September 20 is National Gibberish Day

National Gibberish DayToday is National Gibberish Day, which celebrates seemingly meaningless speech or writing. Unlike International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19), there’s no need to learn any jargon or speak with a funny accent.

Although we were unable to identify the source of this unofficial holiday, we feel like Paul Krueger deserves some credit. In the 1990s, he created a Gibberish translator, swapping letters or groups of letters according to function and length. It can be used to translate English—or any Romance language—to Gibberish and vice versa.

Whaxappupp Naxatienaxar Kiffolisk Daxaupp! (Happy National Gibberish Day!)

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day

International Talk Like a Pirate DayToday is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

On June 6, 1995, John Baur and Mark Summers were playing racquetball when one decided it would be amusing to shout encouragement to the other using pirate slang. Soon the two were trading pirate-speak with every swing. Afterward, they agreed the game had been especially entertaining and that time had seemed to pass quickly.

On the spot, they created a new national holiday, Talk Like a Pirate Day, but needed to choose a new date since June 6 marks the anniversary of World War II’s D-Day. Mark suggested September 19, his ex-wife’s birthday. They agreed that Dave Barry, a world-famous humor columnist, would be the perfect mouthpiece. Then they dropped it.

Each year, they celebrated the holiday only because their buddy Brian Rhodes had added it to his computer calendar and reminded them when it was coming up. In 2002, John stumbled upon Dave Barry’s email address, and the guys decided to ask him to be the spokesperson for the big day.

To their surprise, Barry answered that it was a great idea and wrote a column about it. The response was so strong that within months, the guys had been interviewed on Irish radio and traveled to Sydney, Australia, to discuss it. Talk Like a Pirate Day instantly became an international holiday.

Baur and Summers have turned out a total of five books. Their website includes tips on how to pick up a pirate, talk like a German or Dutch pirate, and mix grog like a, well, you know. It describes a party game called Snapdragon that entails lighting a pan of alcohol-soaked raisins on fire, reaching in, grabbing one and eating it while it’s still burning. (Is the winner the one who requires the most skin grafts or the fewest?)

Visitors will also find links to two Talk Like a Pirate Day songs, a translator, a pirate name generator, the ITLAPD Facebook fan page, as well as information about local participation. Per the site, Krispy Kreme will give a free glazed donut to anyone who talks like a pirate today, a dozen to those who dress like pirates. Long John Silver’s will give a free piece of Alaskan whitefish to customers who talk like pirates while ordering, and a free 2-piece fish or chicken basket to those who dress and talk like pirates.

People planning to take advantage of one of those offers should make sure they have the correct date. Pirate talk and garb may not be so well-received on another day of the year.

Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day!


Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

September 12 is National Video Games Day

national video games day

Computer Space – Pong

Today is National Video Games Day. In 1971, a company named Nutting Associates released Computer Space, the first commercial arcade video game.

Although it wasn’t a huge financial success, it began a fruitful partnership between creators Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, who left and opened their own outfit called Atari. They introduced Pong the following year.

In May 1972, Magnavox launched the world’s first home video game system. Initially dubbed the Brown Box by designer Ralph Baer, the unit later became known as the Odyssey and Baer, “the father of home video games.”

The Odyssey was sold exclusively in Magnavox stores; customers were told it only worked with the brand’s television sets, a convenient lie. By the end of the year, the company reported it had sold 100,000 units for approximately $100 each.

The box contained no microprocessor, only a board of transistors and diodes. The display consisted of white squares on a black background and was accompanied by a user manual and six cards that contained pinouts to change game settings. Custom plastic overlays had to be taped over the television screen to create color and very simple graphics.

In 1975, Atari introduced a home version of its popular arcade game, Pong, which quickly surpassed Magnavox’s sales. In 1976, Fairchild Camera and Instrument introduced the first cartridge-based system. RCA released the cartridge-based Studio II in January 1977, but it focused mainly on educational titles.

In October 1977, Atari released the Atari VCS with an initial offering of nine games, including Air-Sea Battle, Basic Math, Blackjack, Combat, Indy 500, Star Ship, Street Racer, Surround and Video Olympics. This system, later renamed the Atari 2600, would go on to dominate the industry for many years.

Celebrate National Video Games Day on your home console or enjoy the latest massively multiplayer online game. Throw a party with game-themed decorations and food. Pick up some old Atari 2600 joysticks on eBay, spray paint them and give them as trophies for the best costumes.

Happy National Video Games Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw

On the Friday and Saturday before Labor Day, a festival known as the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw takes place in Sauk City/Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin. It’s estimated that 40,000 people attend each year. The current record for a throw is 248 feet. Perhaps a little background is in order.wisconsin state cow chip throw

The pioneers who settled the Plains in the 1800s faced cold winters with little water and timber. Hunters had discovered that dried buffalo dung patties, or chips, could be burned for fuel. They were odorless and burned with intense heat and no soot.

The buffalo were all but gone by that time, hunted out of existence, so settlers gathered cow chips and stored them for winter when they would rely on them to warm their homes and keep their cooking fires burning. The chips were so valuable that they were often used to barter for food and other provisions.

In 1970, organizers of the Cimarron Territory Celebration in Beaver, Oklahoma, trademarked the “World Championship Cow Chip Throw,” requiring other towns wishing to host an “official” throw to certify their events with the Beaver Chamber of Commerce. (So far, it has authorized throws in South Dakota and Illinois, as well as Wisconsin.)

In 1975, the Sauk Prairie Jaycees declared the Sauk Prairie area as the Cow Chip Capital of Wisconsin and, with Beaver’s blessings, organized the first Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw. In 1989, the Wisconsin State Legislature proclaimed the cow chip the Unofficial State Muffin.

wisconsin state cow chip throw

According to the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw Committee, the following rules apply to today’s Corporate Throw and tomorrow’s Men’s and Women’s Throws. In the event of a dispute, the Chip Judge has the final say.

  1. Each contestant must choose two chips from the wagon-load provided by the official Meadow Muffin Committee.
  2. Chips shall be at least 6 inches in diameter.
  3. Of the two chips, the one thrown the farthest shall count.
  4. If a chip breaks up during the throw or while in the air, the piece that travels the greatest distance will be scored.
  5. Any attempt to alter the shape of a chip—except in rare instances when a loose fragment may be removed, provided the removal does not render the chip less than 6 inches in diameter—will result in a 25-foot penalty. The decision of the Chip Judge will be final.
  6. While no gloves may be worn while throwing, licking your hands is allowed to get a better grip.

That last one is optional, folks.

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays