weird and wacky holidays happening in April

April 28 is National Cubicle Day

national cubicle dayToday is National Cubicle Day. Technically, it isn’t a “national” holiday, having never been decreed by Congress and the president. Then again, none of them work in cubicles, so what do they know?

The first cubicle was introduced by furniture company Herman Miller in 1968. Robert Propst designed the “Action Office” as an alternative to working in open areas, often called bullpens.  It had flexible configurations with partitions to pin up current projects and provide privacy, lots of desk space and varying desk heights so people could spend some of their time standing up to keep their circulation flowing.

In the real world, Propst’s partitions, meant as building blocks for various layouts, were used to reduce each workspace to the smallest footprint possible to cram even more people into a room. The standing desk detail was abandoned, although it sounds like a good way for a boss to keep an eye out for any slackers trying to take a walk on the company’s dime.

If it ever becomes legal to catheterize a workforce, we’re confident that proximity fences and shock collars will become standard employee retention features of “systems furniture” design. (Eventually, someone will realize folks need to be hydrated and add a hamster-style water bottle to one corner.) Maybe Jon Sanderson had that in mind when he pulled this incredible April Fool’s Day prank on his coworker:

national cubicle day

photo: the Chive

Here are a few more cubicles that almost make us want to work in one. Almost. This one is great, but you can’t see that the key to the restroom is attached to the rim:

Check out the chair on the left. It has an alien face hugger in it!

This one is pretty sweet, right down to the tiki gods.

National cubicle day

If you’re worried that you’d get the boot if you jazzed up your office space, you can always splash out on this  inflatable Instant Window:

national cubicle day

Happy National Cubicle Day, everybody!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

 

April 27 is Matanzas Mule Day

matanzas mule day

visual approximation

Today is Matanzas Mule Day. While Mule Appreciation Day (October 26) honors mules in general, today’s holiday is dedicated to one special mule.

On April 27, 1898, during the Spanish-American War, the U.S. Navy fired upon the coastal town of Matanzas, on Cuba’s northern shore. When the smoke cleared, the villagers discovered one casualty: a mule.

Perhaps to express their outrage at the attack, they held a funeral for the mule and buried it with full military honors. (Of course, we can’t discount the possibility that they just really loved that mule.) Word of the memorial spread, along with disbelief.

On August 5, 1898, the New York Times printed an eyewitness account given to the London Globe. Chief Officer Smails of the Myrtledene, a steamship in the area to pick up sugarcane, confirmed the story and reported that he had attended the funeral at the invitation of a Spanish dockworker. He described the scene:

“Altogether there were about 200 persons present, including many distinguished officers. They all walked in mournful procession to the final resting place of the ill-fated animal, a band rendering melancholy music all the while. The authorities were also present to give the obsequies an official aspect. At the grave more appropriate music was played, and eloquent addresses were made by Spanish officers….Then the signal for lowering the carcass into the earth was given. The body went down enveloped in the Spanish flag, amid a volley of musketry!”

The Times article concludes with three unattributed verses one could reasonably assume were an ode to a fallen comrade.

They marshaled men of every rank,
They summoned muffled guns to roll,
They called the merchant from the bank,
They caused the Church’s bell to toll.

And slowly to his grave they passed,
Obeying every martial rule,
And there with tears they took a last,
Long look at that bombarded mule.

Wrapped in the flag he served so well.
Amid a cloud of smoke he sank;
“The Slain” – by tons of shot and shell –
Went under with a round of blank.

We’re fairly sure it wasn’t sung at the funeral. In fact, since it would have been written in Spanish, that’s either an excellent translation—complete with rhyming—or the newspaper of record was having fun heaping ridicule on a small town and, by extension, the enemy.

May you have a better Matanzas Mule Day than the mule did!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

 

April 25 is DNA Day

DNA DayToday is DNA Day. On April 25, 1953, the journal Nature published three papers submitted by James Watson, Francis Crick, Rosalind Franklin, Raymond Gosling, Maurice Wilkins, Alexander Stokes and Herbert Wilson about the structure of DNA.

Swiss biochemist Frederich Miescher observed DNA in 1869, but its importance didn’t emerge until 84 years later. Watson and Crick are the scientists most often associated with the discovery of DNA. They used data from X-ray diffraction research done by Rosalind Franklin to unravel the molecule and learn its essential role in creating life as we know it.

In 2003, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives declared April Human Genome Month and April 25th DNA Day. Serendipitously, on April 14, 2003, the Human Genome Project, a publicly funded program begun in 1990, announced it had achieved its goal of sequencing nearly all of the euchromatic genome.

But the U.S. proclamation covered a one-time-only celebration, not an annual holiday. Since 2003, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) has organized DNA Day festivities every year. Countries including Lithuania and Nepal have designated April 25th as International DNA Day.

Happy DNA Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

 

April 22 is In God We Trust Day

in god we trust dayToday is In God We Trust Day. On April 22, 1864, Congress ordered the redesign of the one-cent piece and the minting of a new two-cent coin bearing the motto. On March 3, 1865, Congress passed another act directing the U.S. mint to place the words on all gold and silver coins.

The phrase is often attributed to lawyer Francis Scott Key, who witnessed the British bombardment of Baltimore Harbor on September 13, 1814, during the War of 1812, which lasted much longer than its name suggests.

Key wrote the poem Defence of Fort M’Henry, which was later set to the tune of a popular British song, Anachreon in Heaven, and renamed The Star-Spangled Banner. In the fourth stanza, like many sports fans, Key expresses a belief that God is on our team’s side.

We include the poem in its entirety because, like us, you may not have seen it. We’ve never heard it at a sporting event. It would be cruel and unusual punishment for the fans and for the singer trying to hit the high notes again and again.

Defence of Fort M’Henry

O! say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there —
O! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream —
‘Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havock of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul foot-steps’ pollution,
No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home, and the war’s desolation,
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto — “In God is our trust!”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

On July 30, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a law declaring that In God We Trust must appear on all currency. The first paper money bearing the phrase was issued the following year. He also made it the nation’s official motto, replacing E pluribus unum (Latin: Out of many, one), the country’s unofficial slogan since its inclusion on the Great Seal of the United States created in 1782.

Have a happy and healthy In God We Trust Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays