The Ad-Hoc Book of Days

A guide to holidays throughout the year, with almanac entries and fun facts

FAQ: Why aren't the dates in order?

A: The dates are in the same order as cards lie when a house of cards collapses, lest we ever forget such things happen.

May 12, Lag b’Omar

This was the day Omar was supposed to have my car ready. Now he tells me I have to take it to the dealership.

» On this day I thought Omar was laggin’ b’hind.

Wood of the Day: red cedar

Clash of Civilizations, November 17

Since the beginning of human understanding, there has been human misunderstanding. Today we celebrate the timeless xenophobia between peoples as Clash of Civilizations. Best celebrated by invading or being invaded, terrorizing or being terrorized, especially across divides of two or more major world religions.

What are you lookin’ at?

Fun Fact: The Scythians used the scalps of their enemies as tickets to sporting events, particularly horsemanship and archery contests. Some enterprising Scythians would hoard scalps to be sold to those who wanted to get into the events at the last minute after they were sold out. These late-comers’ scalps were sold for a much higher price than that for which they were originally purchased. This is where we get the term to gyp, or Jew someone, into paying too much money for a scalp.

April 8-16, Pushover

The secular holiday celebrating those who are easily convinced, particularly when it comes to being enlisted to help others regardless of how much they are put out by so doing. Being a pushover is not the same as being an altruist. The pushover has neither the instinctive moral impulse nor the philosophical conviction to give of himself. Rather, he is easily charmed. Giving makes altruists feel good, whereas the pushover often feels taken advantage of once the dust has settled. Nevertheless, being charmed is not itself a bad experience. It’s actually a pleasant one. So there is a certain amount of pleasure the pushover derives from his social interactions–what does it matter whether one feels good at the end of an interaction or at the beginning? Aren’t these points along the process equally transient? As long as one feels good at some point in the process, can’t the process be considered to have been a positive one? Really? You buy that?

» Celebrate by conning someone into holding a big feast.

It’s Also Pesach: the time of year Jews celebrate Moses leading them out of bondage in Egypt, and the beginning of their long dysfunctional relationship with you-know-who.

March 4-5, Boston Dental Massacre

The anniversary of the Boston Massacre of 1770 and that of the invention of the first dental treadle drill 20 years later were mashed up together because both commemorate horrible, bloody events. Can you imagine getting your teeth drilled with a tool powered only by the rhythm of your dentist’s foot, the only anesthetic a highball of whiskey and opium? Imagine having survived the Revolutionary War only to have to undergo that kind of oral mutilation.

» Give me Novocain or give me death.

Celebrity Birthday: Rex Harrison was born, like, a thousand years ago. Or a million. He’s dead now. He would have been one hundred or ten thousand years old exactly one of these days. No one knows why people age and die, but science is beginning to understand that certain genetic codes tell cells when to turn crusty. Remove the offending gene and we should all be able to live forever. But is that what we want? Yes, if everyone else is doing it.

February 28, Lazy Filthy Ash Saturday

The Saturday after Ash Wednesday. Anyone who still has ashes on his or her forehead is a lazy, filthy ash. Nonjudgmentally speaking. Because some people are giving up washing for Lent. If you’re not Catholic, you shouldn’t be participating in this. You should stand by, bemused, puzzled, tolerant–ah, what the hell. By Saturday it’s a goddam smudge. If they won’t wipe it off, do it for them.

» St. Ambrose invented the Wetnap, which was a mixture of Holy Water and lanoline saturating a square cut from the Shroud of Turin. He used in on Augustine, who was notoriously forgetful about washing his face. He would wash every part but his face. His hair was quite lustrous and full-bodied.

Neap Tide: Nope. Spring tide. Check back in a week. You’re lucky I’m keeping track.

February 16, Residents Day

Think about big eyeball heads with top hats on.

» Residents Day is a parking meter holiday. You don’t need to put money in your parking meter if you knock its head off and replace it with a giant eyeball. Really. Try it!

Wurst To The Wide: Hungarian szafalade

February 15, Jeff’s Birthday

Today is the day Jeff was born.

» Jeff’s Birthday is, by tradition, never a great day for Jeff. It really hit bottom, though, in 1999. The next year was only slightly better, though Jeff got a nice portrait of himself from Mickle. In 2001, Jeff got a special ice cream bar from Terri Kapsalis. And while Jeff was married, his birthdays improved markedly, even though the marriage was headed for the reef.

This year, Friday the 13th fell on a Friday. Jeff hates when it does that, because that means Saturday the 14th falls on a Saturday, and that’s the really unlucky day for Jeff.

But, lo and behold, Saturday the 14th turned out to be a great day, even though Jeff was coming down with a cold. Danny and Monique and Jeff went out to Riverside, CA to visit the University of California Citrus Research Station. All kinds of crazy citrus fruits were sampled, including about six or seven different kinds of blood orange.

The massive dose of vitamin C came, alas, too late to prevent Jeff’s cold. He has a cold on his birthday. He hopes this doesn’t turn out to be a tradition.

Colored Pencil Du Jour: non-photo blue

February 14, Spinoccoli Day

A delicious combination of spinach and broccoli, topped with alfredo sauce and melted provolone, all wrapped up in our famous calzone crust.

» It is traditional on this day for a spinach and a broccoli to exchange Valentines.

Wood to the Wise: yellow poplar

Ginko de Mayo, May 5

This one’s easy to remember, because it celebrates the herbal memory enhancer ginko boloba. I forget why it comes on this particular day, though. Maybe because this is the same day as Ginko de Mayo… wait, that’s… what was the question?

The ginko is a small bird of the reptile family. The boloba is a kind of chimp, I think. It lives in densely open cloister beds. I have no idea what I’m talking about. But neither do you, smirky.

Our Fragile Planet: Don’t jump up and down on it, you idiot! You’ll kill us all!

Belabor Day, May 1

The international day for workers to complain about the abuses of the owning class: the long hours, bad conditions, low pay, and sabotage of collective bargaining efforts. Labor history is recounted in songs and stories about the ruthless, murderous union-busting tactics and fear-mongering used to keep the workers under the boot of management. Over and over. Complain complain complain. My god, give it a rest, will ya?! I would but it’s SO DAMN FRUSTRATING!

It’s remarkable how the US owning class has prevented May 1 from becoming any kind of recognized day whatsoever here in the contiguous forty-eight plus Alaska and Hawai’i. Perhaps enough of the labor movement was slaughtered along the way to our current state of wage stagnation to wipe labor history from our national consciousness. Ya think? Not to beat a dead horse. But that’s what the bosses would do. They’ll beat you up as soon as look at you.

Don’t Be Fooled: Eraserhead is not a romantic comedy. And certainly not a film you should take someone to on the first date. Unless you consider thoughts of mucus membranes romantic. Which you know, not my thing, but I see how you could get there.

Feed the Dead a Broken Canary, April 29-30

A Vu-toon holiday. Two days of mourning are observed by the Vulcan Cartoon Watchers (Vu-toonists). Vulcans, being logical, simply don’t understand slapstick animation of the Warner Bros, Loonytoons ilk. They reason that Sylvester would easily kill Tweety, most likely breaking the bird’s back first, then playing with the limp, broken corpse. And the Coyote would have been dead after his first attempt to rocket-skate through a painted-on tunnel. In fact, most cartoon characters would have been killed in any of the violent episodes recounted in innumerable bloody vignettes.

Vu-toonists see the animated world as a world of tormented ghosts, constantly reliving their horrible last moments. To placate these restless spirits, a representation of the broken canary is offered to those who died under gory, supposedly funny circumstances. What’s logical about that? Look, Vulcans are so inconsistent about this logic thing. No one can live by logic alone. Continual leaps of faith must be made at nearly every juncture. For such an intelligent species, the Vulcans are really working this logic thing in the most embarrassing fashion. But what can they do now? After thirty millennia they’re stuck with it. It’s their schtick.

Gardening Tip: Never trust an earthworm. He might be a spaceworm. I’m not saying don’t have them in your garden, just don’t give them any credit card numbers.

Dog-and-Pony, April 24

A holiday invented by the State to distract us from the bread and circuses for a while. Who knows what cloak-and-dagger they’ll be up to?

They’re raffling off guns and butter this year. The whole Dunn and Bradstreet will be held at the five-and-dime on the corner of Nixon and Felch.

The Human Heart was Designed to Last a Lifetime: That doesn’t really mean anything, does it? Obviously, when your heart gives out your life is over. So by definition why am I explaining this to you? Who are you, anyway? That is the eternal question, isn’t it? No? Well, what is the eternal question then? You think so? I don’t know, I can’t imagine asking that for more than a few billion years, ninety-billion tops. Hey! No slapping in the face!

Mata Hari Jayanti, from 13th of Chaitra Shukla Paksha to the full moon

An offshoot of the Jains, the Judys are a little-known order of South Asian nuns who celebrate the birthday of Mata Hari, who they believe parted the Red Sea. They believe Moses was the twenty-third person to lead a people across that seabed. Mata Hari was the twenty-fourth and final Red Sea forder. She led all the best-looking dancing girls, concubines, and mathematicians out of Egypt, stopped in Lebanon for falafel, then continued north to Turkey, where they “busted a Luigi” westward, followed the Mediterranean coast, arriving in Cannes just in time for the film festival. There they met Pedro Almadovar and had a nice brunch at the buffet. The Judys are a little bit nuts.

The final day of Mata Hari Jayanti coincides with the first night of the Jewish Passover. It’s also Hanuman Jayanti. Hanuman, the monkey king, built a bridge for his friend, Rama, from India to Lanka, so he was a forder, or a passer-over, too. There just seem to be a lot of historical and religious fordings and passings-over around this time of year. No one knows why. It’s really annoying. All right, there’s one theory, but I don’t like it.

If You Seek to Walk Barefoot on the Shores of the Galactic Ocean: What are you looking at me for? I don’t know what that bold-faced type is talking about.

April 15, Tax Day

Tax Day is the dreaded day when everyone chips in for those things we as a collective social group need to take care of for the good of all. When I say everyone chips in, of course, I mean everyone except for the people who frame the discussion of what the needs of society are and who pays for them. This usually means the neediest are the least likely to get their needs met. Oh well!

Bird to the Unwise: wetquested geezer

Nibblenook, April 13

You don’t have to be Teutonic to enjoy Nibblenook. Simply go to your local Kaffeehaus, order a Sacher torte, sit in a nook and start Nibbelungen.

This is the day, traditionally, Baron Munch-hausen pulled himself free of quicksand by his own hair and celebrated by opening a cafe.

Take The Day Off: Take a nice, long, hot bath. You deserve it.

Ultimate Halloween, October 31

This year, whatever year this may be, Halloween isn’t just Halloween, it’s Ultimate Halloween. Trick or Treat as if it’s the last time you’ll ever do it. Turn your head into a hideous container for unpleasant surprises. Then eat candy till you throw up. Then eat some more.

You disgusting pig!

Authorities Beware: Critical eyes are upon you. The rabble peep from every shadow. They thirst for your blood and tears, for all the water in your bodies. They want to peel off your skins and fry them with onions in your own fat. They’ll be deglazing the pan with dry sherry. Fino, I think they said. So when you go out to decree your fiats, keep a wary eye. You’re not going to wear that, are you?

Eye for an Eye, May 25

The day of rueful head-shaking as we rue the foolishness of our shaky heads of state.

It is customary on this day to read the news and take the name of Jesus in vain repeatedly.

Ten reasons the new embassy in Iraq is going to be the most expensive ever:

  • Special landing area for the Mothership or Apocalyptic Army of Jesus
  • Giant tanks of Kool-Aid in case the Mothership/Jesus doesn’t come
  • Private firing range for Cheney surrounded by Kevlar “buffer zone”
  • Separate building housing Bush Administration Museum of Lies
  • Halliburton is supplying building materials at the usual modest mark-up
  • Safe, clean, nuclear-powered air conditioning
  • Underground lab breeding diplomats who spray bullets out of their mouths
  • Shield wall to repel attack by Fremen riding giant sand worms
  • Extra rooftop helipads for faster fall-of-Saigon-style evacuation
  • High cost of shitstorm insurance

Second Sauce, May 17

The first sauce was good, last night, but I added tomato paste tonight. Gave it a little more zing.

Davin loved the sauce.

It’s a Fact: Jaslene, from Chicago, is the first Latina to win America’s Next Top Model. She finally put to rest that big shoulders stereotype.

Poached Turkey and Bo Schembechler Memorial Days, week of the last Thursday in November

This is horrible. We’re going down to Champaign-Urbana to have Thanksgiving with our friends Jeff and Gretchen, which is going to be great. A friend of Gretchen’s raises heritage turkeys, and one of them was slated for our dinner table. But that turkey and three others got kidnapped. All evidence points to human culprits. We’re going to have a delicious organic turkey instead, but nevertheless I’m in mourning for the heritage turkey. I wanted to eat it.

A heritage turkey is a turkey that was hatched from an egg laid by one of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

It’s a Fact: We are also mourning the loss of University of Michigan coach Bo Schembechler, who died just before the 2006 Big 10 Championship. My wife Davin, who is not from Michigan and had never heard of the coach before, commemorated him by walking around early in the morning, before having drunk her coffee, muttering, Schembechler, Schembechler, Schembechler because it’s a funny name.

Autumnal Candybaggins

The third Monday in October begins the days of Autumnal Candybaggins, which ends at different times for different households, sometimes lasting all the way to Thanksgiving. It’s duration depends on many factors, including the retail situation in a given locality and the dietary habits of the celebrants.

Autumnal Candybaggins is celebrated, like the celebration of the birth of the Christian Messiah, by shopping. Various members of a given household, independently of other members, coming upon displays of Halloween candy, jump at the opportunity to buy bag after bag in order, as it were, to get ready for the trick-or-treaters. On average, the amount of candy bought in preparation for Halloween exceeds the amount offered to costumed children by a ratio of 8 to 1. The celebration continues beyond Halloween, as Halloween candy goes on sale, representing a justifiable purchase by way of its being a bargain. One’s tolerance for orange food coloring and pumpkin flavored peanut butter cups is tested to its limit as Autumnal Candybaggins trickles to an end.

Painful Factoid: The swelling and itch can be soothed with the use of Preparation F.

October 4, Bump Day

Bumps in the road, bumps on the head, bumps in the night, bumps up to management, bumps as a broadcasting term of art, these are what we celebrate on Bump Day.

Not a particularly focused holiday.

What Not to Do in Case of Fire, number 34: Eat a bowl of plaster.

September 30, Iguanadan

The month of fasting observed by iguanas as one of their five pillars of faith. Totally by coincidence, the iguana calendar is exactly the same ours. That’s lucky.

You don’t have to be an iguana to observe Iguanadan. Non-iguanas can participate by eating only iguanas for a month. Just order the “Bamboo Chicken.”

Painful Fact: Blueberries have more than doubled in price this summer.

December 18, The Crackers of Eden

In a land flowing with milk and honey, amid trees laden with fruits of all kinds, you don’t think some of that milk got made into cheese? If not, how could they call it Paradise? By the same reasoning, there must also have been wine. Wine, cheese, fruit, honey? Why, yes, sugar, I’d love some. But of course, crackers would have been necessary.

Crackers in Eden, that’s the kind of talk that works those crazy anti-science Christianity rapers into a lather. Dammit, say these incompetent interpreters of the word of God, no cheese, no wine, and no crackers! Cheese? Wine? There was no fermentation, no aging, before the disobedience of Adam. (But wouldn’t that have meant no bacteria? Yet God created all organisms at one time in the form we see them now. So which is it? God waiting to create bacteria? Or evolution? Those are your choices.) And certainly not crackers! That would have required work on the part of humans, and work also did not precede the fall. Well, when did we get crackers? During the Exodus from Egypt, of course. No wonder we celebrate the Exodus. Crackers rock!

The Truth: In the reality-based community, it is well-known that crackers were first baked on December 18, 200,000,004 BCE. By cave elves.


The whalers’ day off.

Scrimshaw is the traditional whalers’ labor day, falling on the third Monday in June, so the bloodthirsty mariners got a three-day weekend. What was there to do during this long weekend but sit around and scratch oneself and maritime designs in pieces of whale bone? Hence the term “scrimshaw” came to refer to the artifacts created by such scratching: scenes of schooners plying the South Pacific whale fisheries, as well as the small scabs created by scratching oneself with filthy fingernails. This is where we get the phrase: “Don’t just sit there pickin’ yer scrimshaws!”

How it is celebrated today: I’d rather not discuss that.

August 20, Feats of Descension

Also known as the Downstairs March of the Slinkies. All this week, the coiled extrusion with the trademarked name Slinky will parade in its legions down the great, near-great, infamous and anonymous stairways of the world. Ubiquitous will be the applause and curses and sighing and bending over as the toys at times accomplish but often fail to complete their descents and have to be started again with that special technique that requires only moments to learn but a lifetime to master.

It’s said that the Slinkies are re-enacting Lucifer’s fall. It’s also rumored that there really is no such holiday. Well, dammit, there should be.

Almanac: The magnetic field of the Earth will switch polarity this winter, causing some confusion for a little while.

February 12, Straw Day

Drink through a straw, ask for a straw, wear a straw hat, sit on a bail of straw, blow your straw paper across the restaurant, see “Straw Dogs,” attack a straw man, eat strawberries and strawberry-related products, talk about Jack Straw the English politician. That’s what those who celebrate Straw Day do.

» On this day, this year, it was decided just now by me that it would be Straw Day today.

February 6-10, Bas Relief

The details of the background of Bas Relief emerge as a superficially articulated topography. Not very deep in the past, in the Low Countries, a lumpy array of slightly depressed figures, seeking to raise their groove after having been leveled by ups and downs, adumbrated the contours of these not-very-high holy days.

» Beginning on the first Hump Day in February, Bas Relief is a time for shallow reflection and illusionistic foreshortening of perspective, when dimensionality and well-roundedness are flatly squashed.

A Word to the Wise: Up yours!

July 25, Medicine Day

Don’t forget to take your medicine!

» Galen Agrippa inaugurated the very first Medicine Day when he celebrated the Grand Opening of his pharmacy with a blow-out sale on bile re-uptake inhibitors. He also made quite a lot of money on his examination instruments business, which specialized in tongue depressors, and which he sold under the company name “Good Humors.” Eventually, as a sales promotion, ice cream was added to the tongue depressors. Soon, people were buying the tongue depressors just to get the ice cream. Eventually the company’s name was changed to Agrippa’s Ice Cream on a Stick.

Almanac: What we have here is a failure to communicate. Extraterrestrials have been trying to contact us for years, as we have them. Unfortunately, we communicate with symbols etched on physical material or with radio waves, while the ETs do so by plucking the cosmic superstrings like a harp. To us, these superstring fluxuations manifest as brief dizzy spells, at those rare times where we intercept them at all. So, hey, y’know. It just ain’t happening.

October 2-8, Martyrdom of the Blob

It is at this time of year I remember, for some reason, Steve McQueen figuring out that they had to freeze the Blob in order to defeat it. At least I think that’s what happened. Anyway, as featureless and impersonal as the Blob was, I always felt sorry for it. Call me crazy… everyone else does. In the remake Del Close (as Rev. Meeker) keeps a little bit of the Blob in a jar. Why? Cuz he was Del Close and he was a god damn freak!

»Rush Limbaugh’s disgrace and resignation from ESPN, along with revelations of his illegal drug purchases, threaten to overshadow the martyrdom of the traditional Blob. Move over, there’s a new Blob in town.

Employment Opportunities: Easy money! Become a prostitute in Iraq. US government contracts mean you need never accomplish a single act of sex. US taxpayers practically screw themselves! Taxpayer dollars represent an endless cash cow for qualified and unqualified cronies! Work from home! Sit around reading the Wall Street Journal and wait for the checks to roll in. All prostitution contracts limited to friends of the Bush family, their business circle, agents and subsidiaries. Iraqis need not apply.

July 16-23, Kaiju Homecoming

The traditional week when giant Japanese monsters lay aside their differences, energy rays, flaming breath, and flying body-part weapons and go to Monster Island to celebrate what they all have in common: a contract with Bondai Corporation to have action figures made in their likenesses. They dance around, shaking the earth with their steps and piercing the sky with their roars, and making out with each other. Except Ghidora, who makes out with himself. He is also called Monster Zero.

Almanac: Un-Christian Cartoonist Johnny Hart, author of the comic strip B.C., has averred in his cartoons that those who oppose religious iconography and language in government-funded displays are going to Hell. He seems to think that if the government DID mention God, it would be HIS God, instead of a multi-armed blue woman wearing a belt of severed heads. At harvest time he will be peed on by Gamera, the giant flying turtle, friend of all children.

June 20, Langston’s Bother

At a party in Harlem, the poet Langston Hughes asked for another gin and tonic. When he was told his host had run out of tonic, he affected the voice of a small British child, flicked an imaginary mosquito from near his right temple, and said, to the amusement of the assembled company, “Oh, bothuh!” Since then, gay black poets have commemorated the event by organizing interminable poetry readings at which there is never enough to drink.

Almanac: Almanac? I’ll give you a goddam almanac, all right.

February 5, Peninsula Day

Originated by the little-known millionaire philanthropist Gay Paul Jetty.

» Go visit, remember, or imagine a peninsula you like. Think about the beauty of it, and of the waters it juts out into. DO NOT substitute an isthmus; wait patiently for Isthmus Day. Enjoy!

Remember: The mushroom is neither fish nor mammal. So? So it’s a fun fact! Enjoy! Jesus.

February 4, Mix Up Divulge and Deluge Day

Mix them suckers up!

» Uncanny prediction: Next Wednesday, while in a crowd, someone taller than you will elbow you, but you will not be hurt, just a little annoyed. At least, that’s what’s gonna happen to me.

January 30, Sorry-ass Day

Originally celebrated as Sorry, Ass Day. A day of attonement during which plowmen and other ass-employers apologized to their asses for any ill treatment meted out to the sorry-ass beasts of burden during the past year. It is now a day on which all sorry-ass things are meditated upon.

» On this day we remember the Edsel, the Arch Deluxe, the Rhenquist Supreme Court, and the revelation that even lesbians weren’t watching the Ellen show anymore.

January 28-29, St. Vitus’ Homecoming Dance

Celebrations surrounding the homecoming football game of the Flippers of St. Vitus High School in Lake Gypsum, Iowa. The game is usually played against the Flippers’ crosstown rivals, the Floundering High Thrashers. A carnival atmosphere pervades the town, especially the busy blunt trauma and obstructed breathing ward at Chubby Checker Memorial Hospital.

» This year at this time I’m feeling pretty darn well. I’m advised by my friend, Chicago playwright David Isaacson, to draw people’s attention to a very prophetic group of three lines, set off in quotation marks, in the first chapter of Herman Melville’s (1819 - 1891) Moby Dick, the chapter entitled Loomings. Pretty eerie, non?

January 25-27, Make Fun of an Oakeshottian Conservative Da

The Protestants celebrate it from sundown on Jan 25 to sundown on the 26. Orthodox and Catholics celebrate it on the 26, except in Mexico where it is celebrated on the 27 as Make Fun of a Virgin Oakeshottian Conservative Day. The rudderless English political philosopher, Sir Michael Oakeshott, is a creaky old geezer even in death. His dictum was, “let nature take its course, and one day everyone will be an Oakeshottian conservative.” On this day it is customary to poke fun or haze his followers, whom one can easily annoy by writing almanac entries misrepresenting their founder and his philosophy, or by taking them out blindfolded to a busy intersection and saying, “Hey, go nuts!”

It was on one of these three days in 1958, while delivering a lecture at Harvard on Morality and Politics in Modern Europe, that Sir Michael’s pants fell down.

July 15, Yeti New Year

In 1962, the four subspecies of Yeti held a conference in a huge Himalayan ice cavern during which they decided to adopt the Western Solar Calendar, whatever you call it, the Julian Calendar? Anyway, they set their New Year’s Day as July 15 in honor of something, not sure what.

Advice for the Viceless: Get a vice.

January 17, Blagojevich Shoe Day (Serbian Unorthodox)


The Serbian Unorthodox verion of the Portuguese-Malay “Shoe Days” celebrated the following week [see next entry]. Emiliano Zapatos originated the celebration in Portuguese Malaysia, honoring his ancestors on an altar peopled with effigies made of painted old shoes. Even today, all over the Pacific, the ritual of painting shoes and blessing them as if they were honored people is made fun of. Details of the Serbian Unorthodox ritual customs appear immediately below.

Important Celebration Information: This is a very special year for Serbian Unorthodox Shoe Day, as this is the first year it will ever have been celebrated. Neo-Puerto Rican artist/author/scholar Dave Buchen explains:

“[Publically disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Balgojevich] claims that he won’t step down because the people of Illinois elected him to do a job. It is therefore the job of the people of Illinois to show him that they don’t want him to do that job.

“… Saturday January 17th, [celebrants will] go to his house in Ravenswood manor and [each] leave a shoe on his front lawn. Will it take 100,000 shoes? 200,000? Half a million? How many people want him to go?”

January 22-24, Shoe Days

Three days to think about shoes, and put those thoughts into action. Emiliano Zapatos originated the celebration in Portuguese Malaysia, honoring his ancestors on an altar peopled with effigies made of painted old shoes. Even today, all over the Pacific, the ritual of painting shoes and blessing them as if they were honored people is made fun of.

» On this date, two years from now, the sandwich will be re-invented, and this time two side orders of your choice will be considered integral parts of the sandwich. So if you order a sandwich anywhere at any time, you will automatically get two sides with it. And if you make one at home, it won’t be considered a sandwich until you have chips and macaroni and cheese with it. It will instead be called a constitutionally protected abortion.

January 18, Feast of the Hungry Ghosts

Traditionally, among the Fifth Day Casualists, a holiday when dinner dishes aren’t washed and food is left out over night for hungry ghosts to eat.

» Scientists at MIT have validated belief in a world of the dead. Said Professor Nittelfinger of the MIT broadband laboratory, “We have every reason to believe that such a world exists and that communication with it is a mere matter of years away. In fact, the day may come when the living will be able to travel to the world of the dead. Oh, wait, that already happens.”