weird and wacky holidays happening in April

April 4 is World Rat Day

Today is World Rat Day. Back in 2002, members of the ratlist—the longest-standing mailing list about rats on the Internet—proposed the creation of a holiday to raise awareness of rats’ intelligence, affectionate natures and other qualities that make them excellent rat dayThe ratlist, which boasts over 2,300 members, has served as a meeting place and clearinghouse for pet care information since 1995. Current custodians James Kittock and Robyn Arthur took over the group on April 4th, making it the perfect choice for World Rat Day.

How should you celebrate? The World Rat Day site has a few suggestions: send greeting cards to fellow rat lovers around the globe. Hold get-togethers called Ratfests, as private parties or public events. Invite the media to attend, address the prejudice against these animals and encourage positive coverage in print and on television.

Or you could just make this a special day for you and your pets by giving them fun gifts and tasty treats. Take photos and videos. Post your favorites here or links to YouTube. Have a happy World Rat Day!

More rat-related celebrations:
January 30 is American Fancy Rat and Mouse Show

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

April 3 is Tweed Day

Today is Tweed Day, but it doesn’t celebrate the woolen fabric favored by the British upper class for sporting outfits and by college professors for suede-elbowed lecture hall jackets.

Instead, Tweed Day is named for one of the most corrupt politicians in New York history. William Magear “Boss” Tweed was born on April 3, 1823. He began his political life in 1851 as a city alderman. Five years later, he was elected to a newly-established city board of supervisors and began to consolidate his power in Tammany Hall, the seat of the Democratic political machine in New York City.

tweed day

Tweed once said, “I don’t care who does the electing so long as I get to do the nominating.” Candidates he backed were elected governor of New York, mayor of New York City and speaker of the state assembly. He installed allies in city and county positions as well; the network became known as the “Tweed Ring.”

He opened a law office in 1860 to extort money from corporations under the guise of high fees for his “legal services,” despite the fact that he was not a lawyer. He began purchasing acres of Manhattan real estate, then promoting the expansion of the city into those areas.

Eight years later, Tweed was elected to the New York State Senate and also became the official leader of Tammany Hall. In 1870, he and his ring passed a new charter that placed them in charge of the city treasury. They began to systematically drain the city’s coffers using fake vouchers and leases, padded invoices and other means.

Business leaders like John Jacob Astor turned a blind eye to Tammany Hall, as long as it continued to line their pockets and keep immigrants in line. But by 1871, it became apparent that graft had brought the city to the brink of financial collapse. In July of that year, 60 died in a riot between Irish Protestants and Roman Catholics at a parade. The city’s well-to-do began to feel threatened and blamed Tweed for failing to control the rabble and keep them safe.

Tweed was arrested and, while out on bail, campaigned for and won re-election to the state senate. He was rearrested and forced to surrender his city posts and resign as Tammany leader. In January 1873, his first trial ended in a hung jury. His second trial that November resulted in a fine of $12,750 and twelve years in prison. A higher court later reduced the sentence to one year.

Soon after his release in 1875, New York State filed a civil suit against Tweed in an attempt to recover $6 million in embezzled funds; he was arrested yet again and held in Ludlow Street Jail. He couldn’t post bail but was allowed home visits and took the opportunity to escape to Spain, where he worked as a seaman.

Tweed had long despised political cartoonist Thomas Nast, saying, “I don’t care so much what the papers say about me. My constituents don’t know how to read, but they can’t help seeing them damned pictures!” His hatred deepened after someone recognized him from Nast’s drawings and turned him in. He was detained at the Spanish border and returned to the U.S. on an American warship.

After his return to Ludlow Street Jail in November 1876, Tweed agreed to testify against his former ring in exchange for his release. But after he had done so, the governor of New York reneged on the deal. He remained in the jail, where he died of pneumonia on April 12, 1878. His body was buried in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery. In a final insult to the man who had ruled and robbed the city, mayor Smith Ely refused to fly City Hall’s flag at half-mast, traditionally done as a sign of mourning for respected public figures.

We’re not sure who chose this man’s birthday as a holiday, or why. While it’s easy to view Boss Tweed as an outlandish character governed by insatiable appetites, it’s important to remember that his exploits did not occur in a vacuum. They succeeded because of the implicit or explicit approval of all those who profited. 

Of course, greed and corruption didn’t die with him. Perhaps the best way to learn from his life is to value compassion over avarice, to guard against the loss of concern for our fellow man, and to keep an eye out for the Boss Tweeds of today—so we don’t get fooled again.

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

National Hairball Awareness Day

Today is National Hairball Awareness Day, observed annually on the last Friday of April.

National Hairball Awareness Day

Hairballs are a nuisance and just plain gross, as anyone who’s stepped on one in bare feet can attest. They’re no fun for cats, either, causing discomfort and irritation. In some cases, they can be an indicator of serious illness. Talk to your veterinarian to learn more, and be sure to brush your pets often and keep your home clean to prevent dust and other particles from adhering to their fur, where they can be ingested.

P.S.: We’re not advocating the nuclear option you see above for every pet. Rocky, the cat shown here, hated to be brushed but for some reason enjoyed the shearing process. His groomers always remarked on how mellow he was and charged much less for his visits. Despite his dyspeptic look, Rocky loved his lion cut. We’d even say he rocked it!

Have a safe and happy National Hairball Awareness Day!

More cat holidays:
Respect Your Cat Day – March 28
Cat Herders’ Day – December 15
National Cat Day – October 29

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays


April 26 is Alien Day

alien dayToday is Alien Day. The date 4/26 pays homage to LV-426, the planet where Ripley and her expendable crew set down and take on a stowaway that no amount of Pepcid-AC can overcome. By the time the monster surprises Dallas with a gesture that looks suspiciously like jazz hands, it’s clear that the entire crew will indeed be expended.

Ripley and Jonesy, the luckiest cat in the universe, escape after a run-in with the alien, who has hidden in a shuttle so inefficiently designed that it has wasted space in the exact proportions of a slavering hell creature.

In the sequel, Aliens, Ripley returns to LV-426–as an advisor, that’s all–with the Colonial Marines and Burke, Carter J., a company man and (spoiler alert) not an okay guy, after contact is lost with the Weyland-Yutani employees working there. Suffice it to say there are problems and a few deaths are involved.

Alien³ and Alien: Resurrection take place on a penal planet and the USM Auriga spaceship, respectively. Prequel Prometheus occurs on LV-223, another moon in the same star system.

Director Ridley Scott’s sequel to his prequel will be called Alien: Covenant and is scheduled for release October 6, 2017. Scott has issued this description:

Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world — whose sole inhabitant is the “synthetic” David (Michael Fassbender), survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.

At the end of Prometheus, David and Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) survived. What’s happened to her? The films have always had a strong female lead. We hope Scott’s planning to keep it that way.

Meanwhile, Neill Blomkamp has been working on Alien 5, but that’s only the working title, since it appears that he plans to dropkick Alien³  and Alien: Resurrection and pick up where Aliens left off.

Many fans of the early movies are happy about this prospect. Unfortunately, Scott has “asked” Blomkamp to delay his movie until after Alien: Covenant opens.

alien day

Blomkamp has been sharing concept art since last year which shows Hicks and Ripley very much alive. He released this pic of Newt this morning in honor of Alien Day.

alien day

Can fans trust him to bring the series back to life? Will we get the director of District 9 or the one who made Chappie? Will Scott’s wishes put Blomkamp’s plans into permanent hypersleep? Stay tuned and have a happy Alien Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays