Tuesday, July 7, 2020

A big ol’ happy 80th birthday to Ringo, and a just-as-big ol’ happy (smaller number) birthday to my buddy Steve. I know one of you will be drinking heartily to celebrate. As for us, we will crack open our seventh Bonza Bottles and spiral into a miasma of glorious revelry as always. But first, we must ponder yesterday. ‘Twas my return to work and our return to semi-normal, albeit with a 23-year-old offspring still bopping around the house, keeping our dogs amused. The morning was still fretfully early and the day stunningly long. And, almost as if it knew I was back at work, the sun opted to stick its toasty face into the sky throughout the day, daring me to ditch work and lie in my hammock. Alas, I had to focus on this instead:

National Fried Chicken Day

In 2018 KFC ran a contest in Australia, offering free fried chicken for a year – a prize that would be well worth coveting if it were better quality chicken than KFC – to the citizen who expressed most eloquently why they deserved to win. The 19-year-old winner (and really, any older person would potentially have died from this victory) won by getting the KFC logo tattooed on her foot. That’s the kind of commitment that makes for a winner.

We did no such madness yesterday. There was no need; no one was offering us a year’s worth of high-fat poultry, and even if they were we’d have to decline. We have too many other entrees on the menu over the next six months.

The American version of fried chicken is actually a blend of Scottish and West African styles. The Scots fried their unseasoned chicken in fat. The Africans knew it would taste a lot better with a few herbs and spices, but they were frying in palm oil. Southern Americans realized that, by taking the flavour component of the African tradition and blending it with the absurdly high cholesterol and fat notions of the European tradition they could craft something purely American: tasty, very African influenced, yet much worse for you than any other global equivalent.

We celebrated this one with a trip to Seoul Fried Chicken on the south side yesterday for dinner. The fad of Korean-style fried chicken – which appears to be regular fried chicken but with more interesting seasoning and sauce potential – has produced some fine dining in this city. SFC is about the best you can get in the city, and it made for a magnificent celebration last night. Almost made me forget it had been a work day. Almost.

International Kissing Day

Hopefully you all had as much fun celebrating this as I did. Kissing is great, but have you ever tried kissing while the late, great Ennio Morricone’s score for The Good, The Bad & The Ugly is playing? It’s intense and weird. It’s always good to change things up with a taste of the intense and weird.

This day started in England and spread throughout the world from there. I don’t know how much it has spread; on the one hand, the day has its own (brief) Wikipedia page. On the other… well, have you heard of it before now? Not likely.

We kissed, but we fell short of honouring the notion that we should be kissing more than our significant others. There were no European-style cheek-kisses from us to old friends or colleagues. In fact, we didn’t see any old friends or colleagues because nobody leaves the house anymore. But we had each other, and isn’t that really the joy in kissing? Making out with the person you’re locked inside with?

Take Your Webmaster To Lunch Day

Well this was easy. The total number of people involved behind the scenes of this project is zero. Jodie joins in on a chunk of the celebrations, and of course I will always send out love to my cat-owning posse, who supplies me with oodles of great pics whenever a feline celebration crosses our calendar. But otherwise this is a one-man-show. I take the pictures, I select the pictures for the article, I write the articles, I make them look all semi-pretty on WordPress, and I answer any correspondence that comes in. I also take care of social media posts.

So I took myself for lunch. I didn’t go out; that would have been an unpleasant interference in an otherwise relaxing day. But I’d picked up some delightful pasta from Chianti on the south side a few days ago so I heated that up and treated myself to a tasty meal. Above is an approximation of what I ate. I was so hungry by the time I sat down, I forgot to take a pic.

This is a good day for showing appreciation for your webmaster, if you happen to have one on your team (assuming you have a team to begin with). Handling all the pain-in-the-ass tech components to a webpage is a lot of work. My only desire with this project was to create, and indeed if I had someone taking care of all the web posting and social media side I could pour a lot more passion into these celebrations. So if you’ve got a person fulfilling this role so that you can sit back and focus on creating content, be grateful and spring for a meal. It’s never too late to celebrate this one.

Umbrella Cover Day

I thought this would be akin to National Umbrella Day, which we weirdly celebrated on February 10. But no, this is specifically a day to celebrate umbrella covers. From what I can tell, this is the sleeve into which a portable umbrella can be inserted, or else the much larger (but similarly-shaped) sleeve which gets lowered overtop an outdoor umbrella. Either way… huh?

I mean, I get it. These things have a purpose, either for keeping a wet umbrella from dripping all over your stuff, or for protecting your patio umbrella from rain and tree debris. Also, bird poop. But I found at least two websites that claim this is the most underappreciated part of the umbrella. Are there people out there appreciating different parts of an umbrella? And is the cover a “part of” the umbrella, or simply an accessory that most of us can do without with no loss to our quality of life?

We have no patio umbrella set up this year, so no cover for a patio umbrella to praise and admire. We have several regular umbrellas, most of which came with a sheath that we never use. Perhaps we have been taking this magnificent creation for granted all this time. Do our umbrellas secretly loathe us because we leave them to flop solo in the closet? Do they long for the comfy and snug fit of a custom-tapered cover?

Just who is this celebration for? Are we really out of office supplies to commemorate? Can we not simply have another feel-good, believe-in-yourself day? What’s next after umbrella covers? Should we have a day to celebrate the bolts that keep our toilets affixed to the floor? Maybe a day for the little rods that hold aloft the tungsten filament in a light bulb? How about a day to celebrate the little knobby things we pull when we want to remove our window screens? Where does it stop?

It stops on December 31, whatever the madness that leads us there. Happy Umbrella Cover Day to all.

Virtually Hug A Virtual Assistant Day

Apparently this is more in line with taking your webmaster to lunch than it is with telling Siri or Alexa how much you love them. There are people who work as virtual assistants in the same way there are people who work as personal assistants; they simply do their work remotely. So if you’ve got someone who works as your personal assistant but does so in a not-in-person sense (which is quite possibly the case this year), this is the day to send them some love.

Naturally this does not apply to us. Teachers don’t get virtual assistants, and neither do generic government office drones. Siri is my virtual assistant, in that I will ask her a question once or twice a week so I can save myself the hassle of punching the same question into a search engine.

So, I told Siri I’d like to give her a hug. “I’m not sure I understand.” That was her response. Does she not understand love? “Hmm. I don’t have an answer for that.” What if I simply ask, “What is love?” She gave me a dictionary definition. So I simply tried, “Siri, I appreciate you.” “I don’t get it,” she replied. “But I can check the web for ‘Siri, I appreciate you’.”

Sometimes these celebrations don’t work as intended.

National Family Reunion Month

This seems like an opportune time to talk about family reunions.

The short version: please don’t. The somewhat longer rant: this is a bad year for family reunions. Several of them have been the early sparks of COVID outbreaks. With America currently in a melt-down of new cases every day, gathering together a bunch of relatives who have not been quarantining together – and indeed who may not have been quarantining at all – is just a bad idea. Even here in Canada, where the numbers have not been nearly as dire, we can use the excuse of the United States to avoid those relatives we’d rather not see until the winter holidays deem it a necessity. Who knows? We might even get out of it then.

This month we had a family reunion of sorts. Our two kids (and the significant other of one) came home for a visit. We’d all been cautious to the point of paranoid so there was no fear of infection, even when my mom stopped in for a meal here and there. This sort of reunion is safe. We stopped short of bringing more relatives over because no one wants to take the chance right now.

So host a virtual family reunion if you’d like. This will give you the benefit of having a mute button so you can mutter whatever you want and no one’s feelings will be hurt. You can also slap a post-it over your monitor to cover up any relative you’d rather not look at. Really, this should be the future of family reunions.

Be careful out there. It’s not worth risking infection just so your racist uncle can pinch your cheeks and tell embarrassing stories about your parents in their youth.

Today we have what might be our busiest Tuesday of the summer, with all of this fun stuff to do:

  • Bonza Bottler Day. Time to crack into the stuff we bought for Independent Beer Run last weekend.
  • National Dive Bar Day. We aren’t going to any bars right now, especially dive bars. But we will celebrate them.
  • National Father Daughter Take A Walk Day. I was hoping we wouldn’t have to do this virtually, and we don’t!
  • National Strawberry Sundae Day. An easy win for dessert.
  • National Macaroni Day. We have an intriguing recipe for this one.
  • World Chocolate Day. For those of you who were waiting for it… here it is.
  • Tabanata. A Japanese celebration of wishes.
  • Tell The Truth Day. If we must.
  • Global Forgiveness Day. I’m not sure who we have to forgive, but I suppose there must be someone.

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