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May 28, 2023

June’s Get Smart Newsletter

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Get Smart Newsletter

Be the sharpest person in the room–or the Zoom

By J.C. Bruce

Welcome to Summer, Hurricane Season, and the Best Dad Jokes of all Time

June is chock-a-block with important holidays including National Yo- Yo Day, Onion Ring Day, National Donut Day, and, of course, Father’s Day, which this year falls on June 18.

In honor of Father’s Day, we present the five all-time best dad jokes, selected by a trio of humor experts, me, myself, and I:

  • I only seem to get sick on weekdays. I must have a weekend immune system.
  • What’s the difference between a well-dressed man on a unicycle and a poorly-dressed man on a bicycle? Attire.
  • I used to run a dating service for chickens. But I was struggling to make hens meet.
  • What’s blue and not very heavy? Light blue.
  • What’s green and has wheels? Grass. I lied about the wheels.

Fascinating Father’s Day Facts

The first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington. It was the brainchild of a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd

who, upon learning of the newly created Mother’s Day, decided dads needed their own special day, too. But it did not become an official national holiday until 1972.

According to the Census Bureau, children raised in households with a father or father figure are four times less likely to live in poverty, two times less likely to drop out of high school, and seven times less likely to become pregnant before the age of 18.

Speaking of dads, the actual word — dad — was first recorded in the 1500s.

Perhaps the most unusual dad in the animal kingdom is the gafftopsail catfish. Males of the species keep the eggs of their children hidden in their mouths until they hatch.

One final bit of trivia: The father with the most offspring is reported to have been Ismail Ibn Sharif who, in the 17th century, fathered 888 children.

Here are the first ten:

June Milestones

June marks the official start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which lasts until Nov. 30.

This year’s tropical storm names, as always, alternate between females and males.

Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harold, Idalia, and Jose.

June is LGBTQ Pride Month. It traces its origins to the Stonewall Riots, protests in1969 that erupted after a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Lower Manhattan. It’s an important milestone in the gay liberation movement.

June also is Fight the Filthy Fly Month, National Accordion Awareness Month, Adopt a Cat Month, and the just created News of the Weird Month.

June 19 — a.k.a. — Juneteenth — is a federal holiday that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. It is celebrated on June 19 because that’s the day in 1865 that Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger proclaimed freedom for slaves in Texas.

The longest day of the year, the summer solstice, falls on June 21, the official start of the astronomical summer. From a meteorological perspective (based on the actual change in average temperatures) summer starts on June 1.

June By The Numbers

  1. Flip a Coin Day
  2. National Gun Violence Awareness Day (also National Donut Day)
  3. World Bicycle Day
  4. Hug Your Cat Day
  5. Hot Air Balloon Day
  6. D-Day Anniversary (also Yo-Yo Day)
  7. Prince’s birthday (1958)
  8. World Ocean Day
  9. Donald Duck’s birthday (1934)
  10. Ballpoint Pen Day (also anniversary of the founding of Tropic Press)
  11. National Corn on the Cob Day
  12. National Peanut Butter Cookie Day
  13. Pigeon Appreciation Day
  14. Flag Day
  15. National Prune Day
  16. International Waterfall Day
  17. 50th Anniversary of the Watergate arrests
  18. Father’s Day
  19. Juneteenth
  20. Ice Cream Soda Day
  21. First Day of Summer
  22. National Onion Ring Day
  23. National Pink Day
  24. International Fairy Day
  25. National Catfish Day (great dads, those catfish)
  26. Bar Code Anniversary (1974)
  27. Helen Keller’s birthday (1880)
  28. International Body Piercing Day
  29. Interstate Highway System launched (1956)
  1. Meteor Day

June is Audiobook Appreciation Month. Organizers of the celebration say that “it’s a time to recognize the value and potential of audiobooks and podcasts — not only as legitimate forms of reading, but also as accessible and enjoyable formats.” It’s also an excellent opportunity to support the careers of the talented narrators who bring books to life, like Nathan Agin, the voice of my latest audiobook, Mister Manners.

This June is the 85th anniversary of the publication of Superman. He appeared in the first issue of Action Comics in 1938, the brainchild of a pair of Ohioans, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel. The arrival of Superman (from the planet Krypton, of course) launched the entire superhero genre. Do you like all those Marvel movies, Iron Man, Captain America, etc.? How about Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman? You have Shuster and Siegel to thank. And like the story of so many creatives, it was no easy task finding a publisher for their breakthrough concept. But the struggle forced them to continuously refine their ideas until the Man of Steel we know today was

born. Great summary of their history here.

June TV and Movie Premiers

Samuel L. Jackson is back as Agent Nick Fury.

In Secret Invasion, he attempts to prevent an invasion of Earth by a faction of Skrulls, a shapeshifting alien race (last seen

in Captain Marvel). It premiers on Disney +

on June 21. Another TV highlight is the return of Outlander on Starz (June 16). It’s the seventh season of everyone’s second-favorite time travel story. There’s much more. See the complete list here.

A slew of high- octane movies is set to be released this month

including Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, The Flash, starring the controversial Ezra Miller, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-

Verse, and the latest installment of the (apparently) never-ending robot franchise, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. Here’s the complete lineup.

June Sports Events

June is a busy month in sports including the NBA and Stanley Cup finals, the U.S. Open golf tournament, the final leg of the Triple Crown, and, of course, Major League Baseball, where the Cincinnati Reds continue their unstoppable march to the World Series. Big TV events include:

The NBA Finals schedule begins with game one on Thursday June 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC. Here’s the rest of the schedule:

  • Game 2: Sunday, June 4 | 8 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Game 3: Wednesday, June 7 | 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Game 4: Friday, June 9 | 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Game 5*: Monday, June 12 | 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Game 6*: Thursday, June 15 | 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC)

* if needed (best of seven)

The Stanley Cup Finals are scheduled to start June 3. All games will be broadcast on Sportsnet and CBS at 8 p.m. ET. Here’s the schedule.

The U.S. Open golf championship begins on June 17 through June 19 and will air on Peacock, the USA Network, and NBC. Here’s the TV schedule.

The Belmont Stakes with the race’s $1.5 million purse will be run on Saturday June 10. As many as five horses will be returning from the Kentucky Derby. The race will be televised on FOX and is set to begin at 6:50 p.m. ET.

What I’m Reading and Watching

My friend Ellis Jacobs recommended a collection of novels by Mick Herron, the Slough House series, about a ragtag clutch of second-rate spies stashed away from MI5 headquarters in a rundown London office

building. Sounds farcical, but far from it. These are outstanding thrillers, but full of wit and laugh-out-loud humor. Think John le Carré meets Oscar Wilde. Once I’m finished with the books, I plan to jump into the Apple TV

+ series Slow Horses starring Gary Oldman as the brilliant but flatulent spymaster Jackson Lamb.

The recommendation from Ellis came as part of a collection of favorite books from members of the Dayton Book Guys, a book club in Dayton, Ohio, that I belong to. Brad Tillson compiled the list, and Herron’s series captured my attention. My former Dayton Daily News colleague Ron Rollins won the prize for most books to recommend. I’ve published the full reading list on my www.jcbruce.com website blog.

From the Campaign Trail …

“Ron DeSantis’ presidential rollout on Twitter was like watching a duck having carnal knowledge with a football.”

— Alexander Strange

“He’s acting like an insane person.”

— Sean Hannity of Donald Trump

‘Rob,’ My Red Button is bigger, better, stronger, and is working (TRUTH!), yours does not! (per my conversation with Kim Jung Un, of North Korea, soon to become my friend!).”

— Donald Trump’s reaction to DeSantis’ presidential announcement

“I don’t know what happened to Donald Trump.”

“I may be Irish, but I’m not stupid.”

— Ron DeSantis

— Joe Biden

Is Biden’s age an issue? “People have every right to consider it.”

— Hillary Clinton

The Strange Files

The world is a weird place. Which is a good thing for Alexander Strange, whose adventures I chronicle in the Strange Files series. Here are a few of the stories Alexander was covering recently:

Fido Did It

A driver in Colorado tried to avoid a DUI arrest by swapping seats with his dog after being pulled over.The man was stopped for allegedly driving 52 mph in a 30-mph zone.

“The driver attempted to switch places with his dog who was in the passenger seat, as the SPD (Springfield Police Department) officer approached and watched the entire process,” the police posted on Facebook. “The male party then exited the passenger side of the vehicle and claimed he was not driving.”

A Better Mouse Trap?

Scientists have blasted the brains of mice and rats with ultrasound to knock them into a hibernation-like state, and researchers say the technique could one day be used on injured humans in critical care or on astronauts taking long-haul spaceflights.Or perhaps a better mousetrap?

Wyoming: Bring ‘Em Young

Wyoming Republicans were on a rampage over a bill they claimed would interfere with parental rights and religious liberty. The proposal would raise the state’s legal marriage age to 16. Republicans, opposing the age increase, called it an “arbitrary” limit on child marriage.

When You Gotta Go…

We’ve all been there: Rushing to the airport to catch a flight. But a Carbondale, Illinois, man added a new twist. He stole a backhoe and drove it ten miles to catch his plane at Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois.

Cats Want You to Smile at Them

A new study shows that cats like it when their humans smile at them, but you have to do it the right way, and that means not baring your teeth, but, rather, squinting your eyes with a pleasurable expression on your face.

Surfing Penguins?

A study published in the journal Nature Communication finds that global warming is increasing the chances of gigantic underwater mudslides in Antarctica, and that enormous tsunamis could result. No word on whether the penguins will take up surfing.

Readers Write…

Dear J.C.

Did this newsletter go to press a little earlier than usual? My copy arrived on May 28. This wasn’t an accident, was it?

Concerned Reader

Not an accident. I had to distribute it early because I will be in New York City at the annual convention of the International Thriller Writers — ThrillerFest — where a few years ago a line from one of my novels, Strange Currents (a gold medal winner at the Royal Palm Literary Awards), was recognized for having the “best first sentence” among books reviewed that year.

Dear J.C.

Dear J.C.

Will Mona the Mannequin be on the cover of your next book, and have you come up with a title yet?

Gwenn G.

That’s still up in the air, but Mona plays such a big role in the time-travel story, it would fit. Also, coming closer to selecting a title. Current frontrunner is: An Angel In Time.

Wait! Your next book involves time travel? Is that why you said Outlander was everyone’s SECOND FAVORITE time travel story? Diana G.

Good catch. I should have said Outlander is ABOUT TO BECOME everyone’s second-favorite time travel story once my next book is published. My apologies.

Dear J.C.

How is it people are able to ask questions in this part of the newsletter about other parts of this same newsletter, you know, like the letter about Outlander?

H.G. Wells

The answer is Quantum Retrocausality. What? You never heard of that? Well, that’s because you haven’t read the next book in The Strange

Files series. You know, the one we were just talking about in the previous letter involving time travel.

Dear J.C.

You said earlier that June has “just” been declared National Weird News Month. How come I haven’t heard that anywhere else and is this another of your cheap promotional stunts designed to pimp your books?

B. Madoff

I am shocked. Shocked, I tell you, that anyone would insinuate such a thing.

Dear J.C.

We used to call that a non-denial denial.

B. Bradlee

No comment.

Enjoy this Newsletter?

I hope you enjoyed this edition of my free monthly newsletter. Thank you for allowing me to share it with you. If you have a friend you think might also enjoy this, please forward this email and/or share this subscription link, below. Actually, if you have an enemy you want to share this with, that’s fine too.

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Parting Shot

J.C. Bruce is the author of The Strange Files series of mysterious novels (available on Amazon and other fine online booksellers). He also writes this free monthly newsletter. He holds dual citizenship in the United States of America and Florida where he is increasingly alarmed at the number of books being banned. And he was recently awarded the George Santos Medal for setting the world record at underwater ping- pong.

About Post Author

J.C. Bruce

J.C. Bruce is a journalist and author of The Strange Files series of mysterious novels.
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