strange, bizarre and kooky holidays in October

October 25 is Cartoonists Against Crime Day

Cartoonists Against Crime Day was introduced in 1991 by Illinois artist Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith, who bills herself as “America’s premier eventologist.” Mayor of cartoonists against crime dayChicago Richard Daley declared October 25th, 1993, Cartoonists Against Crime Day.

Later in 1993, Illinois governor Jim Edgar honored another of Koopersmith’s self-styled “holidates” by proclaiming December 3rd, 1993, Day Without Crime Day.

Many of the thousands of occasions Koopersmith claims she invented are listed in Chase’s Calendar of Events, the major reference book for offbeat observances published by McGraw-Hill.

A brief history of the cartoon: In the Middle Ages, a cartoon was described as a sketch or preparatory drawing for large scale art such as paintings, frescos or stained glass. Renaissance artists used them as well. Some examples survive to this day.

In 1962, London’s National Gallery acquired such a drawing by Leonardo Da Vinci. After a vandal hit it with a shotgun blast in July of 1987, it was restored through an elaborate process in which dozens of tiny paper fragments were glued back together, one by one. It went back on public display in May of 1989.

In 1843, British magazine Punch published drawings that parodied a competition for the decoration of the Palace of Westminster.  In doing so, it inadvertently changed the word cartoon to mean a humorous or satirical drawing employing exaggeration for effect, often accompanied by a caption.  This definition has endured ever since, expanding in the 20th century to include comic strips and animated films.

Everyone from Far Side fans to Calvin and Hobbes aficionados can take a day to recognize the work of cartoonists to entertain, inform and enlighten. In 2015, Koopersmith dedicated the holiday to the remembrance of four artists who were murdered on January 7th, 2015, at the Paris office of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

October 21 is Back to the Future Day

 “We’re descending toward Hill Valley, California, at 4:29 pm, on Wednesday, October 21st, 2015.”

back to the future day

Fire up the DeLorean and put the pedal to the metal. You’ll need 1.21 gigawatts of power at 88 miles per hour to get back to the future or, in this case, the past.

back to the future day
Today is Back to the Future Day. In the second film of the series, Doc Brown and Marty McFly travel to October 21, 2015. The movie franchise inspires the adoration of fans all over the world. It is also a model of the early days of product placement and two brands, in particular, made the most of it.

back to the future day

PepsiCo ad execs imagined a futuristic drink called Pepsi Perfect and paid for its screen time with free soda for cast and crew during filming. In the 1980s, product placement was a relatively new practice, one not yet recognized as the cash factory it would become for marketers and the entertainment industry.

To honor its role in Back to the Future Part II, Pepsi produced 6,500 bottles of Pepsi Perfect and sold them on October 21, 2015, for $20.15 apiece. A year later, you can snag one of these bottles on eBay for $75.00 and up. Though the movie’s beverage was nutrient-enriched, the soda in these bottles is just regular Pepsi.

back to the future mcfly nike mags

In 2011, Nike produced and auctioned off 1,500 pairs of Air Mags identical to the ones worn by Marty McFly except for one crucial element: power laces. Although prop men achieved that bit of movie magic by pulling on cables to “lace” the sneakers, Nike turned the concept into a reality four years later when it delivered the first self-lacing pair to Michael J. Fox on October 21, 2015, just in time for a tie-in (get it?) with the movie’s anniversary.

back to the future day

10/21/15: Fox tries on first working pair

Nike has since manufactured a limited edition of 89 pairs of the sneakers, awarding most on October 17, 2016, in an online draw. The cost per entry was a $10 donation to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which raised $6.75 million. Two small real-world auctions were conducted as well. In London, a pair fetched $65,000. In Hong Kong, the winner paid $104,267.  The final pair will be auctioned off in New York City on November 12, 2016.back to the future day hoverboard

One thing that has yet to catch up with the movie is the hoverboard.  The Omni works like a helicopter with rotors under a rider’s feet. It holds the Guinness World Record for longest distance traveled by a hoverboard: 905 feet, 2 inches, but the battery is too light to last for more than a couple of minutes. There is also the distinct possibility of dicing a bystander with the blades when landing.

The Lexus and Hendo hoverboards use magnetic fields and will only levitate over a specially made conductive surface, meaning you won’t be able to zip down a street, let alone skate over water. On October 15, 2015, Arx Pax issued a press release announcing it would unveil the Hendo 2.0, designed with the input of skateboarder Tony Hawk, on Back to the Future Day. Sadly, it didn’t materialize.

Most “hoverboards” available today don’t hover at all and could best be described as self-balancing scooters. The batteries of many models can overheat and burst into flame. Owners are cautioned not to leave them unattended while charging, which might be an acceptable risk for someone who gets to fly around on a hoverboard afterward but not so much for the person juicing up a silly-looking skateboard/Segway without handlebars.

back to the future day mcfly chicago cubs

A “prediction” screenwriter Bob Gale added as a joke came closer to fruition than anyone could have guessed. In Back to the Future Part II, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. In reality, on October 21, 2015, the Cubs played the New York Mets in the fourth game of the National League Championship Series. (The Major League Baseball schedule has changed since the film came out, so the timing of the World Series is a bit off.)

If the Cubs had beaten the Mets and gone on to win the World Series, it would have been the team’s first pennant in 70 years and first World Series win since 1908. It didn’t happen, though. The Mets won all of the first four games, obviating the need to continue the seven-game series.

In the movie, the Cubs beat Miami, which had no team in 1989. Gale says, “People don’t automatically realize when they watch the movie today, but we were predicting there would be a major league team in Miami.”

Love for the Back to the Future trilogy reaches back decades. The movies continue to attract new fans and inspire companies to pursue their vision. Who knows what the 50th anniversary will bring? Until someone soups up a DeLorean, we’re all going to have to wait to find out.

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

October 20 is Information Overload Day

information overloadToday is Information Overload Day. Why? Here’s a hint. In April 2016, Statista published a study regarding media usage. In it, the company reported that U.S. adults spent an average of just over twelve hours per day consuming media on their televisions, mobile phones, tablets and computer screens, among other sources—sometimes simultaneously.

In it, the statistics company reported that U.S. adults spent an average of just over twelve hours per day consuming media on televisions, mobile phones, tablets, computer screens and other sources—sometimes simultaneously. If reading that just raised your blood pressure, Information Overload Day may be the holiday for you.

The Information Overload Research Group (IORG) created Information Overload Day in 2007 to call attention to the constant fire hose of data that threatens to swamp individuals and organizations. In 2015, the IORG challenged the corporate world to “lower the overload” by sending twenty percent fewer messages each day.  It issued four helpful suggestions to help accomplish that:

1) Send only those Emails, IMs, and texts that have to be sent. This includes replies.
2) Only use reply-to-all when absolutely necessary.
3) Cut back on the number of recipients in the “to” and “cc” fields.
4) Resist the urge to forward Email messages if not critical.

Has your head exploded yet? How can anyone lower their emails by that much? Your boss expects you to copy him on everything but your bowel movements, and even that may be imminent. What about all those jokes you swap with friends and coworkers? Oh, yeah, there’s twenty percent right there.

The IORG may have given up on its own holiday; we see no sign of its observance since 2015. Maybe it’s taking its own advice by sparing us the extra data. In that spirit, we will bring this piece to a close—right after we wish you a happy Information Overload Day, that is!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

October 18 is World Menopause Day

For women dealing with menopause, every day is World Menopause Day. The International Menopause Society (IMS), creator of the holiday, attempts to make it fun by choosing a new theme each year. It’s a little like the prom: full of sweaty, uncomfortable seniors driven crazy by hormones.

world menopause day

“What Comes to Mind: Menopause and the Aging Brain?” is a theme used recently. Is that a trick question to give English majors around the globe a collective hot flash/hissy fit? Does it mean that if it doesn’t come to mind, it’s already too late? Does it mean menopause and aging have nothing to do with each other? IMS has this to say:

During the menopause transition, there may…be modest reductions in aspects of attention, but natural menopause does not appear to lead to persistently poorer memory.

Okay, we’re done here, right?

There’s no definitive list of actions to take to help reduce memory loss but evidence does support some approaches over others. Brain health can be improved through mentally stimulating activities, such as work or leisure.

So, anything we do when we’re awake–got it.

Top 10 prevention tips

Oh no, here we go.

1.Nutrition: an antioxidant-rich Mediterranean diet with olive oil may help
2.Vitamin D and B-Vitamins: may improve brain health alongside other activities
3.Other dietary supplements: Soy isoflavones helping to improve memory
4.Physical activity: brisk walking and other forms of aerobic exercise are linked to a lower dementia risk 5.Mindfulness: Tai chi studies show positive outcomes for improving memory
6.Control alcohol consumption: moderating alcohol intake can help maintain brain health
7.Smoking cessation: reducing the intake of toxins can help boost brain health
8.Mental activity: important for boosting brain stimulation
9.Social interaction: engaging, challenging and creative communication
10.MHT: helping to alleviate distressful vasomotor menopausal symptoms

First, let us point out that #3 and #10 involve raising estrogenic activity, which can be a big no-no for anyone at risk of breast cancer. As the site states, its tips do not replace advice from your doctor.

We have a suggestion: why not integrate this holiday with two others taking place today? First, grab a razor, guys, for National No Beard Day, and shave off that chin Brillo. Skin gets delicate after menopause. No one needs the constant exfoliation your whiskers provide. Second, and most important, it’s National Chocolate Cupcake Day. Stress and hormonal changes can cause intense cravings for sugary treats. Buy a baker’s dozen for your menopausal loved ones. Don’t expect to get a cupcake for yourself unless you hide one in your car.

Have a happy World Menopause Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays