Posts

November 4 is Use Your Common Sense Day

use common sense dayUse Your Common Sense Day celebrates the birthday of Will Rogers, who once remarked, “Common sense ain’t common.” He was a witty self-made gentleman whose homespun wisdom still resonates today. He was born William Penn Adair Rogers on November 4, 1879, in Oolagah, Cherokee Nation, now known as Oklahoma.

His official website lists him as an actor, author, humorist and pundit. He was also a genuine cowboy. If Nature combined Mark Twain and Ben Franklin with a liberal dose of Groucho Marx, then taught him how to rope a steer, the result could only be Will Rogers.

He quit school in 1902 and traveled the world with circuses and “wild west” shows, doing rope tricks. He graduated to vaudeville and the Ziegfeld Follies, becoming known for his sense of humor as much as his lasso skills. He married Betty Blake on November 25, 1908, and they had four children. Rogers went on to star in fifty silent films and twenty-one “talkies.” He also wrote 4,000 syndicated newspaper columns and was a favored guest on radio shows.

In 1926, Rogers returned from a trip to Europe, noting advances in commercial aviation there that sharply contrasted with the United State’s almost non-existent facilities. He took every opportunity to point out the safety, speed and convenience of air travel and helped sway public opinion.

In 1935, aviator Wiley Post decided to survey a possible mail-and-passenger air route from Washington State to Russia. Rogers visited Post often at the Burbank, CA airport where he was outfitting his plane with floats to land on the lakes of Alaska and Siberia. He asked Post to fly him through Alaska in search of new material for his newspaper column.

Post and Rogers left Seattle in early August, making several stops in Alaska. While Post piloted the aircraft, Rogers wrote his columns on his typewriter. On August 15, they left Fairbanks for Point Barrow. They were a few miles away when they lost their bearings and landed in a lagoon to ask directions. On takeoff, the engine failed at low altitude and plunged back into the lagoon, killing both men.

The nation mourned the loss of Will Rogers. He was only 55 years old.  Eighty years later, he is still quoted. Volumes of his essays and quips still appear in bookstores. There are thirteen public schools in Oklahoma named after him as is the Will Rogers World Airport. But it is the story of how a statue of Rogers came to be placed in the United States Capitol that we feel sums him up best.

Not long before his death, Oklahoma leaders asked Rogers to represent the state as one of two statues in the National Statuary Hall housed in the United States Capitol. He agreed on one condition: that the statue must be placed facing the House Chamber so he could “keep an eye on Congress.”

Unveiled on June 6, 1939, almost four years after his death, the statue of Rogers is the only one that faces the floor entrance of the House of Representatives Chamber. According to guides at the Capitol, each President rubs the left shoe of the statue for good luck before entering the House Chamber to give the State of the Union address.

That may be bunk, as he liked to say—he even ran for president on an Anti-Bunk platform. (Rallying cry:  “Our support will have to come from those who want nothing and have the assurance of getting it.”) Scoff all you want but take a closer look at his shoes. They’re shiny: buffed by the hands of many a legislator. That’s no bunk.

use common sense day

Will Rogers’ most famous quote is probably this: “I never met a man I didn’t like.” Here are a few more of our favorites.

use your common sense rogers politicsuse common sense day rogers judgmentuse common sense day rogers laughsuse common sense day rogers shut upuse common sense day rogers diplomacyuse common sense day rogers 3 kinds

We can almost hear him chuckling now.

Happy Use Your Common Sense Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

October 29 is National Cat Day (and International Internet Day)

Today is International Internet National Cat Day

National Cat Day Hell Yeah Kyrie because I said so!

Hell, yeah, it’s National Cat Day! Sure, it’s International Internet Day, too. On October 29, 1969, a few months after Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, the first message was sent across the Internet. The system crashed after the first two letters of the word “login” were shared, but that was enough to make history and change the world forever.

Approximately forty percent of the world’s population has an Internet connection today, up from less than half a percent in 1993, the year when a Web browser named Mosaic was introduced. Its development was funded through a U.S. government initiative championed by Al Gore. Yes, that Al Gore and no, he never said he invented the Internet.

In December 1999, there were 16 million Internet users. By the end of 2005, that number had topped 1 billion. In March 2011, it had grown to 2 billion; in June 2014, 3 billion. Three years later, in June 2017, the total stood at 3.885 billion.

So why are we looking at a cat right now? Because, in a cruel twist of fate, these brilliant innovators unwittingly created the medium that the furry monsters would eventually conquer. To be fair, Thomas Edison did get the ball rolling in 1894 with the first known cat video. 

First domesticated in the Middle East’s Fertile Crescent 12,000 years ago, cats have been waiting to pounce on humanity ever since. With the rise of agrarian societies, cats became indispensable for keeping grain stores rodent-free.  Today, cats can be found in 34% of American households, making them the most popular house pet in the United States.

And so they bide their time, transmitting coded missives uploaded by their hapless documentarians.  It’s been estimated that over two million cat videos have been uploaded to YouTube, with a total of almost 25 billion views. (Those statistics are from 2014, the most recent we could find. Who knows how many there are now?) The Internet Cat Video Festival toured the world from 2013 through 2016 but its creator, the Walker Art Center of Minneapolis, MN, has discontinued it to focus its funding efforts elsewhere.

Perhaps that’s because there’s no need to leave home to experience the stupefying, hypnotic power of our cuddly overlords. Need proof? Just watch the following video.

If we’ve whetted your appetite, here is another one. And another. Okay, one more and that’s all, we promise.

Just be sure to close your windows and doors so these adorable demons cannot get in and gnaw on your soft parts as you doze contentedly, lulled into a helpless state by a seemingly meaningless parade of cat hijinks.

If they learn how to open a can, none of us stand a chance.

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

October 19 is Stuck in Line with a Conspiracy Theorist Day

Today’s holiday, Stuck in Line with a Conspiracy Theorist Day, commemorates an event taking place this morning in local post offices across the United States. (The post office seems to be the locus of many of these incidents. Coincidence? You decide.)stuck in line with conspiracy theorist day post office line

An old man who speaks little English is trying to send a registered letter to Albania. This incenses today’s conspiracy theorist who helpfully informs everyone else within earshot, “That’s the oldest scam ever. They get you to fill it out for them and then later, they go, ‘Oh, I don’t know!'” It’s unclear what this scam could accomplish but the old man leaves to fill out his envelope, and it appears that the time for our theorist to elaborate has passed.

But that doesn’t stop him. “That’s like the Federal Building in Chicago.” (“That’s like” is a segue favored by the conspiracy theorist, obviating the need for any real connection between subjects.) No one looks at him. He takes this as a signal to proceed. “You know, the government, nobody lives in DC. There’s nobody there, they all live in the federal buildings. You can tell from their license plates.”stuck in line with a conspiracy theorist day

The utter lack of any reaction—in fact, everyone has stopped moving to avoid attracting his attention—urges him onward.”The diplomat plates have two lines and three stars. Get it? It’s like the donkey. That’s why they do that.” And here is where our man derails, goes off a cliff, where his sense factory explodes.

“It’s like tungsten. Tungsten.” He says it a third time. He must like the feel of the word on his tongue. “You know what tungsten is, like spark plugs, they put it in the spark plugs.”

His declarations devolve into conspiracy salad. They always do. The ultimate disappointment that follows being stuck in line with a conspiracy theorist is that we’ll never know what scam the Albanian was planning or the hidden meaning embedded in diplomatic license plates.

In 2015, Worldwide Weird Holidays created this unofficial holiday to celebrate the quest for truth and the desire not to have to hear about it while in line. Have a happy Stuck in Line with a Conspiracy Theorist Day, if you can. If you know the secret significance of tungsten, please let us know. But first, seek help, because that means you’re the conspiracy theorist. We just blew your mind!

Learn a little here:
Moon Landing Faked!!!-Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories – Scientific American

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day

International Talk Like a Pirate DayToday is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

On June 6, 1995, John Baur and Mark Summers were playing racquetball when one decided it would be amusing to shout encouragement to the other using pirate slang. Soon the two were trading pirate-speak with every swing. Afterward, they agreed the game had been especially entertaining and that time had seemed to pass quickly.

On the spot, they created a new national holiday, Talk Like a Pirate Day, but needed to choose a new date since June 6 marks the anniversary of World War II’s D-Day. Mark suggested September 19, his ex-wife’s birthday. They agreed that Dave Barry, a world-famous humor columnist, would be the perfect mouthpiece. Then they dropped it.

Each year, they celebrated the holiday only because their buddy Brian Rhodes had added it to his computer calendar and reminded them when it was coming up. In 2002, John stumbled upon Dave Barry’s email address, and the guys decided to ask him to be the spokesperson for the big day.

To their surprise, Barry answered that it was a great idea and wrote a column about it. The response was so strong that within months, the guys had been interviewed on Irish radio and traveled to Sydney, Australia, to discuss it. Talk Like a Pirate Day instantly became an international holiday.

Baur and Summers have turned out a total of five books. Their website includes tips on how to pick up a pirate, talk like a German or Dutch pirate, and mix grog like a, well, you know. It describes a party game called Snapdragon that entails lighting a pan of alcohol-soaked raisins on fire, reaching in, grabbing one and eating it while it’s still burning. (Is the winner the one who requires the most skin grafts or the fewest?)

Visitors will also find links to two Talk Like a Pirate Day songs, a translator, a pirate name generator, the ITLAPD Facebook fan page, as well as information about local participation. Per the site, Krispy Kreme will give a free glazed donut to anyone who talks like a pirate today, a dozen to those who dress like pirates. Long John Silver’s will give a free piece of Alaskan whitefish to customers who talk like pirates while ordering, and a free 2-piece fish or chicken basket to those who dress and talk like pirates.

People planning to take advantage of one of those offers should make sure they have the correct date. Pirate talk and garb may not be so well-received on another day of the year.

Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

 

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays