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July 30 is Jimmy Hoffa Day

Today is Jimmy Hoffa Day. On July 30, 1975,  James Riddle “Jimmy” Hoffa disappeared after leaving the Machus Red Fox Restaurant on the outskirts of Detroit, Michigan.

jimmy hoffa day

A labor leader and union activist with strong ties to the Mob, Hoffa presided over the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) from 1958 until 1971, when he was forced to resign in exchange for a pardon from President Richard Nixon.

He’d been in prison since 1967, convicted of attempting to bribe the jury on an extortion case he had ultimately won. To secure early release, Hoffa agreed to give up his position and refrain from taking part in any union-related activities until 1980, when his full prison sentence would have ended.

Once free, he refused to curb his ambitions and tried unsuccessfully to sue the government for abridging his rights. At the time of his disappearance, Hoffa was at work on an autobiography and fighting to regain the power he had ceded to his right-hand man, Frank Fitzsimmons.

On July 30, 1975, Hoffa went to the Red Fox Restaurant to allegedly meet with three men: a Detroit labor leader, a local mobster and a major player in New Jersey Teamster politics. Hoffa arrived at 2:00 pm. He called his wife from an outside payphone 30 minutes later to complain that no one had shown up and he would wait a few more minutes before giving up.jimmy hoffa day

Several sources report seeing him in the parking lot speaking with three men, then getting into a car. A truck driver claimed that a 1975 Mercury Marquis Brougham nearly hit him as he was pulling in, drawing his attention to a man he recognized as Hoffa and something that may have been a rifle or shotgun.

Traces of blood and hair were found in the 1975 Mercury Marquis Brougham owned by Chuckie O’Brien, Hoffa’s foster son. O’Brien’s father was killed on a picket line when the child was only three years old. Hoffa brought him home and raised him as a son.

At the time, DNA testing did not exist. In 2001, the FBI tested the evidence, matching it to hair taken from Hoffa’s hairbrush. O’Brien had previously denied that Hoffa had ever been in his car. He was questioned but no charges were filed.

Hoffa was declared legally dead in 1982. Theories abound but the case has never been solved.

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

National Intern Day

National Intern Day, celebrated on the last Thursday in July, recognizes the hard work and dedication of interns across the country. It was created in 2017 by WayUp, a unique platform that connects college students and recent grads with job opportunities and career advice.

The task of getting an internship has always been a difficult one, often dependent on luck or “who you know.” Most people just starting out don’t have access to traditional on-campus recruiting services.

WayUp, the brainchild of CEO Liz Wessel, has democratized and streamlined the process, introducing a single common form which makes it easy to apply for jobs and helps prospective employers find candidates and set up interviews. To date, more than 3.5 million students and recent grads have become users of WayUp to connect with startups, local businesses and Fortune 500 companies that are hiring.

It’s only fitting that WayUp would seek to acknowledge the bright young people who help make the venture a success. Companies are encouraged to submit nominations for its Intern Awards, which will reward outstanding interns in six areas of expertise. Businesses that visit the holiday’s website and pledge to observe National Intern Day will receive a free kit with information and materials to hold their own in-office intern celebration.

As WayUp grows exponentially, it still has a sense of humor. We noticed this in the Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need a picture?
A profile picture is not mandatory, but according to industry standards it increases your chances of getting hired by 14x. That does NOT, however, include the following: selfies, awkward pictures taken against white walls, or pictures where a red cup has been cropped out.

Sage advice! Happy National Intern Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

July 23 is Gorgeous Grandma Day

Gorgeous Grandma DayToday is Gorgeous Grandma Day, created by author Alice Solomon. After graduating from Wellesley College in 1984, at age 50, she felt she and her generation had been written off and branded “senior citizens” by society.

Solomon believed this occurred the moment she hit the half-century mark. “In an instant and only one day older, I was thought of as over the hill, no longer sharp, strong, vital, useful, sexy, hip, interesting, or worthy of hiring; in other words finished, kaput,” she explained in a 2007 interview. The concept of Gorgeous Grandma was born.

For months, I tried to think of a name for our group, one that would be upbeat, fun, catchy and grab attention. Finally, ‘gorgeous’ was selected because it presents a snappy, ‘notice me’ image, while ‘Grandma’ instantly defines an age group and stage of life regardless of whether a woman is actually a grandmother.

Using that definition, Solomon created Gorgeous Grandma Day to celebrate women over 40. She wrote two books on the subject, became a motivational speaker, a part-time radio host and launched Gorgeous Grandma Communications in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Nowadays it’s hard to imagine labeling any 50-year-old as a senior citizen. For that matter, the term “senior citizen” no longer carries the stigma it once had. Thanks to Alice Solomon and many other women like her, today’s generation doesn’t have to worry about that.

Have a happy Gorgeous Grandma Day! (You know who you are.)

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

July 7 is Nettie Stevens Day

nettie stevens day

Nettie Stevens

Nettie Stevens Day celebrates the scientist who discovered that sex is determined by XX and XY chromosomes. On July 7, 2016, the 155th anniversary of her birth, the only reason many people learned her name was by clicking on that day’s Google doodle.

She studied mealworms and found that a male’s sperm carried both X and Y chromosomes, while a female’s eggs contained only X chromosomes. She concluded that sex determination must come from fertilization of the egg by the sperm. In 1905, she submitted for publication a paper reporting her results.

Meanwhile, Columbia University scientist Edmund Beecher Wilson had reached the same conclusion. He was asked to review Stevens’ paper prior to its publication; his own paper had reportedly already gone to press, negating any possibility of dishonesty.

Historian Stephen Brush disputes the timeline in The History of Science Society, “It is generally stated that E. B. Wilson obtained the same results as Stevens, at the same time,” he writes. But “Wilson probably did not arrive at his conclusion on sex determination until after he had seen Stevens’ results.”

In fact, Wilson wrongly asserted that environmental factors could influence sex. Stevens insisted it was all due to chromosomes. At the time, there was no way to prove either theory. But it’s been known for decades that Stevens got it right. It renders the question of who published first irrelevant.

In spite of that, Wilson and Stevens were credited with making the fully correct discovery independently.  Wilson received the lion’s share of accolades while Stevens was often mistakenly referred to as a “lab technician.”  Brush states, “Because of Wilson’s more substantial contributions in other areas, he tends to be given most of the credit for this discovery.”

The fact that Nettie Stevens had two X chromosomes certainly contributed to the lack of recognition. Her accomplishments put the lie to Brush’s assertion. She published 40 papers and was about to attain full research status at Bryn Mawr when she died of breast cancer on May 4, 1912, at the age of 50.

She—and Wilson, too—have been all but forgotten since then. In 1933, fellow scientist Thomas H. Morgan received the Nobel Prize for his pioneering work in chromosomal research even though he didn’t espouse the theory until years after Stevens and Wilson published their papers.

Stevens once remarked to her students that their questions were always welcome “so long as I keep my enthusiasm for biology; and that, I hope, will be as long as I live.”

Let’s remember Nettie Stevens today. And tomorrow and the next day….

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays