Saturday, August 31, 2013

September's Bizarre And Unique Holidays

Every month seems to have at least one holiday for each day, some well-known and celebrated and others wrapped in varying stages of obscurity.  And in addition to the daily holidays, there are also month long celebrations devoted to various endeavors.

In the year 2013, the following month-long observations for September include:  Classical Music Month, National Piano Month, International Square Dancing Month, National Courtesy Month [shouldn't this be a year long observation, every year?], National Chicken Month, National Honey Month, National Rice Month, National Papaya Month, Self-Improvement Month, Be Kind To Editors and Writers Month, Cable TV Month, National Bed Check Month, and National Mind Mapping Month.

Here's a list of the daily holidays (some dates having multiple celebrations scheduled for the same date).  I've even included an explanation for a few of them.

Sept. 1        Emma M. Nutt Day—in celebration of the first woman telephone operator.
Sept. 2        National Beheading Day—every once in a while there's a holiday that has no obvious reason for being.  Why would someone declare beheading as an activity that warrants a special holiday celebration?  Beheadings have been a method of execution for both commoners and royalty throughout history.  Probably the most famous royal beheadings were Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in 1793 during the French Revolution.  There isn't any factual information about this holiday.
Sept. 2        Labor Day—since Labor Day is the first Monday in September, the date changes from year to year.  This is the only legal holiday in September, one honoring the nation's workers, where government offices are closed along with the banks and other facilities and no mail delivery.  This is the unofficial close of the summer season, as Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning.  Canada also celebrates their Labor Day holiday on the first Monday in September.
Sept. 3        Skyscraper Day—a celebration of tall buildings?
Sept. 4        Newspaper Carrier Day—to honor those who deliver the newspaper to our homes.
Sept. 5        Be Late For Something Day—if you are among the millions who can't seem to stay on schedule, then this is a holiday for you.  Being late is a common occurrence and can be caused by any number of things from it being a conscious desire to it being caused by circumstances beyond your control.  There is no factual information about this holiday, but it leads us to the September 6th holiday which is…
Sept. 6        Fight Procrastination Day—for those of you mired down in Be Late For Something Day, this is a day to get things done.  Many people consider procrastination as a way of life.  There are even clubs dedicated to procrastination.  Today is the day to make a decision…to take action.  Fight those procrastination urges.  There is no factual information about this holiday.
Sept. 6        This is also Read A Book Day—self-explanatory and important for those of us who write.  Goes along with the month being Be Kind To Editors and Writers Month.  Perhaps it's also an opportunity to read about beheadings? :)
Sept. 7        Neither Rain Nor Snow Day—this sounds like a tribute to those who deliver our mail.
Sept. 8        International Literacy Day—another holiday pertinent to those of us who write.  Something we should all support with the goal of wiping out illiteracy in all countries.
Sept. 8        National Pet Memorial Day—this falls on the second Sunday in September, so the specific date changes from year to year.  A day to honor the pets we've lost to time.
Sept. 9        Teddy Bear Day—a day to honor our teddy bears, those past and those present.
Sept. 10     Swap Ideas Day—a day to share information, plans, ideas, and maybe even dreams.
Sept. 11     911 Remembrance—while not a legal holiday in the manner of Labor Day, it's certainly far removed from the frivolous and fun nature of the other holidays that fall into the bizarre and unusual category.  This is the day in 2001 when 4 commercial airliners were high-jacked by terrorists; 2 flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, 1 flown into the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and 1 brought down by the passengers in a field in Pennsylvania thus preventing it from reaching its target in Washington D.C.  To quote FDR (when speaking of the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, that officially brought the U.S. into World War II):  "A date which will live in infamy."
Sept. 12     Chocolate Milk Shake Day—all I can say is yummy!
Sept. 13     Defy Superstation Day—this is the day for you to defy all those superstitious beliefs that surround us.  And the defiance starts by celebrating on the 13th.  This holiday was created to help you eliminate all those superstitions from your daily life.  There isn't any group who claims responsibility for this holiday, but it dates back at least to 1999 in origin.  And, interesting to note that in the year 2013, the date of September 13 falls on a Friday.
Sept. 14     National Cream-Filled Donut Day—again, all I can say to this holiday is yummy!
Sept. 15     Make A Hat Day—I can only assume it's a holiday dedicated to making hats of all type for all occasions.
Sept. 15     National Women's Friendship Day—this is celebrated on the third Sunday in September.  It's nice to have a holiday dedicated to friendship.
Sept. 16     Collect Rocks Day—for all you rock hounds out there, this is your day of celebration.
Sept. 17     National Apple Dumpling Day—and once again, all I can say about this holiday is yummy!
Sept. 18     National Cheeseburger Day—and even more yummies!  Have you noticed how many holidays celebrate food and drink?
Sept. 19     International Talk Like A Pirate Day—a day to let out the pirate in each of us.  You need to brush up on your pirate-speak in anticipation of this holiday.  You're not required to dress like a pirate on this date, only to talk like one.  This holiday was created by John Baur and Mark Summers in 1995 while they were playing racquetball and started talking to each other in pirate-speak as a fun thing to do.
Sept. 20     National Punch Day—I'm assuming (or choosing to believe) this relates to the beverage rather than hitting someone.  So, I have to give it a yummy!
Sept. 21     World Gratitude Day—we all have things for which we need to express our gratitude.  This is the day to do it.
Sept. 21     International Rabbit Day—this is celebrated on the 4th Saturday in September, for those of you who love your pet rabbits or are fans of Bugs Bunny.
Sept. 22     Elephant Appreciation Day—you can show your appreciation for all the elephants in the world.
Sept. 23     Dog In Politics Day—it seems that every year and every month and for that matter, every day, is filled with politics.
Sept. 24     National Cherries Jubilee Day—oh, yes…and another yummy!
Sept. 25     National Comic Book Day—for those who enjoy reading, writing, drawing, and collecting.
Sept. 26     Johnny Appleseed Day—in honor of the young man named John Chapman who planted apple trees across the country.
Sept. 27     Crush A Can Day—the beer can (hopefully empty) on the forehead?  All I can say about this is ouch!
Sept. 28     Ask A Stupid Question Day—this is a chance for you to get all those stupid questions out of your system, all those questions you've been saving up because you thought they were too stupid to ask.  And for this day, we have a special quote:  "Stupid is as stupid does." (Forrest Gump).  The origins of this holiday goes back to the 1980s when there was a movement by teachers to try to get kids to ask more questions in the classroom.
Sept. 29     Confucius Day—this is the day to get a fortune cookie and check your fortune.
Sept. 30     National Mud Pack Day—and another yummy!  Oops, wait a minute…that's wrong.  Mud packs, not mud pie…I've never understood how smearing mud on your face is suppose to be good for the skin.

And that's a listing of some and/or most of the bizarre and unique holidays for September of this year.  Do any stand out as a favorite for you?

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Bumper stickers—we seem to be surrounded by them on a daily basis.  We see them on the cars in front of us as we drive down the street.  We see them on cars in the parking lot at the grocery store.  You may have one (or more) on your car.

They have various messages and those messages are often related to the vehicle owner's political or religious beliefs.  Or they could be in support of a charitable cause or a non-profit group attempting to accomplish something.  They could advertise a product, show where the vehicle owner went to school.  Or they could let the world know where you went on vacation.

Your bumper sticker supports a specific candidate in an upcoming election?  What do you do with it after the election is over, especially if your candidate loses that election?  The main problem with bumper stickers, in my opinion, is that once they're on your car bumper you can't remove them without seriously scratching and gouging your bumper.

Some bumper stickers, however, don't carry a message.  Some of them are just for laughs.  And here's a few of those just for fun bumper stickers.

Driver Carries No Cash—HE'S MARRIED

Yes, This Is My Truck.  No, I Won't Help You Move.

Auntie Em: Hate you, Hate Kansas, Taking the dog. –Dorothy

My Other Car Was Your Car All Along!!

If You Can Read This…you are probably pulling me over.

Remember! Drinking may cause memory loss. Or worse, if could cause memory loss.

I used up all my sick days, so I called in dead

Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for you.

I Stand With Scott Walker. [a political bumper sticker, and next to it a hand written sign] I don't stand with Scott, I'm just borrowing my dad's truck.

Be Nice To Your Kids, They'll Choose Your Nursing Home

This vehicle protected by anti-theft sticker

What if the Hokey Pokey IS What It's All About?

And finally, the bumper sticker that pretty much says it all…

I Hate Bumper Stickers.

Have you come across any interesting bumper stickers, ones that made you take a second look while emitting an 'out loud' chuckle?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Most Unexpected Flight Delays

Anyone who flies, even if it's infrequently, has experienced flight delays for one reason or another.  It could be weather related at your departure airport or perhaps at the airport where your plane is coming from which prevents the aircraft from arriving at your airport.  Or it could be weather related at your destination airport.  It could be mechanical problems with the plane.  Or simply more flights taking off and landing than your airport can handle.  Or a myriad of other minor inconveniences that delay or in some cases cancel your departure.

It's very frustrating when you've arrived at the airport the requisite two hours before departure, waited in the long line to get through security, had a personal possession confiscated by the TSA agent even though it was not on their list of disallowed items, had a stranger searching through your underwear in your carryon bag, and had your person physically patted down by a stranger in full view of other strangers while standing on a dirty floor without your shoes.  Then you finally arrive at your gate only to find that your flight has been delayed.  Maybe for half an hour maybe for three hours.  And worse yet, an hour later your flight moves from delayed status to cancelled.

But what about those truly unexpected flight delays?  Those strange occurrences so far out of the realm of normal that they defy description.  I recently saw a list of ten wackiest—and scariest—flight delays that I'd like to share with you.

10)  Bug Bungle:  Florida has the reputation for being a state that's home to many different type of creepy, crawly things.  An American Airlines flight from Miami to Washington, D.C., in March 2010 was delayed due to a cockroach infestation in the cabin.  Specifically on the curtain between cabin sections.

9)  Turtle Love:  In July 2009, something far less predictable than flight congestion at JFK airport caused a delay.  Seventy-eight amorous diamondback terrapins from nearby Jamaica Bay made their way across the runway looking for a place to breed.  They were rounded up and trucked back to Jamaica Bay.

8)  Toilet Trouble:  Some passengers aboard a Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight scheduled from Dhaka to London in August 2009 decided to test the toilet system on the plane by flushing all kinds of things including bottles and cups in the five toilets.  The clogged toilets were cleared in two hours, but more than two hundred passengers had to wait an additional eight hours for takeoff due to a night flight ban at London's Heathrow airport.

7)  Catfish Conundrum:  Catfish, it seems, are able to use their pectoral fins to go for a temporary stroll on land.  In August 2008, a Delta Airlines flight was denied landing permission in Florida due to the presence of four walking catfish on the runway, along with two gopher tortoises, a blue indigo snake and an alligator.  The plane had to circle until the herd was rounded up and relocated to a nearby pond.

6)  Flight Attendants:  In February 2010, Two female flight attendants on a Delta Connection flight from Rochester to Atlanta were removed from duty after a fight between them resulted in a flight delay.  The passengers had to deplane and take other flights to reach their destination.

5)  Over-Ambitious Employee:  Bomb threats are a scary reality, but in December 2009 American Airlines received a very unusual bomb threat.  A secretary in Miami was concerned that her boss, who was running late, would miss his flight to Honduras.  So, rather than booking him on a later flight, she emailed the airport saying a bomb had been planted.  While the aircraft and the luggage was being searched, she was traced via her IP address to her office where she was arrested.

4)  Rabbits Doing Their Thing:  In June 2007, passengers at the airport in Milan, Italy, weren't prepared for the problems caused by an excessive number of mating rabbits.  Problems so severe that they halted takeoffs and landings for a few hours until they were rounded up and taken to a wildlife preserve.

3)  Forgetful Passenger:  At JFK airport in September 2008, an American Airlines flight returned to the gate after it had taxied and was just about to take off.  It seems that one of the passengers realized he had left his laptop computer in the terminal.  He was freaking out, wouldn't listen to the flight attendants, and refused to sit down.  He was taken off the plane and the flight was delayed even longer so his luggage could be located and removed from the plane.

2)  Gold Fever:  In Canada, hockey is a very serious endeavor.  During the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, passengers were watching Canada and the U.S. play for the gold medal on airport televisions.  They ignored repeated announcements and pleas from gate agents to board their flight to Montreal thus causing a flight delay.

1)  MIA Baby Pythons:  It sounds like something from a horror movie.  In April 2009, a Quantas airplane missed two scheduled flights after it was discovered that four baby pythons were unaccounted for following a flight from Alice Springs to Melbourne.  The plane was fumigated and returned to service, but that didn't necessarily ease the minds of many passengers since the snakes were never found.

What's the longest you've ever been stuck on a delayed flight?  I was on an American Airlines flight scheduled to depart at 6:30am from Burbank, California, for Dallas, Texas, where I had a connection departing Dallas at 12:30pm.  After everyone had boarded the flight, we sat on the tarmac at Burbank more than four hours due to mechanical problems (the backup something wasn't functioning properly so they had to replace it and they had to get the part from their maintenance area at Los Angeles International airport because they didn't have one at Burbank) which caused me to miss my connection in Dallas and also the next available connection for my destination three hours later (missed that one by five minutes) and then the last connection of the day for my destination was grounded in Dallas because of fog at the destination airport so I had to stay overnight in Dallas and catch the first flight at 9:30 the next morning.  Of course, the agent tried to tell me that they didn't give hotel vouchers for weather related cancellations and I had to point out that it was their mechanical problem in Burbank 12 hours earlier that day that was responsible for me being grounded in Dallas rather than at my destination several hours ago.  She reluctantly provided me with a hotel and food voucher.  All-in-all, not a fun travel day.  :) 

Saturday, August 3, 2013


I recently came across an interesting list.  Every state is famous for something…some big, attention grabbing things and others for more quiet achievements…some praiseworthy and others definitely not.

And some possibly questionable with regard to authenticity.

So here, alphabetically, is that list.  Check out your state and see what achievement put it on the list.

ALABAMA:  was the first state it bring the emergency reporting phone number, 9-1-1, into use in 1968.

ALASKA:  one of every 64 residents has a pilot's license.

ARIZONA:  is the only state of the contiguous 48 states that does not go on Daylight Saving Time, although some of the Native American reservations do.

ARKANSAS:  has the only active diamond mine in the U.S.

CALIFORNIA:  has an economy so large that if it were a country of its own it would rank 8th in the entire world.

COLORADO:  in1976 it became the only state to turn down the opportunity to host the Olympics.

CONNECTICUT:  the Frisbee was invented at Yale University.

DELAWARE:  has more scientists and engineers than any other state.

FLORIDA:  Jacksonville is the largest city in the U.S. in physical area at 874.3 square miles.

GEORGIA:  in 1886, pharmacist John Pemberton made the first vat of Coca Cola.

HAWAII:  Hawaiians live an average of 5 years longer than residents of any other state.

IDAHO:  television was invented in 1922 in Rigby, Idaho.

ILLINOIS:  has a governor in jail, one pending jail, and is considered the most corrupt state in the union!

INDIANA:  home of Santa Clause, Indiana, which receives half a million letters addressed to Santa each year.

IOWA:  is the only state name to begin with 2 vowels, and the Winnebago motor home/RV gets its name from Winnebago County.

KANSAS:  an exact replica of the house in THE WIZARD OF OZ is in Liberal, Kansas.

KENTUCKY:  has more than $6 billion in gold stored at Fort Knox.

LOUISIANA:  has parishes instead of counties because they were originally Spanish church units.

MAINE:  it covers as many square miles as the other 5 New England states combined.

MARYLAND:  in 1892, the Ouija board was created in Baltimore.

MASSACHUSETTS:  the Fig Newton cookie is named for Newton, MA.

MICHIGAN:  Fremont is the home to Gerber baby foods, the baby food capital of the world.

MINNESOTA:  the Mall of America in Bloomington is so big that if you spent 10 minutes in each store, you'd be there almost 4 days.

MISSISSIPPI:  President Teddy Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear here and that's how the teddy bear got its name.

MISSOURI:  is the birthplace of the ice cream cone.

MONTANA:  a sapphire from Montana is in the Crown Jewels of England.

NEBRASKA:  more triplets are born here than in any other state.

NEW HAMPSHIRE:  in 1938, Earl Tupper invented Tupperware.

NEW JERSEY:  has the most shopping malls located in one area in the world.

NEW MEXICO:  in 1950, Smokey the Bear was rescued from a forest fire here.

NEW YORK:  is home to the nation's oldest cattle ranch, started in Montauk in 1747.

NORTH CAROLINA:  home of the first Krispy Kreme doughnut.

NORTH DAKOTA:  Rigby, North Dakota, is the exact geographic center of North America.

OHIO:  the hot dog was invented here in 1900.

OKLAHOMA:  the grounds of the state capital are covered by operating oil wells.

OREGON:  has the most ghost towns of any state in the country.

PENNSYLVANIA:  the smiley :) was first used in 1980 by computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University.

RHODE ISLAND:  the nation's oldest bar, the White Horst Tavern, opened in 1673.

SOUTH CAROLINA:  Sumter County is home to the world's largest gingko farm.

SOUTH DAKOTA:  is the only state that has never had an earthquake.

TENNESSEE:  Nashville's Grand Ole Opry is the longest running live radio show in the world.

TEXAS:  Dr. Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885 and the hamburger was invented in Arlington in 1906. [Note:  if you've ever watched any of the American Eats and other similar shows on the History Channel and Travel Channel, you've probably noticed that several U.S. cities in different states have claimed credit for the invention of the hamburger.]

UTAH:  the first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant opened here in 1952.

VERMONT:  And speaking of fast food, Montpelier is the only state capital without a McDonald's.

VIRGINIA:  home to the world's largest office building, The Pentagon.

WASHINGTON:  Seattle has twice as many college graduates as any other state.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  is the first planned capital (as in the entire city laid out prior to being constructed) in the world.

WEST VIRGINIA:  had the world's first brick paved street, Summers Street, in Charleston in 1870.

WISCONSIN:  the ice cream sundae was invented here in 1881 to get around Blue Laws prohibiting ice cream from being sold on Sunday.  The new breed of the American Water Spaniel was created here and is the state dog.

WYOMING:  was the first state to allow women to vote, as a territory it extended the right to women in 1869, then as a state was the first state constitution to include women's right to vote in 1889.  The U.S. did not allow women's right to vote until many years later when the 19th Amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920.