Celebrate National Mutt Day in the USA on July 31 and December 2. This is a fun celebration of mixed breed dogs. Created in 2005 by celebrity pet and family life expert, Colleen Paige, National Mutt Day brings awareness to the plight of mixed breed dogs in shelters around the country and encourages people to adopt shelter dogs rather than buy “designer dogs” from puppy mills.
If you’re opening this post before you’ve gotten pranked – this is a reminder that today is April Fool’s Day! How did this “holiday” come about? I was curious, so I did some research and this is what I found out.
The history of April Fool’s Day or All Fool’s Day is uncertain, but the current thinking is that it began around 1582 in France with the reform of the calendar under Charles IX. The Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year’s Day was moved from March 25 – April 1 (new year’s week) to January 1.
Communication traveled slowly in those days and some people were only informed of the change several years later. Still others, who were more rebellious, refused to acknowledge the change and continued to celebrate on the last day of the former celebration, April 1.
These people were labeled “fools” by the general populace, were subject to ridicule and sent on “fool errands,” sent invitations to nonexistent parties and had other practical jokes played upon them. The butts of these pranks became known as a “poisson d’avril” or “April fish” because a young naive fish is easily caught. In addition, one common practice was to hook a paper fish on the back of someone as a joke.
This harassment evolved over time and a custom of prank-playing continue on the first day of April. This tradition eventually spread elsewhere like to Britain and Scotland in the 18th century and was introduced to the American colonies by the English and the French. Because of this spread to other countries, April Fool’s Day has taken on an international flavor with each country celebrating the holiday in its own way.
In Scotland April Fool’s Day is devoted to spoofs involving the buttocks and as such is called Taily Day. The butts of these jokes are known as April ‘Gowk’, another name for cuckoo bird. The origins of the “Kick Me” sign can be traced back to the Scottish observance.
In Ireland, a popular traditional joke is to entrust the victim with an “important letter” to be given to a named person. That person would then ask the victim to take it to someone else, and so on. The letter when finally opened contains the words “send the fool further.”
In England, jokes are played only in the morning. Fools are called ‘gobs’ or ‘gobby’ and the victim of a joke is called a ‘noodle.’ It was considered back luck to play a practical joke on someone after noon.
Norwegians, Danes and Swedes celebrate April Fools’ Day (aprilsnar in Danish) as well. Most news media outlets will publish exactly one false story on 1 April; for newspapers this will typically be a first-page article but not the top headline.
In Rome, the holiday is known as Festival of Hilaria, celebrating the resurrection of the god Attis, is on March 25 and is also referred to as “Roman Laughing Day.”
In Portugal, April Fool’s Day falls on the Sunday and Monday before lent. In this celebration, many people throw flour at their friends.
The Holi Festival is celebrated on March 31 in India. People play jokes on one another and smear colors on one another celebrating the arrival of Spring. ———————-
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The ongoing debate over toilet paper orientation seems to have been answered more than a century ago.
According to an 1891 patent by New York businessman Seth Wheeler, the end of a toilet paper roll should be on the front, or in the “over” position. Advocates of the “off-the-back” position, please take note and flip that roll over when you get home. The science has been settled, the guy who invented the stuff says so.
Mr. Wheeler, the man behind the Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Company, is also the reason we’re able to tear off perfect squares in the first place: Albany Perforated originally patented the idea for perforated “wrapping” paper (a more modest name for toilet paper) in 1871.
“My invention … consists in a roll of wrapping paper with perforations on the line of the division between one sheet and the next, so as to be easily torn apart, such roll of wrapping paper forming a new article of manufacture,” Wheeler’s 1871 parent read.
In the days of old, when listening to AM radio was a major part of American home entertainment, the sensitivity of your radio receiver was a source of great pride. Some people made a hobby of cruising the dial, especially at night, seeking out new, distant stations. When they found a new one they would listen for the station’s address, send a post card to that station with the day and time they were listening and something about the program content they heard. Upon receipt and verification, the station would send back a QSL Card. Each station had their own unique design. Some young folks collected these QSL cards like others collected baseball cards. I guess the QSL collectors were the geeks of the days of old. Any broadcasting station likes to know how far their signal reaches, so they like to get confirmation from distant listeners. Continue reading “QSL?”
Hand-forged nails were the first manufactured fasteners and they date back to Biblical times. As people first used hewn beams, timbers, planks, and whole logs to build with, the early hand-made versions were spikes. With the development of the split wood shingle, nails of about 1″ long came into use. When sawyers, and then sawmills, began cutting dimension lumber, the sizes and varieties greatly expanded. Thus, over time, nails developed in different sizes, shapes, and used different heads to fasten lumber and wood.
These fasteners have always been in demand. Some blacksmiths made only nails and they were called “Nailers.” Nails were so scarce (and expensive) in pre-1850 America that people would burn dilapidated buildings just to sift the ashes for nails. They did so because pulling the fasteners would have damaged most of them. After the nails were recovered, a blacksmith could easily straighten any nails that had been bent during construction. Continue reading “All About Nails”
Michaelmas, or The Feast of Michael and All Angels, is celebrated in Europe on the 29th of September. As it falls near the equinox, the day is associated with the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days; in England, it is one of the “quarter days”.
St Michael is one of the principal angelic warriors, protector against the dark of the night and the Archangel who fought against Satan and his evil angels. Michaelmas occurs at the time when the darker nights and colder days begin – the autumnal equinox – the celebration of Michaelmas is associated with encouraging protection during these dark months. It was believed that negative forces were stronger in darkness and so families would require stronger defenses during the late fall and winter months of the year.
Around the time of the fall equinox, Michaelmas marked the end of the harvesting season with great fairs and festivals. Traditional foods for Michaelmas include goose to bring prosperity, new wine, and cakes of oats, barley, rye, and carrots.
Once the harvest was in, farmers would pay their yearly rents to the landowners. Many farmers included “a goose fit for the lord’s dinner” with their rent payments. Especially if the tenants required a delay in payment, they may have placated their landlords with gifts of geese as interest. Continue reading “Happy Michaelmas Day”
Labor Day means different things to different people, just as many holidays do. It seems that to most people, most holidays mean a day off of work — and little more. I know very few people who actually spend any time reflecting on, much less celebrating the meaning of, most holidays. But Labor Day has some unique qualities that bear looking at and at least acknowledging.
Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country, said Samuel Gompers, founder and long time president of the American Federation of Labor. All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man’s prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day…is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation.
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Continue reading “Labor Day”
Anyone who has experienced one has to admit that a screened porch is a wonderful addition to any house. A screened porch offers the breezes, scents, sounds, and sights of being outdoors – but without the bugs and the blazing sun. In rural areas – before air conditioning became rampant – many people used a screened porch as a bunk room on particularly sweltering summer nights.
But like so many brilliant architectural adaptations, the screened porch has been shoved aside by more modern innovations and changes in lifestyle. Conversion to a year-round sunroom or blown out into a larger deck or patio that offers a full open-air atmosphere, the screened porch is fast becoming a nostalgic memory.
I found this brief tale of a miners life fascinating and wanted to share it. A link to the original source is below.
Back in the day breakfast consisted of Bacon, biscuits, black coffee, a pull from the whiskey bottle and then cigars or a chaw from the plug of tobacco. Being a working miner living in a shack was a tough but rewarding existence. Daily survival was the driving force. Hunting & chopping wood was required to live. There were no supermarkets or mini malls. There was no air conditioning, running water, jacuzzi tubs, high speed internet, smart phones, big screen TV’s, or mail order warehouses that sell every widget know to man. In the summer we were hot, in the winter we froze.
If you were lucky enough to find some color in the rocks you had to constantly look over your shoulder for the next backshooter trying to steal your claim or from taking a shot at you from a distance! Old miners lived high on life, adventure, hard work, sweat, Elk loin & Elk jerky, but most of all whiskey straight from the bottle! — with Link Borland wannabe.
I felt like doing a “Way Back Whensday” post here at Random Thoughts today and I’ve elected to poke into the history of something that is near and dear to my heart on a couple of fronts. The soda pop marketed as Mountain Dew is one of my favorite ”treat” beverages (I prefer the diet version) and the term “mountain dew” has been slang for moonshine for hundreds of years. The Tennessee county I live in has a well deserved reputation for having been the moonshine capital of the world during the heyday of that illegally produced corn whiskey. There is even a moonshine museum down the road in Cosby! Sorry, they do not give out samples.
Mountain Dew was born here in the hills of Tennessee in the 1940s. Barney and Ally Hartman, who ran a bottling plant in Knoxville, coined the name of their product from the colloquial term for moonshine whiskey. The Hartman’s Mountain Dew, however, was a lemon-lime flavored mixer for whiskey, not originally intended to be drunk alone. But that changed quickly enough.