Thursday, December 31, 2020

This is my final article of this project that will feature a ‘Today’ section packed with celebrations and whatnot to occupy my time. I can summarize how much sadness I feel about this with a glorious little jig my brain dances upon the parquet floor of my skull every time I think about it. Good riddance to 2020, and a pre-adios to this project which has crumbled beneath the weight of its own ambition. We shan’t be welcoming the new year the same way we did last year. First off, I don’t need to celebrate National Hangover Day tomorrow, so I won’t be doing shots of peach vodka until I puke this year. Secondly, we indulged in numerous rituals to bring good fortune into the new year, including throwing bread, leaping off chairs, eating grapes, ringing a bell and dropping ice cream on the floor. We did all that, and got 2020 as a result. So we’ll be repeating none of those customs tonight. Here’s how we spent our penultimate day of celebration:

Falling Needles Family Fest

For one final bow before the curtain drops, I give you Thomas and Ruth Roy. Thomas was an actor – you might remember him as the street preacher in the 1995 film 12 Monkeys. He spent years as a DJ. He and his wife Ruth created more than 80 holidays, which all showed up as the most entertaining entries in Chase’s Calendar of Events in our research for this project. We made it part of our mission to celebrate as many of these as humanly possible.

Take Your Houseplants For A Walk Day. Stay Away From Seattle Day. Northern Hemisphere Hoodie-Hoo Day. Yell “Fudge” At The Cobras In North America Day. These are just a handful of the madcap mayhem-fests the Roys have bestowed upon our 2020, and they never even realized it. Yesterday I sent them an email of thanks. I’ll drop an update if they happen to write back.

The purpose of this one is to take down the Christmas tree and… I don’t know, deal with it. I have only undertaken the savage ritual of having a living tree in my house once, and I think we just plopped it out by the trash on trash day. We plopped our artificial tree back into its basement hidey-hole for the next year, along with all the rest of our indoor and outdoor decorations. The deChristmification of the Schwartz compound is complete, and that means we are a step closer to summer and the hammock.

Thank you, Roys, for adding the sparkle to this year’s schedule of insanity.

National Bacon Day

It’s perfect. On the penultimate day of the project that has drained more than 2,000 entries from my fingertips, we get what some may consider to be the greatest of all national days. Bacon is such immense joy that even our cultural over-saturation of bacon obsession has done nothing to sway our taste buds. It is the most prized salted meat. The star of any breakfast it deigns to crash.

In my previous project, I penned a thoughtful and genuine love letter to bacon. I’m going to copy it here, because nothing I can say about the stuff could do it any more justice than this:

Dear Bacon,

Your salty scent and savory crunch have coaxed me into buildings, distorted my perception of satisfactory portion sizes, and pinched my most base sense of temptation. While your sodium and fat content may lure me to a premature traffic jam of goop in my arteries, you remain an irresistible force.

Were I imprisoned in a fantasy-scape of hardboiled fiction, you would be my femme fatale. My meat fatale.

You are a complete thought, an understanding between myself and the greater universe. When my grandmother asks why I don’t keep kosher, you are my sole justification. “Because, bacon.” Had she ever experienced your essence, she would understand.

I have been asked by fellow bacon enthusiasts (or, right-minded gourmands, as I call us) if Canadian bacon is the norm up here. In reply I ask, how could such a second-rate cut of pork inspire the same devotion as genuine bacon?

I grant you, a fine Canadian bacon can be a pristine purveyance of porcine pleasure, but it isn’t the same. We call it ‘peameal bacon’ because it used to be rolled in dried yellow peas (why???). Now they roll it in cornmeal. It’s nice, but it’s “ham” nice. It’s not you.

I know, they call back bacon ‘bacon’ in England, but what do they do in England that isn’t backwards anyway? In Ireland, back bacon slices are called ‘back rashers’, probably because it’s easy to pronounce when you’re drunk. But I’m not here to rattle on about your competition.

So much has been created in your honor. No longer are you condemned to wallow with ham slices and sausages as an optional companion for hashbrowns beside a Moons Over My-Hammy. You have been liberated from L. and T., your sandwich friends; you’ve been removed from your burger and whistle-dog prisons, and idolized throughout western society.

As it was meant to be.

I’ve sprinkled your bits on salad (I apologize if that sounds naughty), singled you out as the only valid ingredient in baked potato soup, and even indulged in a wild gustatory ménage-a-trois with you and chocolate.

I have sampled your dalliance with mayonnaise, and while I find the name ‘Baconnaise’ to be a frothy tickle upon my tongue, I cannot keep this product in my home for fear that I’d disappear into a cupboard with but the jar and a soup-spoon.

Someone told me once about Bacon Grill and I nearly wept. Leave it to those crazy Dutch to turn you into a Spam-like glob. Honestly, that is a crime against more than humanity – it is a crime against baconity.

The ingredients for this abomination include “mechanically recovered pork” and “mechanically recovered chicken”. Not only does my mind boggle at the inclusion of poultry into the holy sanctity of your realm, but I can’t help but wonder from whence these meats have been recovered.

Turkey bacon and tofu bacon will come no nearer to my lips than Bacon Grill. Bacon needs no modifiers to bring it to life. It is life, in fact, that needs modifiers. The modification of bacony goodness.

First and most logically are the joyous beverages your bounty can provide. A bacon martini (also called a bacontini or a Pig On The Rocks) features bacon-infused vodka. To get straight to the point on a Friday eve, I might prefer the Mitch Morgan: a shot of whiskey with a bacon garnish.

I confess, my affections are pure. While I appreciate the mountains of tributes to you in the form of various non-food products, I prefer to indulge in your essence solely by your presence. Things get a little weird when people try to baconize the rest of the world.

I have sampled bacon gum and bacon mints, and they taste like bacon might in a darker, more wretched dimension. The bacon air fresheners that may adequately proclaim one’s love for you visually, fail to capture the glory of your olfactory delight. To be honest, some of these products may not even be real:

Bacon bandages. I have used them, and not only is their adhesive quality sub-par when compared to Band-Aid brand, they simply make me hungry.

Bacon baby formula. I agree completely with this product’s intention: to indoctrinate young taste buds into the holy benefits of a bacon lifestyle.

Bacon-flavored Diet Coke. I know this isn’t real, but I just love the picture.

Bacon hot sauce. Absolutely. Why settle for making food spicier, when you can make food both spicier and baconier?

Bacon toothpaste. Sure, some people may shy away from this concept, and it may be because the product actually tastes extremely unpleasant (which I imagine it does). But no true devotee to the sweet bosom of bacony bliss would refuse to try it. Just once.

Bacon luggage. This one is probably fake. It would be a great way to confuse drug-sniffing dogs though.

A bacon-themed coffin. I suppose once you’ve sampled every other bacon product on Earth, this would be your last stop on the tasty train.

Bacon personal lubricant. Ummm… this might be a bit much.

Dear, sweet bacon, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my cholesterol count for the many hours of gourmet goodness you have provided. While someday you may be the cause of my ultimate demise, I will savor my journey to that great beyond, one thick-cut, extra-crispy slice at a time.


A fan.

Thanks, bacon. It’s been nearly eight years since I wrote those words, but they still ring true today. We had some of you on pizza last night because you rock. Happy day to you.

That’s it for the 30th. And for one final time, here’s what we have to look forward to today, should we feel so oomphed:

  • National Champagne Day. No kidding. Prosecco will have to count as close enough, and you know what? After this year, close enough is good fucking enough.
  • Leap Second Time Adjustment Day. Every so often they add an extra second to the year, just to keep the calendar intact. We’ll check if it happened this year.
  • Make Up Your Mind Day. I guess this is the day we… make up our minds?
  • Universal Hour of Peace. Between 11:30 and 12:30 (so, around midnight tonight) we will refrain from any acts of bloodshed.
  • No Interruptions Day. I have three dogs. That doesn’t happen.
  • New Year’s Eve. Of course!

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Tomorrow we will unleash our final celebrations upon the world (which, for us, is this house), and the true twist ending to this madness will be revealed. Spoiler: it turns out the celebrations were in our hearts the entire time. Or something equally as trite, I’m sure. No, there isn’t much left to celebrate, and on January 1 I hope to have a final count of our acknowledged tributes throughout the year. I’ll probably also hammer out a quick summation of how I feel this project has gone before turning the word processor off and getting the hell back to life. Because life is still happening, as much as our calendar tries to point us elsewhere. Yesterday, however, the calendar didn’t have much to say. Here was our Tuesday:

Tick Tock Day

No, this has nothing to do with that video-sharing site, as evidenced by the proper English spelling of both tick and tock in its title. This is one more Thomas and Ruth Roy celebration creation, a day for us to fashion our list of the stuff we still want to get done before the year expires. It’s true – this article will land on the interweb machines less than 48 hours before the year comes to a close.

Of course, haven’t we done enough for 2020 at this point? We’re all eager for the new year to begin, not because we believe it holds the promise of an instant-fix for all that plagues the world, but because we are optimistic that a fresh start might begin a steady uptick in quality of life that will restore our lives at least mostly back to what they were before 2020 kicked their asses.

Here’s what I still have to do this year:

  • Celebrate. We have a handful of celebrations to cover today and tomorrow, and we don’t plan on simply crawling feebly over the finish line.
  • Write. Whatever we celebrate gets documented. Probably not on our social media channels, as we have most abandoned sharing everything there. But you’ll see it all right here.
  • Cook. I’m the cook of the house, and I have one more meal to make this year. We’ve decided on Chinese food for tomorrow night, because we know how to live.
  • Walk. These dogs need exercise, and while I’ve vowed to avoid walking them when the mercury plunges below -20, we aren’t anywhere near that. So off we’ll go.
  • Puzzle. We started a jigsaw puzzle a couple days ago, and we plan on finishing it. And maybe starting another.

That’s it. 2020 can fuck right off, apart from those few remaining chores, none of which are particularly gruelling or unpleasant. We may as well enjoy these last few hours of a year we’ll all spend the rest of our lives trying to forget.

National Hero Day

One of my primary sources for this project, National Day Calendar, created this one, likely because if they hadn’t, there wouldn’t be much of anything to fill the spot on December 29. It’s a day to celebrate real-life heroes (as opposed to, say, Iron Man) for all the greatness they have bestowed upon the planet throughout the year.

It’s going to be really cliché and potentially hokey if I use this time to praise front-line healthcare workers, right? Well, fuck it. I can’t think of anyone I know who exemplifies the notion of ‘hero’ right now more than Kohley, Jenny, and the other doctors and nurses I know who are out there getting all close-up with sick folk right now. They’re not only fighting a pandemic which scientists are still figuring out, but they’re fighting a wealth of ignorance and unearned chutzpah that propels anti-maskers to march in the streets and ignore recommendations.

In 2001, the firefighters and police were the heroes everyone swooned for. And those folks are still heroes by today’s standards (though the police system has certainly be shown to be broken lately). But it took a worldwide health emergency for the doctors and nurses to get the spotlight, and really it’s one they’ve deserved since the dawn of their professions. Would you want to sponge up gross human fluids, or hold someone’s hand as they fearfully tumbled into the void beyond this existence? I sure as hell wouldn’t, pandemic or not. Yes, they get paid for this work, and yes, they could opt out and get a job selling Subarus or something. But they don’t. They keep our world going.

So that’s my big salute for this one. I hold teachers and other people who work in relatively thankless jobs in the same regard, but the front-line healthcare folks get the attention today. They have had a year rougher than most.

National Eggs Benedict Day

This day landed on April 16, and it was – in my opinion – our greatest failing of the year. Well, my greatest failing. I tried making hollandaise sauce, and the butter was poured in too quickly, causing the sauce to separate into something gross and inedible. We ate our eggs benedict sauceless on that day, and it tasted about as good as it sounds.

On Christmas morning, I tried again. And the result was tasty enough for eggs benny to become our new Christmas brunch tradition. With proper hollandaise. I’m not counting this as another celebration, just as a fix of an earlier disaster. Huzzah.

Such a short day, though I assure you I re-celebrated National Chocolate Candy Day, just to make sure I’d done it right. We can’t be too careful with some of these. National Rum Day (from August) was also revisited. Here’s today’s lineup:

  • National Bicarbonate of Soda Day. Well, if we need Alka-Seltzer to come to the rescue today, we’ll be ready.
  • Falling Needles Family Fest. A time to clean up after Christmas. I guess that means we tidy the house.
  • National Bacon Day. Yes, this one was cleverly stashed at the end of the year. It might be the only way we’ve made it this far.
  • Festival of Enormous Changes At The Last Minute. Sure. Is this where we announce that we’re celebrating for the next 365 days? (spoiler: no)

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Beyond ambition there lies a void of longing, one that does regular battle with complacency and comfort. On the other side of ambition there is no palpable void at all, and hardly even the space for a deep and wholesome breath. It’s a tenuous thread that tethers us between those extremes, and sometimes the events of happenstance tug perilously at that thread. Last night my writing was delayed by technical difficulties, ones which almost sent me to retire into the ether with not a single word slapped into the record. But frustration breeds opportunity, so I simply pivoted my creeping ennui into a celebration:

National Be Late For Something Day

This day allegedly gives us permission to arrive tardy for something – pretty much anything – so long as we are the type who is habitually punctual. If you’re already the sort who will wander into a bris post-slice like it’s no big deal, you don’t get to celebrate this day. This is a reward for the diligent.

I am, I believe, one of the diligent. Though thankfully I don’t often have to be on time for much these days, apart from ensuring I’m poured into my upstairs office chair every morning when I’m supposed to be at work. Given that the preparation required for me to do this involves only waking up and walking upstairs, it’s fairly manageable. So I’ll allow it.

Except my boss probably wouldn’t be too happy about it. And yesterday was, technically, a Saturday so no one was expecting me anywhere at any time. The only option we’d had to show up late for something was if we’d arrived at our doughnut shop too late to grab any treats. They close sometime between 1 and 3 in the afternoon, so we’ve come close before. But that doesn’t count as a celebration, as we’d have ended up without doughnuts. That’s nothing to celebrate about.

Then fate, ever the kind and giving little prick, stepped in to help. After updating Windows yesterday evening, I found that my Microsoft Word had simply disappeared. This required an extensive repair process, and meant that at the time pictured above, 9:58pm, I was finally ready to sit down and write something.

So I showed up late to this article. And it wasn’t a celebration, because I was only late due to my computer software dicking me around. But hey, it counts.

World Beard Day

The webpage for this day is cute. It recommends flattening a friend’s tire so you can change it as a celebration of doing something manly. I did not do that. It suggests lighting a fire so you can “sit around the fire and enjoy having a beard and living in a golden age of beardedness”. I didn’t do that either, though I like the sentiment. Drink vodka (it mentions this twice). Nope, though I enjoyed some great gin. Burn an effigy of someone without a beard. That’s… that’s a bit much, I think.

According to one site, the Vikings of Denmark held a day to celebrate beards more than 1200 years ago. Apparently the Swedish town of Donskborg will exile their beardless men for 24 hours on this day, forcing them to spend the day in a nearby forest. That seems a bit extreme, but I bet the party back in town is beardly and hearty.

My beard needs a bit of a trim and clean-up, but I held off yesterday as I read that it is rude to bring any blade near your beard on this sacred day. Sure – I guess that will qualify as my celebration of World Beard Day. I let it fly free and long.

Though for the record, I don’t have a beard in order to exude any semblance of manliness. I do that through bench-pressing sides of beef in public shopping malls while cranking Foreigner’s “Hot Blooded” through a tinny speaker. Trust me, it works. No, this beard was grown first as part of a Halloween decoration (I was series-finale Walter White, minus the cancer-driven skinniness), and kept because it actually works for me.

So lots of love to the beard today. It’s a fine facial hair choice.

National Hummingbird Day

The hummingbird is, even to those who don’t particularly care for most birds (and I’m married to one of those folks), a pretty cool little creature. Some hummingbirds can flap their little wings at a rate of 80 times per second. They can dive at speeds equivalent to freeway driving speeds. They have the highest metabolic rate of any warm-blooded animal.

Females are the larger of the species, and they also have longer bills, which helps for digging out that sweet, sweet nectar from flowers. And size matters when it comes to picking a mate – in particular, smaller males are preferred because they conserve more energy, and they’re able to pour a little more oomph into their courting rituals. Those rituals are brilliant aerial displays. I don’t usually recommend folks look at pornography on the internet, but if you can spend a few minutes watching hummingbird courtship rituals on Youtube, you’ll be fascinated, I promise.

You’ve probably seen hummingbirds at a feeder: their wings appear to flap furiously to keep them aloft, while their heads stay perfectly still. This is one of nature’s most awesome displays of awesomeness right here. Even in a wind tunnel, with the wind blowing behind them or from the side, they can compensate and keep their head steady until their belly is full.

And boy can these creatures sleep. In their nighttime dormitory state their internal temperature will plummet from 40 degrees Celsius down to 18. Their heartrate, which tops out over 1,000 beats per minute when they’re in action, can drop down as low as 50bpm. They know how to pack their rest-hours in properly.

They probably don’t have pets that wake them up at 1:45am, asking for breakfast. I should be so lucky as to sleep like a hummingbird for just one night. Happy day, little birdies.

International Vulture Awareness Day

Did you know there was a need to raise awareness over the conservation of vultures? Me neither. I’d always assumed there was plenty of dead stuff for them to feast on, and that the only threat to their numbers would be from humans spreading out and building cities all over the place, in particular cities with hospitals so that our dead weren’t lining the streets like some eternal beef buffet for the vulture community.

Well, it turns out that actually is a serious problem. Of the 22 species of vultures on the planet, nine are listed as critically endangered, and only six are on the safe end of the spectrum. Vultures are on the outs in India and Nepal, mostly because of a drug called Diclofenac, which is used by vets. India clued into this and banned the drug, but it will be a long while before the vulture population is back up to what it was. And because vultures are pretty thorough little beasts, their relative absence means more rabid dogs running around India, having eaten the tainted meat that wouldn’t have upset a vulture’s tummy.

So that’s the drug that will get them. But if you’ve got a creature whose dead body is oozing with botulism or anthrax, that’s cool. Vultures have amazingly corrosive stomach acid, and will break that shit down like it was a Pop-Tart.

They may be a little creepy and the stuff of legend when it comes to wandering souls, fearing their demise to the elements. But vultures are cool birds. Not quite as cool as hummingbirds (who are extra cool because they share this day voluntarily with vultures), but I like ‘em.

International Bacon Day

We had Bacon Lovers Day and now this day, both of which negate the agony (okay, extremely relative agony) of having to wait for December 30 in order to celebrate National Bacon Day. In fact, that day will be downright anticlimactic now.

But who cares? We ate some bacon, and we did it at Barb & Ernie’s, who are known for making the greatest brunch food in this city. Possibly in the world, I really haven’t done a lot of research into it. But they have a way of doing their bacon (deep-frying it in oil, which makes it oh-so-crisp) that is truly delightful. And it goes really well with Eggs Benedict.

So a big thanks to this day for showing up and giving us a reason to eat some bacon. Like we needed one.

Today is Sunday, and one which I hope will not be quite as chilly as the forecast promises. We’d better not get snow before this month is up. You’ve done enough, 2020. Here’s today’s menu:

  • National Coffee Ice Cream Day. I may have these separately, rather than as one thing. Does that count?
  • National Read A Book Day. Well, I won’t read an entire one, but I’m sure I can put some time into this.
  • Fight Procrastination Day. If ever there was a holiday where we could say “Every day is this holiday”, this would be it.
  • Great Egg Toss Day. Could we be participating in some messy hijinks today?
  • Pet Rock Day. Should we adopt or look for a good breeder?
  • Barbie Doll Day. I don’t think I have one to play with, but maybe I should buy myself a treat.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

One of my beloved aunties sent me a link yesterday for the annual CBC short story writing contest. I haven’t written a lot of fiction lately, but I’ve got a few ideas kicking around in my brain. What I don’t have is the time. My time for creative pursuits is booked solid for the next four months. And that booking will ride with us into a long weekend that is thankfully not overly dense with celebrations; every other weekend this month is a veritable madhouse by comparison. But I’m still discovering new celebrations every day, due to one pesky site that escaped my research radar last year. So perhaps I will be overburdened this weekend. Here’s how our Friday shaped up:

National Lazy Moms Day

Actually the title of this one in at least two sources I found lists it as ‘National Lazy Mom’s Day’. I don’t agree with the apostrophe; it sounds as though it’s a day for just one lazy mom. But let’s pick these nits just a little deeper than punctuation.

The first Friday of September is a day when ‘everyday mom jobs’ are delegated to someone other than the mom, possibly so that she can have a relaxing day now that the kids are all back in school. Okay, cool. I mean, if we assume that all moms are homemakers then this should be the bang-up neat-o celebration of September, 1957. Next I’d like to know what are ‘everyday mom jobs’? Cooking? I usually do the cooking, and I did so yesterday. Cleaning? We both do that, but I did the bulk yesterday. Laundry? Well, all of our bedding saw the inside of our magic laundry machines, and I was the one who guided them.

I didn’t do any of this because of a specific celebration so much as I’m the one who works from home and Jodie’s the one who spends her days in the infestation-pit of a school. Oh, and I’m almost always the one who cooks, mainly because I’m the only one who enjoys it. But sure, let’s say I did all that yesterday to celebrate this day.

And let’s give a little love to the real lazy moms in our house, pictured above. Both Trixie and Rosa have spewed out a litter of pups in their day, and they were fully entitled to snooze away the day in the most lazy way possible. Which they did, because they are trained professionals and know their jobs well. Happy day, girls.

Bring Your Manners To Work Day

The Protocol School of Washington (Go, Fighting Etiquettes!) developed this day as a way for us to remember that we work among other humans, and that we should treat those other humans with the same courtesy and respect as we’d hope they treat us. Even if your expectations are low, or if you find some sort of sick enjoyment from being treated like crap around the office photocopier, you should still carry yourself in a considerate and thoughtful way. As pictured above, I wished my colleague a happy long weekend in the most polite way possible.

This celebration might warrant some extra attention if there are folks who have recently returned to an office or workplace environment after an extended time of either working from home or being Covid-unemployed. If you’ve spent time with no one but your pets and possibly your significant other for the  last six months, you may be out of practice dealing with other people. Or maybe the very notion of forgetting how to not be a dick is preposterous and I’m just freestyle thinking in order to take up space.

It’s entirely possible. I do that a lot.

The reality is, the people who don’t behave with any semblance of manners during their regular workdays are not going to see the title of this day and behave any differently. But rather than get all cynical about this day, I’ll just point out that I celebrated it, and that’s enough. We all know the Golden Rule, but let’s face it – the real Golden Rule is “don’t be a dick.” If we all followed that, we’d be a much happier population.

National College Colors Day

The Friday before Labor Day (or ‘Labour Day’ to us north-o-49ers) is also the day we are supposed to don the proud colours of whichever post-secondary institution we drank our way through in order to obtain a degree. If you don’t have a degree, I assume it’s acceptable to wear the colours of whichever NCAA team you happen to support, possibly because you like their colours the best, I don’t know.

Jodie and I both attended the University of Alberta, and as such green and gold were the colours we needed to feature. Jodie also had the option of adopting the black-gold-red combo of the University of Calgary, where she is presently doing her Masters. Come to think of it, I did part of my degree at Grant Macewan, so I could have gone black and maroon. I could have also gone blue and orange for the University of Athabasca, through which I took several correspondence courses. Lots of options here.

Yes, this was started by a company that manufactures clothing for various colleges and universities around America. And yes, they started this day no doubt to earn an extra profit off of kids who are enthusiastically returning to their campuses (or, in 2020, to their online connections) in September. But it’s a small ask to slap on some colours and represent. I like my school. I didn’t participate in much other than my classes – being in one’s late 30s doesn’t allow for a lot of frat parties and phone-booth-stuffings, or whatever kids are doing now – but I enjoyed the campus, and had a great experience.

I like clothes-wearing celebrations. They are easy to tackle, and not much needs to be said about them. And with that in mind…

Wear Teal Day / National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Let’s face it, I’m not at risk for ovarian cancer. I can confidently cross this one off the books of shit I’m afraid of dying from – and yes, there is enough shit to fill several books. But this is a sadistic killer of women, and I’m happy to bring some awareness to it.

“Bringing attention” to various kinds of cancer doesn’t simply mean making sure people know they exist. But let’s have a look at some of the early symptoms of this one. The bad news is that ovarian cancer symptoms are often pretty subtle and might not even be considered as ‘symptoms’ by some. It gets misdiagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The creeping culprits manifest as abdominal pain, bloating, back pain, bleeding (you know where from), loss of appetite, fatigue, indigestion, heartburn, nausea, and possibly peeing a little too often. None of these are going to raise alarm bells in most people, given that many of these symptoms could also come from a poor fast-food meal experience.

If the pain gets intense, or if there’s a feeling of excessive pressure in one’s innard places, it might be ovarian cancer. If you’ve never popped out a kid, you are twice as likely to catch this one, as the more you ovulate, the more at risk you become. It’s passed through the genes too, so your DNA might kick your ass with this one. Diet, in particular dairy and red meat, have been suggested as possible dangers for increasing your risk, but those links aren’t 100% proven yet, so don’t panic. Enjoy your cheeseburger.

The real bad news here is that the prognosis isn’t great if you get the ovarian cancer diagnosis, most likely because the early symptoms don’t prompt doctors to test for it. More than 60% of women diagnosed with it are already stage III or IV by the time they hear the bad news. The five-year survival rate is only 46%.

But let’s not dwell on that. Let’s dwell on our own insides, and on paying attention to what they’re telling us. Keep your eye out for this vicious disease and if you think there’s a possibility it might be mucking about with your insides, get checked. Soon.

National Wildlife Day

I wasn’t going to tackle this one, as it’s something I’d be celebrating by writing about only – my dogs don’t count as wildlife, and it’s not easy to run into wildlife here in the suburbs. But this day was created to honour Steve Irwin, and I’m not about to pass up an opportunity to send the Crocodile Hunter a little love. So let’s have a look at some of the most endangered animals out there:

  • You’ve got the Javan Rhinoceros from Asia. There are only about 58-68 still alive in the wild, and none in captivity. We can blame poachers, but also the Vietnam War for almost wiping them out.
  • There’s the vaquita, a little porpoise that lives in the Gulf of California. They’re down to about 10.
  • The mountain gorillas were on their way out a few decades ago, but they have almost doubled in population in the last 40 years, so that’s a bit of good news. The bad news is that there are still only about a thousand left.
  • There were over 100,000 tigers in the wild back around 1900. Now there are fewer than 4,000. We can partly thank nutjobs like the Tiger King who buy them and mistreat them, but it’s really the spreading of humankind into their habitat that dropped their numbers.
  • Orangutans, who are so cute it’s almost creepy, are also endangered. We’ve dropped from about 230,000 a hundred years ago to half that amount today.
  • Herders tend to kill off snow leopards before the leopards can kill their flock, and I get that. But we’re down to between 4 and 6 thousand left, and those cats are cool as hell.
  • Bluefin tuna is a sushi/sashimi delicacy, and as such we’ve seen between a 72 and 82% decline in their numbers over the last 40 years. So order the salmon.

So if you’ve got a favourite wildlife charity to donate to, please do it. We’re partial to the World Wildlife Fund, partly because the Beatles recorded a song for them, and partly because they forced the wrestling people to change their initials. Let’s keep these creatures around!

National Macadamia Nut Day

Macadamia nuts have never been my favourite, but I have adored some of the foods into which they have crept. Case in point: macadamia white chocolate cookies, which are nothing short of divine. A big thanks to my mom (who was somewhat crestfallen that I spurted out my traumatic childhood lasagna experience in yesterday’s article) for baking these magnificent little cookies for us. They were perfect, though as always I enjoyed the white chocolate more than the nuts. Jodie, not a fan of white chocolate, went the other way.

What can we learn about macadamia nuts? Well first off, don’t EVER feed them to a dog. Macadamia toxicity could give them indigestion and paralyze their hind limbs. I’m glad I learned this little factoid, as our dogs have a habit of begging from us on a regular basis. Luckily these cookies are so damn good we weren’t about to share anyway.

A serving of macadamia nuts will give you more than your daily requirement of thiamine, a.k.a. vitamin B. They’re relatively low in protein but make up for it by delivering various other nutrients, including iron and magnesium. Then there’s the manganese, which supports bone development, free radical defense, and metabolism. A serving of macadamia nuts will give you nearly 200% of the manganese you need in a day. Not bad for a little nut.

And I’ll happily get my serving through cookies. What could go wrong with that?

Eat An Extra Dessert Day

We have no idea who came up with this celebration, but it really needs no explanation, does it? We did this thing. It was a good thing. Happy long weekend to all, and to all a full belly.

Today we roll into yet another bushel of weirdness and mirth, as exemplified by the following (or at least some of it):

  • World Beard Day. I will treat my beard well today. Jodie will try to grow one. I doubt she will succeed.
  • National Cheese Pizza Day. Easy enough to celebrate, assuming we’re strong enough to resist the urge to add toppings.
  • National Be Late For Something Day. I should be able to pull this off. Failing to get somewhere on time can’t be that hard, can it?
  • International Day of Charity. Looks like we’re giving to charity once again.
  • International Vulture Awareness Day. It seems that if we’re aware of vultures nearby that’s not a good thing, right?
  • International Bacon Day. Didn’t we just do this one? Shut up, me. Let’s not fight the inevitable.
  • National Hummingbird Day. A day to celebrate these delightful little wing-flappers.
  • National Tailgating Day. Well this isn’t going to happen anywhere this year.
  • World Samosa Day. I didn’t have this one planned so I’m not sure if we’ll end up celebrating it. Which would be a shame.