Friday, September 18, 2020

The fallout of a properly contested faith consists of splinters of irrationality. We adhered to the madness of the calendar – a faith in the guided revelry of those who revelled before us – only to suffer a boot-heel virus thumping the globe and taunting our plans with a quiet, new reality. There is no question that Covid took the knees out of this project, isolating us at home and curtailing the stretch of our creativity. The immersive cultural experiences wrapped up after Chinese New Year and Robbie Burns Night, and we have had to adjust from our cozy little cosmic cocoon. But, kneeless or not, we will find a way to clamber through what remains. Here’s what danced across our radar yesterday:

Time’s Up Day

Were you thinking this was going to be a day to draw attention to the movement that undid Harvey Weinstein and the rest of them? Alas, I did too. Instead, this is “time’s up” for getting around to making amends with that person against whom you’ve been holding a grudge. So this is another one like National Forgiveness Day or the dozen other such celebrations we’ve encountered since January 1.

Who could we possibly have left to forgive? We have forgiven our dogs for their canine indiscretions, like barking at the neighbours at 8:00 on a Saturday morning or digging through the garbage. We have forgiven our relatives who have decided to write us off because we don’t see the world through their distorted lens. I even forgave the New England Patriots for being utter twats over the last 20 years. So who is left?

Nobody. I mean, we don’t care for certain politicians and celebrities, but there’s really no point in “making amends” with strangers we’ll never meet. So maybe this is ‘time’s up’ for us holding any grudges whatsoever. Maybe we celebrate Time’s Up Day by acknowledging that this repeated slate of the same ol’ forgiveness day has actually purged us of some of the negative energy we’d been toting around. Perhaps these days have assisted in our evolution as enlightened beings.

Or maybe Liberty got into the garbage again, and our time is up for holding a grudge against her for that. Either way.

National Chicken Month

Behold, the noble chicken. I mean, behold the delicious Turkish-style chicken I made for dinner the other night, but in a grander, more immersive way, behold the noble chicken. We have been domesticating them and gobbling them up since the opening credits of our time on this planet. The Romans used them as oracles to foretell the future, which sounds completely rational, and makes me think we need to look to Ancient Rome for more great ideas like this.

The Greeks taught them how to fight for their own amusement. When the Polynesians rolled onto Easter Island in the 1100s they brought chickens with them. Along with the local rats, they were the only meat game on the land. Pope Gregory I declared the rooster to be the emblem of Christianity. In ancient Hindu cremation ceremonies, a chicken was tethered nearby in order to absorb all the evil spirits that might be lurking about. Poor chickens have had it rough at the hands of humanity, centuries before we came up with the concept of the nugget.

Even the Talmud gets in on this, teaching men to learn of courtesy to one’s mate by observing how the rooster feeds his hen before chowing down himself. In a Confucian Chinese wedding, a chicken sporting a red silk scarf on its head can substitute for a recently deceased relative or one who cannot make it to the ceremony.

In the early 2000s it became trendy to keep chickens as pets, something we can potentially blame on Chandler and Joey. But the CDC recommends against this, as they can transmit salmonella through their dander and poop. I’m pretty sure our dogs would not be on board with a poultry sibling.

So celebrate the chicken however you’d like this month – go out and hug one at a petting zoo (assuming any are open, which they probably aren’t), dance like one to taunt your enemies, or simply roll one around in 11 herbs and spices and pop ‘em in the deep fryer. They’ve already absorbed our evil spirits; how much worse could things get for them?

National Piano Month

We have already celebrated National Piano Day back on March 29, wherein I looked into the history of the piano and listened to a great selection of piano music. Usually an object or creature’s national day aligns with its national month, but we here at Celebrate366 Industries are happy to devote another chunk of our attention to the most dynamic and melodic percussion instrument.

A piano is, technically speaking, a chordophone. The official classification system of musical instruments – and yes, the Hornbostel-Sachs Scheme is the one to go by here – gives this name to any instrument that makes sounds via strings that are stretched out between two points. There are two types of chordophones – those without a resonator as part of the instrument, and those with. The piano’s resonator is technically its casing, but it falls into the former category because you can physically remove a piano’s innards from its casing and still play it. I really wish someone would do this – it would be a great on-stage visual.

There is a seemingly infinite well of great piano music through the ages, probably deeper than that of any other instrument. Maybe you lean toward Beethoven’s musings, or Jerry Lee Lewis’s pounding blasts, or Chico Marx’s comical finger-dancing. Maybe you love melodies crafted and perfected on piano by Billy Joel or Elton John. Perhaps you enjoy the piano as an atmospheric instrument, providing the cosmic swoosh beneath the vocals of a Dr. John or Leon Russell. Maybe you’re in the mood for the piano as a tool of punk-rock sensibility, like in some early Ben Folds Five.

We listened to a lot of piano music this month, and with a couple weeks to go in September we’ll listen to a lot more. If you own a piano, give it a hug, or better still, give it some music. The world needs more music.

Pet Smile Month (UK)

There are two ways to celebrate this one, at least according to my sources, some of whom might be contained within my imagination. The Brits came up with this one to remind us that our pets have teeth as well, and that they are not the best at caring for those teeth on their own. We can buy all the chicken-flavoured toothpaste we’d like, or remind them after every meal that they should head upstairs and give a quick brush, but it just doesn’t seem to work. So method number one involves putting some attention toward your pet’s dental situation and helping them out.

Some vets – and this came from actual online research – are offering deals this month, including free dental checkups or discounts on dental supplies. Gum disease is a very serious condition in dogs and cats (and possibly in fish, but who can tell?), and if left unattended it can lead to more serious medical issues. You know how they say that the best thing you can do for your heart is to brush your teeth? Do they say that? I thought I remembered someone saying that once. Maybe they were drunk, or maybe I was. But it sounds familiar.

Anyway, take care of your pet’s teeth. It’s the nice thing to do.

Alternately, you can celebrate this month by seeing it as a fusion of the two greatest Beach Boys albums of all time: 1966’s Pet Sounds and the aborted (but much later revealed and revered) Smile from 1967. So if you don’t have a pet, or you have a particular hatred for the teeth in your pet’s mouth, you can always slap on some brilliant pop perfection crafted by Brian Wilson and company.

Save Your Photos Month

Did you know that The Photo Managers – an organization that I assume includes numerous people who manage photos – put together this month as a public service message to people that they should take some care to save and preserve their photographs? Did you know that there are more than 40 short classes you can attend online to learn about the various aspects of saving your photos? I did, but then it’s my job to know all this so you don’t have to. Except that now you do, so I can promptly forget it.

But wait, I should add another paragraph or two. Look, photos are our best hope at remembering the people and places we’ve loved in our lives, especially as age and moderate narcotic consumption eats away at our ability to recall everything. We’ve all got digital photos pouring out of our phone – in our case, almost entirely consisting of dogs and stuff we’ve done for this project – but we’ve also got a heap of paper-based photographs lying in a box or two downstairs. Everyone has these, at least everyone over a certain age.

The best thing to do is to scan those photos in, then stash them on a hard drive in a well-organized manner so you can retrieve them easily. If you lack the ability to do this, a scanner can be purchased fairly cheaply. I’d wager there are also services out there who can do this for you. We’ve got a bunch of our photos scanned in, but we have a lot more that still need this. Yesterday I took care of one other key aspect of photo saving – backing up. We’ve got them all on our hard drive, but we also have them stashed on a cloud service and at least one or two backup hard drives.

Save your photos. Protect your memories. Do it, not just because the calendar told you to do it, but because I did. You can thank me with sugary treats later.

Today we negotiate with a tenuous Friday on the cusp of a weekend that is long for me and not for Jodie or most others. Fear not, we’ve also got this to tackle:

  • National Cheeseburger Day. We skipped National Double Cheeseburger Day earlier this week; this seems like a lower-calorie better choice.
  • World Water Monitoring Day. Last I checked the water from our taps flowed downward into the sink, but I’ll be monitoring this all day.
  • Day of National Music (Azerbaijan). Who’s ready to groove to some Azerbaijani beats?
  • First Love Day. A day to reminisce about one’s first love. I can combine two into one, since it’s also National Cheeseburger Day.
  • Hug A Greeting Card Writer Day. I have written greeting cards before. I deserve a hug.
  • International Read An E-Book Day. An entire e-book? Probably not.
  • National Respect Day. Find out what it means to me.
  • Rice Krispies Treats Day. Mom? Did you hear about this? Mom?
  • World Bamboo Day. We own some!

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