strange, bizarre and kooky holidays in January

January 4 is National Trivia Day

national trivia day

Today is National Trivia Day. Why? Here’s your first bit of trivia:

National Trivia Day was invented by Robert L. Birch, leader of Puns Corps, who also brought us A’phabet Day. It celebrates those of us who possess knowledge of facts that might not matter much at all. Here’s your chance to receive a doctorate in “uselessology.” Memorize the following and use as desired.

  1. The Pony Express only ran for 19 months.
  2. Some cats are allergic to humans.
  3. Forty is the only number whose letters are in alphabetical order.
  4. In 2009, a woman sued the maker of Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries because the cereal contained “no berries of any kind.” (The case was dismissed.)
  5. The mask used by Michael Myers in the movie Halloween was a Captain Kirk mask painted white.
  6. Fredric Baur invented the Pringles can. When he passed away in 2008, his ashes were buried in one.
  7. An airplane’s flight data recorder is painted orange, so why is it called a “black box”? No one knows but theories abound.
  8. People love lists.

Need more? The word trivia is derived from the Latin trivium (place where three roads meet) which refers to the “lower” liberal arts: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. They form the foundation of the quadrivium, which consists of arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy.

Happy National Trivia Day!

Copyright © 2018 Worldwide Weird Holidays

January 3 is Festival of Sleep Day

Festival of Sleep Day

Do you like slefestival of sleepeping? Of course you do! Today is Festival of Sleep Day, your perfect excuse to lock your door, turn off your devices and take a long, guilt-free nap. We don’t know who invented this holiday, but we’d like to shake his (or her) hand. We assume it was created for anyone in need of rest and relaxation after Christmas shopping and New Year’s celebrations.

How to Celebrate

Unlike most holidays, which revolve around parties and togetherness, Festival of Sleep Day encourages nothing more stressful than a trip to the Land of Nod, a journey that can only be enjoyed solo. Take a quick power nap or doze all day, the choice is up to you.

Note: We don’t recommend napping at work. Rest isn’t relaxing if you wake up without a job. Sleeping on a date, at the gym, on public transportation: no-nos. Same goes for operating machinery–and that includes curling irons and skateboards.

Five Fun Facts About Sleep

  1. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that being tired causes the highest number of fatal single-car crashes—even more than alcohol.
  2. Sleep is a universal characteristic of complex organisms and has been observed in insects, mollusks, fish, amphibians, birds and mammals.
  3. Rats generally live from two to three years. However, those deprived of REM sleep survive only about five weeks, and rats deprived of all states of sleep live only about three weeks.
  4. Dolphins experience unihemispheric sleep; one hemisphere of the brain goes into a deep sleep while the other remains awake. This allows them to sleep under water without drowning.
  5. Dolphins spend approximately a third of their lives asleep, just like humans.

While we may share Fact #5 with dolphins, the similarities end there. We can’t sleep with only half our brains. So do yourself a favor: tune out, unplug, close the shades and take a well-deserved siesta. Have a great Festival of Sleep Day.

Copyright © 2019 Worldwide Weird Holidays

January 2 is National Buffet Day

Today is National Buffet Day. It’s about time the U.S. recognized its favorite low-impact, dangerous sport: overeating! The essential feature of the various buffet formats is that diners can view the food, immediately select the dishes they wish to consume, and can also usually decide how much food they take. Whether it has a chocolate fountain or a sneeze guard, there’s a buffet for everybody.

National Buffet Day

In 1946, Herb McDonald introduced the $1.00 all-you-can-eat buffet at El Rancho Vegas, the first hotel-casino on what would become the famous Las Vegas Strip. The low price brought people in to be ensnared by the games. It also kept hungry gamblers from leaving the casino at all.

national buffet day

The publicist’s idea was a hit. It became a feature of every casino that followed and continues to be the best “deal” in Las Vegas. With varying levels of excess–Las Vegas steam tables are a modern bacchanal–the buffet caught on across the United States.

It conjures a uniquely American image of obese families trundling along a seemingly endless line, clutching plates, resolute in their determination to wring value from the proprietors by eating as much as they possibly can. Otherwise, they’re not just getting ripped off; they’re facilitating it.

 The History of Buffet Day

The buffet table dates back to the 16th-century Swedish brännvinsbord, or Schnapps table. Despite the name, it also included bread, cheese, fish, sausages, etc.

In the 19th century, the brännvinsbord turned into the smörgåsbord, a table where guests gathered for a pre-dinner drink and light meal; it was not part of the formal dinner to follow. The smörgåsbord was often held in separate rooms for men and women before the dinner was served.

Smörgåsbord became internationally known as “smorgasbord” at the 1939 New York World’s Fair exhibition. The Swedish Pavilion had a restaurant called The Three Crowns that included a revolving smorgasbord. Removing accents was meant to make the word less confusing to visitors.

Sometime in the mid 20th century, buffet, yet another table–this time a French sideboard–nudged out smorgasbord as the most popular term for the meal. Since then the offerings have expanded along with our waistlines.

How to Celebrate National Buffet Day

There’s only one rule to follow when celebrating this holiday: Consume! Whether you celebrate Swedish tradition by drinking a bit of schnapps and finger food or celebrate the American Way by strapping on a feedbag, have a happy National Buffet Day!

Remember to save room for Ice Cream for Breakfast Day on February 4, National Jerky Day on June 12, Eat an Extra Dessert Day on September 4, National Cream-Filled Donut Day on September 14, and International Beer & Pizza Day on October 9. Bon appétit!

Copyright © 2018 Worldwide Weird Holidays

January 31 is Scotch Tape Day

Today is Scotch Tape Day and celebrates the invention of cellophane tape in 1930. The story begins in the early 1920s at Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, now known as 3M, which made only sandpaper at the time. Richard Gurley Drew, a banjo-playing college dropout hired as a research assistant, soon changed the course of the company’s history.

scotch tape dayWhile delivering sandpaper samples to an auto body shop, Drew noticed painters’ frustration with the tape they used to mask car parts. Overly sticky, it ripped off bits of paint when removed, ruining the detail and forcing them to start over. He made it his goal to find a solution to their problem.

For the next few years, Drew experimented until he found the perfect combination of treated crêpe paper, cabinetmaker’s glue and glycerin. It adhered well yet stripped off easily without taking paint with it when removed. Automakers immediately recognized its value and began placing orders for it. The tape was marketed as Scotch Masking Tape in 1925.

Drew rose quickly through the ranks.  In 1929, he struck upon the idea of using DuPont’s recently invented cellophane to make transparent tape. Cellophane was a moisture-proof material used to wrap and present baked goods and grocery items. Its only drawback was the difficulty of sealing packages securely and attractively. Drew hoped to develop tape that would blend with the wrap.

The machinery used to apply adhesive to masking tape was ill-equipped to deal with cellophane, which curled and ripped. The amber glue used on masking tape looked terrible on a transparent surface. Drew and his team had to design new machines and a new clear adhesive made from a combination of oil, rubber and resins.

scotch tape day

The resulting Scotch Cellulose Tape was introduced in 1930. By that time, DuPont had already developed a new type of cellophane that could be sealed with heat, negating the need for tape. Despite the fact that Drew’s invention missed its target market and debuted during the Great Depression, the adhesive tape sold well to thrifty customers.

In fact, the desperate times may have spelled success for Scotch tape when other products would have failed. Even the racial slur the name is supposedly based on may have helped boost its sales. Scottish people were considered stingy. It was an ethnic stereotype that served 3M well: when money is scarce, stinginess is a virtue and a “cheap” product is a smart buy.

3M later promoted the legend with ads featuring “Scotty McTape,” a cartoon mascot who repeated the story that in 1925, auto painters told a 3M rep (presumably Drew) to go back to his “Scotch” bosses and tell them to put adhesive all over the tape. That’s unlikely since 3M didn’t make tape at the time and, in any case, the problem for the painters was that the adhesive was too strong.scotch tape day

Soon Scotty McTape was declared a member of Clan Wallace and began wearing its red tartan (and Wallace Hunting green plaid.) In the early 1970s, it was decided that McTape was no longer an effective marketing tool and the character was retired. The casual racism of Scotch tape’s name has been forgotten. Dispensers decorated in plaid are purchased every day with no awareness of their association with the clan of William Wallace, also known as Braveheart.

Richard Drew died in 1980 and was posthumously inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame for U.S. patent number 1,760,820. While working for a sandpaper manufacturer, he invented a tool that has become an essential part of our lives. The next time you reach for adhesive tape, at home or the office, take a moment to imagine life without it. We can’t but, thanks to Mr. Drew, we don’t have to.

Happy Scotch Tape Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays