Saturday, September 19, 2020

While we remain ever-vigilant that this circuitous journey will plop us back at the stroke of New Year’s Eve’s midnight chime, we wonder about the footfalls we have to cover to get there. We are no longer striving to become a global inspiration of carpe-ing one’s own diem (were we ever striving for that?), but now just seek to close up shop with as much of our sanity remaining as we’re able to scrounge. And even outside the dozens of “Life is Good” or “Forgive People” generic re-run celebrations we have come across, beyond my perpetual efforts to stretch out something like National Chicken Month to a full three or four paragraphs, we also have the generalized madness of 2020 to contend with. Alas, we pulled through another day, one that featured this:

Day of National Music (Azerbaijan)

There was also a day to honour films that come out of Azerbaijan, leading me to believe that either this former Soviet republic treasures their national art more fervently than most other nations, or else they’re just doing a better job of getting the word out. I honestly have no idea. But I’ve seen no Turkmenistan artistic days on our calendar, so it’s one of the two.

How to celebrate this one? It was easy. I did a search and came up with a number of Azerbaijani artists. Thanks to the magic of Spotify I was able to sample a bunch of them. I started with Alim Qasimov, whose voice was nothing short of haunting. Next up was Aziza Mustafa Zadeh, beginning with her song “Always”, which I highly recommend as a tribute to this day and to National Piano Month.

Next there was Nigar Jamal, whose name I will never say out loud. This stuff was more poppy – like poppy to the point where I felt I either needed to change it up or chug back some E and get dancing after about two minutes. Lastly I checked out Vagif Mustafazadeh (pictured above) because I love his mustache game. He plays some magnificent piano jazz to.

This was great. I wish there were more days like this and fewer days of generic, repetitive niceties. For example:

National Respect Day

The good news is that this not simply a repeat day, it just felt like it might be with such a generic name. It’s actually a day started by the Family Violence Prevention Fund and Macy’s back in 2008 to bring awareness to dating and family violence. Let me phrase that better: …to bring awareness to dating violence and family violence. I don’t want to give the impression that they’re cautioning against family violence whilst handing out tips on dating. Damn, where was I?

Yes, respect. Women could use a lot more respect on this planet. It’s estimated that between 16 and 20 percent of female college students get sexually assaulted as part of their college experience. That’s one in fucking five. And while certain national measures have been put in place in America to take power away from victims – you know, because of all those phony accusations of rape – the reality is that only 2-8% of rape claims are found to be false. So possibly as low as one in fifty.

What the hell is wrong with us men? Jodie and I did our part by raising a male child who is as utterly disgusted by all of this as any reasonable human should be, but that isn’t enough. I mean, it would be if every male was raised this way, but they aren’t.

If you’re looking to test how well you can maneuver through the dating scene with respect, you can take this quiz I found. The only way to bomb this one is to be a complete dick, so be warned.

And come on, let’s just be respectful. It’s not that hard to do.

World Bamboo Day

If you guessed that World Bamboo Day was enacted by the World Bamboo Organization, well you’d be bang-on correct. The WBO started this day eleven years ago as a way of spreading the glory that is bamboo around the world. The WBO has been around since 1992, and they want us all to know just how much you can do with bamboo. It’s not just food for pandas.

You can cook soup inside hollowed-out bamboo stalks. You can make chopsticks from it, or those funky little mats you use to roll your own sushi. Bamboo can be a biofuel. It can be made into charcoal somehow. I have no idea how. It has been used as a pen material, albeit for those old-timey pens you’d need to dip into a bottle of ink. So that’s not really a thing anymore.

Bamboo makes for fine clothing, and can be used instead of plastic components in spandex stretch-clothes. In Hong Kong they still build scaffolding for high-rises out of bamboo. Mainland China has banned this for buildings over six stories, and I’m thinking this is one aspect of Chinese law that Hong Kong should embrace. The stuff has a high strength-to-weight ratio though, so it’s great to build with.

China invented paper, and they invented bamboo paper as well. You can use it as a weapon: as a spear, a bow, and even the first gunpowder-based weapons were made from bamboo. If you’ve already captured your foe, slide some under their fingernails for some real fun. You can make bamboo bikes, skateboards, fishing rods, furniture and rafts.

Lastly, you can make mattress covers out of bamboo, which are terrific because they are leak-proof, but without making that crunching noise that waterproof plastic makes. We switched over to a bamboo mattress pad once Trixie, our number one canine research assistant, decided she wanted to periodically piss on our bed to show us who’s boss. We are very grateful for bamboo in our lives for this very reason. It’s versatile stuff.

And Trixie is still the boss.

Fall Hat Month

Do you have a fall hat? I have a fall hat.

We acknowledged not long ago that the time of straw hats had come to an end around Labor Day, a tradition that has actually led to violence in the streets in some places. It’s time to bust out the fall hats, those delightful little scalp-warmers that keep us going until the inevitable necessity of the toque, or wool cap if you live somewhere foreign, like America.

Okay, the hat above is not something I have ever referred to as a ‘fall hat’. I purchased it in England in March one year, so maybe it’s my spring hat. And I almost never wear it; in fact, the time I’ve worn it the most was earlier this year when I was signing in to work teleconference meetings before my morning shower, and thus had to cover up my wildly sleep-strewn hair. That was also in the spring.

Alright fine, it’s my spring hat. But it’s also my fall hat, or at least it is as of this day. I don’t wear hats very often (I look profoundly rabbinical in a fedora, which is never a look I’m going for), but I will wear this one a few times over the course of this autumn if only to justify this celebration. Winter certainly requires a better insulator, and summer is not a time I’ll ever care to wear a hat, so this one will cover both seasons.

This is weird to me. Do any of my readers have a fall hat? Is this a thing I have missed due to a lifetime of absolute indifference over fashion? Oh well. I’m catching up. I’m learning.

Rice Krispies Treats Day

She heard me. I hadn’t come across this particular entry in my research last year, so it was a last minute ask, but our team baker (thanks, Mom!) came through in a big way. Not so much with baking – I hadn’t given her any notice, and besides, she hates making these things because of the way they sticky up a pan, but she stopped by the store and picked up some pre-made Krispie treats. Am I complaining? Hell no, these are great. Sure, the one above doesn’t quite look like the picture (only two M&Ms? Seriously), but it tasted fine.

Mildred Day is the hero behind this one. Not in coming up with the day – I’m sure Kellogg’s was the one who jumped that train into motion back in 2005, but Mildred was the one who invented these treats. She was a troop leader for the Campfire Girls, which I believe is a knock-off of the Girl Scouts. Nothing against the sanctity and nobility of the Campfire Girls; I merely suspect the Scouts came first.

That’s not important. Mildred was looking for an inexpensive fundraiser idea, and she crammed some cereal into a pan with some marshmallow and invented perfection. It doesn’t matter if they’re made fresh or store-bought; they are utterly unhealthy and bad for you, and as a result they are friggin’ delicious. It was the perfect dessert after the day’s main event:

National Cheeseburger Day

We have researched the history of the hamburger. We don’t need to research how long it took for someone to realize that cheese would be perfect atop a hamburger – it was likely within the first day.

We ate cheeseburgers last night. And what’s more, we ate the best in the city, from The Next Act pub on the south side. Pictured above is mine: the PB&J burger, made with peanut butter and a delightful bacon-jam. If that sounds grotesque to you then you have judged it too quickly. This burger needs to be tried to be believed.

Given our perpetual adherence to 2020 safe distancing rules we simply picked up our delightful treats to go. They were worth the drive. Yum.

How much will we dive into today? It’s our only weekend day in between work and football, and we both have actual other stuff to do, so who knows? Here’s what’s up:

  • National Dance Day. I guess we’ll be dancing today.
  • National Gymnastics Day. And given our age and relative level of decrepitness, we probably won’t be doing gymnastics.
  • National Butterscotch Pudding Day. Alright, I guess dessert is taken care of.
  • Responsible Dog Ownership Day. I guess I won’t be playing live-action Frogger by riding Liberty through traffic on the freeway today.
  • National Cleanup Day. What a coincidence – one of the things I have to do today is clean the house. Hooray?
  • Talk Like A Pirate Day. This honestly used to be a big deal at my place of work before I started. Is that weird?
  • Meow Like A Pirate Day. This one not so much.
  • Locate An Old Friend Day. Hopefully they’re on Facebook because I don’t feel like doing a lot of field work today.
  • Big Whopper Liar Day. Either this is a day to celebrate the current president, or else we’re supposed to fib about an oversized sandwich from Burger King.
  • International Red Panda Day. We’ll learn if red pandas eat red bamboo, I suppose.
  • Software Freedom Day. Sounds pleasant.
  • Thank A Police Officer Day. If we see one, we will thank one. Maybe.
  • Rosh Hashanah. We had hoped to spend this one out amongst the Jewish folks, but it looks like we’ll just crack some champagne and throw bread at the wall like any other New Year’s.

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