of porcelain dentures in 1857, and his fellow dentists derided him as unprofessional. He then took out an ad in the local papers defending his patent, slamming his fellow dentists, and offering $500 to anyone who could “produce a similar work of art to equal in purity, beauty, durability or artistic excellence” as his artificial teeth. The guy had chutzpah. He also invented a style of teeth that ultimately wasn’t ideal due to issues with the material, but hey – Loomis wasn’t afraid to put his balls on the line to defend his work.

Then he started thinking about how to harness the electricity in the air. He was on board with the relatively recent assertion that there were multiple layers of atmosphere above us, but he felt he could use that to bring electricity down to earth, or to transmit wireless communication around the world.

Crazy, right? Except he proved himself right. He demonstrated to a group of scientists and Congressmen a successful wireless communication between two stations on two hilltops 14 miles apart. In fact, it’s believed that he may have inadvertently sent out the world’s first radio signals, though they weren’t known as such. Mahlon Loomis was a dreamer who put his life behind his dreams and pushed to create. I don’t know why his Day falls on May 30, as the date doesn’t line up with his birth, death, or any of his major experiments. But it lands on National Creativity Day this year, and I think that’s entirely appropriate. Creativity can do incredible things.

Are we actually finishing off our fifth month of this weirdness? Looks that way. Here’s what’s up today:

  • National Save Your Hearing Day. I guess we crank the music back down from 11 today.
  • National Speak in Complete Sentences Day. Yeah. Sure – cool.
  • National Utah Day. The food I found for this one looks gross. But we’re not above dipping into the gross.
  • National Macaroon Day. More yummy dessertness.
  • National Smile Day. We will smile at each other and our dogs a lot. I’ll also probably put on the Brian Wilson Smile album because it’s goddamn brilliant.
  • National Autonomous Vehicle Day. We were actually going to try to ride in one of these, then the damn COVID happened.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

We are not professional entertainers, or even amateur ones. We joke about this maelstrom of weirdness going viral, but we have no desire for fame. Lest any misinterpretation arise, we do this not for attention or validation, but merely to shriek into the wind and maybe come out the other side with a story to tell. This is an exercise in madness, and we don’t earn a passing grade if we back out before absolute madness is achieved. So let’s forego the formalities and get to the meat of the matter, the celebrations we all cherish and love to the sputtering depths of our hearts:

Learn About Composting Day


For those of us who have not really given serious thought to the topic, composting is just taking a bunch of your trash and dumping it into a smelly pile in your back yard. Well, according to the good people at, “with compost, you are creating rich humus for your lawn and garden.” I had no idea humus was going to be the end result. I love humus! It’s delicious! We’ve celebrated it twice already this year!

Turns out ‘humus’ with one ‘m’ is the organic component of soil, which is formed by the decomposition of plants and stuff. Chickpeas are not involved. That’s disappointing. Proper composting involves balancing the mix with carbon-rich items and nitrogen-rich items. So if you dump your leftover table scraps into the pile, which are nitrogen-heavy, you’ll want to balance it with some carbon-ish stuff, like coffee grounds, egg shells, and any sawdust pellets you’re looking to dispose of.

Composting is a lot of work, and we respect anyone who makes the effort to do it. I heard a rumor that our city will be promoting it in its overhaul of our trash collection processes, so that’s good. But this is a lot of careful separation of food items – banana peels, fish scraps and meat remains are not advised, either because of pesticides or pest attraction. Dog poop is discouraged, but human poop is fine, assuming you’re not saving it for an upcoming craft project or something.

Composting is a great thing for the planet, and for those who have the space and the ability I hope you’ll take the time to do it. We learned a little more about it, as was the purpose of this day, so we’ll call that a win. Not sure I trust our poop eating dogs around an actual compost pile though.

Put A Pillow On Your Fridge Day

Apparently in the early 20th century it was a tradition to drape a piece of cloth or linen over your larder. A larder, for the 100% of my audience who likely has never used the term, is like a cold pantry for meats, used before refrigerators were a thing. Anyhow, the cloth would be something personal from the bedroom, like a nightgown or a bedsheet, or maybe one of those goofy old night-shirts men wore back then. This was seen as a way to bring bounties of food and good ol’ fashioned fertility into the home.

Neither of these benefits interest us. We have plenty of food thanks to the mandate of this project, and we have no desire for fertility. Liberty is the only female on the premises who is not surgically distanced from fertility, and when her time comes there won’t likely be a problem in moving that forward. But it’s a positive groove, so up the pillow went.

I like a celebration that asks so little of us. Maybe we’re screwing things up by using a pillow from our front room instead of one from the bedroom, but this way we can leave the pillow up there right past midnight and get maximum silly-superstition output. When it comes to matters of goofy pseudo-supernatural hoo-ha, you’ve got to hedge your bets.

National Paperclip Day

How to honour the mighty paperclip, which has toiled for the past 153 years solely for this achievement: to be celebrated as a triumphant National Day, right up there with the one about sticking a pillow on top of your fridge.

Samuel B. Fay snagged the first patent for the paperclip in 1867, intending it primarily for affixing paper to fabric, but acknowledging that yeah, people may want to attach paper to other paper too. Fay’s design was simple – it looks like a wire version of one of those ribbons people wear to support various causes. It would do the job, but not very well. The clip we all know and love is known as the Gem clip, which wasn’t patented in the US until 1902, but had likely been produced in Britain as early as the 1870s.

Then you’ve got Norwegian Johan Vaaler. He created a clip very similar to the Gem, but squared off and missing that last internal loop. It was never marketed because the Gem worked much better. Nevertheless, after Vaaler’s death Norway was pushing his name as the inventor of the modern paperclip, to the point where it was proclaimed as fact in multiple encyclopedias in the middle of the 20th century. The paperclip was an unofficial national symbol for Norway based on this erroneous claim. This is why having the easy ability to fact-check things is the greatest gift of the information age.

The clip has surpassed most every other office supply in integrating into our culture in strange and curious ways. The Paperclip Project, created and curated by middle-school kids, sought to link together six million paperclips to represent the Jews who died in the Holocaust. The paperclip symbol is the universal attach-something-to-an-email device. And then there’s Clippy, the obnoxious Windows assistant that anyone who lived through can hopefully laugh about now. Not bad for a little bent piece of wire.

End of the Middle Ages Day

This is a weird commemoration, but it’s just weird enough to be worth looking into, at least in my opinion. And my opinion is one of only two that matter, given that no one is paying us to plow through this madness.

On this date 567 years ago, Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire. This had been the capital of the Byzantine Empire, so that put a neat little bow on that chunk of history and scooted the Byzantines off to obsolescence. The Middle Ages had kicked off when The Roman Empire ran its closing credits, way back in 476. A lot of big strides forward were taken by humanity during the millennium that followed, but once the Renaissance kicked into high gear in the post-Byzantine days, the post-Roman era was looked upon with scorn and derision. There’s a point there – the Renaissance spewed art, culture and science all over the face, neck and chest of civilization, so by comparison the Middle Ages were aptly known as the Dark Ages.

When Sultan Mehmed Il Fatih moved in and took over, Christianity scooted north and west to settle down in Europe and Islam plopped into place in Constantinople. The Ottoman Empire would enjoy more than 450 years in that spot. May 29, 1453 would forever be known as the date history made a giant shift.

Of course, the calendar has been tinkered with since then, and days skipped entirely in order to correct our place in the annual solar circuit, so to commemorate this day on May 29 may be a smidge inaccurate. But no one’s throwing End of the Middle Ages Day parties or investing too much emotionally into this one, so I guess no harm is done. But for fans of history, this is pretty neat.

National Biscuit Day

We celebrated National Buttermilk Biscuit back on May 14. Actually, we didn’t since we had no access to buttermilk biscuits. We acknowledged the day was coming, but nothing was written about and nothing was eaten so it didn’t make the final cut. But yesterday we got another chance with the more generic National Biscuit Day.

So what is a ‘biscuit’? Is it a bread-like roll? Sure, it can be. The Brits use it as another way to say ‘cookie’. I’ve also heard it applied to crackers. I enjoyed a few Ritzes with lunch yesterday, and Jodie had a chunk of a ‘special biscuit’ in the evening. We refer to those – or really to any cookies – as biscuits, because to say the ‘C’ word would excite the dogs into believing some treats would be forthcoming.

The word ‘biscuit’ comes from the Latin and means twice-cooked. This is because back in the days when Latin was not dead and antiquated, biscuits were first baked, then dried out in a slow oven. So using this logic we can all go forward referring to twice-baked potatoes as ‘biscuit potatoes’, to refried beans as ‘biscuit beans’, and to potheads who smoke in the afternoon and then again in the evening as ‘biscuit people’.

So much we can learn from the biscuit.

National Heat Awareness Day

Are you aware of heat? That heat exists? That it is a property of any mass and can vary due to external or internal forces? That it can also refer to one’s current level of buzz in the entertainment industry? That it can mean your female dog is ready to be impregnated? That it might mean you’re playing basketball professionally in Miami? That it might be referring to a 1990s film starring the two leads from Godfather II and the least-beloved Batman? If you are aware of all these things then congratulations! You have celebrated National Heat Awareness Day.

The National Weather Service felt the last Friday in May was a good time to remind people that summer tends to mean an increase in temperatures. Perhaps they were hoping air conditioner companies would hop aboard the fun-train and put up some sales for this weekend, I don’t know. To my knowledge that hasn’t happened. But sure, we can take a moment to remember that heat exists. I don’t mind.

Edmonton is actually facing its first genuinely hot day today, which I plan on dividing between my hammock, our chilled hot tub in the back yard, and in front of my computer, writing yet another of these lengthy articles. The one thing we won’t be doing is driving somewhere and leaving our dogs in the car. There are too many stories about this every year; if National Heat Awareness Day draws your attention to just one thing, it should be that this is never acceptable. Heat can kill, and in a parked car it can kill quick.

But that’s enough of the downer vibe for this glorious celebration. The inescapable wahoo of summer is falling upon us, and we should be ready to embrace it with open (and adequately sunscreened) arms. Be aware, and be happy!

World Digestive Health Day

The fun-loving folks over at the World Gastroenterology Organization have designated May 29 as the day they pick a specific digestion-related issue and promote awareness of it. They’ve tackled IBS, heartburn, liver cancer and even Heliobacter pylori infection, which is just as scary as it sounds. The 2020 party is dedicated to Gut Microbiome: A Global Perspective.

This celebrates the over 1000 known species of bacteria that lives inside our insides, and if that isn’t enough to guide your digestive health into some queasy waves then you’ve got more mettle than I. But as you can tell by the fun-loving font they used up above that we shouldn’t be creeped out as much as intrigued. A number of gastroenterologists in different nations are holding various virtual events to celebrate the day, though the only one from an English-speaking nation is South Africa, where they were hosting the First Stellenbosch University Microbiome Symposium and Workshop. I wasn’t about to miss that.

And we can all join in, because this symposium and workshop is scheduled for November 28-30. This gives us plenty of time to save up for airfare and accommodation in Stellenbosch, which has a population roughly equivalent to that of Cheyenne, Wyoming. How fun!

To celebrate this day I remembered to pop a couple of Lact-eeze pills before downing my cheeseburger because my digestive health would have taken a notably southern turn had I not done so. Happy eating everyone, and once that’s all done, happy pooping!

I’ll be wrestling with the clock today, as I’m more excited about time in my hammock than about celebrating all this:

  • National Creativity Day. Our life is creativity. How we can celebrate all these days is creativity. Today will be no different.
  • National Water a Flower Day. We will track down a single flower and give it some water. Can’t over-do it – not in the spirit of the day.
  • National Hole In My Bucket Day. That’s a stupid song. Maybe we’ll learn about this stupid song, since our buckets are (and shall remain) hole-free.
  • National Mint Julep Day. I’m on board for this, even if there’s no Kentucky Derby to watch.
  • Loomis Day. He invented the telegraph, now he gets his own day. Cool! We’ll give Loomis some love.

Happy birthday, Josh!

Friday, May 29, 2020

We have found ourselves scrapping with the seconds on the clock to keep up with our madness. Things are getting bumped and there is little we can do to prevent it. Time, even time in lockdown, is fleeting, and our assertive mirth-making must be tempered with employment obligations and the preservation of our final few trickles of sanity. Here’s our attempt to get caught up and pointed once more toward the sunny horizon:

National Brisket Day

Brisket, or cow-pecs as we call it in the business, is an unusual cut of beef. While still attached to its bovine host, this muscle holds up roughly 60% of the cow’s weight, so it can be a tough and unpleasant cut for us omnivores to chew through. Some people – and I’m not sure who these people are or why they’d do this – will boil the meat. Of course, you can bake it while basting the hell out of it. But why would you? This meat is meant to be smoked, or slowly cooked over indirect heat above charcoal or wood. A properly prepared brisket can out-perform any other chunk of cow, flavour-wise.

Brisket is the source material for corned beef, and when smoked it becomes pastrami, the finest of all sandwich meats. The Jews over in Montreal – undoubtedly the hippest Jewish community in all of Canada – came up with Montreal smoked meat, a close relative of pastrami. By contrast, the Maori in New Zealand boil the brisket with vegetables and potatoes, which can’t possibly taste remotely as good.

A kind and generous friend has been roasting his own brisket for a while now, and he shared some of his creation with us. It was immaculately seasoned, tender as can be, and when steamed (you don’t microwave this stuff) and slapped atop some rye bread with mustard, it was the perfect sandwich. I’ve bemoaned the tragic dearth of quality pastrami in this city many times, including many times on this page, but if I can continue to score snippets of Boris’s brisket, I’ll be a happy guy. This was fucking delicious.

National Grape Popsicle Day

Grape, cherry and blueberry Popsicles each get their own day this year. This makes sense; we all know that orange Creamsicles put Popsicles to shame, and no other flavour really stands out. Blueberry might be tough – I didn’t even know they made those. But that’s a problem for September 2. Yesterday we merely had to track down a grape one, which wasn’t difficult.

The Popsicle, much like the Kleenex and the FlameThrower, is a brand name that we naturally call any generic equivalent. Technically it’s an ice pop: frozen flavoured sugar-water with a stick in it. The Popsicle is the OG ice pop though, invented by accident (as the best things are) by an 11-year-old boy. Frank Epperson was mixing up some powdered soft drink mix with water back in 1905 Oakland, when he was called inside suddenly, perhaps to hear from his parents how the Russo-Japanese War was going. He left the stuff outside on the porch with a stir-stick in it, and came out the next morning to find an ice pop.

Frank held on to this thunderous revelation for 17 years, then debuted the product at a fireman’s ball. It was a hit. He called them Epsicle Ice Pops, which was a horrible name that his children thankfully encouraged him to change to Popsicle. Six months after nabbing his patent, Frank was sued by the Good Humor company who were making something similar. Good Humor was not true to their name; they crushed Frank and settled out of court. Shortly afterward, Frank sold his rights to the Popsicle because he was flat broke.

It’s an ugly beginning to a tremendous legacy, but the Popsicle has become a staple of summer. I wouldn’t call what Edmonton is going through right now as ‘summer’ yet, but a good Popsicle is always a good snack.

National Hamburger Day / National Hamburger Month

Here it is, the day we get to celebrate that most basic staple of North American cuisine, the glorious hamburger. I know, we’ve still got National Cheeseburger Day on September 18, and Double Cheeseburger Day on September 15, but this is the all-encompassing one.

So who invented the hamburger? Crap, don’t get me started. Its roots go back to the Hamburg steak, a similar, albeit bun-less concoction from Hamburg, Germany. But here’s a list of folks who tried to take credit for the burger we know and love:

  • Louis Lassen, owner of Louis’s Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut. 1900 is pretty early, but the claims that some sailors from Hamburg tried it, loved it, then named it after themselves is unlikely. Also, Louis used toasted bread.
  • Charlie Nagreen from Seymour, Wisconsin, sold a meatball between two slices of bread in 1885. Pretty close, and he did get the nickname “Hamburger Charlie” at some point. So far I’m rooting for Charlie. In fact, I think he was cited as the reason for our devouring burgers for National Wisconsin Day.
  • Otto Kuase gets the thumbs-up from White Castle for being the inventor, though his was with a fried egg on top in 1891. Does White Castle know the truth? Should they be considered the experts on burgers? Have you ever tried their food whilst sober?
  • Oscar Weber Bilby, also an 1891 claim, but his family says it was served on a yeast bun on his farm. This is the first claim involving a bun, but Hamburger Charlie’s claim predates it by six years.
  • Frank and Charles, the Menches Brothers, claim to have substituted beef from a butcher when they ran out of sausage for their sandwiches, then to have named the thing after Hamburg, New York, not the one in Germany. This was at the 1882 county fair in Akron, Ohio, but the brothers were from Hamburg, NY. This is the oldest claim, and it does have a link to *a* Hamburg, but given that the Hamburg steak was already a thing in Germany, I’m suspicious of this one.
  • Fletcher Davis of Athens, Texas, claims to have sold a hamburger steak between slices of bread at his lunch counter in the 1880s. It then became popular when he had a stand at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Maybe.

So ultimately, we have no clue who invented the hamburger. We do know that having a barbecue once again means our burger game will be fantastic going forward, as evidenced by the ones we devoured yesterday. Wherever it comes from, the hamburger is always good eatin’.

The Slugs Return From Capistrano Day

Thank you so much to Thomas and Ruth Roy, that wacky duo that has gifted us with so much weirdness during this year already steeped in unanticipated kookiness. Mission San Juan Capistrano is an important site in southern California, known as the birthplace of the Orange County, or “the OC” if you’re the type to use that sort of shorthand (and you really shouldn’t). Every year around March 19 the migratory swallows return to the area, and much like how New Yorkers flock to surrounding states to view fall foliage every autumn, people gravitate to Capistrano to check out the swallows. Maybe not this year – nothing is normal this year.

So Thomas & Ruth decided that for one of their manufactured-holidays-for-the-sake-of-manufacturing-holidays they should extend the spirit of this day. Since the slugs tend to leave when the swallows show up, not desiring to be anyone’s dinner or mid-morning snack, they presumably meander back to their less-bird-infested homes elsewhere. They move slowly (being slugs and all), so it takes them a couple months to get there. But on this day they’re back, messing up your garden and praying you run out of salt.

There’s no proper evidence for this, and that’s fine – Thomas and Ruth didn’t make up holidays rooted in scientific observance. The ideas for ‘celebrating’ this day involve taking precautions to secure your garden against slug infestation, but given that we don’t have a garden, nor do slugs live in this part of the tundra, we’ll be happy simply acknowledging the day and adding it to our hefty roster of writing topics. After all, the only place they should really be celebrating this day is in Capistrano, where they don’t have to worry about all those pesky slugs hanging about.

Lyme Disease Awareness Month

Okay, this isn’t so much a celebration as a public service message. When we can leave our house these days it’s mostly to outdoors locales for hikes, walks, and possibly Frisbee-related shenanigans. It’s important to know that ticks are still out there, immune to COVID and eager to mess all our shit up by passing on this delightful little condition. Lyme Disease is a massive pain, and we should keep it in mind when we participate in any outdoor activity, be it a shenanigan or something else.

You never hear about a single shenanigan, do you? Weird.

Lyme Disease is a tough bugger to catch. Symptoms may appear within a few days or it might take months or years to pop up. Most of the time the first symptom is an expanding bullseye pattern rash around where the tick bit. It’s a warm rash, but not an itchy one. Still, it’s one that you should pay attention to. You might then get some viral type symptoms, like fatigue, body aches and fever, but your respiratory system will be fine and there will be no up-chuckery involved. If you’ve got that roster of symptoms, get yourself checked out, because the stuff that can happen later on is a lot more unpleasant.

Antibiotics will treat the disease, but it can come back. Lyme Disease is not a simple one-shot-and-it’s-gone deal; and it’s not something exclusive to humans – if your pets have been wandering around in the tall grass you should be checking them for ticks or bites. Hell, it doesn’t have to be long grass; the critters can live in your lawn.

Of course I tend to employ the #1 method for preventing Lyme Disease, which is to be really into movies and video games and other indoor hobbies. All those times your parents said it was healthy for you to go and play outside? They were lying. Outside will murder you. Take care, and be vigilant with these creatures.

Today we journey forth into another fun-filled Friday. Isn’t every day fun-filled? It had better be, or we’re not doing our job.

  • Put A Pillow On Your Fridge Day. For prosperity & good luck. Of course.
  • National Paperclip Day. Well, it ain’t gonna get more wild than this.
  • National Coq Au Vin Day. We’ll probably be making this over the weekend, as we have much more fun plans for dinner tonight.
  • Learn About Composting Day. We will… learn about composting I guess.
  • End of the Middle Ages Day. A day to celebrate advancing to the next era, which is something I understand as an avid player of Civilization VI.
  • National Heat Awareness Day. We will contemplate heat, and thus be aware of it.
  • National Biscuit Day. Biscuits for all!
  • World Digestive Health Day. Okay, sure! Let’s talk about being healthy, digestively speaking. What a party!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

As another chapter begins in this skewed-orbit twirl around the sun we call 2020 we proceed with abandon and enthusiasm. To approach a cookie-cutter Wednesday any other way would have been to succumb to the tedium and repetition this year seems to want to offer. But we keep things spicy, alive, intense… we forge forward with an unabashed resilience to monotony, and a steadfast commitment to pursuing the most dynamic and noble quests our calendar puts before us. This is how we become mired in such glorious pursuits as this:

National Cellophane Tape Day

Cellophane tape. What a party. Some unknown person or corporate entity (whom I suspect may be 3M) came up with this day, possibly looking at the relative dearth of National Days on May 27, for us all to pay tribute to cellophane tape, better known as Sellotape in England. Over here we’d call it Scotch tape. I was initially looking forward to celebrating this day by wasting office supplies by seeing if we could tape someone to a wall in our office. Given that we were at home (as usual), with no office supplies storeroom to raid, we had to shift.

So how does cellophane tape enrich our lives? I have a roll on my desk at work that I have not had to replace since starting in that office five years ago. Before that I used packing tape all the time to seal up boxes filled with printed material to send out to customers. Jodie uses it occasionally at school. When the handful of warm days hit our town, I use packing tape to seal the vent for our little portable AC unit in our window. That’s… really about it from us.

Cellophane entered our world courtesy of Swiss chemist Jacques E. Brandenberger, who was hoping to create a surface that would repel liquid and not stain. He thought spraying a waterproof coating onto a tablecloth would be the way to go, but it made the fabric less fabric-y, and more something you could club someone to death with. Then he noticed the coating would peel away from the fabric, and he saw the potential in that coating on its own. This was back in 1900. He eventually created the stuff we know today, calling it cellophane after cellulose (the key ingredient) and diaphane (which means transparent). It took until 1930 for 3M engineer Richard Drew to invent Scotch tape, which officially hit the world on May 27. So a big happy 90th to tape.

Richard also invented masking tape, so maybe this day should be more about celebrating his awesomeness than the tape itself. But we don’t make the rules, we merely bend them when we need to. Happy tape day, everyone.

Old Time Player Piano Day

I found one source that claims this day exists, and upon further digging that source is no longer online. So do I toss the day? Or simply make my own statement that yes, it exists, and we’re celebrating it. I think you know which way I’m leaning.

A player piano, for anyone in my audience younger than 150, was the stereo system of the early 1900s. It was a piano that would take pre-made scrolls of punched paper that would then trigger the piano to automatically play whatever sheet music was on the paper. Initially these were powered pneumatically by foot pedals. Pianos in homes were just becoming a huge thing around this time, and this was the only game in town for hearing music in your house without playing it yourself.

The initial Pianola (as they were called) would sell for $250, equivalent to a whopping $7700 today. Compatibility between manufacturers was often a hurdle, but some brands had access to over 9,000 pieces of music. It would be like having a killer Spotify mix today, except you had to painstakingly swap out the massive paper rolls between each track. Sometimes the scrolls would have lyrics printed in the margins so people could gather ‘round and sing along.

So what killed the player piano? The Victrola didn’t help, especially as the quality of records improved through the 1920s. Then radio began to offer the ability to hear entire orchestras in one’s parlor or drawing room or whatever antiquated room you’d prefer. Lastly, the stock market crash of 1929 killed the production of the player piano. Anything made after that was done so as a novelty. We didn’t have one laying around the house to listen to, but we did watch this video, which shows how the mechanics work. It’s pretty intense.

Nothing To Fear Day

On this day 79 years ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the nation and began to prepare them for the war they’d be shoved into come December. “We must not be defeated by the fear of the very danger which we are preparing to resist. Our freedom has shown its ability to survive war, but our freedom would never survive surrender. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Damn, remember when politicians would talk like that? It was a very eloquent and poignant observation, and it holds true today in facing any crisis.

FDR did, of course, crib that line from himself, having used it in his 1933 inaugural speech. Back then he was speaking of the issues of the Depression, and the fear people may have about making tough choices to get the economy back on track. He got his nation through that turmoil, and that phrase became one of the most cited as a brilliant example of presidential oratory. Raymond Moley was FDR’s aide who penned most of that speech, but it’s believed the big line about fear was Roosevelt’s creation.

To celebrate this day one site suggests we examine our fears and reevaluate them. Okay. Jodie’s fear is birds, specifically their wings flapping near her head. That’s a rational fear, and given her horrifying experience when a bird dropped through her sunroof and fluttered around the passenger seat, I’d say her fear is legit. For me it’s spiders, and while I know there are many poisonous ones out there we all should fear, it’s the fear itself that paralyzes me. I can’t stand to look at them, and I practically jump through my skin when I see one. I can’t help it – it’s a chemical response in my brain that propels me into a state of immediate madness. It’s a fear I could conquer, but I’d rather not. I have a hunch it’s somehow protecting me from an untimely encounter with a black widow.

Mostly we celebrated this day by simply admiring the power of such an eloquent phrase. In just a handful of words, FDR took the fears of an entire nation and presented them in a way that made them appear conquerable. And he did it twice, with two different global crises. That’s pretty damn impressive.

MCS Awareness Month

I’ll be completely honest – I was excited to write about this one because I thought it was MC5 Awareness Month, and I was intrigued by an entire month devoted to kicking out the jams with that Michigan-born rock band. But no, MCS is something very different. It refers to Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, or a sensitivity to exposure to common societal chemicals. This is considered a controversial condition, not fully accepted by the WHO or any other professional medical association. So is it real?

Well, probably. There hasn’t been a lot of research into MCS, possibly because it isn’t killing anyone. But you’ve probably known someone who gets a nasty headache whenever they smell perfume or paint fumes or even smoke. It was thought of as an allergy at first, but the lack of weird antibodies or strange white blood cell counts ruled that out. Some believe it to be psychological, given that many people diagnosed with MCS also deal with depression and anxiety. Others believe it’s just technophobia or chemophobia, manifesting in a way that induces nausea, headaches, or some other symptom.

Whatever the cause, the symptoms people deal with can be downright debilitating. There is no cure, only to adjust your life so that the presence of these smells is limited. And to be clear, it isn’t just smells – some folks have a similar response to plastics and synthetic fabrics. It’s more commonly appearing in women, and the diagnosis of this condition has climbed significantly in recent years. There’s also a weird correlation with veterans who returned from overseas with Gulf War Syndrome – they report a significantly higher frequency of issues with MCS symptoms.

Roughly 50% of MCS sufferers report an improvement in their condition over time, so there’s hope. But with this not being a wholly accepted condition I don’t see a lot of research money pouring into a cure. If you know someone who suffers from this, treat them kindly and don’t expose them to the smells or sensations that drive their insides bonkers. And maybe pop on an old MC5 record and crank it up. Couldn’t hurt.

Today glides smoothly into port with a small bevy of delicious celebrations:

  • National Brisket Day. I was so worried I’d have to write about this from memory, but a friend came through and gifted us with some of the best brisket we’ve tasted.
  • National Hamburger Day. Yep, this is the official one.
  • The Slugs Return From Capistrano Day. This is not so much delicious as weird and quirky. We’re all about the weird and quirky in these parts.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

One unimpeded truth that slaps us consistently (if not maliciously) is that our experience as a collective has dissolved to an extent. We are all adrift upon the COVID sea, but increasingly isolated as we tend to the machinations of our own craft. So many are in grief or struggle, and that clang of agony reverberates for all of us, like a sickly puce glow on the horizon. Some are finding each day to be suffocating, others are mired in confusion. We awaken each day and glance for upcoming celebrations on our calendar – an experience likely unique in this flipped-askew year. But just because we immerse ourselves in manufactured mirth doesn’t mean we are blind to the fissures in the status quo, nor are we obtusely oblivious to the universal pain. But we’re coping the best way we can, with stuff like this:

National Wine Day

We had a puppy training class on Monday, so this got bumped to a day when we could appreciate it. Those who have been following our alcohol-related celebrations (and they have been among my favourites) have probably been wondering when wine would get center stage. We have already passed Moscato day (and I think we forgot to crack that bottle), as well as World Malbec Day – Monday was the day for plain ol’ wine. Any type, just pick one and drink it. And hey, we totally did! A day late!

The earliest evidence of wine consumption dates back to 6000 BC, so wine is even older than civilization itself. Wine is beloved around the world. It is sacred, a part of Ancient Greek and Roman cults, as well as intertwined with Christianity and Judaism. It’s the nectar of life and the favourite topic of memes shared by moms everywhere.

As an imbiber with average taste buds, meaning that I’m not a super-taster by any stretch, I in no way consider myself an expert on wines. I’ve looked into the jargon though, which is why I feel I would be ill-equipped to discern if a wine is herbaceous, grassy, fallen over, supple, round or reticent. To me, wine is either good enough to warrant another sip, or it’s not. I’ll leave the scrutinizing to the pros.

We didn’t do a heap of research for this one, we simply enjoyed a nice Shiraz with dinner, and then some more after dinner. What more does one need to do on National Wine Day?

National Wyoming Day

Due to the joys of pizza consumption, we bumped this from its Sunday spot to yesterday. We have no regrets; pizza is life.

What can we say about Wyoming? Jodie can say plenty more than I, as she has actually visited the state on multiple occasions. I’ve heard so much about this cowboy bar in Jackson Hole I feel like I’ve been there myself. And it’s a cowboy bar, so my presence isn’t likely.

There are 31 cities in America with more population than the state of Wyoming. The greater Edmonton area contains nearly twice as many people; in fact, the population of Cheyenne, the bustling capital, could fit in our football stadium. Two thirds of the state are blanketed in mountains. Almost half of this square of land is owned by the US government. It’s a state with an economy based on farming and coal, and as such it leans conservative almost all the time. That said, in 1869 Governor Campbell granted the vote to women, making it the first US territory or state to include women in the process. They were also the first to allow women on juries, to hire a female court bailiff, and to elect a female governor. It came to be known as the Equality State, which is a pretty damn fine nickname to have.

Wyoming has produced a rather modest list of folks who would achieve fame and fortune, but with a tiny population that isn’t a surprise. Jim J. Bullock, whom you may remember from ALF and Hollywood Squares, hails from Casper; artist Jackson Pollock was born in Cody; Cecilia Hart, of whom you’ve likely never heard but she was married to James Earl Jones from 1982 until her death in 2016, comes from Cheyenne; and if we’re going to stretch our ‘famous Wyomingans’ definition a bit, Matthew Fox of Lost fame was raised in Crowheart, while Han “Indiana Jones” Solo has a place in Jackson Hole.

The cuisine of Wyoming includes prairie oysters, which sound disgusting (unless eating bull testicles is your thing) but which we would totally try. Unfortunately we can’t find any around here – maybe that’s a good thing, I don’t know. I also saw that bison was a big Wyoming treat, but even that can be hard to find in this weird year. Grilled steak also makes the list though, so I tossed some tenderloin on the barbecue and dug into that. It was a fine way to toast the Equality State.

Also, I forgot to take a picture of our steak dinner, so that’s a shot from National Barbecue Day a couple weeks back. Steak is steak.

World Lindy Hop Day

The lindy hop was a Depression-era phenomenon, a way beleaguered folks could blast their stresses out through the manic flailing of their limbs. Neither Jodie nor myself have any lindy hopping experience, but we did watch this video and did our best to simulate the action on screen. And by “action” I mean we simulated the movement of the inanimate objects in the background. Had we tried dancing like that, we both would have likely burst into flames. We have too many more celebrations to tend to this year to snuff ourselves out with the lindy hop.

There were a few dances calling themselves the Lindy Hop in the 20s after Charles Lindbergh made his big flight over the ocean. It was a staple of 1920s synergy to name a dance or a song or a type of soap after something in order to glom onto a fad. The one that stuck the name was created by George Snowden and Mattie Purnell during one of those crazy dance marathons up in Harlem in 1928. The roots of the dance can be traced back at least 15 years earlier, but it became a sensation once it secured the Lindy name, especially with a number of Lindbergh-based tunes that were popular at the time.

The craze lasted throughout the 30s and into the war; as mentioned yesterday for Tap Dance Day, the lavish MGM musicals freely adopted the style and blended it with tap. The Lindy Hop is hardcore. You can’t just up and learn that dance like you can with the waltz or the two-step. It’s part rhythmic adherence to the beat, part acrobatics, and part hyper-athletic improvisation. This is a dance for those who know what they’re doing. We are not those people.

But we do love watching gifted dancers perform, and the Lindy Hop makes for great viewing.

Sally Ride Day

Happy 69th birthday to one of the most awesome humans to have been born on this earth, only to blast away from it in epic fashion. Sally Ride was not the first woman in space – two Soviet cosmonauts beat her to that – but she was the first American woman to visit the other side of the atmosphere. She was also the youngest person to take the trip, taking off at age 32.

Sally was, as most astronauts are, an overachiever. She was a nationally ranked tennis player. She graduated from Stanford with a double-major bachelor’s degree, then a Masters, then a PhD. She helped to develop Canada’s great space achievement, the Canadarm. And despite being asked such moronic question as “will space travel affect your reproductive organs?”, Sally hopped aboard the Challenger space shuttle and reached outer space on June 18, 1983. Her fans wore shirts that aptly quoted Wilson Picket’s “Mustang Sally”: the shirts said ‘Ride, Sally Ride’. Cute.

She was getting ready for her third flight aboard the craft when the Challenger blew up in 1986. She was the one who figured out it was the O-rings that caused the tragedy. She became a children’s author, a professor, and she continued to work with NASA, notably as part of the investigation team after the Columbia explosion in 2003. We lost her from cancer in 2012. Because she kept her personal life quite private, it wasn’t until later that we learned that she had a female partner for 27 years, making her the first known LGBT astronaut.

Sally Ride is the epitome of human achievement. I don’t know who decided she deserved an official day, but I’m glad she got one. Happy birthday, Sally!

World Dracula Day

123 years ago yesterday, the world of fiction took a dark and twisted turn courtesy of Bram Stoker. Bram wasn’t specifically out to invent a genre, he was just cashing in on the current literary trend of the time. Fantastic adventure stories were the big fad, akin to blockbuster movies these days. I’m sure there were crotchety old readers who bemoaned the fantastic voyages of Treasure Island, the proto-sci-fi of H.G. Wells, or the detective stories of Arthur Conan Doyle. And those self-appointed purists probably scoffed at Stoker’s monster story. This is what happens when you scoff at culture – you run the risk of being laughed at 123 years later as being some schmuck on the wrong side of history.

Bram did his research. He was fascinated by an essay by Emily Girard about Transylvania superstitions, in particular about the vampire myth. He read folklore tales, and studied the life of Vlad the Impaler, the cruel Romanian leader who was also known as ‘Vlad Dracula.’ There were other vampire novels on the market too, including one called Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu, which was a lesbian vampire story. But Bram’s was the one that conquered our imaginations. Maybe it was because he added some panache to the story, thanks to his years working in theatre.

Dracula leads us smoothly into the world of film, which was just starting to make a splash in the world when the novel dropped. Nosferatu is one of the most enduring German films of the silent era. Dracula with Bela Lugosi a classic Universal monster film. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was a massive hit in 1992. Twilight… nah, never mind.

Congrats to the wicked count for harnessing those children of the night and enduring for well more than a century.

World Redhead Day

This is a day to reach out to all your friends with red hair and say, “Hey, you have red hair. Have a great day.” Sure, they get their own dedicated month in November, but we don’t get to every month celebration so we’ll tackle this one. This is a celebration with no known origin, but that’s most of the celebrations on our calendar. Someone simply decided this was a fine day to celebrate redheads, and here we are.

Less than 2% of all humans sport red hair, and given that it is not a naturally occurring hair colour in China, India, or most of Africa, that makes sense. 13% of Scotland’s residents feature an auburn mane, and 10% of Ireland’s. Again, no surprise. One thing I find interesting is that the percentage of left-handed people is quite high in the redhead community. They’re both recessive genes, and quite often those pop up in pairs.

Redheads are less likely to go grey, and they produce more vitamin D in a shorter time than their blonde and brunette counterparts. This is handy, since they also burn a lot quicker on a sunny day. Being a male with red hair may actually lower your risk of prostate cancer, a fact that will have absolutely no impact on my unfortunate dirty-blond life. But it’s interesting. It’s also kind of cool that redheads are one of the groups who are over-represented in the media, with about 30% of prime-time TV shows featuring a character with red hair.

So to those of you who sport a fiery cluster of locks atop your dome, happy day. We’ll chat again in November.

Another glorious day with another insistent batch of stuff to celebrate:

  • National Cellophane Tape Day. On the 90th anniversary of its invention, we’ll find something weird to do with the stuff.
  • National Grape Popsicle Day. A specifically delicious treat of a day.
  • National Sunscreen Day. I thought this was last Saturday, which would have been nice. I guess we wear sunscreen to the office?
  • Old Time Player Piano Day. No access to one of these, but they are somewhat fascinating. We’ll learn a little.
  • Nothing To Fear Day. Except, of course, that pesky beast: fear itself.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Each day carries with it mere subtle vibrations to distinguish it from the day before. Our locale seldom varies, same with our company. The imminent thunder of a new dawn reverberates meekly as we unceremoniously pass the two-month mark in our lockdown. Were it not for the mixed bag of this mercurial mash-up of mirth, we might succumb to tedium. But no tedium marches past the gates here. Well, it does, it just doesn’t get to lay claim on calling the shots. We reserve that for the magnificence of stuff like this:

Abbey’s Birthday

Twenty-three years ago, we had a kid. She was one hell of a kid too, fuelled by fire and forged from the planetary core. She challenged us every day growing up – not in an adversarial way but in a way that inspired us to be better parents and better people. She took our best traits – and yes, our worst traits – tried out each one, then forged a human greater than the sum of its genetic parts. She could feel on a universal scale, with enough compassion and empathy to blanket every atom in existence and then some.

Raising Abbey was a profound gift, one of the greatest I suspect this Tilt-A-Whirl thrill ride will ever throw at us. Now she’s a full-grown adult, and the culmination of everything we’d hoped for her. She has the brains to solve any crisis. She has the discipline to conquer any challenge – though she continues to test herself with that one on a regular basis. She has the humour to survive this manic planet. She’s one of the only people who can make me laugh on a consistent basis, and I can’t stress enough how spectacular that is.

Abbey moved away from us three years ago for school, and given her chosen profession we don’t ever expect to see her locking in on an Edmonton postal code again. But she remains a crucial and consistent facet of our lives, and for that we are profoundly grateful. Thanks for 23 years of immeasurable greatness, Abbey. And remember, when I was your age, I had a 4-month-old. That should freak you out more than a little.

International Brown Bag It Day

Were we attending our places of work, this would be a day for which we would require some preparation. This is intended to be a day to celebrate the cost savings and time savings of bringing one’s own lunch from home, rather than purchasing a lunch over the noon hour. Jodie has nowhere within walking distance of her work to buy a lunch, and while I do enjoy some of the offerings from the food courts and food trucks downtown, I usually bring my food from home.

Yesterday we were both working from home, so brown-bagging it was inevitable. And, as it turns out, delicious. We’d enjoyed some pizza from Tony’s the night before, so yesterday’s lunch was simply a matter of heating up some of the sausage & peppers we’d had as an appetizer and enjoying our remaining slices of pizza cold. Tony’s doesn’t need re-warming – it’s a fine cold pizza.

The reality is, buying lunch every day is cost-prohibitive. It’s also lazy, and even with a multitude of options, you’re going to get bored by them eventually. These days a brown bag isn’t necessarily the right way to go – reusable lunch bags have been immensely popular since they stopped manufacturing my A-Team lunchbox. Of course, given that our need to transport our leftovers only necessitated covering the space between the fridge and the table, no brown bag was necessary. Nor was it possible – we haven’t owned brown bags or used them as a lunch conduit service in 15 years.

But we celebrated the spirit of the day, and that’s all that matters. Our project, our rules.

Towel Day

“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value – you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you – daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

“More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit, etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”

These are the words of Douglas Adams, and if it all seems thoroughly vague and weird to you, then you must head out right now and purchase a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Or borrow one from your library in e-book format – that’s still a think libraries can do. This is the root of Towel Day, a day to pay tribute to the greatest five-part trilogy of all time, and one that still hasn’t seen a perfect adaptation into movie form. This is likely because the brilliance of Adams’ universe is best observed by the imagination.

Towel Day was first observed on this day in 2001, about two weeks after Douglas Adams’ death. We proudly hoisted our towels with us everywhere yesterday, and even brought them with to Liberty’s puppy training class last night. When we explained to everyone that it was Towel Day, I’m pretty sure they all got it. If they didn’t, then we never really needed those strags anyway.

Geek Pride Day

In 1998 the first Geek Pride Festival was held in Albany, New York. It was the dawn of a new era in geek-dom; where once the geeks were the source of mockery, derision, bullying by the jocks, and getting tossed into a high school history class taught by Dr. Johnny Fever, suddenly they were taking over. Being a geek in the late 90s meant you knew your way around the Internet, and that was suddenly cool. What made it cool? Was it the fact that the geeks had access to tons of free pornography that the jocks didn’t? Was it the reality that those who refused to embrace technology were being left behind culturally? Was it… actually, it was probably the porn thing.

Geek culture has since been re-defined numerous times. Comic-Con, which in its origins was a destination for the social outcasts and lonely types who held firm to their love of comic books and other geek materials, is now a coveted mecca of the mainstream. Those who followed their geekly pursuits into a career in computers or IT probably still have a job during this lockdown, and probably make more money than the national average. The geeks have inherited the earth, and yesterday was a fine day to celebrate those of us who have embraced the handle since before it was advisable.

Of course, everyone claims to be a geek now. Jodie, who in the 80s was proudly lacking geektitude as one of the popular crowd, is a self-proclaimed theatre geek, and she can back that up. I used to be an all-around geek type, then became more of a music and movie geek. To be a geek is to possess a love for something, be it cultural or technology-based, to know a lot about the topic, and to flaunt that love and knowledge all over the place. Under that definition many folks are geeks of many different colours.

To celebrate Geek Pride I played a bit of prog rock whilst surfing the True Film subreddit to read some lengthy, over-analysis of camera angles and lighting. These days it seems that being a geek isn’t just trendy, it’s obligatory. A big thanks to those of you (of us) who paved the way for this reality.

National Tap Dance Day

National Tap Dance Day was signed into being a thing by president George Bush (the first one) back in 1989. Tap dancing, like the jazz music we celebrated on Sunday, is an American art form. Sure, it has roots in clog dancing, Irish jigs and African Juba dancing, but the clickity-clack rhythmic tap style was born on American stages. One of the pioneers of this style was William Henry Lane, a.k.a. Master Juba, one of the rare black performers who was allowed to appear in a white minstrel show back in the 1840s.

Tap dancing became a phenomenon once sound was introduced to the movies, in particular as MGM ramped up its 1930s roster of musicals. Quite often the dancing was a meld between tap and the lindy hop, which we’ll be celebrating tomorrow. It’s one of the most fun styles of dance to watch, and for one as enamoured by percussion as I am, it adds an extra element of musicality that other forms of dance can’t match. In fact, Omaha-based indie pop band Tilly and the Wall has forsaken the notion of a drummer, and instead employs Jamie Pressnall’s tap dancing feet as the percussive part of their rhythm section.

May 25 was chosen as National Tap Dance Day because it is the birthday of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, who was one of the preeminent tap dancers of the Vaudeville/Hollywood era. Bill took a lot of flak for upholding black stereotypes at a time when Hollywood’s treatment of African-Americans was thoroughly and without exception dismal. But he also pushed the Dallas police department to hire its first black officer, he championed for fair treatment of black soldiers in WWII, and he changed the face of his art form. The man was a damn legend. To celebrate the day, we enjoyed this classic video of Bill dancing with Shirley Temple, as well as a few other tap standouts we dug out on Youtube. And I had to check out that drummer-less band.

We are deeply grateful for tap dancing and this day to celebrate it. We don’t stand a chance of learning it ourselves, but damn can we enjoy it.

Be Kind To Animals Month

There’s no great textured message here: just be kind to animals. I read a story on social media yesterday about someone who swerved to purposely run over a turtle on the road. I have repeatedly blocked stories of beaten and abused dogs and cats because those stories do nothing but turn my stomach. I don’t need persuasion to know abusing animals is wrong, nor am I in a position to do anything to stop it.

Unless, that is, you’re reading this and you’re not totally sold on whether you should be kind to animals. Just be kind – it’s no big reveal here.

A surprising number of these days are devoted to loving our fur-lined (or scale-lined or feather-lined) friends. We are softies for animals, and we hope that most or all of our readers (or both – still think ‘both’ is the right word) are animal lovers too. Don’t be a dick – be good to the entirety of the animal kingdom. Except spiders. Fuck those ugly fuckers.

The week rolls on with at least two past-due celebrations we can catch up on (Wyoming Day and Wine Day), and all of this glorious stuff:

  • National Blueberry Cheesecake Day. We have no access to blueberry cheesecake today unfortunately. This one won’t happen.
  • National Paper Airplane Day. I haven’t made one of these in a while. We’ll see who can build the better one.
  • World Lindy Hop Day. Do we stand a chance of learning this? Or should we just enjoy the talents of those who already know how?
  • Sally Ride Day. Sally Ride is pretty awesome, and not just because she’s mentioned in a Billy Joel song.
  • World Dracula Day. Sure, why not?
  • World Redhead Day. I didn’t even know this was a thing. We can certainly salute our ginger brothers and sisters.

Monday, May 25, 2020

So when a day dawns, promising such a small pittance of partying, do we consider it a bummer or a blessing? Of the few celebrations in the starting lineup yesterday, Scavenger Hunt Day would have to be shelved for a future non-COVID time, Escargot Day would be tossed in the nope-bin due to a lack of availability, Wyoming Day was to be put on hold until tomorrow, Asparagus Day until after our next grocery supply run, Sunscreen Day is actually not until Wednesday the 27th, and even Tiara Day was a no-go, given that Jodie’s tiaras (and yes, she owns several) are all in her costume closet at school. So what does that leave us with?

National Brothers Day

Virus or no, Jodie still has brothers. So, much like on Siblings Day and National Brothers & Sisters Day, both of which have already gone by, Jodie reached out with some warm words to her brothers. She received a response from two of them. The other isn’t really a “warm words” kind of guy. We had initially planned to invite Jodie’s brothers (well, two of them) to a trial run of the scavenger hunt we typically prepare for Jodie’s ninth grade class in June. That would have been a riot. This was… nice.

I have no brothers to speak of, so this wasn’t much of a celebration for me. I do have a few friends who were like brothers to me growing up, inasmuch as they hung out with me, laughed with me, played Ice Hockey with me for hours on the NES, and busted my proverbial balls when necessary. Again, hanging out and scavenger-hunting with them would have been a blast, but that wasn’t meant to be.

I hope this pandemic has taught a few folks that life is fleeting, and that any grudges held between those who possess a connection as powerful as the fraternal bond, should be let go. Unfortunately there are still those who feel that bitterness and resentment over the ancient past are more precious than humanity. For those who have shut out their brothers this way, or for those brothers who have shut out their sisters in this way, it’s never too late to reach out. Don’t wait for National Brothers Day next year.

International Tiara Day

Yeah, we’re celebrating this anyway.

Behold the tiara. Not quite a crown, and not even close to being a hat, the tiara is a statement. What sort of statement it makes depends on who you are. It might suggest you are royalty. Maybe you just won a beauty contest, in which case you are probably wearing a sash as well. If there’s a floppy penis hanging off the front of it, you might be stuck at an unfortunate bridal shower. It might mean you wander through the park, knighting squirrels and flaunting the fact that you didn’t take your medications that day. Or, as in the photo above, it might mean you’re just being goofy with friends.

Jodie and her teacher buddy, Jo, took that shot whilst on a school trip to Europe a few years back. With her stash of tiaras safely tucked away at school, we were fortunate to have this photo to give us an excuse to honour Tiara Day, which one site declares is International and not National. That makes it more important, right?

You can trace the history of the tiara right back through the history of civilization. Ever since we elevated a select few to positions of power and prestige, we felt the need to identify these people with weird and elaborate things stuck onto their heads. The tiara shares its roots with the wreaths worn by Ancient Greeks and Romans, with the big pointy headdresses of Persian kings, and with whatever any culture strung together to indicate who was the boss by messing up their hair with some elaborate object.

Tiaras fell out of favour when the Roman Empire tap-danced off the world stage, but they rose to prominence once more in 18th century Europe, this time solely as a female accessory. This was largely thanks to Napoleon, who wanted his Josephine to look more ornate and exquisite than any of those other skanky first ladies on the continent. This day to honour the tiara isn’t linked to Napoleon but rather to Queen Victoria, whose birthday lands on May 24. Yesterday was a day for women everywhere to wear tiaras without shame. And since most women (and men) are still hanging out at home for the most part, I’d say everyone can sport a tiara without shame, really whenever they want.

Perhaps next year. Oh well, stay regal everyone.

National Escargot Day

We’re really short on stuff to celebrate today, and I’d feel I wasn’t doing my job (for which I do not get paid) if I only turned in two items. So instead of honouring the escargot as a food – which we’re not too fond of anyway – we’ll honour the escargot for what it does while it’s still alive. There’s a Snail Appreciation Day in October, but screw it, we’ve got National Greasy Food Day to deal with then so we’ll give some love to the snail community today instead. Maybe we’ll eat some escargot in October, good and greased up. That’s a hurdle for another day.

If you know your gastropods (and really, why wouldn’t you?), then you know that if they have a shell they can hide in, they’re snails. If not, they’re slugs. If they’ve got a shell but it’s too small to hide in, they’re semi-slugs. You probably also know they keep a low-sodium diet, and they are not pleasant to fondle. They’re well-known butchers of gardens, but a batch of concentrated garlic will keep them away. This also works for preventing vampires from ransacking your radishes in the middle of the night.

One study suggests that the secretions (the slime to us laypeople) beneath one species of snail may help with skin regeneration after an injury. There are snail-based skin creams to treat acne, scars, dry skin and wrinkles, so that’s something fun for a late Mother’s Day gift if you’re still looking.

Jeremy (pictured above) may be the only snail who has his own Wikipedia page, an honour even I have yet to achieve. He was born with a rare genetic mutation that caused his shell to coil to the left and not the right. Only about one in a million snails get this weird configuration, and it became the mission of biologists to find another one for Jeremy to mate with, just to see if the trait would be passed down. Two such snails were sent to Jeremy’s lab, but they wound up boinking one another, leaving Jeremy out of the picture. They had an impressive 170 kids, none of whom had that rare left swirl. Then one of those snails threw Jeremy a pity-screw (some snails are hermaphrodites so don’t get caught up on the sex logic here), and they had 56 offspring. No left swirls. The genetic mutation remains a mystery.

So here’s to the snails – may you live long and avoid French chefs.

International Drum Month

Hey, here’s something we can do on a slow day. I don’t know who decided this should be International Drum Month – a similar claim is made for November – but why not? I used to play the drums, and I love it when drummers step up (so to speak) and do something magnificent with the drums. So yesterday I enlivened my quiet afternoon with a dollop of Gene Krupa, John Bonham, Keith Moon, Neil Peart, and Ringo. Yes, Ringo. I’m a fan.

And this begs the question – what drops a drummer into the discussion for the best drummer ever? I’d say there is no such title, and a great drummer should meld into the music they’re playing and bring something new and refreshing to it. Some of the most intricate jazz drummers can coordinate their four limbs in ways we mere mortals can’t even conceive. I think of Vinny Colaiuta, who introduced a 7/8 rhythm to a Sting song with an accompanying ride-cymbal hit on every other measure, so that it alternated where it landed in each bar. Fucking brilliant.

Then there’s Ringo. He gets derided by drum-lovers for being simplistic and easy to replicate, but he was the perfect drummer for what the Beatles were putting out. When he needed to be fancy and inventive, we got “A Day In The Life” or “Rain”. When he just needed to be solid, he was solid. The Who made Keith Moon into a lead instrumentalist – check out the drum part toward the end of “My Generation”, which could easily be substituted with a manic guitar solo. Neil Peart made listening to Rush a musician’s manic dream, adding a texture that, without it, we’d just be listening to Getty Lee’s screeching vocals, and that’s no fun. Then there’s Bonham. It’s impossible to overstate what he brought.

So crank up your favourite drummers for what remains of May – and hey, bring ‘em out again for November. You can never have too much brilliant drumming in your life.

Today we return to the work-week, and we do it with all this fun stuff:

  • National Tap Dance Day. I was hoping to rent some shoes and try this out, but it looks like today will be all about celebrating the tap dance – one of the greatest twists on dancing to ever pour out of a human’s feet.
  • National Brown-Bag It Day. We shan’t be purchasing our lunch from a food court or restaurant. Of course we’ll be staying at home, so do we really need a brown bag?
  • Towel Day. Never forget your towel – the first rule of hitchhiking.
  • Geek Pride Day. We are both geeks, in a sense. Jodie loves her theatre, and hey – happy birthday, Star Wars!
  • National Wine Day. Hell yes it is. No need to get fancy here, just pour and enjoy.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

The art of 2020 is in the approach. While some divine force may have shaken up our little snowglobe planet, our response as the foam bits settle will determine our individual experience. For many, that response may be increased snacking and embracing tranquility. For others, rage and venom-tinged spittle at the forces who seek to protect us. For us the response has never deviated: we give all we can to our jobs, soak up all the warm and chill vibes from our dogs, and we face down each day’s multitude of tributes to that which shines bright in our universe. For example:

National Taffy Day

Salt water taffy, a treat I have always associated with vacations for some reason, was born in a place built specifically for attracting tourists: Atlantic City, New Jersey. One thing to note – it doesn’t technically contain any saltwater. It contains salt and water, but from separate sources. Of course one of the origin stories of this treat has some candy assistant accidentally (or because he couldn’t be bothered) mixing in sea water into the taffy blend. Another story tells of a great swell of ocean that propelled waves into the shore, and drenched all the taffy. Then, because it was the 1800s and health codes weren’t really a thing yet, they just sold the salty taffy as-is.

Despite taffy having sweetened tongues since the 19th century, some schmuck named John Edmiston snagged a trademark for the term ‘salt water taffy’ in 1923 and proceeded to demand royalties from everyone who uses the phrase. This got him sued, and the trademark was rescinded two years later. The lesson here? Don’t be a dick. Always a good lesson to learn.

We picked up some taffy from Carol’s Quality Sweets of course – just a sampling of a few fruit flavours. We didn’t feel we needed to load up, since neither of us are huge taffy fans and we were also picking up another massive bag of those jelly beans from a couple weeks ago. The taffy was superb, though Carol tried to mix things up by offering a dill pickle one. It was surprisingly delightful. I was not expecting I’d write those words, but here we are.

World Turtle Day

Turtles are one of the most fascinating creatures on the planet. I’d expand that, actually, given that there are so many varieties. Turtles are many of the most fascinating creatures on the planet. They are fortified and protected, and move at a pace befitting one who understands the universe and their place in it. Have you ever known a turtle to be the bad guy in a story? From the one who races the hare to the chill surfer dude in Finding Nemo to Bert, the guy who taught our parents to duck & cover, to the teenage mutant ninja variety, turtles (or tortoises) are always the good guys. Okay, maybe not in Mario land, but that place is just a fucked up acid nightmare anyway.

World Turtle Day launched 20 years ago, courtesy of Susan and Marshall, the co-founders of American Tortoise Rescue. Tortoises, for those who aren’t clear on the difference, are all part of the turtle family. Tortoises only live on land though, and while turtles will eat whatever they can, tortoises stick to an all-veggie diet. There are a number of species of turtle (many of whom are tortoises) who are in danger of becoming extinct. So if you have the ability to support the good folks at the official World Turtle Day website with a few bucks, please do.

Not surprisingly, turtles have been around since the Triassic period. They’re modern age dinosaurs in a sense. This despite the fact that they aren’t the best parents. Sea turtles lay their leathery eggs on the beach, then take off and let the little ones hatch and fend for themselves.

We’d hoped to venture out and meet a few yesterday, but of course this was one of those COVID sacrifices we’ve had to make for this project. Our local zoo, which I haven’t been to since my kids were little and which has undergone a massive transformation since then, has a few tortoises. Our nearby super-mall has some turtles in their Sea Life Caverns exhibit. Both of those options were closed, so we did the next best thing and bought some praline-chocolate-caramel Turtles candy instead. A celebration is a celebration.

National Lucky Penny Day

Reading the suggestions for this day are cute and woefully outdated. Find a penny and pick it up today and it can be your lucky penny, a talisman to protect you and guide you to fortune and success. Good luck finding a penny on the ground around here though – Canada eliminated the penny from circulation seven years ago. We round up or down for cash purchases now, and not a soul we know misses the extra clatter of relatively useless change in our pockets.

Let’s face it, an inanimate object being considered ‘lucky’ is a silly superstition. Luck itself is merely a manifestation of the universal chaos clattering to our feet, presenting us with something that may or may not yield a positive result. That said, the expression “we make our own luck” can sometimes be true. Experience and skill can help us nudge the forces of chaos slightly toward our favour. And confidence will help to channel that experience and skill into manipulating the elements that will determine our so-called luck. So if a particular object, be it a rabbit’s foot, a 4-leaf clover or a lucky penny, gives us that extra oomph of confidence, then indeed there is truth to the luck therein.

Neither Jodie nor myself have a ‘lucky penny’, but yesterday we decided to change that. We scrounged up a couple of pennies laying about in those darkened and seldom-accessed corners of our home, then tucked them into our wallets. We’ll see if we notice any additional luck fall our way in the upcoming months, at least on those few occasions where we actually leave the house. She got a 1995 Canadian penny, which is the year we met. I found a 1974 American penny, as old and withered as I – also minted in 1974.

In truth, we both feel we have been gifted with scads of luck this year already. With both of us maintaining our employment and, in my case, enjoying it significantly more during this crisis, with our dogs providing us with heaps of joy and entertainment, and with learning that being quarantined with each other is actually a pretty rad time, we are among the luckiest right now. Do we need the help of a penny?

Well, it couldn’t hurt.

National Best Friend-In-Law Day

This is a day to appreciate the folks who have come into our lives as the great friends of our spouses. These are people we would never have likely met, let alone intertwined our lives with, had we not married the people we married. Jodie’s friends from before our marriage are either far away or have oozed out of our lives over the last couple decades, so I selected Brenda, who teaches music and band at Jodie’s school.

Brenda is one of those arts teachers who values the students more than their commitment to note precision. Not that she doesn’t put together a remarkably tight band given the age and talent level of her students, but she sees the value in what the arts can provide, and how it can help these kids grow. More importantly (to me anyway), she and Jodie have leaned on one another through a 2018-19 school year that was heavy with staff conflicts and questionable leadership, and through a 2019-20 school year that got weirdly derailed by a virus. There are days I know Jodie would have felt helpless and alone without Brenda on the other end of her text chat. For that, I’m truly grateful for Brenda’s existence. Also, she’s a pretty hip broad.

Jodie opted to send some love to my pal Stew, who was best man at our wedding and has been like a brother to me since that day in 1992 when we first hung out and bonded over our love of Big Brother & The Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills album. I’m not going to rave on and on about Stew, because he’s a gifted musician and such ravings may go straight to his ego. Needless to say, our lives are much richer for having him and his kids in them. She also reached out to my pal Steve, without whom I wouldn’t be the weird and only semi-responsible schmuck I am today. It was nice.

I like this one. Some celebrations stand out in a very humble way, but really spread the most grooviness. Appreciating people in your life who don’t otherwise get a salute is a wonderful indulgence – certainly more significant than eating yet another food item. That said, we also ate another food item:

National Vanilla Pudding Day

Vanilla pudding. Also known as plain pudding. Uninteresting pudding. Why not just a pudding day – why break it down? Chocolate, tapioca, butterscotch and rice pudding each get their own days later this year. I suppose specificity means more pudding sales, at least for those of us who celebrate everything in a year, which from what I can tell is just us.

I don’t mind vanilla pudding, though part of me wonders why I bought a mix we’d have to prepare instead of those little plastic cups of pudding that kids get in their lunches. This is more work, and if there’s one thing we don’t need from these celebrations it’s more work. Oh well – it was fine. National Vanilla Pudding Day was actually on Friday, but we realized too late in the day (one paloma and one cooler into the evening) that we needed milk. So it got bumped. That’s okay – vanilla pudding is rarely much more than “fine”. We added some blackberries in the mix to give it some oomph. That helped.

What we call ‘pudding’ is more like a custard in the UK – at least as far as the vanilla stuff is concerned. Haggis, which we enjoyed (to stretch the use of that word to its brink) back on Robbie Burns Night, is considered a savoury pudding. Ours came from a box of Jell-O mix so it was anything but fancy. Still, it did the job and tasted fine. Unfortunately we couldn’t finish it all, which means the desserts are adding up. What a weird problem to have – that’s kind of a childhood dream of mine, having more desserts than I can possibly eat.

International Jazz Day II

Every reputable site I combed through listed International Jazz Day as April 30. And we celebrated the hell out of this day on April 30, cruising through some vocal jazz, some funk-jazz, some bebop and some cool jazz. So why do a couple of sites point to today instead? I’m guessing “in error” is the only response here.

But you know what? I don’t care. Jazz is not my #1 genre to sink into, but it’s one I truly love. Renowned jazz bassist Marcus Miller has an amazing show on the Sirius/XM jazz station that explores all corners of jazz and I happily listened to that while passing the time yesterday afternoon between our supply run and our evening meal. Jazz is eternal and magnificent; as I said last month, if you claim to not like jazz then you simply haven’t found the style of jazz that best suits you. And it’s out there.

I did come up with a legitimate source: Park West Gallery, the world’s largest art dealers, feature an article on their website citing May 23 as International Jazz Day… in 2009. This one was conceived in 1991 by jazz artist D. Michael Denny. Is this day more authentic than the UNESCO day we celebrated three weeks ago? I don’t know, nor do I care. After Marcus Miller’s show came a play-through of Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew album. I’ll celebrate Jazz Day every few weeks if the calendar tells me to. It’s nothing but a joy.

National Tire Safety Week

Woohoo! Here’s something fun.

Okay, I shouldn’t be making light of this – we discussed yesterday how this weekend is going to be a heap of trouble on American roads, and tire safety is one of the most oft-neglected aspects of a vehicle. Many modern vehicles now have alerts that pop up when a tire is running low, including the BMW we used to own, which delivered us this warning even when it was entirely inaccurate. Our current vehicle doesn’t tell us a thing.

The US Tire Manufacturers Association created this day to provide us with some information on how to care and maintain our tires, and also to remind us to check our treads and ensure we’ve got some safe tubes of rubber keeping our cars and trucks afloat off the ground. Usually I approach these celebrations founded by an industry for their own products with a touch of cynicism, but this is rather focussed on safety and education so I’ll give it the thumbs-up.

When I was younger I drove on mostly bald tires when I had to, and that was on Edmonton’s iciest and most deadly roads. I was young and stupid, and I felt my money would be better invested in records and hashish than in a boring old new set of tires. Fortunately I’m older and wiser now, and able to afford records, hashish, and tires if I need them. I’m also less confident in my ability to conquer the perils of winter driving on sub-standard equipment. So I did a run-through of our tires yesterday. The tread is still pretty good, and the tire pressure was holding strong.

Celebration accomplished.

National Foster Care Month

Above you’ll probably recognize Liberty, our junior canine research assistant and all around galumphy gal. She is with us as a foster dog, as our vet is hoping to show and perhaps breed her once she’s old enough (and once dog shows are happening again). She is an absolute delight, and has even learned to open the back door and let herself in, which is always a delight on rainy and muddy days when she trots across the kitchen floor to greet us with filthy paws.

We used to foster human kids too, back in the day. For about nine years we took in teenage boys whose home lives were for one reason or another not entirely great. It was a daunting endeavour, and of course we worried about the influence on our own kids, but for the most part it was terrific. We met some incredible kids, many of whom enriched our lives. We made it our mission to get the kids back at home if it were possible (and advisable), and to get them off their daily doses of drugs when it wasn’t necessary. The 2000s was a decade of heavy child medication, and quite often kids who were going through shit would get a batch of pills instead of any actual help.

Fostering was tremendously rewarding, and also quite exhausting at times. We decided to stop after one kid, who had been with us since his 14th birthday, had reached the age of 18 and was ready to move out. End on a high note, we figured.

If you’re considering fostering, consider it with care. If you’re only in it for the extra money the government sends you, please don’t. The kids in care need actual affection and consideration, not just a warm place to crash. But if it’s in you, you can really do a tremendous amount of good, just by welcoming someone into your life. It’s totally worth it. Or just foster a dog. They’re fun too.

National Salad Month

Who doesn’t love a great salad? I mean, kids don’t for the most part, but this isn’t about them. We had a terrific caprese salad last night (no olives, because olives are heinous to our taste buds). And we have been enjoying great salads all month, from the Asian-cashew Costco salad we downed with last week’s National Idaho Day celebration to the magnificent Next Act salad we snagged from one of our favourite eateries a few weeks back. We also grabbed some of their dressing too, because with the right dressing a salad is a quick and easy way to feel less guilty about eating a deep-fried main course.

Salads with dressing can be traced back to ancient times. It took a bit of convincing to spread the fad throughout Europe, but its health benefits were visible, even before anything resembling modern medicine was known about. Salads can be based on lettuce or cabbage, they can center around spinach or arugula.

We enjoyed fruit salad on May 13 when the calendar told us to enjoy fruit cocktail. We enjoyed both actually, but we enjoyed the salad a lot more. Salad can be pasta-based, potato-based, or even Jell-O based. In this sense, salads are like jazz – there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Our advice is simply to avoid the pre-packaged stuff, as it tends to taste a little like the plastic it was bagged in. But after that, it’s all about what you love on a salad. Want to load it up with bacon bits and croutons? Sure! Put all the effort in for a massive chef’s salad? Sounds great. Prefer to lean on the classics, like the magnificent Caesar? Whatever fills your salad bowl is fine.

Get Caught Reading Month

In 1999 the Association of American Publishers felt it would be a good way to remind everyone that reading is fun by devoting an entire month to “getting caught” doing so. I found a teachers’ site that offers a number of reading-related lesson plans and project ideas, none of which Jodie has a chance of initiating, given the weird sparseness of her teaching this year. That’s okay – this year is an anomaly. And she is still pushing her kids to love reading. Fortunately, their novel study had already wrapped up before kids were sent home to learn from a distance.

We both still enjoy reading. Soaking up an author’s manipulation of language to evoke emotion and electric response is a terrific way to spend time. Jodie has blasted through several books whilst in lockdown, and I have focussed mostly on articles and shorter readings, given that I’m also required to stare down my own set of words on a daily basis. But getting caught reading is something we both enjoy. It’s certainly better than getting caught watching garbage reality TV, or getting caught masturbating to old Yosemite Sam cartoons.

November challenges folks to write an entire novel from scratch if they are so inclined. While I appreciate the madness of such a project, neither of us will be trying that one out. But we’ll keep reading, and Jodie will keep encouraging her kids to find the joy and imagination from doing so. It’s one of her favourite responsibilities as a teacher.

Another crazy day past and another crazy day to come. Here’s what we have to look forward to today:

  • Brother’s Day. Jodie will send some love to her brothers. I have none, so I’ll send out a hey-dude to the friends who have been like brothers to me.
  • National Scavenger Hunt Day. Our plan on this day was to set up the annual scavenger hunt Jodie runs with her students in late June. Alas, our plans aren’t going to come through this year.
  • National Escargot Day. Another one we’ll likely be skipping. I’d be willing to down some escargot from a good restaurant, but we aren’t going to a restaurant today and I’m not making the damn things myself.
  • National Wyoming Day. A classic of Wyoming is the simple steak. We’ll actually be getting to this one tomorrow, as we’ve designated tonight as a pizza-worthy night.
  • National Sunscreen Day. Sure, we’ll wear sunscreen. It might even be warm enough for that not to be weird.
  • International Tiara Day. Unfortunately Jodie doesn’t have one. She deserves one though.
  • Asparagus Day. We might also delay this one, as we have none in the house. And asparagus, with its innate healthiness and pee-smelling capabilities, should be celebrated properly

Saturday, May 23, 2020

A sizeable chunk of Thursday was devoted to updating the calendars in the So Far page up top, eliminating the celebrations we never made it to and adding in the new ones we’ve found. This allowed us to learn that (a) we somehow managed to record the same number of celebrations in March and April (203), and (b) we are currently sitting at 876 celebrations in the bag. Of course that number has already been surpassed with the revelry below, but it makes us wonder… can we actually achieve 2000 celebrations in a single year? Possibly, if the days are all as fun as this:

National Craft Distillery Day

Edmonton is home to a small handful of distilleries. Having never sampled any of them, this was to be the day we’d venture out and take a tour. Strathcona Spirits offers a $10 tour followed by a tasting of their goodies. They even offer evening tours on Fridays, so this looked like a slam-dunk post-work party, with the chance to bring home a bottle of something as a delicious souvenir. Then the damn lockdown happened.

Strathcona Spirits produces their own vodka and a trio of gin options. Given that recent events (notably National Gin & Tonic Day a few weeks back) have opened my palette once again to the wonders of gin, that’s where my purchase would be leaning. To keep our budget intact, the $49.50 purchase of a bottle of their Badland Seaberry Gin will have to wait until payday next week, but we’ll absolutely be picking some up.

Until then, we’ve got plenty of alcohol to enjoy. For example:

World Paloma Day

My brain mixed this up with Pavlova, the delicious meringue & fruit dessert delight we enjoyed for New Zealand Day way back in January. My aunt had baked that treat, and its magnificence still resonates upon my tongue, despite so many wonderful desserts we’ve had since. But alas, this is a beverage, and it necessitated us purchasing some tequila. So it’s not the dream dessert, but now we have tequila in the house and the universe is grooving along at a funkier vibration as a result.

The paloma is known as the “working man’s drink”. Apparently it’s tremendously popular in Mexico, and can be found in cans, much the same way we can now get gin & tonic or vodka soda in pre-mixed canned form. I opted to create ours from scratch, as the recipe is fairly simple to follow. We mixed some grapefruit juice, lime juice and sugar in a glass, stirred until the sugar was dissolved, then poured in the tequila, ice, and club soda. It’s a terrific little cocktail that truly made me want to quit working and drink more of these.

There are variants on the drink, including the Greyhound, which omits the sugar and soda, and the cantarito, which incorporates lemon juice and orange juice into the mix. But until those drinks get their own day, we’re sticking with the paloma. It was our more delicious alcohol celebration of the day. Much tastier than this one:

National Cooler Day

Ohhhh, I see how I got this wrong. This day was actually founded by a company that manufactures coolers – as in the things you bring food inside of to a picnic – and has nothing to do with ‘coolers’, the alcoholic beverages most of us tried as teenagers before we started drinking beer. We own two coolers, but had no reason to use either of them yesterday, given that it was nearly freezing for much of the day (snow was spotted in parts of the city) and we weren’t going anywhere. But for those who celebrated yesterday for the launch of Memorial Day long weekend, making sure they have a cooler might be crucial.

Instead we celebrated the other type of cooler – the liquid one. I remember drinking Seagram’s wine coolers as a teen, and imagining that the tiny amount of alcohol therein was somehow leading me down the grown-up path of inebriation. But I was just goofy and dumb, not drunk. And the flavour of those things never appealed to me.

Enter the new era of coolers: we’ve got vodka, gin, and all sorts of booze-anchored spirits crammed into cooler form now. Last night we indulged in some new gin-based coolers Jodie had found at Costco and purchased for me, knowing I’ve been enjoying gin more lately. These were mostly too sweet, and not really my thing. I think I enjoy them about as much as I enjoyed the wine coolers back then, only I know better than to think they’re giving me a buzz. These have a kind of sweetness that will inspire a headache before the alcohol gets a chance to muck about with my balance and speech ability.

It was alright, but in the end it just made me want another paloma.

National Solitaire Day

We both have single-person games that we play on our phones on a daily basis, sometimes to the point of ignoring one another. But neither of them are specifically classic solitaire. So to remedy this, I installed the classic Windows Solitaire from the Microsoft store, since it doesn’t appear to be built in to Windows 10. I mean – why not? Does it take up that much space? Whatever – the game is still just as fun as it was for all those hours we spent playing it back in the 90s, back when it was an exciting way to play solitaire without all those pesky plastic-coated cards messing up the table. And as you can see, my first hand was a roaring success.

But card solitaire is just one definition of the word. Mahjong solitaire, peg solitaire and Concentration are all variants on the theme: any game you can play by yourself, battling the forces of random distribution and your own skill level, is a game of solitaire. Nowadays any single-player video game could arguably be called solitaire. The hundreds of hours I’ve poured into Civilization VI can be seen as simply a next-generation version of my mom sitting at the kitchen table, dealing her Riviera Hotel & Casino cards and sorting them into a red-black-red-black pattern.

That form of solitaire, the one we most closely associate with the word, is known as Patience. That’s actually a genre which encompasses Klondike, Spider, and other games. It’s thought to be of Scandinavian origin, and it surged in popularity in France in the early 1800s, spreading to the rest of Europe and North America a few years later. Solitaire is a magnificent way to pass the time whilst still nudging the brain into some basic activity and decision making.

And now it can be my new (old) distraction on my computer.

National Buy A Musical Instrument Day

Well this is an expensive proposition for a day. Especially given that budget concerns have forced us to bump our craft gin purchase to next week; it seemed highly unlikely that my dream instrument purchase of a Hammond B3 organ was going to happen yesterday. Instead we plotted a purchase also for next week, a $7.73 set of musical conjoined spoons from amazon. Now I’ll finally be able to jam to that Soundgarden song, over and over.

I have no idea who had started this particular celebration, but odds are it was an instrument manufacturer or a store that sells them. Could be my capitalist cynicism there, or simply the experience of delving through almost 900 of these celebrations and understanding how they work. The timing is pretty good though – kids would be rolling up to the end of their school year now, and if they’ve stuck with band and found a passion for the instrument they’ve been playing for the last nine months, it might be the right time to invest in a keeper item so they don’t have to return the instrument to the school for summer.

I couldn’t find any retail establishment cashing in on this particular day with a sale, which is a shame. But if your kid has a passion for music, even if you’d prefer them to be a lawyer or acupuncturist or sporting goods salesperson, you should invest in their dreams. They only get the time and learning power of youth once, and if you let that time elapse without supporting their passion they may never rekindle it later in life. Just maybe make sure they really love it before you fork out Hammond B3 money.

World Goth Day

For someone who is not an adherent of the goth subculture to attempt to explain or deconstruct the goth subculture would be insulting. Goths get dismissed by many as moody or miserable, or particularly dark and fatalistic. Their excessive use of dark makeup, dark hair and dark clothing would suggest to some that they reject all traditional notions of beauty, and perhaps have a satanic or witchcraft-based leaning. But to paint everyone with a goth look as the same sort of goth would be foolish.

Goth as we know it today can be traced back to the late-era punk scene, the more atmospheric sounding stuff that gets labeled as “post-punk”. This would include such brilliance as Siouxsie & the Banshees, Sisters of Mercy and Joy Division. The act of calling these bands, or any musical artist ‘gothic’ is a vague identifier, meant to evoke a dark and mysterious link to old-timey outsiders who worshipped things the church abhorred. It’s hard to pin down an exact understanding of the culture unless you spend some time in it. The only common denominator I’ve found among goths is the black clothing and (usually) makeup. If you’re reading more into a person’s likes, interests or beliefs simply because they’re dressed in all black, that’s on you.

When you think of goth you might think of Marilyn Manson, but you can just as easily think of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, who incorporated strange voodoo theatrics as he blasted “Susie Q” on stage. The Cure’s Robert Smith and actor Bela Lugosi may seem like goth ‘influencers’, but so are Bettie Page and David Bowie. Goth is, from what I understand, a journey through one’s own self, landing on a particular style of expression that is likely to alienate the more closed-minded among us.

Our plan had been to meet up with a friend of ours who is an adherent of goth culture (and a huge fan of 80s Michael Jackson, so figure that out), then to have him adorn us with a spooky goth makeover. It would have been fun, especially with Jodie being so damn cute and me looking like a shaggy hippy. Alas, we’ve been COVID-derailed once more. Perhaps next year.

National Don’t Fry Day

And once again I scootched right over the correct meaning of this day into the wrong one and planned my life around it. Don’t Fry Day sounded like an effort to encourage us to enjoy foods without frying them in oil. We had arranged it so that we’d be heating up leftovers from the barbecue for dinner, and eating sandwiches for lunch. So we wouldn’t be frying a thing.

Turns out we were way off. National Don’t Fry Day is promoted by various cancer organizations as a reminder that on this May long weekend (the one coming up for you Americans) we should be applying sunscreen and watching our time spent at the mercy of those dastardly UV rays which deliver skin cancer as an occasional bonus gift with that deep, rich tan. Fair enough, and this is likely a more important way to observe the day. That said, yesterday afternoon it was five degrees outside here, the sky so thick with clouds they were scraping the atmosphere. There was zero chance of the sun frying us.

So we celebrated this one twice over, once the way it was intended and again by relying on the microwave instead of the frying pan. This day comes to us courtesy of the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, so for those of you in more forgiving climates, and in particular for those of you who are ready to indulge in some deep-focus sun absorption, make sure you take the necessary precautions. Don’t fry out there.

National Road Trip Day

Flying J, that company with all those gas stations and snack stores you see along the highway, created this day last year to encourage folks to hop in their cars and head out on the road, presumably for the long weekend as it shows up on the Friday of the Memorial Day weekend. They put out a notice that they anticipate most of us will be travelling virtually this year, though given the rapid pace with which people seem eager to get back to normal life, I’m sure many will still head out on the road.

Our family loved road trips. Vancouver was a frequent destination, as we have family there and it’s only a day of driving. But we have ventured down to California and all the way to Toronto on road trips. We always have fun, and always have some sort of weird quirk of circumstance befall us, be it a flat tire on the highway, a missed turn that results in a 6-hour detour, or coming within an ass-hair of smashing into a moose. Plus we all travel well together.

Our days of journeying on the road as a family came to an end in 2011 when we drove our son across the country to go to college. But we still enjoy getting out there and seeing the world, especially for the scenery along the way. Yesterday we had nowhere to go, nor were we facing a long weekend, so we looked through some of our old pictures of former road trips. The shots above are of Trixie and Rosa as we drove to Vancouver last summer to visit Abbey. Turns out they both love travelling as much as we do. And thankfully, there were no close calls.

Canadian Immigrants Day

A Toronto-based immigration lawyer invented this day, and it is recorded in Chase’s Calendar of Events as a regularly-occurring May 22 ritual. From what I can tell this day holds no significance in any official government capacity, so we can simply use it to reflect on our own experience with immigrants in Canada.

There are a lot of them. Technically, everyone is an immigrant or descended from an immigrant to this country. Even the indigenous peoples, they immigrated here across the Bering Strait some few thousand years ago. Actually scratch that, they’ve been here long enough and they were here first so they get dibs on not being called immigrant descendants.

My father is technically an immigrant. He was born in Edmonton, but on the American army base, which is technically US soil. When he turned 18 he had the choice of declaring himself a US citizen (and possibly going off to fight in Vietnam) or a Canadian citizen (and thusly remaining home to pursue a degenerate counterculture lifestyle). Immigrants are everywhere in this country, and it riles some folks that we don’t insist that every immigrant bend and conform to become “Canadian” but rather they celebrate their heritage as part of who they are. I feel it makes us a stronger and much more interesting nation.

Immigrants. They get the job done, and they do it well. We are grateful for all of you who have chosen to call Canada home; you can truly say you are proud to be Canadian, as it was an achievement. For those of us who were born here, we’re just happy you’re around.

National Death Busters Day

Were this a food-related celebration it would no doubt be some awesome candy, possibly with a sour bent, that would rock our taste buds into the weekend. But alas, this is a rather sombre event.

Memorial Day weekend is notably one of the most dangerous times to be on American roads. And I’d guess that Memorial Day weekend when many folks are feeling it’s the first time they can safely venture out into the world after an extended lockdown, might be worse. There are going to be traffic fatalities; you can’t have thousands of massive metal beasts hurtling forward down the same stretch of pavement without expecting some of them to crash into one another from time to time. But we can take precautions to minimize the threat. Control your rage. Put down the phone and leave it down until you’re in park. If you’re drinking or smoking or snorting or crushing mad amounts of MDMA into your rectum, hand your keys to someone else.

Remember to respect the sheer audacity of how humans have learned to propel themselves at crazy speeds, and be safe out there.

Am I over 3400 words in today’s article? Crap, I totally am. Sorry for rambling, even though I’m not sorry at all. Here’s a relatively light Saturday for us:

  • National Taffy Day. Do we have taffy? Hell yes we have taffy. Carole’s Sweets comes through for us yet again. We even have dill pickle!
  • World Turtle Day. We were hoping to venture to our big mall (our zoo only has tortoises), but that exhibit is closed. Instead we’ll eat some of the chocolate variety.
  • National Lucky Penny Day. What do Canadians do now that pennies are gone? Do we have lucky nickels? Lucky twonies?
  • National Best Friend-in-Law Day. A day to celebrate friends we are only friends with because of who we married.
  • International Jazz Day. We celebrated this on April 30. Is this another duplicate or did one of my websites screw up? Tune in tomorrow to find out.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Beneath a blanket of thick, boisterous raindrops yesterday crawled along in familiar fashion. The single most baffling twist to these days is just how similar they are to one another. The only flavour to make a Thursday stand out from three Mondays ago is the sprinkling dashed atop it thanks to this little project. The comical online references to Groundhog Day have given way to a sort of pleading desperation for things to be shaken up, which may lead to tragic results should folks embed themselves in crowds too quickly. But not for us. There is no desperation, for we have this:

National Strawberries & Cream Day

Strawberries and cream (be it whipped or au naturel) is an excellent source of folic acid and potassium, which may be why it’s so praise-worthy. More likely it’s just the decadent flavour combination. We opted not to whip our cream but rather to follow this recipe, and simply enjoy the natural taste of strawberries soaking in cream. With sugar, because no one wants to gamble with potentially tart strawberries.

On Wednesday we’d “picked” strawberries from the batch we bought last weekend, but in actual fact we simply used the rest of our strawberries. In hindsight, maybe saving some to plop onto our devil’s food cake might have been a plan. We still have an entire cake, minus a couple of pieces, sitting in our kitchen, staring us down from the counter as though daring us to devour it all. But it will have to wait – the strawberries & cream treat is just day one of three straight days with dessert celebrations.

When people ask us how we manage to do all of these celebrations, I simply point them to strings of days like this, when delicious desserts are on the menu. Perhaps the better question is how can anyone not indulge in all this?

National Waitstaff Day

While a few restaurants have opened their doors to space out a small batch of customers, we have opted not to become the Phase 1 guinea pigs. If our town is going to see an uptick in infections due to the partial reopening of businesses, we have no reason to become part of the statistics. We’re comfy at home, and we’re comfy doing take-out and delivery until things level off to normal once more. That said, it was a joy to see one of our two favourite waiters from Da-De-O and our favourite waitress from The Next Act are still handing out the to-go orders and thus receiving a paycheque.

It’s been said that watching how someone treats the waitstaff is a good indicator of what kind of person they are. I think that’s fair. If you’re dismissive and snippy with your waiter or waitress, you probably view them as beneath your station. If you crack jokes with them, as my grandfather used to do, you probably see yourself as an entertaining person. If you scream at them for getting an inadequate number of fries with your olive sandwich then you’re dangerous and unstable, and shouldn’t be out in public.

Anyone who has worked in a restaurant should know to treat the waitstaff well. It’s not an easy job, and you have to deal with the most selfish and dehumanizing schmucks on the planet. From the women I’ve spoken to – and as a former waitress, my wife can confirm this – being a waitress is considerably more difficult than being a waiter. As a woman you have to navigate blatant sexism, including possible advances and groping, with an attitude that won’t cause a stir and prompt the creep to complain. Restaurant owners and managers are much more aware of this stuff now than they were even 20 years ago, but that doesn’t mean the creeps have stopped creepin’.

When the time comes when we can all venture back to bars and restaurants, don’t forget that most waitstaff struggles to earn a living wage, and they deserve your respect. And your tip. If you tip less than 15% for decent service, change your ways. 20% is a solid standard, and you should be willing to bump that up if the service is stellar.

For now we’ll continue to admire these folks from afar. Thanks for the great work y’all do.

National Memo Day

If you guessed that National Memo Day was the creation of an adult-contemporary radio station in Denver back in 1989, then either you are extremely well-versed on holiday history or else you’ve been reading ahead. It seems that, in between gentle hits by Michael Bolton and Luther Vandross, KMJI Majic Radio 100 thought it would be a good idea to pay tribute to the mountain of memos circulating in office environments. I guess someone was listening, as here we are, some 31 years later, carrying on the tradition.

Jodie receives an official memo every morning from her principal, advising staff of the plan for that day, and how they will work together to try to somehow impart knowledge to their students in this weird learning environment. She finds those memos to be very helpful, not just in disseminating info but in connecting her to the workplace and some sense of normalcy in the midst of all this.

I don’t get memos. I get emails which act as memos, but they aren’t actually labeled as such. But given that a memo is defined as a document recording notes or observations, I suppose I get a bunch of them every day. Back in 1989, when the morning drive-time jocks put a pause on playing “Silhouette” by Kenny G for the ninth time to establish this holiday, memos were written or typed on little slips of paper. So the notion of them ‘piling up’ on a desk was a very literal situation.

Yesterday I celebrated National Memo Day by sending out a memo to my entire staff. I didn’t really have anything to say, except to let them all know it was National Memo Day. There were no complaints; with most folks working from home, a moderately uninteresting email memo such as this was likely not much more than a quick click on the Delete button. But my mission was accomplished.

I Need A Patch For That Day

I have no idea from whence this celebration comes, and the only site I can find detailing its purpose rattles off a list of what ‘patches’ can mean. Do you need one for your tire? For your ripped pants? For your software? For quitting smoking? For a bunch of pumpkins you’d like to grow? For a lost eye or a pirate costume? For the elbows of your sweater so you look more professor-ish? All of the above? You’re really too busy if it’s all of the above. Maybe take it down a few notches.

I took this to mean updating software patches, because none of the other ones really make sense to schedule into a specific day. Ripped pants or a busted tire require patch fixes right away, but how often do we check our drivers or our software to see if they need an upgrade? Actually, most of us use Windows Update or the specific software itself to do that automatically, which pushes this day slightly into the obsolete column. But I did a check anyway, because obeying blindly this bustling calendar of events is my lot in 2020.

It turns out, Windows Update was not doing its job. An update was sitting in the queue, waiting to download. Waiting for what? Who knows? Possibly for this particular celebration to prompt me to check and see if there’s anything waiting to download. My drivers and other software were all humming along as they should, so Windows is the culprit who really dropped the ball on this one. Well, that was a successful, if somewhat unexciting celebration.

National Hummus Day

According to the Sabra Dipping Company, makers of fine hummus (including the stuff we bought just last week), National Hummus Day takes place on the third Thursday of May, which landed squarely on yesterday’s little calendar square.

“But wait,” my astute readers will no doubt say, probably out loud to their computer, phone or tablet screens as though expecting me to reply, “we just did National Hummus Day last week on May 13. What gives, asshole?”

First of all, there’s no need for that kind of language. Second, the “official” website ( for you curious folks) states the day falls on the 13th. They featured a live hummus-making Instagram broadcast, a number of tie-ins with hummus makers and restaurants around the globe, and they were featured on Ellen. So that one wins, I suppose.

But wait – that one was International Hummus Day. This one is more localized. Sounds good – we don’t wish to offend the good people at Sabra any more than we wish to allow our leftover hummus (which we still haven’t gotten to) go to waste. So yesterday we celebrated our second Hummus Day in May.

The stuff was still delicious. We regret nothing.

National Apéritif Day

An apéritif is quite simply an alcoholic beverage consumed prior to a meal in order to stimulate one’s appetite. It’s totally not just an excuse for alcoholics to consume more booze before sitting down to dinner. Nope. Not that.

I’m going to quote 5th century Christian ascetic and all-around interesting guy Diadochos of Photiki: “People who wish to discipline the sexual organs should avoid drinking those artificial concoctions which are called ‘aperitifs’ – presumably because they open a way to the stomach for the vast meal which is to follow.” So don’t be drinking before dinner or you’ll eat so much you won’t be able to screw? I guess that’s one theory. We here at Celebrate366 Industries have no intention of disciplining our sexual organs. So a drinkin’ we shall go.

But what to slurp back? There is no prescribed beverage that serves as an aperitif, only the assumption that it should be a relatively low-alcohol beverage. Some use wine, though sparkling wine is not recommended. Ouzo works in Greece. In Italy you might get some Campari or vermouth. In Britain sherry is a popular choice. In France they often use a simple glass of red wine. That fit the bill yesterday, and the pre-meal drink was much enjoyed. In fact, I may make this a tradition. A healthy, tempered, no-intervention-needed sort of tradition.

National Notebook Day

Some people are crazy-passionate about their notebooks. I used to be one of those people, scribbling ideas for song lyrics, for stories, and for enemies to smite in a coil notebook which I brought with me everywhere. I wrote at coffee shops, believing I was channeling some sort of magical elixir of inspiration from a blend of caffeine and staring into space like an idiot. At one point, when I was working a good 60-minute bus commute from home, I scribbled out an idea for an elaborate Die Hard-like film within our local giant shopping mall. Until the point where my chronic arm pain rendered freehand writing too painful to pursue, it was a brilliant escape.

Jodie still uses a notebook regularly to write down everything from casting ideas for her musical to sketched-out set concepts to budget calculations. The notebook has become a prestige item and a popular gift idea. The leather-bound and/or artistically-embellished notebook is a blank canvas for ideas. It’s a personal document that chronicles the artistic process, and can be hidden away from view until something truly remarkable and publish-worthy has emerged. It’s an artist’s brain, and a writer’s idea-bath.

The official website for this day, (of course) has a contest going on with their partners for a grand prize of $500 worth of stationary and notebooks. It’s a terrific prize package that… oh shit, open only to US residents. Well, we’ll celebrate the day then, not this exclusionary site.

I had a look through a couple of my old embarrassingly gibberish-heavy notebooks from back in the day, but Jodie wins the prize for celebrating this day in the most genuine way – by writing in her notebooks (pictured above). Was she writing down some elaborate plot against me? Possibly; I’d never betray her trust by snooping. The notebook is sacred. One must respect and honour the notebook.

Today we find a few more items that may or may not get our full attention:

  • National Craft Distillery Day. We were going to take a tour of a local craft distillery today, but of course we cannot. Instead we’ll simply be picking up some of their product – and alas we’ll be waiting until payday next week to celebrate this one.
  • World Paloma Day. A beverage featuring tequila and grapefruit juice. This one will not wait.
  • National Solitaire Day. A fun distraction. I’m sure we can pencil this in.
  • National Vanilla Pudding Day. Yay! I mean, not really, but sure, we’ll have some.
  • National Don’t Fry Day. I guess our food is supposed to remain un-fried. That’s doable.
  • National Road Trip Day. We’re not leaving town (though if we were in the US and beginning our long weekend… in any other year… we might), but a road trip is a road trip, wherever you go.
  • National Cooler Day. We’ve got these gin coolers that neither of us are particularly fond of. I suppose we’ll drink some of those.
  • World Goth Day. I was going to get all done up by our goth-friendly friend, but it doesn’t look like this will happen. We’ll celebrate the lifestyle though.
  • Canadian Immigrants Day. A shout-out to some of our favourite newbie-Canucks.
  • National Death Busters Day. This sounds more bad-ass than it is. It’s just a day to remind everyone not to drink and drive.
  • National Buy a Musical Instrument Day. That’s weirdly specific.
  • Sherlock Holmes Day. It’s Artie Conan Doyle’s birthday, so we’ll bust out some love for the world’s greatest detective.