Save That Date

A hundred points and a virtual chocolate cupcake to the first readers who know what these people have in common:

…and 28 Russians from the Ulyanovsk region in 2006?

…All of them celebrate their birthday on June 12th!

So out of 11,485 photos tagged “chocolate cupcake” in Flickr, only 1,560 are licensed by creative commons. What’s the deal? A tenth of all people like to share their cupcakes? Plus most of them are froofy, adulterated by caramel, peanut butter, currants, raisins, peppermint, and even one brave soul’s chocolate-covered ant cupcake; and what’s the deal with the risible “chocolate-coffee cupcake with mocha ganache and marscapone cream and cinnamon?” Suspicious. It sounds like a punchline to a Starbucks joke to me… The Japanese one that resembles and is named for a hedgehog certainly wins points, but as a lifelong chocolate addict I can only offer in good conscience these lovely morsels to those who guessed correctly:

IMG_9466 (chocolate cupcakes!)

And here are your points as well. Don’t forget to save your points, there may be prizes in the future when I start making up my own Thursday night quizzes.

Congratulations to the lucky winners!

100 points

In the centrally located region, of Russia, once known by the name Simbirsk and today most renowned for being the birthplace of Vladimir Lenin, Ulyanovsk’s current Governor Sergei Morozov is trying to remedy the flagging birth rates in his beloved homeland. With projections of further population decline well into the 2040s, currently one of the most sparsely settled countries in the world, Governor Morozov is offering cash incentives, SUVs and refrigerators to women who bear children on June 12th.

To that end, September 12th has been declared Day of Conception since 2005, and able-bodied patriots are given paid time off from work on that day in order to meet the challenge. I’m not sure how many have signed up so far this year, but last year it was 500 women, up from 311 the previous year. As a proud June 12th-er, I am wholeheartedly in favor of this scheme, demented procreative game show though it is, assuming that Russia doesn’t plan to invade Hungary again of course. Historically, they did offer Lithuania independence in 1920 on June 12th after all, but they also executed anti-Soviet Trotskyists in 1937 on the 12th, as well as elect Boris Yeltsin in 1991

No matter. Either way, the world can only be improved by there being more of us June 12th-ers, so come on & help me pass around those September 12th sign up sheets. Hey, at least it’s another day off work, right?

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