Thursday, October 9, 2008

October: Let The Leaf-Diving Begin

For someone who still can't believe it's the 21st century (I refuse), you should have seen my surprise - my shock - when I realized it was October. Wait a minute, I can't write that in the past tense, I just NOW realized it's October. What? It's October? You're kidding! Okay. Now the past tense makes sense, provided you just read the previous sentence. If not, then pretend like you did, and let's move one.

October is my favorite month. If you have to ask why, you obviously aren't a Libra, or maybe you are one of those weirdos who are into September. I mean, September is so last month - you have to move ON, people.

So what exactly is the story of October? Well, you guessed it (or is it "guess it," if you are in fact guessing in the present?), I'm about to give you some quick facts about the greatest month in the history of months. And I don't want to hear any whining from the goofball, turkey-dressing Novemberists.

- Why the name? It was the eighth month of the Roman Calendar. Eight - Octo - etc.

- What is your sign, October baby? Begins with Libra (Sep 23-Oct 22), ends with Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov 22). They also make a great name for a tag team wrestling duo (trademarked).

- Birthstone? Opal or tourmaline. Tourmaline is okay, but let's face it, it has been outshone by it's big brother Opal for years. There will no doubt be an embarrassing outburst at some family reunion.

- What is "Red October?" - Red October refers to the Russian October Revolution in 1917. Basically, on October 24th the Bolsheviks started taking over government buildings - you know, breaking glass, lots of shouting - I won't go into it. Incidentally, via the Gregorian Calendar the event actually started Nov 7, but I'm not going to say that to a bunch of crazed Bolsheviks.

- What are some Holidays? Well, you got your Columbus Day or "Great-Hero-Until-The-PC-Movement-Of-The-90's-Then-Became-Imperialist-Bully-Then-PC-Calms-Down-Now-Kind-Of-Hero-Again" Day. Next you Have Eid ul-Fitr which is the Muslim Holiday marking the end of Ramadan. This year Eid ul-Fitr is on the 13th. Then there is the ever popular National Boss Day on the 16th - so far, no giant parades or drunken feasting, but keep a look out just in case. You also have United Nations Day on the 24th, which is basically the anniversary of the United Nations Charter. You must wear a blue peace-keeping helmet for proper celebration, of course. And finally, there is Halloween. But that is for another post, young grasshoppers.

- Canadian Thanksgiving Day? What? Yes, Canada has it's very own Thanksgiving Day the second Monday of October. I mean, isn't that CUTE? (sudden hate mail from geese) Here is the two cent history (in Canadian money): Martin Frobisher was trying to find a northern passage. Fails. Starts settlement around Newfoundland. 1578 has ceremony to give thanks. Boom - Canadian Thanksgiving. Don't try stuffing the moose.

- Oktoberfest? When and Where? Oktoberfest is a two week celebration that takes place in Munich, Germany. Traditionally, it takes place for 16 days to the first Sunday of October. Oktoberfest started October 12, 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese - now THAT'S a wedding party!

- Welllll, what about some historical events? As you may have guessed, October has had it's share of important events (important, I tell you). Here are but a few - a "tapas" of events if you will:
~ Oct 2nd: Ford introduces the Model T, 1908.
~ Oct 3rd: First Woman Senator, Rebecca Felton, appointed to US Senate in 1922. She actually only served for 24 hours, filling in for the the death of Thomas Watson. But the point was made, and the door was opened.
~ Oct 5th: The greatest day in the history of mankind.
~ Oct 12th: Columbus lands in the Bahamas, 1492. 400 years later Paris Hilton's garbage sells on Ebay for $900.
~ Oct 16th: Marie Antoinette was beheaded, 1793. Worst hair-day on record.
~ Oct 17th: General Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, 1781. 200 years later, American school children ask, "What is a Yorktown?"
~ Oct 20th: US Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase, adding "mullets" as an official US haircut.
~ Oct 22nd: The Soviet Union explodes it's first nuclear bomb.
~ Oct 24th: First Transcontinental Telegraph line completed, 1861. First message: "don't forget to buy some eggs"
~ Oct 26th: Erie Canal opens.
~ Oct 29th: Sir Walter Raleigh executed, 1618. King James heard to say, "I never liked NC State anyway."
~ Oct 31st. First "too old to be trick or treating" kid wears embarrassing cardboard and duct tape costume, 1983.

Well, that's all for now, folks. Enjoy October - feel the air, sip plenty of cider....all that stuff. And no matter where you are or what you are doing - the first pile of leaves you see? Swan-dive.