May 22nd National Buy A Musical Instrument Day

What a great way to start a Monday… trying to figure out which musical instrument you will buy and learn how to play, or start playing again if you played it years ago. There is a feeling of accomplishment even if you can play just a little bit, a song or two is good enough.

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Probably the most popular instrument to play is the piano. Now a grand piano might set you back 15 to 20 thousand dollars so I wouldn’t suggest starting there. But you can buy a cheaper piano, for maybe 2 or 3 thousand or a keyboard for a couple of hundred.  Now don’t expect to become Liberace over night, that may take a lifetime and many, many people don’t want to go there anyway, but again lower you expectations and learn a song or two. Impress your friends but never, never take requests.

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Now if you are the type that likes to annoy others, try the drums! Nothing wrong with drums at all but if you listen to someone play something loudly who has no idea how to play it, it does have its drawbacks. The nice thing about the drums are you generally can’t hear the complaints over your drumming. A drum set may cost you anywhere from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand or more. Or you can buy drum pads while you are learning and keep your friends! They shouldn’t cost you more than 10 or 20 dollars.

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I spent my youth as a guitarist. I practiced day and night, hour after hour and finally got pretty decent. A guitar is one of the easiest instruments to learn, and is the most difficult to master. In fact, there are more notes on the average guitar than a piano, meaning there are more combinations than any other instrument on the market. When I traveled, I carried 56 guitars with me.  To this day I have no idea why. Anyway, if you chose a guitar please don’t buy a 50 dollar special, you are guaranteed not to learn it. That is partially why pros do not play on them. Give yourself a chance and spend at least a couple of hundred if not more. If you don’t stick with it you’ll at least be able to get more back out of it.

How to celebrate – Find a musical instrument that interests you. Careful of the instruments that look simple, none of them are simple… except maybe the kazoo. At least go to a music store, not a Walmart, and look at the instruments.

May 21st National Waiters and Waitresses Day

Well, if you don’t like leaving tips, stay inside today! this is National Waiters and Waitresses Day and good tips are expected!. (For good service naturally)

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If you have never been a waiter or waitress I can tell you from personal experience, it’s a tough job. Just balancing trays is a job in its own right but having to deal with each and every persons personality, the other waiters and waitresses, the kitchen staff, the chefs, the management and the occasional skipped payment makes it a stressful position to maintain.

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When the food isn’t to your liking, comes out late or the air conditioning is too high or too low, who gets the blame? Add to all that, they are people just like the rest of us and have the exact same sort of stress the rest of us go through on a daily basis. But they  are always expected to be cheerful, prompt and efficient.

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And remember the old days when drive through meant drive in? Girls in roller skates coming out to your car to take your oder and returning with those trays that hung on your window? Not only did they have to wait on you but they had to know how to roller skate pretty well. I have a hard enough time walking and chewing gum at the same time.

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And then there are those girls that look so much better than the food you are being served. They always seemed to get better tips even if they forgot to bring the food at all!

How to celebrate – Make sure you give your waiter-waitress a good tip if you go out today. Maybe even take them a small gift, not in place of money because they work on tips for the most part. Be nice to your waiter or waitress, they are working hard for their money.

May 20th Armed Forces Day

Nearly every country in the world owes their existence to the men and women who fought to allow civilians to live where they live, countries to grow where they have grown and civilization to thrive where it has been born. War is not brought on by soldiers, it is brought on by politics that get out of control or greed that civilians create. Yet it almost always seems to be the soldier that pays the ultimate price.

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Britain ruled a great deal of  the world by the deployment of it’s Navy, America has enjoyed it’s freedom because of the Navy and even the great empires of history have had powerful navies, even when landlocked.

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And while the Navy protects us from large scale land invasion, the Coast Guard keeps us safe from those that might slip through the cracks. They also protect us from many of the stupid things we do, like sailing without life preservers and letting the fuel run out when we go boating.

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Armed Forces Day was created by Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson on August 31, 1949. It was announced by President Harry Truman on February 20th, 1950. Then finally celebrated on May 20th, 1950. It honors all our fighting forces, the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard for their service from day one in America.

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Now I know to many of you it may get old to thank our military as much as we do. Honestly though, we cannot thank them enough, ever. None of us would be here if not for them. Most of the countries would not exist without them. And oddly enough, there would never be peace without them.

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How to celebrate – Thank every uniformed serviceman/woman that you see today for your life. Thank any retired serviceman/woman for their past service. Fly your flag proudly, whatever country you are in, the idea of your flag is the freedom you’ve been given and the soul of every soldier who has ever fought and died for you.

May 19th National Ride Your Bike To Work Day

We all need to get in better shape these days and riding a bike is a great way to do it. Better yet, ride it to work and save the environment, get in shape and get away from the traffic! (Just hope it doesn’t rain.)

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Oh, and you may want to avoid busy streets too. There are a lot of bike lanes these days but most smaller cars think they were designed for them. However with the way traffic is these days you might actually get to work quicker! (Although that could be bad too…)

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National Ride Your Bike To Work Day was created by the League of American Bicyclist by first creating National Bike Month in 1956. (The 3rd Friday in May) The League of American Bicyclist came out of The League of American Wheelmen in 1880. Wheelmen Wheelmen is what they called Bicyclist back in the 1880’s.

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They have bikes today you can spend thousands of dollars on, some nearly as much as a car. And if you spend that much on a bike you need to ride it to work everyday, not just one day a year! Myself, I like the old bikes, no fifty gears and seat warmers… just pedal to the highway and off you go. Today, you need a college degree just to get the bike started.. ah, the old days!

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And the hood ornaments for bikes these days are getting just a little out of control. I realize that you pick up speed by putting you read end higher in the air than your head but come on, can you imagine the Kardashians riding a bike like that? They’d have to develop “Wide-Load” signs for bikes!

How to celebrate – Ride your bike to work today. (Avoiding major highways) Prepare for your ride, loosen up the muscles. This is not the day for leg cramps! You may want to get a cart to ride behind your bike for your laptop, cell phone, briefcase, a change of clothes, your helmet, your lunch, extra shoes, a raincoat and anything else you might need while at work today.

May 18th National Visit Your Relatives Day

They say you can’t choose your relatives, which is very true. However, you have to remember they couldn’t choose you either! So you might as well make do with the best and at least say hello every once in a while, like today.

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If your family tree is anything like mine there will be a few surprises here and there. After all, my family tree indicates that I am a long lost relative to Robin Hood. The fact that Robin Hood is fictional does bother me a little, does this mean I was born into a family of cartoon? Could be, I have had many people tell me I was a joke.

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But good or bad, I’m not as unusual as my uncle. (No the photo above is not really of my uncle). In fact I was very afraid of my uncle. He was a nearly 7 foot tall, Blackfoot Native American, bald headed and a General in the Marine Corp. Though I was afraid of him, I did admire him as well. So see, there is something good in everybody… you just have to look for it sometimes.

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My Aunt Clover was another character I both admired and thought (To myself) gee, what an off person. (And no this isn’t her either although I wouldn’t put this sort of thing beyond her) The point is, they are probably just as embarrassed of us as we are of them. So embrace they oddities and remember they are family. Good, bad or indifferent we can’t do anything about that and they will be gone all too soon. Who knows, maybe they will leave you a million dollars if you just as so much say “hello”.

How to celebrate – Visit a relative today. If it is practical to go to them, write them a letter, give them a call or email them. Look for the best in all your relatives.

May 17th National Pack Rat Day

Okay, I admit it, I am a pack rat! Or at least a recovering pack rat. It’s just all that stuff you never know where, or when, you might need! And to have to go out and buy what you have already had just seems wrong!

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Alright, never mind that you can’t find what you know you’ve saved because it’s under a pile of other junk that you don’t really need either. That means you still have to go buy whatever it is because it will take you a months worth of Sundays to find it. But that’s okay too cause at least you’ll have a spare for the next time you need it!

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And it’s sort of fun to go searching for what you are pretty sure you kept, but can;t honestly remember. Look at all the cool stuff you uncover that you had forgotten you had, or didn’t know you ever had.

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In theory, if you haven’t used something in a year it’s time to get rid of it. Unless, of course, you think that you might use it once again. I haven’t really used my mind in over two years but I don’t think I’ll get rid of it! Aside from all that have you ever really check out a rat?

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They really can’t carry all that much!

How to celebrate – Clean out that closet today (And put it all back in tomorrow). Determine those items you really won’t ever use again and give them to someone who will. Tell your wife, husband, children (Whoever) that being a pack rat is your hobby and tell them you don’t interfere in what they do, they should leave you alone with all your junk!

May 16th National Sea Monkey Day

 

National Sea Monkey Day May 16th, 2017

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Sea Monkeys were created by Harold Von Braunhut in 1957. The best way he could figure to sell his “product” was by buying advertisements in comic books, advertising the Sea Monkey to children who could not resist ordering them in the mail. In fact, he bought 3.2 million full page ads. It paid off really, really well.

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The popularity of the Sea Monkey even carried them into space with John Glenn on October 20, 1998. They survived the journey. In case you don’t know what Sea Monkeys are, they are brine shrimp but that’s a secret we can keep between us.

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How to celebrate – Order some Sea Monkeys for yourself. Treat your children, friends and family to an order of Sea Monkeys. See how long you can keep your Sea Monkeys alive.

May 15th National Police Officers Memorial Day

Today is the day we celebrate those who keep us safe. It seems in fashion these days not to appreciate those who protect us but just stop and think about life without them. And just like the soldiers who protect our freedom from outside forces, these are the men and women who protect us from those around us who feel they have a power over us.

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Every day they are heroes. Every time they pull over a speeding car, check on someone who is obviously out of their element and from those who are just plain crazy, they are the ones who protect us from our own community. Of all those who work for us, with us and around us, they are the ones always in the most danger. Whether you agree with them, or don’t, they are the ones that keep society from collapsing.

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And many of them will not see tomorrow. Imagine yourself running into a building that is burning or rushing to a scene where someone has been shooting at others. Most of us would go the other way, not police. Remember the next time you get pulled over for speeding that the man, or woman, in front of us may have just rescued a child or faced someone insane. They may have faced a person trying to end their own lives or trying to steal something from someone who has worked hard to earn what they have.

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And they face all the same issues we do. Paying the bills, struggles with a loved one, children growing up too fast, relatives that demand too much. And yet, we expect them to be perfect all the time. Shame on us. They are humans and do more for each and every one of us than we do for others in a lifetime.

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So today when you see a policeman, or woman, you should really thank them because it is very possible tomorrow, you may not have the chance.

How to celebrate – Thank a police officer for the work they do. Buy a police officer a Starbucks. Place some flowers on the grave of a police officer who fell in the line of duty.

May 14th Mother’s Day

Where would we be without our mothers? Well, nowhere because we wouldn’t even exist but I don’t think that’s the point. This is  the day to honor your mother, show her you are grateful for all that she has given you over the years. If you are lucky enough to still have your mother, make sure you do something for her before she is gone.

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There will never be enough days in a lifetime to repay a mother what she is due.  Of course that isn’t why she does it, not for the thanks or the gifts we give her because she’s a mother. We could give her the world and it still wouldn’t be worth what she has given us, life.

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And it never seems to end. When they become a grandmother they continue to give selflessly. You can always tell it’s not just because of duty, there is something more. Something that only someone who has been a mother can know. As a grandmother they add their years of experience, having learned more than any book can teach.

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And if you are very, very lucky you may even have a few years with your great grandmother many of whom first arrived in America to start your family here. Mother’s Day was started when Anna Jarvis of the St. Andrews  Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia in 1908 decided to celebrate her mother who had treated Civil War veterans as well as raised her family. They applied to Congress to officially recognize the day but Congress denied it because if they made a Mother’s Day, they would also have to make a Mother-In-Law Day, something no one wanted to do. But in 1914 Woodrow Wilson did recognize the day and made it a part of America’s celebration. It is always the 2nd Sunday in May.

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Mother’s Day is not just celebrated in America however, more than 40 countries world wide celebrate the day as well. (Of course it’s not on the same day we celebrate it here.) Guess they have mothers there too!

How to celebrate – Make sure your mother knows how much you appreciate them today. Say a prayer for your mother, whether she is here or passed, for all the prayers she has said for you. Realize this is more than just one day, it should be every day, for as long as you live.

May 13th National Train Day

Talk about a strange day… not the theme but the dating! 2017 shows the day as May 12th but it also says it’s the Saturday closest to May 10th, which this year is May 13th, and what the heck does May 10th have to do with it!?! Supposedly it has something to do with the uniting of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific but that fell on May 9th.

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I think the one thing we can all agree on is that trains have made America what it is today. Without the train the westward expansion might have still happened but it would have been slower. The Civil War might have still been won by the Union but it would have taken longer. And the Great Depression probably would have ended at some point but not as soon as it did.

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And still, we have primarily forgotten about the train. We fly planes, take the buss and drive ourselves where ever we want to go. And yes, some of that is due to the train companies that charge an arm and a leg for poor service, poorer destinations and restriction on our comfort. But it wasn’t always this way. It use to have some of the best food available, entertainment and arrived in daylight at respectable places.

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With the invent of high speed trains perhaps things will change in the future. Just like the people depending on the trains in the mid-1800’s to transport them west, we are waiting for trains to answer the needs we as customers have.  Or maybe if we needed them a little more then things would change. At least the people at the National Railroad Passengers Corporation who created today hope it will.

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How to celebrate – Take a trip on a train (Maybe a short trip). Study the history of trains. Just sit by railroad tracks and watch the trains go by.