May 25 is Towel Day

Today is Towel Day, created to honor Douglas Adams, author of the beloved Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, after he passed away on May 11, 2001, at the age of 49. It took fans two weeks to organize a worldwide tribute to Adams. May 25th has remained Towel Day ever since.

towel day

Happy Towel Day from the International Space Station!

Why is it called Towel Day? The towel is an indispensable part of a hitchhiker’s kit. Here is a portion of the explanation in Chapter 3 of the first novel:

A towel … is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch-hiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini-raft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you — daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

What is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything (third in the Hitchhiker’s series)? Plug this into Google Search to find the answer….

towel day

Happy Towel Day!


Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

March 8 is National Proofreading Day

Why wood ewe knead a proofreader wen yew halve spellcheck? Grammar checkers ken ketch mistakes if there obvious wons. It docent make sense too higher sum one fro that. But then again, you’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression.

national proofreading day

Happy National Proofreading Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

March 2 is Read Across America Day

Read Across America Day was proposed in 1997 by the National Education Association (NEA) and adopted the following year. March 2nd was chosen to celebrate the birthday, in 1904, of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, one of the most beloved children’s book authors in history.

read across americaGeisel worked as a cartoonist and ad man for Standard Oil while he was establishing himself as an author and illustrator. His first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was reportedly rejected 27 times before it was published in 1937.

During World War II, he collaborated with Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng and others on an animated film series called Private SNAFU. He also scripted propaganda films including Your Job in Germany, directed by Frank Capra.

A 1954 Life magazine article by John Hersey, author of Hiroshima, suggested Dr. Seuss could create a fun-to-read educational book using the limited vocabulary required for new readers. Fun with Dick and Jane, a primary school book at that time, was so boring that it seemed to actively discourage literacy, as anyone who had to read it (or teach it) can attest.

It took him until 1957 to finish The Cat in the Hat, using only 236 different words. It was an instant hit and continues to be a classic children’s book. In 1960, he topped himself with Green Eggs and Ham which features only 50 unique words:

a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you

Geisel wrote and illustrated 44 children’s books and wrote many more featuring other people’s artwork before his death in 1991. Publisher’s Weekly’s most recent global sales figures, from 2000, count 25 Dr. Seuss titles among the top 189 (selling 750,000 hardcovers or more) All-Time Bestselling Children’s Books.

While searching for Seuss/Geisel quotes, we noticed something odd. Many of them just don’t seem like things he would say. As it turns out, he didn’t. It’s nearly impossible to know, in this age of cut-and-paste cannibalism, who is responsible for misinformation. Who cares?

Professor Philip Nel cares. We stumbled upon his invaluable post, “Oh, the Quotations You’ll Forge!” on the subject of ersatz Seuss sayings. Nel has taught graduate courses on the work of Dr. Seuss. His blog, Nine Kinds of Pie, has a wealth of information, including a 1952 essay published in the New York Times Book Review  in which Geisel skewered racist humor and explained his assertion that adults are “obsolete children.”

Dr. Seuss had a flair for tall tales and embellishment, dedicating one book to a non-existent daughter but we think he would approve of our proposal: Don’t Believe Everything You Read Across America (Especially on the Internet) Day.

UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
It’s not.
The Lorax

Have a happy Read Across America Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

February 19 is Prevent Plagiarism Day

Today is Prevent Plagiarism Day, created by freelance writer, columnist and “Queen of Holidays” Jace Shoemaker-Galloway to call attention to the rampant problem of high-tech theft of words, images and ideas that is all too easy in the Internet age.

When does copying and pasting from a source constitute plagiarism? The Harvard College Writing Program’s guidelines help students define and avoid both overt and subtle forms of plagiarism. It’s also an excellent resource for writers trying to determine whether or not someone has met the criteria of a plagiarist.

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, to plagiarize is:

  1. to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own :  use (another’s production) without crediting the source
  2. to commit literary theft :  present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

These days, it can seem impossible to fight this thievery. But Shoemaker-Galloway refused to accept the use of her words without permission or attribution. When a particular person ignored several polite requests to remove misappropriated material, she informed the company hosting the offending site and it was taken down as a result.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) became law in 1998 to protect content creators. Copyscape gives specific information about responding to plagiarism. It also has advice on how to prevent it and has a free search function to find out if your web page has been copied. Small SEO Tools checks chunks of text at once. IPWatchdog has further information about the steps to take when writing a takedown letter.

How should you observe this holiday? Take some time to visit these sites, learn about plagiarism, its consequences and what you can do to combat it. And, whatever you do, just be yourself. Happy Prevent Plagiarism Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays