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September 20 is National Gibberish Day

National Gibberish DayToday is National Gibberish Day, which celebrates seemingly meaningless speech or writing. Unlike International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19), there’s no need to learn any jargon or speak with a funny accent.

Although we were unable to identify the source of this unofficial holiday, we feel like Paul Krueger deserves some credit. In the 1990s, he created a Gibberish translator, swapping letters or groups of letters according to function and length. It can be used to translate English—or any Romance language—to Gibberish and vice versa.

Whaxappupp Naxatienaxar Kiffolisk Daxaupp! (Happy National Gibberish Day!)

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

September 16 is World Play-Doh Day

world play-doh dayToday is World Play-Doh Day. On September 16, 2006, Hasbro created National Play-Doh Day to honor its 50th anniversary. In 2015, it kicked the unofficial holiday up a notch by going global. Today we celebrate the 61st anniversary of Play-Doh and the third World Play-Doh Day.

Noah McVicker of Cincinnati-based soap manufacturer Kutol Products invented the stuff in 1933 for Kroger Grocery, which requested a non-staining, reusable product to clean coal residue from wallpaper. (He cribbed the putty’s recipe—boric acid, mineral oil, flour, water and salt—from homemakers who had been whipping up their own since some time in the 19th century, but never mind.) Kroger was happy and the company flourished for several years.

During World War II, the production of planes, ships, and motor vehicles increased the demand for fuel. Oilfields in Texas and Oklahoma pumped out so much that very little gasoline or diesel had to be imported. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between in 1945 and 1960, the number of cars on U.S. roads increased by 60 percent.

Why does this matter? With the increased availability of low-cost fuel, gas- and oil-fired forced air furnaces began to replace the dirty, labor-intensive coal furnace. Less soot translated to lower profits for Kutol Products. The introduction of washable vinyl wallpaper in 1947 dealt the business another blow. By the mid-1950s, it teetered on the edge of bankruptcy.

Kutol hired Joe McVicker, Noah’s nephew, to save the company from insolvency. Joe’s sister-in-law Kay Zufall mentioned to him that she used the cleaner as a cheap toy for kids in the nursery school she ran. He took her advice to add coloring and remove the detergent, then decided he would call it “Kutol’s Rainbow Modeling Compound.”

Kay talked him out of it; her husband Bob helped her come up with the name “Play-Doh.” They received no credit or payment. Kay said that making children happy was thanks enough. Due to her influence, schools across Cincinnati bought the product but Kutol quickly ran out of new customers. With no money for marketing, Joe convinced Bob Keeshan, better known as Captain Kangaroo, to use Play-Doh once a week on his show in exchange for two percent of sales.

Since then, Play-Doh formula has passed through many hands over the years and now belongs to Hasbro. Although it won’t reveal any ingredients other than salt, water and flour, Hasbro’s 2004 U.S. patent for “starch-based modeling compound” shows it contains water, a starch-based binder, a retrogradation inhibitor, salt, lubricant, surfactant, preservative, hardener, humectant, fragrance, color, borax and a petroleum additive to make it feel smooth.

Its high salt content reportedly won’t hurt curious children who take a nibble, but it can be toxic and potentially fatal to a pet that eats a stomachful of it.

*****

There is a way to evoke happy childhood memories without carrying a lump in your pocket: Play-Doh cologne. Demeter Fragrance Library, the maker of such classic scents as Lobster and Funeral Home, has distilled the essence of Play-Doh.

Don’t be surprised if the scent inspires an admirer to pull on your pigtails. (Apparently, little boys used to do that to little girls they liked, but we can’t find anyone who’s seen or done it.) Guys, it’s unisex, so if you spritz it on, don’t be surprised if someone pulls on your man-bun.

Happy World Play-Doh Day, everybody!

PS: For a funny look at this holiday, including a PG-13 Captain Kangaroo legend, check out Happy World Play-Doh Day on Magick Sandwich.

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

September 15 is Google.com Day

Google.com Day

Google Search – 1988

Today is Google.com Day. On September 15, 1997, Larry Page and Sergey Brin registered the domain.

Page and Brin met at Stanford University in 1995. The following year, they collaborated on a search engine they named BackRub because it analyzed websites’ backlinks to determine their relative importance. It ran for a year but eventually took up so much bandwidth that it crashed Stanford’s servers.

By that time, they realized the name no longer fit their rapidly-evolving search engine. During a brainstorming session, graduate student Sean Anderson suggested “googolplex” and Page shortened it to “googol.” (Googol is the mathematical term for the digit 1 followed by 100 zeroes, while googolplex is 1 followed by a googol of zeros.)

So what’s up with the spelling? When Anderson checked to see if that domain name was available, he accidentally typed in “google.com” instead of “googol.com.” Page liked that even better, and registered the name on September 15, 1997.

According to Google, the play on words “reflects Larry and Sergey’s mission to organize a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web.” They’re doing a great job so far.

Happy Google.com Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays