Today, July 17, was National Ice Cream Day

It seems that anything and everything has its special day and/or month. I found a press release about National Ice Cream Day on the web site of International Dairy Foods Association. It begins:

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day. He recognized ice cream as a fun and nutritious food that is enjoyed by a full 90% of the nation’s population. In the proclamation, President Reagan called for all people of the United States to observe these events with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

And did you know that there’s an International Ice Cream Association? They’re located at 888 16th St., in Washington, D.C., and they have apparently created a list of the most popular flavors, which you can see here.

IceCreamUSA has answers to some frquently asked questions here, at what appears to be a Breyers web site.

For ice cream facts, history, storage and handling recommendations, you might visit The Ice Cream Alliance, the U.K. trade association for the ice cream industry.

For information on how to become a Knowledgeable and Discriminating Ice Cream Gourmet, see Dr Bruce Tharp’s guide to the finer points of ice cream sensory evaluation and enjoyment.

And there’s always Fred and Kris’ Two Dips Ice Cream Tasters site for “ordinary people in search of extraordinary ice cream” with U.S. ice cream news, ice cream reviews, articles, links, and more.

Happy Birthday “Wig”

Gerald “The Wig” Wiggins
Jazz Pianist
(b) May 12, 1922 –

Whether playing solo, leading a small group, accompanying a singer, or driving a big band, for more than sixty years Gerald Wiggins has been an ongoing contributor to the innovative art form called jazz. Those whose ears are well steeped in jazz might hear hints of the influences of Art Tatum and Erroll Garner, but such traces are fleeting and quickly give way to a style that is unique and recognizable. “The Wig,” as he is known to fans, friends, and family, has remained a true original. He is a quiet and unassuming man, not quite shy, but definitely modest; Wig is one who lets his music speak for itself.

Wig plays with an intriguing blend of lyrical simplicity and intricate harmonies that when combined yield subtle surprises that swing regardless of tempo. Writers, in an attempt to preserve the fleeting moments in which jazz lives, use words as diverse as witty, wry, mischievous, sensitive, subtle, soulful, spirited, elegant, funky, saucy, frivolous, whimsical, and masterful to describe Wig’s playing. But how can one describe something that evolves within each moment? As renowned jazz critic and historian Leonard Feather put it, “Wig has a style that transcends eras and idioms.”

Read More…

NOTE: Friday night the Music Department Jazz Series at Santa Monica College will “Celebrate Wig” with special guest artists: Ernie Andrews, John Beasley, Oscar Brashear, Cora Colman, Leslie Drayton, Keith Fiddmont, Tootie Heath, Paul Humphrey, Jon Mayer, Herman Riley, Patrice Rushen, Lesa Terry, Nedra Wheeler, John B. Williams, and Ricky Woodard. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, celebration starts at 8 PM. The address is 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA. Free admisssion and parking.

Caveat Lector

A friend sent me a link go a an opinion piece by Adam Cohen that ran on Sunday in The New York Times (The Latest Rumbling in the Blogosphere: Questions About Ethics).

Being a newbie in the blogosphere, perhaps I have yet to earn the right to chime in on whether bloggers should be held to the same jouralistic standards as the mainstream media, but the arguments that I have heard seem to be off-point. To me, blogging is a medium, not the message.

I could blog as a news journalist checking all my facts and providing objective balance and opposing views, or as a partisan extolling one particular viewpoint. I might be a critic using my expertise in whatever field to provide comment and context for my considered opinion of someone else’s work, or simply a jane doe columnist providing personal essays and opinions.

Whether online or on paper, it should all depend on what the content calls for. For me, the one thing that does transcend the medium is the importance of being honest about one’s intentions. I believe that every writer has an unspoken contract with his or her readers, a contract based on the writer’s self-representation and the reader’s perception, and it is the writer’s responsibility to live up to that contract. If I am writing nonfiction, I must check my facts. If I proport to be objective, then I must present all sides. If I clearly state my bias, don’t expect me to argue for the opposition. And if it is just my opinion, take it for what it’s worth, no more, no less.

May Day or mayday?

I always thought May Day was all about dancing around the maypole, fun and frolic in celebration of spring – a tradition that dated way back to when the Druids of the British Isles celebrated Beltaine and the arrival of summer. Then, availing myself of the power of the internet to check my facts before posting, I discovered that May Day is not just about the arrival of spring. In the 1880s, May Day became synonymous with demands for more humane treatment. It was May 1, 1886 when American workers clamored for a more reasonable eight-hour workday. So I guess it is ironic that I chose to launch my blog on May Day, as the very act of blogging is going to increase my workload exponentially. Perhaps “mayday, mayday” will be more like it. The international distress signal, derived from the French “venez m’aider” (come help me), may turn out to be my refrain. Of course, if I am to share in the rarified ether of some super-literary friends and colleagues, I may do better to associate “May Day” with F Scott Fitzgerald. Within the pages of “The Skeptic,” a biography of H. L. Mencken by Terry Teachout, there are several references to pieces by Fitzgerald that Mencken published in “Smart Set, and while “May Day” was not mentioned in specific, I think that is where it first appeared.