JANUARY 28-February 3
By Gideon Tyree
- Monday: Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day Mondays are always stressful, but a surefire way to relieve that stress is by popping bubble wrap. Though it started life as a humble packing material, bubble wrap has been used for all kinds of purposes–from budget security systems (lay it on the floor and listen for an intruder to step on it) to the costume of an alien parasite on The Ark in Space, an episode of Doctor Who–but its most popular use is as catharsis. There is something oddly satisfying about popping a plastic bubble. The day itself was supposedly started when a Bloomington, Indiana, radio station unpackaged several new microphones, accidentally broadcasting the sound of popping bubble wrap on live radio. National* Kazoo Day The kazoo was invented in the 1840s by Alabama Vest and created by clockmaker Thaddeus Von Clegg, and it has been delighting people ever since. A band calling themselves the Kazoo Queens even made it onto America’s Got Talen. As for me, I am ashamed to admit that it was only last year that I found out that I had been playing the wrong end of my kazoo.
- Tuesday: National* Puzzle Day In our first edition of Holidays This Week, we covered the anniversary of the first crossword puzzle, but this week we have a holiday that celebrates puzzles of all types. Just watch out for those people who hide the last puzzle piece; some of them are pretty determined. (I’ve hidden the last piece somewhere they’ll never expect, heh heh. Wait, don’t flush!!)
- Wednesday: National* Inane Answering Message Day Do you have a pointless, confusing, or annoying answering message? () This holiday was created by the people at Wellcat.com, who were so tired of this kind of answering message that they copyrighted a day dedicated to changing or deleting these kinds of messages from your answering machine. Of course, with the popularity of cell phones, answering machines in general are becoming rarer and rarer. (Answering machines? That’s what cavemen used with their smoke-signals back in prehistory, like 1980, right?) Nevertheless, you can still celebrate this day by calling some automated numbers with comical answering messages, like 401-285-0696, how to keep an idiot entertained, or the Hogwarts hotline, at 413-497-0167. I’m still waiting for my owl to arrive with my acceptance letter, but wait on me. Celebrate Inane Answering Message Day today! Just watch out for dementors. (What, that thing was trying to suck out my soul? I thought it just had bad breath. That’s why I gave it the number for the Bad Breath Hotline…)
- Thursday: Backward Day .drawckab–ytivitca rehto yna ro ,gnitirw ,gniklat ,gniklaw–gnihtyreve gnoid rof yad a si sihT .2691 ,13 yraunaJ no dleh saw ,ttocS ylimE nageM dna relliM elociN haraS fo noitaerc eht ,yaD drawckaB tsrif ehT
- Friday: No Politics Day Many people get “politics fatigue syndrome” (I’m still waiting for my letter of recognition from the WHO), especially with all the recent talk of government shutdowns and the like. (Too bad the school board isn’t considered a “non-essential agency.”) That is why Bob Matthews created a holiday for us all to take a break from all the mudslinging, though pigs would beg to differ. Although, one does wonder what talk-show hosts are supposed to do.
- Saturday: Candelmas Candlemas, or the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary, is a Catholic holiday that marks the end of the Christmas season. It is the supposed date that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was taken to the temple for a purification process, as was traditionally given forty days after the birth of a son and sixty after the birth of a daughter; although it has been argued that Jesus was actually born in the spring. This is also the day on which the candles used in Catholic churches are ceremonially blessed, which gives it its common name. The only thing I can think of when I hear about Candlemas, though, is a bizarre dream I had involving Canadian T.V. show Corner Gas, the Great Wall of China, Candlemas, and toilet paper with heat-sensitive invisible ink. But that’s a story for another time. Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day This seems like a great idea until you start to think about it. Ice cream in this weather?! Who thought that was a good idea?! Ground Hog Day I feel like I’ve written this article before…
- Sunday: Feed the Birds Day This holiday is for the birds. Many birds have trouble finding food in the harsh winter, so this day was started to encourage sympathetic individuals to hang a bird-feeder in their backyards. The birds will thank you as they swallow the seeds you leave. But beware! Squirrels may decide that toucan play at that game and start robin you blind as they mock (-ing bird) your efforts and make your avians into blue birds. But if you take the proper precautionary measures, a bird-feeder can provide great fun for you and the neighborhood birds without ruffling any feathers.
By Gideon Tyree
And you thought you were done with holidays for the rest of the year. Little did you know that every day is a holiday. Bwhahahahahah!
- Monday: National* Dress Up Your Pet Day
- Tuesday: National* Hat Day Knock, knock. Who’s there? Fedora. Fedora who? Fedora is locked so I had to knock. Wear your most interesting hat today and feel like you’re on top (hat) of the world. You could wear a cowboy hat or a stovepipe hat or, my personal favorite, a mog. The story goes that my grandmother was asked by a fellow shopper in a clothing store, “Where are the tobbogans?” Being hard of hearing, she thought he said mogs. “Mogs?!” she exclaimed, “Are they wearing them nowdays?!” To this day, we still refer to hats as mogs. Hats off to National Hat Day!
- Wednesday: National* Nothing Day The less said, the better.
- Thursday: Ditch New Years Resolutions Day This holiday hits too close to home for many of us. But why wait until the seventeeth? I ditched my resolution while it was still 2018.
- Friday: Thesauras Day We all know the old joke about someone thinking a thesauras is a type of dinosaur, but I know people who don’t even know what a dinoaur is. (What? Dina is sore?! I’d better send her a get well soon card.) In actuality, a thesauras is a book which lists synonyms for words. This day is a great oppurtunity to read your thesauras and learn some new words, because a mind is a terrible thing to garbage.
- Saturday: National* Tin Can Day Can a match box? No, but a tin can. While the commonplace tin can may seem a silly thing to dedicate an entire day to, tin cans are one of the most important inventions in history. They revolutionized the storage and transportation of food. It is unlikely that our civilization would have progressed so quickly if we were still trasnporting and storing food in cumbersome barrels. Today is the 194th anniversary of the patent for the tin can being issued to Ezra Daggett and Thomas Kensett, though they were not the original inventors. Despite their historical importance, my grandmother isn’t particularly impressed with tin cans. No matter what restaurant she goes to, whether the dish is mashed potatoes or a whole roast turkey, her dissaproving comment is always, “I bet they just poured that out of a can!”
- Sunday: Penguin Awareness Day Who isn’t aware of penguins? Of course, after a recent Pawprints survey, I shouldn’t be suprised. Penguins, the world’s most loved flightless birds (sorry, ostriches), are of course the stars of many jokes (What did the penguin tell the waiter? Put it on my bill.), as well as having a D.C. supervillian named after them. My Dad wanted to share his childhood with me, so I grew up watching Batman battle the dapper Penguin on the old Batman T.V. show. Unfortunately, some people’s education stopped there. For example, poor Tommy joined the Air Force but went down with his plane because he couldn’t find an emergency umbrella.
By Gideon Tyree
Everyone (except Scrooge) is excited for Christmas next Tuesday. However, there are some lesser known holidays out there that you could be celebrating this week. For example, last Sunday I enjoyed a holiday I’m sure we can all get behind–National Chocolate Covered Anything Day. Delicious! In fact, this week seems to have a food theme.
- Monday: National* Maple Syrup Day This is another holiday for your sweet tooth. National Maple Syrup Day celebrates that great American treat. No, not apple pie. No, not hot-dogs. No, not…IT’S MAPLE SYRUP! Why do you think its called National Maple Syrup Day?! People all over the country are celebrating today by dousing everything they eat in maple syrup. Christmas may be as slow as molasses, but Maple Syrup Day is here today.
- Tuesday: Bake Cookies Day The name says it all. What’s not to love? Besides having to actually bake, that is. National* Roast Suckling Pig Day Suckling pig, the meat of a young piglet that has yet to be weaned from its mother, has long been considered a delicacy due to its tenderness and has been associated with the Christmas feast. Apparently, someone liked it so much that they decided it deserved its own day. It typically takes two days to prepare this dish, so you would probably be better off eating out. Just make sure you don’t squeal at the prices.
- Wednesday: Look for an Evergreen Day Although this may seem like an odd holiday in this modern world of artificial trees, many people still celebrate Christmas with a real tree. However, traditionally, Christmas trees have been picked out and brought home on “Christmas Tree Sunday”, either the first or second Sunday of December. Don’t bark up the wrong tree! Oak-ay, oak-ay, I’ll leaf well enough alone. Oatmeal Muffin Day I must admit that I had never heard of oatmeal muffins before now, but apparently they are quite popular in certain circles. Celebrate Oatmeal Muffin Day with this recipe: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/oatmeal-muffins-2717971
- Thursday: Go Caroling Day When was the last time you heard caroling? Once a popular Christmas pastime, caroling is seen more and more as uncool and outdated, although “slip-and-fall” accident lawyers have been known to sing “Let it Snow.” And suspicious homeowners are likely to answer calls of “Bring us some figgy pudding,” with, “What’s this figgy pudding? Is this some kind of scam? None of you happen to be Nigerian royalty, do you?” Nevertheless, if you look, you will find nursing homes, hospitals, etc. that would love for you to come caroling. So go caroling today; just make sure your audience is paying attention. (Sleigh bells ring/are you listening/NO, I HAVE EARBUDS IN!)
- Friday: Crossword Puzzle Day On this day in 1913, the first crossword puzzle, created by Arthur Wynne (1871-1945), appeared in the New York World newspaper. 105 years later, crossword puzzles still appear regularly in many newspapers and even have their own books. Puzzling, isn’t it? Humbug Day Do you ever feel stressed out by the pressure to be cheerful and festive for the entire month of December? Named, of course, after the catchphrase of Ebenezer Scrooge, the miserly main character of Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol, Humbug day is your day to vent the frustrations and anxiety that preparing for Christmas so often brings. Personally, I’ve always wondered what a humbug is. I’ve heard of bugs that hiss and bugs that buzz, but I have yet to come across one that hums. Is there one that whistles too? Are they forming a band? They would be called the Beatles but they’re 58 years too late. Unfortunately, a humbug has nothing to do with long-haired insects. The word humbug is defined as nonsense or something intended to deceive. It is also British slang for hard candies. So Scrooge was actually yelling about those candies your grandma always has. Who knew? Look on the Bright Side Day Ironically placed on the same day as Humbug Day, Look on the Bright Side Day is all about being optimistic and cheerful, the opposite of Humbug Day. It also shares today with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, so you literally can’t look on the bright side because it will be dark most of the day. Maybe it should be renamed irony day. National* Flashlight Day If Look on the Bright Side Day was ironic for the Winter Solstice, National Flashlight Day is quite fitting; you may need one today. While waving your flashlight around and pretending it is a light saber is an acceptable way to celebrate, the intended purpose of today is to promote having a spare flashlight and batteries in case of a power outage, which is much less fun. I was unable to find the creator of this day, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it was a flashlight manufacturing company.
- Saturday: National* Date Nut Bread Day Date nut bread, a staple of the Christmas season. Or is it an eraser of the Christmas season, or a letter opener, or a glue-stick? Filing cabinet? There is some disagreement over the correct date of this holiday. While the majority of sources report it as December 22nd, some sources claim that is celebrated on September 8th. So they’re arguing over the DATE.
- Sunday: Festivus Are you tired of being wished a merry Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Ramadan/holiday season? Then try Festivus, the December holiday for everyone. A satirical holiday introduced on an episode of the television series Seinfeld, Festivus has developed an actual following. The centerpiece of the festivities is a plain aluminum pole planted in the ground. A meatloaf supper is traditional, followed by “Feats of Strength” and an “Airing of Grievances” during which you tell someone all the things they did wrong during the previous year. Festivus, the festival for the rest of us! Roots Day No, it’s not a holiday celebrating the 1977 LeVar Burton miniseries or the recent remake. Roots day is a day devoted to genealogy, the study of one’s family tree. A surprising number of people have yet to experience the joys of genealogy; I know people who think that “tracing a bloodline” is how you track a deer that you have already shot. With genealogy, you may discover fascinating and famous ancestors, or you may shake your family tree and have a bunch of nuts fall out. You may discover that you are from hardy stock–or that your ancestors were perpetually in the stocks. I discovered that I am descended from one Tyree McDonald, who allegedly cut off his own thumb to plug a leak in his ship. Ironically, Tyree means “carpenter.” It sounds suspiciously like a legend, but at the same time, it also sounds like something one of my relatives would do.
*Though many holidays, especially food-related ones, claim to be national holidays, no proof was found to back up the claims of holidays marked with an asterisk. In order to be a true national holiday, either a presidential proclamation or an act of Congress is required.