Saturday, November 7, 2020

The high point of yesterday may have been hearing the election result (at the time of the writing of this intro paragraph’s first draft, we haven’t heard anything yet). More likely the high point was a visit with Len, my old acupressure guy from a lifetime ago, who is back in business. That dude channels some magical energy, and it was one hell of a trip to see him again. But of course we had stuff to celebrate, and celebrate we did. Because no matter how the rest of this year plays out, with an ongoing pandemic and a broken clusterfuck of a country sitting just south of us, we still have all of this to cover:

(note: at the time of this publishing, we are very well of what will be today’s high point, thank you very much.)

National Nachos Day

Wait, didn’t we do this just a couple weeks ago? Or was it just a week? How long has election week been again? 17 days?

No, that was the International Day of the Nacho. This one is a bit closer to home (apparently). But it’s the same thing in the end. We had a small snack of somewhat burnt cheesy nachos, which is all we could do since Jodie was not at home for more than a few minutes yesterday. I wasn’t going to whip up a huge platter of elaborate ‘chos for myself. Do people call them ‘chos? Can I get credit for that term? Do I want credit for that term?

Or perhaps we can call that another route to victory in celebrating this one. Not only did we eat some nachos, but we came up with a new short-form term for them. Who else has put in that kind of effort to celebrate corn chips smothered in cheese and various other toppings? And for that matter, who needs various other toppings? Some salsa on the side and you don’t even need cheese, right?

Wrong. As we learned on the International celebration, nachos were named for a guy named Ignacio who came up with the cheese-inclusive dish. So cheese it was. And ‘chos were enjoyed once more in this year of mayhem and merriment.

Saxophone Day

On this, the 206th birthday of Adolphe Sax, the man whose phone would later help to define the sounds of jazz, R&B, funk and rock (among others), we felt it appropriate to crank up some sax-heavy music. If you’re looking to do a tribute yourself, you could do a lot worse. We blasted through accordion day and kazoo day with a bit of difficulty. Here are some options for treating yourself to some hot, steamy sax:

  • John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”. There is so much to love about Coltrane’s catalog, even for those who might bristle at some of his more experimental free-form “heroin jazz”. This track is an epic piece of work – it’s actually an entire album, broken down into parts – and demonstrates why people talk about Coltrane as a master of the instrument.
  • Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street”. Raphael Ravenscroft did the heavy lifting, though an early take shows Gerry wrote the famous riff. The beautiful thing about this song is that the saxophone riff is the entire chorus. No words are needed.
  • The Beatles’ “Savoy Truffle”. This one is fascinating because of how dirty they made the saxophones sound. Apparently George Harrison was embarrassed by it, worried that he’d insulted the session musicians. But damn this song kicks ass. And it’s all about candy!
  • Pink Floyd’s “Us And Them”. The lyrics are still tragically relevant today, but the sax really breathes the soul into this track. And since the track flows smoothly into the next, you may as well just finish up the album while you’re at it.
  • Steely Dan’s “Deacon Blues”. This is one of the most adult-contemporary Dan songs, but the work by Pete Christlieb (arranged by Tom Scott) is pretty damn fantastic.
  • The Champs’ “Tequila”. Not just a song to get drunk to, this features the wailing, grunting sax sound that made early rock ‘n roll so damn fun. Plus you can dance like Pee Wee Herman if you want to.
  • Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland”. So many options, but really, if you want to know what makes the saxophone such a great instrument, just give a listen to anything Bruce did that features Clarence Clemmons.
  • Wham’s “Careless Whisper”. I was going to finish with Huey Lewis’s “I Want A New Drug”, but this is probably the most iconic sax line of the 80s. And yes, I know, it’s technically a George Michael song, but it’s on a Wham album so shut up.

Hooray for the saxomophone. Happy day to ya.

Fountain Pen Day

Yesterday was fountain pen day.

Can you imagine how passionate I feel about fountain pen day?

I was given a fountain pen by a dear friend a few years back. Problem is, I don’t write in pen anymore. It tends to aggravate whatever demon is cursing my arms with pain, and my penmanship is terrible anyway. I feel nothing for pens at all, including fountain pens (though I admit, that fountain I got is pretty sharp). A fountain pen is one step removed from the quill & ink method, in that it has a cartridge of ink attached to it, and can leave a tremendous mess all over the page if you don’t know how to use it properly.

Fountain pens were a fad when I was in elementary school, and for the life of me I never knew why. I watched one friend who learned how to create some pretty calligraphy with the thing, and a number of other friends ruin their clothing because of an inadvertent splurt of ink. I had no interest.

There is evidence that the Fatimid caliph Al-Mu’izz Ii-Din Allah (you know – that guy) in 10th century Arab Egypt commanded a pen with a reservoir of ink be built for him. Leo Da Vinci had sketches for a fountain pen device. By the 1600s it was a thing. Then ballpoint showed up and claimed the market, and just like that we had fewer ink splurts all over our shit and our lives improved by at least 3000%.

I’m sure the people who came up with this celebration (and yes, there is an official .org website) had high hopes for it, but all we’ve got is a list of how big the celebrations have been every year (up to 2015, that’s all), and a blog section that was never set up. So even the person or persons behind celebrating the Fountain Pen can’t really get motivated to celebrate the damn Fountain Pen.

We learned. We took in new knowledge about these things. That’s celebration enough for me.

National Jersey Friday

This is not a charity-awareness thing or any sort of make-a-statement celebration. The NFL Players Association came up with this designation for the first Friday in November simply for people to wear jerseys and to support their teams.

I threw on my old Peyton Manning jersey for a while yesterday. It was as fun as I’d expected.

Hey cool, it’s another Saturday in celebratesville and the snow is falling like heavy, wet puke from the sky. Here’s the stuff gumming up our radar right now:

  • National Bison Day. We could eat bison, or maybe treat them as we treated lemurs and elephants this year and just learn about them.
  • National Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day. That is pretty damn specific for a candy day.
  • Hungarian Opera Day. In case you were wondering just how ambitious I was feeling last year when I was researching days to celebrate…
  • Pumpkin Destruction Day. Now I’m wishing we’d carved a pumpkin.
  • Book Lovers Day. Well we’re all book lovers, aren’t we?
  • National Wine Tasting Day. This would be a good day to hop from liquor store to liquor store, looking for samples.
  • World Numbat Day. This looks like some sort of rodent or something.

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