Friday, July 31, 2020

Chili Dogs and cheesecake – two delicious foodstuffs we were supposed to be celebrating yesterday. Alas, we were waylaid by apathy and an intense desire to do nothing productive, apart from mowing the lawn and prepping for next week’s folk fest. These warm summer days do little to nudge cravings for such indulgences. And yet the calendar can’t help but lob them our way, stacking them upon so many curious little curios, such as:

National Father-In-Law Day

My father-in-law is a fascinating human. He is so purposefully removed from anything internet that I won’t even speak his name here (though his anonymity among my three readers is questionable). He’s been a biker since back when no one knew anything about bikers, except perhaps for Hunter S. Thompson. Everything about him screams biker, though if you met him expecting that he’d slide snugly into a stereotype you’d be tremendously disappointed.

Yes, he likes beer. The crappy stuff that advertises during Super Bowls; he’ll scoff at anything craft-brewed. And when he drinks he does so with passion and aplomb. His other vehicle is a massive pick-up truck, and he’ll let loose a veritable spectrum of curse words toward other drivers, many of which do not conform to any measure of a “woke” society. He dresses in leathers and Harley gear, and has never had anything but long hair as long as I’ve known him.

But he’s also one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He’s kind beyond belief, and never speaks ill of anyone behind their back (unless they’re in public office). He’ll grumble at our world’s perpetual state of activism, but if you have a problem with gay people he’ll shut you down completely. At his core is an unending stash of compassion and empathy; he would do anything for his kids and grandkids, but what’s more significant is that he actively wants to. When our kid moved to the west coast for school, he and his wife (another magnificent human who deserves her own celebration) were a rock for her. Our daughter never felt frightened and alone because she wasn’t.

I gladly said hello to my father-in-law yesterday and expressed my gratitude that he’s in my life. But I didn’t get all touchy-feely about it. That’s just one small step away from a frilly-ass umbrella in some girly drink. I won’t post the full text of his reply, but it did indicate he had been “overserved” that afternoon, and included the sentence, “What a bunch of badger spooge!” I think he made my point eloquently.

National Whistleblowers Day

I wasn’t going to toss this into the pile for yesterday, as I’m not feeling the research and learning vibe even a little. But we are living in what should be a golden age for whistleblowers. You’ve got a president hell-bent on corruption and greed down south, and little aspiring minions popping up all over the globe, including one such schmuck who runs the show in our province (and, is technically our employer). I suppose when a government takes control boasting no pretentions of integrity we shouldn’t be surprised when that’s what we get.

There are online petitions for our premier’s removal (which won’t work), but what we really need is another Mark Felt. He was the FBI dude who went by Deep Throat and helped to bring down Nixon. We need a Daniel Ellsberg, who dropped the Pentagon Papers into the Washington Post in 1971 and showed the citizens what was really happening in Vietnam. We need a Sylvie Therrien, who was suspended without pay when she exposed that Canadian Employment Insurance investigators were required to hit a quota, denying at least $500,000 in EI benefits to applicants every year.

More importantly, we need people to care. Don’t buy into the my team vs. their team dynamic, even though you may be suffering from sports withdrawal right now. When the masses are being betrayed for the benefit of the wealthy few, folks need to give a shit.

Please give a shit. And if you’ve got a whistle to blow on someone or something or some company or some government – blow it loud and long.

International Day of Friendship

Okay, United Nations. I’ll give you this one because that’s just the sort of gregarious motherfucker I am.

This day is meant to acknowledge that friendship bridges cultures and reveals to us our similarities, which matter far more than our differences. It’s a lovely sentiment, and while it won’t wash away the grimy layer of cynicism on my skin right now, it’s a fair start.

As for friendship, we have been remarkably estranged from any sort of social life this year, right along with almost everyone else. We aren’t the most social humans to begin with; literally any sort of party or event would be eclipsed in awesomeness by the magnificence of staying at home with the dogs and watching a couple episodes of The Wire. But once you get that perfect stay-in night on repeat for 150 days or so, you start to question what else is out there.

To that end we have opted to re-create one of our favourite social activities of the year, the annual Folk Music Festival, in our backyard. Invites went out, and all friends and family (except the yokels in our family we really don’t care for, of course) are invited to drop in for a set or two and hang. It will all take place in the back yard, well distanced, and with the expectation that we’re not going to have more than two or three people visiting at a time. It’s a weekend when we hope to cherish some friendship and maybe feel just a bit like things are normal for a brief while.

So, as a salute to the UN’s International Day of Friendship, I look forward to writing significantly less next weekend, as the music will take up all of my time. Happy day, friends.

National Support Public Education Day

Well this is going to steer me right back to the cynicism and curmudgeonliness that soured me a couple entries back. I don’t know what to say, other than school starts in just over a month, and schools in this part of the world will be fully in the classroom, with fewer employees to help keep the place clean and to help keep kids separated, and with less money for schools to try to fight the virus. People will literally die from this.

Public education should not be a death sentence. I’m just going to leave this topic now, and hopefully turn my attention to something sunnier.

Share A Hug Day

This is literally the thirteenth hugging day we have celebrated in this little bout of madness. I’m not joking. Have a look:

  • Girl Hug Boy Day: January 11
  • National Hugging Day: January 21
  • National Hug Your Puppy Day: also January 21
  • National Hug A Newsperson Day: April 4
  • National Hug Your Dog Day: April 10
  • National Hug A Plumber Day: April 25
  • Hug An Australian Day: April 26
  • Hug A Shed & Take A Selfie Day: May 5
  • National Hug Your Cat Day: June 4
  • Hug An Atheist Day: June 5
  • Hug Holiday: June 29
  • Virtually Hug A Virtual Assistant Day: July 6

We are so hug-heavy, it’s getting a bit silly. But if the calendar says we hug, then dammit, we hug. And actually there lies a sad little tale behind this particular celebration. On July 30, 2017 a man named Mike Brundritt of Windsor, Ontario lost his wife and child in a deadly highway collision. The following year he proposed Share A Hug Day because he’d spent the previous (undoubtedly hellish) year being comforted by hugs from loved ones. It was how he and his surviving son – both of whom were in the car on that fateful trip – have made it through.

So damn my cynicism. This is now the only hug day that matters. Big hugs to you, Mike, wherever you are.

World Embroidery Day

As commissioned by the Swedish Embroidery Guild (and you do NOT fuck with the Swedish Embroidery Guild), yesterday was officially World Embroidery Day. To be clear, we did not embroider, however we are fortunate enough to be related to my beloved auntie Kathy, whose talented fingers created all the beauty above.

And lest my mother be perplexed as to why her art was not featured (she is, after all, one of my three readers), National Cross-Stitch Day is coming up next month. I’m covering all the bases, don’t worry.

Embroidery is quite simply using a needle and thread (and sometimes other assorted doodads) to make a piece of fabric look fancy. Historically, while I’m sure there are ages in which certain trends dominated in the embroidery world, but no great technology or great artistic revelation really changed the art. You can look at embroidery dating back more than a thousand years and it is just as intricate and magnificent as anything a person could create today.

If you want to give credit to someone for inventing embroidery – and why would you? – look to the Goddess Athena, who, according to Greek mythology, passed down the gifts of embroidery and weaving to humanity. Sure, I’m good with that. Humanity, as evidenced by the beautiful work above, has done pretty well with embroidery ever since.

Is my motivation looking any better for today? Well, I’m motivated to catch up to National Chicken Wing Day from Wednesday. But the weather is still divine, so we’ll see:

  • National Talk In An Elevator Day. We shan’t be venturing into an elevator unnecessarily at this time. I trust you’ll all understand.
  • National Get Gnarly Day. We’d considered a zipline or something to be ‘gnarly’, but alas, those are closed.
  • National Avocado Day. Time to finally learn how to make avocado toast?
  • National Raspberry Cake Day. We have a plan for tackling this on the weekend.
  • National Mutt Day. It sounds a bit pretentious, but our dogs are all purebreds. We’ll find some mutts though, because they are just as lovely.
  • National Cotton Candy Day. Seriously? Awesome!
  • National Jump For Jelly Beans Day. Even more awesome!
  • Shredded Wheat Day. Not quite as awesome, but still tasty.
  • Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day. This one might be fun.
  • System Administrator Appreciation Day. This one, not so much. But kudos to system administrators everywhere.

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