Knuckling down has that very business-y connotation.  "I've got to knuckle down and blah blah blah something productive."  Sounds like the kind of phrase that came out of the steel mills of the 19th century.  "Knuckle down there, boys!  These beams need to get out today!"  So if someone were to tell you that April was National Knuckles Down Month, that would not necessarily sound like much fun.


Close-up shot of brightly colored glass marbles of varying designs, including classic cat's eye, swirling rainbow patterns, and twisting, psychedelic shapes and colors

National Knuckles Down Month (and the phrase itself) actually refers to the game of marbles.  So the 19th century thing is pretty accurate, at least.  I somehow seem to always blog about stuff from bygone days.  I'm sure that says something about me, but I'm not entirely sure what...  Marbles and evidence of marble games have been found commonly in Roman writings and tombs, ancient Egyptian pyramids, and among the archaeological remains of many proto-Indo-European cultures.  As with many objects, though, marbles only really became popular when their production was industrialized in the mid 1800s.

There are many different games one can play with marbles (all (or most) of them simply and unhelpfully being called 'marbles') and you should definitely look at the wikipedia page about it because it's hilarious and weirdly fascinating, but evidently when you start any game of marbles, you 'knuckle down' which is just placing your knuckles against the ground in a marble-shooting stance.  Hence Knuckles Down Month.  Obviously.


Here's another pretty cool marble story.  So there's a National Marbles Championship in this country.  (Because why not?)  It's been held annually since 1922.  Over the last 90 years (this year's tournament hasn't happened yet.  It's scheduled for June 16th-22nd.), champions have been from the Greater Pittsburgh Area 36 times (the tournament has held separate championships for girls and boys since 1948).  In 2011, both girls and boys National Champions were from Allegheny County.  Also, around the city, there's a big marbles culture, apparently.  Read more about that on their website, here.

One final note about marbles:  I'm not really into collecting things.  I don't have that magpie gene or something.  But if I did collect something, marbles would totally make the short list, because they're totally cool-looking.  For instance:


Ahh, the swirly goodness.

And this!



And finally this!  Whaaaaaaaaaat?


Seriously. What. Even.

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So, what do you think?