strange, bizarre and kooky holidays in January

January 9 is Aviation in America Day

aviation in america dayToday is Aviation in America Day and commemorates the first balloon ride in the U.S. on January 9, 1793. Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard, aeronaut extraordinaire, had previously ascended 44 times in cities around the world.

He launched his balloon from the prison yard of Walnut Street Jail in Philadelphia, PA, and landed in Deptford Township, NJ, 46 minutes later. One of the flight’s witnesses that day was President George Washington.

Blanchard believed he would grow rich from this endeavor despite the faulty business model of selling tickets to something that could be observed from pretty much anywhere for free.

Under the auspices of Philadelphia governor Thomas Mifflin, Blanchard was able to build an “aerostatical laboratory” to hold his balloon, basket and mechanical oddities. It was open to the public every day; admission cost 25 cents per person.

This did not generate enough cash to mount a new expedition. Blanchard hit upon the idea of flying small balloons with animals that would be fitted with crude parachutes, ejected automatically by a fuse and float to earth.

The first drop of a dog, cat and squirrel took place on June 6, 1793. Unfortunately, it was witnessed by “few paying, but many nonpaying spectators,” according to the General Advertiser. There is no reference to the health status of the tiny aeronauts.

Later that year, Blanchard claimed to have escaped his burning balloon with the aid of his (much larger) parachute. There were no witnesses to confirm this event, but he is credited with developing the first foldable parachute made from silk, without a rigid frame. Fido and Mr. Whiskers received no such accolades.

In 1809, the French adventurer died. There are conflicting accounts of the circumstances of his demise. Some state that he had a heart attack before a scheduled balloon flight in Paris. Others insist the heart attack occurred while aloft and caused him to fall from his balloon at The Hague.

Whether he fell from a height of five feet or five hundred feet, the result was the same. He died and today we remember him, not as a businessman, but for his inventive use of animal testing. Happy Aviation in America Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

January 8 is Show and Tell at Work Day

show and tell at work dayToday is Show and Tell at Work Day, created by Thomas & Ruth Roy of Wellcat Holidays & Herbs. Remember those halcyon days of youth when you’d take something to school and show it to the class, getting jeered at for being lame or reprimanded by the teacher for bringing something mucus-related?

Relive the good old days of childhood with Show and Tell at Work Day. Encourage your coworkers to participate by bringing in something of significance to them. You can all get to know each other better and have fun in the process. (Because the Roys specified January 8th, the holiday will not always fall during the regular workweek. Reschedule at your own risk. They’re sticklers about that kind of thing.)

We feel it only prudent to share a few suggestions to ensure that you’ll still be gainfully employed the following day. Here are a few items you should probably leave at home: roadkill, chainsaws, taxidermied pets, jars of fingernail clippings, and your child’s crayon-filled stool after he wanted to find out what blue tasted like (we’re giving you the benefit of the doubt that it’s his stool).

More no-nos:  a necklace of human ears (or any ears, really), the diorama of the Nuremberg trials you made with stolen office supplies, your Civil War reenactor’s uniform (either side), adult diapers (fresh or soiled), the detonator switch of the bomb you just placed under your boss’s car, the mask you wore in a convenience store robbery, nude selfies that show your torso tattooed with the names of every coworker, and the smartphone video of you peeing into the pot of coffee everyone is now drinking.

Of course, this is only a partial list. Use your own judgment and have a happy Show and Tell at Work Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

January 7 is National Pass Gas Day

Today is National Pass Gas Day. Hot on the tail, if you will, of National Bean Day comes this celebration of all things flatulent. A 1995 study–yes, there have been studies–estimates that we pass gas 13.6 times a day. (Perhaps the remaining .4 refers to those that were smelt but not dealt.)

national pass gas dayFarts: What are they good for? For one thing, they relieve the pressure created by food in various states of digestion in our colons. Stretching of the intestinal walls can cause bloating, discomfort and constipation.

Did you know that the rumbling or gurgling sound caused by the movement of gas in the intestines is called borborygmus [bawr-buhrig-muh s] ?  Drumlike swelling of the abdomen due to air or gas in the intestine or peritoneal cavity is called meteorism or tympanites [tim-puhnahy-teez] .

A 2011 study found that while a rapid increase in bean intake may cause some flatulence, it will normalize over time.

A performer named Mr. Methane bills himself as the world’s only professional flatulist. He was inspired by 19th-century French vaudevillian Le Pétomane (the fart maniac). In 2009, Mr. M auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent and farted The Blue Danube in Simon Cowell’s general direction. The YouTube video has over 41 million hits. He was invited to perform at the 2013 World Fart Championships in Finland. (At 47, he was too old to compete.)

In 1982, a psychiatric journal published the case study of a 33-year-old woman with “obsessive flatulence ruminations” who was treated with the “paradoxical instructions to intensify flatus emissions.” This helped cure the woman, a respiratory therapist, but we’re guessing her patients’ breathing problems intensified during her treatment period.

Now, to the heart of the matter. Fart jokes are perennial, delighting both young and old. Check out George Carlin’s standup routine about farting in public.

 

If you’re left wanting more, have some fun with the Ultimate Fart Soundboard. We would never suggest you pass gas but somehow, we know you will. Have a happy National Pass Gas Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

January 6 is National Bean Day

Today is National Bean Day. With over forty thousand varieties, the hardworking bean deserves its own day. Why is it celebrated on January 6th? No one knows for sure, but we have a couple of ideas and a suggestion.national bean day

Some claim it commemorates the death of renowned geneticist, Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk who experimented with pea plants to test his theories of inheritance. He has been called the father of modern genetics. He died on January 6, 1884.

A number of holiday sites assert that Paula Bowen originated Bean Day because January is a bleak month with very few holidays to celebrate. She also wanted to honor her father, a pinto bean farmer. Consequently, she grew up eating a lot of beans.

We have been unable to confirm either theory. We know that Gregor Mendel existed but can’t say the same about Paula Bowen. We can find no source material and, frankly, it would take too long to contact every Paula Bowen in the United States. (Ms. Bowen, we’d love to hear from you.)

Beans are an excellent source of protein, iron and fiber. A British fellow named Gary Watkinson claims it’s all he eats. His girlfriend Beth says, “It’s a nightmare.” Maybe we should inaugurate International Bean Day and dedicate it to him?

national bean day

Happy National and International Bean Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays