Weird Wednesday: It’s St. Patrick’s Day – Be Sure to Don Your Blue!

Good day! We are delighted to welcome you to “Weird Wednesday,” a joint series, partnered with our friends at Layered Pages, that explores the quirky side of our universe. Presently many people across the world cannot access this fabulous place, and even in the best of times we often pass so much by in our haste to get wherever it is we may be headed. So sit down, relax a bit and allow us to bring some of our explorations to you. Here you may find things funny, outrageous, marvelous, fascinating, out of this world! Feel free to suggest topics and be sure to comment below and click to follow the blog. We’ll be having contests and lots of great content coming up, so be sure to stay tuned!

Over the years I’ve heard a lot of Irish people scorn American habits that supposedly reflect Irish ways or traditions, anywhere from corned beef cabbage to wearing o’ the green. “’Shannon,’” a Dubliner once told me, “is a name only Americans label their children with. This is not a truly Irish thing to do.” (Never mind that one of the nation’s busiest airports is called Sionainne, Irish for Shannon!) Well, did you know that even the St. Patrick’s Day celebration, which is yuuuuuuuuuge in America, is among that list of things the Irish don’t actually do? OK, they do it now, thanks to the realization that St. Patrick’s Day could be a great way to earn oodles of tourism dollars (among other reasons), but this fun and wonderful day, commemorating the life of St Patrick, is actually an invention of Ireland-loving Americans and immigrant Irish.

St. Benin’s Church, Kilbennan, County Galway, Ireland (Image courtesy Andreas F. Borchert, via Wikimedia)

Many people know these days that St. Patrick, famous for ridding Ireland of snakes and bringing Christianity to the island, wasn’t actually Irish. Additionally, the color originally associated with his day was blue, but because he utilized the shamrock, a three-leafed clover once considered a sacred plant, to teach about the Holy Trinity, the association with green caught on.

Following are some more fun facts about this special day, now beloved the world over, thanks to the Irish diaspora as well as the friendly relationship Ireland has with many nations. It’s not difficult to admire the beauty of Ireland, so it’s also not really a surprise that internationally so many people have adopted many of the traditions that grew from the American St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. On March 17, we’re all a little Irish!

  • While there seem to be some differences on the record as to when or who started St. Patrick’s Day parades, this one stands out: the 1601 celebration in St. Augustine, Florida, then a Spanish colony, was organized by an Irish cleric stationed there. Later celebrations sprang up in places such as Boston (famous today for its Irish population) and New York City, where Irish soldiers, immigrants and other ordinary Americans continued the tradition.
  • Research indicates there have never actually been snakes in Ireland: the water surrounding the island is partly responsible, as well as the last glacial period and weather too cold for such reptiles.
  • St. Paddy’s Day, as it is affectionately known in America, is widely seen the world over as a drinking holiday, but the day was once marked as a solemn one in which pubs across Ireland were closed to show respect to the saint. In the 1970s this changed, and the thing to do was attend mass in the morning and celebrate the rest of the day. If the holiday fell on Friday, the day’s non-meat restriction was lifted. Since St. Patrick’s Day falls during Lent, the days following the celebration were a return to Lenten observations.
  • The tradition of corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day is an American innovation. Back home, Irish tended toward ham and cabbage, but Irish immigrants, notably in Lower Manhattan, many of whom lived in abject poverty, purchased cheap corned beef off returning trade ships. They boiled the meat three times to remove the brine, the last go round adding the cabbage, presumably to infuse the flavor.
  • Relics of St. Patrick—the shrine of his jaw and a tooth—can be found today in the Dublin Museum, and his copy of the four gospels at the Royal Irish Academy.

More weird and wonderful facts about St. Patrick and his day, as well as history of the lovely island he made home, may be found here, here and here! It’s one of the most fun rabbit holes you may ever find yourself going down, and it may take a while, so perhaps grab a refreshment—green, if possible—and top o’ the morning to you!

St. Patrick’s Day is now celebrated in many nations across the world. Above, one of the annual celebrations held in Moscow, a parade at Old Arbat. (Image courtesy Wikimedia)

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Weird Wednesday, An Exploration of Our Quirky World: What *ARE* You Doing?

Good day! We are delighted to welcome you to “Weird Wednesday,” a joint series, partnered with our friends at Layered Pages, that explores the quirky side of our universe. Presently many people across the world cannot access this fabulous place, and even in the best of times we often pass so much by in our haste to get wherever it is we may be headed. So sit down, relax a bit and allow us to bring some of our explorations to you. Here you may find things funny, outrageous, marvelous, out of this world! Feel free to suggest topics and be sure to comment below and click to follow the blog. We’ll be having contests and lots of great content coming up, so be sure to stay tuned!

Ever catch yourself doing something slightly odd, maybe even weird, and keep it secret? Or maybe you knew it was odd and kept it under wraps from the beginning, knowing all the time it would make you look silly? What about some of the things children do, including teenagers? Do tell! Do you do them as well?

What if you were to find out many others did the same things? Would it surprise you to know that it’s often a little more than just “talking to herself,” for example? Could you believe that your co-worker, efficient and sensible, conducts interviews between himself and major news outlets? Maybe children do some funny things, like play themselves at chess, as a tactical maneuver not only to stave off boredom, but in the process also can teach themselves winning techniques. And adults? Do adults ever play pretend?

Below are some funny things people of all ages (yes, yours too!) do that they cover up, often unaware that millions of others do the same thing—and also hide! Some may have logical explanations, but still strike us as funny. Or maybe we do them openly, none in our party finding it odd until we hear a comedian joke about it or a song’s lyrics open us up to the vagaries of human behavior. Check which ones you do, and by all means comment and add to the list!

  • Driving through a neighborhood looking for an address, and you must turn the radio down or off.
  • Wearing headphones/airpods and pretend you’re a singer on stage in front of thousands of adoring fans
  • Eat something horrible at a restaurant, express in words how absolutely terrible it is, then say, “Try this! It’s awful!!”
  • Go through your own social media page after someone friend requests you, looking to see it “through their eyes”
  • Watch people around you and make up back stories about them
  • Pretend you are being interviewed and talk about yourself and answer questions you make up
  • Are shocked by an expensive price tag, but stay in the store, even carry the item around as if you’re going to get it, then make a show of putting it back and the reason why very clear (you’re in a rush to leave, you decided on something else for the gift you seek, etc.)
  • Chew on the inside of your cheek when your mouth is numb after a visit to the dentist
  • Try closing the refrigerator door as much as possible till the light goes off just to see how it looks in there when it’s dark
  • Pick up and move something from Point A to Point B with your foot, just to see if you can, or because you’re feeling too lazy to bend down
  • Have imaginary arguments in your head – with a friend who just slighted you, a famous political pundit, etc.
  • Put your feet up on the bed so the monster beneath won’t grab your ankles
  • Do something else while waiting for the microwave, secretly aiming to finish just in time to stop the micro with one second to spare
  • Position a large hair clip around your lips and leave it there for awhile
  • Insist on looking at your phone while lying in bed, even though you’re very tired, and it falls on your face

 

OK, I forgot to add the WW header, but indeed our last
Weird Wednesday, Eat Bird or Die, can be found here!

And check out Stephanie’s Quirky Meanings at Layered Pages’ WW!!

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Eat Bird or Die

Welcome to ~

We are delighted to meet up with you again here at WW, a new joint series, partnered with our friends at Layered Pages, that explores the quirky side of our universe. Presently many people across the world cannot access this fabulous place, and even in the best of times we often pass so much by in our haste to get wherever it is we may be headed. So sit down, relax a bit and allow us to bring some of our explorations to you. Here you may find things funny, outrageous, marvelous, out of this world! Feel free to suggest topics and be sure to comment below and click to follow the blog. We’ll be having contests coming up, so you’ll want to be sure to stay tuned!

Years ago I had a funny conversation with a friend who told me about some Russians she knew that fancied themselves master translators. They played a game to prove it: she was to whisper something in English into the ear of one, he would whisper it in Russian to the next, then that guy would whisper it to the next, and that last person would then translate it back to the group in English. So, English to Russian, then Russian down a small line, then translated back to English.

In this manner “I have to hit the sack” became “It is necessary I strike the bag.”

There were several other examples, but for some reason I recall only this one, which wasn’t even the funniest. Nevertheless, we laughed like crazy and started collecting idioms. We also liked to borrow German expressions and use them, translated literally, and say them in English for what we wanted to express. But they had to be special ones, sentences that made no sense in English. “They go like warm rolls,” when talking about something really popular, for example, wouldn’t suffice, because to an English speaker that still makes sense.

So we aimed for the wackiest ones we could come up with and used them on innocent, unsuspecting citizens. The variety of responses was hilarious, and reminds me of why there are so many reasons to love words and the millions of ways in which people use them.

Here are some literal translations and what they actually mean in English –

To be a boiled, slit ear – never miss a trick

With a monkey tooth – at breakneck speed

“Pull rope!” – “Get lost!”

To be able to steal horses with someone – to be super reliable

You’ve seen horses vomit – anything can happen

Pour one onto the lamp – drink a lot

I have a lot around my ears – I have a lot on my plate

Adopt the salami tactic – to do things in small steps

“He has hair on his teeth.” – “He’s bossy.”

To be on the wooden path – barking up the wrong tree

A stone has fallen from my heart – that’s a relief

Spoon out the soup – face the music

The last shirt has no pockets – You can’t take it with you (when you die)

Add a tooth – speed up

Milk girl calculation – naïve assessment

Vogel Drei (Meister der Spielkarten) – ein lustiger Vogel

There are loads and loads more, and a few websites even explain the etymology of some, which makes for quite fascinating reading because one can learn so much about a culture by studying their idioms. German, for example, seems to utilize a lot that give pigs much more love than most other countries do. And birds…there’s something slightly mysterious about how often Vogel shows up in German expressions. In fact, I went looking for one I could swear was something like Eat bird or die, meaning take it or leave it. I couldn’t find it anywhere, though, which made me a bit sad because I also used to have a bookmark that splashed those words across the length of it. Well, between what I could remember and those I looked up, I had to be satisfied.

But we’ll re-visit at some point, for sure. On this evening, however, we must recall that everything has an end. Only the sausage has two.

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Weird Wednesday: An Exploration of Our Quirky World – Papa’s Beard, Best Fair Food Ever?

Good day! We are delighted to welcome you to “Weird Wednesday,” a new joint series, partnered with our friends at Layered Pages, that explores the quirky side of our universe. Presently many people across the world cannot access this fabulous place, and even in the best of times we often pass so much by in our haste to get wherever it is we may be headed. So sit down, relax a bit and allow us to bring some of our explorations to you. Here you may find things funny, outrageous, marvelous, out of this world! Feel free to suggest topics and be sure to comment below and click to follow the blog. We’ll be having contests coming up, so you’ll want to be sure to stay tuned!

When I was a child one of the things I wanted to try so much was cotton candy. I saw it on TV, I suppose, and must  have seen it at the fair when other people ate it. I don’t know if my mother never bought it for me because she thought it was bad or just didn’t want to spend the money. At the World’s Fair in 1904 a box of it cost 25¢, which was $6.75 in 2015 money, roughly the time my own son might have been asking me for such stuff. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have wanted to spend that much for it either.

To be honest, I have no idea how much it was, in my childhood or my son’s, but it couldn’t have been outrageous because when I was, I don’t know, maybe eleven or thereabouts, I managed to cobble together enough to go off on my own and buy some. In great anticipation I waded my way through the small-town fair crowd, seeing people with their own fairy fluff (as we called it, perhaps in error but at least retaining the desirable alliteration), looking so happy and having great fun. The masses of pink and blue fluffy goodness simply beamed happiness. And then…finally! I handed over my coin, reached for my sensational swirl and then bit in.

Continue reading “Weird Wednesday: An Exploration of Our Quirky World – Papa’s Beard, Best Fair Food Ever?”