Friday, November 30, 2012

Stay Home Because You're Well Day

Image obtained from Wikipedia.
We'll get to Stay Home Because You're Well Day in a minute. But first, can-can you believe it? The first music-hall revue premiered on this date in 1886 at the Folies Bergère. According to Usual Suspect This Day in History:
The "Place aux Jeunes," featuring scantily clad chorus girls, was a tremendous success. The Folies women gradually wore less and less as the 20th century approached, and the show's costumes and sets became more and more outrageous. Among the performers who got their start at the Folies Bergère were Yvette Guilbert, Maurice Chevalier, and Mistinguett.
And, by the way, the can-can dates back to about 1830, appearing first in the working-class ballrooms of Montparnasse in Paris. The dance is not associated with the Folies Bergère, but it still seemed like a play on words worth making.

Our crack research staff nevertheless insisted that we clarify this for you. They said they spent quite a bit of time researching these matters -- but we were not surprised at this sudden dedication on the part of the staff. Basically, they can be counted on to be diligent and thorough whenever scantily-clad women may be involved.

But back, as promised, to Stay Home Because You're Well Day. That's what several of the Usual Suspects feature today -- but anyone celebrating Stay Home Because You're Well Day today may find him or herself observing Stay Home Because You're Now Unemployed Day tomorrow.

Today is also Computer Security Day. We found a website touting the day -- but it dates back to 2009. Perhaps the site was abandoned after it was hacked.

Wouldn't that be sad?

A more likely explanation, however, is that the proprietors of the site changed their access password again just before the Big Day and, in an effort to be as secure as possible, didn't write it down anywhere. Then, when they wanted to update the site for the 2010 celebration... well, they couldn't get back in.

And we conclude November with St. Andrew's Day. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, and his feast day today is a holiday in that part of the world.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Electronic Greetings Day?

Most of the Usual Suspects concur: Today is Electronic Greetings Day, a day for sending and receiving e-cards and email greetings.

We urgently recommend that you do not wish your letter carrier a Happy Electronic Greetings Day today. We are quite certain that this day is not a particularly festive one for the United States Postal Service. (In other news, first class postage will go up at the first of the year from 45 to 46¢. Email will remain free.)

Interestingly, Usual Suspect American Greetings -- which offers different electronic greeting cards for every day at its site -- is not among the Usual Suspects pushing Electronic Greetings Day today. Instead, today, American Greetings offers a Customer Is Wrong Day card. (Well, it's unrealistic to assume the customer is always right, isn't it?)

Today is the feast day of St. Brendan of Birr, a 6th Century Irish monk. But don't jump to any wrong conclusions. This is not the St. Brendan who may well have discovered America a good 550 or so years before the Vikings got here. That would be the 6th Century Irish monk St. Brendan of Clonfert, a/k/a St. Brendan the Navigator. St. Brendan of Birr and St. Brendan of Clonfert were allegedly good pals, however, and might not mind your mixing them up. (For the record, however, the Feast of St. Brendan the Navigator is May 16.)

Today is also National Lemon Cream Pie Day and National Square Dance Day. Bow to your partner -- but, if you've had too much lemon cream pie, don't bow too low. You don't want to put an unnecessary fright into anyone standing behind you this evening.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Shakespeare's wedding anniversary and Red Planet Day

This is not the Anne Hathaway
that married Shakespeare
On this day in 1582, 430 years ago, William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway.

We asked our crack research staff to find us a picture of Mrs. Shakespeare. The illustration at left was the one they came up with. After hours and hours and hours of carefully reviewing images. We felt bad, at first, when we broke the news to them that this wasn't the Anne Hathaway we were looking for. We got over it immediately when the crack research staff responded in unison that they did not care what we were looking for; this one was definitely the one they were interested in.

Today is also Red Planet Day, marking NASA's launch of Mariner 4 on this date in 1964.

Some of the Usual Suspects also tout today as Make Your Own Head Day. Perhaps the theory is that two heads are better than one.

Today is also National French Toast Day. The French call it pain perdu, which means "lost bread," mainly because, after you've plunged your bread in the fixings for French toast, who the heck cares if the bread so dipped was just a teensy bit stale?

OK, besides Christmas and/or The End of the World, what else can we look forward to in December?

If the Mayans are right, there's not much point in hanging Christmas decorations this year; the world will end on December 21. Of course, there may be other explanations for this seemingly bleak prophecy. One such explanation is offered by this cartoon.

Hanukkah (sometimes spelled Chanukah) runs this year from December 8 to December 16.

Kwanzaa will be celebrated between December 26 and January 1. Festivus will be observed on December 23.


December is International Safe Toys and Gifts Month and Young Children's Safe Toys & Gifts Awareness Month. It's not hard to figure out the tie-ins here.

The connection between December and National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month should likewise be obvious -- unless you've already had too much holiday cheer. Just in case the Mayans are wrong, designate a driver. (And, no, Rudolph is not available for this purpose.)

Folks baking Christmas cookies are particularly reminded that National Handwashing Awareness Week will be observed this week from December 2 through December 8.

Usual Suspect says the Halcyon Days will run this year from December 14 to December 18. But her math may be off. Wikipedia says there are seven Halcyon Days, on either side of the Winter Solstice. In mythology, these are days on which winter storms will not occur. The Blog of Days offers no warranty of any kind regarding same.

Finally, December is also National Fruit Cake Month. Pictured here is one of the roughly 30 fruit cakes in actual circulation in the continental United States (there are only about 30 in circulation at any given time, passed along from unsuspecting victim to unsuspecting victim).

The last new fruit cake was made in 1958, although there is talk -- threats, really -- of making some new ones if the number in circulation dips much below 20. Most old fruit cakes have been safely relocated to landfills, but others, though no longer in active circulation, are believed to be in use as door stops.

Mayan calendar cartoon obtained from this site.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pins and Needles Day

Pins and Needles Day sounds rather painful, but the Usual Suspects agree that the day does not commemorate actual pins or needles that one might step on or sit on but, rather, the 1937 opening of a Broadway revue of that name.

According to Wikipedia, the original cast were all cutters, basters, and sewing machine operators -- proud members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. The show only ran on Friday and Saturday nights because those were the only nights the all-union cast was not otherwise engaged making clothes.

Some of the Usual Suspects also tout today as the National Day of Listening -- but a quick check of the link will persuade you that the National Day of Listening was really on November 23. Somebody didn't hear the message correctly.

We've also seen suggestions that today is National Bavarian Cream Pie Day or Electric Guitar Day. Pope Urban II proclaimed the First Crusade on this date in 1095.

Sheet music cover obtained from the Georgetown Bookshop.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Finding something to celebrate today is a piece of cake

Today, you see, is National Cake Day. Don't be a crumb and forget to celebrate.

It was on this day, exactly 90 years ago, that archeologists first entered King Tut's Tomb.

Today also used to be Cyber Monday. Gather 'round, kids, and we'll tell you the tale: Once, long, long ago, when computers (and you) were still in their infancy, people weren't too sure about shopping on the Internet. A lot of people didn't even have Internet access -- we're not talking about access on their phones, kids, we're talking about access at home.

So people would come into work on Cyber Monday and buy stuff online. Many employers grumbled. Others aided and abetted. Then Amazon conquered the world and made a "Cyber Monday" irrelevant.

Some of the Usual Suspects also note today as Shopping Reminder Day. We say nay. Who really needs a reminder that Christmas is coming?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Solemnity of Christ the King

Today marks the end of the Catholic liturgical year -- the Solemnity of Christ the King. This observance was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and found its present place in the liturgical calendar in 1969. The Season of Advent begins next, the start of the new liturgical year -- the anticipation of the Birth of Christ.

The situation of the Solemnity of Christ the King at the end of the liturgical year is meant to focus the faithful on the End Times, when Christ will return in glory to judge the living and the dead. (If the Mayans were right, this may happen sooner that we care to think about.)

Squeamish about the end of the world? Well, several of the Usual Suspects point out that today is also National Parfait Day. Others point out that one month from today is Christmas.

Did we really need that reminder?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Small Business Saturday, Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day

Small Business Saturday asks you to step away from the computer, forget about the mall, and patronize the merchants on Main Street instead.

Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day is fairly self explanatory. If your unique talent involves playing tunes by squeezing your arm pits, we suggest that you celebrate in private.

Our crack research staff has also asked us to point out the proprietress of Usual Suspect has declared today to be her own personal microminiholidayette.

The Blog of Days is pleased to recommend Brownielocks Day for your celebrating enjoyment today.

Others may wish to observe today as Evolution Day. It was on this day, in 1859, that Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species.

It was also on this day in 1971 that D.B. Cooper may have earned his own Darwin Award. He hijacked an airplane en route from Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington. He allowed the plane to land but demanded a $200,000 ransom before releasing the passengers. He directed the crew to take the plane back up and head toward Mexico City. Cooper bailed out somewhere along the way, using a parachute provided along with the money. When the plane landed at Reno, Cooper and the money were gone. Cooper has never been found -- and the FBI has long insisted that Cooper probably didn't survive the jump. He may have jumped into a thunderstorm somewhere in the vicinity of Mt. St. Helens. Both the linked Wikipedia article and This Day in History note that $5,800 of the ransom money was found in 1980 "in the sands along the north bank of the Columbia River, five miles from Vancouver, Washington." The Wikipedia article suggests that the way in which the money had deteriorated was consistent with the money having floated there a current, as opposed to being intentionally buried at the location where the discovery was made.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Dr. Who Day, Buy Nothing Day, Flossing Day

It was on this day in 1963 that the first episode of Dr. Who aired in Britain. A few years ago someone got the bright idea to commemorate that anniversary by declaring November 23 Dr. Who Day.

Our favorite Doctor was Tom Baker, the Fourth Doctor, perhaps because his adventures were the first to be shown in Chicago. Although the special effects left almost everything to be desired, the show has taken on a life of its own and a multi-generational following. What are they on, now? The 27th Doctor? Wasn't there some Gallifreyan limit on the number of times a Time Lord could regenerate? These are questions you may take up today.

Buy Nothing Day was -- not surprisingly -- instituted in revulsion to Black Friday. (Oh, yeah, we suppose today is also, technically, Black Friday. But, if you're driving around the mall parking lot in an increasingly desperate search for a semi-legal parking space you probably aren't reading this post. At least we hope you're not reading this post while you're driving!)

Flossing Day also has a Thanksgiving Day tie-in: Dental professionals urge you to floss today after the excess binging of yesterday.

Usual Suspect mentions that today is also Sink Day -- also related to Thanksgiving in that, today, you may be inclined to eat leftovers hunched over the kitchen sink, every dish you own being stacked, unwashed, beneath.

You probably wished you had a TARDIS when all the relatives showed up for dinner yesterday, didn't you?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

In addition to Thanksgiving, today is....

Go For A Ride Day. Over the river and through the woods should count, don't you think?

It's also Stop the Violence Day. This will not prevent the scheduled football games from being played today.

Usual Suspect Hallmark says today is National Start Your Own Country Day. We say push back from the Thanksgiving table before your expanding bulk requires its own seat at the U.N.

Today, interestingly, is the earliest day on which Thanksgiving can fall in the United States. The latest date would be November 28.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hello, world, it's World Hello Day

The Usual Suspects pretty much agree that today is World Hello Day, if some are a bit vague about what it is and what it's for.

World Hello Day has a very sparse website that explains that, "Anyone can participate in World Hello Day simply by greeting ten people. This demonstrates the importance of personal communication for preserving peace." By simply saying 'hello' to 10 people, you can allegedly "send a message to leaders, encouraging them to use communication rather than force to settle conflicts."

It sounds like a stretch to us. On the other hand, what harm can it do to say hello?

However, if you insist on shutting yourself off from your fellow man, it may be particularly appropriate to note that today is World Television Day. You might have noted that today is also the 32nd anniversary of the day America found out who shot J.R. and think that this is the connection. But you'd be wrong. World Television Day is a microminiholidayette courtesy of the United Nations that doesn't so much celebrate the technology but, rather, "the philosophy which it represents."

What possible philosophy can be behind Honey Boo Boo?

On November 21, 1931 the Notre Dame football team played the University of Southern California. Notre Dame came in 6-0-1; they'd not lost in 26 games. Indeed, the Irish had not been beaten since 1928 -- when they'd lost to USC.

That unbeaten streak would end on this date in 1931. The final: Southern Cal 16, Notre Dame 14. The current Fighting Irish squad had better not take this weekend's game for granted.

And here's something else seasonal: The Mayflower Compact, the first governing document of the Plymouth Colony, was executed on this date in 1620.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Universal Children's Day and Name Your PC Day

We warned you yesterday that today would be Universal Children's Day.

Were you to click on the link, you'd discover that this is a United Nations observance, not a pan-Galactic one, the use of the term "universal" notwithstanding.

Today is also Name Your PC Day. If you wish to participate, we suggest that it's best to give your computer a name that it likes, lest it get mad at you. You may be able to throw it out, but it can ruin your life first.

Some of the Usual Suspects proclaim today National Peanut Butter Fudge Day. Perhaps you can give some peanut butter fudge to a child today, but do not attempt to feed any to your PC, even if you have given it a name.

Not enough? Well it is also Teachers' Day in Vietnam and the 65th wedding anniversary of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Seven score and nine years ago, Abraham Lincoln gave a short speech at a cemetery dedication

The cemetery was in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here," Lincoln told his audience -- and was he ever wrong about that.

Perhaps tonight you might consider reciting the Gettysburg Address yourself.

Remembering the Gettysburg Address beats the heck out of the competition today -- World Toilet Day or Have a Bad Day Day. Yes, when people constantly prattle 'have a nice day,' it can get on one's nerves -- but telling someone to have a bad day seems like an open invitation to a smack in the jaw.

Some of our Usual Suspects says today is International Men's Day. That tomorrow is designated Children's Day or Universal Children's Day will probably come as no surprise. That follows rather naturally, doesn't it?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A real Mickey Mouse Microminiholidayette

No, seriously: Several of the Usual Suspects designate today as Mickey Mouse Day or Mickey Mouse's Birthday and, apparently, they're right. The very first Mickey Mouse cartoon, Steamboat Willie premiered on this date in 1928. (Wikipedia says Mickey was included in two shorts earlier in 1928, but neither found a distributor; therefore, even the Disney Empire considers this Mickey's birthday.)

An alternative for today is William Tell Day. It was on this day in 1307 -- 705 years ago -- that William Tell shot the apple off his son's head, an act that, according to legend, led (at least indirectly) to the founding of the Swiss Confederation -- today, the nation of Switzerland.

Today is also reckoned by some as Occult Day and National Vichyssoise Day. We don't know for certain what vichyssoise is, but our crack research staff assures us that it is not any sort of occult potion.

The touch-tone telephone was first introduced to the public on this day in 1963. This is important. Can you imagine your smartphone with a rotary dial?

Mickey Mouse image obtained from Wikipedia

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Did your hike yesterday with the bluenose next door go badly?

We're sorry, of course. However, we here at The Blog of Days can not take responsibility for your inability to get along with your neighbors.

But we can offer a partial solution.

Today is National Unfriend Day. ABC-TV late night host Jimmy Kimmel may have intended this as a one-time-only even in 2010, but it seems to have crept into the calendars of a number of the Usual Suspects: Today is the day you can drop all of the many "friends" you've never actually met from your Facebook list. Start with your intolerant neighbor.

On a far healthier note, today is National Adoption Day. It's also National Homemade Bread Day and World Prematurity Day, a day set aside to recognize the problems of premature births and the challenges that preemies face.

Today is also Guinness World Record Day. We may not set any world records here at The Blog of Days. But we do know how to appreciate an occasional Guinness.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Would you like fries with that? Today is National Fast Food Day

Usual Suspect proclaims today National Fast Food Day.

Fast food has come under increasingly harsh attack from so many quarters in recent years -- the Mayor of New York recently presumed to decide how big soft drink cups may be in the Big Apple -- an employee of the Cancer Prevention and Nutrition Section of the California Department of Public Health attempted (unsuccessfully) to bring a class action suit against McDonald's because she found it difficult to say 'no' to her six-year old daughter when the little girl wanted to go to Mickey D's for a Happy Meal -- we could go on, but you already have the idea.

Well, today especially, you can ignore these many and increasingly scurrilous attacks on one of our few thriving industries: Order your burgers with extra grease today. Supersize your fries without shame.

And for all the vegans and foodies and health nuts out there tsk-tsk-tsking, we say today is also the International Day for Tolerance. Technically, the United Nations set this day aside to "to encourage tolerance, respect, dialogue and cooperation among different cultures, civilizations and peoples," but don't bluenoses and fast food afficionados increasingly seem to belong to different civilizations, even when they are next door neighbors?

We here at The Blog of Days, in the spirit of compromise and public service, venture to offer this suggestion: Today, fast-food-eaters, after you've had your quota of Big Macs or Whoppers, knock on the door of the health nut next door -- and invite him or her to accompany you on a nice, long walk. You see, today is also Take a Hike Day. Work off some of those fries and turn the route of your hike into common ground.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

America Recycles Day

Today is America Recycles Day.

Look, we here at The Blog of Days understand that recycling can be a big pain. Sorting and saving one's garbage seems... unseemly. And schlepping old batteries here, newspapers there, and plastics somewhere else besides gets old, especially when the trash collector comes to the curb or to the alley behind the house.

But, on America Recycles Day, make a vow -- take a pledge -- promise to do something more than you're doing now. Cut back on your plastic bags; consider reusable cloth bags for your groceries whenever possible. A lot of grocers recycle plastic bags -- take your old bags with you (and your new cloth bags) when you next head out to the store. In Chicago, it seems as if every school is collecting newspapers (and old junk mail). Why throw this stuff out when places nearby are begging for your stuff?

And, if you're still in the mood for taking pledges, today is the 37th Great American Smokeout.

Looking for something to celebrate that doesn't involve taking a pledge? Today is also I Love to Write Day, a microminiholidayette founded in 2002 by John Riddle, a Delaware author and ghostwriter. Of course Mr. Riddle wants you to write more, but he's not demanding any pledges.

We thought yesterday was too crowded with too many minor events. Usual Suspect Hallmark may have agreed. Hallmark says today is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day. If you choose to observe this microminiholidayette today, we do hope you recycle any glass jars or aluminum foil that you pull out of the fridge.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

National Pickle Day -- and all sorts of other microminiholidayettes

Today is like a typical cable TV channel search: There are all sorts of listings, but nothing is really on.

It's a crowded field today, in other words, but a weak one. National Pickle Day may be the most exciting on today's list.

Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day is another contender. Not terrible advice -- just not a really exciting holiday idea.

And the list gets even more mediocre: One of our favorite Usual Suspects,, points out that the U.N. marks today as World Children's Day and World Diabetes Day. also suggests that today is National Educational Support Professionals Day (meaning hug your teacher's aide today?) or International Girls Day (half the population of Earth gets one day?) or National American Teddy Bear Day.

Think about that one for a moment: Girls get one day (which they have to share with children and diabetics), but this is at least the third teddy bear day we've picked up on here at The Blog of Days. No, seriously, there was Take Your Teddy Bear Somewhere Day at some point in October (there was some controversy as to when the day actually fell, and where the teddy bear should be taken) and Teddy Bear Picnic Day in July.

Usual Suspect promotes today as Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day. But leave the pickles alone? At least for today?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

World Kindness Day, Actors' Day

Many of the Usual Suspects proclaim today World Kindness Day, an observance promoted by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. (If you're planning ahead, Random Acts of Kindness Week will be February 11-17, 2013.)

On the other hand, Usual Suspect Days of the Year says that today is Actors' Day, a day for theatrical pretending.

If you wish to combine the observances, but are an ordinary run-of-the-mill grouch, you might perhaps pretend to be kind today. Perhaps you will stay in character tomorrow.

For Hindus, today is the first day of Diwali, the "Festival of Lights."

And, our crack research staff assures us, today is also the 30th anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Technically, today isn't Veterans Day

A lot of Americans have the day off today anyway, however.

Nevertheless, we here at The Blog of Days like to be precise. Therefore, we feel compelled to state that Veterans Day was actually yesterday -- just in case you couldn't tell from all the newscasts, observances during the football games, veteran-themed commercials, etc.

Veterans Day was the name given to Armistice Day after World War II (see, yesterday's post) and then it got moved to the fourth Monday in October as part of the federal Monday Holiday bill. The move was unpopular, so Veterans Day got un-moved, back to November 11, where it still is... except that, when November 11 is on a Sunday, everything is closed on Monday.

Confusing? We don't think the concepts are that hard to master. And if you do have the day off, you have all day now to think about it.

If you don't have today off, American Greetings says today is Happy Hour Day. That seems a tad hardcore for a Monday, but if that appeals to you, go for it. You were probably going to the local after work anyway; now, at least, you have some sort of excuse.

Anchovies on pizza?  Not today, apparently.
Today is also National Pizza With Everything (Except Anchovies) Day. Our crack research staff has yet to discover why anchovies are to be excluded from garbage pizza. The Usual Suspects are in complete accord on keeping out the anchovies. It strikes us as rather mean-spirited. If there is an Anchovy Day to make up for it, we'll try and promote it.

It is also Chicken Soup for the Soul Day. Apparently the wildly successful book of some years back has spawned an entire library of Chicken Soup books. We never knew -- but now we know where priests, ministers, and rabbis go looking for sermon material....

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Armistice Day

Fighting along the Western Front ended on this day in 1918 -- at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Most of us mark that as the end of World War I.

World War I was also called the "War to End All Wars." Unfortunately, that didn't work out so well.

World War I was not necessarily even the first world war. No less an authority than Winston Churchill suggested that the "Seven Years' War" (1756-1763) might more properly be seen as the first. (The French and Indian War, which was started, according to some accounts, by George Washington himself, began earlier but was soon overshadowed by the larger conflict).

Wikipedia has a list of several wars which might be considered world wars before the Great War of 1914-1918. On Wikipedia's list are:
  • the Eighty Years' War (1568-1648)
  • the Dutch-Portuguese War (1602-1663)
  • the Nine Years' War (1688–1697), also called the "War of the Grand Alliance" or "War of the Palatine Succession"
  • the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714)
  • the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–1748)
  • the Seven Years' War (1756–1763),
  • the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)
  • the French Revolutionary Wars (1792–1802) and
  • the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815).
In America, the move to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day came after World War II (or World War XI if you want to accept the entire Wikipedia list). Although today is legally Veterans Day, most of America will observe that holiday tomorrow, so this year, if you'd like, Armistice Day can be remembered all by itself.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The USMC turns 237, Sesame Street turns 43

The United States Marine Corps was founded in Philadelphia on November 10, 1775 when Samuel Nicholas formed two battalions of Continental Marines as naval infantry.

Marines were shipboard soldiers -- being put ashore for missions or defending their ship from boarders back in the days when ships could wind up fighting each other deck to deck. In fact, in some navies, marines were needed to protect a ship from her own sailors -- the British Navy, for example, back in the day, was exactly the opposite of an 'all volunteer force' -- and mutiny was more than a theoretical possibility.

We have heard that, even today, there are those who say that marines exist because sailors can't be trusted with any gun not bolted to a deck. If you encounter any sailors or marines at your local tonight, however, it may be best not to explore that line of inquiry.

Today is also Sesame Street Day, commemorating the day (43 years ago!) when Sesame Street first aired. Even in this day of GPS and Google Maps, people are still asking directions (can you you show me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?)

Area Code Day is also observed today. The "area code" are the first three digits of your phone number. Once upon a time, kids, the area code defined where you lived (hence, use of the word "area"). There weren't very many area codes. There was only one area code in each big city. At one time in the not-so-distant past the area code for Chicago and all of its suburbs was 312.

No, seriously, it was.

From the webcomic xkcd, by Randall Munroe

Times have certainly changed.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Chaos or an uncharred Irish saint

Today is Chaos Never Dies Day, the idea being that we should all surrender today to the idea that our crazy and hectic lives will remain crazy and hectic and to admit, if only to ourselves, that we'd probably go crazy if things got too peaceful.

We wanted to see if our crack research staff agreed with our understanding of today's microminiholidayette, but when we peered inside their office, they were all peacefully asleep at their desks. (A frequent sight here at The Blog of Days.) Perhaps today should be Chaos Never Dies Day... except in our crack research staff's rumpus room.

Photo by Andreas F. Borchert, from Wikipedia.
Today is also the Feast Day of St. Benignus of Armagh, an early Irish disciple of St. Patrick and supposedly his favorite.

Some favorite.

According to Wikipedia, on Easter Sunday in 433, Patrick and King Laoghaire argued at Tara over their respective religions. To settle their dispute, one of them proposed a trial by fire. Laoghaire grabbed a spare druid and Patrick volunteered Benignus.

Benignus and his druid counterpart were locked in a building that no one seemed to need very much and the building was set ablaze. The druid was reduced to a pile of ash, but Benignus escaped unscathed. Presumably, however, he was more suspicious thereafter when Patrick volunteered him for anything.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

X-Ray Day and National Dunce Day

National Dunce Day? Wasn't Election Day Tuesday? No matter, says Hallmark; National Dunce Day is observed today.

Most of the Usual Suspects line up on today being X-Ray Day, commemorating the discovery of x-rays on this date in 1895, by German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen. X-ray specs followed in 1909, firing the imaginations (but improving neither the knowledge nor moral fiber) of young teenage boys all across America. An "improved" design was patented in 1971 by Harold von Braunhut, who also gave the world the Amazing Sea Monkeys.

Today is also Cook Something Bold Day. We'd recommend against serving up Amazing Sea Monkeys, whether fried or filleted.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Notary Public Day

November 7 is Notary Public Day. Our crack research staff tried to affix their seal to this post and did considerable damage to our limited stock of equipment.

It's also International Tongue Twister Day. Repeat after us -- quickly now -- she sells sea shells by the sea shore. You'll want more of these, of course, especially after a couple of recreational pops at your neighborhood local tonight after work. So here are lists of tongue twisters from and something called

Not enough? Well, some of the Usual Suspects mention that today is Hug A Bear Day. Our crack research staff encourages us to mention that one should not hug real bears, today or any other day.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Today is Election Day, but it's also...

Marooned Without A Compass Day. Of course, that sounds like it might have an Election Day tie-in... but our crack research staff believes that most of the Usual Suspects think Marooned With A Compass Day has something to do with finding one's own sense of direction, whether literally (can you get home tonight without your GPS?) or figuratively (start figuring out some direction for your life).

Today is also Saxophone Day. While that might have had an election tie-in in 1992 or 1996 (see, Bill Clinton's appearance on the old Arsenio Hall show, below) it appears to stand or fall on its own today.

Today is also National Nachos Day. Chip away at the day. Leave a trail of chip fragments behind you so don't get marooned without a compass. But don't play a saxophone with a mouth full of chips.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Today is Job Action Day

No, this is not a call for a general strike, although one can see that the name Job Action Day might suggest such a thing. Instead, according to its promoters (an employment agency in Washington State), "Job Action Day is a day for all job-seekers and workers to take stock of their situations and make plans and/or take action steps to improve their careers." The theme for this year's Job Action Day is "Build Your Career Brand."

We don't know what the heck 'building a career brand' means. But, if it means to distinguish yourself in the office, you might try bringing a box or two of doughnuts to work this morning in honor of National Doughnut Day.

Usual Suspect Hallmark says today is American Football Day, supposedly to mark the anniversary of the formation of the old American Football League. The Blog of Days marked the NFL's birthday in August; we'd be willing to get behind American Football Day, too, only our crack research staff could find nothing to substantiate Hallmark's claim that today has any significance in AFL history. (OK, the crack research staff merely read the AFL's Wikipedia entry, but still....)

The Brits celebrate today as Guy Fawkes Day, commemorating the exposure of the "Gunpowder Plot." Catholic opponents of King James I planned to blow up Parliament and the King; Guy Fawkes was caught guarding a store of gunpowder beneath the House of Lords on this date in 1605. The Stuarts may not have been the most popular of English dynasties, but in a contest with Catholics, they'd prevail every time... until, of course, a number of the Stuarts converted to Catholicism. (Charles II formally converted on his deathbed; his brother and successor, King James II, was Britain's last Catholic monarch, kicked out in the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688. A grandson of James II, Henry, would become a Catholic priest and, eventually, a Cardinal of the Catholic Church, rising to Dean of the College of Cardinals.)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Candy Day? Isn't it too soon?

After all, Halloween was just a few days ago. Nevertheless, most of the Usual Suspects insist that today is Candy Day.

We wondered whether this microminiholidayette would be better rendered as Leftover Candy Day -- but our crack research could find no support for this proposition.

Today also marks the end of Daylight Savings Time in most parts of the United States, or, if you prefer, the beginning of Standard Time. We prefer that this weekend is one hour longer than other standard, two day weekends.

There may be a tie-in between the end of Daylight Savings Time and Zero Tasking Day, another microminiholidayette offered for your convenience today. Usual Suspect The Days of the Year says it's unfair to expect us to work through that extra hour today, especially when it's just going to be snatched back from us in the Spring. The extra hour today should be devoted to "rest, relaxation and a distinct lack of work."

Sounds good to us.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November 3 Potpourri

The Wikipedia entry for November 3 says that the Federal Income Tax was introduced in the U.S.A. on this date in 1913.

Our crack research staff has been unable to confirm this, but this is probably the anniversary of the effective date of the Revenue Act of 1913, signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson on October 3, 1913. Our current income tax regime was made possible by the passage of the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; Secretary of State Philander Knox declared the amendment ratified on February 25, 1913 -- in case you want to get started now in planning a centennial celebration.

It's certainly understandable that the anniversary of the introduction of the income tax would not be particularly well celebrated this close to an American presidential election.

Our crack research staff wanted you to know that, as originally constituted, the income tax was a tax on the rich -- until World War II, most taxpayers never even had to file a return.

Photo obtained from Wikipedia.
Today is also the 10th anniversary of the death of English skiffle king Lonnie Donegan. Skiffle music, and Donegan in particular, has been cited as a major influence on all of the major British Invasion bands of the 1960s -- yes, including the Beatles. And yet, poor Mr. Donegan went to his grave never really sure whether the chewing gum loses its flavor on the bedpost overnight.

Most of the Usual Suspects proclaim today Sandwich Day. You may wonder why the sandwich needs its own day -- and history supplies the answer. Today is the anniversary of the birth, in 1718, of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. The Earl was said to have 'invented' the sandwich by instructing his servants to save some meat from an earlier and serve it to him between bread slices so that he could refuel while not missing a hand in a late night card game.

Sandwich did more than play cards, however. He also held a number of ministerial positions in several British governments, including three stints as First Lord of the Admiralty, the last of these during the American Revolution. The linked Wikipedia article notes that Sandwich's biographer provides another explanation for the origin of the sandwich: He may have invented it to keep working at his desk at the Admiralty.

And here's a fun fact for you today: The current Earl of Sandwich, John Edward Hollister Montagu, the 11th Earl of Sandwich, is a founder and co-owner of an American franchise restaurant operation called (have you guessed already?) the Earl of Sandwich.

But back to John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich for a moment: As First Lord, Sandwich was a patron and supporter of Captain James Cook. Cook honored his patron in putting Sandwich's name on dots all over the map -- the Hawaiian Islands, you may recall, were originally known as the Sandwich Islands.

And speaking of dots on the map, today is Independence Day in the Federated States of Micronesia, a chain of some 607 islands extending over 1,800 miles east of the Philippines. The Federated States of Micronesia became an independent country on this date in 1986 (they were formerly governed as a trust territory by the United States of America).

Friday, November 2, 2012

November 2 is the Feast of All Souls

Here is the most democratic holiday on the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church.

Very few among us deserve to be called 'saints,' but religious persons believe that all of us have souls. Today, All Souls Day, is our day.

It is also a day to remember those we have lost, those who have gone on to their reward. In Mexico, Día de los Muertos is a national holiday -- celebrated yesterday and today -- yesterday being more for children who have died and who can safely be remembered with the saints. There are graveyard picnics and sugar skulls and other things that some may find a tad creepy and more than a little pagan.

So we won't tell such people where Christmas trees come from, OK?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

All Saints Day

Yesterday was Halloween. Halloween means the Eve of All Hallows Day or, in more modern parlance, All Saints Day.

A saint is merely someone who is recognized by all and sundry as one who lives an exemplary life, an inspiration to others, and one who is clearly right with God. In other words, sainthood is really easy to define -- and really hard to achieve.

Hard, that is, except for mothers everywhere, at least judging by what our teachers told us when we were small. "Your mothers must be saints," they'd tell us in moments of particular frustration, "to put up with the likes of you!"

Men, if you'd like to make a bid for your own halo, today is also National Men Make Dinner Day. Ten points if you make dinner at home tonight -- 100 points if you clean up after, too.