Thursday, January 12, 2012

Blame Someone Else Day...

January 13, 2012. Today you get a choice of holidays to celebrate. You might find a common current that runs through them and celebrate them all!

Blame Someone Else Day. No, your fault. No yours. A nice day to pawn off all those miscues and muck-ups. Just remember, you may also be on the receiving end, not just the giving portion of this holiday!

Public Radio Broadcasting Day. Having spent several years as a DJ on Moab Public Radio (KZMU - Cows MOO), I truly appreciate Public Radio. Commentary, music, programming, public announcements, free speech, non-commercial, the list goes on. Thanks to all for making Public Radio reality!

Rubber Duckie Day. Jim Henson, as Ernie, delivered the song "Rubber Duckie" on a Sesame Street show in 1970. Sales went through the roof for rubber duckies after that program. Although the production of real rubber duckies began sometime in the late 1800s, today's plastic versions bob across many a bathtub sea. However, some rubber duckies float the world's oceans due to a lost shipment in 1992. A container washed overboard from a ship and 29,000 yellow rubber duckies, blue turtles, green frogs and red beavers found freedom on the high seas. Their travels and discoveries have led to discoveries about ocean currents. I don't know if the story first broke on Public Radio, but it would have been a good one.

So even though this year's January 13 is a Friday the 13th, there are ample reasons to celebrate the day. Cheers!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

National Bird Day - January 5

Today, January 5, marks the 10th anniversary of National Bird Day. This day focuses on wild and free birds, as well as captured native birds from other countries that form the international captive bird trade and issues surrounding those birds.

Born Free USA is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting protection and survival of  birds and wildlife, and sponsor of National Bird Day. Their intent is to highlight the beauty of birds and the role they play in our lives, whether we are birders, artists, wildlife enthusiasts, or just individuals that appreciate wild animals, as well as serve as voices for education or legislation to protect animals.

So spend a little time today observing birds or helping to enhance their habitat or protection. Although these winged wonders have sweet songs, sometimes they and other wildlife species need assistance in getting their voices heard.

And don't forget that January 7 is "I'm Not Going to Take it Anymore Day." Another great day to let go.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Deschutes County Year 2012

Another year, another attempt. My Deschutes County Big Year got derailed in late summer due to family medical issues. I felt like a window struck bird - disoriented and dazed. Although I finished with a couple of new birds - long-eared owl as one of them - I didn't feel too strong at the end. So that one ends up in the slush pile.

Fortunately, a new year means a new list and a new attempt. Although I checked the back yard in the middle of the night for hooting great horneds, nothing. And if I had spent a moment searching the feeders in the morning, maybe the first bird of 2012 would have been the downy woodpecker on the suet feeder. Instead, by sight or sound, the first bird of 2012 was a dark-eyed junco. Nothing to rave about, a common backyard winter species and summer resident up in the mountains. However, you have to start somewhere...

A biologist from Mexico holds a prairie falcon for display.

So, I'm off again on another Deschutes County Big Year attempt. Part interest, part therapy, part work. Now, if the two snowy owls I've observed this winter would just cross some political boundaries, I'd be off to a great start. As it is I'm off to an OK start, nothing odd or unusual but did have a prairie falcon fly by on the afternoon dog walk. At least I'm out looking at the birds and appreciating the simple things in life.

Species count as of January 2, 2012: 39.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy Mummer's Day

Here begins another year. This blog will get spiced and sprinkled with bits of fun and funkiness, holiday days and observances that you might not find on traditional calendars. A departure from the norm, but the norm is on vacation. Enjoy.

January 1 – Mummer’s Parade 

Mummer n. a person who wears a mask or disguise for fun.

With traces back to the worship of Momus, the Greek god of mimicry who was expelled from heaven for criticizing and ridiculing the gods, the New Year’s Day Mummer’s Parade takes place in Philadelphia. Officially sanctioned since January 1, 1901, this parade may include up to 10,000 marchers!

So for those of us not living in Philly, what the hell is this event about?

Originally this parade morphed from one that Scandinavian immigrants brought with them to their new homeland. The custom of visiting neighbors on December 26, included being rowdy, singing songs, shooting off guns, dancing and asking (demanding!) food and drink. Though not exactly a drunken bash, alcohol was a factor.

By 1840 there were Mummer clubs in Philadelphia. They celebrated from New Year’s Eve through New Year’s Day (why stop the merriment?) and were called “comic clubs” due to their humorous nature and ability to make audiences laugh. Political satire was a favorite target. This was a men’s only event; women were not allowed to participate until 1970! What began as fun and rowdiness eventually became an elaborate parade with prizes and cash awards given to the best parading clubs. Let the games begin!

Competition became fierce, occasional fights broke out between winners and losers. How could there be anything else in the City of Brotherly Love, where Philly fans once pelted Santa Claus at an Eagles game in 1968.

But today, the parade has 4 or 5 divisions, depending upon funding: Comic, Fancy, Fancy Brigade and String Band. The Wench Brigade makes up a fifth division. So, maybe you’ve been and maybe not. I know that this is now on my official Bucket List. Happy New Year and Happy Mummer's Parade Day.