July is one of the few times a year we’re reminded of just how widespread fireworks are. In late June, tents and inflatable signs begin popping up in parking lots across the United States. The occasional bottle rocket can be heard going off at night. A friend, a coworker, or even a family member tells you about their planned trip to a massive firework stand in another state. With how restricted fireworks are to specific times of celebration, it’s easy to not realize how much of a phenomenon they are in our modern world, and how they reached this status.
The “Happy Birthday Song”, or “Happy Birthday to You”, is easily one of the most recognizable English songs. The song has been translated into at least 18 different languages, and it’s sung on birthdays around the globe. However, you might have noticed it not appearing in movies, TV shows, or even sampled in other songs until somewhat recently. To truly understand why, you need to know a little more about its past.
Whether using it to hold some important documents together, clipping a chain of them together in a fit of boredom, or bending it into a useful shape or hook, paperclips are one of the most iconic office supplies. A desk isn’t complete without a small tray of paperclips, and you can never have enough. Therefore, absurd as it is, it makes some sense that we have a whole day of honor for this tiny office helper. National Paperclip Day is observed May 29th in America, and its history goes back decades. Continue reading
Yes, you read that right, National Animal Crackers Day. A favorite snack of children all across America, and featured in a classic Shirley Temple song, it’s no surprise that these small whimsical crackers have their own day of recognition. What might surprise you, however, is that something as simple as these crackers have a dynamic past stretching back to the 1800’s
March, for as long as I’ve known it, has been linked with the Irish. We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, we wear green to avoid getting pinched, and stores are stocked with all sorts of green-dyed foods and novelties. Aptly enough, in 1991, March was also declared Irish-American Heritage month by George Bush. Since then, every year the president declares the month and makes a brief statement about the day and the impact Irish immigrants had on our country. However, this statement can’t fully capture just how significant Irish immigrants were to America, and just how large of an immigration it was.
Did you know that humans are the only mammals that can willingly delay sleep? We can postpone it for various amounts of time, but eventually it will catch up to us with interesting results. Whether it’s because of a delayed flight in an airport, an all-nighter spent studying, or a family reunion that runs just a little too long, most of us are familiar with the concept of sleeping in public. Sometimes we just don’t have the sleep we need, or get exhausted by a busy schedule, and the only solution is to catch a few Z’s before continuing our day.
If you asked an average person if they knew what “cowboy poetry” was, or of its significance, chances are they wouldn’t have a good idea. Honestly, I was pretty shocked myself to find not only that Cowboy Poetry was a thing, but that there is an entire community built around it, and they have been gathering the past 35 years to celebrate and share it as an art form. This year, they will meet again in Elko, Nevada, for the 36th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, from January 27 to February 1. Continue reading
The end of the year is always a time for reflection. We gather with family and friends, eat good food and exchange gifts, and are given the opportunity to share our past experiences and take-aways from our years. After self-reflection, there naturally comes a time where our minds turn to what comes next; what we wish we had done the previous year becomes what we want to do in the coming year. The idea of these “New Year’s Resolutions” is pretty ubiquitous in today’s society, at least in the Western Hemisphere, but not many of us know the origins of this practice.
With short story collections like The Autumn People, The October Country, or One More for the Road, it’s no wonder that Ray Bradbury comes to mind whenever fall comes around. Some of the first short stories I ever read were Bradbury’s works, and they too are reminiscent of fall, not just in title. The manner in which he wrote many of his stories carries with it a strange sort of energy. Something about how the seasons change, leaves turn, and the days get shorter is perfectly captured in his works. His writing combines a sense of unease and suspicion with an acceptance of change and an optimism for the future. Continue reading
With Halloween just around the corner, and “IT: Chapter Two” out a little over a month ago, Stephen King is a name on a lot of people’s minds lately. He’s known for spooky tales and an extensive film adaptation collection, as well as a few TV show adaptations such as Under the Dome and Castle Rock. However, most people don’t know this fun fact about King- he’s in a band! He plays rhythm guitar and sings alongside a group of his friends in the Rock Bottom Remainders.