March 24 is National Cocktail Day

Can you imagine Sex in the City without the four ladies enjoying their Cosmopolitans or Bond, James Bond,without his vodka martini “Shaken not stirred”?

National Cocktail Day was created by holidaymaker Jace Shoemaker-Galloway as a fun day to celebrate a fun drink.

Cocktails were traditionally a mixture of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters, and some mixed drinks today still conform to this, such as the Old Fashioned Whiskey cocktail, the Sazerac cocktail, and the Manhattan cocktail.

Many people believe that cocktails originated in the U.S. While this is partly true, cocktails were actually inspired by British punches from the 18th century. British punches were big bowls of spirits mixed with fruit juice, spice, and other flavors.

No one is exactly sure who first created cocktails, but the world is more than grateful to them. What is known is that by the 1860s, it started gaining popularity. Cocktails became especially popular after alcohol was prohibited in the United States from 1920 to 1933 ironically.

Speakeasies began to sell inferior liquor because it was easier to produce illicitly. Then they started adding honey, fruit juice, and other flavorings to mask the foul taste of this liquor, enabling customers to drink faster, which was very important in case of a raid.

The Industrial Age made a major contribution to the evolution of cocktails with the production of ice. Before the Industrial Age, there was no effective way to make ice blocks and keep them from melting.
In the 90s, a group of bartenders at New York’s famous Rainbow Room brought back classic cocktail culture and followed strict quality standards. Today, there is a substantive cocktail culture in the art of mixology, which draws on traditional cocktails, but uses novel ingredients and complex flavors.

If you like your cocktails with a literary twist then you might like the classic Tequila Mockingbird. The book includes “sixty-five delicious drink recipes paired with wry commentary on history’s most beloved novels, Tequila Mockingbird also includes bar bites, drinking games, and whimsical illustrations throughout.” For example Tequila Mockingbird is a punderful take on To Kill a Mocking Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

On the rocks or with a twist
Cocktail hour can't be missed
Have a drink or maybe two
Please know the limit that works for you.

From the not so good recent old days:

National K-9 Veterans Day–March 13

This is one veteran where (if the dog/owner agrees) you may want to hug or at least shake a paw.

K-9 Veterans Day is celebrated on March 13. On this day, K-9 breeders and handlers honor the service of their furry companions. K-9s serve vital roles in the military and law enforcement. They get embedded in border patrol and customs, airports, the Coast Guard, the F.B.I., the police, and even the Secret Service. This holiday also recognizes other service dogs that help people with disabilities and support animals for those with mental health issues. Service dogs often risk their health and lives to accomplish their missions. It’s only fair that we should celebrate their efforts at least once a year.

From Imbu Botanicals:

“K-9 Veterans Day is celebrated on March 13. It’s a day that K-9 breeders and handlers honor the service of their furry companions. These dogs serve vital roles in the military and law enforcement, and often risk their health and lives to accomplish their missions. At Imbue, we feel that it’s important to celebrate their efforts at least once a year.

K-9 Veterans Day was started by Joe White, a Vietnam War veteran from Jacksonville, Florida. White was a dog handler who saw firsthand how valiantly K-9s served in the conflict and was disturbed by the (now abolished) euthanasia of these K-9 heroes at the end of their military service. To help raise awareness and honor the sacrifices of military working dogs, he came up with the idea of a holiday commemorating them. At Imbue, we are also most mindful of these less-recognized veterans of our armed forces; the countless canines who have valiantly served, many making the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Many of you are aware of our connection to Dobermans. And as Doberman Pinscher owners, we are perhaps more aware of the history of this breed in connection to the wartime sacrifice they made. The very first Marine War Dog Training School was established at Quantico Bay, Cuba, on January 18, 1943, under the direction of Captain Samuel T. Brick. Fourteen Doberman Pinschers were donated by the Baltimore, Maryland and Canton, Ohio members of the Doberman Pinscher Club of America. The school’s location was short lived, however. A week later, the War Dog Training Center was established at Camp Lejeune, NC

According to the Doberman Pinscher Club of America “When United States Marines landed war dogs on Bougainville in the South Pacific, the first of November, 1943, it marked the first use of trained military dogs in combat by the United States. Dobermans, the official U.S. Marine Corps War Dogs, served throughout the South Pacific, courageously leading patrols in the steaming jungles, giving timely warning of the enemy waiting in ambush or hiding in caves, saving untold lives. They guarded exhausted sleeping troops in foxholes by night, preventing infiltration by the foe.”

More than 1,000 dogs had trained as Marine Devil Dogs during World War II. Twenty-nine war dogs were listed as killed in action, 25 of those deaths occurred on the island of Guam. Today, the U.S. Marine Corp maintains a War Memorial on Guam, for those 25 War Dogs that served and died there during WW II.”

Reblog: How the Armed Services Editions Created a Nation of Readers

One of my jobs as a military librarian was to provide monthly book kits to deployed soldiers, sailors (both ashore and afloat), and Marines on Embassy Duty around the world. Those paperback book kits were the lineal descendants of the World War II’s Armed Serviced Editions.


Before Washboard abs were cool,

Washboard Abs are Coming” by ideowl is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

there were washboard roads and washboards.

Washboard roads were caused by: dry granular materials, vehicle speeds, and the quality of the granular material. Other factors cited include vehicle speed, traffic volume, and hard acceleration or braking.

Does anyone remember what a washboard is?

Elderly woman with washboard.

Clothes were soaked in hot, soapy water, then pressed by hand against a washboard. In pushing wet clothes against the washboard’s ridges, water was flushed through the cloth, carrying dirt and stains away with it. Clothes were then rinsed in clean water and hung to dry.

Washboards are also used as percussion instruments. The washboard and frottoir (from Cajun French “frotter”, to rub) are used as a percussion instrument, employing the ribbed metal surface of the cleaning device as a rhythm instrument. As traditionally used in jazz, zydeco, skiffle, jug band, and old-time music, the washboard remained in its wooden frame and is played primarily by tapping, but also scraping the washboard with thimbles. Often the washboard has additional traps, such as a wood block, a cowbell, and even small cymbals. Conversely, the frottoir (zydeco rubboard) dispenses with the frame and consists simply of the metal ribbing hung around the neck. It is played primarily with spoon handles or bottle openers in a combination of strumming, scratching, tapping and rolling. The frottoir is played as a stroked percussion instrument, often in a band with a drummer, while the washboard generally is a replacement for drums. In Zydeco bands, the frottoir is usually played with bottle openers, to make a louder sound. It tends to play counter-rhythms to the drummer. In a jug band, the washboard can also be stroked with a single whisk broom and functions as the drums for the band, playing only on the back-beat for most songs, a substitute for a snare drum. In a four-beat measure, the washboard will stroke on the 2-beat and the 4-beat. Its best sound is achieved using a single steel-wire snare-brush or whisk broom. However, in a jazz setting, the washboard can also be played with thimbles on all fingers, tapping out much more complex rhythms.

The Columbus Washboard Company, in business since 1895 manufacturing washboards is the only company. still operating in the United States.

Reblog: Michaelina Wautier, Art Video

Francisco Cabrera has consistently highlighted female artists. This is another in his marvelous ongoing series on Women Artists.

Feminism does not mean standing in front of an audience to accuse men or belittle masculinity. It is the process of enhancing the work of women and the work done by women. That is what equality is. It is not imposing one gender upon another one but it is claiming and demanding al equal playing field. If you have a means to reach out, no matter what it is, you can help by promoting, by informing about women artists.


(De/by Michaelina Wautier –, Public Domain,

Imbolc: Celtic Spring

Imbolc or Imbolg ( also called Saint Brigid’s Day is a Gaelic traditional festival. It marks the beginning of spring, and for Christians it is the feast day of Saint Brigid, Ireland’s patroness saint. It is held on 1 February, which is about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Historically, its traditions were widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, along with: Bealtaine, Lughnasadh and Samhain.[3]

Other nations celebrate early Spring celebrations in different ways.

Imbolc was known as the time for clearing the fields to prepare them for Spring planting. It was also a time for cleansing and purification. The fertility or fire goddess, Bridgit (before she became the Christian St. Brigid) was celebrated on this day.

Candlemas is traditionally a holiday where Jesus was presented to the temple and Mary was purified 40 days after giving birth to Jesus. The ceremony is referenced in Luke (2:22-4:22)

In the United States, where groundhogs exist, it’s the day where people wait to see if the great weather prognosticator will see his shadow or not.

January 22 is Chinese New Year or Chinese Lunar New Year’s Day or Chinese Spring Festival

All three titles are used in National Today’s January 22nd Holidays.

Chinese Lunar New Year’s Day is celebrated every year on the first day of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar, typically occurring between January 21 and February 20. This year, it falls on January 22. It is also commonly referred to as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. Celebrations last for 15 days, seven of which are work-free. During this fun period, families get together, cash gifts are handed to young people, and homes are thoroughly cleaned to usher in fresh blessings for the new year.

The celebration will last until February 5. It is the Year of the Rabbit.

This is one of many Spring holidays celebrated around the world about this time.

Martin Luther King Holiday, January 16

To mark the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.

The holiday was observed for the first time on January 20, 1986. It is observed on the third Monday of January.

The holiday is often celebrated as a Day of Service, so a day on rather than a day off.

A worthy goal
worth striving for
our progress will be 
in lives not needlessly lost
in rules no longer unevenly applied
on worth measured by values lived, not lies told
by having single standard
that applies to us all evenly.

January 12 is National Hot Tea Day

A frigid January day would be a perfect day for a cuppa..

History of National Hot Tea Day

Tea has been consumed for almost 5,000 years. In 2737 B.C., during the Tang Dynasty, legend has it that some tea leaves fell into a pot of water that was being boiled for Chinese emperor Shen Nung. He drank the brew and found it delicious and relaxing.

In 2016, the earliest known physical evidence of tea was discovered in the mausoleum of Emperor Jing of Han in Xi’an, indicating that tea, from the genus Camellia, was drunk by Han dynasty emperors, as early as the 2nd century B.C. The Han dynasty work, “the Contract for a Youth,” written in 59 B.C., contains the first known reference to boiling tea. The first record of tea cultivation is also dated to this period, during which tea was cultivated on Meng Mountain.

Tea was first introduced to Western priests and merchants in China during the 16th century. The first recorded shipment of tea by a European nation was in 1607, when the Dutch East India Company moved a cargo of tea from Macao to Java. Tea was sold in a coffee house in London in 1657, Samuel Pepys tasted tea in 1660, and Catherine of Braganza took the tea-drinking habit to the English court when she married Charles II in 1662.

Tea smuggling during the 18th century made tea accessible to the public. The British government removed the tax on tea, thereby eliminating the smuggling trade, in 1785. The popularity of tea played a role in historical events — the Tea Act of 1773 provoked the Boston Tea Party that escalated into the American Revolution. By the late 19th century, tea had become an everyday beverage for every social society.

The Tea Council of the U.S.A. was founded in 1950, and National Hot Tea Day was created by the council in 2016.

Black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, pu-erh tea, and purple tea are all made from the camellia sinensis tea plant. Each of these teas develops its unique characteristics through different harvesting and processing methods. Some teas are steamed, some are pan-fired. Some are allowed to oxidize and some aren’t. Some tea leaves are hand-formed into tightly rolled balls, while other tea leaves are roughly chopped, or left to air-dry in their natural shape. Some teas are harvested in the first weeks of the spring season, while others are harvested in the summer and fall.

What time is best for tea?
Any time is fine with me
With a group or all alone
With just a book to call my own

Can tea from a bag be considered tea?

The Names of All Manner of Hounds

If you don’t know what to call your dog (or anything else) and you want a list that looks and sounds classy, then check this list out.

Nicholas C. Rossis

Medieval dog statue | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

There are name generators aplenty when it comes to characters. What about their dogs, though? Have you ever been stuck looking for an authentic-sounding name for your medieval or fantasy hero’s four-legged best friend?

Thanks to My Modern Met, you now have the perfect resource to help you out: a unique medieval text that contains 1,065 dog names perfect for (medieval) pups! The list, known as “The Names of All Manner of Hounds,” offers some great names modern dog owners might want to consider such as Achilles, Meryman, Russette, Synfull, and Honeydewe.

The list of dog names was compiled around 1460 and was in the collection of Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester. The list of dog names is intended for hunting hounds: “running hounds, terriers, and greyhounds.” Some names take inspiration from royal historical figures, such as Charlemayne, Nero, and Romulus. Others are cute animal monikers like Dolfyn…

View original post 127 more words

January 5th in Twelfth Night.

During the Middle Ages, Christmas was a time of continuous feasting and merriment, which climaxed on Twelfth Night. The days and nights are counted separately. Therefore, the height of celebration became the night before, or eve, of Epiphany. The twelve day count actually begins with the night of December 25, the “first night.” The day of December 26 is the “first day,” the night of December 26 is the “second night,” and so on. The Twelfth Night is the night before Epiphany, and the twelfth day is Epiphany itself.

In some countries, Twelfth Night and Epiphany mark the start of the Carnival season. For Carnival in the United States, think about New Orleans, where it lasts through Mardi Gras Day.

  • The punch, called wassail, is consumed during Christmastime, but especially on Twelfth Night.
  • Special pastries, such as the tortell and king cake, are baked on Twelfth Night. They are eaten the following day for the Feast of the Epiphany celebrations.
  • Some people chalk their doors as a way of blessing their home. This year, they would write “20 + C =M +B + 2” in chalk. The letters have two meanings. They represent the initial of the Wise Men (Caspar, Malchior, and Balthazar). They also abbreviate the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat “May Christ bless the house.” The “+” signs represent the cross, and the “20” at the beginning and the “22” at the end mark the year.
  • It also a popular belief that it is unlucky to leave Christmas decorations hanging after Twelfth Night, though some may leave them up until Candlemas.

Twelfth Night or What You Will is a romantic comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written around 1601–1602 as a Twelfth Night’s entertainment for the close of the Christmas season. The play center s on the twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. To read the entire play click here

US Citizenship Test – Part 1 – Answers

How did you do on the test?

A: Principles of American Democracy

1. What is the supreme law of the land?

▪ the Constitution

2. What does the Constitution do?

▪ sets up the government
▪ defines the government
▪ protects basic rights of Americans

3. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?
▪ We the People

4. What is an amendment?
▪ a change (to the Constitution)
▪ an addition (to the Constitution)

5. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?

▪ the Bill of Rights

6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?*
▪ speech
▪ religion
▪ assembly
▪ press
▪ petition the government

7. How many amendments does the Constitution have?
▪ twenty-seven (27)-

2-*If you are 65 years old or older and have been a legal p ermanent resident of the United S tates for 20 or more years, you may study just the questions that have been marked with an asterisk.

8. What did the Declaration of Independence do?

▪ announced our independence (from Great Britain)
▪ declared our independence (from Great Britain)
▪ said that the United States is free (from Great Britain)

9. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?
▪ life
▪ liberty
▪ pursuit of happiness

10. What is freedom of religion?
▪ You can practice any religion, or not practice a religion.

11. What is the economic system in the United States?*
▪ capitalist economy
▪ market economy

12. What is the “rule of law”?
▪ Everyone must follow the law.
▪ Leaders must obey the law.
▪ Government must obey the law.
▪ No one is above the law

US Citizenship Test – Part 1

There is some discussion that Biden is dumbing down the Citizenship test to make it easier for foreigners. Having heard many fellow Americans making up answers about what our government does, I thought it might be interesting to provide the questions to the first part of the 2019 version of the test, I found on the Internet. Answers will be provided tomorrow.

A: Principles of American Democracy

1. What is the supreme law of the land?

2. What does the Constitution do?

3. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?

4. What is an amendment?

5. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?

6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?*

7. How many amendments does the Constitution have?

8. What did the Declaration of Independence do?

9. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?

10. What is freedom of religion?

11. What is the economic system in the United States?*

12. What is the “rule of law”?

From Literary History–Some Books Entering the Public Domain in the US in 2023

So what’s on the table this year? Though copyright laws differ from country to country, on January 1st, 2023, books that were published in 1927 will enter the public domain in the United States. Here’s a selection of the most interesting:

Herbert Asbury, The Gangs of New York

Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop

Agatha Christie, The Big Four

Countee Cullen, ed., Caroling Dusk: An Anthology of Verse by Negro Poets

Franklin W. Dixon, The Tower Treasure (The Hardy Boys #1)

Franklin W. Dixon, The House on the Cliff (The Hardy Boys #2)

Franklin W. Dixon, The Secret of the Old Mill (The Hardy Boys #3)

Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger”

Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place”

E.M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel

Ernest Hemingway, Men Without Women

Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

Franz Kafka, Amerika

Anita Loos, But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes

Edith Wharton, Twilight Sleep

Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

December 30 is Bacon Day

Bacon is not just for breakfast anymore. (Note there are several days throughout the year to celebrate bacon–for many of us , it is just that tasty.)

Danya “D” Goodman and Meff “Human Cannonball” Leonard founded Bacon Day in 1997 as the one great day to bond everyone together.   

Did you know that Bacon was also

  • a rebellion
  • an actor
  • a painter
  • a philosopher
  • a writer
  • a designer
  • the last name of all of the above

What do you like best or least about bacon?

Christmas Eve in Washington

I have lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains, near the Chesapeake Bay, and in Northern Virginia, 12 miles from Washington, DC. This song really speaks to me.

“Christmas Eve in Washington,” a slow, melodic song released in 1982 by local singer Maura Sullivan. The song is unlike any other holiday pop track. Sullivan’s lyrics talk about America, freedom, and sites around the greater Washington area like the Blue Ridge mountains and Chesapeake Bay.

Library Carrel- O Festivus

To the tune of O Christmas Tree

The usual holiday tradition of a tree is manifested in an unadorned aluminum pole, which is in direct contrast to normal holiday materialism. Those attending Festivus may also participate in the “Airing of Grievances” which is an opportunity to tell others how they have disappointed you in the past year, followed by a Festivus dinner, and then completed by the “Feats of Strength” where the head of the household must be pinned. All of these traditions are based upon the events in the Seinfeld episode, Strangely enough, our Festivus traditions also have roots that pre-date Seinfeld, as it began in the household of Dan O’Keefe, a television writer who is credited for writing the Seinfeld episode.

The traditional greeting of Festivus is “Happy Festivus.” The slogan of Festivus is “A Festivus for the rest of us!

O Festivus
O Festivus
You stand in naked splendor
O Festivus
O Festivus
We can't return to sender

You metal branches are left bare
No decorations anywhere

O Festivus
O Festivus
An antidote to Christmas