January 29th – Curmudgeon’s Day (Finally, A Holiday That I Can Relate To)

January 29, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning grumpy geezers, cantankerous old coots, fault-finding fossils, et al. Today is Sunday, January 29, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Curmudgeon’s Day

Curmudgeon’s Day is an annual celebration of the crusty, yet insightful, old fogeys who consistently apply the needle of truth to the balloons of hypocrisy, political correctness, and social norms. It is always held on January 29th, the birthday of W. C. Fields…one of the truly great curmudgeons of all time.
For most of my adult life, I was a “curmudgeon in training”, [I even owned a t-shirt at one point in my life that said exactly that]. I can’t pinpoint the precise point in my life at which I became a full-fledged curmudgeon, but I am convinced that I have now achieved the ultimate state of “Curmudgeon” (the polar opposite of Zen). I think being a curmudgeon is based more on attitude than chronological age. I knew kids in High School who were already well on their way to curmudgeondom (like yours truly), and I know people well into their 80’s who aren’t the least bit curmudgeonly. Embrace your “inner curmudgeon” today. Here are a few ways to celebrate.

  • Go on your favorite social media platform and become the “grammar Nazi.”
  • Sit on your front porch and yell at all the kids to “skedaddle”.
  • Watch “Grumpy (and/or Grumpier) Old Men”.
  • Change the wallpaper on your computer to a Grumpy Cat meme.

Free-Thinker’s Day

Freethinkers Day celebrates the life and work of Thomas Paine, who was born on this date in 1737. Paine came to America in 1774 at the request of Benjamin Franklin. Throughout his life, he wrote many influential books and pamphlets including The Age of Reason, The Rights of Man, and Common Sense. Each of these works brought public attention to key issues and helped establish the philosophical foundation for the American Revolution. Paine’s writing inspired many people to strive for political, economic, and social advancement. He was also one of the first people to call for universal human rights and an end to slavery.
Freethinkers Day has been celebrated since the 1990’s. Its purpose is to educate people about Paine’s work and the importance of free thinking and freedom. Free Thinkers Day is an opportunity to promote appreciation of free thought, support reason over faith, and reject arbitrary authority.
If you are a free-thinker, celebrate the occasion, by picking up a copy of Common Sense or one of Paine’s other works, and take a moment to appreciate your civil liberties. If you are not a free-thinker but want people to think that you are, here are a few ways to ‘fake it’.

  • Go to a park and sit on a bench in the pose of the great Rodin sculpture “The Thinker”.
  • Take your laptop or tablet to the nearest Starbucks, order the most expensive, pretentious drink you can afford, and stare contemplatively at political websites (you don’t necessarily have to actually read them).
  • If someone asks you a question, say “hmm”,  put your hand on your chin, glance up and to the left or right, and slowly re-state the question back to them with the emphasis on a different word, followed by the word ‘interesting’. Then walk away.

National Carnation Day

Carnations are among the world’s favorite flower and they have a long history. Carnations are the birth flower for January and the National Flower of Spain. In France, a purple carnation is a traditional funeral flower, given in condolence for the death of a loved one. A Mothers’ Day tradition is to wear a red carnation if your mother is living and to wear a white carnation if your mother has passed away.
According to biblical legend, carnations first appeared as Jesus carried the Cross. The Virgin Mary shed tears at Jesus’ plight, and carnations sprang up from where her tears fell.
Carnations have been cultivated for over 2,000 years. There are two theories regarding the origin of the word carnation. One theory is that the name comes from “coronation” or “corone” since it was used in Greek ceremonial crowns. The other theory is that the name is derived from the Greek carnis meaning flesh (a light pinky-peachy color), which was the flower’s original color.
And while we are on the subject of color, the color of the carnations you give can also hold meaning and/or symbolism for the recipient.

  • Giving carnations, in general, symbolizes fascination, love, and good luck.
  • Solid colored carnations mean – yes
  • Striped carnations mean – no, I can’t be with you or wish I could be with you
  • Pink carnations mean – I’ll never forget you
  • Light red carnations mean – admiration, yearning
  • Dark red carnations mean – deep love, affection
  • Purple carnations mean – capriciousness
  • White carnations mean – sweetness, innocence, pure love
  • Yellow carnations mean – disappointment, rejection

National Puzzle Day

Puzzles come in all sizes, shapes, and forms. From jig-saw to crosswords, to word search, to brain teasers and Soduko, puzzles are a favorite pastime of millions of people, young and old. People like puzzles for a variety of reasons. To some, they are just fun. Some just like the challenge of completing them, and graduating to ever more complex and difficult puzzle-solving levels. For some, it is a way to kill time and to eliminate boredom. And some people do puzzles to keep their mind sharp or to learn new words.
John Spilsbury, a London engraver, and mapmaker produced the first jigsaw puzzle by mounting one of his maps on a sheet of hardwood and cutting around the borders of the countries to create interlocking pieces. My favorite puzzles are crossword puzzles. I do about three every day.

Seeing Eye Dog Day  

Seeing eye dogs, and other service animals, are wonderful creatures. They perform a valuable service to their masters. Training for seeing eye dogs begins in puppyhood. Breeders take note of puppies that show the intelligence and temperament to become seeing eye dogs. They are then sent to homes within the network who will begin their obedience training. At about 12 to 14 months of age, they are then sent to the facility where the actual seeing eye dog training takes place. The whole process takes up to 2-years. This link will take you to a website that will explain the qualities needed and the extensive training that these exceptional animals need to become seeing eye dogs. As far as I’m concerned, every day should be “Seeing Eye Dog Day”.

National Corn Chip Day

Corn chips come in a variety of shapes, and flavors. Corn chips and tortilla chips are both fried snacks. Some people use the term interchangeably. But there is a difference: Corn chips, like Fritos™, are made from cornmeal which has been processed into a particular shape. Tortilla chips are made from corn tortillas that have been cut into shapes (usually triangles), then deep-fried. The corn in a tortilla and that in corn chips is different. The corn in a tortilla chip has undergone a process known as nixtamalization, which involves soaking the raw corn in an alkaline solution, then hulling it. This was done by ancient Americans to make it easier to grind the corn. Modern scientists note that the process increases the nutritional value and the flavor and aroma are also enhanced.
To celebrate National Corn Chips Day, enjoy some corn chips (not tortilla chips) with your favorite dip or salsa as a snack today.
Did you know that Fritos™ corn chips were first marketed in 1961? How many of you remember “Wampum”, Laura Scudder’s answer to Fritos in the early 70’s? In my opinion, they were far superior to Frito’s™.

World Leprosy Day — Celebrated January 30th, or the nearest Sunday to January 30th.

On This Date 

  • In 1845 – Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” was published for the first time in the “New York Evening Mirror.”
  • In 1848 – Greenwich Mean Time was adopted by Scotland.
  • In 1850 – Henry Clay introduced in the Senate a compromise bill on slavery that included the admission of California into the Union as a free state.
  • In 1861 – Kansas became the 34th state of the Union.
  • In 1886 – The first successful gas-driven motorcar, built by Karl Benz, was patented.
  • In 1916 – During World War I, Paris was bombed by German zeppelins for the first time.
  • In 1924 – R. Taylor patented the ice cream cone rolling machine.
  • In 1936 – The first members of  Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame were named in Cooperstown, NY. The first five inductees were Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner,  Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson.
  • In 1949,  “The Newport News” was commissioned as the first air-conditioned naval ship in Virginia.
  • In 1958 – Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were married.
  • In 1963 – The first members of the National Football League’s (NFL) Hall of Fame were inducted into Canton, OH. There were 17 original inductees. They were: Sammy Baugh, Bert Bell, Joe Carr, Earl (Dutch) Clark, Harold (Red) Grange, George Halas, Mel Hein, Wilbur (Pete) Henry, Robert (Cal) Hubbard, Don Hutson, Earl (Curly) Lambeau, Tim Mara, George Preston Marshall, John (Blood) McNally, Bronko Nagurski, Ernie Nevers, and Jim Thorpe.
  • In 1979 – President Carter formally welcomed Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping to the White House. The visit followed the establishment of diplomatic relations.
  • In 1987 – “Physician’s Weekly” announced that the smile on the face of Leonardo DeVinci’s Mona Lisa was caused by a “facial paralysis resulting from a swollen nerve behind the ear.”
  • In 1990 – Joseph Hazelwood, the former skipper of the Exxon Valdez, went on trial in Anchorage, AK, on charges that stemmed from the Exxon-Valdes oil spill. Hazelwood was later acquitted of all the major charges and was convicted of a misdemeanor.
  • In 1995 – The San Francisco 49ers became the first team in National Football League (NFL) history to win five Super Bowl titles. The 49ers defeated the San Diego Chargers 49-26.
  • In 1996 – French President Jacques Chirac announced the “definitive end” to nuclear testing.
  • In 1996 – La Fenice, the 204-year-old opera house in Venice, Italy, was destroyed by fire. Arson was suspected.
  • In 1998 –  A bomb exploded at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, AL, killing an off-duty policeman and severely wounding a nurse. Eric Rudolph was charged with this bombing and three other attacks in Atlanta.
  • In 1999 – Paris prosecutors announced the end of the investigation into the accident that killed Britain’s Princess Diana.
  • In 1999 – The Senate delivered subpoenas for Monica Lewinsky and two presidential advisers for private, videotaped testimony in the impeachment trial.

Noteworthy Birthdays

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals – and about 20-million other people.

  • Thomas Paine 1737 – Philosopher, political theorist
  • William McKinley 1843 – 25th POTUS
  • W.C. Fields 1880 – Actor, comedian
  • “Professor” Irwin Corey 1912 – Comedian
  • Victor Mature 1916 – Actor
  • John Forsythe 1918 – Actor  (Charlie’s Angels)
  • Katherine Ross 1940 – Actress  (The Graduate)
  • Claudine Longet 1942 – Singer, actress, dancer
  • Tom Selleck 1945 – Actor  (Magnum P.I.)
  • Ann Jillian 1950 – Actress
  • Oprah Winfrey 1954 – Actress, talk show hostess
  • Irlene Mandrell 1956 – The funny Mandrell Sister
  • Judy Norton-Taylor 1958 – Actress  (The Waltons)
  • Greg Louganis 1960 – Olympic diver
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