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Fun Friday: Celebrating 11.11.11

November 11, 2011

My son has always loved numeral coincidences. As a child, he would run into my room yelling, “Mom, do you know today is 6/6 and it’s 6 O’clock?” Because of his fascination, anytime I wake up before my alarm goes off, and the red square numbers on my clock read 5:55, I immediately think of him. (Yeah, it’s a mom thing…)

Well today, I know he must be planning a big party (thank goodness, he no longer lives at home so he’ll be the one cleaning up afterwards) and according to the internet, many others see the occurrence of 6 sticks as being pretty darn special, as well. Weddings, dances, and religious celebrations are being planned around the world from Australia to Bolivia to Croatia. Is it the opening of the portal divine, the end of the world–or just an excuse to party? Well, I must admit, I’m always ready for the latter… If my neighborhood book club had planned a bit better, we might have scheduled our November meeting today instead of yesterday. But, I do want to hear from any book club who meets on the 2nd Friday of the month—thus winning the palindrome award for 2011.

So to help celebrate this auspicious day, here is my Top 10 list—well, actually my list of the  Top 11 Events of 11/11:

However, I was reminded of the Kathleen Kelly quote from You’ve Got Mail when she comments, “So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?” So, beware—you’ll have to put up with a bit of my free associations here and there, as well…

Historical Remembrances:

But first let’s take a look to the past and see what events happened on this day in history, for as Santayana said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

11. An Author’s Debut – Louisa May Alcott published her first story on this day in 1852. The Saturday Evening Gazette published “The Rival Painters: A Story of Rome,” by Louisa May Alcott, who would later write the beloved children’s book Little Women in 1868. …And if you liked Little Women, you’ll love “March” by Geraldine Brooks—the Pulitzer Prize-winning Fiction book of 2006.

10. Freak Weather Storms – Many cities in the Midwestern United States break their record highs and lows on the same day as a strong cold front rolls through. “The Great Blue Norther of 11/11/11” was a cold snap that affected the central United States on Saturday, November 11, 1911. Many cities broke record highs early that afternoon, however, by nightfall, cities were dealing with single-digit temperatures. This is the only day in many Midwest cities’ history where the record highs and lows were broken for the same day. Speaking of freaky things that happen in the Midwest, you may want to read Truman Capote’s groundbreaking narrative nonfiction In Cold Blood. Quite freaky, indeed.

9. An Author (or two or three) Is Born – Several famous novelists were born on this day in history: Howard Fast (The Immigrants) in 1914, as well as Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse Five) in 1922 and Carlos Fuentes (Aura) in 1928. My neighbor, Terry was also born on this day, however I don’t know if she writes, and she refuses to tell me the correct year–so never mind...

8.  Armistice Day – It’s also known as Veteran’s Day in the US, and Remembrance Day in the British Commonwealth of Nations and commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France. The cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I took effect at the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. In many parts of the world, people take a two-minute moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. local time as a sign of respect for the nearly 20 million people who died in the war.

A great literary series that has its genesis in WW1 is the Maisie Dobbs collection by Jacqueline Winspear. Through her beautifully written historical fiction, we learn much about the heartbreak and horror of The Great War.

7. Beatle Mania – Brian Epstein and Ed Sullivan sign a 3 show contract for The Beatles on this day in 1963. A lot of people must’ve been “twist and shout”ing back then! And if you want to learn more about it in their own words, pick up The Beatles Anthology. I gave this to Handsome Hubby (a certifiable Beatle maniac) for his birthday a few years back and scored many points.

New Product Releases:

And now we time-travel back to the present, where those marketing Mad Men take the opportunity today’s palindrome presents to promote some of their products…

6. Video Game – Xbox releases the highly anticipated The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. Their promo reads, “The Empire of Tamriel is on the edge. The future of Skyrim, even the Empire itself, hangs in the balance as they wait for the prophesized Dragonborn to come; a hero born with the power of The Voice, and the only one who can stand amongst the dragons.” Ummm…O.K. But if I’m in the mood for Fantasy, I think I’ll just re-read “Godmother” or  “The Night Circus” instead.

5. Book – Hachette Book Group is publishing “Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook” today. With that great tie-in of the Restaurant’s name, who could really blame them? This hot NYC restaurant has garnered five stars from Forbes Travel Guides, four stars from the New York Times, and five separate awards from the James Beard Foundation—including 2010 Best NYC chef (Daniel Humm), and is celebrating their success today by releasing a cookbook. Too bad I don’t cook…But even so, I LOVED My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme. You’ll like it, too—even if you’re not a “foodie.”

4. Movie – Time Warner releases the final installment of the magical Harry Potter Series (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows II) on DVD, thus ending an era. (Yes—I pre-ordered mine and expect it later today…) Click here to enjoy the trailer. If you’ve been locked in a basement for the past 15 years and haven’t had a chance to read about Harry, you’ll want to pick up the paperback series. Seriously.

Corporate and Other Organizations’ Celebrations:

And finally, some of the funnest celebrations for Fun Friday…

3. “FryDay” – Being a book nerd, I think the number 111111 resembles pencils, pens or book volumes, while McDonalds believes the magical numbers look more like French Fries—they’re commandeering today as “FryDay!” and they’re offering a small order of French fries for 50 cents—half the usual cost. I’d help them celebrate, but my doctor says I can’t afford the cholesterol hit.

2. Cut the Cord The Corduroy Appreciation Club supposes that 111111 looks a lot like corduroy and will thus hold its Annual Grand Meeting today in—where else but the fashion capital of New York City! I don’t know about you, but I quit wearing corduroy when I outgrew my size 8 cords (many, many moons ago…) I wonder if this group has read “Dress Your Family in Denim and Cordoroy” by funny-man David Sedaris?  

1. Bunny Run – The Energizer line of batteries is sponsoring an event tonight in Houston called the “Energizer Night Race for a Brighter World.” It’s an 11-kilometer race and a 1.1-mile fun run and is being promoted with slogans like “11/11/11: Race at night. Give the gift of light.” Energizer, which is co-sponsoring the event with a nonprofit organization, One Million Lights, is pledging to donate 11 million hours of solar light in 2011 to rural communities without electricity. Well, as an undergrad marketing major, I don’t think you can hit a bigger home run than partnering the pushing of your product, with a humanitarian effort. And talking about bunnies running made me think of my son, again. When he was little, we used to curl up on his bed and read the classic, The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown.

Yeah, it’s definitely a mom thing…

Enjoy this extra-Fun Friday—have a wonderful weekend—and keep reading!



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