Ask Red & Black
Have you ever played April Fools’ pranks on each other?
April 01, 2022
think of April Fools’ Day,
I think of two different kinds of pranks. The first is those harmless,
juvenile pranks that anyone can do, and that work well when a mom does
it to her kids. (Just saying …) And then there are the more elaborate hoaxes that
require significant staging, with my favorite being the one where the BBC (yes, the BBC!) pranked people
with its spaghetti story.
I’ve never been brave enough to try and prank Black, and can’t remember her ever pulling a prank, but now I’m beginning to get nervous wondering what Black might be up to. Maybe it’s an elaborate hoax starting with her lulling me into a false sense of security!
Red has nothing to worry about as I do not “do” April Fool’s
Day pranks. Even as a child, I would
just roll my eyes at the simple ones. (A “kick me” sign on someone’s back? Really?) And, although I love complex hoaxes, they take too much work and planning
to pull off successfully. And, sometimes,
they still can end up backfiring (pun intended) like last year’s Volkswagen one.
But, did you know that April Fools' Day started back in the days of the Roman Empire? The Julian Calendar (named after Julius Caesar) had the New Year beginning around April 1,and centuries later, it was changed to January 1. However, many people did not “get the news”, so they continued to celebrate on the original date. People who considered themselves “in the know” made fun of those people (some things never change) and referred to them as April Fools. Then again, is this true, or am I just pranking you?
|Growing up, I was aware of the Kentucky Derby because I’d watch golf every weekend with my dad, and there was always talk about it. We’d usually tune in just in time for the race, but we didn’t know much about thoroughbred horse racing, nor really cared to learn. Fast forward a few decades, and my love of movies made me see how dramatic and inspiring horse racing can be.|
In terms of the Kentucky Derby, the movie “Secretariat” captivated me with its truly extraordinary story of a horse that overcame the odds to not only become the first winner of the Triple Crown in 25 years but also to become one (and to many, the) greatest racehorses of all times. But my favorite horse racing movie is “Seabiscuit,” as it’s a story of perseverance and sheer determination that never ceases to amaze me. Seabiscuit never competed in the Kentucky Derby because it’s only open to three-year-olds, and he didn’t start his career until he was five, so I can only wonder how he would’ve done.
|There is much tradition associated with the Kentucky, yet I am always amused by all the “hoopla” around this historic sporting event, to the point where it seems as if the race is just a two-minute interruption from Kentucky Derby parties where people dress up and drink mint juleps. (Who knew a drink could have such a fascinating history?) |
And, people may disagree on the greatest Kentucky Derby winners. But, there is no denying there are many life lessons on display – never stop believing in ourselves (Secretariat’s owner, Penny Chenery, never gave up on him, even when others doubted his potential), the importance of teamwork, working hard, overcoming adversity. However, Rich Strike, the surprise 2022 Kentucky Derby champion, who beat the odds (I have always found the most fascinating part of horse racing to be understanding the odds because it involves math and statistics), is the horse that really got me thinking …
Ask Red & Black
What is World Wish Day?
April 28, 2023
to defer to Black about World Wish Day because she was the one who “introduced”
me to Make-A-Wish. Before that, if you said “make a wish” to me,
I would’ve thought about blowing out candles on a birthday cake – not granting the
wish of a child suffering from a critical illness.
One of the first wishes Black told me about was a little boy who wanted to be “boss of the ice cream man” so he could give away free ice cream to less fortunate kids. Hearing the passion as Black told the story, realizing it was about hope and joy, combined with the wish being about doing for others, was inspiring, heartwarming, and “evidence” of the power of a wish. And not just for the child but for their families, neighbors, community, and even strangers. (I’m so proud that as children, my daughters took it upon themselves to have lemonade stands benefiting our local Make-A-Wish chapter.)
I have been involved with Make-A-Wish for decades and have
always felt it has done more for me than I can ever do for it, as it reminds me
that my problems or frustrations are minuscule in the scheme of things. It is my “reality check” on life. (I recently found out there is science that supports
helping others is good for you, and recommend the book “Wonder Drug: 7 Scientifically Proven Ways That Serving
Others Is the Best Medicine for Yourself.“)
Oh, and to answer your question: World Wish Day is celebrated on April 29 to mark the anniversary of the first wish, which was granted in 1980. But, when Tommy Austin first became buddies with young Chris Grecius, there was no way to know his wish would grow into a worldwide organization.
Every day is the perfect day to celebrate the power of a wish, but in celebration of World Wish Day … consider making a difference by making a donation.
Ask Red & Black
What do you think about Earth Day?
April 21, 2023
have to say it … Earth Day reminds me of Earth
shoes. Which I loved as a
teenager, even if they did make me look like more of a dork than I already
did. I vaguely remember that, at the
time, environmental issues focused on oil spills and pollution. But even then, I thought it was sad that we needed
to have a day to celebrate Earth and raise awareness about protecting it from harm
and preserving it for future generations. |
Now, over 50 years since the first Earth Day, it seems no one was really listening. Examples of climate change are becoming more frequent, making it difficult to ignore the science behind it. Personally, I’ve always tried to do my part, especially in terms of recycling (although Black explained there are two other R’s – reducing and reusing), and it’s more convenient now than ever before. And while I don’t have an electric car, I may rethink that in the future, but know I’ll turn to Black to help make that decision.
|I am not going to get into the environmental pros and cons of electric cars, nor the politics of climate change, other than to say there is still time to avoid the worst-case scenarios. But, it will depend on the willingness of governments, businesses, and individuals to take action, and for all of us to make significant changes to our habits and behavior (which starts with becoming environmentally literate).|
On a more personal note, as a lifelong clotheshorse, I have always invested in high-quality pieces that will last for years (decades) and have saved (versus replaced) the clothing. (It has been my motivation for staying the same size all these years.) However, I never thought of it from an environmental perspective, but now that more people are thrifting and vintage shopping, not only to save money but as a fun and sustainable way to refresh their wardrobes while reducing their environmental impact, I may need to consider selling some of my clothing.