Saturday, November 30, 2013

December Bizarre and Unique Holidays

As with every month, December has its share of the bizarre and unique when it comes to holidays, both official and unofficial. Since this is the wacky and weird, I won't be listing those legal holidays such as Christmas. Many dates have more than one holiday attached to them. So, in order to keep the list manageable, I'll only list one holiday per date.

For month long celebrations, December gives us Bingo Month and Write A Friend Month.

Apples are delicious and nutritious. It's easy to participate in this special day. All you need to do is pick an apple from among all the available varieties and eat it.




December 5: REPEAL DAY
This celebrates the repeal of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (the 18th commonly referred to as Prohibition). Once more, Americans were free to buy, sell, and consume alcoholic beverages. The 18th Amendment was passed by the U.S. Congress on January 16, 1919.  Congress passed the 21st Amendment on December 5, 1933, repealing the 18th.

December 6: ST. NICHOLAS DAY
There really was a St. Nicholas. He lived in Greece just a couple of hundred years after the birth of Christ. He became a priest and later a Bishop of the early Catholic Church. There are many tales of him helping children in need.




Human Rights Day was created by the United Nations to promote awareness of the importance of Human Rights issues around the world. The UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948.


On National Ding-A-Ling Day you should brace yourself for bizarre and crazy behavior from all the people you encounter. Even normally reserved people have been known to go a little crazy on this day. It's a day to cut loose, act a little weird, and have fun.

December 13: ICE CREAM DAY



Chocoholics rejoice! This is a great day to indulge, binge, pig out, and otherwise consume to excess your favorite food…chocolate. Enjoy all that delicious chocolate by covering anything and everything edible.



For many people, only a fresh cut real tree will do for Christmas…the scent of fresh pine to help capture the feel of holiday season. If you haven't selected your real tree by this date, you're running out of time. This special day can serve as a reminder.

December 20: GO CAROLING DAY

December 21: HUMBUG DAY
This is the day that allows everyone preparing for the holidays to vent their frustrations. Humbug Day also brings out the Scrooge in some of us. Use this day to release the stress of the holiday season, but avoid becoming a real holiday Scrooge.


December 23: FESTIVUS
Feeling a little left out? Don't celebrate Christmas or Chanukah? Then enjoy the Miracle of Festivus celebration. Festivus came into being  on the December 18, 1997, episode of Jerry Seinfeld's television show. Since Festivus is non-denominational, everyone can partake and enjoy.

In case you missed National Chocolate Covered Anything Day, here's another excuse and opportunity to indulge your chocolate desires.


December 26: BOXING DAY
While not an official holiday in the U.S., it is a legal holiday (as in the banks are closed, etc.) in the UK and elsewhere.


This is the perfect time to spend an hour or several playing cards with family and friends. The Christmas hustle and bustle is over. The kids are getting bored with their new toys. Perhaps a calmer, relaxing and slow-paced form of entertainment is in order.

December 29: PEPPER POT DAY

Bicarbonate of Soda (also known as baking soda) has many good uses. Among those is relieving stomach indigestion and heartburn when mixed in water. Perhaps this celebration would be better on January 1st following the New Year's Eve partying?

December 31: UNLUCKY DAY
Hopefully this won't be an unlucky day for you. It does give everyone a chance to get all the bad things out of the way so next year will be happy, healthy and prosperous.

So, there you have it. A full month of daily celebrations. When looking over the complete list of 66 celebration days, I noticed how many of them were dedicated to food and drink (not counting Bicarbonate of Soda Day): 20 days, almost a third.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Turkey Trivia…Just In Time For Thanksgiving

It's that time of year again…the fourth Thursday in November.  This week we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving in the U.S.  Americans cook approximately 45 million turkeys each year for Thanksgiving.  So, in honor of the holiday, here are a dozen known and not so well known bits of trivia about turkeys.

1)  All turkeys do not taste the same.  The taste has to do with their age.  An older male is preferable to a younger male (the younger tom is stringy).  And the younger female hens are preferable to the older ones.  Hmmm…that older man and younger woman thing again.  :)

2)  A turkey less than 16 weeks old is called a fryer and a turkey 5 to 7 months of age is known as a roaster.

3)  Turkeys are a type of pheasant and are the only breed of poultry native to the Western Hemisphere.

4)  Wild turkeys are able to fly for short durations attaining speeds up to 55mph.  Domesticated turkeys raised on farms for food are too fat and meaty to achieve flight.

5)  We've all heard that Benjamin Franklin argued in favor of the turkey as the national symbol of America rather than the Bald Eagle.

6)  The first turkeys to be domesticated were in Mexico and Central America.

7)  The male turkey makes the gobble sound and the female clucks.

8)  A mature turkey has about 3,500 feathers, which is a lot of plucking before it can be cooked.

9)  The most turkeys produced annually come from Minnesota and North Carolina.

10)  The skin that hangs from a turkey's neck is called a wattle.  The fleshy growth on the base of the beak is the snood.

11)  Each year 90 percent of Americans have turkey for thanksgiving compared to 50 percent on Christmas.

12)  The most turkey consumed per capita is not eaten by Americans.  Israel holds that honor.

One thing that's marvelous about the Thanksgiving turkey dinner is all the terrific leftovers!  Anyone out there having something other than the traditional turkey for Thanksgiving dinner?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Eagle Vs. Turkey: America's National Symbol

We all know that the bald eagle is America's National Symbol…a proud and majestic bird.  And turkey is what we serve every year at Thanksgiving dinner…a tasty bird made all the more appetizing when accompanied by dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy.

But did you know that if Benjamin Franklin had gotten his way, the turkey would have been our national symbol?

In 1776, right after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress appointed a special committee to select a design for an official national seal.  This committee consisted of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin.  They each had their own ideas, none of which included the bald eagle.  They finally came to agreement on a drawing of a woman holding a shield to represent the states.  However, the design did nothing to inspire the members of Congress.

So Congress consulted a Philadelphia artist named William Barton who created a new design that included a golden eagle.  At the time we were still at war with England and the fierce looking bird was deemed an appropriate symbol…with one small change.  The golden eagle also flew over Europe so the federal lawmakers declared that the bird in the seal had to be an American bald eagle.
On June 20, 1782, they approved the design that we recognize today.

From the start, the eagle had been a controversial choice.  Benjamin Franklin was quite vocal in his objection to the selection of the eagle.  He considered it a bird of "bad moral character."  A year after the Treaty of Paris officially ended the war with Great Britain, Franklin argued that the turkey would have been a more appropriate symbol.  "A much more respected bird and a true native of America."

Unfortunately for Franklin, Congress was not convinced and the bald eagle remained our national symbol.

Whereas both the bald eagle and the turkey are native to America, we can't lay exclusive claim to either species since both traditionally ranged in Canada and Mexico as well as the U.S.

And all of this leads us to one important question.  If the turkey had been chosen as our national symbol, what would we serve as our traditional Thanksgiving dinner?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

How To Be A Super Villain: Six Tips For Ruling The World

 This trying to take over the world business isn't as easy as it seems.  Even with legions of henchmen and all kinds of super toys available to you, there's always some superhero out there to thwart your plans just when you're on the verge of success.

If world domination is your goal, here's a list of the top six essentials you'll need for a career as a super villain.

Persian Cat (or equally sinister animal adornment)
Why It's Necessary:  A super villain needs to be holding the cat when he makes his grand entrance.  The Persian breed says you're wealthy and that mankind's most aloof creature is no match for your icy resolve.
Who Did It Best:  Ernst Stavro Blofeld, possibly James Bond's greatest enemy, was the trendsetter for many super villain staples.

Bald Head
Why It's Necessary:  Any super villain worthy of the name has a spectacular chrome dome holding his genius brain.
Who Did It Best:  Lex Luthor immediately leaps to mind.

Why It's Essential:  The truth about super villains can be summed up as why have dogs around you if you're going to end up doing your own barking.  The true super villain is too busy creating super plots to take over the world to have time for the minor interruptions such as kidnapping enemies and making Starbucks runs.
Who Did It Best:  Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader had an army of Stormtroopers to send after the Rebel Alliance.  Of course, that didn't help them win in the end.

Inventive Death Traps
Why It's Essential:  A super villain can't simply kill his adversary, he has to come up with an ingenious method of doing away with him that offers maximum dramatic impact.  Of course, the downside of this is that it gives the hero ample opportunity to escape.
Who Did It Best:  From Blofeld's piranha pool to all the torturous devices Indiana Jones encountered, there are just too many to try to pick only one.

Secret Hideaway
Why It's Essential:  In order to have a dramatic showdown you need to have a suitably impressive backdrop and a secret hideaway is just the place.
Who Did It Best:  Austin Powers' nemesis, Dr. Evil may have been inept in many areas, but he definitely had an eye for impressive lairs.

Evil Plan
Why It's Essential:  Anyone with a genius IQ can built a super weapon and rain havoc on the population.  However, a true super villain has to do more than just destroy stuff.  He needs an evil plan to justify all the destruction and there needs to be something for the hero to thwart.
Who Did It Best:  The history of villainy give us a wealth of truly moronic evil plans.  But for a scheme we can all believe in, we need to look at Magneto, the metal-molding mutant from X-Men.  He can show us how an evil plan is done.

Who are your favorite super villains?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November's Bizarre and Unique Holidays

November is a month with a couple of legal holidays in the U.S., specifically Veteran's Day on November 11 (celebrated on the 2nd Monday in November) and Thanksgiving on November 28 (4th Thursday in November)  There are other recognized days such as All Saint's Day (November 1) and All Soul's Day (November 2).  And with a tip of the hat to our British cousins, Guy Fawkes Day (November 5).

The entire month of August is:  Aviation History month, Child Safety Protection month, International Drum month, National Adoption Awareness month, National Epilepsy month, National Model Railroad month, National Novel Writing month, Native American Heritage month, Peanut Butter Lovers month, Real Jewelry month, and National Sleep Comfort month.  There's also Chemistry Week (week 1) and Game & Puzzle week (week 3).

But that's only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.  November, just like all the other months, is filled with bizarre and unique holidays.  I hope you enjoy these November offerings.

November 1:
All Saint's Day

November 2:
All Soul's Day
Book Lovers Day—this is celebrated either August 9th or the first Saturday in November.  Book Lovers Day, as the name implies, encourages us to find a place to relax with a good book.  Not only is reading a great hobby, it's an important one.  Reading is educational, informative, and relaxing.
Deviled Egg Day
Look For Circles Day

November 3:
Housewife's Day
Sandwich Day

November 4:
King Tut Day—this celebrates the date of the discovery of King Tutankhamen's Tomb on November 4, 1922, in Egypt's Valley of Kings.  King Tut became King of Egypt in 1333 B.C. at the age of 9 and ruled until 1324 B.C. when he died at age 19.  The cause of his death is uncertain with murder and innocent accident being the two main theories.

November 5:
Gunpowder Day
Guy Fawkes Day (goes hand-in-hand with Gunpowder Day)

November 6:
Marooned Without A Compass Day—do you often find yourself going around in circles?  Do you feel hopelessly lost?  Which direction will your life take?  Being marooned without a compass for a day could be a good thing.  Our busy lifestyles seldom leave us time to relax.  We can enjoy being marooned…until tomorrow.
Saxophone Day

November 7:
Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

November 8:
Cook Something Bold Day
Dunce Day

November 9:
Chaos Never Dies Day—this day recognizes the turmoil in everyday life.  Just when your hectic surroundings seem to calm down at work and home, along comes something to disrupt your life.  Disorder is everywhere.  This holiday is designed for you.  Pick one thing that is really disrupting your life and change it for the good.

November 10:
Forget-Me-Not Day

November 11:
Veteran's Day

November 12:
Chicken Soup For The Soul Day
Young Readers Day

November 13:
National Indian Pudding Day
Sadie Hawkins Day—originated from a 1930s comic strip, Al Capp's Lil Abner.  In the strip, the mayor of Dogpatch desperately wants to marry off his ugly daughter, so he creates the Sadie Hawkins Day race where all the single men are given a short head start then all the single women chase them.  If a girl catches a man, then he has to marry her.  The Sadie Hawkins Day celebration basically ended 40 years later when Al Capp died and the comic strip was discontinued, however it can occasionally still be seen celebrated on some college campuses.
World Kindness Day—the day encourages us to be kind to others, helping to create a nicer, better world.  The holiday is intended to build a kinder and more compassionate world.  Kindness rubs off on others and generates even more kindness.

November 14:
Operating Room Nurse Day

November 15:
Clean Your Refrigerator Day
America Recycles Day
National Philanthropy Day

November 16:
Button Day
Have A Party With Your Bear Day—is your teddy bear a real party animal?  Hopefully so because today is the day you get to party.  Invite all your teddy bears and your friends and have them invite their teddy bears for a fun day.

November 17:
Electronic Greeting Card Day
Homemade Bread Day
Take A Hike Day
World Peace Day—encourages us to be kind to others and teach others to be peaceful.  The creator of this holiday believes world peace starts with individuals and if we all our part to promote peach we can make war and strife obsolete.

November 18:
Occult Day—this is a mysterious day, something outside the realm of the normal and natural world.  Lots of words can be used to describe the occult…concealed, secret, hidden, mysterious, unnatural.  Astrology and alchemy also could belong.  Many secret groups are occult.  Celebrate this day by not sitting back and waiting for something to happen.  Have fun with it.

November 19:
Have A Bad Day Day

November 20:
Absurdity Day—is…well…absurd!  Some days are illogical and senseless which is exactly the definition of Absurdity Day.  Celebrate this day in an absurd manner, have fun with it.
Beautiful Day
Universal Children's Day

November 21:
False Confession Day
Great American Smokeout
World Hello Day

November 22:
Go For A Ride Day

November 23:
Eat A Cranberry Day
National Cashew Day
National Adoption Day

November 25:
National Parfait Day

November 26:
Shopping Reminder Day

November 27:
Pins And Needles Day

November 28:
Make Your Own Head Day
Red Planet Day—honors the fourth planet from the sun…Mars.  On this day, take a few minutes to look up into the sky and gaze at our celestial neighbor.  This day commemorates the launch of the Spacecraft Mariner 4 on November 28, 1964.

November 29:
Black Friday
Buy Nothing Day
Square Dance Day
You're Welcome Day

November 30:
Stay At Home Because You Are Well Day—this is the day to stay home from work because you feel well, taking an unofficial day off to enjoy yourself. Warning…doing this might get you in trouble, possibly even costing you your job.

So…there you have it.  The bizarre and unique holidays of November.  Pick the ones you like, or celebrate all of them!