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Vineburg, fortune cookies and an August holiday

isolated broken fortune cookie w/message

Daedalus Howell/Index-Tribune

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There are three items remaining on my 2013 To-Do list that have haunted me since January. I’ve been meaning to get to them all year, or rather, I’ve been procrastinating until the final weeks of this year to dare even mention them.

In the grand scheme of my ambition, they’re rather small feats to accomplish, but it still feels lethal to let them languish. What will get you in the end? As any immunologist will tell you, “It’s the little things.” For me, they are as follows:

1. Start a Tourism Bureau for Vineburg. The Wikipedia page for Vineburg, California, presently consists of exactly 35 words. Just about enough for a column inch. I’d quote them here, but they don’t amount to much more than “Vineburg is a place near Sonoma. It has a post office.” Why it even has this post office is beyond me since it has a total population of, like, eight. The mail person could just toss the mail at the border of Vineburg and Sonoma and be satisfied it would get where it’s supposed to go. This led me to the realization that Vineburg needs its own tourism bureau. It’s uncharted Wine Country. Obviously, we need to attract developers. If done right, could it be long before we have a new chain of franchise restaurants – Vineburger? A so-called grape and grill establishment? Get your vineburger and frites (because it’s never just “fries” in Wine Country – or “freedom frites” if you’re holding a grudge).

It’s branding is built into its name. At least there’s a “vine” in Vineburg, which is ostensibly wine-related. What does Sonoma mean? According to the native Wappo, it meant either “chosen place” or “big nose” depending on the translator. And if you’re a Wappo, might we consider chatting about a Vineburg Casino? I know a guy …

2. Update ye olde fortune cookie gag.

About 25 years ago, someone introduced me to the post-Chinese dinner tradition of reading one’s fortune cookie message, then adding the phrase “in bed” at the end. This resulted in much juvenile hilarity a la, “You will meet an interesting stranger – in bed.” During the height of the dot-com boom, circa 2001, a mutant strain of the gag got loose that added the Internet domain suffix “.com” to the end of fortunes. Thus was born “YouWillMeetAnInterestingStranger.com.”

This ungainly URL is available and can be currently had for $12.99 at GoDaddy for those with a yen to start an online dating service. For that matter, YouWillMeetAnInterestingStrangerInBed.com is also available if you want to add an “adult” component. Neither one, however, speaks to my present dilemma of updating the fortune cookie trope. There are dozens of mobile fortune cookie apps (go figure), and the one I just downloaded advises me to “Act always in a way to do good.” Perhaps that means I should just let this one go since little good could come of it. Of course, I could just add “-o-gram” at the end of my fortune and flip to Facebook for a cool billion. YouWillMeetAnInterestingStranger-o-gram has a ring to it.

3. Create a holiday for August. This has been nagging me since, well, August, when there is nothing to celebrate beyond National Left-Handers day (the 13th) and a handful of birthdays. But no real holiday. And by holiday, I mean a gift-giving, over-indulging reason not to turn up to work on Monday kind of holiday. The month’s namesake, Caesar Augustus, doesn’t offer much to springboard from, apart from despotism, which generally isn’t celebrated unless the despot is still in power. The dude died in 14 AD, so that’s out. In fact, it was August of that year – meaning – we could have a bi-millennial celebration of the death of Caesar Augustus next August. Mission accomplished.

One down, two to go. Sigh.

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Daedalus Howell has plenty more to do at DHowell.com.