Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Wednesday is Mutts Day, Uncommon Instruments Day

Wednesday, July 31 is pegged as Mutt's Day by a number of the Usual Suspects. Mutt's Day is a celebration of the randomly mixed breed dog, the product of some nocturnal fence jumping or hole-digging, and has nothing whatsoever to do with designer mixed breeds like Cockapoos or Labradoodles.

There are still mutts out there somewhere, aren't there?

Glass armonica photo obtained from the Franklin Institute.
Wednesday is also Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day. The linked site suggests that cornets and valve trombones are both uncommon. We'd agree with the latter, but not so much with the former. We'd suggest that, if one is going to go for uncommon, why not consider the glass harmonica? Benjamin Franklin invented it (he called it the "glass armonica"). According to Wikipedia, Marie Antoinette took glass harmonica lessons (though not from Ben Franklin); Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, George Frideric Handel, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Richard Strauss all composed for the instrument.

Not sufficiently uncommon? Well, how about the Electro-Theremin? That was the source of the unique sound of the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations." The Electro-Theremin was created by Paul Tanner, a trombonist who'd played with Glenn Miller, and Bob Whitsell, an amateur inventor -- and apparently they only made the one machine. Tanner passed away this past February, at the age of 95. You can get to an 2000 interview Tanner gave to NPR by clicking here.

Gary Lewis, of the 1960s group Gary Lewis and the Playboys, turns 67 on July 31. Yes, Gary Lewis is the son of Jerry Lewis. And actor Barry Van Dyke turns 62 on Wednesday. Barry Van Dyke is the son of Dick Van Dyke. This makes some of us feel very old.

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