Saturday, July 4, 2020

Spitting in the face of logic, slapping a tag upon the priceless fresco of reason, we plow forward through an entanglement of a fucktastic year with another batch of weirdly meaningless revelry. Today’s list was long, but aren’t they all getting a bit long? Has this become more a test of finger-plunking endurance than a dip in a perpetual pool of merriment? Has this project morphed from something to savour into something to conquer through sheer will and meandering pontification? These are the questions I try nightly to shut up in my head, mostly through carefully-plotted intoxication. But enough of this haunting speculation. Yesterday we watched Hamilton. We also did this:

National Eat Your Beans Day

Jodie, for those of you have not observed this when I’ve mentioned it before, can’t stand beans. I don’t mind them; I’d stop short of saying I love them, though a fried-up batch of green beans in butter with toasted almonds is a top-tier side dish. Beans are the filler in chili, which makes Texas-style beanless chili something truly magnificent, as we learned earlier this year on National Texas Day. Beans and hot dogs are tasty, but mostly because of the hot dogs that have been soaking in sweet bean-juice.

Beans are, as I understand it, crucial to vegetarians as a source of protein. This is, to me, an argument against vegetarianism as a lifestyle I could adopt unless a medical professional were to deem it absolutely necessary. Let’s face it, between beans and tofu, beans are the clear winner. And a thick, bloody steak will top both. For me, anyhow. Live and let eat, I always say.

So we figured a workaround. Sure, we could have opted for getting some green beans to honour this day, but they would not have gone well with our leftover Chinese food for supper. And nothing says a trip to virtual Broadway (Hamilton on Disney+!) like jelly beans. We stopped by Carol’s Quality Sweets and snagged some of those magnificent jelly beans that resemble small rocks. Celebration accomplished.

National Chocolate Wafer Day

I’m not sure if the purpose of a wafer cookie is to resemble a waffle somehow, but both contain those distinctive raised markings. For the waffle, those are clearly syrup repositories, designed for maximum sweet deliciousness in every bite. For the wafer cookie, the texture provides a fluffy and intriguing mouthfeel. It’s really a confectionary delight that has been vastly underused in terms of its potential.

The only wafer cookies we can find at our local grocer are generic-branded, bulk biscuits wrapped in plastic and intended for inclusion in some sort of baked dish or ice cream treat (or, in the case of our Baked Alaska a few months back, both). As cookies they are somewhat unimpressive. We had a few, and that was probably enough to satisfy anything close to a craving for the next several months or years.

So why hasn’t anyone done something great with the basic wafer? I’ve had stroopwafels before, those little waffle-cookies with a layer of caramel between them, and that’s as close to wafer supremacy that I’ve seen. But there has to be more we can do with the mighty wafer. This is an untapped resource of potential empty calories. Come on, Mr. Christie, come on, Keebler Elves. Someone has to bring the wafer to its true potential.

For now, the ones pictured above will have to do.

National Stay Out of the Sun Day

Ah, a day to give our skin a much-needed break from roasting underneath that big ol’ chemical fire in the sky. That would be lovely if you lived somewhere that isn’t Edmonton, which has been hammered by rain and gloomy overcastness for the last few weeks, and has seen maybe two days worthy of laying in a hammock or lawn chair and basking in warmth. This city pisses me off sometimes.

Yesterday was a moderate 23 degrees with partial cloud-cover; actually not a bad day to lay in the sun. And given that we didn’t need to take a break from any sort of sunning – my tan, which I’d hoped would be at George Hamilton levels by now, has faded back to its pasty hidey-hole – we didn’t feel we needed to honour this celebration. That said, we also had other things to keep us busy indoors throughout the afternoon, so in the absence of a truly glorious warm summer day, we simply stayed inside. The dogs got a walk, that was it.

It’s important to remember the seriousness of skin cancer, and the dangers of laying unprotected beneath a cozy solar swelter. And if you’ve been hitting the back yard lounger hard this year due to COVID-related free time, maybe you should take a breather. That said, if you live in Edmonton, you are welcome to simply shake this one off and hope summer will show up with a kick sometime soon.

So much hope.

Compliment Your Mirror Day

Hey mirror, you are awesome.

Of course, the real idea is to compliment the person looking back at you in the mirror. We did that too. “Damn Marty, you sure know how to pick out a terrific-looking mirror. Your mirror shopping skills are second to none. You should be picking out mirrors for people professionally. Is mirror-shopper an actual vocation? You should look into that. Heh. ‘Look into’. That’s kind of a mirror joke there.”

We’ve got no shortage of feel-good days in 2020, which one might suspect is a good tool with which to fight back against the mental strain of existing through this manic nosedive of a year. That might work for some, but talking myself up in the mirror was never my game. I indulged, but couldn’t help being a smartass about it (see above).

That said, it’s a lovely mirror. I stand behind my statement.

Comic Sans Day

People hate this font. I mean, they hate it in a weird way, one that I would reserve for neo-Nazis, corporate bailouts and the 2007 New England Patriots. But what is it, really? It’s a typeface. It’s a way letters look on a screen. It’s not going to cause bodily harm or do damage to your automobile. It’s not toxic to pets or bad for the environment. So I will spend this little chunk of article defending Comic Sans, in honour of its special day.

Comic Sans is moderately whimsical. It looks something like the printing of someone with half-decent (but not perfect) penmanship. Font designer Vincent Connare was working on the brand new Windows 95 when he noticed speech bubbles in the Microsoft Bob program (remember that? No, no one really does) featured Times New Roman. Where’s the joy in that rigidity? Vincent drew inspiration from the comics he had in his office, specifically The Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. So a slam against Comic Sans is a slam against Batman. You want to pick a fight with Batman?

I wrote an entire novel in Comic Sans. I found it easy on the eyes, which is important when you’re staring at the same chunk of computer text for hours at a time. It’s a terrible font for professional signage, or really for anything that isn’t casual, light, and intended to elicit a grin. Webmasters and graphic designers spew venom at this font, but they should – it was never intended for that sort of use.

I won’t switch back to Comic Sans as a daily font. I use Windsor Lt BT for my writing because I find it inspiring and the ampersand features a brilliant theatrical flair to it. I don’t use the ampersand often, but when I do it’s always a pleasant surprise. But I’ll fight for Comic Sans to stay in our world, and to continue to ship with every important OS and word processing program. It’s a dark, grisly world. We need Comic Sans to make it a little less pretentious.

Plastic Bag Free Day

Okay, I’ll admit it: we got a plastic bag from Carol’s Sweets when we bought our jelly beans. They are still operating under COVID restrictions, which means they bagged the bulk product for us, and we were not about to hand them a paper bag and insist they use that instead. They have their procedures, and we don’t want to mess with that. They also have the best candies in this city. You don’t mess with the candy suppliers.

But this is an important day, especially this year. Grocery stores have given the big thumbs-down to bringing in your own canvas bag, or at least they were doing so during the peak of the lockdown. Our stash of plastic bags (which we reuse for garbage bags around the house) had nearly depleted; now it’s overflowing once again. Thankfully stores have reversed this policy, at least in these parts, and so long as we bag our groceries ourselves we can bring in our canvas bags again.

Then again, I’ve heard that the environmental impact of creating a reusable shopping bag can be more devastating than making and disposing of hundreds of plastic single-use bags. I doubt that’s true though, and we’re planning on erring on the side of common sense by not contributing to the heaps of plastic in our landfills. Check with your local grocer and see if you can bring your own bags. If they offer paper bags, those will at the very least decompose or can be recycled.

At the height of this pandemic, these race riots and this moronic political situation in the US, we can’t lose sight of the environmental dangers we face. And when it all gets to be too much, liquor stores are still open. Get yourself a drink. Just don’t let them give you a plastic bag.

Disobedience Day

Disobedience. It’s kind of a recurring theme this year. We’re seeing people disobeying orders to distance and wear a mask, and the anticipated result of higher infections and more deaths. We’re seeing groups of American Republicans who are disobeying the president’s demands for unquestioned loyalty and are actively campaigning for the other side. And most importantly, we’re seeing civil disobedience at a level we’ve never seen in my lifetime, and perhaps not even in my parents’ lifetimes.

We have stated before on this site that, while we will mostly stay away from politics, we will firmly plant our support behind the Black Lives Matter movement. We aren’t happy about the violence and looting going on, as it’s not really progressing us toward a peaceful goal, but we also understand precisely why a peaceful process to this goal may not be possible. Even if it is, the people who are demanding equality are sick of waiting for peaceful protest to work. Colin Kaepernick tried peaceful protest and got drummed out of the NFL for it.

Civil disobedience has played a part in every great revolution. Gandhi used it to rebel against the British grip on India. Germans used it to smash their wall in 1989. China used it by rioting during that same year, and the outrage in Hong Kong is another example of how that revolution has not yet been settled. But it’s necessary. It’s the correct response when no other means of getting one’s voice heard are working. And when the fight is for justice, equality, and setting the world to its correct heading, we should all be behind it.

Fight the powers that be, people. As long as you’re doing it for the right reasons, history will reward you.

National Independent Beer Run Day

It’s Independence Day today, as most of my American friends are already aware. This celebration reminds us to head to our local beer stores (since, I assume, they may be closed down today) the day before the big holiday to stock up on independent, craft-brewed beers. This is a good thing; America should not be defined by an allegiance to Budweiser or Coors. Your nation has so much more to offer, so much more quality that has been crammed into a can or bottle.

We are celebrating Independence Day today with a party of sorts. And yesterday we headed out to pick up a delightful bottle of something made at an independent brewery. What we picked up will end up being our Bonza Bottles this month, so stay tuned on Tuesday..

Support your local independents. Otherwise, the options (and I say this from having grown up at the end of the dark period of corporate beer dominance) are garbage.

Tonight we party. Here’s what we’ll be celebrating:

  • Independence Day. We aren’t American, but I’m descended from Americans and I love that country deeply. We will mourn its present ills and pray for a brighter future.
  • National Barbecued Spareribs Day. We’d planned to do a huge BBQ with friends and family, but we only have a couple friends coming over for a post-dinner drink. But this will be dinner.
  • National Caesar Salad Day. This will also be part of dinner, because the Caesar is among the finest of all possible salads.
  • Hop-A-Park Day. The plan here was to drunkenly stumble from our backyard party to various parks in the neighborhood. Needless to say, we’ll be tweaking.
  • Alice In Wonderland Day. A birthdate for a delightful story. Perhaps some Jefferson Airplane is in order.
  • Invisible Day. Well, then how will we know this day is even there?
  • Independence From Meat Day. Nice try, vegetarians. Not today.
  • National Barbecue Day. We already celebrated this once, but I guess it makes sense for July 4 to feature it once more.
  • National Country Music Day. Ah, fuck.
  • Sidewalk Egg-Frying Day. I don’t think we’re getting that sort of weather, but we can wish.

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