I don’t know how I’ve missed this holiday until now, but I absolutely can’t pass it up: July 31 is Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day!
According to the Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day website, this holiday was begun to recognize those instruments that you see occasionally, but aren’t very familiar with – cornets and euphoniums, bass clarinets and contrabass flutes. None of these came as a surprise to this band director’s daughter, but I still feel they’re worth celebrating.
didgeridoo, image credit Noel Feans
Then the organizers of the day started to discover more uncommon instruments, and this time I really mean uncommon (see this list for examples, pictures, and audio):
- the didgeridoo – a “wooden trumpet”
- the daxophone – a wooden blade attached to a wooden block with contact microphones
- the bubble organ – balloons, water, old furniture, and rain gutters, that sounds like a very tuneful renditions made by kids blowing into their straws
- the aquaggaswack – tuned pot lids welded onto plumbing pipes
And, perhaps the weirdest group I’ve ever heard of: Vienna Vegetable Orchestra
Take that, elementary “make your own instrument” projects!
“My heart, O God, is steadfast,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.”
Happy National Cheesecake Day! I think we all know how to celebrate this day: eat cheesecake!
The only questions left are 1) what kind? and 2) how to make it / where to get it?
I realized something when I went off to college several years ago. I realized that you could actually cook cheesecake yourself. In fact, I can cook cheesecake myself. Surprising, right? Well, actually, I haven’t cooked any yet, but I could!
When I think back through my childhood, I’m pretty certain every cheesecake I ever sample came in a box. My family made regular cakes and coffeecakes. We made brownies. We made cookies and pies and even the occasional cobbler. But I don’t remember ever having a homemade cheesecake, so I never thought of it. Then I went to college and my suitemates went and made cheesecake in our tiny little dorm kitchen. I guess you really do learn new things in college!
“This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. ”
P.S. July 30 is also Paperback Book Day!
July 29 is International Tiger Day. It’s a very new holiday, created in 2010 to support tiger conservation. All six tiger subspecies are considered endangered, primarily due to loss of habitat, although poaching has sometimes been a problem as well (the 6 remaining subspecies, that is. There were others, but they are extinct now) . You can find out lots more information here.
Personally, tigers are one of my favorite animals (top 10, at least), and it seems I’m not alone. Many zoo-goers tend to gravitate towards the “big cats” section, and the tiger is one of the most popular there. Of course, I did grow up with Disney’s “The Jungle Book,” where the tiger Shere Kahn is the terrifying villain of the jungle. Nevertheless, I can’t help but think that tigers are some of the most beautiful animals out there.
“Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,
kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,
young men and women,
old men and children.”
Today is a good day for some moderate exercise: it’s Take Your Pants for a Walk Day!
Yes, you read that right. That means, no skirts, no kilts, shorts are debatable, and, please, no walking al fresco! Instead, put on your pants, and take them for a walk. They need the exercise!
“Walk with the wise and become wise,
for a companion of fools suffers harm.”
P.S. If you’re seriously skilled, you can put on your pants and then put on a pair of stilts, and celebrate Walk on Stilts Day at the same time!
P.P.S. Last year, I blogged about a really awesome tradition from Finland that I really think needs to spread around the world. If you’re up early on the 27th, make sure you check out National Sleepy Head Day before you do anything else!
Happy Aunt and Uncle Day! This celebration goes well with Cousins Day, just two days ago on July 24. It’s time to go hug your aunts and uncles and tell them you love them.
And just in case you were curious, this page says that Aunt and Uncle Day is traditionally celebrated “with yarn and firecrackers.” Make of that what you will!
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. ”
Alright, guys, the English major in me can’t resist:
Many websites list “Aunt and Uncles Day.” Why are there multiple uncles, and only one lonely aunt? Why?! Seriously, folks. Let’s fix this. We can have Aunt and Uncle Day, we can have Aunts and Uncles Days, or we can have Aunt and Uncle’s Day, but let’s get this right!
July 25th is Thread the Needle Day. No one seems to be certain what this day celebrates, but I’ve got three options for you:
1. Thread the Needle Day could celebrate sewing, and, literally, threading a needle.
2. It could recognize the idiom “to thread the needle,” in other words, to walk a fine line between two issues.
3. Or it might be in honor of the old game called Thread the Needle, where people hold hands in a chain and try to go in between people in the chain as many times as possible, without letting go (check out this blog for a good description and directions).
As far as I’m concerned, just pick your favorite and celebrate that – sewing, equivocating, or playing. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could try all three.
If you happen to know more about Thread the Needle Day and why it was created, please let me know.
“I put on righteousness as my clothing;
justice was my robe and my turban.”
Sorry about the last post, guys. You can just consider it lost, in honor of the day!
Today’s holiday honors Amelia Earhart, born July 24, 1897. Here’s some trivia for you.
- Amelia Earhart was definitely a woman in a man’s world. She was the 16th woman to be issued a pilot’s license.
- She was a huge celebrity. Known as “Lady Lindy” and “Queen of the Air,” she financed her flights with product endorsements.
- Just five years after Charles Lindbergh’s famous solo transatlantic flight, Earhart completed the flight as well, solo.
- In 1929, she was tied for first in a Women’s Air Derby. While taking off for the last leg of the race, her friend and competitor, Ruth Nichols, crashed. Earheart jumped from her plane and raced across the runway to pull Nichols out of the wreckage. Once she was certain her friend was alright, Earheart completed the race, still managing to come in third.
- In 1937, Earheart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, completed more than 22,000 miles of their trip around the world, leaving less than 7000. They disappeared en route to Howland Island, and have never been found.
“When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?”
July 24 is also Cousin’s Day!