Thursday, February 18, 2016

Fun with Green Dye for St Patrick's Day

Most people know that the Chicago River gets dyed green for St. Patrick's Day, and 2016 will be no exception! BUT! If you wait until March 17 you'll miss it!! That's because the Chicago St Patrick's Day parade and river dyeing always take place on the Saturday BEFORE St. Patrick's Day. This year it will be on March 12. The dyeing will take place around 9:00 a.m. on parade Saturday, according to the website Chicago's St Pat's Parade. The site says that the formula for the dye is a "closely guarded secret" but that it is safe for the environment.

Who's Your Paddy? St Pat's Tee

That website also says that the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers group does the dying, as it has for the last 50+ years. What's funny is that the dye that is used appears orange when first added to the water, and then it miraculously turns "Irish green" within minutes. About 40 pounds of vegetable dye are used, and the process takes about 5 hours.

Get in My Belly Now! Funny Tee

Other things that "go green" for St. Patrick's Day? The Leaning Tower of Pisa, the fountain at the White House ( a new tradition, started by the Obamas, to remind them of Chicago), the downtown canal in Indianapolis, and all the fountains in Savannah GA.

Customizable Irish Pub Tee

And don't forget that most Irish pubs - everywhere - will have green beer. No less an authority than Betty Crocker has a recipe for green beer!

Green Beer Humor Tee

According to Betty, the best way to do it is to use a very light colored beer (pale ale, pilsner). Use liquid green food coloring (the kind that comes in little squeeze bottles). Squeeze some (4-6 drops) food coloring in the bottom of your pint glass, and then slowly pour the beer in to the food coloring. This way, you don't have to stir the beer, which could make it go flat. Oh, and one more thing: if you think adding blue food coloring to yellow beer will give you green beer, experts say you're wrong! You'll end up with turquoise, and nobody wants to drink turquoise beer!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

St Patricks Day is Only One Month Away!

St Patricks Day is Only One Month Away!

Happy St Patrick's Day Tshirt

March 17 is the big day! Are you ready? It's the day of pub crawls and parades, of green beer and the river running green in Chicago (more on that tomorrow), of the wearin' o'the green, and of leprechauns.

Keep Calm and Leprechaun Tshirt

So how much do you know about leprechauns...really? Here are a few little-known facts about the little fellas.

Shamrock Nation
The word leprechaun, according to the Oxford Dictionaries, probably comes from the Old Irish luchorpan (lu=small + corp=body). The Oxford Dictionary goes on to say that "When the leprechaun first appeared in English literature in the 17th century, it was named lubrican; the modern form dates from the 19th century."

The first recorded instance of the word in the English language was in Dekker's comedy The Honest Whore, Part 2 (1604): "As for your Irish lubrican, that spirit / Whom by preposterous charms thy lust hath rais'd / In a wrong circle."

If You're Lucky Enough to be Irish, You're Lucky Enough! Tshirt

There are no female leprechauns. This is probably why leprechauns are so grumpy. They spend their whole lives (about 300 years, some say) making shoes and saving their gold in big iron pots. Nobody knows exactly what they spend their gold on, if anything.

Pog Mo Thoin Funny Irish St Patricks Day Tshirt

One more interesting leprechaun fact, from the website MentalFloss :

Leprechauns are protected under European Law. "Apparently, there are 236 leprechauns that live in the caverns of Carlington Mountain. The EU has granted heritage status to the remaining wee people; they now have their own protected sanctuary nestled in the mountain. The directive also protects the animals and flora in the area to help keep the biodiversity of the land safe."

We've embedded some of our favorite St Patricks Day tshirts in this post. Click the descriptive link beneath each t-shirt to learn more or to be taken to the purchase site. Hope you enjoy them!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Politicizing Pi Day

Yesterday, I told you a little bit about Pi, and Pi Day. Pi Day, by decree of Congress, falls on March 14 every year. This is because pi's value is approximately 3.14. I also mentioned that pi is an irrational number. It's not a far stretch, in this political season, to marry the irrationality of pi with the irrationality of certain political candidates. When I threw those two things into the blender, out came a couple of funny t-shirts.

Donald Trump Pi Day Irrational Tshirt

I tend to lean, politically, left. That's another reason these tshirts appeal to me so much. The Republican posse of current presidential candidates has been rightly termed a "clown car" by many, because it seems to be completely devoid of anyone actually qualified to be President of the United States. The statements from these men (Carly Fiornina doesn't count, she's out) grow more outrageous, unrealistic, inaccurate and shocking every day. It's a wonder the entire Republican party hasn't exploded yet.

Ted Cruz Pi Day Irrational Tshirt

These tees are available on Amazon, or by clicking the link below each image.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Pi Day Explained - Sort of

Last March 14, I happened to walk past my local pie shop and there was a line out the door. That's quite a rarity for my little local shop, so I rummaged through my mind and determined that it wasn't Valentine's Day, or Sweetheart's Day, or Mother's Day. I just didn't know why so many people were queueing up for strawberry rhubarb pie, so I asked someone who was standing in line. "What's the occasion?", I said. She looked at me with a sneer, plainly implying I was an idiot, and spat out, "Pi Day".

Happy Pi Day Tshirt

Okay, so I'm not a geek, a nerd, a math major or even very good at calculus. But she had succeeded in making me feel a little bit dumb. Of course, Pi Day has to fall on March 14, doesn't it?

Pi Day Cartoon Humor
Pi is a mathematical term we all learned about in school. For my part, I remember that finding the volume of a circle - or is it the square root of a cylinder? - has something to do with pi. It was one of those "I'll never use this information in a million years" moments that I had so many of in math class. And I can proudly say that so far, I've been correct. Still, some people might find it useful to know these pi facts I got off the internet:

Peace of the Pi tshirt

* Pi is infinite. Unlike my local pie shop which can only turn out a couple hundred pies a day, the number Pi never ends. Not sure if that means it isn't really a number, or not. But the fact remains, according to this reddit page, "because we know that if a number repeats it must be rational and because pi is irrational it can not repeat. As someone else pointed out we know that any finite number can be written as the ratio of two integers easily so as a consequence we know that since Pi is not rational then it must be infinite." OK, whatever.

* If you got that, you know now that Pi is irrational. My grandmother was irrational, too, which is a definition I understand. But I had to go to a kids' website to understand what an irrational number is. According to , an irrational number is "a real number that cannot be written as a simple fraction." I guess that's why Pi has to have its own little symbol, which looks like a tiny little gate to hell:

* Congress, in early 2009, passed a bipartisan resolution designating March 14th of each year as "Pi Day." This may be the last thing Congress ever agreed on.

* By definition, pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi is always the same number, no matter which circle you use to compute it.

* So far, pi has been calculated up to more than a trillion digits.

* Here's a weird one: the first 144 digits of pi add up to 666!!

* In The Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow, after he gets his brain, does not talk about pi. This is something I had wrong for centuries! Turns out he was quoting the Pythagorean Theorem (although apparently he gets it wrong).

So there you have it! Now you understand Pi as well as I do. Which is to say, I still don't get it. But if you see me standing in line at the pie store, please say hello anyway.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Easter Rising 2016

Did you know that 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Irish rebellion, commonly known as the Easter Rising?

The events of the Easter Rising occured mostly in Dublin city, from April 24th until April 30th, 1916. The Dublin group consisted of 1,200 men and women from the nationalist militia the Irish Volunteers, the socialist trade union group Irish Citizen Army and the women’s group, Cumman na mBan. Its purpose was to end British rule in Ireland and establish an independent Irish Republic. But the British army quickly suppressed the Rising, and most of the leaders were executed following courts-martial. While at the time, the rebellion was not widely supported in Ireland, it eventually helped to increase the strength of the radical nationalists in Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein then went on to win three by-elections in 1917 and a general election in 1918, leading to their proclamation of an Irish Republic and the start of the Irish War of Independence.


This year, 2016, marks 100 years since the Easter Rising, and that anniversary will be celebrated all year, throughout all the Republic of Ireland. Here are some useful links that will give you a good idea of what events will be occuring throughout the country:
Discover Ireland
The Irish Times List of Events
Visit Dublin