Organized by UNESCO, April 30, 2012 is the first ever International Jazz Day!
Jazz has always been one of my favorite musical genres, although I’ve never gained the confidence to improv well, at least in front of an audience. Here’s one of the greatest hits from the big band era of jazz to get your celebration started: “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra (and who said that the clarinet wasn’t a jazz instrument!).
“Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers!
I will sing to the LORD, I will sing;
I will make music to the LORD, the God of Israel.”
Happy International Dance Day!
This celebration was begun by the International Theatre Institute in 1982. They created it simply to celebrate dance and its ability to bridge cultures, but they chose April 29 because Jean-Georges Noverre, the father of modern ballet, was born on this day in 1727.
The plan for today is obvious. Turn on some of your favorite music and dance. If you can, learn a dance from a different culture. You won’t regret it.
“Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. Miriam sang to them:
‘Sing to the LORD,
for he is highly exalted.
The horse and its rider
he has hurled into the sea.’”
Today is Great Poetry Reading. Here’s a few ideas to get you started.
Classic: Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” (a.k.a. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”)
Masterful: John Donne’s “Holy Sonnet 14” (a.k.a. “Batter my heart, three person’d God”)
Modern and Fun: Billy Collin’s “Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House” (You can read it in Sailing Alone Around the Room.)
Even more up-to-date: Make your own! Sitting down with a paper and pen is great, but magnetic poetry is pretty fun too!
You can also check out the intricate construction of the ancient Hebrew acrostic found in Psalm 119, starting:
“Blessed are they whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the LORD.”
It’s Morse Code Day! Time to use a little Morse code. If all you know is . . . _ _ _ . . . (SOS), then today is the day to learn a bit more.
In 1836, Samuel Morse, Joseph Henry, and Alfred Vail developed the telegraph, a system that sends electrical pulses along a wire over long distances.
To make full use of this invention, Morse and Vail slowly invented a special code of dots and dashes that could be easily translated into letters and numbers.
Since then, Morse code has been used for all sorts of communications over the telegraph, through casual tapping in every spy movie, and by flashing lights on ships.
Morse Code Day is celebrated every year on Samuel Morse’s birthday.
Here’s an ancient S.O.S.:
“In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.”
I love soft pretzels. While the specialties are good (especially cinnamon sugar or pepperoni), nothing beats the classic, just salt and bread.
No one seems to know why this date was chosen, but April 26 is National Pretzel Day.
The way to celebrate is obvious: eat pretzels. The only question left is . . . what kind?
“Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”
Personally, I've never cared for hard pretzels, but everyone I know loves them, so I guess there's something wrong with my taste buds.
Happy Administrative Professionals’ Day! Today is the day to pamper every administrative professional you know – cards, flowers, candy, or a nice lunch are all popular ideas. (I just noticed how similar that sounds to a simple Valentine’s Day!) Of course, cash is always nice too!
I spent most of college working a few hours a week in the university English department, where I had a front row seat to the importance of our main administrative professionals. (Okay, we weren’t very politically correct. She was our secretary and we loved her!)
Administrative professionals know everything and keep the office running – they can find anything and are constantly preventing disaster (It’s time for your meeting! Don’t forget your notes!) all while answering phones, making copies, and greeting everyone with a smile.
“Honor one another above yourselves. ”
I think just about everyone loves pigs in a blanket. But what are they? In the U.S. you can find:
pigs in a blanket, the appetizer (cocktail sausages wrapped in crescent rolls),
American appetizer pigs in a blanket
- pigs in a blanket, the meal (full hot dog wrapped in large crescent roll, cheese and ketchup optional),
- pigs in a blanket, breakfast edition (sausage links wrapped in pancakes and drizzled in syrup).
Elsewhere, you can find even more versions:
American pigs in a blanket for breakfast
- The British celebrate Christmas with small sausages wrapped in bacon, also called “kilted sausages.”
- Germans eat “sausage in a dressing grown,” or sausages rolled in puff pastry.
- Jewish children often enjoy a sausage wrapped in phyllo dough with ketchup (no cheese, please!) called Moses-in-the-basket or Moses-in-the-ark, where the sausage is baby Moses and the pastry is the basket/boat he was placed in at the Nile.
Time to pick a style to celebrate with tonight. If you had a party, you could get everyone to bring a different version! (If you do, let me know if it was enjoyable or if everything was just too similar and you got sick of it.)
In honor of Moses-in-the-baskets:
“Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.”