Tuesday, June 15, 2021
9:18 am pdt
Ask any father. He’ll tell you. Father’s
Day is a crock. Oh, sure, you get a tie, but to a dad, a tie is like giving your mother a vacuum.
You see, the thing is, Father’s Day is in the summer, and Mother’s Day is during the school year.
So moms get all the fun stuff that the kids make, like homemade cards or baby food jars filled with water and glitter.
Fathers get doodley. What we need is a holiday that we can appreciate, one where we get to sit around
and drink beer and watch sports... well... other than the Super Bowl, or the World Series, or Nascar, or any given weekend
from, say, August through February, or March through July.
Even the history of Father’s Day is a crock. For instance, President Woodrow
Wilson signed Mother’s Day into law. Who do the fathers get? Richard Nixon.
And even at that, it was Johnson who, in 1966, “declared that the third Sunday in June would be Father's Day.”
Nixon only signed it into law in 1972 to help with his re-election... and we all know how well that presidency went.
(Honor Your Father... At Least Once a Year)
the only reason Father’s Day exists at all is because of Mother’s Day. Oh, sure, you can say
it stems from the memorial service in Monongah, West Virginia, following a mining accident in 1907 that killed a whole bunch
of men, many of whom happened to be fathers (which, curiously enough, often seems to be the case when a large group of men
get killed). Or you can credit a lady named Sonora Smart Dodd, who, along with her five brothers and sisters
were raised solely by her father when her mother died in the early part of the 20th century. But
even Dodd was inspired by Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day. (Father's Day in United States)
In 1909 Dodd began her campaign in her home town of Spokane, Washington,
and by the following year succeeded in getting Washington State to recognize “...the nation’s first statewide
Father’s Day on July 19, 1910.” (Father’s Day) And from there, the holiday spread...
slowly. President Wilson observed the day in 1916 by unfurling a flag in Spokane by pressing a button in
Washington, D.C., a technological feat for the time. In 1924, still well short of a national holiday, “President
Calvin Coolidge made it a national event to ‘establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and
to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.’" (Honor Your Father... At Least Once a Year)
You know, guys, it’s pretty pathetic that we need a presidential proclamation to remind us to take care of our
But then, probably the biggest obstacle
in recognizing Father’s Day was the fathers. I mean, we are talking guys here. “As
one historian writes, they ‘scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers
and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products –
often paid for by the father himself.’” (Father’s Day)
Even so, the idea of Father’s Day continued to grow, surviving the well meaning attempts in
the ‘20s and ‘30s to scrap the day altogether, along with Mother’s Day, in favour of just one single holiday,
Parents’ Day, based on the idea “‘that both parents should be loved and respected together.’”
(Father’s Day) But any kid, and every retailer, knows that if you share a holiday with somebody else,
like having your birthday fall on Christmas, then you get shafted on your presents. And even during the
Depression, or maybe especially because of the Depression, retailers weren’t about to get behind any holiday that limited
their sales. By the time WWII engulfed the United States, even though Father’s Day still wasn’t
a nationally declared holiday, it might as well have been. And with the War, it became a way to honor those
men in uniform. (Father’s Day)
Since 1972, Father’s Day has been an official national holiday. Even
so, it’s still hard to get excited about it. I mean, let’s face it: Nobody’s
going to buy dad a corsage, he’s not going to wear a new dress to church, and it’s doubtful that he’s even
going to go out to lunch on that Sunday afternoon. Sure, he’ll get some phone calls if his children
can remember, but for the most part, it’s just another Sunday. And since it’s in the summer,
the lawn probably needs to be mowed... by dad.
“Father’s Day.” 2012. History.com.
15 Aug. 2012. http://www.history.com/topics/fathers-day
“Father's Day in United States.” 2012. timeanddate.com.
15 Aug. 2012. http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/fathers-day
Father... At Least Once a Year.” June 2003. Wise Guide. 15 Aug. 2012. http://www.loc.gov/wiseguide/jun03/father.html
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
7:41 am pdt
Thursday, June 3, 2021
8:41 am pdt
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
The Employee's Creed
7:57 am pdt
I am an employee.
I work for the corporation
because they chose to hire me,
I chose to be hired by them.
I am an employee.
I will come in whenever
I am told,
stay as late as they demand,
and do whatever they want for as long as I am there.
And if I should
I will be replaced immediately with no recourse whatsoever.
am an employee.
I may stand next to the Company President
and nod knowingly
as all the stockholders look on,
smiling their approval and appreciation upon me.
Or I might spend my days
hiding in the break room,
jelly donuts while waiting
for yet another pot of coffee to brew
and the end of the day to arrive,
And still I will be
nothing more than an employee.
I should conceive and create
an object so brilliant and so fascinating
that all humankind will set
aside their differences
and the entire planet will join together in harmony,
it will still remain the property of
who may or may not ever give me recognition
for what I have done.
For I will still be
more than an employee.
Sunday, May 23, 2021
10:14 am pdt
Memorial Day, not to be confused with Veterans' Day, honours those people who have died while serving
in the military, whereas Veterans' Day, which is observed on November 11, has come to honour everybody who has ever
been a member of the Armed Forces, whether they died or not. Memorial Day has been observed on the last Monday in May
since it became an official holiday in 1971. Before that it was celebrated on May 30... well... if you happened to live in
the North. (Memorial Day 2020)
The idea of routinely
maintaining the gravesites of your ancestors – a Decoration Day – is quite old. Before the
Civil War, families would generally clean up gravesites toward the end of the summer, using the occasion as an excuse for
family reunions. After the Civil War, there were suddenly a lot more fallen soldiers to honour.
As a result, many secular, patriotic ceremonies sprang up all over the country. (Memorial Day 2020)
Where they sprang up first, though, is a bit contentious.
Waterloo, New York, is credited with holding "the first formal, village wide, annual observance
of a day dedicated to honoring the war dead," which they called Decoration Day, on May 5, 1866. Congress
made the declaration official in 1966 when they recognized Waterloo as the birthplace of Memorial Day. If
you're ever in Waterloo, there's a museum. (The History and Origin) The observance was moved to May 30
in 1868, in particular because it didn't mark any battle. By 1890, all the Northern states had made Decoration Day a state
holiday. (Memorial Day)
Saying that Waterloo,
New York, is the birthplace of Memorial Day, however, might be a bit of Northern revisionist history. The
first Confederate Memorial Day, which was simply called Memorial Day, was observed on April 26, 1866, in Columbus,
Georgia, one month before it was celebrated in Waterloo, and a full two years before it became a truly official holiday in
the North. April 26 marks the anniversary of when most Southerners considered the Civil War to have ended,
when General Johnson surrendered to General Sherman at Bennett Place, North Carolina. (Confederate Memorial Day)
Indeed, there are those who claim that the observance of Memorial Day in the North was a direct response to its taking
place in the South. The day was not referred to as "Confederate Memorial Day" until after observances
became established in the North. (Confederate Memorial Day)
However, even claiming that the Southern states started Memorial Day might be a bit of Southern revisionist
history. The first recorded observation of Memorial Day was in May of 1865 – a year before the Southern
observance – by freed slaves in South Carolina. (Memorial Day)
Confederate Memorial Day is still celebrated throughout the South on various days in the spring,
depending on what state, and even which part of that state, you might happen to be in. It is still an official
holiday in South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee. (Confederate Memorial Day)
After the First World War Memorial Day became less of a "North
/ South" thing, when it was expanded to include all soldiers who had fallen in any American war. (Memorial Day
Since the end of World War I, it has
become a tradition to wear a single red poppy to honour the dead on Memorial Day. Poppy seeds are scattered
by the wind, and they tend to lie dormant in the ground, only germinating when the ground is disturbed, as it was in a big
way during World War One. Poppies, therefore, are usually one of the first things to appear on a battlefield,
even before the fighting has stopped. (Memorial Day 2020)
John McCrae is generally credited with starting the poppy tradition. McCrae, who
witnessed the First World War, wrote the poem "In Flanders Fields" in 1915, which features the line "In Flanders
fields the poppies blow / Between the crosses, row on row...." (McCrae)
Inspired by McCrae, Moina Michael wrote her own poem, "We Shall Keep the Faith," in 1918
about Flanders fields and the poppies that grew there. The poem features the line, "And now the Torch and the Poppy red
/ We wear in honor of our dead." (Michael)
Wearing of poppies to honour the war dead quickly spread throughout the known world, especially in
Europe. It also spread to Veterans' Day, where it has come to symbolized not only the dead, but the hope
of recovery and new life. (Memorial Day 2020)
Memorial Day, people traditionally place flags on the graves of veterans. As well, there is a National
Observance at 3:00 p.m. local time. And then there are the barbecues and picknicks. Memorial
Day, aside from honouring the dead, has become the unofficial official start of summer. (Memorial Day 2020)
"Confederate Memorial Day." 26 April 2020. Wikipedia.
20 May 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_Memorial_Day
"The History and Origin of Memorial Day in Waterloo, New York." 2020. National
Memorial Day Museum. 20 May 2020. https://wlhs-ny.com/national-memorial-day-museum/
McCrae, John. "In Flanders Fields." 3 May 1915. Poetry
Foundation. 20 May 2020. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47380/in-flanders-fields
"Memorial Day." 18 May 2020. History. 20
May 2020. https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/memorial-day-history
"Memorial Day 2020." 19 May 2020. The Old Farmer's Almanac.
20 May 2020. https://www.almanac.com/content/when-memorial-day
Michael, Moina. "We Shall Keep the Faith." November 1918.
The Great War: 1914-1918. 20 May 2020. http://www.greatwar.co.uk/poems/moina-michael-we-shall-keep-faith.htm