National Punctuation Day
America seems to have a ‘national day’ to celebrate pretty much everything and as we write what you read on this website, we thought it fitting that we recognise the importance of punctuation.
So as I type, I'm more conscious than usual of my use and placement of commas, semicolons, question marks and full-stops, the latter inexplicably termed 'periods' in the distant land where this national day originates. And, incidentally, when did brackets become parentheses? These, and other punctuation marks, make what would otherwise be unintelligible streams of written consciousness into understandable, easy to read and digest sentences.
So we'll ponder the Americanisation of the full-stop while enjoying a Periodista Daiquiri and toast those educated writers who employ perfect punctuation with a El Momento Perfecto. One such boffin is Jeff Rubin, who founded National Punctuation Day in 2004 to promote the correct usage of punctuation. I wonder what Jeff thinks of the misappropriation of the humble hash sign? Perhaps let him and us know what you think via social media: #NationalPunctuationDay and #DiffordsGuide.
National Cherries Jubilee Day
Another unofficial American national holiday celebrated annually on 24th September is National Cherries Jubilee Day. This is distinct from plain old National Cherries Day (celebrated in the UK annually on 16th July) as it particularly celebrates the Cherries Jubilee, a dessert Auguste Escoffier prepared to mark Queen Victoria's Jubilee. This excuse to get downright fruity is celebrated by making the famous dessert, typically with cherries mixed together with kirschwasser, flambéed, and served as a sauce over vanilla ice-cream. Delicious.
May we suggest you take to the kitchen to observe this national day and prepare a Cherries jubilee. Why not also mix up a suitable cocktail to accompany it such as a Hunter Cocktail; Cherry Alexander; Pop My Cherry; or even a Donna's Creamy'tini.
Happy Birthday, Gatsby Guy
Published when he was just 24, This Side of Paradise catapulted F. Scott Fitzgerald into fame, wealth and an extravagant lifestyle that earned him a reputation as a playboy and tainted his standing as a serious writer.
His next novel, The Beautiful and the Damned, was a pitch-perfect critique of what became known as the Jazz Age. But it was his final complete work, The Great Gatsby, that would ultimately be recognised as the definitive portrait of the Roaring Twenties. Fitzgerald was born on this day in 1896, so today we're remembering him with a stylishly sour Fitzgerald.
On this day in 1948, in a Japan still reeling from the Second World War, a former motorcycle mechanic named Soichiro Honda incorporated his company. Honda was, even by the standards of societies less conservative than pre-war Japan, a bit of a badass. Born so poor that five of his eight siblings died in childhood, he left his small village aged 15 for the bright lights of Tokyo to become an auto mechanic, and proved so good at it he got to design racing engines.
A stint as a racing car driver ended after a horrific crash; a second crash, in which he drove a vehicle and three geishas off a bridge (all involved survived) persuaded Soichiro to go a little easier on the nightlife. That said, after his first factory was bombed at the end of WWII, he made a living for himself distilling moonshine in a self-designed still, until the time was ready to start up again. Honda overcame not only the cliquey families that ran Japanese industry but the conglomerates of the US. Soichiro Honda! We salute you. And we're toasting you with a Japanese Pear.
David Mellor resigned on this day in 1992
Ever heard of David Mellor? Fellow Brits will likely recognise this radio presenter and general talking head. In a previous career as a politician, the colourful Mellor resigned from his Conservative government post. He had endeavoured to take on the tabloid press, claiming that they were "drinking in the last chance saloon".
Then, rather unfortunately, he was caught in a kiss'n'tell by his then mistress, an actress (we were told) called Antonia de Sancha, complete with live tape recordings. Much of the colourful detail of Mellor's love life - the Chelsea shirt in which he liked to do the deed, the toes de Sancha sucked - may well have been invented by Max Clifford, but the scandal stuck.
And, when allegations of freebies reared their ugly heads, all was over. Apart, of course, from the Chelsea shirt. In honour of which, we are raising a Chelsea Sidecar while we ponder the power of the media. Do any of you have any juicy kiss'n'tell stories you'd like to share with us?