Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Besides May Day, Wednesday is Law Day and Lei Day

Everyone knows that May 1 is "May Day," the workers' holiday, intended to commemorate the labor movement and the quest for an eight-hour workday, but hijacked by the Bolsheviks when they came to power in Russia. After World War II, May Day parade-goers in the so-called "Workers Paradise" were treated to endless displays of military hardware, designed to scare the West. (More than once, we understand, the Soviet leadership borrowed from Czarist history, sending planes or other hardware back to the start of the parade and sending them down the route again, all the better to give any observer at any one location an exaggerated picture of Soviet military inventory. Potemkin would have been proud.)

But May Day was not always about workers. It was, for centuries, a perfectly respectable pagan holiday celebrating the beginning of summer (which is the only way that June 21, the longest day of the year, and the generally accepted first day of summer, can also work out to be Midsummer's Day). As Wikipedia explains, "The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times, with the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, and the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries. It is also associated with the Gaelic Beltane.

Of course, returning May Day to its pagan roots would not have appealed to America in the 1950s in general or to the Eisenhower Administration in particular. So the Eisenhower Administration came up with Loyalty Day and Law Day instead. Law Day has been picked up and promoted by many bar associations around the country as an opportunity to teach civics, something that too seldom happens in schools these days. In Hawaii, May Day is celebrated as Lei Day.

If you'd rather not get involved of any of this, Wednesday is also Mother Goose Day.

Moses Fleetwood Walker
And we've highlighted a number of events recently concerning Jackie Robinson's debut in major league baseball. Robinson, we are taught, smashed the "color barrier" in baseball -- and that's true, as far as it goes. However, the color barrier did not exist from time immemorial; rather, it was erected because of the small-minded bigotry of such baseball "greats" as Cap Anson. Anson figures prominently in the sad story of Moses Fleetwood Walker, the first African-American to play in the majors (in 1884) -- or at least the first African-American to play more than a single game in the majors. Walker's Wikipedia biography recounts a couple of encounters between Anson and Walker, the second of these in September 1888, when Walker was catching for the Syracuse entry in the International League (footnotes omitted):
When Chicago was at Syracuse for an exhibition game, Anson refused to start the game when he saw Walker's name on the scorecard as catcher. "Big Anson at once refused to play the game with Walker behind the bat on account of the Star catcher’s color," the Syracuse Herald said. Syracuse relented and someone else did the catching.

Walker remained in Syracuse until the team released him in July 1889.

Shortly thereafter, the American Association and the National League both unofficially banned African-American players, making the adoption of Jim Crow in baseball complete.
Anyway, Moses Fleetwood Walker made his major league debut on May 1, 1884.

The fictional Charles Foster Kane, the subject of the movie Citizen Kane, closely resembled William Randolph Hearst, whose 150th birthday we noted here for April 29. Citizen Kane is widely regarded as one of the greatest motion pictures of all time but -- not surprisingly -- the Hearst papers were less than effusive in their praise when Orson Welles' masterpiece premiered on May 1, 1941.

Francis Gary Powers was shot down on May 1, 1960, flying a U-2 spy-plane over the Soviet Union.

There really was a Calamity Jane. Martha Jane Canary was born on May 1, 1852 in Princeton, Missouri.

There are only two of the original Mercury 7 astronauts still with us. One is John Glenn. The other, Scott Carpenter, turns 88 on Wednesday (born May 1, 1925).

Last Year on TBOD: May 1 is also "Loyalty Day" in the USA

Monday, April 29, 2013

Be honest now: Did you know April 30 was International Jazz Day?

Tuesday, April 30 will be International Jazz Day, a co-production of UNESCO and the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz.

Tuesday is also Honesty Day. Honesty is the best policy most of the time. Of course this may not be the case when your significant other asks, "Do these pants make me look fat?" And Tuesday will be Hairstyle Appreciation Day... another one that might be difficult to carry off if you're trying to observe Honesty Day.

April 30 is also Spank Out Day. This day is for those who believe that sparing the rod will not spoil the child.

One or two of you may have noticed that this blog commenced operations on April 30, 2012, thus making Tuesday our first blogiversary. (We told you last year that April 30 was Consumer Protection Day in Thailand.)

There really was a Casey Jones, and he did indeed die in a train wreck on April 30, 1900. Adolf Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dance for joy: Monday is Zipper Day

Drawing from the application for the patent for
the "separable fastener," awarded April 29, 1913.
And Monday, April 29 is not your average, ordinary comes-once-a-year Zipper Day either. No siree Bob. This is the zipper's centennial, the 100th anniversary of the day on which the U.S. Patent Office awarded Gideon Sundback a patent for a "separable fastener" (Sundback would receive another patent, in 1917, for an upgraded "separable fastener"). According to Wikipedia, the name "zipper" was bestowed on the device 90 years ago, by the B.F. Goodrich Company, which wanted a snappier name for the device it installed on its new galoshes. The name stuck. As zippers sometimes do.

Monday is also International Dance Day. April 29 was selected for this observance because it is the anniversary of the birth of Jean-Georges Noverre (born April 29, 1727), the inventor of the modern ballet. (Now we know who to blame.)

Duke Ellington was born April 29, 1899. Monday is also the 150th anniversary of the birth of William Randolph Hearst (born April 29, 1863) and the 79th birthday of Hall of Fame shortstop Luis (Little Looie) Aparicio.

Japanese Emperor Hirohito was born on April 29, 1901, and Usual Suspect Holiday Insights says that Greenery Day is celebrated in Japan in his honor.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

April 28 is Workers' Memorial Day

Just about all the Usual Suspects agree: Sunday, April 28 will be Workers' Memorial Day, a day to honor and mourn those who have died in workplace accidents -- and to call public attention to the continuing need for safer working conditions. The linked site says that worldwide, each year, two million people die from work-related accidents and disease. The site continues, "Worldwide, one worker dies every 15 seconds and in the U.S., 14 workers die every day due to preventable incidents."

Wikipedia says that Workers' Memorial Day has been observed in the United States since 1989.

Sunday will also be National Blueberry Pie Day and Kiss Your Mate Day. It will also be Astronomy Day, so spend some time looking up at the sky Sunday night -- unless you're at work, of course. If you're at work, keep yours eyes on the tasks before you. Don't get hurt!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Shaky microminiholidayettes abound on April 27

You probably haven't heard of any of these, but here goes....

Saturday, April 27 will be Matanzas Mule Day. It seems that on April 27, 1898, in an early engagement of the Spanish-American War, the U.S. Navy bombarded the Cuban port of Matanzas, on the north shore of the island, some 56 miles east of Havana. Supposedly, the only casualty of the bombardment was a mule... thus Matanzas Mule Day. This is one the Navy vet in your family will probably not want to celebrate.

A number of the Usual Suspects say Saturday will be Morse Code Day, honoring the anniversary of the birth of Samuel Morse (born April 27, 1791), the inventor of the Morse Code. While we are perfectly willing to accept that Morse Code would be better for texting -- far easier on the thumbs -- than trying to accurately strike the little tiny alphanumeric keys on the modern phone, we know of absolutely no one who agrees with us. Does anyone actually use Morse Code these days? We doubt if anyone's neighborhood tap will offer any Morse Code specials Saturday evening.

Usual Suspect Brownielocks.com offers Eeyore's Birthday as a possibility Saturday -- and Eeyore's Birthday is indeed celebrated, in Austin, Texas. Wikipedia describes the day as a kind of hippie holiday, but it does raise funds for local non-profit groups. And this will be the 50th Anniversary of the event... even if it isn't Eeyore's real birthday.

© 1948 Wide World Photos
Some of the Usual Suspects say that April 27 is Babe Ruth Day. We're skeptical.

There's no question that Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler declared April 27, 1947 to be Babe Ruth Day. The Bambino (who was already fighting a losing battle with the cancer that would take his life in 1948) appeared at Yankee Stadium that day, and addressed the crowd. But this wasn't even the Babe's last trip to The House That Ruth Built; according to Wikipedia Ruth attended another day in his honor in September 1947 and again, for the final time, on June 13, 1948. That's Nat Fein's Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of that bittersweet moment above. Ruth was so weak by this time, he used his bat as a cane.

If you're looking for baseball-related celebrations Saturday, we can suggest instead that Hall of Famers Rogers Hornsby and Enos Slaughter were both born on April 27 (in 1896 and 1916, respectively).

Usual Suspect Days of the Year advises that Saturday will also be Sense of Smell Day. Well, maybe yes... and maybe no. There is a Wikipedia article that states, "The Sense of Smell Institute is a research and education division of The Fragrance Foundation" and it is this Sense of Smell Institute that sponsors National Sense of Smell Day on the last Saturday each April "at children’s museums and science centers across the United States." But we looked at the footnotes of the Wikipedia article... the alleged links for the Fragrance Foundation and the Sense of Smell Institute take us to this page -- where we can find no verification at all that there are any Sense of Smell Day festivities in the offing this year. So celebrate this if you wish... but it smells fishy to us.

Saturday will also be National Prime Rib Day. Although prime rib is delicious, it's not much to make a holiday over -- but at least this one is apparently non-controversial.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

We start Friday with Arbor Day in the U.S.

Watch It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown on
Friday to celebrate the holiday
Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April (this year, the last Friday arrives tomorrow, April 26).

Conceived by J. Sterling Morton in 1872, Arbor Day is a day to plant (and care for) trees.

You can think of Arbor Day as sort of Earth Day's great-grandpappy.

Friday will also be National Pretzel Day (don't get bent out of shape) and Hug an Australian Day. Australian plumbers have it made this week (you'll recall that today is Hug a Plumber Day).

Marcus Aurelius was born on April 26, 121. Carol Burnett was born on April 26, 1933. (Happy 80th; we're so glad we've had this time together, Miss Burnett.)

The Chernobyl disaster began on April 26, 1986. Usual Suspect History.com says that, "In the explosion and ensuing fire, more than 50 tons of radioactive material were released into the atmosphere." This was an entirely avoidable event: The world's worst nuclear disaster began as a poorly-thought-out electrical-engineering experiment by less-than-optimally-trained plant technicians. The entire Ukrainian city of Pripyat was lost to the disaster (the whole population had to be evacuated). The worst of the fallout, however, seems to have rained down on neighboring Belarus. There, the Chernobyl disaster is recalled each year in a somber Chernobyl Commemoration Day. A huge exclusion zone still surrounds the Chernobyl site, and will for many years to come. Although the old Soviet Union acknowledged no more than 31 or 32 fatalities in the disaster, other estimates put the death toll at over 5,000... and continuing.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Take Your Daughters & Sons to Work Day on April 25

April 25 is the 20th anniversary of Take Your Daughters & Sons to Work Day, at least according to the careful calculations of the Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work Foundation.

This observance began as Take Your Daughter to Work Day, to give girls a chance to see what happens out there in the exciting world of business. Then someone noticed that the boys were quite content at home, playing video games, and not at all concerned about being left out. They were included thereafter.

The double helix
Interestingly, Thursday just happens to also be DNA Day commemorating the 1953 publication of Crick and Watson's famous article, "Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid" describing the double helix structure of DNA. These two events don't always coincide, inasmuch as TYDSTWD (as it's known in the trade) occurs always on the 4th Thursday of April and that just happens to fall on this year's 60th DNA Day.

So... plan on taking the inheritors of your DNA with you into the workplace Thursday. Forget about stopping off at the gin mill on the way home. Maybe you can get ice cream instead.

Thursday will also be Hug a Plumber Day. You don't have to unless you want to.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April 24 used to be Secretary's Day

Vintage secretary photo obtained from this
(and there were a number of others
there, equally as good)
The nice lady pictured at left might have liked the idea of Secretary's Day, back in the day. The boss might have given her a card, or bought her lunch or a gift certificate. She would have been happy, and would have told all her friends that she had a 'nice boss.'

But things are complicated in the 21st Century. No one even wants to be called a secretary anymore, even when one is in fact a secretary. The current term is "administrative professional," although the person who types or files or answers the phone is neither an administrator nor a member of any of the traditional learned professions (e.g., law or medicine).

Fortunately, the problem is self-correcting.

Many learned professionals do their own typing, thank you, and filing, too, at least when given no other choice. The true secretary is a vanishing breed. Those who might have employed a secretary in years past might now employ an assistant -- a gofer -- the person who makes calls, or screens calls, and runs errands (or interference), in addition to any organizing or even typing that may on occasion still be required. Nor is the assistant certain to be female.

Of course, secretaries used to be exclusively male -- but that was in the 19th Century.

By fifty or 60 years ago, secretaries were almost exclusively female. And they took shorthand.

You probably don't know what shorthand is. If you have an assistant, ask him or her to look it up on Wednesday. Then take him or her to lunch.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Forsooth! Shirley Temple turns 85 on Tuesday

Photo by Everett, obtained from Fine Art America.
The Good Ship Lollipop is still afloat. Shirley Temple turns 85 on Tuesday (she was born on April 23, 1928). We wish her well. But this is how we remember her.

Valerie Bertinelli turns 53 on April 23 (born April 23, 1960 in Wilmington, Delaware). Somehow, that makes us feel older than Shirley Temple turning 85.

Roy Orbison was born on April 23, 1936 (he died in 1988).

Wikipedia's April 23 page says that Bill Shakespeare, one of those Dead White Guys they don't like to talk about in English classes anymore, was born on April 23, 1564 and died on April 23, 1616. Wikipedia's biography of Mr. Shakespeare, however, disagrees: Although the article agrees about the date of Shakespeare's death, it says there is no certainty as to when he was actually born, only that he was baptized on April 26, 1564. Regardless, several of the Usual Suspects honor Shakespeare on April 23 with Talk Like Shakespeare Day. Practice your iambic pentameter Tuesday, boys and girls.

On April 23, 1910, at the Sorbonne in Paris, ex-President Theodore Roosevelt gave his famous 'Citizenship in a Republic' speech. This passage, about the Man in the Arena, has become a classic:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
That passage may even have been offered by some well-meaning someone as a sort of comfort to the idiots who foisted "New Coke" on the world. Yes, "New Coke," perhaps the biggest marketing blunder in history, was introduced on April 23, 1985.

Perhaps coincidentally, Usual Suspects Holiday Insights and Checkiday.com say Tuesday will be Take a Chance Day. Whether related or not, the "New Coke" fiasco certainly illustrates the risks involved in taking a chance. We say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Monday is Earth Day

NASA image (obtained here)

There are other planets -- we covered that yesterday, remember? -- but, for now, and for the foreseeable future, this is the only one on which the overwhelming majority of us are ever likely to live.

Monday, April 22 is Earth Day, a day when all of us should rededicate ourselves to not messing up this beautiful blue marble that carries us on our journey through life.

If you're not from around here, we suppose you might prefer to celebrate National Jelly Bean Day instead. But, if you're not from around here, can you even eat jelly beans?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

April 21: Kindergarten Day and other, out-of-this-world stuff

The Usual Suspects are in rare accord on this one: Sunday, April 21 will be Kindergarten Day. They even seem to agree why this is so: Friedrich Fröbel, the German educator who created the concept of kindergarten, was born on April 21, 1782.

Horace Rumpole's creator was born on April 21, 1923.
Sir John Mortimer, the author of the many Rumpole of the Bailey books and screenplays was born on April 21, 1923 (he passed away in 2009).

And, as long as we're on the subject of birthdays, the City of Rome turns 2,766 on Sunday. According to tradition, Romulus and Remus established the City of Rome on April 21, 753 B.C.

This may prove to be a big deal in the years to come (at least we hope so): The discovery of the first extrasolar planets was announced on April 21, 1992 (two planets orbiting the pulsar PSR B1257+12. Actually, there were some earlier discoveries that have since been confirmed, but these two were the first discovery to be generally accepted in the scientific community. A third extrasolar planet has since been found in orbit around that pulsar. Not that you'd want to go there, even if you could.

But over 800 extrasolar planets have been identified in the 21 years since... and techniques have improved to the point where scientists are able to detect smaller -- and more potentially habitable -- planets in orbits around distant stars.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Lots of giggling and munchies on 4/20

Yes, Saturday, April 20 will be Weed Day or Pot Smokers Day or just plain 420.

Why, out of all the days of the year, April 20 was awarded this dubious distinction is a bit fuzzy and unclear -- lost, it would seem, in clouds of smoke. Surely this comes as no surprise.

Huffpost keeps a 2009 feature online, "4/20: How 'Weed Day' Got Its Name," that explores the various explanations that have been offered. The relevant Wikipedia entry seems to be pretty much in accord. One can just imagine a bunch of stoners sitting around, passing a joint, and thinking it outrageously funny that, like, if 4:00 is tea time, man, 4:20 should be weed time. The longer Huffpost article mentions, although the Wikipedia article does not, the widely circulated rumor that 4-20 was a police code, at least in California, for pot smoking in progress.

Unless you live in a state that permits medical marijuana use and you have a valid prescription for the herb in that state, we here at The Blog of Days strongly suggest that you not make your celebration of 420 too overt. The Blog of Days does not assist with bail, man.

If you choose not to inhale, Saturday will also be Lima Bean Respect Day and National Pineapple Upside-down Cake Day. We think you should probably choose to celebrate one or the other; we're not sure how these would go together.

Saturday will also be Look Alike Day (find your doppelgänger?), Volunteer Recognition Day, and Record Store Appreciation Day.

Are there still record stores somewhere?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Shot Heard Round the World

Sobered as we must be by the terrible events in Boston this week, we must nevertheless note that Friday, April 19 is the 238th anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Although Paul Revere's ride was not nearly so successful as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow made it out to be (Revere was arrested by the British en route) it was successful enough. The Patriot militia were assembled in time to frustrate British hopes of confiscating colonists' arms and provisions. The image of 'the shot heard round the world' comes from the first stanza Ralph Waldo Emerson's Concord Hymn, written for the 1837 dedication of a monument to the battle at Concord:

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

Friday will also be National Hanging Out Day, which is not (as you might think) a day for loafing around but, rather, a day to encourage folks to hang their laundry outdoors to dry. A project of Project Laundry List, National Hanging Out Day reminds us all that the old-fashioned clothesline is now cutting-edge green technology.

Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, in which he wrote that "all men are created equal," nevertheless sold an indentured servant named John Freeman to another Founding Father, James Madison, on April 19, 1809.

On a lighter note, Friday will also be National Garlic Day. Given the popularity of vampires in popular culture, does anyone want garlic anymore to ward them off?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thursday is High-5 Day

It's too late to get a t-shirt, but you can still register for National High-5 Day, as silly a microminiholidayette as any, but one with a serious and distinctive purpose, raising money for five cancer centers around the United States.

Usual Suspect Brownielocks.com notes that Thursday will be Poem in Your Pocket Day. The American Academy of Poets encourages you to "[s]elect a poem, carry it with you, and share it with others throughout the day." Although we like this idea, we would recommend against declaiming, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways," while you are riding a crowded bus or subway. Your fellow passengers may misunderstand.

Perhaps the most entertaining microminiholidayette for Thursday, however, is National Velociraptor Day.

The Great San Francisco Earthquake took place on April 18, 1906. Most of the city was destroyed in the quake or the fires that followed. Guatemala's second largest city, Quetzaltenango, was largely destroyed by earthquake on April 18, 1902. But you probably never heard about that one when you were in school, something for which you should be grateful, because Quetzaltenango is nearly impossible to spell.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cheeseballs, Mustangs, Ellis Island, Hemophilia, and giving into nagging

Wednesday, April 17, will be National Cheeseball Day, a food microminiholidayette of negligible import and one we might have ignored but for Usual Suspect Punchbowl.com's explanation of what a cheeseball is -- or, rather, what cheeseballs are: Cheeseball may properly refer to two different foods. "The first type of cheeseballs are the bright orange, marble-sized snacks that turn your fingers orange (very similar to cheese doodles). The second type is the kind you might serve with crackers at a party." We'd often wondered about this.

We've never heard anyone actually use the term "cheese doodle" in conversation (we suspect it may be a regionalism foreign to the Midwest) but we have been known to get our fingers orange on occasion. Also our clothes -- that stuff doesn't come off easy.

Wednesday will also mark the 49th anniversary of the introduction of the Ford Mustang (the 1964½ Ford Mustang, to be precise). We'll try and get our crack research staff to do something special for next year's 50th anniversary. Anyway, a number of the Usual Suspects refer to Wednesday as Ford Mustang Day in commemoration.

Some of the Usual Suspects also mention that Wednesday will be Ellis Island Family History Day. The day was not chosen randomly. According to Wikipedia, the Ellis Island immigration center processed 11,747 people on April 17, 1907, the single busiest day in the busy history of that facility.

Wednesday is also World Hemophilia Day, sponsored and promoted by the World Federation of Hemophilia.

And almost all of the Usual Suspects call April 17 Blah, Blah, Blah Day. Usual Suspect Holiday Insights explains that this is one of those Wellcat Holidays that pop up now and again, this one devoted to doing "all of the projects and things that people have been nagging you to do. This may include quitting a habit, losing weight, or working on home projects." If that sounds like fun to you, you're welcome to celebrate it. We'll settle for Cheeseball Day instead.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Stress Awareness Day

We have another tax-related microminiholidayette for you on Tuesday, April 16, namely, Stress Awareness Day, established on the theory that you may be just a teensy bit stressed out after you've finished rendering unto Caesar.

Usual Suspect Punchbowl.com suggests that Tuesday will be National Wear Your Pajamas To Work Day, although that sounded to us at first a little like someone trying to talk someone into something. On the other hand, Usual Suspect Gone-ta-pott.com suggests that this microminiholidayette "was created to help relieve stress after income taxes are due." So there is a possible connection between Stress Awareness Day and Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day. And there is a National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day website. However, if you do decide to wear your PJ's to work Tuesday, The Blog of Days will not be responsible for any job-related consequences.

The American Library Association would like you to remember that we are in the midst of American Library Week. Depending on who you talk to, Tuesday may even be American Library Day, but we could not confirm that on the ALA website.

And there's another baseball anniversary Tuesday, and not a happy one for those of us who live and die with the Chicago White Sox: On April 16, 1940, Future Hall of Famer Bob Feller pitched an Opening Day no hitter against the Pale Hose, the only Opening Day no-no ever. Feller's Cleveland Indians did not give him a whole heck of a lot of run support either: The final was 1 - 0.

Tuesday will also be National Eggs Benedict Day, and that's nice if you like that sort of thing.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger on April 16, 1927 in Marktl, Germany) turns 86 on April 16.

The Blog of Days knows of no possible connection between these last two items.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Actually, some people do celebrate Tax Day

Some of the Usual Suspects advise that Monday is That Sucks Day because Lincoln died on April 15, 1865 and the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912 (we warned you about this in yesterday's post) and because Monday will be Tax Day.

Yes, Monday will be Tax Day and, while we understand that you may be less than thrilled about it, especially if you're sending Uncle Sam a check, there are some people who will be positively giddy on Monday evening. You will see them converging on neighborhood watering holes and restaurants. Later you may see them swaying and swerving home. These people are accountants and they will be celebrating that still another tax season has finally come to an end.

Photo of Jackie Robinson obtained from his biography.com site.
For those of you who aren't accountants, Monday will be Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day, depending on where you are in New England). Either way, the day will feature the running of the Boston Marathon. The Boston Red Sox will be at home, too, playing a very early game (first pitch 11:05 am) at Fenway against the Tampa Bay Rays.

And, speaking of baseball, Monday is the anniversary of the day Future Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson finally broke Major League Baseball's "Color Line." On April 15, 1947 Robinson played his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. And in Robinson's honor, all the players on the Red Sox and the Rays -- and indeed on every Major League team -- will wear Robinson's number, 42, on their own uniforms on Monday.

Monday is a big day in North Korea, too: It is the birthday of Kim Il-sung, North Korea's "Eternal President," and the grandfather of Kim Jong-un, the current head honcho over there who may or may not start a war on Monday in commemoration of his grandfather's memory.

Monday is also called McDonald's Day or Fast Food Day because Ray Kroc opened his first franchised McDonald's restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois on April 15, 1955. Within a decade he'd squeezed the original McDonald brothers out of business.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

April 14: Downer Day

Illustration obtained from this source.
Actually, none of the Usual Suspects proclaim April 14 to be Downer Day; this was just a conclusion we reached on our own sifting through the alternatives.

To wit: The RMS Titanic struck that fatal iceberg on April 14, 1912. (It would sink on April 15.)

President Abraham Lincoln went to Ford's Theater on the evening of April 14, 1865. You may recall what happened there. (Lincoln would die on April 15.)

Speaking of former residents of Springfield, Illinois, the Donner Party left Springfield, bound for California, on April 14, 1846. You may remember... that trip didn't go so well.

But, hey, a number of the Usual Suspects do say that April 14 is Ex-Spouse Day. Does that cheer you up, bub?

Sunday will also be A Global Day to End Child Sexual Abuse. Really ending child abuse would make us happy; that we are forced to confront the scourge of child abuse as a serious and ongoing problem that needs to be addressed surely does not.

Some of the Usual Suspects also proclaim April 14 as International Moment of Laughter Day. Although, seriously, from this list, what's to laugh about? Thus, we herewith invent Downer Day. Gets you right in the mood for Tax Day, doesn't it?

Friday, April 12, 2013

April 13 is Scrabble Day but...

Almost everything on Saturday has to do with birthdays, really.

Scrabble was invented in 1938 by American architect Alfred Mosher Butts and most of the Usual Suspects agree that April 13 will be Scrabble Day.

But why celebrate Scrabble on April 13? Usual Suspect Holiday Insights candidly acknowledges that it could not figure that out.

For once, however, our crack research staff came through: Alfred Mosher Butts was born in Poughkeepsie, New York on April 13, 1899. (Of course, all the research staff did was look up Butts' bio in Wikipedia.)

And the Usual Suspects also offer Thomas Jefferson Day as an alternative celebration for April 13. Why?

Well, here again, Mr. Jefferson was born April 13, 1743. Let's see... Saturday would be his 270th birthday.

Butch Cassidy, as in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, was born on April 13, 1866 and -- would you believe it? -- the late Don Adams was born 90 years ago, on April 13, 1923.

If you insist on non-birthday related observances... well, Constantinople did fall before 1453 -- on April 13, 1204, to be exact, before the rampaging soldiers of the Fourth Crusade.

King Henry IV of France issued the Edict of Nantes on April 13, 1598, an event that would be a bigger milestone in the history of religious toleration but for the fact that it would be repealed by Henry's grandson, Louis XIV, in 1685.

The explosion that darn near killed the crew of Apollo XIII took place on April 13, 1970. It was very scary to watch at the time; we can barely imagine what it must have been like to live through -- even after repeated viewing of the Ron Howard movie.

Samuel Argall kidnapped Native American princess Pocahontas in Passapatanzy, Virginia on April 13, 1613, exactly 400 years ago. Disney left out a lot of stuff.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Grilled Cheese and Cosmonauts for April 12

Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin became the first human being to enter outer space, on April 12, 1961, completing an orbit of the Earth in a 108 minute flight aboard Vostok 1. Thus, Friday April 12 will be Russian Cosmonaut Day. (Usual Suspect Brownielocks.com calls it International Day of Human Space Flight, but it's the same thing.)

Inasmuch as we're still begging rides to and from the International Space Station from the Russians, we'd better make it a point to celebrate this one, don't you think?

But Friday will also be Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, in honor of the least fancy entree in the history of eating.

And the fastest surface wind velocity ever recorded on Planet Earth was recorded on April 12, 1934 on Mount Washington, New Hampshire: The breeze was clocked at an astounding 231 miles per hour. (Hold onto your hat... and your head!) Some of the Usual Suspects proclaim Friday Big Wind Day in commemoration of that far-from-gentle zephyr.

There are a couple of literary birthdays to celebrate on Friday, too: Tom Clancy (born in Maryland April 12, 1947) turns 66, while Chicago lawyer and author Scott Turow turns 64 (born in Chicago on April 12, 1949).

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Old stuff and a partroness of pharmacists and students for April 11

According to several of the Usual Suspects, Thursday, April 11 will be Eight Track Tape Day.

There will be a brief pause while younger readers speculate whether the object at left might be an eight track tape in an eight track tape player.

If that was your guess, you are correct (the image coming from a website depicting "modern antiques" that will be unfamiliar to anyone born after the Baby Boom).

Eight track tapes were similar, but inferior to, and larger than, later cassette tapes. Many had an annoying tendency to switch direction in the middle of a song -- an interruption that was jarring enough when the tape was new and taut, but positively annoying after repeated use. As annoying as this was, however, it was still not quite as bad as the tendency of these tapes to eventually 'bleed' tracks together -- so that one would hear a song being played as recorded in the aural foreground, but a different song, playing backwards, in the background.

Eight track tapes were big in the mid-60s and early 70s and, mercifully, gone by the 1980s. Eight tracks, like 45s, were formats which were popular among young people -- so there probably weren't many barbershop quartets who released albums on eight tracks at any time.

Nevertheless, Thursday will be Barbershop Quartet Day. Back in the 60s, when we were listening to eight track tapes, we'd roll our eyes and hold our noses at the prospect of listening to a barbershop quartet. Today, though, with the passage of time, the innocent sounds of the barbershop quartet are a soothing balm and a reminder of a more innocent and joyous time. Rent or download a copy of the classic musical The Music Man Thursday night to enjoy the bickering school board that Robert Preston magically turns into a barbershop quartet.

Usual Suspect Saints.spqn.com has a number of saints on any given day of the week, but Saint Gemma Galgani caught our attention for Thursday, her feast. (Gemma died on April 11, 1903 at the age of 25.) The daughter of pharmacist, Gemma wanted to enter religious life, but was rejected because of concerns about her health: She had contracted spinal meningitis, and recovered, but convents were skeptical of her claim that she had received a miraculous cure. Several members of her family died from tuberculosis, as did she, but not before becoming a Stigmatist, receiving the wounds of Jesus on the Cross between Thursday evening and Friday afternoon every week for over two years. Her claimed visions would prove controversial, during her life and after, when her spiritual director, Venerable Rev. Germanus Ruoppolo CP, pressed her claim for canonization. Wikipedia says that Gemma is a patron saint of pharmacists and students (she was reportedly an excellent student before she was forced to leave school).

Today's college kids won't know about barbershop quartets or even eight track tapes -- but they will know about upcoming final exams. A prayer to St. Gemma might prove helpful. Pass it on.

Finally, on April 11, 1814, Napoleon was exiled to Elba. This would be a bigger deal but for his escape and temporary return to power in 1815.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Of Siblings and Safety Pins

Wednesday, April 10 is a day to celebrate siblings and safety pins -- the Usual Suspects call Wednesday Sibling Day and Safety Pin Day -- but (and this suggestion is offered free, gratis and for nothing) don't combine these two celebrations by sticking your sibling with a safety pin.

Don't say we didn't warn you.

On April 10, 1947, the Brooklyn Dodgers announced that they had purchased Jackie Robinson's contract from the Montreal Royals; his Major League debut would come on April 15.

Paul McCartney announced that he was leaving the Beatles on April 10, 1970 -- 43 years ago.

Lew Wallace, a Major General in the Union Army during the Civil War, was born on April 10, 1827. And it's particularly appropriate to remember General Wallace during the Easter season. You remember why, of course?

In 1880 Wallace published his most famous novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. (Wallace subsequently served as American Minister to the Ottoman Empire.)

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 9 is International Be Kind To Lawyers Day

Horace Rumpole is one our favorite fictional lawyers.
Yes, friends, tomorrow, April 9, will be International Be Kind To Lawyers Day. The website that was dedicated to this microminiholidayette seems to have fallen by the wayside -- times are tough for lawyers these days, too -- but we encourage celebration nonetheless.

And how should one celebrate Be Kind To Lawyers Day? Buy your favorite barrister a bottle or send a nice card? These are nice gestures, certainly, but wholly unnecessary. Instead, just pay your lawyer's bill. (Thank you.)

Tuesday will also be Winston Churchill Day, commemorating the day, 50 years ago (April 9, 1963), on which Sir Winston was made an honorary citizen of the United States.

And Tuesday will also be Cherish an Antique Day. If your lawyer is old enough, we suppose you can combine these two observances....

Sunday, April 7, 2013

It's not Buddha's Birthday, except in Japan, but we have alternatives

Some of the Usual Suspects suggest that April 8 is Buddha's Birthday, but Wikipedia explains that the birthday of the Buddha is traditionally celebrated on the 8th day of the 4th month of the Chinese lunar year. In other words, the date varies; in 2013, the Buddha's birthday will be observed on May 17 -- except in Japan. According to Wikipedia, Japan adopted the Gregorian calendar in the Mejii Restoration of 1873, reassigning the Buddha's Birthday to the 8th day of the 4th month of that calendar. So, except in Japan, Monday will not be the Buddha's Birthday.

Aaron's 715th. Photo from Encyclopedia Britannica.
Do not despair, however.

The Blog of Days has alternatives over and above Draw a Picture of a Bird Day or National All is Ours Day (both touted by several of the Usual Suspects for celebration on Monday).

What the heck does "All is Ours" even mean? On Monday, may we take freely from the coffers of Mr. Gates or Mr. Buffett? Can our research staff enter your house and raid your liquor cabinet? Is this a microminiholidayette that can not be appreciated except by the still-in-the-dreaming-stages New Socialist Man? We're not going to promote something we can't even begin to understand.

However, we can understand that Hammerin' Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's career home run record on April 8, 1974. (Aaron would retire with 755 homers, a record recently eclipsed by Barry Bonds, though Bonds' achievement is tainted by his apparent use of steroids.) We here at the Blog of Days are not trying to stir up any Aaron-Bonds controversy; rather, we urge celebration of a remarkable achievement as a viable alternative to the mysterious All is Ours Day.

Monday is also the centennial of the adoption of the 17th Amendment of the United States Constitution. That's the amendment that provided for the direct election of U.S. Senators (originally, Senators were chosen by the legislatures of the several States). It was the 17th Amendment, too, that provides for gubernatorial appointments when senatorial vacancies occur. That "bleeping gold" thing that former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich had -- the power to appoint a temporary replacement for Barack Obama on the occasion of Mr. Obama's election to the Presidency -- that "bleeping gold" thing was provided to Mr. Blagojevich by the 17th Amendment.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sunday is No Housework Day

The Usual Suspects are in pretty rare accord on this one: Sunday, April 7 is No Housework Day. No one seems to know -- or care -- why. People who actually do housework will be particularly unconcerned about why the day is celebrated, only that it is.

There's also a U.N. microminiholidayette scheduled for April 7, World Health Day. (This year's theme, in case you're wondering, is high blood pressure.)

And, unsurprisingly, given that April 6 is New Beer's Eve, April 7 is National Beer Day, celebrating the 80th anniversary of the day on which beer sales (well sales of 3.2% beer anyway) became legal again in the United States.

So don't do any housework Sunday. Kick back with a few beers instead. It might do wonders for your blood pressure.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Hoot man! Saturday is Tartan Day

You'll remember that we told you that December 5 was Repeal Day, commemorating the anniversary of the 1933 ratification of the 21st Amendment and the official end of Prohibition. But the sale of beer was legalized earlier in that same year: It became legal to sell 3.2% beer on April 7, 1933 -- and for that reason April 6 is sometimes referred to as New Beer's Eve.

That seems appropriate for a Saturday celebration.

And, while April 5 is National Caramel Day, April 6 will be National Caramel Popcorn Day.

Usual Suspect Days of the Year touts Saturday as Pillow Fight Day.

Some of the Usual Suspects suggest that April 6 is also Army Day, but the U.S. Department of Defense says that Army Day was last observed nationally on April 6, 1949.

The consensus choice for Saturday, however, is Tartan Day, a celebration of all things Scottish. On April 6, 1320, 51 Scottish nobles sent a letter to Pope John XXII asserting Scotland's right to act as a sovereign and independent nation. This was the Declaration of Arborath. (The Pope had sided with the King of England, supporting his claim over the Scottish realm.)

So toss a caber Saturday in celebration of Scotland.

We may toss back a few scotches instead.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April 5: Deep Dish Pizza Day and Walk to Work Day

This particular pizza picture is taken from Giordano's website, but Chicago is home to a glorious variety of deep dish pizza emporiums (emporia?) including Lou Malnati's, Gino's East, and the originals, Pizzerias Uno and Due. This list is by no means comprehensive -- for one, it ignores all the stand-alone neighborhood joints that so many swear by -- but wherever you're planning to celebrate Deep Dish Pizza Day on April 5 you may wish to also consider celebrating Walk to Work Day on April 5 as well. You'll need to walk off some of these calories.

Friday will also be National Caramel Day, Hospital Admitting Clerks Day, and Go For Broke Day. It will also be Read a Road Map Day -- turn off that GPS and see if you can find your way anywhere (a pizza joint perhaps?) just by reading the map.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Muddy Waters Centennial, Vitamin C Day

Thursday, April 4 will be the Centennial of Muddy Waters, born McKinley Morganfield in Issaquena County, Mississippi on April 4, 1913.

If you go to the 'official' Muddy Waters website and look up his biography, you'll see a claim that he was born April 4, 1915. But Wikipedia explains, "Recent research has uncovered documentation showing that in the 1930s and 1940s he reported his birth year as 1913 on both his marriage license and musicians' union card. A 1955 interview in the Chicago Defender is the earliest claim of 1915 as his year of birth, which he continued to use in interviews from that point onward."

Muddy Waters was influential in the development of Chicago's blues scene. As the linked biography on his website states:
Members of Waters' various bands - guitarists Jimmy Rogers, Sammy Lawhorn and Luther Johnson, harmonica players Little Walter, Junior Wells and James Cotton, pianists Otis Spann and Pinetop Perkins - left to strike out with bands of their own, spreading the Waters gospel further. Later generations of bluesmen took Waters' approach as their birthright: Buddy Guy, Magic Sam, Otis Rush and scores of others-have all been in Waters' debt.
But the Chicago Blues and Muddy Waters in particular were inspirational to a generation of British musicians, too, including in particular the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton -- and through them a whole new generation of white American kids.

Waters died 30 years ago, on April 30, 1983.

Most of the Usual Suspects tell us that Thursday will also be Vitamin C Day. They don't tell us why. We asked our crack research staff to investigate this question -- and, with their predictable efficiency, we can only hope that we'll hear back from them before next Vitamin C Day.

President William Henry Harrison died on April 4, 1841, one month after giving an overly long inaugural address, on a particularly cold and wet day, without wearing either an overcoat or hat. (He was the oldest President ever elected to that point and he thought he would show how strong and vigorous he still was by eschewing these sensible precautions. He contracted pneumonia and died as a result.)

Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Party on: April 3 is Tweed Day

Thomas Nast caricature of Boss Tweed
Most of the Usual Suspects will tell you that April 3 is Tweed Day, although more than a few are slightly embarrassed by the fact that Tweed Day commemorates the 190th birthday of William Magear Tweed -- "Boss Tweed" of New York's Tammany Hall -- born April 3, 1823 in New York City.

At the height of his power and influence, according to the linked Wikipedia article, Tweed was "the third-largest landowner in New York City, a director of the Erie Railroad, the Tenth National Bank, and the New-York Printing Company, as well as proprietor of the Metropolitan Hotel." Tweed made money the really old-fashioned way: He stole it from the taxpayers.

But Tweed was caught out in the end. He wound up dying in prison.

So we're not celebrating corruption on Tweed Day, we are really celebrating the (eventual) triumph of reform.

And April 3 will be World Party Day. This may be a microminiholidayette on the cusp of breaking through into popular consciousness: It has its own Wikipedia entry, Tumblr and Twitter page. Quoting from the Twitter page, World Party Day is an "annual celebration for a happy world." On April 3, "the whole world parties in synch."

We never knew.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April 2 is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day

It's probably hard for you to contain your excitement as we count down the minutes to the start of National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day on Tuesday, April 2 -- especially for those of you who snubbed plain old National Peanut Butter Day on January 24 or National Peanut Butter Lovers Day on March 1.

No... you held out for the Really Big One, the day when peanut butter and jelly are justly and jointly celebrated.

Well, congratulations. Tomorrow is for you.

Others, however, may be interested to know that Tuesday is also World Autism Awareness Day.

Tuesday is also the anniversary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen (born April 2, 1805 in Odense, Denmark) and Children's Book Day is celebrated on April 2 in his honor.

A number of the Usual Suspects advise that April 2 is also Reconciliation Day, a day to patch up worn or torn relationships.

Usual Suspect Gone-ta-pott.com tries to sneak Fun at Work Day back into the calendar, but we covered that in yesterday's post. We hope you're having fun at work -- so long as you're not the boss, having fun making your employees miserable -- but we see no point in extending the celebration of same from April 1 to April 2. If you insist on still another option, Usual Suspect Brownielocks.com offers National Love Your Produce Manager Day. But be discreet, please.