July 19 is National Daiquiri Day

national daiquiri day

Hemingway statue at El Floridita

Today is National Daiquiri Day. Although conflicting legends abound, the most likely origin story credits an American engineer named Jennings Cox for the drink’s invention.

In 1898, Cox supervised an iron mining operation in a town off the coast of Cuba called Daiquiri. Every night he and his crew gathered at a local bar after work.

One evening when the bar ran out of gin, Cox blended Bacardi with sugar and lime and named it after the Daiquiri mines.  It quickly became a staple in Havana.

In 1909, the U.S.S. Minnesota docked in the area. Captain Charles Harlow brought junior medical officer Lucius Johnson with him on a tour of the 10-year-old Spanish-American battlegrounds. They met Cox at Daiquiri and enjoyed his creation.

Johnson brought the recipe to the Army and Navy Club in Washington, DC, where it became a favorite—except during Prohibition, of course. By the 1940s, the daiquiri had become a fixture in bars across the country.

National Daiquiri Day falls just two days before the birthday of Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961). The author immortalized the cocktail in his novel, Islands in the Stream: “This frozen daiquiri, so well beaten as it is, looks like the sea where the wave falls away from the bow of a ship when she is doing thirty knots.”

He’s also quoted as saying, “Don’t bother with churches, government buildings or city squares, if you want to know about a culture, spend a night in its bars.”

He certainly followed his own advice. El Floridita, a bar Hemingway frequented in Havana, Cuba, has immortalized him with a life size statue. The bartender there, Constantino Ribalaigua, created a doubly strong, sour version of the cocktail for the writer, who was diabetic and apparently worried more about the toxic effects of sugar than alcohol.

The following is based on that recipe, according to A. E. Hotchner, who documented his stay at the author’s home in Cuba in his book entitled Papa Hemingway.

Papa Doble
3 oz Bacardí Carta Blanca
Juice of 2 limes
½ oz grapefruit juice
6 drops of Maraschino liqueur

Blend all ingredients with crushed ice and serve in an ice cold coupe glass.

Whether you like your daiquiris sweet, strong or virginal, raise a glass and have a happy National Daiquiri Day–or evening, if you prefer. Cheers!


Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

July 9 is Rock ‘n’ Roll Day

rock 'n' roll dayToday is Rock ‘n’ Roll Day. It marks an end as well as a beginning. On July 9, 1956, Dick Clark took over as the host of a show called Bandstand. Less than three weeks before, it had slipped through another man’s hands.

Bandstand premiered in 1950 on WFIL-TV in Philadelphia, PA, and consisted of short musical films—the precursor of music videos—interspersed with interviews of studio guests. Host Bob Horn lobbied to change the format to a TV dance party, with teenagers dancing live to the latest records. The revamped show debuted in October 1952 and was a huge success, making the station owners happy and Horn a wealthy man.

But on June 21, 1956, Horn was arrested for drunk driving. He was fired and producer Tony Mammarella filled in while a new host was chosen. Horn’s poor judgment proved to be the opportunity of a lifetime for radio DJ Dick Clark, who had narrowly escaped disgrace himself in the payola scandal that destroyed the career of Alan Freed, to whom National Disc Jockey Day (January 20) is dedicated.

rock 'n' roll day

Dick Clark, July 1956

Clark’s star rose as Horn’s plummeted: In November, Horn was again arrested for drunk driving, this time causing an accident that injured a small girl. He was indicted on the same day for statutory rape. (He was eventually acquitted.) His reputation in tatters, Horn moved to Texas and changed his last name to Adams.

On August 5, 1957, the show went national, changing its name to American Bandstand. Clark, the man who would become known as the “world’s oldest teenager,” whose birthday (November 30) is celebrated as Perpetual Youth Day, helmed the show for over thirty years.

Bob Horn died of a heat stroke-induced heart attack while mowing his lawn in Houston, TX on July 31, 1966, at the age of 50. He’s buried in Houston’s Forest Park Cemetery (as Bob Horn, not Adams) with “Bandstand” inscribed across the top of his headstone.

Dick Clark died of a heart attack following a medical procedure in Santa Monica, CA on April 18, 2012, at the age of 82. Clark was cremated on April 20, and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.

Let’s have a dance party and remember them both on Rock ‘n’ Roll Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

July 4 is Rube Goldberg Day

Today is Rube Goldberg Day. On July 4, 1883, Reuben Garrett Lucius “Rube” Goldberg was born in San Francisco, CA. In his 87 years on the planet, he was a cartoonist, engineer, inventor, author, sculptor and scriptwriter.

He is best known for his cartoons depicting absurdly complex contraptions used to perform simple tasks. One such device was an intricate system, triggered by the movement of a spoon, that would automatically mop one’s upper lip after taking a sip of soup as seen in the following commemorative stamp.

rube goldberg day

“Self-Operating Napkin” US Stamp, 1995

As an engineer and inventor, Goldberg often brought these cartoons to life. In 1930, he wrote and made a cameo appearance in a film called Soup to Nuts which featured some of his crazy machines and starred the men who would later become known as the Three Stooges.

In 1948, Goldberg was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his political cartoons. Few knew his work had aroused such anti-Semitic hatred during the war that he had insisted his sons change their surnames. They chose the last name George and it has remained the family name ever since; their children run a company called RGI (Rube Goldberg Incorporated) to continue their grandfather’s name.

rube goldberg day

Goldberg was a founding member and the first president of the National Cartoonists Society, the namesake of its Reuben Award, given to the Cartoonist of the Year. He is the inspiration for various international competitions, known as Rube Goldberg Machine Contests, many of which are sponsored by his descendants through RGI.

He is also immortalized in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Rube Goldberg
adjective Rube Gold·berg \ˈrüb-ˈgōl(d)-ˌbərg\
: accomplishing by complex means what seemingly could be done simply ; also : characterized by such complex means

Happy Rube Goldberg Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

June 15 is Magna Carta Day

magna carta dayMagna Carta Day, explained in the style of Jeff Spicoli:

In 1215, the king of England was a total wad, so a bunch of rich baron dudes got together and decided his divine right was bogus, so they drew up some cool rules they called the Great Charter until somebody said it sounded way more righteous in Latin. They took it to the king on June 15th and told him, “Sign it, or you’ll never party again,” which was a gnarly scene for a minute, but then he signed it. 

The Pope was not cool with that and said, “Later, dudes!” and kicked all the baron guys out of the church. But none of it matters anyhow because Julius Caesar’s calendar was a mess so we use a different one now, which means the Carta got signed on June 8th but then, like, did it even happen?

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays