June 28 in Sci-fi History: It’s Time We Talk About Paul Bunyan

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Jun 28, 2017

It's been a while since we've thrown down on any of those weird not-real holidays. Because they're sort of dumb and often feel like an excuse to eat donuts or pizza or post pictures of your pets. We get it, life can be tedious.

Thing is, today is Paul Bunyan Day. And while that is legitimately a dumb thing to have a holiday about, here we are.

Start with this:

So, Paul Bunyan is a giant. And he tromps around the northern parts of America with a blue ox named Babe. Now, nobody really thinks Paul Bunyan was a real person. Not even in a Sasquatch "we have proof!" kind of way. The legends range from this very impressive lumberjack type who could chop down a bunch of trees rather quickly to an actual giant whose footsteps made all those lakes in Minnesota. By all accounts (and whoa, there are a bunch), Paul Bunyan is very good at his job: lumberjacking.

And, because movie studios really don't love original stories for kids (but they should, because it's clearly worth it), there are still a lot of stories made about him. This one premiered in January 2017. (Didn't do great.)

Also, the Internet loves to blend things together and that's always fun:

Like Johnny Appleseed and John Henry (though they were real people), Paul Bunyan is American folklore that’s actually that: an industrious heroic dude we should idolize because he's different (and overly masculine, but again ... American folklore). Best guess on the name is probably some kind of Americanization of the Quebequois expression Bon yenne! – a sort of happy surprise.

One thing everyone agrees on: Paul Bunyan was hungry. Thus, he is often the symbol of those "come eat your face off" restaurants in Wisconsin, Minnesota and other parts of the fine American north.

There's a great Simpsons take on Paul Bunyan in the Season 12 finale that's absolutely worth checking out.

While you do that, a couple of famous birthdays before we skedaddle out of here: Kathy Bates turns 69 today.

And Mel Brooks turns 91 damn years old today.

Tomorrow: You'll see ...