Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The seconds yesterday were like polished sand, slipping between my fingers and dirtying up the floor, along with all that damn dog hair. Work was busy, I needed to create a trivia game for my coworkers, Liberty was set to graduate from her second puppy class, and we had a pile of celebrations on the table to comb through. It might have exhausted us completely were it not for the grace of such bodacious revelry, like this:

National Beer Day (UK)

Lest you were wasting your day seeking out the correct hashtag with which to honour this sacred day, #cheersforbeer is the way to go. The consumers of beer in England have a delightful knack for creativity. They placed this day squarely on June 15 in order to honour the anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, which took place 805 years ago. There is a line in that sacred document that reads as follows: “Let there be throughout our kingdom a single measure for wine and a single measure for ale and a single measure for corn…”

So there you go. It’s not just a document that is at the foundation of our modern legal system, it also references beer. In particular I believe this portion of the document is stating we need to establish a standard wine glass, a universal pint, and… the cob. I don’t know, I’m not a lawyer.

If the pubs are open in Britain, they should be celebrating this day. Actually, I just checked – they aren’t. July 4 is the expected opening date, and by then National Beer Day will be but a distant memory. But not around here. Around here we forego with silly socialization and dig into our celebrations with only ourselves to hold one another accountable. Jodie skipped the day, as she does with most alcohol days and all beer days (because yes, I’m the cool one), but I enjoyed some Old Speckled Hen.

The Morland Brewery of Abingdon, Oxfordshire, has roots that date back to 1711. Old Speckled Hen was a 1979 creation, crafted to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the MG Car Company. It’s a delightful ale, and it made for a fine tribute to a nation whose beer history is among the richest and tastiest on the planet. I hope there are more beer days ahead.

Global Wind Day

Wind energy, the noise from which may or may not cause cancer, depending on whether you believe in science or goofy, idiotic speculation, may be the way of the future. Or maybe not. It has its drawbacks: those turbines are expensive to build, mount and maintain, and the blades can occasionally swat birds out of the sky. Honestly, I don’t see wind power replacing the fossil-fuel options we use today, but it can certainly be a big part of the solution.

The day’s official website features a number of essays… well, one from this year and one from last year, with a handful from 2018… and some nifty animated videos explaining how wind energy works and its history. There’s also an online quiz, which I was excited to take. Then I learned it’s a Zoom-meeting quiz, and that it took place four hours before I sat down to write this article. The website is European-run; by the time I was hard at work at my desk, these wind enthusiasts were already tucked into their breezy little beds.

That’s okay, I found this quiz instead, courtesy of the US Department of Energy. I didn’t know going in if this was going to be science based, or more centered around the current American administration’s approach to alternative energy. Anyway, I was set to answer “COAL, BITCH!” for every question, just in case.

Well, I scored only 4/13, so my knowledge of wind power is obviously embarrassingly low. But in messing up all those questions I did learn a lot. There are over 800 components in a single wind turbine, for example. That’s a lot to keep track of, and potentially a lot that could break down.

I’m giving a thumbs-up to this one, and I hope we can celebrate it next year in a world where wind energy is a much more accepted standard. We’ll see.

National Smile Power Day

Behold the power of the smile.

No really, that’s it. Just behold it. Behold it as long as you need to behold it until you feel it has been sufficiently beheld. This is a celebration to commemorate the power of a smile to change someone’s day, which we could have milked with our coworkers had this been a normal day. I only saw three of my coworkers on a conference call today, and while I smiled several times, I don’t believe it carried as much power as it might have in person.

But smile we did. We smiled at Liberty’s puppy class, but everyone did. We all felt the power. We all basked in its glory.

The suggestions for this day, apart from just smiling more? Learn a couple of jokes, ideally not racist or sexist ones. Make a list of the things that make you smile. Learn the art of spoonerisms, which is a letter-swapping game. So that way, if you’re at a restaurant you can say, “I’ll have the keys and parrots” instead of “I’ll have the peas and carrots.” Did you smile? Why the hell not?

First of all, since when are peas and carrots a dish that someone orders at a restaurant? What kind of restaurant is this? And will your waiter or waitress think you’re being clever or will they worry you just had a small stroke? And if you’re smiling, is that going to help your case or hinder it?

Screw it. We smiled. We didn’t go out and order weird shit from restaurants, nor did we learn little jokes to tell. We just smiled. Celebration celebrated.

National Prune Day

Ah, prunes. Commonly known as an old-person food, which means I had better start developing a taste for it now. I mean, they’re just plums with all the life sucked out of them, right? And plums are fantastic. Prunes just look like large raisins, or extra-large rodent turds. One interesting bit of tid about the prune is that in 2001 the United States prune people (not an official designation, and it sounds more like the basis for a monster movie) decided that ‘prune’ was just too much of an old-person term. So they got permission from the FDA to market their products as ‘dried plums’. Talk about changing the conversation.

Prunes will help to keep the machinery in motion, so far as digestion is concerned. They contain a lot of dietary fiber, so they’re great if your trips to the stall are yielding less than ideal results. The most impressive part of prunes is their stash of Vitamin K, which is great for the blood, bones, and other various inside parts. They also make for a great snack, assuming your house is otherwise devoid of better snack alternatives.

Look, I’m being a bit rough on the beloved prune, and on its special day no less. For this I offer only a scant apology. Prunes are slimy and weird. They don’t taste bad, but the texture is a little like what I’d imagine biting into a ferret’s scrotum might resemble. I’m all for the Vitamin K and pooping on the regular, but I don’t know if it’s worth the cost. My mouth feels gross after eating a couple of these, and I’m wondering if I’ll have it in me to finish this entire bag.

I kind of hope not.

National Kiss A Wookiee Day

There is a Facebook page for this celebration, which indicates that it has been celebrated since 2005. That’s kind of sweet, and I think we can all look back fondly on the spring of 2005 as the time when we saw the return of the Wookiee to Star Wars lore, as Chewbacca and his fellow Kashyyykians helped to fight off the bad guys in the third prequel film.

Now, we all know that Wookiees aren’t real. At least they’re not in this galaxy, which is not far, far away at all. But we probably all know some Wookiee-esque folks. In our case, that would be me. I have the extensive body hair and the tendency to moan incoherently as a form of primary communication. I also look pretty bad-ass with a crossbow (or so I suspect). So Jodie gave me a kiss yesterday as our resident Wookiee.

There’s really no other feasible way to celebrate this day. Peter Mayhew, the beloved actor who brought Chewbacca to life, has passed away, and I think he deserved a kiss more than the rest of us. I suppose if you find yourself anywhere near Joonas Suotamo, the guy who has played Chewy in the last few films, you can give him a kiss. But maybe warn him first – we don’t need to go getting arrested for this celebration.

Or if you do, please let us know. We’d love a story of one of these happy mirth-vessels spiraling out of control.

National Electricity Day

On this day back in 1752, Ben Franklin performed his infamous kite-fly, which brought forth the reality of electricity to a power-hungry world. He used a length of wet hemp rope to conduct the electricity, which was far safer than the lightning rods he had been using in his earlier experiments. There was a house key hanging from that hemp, connected to a Leyden jar, which was a method of storing an electric charge.

Ben’s kite didn’t get struck by lightning. Had that occurred, this would have likely been the final chapter in Ben Franklin’s story. But he noticed that the loose ends of the kite string were repelling each other, and that the Leyton jar was getting charged. It was a pretty bad-ass science experiment, and it led us as a people on a long, steady arc of progress to find ourselves sitting in front of electronic devices today, one hand down our pants and the other mindlessly scrolling through lengthy articles like these.

To celebrate this day, we could have flown a kite if we owned one (or if we’d had some free kite-flying time in the middle of the day), but instead we just marvelled at what this little experiment brought us. Electricity. That which we could not do without. Kind of a weak celebration for such a special day, but hey – we had prunes to eat too. We’re putting in the time.

National Lobster Day

Had we known about this day sooner, we might have prepared by grabbing some lobster upon which we could feast for dinner. But that’s okay – we’ve got plenty of food in this house, and there are a number of ways we can honour the beloved lobster. They are weird, freaky little creatures.

Lobsters appear to be eight-legged creatures, which I find to be utterly repulsive, but they’re actually ten-legged, as their front pincers are considered to be legs. They’ve got blue blood due to its copper content, and most of them are some shade of blue-green, which helps them blend in on the ocean floor. They only turn bright red once they have been rendered delicious through cooking, which really makes me wonder about Sebastian’s backstory. It’s hard to know just how long they live in the wild, but it’s estimated that if they can steer clear of predators, they can pull off 40 or 50 years of life. That’s pretty impressive.

Boiling lobsters live is actually quite frowned upon, and even illegal in parts of the world. You can stab them in the brain to kill them first, but even that won’t work, as the lobster’s brain operates from several ganglia, so one stab won’t cut it. Plopping them into a pot and slowly heating that pot up is just torture for lobsters. So how to kill them humanely so that you can deliver them to their melted-butter destiny with minimal guilt? There’s a device called the CrustaStun that will do the trick. This will electrocute your lobster and kill it painlessly.

It’s a lot of work, but isn’t it worth it? I mean – they’re noble creatures of the sea, and I get that animal lovers don’t like to see anything perish for human consumption, but damn… ever had a lobster roll? Those things are insanely good.

Happy Lobster Day to lobsters everywhere – we didn’t murder any of you for our celebration yesterday. We hope you appreciate it.

Today we roll on into another day of delicious mayhem:

  • National Fudge Day. “But I just made you fudge,” our team baker (hi, Mom!) told us. Yes, but that was for Nutty Fudge Day. This is just Fudge Day.
  • Bloomsday. We’ll be sipping some Irish whiskey and reading aloud from some James Joyce on this sacred day.
  • Fresh Veggies Day. Always good to enjoy some fresh veggies. We’ll hope this balances out the fudge.
  • No Orange Clothes Day. This will be easy to cover.
  • National Vinegar Day. Dare we dip our veggies in vinegar? Our fudge maybe? No, we won’t be doing any of that.
  • World Sea Turtle Day. Glorious creatures deserve some glorious love today.
  • Wish Fulfilment Day. My wish is for this day’s article to be much shorter and more to the point than the last few. We’ll see if that gets fulfilled.