Friday, June 21, 2013

Great American Backyard Campout, Stupid Guy Thing Day, and More

There's a little pun in there, which we couldn't resist. And now we explain....

The National Wildlife Federation is promoting Saturday's Great American Backyard Campout as a way for families to begin to find harmony in nature. Unlike the Ancient Celts, the subject of the post below, we moderns have lots of things to distract us from the wonders of the natural world. Unsurprisingly, the NWF would like to change that.

However, setting up the family pup tent without first making sure that all evidence of Fido having done his business might not encourage the young people to cultivate an appreciation of nature.

Would such a bonehead move constitute a stupid guy thing? Perhaps. However Stupid Guy Thing Day does not seem to be limited to stupid things guys may do in the backyard, or even around the home. As near as we can tell, Saturday, June 22 is the day to recount any stupid thing a guy does -- or ever did.

We can't find out who is responsible for this microminiholidayette, but we'll bet it wasn't a guy. (Not unless he was stupid.)

Infamous gangster John Dillinger was born on June 22, 1903. Dillinger became Public Enemy No. 1, and was gunned down by the FBI outside Chicago's Biograph Theater on July 22, 1934 -- famously betrayed by "The Woman in Red."

Of course, Dillinger's Wikipedia biography includes a section about how some speculate that someone else was shot down in his stead that fateful night. If Dillinger really did escape, he might be turning 110 on Saturday.

Perennial Oscar favorite Meryl Streep and Bionic Woman Lindsey Wagner were both born on June 22, 1949, as was Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

But, wait, there's More....

Usual Suspect points out that, on the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints, Saturday is the Feast Day of both St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More.

John Fisher was Bishop of Rochester -- and was the only English bishop not to abandon Rome when King Henry VIII set up the Church of England (and not coincidentally, grant himself a divorce from Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn). Stripped of his office and later convicted of treason for failing to take an oath of loyalty to Henry, Fisher was sentenced to hanged, drawn and quartered. Just to prove he was a nice guy, King Henry commuted this harsh sentence to the much more lenient one of beheading, and St. John Fisher, Henry's former tutor, lost his head on this day in 1535.

Sir Thomas More was truly A Man for All Seasons (that second link is to the great 1966 movie about More which you should watch soon). Chancellor of England under Henry VIII, and the author of Utopia, More also broke with Henry when Henry broke with Rome. More tried to take refuge in silence, but he was forced to speak and, when he did, he could not and would not acknowledge his one-time friend and patron Henry as supreme head of the Church in England. Thus, he too was judged disloyal -- and he lost his head on July 6, 1535.

Usually, a saint's feast day, particularly a martyr's feast day, is celebrated on the day of the saint's death. But More got lumped in with Fisher when the Catholic Church tried to tighten up its own calendar a few years back. Interestingly, St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More are both also venerated by King Henry's Church of England (the Episcopal Church in America) as "Reformation Martyrs." In the Church of England, however, their joint feast day is July 6.

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