strange, bizarre and kooky holidays in October

INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY

international caps lock day

Today is INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY, celebrated on June 28 and October 22 each year. Derek Arnold created the unofficial holiday in October 2000 to bring attention to those who abuse the caps lock key and, by extension, everyone who receives their emails, texts, and Internet screeds.

Arnold claimed he had a higher purpose in mind, stating:

International Caps Lock Day is in fact a testament to the small mindedness of certain Western individuals: the majority of the world’s population writes in scripts which have no concept of letter casing. Therefore it is advised to laugh at anyone who invokes this day as an excuse to dismiss local typographical conventions: they are simply making an ass out of themselves.

That’s a lofty goal, but we suspect its popularity has more to do with the joy of hitting the caps lock key and capitalizing with impunity.

With the rise of the Internet has come the evolution of netiquette, which dictates that writing in capital letters is considered shouting: boorish, rude and aggressive. Although many protest this reading, it has become an accepted interpretation of the practice.

Why do we celebrate this twice a year? Arnold added the second iteration to honor Billy Mays, the beloved pitchman who said everything in capital letters, who died on June 28, 2009.

Looking for the easiest possible way to celebrate? If you use Chrome, there’s an extension for that. Designed by Baptiste Candellier, on each holiday, it will make you unable to type in lower case and display almost every web page in upper case.

Or download Billy Mays Caps Lock by John Haller, another fan of the infomercial king. When you hit the Caps Lock key, you’ll hear Billy Mays say:

“Hi, Billy Mays here!”
“It’ll make your whites, whiter!”
“Order right now and we’ll double the value!” or
“Here’s how to order!”

When we first observed this holiday on October 22, 2015, we had a few niggling observations about capslockday.com: the site’s HTML listed the title as “internetonal caps lock day home page” and the page itself featured a photo of Billy Mays captioned, “GOOD NIGHT, SWEAT PRINCE.” Arnold also stated he was on SNAPCHET, which we can only assume is a social media network for country western music fans, and pointed out the caps lock key with the description “AT THE BOTTOM, WHERE IT SAY CASP LOCK.”

While we realize that correcting grammar and spelling is considered annoying by many these days, we can’t help but wonder: here are two holidays predicated upon the notion of irritating everyone else, yet there is no International Editors’ Day? THAT AIN’T ISN’T RIGHT.

On November 3, 2015, we noticed that the site had been taken down. With the help of the Wayback Machine, we captured the archived page. The Internet is forever….

CAPSLOCK DAY SITE SCREENGRAB

INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY SCREENGRAB

INTERNATIONAL CAPSLOCK DAY SCREENGRAB

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY, EVERYBODY!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

October 19 is Stuck in Line with a Conspiracy Theorist Day

Today’s holiday, Stuck in Line with a Conspiracy Theorist Day, commemorates an event taking place this morning in local post offices across the United States. (The post office seems to be the locus of many of these incidents. Coincidence? You decide.)stuck in line with conspiracy theorist day post office line

An old man who speaks little English is trying to send a registered letter to Albania. This incenses today’s conspiracy theorist who helpfully informs everyone else within earshot, “That’s the oldest scam ever. They get you to fill it out for them and then later, they go, ‘Oh, I don’t know!'” It’s unclear what this scam could accomplish but the old man leaves to fill out his envelope, and it appears that the time for our theorist to elaborate has passed.

But that doesn’t stop him. “That’s like the Federal Building in Chicago.” (“That’s like” is a segue favored by the conspiracy theorist, obviating the need for any real connection between subjects.) No one looks at him. He takes this as a signal to proceed. “You know, the government, nobody lives in DC. There’s nobody there, they all live in the federal buildings. You can tell from their license plates.”stuck in line with a conspiracy theorist day

The utter lack of any reaction—in fact, everyone has stopped moving to avoid attracting his attention—urges him onward.”The diplomat plates have two lines and three stars. Get it? It’s like the donkey. That’s why they do that.” And here is where our man derails, goes off a cliff, where his sense factory explodes.

“It’s like tungsten. Tungsten.” He says it a third time. He must like the feel of the word on his tongue. “You know what tungsten is, like spark plugs, they put it in the spark plugs.”

His declarations devolve into conspiracy salad. They always do. The ultimate disappointment that follows being stuck in line with a conspiracy theorist is that we’ll never know what scam the Albanian was planning or the hidden meaning embedded in diplomatic license plates.

In 2015, Worldwide Weird Holidays created this unofficial holiday to celebrate the quest for truth and the desire not to have to hear about it while in line. Have a happy Stuck in Line with a Conspiracy Theorist Day, if you can. If you know the secret significance of tungsten, please let us know. But first, seek help, because that means you’re the conspiracy theorist. We just blew your mind!

Learn a little here:
Moon Landing Faked!!!-Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories – Scientific American

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

October 17 is Wear Something Gaudy Day

While Festivus may be the most famous holiday invented by sitcom writers, there is a lesser-known day called Wear Something Gaudy Day that’s fun and doesn’t require the airing of grievances.

Airing from 1977 to 1984, Three’s Company was adapted from a British show called Man About the House. Initially, it was turned down by all three networks—yes, there were only three networks—for its racy premise of two women sharing an apartment with a young, clumsy heterosexual man who pretends to be gay so the landlord will allow the living arrangement. Eventually, ABC came around and gave the show the go-ahead.

The sitcom soon became a hit, with its mashup of broad comedy, inspired farce and great slapstick. Though we’re not sure on which episode the following occurs, we can say with confidence that the plot involves a misunderstanding. (They all do.)wear something gaudy dayThe main male character, Jack Tripper, has a friend named Larry Dallas who is a sleazy used-car salesman. Larry’s sartorial elegance is questionable at best: he’s known as a three-button guy, meaning he has to have at least three buttons open to showcase his fluffed up chest hair for the ladies.
wear something gaudy day
After taking a little too much ribbing about his tacky clothing, Larry declares that it is Wear Something Gaudy Day. And just like that, an unofficial holiday is born. Why do we celebrate it today? Why not? Fans of this show are in good company.

It didn’t set out to change the world, it just made us laugh and that is why we love it.
Lucille Ball

Happy Wear Something Gaudy Day. You know what to do!

Here are two non-sitcom related holidays occurring today:
National Mulligan Day: learn how the “do-over” got its start
National Edge Day: celebrated by straight edge punks since 1999

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

 

October 16 is Dictionary Day

dictionary day

An immense effect may be produced by small powers wisely and steadily directed.
Noah Webster, 1821

Dictionary Day was founded to celebrate the life of Noah Webster, born on October 16, 1758. Why would anyone spend twenty-seven years of his life working in solitude to produce an American dictionary?

Webster sought to create a unifying, distinctly American standard for the spelling, usage, and pronunciation of words. He felt British spelling was unnecessarily complicated and changed words such as colour to color, plough to plow, musick to music.

In the process, Webster learned more than twenty languages, which allowed him to thoroughly examine each word’s origin and definition. This research significantly contributed to the fields of philology and lexicography.

By the time he finished in 1825 at the age of 66, Noah Webster had penned 70,000 words. Of those, 12,000 had never been included in any dictionary. (Among them: skunk, chowder, squash, and hickory.) American Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1828.

Critics disparaged Webster’s changes and additions, particularly his inclusion of non-literary scientific and artistic terminology, as presumptuous and detrimental to the purity of the English language. Despite such pronouncements, Noah Webster has become known as the father of the American dictionary.

You might be asking yourself right now, “What’s so weird about this holiday?” Nothing, except that few people other than English teachers and rabid word nerds know about it. This was a man of astounding tenacity who helped determine the very language we speak and the words you’re reading right now.

We just blew your mind.

More words:
TEDtalk: Erin McKean redefines the dictionary
Dictionary Day and the Quest for Words – visualthesaurus.com

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays