Sunday, July 12, 2020

As mentioned in yesterday’s word-fest, we’re running on actual summer time here, the first truly warm, summer-like day we’ve seen in probably three weeks. And the forecast is declaring it to be our only one for the foreseeable future. So celebrate we did, but toast beneath the fiery orb of life we also did, and that was where our hearts were at. Not that we didn’t party in our incessantly time-consuming way, because that’s simply how we live our lives right now. But many things were to be bumped to today, and I simply didn’t feel much desire to write about stuff. Yet here I am…

National Cheer Up The Lonely Day

This sweet sentiment gets attributed to a quiet Detroit man named Francis Pesek. The story, according to his daughter, is that Francis felt there should be a day for people to acknowledge shut-ins or other lonely folk who don’t get a lot of visitors. A day for people to reach out to one another and forge a (perhaps) brief but meaningful connection. Even if that bond only lasts for a couple of hours, it’s a moment in time that will resonate for the lonely soul.

On the one hand, we have all been shut-ins for the last several months, haven’t we? I mean, apart from those whose work is essential and must be performed outside the home, of course. For most of us it has been lockdown city since March, so we could all use a little cheering up. And on the other hand, actually stopping in and visiting a shut-in is not advised right now. The shut-ins, the ones who are good at it, are having an easy time in 2020; it’s the rest of us who crave the outside world who need the cheering up more.

Well, I’ll stop short of “us” – I’ve learned that being a shut-in comes quite naturally to me, and I could absolutely do it for the next six months if necessary. As long as I can still get my doughnuts.

Abbey’s best friend Erica has spent the last four months in almost complete isolation; she visits her grandfather regularly and due to his health concerns she cannot take any chances on getting all virused up in a crowd. Yesterday Abbey went over to her place for a visit, and to bring some laughter and company into her life. It wasn’t a one-side affair of course – Abbey has, up until her trip here, been a shut-in as well for the most part.

Chances are if you cheered up anyone yesterday, you successfully celebrated this one. I asked for a picture of the two shut-in friends, but they declined. Was it shyness or just unhelpfulness? Whatever, I included an arbitrary picture of a large cheese instead.

National Blueberry Muffin Day / National Blueberry Month

And this is where the warm summer sun calls to me, asking if it’s really necessary for me to punch out three paragraphs about blueberry muffins. Our team baker (hi, Mom!) does a bang-up job on lemon-blueberry muffins, and I’m pretty certain she has baked those for an earlier celebration – hey look, she totally did, for National Muffin Day on February 21. I’m nothing short of thrilled to have more of these to nibble on. The fusion of lemon and blueberry is pure heaven.

So what else is there to say? I wrote about the history of the muffin in February, so there’s no need to go into that again. We celebrated the muffin in its blueberriest form and it was divine. These even had almonds in the mix for an added twist. That’s good; I wouldn’t want to celebrate two separate days with the exact same muffin recipe. That would be gauche, right?

Happy Blueberry Muffin Day to all. If you’d like the recipe, let me know and I’ll check with my mom to see how much she’s charging for it. The lady is retired; she’s got to earn some cash somehow. Trust me, it’ll be worth it, whatever the cost.

National Ranier Cherry Day

In 1952, the Bing and the Van hooked up and had a kid. They named it Ranier. This happened under the watchful eye of Harry Fogle of Washington State University, who was looking for two cherry strains to copulate (or… whatever they do) and create a new type of cherry, which he named for Mount Ranier. They have a fragile flesh and an unbelievable flavour. Raniers are among the best cherries you can buy.

If you can buy ‘em. We couldn’t find any in our travels, so we had to settle for a batch of ol’ Bings, the Ranier’s dad. Or mom. Really, that doesn’t seem relevant. But Bings are great cherries too, and we were happy to have them. They were grafted out of Black Republican cherries (which are remarkably hard to find this year – yay for political comedy!) in 1875. They were named for Ah Bing, the Chinese foreman who had immigrated to the United States twenty years earlier and was working for horticulturist Seth Lewelling, who created the cherry.

Cherries are great for the body. They’re anti-oxidants, and while there is some fiber and vitamin C within them, they are basically just nature’s candy. With seeds you spit at your friends if you either don’t mind the cleanup or have delegated it to someone else. We had a few raw and will be tossing a few on our sundaes today. It was a party.

National All-American Pet Photo Day

I’ve got to admit, I was almost at a loss for this one. We have no experience taking “All-American” photos. We don’t even have access to any variety of puppy costumes, a fact that our daughter often reminds us with a scolding, judgy tone. But we do have a bit of creativity, and we were able to put that to use. We also reached out to our friends and family for some other contributions. Keep in mind, a majority of our followers also live in Canada, so coming up with ideas for this was a strain for everyone, hence the single photo we received.

We opted to stage our girls with the classic flag. For some reason we own a large American flag – an early 20th century model with 48 stars. I have no idea why we possess this. Also pictured above is Lucy, decked out in her Seahawks best.

It was a patriotic and utterly weird little celebration. The perfect kind.

Bowdler’s Day

Whose day? Oh, that guy. What a treat it must have been for Thomas Bowdler, an English physician, to have his name go down in history as synonymous with censorship. In 1807 ol’ Doc Bowdler published The Family Shakespeare, a volume of Shakespeare’s works with all the scary sex, violence, and mature subject matter scaled back. He did this not for kids, but for “virtuous women” to be able to read without… I don’t know, without having their hymens explode in shame? Is that what people believed back then?

It might be what ol’ Doc Bowdler believed. The man was brilliant, no question – he even has a chess move named after him called the Bowdler Attack. He should have stopped there. But what’s even worse about his attempt to purify the arts is that the first volume of The Family Shakespeare was actually edited for release by his sister, Harriet. But it was published under Doc Bowdler’s name because it wasn’t appropriate for a woman back then to admit she could understand those racy passages, let alone have the skills for editing and compiling stories. So Doc Bowdler was an anti-feminist, a thief, *and* a self-proclaimed moral marauder. Fuck that guy.

Once you start combing through great art and distilling it for the appropriate masses, or to protect people you feel are too fragile to handle it in its entirety, you are bowdlerizing that art. You are desecrating it.

Yesterday was not a day for celebrating censorship, but we can use it as a day to be aware of it, and how dangerous it is for any culture, whether it’s changing Lady MacBeth’s “out damned spot” to “out crimson spot” or removing a mud-mask episode of Golden Girls because it might be misconstrued.

World Population Day

This is, quite simply, a United Nations-created day for us to be aware of the population situation on the planet.

In short: it ain’t good. We’ve got lots of people, and a really shitty track record at distributing resources. We hit 7.8 billion people in the world back in March. And that’s fine – we’ve got the room for them. We’ve got the food, supplies, and bandwidth for them. But what we don’t have is the ability to balance things a little so that the richest of the rich might not have quite so much, but the poorest of the poor aren’t literally dying of thirst or hunger. At this point some in my audience may have brushed me off as a pinko commie Libtard – that’s fine. Those who know me are aware that I’m a completely different type of Libtard. Are we still allowed to say that word? God, I hope not.

By the end of the decade we’re expected to hit 8.5 billion people. The UN projection has us at 10.9 billion by the year 2100, but that’s only if we don’t suffer an environmental catastrophe or whatever those wars were that plagued this century in the Star Trek universe.

Growing up, I understood our globe’s population to be a threat. And it is, but only in the sense that there is no system in place to properly care for everyone. Since I realized that I stopped worrying about our ballooning populace. I can only worry about so much, and there are more horrific concerns right now.

Still, we honoured the day. We are champs, even when the weather tempts us otherwise.

Today we rock through another great batch of hits and memorable melodies, including a number that were bumped from earlier in the week:

  • National Simplicity Day. Is anything truly that simple anymore? Hopefully today will be.
  • National Pecan Pie Day. We actually celebrated this one a couple days early. But damn was it ever good.
  • National Paper Bag Day. Perhaps we’ll run across a paper bag today? I don’t see it happening, but it might.
  • Eat Your Jell-O Day. Sure, that’s the most logical thing to do with it.
  • National Delaware Day. The National State Days seem to have shifted over to Mondays now, but we’re going to keep doing them for Sunday dinner because that has been really nice.
  • Etch-A-Sketch Day. Not sure if we have one laying around. I hope we do.
  • Different Colored Eyes Day. Again, not something we can celebrate by ourselves, but we’re all Bowie fans around here so that could be a way to do it.
  • New Conversations Day. We’ll talk about things we’ve literally never talked about before.