Thursday, July 31, 2008

The mutt has it.

July 31, 2008 - Dogs are a funny breed. They are truly the most successful of parasites known to civilization, a success they continue to exploit today. When man was part of a nomadic tribe - dogs were there - feeding on the scraps, ingratiating themselves for the warmth of the fire, and in return, offered little more than the ability to bark if someone or something else tried to get near the flames (or the food). They succeeded because they gave the impression they were offering more than they received. In reality, dogs were taking. And take they did.

Today, dogs have really taken this to a new art form. The work their way into family portraits, convince us that they need raw food, steak, popcorn... whatever you've got... they are happy to help with. Yup, dogs are parasites. Of course in return, they give us sad and pathetic eyes. They give us reason to eliminate wads of cash from our wallets. They encourage us to stay home, bring in dog walkers, pay for daycare... really... anything they might on occasion want, desire or think about. Dogs are indeed parasites. And we wouldn't have it any other way. Nor, for that matter, would my dogs.

My dogs are a pretty unique pairing. One is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, the other, a Chihuahua. But there are so many other dogs out there who don't get to be a 'breed', but rather get classified as mutts. Today is Mutt's Day. A day to celebrate the diversity of these four legged, loving, taking, adorable dogs who are a little bit of this and a little bit of that. The mutt is a breed of its own, and whether or not the Kennel Clubs agree, I think they should be allowed to compete too. Some of the best looking and best behaved dogs I've ever met are indeed 'mutts', or cross-breeds, or half-breeds. Same can be said of some of the humans I know too - but don't call them mutts - they are better looking than most 'pure-breds', whatever that means.

Today is also Live Better Than Yesterday Day. I think this is something we should consider every day. Tomorrow is August, and though July can be one of the best months of the year, perhaps the next month will offer up some excitement too. Live better today than yesterday, next month better than this, and next year too. What a great plan for making sure that you get everything you can out of life. I'm in. And next month, I'll be in again. My dogs continue to live better and better day after day, why shouldn't we?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kicking tires - kissing hubcaps

July 30, 2008 - The auto has changed our world. We go farther, walk less, and continually expand our worlds - and our waistlines, because of the car. In honour of Henry Ford's birth today in 1863, today is Kiss Your Car Day. Cars have changed our air and our pocketbooks, and yet we baby these machines. My neighbour makes a weekly chore out of washing and waxing his car. A good friend is horrified when a bird drops a gift, or a bug commits suicide on her windshield (Hey... what is the last thing to go through a bug's mind when it hits a windshield? It's butt.) Needless to say, she washes her car.

In high school we coveted the cool cars. Everyone wanted a convertible, a Mustang, an import. Me... I had a wood panelled station wagon. It was a Chrysler Town and Country. It was affectionately known as "National Lampoon's Vacation, Party Hardy Chuck Wagon From Hell (NLVPHCWFH)... or Chuck for short. There were ups to having such a beast of a vehicle. You could easily fit 12 friends in it for a quick spin at lunch to avoid the cafeteria. The drive in meant you could back in, open the hatch and stretch out (sorry Mom). And, you could drive around with your chicken suit and have room for the tail. On the way to Falcon Lake one summer, with my grandmother in the car, Chuck's transmission gave out. I would like to blame my uncle for not believing me when I said the transmission was slipping, but I think it was being forced to carry around a gianormous Chicken Suit (I was a mascot).

After the new transmission, and a great holiday, Chuck was retired. Post Chuck was my first 'import'. A Mazda 626 that was loaded with all the features, but no back hatch for the drive-in movies. The sun roof proved to be a great feature on long drives to Winnipeg for football games and shopping. Though the Mazda never got a great name, it was my Mazdarati. I drove that from Ontario, to the Coast of BC and back. It treated me well, and when it retired, it retired to the golf course covered in cages and working the driving range.

Then there was a stream of cars that garnered me the nickname "Crash". Though never my fault, I had a '93, '94, '95, and a '96 in just under three years. There was "Andale! Andale! Yeehaw!", "Sparky", "Prince" (it was a raspberry Baretta), and "The Green Machine". The first three of those cars were domestic (Ford and GM). They lived their very short lives with a target painted on them. "Green" was another Mazda, and lived until she was traded in for yet another Mazda. My current car, "Indy", is also a Mazda. Nothing against Henry Ford, but I have had better luck with those imports. Of course I can't fault domestic cars for safety. In four accidents, I only ever suffered a bruise from a seatbelt, and a broken toe (of course that was because I kicked the truck that hit me - which, as it turns out, the insurance company didn't believe was an injury resulting from the accident).

So, the moral in this story is this... when you head out the door to get in your car to drive where you once might have walked, celebrate the spirit of the day. Don't kick your car.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The final frontier... and a ziplock bag of pasta

July 29, 2008 - Space, the final frontier, is the last vestige of man's domination of our world, and the vast area surrounding her. Today in 1958, President Eisenhower signed into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act, creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The imaginations of the world kicked in to high gear and boys and girls everywhere dreamed of being astronauts and space explorers. Final Frontier Day is for everyone - young, old, dreamers and realists. For in reality, we are now exploring space. We have rovers on Mars, we've hit golf balls on the moon, and we've built telescopes powerful enough to see the zits on the faces of jet passengers - oh, and the other planets too.

Everyone has their own final frontiers too. Some frontiers are emotional, some are less so, but they are often personal, and require introspection. My final frontier has its own collection of aliens and things alien to me. I have an uncanny ability to keep people at an arms length, especially if I think they are getting close. My space explorations have at the very least allowed me to recognize this, and to admit it. That may be my small step. I hope that the lack of gravity in space will make the giant leap that comes next easy. In the end, all I can do is strap on my moon boots and hope for the best. After all, sometimes all you can do is jump and hope you land somewhere on your feet.

When an astronaut leaves this planet, do they experience a feeling of detachment? Is there a disconnect between what they know to be true of themselves and the world around them and what could be possible? Is space really the final frontier, or is it just the next step in our social and cultural evolution? In all honesty, we have come so far in the past 100 years, that I can't imagine where we will be in anther 100 years. But I bet the astronauts will still be eating pureed lasagna and Tang, even today on National Lasagna Day. But does food still taste like food when it's mush? Fruit is a good choice but other than that, I can't imagine pureed chicken cordon blue or steak and potatoes. Now my mom's lasagna... it would be good even out of the blender. I won't need space food on my odyssey, but I wouldn't turn down a slice of lasagna and a side Caesar.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Direct advertising... the future is starchy.

July 28, 2008 - Milk. It does a body good. Got Milk? Where's your mustache? Milk your diet. Three a day. Got Chocolate Milk? (Today is Chocolate Milk Day.)I'm sure that milk ads have far outstripped cigarettes, liquor and even beer ads for being some of the most pervasive and long running ads in history. For as long as I can remember, I was more likely to watch the ads on TV, and reading Voque is really nothing more than a hundreds page ad. Ads catch my attention. They speak to me. Perhaps that speaks more to the quality of the programs wrapped around the commercial breaks.

There are a handful of really good programs on TV - but the commercials can be really brilliant. Remember the Sanka soap opera? How about the old lady looking for a bit of meat in her hamburger or the one that wiped out and couldn't get back on her feet? This is good stuff. The Kokanee Ranger's life in jeopardy, but his fate won't be revealed until the fall. How about product placement in movies? The new Mini in the Italian Job? That was one looooooong commercial for a small car. On the Internet, you can have your ads delivered to you based on what you are viewing online, what you've searched for in a search engine, or on key words in your emails. As advertising gets more prolific, and invasive, we will one day be able to have commercials fed to us direct to eye lid as you walk past a store or shopping district. How about the ads that come to our cell phones? There is a company here in Vancouver that has worked on a device that will beam ad texts to your phone as you walk by. Can the eyelids really be that far behind?

Remember singing telegrams? If there was a way to deliver these to your door cheaply, you can bet you'd be getting a knock on your door. Especially today on Singing Telegram Day. As we celebrate the anniversary of the singing telegram, be careful to whom you open your door. You could be accosted by a giant singing potato with a milk mustache begging you in song to drink Chocolate Milk.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What's Up, Doc?

July 27, 2008 - What's Up, Doc? Let me tell you what isn't up first. After a really good party, and everyone goes home, you are left with a few things that need to be dealt with. Empties. Many, many empties. These must be recycled. Dishes. There are always dishes no matter how much you try to do the environmentally UNfriendly disposable plates and cups. Garbage. There are bags of garbage to be gathered and taken out. I was counting on all of this.

What I wasn't counting on was Post Party Depression. After one of the best house parties I've ever had, and one of the best mixes of people I have ever put together, I am now home with my dog in the lull of the gathering. It is a little like a calm after a storm. Dim Sum didn't do it. A beverage with a friend didn't do it. Phone calls from many of the guests didn't do it. Listening to music isn't doing it either. So, Doc... What is up? I suppose the only thing that can cure this disease is another party. This weekend is Caribbean Festival in Vancouver. I'm going to guess that a bit of Reggae and some dancing is what Doc would order. Take two dances and a Red Stripe and call me in the morning.

Bugs Bunny may have said it best, but I wonder if he was counting on that answer? Infact, Bugs Bunny made his debut today in "A Wild Hare" in 1940. So today, on Bugs Bunny Day, ask "What's Up". Run from the Coyote, eat a carrot, and dance a bunny hop. Bugs would have it no other way.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Aunts, Uncles, and Dare Devils

July 26, 2008 - One's family is a great source of stories to tell at parties. After all, we are what we know. We know how crazy our family is... every family is crazy. But without them, we couldn't be who we are today. Today, I am a day older than yesterday, but I feel ten years younger, because I spent last night with friends both new to me and friends I thought were lost to me. We laughed and joked and told stories of then, and stories of now. What I have come to realise is, these stories - of friends and family - are who we are. My family has been a great source of stories. Not that they were funny people, but we were very close. I feel as close to my Aunts and Uncles as I do to my mom, my cousins...

So to my Aunts and Uncles, thank you. Today is Aunt's and Uncle's Day. I can tell you stories of ordering steak with Uncle Bill, of shopping with Auntie Issie, or taking my Ford Festiva up the hill with Auntie Heather. I can tell you of my Uncle Doug and all his one liners, but not many of those would be fit to print. My Aunts and Uncles were a big part of my childhood, and when I tell some of the stories now, a big part of my present. Though I must admit, the stories I tell at parties are usually embellished (after all, my family wasn't as crazy as some others).

It is also All or Nothing Day. I can't find an origin for this day, or how you are meant to celebrate it. I'm going to guess it should just be a day of extremes. Do you gamble? Bet the house. After today, you can live in cardboard. If you are a smoker, go ahead and smoke everything you can get your fingers around. Maybe tomorrow you will quit. If you are thinking of quitting... today could be your day. For today, there shall be no grey area. Things today are either very much so... or not so. All or Nothing Day is also known as Go For it Day. Is there anything you've been standing on the edge over? If so... jump. Today is the day.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Peace, Harmony, and Cannibalism

July 25, 2008 - When we lived in caves and ate our relatives, did we really understand the future? When there was no technology, and life was marked by the phases of the moon, did we have an appreciation for new developments or improvements in weaponry, or new ways of harvesting firewood? If you haven't experienced cultural and technological changes there would be no reference point for the types of change that would be coming thousands of years later. When life was so much shorter then, did you think about your future or was your future the next day or the next meal?

Today is Act Like a Caveman Day, but perhaps since we no longer live in caves, it may mean that for today, you don't look too far in to your future, but rather enjoy the day for what it is... today. There is no need to hunt for your next meal, or wonder what Cousin Herbert will taste like slow roasted, so instead, you'll just have to enjoy your next meal and maybe worry about what you are going to do for lunch tomorrow.

I wonder at what point Cavemen began marking the passage of time. I would imagine the cycles of the moon made for a good calendar. Thirteen evenly spaced months of 28 days would make for a 364 day year. Pretty close to what we have now - and since life was short, the one day off on the start of the spring hunt wouldn't make much difference.

There is a movement afoot to return to a more natural calendar of 13 months of 28 days. The challenge is that other day... which is solved by a Day Out Of Time. Day out of Time is on July 25th each year and has been celebrated since 1992. The idea is that the calendar of 13 months of 28 days, which makes for a perfect year of 52 weeks has one day that just doesn't count. July 25th was chosen because it was Green Day in Pioneer Square on the Gregorian Calendar. Day out of Time is just that... it is the one day in a year that is out of time. It isn't on this new calendar. It is merely a time to celebrate life, cancel debts, to pardon and forgive.¹ But why change our calendar system in the first place?

The idea was born out of a notion to reclaim the natural rhythms of the earth - to bring peace and harmony back in balance. I have no doubt that changing the calendar would bring little in the way of harmony and peace. Imaging the fights that will inevitably happen when you find out you're in the wrong month, you've missed an appointment, the Oscars were last week? How about when you have to have all your id changed (Yay... DMV lineups) because the new calendar has wiped out your own birthday. You thought you were a Libra? Guess again. Now you have to change your personality too. And what about those of us whose birthdays fall on July 25th? Does this mean I don't exist? Or do I just not have birthdays? Damn. This will not bring about harmony. Cavemen lived by this lunar calendar. Seriously, do you think they lived in peace? They had to live in caves, draw on the walls with ox blood, and hunt for food. Hell, they ate Cousin Herbert. This was not a fun peaceful family dinner (especially for Herbert).

Happy System Administrators Day too! Don't know where I would be without the net - how ever would I have learned that today just doesn't count?

1. Day Out of Time Movement website has all kinds of information on celebrations and festivals.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sisters, Brothers, Cousins

July 24, 2008 - Remember all those family get togethers? How about the 'kids' table' during the holidays? Summer BBQs that seemed to always fall on the best day in the summer to have been home hanging out with your friends but you had to be present? Think back to those events. Now think about who made them bearable. Who was it at the kids table with you? For me, it was my cousins.

I had many cousins - we were all close in age - to eat with, fight with, laugh with, break toys with, scrap with, get in trouble with, throw food at... I'm not certain I could have survived any of the big family events at all if not for cousins. Today is Cousin's Day. I was the only girl in a group of four of us that were all closest in age. There was David, Andrew, and Bill. I learned some of life's most important lessons from these cousins. I learned that it's easier to play in a pair of overalls than it was to play in a kilt and patent shoes. It was better to punch back than to run upstairs crying. If you are going to teach a girl to burp, the Coke shouldn't be so cold. If you throw up Coke instead of burping, you should aim away from your cousin. I also learned about boys. I wasn't actually their little sister - so they introduced me to all their friends.

A couple years behind us in age were Ryan, Kelly and Rob. I learned lots from them too. If you are going to spend the summer watching TV on the satellite dish be prepared for what you might find. We watched the shuttle blow up in front of our eyes on a giant screen when what we were trying to find was a cartoon.

From Andrew, I learned that life can be approached with a smile regardless of what you have to deal with. From David I learned that life may hand you challenges, but you will never escape them unless you look them square in the eye. I also learned from him that you can't actually beat up a car. Neither Andrew nor David is with me anymore, but the lessons will stay with me for life.

From Bill, I learned that you can take the back wall off the garage and get the dirt bikes out unnoticed. I also learned that if you tee a golf ball up in the front lawn and wait for a train to go by across the street, you can really improve your game. Maybe most importantly, from my cousins, I learned that even an only child can have brothers and sisters, and the kids' table wasn't the worst place in the world to have dinner.

Today is also National Drive-Thru Day. I live thousands of miles away from my cousins now. There is no more kids' table, and there are no more burping lessons. But now I'm old enough to drive a car, and to eat alone. Drive-Thru windows have really made that easy.

I would love to go back in time and have another Christmas dinner at the kids table instead of hitting the drive thru, but time does not stand still, and I just don't have the time to sit down for a meal. While working on my fries and the too cold Coke today, I'll think fondly of my cousins. I promise I won't belch the Coke all over the wind shield.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Horrorscope made me do it

July 23, 2008 - Horoscopes are a funny thing. There are people who believe each and every word of them, can tell you which astrologer is the most accurate, and who has a better chance at plotting your life. I am a Leo. According to all these experts and charts, a Leo is creative, generous and loyal with a little bit of ego, pride and arrogance. Apparently, Leos are on the hunt for new and exciting things, with a dramatic zest for life. Today is the Start of Leo Day on the zodiac. I don't know what that means for any other sign, but for Leos, is this the start of a great party?

Sadly, I hate to admit, but this pretty much describes me to a tee. I am loyal - sometimes to a fault. I have been told I am creative - but by "creative" a friend actually means disorganized. If you ask me, it is not so much disorganization, as it is a lack of time for the boring stuff. So if an astrologer can describe me so accurately and has never met me, why do I question the validity of horoscopes?

Yesterday, my horoscope suggested I should 'moderate my caffeine intake' and ensure that I didn't 'fly off the handle' when something messed up. Let's break this down shall we... If I LIMIT my caffeine intake... I will be unbearable and WILL 'fly off the handle'. Somehow, cutting back caffeine was supposed to make it easier to relax. Today, Leos will experience a huge spike in our creative writing skills, and it should be "a breeze adding some rhymes and witty stuff to your emails, text and voice". How about being the "go-to person when people are dying of boredom". Yup, this is going to be a busy day. I hope not too many people drop by today... I have a lot of running around to do.

The cosmic calendar suggests that because Mercury is somewhere in the sky and it's near Neptune, but that makes for cloudy, not clear thinking, but it will pass quickly because it moves along the nebulus at a rate of 2 degrees per day that there will be confusion and chaos especially related to communications and travel plans - but mostly in the morning, so give yourself extra time to get somewhere and don't go to Vegas until lunch time. Seriously... this is how people plan their lives? Sounds to me like what this is saying is "Hey, it is Wednesday morning, and the traffic might be a little slow. Grab a coffee and leave a little early in case your late". So about that list of errands I need to run today... should I just stay in bed until Noon and give Mercury and Neptune some time to kiss and make up?

I might be feeling creative today, but if I'm not back writing tomorrow, it is not my fault. Mercury made me do it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hammock Rats Unite

July 22, 2008 - String up a bit of fabric between two palm trees, crawl in, and spend the day doing exactly what relaxing is all about - complete unplugging. Hammock time is special. You need special balance to get in to the hammock. Special skills to get out of the hammock (on your feet, not your face). Throw in a tropical beverage, and you need a whole new set of abilities. More than just a kinesthetic sense, hammock balance has to take in to account the trade winds, sobriety levels and swing factor. The three times in my life that I've spent time in a hammock, I have been able to manage an elegant, graceful, face-plant exit. Today is Hammock Day. I can assure you that I will not celebrate this one, but if you have the ability to get out of a hammock, you definitely should. After all, it's summer, it's warm, and it's a great day to take a mini break. Could be a great day to laze around with a possword cruzzle.

A what? A possword cruzzle? That is a spoonerism and today is Spoonerism Day (Doonerism Spay?) A spoonerism is the accidental swapping of the first sounds in a pair of words. I don't generally do a spoonerism when I'm typing - but when using my words - it's another story. Words are hard, and when you have so much to say and so few words to say them it cakes the take. Spoonerisms are named after the Reverend William Archibald Spooner, who was especially prone to these slips of the tongue. There were some doozies in his sermons. How about "The Lord is a shoving leapard", "it is kisstomary to cuss the brid", "We'll have the hags flung out", and my favourite "Let us pray for our queer old dean". Imagine keeping a fraight stace in one of his sermons? Even the Pied Piper (can't do anything to that one) would have laughed.

Today is also Rat Catcher's Day - or the Pied Piper Day. There is no great reason for July 22nd to be picked for this day, but it seems that legend states the Pied Piper rid Germany of the rats on or around June 26th. Who knows - but if you happen to see a rat catcher, or a Pied Piper in your travels today say cheers. I wouldn't however listen to the flute... never mind falling out of a hammock, you might end up face down in a river.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Doritos and the Doghouse

July 21, 2008 - The doghouse... is this a punishment, a self imposed place of reprieve, or a home for Fido? If one is "In the Doghouse" is it safer just to take your dinner out there with the dog? Today is National Get Out of the Doghouse Day. So this begs the question "How exactly does one get out of the doghouse?"

Florists should be buzzing today - but it is a Monday. It could be hard to get a table at your favourite eatery tonight - but again, it is a Monday. But, there must be other ways to get out of the proverbial doghouse. You could try apologizing, not arguing, admitting wrong, or dishing out a few compliments. Better yet, how about not getting in to the doghouse in the first place.

If you are to avoid being put in the doghouse in the first place you would need to understand that most doghouse destined arguments have no real basis in reality. We want a phone call, but not right now. We want to know what is planned or being planned - but why do you want to know in the first place? Yup, the doghouse. It is the place where trivial crap ends up. A fight that really has a basis in something important would never end up in the back yard. Your stuff might, but you would likely not.

If you find your stuff out on the lawn, and it's getting on dinner time - no problem. Today is also Junk Food Day. A bag of Doritos, a Milky Way, and you should be alright to load your stuff in the car. If you are only in the dog house, better make it a bag of Doritos and TWO Milky Ways - it might just get you out of there and back in the house.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lollipops and Moondrops

July 20, 2008 - Do you suppose the folks at NASA were sitting around a campfire, smoking something funnier than cigarettes when someone stood up, stumbled a little, and then slurred "I've got a great idea. Lets put a man on the moon. That would be sooooooo cool"? I can see it, and I'm sure that is how it happened.

Today in 1969, probably a few years after that wild and crazy camping trip, the Apollo Program did indeed land Apollo 11 - and the first man - on the Moon. Thus, today is Moon Day. What was it that made putting a man on the Moon to be such a good idea in the first place, other than the Vodka?

The search for knowledge is a powerful force that humans seem to be unable to control. We want to go farther, understand more, and find the answers to questions we don't yet know. Of course, it could be a more basic drive than that that drives us. Perhaps it is nothing more than a need to collect the biggest rockets, and coolest toys. My space ship went farther than yours. Na na na na na na.

If this is the case, is this why we want our laptops to be smaller and smaller, our phones with more toys? Is it what drives us to build faster trains, deeper diving bells, softer socks? If we collect the most toys do we win some great prize in the end? If so, my afterlife needs to complete with XBox, XBox Live that can reach in to the living world (I'm taking my friends with me whether they like it or not), iPhones, gadgets, a fabulous wine cellar, and of course the best of sound systems. Honestly, I don't know that I need to understand the bigger questions to the universe. I subscribe to bumper sticker philosophy. S/he who has the most toys in the end wins.

I have a PEZ collection. I wonder if this is the kind of toy that counts in this race to the end? If so, I have boxes and boxes of them. I have Flintstones, and Star Wars, and body parts, and Muppets, and Shrek, and on and on. The candy is terrible, and dispensing a PEZ is a little like watching your favourite character toss his head back and throw up a treat. Still it seems less disturbing than the lollipops that come in the shapes of characters. Lollipops do seem to be making a comeback. Many stores are now carrying gourmet lollipop flavours for a mere $4.00 each. You don't get a lollipop after a trip to the dentist anymore, so today, to celebrate National Lollipop Day, you may have to fork over a few dollars. On the upside, the dentist never had Mango Passion fruit, Cherries Jubilee, or Belgium Chocolate Latte. So, skip the drill, and go straight for the lollipops. Oh lolli lolli lolli lolli....

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Shulda culda wulda...

July 19, 2008 - So there you are, standing on the edge of some precipice (because that sounds so dramatic), wondering what it is you did to get you to where you are today. Did you make the right choices? Should you have looked at all the alternatives? Would you have done it all any differently?

If you knew then what you know now... Hindsight is 20/20... Maturity is knowing what you don't know... it goes on and on. Seriously, would it have made any difference? If you look back on your life, are there things you would have done differently? Do you thing that by doing things in an alternate way you would still have the people in your life that you have now? Would you really be able to say things would be different - or just a slightly different version of where you are now?

I think there is something to be said about the old cliche "things happen for a reason." I hear that line said over and over and what I really want to say in reply is "Yup. It happened because X happened, then Y happened." Life is a continuum of events. Some events are positive. Some events are less positive, but they are indeed just events. They have been following each other since the day we arrived on the earth. This is likely the most important thing we can take from life... shit happens, and it follows other shit, and will indeed be followed up by more. Life is the stuff that happens while we are busy 'would of, should of, could of' ing our lives away. Does it happen TO us? Nope. It just happens. So for today - and even if it is only for today there should be no would of, should of, could of. Today is Toss Away the Could Haves and Should Haves Day.

Honestly, even if you do pull a would have should have could have today, you can just say you shouldn't have. I'm not sure how to celebrate this one other than just enjoying the day and all life has brought you. Regret nothing. Without the mistakes you may have made, you wouldn't be who you are today. And since is is also National Daiquiri Day, at the very least you can sit on a patio somewhere and enjoy a drink. If you imbibe in a few, don't worry about it. Should you have had all those daiquiris. Probably. Would you regret it? Not today. Could you have ordered a soda? Sure. But would you wish you had had that drink tomorrow? Who knows. That's tomorrow. Live today. If you try and live for tomorrow you will miss the moment you are given right now. You can go ahead and worry about today tomorrow.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Caviar and Condoms

July 18, 2008 - In 1984, Pope John Paul II created an annual
international celebration of youth, with what seems to be the goal of
bringing Catholicism to the young masses. World Youth Day is
actually a week. The bible says the world was created in 7 days. The
science seems to say this actually happened over thousands of years.
So, it seems like the church has had an issue with dates since
incorporation. World Youth Day (or week as it may be) is like one
great big church camp, attended by the Pope himself (now Pope Benedict

Imagine the future of the Catholic church when you can
hold a massive youth rally and preach the importance of abstinence.
Tens of thousands of teens with raging hormones, all staying in hotels
and camps, are learning about how birth control and abortion is against
God. The marketing here is BRILLIANT. What better way to increase the
numbers for future World Youth Day celebrations? Of course the
protesters are out attempting to hand out condoms to the youth as they
enter or exit the events, but they've been moved away from the event
location by the police who have been given extra powers during the
event. In fact, stores are not allowed to sell anti-Pope items of any
kind for the duration of World Youth Day. I wonder if you have to
visit the Wizard to get your hands on a box of condoms?

In the rest of the world, today is also Caviar Day.
Ah, tiny salty wee popping balls of delicacy that is best served with
champagne. Not all roe is caviar, and not all bubbly wine is
champagne. But get the right stuff, and it can turn a believer in to
even the most anti-caviar of folks. I wonder how the Pope feels about
caviar? Why do I get the feeling the guy probably dines on only the
finest of things? Of course blessed caviar isn't as much of an
aphrodisiac. Good thing too... cause the condom machine in the Vatican
only dispenses wet naps.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

17 ways to order a coffee...

July 17, 2008 - How's your math? I can add and subtract, but I'm a product of the digital age. Though I can do more complex math without gadgets, I fall to the calculator almost every time. I did manage to get through a B.Sc. and many complex math courses, and can talk a little about prime numbers. But then there is the number 17. Mathematicians love the number 17. It is indeed a prime number. As is 7. So alas, July 17 (7-17), is a Mathematician's holiday. Today is Yellow Pig Day. Is there such a thing? And can you calculate the odds?

17 is the only prime number that is the average of two consecutive Fibonacci numbers. 17 is the only known prime that is equal to the sum of digits of its cube. In Italy, Friday the 17th is an unlucky day, and it takes 17 muscles to smile. There are hundreds of other mathematical anomalies of the number 17. Today, mathematicians around the world will be contemplating not their navel lint but the number 17 instead. They will be doing so while enjoying a Yellow Pig Cake (cut in to 17 pieces).

I wonder how peach ice cream will go with that yellow pig cake? Today is also Peach Ice Cream Day. It's not a flavour that is easy to find. Maybe it's worth a trip to Baskin Robbins for a cone. I wonder if the folks on the other side of the counter will remember me for choosing an odd flavour? Unlike Starbucks, there isn't likely a lot of encouragement for the staff to get to know their customers and their preferences.

In my neighbourhood, I can hit seventeen different cafés in a 7 block radius. There are large chains, small chains, local chains, independents... and still, I aim for the green awning. I order the same thing each and every day. But then again, I never need to place that order. I am one of those customers that not only stands out in the crowd, but am fairly predictable. I walk in, and my coffee is often ready before I get to the counter. It is not the only reason I continue to go for my coffee under the said green awnings, but it sure makes it hard to go somewhere else. It's all about getting to know your customers, and today is Get to Know Your Customers Day. Now if only they would remember me at the shoe store...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I have a snaking suspicion

July 16, 2008 - Snakes. They come in all shapes and sizes. All colours. All races. They come long. They come short. They slither and hiss. They boast and brag. There are snakes that eat rats. There are snakes that are rats. So when I noticed it was World Snake Day, I couldn't decide if this was to be celebrated or berated.

In the lizard kingdom, snakes have a real purpose. They help to manage the rodent populations. They have a role to play in the food chain, and they make for great boots. In the human kingdom, their purpose is a little less clear. Are they there to teach us something? Or is the role of the human snake to make those who are not snakes stand out? When you are in the Okanagan, you pass road signs that say "Rattle Snake Crossing". I only needed to see that sign once to know I had no interest in EVER playing golf in the area. Snakes freak me out. I have been told that they are "more scared of me than I am of them". I somehow doubt that. You don't see the snake jump 5 feet in the air screaming in sheer panic. In fact, the snake doesn't move at all. Now this is not the same for the human snake.

The human snake could very well be more afraid of me than I am of him. I still might jump 5 feet in the air screaming, but I bet the human snake would at the very least flinch, and go away. The animal snake just continues to sit there, staring at you like you are lunch, carefully planned and prepared. I wonder if that snake would stay so still if he was face to face with a chef, ready to prepare it?

Today is also Personal Chef Day. I somehow doubt there are many of us who have personal chefs (unless we have wives and husbands who cook). I know that in my house, the personal chef is the restaurant down the way and he's cooking whatever is on the menu du jour. Last night, my personal chef was the cook at the golf club. Tonight, it will be the guy from Japan at the sushi bar. But... if you are fortunate enough to have a personal chef, today is their day. Tell them how much you appreciate them by giving them the night off. Maybe make your own dinner. When I am faced with that torturous option, I do a fabulous microwave popcorn, or an alright bowl of cereal. If eating out is more your style, I hear they make a mean snake roll at the sushi bar if you care to join me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Great day for a cow

July 15, 2008 - Soothsayer's wish they had this kind of power. Today, on St. Swithin's Day... the next forty days shall be revealed. Swithin's Day started in 971 when the Saxon Bishop of Winchester asked to be buried out of doors, where he would be walked on and rained on.

For nine years, he was left outside. But, then the monks attempted to bring his remains in to a shrine inside the cathedral on July 15th, 971. During the ceremony, a rain storm blew in, and it continued for the next 40 days. Thus, the folklore of July 15th.
'St Swithin’s Day, if it does rain
Full forty days, it will remain
St Swithin’s Day, if it be fair
For forty days, t'will rain no more.'
You may want to keep an eye on the weather today. If it is a great day - yippee. If its a wet one... the ducks will be happy. As for the rest of us, maybe not so much.

How do the other farm animals feel about the rain? You hear that the rain is appreciated by the ducks. How about the sheep? Goats? Cows? And honestly, how do the cows feel about the ducks getting all the attention?

Cows do get at least one day to be appreciated. Today is Cow Appreciation Day. Perhaps you won't stop the car and jump out to hug a cow, but you could take a minute to think about all the wonderful contributions to society cows have made. Steak makes for great summer BBQ's. Cheese really perks up a burger. Milk helps the Lattés go down. Leather makes those shoes so much more comfortable. Manure greens up the garden, and green is really in fashion. Methane gas helps with global warming. Global warming means hotter summers. Hotter summers means less days that are great for the ducks. Cows really deserve our appreciation today. So... if the weather is good, you could look out and say "Nice day for a cow". And let's hope it is. That means forty more days of the same. Moo.

Monday, July 14, 2008

From chaos comes cliche?

July 14, 2008 - Life is not just a parade of events ending with a funeral march. Nike said it best - Life is sport. You should bring your A-Game, give 110%, there is no question about it. Life is a game of inches (isn't everything?). So... if life is sport, and sports are full of clichés, is life a series of clichés?

Think about it. We use them in everyday conversations. We use them in our writing, our work... and certainly in our play. In life - things are give and take - a real see-saw game... a barn burner. When you are ahead in life... you can't afford to get lackadaisical, you've answered the call, you are off to the races. When you fall behind... you lack consistency, have to generate a bit of offense, you are back on your heels, are going to have to make some adjustments, need to get back on track. Seriously... these clichés are everywhere. And today is the start of Sports Clichés Week. Though you may not use many personally this week, I can bet you will be paying attention to them and wondering if there was always so many being pitched out in conversation. They can pass for advice, jokes, filler for lulls. Clichés are everywhere. It's pandemonium out there.

And in fact, it is Pandemonium Day. Yup, everywhere you look, it is sheer bedlam. Your calendar is too full for the number of hours in a day. You can't get enough time to organize your day - a vicious cycle that creates its own chaos. But from chaos comes order. You can fight it, but the reality is, pandemonium can be embraced. Just relax, sit back and though you may have bitten off more than you can chew, spit some out, and plug on. It all settles down eventually. Like dust settling from the storm, there will be a bit of breathing space eventually. After the chaos of today, tomorrow will be a whole new ballgame.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Embrace your Geek(ness)

July 13, 2008 - The fool is often the life of the party. The fool can be entertainment, or the fool can be a source of great wisdom. In Shakespeare's world, the fool was often the windows on reality - the characters that often exposed the nature of others behaviors. Ah the fool. Everyone needs one in their life. Much like a geek.  Everyone should have at least one geek in their life. I have a geek (or two) in my life, and I in turn, am the geek in at least two other lives. But what defines a geek?  The site references the American Heritage Dictionary,¹ which defines geeks as below:

geek n. (gēk) 
1. A person regarded as foolish, inept, or clumsy.
2. A person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept.
3. A carnival performer whose show consists of bizarre acts, such as biting the head off a live chicken.
The term geek is thought to have originated around 1915-1920 from the Scots word geck or gek meaning fool. 

I suppose there are many similarities between the geek and the fool.  Clumsy?  Yup - my geek can't run, jump, catch or throw.  Single minded?  Could be... would just as soon stay up all night eating the nails right off the fingers to work out a solution rather than sleep on it. Socially inept? I have a tough time with this one. I really like my geek. We have lots of fun - though those around us may have missed the references or the code. But if this is socially inept, than that must include me too. The chickens thing is a little bit harder.  Bizarre acts? Possible, not that I would be willing to put it in print. Willingness to be bizarre? That I could believe. But then again, maybe that's me.  Despite what some might see as negatives, a geek is something to be proud of. As the tee-shirt reads, "the geek shall inherit the earth." So today, on Embrace Your Geekness Day, go ahead and be proud young geek... be proud. Be excited by your geekdom. Seek it. Live it. Go ahead and trip over your feet, throw like a girl, bounce off the snow, take a basketball to the face. It is your right as a geek - but remember you are no fool.

Now for those who are actually fools, it's a day for you too.  Today is also Fool's Paradise Day.  And for those fools who despite the daily grind think work is wonderful... it is also Gruntled Workers Day. (Note: this day falls on a Sunday this year.)

1. is a great tool... and often provides many definitions from several sources.  I looked up dictionary... and it pointed me here.  Is that a circular definition?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The eyes have it

July 12, 2008 - If someone has a lazy eye, in conversations it is as though one eye is looking at you and the other is looking for you. The same conversation with someone in mirrored sunglasses is equally distracting, as you spend more time watching yourself talk that you aren't actually hearing the other side. So what of those with heterochromia? Do you spend the conversation deciding which eye suits you better? Which eye suits that person better? I knew a man who had one blue eye and one brown. I decided early on in our friendship that I would only concentrate on the eye that suited my mood better that day. I spent a lot of time looking at the blue one. It seemed happier than the brown eye.

Of course, if the eyes are indeed the windows in to the soul, and you have two different eyes - is that two windows or two souls? Can you have two slightly different personalities to match? How many people honestly make eye contact enough to notice anyhow? We seem to walk around looking only at the ground ahead of us. Making eye contact has almost become taboo. I made eye contact today with the girl at the wine store after a good recommendation. She seems uncomfortable with the thank you. She watched, and then made a comment when I pulled the twenty out of my shirt... that made me more uncomfortable. I avoided eye contact with the by-law officer today as he wrote up a warning on the off-leash dogs - as though not making eye contact would make my dog and me invisible.

Is that feeling of being invisible, or rather the need to blend in to the background what has us looking at our feet? I have never been accused of blending in to the background, and I have rarely sought out invisibility. Still there are times when you just want to think like a dog - if I can't see you, then you can't see me - and not make eye contact with the world around us. Today is Different Coloured Eyes Day. And it not only celebrates those who have heterochromia, but also the differences in each of us. There are blue eyes and brown eyes, green eyes and grey, hazel eyes and black eyes (and it seems any combination of the above). For me, my eyes are sometimes green, sometimes blue, and sometimes they are grey. I don't know if it mood or lighting, but my passport says one thing, my drivers license says another.
Maybe that speaks more to the people on the other side of the counter. Maybe they were not looking me in the eye either.

Your task for today, should you choose to celebrate, is to look people in the eye, and for just a moment, concentrate on their colour. You won't be invisible, and you just might make someone's day.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ahhh a nooner... Cheers!

July 11, 2008 - There are few days that make you feel alive like a Friday afternoon at a ball game. The boys in tight pants, the popcorn, the beer, the sushi... (What? In Vancouver, you get sushi at the ball park). You can also get the classic microbrewery beers, sake, crackerjacks, peanuts, and hot dogs. There is something so Summer about the game of baseball - and all its trimmings. You don't even have to enjoy baseball to enjoy a day at the park. You don't have to be a sports fan, and you don't have to like caramel popcorn. There is something there for everyone.

For the old folks, there is seat service for snacks and beverages. You don't have to get up for anything (well, except for the restroom lineups). For the kiddies, there is the mascot, the prizes thrown in to the stands, the candy and the hot dogs. For sports fans... there is the game itself. For families, there is enough going on to entertain everyone. For the single girl, there is another side to the game entirely - and it isn't just the game on the field.

I wonder when a young boy picks up that bat for the first time if he is dreaming of making it to the big league? As he grows up, is that dream adjusted a little to include stadiums full of adoring women keeping a close eye on his ah, game? And when the dream expands to include the money - does it get easier to keep your eye on the ball or harder?

That being said, I will be at the nooner this afternoon. I'm not a huge baseball fan (now football is another story), but I am most certainly a fan of the scenery. And I am not alone. I'm amazed at the number of women in the stands at these games. It's not like we have a major league team - we're the farm team for the Oakland A's - but we have some fabulously talented young men on the field with their bat and balls, and that is game enough for me. The sushi is pretty good too. And on Babe Ruth Day - the day in 1914 that Babe Ruth debuted in the Major Leagues, I'll go and see what other Babe's in the making might be on the diamond.

Today is also Cheer Up a Lonely Person Day. Sadly, though there are lonely people everywhere, it seems to be a real challenge of aging. As we get older, we lose our friends and family might move away. Of course there are lonely people at any age. Loneliness might actually be hard to quantify. What qualifies as lonely? Lonely for a day? For a week? For years? What about those times when we just feel alone? I believe it is important to learn to enjoy your own company, and it is good to be comfortable with just yourself. But how much time do you spend with yourself before you become boring? And when does that become loneliness? I spend as little time alone as I can. I don't find myself that amusing. When I start to tell myself a joke, I invariably jump in and tell the punch line before I'm done. I rarely listen to the end of the conversation, and will quite often roll over and fall asleep on myself.

I'm a social person. I like crowds, I like noise, and I like being with others. And in a stadium full of baseball fans, I'm sure to find at least one person who hasn't heard the punchline yet. I hope that my jokes can cheer them up.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

And they all sat around... at the teddy bear trial

July 10, 2008 - Monkey see, monkey do. I know I am but what are you? I suppose the answer to this question depends on your politics, your religion, or your love of science. But regardless of your starting point, if you are not given the opportunity to learn about the (let me say) possibility of evolution, how can you honestly be able to form an opinion - either for or against?

On July 10, 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee, John T. Scopes was put on trail for daring to teach evolutionary theory to his high school science class. This famous court battle became known as the "Scopes Monkey Trial", and thus today is Scopes Monkey Trial Day. 1925 is long gone, and yet, the same battle seems to be never ending. Still we feel the need to determine what is taught in schools based on individual family beliefs. Youth today are smarter and dealing with much more complex ideas than in 1925, and yet, it seems the students of 1925 are now setting the agenda for today's students. How about giving them the benefit of the doubt and let students learn all there is to learn. Nobody is telling them what to believe (well, outside of school, church, family, the dinner table, tv, radio, movies, books, comics, newspapers, friends, and billboards). Perhaps as sentient, thinking beings, even school aged people can make up their minds. It's a thought - but what do I know?

Less controversial, and far less opinionated, teddy bears make great picnic companions. Very few people will argue with what the stuffy has to say on subjects as heady as religion and science. That being said, I'm sure that my teddy bears are all very opinionated. I tell them what I want them to believe, and they merely stare at me blankly. I think it's much the same look I used to get when forced to sit in a pew in church. See, I wasn't 'not listening', I was thinking like Paddington. I think I was fortunate. Despite my own mother's beliefs, she was always very much one to encourage me to learn all I could and make up my own mind. I made it up much like I made my bed in the morning... with a fight.

I still love an argument, but there are so few people to battle with. Mr. Fairfield and I have great debates on all kinds of topics. When my debate opponent isn't about, I have all these bears. If only they didn't all talk at once. Maybe if we change the environment? Today is Teddy Bear Picnic Day. Maybe after a bottle of wine and a bit of cheese these bears will loosen up and let me get a word in edgewise. Happy picnic!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hen'ery the Eighth I am I am...

July 9, 2008 - Divorced, executed, died, divorced, executed, Henry died. Not including the many mistresses, Henry VIII had a way of saying goodbye to the ladies. But what can you expect from an indulged young fellow who became King at the age of 17. He stayed married to his first wife for 20 years, but alas, as Catherine of Aragon's hair a gone, along came Anne Boleyn - and the need to open a new church to get rid of wife #1. Divorced, Henry married Anne. Eventually, Anne started to have tantrums. She would lose her head, and thus, lost her head.

Next... Jane Seymour. Finally delivering the King a son - the idea of living with two Tudors was too much, and she died a few days later. Along came wife number four - Anne of Cleves... whom he had disliked from the beginning. They hit it off like a lead balloon, and when Henry couldn't wriggle out of it, was married anyway. Shortly after, the marriage was annulled and she made off with a great alimony package. Wife number five - Katherine Howard was a lovely young thing - who, as it turned out, was much like Henry. Opposites attract. Not the case here. She was arrested for infidelity, and found herself without a head.

Wife six was the last of them. Katherine Parr was working it like a pro. She was married twice before - both times to much much much older men who inevitably died. If you are not born with title, start a collection. She collected titles like collecting Smurfs. In a few years, the weak and frail Henry also died... finally. Katherine was able to marry her true love - and lived happily ever after (however short that was).

It was today in 1540 that Anne of Cleves had the foresight, and the good fortune, to annul her marriage to the King of England - but not without making a financial deal that essentially was the first alimony. Alas, today is Alimony Day. More importantly, we should celebrate Anne of Cleves who knew there was only one way out... negotiate.

July 9th is also Rock and Roll Day. Dick Clark's American Bandstand had it's debut on this day in 1956. There was dancing, and music, and live performances. I doubt Herman and the Hermits where the first guests singing "Henry the Eighth I am I am "... Is that stuck in your head now too? Happy Rock and Roll Day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Geronimo.... smack.

July 8, 2008 - There are newspapers, and then there are newspapers. There's the Georgia Straight, the Courier, the Province and the Vancouver Sun. There is the Chicago Trib, the LA Times, and the New York Times... and then there is the Wall Street Journal. Published by Dow Jones & Company, the Wall Street Journal is an international daily that is truly only rivaled by the Financial Times (which given New York and London are two of the biggest financial centres, it makes sense).

The Journal has a history deeply rooted to the stock market. More than being named after Wall Street, it was originally a daily sheet called the Customers' Afternoon Letter. ¹ Three reporters got together - Charles Dow, Edward Jones, and Charles Bergstresser - and began publishing the Wall Street Journal on July 8, 1889. The first index of stock and bond prices was featured in the paper and was known as the Jones Average. There is nothing 'average' about the paper today, still being read by over 2 million subscribers and another near million online subscribers all looking for the next great stock that will send their portfolios on a wild party. So on Wall Street Journal Day, you may want to take a scan through the stories and see if you can't pump up your numbers.

Then again, you may want to just go to the experts. On this same day in 1932, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached the lowest level of the entire Great Depression. The Average bottomed out at 41.22. As at close of trading yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 11,231.96 (down over 50 from the day before). Seems that Anniversaries and Birthdays bring about great expectations, and quite often, great crashes.

If you are in the market for a better reason to celebrate, this week is also International Chicken Wing Week, Nude Recreation Week (and Weekend), and Be Nice to New Jersey Week. I wonder if you are a naked chicken in New Jersey if this is a week to celebrate, or hide?

I think if you live in or near New Jersey, and you are forced to be nice to the state, you may want to first get your fill of nude sports and then head over to NJ for some wings. Nude beach volleyball sounds challenging. After getting sand in a few uncomfortable places, you may choose a different sport. How about nude hockey? Is the ice like a cold steel pole in the winter? If you fall, does your butt stick to the ice? Would you have to wait for it to melt, or just pass gas?
And of course there is always naked Bungee Jumping, but I have to think that this sport should not be done with ankle restraints. Seriously... you won't need the dunk, you could knock yourself out with those things. Invest in this one. The Dow Jones could be looking up.

1. The history of the Wall Street Journal can be found in much greater (and in keeping with the journalistic integrity of the Journal... drier) format on the Wall Street Website.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Head out on the highway...

July 7, 2008 - If you were to hop on a motorcycle and travel through the world, would what you witness change you? Would you try to see the poverty, hunger, and less than stellar conditions that most of the world's population lives with each and every day? Would you be inspired to change the world? It was on July 7th, in 1953 that a medical student named Che Guevara set out on a trip through South and Central America. What he saw - the poverty, the poor health, the struggle - changed him, and set him on a path to change the world. As a result, today is Motorcycle Diaries Day.

Honestly, in today's economic world, it is highly unlikely that you'd need to ride that far afield to see similar problems. Travel across North America and you will see poverty, racism, huge differences in the have and the have not ends of society, you may even find families begging on the streets. Where is our Che? Where is that one person who is affected so deeply by the misfortunes of others that it becomes a life mission to see real change? I have a hunch that the motorcycle journey would end up being a play by play marketing ploy. "Obama and McCain - Head-to-Head on Harleys".

A little farther back, in 1550, chocolate was introduced in Europe. Chocolate Day is definitely one day I can get behind. Chocolate can cure all things - sadness, happiness, loneliness, hunger, sweet tooths... Chocolate. Dark, milk, with nuts, without... It's a shame it can't cure poverty. That trip across the country could be a truly sweet ride.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Webmasters and Republicans... a Mirage???

July 6, 2008 - So when you head out the door on a Saturday night, do you take your politics with you? What about on Sunday? If you are a Webmaster, do you ever really get to take the night off in the first place? Having worked up close and personal to a webmaster who had the integrity to make sure 24/7 really meant up and running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I wonder how many times he had the chance to head out on a Saturday night?

So, the moral of that story is... your internet exists because there is a webmaster, and often a team of minions, that do not take their politics (or themselves) out very often. Having 24/7 Internet is now a way of life. If I can't log in at 4:00 am, or any other hour, I would be pretty upset. I have expectations. I expect that the internet will be there for me - regardless of the hour. It is. It is like the best of both worlds... present on demand, and yet, so not demanding. The Internet is really the perfect partner. Without our webmasters, this just couldn't be possible. Your webmaster is your god. My webmaster - let's call him G (short for 'geek') makes my world go around. Without G... I can't imagine where I might be today. But... today is Take your Webmaster to Lunch Day. I wonder if "G" will get a lunch invite? I wonder if G will take his politics to that lunch?

Meh, who has time for politics when there are servers looking for new toys and tweaks that can only be accomplished by spending all free time on said ideas. Well, maybe that Big Mac will buy me a bit of uptime.

Perhaps that lunch should be to McDonalds - on the off chance your Webmaster takes his politics out with him (or her). Today is also Republican Day. In 1854, the Republican Party was founded today, and alas, came the joining of church and state. I think that's politics, but I was certain that politics and religion were separate ideas. So.. if your Webmaster is Republican, you can take him out for lunch, but if he starts telling you how he devised a special programming feature of keeping all things Democratic off of his server - take him to McDonald's. A Happy Meal might buy you enough time to find a new server.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

If you eat SPAM a lot, will that bikini fit in time?

July 5, 2008 - So here it is.. summer. Bikini weather. Wreck Beach is hanging and spirits are high. So what I want to know is, how is it the bodies you least want to see in (or out as the case may be) of a bikini are often the ones you have the highest chance of seeing? I thought it was a Vancouver phenomena. Nope. Same thing on St. Martin. Wonder if it is the same on Hanlan's Point?

The bikini began to appear in the US when, in 1943, the government ordered a 10% reduction in the amount of fabric used in women's swimsuits. It was meant to be a rationing effort, but it snowballed. A few years later on July 5, 1946, the French fashion industry ran with it. They premiered the string bikini with a g-string back on the runway and called it the Bikini Atoll (yes, that Atoll). Do you suppose they had any idea what was in store? There is the string bikini, the tankini, the barely there bikini, the yellow polka dot bikini... and they come in all sizes. Today is Bikini Day. I recommend that if you are hitting the beach, you prepare yourself for what you might come across. If you hit one of only two official clothing optional beaches in Canada, you may also want to bring very very dark sunglasses. These serve two purposes... one to hide the ogling, the other to hide the shock.

The bikini has spun an entirely other industry phenomenon... the marketing of bikini diets. Eat lettuce, no just water, no, only carbs, no carbs, pre-packaged, only fresh, raw, vegan, high protein foods and you'll be ready for bikini season. Nowhere in the marketing do they mention the diet benefits of SPAM. You would think Hormel would find a way to market this delicacy as an option.

July 5th is also SPAM Day. It was introduced by Hormel today in 1937. Celebrate with a can of this delicious meat like product. SPAM isn't a delicacy in your world? Really? If the bikini can be named after a nuclear test site, and SPAM will survive nuclear winter, there could be an excellent cooperative marketing effort here. I can see it now... Jam with Spam Bikini Slam.

Between the Broadway hit Spamalot and the downturn in the economy, there has been a run on SPAM at supermarkets across the US. Tie in the bikini campaign, and Hormel will need a new SPAM plant. Good thing rationing of swimsuit materials is over!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Alice in Chains

July 4, 2008 - Americans are celebrating Independence Day today. The 4th of July means fireworks, potato salad and Presidential Addresses. The air waves will be commandeered, and we will be forced to listen to George tell us how wonderful it is to be American in the good ol' US of A.... the red, white and blue of world wide envy. But if there is no other reason to celebrate a day off in the peak of summer - it will be his last Independence Day Address. Praise the lord, and pass the Michelob.

Though July 4th conjures up ideas of good times, it was also the day in 1827 that New York abolished slavery, Walt Whitman's 1st book of poems was published in 1855, the first broadcast of Radio Free Europe hit the airwaves in 1950, and the first two known victims of the Zodiac Killer were found. Like any forced family time holiday, July 4th brings out the best and worst in so many. But sometimes it brings out creativity.

In 1862, the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson told a bedtime tale to the Liddell sisters. It was about a girl named Alice and her underground adventures. Three years later on July 4th, and under the pen name Lewis Carroll, the story Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was published. Thus, today is Alice in Wonderland Day. I don't advocate wearing a blue dress and petticoat, or drinking tea with a large rat, or playing poker with a deck of cards that sings. But if you want to stroll through the forest, and add wild mushrooms to your picnic menu, be careful which mushrooms you eat. One might make you really really big, and another may make you really really small.

Of course the other traditional way to spend Independence Day is at the mall. I hear there is a big Boom Box Day sale.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The lazy hazy days of Sirius

July 3, 2008 - You know it's summer when all around you, people are complaining about the heat. The heat folks... it's the enemy. Unless it is Fall - when the winds and cold nights are the enemy. Or Winter - when it is the snow and ice and rains. Don't forget Spring - when the allergens and the rains become foes. What climate would actually suit us? Do we need to move somewhere moderately dry, a bit warm, with light warm breezes, that rains overnight - and even then only between the hours of 0300 and 0500 hrs (unless you need to be up early, in which case the rains need to end at 0400 hrs)? This perfect weather never gets cold, never gets too hot, and never postpones an event.

I don't know where this place might be, but I don't want to spend much time there. Each season brings about a completely different set of weather conditions. Last night it was hot and humid. The air was sticky and electric. Then as if on cue, it began to lightning and thunder and rain just enough to ease the tension in the air. The smell of rain falling on a hot summer night is intoxicating. (So is a pitcher of mojitos but that's another story).

Today is the start of the Dog Days of Summer. Traditionally, the Dog Days had more to do with astronomy than the weather. The Greeks and the ancient Romans referred to the 40 days (20 days before and 20 days after) the appearance of Sirius (the Dog Star) in the Northern Hemisphere as the dog days.

Sirius is the brightest star in the sky after our sun. There was a time in human antiquity, ancient Egyptians believed that the Dog Star was what caused the sultry hot weather of summer. To appease the rage of Sirius (and to stop him from causing the oceans to boil and the Nile to flood) they would sacrifice a brown dog on the day that Sirius appeared in the sky. It doesn't seem like it was good days for dogs. Seriously folks, we've come a long way.

So today, the start of the Dog Days of Summer, I shall not sacrifice my dog, but I will make a different sacrifice and take him to the beach. It might be rough, but I will give of myself for the sake of the Dog Days of Summer. Now if Sirius would like to make an appearance and warm up the waters of the Pacific, I wouldn't complain.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Umm.... Oops

July 2, 2008 - I thought yesterday about writing something for today. It seems I have forgotten. (Did I mention today is I Forgot Day?)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Politician -vs- Scarecrow... a draw?

July 1, 2008 - In honour of Canada Day, I have a little song to share:
Well, our gov is full of stuffin', and it can think of nothin', but consulting with the insane. Then they take what they did learned, but they left the stones unturned, cause they haven't got a brain.

Oh, I can't tell you why, the government's a bore. But it's true from shore to shore. And then we vote... and just get more.
Yes, it is July 1st. For Canadians that means beer - sold in 2-4's, an uncontrollable urge to take off one's parka, and a celebration of International Joke Day. Sometimes, the crazy Canadian politics is often a part of the International joke. There was a Mayor in Northern Ontario (and former Vaudeville performer) that made international headlines for having patted the bottom of Queen Elizabeth II. The newswire didn't go quiet there. No, Mayor Assef also officially introduced the Queen and Prince Phillip as "his Royal Highness and his lovely wife".

Canadian politics has often provided much content for comediennes world wide. Maybe it has to do with the vast size of the country, the little contact we have with each other, the miles and miles of 'scenery' between communities, our excellent sense of humour, or... maybe all that snow makes us crazy. But when it comes to telling jokes and spreading humour, Canadians are the real deal. We really are nuts. So if you are Canadian - keep doing what you do... spread the laughter. If you're not from Canada, you may have to work a little harder at spreading a few laughs today - but give it a go.

If jokes aren't for you, and you have no sense of humour - today is also Build a Scarecrow Day. Speaking of scarecrows, a bus full of politicians is heading to Ottawa for an event. The bus gets into an accident, barely missing the farmer's scarecrow. The farmer digs a hole and buries the politicians. When the police come by to investigate the accident they ask about the politicians on board. Farmer tells the police he's buried them. "Were they all dead?" asks to policeman. "Well, some of them tried to say they were alive, but you know how politicians lie".

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