Friday, August 7, 2020

What? You’re still here reading this crap? Come on – it’s Folk Fest weekend, and time to head into the sun (or, as luck would have it, the rain) and listen to some great music. The festival is cancelled this year, but we have booked a tremendous lineup who will be appearing (via Spotify playlists) in our backyard all weekend. Van Morrison is headlining tonight – it wasn’t easy to book him, but we did it. This is my typically wordy way of saying that these articles aren’t going to contain a big ol’ clump of words this weekend.

National I.P.A. Day

This one, of course, won’t be skipped. We don’t skip alcohol days in this project, except for National Anisette Day, and that was only because I didn’t feel the need to track down the stuff. Actually I’m still kind of kicking myself over that one.

But the IPA is one of the crowning glories of beer-dom. Prior to the modern wave of craft beers we didn’t hear a lot about IPAs in this part of the world. Now, of course, they are some of the least-accessible beers to the palettes of those who aren’t big beer drinkers, and among the most beloved if you’re talking to a beer snob. IPAs are known for being deeply hop-based. I find it often leaves me with a weird lump in my throat, like when you try to swallow a Tylenol but it doesn’t go all the way down. For that reason I tend to avoid IPAs, which is a shame because they often contain a very rich and multi-textured flavour.

We can trace this type of beer to the Bow Brewery in England in the late 18th century, which happened to be located right near the docks where the East India Company would show up to drop off its exports and collect its imports for the subcontinent. The October brew they’d send over would be particularly hoppy, and that was the style that was requested the most. Around 1840 the flavour started to become big in England, and the India Pale Ale’s legacy as a lasting beer trend was stamped.

I had a delicious bottle of Amnesiac Double IPA from Phillips Brewing, the company who made the magnificent chocolate porter I enjoyed a couple of Bonza Bottler days ago. It was deeply hoppy, but fantastic. And it didn’t leave me with Tylenol-throat, so that was a big win.

National Fresh Breath Day

A day for a quick mention of proper oral hygiene. In summation: practice it.

We brushed, we flossed, we had access to sugar-free gum, but in the end we didn’t need to chew any. Keeping one’s breath fresh is important, in particular if you plan on being within six feet of someone. Because if you are, that person is probably living with you, and you don’t want to add to that person’s miseries by forcing them to coexist politely with someone whose mouths smells like they’ve been gargling human sweat.

There is no originator recorded for this day, but I’m just going to give credit to the American Dental Association, because it sounds like the kind of thing they’d be behind. It was a reminder that I’m overdue for a proper dentist cleaning, but I’m also in too much of a hurry to book one this weekend. We’ll see if I remember on Monday. Hopefully I won’t – but at least my breath will be fresh!

National Wiggle Your Toes Day

How to celebrate a day as sacred as National Wiggle Your Toes Day? If you thought simply wiggling your toes would suffice, I’ve got some bad news for you. Your options include getting a pedicure to treat your toes, buying some new shoes to stylishly transport your toes, or to sweet-talk your loved one into giving you a foot massage, thus squishing and squeezing your toes.

Well sure, but how about those of us who are avoiding spas, not buying shoes right now, and who may not have a significant other around who’ll rub their tootsies? I was expecting to celebrate this one with a simple flexing of my foot-fingers, but then I saw there are so many other options. Really, there is no origin for this one, no greater purpose other than paying attention to one’s feet. So we wiggled. It was exciting and dynamic. We may never experience such a wild time again. Moving on.

National Gossip Day

According to a website that no longer appears to be in existence, yesterday was National Gossip Day. I’m not a fan of gossip in theory, but when it gets dished out at work I’ll naturally scoop it up with the rest of my co-workers. Especially if it’s about Judy from accounting – can you believe she has three nipples and they’re all pierced?

The term ‘gossip’ originated as the noun used to describe someone – usually a woman, because I’m sure there was a much more complimentary term for men – who enjoys dishing and receiving idle chatter about people. So the gossip who loves gossip existed before the gossip that the gossip so deeply loves. Slap that sentence on a T-shirt.

Some say the word comes from ‘good spiel’, meaning a good story – which is the same root as the word ‘gospel’. Others think it’s from ’godsibb’, which refers to the godparents of one’s child. I don’t know, and I’ll leave it to the more etymologically educated to detangle that one.

Gossip is, for the most part, not a good thing. But it does have some benefits, in particular the concept of indirect reciprocity. This is a social action wherein a person helps another, then is benefited by the work of a third party. Gossiping about the good the people do will help to formulate a positive view of that do-gooder, and might encourage others to do nice things for them. We can spread positive gossip, and if we could keep it to that, the world might become a better place.

Apologies to the fictional Judy from a few paragraphs ago. I should have mentioned that she also donates her time with the Food Bank, in addition to having all those pierced nipples. Judy deserves better.

Corporate Baby Name Day

I wasn’t going to add this one, but it’s too weird not to. The Humorist published a piece on this topic on August 6, 2005, and I guess people are still talking about it 15 years later. Back in 2001, American Baby conducted a poll, asking people if they’d be willing to name their child after a corporation for $500,000. This was in response to a couple (strangely enough, not from Florida) who auctioned off the naming rights to their baby, starting the bidding at half a million. They received no bids, so it never happened, but it did raise an interesting discussion.

Would you want a baby named Google? Or Canada Dry? Or Apple? Wait – Gwyneth Paltrow gave that one away for free. Some names, like ‘McDonalds’ would be fairly adaptable into a normal name, but what if Hyundai wanted to pay for your baby’s name? I suppose it would depend on the people, and on the corporation. I can imagine a few folks who are down on their luck embracing this opportunity – a half-million dollars is life-changing. So you could potentially have an entire classroom full of Xeroxes and Pepto-Bismals.

I could see naming a daughter ‘Anacin’ since you could shorten it to ‘Annie’, but I don’t think Anacin is paying big bucks for promotion right now. One trick would be to consistently use your baby’s normal middle name among friends and family, but there’s going to come a time when roll-call at school is going to bring little baby Marlboro’s dark secret into the light in front of all of their friends. It might be best simply to avoid this practice.

Tonight we party, so once again we won’t be celebrating much. Some of this will, however, make the cut:

  • National Water Balloon Day. I love that this day landed immediately following our annual summer weather. Nature will deliver its own water balloon today.
  • International Beer Day. An outdoor music festival? With beer? Yeah, we can make this work.
  • National Raspberries & Cream Day. An easy snack to whip up and enjoy outside.
  • Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day. We’ve got something planned for this too, if we can squeeze it in.
  • Beach Party Day. Again, not ideal on the day *after* all the hot summer sun, but we’ll still technically be at our ‘beach’. And it will be a party.
  • National Lighthouse Day. There aren’t any around here, but there’s something about lighthouses that are deeply interesting to me.
  • Professional Speakers Day. We won’t be interacting with any, though I suppose as a teacher Jodie is technically a professional speaker, right?
  • National Sea Serpent Day. And hopefully none of these will appear at our ‘beach’.