Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lighting Up, Dumming Down.

May 31, 2008 - Smokers, those people for whom sucking in tar and carcinogens seems a good idea, are losing ground. At one time, you could smoke anywhere - airplanes, restaurants, hospital beds. Soon, smoking was limited to one section of a room, and now, finally, in most of Canada smoking is banned almost completely from public places.

Now, there are all kinds of arguments as to why those who smoke should be allowed to do so where they want. Cigarettes are legal. Cigarettes are a taxable item. Adults should have the right to do what they want. Of course you must be an adult to purchase cigarettes legally.That same argument can be said of alcohol. Why can't we drink anywhere we want? Alcohol is legal. There are taxes on vodka too. But alas, we control where alcohol can and can not be consumed, and so we do the same for cigarettes. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared May 31st as World No Tobacco Day many years ago. This year, the focus is on youth smoking. Youth are so much smarter with access to more information that we could only dream of decades ago. Why start when you know what the end can look like? Not to mention the wrinkles. It seems the smarter we get, the more invincible we get - and we don't even need to add tequila.

Today is also National Macaroon Day. Put down the cigarettes and dive in to a box of macaroons. That has got to be healthier than lighting up.

Friday, May 30, 2008

There's Oil in Them There Icebergs

May 30, 2008 - As I was watching the BBC yesterday in the very wee hours, there was a short news clip about a meeting of the countries who each have some stake in the Arctic to decide who has the authority to drill for what is believed to be large oil deposits. Now that there is a hole in the Ozone, global warming is melting the ice in the Arctic and making drilling a future possibility. Dear Ms. Morisette, now THIS is ironic. And it is sad. Who knew that the answer to our need for more oil would come from the pollution of using oil in the first place?
There is a hole in the Ozone, dear humans, dear humans.
There is a hole in the Ozone, a very large hole.
We can't fix it with oil, dear Georgie, dear Georgie,
We can't fix it with oil, dear Georgie, with oil.
It seems the Arctic is a little like the Bucket with the hole. There's a hole in the bucket. To fix it, you need a straw, but the straw is too long, so it needs to be cut, but the knife is too dull, so it needs to be sharpened, but the stone is too dry and needs to be wet, but there is a hole in the bucket. I had NO idea what the My Bucket Has a Hole In It Day was all about until the BBC news piece. Now I get it. And if you care to share this relevation... Put your best foot forward and send an e-card. 1. (There's an ecard for that?)

Best Foot Day - for me, this means today should be all about your best efforts, your best thoughts, your best friends and your best shoes. Ah shoes. Can't get enough of them. There are so many world issues that we should all be concerned about. And I should probably feel more globally aware... but I need to be honest here. I have isshoes. I have nowhere to stack all these boxes. I sort and re-sort the shoes each season, and still I find shoes never worn. Most recently, I found a fabulous pair of orange suede wing-tip heels that I forgot about. It was like falling in love all over again.

It makes sense that the Sex and the City 2. movie was released on Best Foot Day. Not only do most women identify with one of the women, but the Carrie Bradshaw effect on shoe sales has been astronomical. Finally, women all over North America are out of loafers and putting much better feet forward. The only problem with that is, in these 4" heels, I gotta drive. Thank god for the oil under the icebergs.

1. Send a "My Bucket has a hole in it Day" e-card.
2. The movie's official website.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Did They Tip in the Middle Ages?

May 29, 2008 - Did the Byzantines keep loose change in their pockets to tip the services of their arrow sharpeners? How much do you leave a Crusader after he's pillaged your village? 10%? 15%? 20? The Crusades "were a series of military conflicts of a religious character waged against external and internal threats to Christianity."1. The Pope and his army of Crusaders had a few enemies. There was the pending threat of the Muslims, the Slavs, the Jews, the Hussites.... I mean, where would the world end up if people were allowed to have their own culture and religion?

The Middle Ages saw the rise of William the Conqueror, eight Crusades, the Inquisitions, the signing of the Magna Carta, a Hundred Years War, the Bubonic Plague, the Canterbury Tales, Knights of the Round Table, and Joan of Arc.2. In bits and pieces it was a pretty cool bunch of stuff going on. It wasn't until I read a book by William Hopper "A Heathen's Guide to World Religions" 3. that the whole Middle Ages made sense to me. It boils down to this... There was Islam in the East. There was Christianity in the West. There was a guy born in Jerusalem. There was a Pope with boatloads and buildings full of money. For the Pope's Christians, there was this need to toss the Muslims out of Jerusalem. For the Muslims, there was a similar need to get the Christians (and the Pope) out of the East. There was a back and forth and a back and forth. There was battles (sorry, Crusades), and then there were the Ottomans (Turks), who eventually crossed over into Europe where they conquered Greece, the Balkans, and the Eastern Mediterranean, and finally, took Constantinople and caused the fall of the Byzantine Empire, and ultimately the end of the Middle Ages on May 29, 1453. Alas, today is the End of the Middle Ages Day.

We are yet to leave the middle ages in the middle ages. It seems we are still fighting the same battles, only we wrapped them up in new weapons, and new media. So while we fail to leave behind the religious wars, we wage new crusades. Will our ancestors read about the fall of the American Empire?

If we can't leave our history in the past, perhaps we can leave the change? Today is "Leave the Change Day". So when you pick up your newly sharpened sword, or a box of new arrows, leave the change. Leave a little extra. I'm sure the Ottoman's left change, even if the Crusaders did not.

1. Wikipedia has a boatload more info than what I could get through
2. Middle Ages Timeline is a long and convoluted history that seems is not yet done.
3. William Hopper's book "A Heathen's Guide to World Religions" is available online

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hamburger With a Side of Human Rights Please.

May 28, 2008 - What is more American than hamburgers and fertility drugs? Hamburgers are a dime a dozen - well, actually anywhere from $1.00 - $300.00 each depending on from where you order. Kids on the other hand, can cost anywhere from $10.00 - $100,000. There are those who after two drinks find themselves 'with child', and those who have to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to conceive. What isn't fair is the many people who would make fabulous parents are those to which having children does not come easy.

With the accessibility of fertility options, having children is a touch easier, but a little more expensive than a couple of shots of tequila. But, with the increased use of fertility treatments comes the increase in twins, triplets, and worse. Today is National Multiple Births Awareness Day. It could be a day to promote expensive fertility treatments. It could be a day for twins, triplets and worse to celebrate their unique sameness. It could be a day to promote Wrigley's Doublemint Gum. According to Multiple Births Canada1., the day is intended to draw attention to the special needs of families with litters. The date was chosen because it is the birthday of the naturally conceived Dion Quintuplets - of which their survival was at that time pretty incredible. I can imagine there are a lot of challenges facing these families, not the least of which is the urge to run away and change your name. Imagine the family trips on National Hamburger Day to the local fast food burger joint? Run.

Today is also the Anniversary of Amnesty International. I bet when the organization was founded in 1961 that they could never have imagined that almost 50 years later, in 2008 we would still be desperately in need of a Human Rights guardian. We have communications options that keep us connected to the world around the clock, and we have access to information and knowledge that is unlike any other time... and still we repeat history. Over. And over. What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result? Perhaps if we could serve up Human Rights with every hamburger.... Billions and billions served a sense of humanity. Now that is a happy meal.

1. Multiple Births Canada website

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Organ Donation - It's in the Air

May 27, 2008 - Not as famous as Duct Tape, Masking Tape is poised for a comeback. After all, what other tape can you use to paint a car, paint the house, seal boxes, label things, and also act as a fashionable bracelet. Not as strong as duct tape, masking tape is easier to write on, to remove, to tear pieces off, and it comes in a neutral beige. If you had to be tied up, masking tape would be easier to escape. When wrapping presents, masking tape will not only hold the paper on, but it can double as a gift tag. Masking tape was patented on this day in 1925 by a fellow at 3M, so today is Masking Tape Day. Put away your glue, and tape something (or someone) up.

In Vancouver, this week is also Bike to Work Week. Promoted by the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition, and sponsored by the Province and Translink, the idea is you will leave the car behind, not get on the bus, and ride your bike to and from work. It's a dual pronged promotion - clean air, and better health. Ok, I buy the cleaner air. Bikes have a tiny carbon footprint compared the average Vancouver SUV. I can even buy that riding your bike to work would qualify as physical activity. Win-win right?

Ok, here's where I have a hard time with this one. I live in Vancouver. I have walked in Vancouver and been inches from a speeding vehicle. Escaped with life intact. I have driven in Vancouver, and wrapped in a steel cage, I'm not convinced I'll make it home each day. With the bad drivers, fast drivers, new drivers, and all those giant SUV's, a bicycle might not be a good choice. Now... if the organ donation foundation was also a proud sponsor of Bike to Work Week, I could get behind that. If you are riding your bike to work and get creamed (it happens), and the firetruck, ambulance, and two police cars rush to the scene, what is the carbon footprint now? Fortunately, the air may not be as clean, but your harvested organs can have a huge positive impact.

The first time I had a bike stolen, I was mad. The second time I had a bike stolen, I was relieved. I tried riding to work, but you only need to bike across one Vancouver Bridge once to know that you may never want to do that again. In the name of clean air, and the organ donation waiting list, hop on your bike this week. If you're behind the wheel of one of those SUV's, maybe look down every once and awhile. If you take out a cyclist, it will take more than a bit of paint and some masking tape to clean that memory off your truck.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mustang Sally, you better shop around.

May 26, 2008 - Memorial Day was once known as Decoration Day. It was a day set to commemorate those who died during their military service during the American Civil War. It was afterwards declared to be a day to commemorate all who died in any war or military action. 1. So on the last Sunday in May, the long weekend will celebrate the many fallen soldiers, and in the US, that ultimately means commemorating them with a big sale, and a back yard BBQ. I would think that while there have been 10's of thousands of American men and women who have lost their lives in the current 'Mess O Potamia' of the Iraq war, this is one of those years where the sales will take a back seat. If only diplomacy hadn't taken a back seat, I would feel much better about spending today at the mall. What? It's sandals season.

In Canada, May 26th is National Day of Healing and Reconciliation. Though not an official holiday, in Aboriginal communities in Canada, it is a day for moving forward and healing. I'm guessing that this day has at it's root, one of Canada's worst eras in our history when we forced children of native bands to residential schools for the purpose of making them 'white'. I wondered not why we have this holiday or observance, but why it isn't part of Aboriginal Week until I learned that today is Sorry Day in Australia. Sorry Day in Australia is very much the same. It is also not a national holiday, but it is a day that the country apologizes to the native communities for much the same blight. I would like to believe the apologies mean something, but I have a hunch there are still a LOT of flowers that have yet to be sent.

It may not be flowers, but a few hours ago, the the Phoenix has landed. NASA's newest Mars probe touched down near the north pole of Mars and has already begun to beam photos back to earth. We've come a long way since the days of Sally Ride, who in 1983 made history by becoming the first American woman to reach outer space. Today is her birthday, and thus is Sally Ride Day. Wonder if she's traded in her spaceship for a Mustang?

2. Mess O Potamia snagged from Jon Stewart's The Daily Show.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Be Proud Geek, Wave Your Towel

May 25, 2008 - It has been said that the geek shall inherit the earth.1. Honestly, can we even really dispute this one? Maybe the only other option is the sports hero, or David Cook. But alas, the geek can not run, jump, catch, or throw. They often can't carry a tune, and aren't that good on a dance floor. But they can break everything down into the basal 0's and 1's and build them back up again. How about a network full of computers that will learn it's role from the next computer over? Geeks. The Internet that we probably couldn't live without anymore... Geeks. Music? Geeks. High capacity storage for light-years high piles of information? Geeks.

When the last turn table stops turning, the lights go out, and all we are left with is a few networks, the blazing sun, cockroaches and Twinkies, it will be the Geeks that make it workable. And yet, they are the first to be picked on in school, the first to be made fun of, the last to lose their virginity, and the least likely to be the life of the party. The non-geek will make fun, laugh and get on with their party. But wait. The geek gets the last laugh. After all, if <1>2. So today, celebrate your inner geek. If you know a geek, be proud. If you are a geek, be more proud. It's Geek Pride Day. Tape up your glasses, grab your pocket protector, hack awhile, grab a coke, and then get out and show how all those 1's are often followed by 0's. And whatever you do, do not leave your towel at home.

Arthur Dent tried to resist, and they bulldozed his house to make room for an interstellar causeway. Fortunately, he hitchhiked his way across the universe, and found out the answer to the biggest question of all... 42. I would like to suggest that this number be revised to 48 to account for inflation. Ah, the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. It is as unclear as it could be, but if there are any Douglas Adams fans, you will know that the answer may not make sense, but perhaps it is the question that is fundamentally flawed.

But back to the towel. According to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the towel "is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have. Partly it has great practical value... More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value." 3. The towel can be a blanket, a bed, a weapon, a hiding place, it can keep you cool, keep sand out of your whites, and can dry you when you are wet. Douglas Adams was a highly creative mind that was lost far too early. There was another book in the works when he passed on at the age of 49 of a sudden heart attack. His fans remain true, and May 25 has been declared Towel Day as a tribute to Mr. Adams. It's also a great way to pick out the sci-fi geeks in the crowd. Is there any doubt that Geek Pride Day and Towel Day are the same date? And I'm celebrating both today. I'll be using my towel to dust the monitors before taking it to the beach.

1. I first saw this quote on a tee-shirt on "G" while working together as partners in an ISP... G stands for Geek and he's proud of it, dammit.
2. For you non-geeks - Resistance Equals Voltage Divided By Current Events... aka Resistance is futile.
3. Excerpt from my own very worn copy of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. The Towel Day website is

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hallucinations of a New Orleans Snail.

May 24, 2008 - Once a snail is de-shelled, is it a slug? If you cover a slug in wine, garlic and butter, is it an escargot? I couldn't gag one down now, but there was a time, in a kitchen, on high street, before the pub... I was once a connoisseur. New Orleans... now there is a place for escargot. If you Google recipes for escargot there are Cajun recipes, Creole recipes, recipes with bourbon and French recipes. There is a theme to the many ways to prepare these RV slugs (slugs with a portable house). Seems like there should be a bit of jazz playing, a saxaphone, a sultry voice, in a smoky room on a hot steamy night. Jazz is celebrated all over the world in many different formats, and at festivals in nearly every city. There is something very accessible, and at the same time very heady about jazz. There seems to be a love hate relationship with jazz. I feel it. I love the sounds of the saxophone and melody, but I don't love discord. I find some Jazz just a little schizophrenic. Fortunately, the jazz musicians don't have to count on me. However, today is the 18th Annual International Jazz Day. I bet they'll also be celebrating Escargot Day in the Jazz clubs tonight. If today is your birthday, your celebrations should be easy.

I may have used the term schizophrenic a little loosely. Today is World Schizophrenia Day. Not only a day to raise funds for research, this is a day to draw attention to the challenges of people with schizophrenia, but also to draw attention to the abilities of the same. Though there is no cure for this disorder (which, by the way, affects one in one-hundred of us), it is treatable, and manageable. I say that, but I may be a little suspicious of that statement.

Personally, I have been affected by schizophrenia. I watched my cousin, a vibrant young man full of life, become terrified of family, friends, and the world around him. This disorder took from him the ability to concentrate and to connect with his world. What bothers me now is that we are no farther ahead with the treatment than we were in the past, then, or now. The numbers haven't changed much either. 1 in 100 have Schizophrenia. Of those, 10 - 15% will be dead in under 10 years - mostly because of suicide or dosing problems. My cousin was a bright light in my childhood. (A bright red light if hair colour has anything to do with it.) He was always the comedian who laughed heartily at everyone else's jokes, making us all feel like the life of the party. For the longest time, his paranoid delusions made me sad. But I don't think that would have been his choice - cause in many ways, they were pretty funny. At tea one afternoon he was convinced I was an alien, and that mine and his mom were robots. Highly advanced species of robots I might add. I miss him, but he opened my eyes to the reality of this disorder.

And the reality is this... regardless of your reality, for those dealing with schizophrenia, theirs may be darker or more confusing. Sometimes this reality includes delusions, illusions and hallucinations. But honestly... we should ask, in this far from orderly world, if this reality is that much different from the rest of us?

Friday, May 23, 2008

You are getting sleepy. Ok, when I honk the horn..

May 23, 2008 - The power of hypnosis... it's mesmerizing. Or is it that mesmerizing is hypnotic? Is this a chicken and egg dilemma? Not so, my sleepy friend. In fact, the term mesmerize has at it's root - Mesmer. Friedrich Anton Mesmer was born on May 23, 1734, was a doctor who developed the use of putting people in a suggestive state for treatment of their ailments. It was Mesmer's work in what he coined animal magnetism that lead James Braid to develop hypnosis in 1842. 1. Mesmer was one of the first who believed that animal behaviour - human and animal, was affected by the astral movements (tides, sun-moon cycles etc.). This is not to be confused with astrology - that came much later with the invention of the entertainment section of newspapers. So on Mesmerism Day, give it a go. You are getting sleepy.

Newspapers are a science unto their own. The reason they are still printed in columns is related to psychology - though perhaps not related to the mesmerizing characteristics of the business column. You are getting sleepy. We are able to read and retain information better in shorter rows and longer columns. It is less tiring for the eyes and thus, we are able to read more. Really, this is as much about energy conservation. The shorter the lines, the less we need to track across with the tiny wee muscles of our eyeball. But what about the large print editions? Nope. Too many trees needed. So alas, there are reading glasses. Great. Just what we need, another pair of glasses to cart around, sit upon, lose... A friend just went on a vacation with her mother, who not only had her glasses, but her reading glasses, glasses for short distance, glasses for long distance and glasses for the sun (in various distances). Thank god for the bifocal lenses, and tri-focals, quad-focals and graduated lenses. Soon, we'll only be able to see the world in thin bands. Today is Bifocal Day, so put away those reading glasses, and watch your step. You are getting sleepy.

You are now very relaxed. You are floating. When you hear the sound of a car horn, you are going to have an unexplained urge for taffy. You are going to want delicious, gooey, sweet, taffy. You will not be able to resist. When you wake, you will not remember any of this. You will only know that when you hear a car horn, you will want taffy. (Behold the power of hypnosis.2. Oh the people at National Taffy Day headquarters are going to love me). When I clap my hands you will awake.

1. Franz Mesmer references from Wikipedia.
2. Borrowed from the Crispy Crunch ad series. Love it. (I have an unexplained urge for a Crispy Crunch. Hmm

Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's a Beautiful Day in the Southern Delta, A Beautiful Day for a Boogie

May 22, 2008 - Spring is in the air. As is that fresh, aromatic other smell of spring... manure. It's shitty, but I hear is good for the plants. Since we are only beginning to learn of the long term dangers of pesticides and herbicides that we have been consuming for longer than we know, the organic wave (a.k.a. reversing technology) has something in their back pocket - and it's crappy - but it is sustainable. After all, we grow food, we eat food, we digest food, we eliminate food, we feed it back to the plants. Seems fairly sustainable, and a whole lot more organic. So why is it that the food we buy is cheaper when we buy the kind fed with chemicals, sprayed with chemicals, and sometimes genetically modified? Apparently, the chemists and geneticists charged much less than the steers that consumed, digested and eliminated. Glad I didn't finish that chemistry degree.

We have finally begun to see the light, and to focus on more sustainable means of agriculture. It has taken centuries of progress to realise that we were better off before. 2008 is International Year of the Potato, and for today's International Day for Biological Diversity the focus is on biodiversity and agriculture. Close to home, there may not be a lot we can do to make a global impact, but we can buy local, buy organic, and support the farmers markets that are using sustainable growing practices. Maybe it is a neighbourhood action, but if we think globally, perhaps there is a trickle UP effect? Mr. Rogers would be proud.

In 1967 a scrawny fella in a cardigan and overshoes invited people into his house and in to his imagination. Mr. Rogers and his cast of regulars was on the air every day convincing children that playing fair, and treating each other with respect was a good way to live. To this day, when I see a gentleman in a cardigan, I expect words of wisdom. When I get a smokers hack and grumbles about kids today, it seems out of context. But then again, there are many childhood memories that when I look back on them now, through adult eyes, seem very out of context. Think of Bert doing the 'pigeon', or Ernie doing the "duck, duck, do the rubber duck". I'm not sure what these two were up to, but I'm glad they had on their tiny clothes (well, maybe Bert did...) Regardless, it's Mr. Rogers' Neighbourhood Anniversary today, and I will be sure to keep my childhood memories clean.

I can't get the Sesame Street line of thought out of my head. Today is also Boogie Woogie Day, and I have visions of Fozzy, Sam, Animal, Sly, and the rest of the gang playing a little boogie-woogie with Long John Baldry. The audience is having a great time, and Bert is doing the pigeon off stage (and off camera). "Don't try to lay no Boogie Woogie" on the Muppets - they're rated G.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cultural Diversity? I Need a Patch for That.

May 21, 2008 - As I watch the US Democratic Primaries, I am left thinking that the political process in Canada needs erectile dysfunction medication. Seriously, it's like Barack and Hillary are measuring their penis not against a recognized measure, but by the number of people they represent. Hillary targets the white middle American, Barack appeals to the coastal and black American. Thanks to the ENDLESS data analysis at CNN, we also know how the colour of one's knickers sways how they vote in the primaries. It seems that in the south, where the water is harder, and thus the tighty whitey's are more gray... they vote for Hillary. And where the water is softer and the panties are more white, they vote for the guy who is more gray (half white/half black). Who do you vote for if you wear edible undies?

I have more faith in the American public than their own media has. I believe that if you stop analysing every move, the voters will choose a candidate based on their eloquence and ability. Maybe the UN was on to something when they declared the 21st of May as World day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The premise of such a day is to "learn to live together better?" 1. Maybe if you shut down the 24 hour news channels desperate for content to fill the 8,766 hours of airtime every year, voters wouldn't be told what they should think. Maybe then there would be real dialogue and real development regardless of cultural diversity. Head for your local watering hole, and chat it up. Thank your wait staff for providing the lubricant for your gray matter because its National Wait Staff Day. Thank them in words, and in tips. Please don't thank them with lint, small change, your seemingly brilliant sense of humour, or your phone number.

The media outlets have really played with our minds. The media helps us decide who to vote for or not, what we like and don't like and what is beautiful and what is not so beautiful. We buy into it and then wonder why 7 year olds are dieting. Sadly, it will only get more prolific as the telecommunications industry gets closer and closer to total convergence. Already online ads are targeted specifically to you based on the websites you visit.

When we are identified universally by our IP, our TV program choices and the phone numbers we dial will all be one giant data bank collected for targeted marketing. So while it is Feast of the Triple Scoop Day, and there are anti-advertising groups promoting Turn Beauty Inside Out Day today, I'll be watching CNN, American Idol, reading magazines, and wondering if instead of dieting, I could get a patch for that.

1. United Nations website about World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
Today is also "I Need a Patch for That Day".

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Could Shakespeare Measure Up?

May 20, 2008 - Many advances in technology have happened south of the 49th parallel, but yet, in 1920 the first radio station to begin regular broadcasts in North America happened in Canada. The station, XWA, was in Montreal, and though it started broadcasting in December of 1919, it wasn't until May 20th that it began regular broadcasts - essentially becoming the first commercial radio station.1. I wonder if they were broadcasting hockey? Do you suppose those involved with the station then knew how prolific radio would be today? XWA is now a Corus Entertainment station, CINW, and broadcasts in English with a News/Talk format. Canada came up with the commercial media, the US exploited it. Canada developed Basketball, the US made it their own. And yet, they haven't picked up on the benefits and logic of the metric system.

In 1875, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (Bureau International des Poids et Mesures) was created on May 20th in Paris.2. It was here that 17 nations created the Meter Convention and the Metric System was born and adopted, so today is Weights and Measures Day. The metric system makes sense. It makes so much sense that all but a few countries have adopted it for their weights and measures. Even in the USA, all science is done in metric, yet you need to drive in miles and directions are given in yards. Very confusing for Canadians driving south of the border. We are forever turning too soon, and driving too slow, but we do get there eventually. "Just you wait, Henry Higgins," we'll get there.

As the song goes, "Next week on the twentieth of May, da-da-da-da-da-da-DA,
I proclaim Eliza Doolittle Day!" - and so, the 20th of May is thus Eliza Doolittle Day. I'm not entirely sure how to celebrate this one... put marbles in your mouth and recite Shakespeare's Sonnets?

Shakespeare's Sonnets were first published on May 20th in 1609 by Thomas Thorpe. There is speculation that perhaps the book was published not from the original manuscript, but perhaps one obtained by less ethical means. I have several versions of Shakespeare's work - both plays and sonnets, but I can't help but wonder how much an original copy of the sonnets would be worth. Thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Millions? Could an original copy make me a millionaire just in time for Be a Millionaire Day? Since one kilogram is bigger than one pound - we should measure wealth in metric - it's worth more.

1. CINW Montreal website
2. International Bureau of Weights and Measures website

Monday, May 19, 2008

Queen Victoria Joins the Circus

May 19, 2008 - Victoria Day in Canada is celebrated on the Monday before the 25th (Victoria's actual birthday) so that we Canadians can get a long awaited long weekend. Traditionally, the May long weekend is the start of all things summer. The golf courses go to regular season green fee's and BC Ferries switches to high season. The garden stores are mimicking Boxing Day, and the liquor stores watch cases of beer fly off the shelves. This is the weekend the police swing in to action looking for aggressive and/or drunk drivers. If you want a spot on the patio for which to embibe, forget it. You'll have to go for brunch and stake your table early. Fortunately, brunch is also a favourite of the Vancouverite.

In Vancouver, the May long weekend seems to mean the start of our love affair with beach volleyball and the Grouse Grind. Not this year though. The grind is still closed because the upper sections of this grueling wee hike are still under winter conditions. (Photo of the grind taken on Thursday) One of the ski resorts south of Seattle is boasting their longest season yet, and the skiing continues through this weekend. I wonder if this is throwing the Pacific Northwest'ers in to a tail spin? It's ok, Playland is open and the rides are also going full speed, so if you are looking for a tail spin... try the old wooden coaster.

You could celebrate the beginning of summer by joining the circus. Even the Ringling Brothers knew the power of the May long weekend. On May 19th, 1884, the Ringling Brother's Circus opened, and thus, today is Circus Day. No matter how you spend your long weekend,whether on a patio or at the circus (some patios become a circus), have a piece of cake and toast the birthday of Queen Victoria. Good thing she hadn't run away with the Circus, or we'd all be at work today.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Don't Panic... There Are No Dirty Dishes Today.

May 18, 2008 - Ah, Spring. Yesterday brought sun shine, heat, gardening, and dirt under the finger nails. Getting in to the dirt, planting the summer's herbs and a few flowers is a sure sign that spring sprung. And the Greeks are getting in to the spirit of the season. Today is the Festival of Pan. Pan is the Greek mythological "god of fields, groves, and wooded glens". He is connected to spring and fertility - thus the Festival of Pan is in the spring. We owe Pan for the pan flute, for panic, and for perfecting the art of masturbation. Pan was a real ladies nymph. Half man, half goat, he was able to play his flute and instill in people hearing his music inspiration, arousal, or panic. To this day, Pan is celebrated by Neopagans, movie goers and video gamers. Next time you feel a wave of panic, listen for the flute.

I have always enjoyed Greek and Norse, and Egyptian, and Roman mythology. As a child we had a carving of Pan in the house. It was carved from a fallen tree, and it was of Pan sitting in the forest. His eyes were painted yellow, and he was what I imagine was live size. I was terrified of the carving then, but now I wish I had Pan. In fact, if I couldn't have him, I would like to visit him in a museum somewhere. Yet, try as I might, I can't find an academic or historical museum dedicated to mythology. Perhaps if we could get today's International Museum Day together with mythology curators.... If anyone knows of such a thing, let me know. In Vancouver, the Museum of Anthropology is pretty spectacular, but by mythology standards, all pretty new. Wonder how Pan would feel about being on display?

Today also finds us celebrating No Dirty Dishes Day and Visit Your Relatives Day. If you plan this right, they could work together very well. Best way to not have dirty dishes - eat out. Best way to visit relatives? Show up at meal time. So today, drop in on your aunt for breakfast - surely Issie is baking muffins and putting on the tea. At lunch - visit your sister. Must be something in her fridge. For supper - this one is a breeze. Drop in on Mom. She'll be expecting someone to Sunday supper. Today is a no-brainer, just hope that you won't be required to pull out your flute and play for your supper.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Idaho - Not Just Potatoes...

May 17, 2008 - Sometimes the simplest things have a big impact in the world. On this day in 1845, a patent was issued for the rubber band. Far in to the future it will be proven that the rubber band is the 2nd most useful item (2nd only to the Towel).1. The rubber band is surely the first tactical weapon you use... often when the teacher's back is turned. The rubber band can hold paper together, hold your hair out of your eyes, and hold your pants out of the bike chain (I could have used one yesterday). They can be gathered up, compressed, and wrapped in white bumpy material to become a golf ball, used to relieve boredom, used to spin the cooling fan in your car, hold the braces on your teeth, or as stylish wrist jewelery. On Rubber Band Day, we can thank the rubber band for all that it does for us.

Society has come a long way since the days before the rubber band. The Internet has grown from days of academic research to a source of information, opinions, rhetoric and this blog to which everyone can contribute, myself included. There has never been a telecommunications device developed, not even the telephone, that has brought people together like the Internet. Even the United Nations has got on the Internet bandwagon. May 17th used to be known as World Telecommunication Day, commemorating the founding of the International Telecommunication Union in 1865. As of 2006, the date remains the same, but now it is known as World Information Society Day.

The internet has played a massive role in the amount of information we have at our finger tips. The world is certainly smaller than it used to be, and in general I would say we are smarter for it. So how is it that it took until May 17, 1990 for the World Health Organization to remove homosexuality from the international classification of diseases? As a result, around the world May 17th is celebrated as International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO). It is not a coincidence that this is the day Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in 2004, and California is doing the same in 2008.

If not for the Internet, I wouldn't have the content for this column. It is Saturday, the weather is getting better, and the last thing you want to do is spend your day in the basement of the garage sorting through all that stuff. So don't. I found out today is also Pack Rat Day - a day to let it all pile up. You never know, you might just need that case of rubber bands before the day is out.

1. Reference to Douglas Adams' "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy". May 25 is Towel Day... get yours ready.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Pizza With All the Toppings - Hold the Krill

May 16, 2008 - The May long weekend - Victoria Day in Canada, is finally upon us. The outdoor pools and the beaches will all be open in Vancouver tomorrow. The golf courses will put green fees up to summer rates, and the Ferries start the high season. Everyone will be trying to cash in on the good summertime feelings. We finally get good weather and a long weekend in which to relax, but will have to work harder to pay for our entertainment.

I've been wondering if many of these 'holidays' or 'observances' are created by Retailers to put on a sale, or drive the creative teams to come up with new campaigns. Today is National Sea-Monkey Day. Now, I'm no genius, but I'm not a slouch either and I want to know who, other than baleen whales, would come up with this one? Sea Monkeys is a brand name of a brine krill, bred to be larger and live longer than other krill. The only real interesting thing about Sea Monkeys are that they will go in to a state of a kind of suspended animation (cryptobiosis) when out of their environment, and once put in an aquarium of salt water, will spring back to animation. I'm having a hard time getting excited about National Sea Monkey Day. I suggest we put it into cryptobiosis.

There is another day I'm sure was thought up by the pizza industry. But, given the price of all things fun and entertaining will start going up today, I'm sure I can find a great 3 for 1 Pizza deal somewhere. Through in a pack of beverages, and you have yourself a Friday night pizza party. So, I might not be too keen on sellebrating krill, but for National Pizza Party Day, I'm in. National Pizza Party Day falls on the third Friday in May. First, I'm going to call it Pizza Party Night, and second, I'm going to throw in a few rounds of Halo and make it an annual gathering. I'll justify the pizza by also participating in National Bike to Work Day. Great start to a long weekend. Happy Birthday Queen Vicki. Cheers.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nylon Stockings and Machine Guns

May 15, 2008 - Ahh, the Ides of May... the anniversary of Las Vegas, and the machine gun. Las Vegas, Nevada was founded on May 15, 1905 when 110 acres of land was auctioned off - that land is what became the downtown area. Ah, Las Vegas... where the slot machines hold you at gunpoint.

In 1718, a London lawyer named James Puckle patented the world's first machine gun.1 I should be surprised that a machine gun was patented by a lawyer, but maybe Mr. Puckle had already heard the lawyer-thief jokes. Fittingly, today is also Peace Officer Memorial Day. As part of National Police Week, the Memorial Day is a day to remember the many peace officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty - and some likely at the wrong end of a machine gun. We need our police, and they need our respect. They are putting their lives on the line daily for our safety.

Of course it's a couple of days before the long weekend. This means the price of gas will go up completely separate from the price of a barrel of oil, and my gas tank was getting pretty low. On the way home from the golf course I noticed that gas was $1.295/litre. At first I thought 'yippee'... I'm getting deal tonight. The moment was very fleeting, because my next thought was - isn't this oligopolistic collusion a lot like robbery? The only way this would feel any more uncomfortable is if there was station staff standing outside your car with a stocking over their face while they refuel your car.

There is something creepy about the way someone looks when there is a nylon stocking over their head. I wonder if Du Pont knew the many non-leg uses their nylon stockings would have in society back in 1940 when they declared May 15 "N-Day"? You can use the waist band as a giant elastic for around the top of the garbage can to hold the bag in place. Nylons make a great applicator for wood stain, and balled up make a good scrub pad for the sink and tub. Apparently they are also great for buffing wood floors - while being worn or otherwise. The folks at DuPont 68 years ago would be proud. So today - on Nylon Stockings Day, pull off those hose and put them to an unintended use, or just leave them at the pump.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Do Chickens Work the Nightshift?

May 14, 2008 - I got a call from my Dentist's office today. It's time to book my 6 month cleaning. Even though I never really grew out of my fear of the dentist (I kicked my first dentist in the drill bits wearing patent shoes), I am more afraid of needing actual dental work. So... I floss at red lights, and schedule my 6 month cleanings 3 months apart. Yet today is Root Canal Appreciation Day. I can appreciate NOT getting a root canal. Is that the same thing? I have a very handsome dentist, and could certainly enjoy spending more time in his chair... but a root canal? Would you need to raise a pint of lukewarm beverage to that?

Speaking of toasts, there is no more important toast than that given at a wedding. Most recently, two of my dearest friends got married, and I dreaded giving a toast. How do you put to words the pride you feel, and your hopes for their future? You stumble, you stammer, and put a few words out with your glass raised. You toast, and you drink. It is this drinking that fuels the dancing to come. There is the first dance, the dance with the parents, the dance with the new parents, and then the dreaded Chicken Dance. According to Wikipedia, the Chicken Dance (an oom-pah song) was composed in the 1950's, and has been haunting weddings ever since. Many people have been caught on film participating in the Chicken Dance, including a sad rendition broadcast on YouTube of Vince Neil from Motley Crue doing the Chicken. Then there was the Bert (of Bert and Ernie fame) doing the wah wah... Chicken. And of course that image of great grampa's overweight second cousin at your uncle's wedding doing the Chicken Dance. You may never recover from that childhood trauma. It's said the Chicken Dance is the great equalizer - that everyone can do it, and everyone doing it looks equally silly. However, is this reason enough to have a Dance Like a Chicken Day? I'm not sure there were enough toasts. Quick, someone clink a glass.

Given that most weddings happen at night does that mean that Chickens are working the nightshift? Today is also National Nightshift Workers Day. Am I the only one that sees something wrong with this?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Jumping Leprechauns, Are Those Roses on your Piano?

May 13, 2008 - Ah May - the month we celebrate all things Irish... beer, green, green beer, whiskey, beer... What? That's March? Oh right, St. Patrick's Day. But wait, there's more (well less really). We can raise a wee pint for the Leprechaun. Leprechaun folk (which comes from the Irish Gael "leipreachan" meaning half-bodied) are wee mischievous faeries that inhabited Ireland before the Celts got there. I have a soft spot for the leprechaun, for they are cobblers by trade. It is said that if you ever come across a leprechaun, you are not to take your eyes off him. The moment you do, he will vanish. If he disappears, however will he be able to lead you to his giant cauldron of shoes? Alas, today is Leprechaun Day. I will celebrate as I do every day, by admiring my many shoes, and paying momentary homage to the tiny cobbler.

I would be willing to bet that there are several pairs of shoes in my closet, in boxes and out, that I've never worn. I'm a gambling girl. Unlike Jim Smiley, I don't think I'm addicted to gambling (but I might be willing to bet on it). Mark Twain wove a marvelous tale of Jim Smiley and "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County". Somehow, today became Jumping Frog Day in honour of Twain's short story, published in 1865. It isn't Twain's birthday, nor is it the anniversary of his death. I may have to re-read the 'Jumping Frog' to find a link.

Mark Twain would be one of the people I would have at that fictional dinner party table - you know the one - that dinner where you could have anyone there, either dead or alive. Mr. Twain found a copy of this short story translated in French and proceeded to re-translate it back into English keeping all of the French grammar and sentence structure. Now here's why I want him at my fictional dinner - he then had the cheek to publish all three versions of the story (the original, the French and the word for word re-translation) under the title "The Jumping Frog: In English, Then in French, and Then Clawed Back Into A Civilized Language Once More by Patient, Unremunerated Toil".1. Now that is mischievous.

It's also Tulip Day today... so if you aren't in to a tiptoe through the garden, you can always bring a vase of tulips in to place on the organ.

1. Wikipedia has more on this short story and the full text - if you want to spend Frog Jumping Day reading the source.

There Once Was a Girl From Vancouver...

Who cleaned up the room with the Hoover
She sucked up a dollar
And started to holler
'Cause it was for her Starbucks Maneuver

May 12, 2008 - Today it is Edward Lear's Birthday (1812-1888). For you literary types, You may have a few gripes, that it's not as heady as earth day. Edward Lear was an author of note. In 1846 he did wrote, his "Book of Nonsense", Limericks it dispensed, and to this day they still get a quote. So, in honour of Sir Edward Lear, tell a limerick or two over beer. He was not really Irish, but his poems they were swish, and now there's a Limerick Day each year.

Ah, the limerick. Named as we know it for Limerick County in Ireland, where it was believed to be a parlour game. Limericks are often a little rude, a little lewd, and often a tad obscene. The were however first popularized in English by Edward Lear. May 12 is Lear's birthday and thus, we celebrate Limerick Day. Make up a few limericks, but be sure to do it over a pint.

Today is also International Nurses Day, celebrated on Florence Nightingale's birthday. Around the world, today is the day we recognize the huge contribution nurses make in every society. If anyone has been in or near a hospital recently, you know that nurses are the backbone of the system. It takes a very special person to be a nurse. It is not a pretty job, and quite often thankless. So if you know a nurse, thank them for everything they do. I don't think Flo was much of a poet, but if she was, it might have started "There was a nurse from Nantucket.."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hey Mom, the Chair is in the Mail.

May 11, 2008 - Dear Mom, I am a terrible daughter. I don't call, I don't write (well not letters), and I don't send cards. But on this one day of the year, Mother's Day, I will tell you how much I love you. Sound familiar? Yup, we just don't tell our mothers what they mean to us often enough. If you are me, you just miss the window for the mail to make it in time. Now your card won't get there in time anyway, so might as well not bother. I'll call instead. Now where did I put that phone number....

OK, so I do call my mom fairly often, but probably not often enough. Leading up to the Mother's Day call, I find myself thinking back on what a challenge I must have been for my mom. Like many only-child daughters and mothers... we fought. We fought over what I was wearing, we fought over what she was wearing. We fought about fighting, and even fought over who started the fight. We don't fight much anymore. Now that I am an adult, I can appreciate everything she did for me, and continues to do. I am very fortunate to have my mother. We are good friends today, and I'm impressed with her strength. She is a woman of intelligence and depth. She is so very important to me. So mom, today is your day. You should sit back and relax (It's Chair Day), put on a bit of music (It's Bob Marley Day), and eat brownies (It's Eat What You Want Day). Happy Mother's Day Mom. And to my amazing collection of other mothers Happy Mother's Day too. You make me feel like I'm part of a family here in Vancouver, and I am grateful to have you in my life. Can I change the day to Mothers' Day?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fair Trade - Jim Carrey for an MD?

May 10, 2008 - Today is the start of National Tourism Week. Though I live in one of the most popular tourist destinations, I would love to be on a plane traveling to some other tourist destination. Somewhere warm with a great golf course. But I am here, and will be so for the entire week. But if you are interested - Vancouver is a fabulous destination. Come visit.

So what about today? Well, there is so much to choose from. How about Astronomy Day? This just does not make sense to me. Wouldn't Astronomy Night make more sense? You don't gather up your telescope and gaze sunward... The stars come out at day? No matter. Maybe we are meant to start this one at 0001 hrs. In which case, this post may be a bit late.

On a socially responsible note, today is World Fair Trade Day. In this consumer focused society, we are always seeking a 'good deal', but often those good deals come at a cost. For corporations, profit is good, but often at any cost. To satisfy our need to consume consume consume, communities around the world are being marginalized. Their security and livelihoods are at risk, yet, these are often the same communities of people who have the smallest carbon footprint of all. World Fair Trade Day takes aim at these issues by paying a fair price for goods such as coffee - that quite honestly, we can't live without drinking, and many communities can't survive without producing. I am already willing to pay $2.00 a cup for regular coffee, and large coffee companies like Nabob and Starbucks are surely making a big enough profit on to pay a fair price. It is perhaps time for me to do more that write about it. After all, it would be just as easy to buy fair trade coffee - provided I was awake enough. I wonder if we could have a Fair Trade Deal between Canada and the US... for every comedienne we send south we get a tall single doctor?

Today is also the Saturday before Mother's Day, or, Florists' Bonanza Day. Indeed tomorrow is the biggest day in the flower industry, and I have once again failed to send my mother flowers. I don't think the local flower shop will suffer much. What about those mothers that, because of circumstances, just could not be mothers themselves and instead, did the selfless thing and gave their babies to another - a gift of motherhood? Today is Birthmother's Day.

Birthmother's Day started in 1990 by a group of women in Seattle who were themselves birth mothers. They chose the Saturday before Mother's Day - because for adoptive families, there was first the birth mother, and then the mother. Today, I see this day as a celebration not only for birth mothers, but also to draw attention to the importance of adoption - locally or internationally.

There are so many good reasons to give a home to a child that needs love. If ever I decide to have children in my life, adoption is the route I would choose. Of course, I like the adopt a college graduate program. Preferably a PhD grad... about 6'2", dark hair, green eyes... Who's your Mommy?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Weeks Go By....

May 9, 2008 - Yesterday was No Socks Day. So let's stay on that subject for another day. Socks. You wear two. Two make it in to the laundry hamper. Generally, two (at least you are certain you saw two) go in the machine. Two socks come out of the machine and enter the dryer. Both socks did make it in to the dryer right? So where on this green earth do the missing socks go? They're not under the bed. They are not in the next load. They are NOT in my drawer. And the pile of 'oners' I have is indeed a pile of 'oners'. There is not a pair in the pile.

I searched the web looking for answers to this age old (as old as automatic laundry machines) question. There are suggestions that there is a vortex fueled on socks. The dog eats them. (Now that is possible in my house - only they often show up a day or two later. I DO NOT keep them). One website suggests the socks are not lost at all, but rather non-conforming and searching for a greater meaning. Apparently Stephen King wrote in his book Insomnia about where they end up, but I can't read his books - they keep me up at night.

Seriously, I could go on and on on the subject. The point of all this is that today is Lost Sock Memorial Day. It's a day to remember fondly the rogue sock that once warmed your toes. Seems I've lost some of my favourites. I have a pile on my dresser that I was looking through just the other day. So, after reminiscing lovingly about the socks... throw out the loners and move on. That's it. That is Lost Sock Memorial Day. I guess that means I don't need the lonely sock wreath I was making?

This weekend will be Mother's Day. I'll have plenty to say about mothers, and mine in particular. However, today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Given our soldiers are at war, and putting their lives on the line, this is a day to think on how hard that must be for the spouse at home. I can't imagine what that must be like. What is must be to be constantly afraid of the knock at the door. My grandmother was a war bride. In fact, she met her husband, my grandfather, while he was fighting in the highlands of Scotland. She too felt the fear that maybe he wouldn't make it home. He did, and I'm here because of that.

What about some of the week-long celebrations? Of course these weeks all started last Sunday or Monday. Sorry I missed them. Where does the week go? Well, this week has been Wildflower Week, Nurses Week, Teacher Appreciation Week, Pet Week, Post Card Week, Reading is Fun Week (but seriously, this Blog is fun to read every week), Life Coach Recognition Week, Family Week, Hug Holiday Week, and my favourite... Update Your References Week. Can I use you as a reference?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Barefoot and Humble

May 8, 2008 - Remember High School? Remember those year books when you were supposed to list you future ambitions, favourites, pet peeves? Looking through my old year books, it appears I had it in for wet socks. Today, my pet peeves include sock suspenders, black socks with sneakers, short socks, and long socks. So today's celebration is especially near and dear to my heart. May 8 is No Socks Day. When you get ready this morning, think twice as you reach in to the sock drawer. Black socks? Nope. Short socks, long socks? Nadda. Socks with sandals? Out. No socks. Think Tubbs and Crockett without the pastel blazers. EVERY day is No Pastel Blazer Day.

But what about red socks? Today is also World Red Cross Red Crescent Day. It is an opportunity to "call attention to the plight of people affected by disasters, armed conflict and other situations of violence."1 A volcano dormant for 2000 years erupts in Peru and causes yet unknown damages and disaster. Cyclone Nargis has completely devastated Burma, killing thousands and destroying entire villages. There are wars being fought around the world, and children are being orphaned and used as pawns. I don't believe that World Red Cross Red Crescent Day is 24 hours. It is a daily event. I think we need to be reminded on a daily basis that peoples "safety, health, dignity and well being" 1 should be our number one concerns above all else. Open a newspaper, turn on the news and see the tragedies that surround us. Now... can you tell me that we have put the safety, health, dignity and well being of each other first?

It may not be a coincidence that Red Cross Day is on V.E. Day. The Red Cross Red Crescent's history is wrapped up in the Battle of Solferino. It was on that battlefield that Henry Dunant began helping wounded soldiers. That was the beginning of a movement that became the Red Cross. V.E. Day (Victory in Europe Day) signaled the end of World War II. Nazi Germany surrendered, and the world now celebrates in bare feet.

1. References to the Red Cross from the International Red Cross Red Crescent website (

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Stress Blows.

May 7, 2008 - The sun came out in Vancouver. I have nothing to complain about there. It took what feels like forever for spring to arrive. According to Martin Z. Mollusk, Summer will be approximately 3 1/2 days early this year (he saw his shadow). In Scotland, today is Spring Day. In Vancouver as in Scotland, we wait patiently for the sun and warm weather after spending months in the rain. So with the smallest hint of spring... we (pardon the language) spring in to gear. Today, after cleaning the flat, I sat out in the sun, then headed for the golf course. It wasn't exactly St. Andrews, but I'll take it. No bitching.

In fact, today there shall be "no grumping, no frowning, no grousing, complaining, punching, slapping, hitting or killing." 1For today may be the best day of the year. May 7th is the Great American Grump Out. Twenty-four hours without complaining? It seems that stress is one of North America's #1 health problem - and with all that is going on around us, I believe that stress is higher for everyone. So the folks at Smile Mania want us to spend the whole day without stressing about things we can't do anything about. When you get in the car in the morning for that dreadful daily commute, think about Sunday drives. That won't work, this Sunday the drivers were worse. Crap. I'm already grumping and I haven't left the house yet. Ok, when you get in line at the coffee shop, and the person in front of you is still trying to decide between hazelnut and vanilla, you're about to miss your bus, and are going to be late, think of days at the beach. Yup, sand in your knickers, and the folks beside you are belching the Greek alphabet. Blow hards! And me without my anemometer!

Without an anemometer, you can always use the Beaufort Scale - an empirical wind scale that Sir Francis Beaufort invented in 1805. I wonder if it will be windy on Beaufort Scale Day? It's also National Roast Leg of Lamb Day. I could handle the wind, but I'm not sure I would know what to do with a lamb on the lawn.

1. The Great American Grump Out is promoted by There's a great resource list on how to handle grumpiness on their site.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Id, The Ego, and the Appetite

May 6, 2008 - In school there was homework. There was mounds and mounds of homework. But from what I can estimate, it was next to nothing compared to the amount of homework kids bring home now. So when I saw that it was Childhood Depression Awareness Day it made excellent sense to me. Now that the weather is getting good, it's still daylight at 8 o'clock in the evening, and there are a million other things we'd rather be doing, all that homework could become very depressing. And yet... it's National Teacher Day - a day to tell your teachers how much you appreciate them. Just scribble a quick thank you note on the back of your Prozac prescription.

In 1856, Mr and Mrs Freud welcomed a bouncing baby named Sigismund Schlomo Freud (Sigmund to the rest of us), and such, today is Freud Day. Freud changed the landscape of the mind, and broke down universal developmental stages into bite sized chunks. He developed psychoanalytic techniques still used in therapy sessions happening on a couch near you. He studied dream symbolism, developed theories on sexual development, repressed feelings, and the therapeutic nature of cocaine. Was this the first anti-depressant? Prozac of the early 1900's?

On the up side, it's Crepe Suzette Day. Mmmm, pancakes drenched in Grand Marnier and set ablaze. It's dessert and a show. If I get lucky, it will be dessert, set ablaze, setting off the fire alarm, rescued by the entertainment. Mmmm, firemen. Remember Pinky and the Brain? They had a plan to take over the world a la Crepe Suzette. It involved altering the recipe so that when lit, the crepes would explode. I'm guessing that it was a plan meant to hatch today.

Speaking of desserts - it's No Diet Day. Phew. I've been waiting for this since I started my diet. I've been watching what I eat for at least two days now. For a good friend who just so happens to be a great cook, it is also her birthday. Seems like the perfect excuse to eat cake. And cookies. And cream sauce. I'm in... and today, id's ok. Oops. Freudian slip. Happy Birthday Sigmund.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I'll have the Hoagie and Margarita Combo.

May 5, 2008 - On May 5, 146 years ago, in 1856 the Mexican army defeated the French at the Battle of Pueblo. So, on the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo) we celebrate freedom and liberty. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence which is celebrated in September. Today, Mexico will celebrate with food, music and dancing. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become a celebration of Mexican culture much like St. Patricks day is for the Irish and Oktoberfest is for beer drinkers.

Three years after the Battle of Pueblo, North Bend, Ohio became the site of the first U.S train robbery. The robbers - though never identified and never captured - were thought to be Frank and Jesse James and friends. They took up the tracks and derailed an Ohio & Mississippi train that had departed from Cincinnati. Passengers were robbed, safes were blown up, and officials scratched their heads. When I was young, my mom had a Wanted Dead or Alive poster of Jesse James. I grew up listening to outlaw country music and watching spaghetti westerns. I have no Mexican ancestry to celebrate, but I have a childhood full of references to the train robbery. I'm not sure how to celebrate this one but I feel like I should. Perhaps I'll ride the Skytrain. Hmmm... Cinco de Mayo + Train Robbery Day = TexMex??

May 5 is also Melanoma Monday. This is important folks, so listen up. The sun - though it feels really nice and warm - is evil. You must wear sunscrean. "Slip. Slop. Slap. Shade." Slip in your spilled sunscreen. Slop up your margarita. Slap someone. Hide in the shade. No? However you do it, keep care of your skin. It's your largest organ, and without it, clothes are hard to wear. Naked day was yesterday, so you'll have to cover up. It is also National Chocolate Custard Day. I wonder if the sun can get through chocolate?

In Philidelphia there is an area called Hog Island. During the war, Italian immigrants who worked there would bring giant sandwiches to work stuffed with cold cuts, tomatoes, onions and more. The workers would get nicknamed Hoggies - and eventually, their sandwiches would catch on and they became known as hoagies. Maybe better known as the hero or submarine sandwich, May 5 is Hoagie Day. I wonder if today is the day Jared falls off his diet and goes for the meatball sub with extra cheese?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Naked Chickens and Timid Crabs.

May 4, 2008 - I have a dilemma this morning. Sundays usually mean I sit in bed with the crossword and a coffee while I contemplate morning. Then I get up, have an eggs and ham breakfast (Dr. Seuss is a hero of mine - wonder when his day is?), and get on with the day. Today is however International Respect for Chickens Day. According to United Poultry Concerns ( "Chickens are people too!" and apparently I'm to get on to a radio show. Seems fitting.

I once WAS a chicken. I spent several years acting as a radio stations mascot - the LB Bird. LB was a giant chicken. I was not often shown respect. If I had known then that there was an International Respect for Chickens Day it would have been exploited. So what ever do I do about my Sam I Am Sunday?

Speaking of animals that deserve respect, let's not forget Martin Z. Mollusk Day. Today is Martin's day too. Martin Z. Mollusk is a hermit crab. If he sees his shadow today, summer will be a week early. We could really to see an early summer. Spring is late. Shame it is also Naked Day. Something tells me Martin won't be coming out of his shell. Summer may just have to wait.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Home Brew and Pregnancy

May 3, 2008 - The sun may one day boil off the oceans, and humanity as we know it will cease to exist. But never fear, we will leave a legacy of celebrations and days that will surely leave the next civilization to beg their gods that they were not spawns of us. For today, this, the third day of May, is the day we celebrate "Lumpy Rug Day".

Ah, the lumpy rug. Would it be anything like sitting on lumpy dirt, cross-legged, and 'ohm'ing' away on Garden Meditation Day? I don't know that I can meditate amongst the critters and the slugs. I once very much enjoyed escargot. I then moved to BC and viewed my first slug. I'm out. Brings on a wave of anxiety every time I find one of these slimy snails sans shells. Good thing its National Anxiety Disorders Screening Day (And on a Saturday. Who wants to ruin the weekend with a screening?)

Hell, I don't want to ruin my weekend with confusion either. Saturday is Sun Day. But Sunday is Respect for Chickens Day (more on that one tomorrow).

Saturday is Join Hands Day, and National Homebrew Day - but also National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.

It is National Raspberry Popover Day and National Chocolate Custard Day, but also Tighty Whitey Appreciation Day.

Honestly, after the custard and popovers, washed down with a bit of homebrew... I don't think I could appreciate the Tighty Whities. Now I understand why May 3 is also Dismal Day.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Just Say No... To Smelly Pants?

May 2, 2008 - Well folks, we are now in to the month of May and there is no turning back. I celebrated May Day by getting my first sunburn of the year on North American soil, and then re-connected with a friend I haven't seen in far too long, where we worked our way through a giant plate of wings. It's a good thing we didn't touch base today or the conversations would have been more formal. Today is Robert's Rules of Order Day.

Sadly, today is Yom Hashoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day - a black spot on the history of man. Hitler himself knew what a horror he orchestrated. Unfortunately, he took the cowardly exit. I wonder why Yom Hashoah is not an international day of remembrance - not only a Jewish holiday, but perhaps a day to remember and think about the horrors of genocide everywhere.

On the lighter side, today we recognize those "around the world who struggle with the weight and size of their big instrument". 1 Yes, it is International Tuba Day. What did you think I was talking about? Are you mad? Speaking of which, May 2 is also "Mad Festival". I've spent so much time trying to find out more about this festival that it's driven me mad. Maybe that's the point. Maybe it is related to Mad Magazine. If you know, please fill me in. I'm all ears.

Today also has us celebrating Fire Day, Brothers and Sisters Day, and Be Kind to the Smelly Day. If you are riding transit, and the person beside you smells really bad, is it kinder to hold your sweater over your nose, get up and move, or run from the bus holding your nose anxious for a refreshing breath of exhaust fumes? Does this mean you have to be kind to smokers too? God knows they have quite the odor. Its National Truffles Day. Would I be expected to share a box of truffles with the highly aromatic?

There is a solution to these social dilemmas. Drop your trousers. According to the folks at the No Pants Day organization say it's hard to take yourself seriously when you aren't wearing any pants. "Indeed, when large groups of people parade around in public without their pants, amazing things are bound to happen". 2 So what brought about No Pants Day? According to
research has revealed that Trouser-Free Day was actually started in Hollywood in 1928 by a secret cabal of gin-soaked movie producers, writers, and actors interested as much in flaunting societal convention and toppling democracy as they were in making movies.
My fear is the smelly person beside you on that bus today won't be wearing any pants.

1. Tuba Day reference:
2. Wikipedia No Pants Day:

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May I Never...

So... May it is. We are over a year in to the US Presidential campaign, and maybe it will be the month that we finally know who is up against the Republican candidate. April showers bring May candidates? I love the insanity of US politics, but I think this is a battle that is wearing a little thin. So on National Day of Prayer, let us pray that it will be over soon. (Only 6 more months to go folks.)

So what about May 1st? How about this for a list:
World Asthma Day, Executive Coaching Day, Frequent Flyer Day, Law Day, Lei Day, Library Legislative Day, Loyalty Day, Martin Z. Mollusk Day, May Day, Mother Goose Day, National Day of Prayer, National Day of Reason, New Homeowner's Day, School Principals' Day Save the Rhino Day, Worthy Wage Day, and Stepmother's Day?

What I reason is this: In order to make full use of the day, one should use their frequent flyer loyalty points, head for Hawaii, and get Lei'd. Of course to make that happen, we'd have to pray for worthy wages.

Of all the months, May is recognized as the month for (on last count) 63 different causes, ideas, issues, and celebrations. Maybe May is going to be an entertaining month - it's Hamburger Month, BBQ Month, Salad Month, Salsa Month, Sweet Vidalia Onion Month, Vinegar Month and Egg Month. This might be one month that was indeed collaborated on... 'cause that sounds like a great meal. Don't enjoy it too much, it's also Go Fetch - Food Drive for Homeless Animals Month. And to keep the burgers from your hips, it is Physical Fitness and Bike Month.

Of course it's also a month of disorders, disorderly, and crises that I'm sure a few weeks out of the year isn't going to fix. The list is below (no order).
  1. ALS Awareness Month
  2. Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
  3. Awareness of Medical Orphans Month
  4. Better Hearing & Speech Month
  5. Borderline Personality Disorder Month
  6. Brain Tumor Awareness Month
  7. Creative Beginnings Month
  8. Family Wellness Month
  9. Fibromyalgia Education and Awareness Month
  10. Freedom Shrine Month
  11. Get Caught Reading Month
  12. Gifts From The Garden Month
  13. Go Fetch! Food Drive for Homeless Animals Month
  14. Haitian Heritage Month
  15. Heal the Children Month
  16. Healthy Vision Month
  17. Huntington's Disease Awareness Month
  18. International Audit Month
  19. International Business Image Improvement Month
  20. International Victorious Woman Month
  21. Jewish-American Heritage Month
  22. Latino Books Month
  23. Motorcycle Safety Month
  24. National Allergy/Asthma Awareness Month
  25. National Arthritis Month
  26. National Barbeque Month
  27. National Bike Month
  28. National Correct Posture Month
  29. National Egg Month
  30. National Foster Care Month
  31. National Good Car Keeping Month
  32. National Hamburger Month
  33. National Hepatitis Awareness Month
  34. (World) Lyme Disease Awareness Month
  35. National Meditation Month
  36. National Mental Health Month
  37. National Military Appreciation Month
  38. National Moving Month
  39. National Neurofibromatosis Awareness Month
  40. National Older Americans Month
  41. National Osteoporosis Prevention Month
  42. National Photo Month
  43. National Physical Fitness & Sports Month
  44. National Preservation Month
  45. National Salad Month
  46. National Salsa Month
  47. National Smile Month
  48. National Stroke Awareness Month
  49. National Revise Your Work Schedule Month
  50. National Vinegar Month
  51. Navajo Code Talkers Month
  52. Personal History Month
  53. Prepare to Buy A Home Month
  54. React Month
  55. Strike Out Strokes Month
  56. Sweet Vidalia Onions Month
  57. Teen Self-Esteem Month
  58. Tennis Month
  59. Tay-Sachs and Canavan Diseases Month
  60. Ultra-violet Awareness Month
  61. Women's Health Care Month
  62. Young Achiever's Month
  63. National Family Month
Just imagine all the days that aren't covered here. There is still only 31 days in May right? May I never have to remember them all. I do however promise there are a few extra special holidays yet to come in the month of May. Keep reading.

Happy May Day.

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