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February 29 is International Underlings Day

international underlings dayInternational Underlings Day was created in 1984 by Peter D. Morris to recognize those not honored by National Boss Day, Administrative Professional Day, Programmers’ Day, Professional Speakers Day, International Working Women’s Day—the list goes on.

Do you sometimes feel like work is a cosmic joke, that the ladder of success has a few broken rungs?

Do you know how everyone else likes their coffee, lunch and dry cleaning?

Have you ever delivered bagels to a roomful of executives going through trust exercises?

Have you ever felt paralyzed by fear as you watched a coworker get fired for making a paperclip chain? Did you then feel:

a) relief that it wasn’t you
b) shame for feeling relieved
c) resentment that you’re still stuck in your crappy job
d) despair when you imagine that person walking around outside, free?

Have you ever quit a job, confident you would never work in such an insane asylum again, only to end up in progressively more horrifying workplaces?

If you answered yes to any or all of the above questions, you might be an underling. Congratulations: you have a day. Unfortunately but perhaps fittingly, that day falls on February 29th, which occurs once every four years. That makes 2016 only the ninth celebration of this holiday.

Have a happy International Underlings Day. You deserve it. Just don’t expect cake.

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February 7 is Super Bowl Sunday

super bowl dayToday is the 50th annual Super Bowl Sunday. At 6:30 pm, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, the Carolina Panthers will battle the Denver Broncos for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named after the coach who won the first two Super Bowls. The trophy is 22 inches tall, made of sterling silver by jeweler Tiffany & Company, weighs nearly seven pounds and is worth more than $25,000.

A 50th wedding anniversary has long been identified as “golden.” (The 25th is “silver,” the 75th is “diamond” and so on.) The National Football League (NFL) has gone to great lengths to use the tradition in advertising and logos for Super Bowl 50.

This year, the NFL has suspended its use of Roman numerals to identify the game. (This year’s game would have been called “Super Bowl L.”) This has enabled it to prominently display “50” (Arabic numerals) on all logos. In addition to the Lombardi trophy, the winning team will receive an 18-karat gold-plated “50” trophy.

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, water usage drops, especially in cities whose teams are playing, rises for a few minutes at halftime, and then peaks after the game as viewers relieve themselves and flush their toilets. 

Super Bowl 50 will be broadcast live in over 170 countries. Last year’s game had a record 114.4 million viewers in the U.S. Over the years, it has become famous for its commercials. CBS, broadcaster of this year’s telecast, is charging advertisers as much as $5 million for a 30-second spot. That’s over $166,666 per second. By contrast, winning players receive $97,000; losers, $49,000. (Still, it’s hard to feel sorry for them.)

Fans paid $6 for tickets to the first Super Bowl in 1967. This year, tickets purchased at face value cost $850 to $1,800 while “club seats” that include amenities such as cushioned seats and private bathrooms cost up to $3,000. Suites run from 150,000 to $400,000. According to tracking site SeatGeek, regular tickets to this year’s game have been selling on the secondary market for an average of $5,000.

Super Bowl Sunday is second only to Thanksgiving Day in consumption of food and drink. The National Chicken Council estimates 1.3 million chicken wings will be consumed in the U.S., up 3 percent from last year. Domino’s anticipates the sale of 12 million pizzas. The National Retail Federation says Americans will spend $15.5 billion on team apparel, decorations and food.

Of course, statistics compiled by companies, councils and federations that benefit from their own hype aren’t always reliable. We can’t track down the source, reported as fact by many news outlets, that states Americans will drink 325.5 million gallons of beer today. If 114.4 million people watch the game, every viewer—man, woman and child—will have to consume 2.85 gallons of beer.

According to a recent Nielsen Media survey, only 53% of U.S. adults polled said they planned to drink beer during the game. If that’s true, then tomorrow should be called World Hangover Day. We predict sales of aspirin will spike.

Happy Super Bowl Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

American Fancy Rat and Mouse Show 2016

January 30th is the 2016 American Fancy Rat and Mouse Show, sponsored by the American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association (AFRMA). AFRMA was founded in 1983 to promote breeding and exhibition of fancy rats and mice, to educate the public about their positive attributes as intelligent, affectionate pets, and provide information on their proper care.

Like the canines in the Westminster Dog Show, the rats and mice that compete today at Woodcrest Community Center in Riverside, CA, must meet high standards of physiology and temperament. See the process in video footage taken at the 2013 show.

A developmental problem such as “square butt” is grounds for disqualification from the show. It can usually be detected at a young age, which is why AFRMA judges advise breeders, called ratteries, to present their rats and mice for evaluation when they are still kittens. (Babies under nine weeks old are called kittens. Adult females are known as does; males, bucks.)

fancy rat and mouse show

You’ve probably never considered a rodent–other than the hamster you had as a kid–as a potential pet. Someone we know had a rat named Sid and took him everywhere, including spring break. She insisted we share with you the following fun facts.

  • Rats are not dirty animals by choice, only by circumstance. They clean themselves many times a day, much like a cat.
  • Rats are social and affectionate, taking care of sick or injured rats in their group. They become lonely and depressed if they’re left alone and make laughing noises when they’re having fun. (It doesn’t sound like human laughter. That would be so creepy.)
  • Rats have excellent memories. They can learn tricks and come when they’re called, recognizing their own names. (We’re talking about the names humans give them, of course. We have no idea what they call themselves.)

Learn more at AFRMARat Assistance & Teaching Society (RATS), The Rat Fan Club, RatChatter and many other sites. Yahoo group ratlist is accepting applications for membership. No rat haters need apply. Take a moment to see rats anew. Start your own club and start making plans to go to next year’s show!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

December 5 is Chester Greenwood Day

chester greenwood dayChester Greenwood Day

Even if you’ve never heard of Chester Greenwood, chances are, he’s been keeping your ears warm for years. Greenwood was born on December 4, 1858, in Farmington, Maine. At the age of fifteen, he fashioned the first pair of earmuffs, with his grandmother’s help, from wire, beaver fur and velvet.

He was awarded a U.S. patent for his “ear-mufflers” in 1877.  By his mid-20s, 50,000 pairs of Greenwood Champion Ear Protectors were being mass-produced annually at a local factory.

He accumulated over 100 more patents for such diverse inventions as a mechanical mousetrap, steel-toothed rake, donut hook and a shock absorber that became the basis for a component of airplane landing gear.

Farmington became the Earmuff Capital of the World. By 1937, when Greenwood died, his company had its best year ever, selling 400,000 pairs.

In 1977, the state of Maine declared December 21–the first day of winter–to be Chester Greenwood Day. In Farmington, organizers later moved the parade to the first Saturday of the month so it would fall closer to Greenwood’s birthday and provide attendees a better chance of warm weather.

Festivities in Farmington

The 39th annual Chester Greenwood Day festivities will include the annual Chester Greenwood Day 5K Run/Walk, Gingerbread House Contest, Chili Challenge, Annual Polar Bear Dip and, most intriguingly, a performance by clog dancing group InClogNeatO to take place in front of the Bangor Savings Bank.

As always, the highlight of the day’s activities will be the Chester Greenwood Day parade. The theme for 2015 is “Favorite Characters” and all are welcome to participate. Just dress up as your favorite book, movie, or TV character and remember to include earmuffs on your float. (Seriously, floats without them will be disqualified.)chester greenwood day

All floats will be judged on theme, originality, appearance, and performance combined. Entries which espouse political views supported by individuals, groups or political action committees (PACs), will be barred from the parade route.

Throwing candy from any float is forbidden as this may cause children to run into the street and be struck by extremely slow-moving parade vehicles. (Flying sweets also pose a risk of eye injury to paradegoers not wearing glasses.) Anyone throwing anything from any entry will result in the thrower and everyone else on the float being banned from the parade for life.

Now, get out there, have fun and celebrate the man who invented ear hats!