Thursday, January 31, 2013

February 1 is Working Naked Day

You may think our disreputable research staff has invented this one, but, seriously, Friday, February 1 is Working Naked Day. This microminiholidayette is the brainchild of a Texas woman, Lisa Kanerek, who operates WorkingNaked.com, offering help and advice to persons who work from home, or who want to. If you work from home, Kanerek writes, you are "stripped of any support you may have had in your corporate job, including an administrative assistant, technical staff and co-workers to help you brainstorm. In other words, you’re left naked."

Not to bust our research staff's bubble or anything, but this is the sense in which Kanarek uses the word 'naked' on her site (thus the disclaimer on every single page of her site, "Everyone who works on this site is completely clothed...even in the shower!")

On the other hand, Kanarek notes, she has heard tell of other folks who've taken the concept literally, or near enough.

If you do choose to work naked Friday, please don't come into the office.

And if you go out for a cocktail after work, put on some clothes first, OK?

If you are inclined to wear clothes Friday, you may wish to wear red. Some of the Usual Suspects note that Friday has been designated as Wear Red Day, in recognition of the heart-health theme of this Valentine's month. (Usual Suspect American Greetings says Friday is Women's Heart Health Day.)

Some schools may be observing Bubble Gum Day on Friday as well. The idea is that kids can chew gum in school on this one day only -- provided they bring some money in (50 cents is the amount suggested by the linked site) for the school to donate to the charity of its choice.

This is a nice idea -- if your local school is in on the idea. The Blog of Days takes no responsibility for kids who get caught chewing gum in school Friday in those schools not observing this microminiholidayette.

Friday, February 1 is also Groundhog's Day Eve. But you knew that, didn't you?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January ends with Backwards Day and a bubble wrap controversy

Our crack research staff has let us down -- again. We confidently assured you that Monday, January 28, was Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day and, admittedly, several of the Usual Suspects concurred.

But our less that thorough researchers concealed from us (or failed to note themselves) that Usual Suspect Gone-ta-pott.com fixed January 30 as Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day and that Usual Suspect Hallmark puts Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day on Thursday, January 31.

The good news, we suppose, is that, if you failed to appreciate bubble wrap on Monday, you still have at least two more opportunities -- today and tomorrow.

But The Blog of Days tries to shy away from controversies like this; we don't want to be accused of taking sides.

Assuming also that you might like something besides bubble wrap to celebrate Thursday, we can advise that January 31 is Backwards Day. Proponents of Backwards Day suggest that you can walk backwards, wear your clothes inside out, drive in reverse -- or, if you'd like to stay out of jail or a padded cell -- perhaps do something a little safer, like skip to the last page of a book and read backwards from there. (The Blog of Days is not responsible for any headaches or confusion you may experience as a result.)

Some of the Usual Suspects state that January 31 is Appreciate Your Social Security Check Day on Thursday. Actually, this could be the last time this microminiholidayette can be observed: The Social Security Administration is trying to move all recipients into direct deposit. In other words, soon, there will be no more Social Security checks. (If you're under 30, there probably won't be any direct deposits either by the time you're old enough. Sorry, kids.)

If you are a fan of Steven Spielberg's Lincoln (and, if you haven't seen it yet, you really should) you will be interested to know that it was on January 31, 1865 that the U.S. House of Representatives passed the 13th Amendment, the measure that finally, and once-and-for-all, abolished slavery in America.

Almost.

You see, the 13th Amendment only abolished slavery until some evil genius dreamed up the idea of unpaid internships....

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January 30: Death of Gandhi and birth of FDR lose out to "Inane Answering Message Day"

M.K. Gandhi.  Image obtained from Wikipedia.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948. In India, Gandhi's death is remembered on January 30 as Martyrs' Day.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882. Most of the Usual Suspects recognize one or both of these anniversaries.

But neither worthy observance gets top billing on most sites. Rather, the consensus among the Usual Suspects is that Wednesday will be Inane Answering Message Day. Apparently the idea is to record a silly message on your voice mail for the amusement of the bill collectors and telemarketers who call your number Wednesday.

Even if you are inclined to observe this microminiholidayette, we would strongly recommend that you not put a silly answering message on your work telephone, Inane Answering Message Day or not. Potential customers may not have the same sense of fun that you do. Usual Suspect Punchbowl.com suggests that Tuesday may be celebrated as National Croissant Day. That's probably safer -- and certainly harder to spell.

Monday, January 28, 2013

January 29 is Puzzle Day, Freethinkers Day, Curmudgeons Day

The Usual Suspects proclaim Tuesday Puzzle Day, but we've been unable to puzzle out why.

The Usual Suspects also proclaim Tuesday Freethinkers Day, largely because January 29 is the anniversary of Thomas Paine's birth (in England, in 1737). Paine was the author of the pamphlet Common Sense, a work that was deemed inspirational to so many in the revolutionary generation. A later pamphlet, The American Crisis, so impressed George Washington that he ordered it read to his troops. You will recall the opening lines:
These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
But Paine was a man who could get along with no one for long, and when he wore out his welcome in this country, he moved to France to help incite their revolution -- only to wind up arrested and condemned to death. He was saved from the French 'National Razor' (the guillotine) in 1794 only by the personal intervention of the American Minister to France, James Monroe.

W.C. Fields image obtained from Wikipedia.
Paine showed his gratitude to his adopted country by turning on George Washington. (According to his Wikipedia biography, Paine became convinced that somehow Washington had conspired with Robespierre to have Paine imprisoned.) In an open letter to Washington, published in 1796, Paine wrote, "the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an impostor; whether you have abandoned good principles or whether you ever had any."

After wearing out his welcome with Napoleon, Paine was invited back to the United States in 1802 by President Thomas Jefferson. Paine survived until 1809.

Paine also wrote extensively -- and critically -- about organized religion; it is these writings that link him to Freethinkers Day.

William Claude Dukenfield was born on January 29, 1880. You may be forgiven for not recognizing that name; his fame was achieved under the name of W.C. Fields. According to Wikipedia, Woody Allen once said Fields was one of only six genuine comic geniuses in movie history. Charlie McCarthy's assessment of Fields was somewhat harsher.

Fields' on-screen persona was curmudgeonly in the extreme. The anniversary of Fields' birth therefore inspires some of the Usual Suspects to proclaim January 29 as Curmudgeons Day. Of course, the host and proprietor of Second Effort thinks that January 29 honors him. Let's not disillusion him, shall we?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

January 28 is Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day and National Kazoo Day

You can't get much more frivolous than this -- Monday is Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day and National Kazoo Day.

Everybody loves to pop bubble wrap -- whether or not they admit it -- and most people like goofing around with a kazoo.

Unfortunately, these are activities that tend to be more appreciated in private than in public. If you and your mates break out kazoos tonight at your local and hummmmmm out Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," chances are you won't get halfway through your performance without getting beat up or thrown out. Maybe both. (The Blog of Days takes no responsibility for anyone silly enough to try and prove this prediction wrong.)

But all is not frivolity on January 28. On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after liftoff, killing all seven astronauts aboard, including New Hampshire schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe. President Ronald Reagan, speaking to a stunned nation that night, quoted a poem, "High Flight," by John Gillespie Magee, Jr., "We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of Earth' to 'touch the face of God.'"

February brings us Super Bowl Sunday and Groundhog's Day. What else?

T.S. Eliot wrote, "April is the cruelest month," but we think February wins that prize, hands down. And that's even if you do have a valentine to call your own.

The days are dark and cold, without Christmas lights to pierce the gloom. Even those who find Winter brisk and invigorating at first tend to be sick of it by February.

And speaking of sick, while this year may be different, February is often the height of the flu season. Surely, this year, with the flu spread so early, it won't be worse in February, will it?

Well, it might.

For a month that is so short, February drags on pretty near forever.

But there are some things to look forward to in February.

February will Black History Month, Library Lovers Month, and Plant the Seeds of Greatness Month. No, we don't know of any catalog that offers to sell the Seeds of Greatness. We'd order them, too.

Some February observances have obvious tie-ins. We have Valentines Day in February and, so, a number of heart-related observances: American Heart Month, for example (sponsored by the the American Heart Association), or National Mend A Broken Heart Month (which is not sponsored by a group of cardiac surgeons, although maybe it should be).

Less obvious, perhaps, is the February tie-in for National Marfan Syndrome Awareness Month. But some think that Abraham Lincoln may have suffered from Marfan's. That would suffice.

We can't figure out why February might be Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Low Vision Awareness Month, but it is.

February is also Sleep Safety Month. If you're coming home at night to sleep, you're probably observing sleep safety. If your neighbor frequently travels on business and you're staying over with your neighbor's wife instead, you are not properly observing sleep safety.

February is also Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month -- although we have found no indication of any particular amnesty granted during this time. While you're at the grocery in February, you may wish to celebrate National Cherry Month, Grapefruit Month or Beans (Dried or Fresh) Month.

Usual Suspect Brownielocks.com includes Pull Your Couch Off the Wall Month in her list of February observances. Granted, February is a short month, but does one really need an entire month to accomplish this?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

International Holocaust Remembrance Day


The United Nations designates January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

It was on January 27, 1945 that the death camp at Auschwitz was liberated from the Nazis by the advancing Red Army.

On January 27, 1967, three American astronauts, Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee, were killed in the Apollo 1 fire. The trio had been scheduled to make Apollo's first manned flight in February.

We're supposed to mention that Sunday will also be National Chocolate Cake Day, but we won't. It just doesn't seem to fit.

Friday, January 25, 2013

January 26 is Spouses' Day

Photo by Keven Law, obtained from Wikipedia.
Some wise guy on our crack research staff thought that today's Opposite Day celebration would tie in quite nicely with the January 26 celebration of Spouses' Day.

And then a second said he thought there was another tie-in: In addition to Spouses' Day, today is Bald Eagle Appreciation Day. If your spouse is a bald eagle, he said, there's some real celebration symmetry on Saturday.

Harrumph, we say.

And harrumph again.

Anyone can see that bald eagles are not particularly bald.

Some of the Usual Suspects say Spouses' Day is also Military Spouses' Day. We'll salute that instead.

Saturday will also be Lotus 1-2-3 Day -- the 30th anniversary, in fact, of the January 26, 1983 release of Lotus 1-2-3, the first really big PC spreadsheet program. (And it ran on IBM clones, too!)

January 26 is also Australia Day in Australia and Republic Day in India.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Opposites attract?

If you believe that they do, Friday may be your day: Most of the Usual Suspects proclaim January 25 as National Opposite Day.

We should note, as a public service, that Usual Suspect Gone-ta-pott.com places National Compliment Day on the 25th, not on the 24th like most of the other Usual Suspects.

Nevertheless, Gone-ta-pott.com is with the majority on Opposite Day. But... wouldn't this render any compliment received on the 25th suspect? Might it not mean the opposite of what it seems to say?

We strongly encourage the Usual Suspects to think these things through more carefully.

The Jewish holiday, Tu B'Shevat, begins at sundown Friday. Tu B'Shevat marks the new year for trees. Why trees need their own new year is beyond the scope of The Blog of Days. If you're curious, contact your friendly neighborhood rabbi.

Robert Burns (image from Wikipedia).
The Scots celebrate Burns Night on Friday evening. Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland, was born on January 25, 1759. Even if you think you've never heard o' Robbie Burns, you've heard his poem (and song) "Auld Lang Syne." Probably just a few weeks ago, remember?

The Scots may want to eat haggis tomorrow. Let them. We think a sip of a nice scotch would be more than sufficient.

A few of the Usual Suspects also mention that Friday will be A Room of One's Own Day. This doesn't sound like a particularly social observance to us.

According to Usual Suspect History.com, Thailand declared war on the United States and Great Britain on January 25, 1942. The Thais had hopes of gaining territory in China and French Indochina. Those ambitions pushed Thailand toward the Axis camp.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January 24: Peanut butter and beer cans

Thursday, January 24 marks the annual celebration of National Peanut Butter Day and Beer Can Appreciation Day.

We could not ascertain why beer cans, as opposed to beer bottles, for example, are singled out for tribute tomorrow. We don't suppose beer drinkers will be overly concerned; an excuse is an excuse.

On the other hand, Thursday is also Women's Healthy Weight Day and National Compliment Day. While these two observances don't dovetail easily with the first two listed, the possibilities for combining these two should be obvious to even the most clueless males.

Entirely on its own, however, is Talk Like A Grizzled Prospector Day. Some of the Usual Suspects add this to the list of observances on January 24. If you go around talking like a grizzled prospector, you too will be entirely on your own.

The Roman Emperor Caligula was assassinated by his own guards on January 24, A.D. 41.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January 23 is National Pie Day

Image obtained from the American Pie Council.
Wednesday, January 23 is National Pie Day. Must more be said?

Well, January 23 is also Handwriting Day. Handwriting is just about a lost art, isn't it? But, on Wednesday, take the time to hand write a letter to a friend or relation. Send it regular post (postage rates don't go up until later this month). But keep a copy of what you wrote -- just in case the person to whom you send the letter can't read it.

And it's probably only coincidence but, speaking of bad handwriting, January 23 is also the anniversary of milestone in American medicine: On January 23, 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to receive a medical degree in America (from Geneva Medical College in upstate New York, a school that survives today as SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse).

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 22 is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Ultrasound image from Week 14 of pregnancy (12 weeks
from conception) obtained from Parents.com.
This is not offered as an occasion for celebration, but rather as a sober fact. You can read the Supreme Court's January 22, 1973 opinion here.

History will point to Roe as one of the causes of our seemingly endless, and oh-so-divisive 'Culture Wars.' Legal scholars on all sides of the abortion question have criticized Roe, as this snippet from the Wikipedia entry on the case shows (footnotes removed):
In a highly-cited 1973 article in the Yale Law Journal, Professor John Hart Ely criticized Roe as a decision which "is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be." Ely added: "What is frightening about Roe is that this super-protected right is not inferable from the language of the Constitution, the framers’ thinking respecting the specific problem in issue, any general value derivable from the provisions they included, or the nation’s governmental structure." Professor Laurence Tribe had similar thoughts: "One of the most curious things about Roe is that, behind its own verbal smokescreen, the substantive judgment on which it rests is nowhere to be found." Liberal law professors Alan Dershowitz, Cass Sunstein, and Kermit Roosevelt have also expressed disappointment with Roe.
Years ago Sandra Day O'Connor famously observed that Roe v. Wade was on a collision course with itself. City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, Inc., 462 U.S. 416, 458 (1983) (O'Connor, J., dissenting). The Roe standard of 'viability' or 'quickening' is undermined every day in neonatal intensive care centers around the country: In a modern hospital, teams of doctors and nurses can work heroically to save a tiny, profoundly premature infant, even as colleagues down the hall 'terminate' a more developed, but unwanted 'fetus.'

Some of the Usual Suspects note that Celebrate Life Day is observed on January 22. We can get behind that.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Monday is Inauguration Day and the King Holiday. What else?

Graphic from Usual Suspect Holiday Insights.
Well, we think it's nuts, but several of the Usual Suspects proclaim Monday Squirrel Appreciation Day.

We are more inclined to think of squirrels as rats with furry tails. This harsh assessment is based on bitter experience. The Curmudgeon wrote about an up-close-and-personal encounter with a squirrel in a 2007 essay on Second Effort, "A squirrel comes to visit." It was not a social occasion.

Monday, January 21 is also National Hugging Day. Here is another microminiholidayette fraught with peril: It may be nice to remember to hug your loved ones today, but please do not try and celebrate with random strangers (or squirrels).

Safer by far to watch and enjoy the festivities in Washington. If you're in Washington, D.C. on Monday, be sure to resist the urge to hug any Secret Service Agents you happen to encounter. They will not appreciate your gesture.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 20 may be Penguin Awareness Day

Illustration from Wikipedia.
Several of the Usual Suspects assert that Sunday, January 20 is Penguin Awareness Day, but Gonetapott.com dissents, claiming that today is really Penguin Awareness Day. You can celebrate penguins today and tomorrow, therefore, if you're worried about missing out.

We wouldn't worry about offending any penguins either way; penguins presumably are aware of themselves on all days.

Sunday is also National Cheese Lovers Day, National Camcorder Day, and National DJ Day.

Nathan Birnbaum (you may remember him better as "George Burns" -- or, possibly, "God") was born on January 20, 1896.

DeForest Kelley, the actor who portrayed Dr. McCoy in the original Star Trek series was born on January 20, 1920. And Tom Baker, who portrayed Dr. Who on the BBC from 1974 to 1981, was born on January 20, 1934.

Friday, January 18, 2013

January 19 is Tin Can Day but we don't know why

Our crack research staff, still very much in the doghouse over the Women in Blue Jeans incident, seems to have made a sincere effort but, despite that, we can't determine why today should be designated as Tin Can Day.

But most of the Usual Suspects say that Saturday will in fact be Tin Can Day and we can find no compelling reason to overrule them.

We can find that a British merchant, Peter Durand, received a patent for the tin can in 1810 -- but on August 25 of that year. And Wikipedia reports that Durand is not the actual inventor of the tin can, nor did he claim to be. According to Wikipedia, Durand's patent application "clearly mentions that the idea of the invention was communicated to him more than a year ago by a friend abroad." Wikipedia says the "foreign friend" was a French inventor, Philippe de Girard, but this 1937 article from Modern Mechanix says that credit for developing the idea of the tin can should go to a different Frenchman, Nicholas Appert.

Thomas Kensett got the American patent for tin cans in 1825 -- but we haven't been able to find exactly when that patent was issued.

We did find out that, these days at least, "tin cans" aren't made of tin; they're made of tin-plated steel or aluminum.

January 19 is also National Popcorn Day. If you're lucky, your neighborhood tap provides complimentary popcorn at the bar or even in the booths. That seems worth celebrating -- and there's no controversy about that.

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Tin can image obtained from Wikipedia.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

No matter how many ways you say it, January 18 is Thesaurus Day

Thesaurus Day is observed on the anniversary of the birth (in 1779) of Peter Mark Roget, the originator of Roget's Thesaurus.

A.A. Milne was born on January 18, 1882. That's why January 18 is also Winnie the Pooh Day, in honor Milne's famous, and always famished, creation.

And Daniel Webster, a lion of the Senate when the U.S. Senate had lions, not louses, was born on January 18, 1782.

Webster was famously portrayed by Edward Arnold in the 1941 movie, The Devil and Daniel Webster. The movie was based on a short story, published in the 1930s, by Stephen Vincent Benét. Walter Huston, father of John, grandfather of Anjelica, played the other title character.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

If you regularly go to the gym, but have been avoiding it because of the New Year's Resolution crowd....

...January 17 may be the day it's safe to return.

According to most of the Usual Suspects, Thursday is Ditch New Year's Resolutions Day, the day by which most people -- despite their good intentions -- finally give up on their New Year's resolutions.

There's probably a mountain of research out there to back this claim up, but none of the Usual Suspects cite to it, nor did our crack research staff find any when we asked them to look.

Instead, our crack research staff reported that, according to Usual Suspect Brownielocks.com Thursday is Women in Blue Jeans Day, an observance tied to the 10th Annual Women in Blue Jeans Conference, starting January 17 in Mitchell, South Dakota. The Women in Blue Jeans website states that "Women in Blue Jeans is presented each year by a group of dedicated volunteer women to provide education, inspiration, and networking opportunities to women of rural America."

Sensing a trap, we did inquire why the research staff wanted to promote this particular observance -- and received a sheaf of tasteless jokes about the farmer's daughter.

We have scheduled the research staff for consciousness-raising classes, beginning immediately.

The proponents of Hot-Buttered Rum Day (observed on January 17) claim no particular tie to Ben Franklin. On the other hand, Ben probably quaffed a few in his day, perhaps in celebration of his birthday.

And, yes, Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706. Even though Ben was no kid when he did most of his famous inventing, Kid Inventors Day is celebrated each year on Ben's birthday. Why?

It seems Franklin is credited with inventing a "swim fin" when he was a lad of 12 or so, a predecessor of the modern swim flipper (although the Wikipedia entry for swim fin suggests that Franklin should share credit for this achievement with Leonardo da Vinci and Giovanni Alfonso Borelli and particularly with a Frenchman, Louis de Corlieu, who demonstrated a practical working model of the modern swim fin in 1914 and began mass producing them in 1939.

There are a number of other notable natal days today, but we don't wish to tax your patience. However, Al Capone was born on January 17, 1899 and, if he had paid his taxes, he might have truly gotten away with murder.

And Betty White, once again an overnight sensation, turns 91 on January 17.

And, finally, on January 17, 1961, a crazed radical gave a televised speech warning of the growth of a military-industrial complex in this country. Specifically, this dangerous troublemaker warned:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Oh, wait. The speaker was outgoing President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Maybe we should have paid more attention.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January 16 is National Nothing Day, especially if you're an atheist

According to nearly all the Usual Suspects, Wednesday will be National Nothing Day, a day that really has nothing to do with anything. In other words, it doesn't specifically have nothing to do with religion because, if it did, then it would be a day that had to do with something even if those observing it didn't believe in it, or, rather, believed in the Nothing they were observing instead of the Something they were trying to ignore.

Confused?

Don't be. The reason we mentioned atheists in particular as likely to celebrate National Nothing Day on Wednesday has to do with the fact that Wednesday is also Religious Freedom Day, marking the 227th anniversary of the enactment, by the Virginia Legislature, of Thomas Jefferson's Statute for Religious Freedom.

Although... a smart atheist would be in favor of religious freedom because the right to choose one's religion necessarily includes the right to choose no religion at all.

But atheists hate to be preached at... so let's change the subject.

Wednesday will also be Appreciate a Dragon Day, International Hot & Spicy Food Day, and the 75th anniversary of Benny Goodman's Carnegie Hall Concert.

The Carnegie Hall website notes that the concert was important in social history as well as the history of music because it was one "of the first public concerts to feature a racially integrated group."

Count Basie appeared as a guest on the program, and members of Duke Ellington's band also sat in.

And the drum solo on Sing, Sing, Sing inspired a generation of imitators -- on rock 'n' roll records in the 1960s.

Our crack research staff also wanted to mention that, on January 16, 1581, the British Parliament outlawed Roman Catholicism -- but that would get us back into that whole religious freedom thing again, so we'll skip it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The first Super Bowl was played XLVI years ago, on January 15, 1967

Image obtained from this source.

Yes, kids, many years ago, the Super Bowl was actually played in January. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in that very first contest, XXXV-X. (Super Bowl XLVII won't be played this year until February III.)

The linked article, from Usual Suspect History.com, explains that the first "Super Bowl" was not even known by that name, not then, not officially. (The "Super Bowl" moniker did not become official until 1969, when Joe Willie Namath surprised the world by backing up his prediction in Super Bowl III.)

Neither does the linked article mention when the NFL first sued anyone for trying to use the name "Super Bowl" in an unauthorized commercial context -- but that's why TV, beer and chip sales in the next few weeks will merely urge you to get ready for the "Big Game."

And, although the Super Bowl is the super-duper-colossal-stupendous now, the first game wasn't even a sellout. On the other hand, according to History.com, each member of the winning Packers squad received $15,000 -- "the largest single-game share in the history of team sports."

Times really have changed.

Tuesday will also be National Strawberry Ice Cream Day.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. His birthday will be observed, however, next Monday, January 21. Some of the Usual Suspects proclaim January 15 Humanitarian Day in honor of Dr. King's actual natal day.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

National Dress Up Your Pet Day

Image from funnydogsite.com
As microminiholidayettes go, we will concede only that celebrating National Dress Up Your Pet Day is slightly less awful than Bendict Arnold's Birthday -- and, yes, the arch-traitor was born on January 14, 1741.

Our crack research staff notes, however, that the Continental Congress ratified the peace treaty with Great Britain on January 14, 1784, thus officially ending the American Revolutionary War. This can be celebrated (some of the Usual Suspects point out) as Ratification Day.

We would recommend Ratification Day as Monday's excuse for celebration, or even National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day or Caesarean Section Day (and both of these also fall on Monday) -- anything, really, just not National Dress Up Your Pet Day.

Unless you've got piranhas. Yes, that might be interesting.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

January 13 is Rubber Ducky Day

Sometimes we here at the Blog of Days wonder why the proponents of all these various microminiholidayettes don't get together and look for ways to cross promote.

Just about all the Usual Suspects proclaim Sunday, January 13 as Rubber Ducky Day (a/k/a Rubber Duckie Day) -- but why wasn't this scheduled for Tuesday the 8th -- on Bubble Bath Day?

Wouldn't that be a natural fit? Don't they call that synergy in MBA school?

Anyway, extra credit points go to Usual Suspect Brownielocks.com for linking to the lyrics of the Sesame Street Rubber Duckie Song.

Our crack research staff (yes, they're finally back, if a bit worse for wear) found this YouTube video of Ernie singing the Rubber Duckie Song. Since it appears to have been posted by Sesame Street itself, chances are it may remain on line, too.



Go ahead, sing along. You have the link to the lyrics in case you've forgotten any of them....

If you're allergic to water or something, you can always celebrate Public Radio Day on Sunday. The reason it will be Public Radio Day is that the first public radio broadcast took place on January 13, 1910 -- 103 years ago. The first broadcast was from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Enrico Caruso was among the performers in that very first broadcast.

Friday, January 11, 2013

January 12 is National Pharmacists Day

A pharmacist can make a decent living.
Saturday, January 12, is National Pharmacists Day.

Yes, this is so even in states without medical marijuana laws.

Saturday is the day to salute your neighborhood pill pushers -- but only the legal ones, please!

On January 12, 1986, a Congressman was blasted into space. This might have set a useful precedent, and possibly a cure for our current national legislative difficulties, except it was only one Congressman... and he came back safely.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

January 11 is for milk and puddles

Original artwork by Scott Moore
According to several of the Usual Suspects, Friday, January 11 is Milk Day, and there's even general agreement as to why: The first deliveries of milk in glass bottles occurred on January 11, 1878.

Most of you looking at this post are now confused.

Milk was delivered? In glass bottles?

Yes, kids, it's true: Milk didn't always come in waxy cardboard cartons or plastic bottles. It used to come in glass bottles, brought to one's door by the milkman, early in the morning. If you didn't beat the milkman home, you had basically stayed out all night.

More of you may be familiar with one of today's alternate celebrations, National Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friend Day, although that seems like a mean thing to do to one's supposed friend.

Usual Suspect Punchbowl.com seems to have a better suggestion in National Hot Toddy Day. Perhaps the most famous Surgeon General's report ever was released on January 11, 1964, Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States. Some of the Usual Suspects therefore proclaim today Cigarettes are Hazardous to Your Health Day.

And on January 11, 1973, Major League Baseball adopted the designated hitter rule for the American League. This marked the first time in history that the American and National Leagues would play by different rules. The linked article from Usual Suspect History.com calls the DH rule "the biggest rule change in major league baseball since 1903, when it was decided that foul balls would be considered strikes." Originally implemented for a three-year trial run, we have now arrived at the 40th anniversary of the DH rule, an innovation (or contagion, depending on your point of view) that has now spread to almost all levels of organized baseball except the National League.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January 10: Bittersweet chocolate, peculiar people and houseplants

Thursday will be Bittersweet Chocolate Day, Peculiar People Day, and Houseplant Appreciation Day.

Houseplant Appreciation Day is presumably a different microminiholidayette than Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day, which was celebrated July 27 (You may recall that there was some controversy about whether one was expected to take one's plants or one's pants for a walk that day. We guessed that one should presumably walk with one's pants as a matter of course, except perhaps in nudist colonies or parts of San Francisco.) But, anyway, you don't have to carry your plants anywhere today, you need merely appreciate them. And give them a little water, too. Aren't they looking droopy?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

January 9 is "Play God Day"

And Wednesday will also be Static Electricity Day. Kind of sets up a sense of scale, doesn't it?

A miffed Greek god was believed able to hurl a thunderbolt down from Olympus and incinerate some mortal miscreant. A play god, like you might try to be on Play God Day, could shuffle your shoes on the carpet and then try and touch someone... making a teeny-tiny, itty-bitty thunderbolt between your pointing finger and your victim's neck.

Unless you're the boss at work, you don't know beans about playing God. And if you are the boss at work, stop playing God and try being a better manager.

Wednesday is also the 220th anniversary of the first manned balloon flight in America. On January 9, 1793, French aeronaut Jean Pierre Blanchard ascended in a hydrogen balloon from a Philadelphia prison yard. George Washington was among the notables in attendance to see Blanchard off. The President even gave Blanchard a note, a 'passport,' which proved quite handy to Blanchard as he tried to explain (in French) to confused New Jersey farmers who he was and how he had dropped out of the sky. With Washington's letter in hand, once someone literate was found, Blanchard was even able to secure passage for himself and his balloon back to Philadelphia in time to pay a call on the President that same evening.

Monday, January 7, 2013

January 8 is Bubble Bath Day

Photo obtained from this source.
We here at The Blog of Days do not have any recommendations as to how you might celebrate Bubble Bath Day at the neighborhood tap, at least not without causing a scandal.

But Tuesday will also be Earth's Rotation Day, a day on which you can contemplate the fact that you're living on a ball revolving in space, orbiting an ongoing star that is itself revolving around the center of a galaxy that it is itself... well, you get the idea. Have enough barley pops tonight at the local and you'll see and feel the Earth revolving as you try and step down from the bar stool.

January 8 is also Show and Tell at Work Day. It would probably not be advisable to bring a picture of yourself in a bubble bath to show off at work.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Remember how we told you that Christmas was finally over?

Well... actually January 7 will be Orthodox Christmas. The Orthodox Church never accepted the Gregorian calendar. There was a move, in the 1920s, to adopt a revised Julian calendar but only some Orthodox Churches have adopted it.

The discrepancy between the Julian and Gregorian calendars has now grown to the point were January 7 will be December 25 under the old system -- thus, Orthodox Christmas.

January 7 is also Old Rock Day. This does not refer to music popular among young people in the 1950s or 1960s but rather to rocks in the ground.

We don't know why Monday has been designated Old Rock Day. If Old Rock Day had been scheduled for January 4, we might have supposed it was a poke-in-the-eye salute to Anglican Bishop James Ussher, who was born on January 4, 1581.

Bishop Ussher would not have celebrated Old Rock Day. He didn't think any rocks were particularly old. He's the fellow who calculated that the world was created by God on the night preceding October 23, 4004 B.C.

Monday will also be Harlem Globetrotters Day. The Harlem Globetrotters played their first game on January 7, 1927. But they didn't play that game in Harlem. Actually, the Globetrotters were formed on the South Side of Chicago; according to Wikipedia, the Globetrotters didn't play their first 'home' game in Harlem until 1968.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Feast of the Epiphany, Three Kings, Little Christmas

Image of Giotto's Adoration of the Magi obtained from NASA.
Why NASA? You can follow the link, of course,
but the comet in the picture provides something of a clue, yes?
All of these titles refer to the same event -- the visit of the Magi to the Holy Family. In some countries, the celebrations on Epiphany Eve are referred to as Twelfth Night. Yes, that's also the name of a Shakespeare play, written (according to Wikipedia) as a Twelfth Night celebration.

Liturgically, the Christmas season drags on until February 2, the Feast of the Presentation, but Three Kings Day marks the traditional end of the Christmas season. In other words, you can take down your decorations today -- but neither your spouse nor your neighbors can give you the stinkeye about leaving the decorations up even if you let them linger into February. It all depends on how much you like subsidizing the electric utility in your area.

In Latin America, Three Kings Day was traditionally the day on which gifts were given, just as the Magi brought their gifts to the Child. We'd ask our crack research staff about whether this is still the case... but they're still missing.

If you insist on something else to celebrate on January 6, Usual Suspects Gone-ta-pott.com and Hallmark overrule Brownielocks.com and put Bean Day on Sunday instead of Saturday. Well, even the link that Brownielocks provided wasn't sure whether Bean Day should have been on the 5th or 6th.

We are more certain that Sunday will be Apple Tree Day and National Shortbread Day.

Harold Godwineson was crowned King Harold II of England on January 6, 1066. It didn't work out so well for him.

Friday, January 4, 2013

January 5 is the 12th Day of Christmas

And Saturday will also be National Bird Day.

National Bird Day is neither a day to take a feathered friend to lunch nor a day to have a feathered friend for lunch. The linked site seems more pitched to bird watching and conservation.

Saturday will also be National Whipped Cream Day and, according to Usual Suspect Brownielocks.com, Bean Day. Usual Suspect American Greetings suggests that Saturday is also Get on the Computer Day. If you're reading this, you've probably already accomplished the goal of Get on the Computer Day. Unless you're reading this on your smartphone, we suppose.

Usual Suspect Gone-ta-pott.com says that Saturday will also be National Second Hand Wardrobe Day. This makes sense: You've got your new clothes for Christmas -- time to bundle up those usable old ones and send them off to Goodwill or Sally's.

Sally's, you ask?

We have heard that persons who have shopped at the Salvation Army stores will sometimes call them "Sally's," as if they were a department store chain (and Wikipedia appears to back this up). We'd ask our crack research staff for more information... but they're still AWOL.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

January 4 -- the 11th Day of Christmas

Bobby Vinton a/k/a The Polish Prince
In addition to being the 11th Day of Christmas (no, it's not over yet), January 4 is also Trivia Day and, perhaps for that reason, most of the microminiholidayettes for today are pretty trivial indeed.

Our crack research staff is still missing from their New Year's 'investigation,' but there may be a link between Friday's observance of Pop Music Chart Day and the fact that 49 years ago, on January 4, 1964, Bobby Vinton, the Polish Prince, scored the last #1 hit prior to the start of the Beatles Era with "There I've Said It Again." (Usual Suspect History.com gets the title of the song wrong... but nobody's perfect.)

Friday will also be National Spaghetti Day and National Hypnotism Day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January 3 -- the 10th Day of Christmas

According to a clear plurality of the Usual Suspects, January 3 will Drinking Straw Day. It has something to do with the patent issued to Marvin Stone for the drinking straw on this date in 1888. The linked Wikipedia article appears to confirm the broad outlines of the story.

Why anyone would think this event worthy of celebration, however, escapes us entirely.

Martin Luther was excommunicated on January 3, 1521.

And on January 3, 1861, slave-holding Delaware elected not to secede from the United States.

Usual Suspect Hallmark says January 3 is also Humiliation Day. There are presumably a great many other days that might deserve this dubious distinction; presumably it varies greatly from individual to individual. Hallmark offers particular reason for fixing tomorrow as the one and only Humiliation Day, although, perhaps, it might be reasonably tied to your standing in the office football bowl pool.

Maybe we should reconsider our initial opposition to encouraging the celebration of Drinking Straw Day.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

On the Eighth and Ninth Days of Christmas... and the First Days of 2013

Our New Year's resolution here at The Blog of Days is to work a day ahead this year -- to give you suggestions on Monday about how you can best celebrate on Tuesday.

Most New Year's resolutions fail miserably, of course, but we'll do the best we can....


You pretty much ought to know what today is. At least you should be able to figure it out when your head clears a little.

We asked our crack research department tin investigate why so many of us want to usher in the new year in a drunken stupor. They said they'd do some field research and report back... and we haven't heard from them since.

Checking through their scribbled notes, we did find out that January 1 did not become New Year's Day until 45 B.C., when Julius Caesar adopted the Julian calendar. And gave himself the month of July.

Putting Rome on a solar, as opposed to lunar, calendar had potentially far-reaching political implications in Rome: As the calendar drifted out of sync with the seasons, Roman priests and politicians would insert months or take them out -- or add days on which no interest might be charged -- or lengthen the reign of the year's consuls.

Unfortunately, Julius Caesar (who was both politician and priest -- he was pontifex maximus) made himself dictator for life and got himself assassinated, thereby effectively ending the Roman Republic, so the Republic was never able to reap whatever benefits there might have been in having new years of equal length.

The Julian calendar long outlived its patron, surviving until the refinements made by Pope Gregory XIII. We told you something about this back in October.

Now let's move on to January 2.

January 2 is not just the ninth day of Christmas, it's also Science Fiction Day -- and we were able to find out the reason even though the crack research staff has gone missing.

Iaasac Asimov was born on this date in 1920.

Perhaps.

If you check out Wikipedia's biographical sketch of Dr. Asimov, you'll learn that Asimov admitted that his real birthday might have been as early as October 4, 1919.

The confusion can be traced to fading memories, confusion about the application of the traditional Jewish lunar calendar and even something about the changeover between the Julian and Gregorian calendars in Asimov's native Russia (which occurred later there than in most parts of the world -- see how these things tie together?), but the point is that Asimov celebrated his birth on January 2 and that's a more than adequate tie-in for Science Fiction Day.

Without any apparent trace of irony, Usual Suspect Brownielocks.com notes that today is both National Buffet Day and National Personal Trainer Awareness Day.

You really shouldn't try to celebrate both of these tomorrow.