Wednesday, October 8, 2020

I hope everyone joined me yesterday morning by greeting the day with a few fiery swipes of Frankenstrat strings by the late, great Eddie Van Halen. I opted for “Hot For Teacher” because it both satisfies my obsession with brilliant drumming and its lyrics encapsulate my lifestyle choice. But, as with every occasion for mourning in 2020 (most of which arrive upon waking up and realizing that no, 2020 isn’t over yet), some celebration must intrude. What wonders engulfed our hours yesterday? Well, mostly work. But also this stuff:

National LED Light Day

This was on its way to the discard heap until I realized just how kick-ass this day truly is. LED lights are an absolute game-changer in a number of ways, and they are certainly more worthy of celebrating than, say, felt hats. And I celebrated felt hats last month. I actually took time out of my life to put on a felt hat, snap a photo, and write about my accomplishment. Has 2020 been a waste? I say fuck no.

Anyhow, let’s time-travel backwards six years. You have probably read a couple of articles this week about folks – one of whom is a local – who are winning Nobel Prizes. They’re awarded around the same time every year, and in 2014 a brilliant dude by the name of Isamu Akasaki brought home the Physics trophy for his pioneering work in LED light. What did he do? He created blue. That’s it. That’s the big leap forward.

But a massive leap it was. When LED lights were invented – that’s Light-Emitting Diode for those of you who might think I’m just shouting the first word of ‘Led Zeppelin’ – they were only able to do their thing in red. Over the next few decades, researchers tapped in to other colours, but blue was the tricky one. It has the shortest wavelength of light, and getting LEDs to shine in that hue was impossible. Or at least it was until Isamu Akasaki showed up and slammed his big science-brain onto the table. So to speak.

Unlocking the ability for LEDs to shine blue meant that they could effectively create bright LEDs that glowed white. Enter the age of power-saving bulbs, energy-efficient Christmas lights, and decorative lights that would last for years. This liberated us from relying solely on glowing tungsten filaments or flickery fluorescents for our everyday illumination. So to celebrate this Nobel victory and this massive leap in science, we’re happy to toast this one. I did so by admiring the LED lights we bought for our Folk Fest party earlier this year, and which now sparkle above our heads in our garage. Yay for science!

National Chocolate Covered Pretzel Day

There’s simply no way this day was going to slide past our radar without evoking memories of that classic scene in the film Mallrats in which Brodie Bruce hands a melty, ass-crack-smelling chocolate covered pretzel to the evil Mr. Svenning. If you haven’t seen the movie and you don’t mind grotesque, juvenile humour (and really, you shouldn’t mind that at all), I highly recommend it.

But we fell short of wanting to recreate that day. It made more sense to us to simply find some chocolate covered pretzels and eat them. That’s what we do for most of these food celebrations: eat the food. For National Orange Day you didn’t see us down at the farmer’s market, recreating that scene in The Godfather when Don Corleone got gunned down over a display of oranges. I kid, of course. There is no National Orange Day. And if there was, we’d totally do that, now that I’ve thought of it.

Citrus fruit may not be worthy of a celebration, but these snacks are. And it would have been a more pure celebration if our grocery store actually stocked these things. But we found an alternative: the Oh Henry Level Up bar, which is either a rebranding or an utter knock-off of the Take 5 bar, which features pretzel, caramel, peanut butter, peanuts, and if they’d had room, probably raisins. Thankfully, they didn’t have room.

Chocolate covered pretzels are the perfect blend of sweet and salty. And if they happen to evoke memories of a vulgar slice of cinematic history, so be it. They’re delicious. And this new chocolate bar has just rocketed up my personal charts of beloved candystuffs. If you haven’t tried it, go get one. They’re incredible.

National Inner Beauty Day

Do you remember the 2017 Ashley Judd movie Trafficked? I’m going to guess probably not, given that it has 17% on RottenTomatoes, and generated roughly zero buzz at the hip, cinephile cocktail parties I routinely attend with my other snooty leftist compatriots. Anyhow, this is a celebration tied in with that film.

No, I didn’t accidentally plunk that paragraph under the wrong heading. National Inner Beauty Day was created by one of my celebration sources, and is intertwined with an organization called Saving Innocence, which seeks donations to help folks who have been victims of human trafficking. Where I thought this might simply be a fluff entry for us to reflect on what makes us beautiful on the inside, this was created to coincide with the release of that 2017 film as a way to bring attention to this horrifically vile little corner of sub-humanity.

I like a celebration with an unexpected twist.

Saving Innocence are the folks who show up when the police have discovered human trafficking victims; they’re the ones who see to it that those victims get hospital care, counselling, and whatever else they need to begin the long journey to recovery. So our celebration for this one is to point out this very worthy cause, and hope that one of our two regular readers (no, wait, we made it up to three last week) will pop in to that link and throw them some bucks. We already made a case for legalizing prostitution earlier this week and legitimizing sex workers, and this fits in nicely with that message. So find your own inner beauty, and if that beauty happens to carry some generosity with it, all the better. Help those who need it. And stay beautiful, all three of you.

Canadian Craft Beer Day

Hosers unite!

Once upon a not-so-long-ago, Canadian beer was seen by most as vastly superior to American beer. It got you drunk faster, and tasted less like a watery soft drink than American Bud or Miller. Then the craft beer revolution began in the 1980s, which likely improved things greatly for those in the States, though their small brewery beers never made it up here. Locally, we were shown what beer could aspire to when Big Rock began producing its wonders in Calgary and exporting them to our little city up north.

Now we live in an era where craft beer from all over the globe might find its way into some of our more impressive beer stores. The selection can be overwhelming. And while some will still prefer the predictable taste of a Molson Canadian or Labbatt Blue, many of us enjoy being able to peruse various stouts, IPAs, radlers, etc. The age of craft brew is here to stay, and Canadians once again do it right. The only difference now is that Americans also do it right – there’s quality beer to be found everywhere.

All I have in my house right now for beer is craft-based. I don’t drink nearly as much beer as I used to – this project has ensured that my beverages remain varied and interesting all year – but I still love the stuff. And to commemorate this day I selected a Granville Island Lions Winter Ale, an annual classic. I don’t know if this was a batch the liquor store still had laying around from last year or if the 2020 shipments arrived early this autumn, but I don’t care. You can taste the chocolate and vanilla notes brilliantly, but they don’t turn it into a sickly sweet beer. They found a way for those flavours to mesh with their malty ale in a way that’s almost magical.

I encourage everyone to dip into their favourite craft beers. We’ve got a long weekend coming up, and we can celebrate not having to be burdened by the family members we don’t want to see thanks to Covid. Crack open a cold one and toast to that. I know I will.


What could be more exciting than a Wednesday with a beer celebration? Let’s see what’s on tap for today.:

  • National Fluffernutter Day. I was looking forward to this. Jodie killed my dream of marshmallow fluff possession.
  • National Pierogi Day. And with the official proper spelling too. We may eat these. We may not.
  • American Touch Tag Day. The plan was for Jodie to play this with her students. Given that social distancing makes this game impossible, it won’t happen.
  • National Octopus Day. We were going to try eating octopus. Jodie advised this was less likely than eating fluffernutter.
  • National Salmon Day. My pick for the tastiest fish in the ocean.
  • International Lesbian Day. A toast to international lesbians everywhere.
  • Alvin C. York Day. Who is Alvin C. York? Well, if he’s interesting enough you’ll find out tomorrow.
  • World Sight Day. We will celebrate this by seeing stuff.

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