Tuesday, June 30, 2020

And just as we anticipated the resurging cough of normalcy to puff its fog all over our lives once again as our son and his girlfriend boarded their flight back to Toronto, instead we found ourselves leaning into another plot twist. Jodie’s second year of her Masters program was slated to launch next week. She learned yesterday morning that it was actually kicking off yesterday afternoon with a two-hour class at 5:00. Her calm tossed into disarray, that left me and Abbey to fend for ourselves throughout all of this:

National Camera Day

Was yesterday the anniversary of the invention of the camera? Probably not; I have no idea why this day landed on June 29. But here it is.

We could have gotten really fancy for this one. Not actually possessing a standalone camera, we could have built a camera obscura out of a shoebox, or constructed a pinhole camera. We could have acquired some silver salts and tried to capture an image 1720’s-style. But this is the 21st century, when almost every appliance, gizmo and gadget has acquired a presence on our phones. That would have to do.

We took a few semi-interesting shots around the house yesterday, mostly of dogs, as usual. But using a camera now is a liberating experience. We used to have to worry about film, and about every mis-spent snap of a shutter being one less opportunity to get the right shot. We had to deal with getting film developed, and prepare ourselves for the possibility that some of the crappy shots we took weren’t even going to make it back. Now we can enjoy, share, and edit the hell out of a picture all within a minute of taking it.

Sure, social media feeds are packed to the gills with amateur photosmiths believing they have uncovered a deep talent when in fact all they’re doing is taking a close-up of a moth on a twig. But people have also honed their photo-snapping talents and improved significantly thanks to smartphones and Instagram. Hell, even our food pics have gotten better – though I have regularly promised my audience of friends and family that we won’t be sharing scads of food pictures once this project is done.

The digital camera gives us freedom to have fun with photography. And there’s no better way to celebrate the camera than that.

National Waffle Iron Day

Pictured above is our waffle iron. We have used it already for International Waffle Day on March 25, for Oatmeal-Nut Waffle Day on March 11, and we’ve still got National Waffle Day and National Chicken & Waffles Day coming up. We’re putting this baby to work this year for this project.

We also put her to work over the weekend, as we enjoyed a delicious Sunday brunch of waffles, fresh fruit and whipped cream. That was a day early, but it was when our son was in town and he has always loved the waffles this lovely device creates. They’re like little boats, ideal for holding the syrup and butter in its tiny square pockets, but also for stacking fruit on top for a more perfect bite.

Unfortunately, I was so flustered by celebrating this a day early I completely forgot to take a photo of the breakfast in question. But that’s okay – it’s Waffle Iron Day, not Waffle Day. I’d say the above photo works for this one.

We have already discussed the early history of the waffle iron, so there’s no need to go through all that again. This is good – this is a celebration that lent itself to a tasty meal; extensive research is not necessary.

Hug Holiday

We have done a lot of hugging this year. So far, in observing this project we have hugged a newsperson, our dog, our puppy, a plumber, an Australian, a cat, engaged in a girl-hug-boy celebration, and we’ve still got Hug Your Boss Day and Hug A Drummer Day to tackle. We’ve even gone right through National Hugging Day back in January. So what’s up with this one?

I have absolutely no idea. It’s another day for celebrating something we celebrate often. But, we’re good sports, and besides – we took the kids to the airport yesterday morning so there was no chance of not having a few hugs. Hugs are valuable and relatively rare this year, as we’re encouraged only to hug those who are closest to us, or ideally in isolation with us.

So we hugged. Not a big deal, not a thunderous celebration.

Please Take My Children To Work Day

To be clear: Take Your Son & Daughter To Work Day is a day to expose children to the workplace, either to present them with options for their own vocational futures, or to frighten them away from the dead-end dreariness of their parents’ perpetual hell. This day is specifically directed to the stay-at-home moms who don’t get a day off from their toils. It’s a day for the working dad to take the kids to work, to bond with the kids while mom gets a delightful respite.

Okay. I’ve got a few small gripes with this one. First off, it’s a bit presumptuous to believe that all stay-at-home parents are moms; I stayed at home for a few glorious years to raise Abbey, which also afforded me the opportunity to catch up on the last couple of seasons of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Also, why would this show up at the beginning of summer? If a parent is ever weary from excessive kid-exposure, it’s in August when the kids have all been out of school for a few months. In 2020 I suppose this makes sense, given the weirdness we’ve gone through, but this should usually be an August 15 celebration, not a June 29 event.

The origins of this one can be traced back to a lady named Jen Singer, who penned an article for Good Housekeeping in 2008. She declares this is the sixth such day, so perhaps the holiday goes back to a time when fewer dads were staying at home. Actually, it stretches back specifically to when I *was* staying at home. Also, no mention of the summer factor, so I’m going to assume Ms. Singer just missed an opportunity with that one.

We have no children-aged kids, nor do we have workplaces to go to, even when we aren’t both on vacation. So we celebrate this in spirit, and encourage all those who have a stay-at-home parent to give that parent a day off. Either today, or in August sometime, just to be nice.

National Tennis Week

Alright, look… we’re not going to be playing tennis. Apart from having zero skill at the sport, we don’t even have the means with which to fake it. We have no rackets in our house, only two tennis balls (both of which have been claimed as property by the puppies), and Abbey even took our Wii to Vancouver so we can’t play pretend. But let’s take a moment to appreciate the sport for the awesome game it is.

George Carlin once described tennis as ping-pong played while standing on the table. He’s not wrong. But tennis stretches way back beyond the histories of almost every sport in existence, all the way back to France in the 1100s. It was played with hands, not rackets back then. Louis X (also known as Louis the Quarrelsome, so he must have been a riot) was a huge fan of the game, and ordered the construction of the first indoor courts. The sport even killed him, as he succumbed after an exhausting game and died of either pneumonia or pleurisy. Or possibly poisoning. Maybe we shouldn’t blame tennis here.

In the 1500s rackets came into use, and because the person serving would often call out “Tenez!” (meaning “Hold!” or “Watch out, here comes a yellow ball aimed directly at your face!” or something to that extent), the name ‘Tennis’ came to be its official moniker.

The object of tennis is to be the first to reach four points, and you have to win by at least a margin of two. Of course, it never looks that simple on TV because that’s not how they score tennis. ‘Zero’ is called ‘Love’, possibly because of the French word ‘L’oeuf’, meaning ‘the egg’, which is round like a zero. Or possibly because you can still love the game, even if you haven’t scored a point. I’ll guess it’s the former.

As for the points, instead of ‘1-2-3-4’ you get ’15-30-40-Game’. This may stem from medieval French times, it may have come from using clock faces for scoring (the 45 was shortened to 40 somewhere along the line), or it may be a leftover from the handball-style early version of the game, where the server would move forward 15 feet every time they scored a point.

Tennis is great TV, and it’s a lot of fun to see live. It’s probably a riot to play too, but we are too out of shape to dig into that hobby right now. But we love it, and if we can’t play the real thing, we’ll just climb down off the table and play some ping-pong instead.

Children’s Awareness Month

Just as we said about Insurance Awareness Day yesterday, we are aware that children exist. Is that good enough? No? Dammit.

It turns out this month actually does have some significance to it. According to the Campaign for Youth Justice website, this month is meant to draw our attention to the injustices that children may face in the system as it exists today. In 22 states (and I’m quite certain not at all in Canada) children as young as seven can be prosecuted as adults. What on earth would be the point of prosecuting a pre-tween as an adult? By what measure could they possibly understand the seriousness of their actions to warrant derailing their entire lives?

I have no response for this. But I strongly advise everyone take a few minutes and check out the above website, in particular the most recent entries which you can find on the main page. It includes the story of being an LGBTQ 16-year-old incarcerated in an adult facility, a terrific article about Juneteenth (which apparently the current president made famous somehow?), and a few pieces written by US Senators on the cause of underage incarceration.

It’s a bit dark to read through, but it’s also Hug Holiday, so you can get a little respite if you need it.

National Candy Month

We have been celebrating this all month long. From the Fun Dip I received at Christmas and just rediscovered in a cupboard last week to the fudge my mother keeps bringing over to the Lorraine’s taffy bars pictured above, which aren’t candy per se, but contain caramels and chocolate – two of the best candy elements.

I’m not going to ramble on for this one. We ate plenty of candy, and this year promises to deliver a whole lot more. Pray for our teeth and our various innards. 2020 still has a lot of punch left.

Pride Month

No, we didn’t forget. We are always in a state of celebrating Pride, with many of our friends scooting all over the spectrum of sexuality and/or gender. We support them, we march with them, and every year the Pride Parade is a highlight of our early summer. Last year, our city’s Pride Parade was shut down due to in-fighting among a handful of groups, and of course this year there was no parade due to the pandemic. But we took part in whatever we could online, and our volume on this particular cause is always cranked to maximum.

On Sunday we journeyed downtown and found ourselves pulled into a Black Trans Lives Matter rally. It was not our first Black Lives Matter event (we’d stumbled into one in Grand Central Station back in 2016, so we’re probably on an American watchlist), but it was our first that was integrated with Pride. The stories the speakers told were heartbreaking and deeply moving. We were also swept up in our own little civic pride, as there were no hecklers, no rednecks trying to shut down the proceedings, and no interference by police. Just a lot of people – mostly allies, as we saw almost no actual black trans people from our vantage point – waving flags, raising fists and committing to the cause.

Pride has come a long way since Stonewall went down 51 years ago in Greenwich Village. Pride is an international movement, and it has been gaining strength and support consistently. Laws are starting to catch up to common sense, and while we’ll never drown out the ignorant and despicable anti-love crowd, they are being bullied into their own little closet where they can grumble about Straight Pride and such with their equally unenlightened friends.

We even got an extra celebratory treat on Sunday when we met Janis Irwin at the rally. Janis is an MLA for the opposition in Alberta, so for my American friends think of her as a fiercely left-wing member of our provincial ‘Congress’. She’s an LGBTQ champion, and probably the most vocal voice of dissent against the backwards policies of the current administration. Meeting her was like meeting a Beatle, albeit in a provincial-legislator capacity. We thanked her for fighting the fight, because as much as Pride echoes the successes we’ve seen over the last 51 years, it is also reminder that the battle is not yet won.

But it will be.

We are deep into the muck of June wildness now. Here’s where we go moving forward:

  • National Meteor Watch Day. Not ideal on an overcast evening, but we’ll see how it looks after sunset.
  • Social Media Day. We will make an effort to communicate with a few people we don’t talk to often on social media.
  • National Outfit of the Day Day. This one doesn’t make a lot of sense, but we’ll choose some outfits to wear. I guess.
  • Blink-182 Day. I guess we’ll be listening to some pop-punk on this, the 182nd day of the year.
  • International Sailor Moon Day. Not really our thing. Maybe we’ll find an interesting way to commemorate it.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Through the porthole of 2020 isolation, we spent roughly 100 days on full-repeat. Sure, Saturdays would mean doughnuts and not walking across the hall to my “office”. And these celebrations have certainly dotted the days with quirks and weirdness. But it was still the same day over and over. Then our kids landed in town and we’ve suddenly been social. We’ve laughed more, drank more, and had more raw fun in the last three days than in all of 2020 combined. So please excuse this article – as with the last couple – for being brief. Yesterday was our last day to live in a jam-packed joyous household packed with humans and love. Writing was merely a blip in the plans. Also there was this:

National Alaska Day

We actually rocked our Alaska celebration a day early. We’d received word that Da-De-O, our beloved Cajun fun-house, had closed its doors due to a staff member testing positive for Covid. Our plans required tweaking. So for Saturday’s evening repast we grilled some steaks and dug into some pure Alaskan king crab legs. Our culinary travels around the United States may have hit their peak with this one.

As much as I aimed to abridge my wordsmithing yesterday, I felt I needed to pause and soak in some info about the Last Frontier. I already knew it was the largest state by area, and one of the least populous (only about ¾ of a million people live there). But I wasn’t aware that a full 50% of the state’s population lives in or immediately around Anchorage. Nor did I know that Juneau is the second-largest city in America, despite having a population of around 32,000. Even more impressive is the largest city in America: Sitka, Alaska: population under 9,000. It’s simply a matter of having the room to draw those city boundaries wide; the top four cities in America (by area) are all in Alaska.

Juneau is also one of the only state capitals (along with Honolulu) that is considered an island. It’s not – Juneau is very much on the mainland, but because of the mountainous terrain around it, there are no roads connecting Juneau to the rest of the state. The only way in or out of the city is by boat or by plane. And if that isn’t enough weird trivia, the state also has the highest per capita income in the country.

With all that, could the list of famous or interesting people from Alaska really be that long? Well, you’ve got Artis the Spoonman from Kodiak, who played with Frank Zappa and inspired that song by Soundgarden, Steve Smith from Anchorage, a wide receiver who helped the Giants to triumph over the lowly Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, Irene Bedard from Anchorage, the voice talent and physical inspiration for the Disney characterization of Pocahontas, and Dan Mintz from Anchorage, provider of the magnificent vocal stylings of Tina Belcher on Bob’s Burgers. It’s not a huge list. But then, it’s not a hugely populated state.

But it’s a delicious one.

Tau Day

Pi, as I have just learned from tauday.com, the official site for this celebration, is wrong. Now we know.

We celebrated Pi Day on March 14 (Pi, of course, is 3.14…). Tau is 6.28… so that number got its celebration yesterday. But we know of Pi’s use in calculating circumference and for being all fancy and revered by mathematicians everywhere, so what’s Tau about?

If you are genuinely curious, check out the official manifesto. Tau is essentially double Pi, and from what I understand, doubling Pi is frequently done in mathematics. Tau should – apparently – be the number we make greater use of to calculate anything relating to a circle. The explanation is lengthy and unintelligible to a non-math person like me. They use those tall symbols that look like lower-case f’s with no crossing line, they use those egg-shaped zeroes with a line through it horizontally, and fractions wherein a square-root symbol factors into a denominator.

In short, my eyes glazed over as I tried to read through this manifesto. But if you love math and still worship Pi, maybe you should check this out and learn the truth. I’ll just take your word for it.

Insurance Awareness Day

Are you aware of insurance? We are aware of insurance. And thus, this day has been celebrated.

Look, we’ve got life insurance, car insurance, home insurance, and probably insurance insurance if we look closely enough. We have almost never used our insurance, and I’m convinced that we probably pay too much for it. I’m not a fan.

We do have glass protection on our vehicle now, which is good because we’ve been getting a few flying rocks adding cracks and dings to our windshield. So we’re aware we may need to use our insurance for that, though we wonder if after paying the deductible it will be worth the effort.

Insurance exists. We are aware. Let’s move on.

Tropical Cocktails Day

I had no idea this was coming – it wasn’t on my radar from any of my research leading up to this project. But there it is, apparently created by some tiki-drink lover named Jace Shoemaker-Galloway seven years ago. Whatever shall we do?

The quick answer, of course, is to purchase some rum. I make a dangerously potent mai tai, and in case the mood strikes for something else, we’ve got a fairly stocked bar. But one cannot make very many tropical drinks without rum. I assure you, we did just fine for this celebration. The above drink was Colton’s take on a tropical old fashioned. We got creative.

International Caps Lock Day

There are two Caps Lock Days in the calendar year, so twice this year we are meant to honour that key that sometimes gets accidentally nudged by our left-hand pinky finger, making it seem as though we are yelling on social media.

The official Caps Lock Day was created on October 22, 2000, to make fun of “the small-mindedness of Western individuals.” Okay. The June 28 version of the day was commemorated in honour of Billy Mays, who died eleven years ago on this date. Billy, for those who don’t recall, was the perpetually-shouting pitch-man for Oxi-Clean, Orange Glo and Kaboom.


We could have done more, but we needed to focus on ourselves yesterday. Even the day I invented for this year had to be bumped. Here’s what we’re doing today:

  • National Camera Day. I guess we take some photos. With our phones, since I don’t think we own a camera anymore.
  • National Waffle Iron Day. We actually celebrated this a day early with some delightful waffles that I absolutely forgot to take a picture of.
  • National Almond Buttercrunch Day. Can’t make this without a candy thermometer. Unfortunately.
  • Hug Holiday. It’ll be limited to family, but hugs will be given and received today.
  • Please Take My Children To Work Day. Not really applicable, but maybe we’ll figure a way to celebrate it.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

How sonorous are the chimes of the weekend, and how noticeable is the rapidity with which those echoes dissipate. As I pen these words (or, since I’m on a computer, as I plunk these words with my finger-digits) it is mid-afternoon on Saturday, and I have no idea which celebrations we’ll actually get to today, if any. This is our lone weekend with a full-on family experience, which means I do not feel like spewing prose onto an empty Word document for a few hours. This is the most sacred of celebrations we have yet encountered during this clustery-fuck of a 2020:


Some forward-thinking dude named Robert Solomon founded this day over a decade ago, as a way to gather friends (and, if necessary, family) together for an early-summer barbecue. He called it Summersgiving, as it was food-centered, and love-heavy. And because it’s not a well-known thing, you don’t have to invite that racist uncle or those cousins who always ruin everything by getting into a leg-wrestling match on the kitchen floor every year.

We embraced the hell out of this one. We didn’t do turkey because we simply don’t care for turkey that much. Even on actual Thanksgiving we lean toward a surf & turf situation. Last night’s feast was steak and crab legs, with a brilliant potato salad and so many desserts just thinking about them again makes me full. I may not eat again for days. This is a lie, of course – our calendar will make sure of that.

But last night was the one meal in which both our kids, our son’s girlfriend, and my mother gathered together to partake in one another’s company and laugh (and drink) into the night. Tonight our son heads to his dad’s for a much less enjoyable feast, and tomorrow they’ll be back in Toronto. So last night was the golden moment, and it just happened to land in tandem with this magnificent celebration.

We were very thankful – immeasurably thankful for last night. It was the high point of the year, and we have been fortunate to have a few high points in this cockeyed year. Happy Summersgiving to all.

National Onion Day

Above is a shot of the potato salad Colton whipped up for us, which included capers, smoked salmon, and yes – onions. To not have eaten onions on this day would have been a waste. It also would have been out of character – most of our meals tend to weave onions in somehow.

Normally here is where I’d go into a lengthy re-telling of the history of onions in cooking, but that will be skipped. It’s all about the visceral this weekend, as I explained in yesterday’s article. We ate onions. We loved onions. Onions are life.

National Chocolate Pudding Day

I was in such a rush on Friday I had no time to cram a thing of chocolate pudding down my throat. It took until the next day for me to dig in. It’s a good thing I didn’t have to make the stuff from scratch.

Also, given the extra-hurried nature of this article, it’s a good thing we had National Vanilla Pudding Day just a few weeks back. I’m sure I wrote all about the glorious history of pudding on that day, taking so long to research it overshadowed the celebration of actually eating the stuff. If not, I’ll catch up on National Butterscotch Pudding Day. Stay tuned!

Bartender & Mixologist Day

We didn’t make it out to a bar yesterday, but we acted as our own mixologists. We also enjoyed a magnificent couple of growlers from our favourite bar in the city, Da-De-O. It’s a unique brew from local brewsmiths Alley Kat, a lager jazzed up with chili pepper to give it a bit of a bite.

I think it’s pretty clear we kicked this day’s ass.

National Sunglasses Day

How on earth could we have celebrated this day in any other way besides wearing sunglasses? Such a question is almost insulting – there is no better way. Yesterday was forecast to be cold and rainy all day, but through some means of unfathomable magic (I call it a Summersgiving miracle), we wound up with sunny skies and decent temperatures all day long. Sunglasses were going to be a novelty thing beneath an overcast shroud, but instead we managed to bask in solar radiance and use our sunglasses as intended.

Sunglasses have come a long way since Inuit folk cut narrow slits into flattened walrus ivory to make the world’s first known sunglasses. We’ve come a long way since China’s 12th century panes of smoky quartz that did little to protect from UV rays but dulled the glare a little. Now we’re in the Ray-bans era and sunglasses work a lot better.

We were thankful for the opportunity to celebrate this one in a genuine way. Today we might not have been so lucky.

National Celebrate Your Marriage Day

I’m not entirely sure about this one.

Here me out – I’ll gladly take any moment of any day to scream to the heavens how grateful I am to be married to this magnificent individual. I’m simply not certain the motivation behind this “holiday” was genuine.

The only link I can find to verify the day is a petition to request the President of the United States (George W. Bush, to give you an idea how out-dated this celebration is) to proclaim the last Saturday in June as National Celebrate Your Marriage Day. This is due to the decline of the respect and sacredness of the institute of marriage.

There it is. This was clearly before the Supreme Court skull-slapped the nation’s intolerant dullards by making gay marriage a legal reality, as that happened during Obama’s reign. There is no mention in this petition of “between a man and a woman”, but that mention of the problems with the institution of marriage got my back up. That said, I’m going to give it a pass, because I can see no stupid bias in the wording of this petition, and honestly, gay marriages need to be worked on just as hard as any other kind, and declaring one’s gratitude for being married to one’s spouse is always a good idea.

So I’ll shelve my suspicions and simply embrace the spirit. I lucked out.

Happy Birthday To You Day

A big ol’ happy birthday to Mildred Hill, composer of the most recognizable song ever written. It used to be called “Good Morning To All”, but she realized a lot more money could be made if it was re-worded to be a birthday song. Actually, I don’t know the full story of how she came to pen this classic, but it was a copywritten song that paid her estate money for decades after her death every time it was used in a movie or TV show.

Mildred was a student of music. She wrote an article in 1892 that suggested that the existing body of black music – back then, mostly spiritual songs – would be the basis for a distinctive American style. Oh, if she only knew. A quick call-back to African-American Music Month there – black music would lead to pretty much every awesome piece of music we know today.

Mildred’s masterpiece didn’t get published as sheet music until 1912. It didn’t actually become famous until after her death in 1916. Her greatest achievement was a posthumous score for her offspring (if she had them). And yesterday the song was for her, on what would have been her 161st birthday. Not a bad legacy.

National Coconut Day

The amazing humans at Da-De-O not only furnished us with the beer to lubricate our Summersgiving festivities, but they also hooked us up with a bevy of desserts that may have otherwise spoiled, as they were closing their doors for a few days. Pictured above is the batch of toasted coconut which gets sprinkled atop their astounding key lime pie.

We were preparing ourselves to potentially degrade this day with something unpleasantly sweet, like a Mounds chocolate bar or something, but dessert was far more delicious than that. It was a good day for coconut.

One more day of manic madness and merely grazing over the writing portion of this magnificence:

  • National Paul Bunyan Day. I don’t see us getting to this one, honestly.
  • National Alaska Day. Some top-notch Alaskan crab will do the trick for this week’s official state.
  • National Tapioca Day. Hmmm. Maybe.
  • Tau Day. Is this day more important than Pi Day? Some believe so. We’ll learn why.
  • Insurance Awareness Day. We will be aware that insurance exists. Fun!
  • National Plan Your Final Playlist Day. This was my creation for the day back in spring when we could create our own holidays. We’ll see how this plays out.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

In a day where minutes are precious cargo, plummeting from a hole in the floor of the hold, one must balance where one’s energies are pointed. Today we have a household of five; it’s a gift that will get forcibly returned to its origin store in only two days. So how many of those precious minutes will be squeezed into my articles, and how many will be poured into the radical bliss of the right-now? Sometimes the writing must be demoted. Sometimes the celebrating must be done in real-time. To that end, we did this yesterday:

National Beauticians Day

A beautician by definition creates beauty. I see a barber, which is why I may look coifed and downright funky after a haircut, my beauty tends to reside on the inside. Jodie sees a stylist, but I’d say Sarah qualifies as a beautician, given the quality of her work. Yesterday it was Abbey’s turn… she comes home from university and sees our hairstylist even before getting a checkup with the doctor.

Of course we couldn’t go in there and hang out; Sarah works her magic in her basement, so only one customer is allowed inside at a time. But this was a perfect line-up of the stars, allowing us to celebrate this one on time. And the end result was Abbey looking beautiful.

To all those who bring beauty unto other’s faces, hair, or other body parts, happy day.

Take Your Dog To Work Day

As previously mentioned, we are not at work today, nor were we at work yesterday. But this article has proven to be the ever-looming work dangling like an inverted cow in a butcher shop, dripping entrails and goo over every one of my days off. Was that too grotesque? It may be too grotesque.

Yesterday’s article, the one that is now tickling your eyeballs, was written under the careful supervision of Trixie, pictured above. She’s a brutal taskmaster, and simultaneously a muse of immeasurable proportions. She got me through this hurried mess of an article as no one else could.

How much will we pack into today? Hard to say – here’s what we could tackle:

  • National Onion Day. Chances are we’ll eat something with an onion involved.
  • National Ice Cream Cake Day. If we don’t get to this today, I’m sure Abbey will insist we tackle it very soon.
  • National Sunglasses Day. Can I write an entire (abridged) article wearing sunglasses? I’m just that cool. Yes.
  • National Orange Blossom Day. Sounds lovely. I don’t think we get a lot of orange blossoms up here.
  • Summersgiving. We can’t do Thanksgiving with the entire family this year, but we can do this.
  • National Bingo Day. We may get to some board games. Doubt bingo will be involved.
  • Global Smurfs Day. Nope. Probably not.
  • Bartender & Mixologist Day. Now we’re getting more on track.
  • Happy Birthday To You Day. To whom?
  • Decide to Be Married Day. I have to decide right now?
  • National Celebrate Your Marriage Day. I guess that depends on how well we both tackle the previous point.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Today we tweak the toaster knob from ‘speculative’ to ‘visceral’. The roster of scheduled events is long today and through the weekend, yet our time will be forcibly limited by our desire to focus our attention elsewhere. Yes, the sanctity of National Coconut Day and National Paul Bunyan Day will be maintained and cherished, but the time I’d need to invest in scrawling lengthy articles will be offset by the extremely limited window in which we can hang out with both our kids. Abbey arrived yesterday, but her three week stay towers over the two days we get with Colton and his girlfriend, Daria. We will be immersing ourselves in the tangible, experience-focused celebrations (so yeah, the food), but hitting the brakes on research and writing. At least a little. For example:

National Bomb Pop Day

We weren’t going to let this one slip by. Invented on July 30, 1955 by James S. Merritt and D.S. Abernathy. I don’t know what happened between these two ice-treat Edisons, but somehow they were struck with luminous inspiration that day in Kansas. No doubt directed by notions of patriotism, they crafted the perfect stick-lined frozen treat, consisting of cherry, lime and raspberry flavours crammed into a noble red, white and blue experience.

We’ve known them under other names – I’m pretty sure I bought them as Rocket Pops from a travelling ice cream vendor as a kid. What I didn’t know is that there are numerous flavours of Bomb Pops on the market. Anyone else think that the Banana Fudge flavour would be outstanding?

Again – we focus on the visceral here. We enjoyed some Bomb Pops on an ideal summer day, once again surrounded by half of our children. It was a great start to what we hope will be an unforgettable weekend.

National Leon Day

That’s right kids. We are now precisely halfway between Christmases. It’s time to start working on being less of an asshole, lest you find yourself on that dreaded of all dockets: Santa’s Naughty List. National Leon Day reminds us that ‘Leon’ is just ‘Noel’ backwards.

There are a few options for celebrating this one. If you miss the joy of winter celebrations, you can reenact one with your loved ones. If you live up here in the tundra you probably don’t miss winter that much (I think I’ve only mowed my lawn three or four times this year so far). So we opted for something different.

For crafty people (and we may be many things, but we are not crafty people), it’s time to start planning your decorations and your homemade crafts for the Christmas season. I hate that idea, but I do appreciate the qualities of a top-notch ugly Christmas sweater. And as luck would have it, December 18 is Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. So we took a few minutes on the way to the airport yesterday and started planning what we’d do for our own sweaters. This is a project I’d like to undertake: building our own ugly-ass sweater to reflect the holidays in the tackiest possible way.

Also, if your name happens to be Leon, I say use this as an excuse to enjoy some extra dessert or something. I mean, the day has nothing to do with you, but who else is going to know that? Rock on, Leons.

World Handshake Day

I brought it up to my barber during my sanity-saving trim a couple weeks back: if the Coronavirus has one lasting effect on the world, I hope it’s the elimination of the handshake as a thing. I hate it. Why do people feel the need to grasp one another’s extremities in greeting? I know what people touch in a day. People ride escalators and hold on to the railing out of habit, not for balance. They use the bathroom and don’t wash their hands. Even if they do, they touch the same door handle to leave the bathroom as the last schmuck, who didn’t wash up.

We have all become more aware of germs and their potential to fuck up daily life. Why not crank up that awareness and simply switch to the fist-bump full-time after all of this?

My barber disagreed. He likes the handshake. He sees it as a way to measure a person through a sense separate from sight, sound and smell. If you get a limp noodle, you’ve got a limp human on the other end of it. If you get a bone-crunching squeeze you’re probably dealing with an over-compensating douche. If it’s clammy and slimy with palm-sweat, then WHY THE HELL ARE WE STILL DOING THIS???

I offer no love for the handshake on this day. I hope that on June 25 – maybe it’ll happen next year – we finally decide as a society to shelve this antiquated greeting mechanism. Long live the fist-bump.

Color TV Day

Yesterday was the 69th birthday of colour television. Companies had been at work on color tech since 1940, so it was just a matter of time. Then, on June 25, 1951 CBS showed a variety special called Premiere in full, glorious colour. The broadcast began with Patricia Stinnette, a professional model who had been posing for CBS’s colour tests for ages. She must have had one hell of a skin hue.

The rest of the show included Arthur Godfrey, a bunch of paintings from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a bunch of commercials (of course), Ed Sullivan, and a couple of Broadway performers (one of whom was Robert Alda, Alan’s dad) singing a song from Call Me Madam. The show was broadcast all over the east coast and it was world-changing. Of course you needed a colour set to watch it, which almost no one had. And those who did were a little put off by the way people’s faces splotched in different shades. The technology wasn’t perfect yet.

It took a few more developments before colour TV became a regular thing. Cuba was the second country to adopt colour broadcasts, surprisingly enough. This was in 1958, and they came to an immediate halt the following year when Castro took over the country. They wouldn’t see colour broadcasts again in Cuba until 1975. In Canada we could get American colour feeds, but all Canadian programming remained black & white until September 1, 1966. This was fine, as fewer than 1% of Canadian households even owned a colour set at that time.

To celebrate this day, we simply watched some TV in colour. Not a lot of choices in black & white these days anyway.

Mitch Lane Day

According to the World Cube Association, which I’m sure you recognize as the foremost authority on Rubik’s Cube solving on the planet, Mitch Lane has one hell of a record. He holds 258 medals (81 of them gold) in cube solving competitions, which is really something they should start airing on ESPN now that professional sports is on an extended hiatus. Mitch, who looks about 14 in his official WCA photo, is a bona fide legend.

It was the Berkeley Summer 2013 competition. The best in the world had gathered to solve a puzzle that took most of us the entire 1980s to realize we’d never finish it. Mitch finished 11th in the 3×3 (that’s a normal Rubik’s cube) competition, with an average solve time of 11.49 seconds in the final round. That’s right, solving a jumbled-up cube in 11.49 seconds was only good enough for 11th place. But Mitch walked out of Berkeley as a winner: he set a new record by solving the cube in 6.25 seconds.

6.25 seconds. I’ve had sneezes that have lasted longer than that. Just watch this video of his accomplishment – it seems almost unreal that a human could move a Rubik’s cube that many times in such short order, let alone to solve a pain in the ass puzzle of utter chaos. Yesterday was our day to celebrate this accomplishment – 6.25 = June 25. Very clever. So we raised a glass to toast this athlete, even though his score has been beaten since.

So let’s get him on TV already. In full colour, of course.

Global Beatles Day

Can it be done? Can we listen to every official Beatles release in a single day? Well, at the time of writing this (which is around 4:15pm) “Revolution 9” was playing. That’s encouraging, as we have worked through the catalog chronologically. After the official 60s releases we’ll tackle the Hollywood Bowl concert and the Anthology collections. If there’s time we’ll plow through the BBC releases, the Love soundtrack, and maybe the bonus tracks that came out on the recent re-releases. If we fail, it will be a question of time, not desire. It’s a fun challenge.

The only significant event to have occurred on June 25 in Beatles history was their participation in the first worldwide satellite TV broadcast, Our World, in 1967. It was on this program (in fabulous full colour, of course) that they debuted “All You Need Is Love”.

The truth is, we celebrate the Beatles almost every day. It’s rare for a day to go by when they don’t pop into our radio or Spotify playlists. The photo above is a 3,000 piece jigsaw puzzle we finished last week, containing 100 Beatles songs. We named our kid Abbey for chrissakes… they’re the greatest band that ever was.

I know, not everyone will agree. But looking at their impact on popular music, popular culture, and their incredible composition skills, there’s simply no other way we can see it. Not every song is flawless (“Good Night”, now playing through my speakers, is sappy and over-flowery for my tastes). But there is simply no other band that has created this much perfection. And no other band will ever have a similar dominant effect on a multitude of generations.

That said, if we get the chance to try the same feat with the Rolling Stones’ catalog, we’d absolutely be up for it. How did we end up doing? Well, the later albums take a lot longer to get through. After the Past Masters collection I put Anthology 1 on, and it lasted for a song and a half before our wireless speaker died. It was a valiant effort.

And in the end, the love we took was indeed equal to the love we made.

Today our house gets packed full of humans, and we’ll choose to live in the moment more than in our research. Here’s what we could tackle:

  • National Coconut Day. Maybe we can find something around the house with some coconut in it.
  • National Beauticians Day. Abbey’s going for a haircut, so that will have to count.
  • National Chocolate Pudding Day. Easy. There’s always time for chocolate pudding, or so goes the text I’m considering for a neck tattoo.
  • Take Your Dog To Work Day. One or more of our canine research assistants will help me out with today’s article.
  • National Eat At A Food Truck Day. If we don’t get to this today, we’ll make up for it next week.
  • Tropical Cocktails Day. This is a thing? This… this is a thing? Hell yes.
  • National Canoe Day. Not likely – we don’t own one, nor will we be acquiring one today.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

As the dustcloud of 2020 continues its circular flesh-whipping we must take a pause for that most coveted of reasons: vacation. I have relieved myself of government office-drone duties until after next week, as both of our long lost (well, long absent) children return for a visit. Abbey arrives today, Colton tomorrow, and our celebrations around these events will far outshine our regularly scheduled celebrations program. The entries over the next week and a half should be briefer, depending on just how entertaining our children prove to be. There is only so much we can cram in. Eventually even we need a cram break. Here’s what yesterday dealt us:

National Pralines Day

What, specifically, a praline is will depend on where in the world you’re asking. Pralines are a sort of candy treat, but from there you can use your imagination. There will be nuts involved, but there aren’t a lot more guidelines than that.

They started out in France, as almonds coated in caramelized sugar. There was no chocolate involved. Grind those up and you’ve got something called pralin, which is a powder used in baking cakes and whipping up pastries. Mix it with cocoa and you’ve got what the French call praliné. And if that isn’t confusing enough, pretty much anything coated in chocolate – what you and I call “chocolates” – is called a praliné in France and Switzerland.

In New Orleans, pecans were substituted for almonds, and cream often entered the recipe. This style involves mixing pecans with brown sugar, butter and cream, then cooking it until you’ve got a thick glob of sugary wonder stuck to the pecan bits. This is what you’ll find in pralines ‘n cream ice cream, which is what we enjoyed last night as a tribute to this magnificent category of yumminess.

I suppose a journey through all the world’s praline varieties would make for an interesting exploration – perhaps in 2021 if we feel tempted to do another large, manic project such as this.

I wouldn’t bet on it, though. I suspect we achieved maximum praline awesomeness yesterday anyway. That may have been the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted.

Celebration of the Senses Day

This is literally the day to celebrate our five primary senses. It seems pretty straightforward, and no need to delve into the kinesthetic sense or proprioception. Simply experience the senses in their purest form. We gave it a shot.

We piqued our visual sense yesterday by taking a few minutes to admire the elegance of the wind. Specifically, the way that leaves are billowed and buoyed by a breeze, sometimes in unison, sometimes in subtle defiance of one another. The texture of a tree is ever-shifting, ever responding to its environment. It’s a subtle beauty, but a perfect beauty nonetheless.

Our sense of touch was harnessed also through nature. Rocks, trees, even the prickles of our grass blades felt vibrant against our skin. One suggestion on a site I used for research offered the notion of walking around our house, using only our sense of touch to guide us. We have a four-level split with lots of stairs and a bar shelf that is stacked high with numerous bottles. There are dozens of dog toys littering every room It wasn’t worth the risk. Besides, you don’t need deprivation of one sense to appreciate the others.

For sound we focused on music. Through noise-cancelling headphones the music takes up the entire stage. We listened with no other distractions, no phone to flip through and no dogs to command our efforts.

My sense of smell and taste has been in a weird place for the past couple of days, something I suspect may be due to allergies but I’m not sure. I dug my nose deep into our stash of coffee to awaken my sense of smell, and the pralines ‘n cream ice cream last night did wonders for taste.

Celebrating the senses is a part of just about every celebration in which we have indulged this year. It was odd to focus on each one like this, but I suppose odd is becoming somewhat standard fare this year.

National Energy Shopping Day

Hey, this is fun. Let’s “celebrate” by shopping around for a better rate for our utilities. Nothing says “wild, unmitigated and brash partying” like checking out prices on natural gas and electricity. Pour me another tall glass of pralines, because I might ride this one right through until sun-up.

Our government handily contains a division called the Utilities Consumer Advocate, or UCA for short. The UCA features a comparison tool that will allow you to check plans between providers in order to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your utility buck. You want a good bang. There’s nothing worse than a buck that delivers no bang whatsoever.

The UCA rate comparison tool featured 204 individual plan opportunities for our area, delivered by a multitude of different companies. The difference between them was minimal, but there was a difference. For the most part our monthly bills should be somewhere between about $80 and $90 for electricity, but they could be as much as $185. The expensive plans appear to be with companies I haven’t heard of, and appear to be linked somehow to solar energy. We have no panels on our roof (yet), so I opted to not even look into those.

This was a bit of a downer, as it was essentially a review of bills we pay and how we could decrease them by a tiny amount. From the looks of things, we’re about as low as we can go for what we need. So after all that “celebrating”, we’re back where we started.

And, as you can scroll up and see, that involved ice cream. So that’s pretty damn fine.

National Parchment Day

I had been hoping this was a day to commemorate the great history of sacred parchment texts that are preserved in museums, like the paper the Magna Carta was written upon, or even the Declaration of Independence. I don’t know all that much about the ancient history of paper, so this might have been interesting.

Except for the fact that it totally isn’t. This is a day for celebrating parchment paper. The day was first created by PaperChef, a company that manufactures parchment paper, back in 2016. Okay. I mean, I’m a fan of parchment paper – we use it all the time to roast potatoes or to bake Jodie’s magic cannabis cookies. My mom (hi, Team Baker!) uses parchment paper frequently when crafting her delicious dessert treats for our enjoyment. Parchment paper locks in moisture, and provides a non-stick surface without flavour-heavy sprays. It’s great stuff. Maybe not party-worthy, but great stuff.

The process of making parchment paper is both simple and a little scary. You simply take paper pulp and run it through a bath of sulfuric acid. That’s it. That sheet upon which you bake your cookies or drop your pralines to cool was made with sulfuric acid. Let that one sit in your brain and percolate for a little while.

And that’s it. I roasted some baby potatoes with parchment paper last night, and honestly we ultimately cared about the food, not the paper. We don’t have plate appreciation day or national frying pan day, do we?

We don’t. I checked. The only entry I could find for National Frying Pan Day was a piece of anime fan-fiction, written in 2002. According to Tokimeki, the author, “I had the idea of beating my friend with a frying pan coz she was being a loser at school today.” Such is the fragile nature of inspiration. Happy National Parchment Day, to Tokimeki and everyone else.

International Fairy Day

I would imagine those who feel like truly celebrating this day will don the traditional costume of fairies, which I believe includes wings, maybe a laurel, possibly some full-body glitter. I’m all about wearing all three of these things, but it seemed a bit too indulgent for our tastes. Sometimes a celebration is better with some subtlety.

In Old French, a faie (from which we get faerie, and subsequently fairy) is a woman who is skilled at magic – a wizardess of sorts. The term ‘fairy’ has been used throughout historic tales to refer to all sorts of magical creatures. Its modern usage began around Victorian times. This was when the old folklorish ways of the past were giving way to modern, industrial reality. The ‘fairy tale’ for children, and indeed any stories about fairies, were an attempt to reach back to that folklore.

The Celtic Revival was a period in the late 19th and early 20th century that reflected an interest in the folklore of Ireland’s past, and fairies were often interwoven into those tales. Fairies have been seen as demoted angels or demonic entities. They are often cast with a bit of a mischievous bent. We all remember Oberon, King of the Fairies in Shakespeare’s blockbuster hit, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He was a trouble-maker, and a massive pain in the ass for the other characters.

Fairies could be elementals or changelings, they might help you out or lead you to destruction. If you’re lucky, they’ll take your discarded teeth and send some money your way. There is no shortage of fairy literature and fairy-inspired artwork to be enjoyed. We opted to listen to Fairytale, the magnificent album released by British folk singer Donovan in 1965. I hope you took some time out for your favourite fairy. With or without body glitter.

World UFO Day

It was on this day (well, yesterday) in 1947 that American aviator Kenneth Arnold spotted nine strange objects flying along in tandem formation near Mount Rainier in Washington state. The US Air Force called it a mirage. He didn’t buy it. He said their movement was erratic and strange, like a caught fish flipping in the sun, or a saucer skipping across water.

A saucer. A flying saucer. The press loved that term, and it became part of the public lexicon. Webster’s Dictionary started publishing their Words of the Year in 2003; had they been doing so in 1947 ‘flying saucer’ would have topped the charts. It was the beginning of what UFO enthusiasts call the UFO Era. Sightings began happening a lot more frequently after Mr. Arnold’s fateful flight.

World UFO Day is a day for believers to gather together and scan the skies for anything out of the ordinary. And it happens twice every year: once on this anniversary of the first flying saucer sighting, and again on July 2 to honour the anniversary of the Roswell UFO Incident, also from 1947.

Look, I’ve seen a UFO. One night in the summer of 1989 I was visiting a friend who lived on a gorgeous rural street outside of Sydney on Vancouver Island. We sat out in his yard, watching the vast starscape, and I saw something with red and green lights scoot across the sky far too quickly to be a satellite or a plane. That said, I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for what I saw. I simply couldn’t identify it, which makes it a verifiable UFO. I don’t believe it contained aliens or was crafted anywhere else but our world… but who’s to say?

We believe in aliens, that in the vastness of a potentially infinite universe we couldn’t possibly be the only chunk of rock to spit out a semi-intelligent species. I’d stop short of believing any other planet-dwellers have visited us though. But if they do decide to swing by, I’ll be checking the skies today and next Wednesday, just in case.

Today we see how much we’re willing to do when all we really want to do is hang out with our kids on vacation:

  • National Strawberry Parfait Day. It’ll either be today or this weekend – might want to save it for when everyone is here.
  • National Catfish Day. We either lure someone to a non-existent romantic encounter online (not likely), or we’ll save this for Saturday, when we’ll be heading for a delicious Cajun dinner.
  • National Leon Day. Not a day for folks named Leon, nor is it a day for watching 90s movies about a preteen and a hired killer. It’s Noel backwards, so time to start planning for… AUGH! Christmas???
  • National Bomb Pop Day. Also known as Rocket Pops (and various other names), these are the popsicles that are red, white and blue. And yes, we’re looking forward to this one.
  • World Handshake Day. I thought this was last week, but it’s apparently happening today. Either way, I’ll be ranting about how much I hope handshakes are a thing of the past.
  • Global Beatles Day. Why today? Who knows? We’ll try to listen to everything the Beatles released today. Not sure if we’ll make it.
  • Color TV Day. No black & white shows for us today, on this sacred anniversary of the first color broadcast.
  • Mitch Lane Day. A day to celebrate the guy who can solve a Rubik’s Cube in under ten seconds. Fun.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The midway chimes of 2020 have pulled back the hammer in preparation of their sonic strike next week. Many will cheer the eradication of 50% of this death-ridden, rage-ridden year, and we will be among them. But we are also cognizant of this year’s place in history, a potential pivot point for humankind in a myriad of ways. Do we emerge more enlightened, more tuned in to the systemic racism in our society so that we can dismantle it? Do we cross the threshold into 2021 with an enhance appreciation for caring for one another’s basic health and well-being? Will we pummel our way to more than 2,000 celebrations this year, and if so, will it matter? Matter or no, all we can do now is plow forward:

National Hydration Day

This day was created to honour football coach Victor Hawkins, who died on June 23, 2012, but became known in his field for inventing a mouthguard that somehow releases electrolytes to keep players hydrated. I don’t know the science behind this, and actually I prefer to think of it as some sort of dark magic, because any celebration becomes infinitely more fascinating when there’s dark magic involved.

The purpose of this day is to remind athletes to remain hydrated. Hey athletes: remain hydrated. Success!

As for how we celebrated, we consumed plenty of water all day. I mean, there was coffee in the morning and various other beverages here and there, but we drank plenty of water. We remained hydrated.

I was, however, a bit curious about how a mouthguard can keep someone hydrated. I’ve never played a sport that required me to wear a mouthguard (neither the Madden nor NHL videogame franchises state these as mandatory), but from what I understand they’re just globs of rubber athletes cram into their gullets. Turns out the product ships with 28 fruit-flavoured slow-release electrolyte tablets that you insert into the mouthguard.

The product is out of stock at amazon, with one review of one star. I can’t find it for sale anywhere else online. So maybe this isn’t the way to go – and that’s fine, 2020 is not a year for sports anyway. Just drink your fluids and bask in this tepid celebration, and look forward to next year when competitive sports will hopefully be back once again to inspire us.

National Pink Day

We have celebrated numerous days this year which call for us to wear a specific colour in order to bring attention to a cause, a plight, a disease, or some greater good. This day is meant to bring attention only to the colour itself – particularly odd, as this particular colour has no problem being attention-grabbing on its own. This is not a day to bring awareness to breast cancer, or to any other sort of ailment. It’s just about pink.

Pink is named for dianthus plumarius, also known as the common pink – it’s the flower that inspired the name of the colour. To pink is also an acceptable verb, meaning to decorate with a perforated or punched pattern. Never pinked before? That’s how we got the name ‘pinking shears’. Never heard of pinking shears? Can’t help you there – just trust me, they’re a thing.

Pink is the colour of femininity, and historically has also been the colour of masculinity, so go figure. Pink represents innocence, but also seduction. It became a huge trend in the 1700s when it was worn by King Louis XV’s mistress, Madame de Pompadour, and again in the mid-20th-century when it was worn by female street gangs led by Stockard Channing. The pink triangle is a symbol of the LGBTQ movement, which is a successful take-back of the shape, given that it was first used to identify homosexual prisoners in Nazi camps.

Some people hate pink. I don’t get that – how do you hate a colour on the spectrum? What did the colour ever do to you? Pink is a beautiful, boastful jab of light and radiance, the colour spectrum’s high-pitched long-held guitar note to bring a solo to a riveting climax. Pink is beauty personified, all dolled up and ready for a night out. Pink is the quick inhalation of surprise and wonder, the secret ingredient that brings life and vitality to the properties of light.

We celebrated by wearing a bit of pink, by listening to a bit of Pink and Pink Floyd, and even The Band’s brilliant album, Music From Big Pink. Happy pink to all.

National Pecan Sandies Day

Someone must have loved these cookies enough to have declared them worthy of a national day. And thank goodness for that – we were in danger of running out of cookies and treats, which would be nothing short of tragic. Fortunately our team baker (hi, Mom!) came through in a big way with her own twist on the sandie, pictured above.

A sandie is a sugar cookie, simple as that. Pecan sandies include… wait for it… pecans in the recipe. There’s no grand history to tell here, no stories of humanistic triumphs that feature the pecan sandie interwoven with key points in history… they’re just cookies. And they’re delicious cookies.

I’m going to wrap this up here. There’s really nothing more to say, and the essence of this celebration was in the flavourful munching of these little delights. If you didn’t have any yesterday – and why wouldn’t you? – I recommend mixing up a batch and baking some immediately. The sandie is a gift.

Let It Go Day

We have played this game before. Just as there are a heap of holidays meant to inspire us to embrace the people and things that are great in the world, there are also several that encourage us to let go of that which is weighing us down. If you’re unlucky, the title of this day has spawned that Frozen song in your head. If you’re more fortunate like I, you’re probably humming the far superior Luba song from the 80s, back when fusing bubblegum pop and reggae was a great idea.

Jodie and I both suffer from animosities and disgruntlements that weigh us down. Yesterday we both vowed to let one of these go, in hopes that this post-spring cleanup of our souls would lead to a positive impact on our mental well-being.

For me, the issue is football. It’s the only sport I follow, and while I accept that it makes no logical sense to run a season this year, whenever football does make its return I will have to deal with my loathing of the New England Patriots. To be clear, having no geographic ties to any city in the United States, I have never considered myself a devoted fan to any franchise. I find players on each team whom I enjoy watching, and I just love the game. Except for the goddamn Patriots. They kept Marino’s Dolphins out of Super Bowl XX, and they’ve been running the AFC table (spotted with controversy) for the last 19 years. I’ve had enough.

This year, if they play, they’ll be suiting up without their douchey quarterback, a man who personifies every dick villain in every 80s movie. As such, I will distance myself from loathing this team, and perhaps one day welcome them into the pack of 31 other teams that I’ll cheer on. We’ll see.

Jodie’s conundrum is a bit touchier. Her biggest loathing is for certain politicians and their supporters, and she’s not about to let that go. She did agree, however, that arguing such things with strangers on Facebook is a poor use of her time – even arguing with a certain friend of hers who refuses to engage in issues and only speaks in slogans and clichés. She agreed to let that stress go. If it works, she’ll be much happier for it. My personal improvement may not be felt for another year; we’ll see.

Runner’s Selfie Day

We don’t run.

We don’t like running, and we don’t see any need to incorporate running into our lives. Jodie does yoga and various other exercises – her knee won’t let her run. I still go for a brisk, heartrate-raising, sweat-inducing walk on the treadmill every morning. Running has never interested either of us.

All that aside, when the calendar says run, we run. Not for long. That is not an exercise-induced selfie up there. I ran for exactly as long as I had to in order to get that photo. That’s all that was required, and we aren’t about to risk injury or unpleasant bodily odours for a selfie-related celebration.

We took the pic.

But we don’t run.

Pink Flamingo Day

This ties in beautifully with National Pink Day… except that I’m not sure what specifically we are supposed to honour. I was expecting I’d learn a bit more about the animal, as we did for Giraffe Day a couple days back, or for Sea Turtles, Sharks, Whales, and other various creatures over the last six months. But many sites indicated we should be celebrating the lawn ornament instead.

Really? I don’t know – let’s learn a bit about both and see which is more interesting.

There are six species of flamingo in the world, and they’re all at least a little bit pink. Scientists aren’t quite in unison on why they stand on one leg with the other tucked underneath: some believe it’s for warmth while others maintain that they do this even in warm water or when not in water at all, so it’s for minimal muscular exertion. They stomp their feet in the watery mud to make their food rise to the surface, so you know they aren’t eating anything we’d be jealous of. They can form strong couple bonds with another flamingo, and that is not limited to heterosexual union. So they’re social, well-balanced, and progressive little birds.

Don Featherstone was the guy who crafted the plastic pink flamingo back in 1957. Don was an artist who sculpted products for Union Products – the flamingo was his most popular creation, and he was proud of it. Filmmaker John Waters helped to turn plastic flamingos into the ultimate in lawn kitsch, and the city of Madison, Wisconsin made the plastic pink flamingo the city’s official bird in 2009. Mr. Featherstone also passed away on June 23 five years ago, so I guess we can conclude that this day is, indeed, about the lawn ornaments.

I think we can give the coolness points to the actual flamingos here though. As much as we love kitsch, the birds themselves are quite magnificent to behold. We even used to have some stationed in our local shopping mall for a spell, shortly after they removed the fleet of submarines. Yep, the birds win out. For our lawn, we’ll stick with gnomes.

National Typewriter Day

Christopher Latham Sholes, along with a handful of other dudes in Milwaukee, patented their typewriter on June 23, 1868, making the device 152 years old yesterday. This was not the first such device, but it was the first to use the name ‘typewriter’. Sholes wasn’t impressed with the finished product, believing it looked like the end result of a sexual encounter between a kitchen table and a piano. He kept working on it though, and eventually sold his share of the patent for $12,000. Not bad. Then Remington started mass-producing them, and Sholes likely learned how much money he’d missed out on.

Like most people of my generation, I learned how to type on a typewriter. I owned a baby-blue manual typewriter, and got used to those lengthy pauses whilst waiting for the liquid paper to dry so I could fix my mistakes. And I made many of them. Still, I got to be rather speedy with three fingers on each hand doing all the work. Then I took one typing class in high school and learned how to do it properly. Around this time I had already upgraded through my dad’s old electric IBM Selectric (with correction tape! Which I used a lot of!) to own a computer.

But there is something magical about the sound of each letter being created with a typewriter. Something satisfying about hearing each character claim its importance upon the page. And something that is both blissfully nostalgic and intellectually gratifying about hearing that ding and slamming the carriage over to begin a new line.

Tom Hanks is a notorious collector of vintage typewriters, and if I was wealthy enough to start any sort of a collection, this might be the way I’d go. Typewriters will likely never make a full-on resurgence – even those of us who can live without autocorrect would have trouble getting by without that good ol’ backspace key now – but it should always be a technology that evokes warmth and simplicity. I wish we could have plunked upon an actual typewriter yesterday, but there were none around.

We had to settle for the memories.

Today we may have an even simpler menu of goodies to tackle:

  • National Pralines Day. If only we had some praline ice cream in our freezer. Oh wait, we totally do!
  • Celebration of the Senses Day. Hooray for senses!
  • National Energy Shopping Day. Today I could use a bit of energy. I guess I’ll shop for some.
  • National Parchment Day. A day to celebrate… parchment paper?
  • International Fairy Day. Well tinker our bells, I guess we’re learning about fairies today.
  • World UFO Day. Hopefully one will stop by and allow us to salute it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The first weekend of summer was a bead-curtain of tip-tappery as my computer’s keyboard clocked in some serious overtime. If you managed to peruse both of our last two articles in their entirety, we congratulate you for your devotion and question the amount of free time you have. There were upsides to our extensive toils: we tasted the sweet nectar of over 25 unique celebrations in a very short span, and it gave us permission to ease off the throttle should the calendar allow it. And yesterday it did, leaving us only with this:

National Chocolate Eclair Day

There comes a point in each manic project of weirdness when choices have to be made. We have, in the interests of my escalating blood pressure and our expanding waistlines, chosen to abandon celebrating some of the dessert moments of this project. Cherry tarts and apple strudel were the fallen heroes last week, and yesterday saw us switching the chocolate éclair from the “taste” pile into the “learn about” pile. Sacrifices must be made sometimes.

The name ‘éclair’ comes from a French word that means ‘flash of lightning’, because that’s how fast people eat them. If that sounds unlikely and far-fetched, then congratulations, you have become as jaded and suspicious as I am.

Eclairs made their debut in France in the 1800s, first under the name ‘pain à la Duchesse’. The dough is pure delicate pastry dough, same as you’ll find in a cream puff. It’s baked into an oblong shape, then stuffed with some sort of custard: chocolate, pistachio, vanilla, coffee, or even a rum custard if you happen to live near the best baker ever. Then a topping of fondant is smeared as the crown. It’s a perfect pastry treat, which makes me really question why we opted not to eat this celebration.

Of course we could have swung by our local Tim Hortons and purchased a Long John. Long Johns are the North American version of the éclair: made with doughnut pastry and stuffed with a vanilla custard or whipped cream, topped with a chocolate glaze. The Tim Hortons versions of this are disappointing, but then most of their doughnuts are disappointing these days. A Long John wouldn’t cut it.

And unfortunately, for health reasons neither would an éclair. But we can dream. Oh, can we ever dream.

National Onion Rings Day

So if we’re abandoning some dessert celebrations, should we not also abandon some of our deep-fried ones? I’m voting with a hell-no. We can’t drain all the enjoyment from this little project, can we?

Hey, here’s a fun fact I wish I hadn’t learned: you can also make onion rings out of onion paste. That involves boiling onions and mashing them into a viscous goo, then presumably forming that goo into a ring shape, breading it and dropping it into the deep fryer. This sounds like a lot of work for a food that separates into ring shapes all on its own. But I’m a little curious to try this.

Let’s face it, the only real hassle of onion rings (unless you don’t like onions to begin with, in which case there are two hassles) is when you bite into one and pull the entire onion innards out of its crispy shell. This can be messy and lob droplets of grease onto your favourite shirt. I assume if you were working with onion paste you wouldn’t have this problem. I hope someone tries this out and invites me over to sample.

I say this because I have no intention of trying this myself. I don’t have the onions, the patience, or the deep fryer to make it happen. I do, however, have access to a number of stores and restaurants that can put together a half-decent onion ring, so that did the trick for us. DQ’s rings are known for being particularly greasy, crispy, and magnificent.

Crisco put out an ad in 1933 with a recipe for onion rings, likely the first published recipe for the stuff. Kirby’s Pig Stand, an American restaurant chain that also claims to have invented Texas toast, says they invented the onion ring in the 1920s. But there’s a recipe from an 1802 cookbook that describes the process almost perfectly, though includes parmesan cheese as part of the batter. That sounds better than anything Kirby’s Pig Stand would have created.

Onion rings are always a favourite for us. This was a tasty one.

National Kissing Day

I’m not sure about this one. International Kissing Day, and according to another site, National Kissing Day, shows up on July 6. Perhaps the site that suggests it should be on June 22 is erroneous. Perhaps this world could simply benefit from more kissing so this should be celebrated twice. That’s the approach we’re taking with this one. Let’s unleash the lips and do this.

So how did we celebrate? We kissed, of course. But since that’s so obvious it barely merits a mention, we also did a bit o’ book-learnin’. Some anthropologists believe the kiss is a natural act, derived from our infantile suckling, or from checking out potential mates by inspecting their saliva – an approach that almost never worked for me when I was single. Others believe the Europeans started it, and spread it around the globe.

Kissing can mean all sorts of things, depending on where you happen to be, both geographically and historically. It can be an act of affection – in many cultures kissing someone on the mouth can be a platonic emotional statement. In religious circles it can be an expression of reverence and respect, such as when Christians kiss a bishop’s ring (or that of a mafia don). It can be a sign of simple friendship or a cultural greeting.

In this COVID age, kissing is reserved mainly for folks who live in the same house. I imagine Europeans are struggling with this, as the tradition of cheek-kissing friends and acquaintances gets pushed aside for social distancing. But Jodie and I share no such fears for one another, and we made out like bandits yesterday. Not all great celebrations are around food. Can’t wait to do this again in two weeks.

Stupid Guy Thing Day

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Thomas and Ruth Roy, inventors of 80+ of the weirdest celebrations in our calendar this year. I swear, when all this is over we need to take the Roys out for a meal and discuss a few of these.

Stupid Guy Thing is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a day to commemorate the idiotic activities that only a guy could come up with, due to our natural instincts to endanger innocent lives in search of arbitrary things our buddies can cheer us on for. Nowadays guys often do these things for likes, for Reddit upvotes, or in the hopes of appearing in some video montage, hopefully not entitled Epic Fails.

I felt it would be a humbling experience to recount some of my own stupid guy experiences, as I have done a few. I should note that while I expect my wife may lose respect for me as I go through this list, I have already celebrated National Kissing Day with her, so I feel as though she might still like me enough to stick around. I guess we’ll see.

In junior high, some friends and I climbed around the cliffs of the river valley, including beside Quesnell Bridge. In high school we found the walkway beneath that bridge, and scaled out to the edge of one of the support beams, despite there being no railing or anything to grab hold of to steady ourselves. It just seemed like an optimal place to smoke a joint. My buddy and I went on a spree one night of lighting recycling blue boxes on fire, leaving little puddles of melted plastic on the sidewalk near his house. In winter we’d head down to the zoo parking lot and not only do donuts on the slick roads, but we’d also take turns riding on the hood of my buddy’s Buick while doing so. Another adventure saw us piled on the running boards of my friend’s Suburban as it bounded over the grassy hills beside the zoo.

And that’s just the surface – I dare not scratch further as the stories will become even stupider and guyer. Let’s just say all guys have tales of idiocy in their pasts. It’s what we do in the present that we should be judged by. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go shotgun the rest of our vodka, just for a pick-me-up.

Take Your Pet To Work Week

Pet Sitters International launched this celebration in 1999 as a lead-up to Take Your Dog To Work Day, which lands on Friday. Funny thing about Friday, neither Jodie nor myself will be at work, though I will be bringing my dogs to my upstairs office, where I’ll be working on that day’s article.

But yesterday was Monday, and we were both at our actual places of employment. Sort of. Jodie had to go into school so kids could return their books, but she was advised that bringing in a dog would not be allowed. This makes sense, and I’d just as soon not have one of my beloved canine research assistants racing from germ-filled kid to germ-filled kid to germ-filled staff member. So the job fell to me.

Given that I spend much of my every day in my home office now, including my work days, this was easy. The dogs follow me to work, in particular if I’m bringing food to eat at my desk. And having dogs (or really any pets you care about) makes a workday flow so much easier. Sure, they provide a distraction, and Rosa, our French bulldog, emits this weird whining noise whenever she sees the neighbour’s cat outside, but once you get past that having them at work is a delight.

I have been celebrating Take Your Pet To Work Week ever since the last week of March, and I hope to continue celebrating it for the rest of 2020. This might be the big winner of the greatest celebration of the year. Though those onion rings were pretty damn tasty…

African-American Music Appreciation Month

Okay, as natural as kissing may come us snog-happy married folks, this one is even more natural. African-American music is without question the greatest music this floating, spinning rock has ever produced. They gave us jazz. They gave us gospel – not the mournful, chanting kind but the kind that kicks and swings. They gave us the blues, which formed the basis for R&B and rock ‘n roll. They gave us soul. They gave us funk. They gave us hip hop. They gave us Hootie, if not specifically the Blowfish.

Jodie and I were raised on African-American music. Her dad used to play in a blues band, so Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Jimmy Reed were mainstays to her childhood soundtrack. My dad was enamoured by the sounds of classic Motown and Stax, so I grew up with those songs in my blood.

Our daily music selections are packed with these artists and more, whether it’s through the month of June or any other time. With all those genres to choose from, it’s hard to pinpoint one unifying concept that binds African-American music together, but if I were to guess (and I am to guess; it’s my article and I’ll allow it), it would be a deep sense of feel. Jazz may be a style packed full of technique and mathematics, but it’s the feel of artists like Miles, Mingus and Holliday that bring it to life. Soul music is almost always a standard 4/4 beat, but it’s the essence of the vocal stylings and the gelling of the instruments that make it real. Funk is also a simple construct, but it’s the way the surge of intangible oomph hammers the 1 that gives it a spark. Hip hop is often constructed through samples of other work, but it’s the way it’s all put together and the passion and poetry of the lyrics that makes it triumph.

African-American music is pure music, and we are happy to celebrate it pretty much every day of our lives. If you aren’t, if you lean more toward country, classical, or something else entirely, this is the month to make an exception.

And on we roll to the next great batch of greatness:

  • National Hydration Day. We’ll drink plenty of fluids.
  • National Pink Day. Should we listen to some Pink? Wear some pink? We’ll find something to do with this.
  • National Pecan Sandies Day. Thanks, mom! Our team baker will be coming through with some tasty cookies today.
  • Let It Go Day. No singing that song from Frozen. We’ll release some of our inherent bitterness I suppose.
  • National Columnists’ Day. We already celebrated newspaper columnists once this year. I guess they get two?
  • Runner’s Selfie Day. Ugh. More selfies, and whilst running too. These won’t be flattering.
  • Pink Flamingo Day. With none around to entertain us, we’ll learn about these creatures.
  • Typewriting Day. Oh to hear the thwack-thwack-thwack of a typewriter again.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Saturday felt like our biggest test in embracing this calendar-prescribed madness. Fifteen celebrations and over 4,400 words in the article left little time for much else, apart from going for doughnuts and watching the new Spike Lee joint (which is outstanding). Yesterday we were faced with another dozen potential celebrations – more if we felt like incorporating a few national month or week parties. Which we did not. In fact, even tackling that twelve was highly unlikely. A guy’s gotta live. Besides, yesterday was a day meant for my recreation. It was, after all…

Father’s Day

My children ensured this would be a very efficient holiday. We had completed celebrating it before noon, thanks to their phone calls arriving in quick succession in the morning. Jodie called her dad, and with that we were done.

The Catholics have been celebrating fathers since the middle ages, though they did it on Saint Joseph’s Day in March. Mother’s Day came first in our culture, but by 1910 Father’s Day was a regular occurrence. But that’s just here – fathers are honoured in different ways on different dates by cultures across the planet. And some of the traditions can be a bit more interesting than a phone call or a hastily-wrapped ugly tie.

In Mozambique they celebrate Father’s Day pretty much every Friday, which I think is just grand. In Indonesia they pay a lot more attention to Mother’s Day (December 22), since Father’s Day wasn’t even a thing until 2006. In Kazakhstan they meld it with the day to celebrate the creation of their armed forces, so that dulls the party a little bit. In Thailand, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day land on the birthdays of the king and queen, and the celebrations lean more towards honouring those two individuals than parents in general. In France, Father’s Day was introduced by Flaminaire, a lighter manufacturer, in 1949. Their mission? Sell more lighters.

Germany gets it right. They align their Father’s Day with Ascension, which takes place on a Thursday, 40 days after Easter. This is also a mandatory day off in Germany, so dads get a real treat by getting to skip work. Also, it’s tradition to drink heavily on this day, so that’s another bonus.

All I wanted for yesterday was a great brunch and phone calls from my kids. The family delivered. Even in a sea of celebrations, this one managed to stand out as extra-special.

National Peaches ‘n Cream Day

There is no great history to National Peaches ‘n Cream Day, nor is there any great history to the dish itself. Someone bit into a peach and thought, “Hey, this would go well with cream!” And just like that, the face of dessert was forever altered. Likewise, someone who enjoyed this treat felt it should get its own day.

As I’ve stated before, some of our celebrations don’t lend themselves as well to the article format, unless I have a hankering for rambling on ad nauseum, just to fill space. Fortunately for my readers, I get that urge quite often. Isn’t that wonderful?

All I’ll say about this day is that we faced two options on how to celebrate it. Option one: slice up some peaches, pop ‘em in a bowl, then glob some whipped cream overtop to create the simplest dessert recipe we’d use all year. Option two: follow this recipe, which involves cooking a simple syrup, then coating the peaches and letting them bake, followed by drizzling some heavy cream overtop. Doesn’t that sound far more appealing?

That’s what we did. And it failed completely. In making the simple syrup the sugar and water began to caramelize, leading to it flopping onto the peaches in an ugly clump. Putting it in the oven only made it harden. So, we tossed out the caramelized sludge, and just spritzed some whipped cream on the peaches instead. That worked.

National Day of the Gong

This one we came very close to skipping entirely, as we have precisely zero gongs on the premises with which to celebrate it. I had planned an outing to a nearby musical instrument shop, where we could each take a turn smashing a gong triumphantly – either with the staff’s permission or in the short window before they asked us to leave. But alas, this was another COVID-cancelled celebration.

But then I read a bit deeper into the gong, and felt there was something to learn here. How much do we know about gongs anyway? We know they are of Chinese origin, that Nick Mason had one in his Pink Floyd drum kit, and that Marc Bolan and T-Rex would like us to bang upon one whilst trying to figure out what the hell a hubcap diamond-star halo is.

Did you know there’s such a thing as a nipple gong? Not as kinky as it sounds, it’s a gong with a raised center “nipple”, allowing you to make two distinctive noises upon it. But wait, things get even more curious when we dive into what gongs have been used for in the past. Any shipping vessel over 100 meters long must carry a gong on board, as well as bells and a whistle. When they’re anchored they ring a bell at the bow then smash the gong at the stern to give other vessels an idea of their length.

Before sirens existed, emergency vehicles were known to carry gongs on board to tell people in a dramatic way to move aside. Railcars still use gongs for signalling where whistles and horns aren’t allowed. Boxing arenas will still use a gong to start and end rounds. Some theatres make use of gongs (or electronic gong sounds now) to let people know when intermission is over.

And here I thought they were just for making trippy, psychedelic music.

National Arizona Day

The Grand Canyon State is our next stop in our weekly culinary tour around America. The bad news here is that the cuisine of Arizona, which I looked for on a number of sites, looked extremely similar to the cuisine of New Mexico. This is fine – a lot of Latin influences and classic Mexican dishes. I would happily dine on Mexican food every week, except we literally just had this a week ago, and repeating the same celebration for subsequent weekly state visits doesn’t feel right.

So we had some Arizona Iced Tea, once famous for not raising their price of 99 cents per can for years, now famous for having raised their price up to $1.29. Also, as I stated on National Iced Tea Day, I highly prefer actual brewed tea poured over ice to the sugary concoction that passes for iced tea around here. Arizona is no exception. This is why I tried the fruit punch variety instead. It was okay. Not the celebration we’d hoped for. Then, at my mother’s suggestion I added a splash of vodka to it, rendering it exponentially more drinkable.

But that’s okay. There was lots to explore about Arizona, and plenty I didn’t know. Arizona contains some curious contradictions. It’s known as a desert state, but it also features numerous ski resorts. It contains a vast number of indigenous Americans, with about a quarter of the state put aside for reservations, including land for the Navajo. Yet when the federal government gave all American Indians the right to vote in 1924, Arizona denied it to its Indian peoples on reservations. It took the Supreme Court to overturn this injustice in 1948. In 2006 Arizona was the first state to reject a proposition to make same-sex marriage illegal. Great, right? Except two years later they did ban same-sex marriage and even amended the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. What the hell, Arizona?

Let’s have a look at some of the great folks to come out of Arizona, lest we acquire a politically jaded view of the state. We’ve got the lovely and talented Aidy Bryant from Phoenix, Linda Rondstadt from Tuscon (as we all know from her verse in Paul Simon’s “Under African Skies”), Lynda “Wonder Woman” Carter from Tuscon, Stevie Nicks from Phoenix, Barbara Eden from Tuscon, Charles Mingus from Nogales, Emma Stone from Scottsdale, and of course the character John Rambo, who hails from Bowie.

While the tea was a bit of a bust, we are still fascinated by Arizona and hope to head there someday. If only to figure out its contradictory tendencies.

National Selfie Day

Do selfies really need a day? I mean, open up any social media platform and there they are, scattered all over the place. People seem to love taking pictures of themselves, often with some weird duckbill mouth expression and a two-finger peace sign. They do this in bathrooms, in gyms, in front of their fridges, and even in stupid places, like Holocaust memorials. And what’s worse, some people have made money with this. They have become sponsored influencers, sprinkling their selfies with product placement and just the right “look”.

I don’t hate the selfie. We all have cameras at the ready at all times of day, and I think this increased ability to document our lives is terrific for keeping memories alive – something I worry about as I get older and my mind threatens to dissolve faster than old Alka-Seltzer. Jodie and I have taken selfies many times when we’ve been out on dates. It makes more sense than asking a stranger to take the pic or potentially run away with our phone.

But I wince a little at creating a day to celebrate the selfie. It’s like having a holiday to celebrate food pics. We know they’re there. We contribute many of them to the universe, much to the delight of pretty much no one.

But here we are, and we can’t let a celebration this simple pass us by. For a twist on the selfie, we decided to contribute a couple of entries from the sub-genre, the pet-selfie. We’ve been told many times that people enjoy looking at our dogs more than looking at us, and we honestly can’t blame them.

National Turkey Lovers Day / Turkey Lovers Month

The turkey breeders in America released this day unto the world back in 2016. To be specific, this was done by the National Turkey Federation. And I’m glad they opted for the more majestic and Starfleet-sounding ‘Federation’ instead of ‘Association’. It lends a certain badassery to the turkey that I feel was lacking.

Turkey on its own fails to inspire either of our taste buds to do an anticipatory dance. It’s a fine poultry, but not nearly as versatile as chicken or flavourful as duck. We’ve over-eaten the stuff at holidays since we were old enough to chew, and it’s almost always done the same way: roasted. Sometimes with stuffing crammed into its nether parts, but it’s still just roasted meat. Turkey is notable to us only if it’s appearing alongside other ingredients in a club sandwich, if we’re snagging a piece of crispy skin at Thanksgiving, or in the form of the turkey burger.

That was how we celebrated this day. Jodie thoughtfully mixed up a batch of delicious turkey burgers which I threw on the barbecue. These were washed down by Arizona iced tea and followed up with peaches ‘n cream, so it was quite a strangely-balanced meal of mirth.

In a sense we also indulged in some roundabout Arizona cuisine. Arizonians are fond of Mexican food, and turkeys were first domesticated and turned into foodstuffs in ancient Mexico. William Strickland was the navigator who brought the bird back to England in 1550 and introduced it to the regional cuisine. They got their anglicized name likely because they believed the birds to have originated in the Ottoman Empire – so if you were wondering, the name for the country came before the name for the bird.

We may not be turkey ‘lovers’, but we are turkey ‘likers’, and that qualified us to participate in this celebration. Close enough.

World Day of Music

Fête de la Musique was a creation of Jack Lang and Maurice Fleuret, both part of the Ministry of Culture in France in 1982. It was seen as a way to get people out of their homes and onto the streets, playing music for others. In the decades since the celebration has been adopted by more than 700 cities in 120 countries. There are free concerts, and encouragement for buskers to show off their skills.

The one catch – at least in France, and that’s kind of what matters since this day originated there – is that the performances have to be free. Money should not be a barrier to experiencing music. This is art of the people, for the people.

Had there been any free concerts yesterday in town, we would have attended. But alas, we’re back in COVID country here, and we had to improvise. The take we opted for was to have music playing all day, into the evening, from the moment we woke up. We missed the first chunk of the day, as we had phone calls from kids and a deep desire not to arise from bed until well after noon, but the rest of the day was awash in quality tuneage.

We celebrate music every day here, whether it makes the official roster of parties or not. As I’ve mentioned before, I recorded the birthdays of hundreds of albums in my initial research for this project, believing I’d somehow have time to weave all that in to what we’re doing. I haven’t, but I have been picking out those albums and playing through them quite often, giving us a chance to appreciate them as the pieces of art they were intended to be, beginning to end.

However you may or may not have celebrated this one yesterday, it’s a good thing to include into your everyday lives. Don’t just drop some tunes on in the background; shut up and listen. Your life will be richer for it.

International Yoga Day

It may surprise you that this is actually a United Nations celebration. Or, if you’ve been paying attention to the wide swath of celebrations this year which have the UN as their origin story, it may not surprise you at all. And it shouldn’t; the UN is simply recognizing that yoga is a powerful force for self-improvement, working on a mental, physical and spiritual level.

Yoga began to find its current form sometime around the 5th or 6th century BC, but it’s believed it has been practiced in some sense for around 5,000 years. Over in this part of the world, far from India where yoga came to be, yoga was seen as a physical posture and relaxation type of exercise for a number of years. It was yankee-fied, in a sense. Its origins are far more spiritual however, and you’ll find that a lot of modern yoga teachers have incorporated spiritual elements and awareness to their techniques.

The UN offered up a virtual event to honour this day, but for some reason they broadcast it on June 19, two days early. That was an odd choice. This would have been a great opportunity to broadcast a free world-wide yoga class. Somehow the notion of potentially thousands or more doing yoga at the same time sounds like it has to be good for the universal energy, right?

Jodie took part in this one. She loves yoga, and has been crushed that she hasn’t been able to attend a class in more than three months – four really, as she was quite ill for a spell before the lockdown began. But she found an online source for some quality yoga, and she’s familiar enough with the positions to pull it off on her own. My chronically sore arms prevent me from doing a lot of the yoga poses so I was happy just to watch. It was particularly entertaining when our dogs decided to help out.

National Indigenous Peoples Day / National Indigenous Peoples Month

The government of Canada created this day for all of us to pay tribute to our indigenous citizens: the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who were here before any of us crackers set foot upon what we now call Canadian soil. And this year, while the country down south erupts in flames and furor, it’s more important than ever to look at our relationship with the first inhabitants of this land.

In short, it hasn’t been good. America has more of a reputation of slaughtering their indigenous neighbours, and while Canada certainly butchered its share, in a way what we did was more sinister. Reservations were created in both countries. But there was a grotesquely massive effort made here to “fix” the indigenous people by Europeanizing them. Our American friends had nothing that quite compared with the Canadian residential school – young indigenous kids were grabbed mercilessly from their families and brought to these schools where they were trained how to… well, how to be white. How to dress white, talk white, and believe in the God that the white folks subscribed to. These kids were raised in an environment that made American reform schools look like vacation resorts – there was no love, no guidance, no affection. Then they were shot back out into the world, giving birth to children and not knowing how to raise them with compassion and love. They had nothing to model.

It’s a horror story, and it came to an end in the 1990s. The goddamn 1990s. The last victims of residential schools would be younger than me. Then we’ve got the 60s Scoop, which actually occurred well into the 80s. This was the process of once again yanking kids from their indigenous families and plopping them into foster care or adoption. Some kids didn’t make it to another home in Canada – they were whisked away to America or Europe. These are horrific acts that happened way past the North American genocides. They even occurred after we’d become familiar with the American Indian crying in that commercial about pollution.

So yesterday was a day to reflect upon that, and what’s more, to look at the systemic racism that’s plaguing black people in America and how that is reflected in the way our indigenous people are treated up here. You’ve got the same over-incarceration, the same chronic poverty, violence and substance abuse cycles. We’ve also got something called ‘starlight tours’, which is when police will haul indigenous people to the outskirts of a city, possibly beat them, or maybe just dump them by the side of the road and let them find their own way home. That happens in the dead of winter. And it happens here. In my city.

Shit needs to change, and we are hopeful the world is in an ideal place to bring about that change right now. All lives will matter when black lives matter, and up here when indigenous lives matter. We’ve come a long way, but we ain’t there yet.

World Giraffe Day

And on a happier note, let’s give a little love to one of the goofiest looking creatures on the planet. According to the day’s official site, there are only 111,000 giraffes still roaming the planet. There are no webinars or special events – the conservation people simply need funds to keep protecting these beasts. We encourage you to donate if you can.

Giraffes are the tallest land-dwelling creatures we’ve got. They cluster together in groups of related females or swinging bachelors, and the males establish who’s got the biggest swinging dick in the herd by flinging their necks at one another in one of the most bizarre displays of nature I’ve ever seen. So what can we learn about these quirky giants?

They see in colour, and because of the placement of their eyes they have a 360-degree view around them. They also have sharpened senses of smell and hearing, which is good – you’ll need some defenses on your side if you’ve got a weirdly high center of gravity. The giraffe’s tongue is about 18 inches long, so I’d avoid kissing one if it comes up. Giraffes have two speeds: walking or galloping. Their gallop can take them up to 60km/h, so they’d be fine to ride around city streets without getting a ticket, but they won’t handle freeway speeds. It doesn’t matter – don’t do this. Don’t buy a giraffe to ride. It’s a bad idea.

Giraffes are polygamous, which is probably good for keeping the species going. This is important, as it takes between 400 and 460 days for a baby to drop, and when they do, it’s almost always just a single baby. Luckily, giraffes can live up to 38 years, so there’s lots of time for copulation and such. Of course, humans have done their part to kill off giraffes, but giraffes have actually been strangely helpful to us. NASA scientists studied giraffe skin for uniforms for astronauts and fighter pilots, as they sought to find a way to keep the blood from rushing to their heroes’ legs during flight.

There’s a lot to learn from giraffes, and it’s really never boring to just watch them out there, giraffing. If you’re feeling particularly generous and want to help out some long-necked weirdos, toss some money toward the conservation efforts. This world would be a lot more dull without these lanky goofs.

After a couple of manic, far-too-busy days, we can cool down with a relatively doable Monday:

  • National Chocolate Eclair Day. Well that’s just awesome.
  • National Onion Rings Day. It just gets better and better. We’ll be careful to not enjoy these two treats simultaneously.
  • National Kissing Day. I like this day. This is a pretty cool day.
  • Stupid Guy Thing Day. No idea what to do for this. Shotgun a beer? Wear socks and sandals? Blow something up?

Sunday, June 21, 2020

With a cloudless sky and a beckoning sun screaming at me through my window, how can I justify churning out another 3500-word essay to describe all of our manic Saturday celebrations? Is there no hammock for the weary, no pause for the devoted? Must I churn out paragraph upon paragraph of history, recap and quirky trivia? This is my lot for 2020, and I dare not turn back now. Not when a Saturday can leave us this full of merriment and activity to fill every waking, non-intoxicated minute:

National Hike With A Geek Day

This one felt desperately kitchy and wholly arbitrary until I read about the reasoning behind it. At one time there was this notion that all “geeks” (which back then meant people into computers, technology, and possibly prog rock) were pasty-skinned schlubs who never exercised, and seldom left the confines of their home for adventure.

The 21st century geek can be pretty much anyone. That guy kayaking down the Colorado River might be a music geek, with shelves stacked with old 78s and an in-depth knowledge of who played which instrument in every iteration of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The linebacker who just sacked the quarterback might have been raised in New York and fancies himself a musical theatre geek who knows every word to South Pacific. And that lady who just lapped you three times in your casual and exhausting jog might know how to strip a motherboard of all its parts and fix it.

The notion of geek-dom, as explained on Geek Pride Day (May 25), has expanded. And Jodie and I are both geeks of some nature: me with music and movies and her with theatre. So while we appreciate that some geeks still cling to their indoor oases with both hands, we are also aware that as a society we have moved on from the old 80s stereotype. So we embraced our geekiness and set out on a nice hike yesterday, which would have been much easier to capture in a picture if we hadn’t brought these dogs with us.

However you look at it, this is another get-out-and-do-something celebration, so that’s what we did.

Nature Photography Day

This one had to be bumped – it came up last Monday, and this week has been just too busy to fit it all in. But here we are.

The North American Nature Photography Association (which gets the delightfully familial acronym NANPA) designated June 15 to be the official day for everyone to take a momentary interest in the hobby. There were numerous NANPA member instructional online seminars, only one of which was free. And it looks like that free one took place last Wednesday, so I have nothing to report.

Nature photography is a tremendous skill, one which we do not possess even slightly. It takes patience and stealth to capture that perfect shot without spooking your subject out of the frame. We have a hard enough time doing this with our dogs; to get a great close-up of a bird, a bug or even our squatter/tenant squirrel, Elton, is not an easy task.

Yesterday we made it our mission to try to snap a decent nature pic each. This was particularly challenging given the full slate of activities we had to tackle throughout the day, but dammit we did it. You can see Jodie’s best effort on the left and mine on the right. Hey, trees are nature too, right? Sometimes the plant life is all you can immortalize, especially when there isn’t a lot of animal life roaming about. We opted to exclude dogs, as we take plenty of pictures of them. Jodie’s shot is a close up of one of the roses growing outside our living room, while I captured the fermented (and likely intoxicating) berries Liberty leaps at during our daily hikes. We think she likes to get a little buzz on.

If nothing else, this day helped to reinforce our respect for the quality nature photographers of the world. NANPA had a contest going for the best submission, but I don’t think we had anything to qualify. Hey, we gave it a shot.

National Vanilla Milkshake Day

Break out the eggs and whiskey, it’s time to celebrate milkshake day!

No, I haven’t just suffered from a stroke – that’s what milkshakes used to be. In 1885 it was described as a tonic, an eggnog like beverage with eggs and whiskey. Fifteen years later, it was discovered that no one wanted this to exist, and the milkshake was reconceived as a “wholesome” treat consisting of ice cream and milk.

We don’t have a milkshake maker, just a plain ol’ blender. But the beauty of milkshakes is that they’re hard to screw up. They also pair brilliantly with a boastful summer solstice.

Milkshakes were once deeply intertwined with youth culture, back before youth culture was a marketable demographic. The malt shop was the place to meet up, and the milkshake was the perfect summer beverage. It was milkshakes that first attracted Ray Kroc into the food world, as he’d travel around selling them before elbowing his way into the McDonalds franchise.

We have three milkshake days this year, unless more happen to pop up along the way. Chocolate Milkshake Day is in September and Coffee Milkshake Day pops up next month. This was a genuine treat to have such a celebration on a perfectly toasty day. It could only be surpassed by another, very similar celebration we could enjoy at the same time:

National Ice Cream Soda Day

What is the difference between an ice cream soda and an ice cream float? Nothing. Or possibly something. It depends where you’re from or which kind you’re enjoying. We have National Root Beer Float Day cropping up in August, so to celebrate the same thing today would simply be setting us up for reruns. No one wants reruns.

But reruns is what we got. We were going to go with a different version of the ice cream soda. For that one, you plop some ice cream and flavoured syrup into a glass. Top that off with carbonated water, stir and enjoy. Unfortunately, the flavoured syrup we had was from a home slurpee machine that Abbey bought with her first job (she used it once). The syrup that accompanied it had an expiry date of 2017. So a root beer float would have to do.

The variations on the float or soda concept are immense. In Boston they use Vernors Ginger Ale with vanilla ice cream to make a Boston Cooler. In Brazil the Vaca Dourada (golden cow) is made with vanilla ice cream and guarana soda. The Helado Flotante in Mexico is lemon sherbet and cola. I’ve got to try that one. Then of course there’s the classic Guinness Float, with Guinness stout, ice cream, and a shot of espresso if you feel your insides haven’t been messed with enough.

Our summer is going to be filled with brilliant celebrations like these. We will be consuming so much ice cream, we may explode. I’m willing to take that risk.

National Seashell Day

I think most tundra-dwellers who were fortunate enough to enjoy the occasional vacation to a non-tundra, ocean-adjacent locale as a kid probably had a seashell collection. I certainly did. Every time I’d look at those shells, gathering dust in one of my dad’s old cigar boxes, I’d recall how much I loved gathering them from their sandy homes, washing them up, and adding them to a stash I believed would grow immense with all my travels.

It did not. But I had a few, and they were grand. They most likely didn’t survive the move from my childhood home when I was 19, though it wouldn’t surprise me if my mom was to show up one Sunday afternoon with that old cigar box in her hand. This wouldn’t exactly thrill me, as my desire to collect seashells is non-existent at present, but it would be interesting.

I popped over to sanddollarshelling.com to learn a few facts about seashells yesterday. Shells are mollusk homes. The mollusks create this exoskeleton out of proteins and calcium carbonate (which is not, as I learned yesterday, another way of saying ‘fizzy milk’), and they then proceed to wear them for the duration of their lives. So that collection I had as a kid – those were simply skeletons, in a way.

Hermit crabs, which are not mollusks, will wait for a mollusk to keel over before scooping out the innards and making use of the shell themselves. Hermit crabs are opportunists, I’ll give them that. Seashells have also been used throughout human history as currency. Rumor has it you can still do this in parts of Papua New Guinea, so if any enterprising tundra-folk have amassed a huge collection over their lives, that might be the ideal place to head for a cheap vacation.

While I have no desire to once again cultivate a collection of seashells, I would certainly enjoy finding myself in a location where doing so would be possible. This year will not see a tropical vacation for us (or for most people), but someday.

Ugliest Dog Day

I’m not really on board for this one. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve scrolled through a few online galleries of allegedly ugly dogs, and I’ve winced at a few of them. But maybe it comes from nearly two decades of having bulldogs and hearing people say moronic things about them like, “They’re so ugly they’re cute.” What does that even mean? Bulldogs are majestic and deeply textured. We should all be lucky enough to be so ugly.

Of course one cannot hold a contest for the ugliest-on-the-inside dog, as dogs are not born with hateful souls. Perhaps we should simply be celebrating the quirkiest looking dogs, with no insulting modifiers.

Whatever – we’ll play along because this is 2020 and we are supposed to play along with everything on our little calendar o’ mayhem. So in honour of this ridiculous day, here are some contenders for the ugliest dog. I’m sure each of them is a good boy or a good girl. They can’t help it if our silly human brains are wired for such aesthetic judginess. We people are all a little ugly inside.

Summer Solstice

This was the celebration that took the most time yesterday, and we’ll happily re-celebrate it every day that nature will allow. There are numerous ways to welcome the solstice around the globe, some of which date back centuries or more, back to times when we lived by the turning of the seasons. Here in the Canadian tundra, it’s not uncommon for snow to still live on the ground more than a month into spring, so the summer is precious. We’re also keenly aware that by the time the autumnal equinox comes a-callin’, we’ll most likely be deep into brilliantly-hued leaves and chillier temperatures. Halloween often lands after the beginning of our long winter.

So to honour this sacred day, we lay outside for a few hours and savoured the glimmer of summer Edmonton allows us to witness. We turned down the hot tub to its lowest setting, and used that as a chilly mid-tanning bath to awaken our cells and provide some relief from the cold. A nice beer also helped. My hammock (pictured above) held me in comfy splendour right through 3:43pm, when the earth reached its most glorious axis-tilt of the year.

Many solstice traditions are rooted in paganism. In Sweden they don flowers, do dances and feast for Midsommarstang. It’s rumored that if a single girl plops seven flowers under her pillow this night, she’ll dream of her future husband. Or wife – I’m sure these ancient traditions weren’t very LGBTQ-conscious, but we can update them as need be. Big bonfires are the tradition in Norway and Finland, while over at Stonehenge the new-school druids and pagans pop out to witness the sunrise.

In Latvia they leap over bonfires, while in Austria they simply light up a bunch of fires in the mountains, which seems profoundly dangerous. In China this is when they hold the Lychee and Dog Meat festival, which thankfully no longer involves the serving of dog meat. Yikes. I’m happy just enjoying the sun and embracing the incredibly limited summer we are allowed. Hopefully the next few months brings us a few of these wonderful days.

National Daylight Appreciation Day

This day was sponsored by Solatube, a company that will cut a hole in your roof and create a tube that will reflect and project the sunlight into a room in your home. Okay, that’s cool. But let’s look at how we’re really celebrating this day.

That photo up there was snapped at 11:08pm last night. On what is historically the longest day of the year, we enjoy sunlight in these parts long past the reasonable hour for darkness. In fact, our proximity to the Arctic Circle ensures that it never gets fully dark here in the weeks around the solstice. It’s not something most folks notice – at 2:00am it is still very much nighttime. But when I lived in a 20th floor apartment with windows facing north and east, I remember staying up all night and watching the sun’s glow scoot just below the northern horizon from the west all the way to its rising point in the east.

Having the kind of daylight where you can still play frisbee outside until after 10 is really fun. Sure, it sucks when you’re trying to get to sleep and it feels like the world is still in motion outside your window, but it also means your evening recreation can keep going until you’re ready to come inside, not simply when the sun tells you to.

So we honoured this day by heading outside at 11 and really appreciating the majesty of the endless day. Really, with a day as glorious as this solstice was, why would we ever want it to end anyway?

World Juggling Day

Have you ever attended a virtual juggling event? Well, as of yesterday I have. One of the events listed on the World Juggling Day website was an all-day jugglefest streaming live on a Zoom channel as well as a Twitch channel. I tuned in to find a skinny dude with no shirt on, wearing flesh-colored tights (which created an uncomfortable illusion of nudity in the medium and long shots), gracefully manipulating four softball-size glass orbs in his hands. It was damn hypnotic.

There were other live events, but honestly I couldn’t spend the entire day being entranced by juggling – I had a solstice to celebrate, as well as numerous ice cream treats. I’m a very busy man.

The real fun, of course, came when Jodie and I tried juggling. Her juggling experience is about a zero, and mine is only maybe a hair above that. When I was a teenager I passed the time learning to juggle with three tennis balls, or two in one hand. I got to the point where I could go a good five to ten seconds before dropping something. I opted to go no further, lest I fall in love with the pastime and decide to try to make a career out of it. In retrospect, I regret that decision. Being a professional juggler might not bring in the same bank as a government office drone, but I bet it’s a lot more fun.

So we gave it a shot with a few oranges. We weren’t good. My skills have deteriorated to that of an absolute novice. At this rate, we’ll never get invited to star in a twitch juggling livestream. It’s hard to write sentences like that, to reckon with our failures. Alas, these are the perils of such a short life.

Anne & Samantha Day

A twice-per-year celebration you’ve probably never heard of (we certainly hadn’t), Anne & Samantha Day drops on both solstices to pay tribute to Anne Frank and Samantha Smith.

We’ve all heard of Anne. Samantha was born just a couple years before me. When she was 10, while I was spending my days flying a plastic Millennium Falcon around my backyard, Samantha wrote to new Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, asking what he is doing to not have a war with America, and why he would want to take over the country. The letter was published in Pravda, the Soviet newspaper, but she never got a reply.

Until she did. She followed up with the USSR’s American ambassador, and in early 1983, while I was probably still flying that Falcon betwixt my birch trees, Yuri sent her an answer. He explained that the Soviet Union has vowed never to attack first with a nuclear weapon, and that they want peace as much as she does. He then invited Samantha to travel to Moscow, which she did. She even wrote a book about it.

So why on earth would Samantha’s day be paired with Anne Frank, who had died almost 30 years before Samantha was born? Well, like Anne, Samantha’s life was cut tragically short. She was killed in a plane crash at the age of 13. And like Anne, she provided the world with a unique perspective on a massive global conflict (or cold conflict in Sam’s case). And like Anne, we wonder what she might have done had she grown into adulthood with a pure and fiercely strong spirit.

We’ll send them some more love in winter – for now we fire off a bold salute to two very awesome humans.

Cuckoo Warning Day

This is another day tied directly the solstice. Tired of reading about these celebrations yet? Well, on solstice or equinox days you’ll have to expect a landslide of them. This one is purely a superstition, but I’m going to believe it’s true.

Even though it’s not. I don’t care – it’s not in my nature to attempt to carve the grooves in the universe, only to ride through them and enjoy the sounds they make. In the case of this auspicious day, the sound you do not want to hear in your universe is that of a cuckoo bird.

If you thought the mighty groundhog held an inordinate amount of power back in February, the cuckoo’s got him beat. Phil may hold domain over the ensuing six weeks of weather, but the cuckoo controls all of summer. If you hear the sound of a cuckoo on the summer solstice, you are destined for a wet summer.

Good news to my fellow tundra-dwellers: the cuckoo lives all over the planet, but not in the northwest corner of North America. If you heard a cuckoo yesterday, it was either in an old clock or a movie that featured an old clock. So hopefully this one does come true – we heard no cuckoo at all throughout the day.

But come on. Cuckoos are a widely distributed bird. It’s highly unlikely that no one in any region where they dwell will hear one, so logically this would mean a wet summer everywhere, every year. Except for here. And that simply isn’t the case. Then again, why am I wasting the effort to argue against a superstition that, even by superstition standards is ridiculously unlikely? Perhaps it’s the effects of the warm summer sun. Maybe I’ve gone a bit cuckoo myself. So what does that mean? Sleet? Anyone?

International Ragweed Day


According to the International Ragweed Society (you see how far down the rabbit hole of obscurity I’m willing to go for this project?), the first Saturday of summer is the day we are all supposed to pay attention to ragweed. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time I even thought about ragweed. Is it named that because you can use it as a rag, to tidy a spill of cognac in your den/smoking chamber?

No. At least, probably not. Ragweed is considered a pest, so if it has any beneficial uses, the IRS (that’s the International Ragweed Society, not that other IRS) isn’t boasting about it. Apparently the French ragweed people are putting on webinars every day between June 15 and 30. These “will be diffused from 11:30am to 12:00am (Paris time)” each day, according to the website. So if you’re into learning more about ragweed – and really, you should be – you should tune in online for each… diffusal.

The ragweed scourge is partly our fault. It’s native to North America, but has been tragically introduced in Europe, where it pops up as an unwanted invasive species. It’s believed (and the IRS will back me up on this) that climate change is playing a part in spreading the species around the continent.

Of course, if you’re allergic to ragweed pollen, you’ve probably thought about the plant often. A single ragweed plant can produce about a billion grains of pollen every damn season. It’s one of the most common allergies we’ve got (Jodie is dealing with it presently), so whoever got the idea to bring a plant over to Europe will hopefully be paying for it with a few centuries of karmic suffering.

As devout fans of human health, we flip a pair of taut middle fingers at the despicable ragweed, and hope each plant chokes on its own pollen this year.

International Surfing Day

Here’s something I hadn’t anticipated: International Surfing Day is not a day for surfing, but rather a day for surfers to band together and do some work to protect and preserve the coastlines they love. Most surfers, like skateboarders, snowboarders, etc., are very positive and considerate people. They don’t surf because they hate the ocean and want to show off how they can hold dominion over that stupid water that thinks it’s so great. No, from what I understand (and my surfing skills stretch no further than the Summer Olympics game on the Apple IIe), surfing is a very spiritual connection to the ocean.

So it makes sense that surfers will want to give back. Their website (all the better days have their own websites) suggests people do a solo beach cleanup and post the results online. They usually play a part in organizing mass cleanups, but mass anything this year is out of the question. They’ll also take donations toward environmental activities, if you’re so inclined.

Lacking an ability to remain buoyant in water and having the sense of balance of a drunken Barbapapa (look it up, non-Canadians), surfing is likely something I’ll never try. But we support the efforts of this day, and hope by the time International Coastal Cleanup Day rolls around in September that the world will be a bit more open to mass gatherings of well-intentioned, earth-and-ocean-loving folks.

To honour the high ideals of this day, I put on some vintage Dick Dale and rode the wave of that reverb-heavy guitar. It was great.

World Humanist Day

Hey there, humanists. Hope you had a good one.

Humanism seems like a difficult position to oppose, doesn’t it? If you’re not a humanist, are you an anti-humanist? Unless you’re loading up your twenty-three AK-47s and strapping your backup pistols to your abdomen in preparation for a violent rampage, you are probably not anti-humanist. But let’s be real: humanism is not so much an embrace of our fellow peeps as it is an anti-theist statement.

Humanists don’t believe in God. They believe in science, in reason, and in empathy. When deeply religious people question how someone who doesn’t subscribe to a faith can therefore possess the morality to lead a just and even potentially noble life, it’s humanism that counters that doubt. There are international humanist organizations all around the globe, but most humanists don’t belong to one. They simply accept their life view, and through zero rituals or traditions, they carry on and try to take care of one another.

Jodie and I are, as anyone who knows us will already be aware, humanists. We trust science above gut instinct, and reason and compassion are what drives our ethical considerations. We also believe that folks are entitled to subscribe to whatever faith fuels their motors, so long as that faith doesn’t rain on anyone else’s experience. Perhaps humanism seems so impossible to oppose because it simply is. Unless you are of the belief that anyone who doesn’t share your faith is a lesser being, you probably have no issues with humanists.

Yesterday was a great reminder to all of us that science is important, reason is crucial, and along with empathy and understanding those are the values upon which a society should be built.

Hooray for humans.

World Productivity Day

Today’s article, written yesterday and edited to seamless perfection today, was my longest yet, clocking in at over 4,000 words to cover fifteen celebrations. If that ain’t productivity, I don’t know what is.

And if yesterday didn’t exhaust us completely (and it may have), we’ve now got all this to deal with today:

  • National Peaches ‘n Cream Day. Dessert has already been decided. Nice.
  • National Day of the Gong. My original plan for this day was to Get It On to a local instrument store and Bang a Gong. Alas, this won’t be possible.
  • Go Skateboarding Day. I don’t believe we own one of these, so again – may not be possible. Plus, see above about my pathetic sense of balance. Might be a good thing to skip.
  • National Selfie Day. Woohoo! Narcissism!
  • National Arizona Day. The cuisine of Arizona came out very similar to the cuisine of New Mexico, which we celebrated last week. But there is one key difference: the iced tea.
  • Turkey Lover’s Day. And dinner tonight will be delicious turkey burgers.
  • Father’s Day. And as a treat, I’m hopeful Jodie will make those delicious turkey burgers to give this cooking dad the night off.
  • International Yoga Day. Jodie has this one covered.
  • World Day of Music. Non-stop music, all day long. I can get behind that.
  • National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is not an official holiday in Canada (and the Indigenous people deserve one), but we’ll look into their experience. There won’t be a lot of laughs in this section, but it needs to be discussed.
  • World Giraffe Day. Very cool creatures. We’ll learn what we can.
  • World Handshake Day. The one thing I hope COVID kills completely. I know where people’s hands have been – I don’t need to shake them. I’ll make my argument for the death of the handshake.