Wonderful Weirdos Day

Think how boring the world would be if we were all the same, and all acted soberly and logically all the time. Well, September 9 is the day to celebrate our uniqueness, our weirdness, if you will, since we all have some spark of originality or weirdness in us.

One of the ultimate expressions of this concept is the Muppets. How often has someone called them weirdos? For instance, in A Muppet Family Christmas,” it’s a recurring phrase. Fozzie’s mother says, “They’re weirdos, Fozzie. But, they’re nice weirdos.” Later, after home movies of the Muppets as babies, Doc says, “Even weirdos are cute when they’re babies.” Or in the Doctor Who episode called “The Lodger,” Craig says, “Has anyone ever told you that you’re a bit weird?” The Doctor replies, “They never really stop.”

Though so many of us spend our lives trying to be normal and fit in, it is the weirdos, those who aren’t afraid to stand out, that change the world. I think of Einstein with his wild hair who gave us the theory of relativity because his mind worked differently than other people’s. Then there is the Internet meme: “I’m not weird, I’m a limited edition.”

I’m glad this day exists, because I’m part of the world of fandom, and we are seen as weird by most of the rest of the world. It is “normal,” to love a sports team and collect baseball cards or other memorabilia and wear team colors, and become emotionally involved in their winning or losing, but if you love something like Doctor Who, and collect that memorabilia, or cosplay like one of the characters, or get emotionally invested in the show and characters, you are considered weird. And, honestly, we’re proud of it.

So let your uniqueness and weirdness shine today. Go out and be an original.

Quotes about originality

Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.–Sir Cecil Beaton

Don’t worry about your originality. You couldn’t get rid of it even if you wanted to. It will stick with you and show up for better or worse in spite of all you or anyone else can do.–Robert Henri

I am not eccentric. It’s just that I am more alive than most people. I am an unpopular electric eel set in a pond of goldfish.–Dame Edith Sitwell

Insist upon yourself. Be original.–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Originality does not consist in saying what no one has ever said before, but in saying what you think yourself.–James Stephens

Originality implies being bold enough to go beyond accepted norms.–Anthony Storr

We are all born originals–why is it so many of us die copies?–Edward Young

What is the point of being on this Earth if you are going to be like everyone else?–Arnold Schwarzenegger

You’ve gotta be original, because if you’re like someone else, what do they need you for?–Bernadette Peters

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… The ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.–Steve Jobs

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Google Commemoration Day

It’s hard to remember a time before Google. We used to either own a set of encyclopedias or wait for the library to open before being able to look something up. Now it’s as easy as firing up a browser and typing your query in the search box. Although the domain name google.com was registered on Sept. 15, 1997, and the company incorporated on Sept. 4, 1998, the default day to commemorate the site has become Sept. 7.

Google began in 1995 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin Ph.D. students at Stanford University. Like Yahoo, Google was first housed at Stanford.

Some facts about Google:

  • There are more than 1 billion searches each day on Google.
  • 20 percent of unique queries are new to the site every day.
  • Every query has to travel on average 1,500 miles to get the answer back to the user.
  • Google rents goats to graze the lawn at headquarters instead of using mechanical mowers.

I can’t imagine being without Google. Whether it is finding places on a map with directions, actually seeing what is on the ground at a particular location, translating a word from one language to another, doing conversions such as dollars to pounds to euros, or Fahrenheit to Celsius, or tracking a package or so many other things – you can find them with a few keystrokes at any time of the day or night.

Of course, Google also stands for fun. Google doodles are an art form in themselves. And when you are feeling frivolous, try a few of their “Easter eggs.” For instance, in a Google search box type in “do a barrel roll” without the quotes and see what happens. Or type in “google gravity” and hit the I’m feeling lucky button.

So my advice to you this day is “Just google it!”

Quotes about Google

America pays defense contractors to build aircraft carriers. Google pays brilliant programmers to do whatever the hell they want.–Robin Sloan

I wondered and I prayed and I Googled.–Jennifer Lynn Barne

Trivia are not knowledge. Lists of facts don’t comprise knowledge. Analyzing, hypothesizing, concluding from data, sharing insights, those comprise knowledge. You can’t google for knowledge.–dElaine Ostrach Chaika

We designed Google to be the kind of place where the kind of people we wanted to work here would work for free.–Urs Hölzle

In old days, instead of asking a teacher, people looked at the dictionary to know the complete definition of teacher. Now Google becomes our teacher and to know about Google, people Google it.–Munia Khan

Times have changed in research and if you are not using Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Wikipedia, Google, and the like, you will be left in the dark.–Steven Magee

Google tried to do everything. It proved itself the deepest and fastest of the search engines. It stomped the competition in email. It made a decent showing in image hosting, and … utterly owned maps. … It added an indelible, funny, loose-limbed, and exact verb into the vocabulary: to google. No one “bings” or “yahoos” anything.–Teju Cole

Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.–Neil Gaiman

Travelling the road will tell you more about the road than the google will tell you about the road.–Amit Kalantri

We want Google to be the third half of your brain.–Sergey Brin

Search engines find the information, not necessarily the truth.–Amit Kalantri

After obsessively Googling symptoms for four hours, I discovered ‘obsessively Googling symptoms’ is a symptom of hypochondria.–Stephen Colbert

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Cheese Pizza Day

September 5 we celebrate a purist’s pizza, with only cheese as the topping. Though pizzas may be topped with practically anything – pepperoni, sausage, anchovies, vegetables, or even pineapple – this day is for the one, the only, the original.

People have been eating cheese on flatbread at least back to Greek and Roman times, where the food was called pita in Greek. However, true pizza originated in Naples. Italy. Originally, pizza was considered to be a poor person’s food, as it contained only simple, inexpensive ingredients – flour, water, and yeast, topped with cheese and tomatoes. But that changed in the 1880s when, according to legend, baker Raffaele Esposito, for the visit of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy, baked a pizza that consisted of green (basil leaves), white (mozzarella), and red (tomatoes), which evoked the colors of the Italian flag. According to the tale, this combination was named Pizza Margherita in her honor. Today there are only two pizzas recognized by those who set the standards for such things in Naples – this one, and the marinara, which consists of tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil.

Pizza arrived in the United States with immigrants from Italy. They settled mainly in New York, New Jersey, and Chicago. Up until the 1940s, most pizza was made and consumed there. But in World War II, soldiers found pizza during the occupation of Italy and brought it home with them. It didn’t take long for pizza to catch on in the mainstream.

Some facts about pizza:

  • Each year, more than 2 billion pounds of pizza cheese is produced in the U.S. alone.
  • Americans eat approximately 350 slices of pizza per second
  • It is estimated that there are more than 70,000 pizzerias across the United States

Many pizza chains will have deals today, so do check them out and enjoy!

Quotes about pizza

Neapolitans have always had their fast food. It’s called pizza.–Luciano De Crescenzo

My weakness is pizza, any form of carbohydrate. I like junk carbohydrates, I like cheap greasy cheeseburgers, quality french fries.–Mary Tyler Moore

You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.–Yogi Berra

Art’s for art. Money’s for pizza.–Tim McGraw

There’s no better feeling in the world than a warm pizza box on your lap.–Kevin James

Pizza makes me think that anything is possible.–Henry Rollins

I think of dieting, then I eat pizza.–Lara Stone

Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.–Dave Barry

Home in bed listening to the rain getting ready to order a pizza. Sounds like a song til the last part.–Gabriel Iglesias

And I don’t cook, either. Not as long as they still deliver pizza.–Tiger Woods

I just want to be in my sweats, walk my dog, watch TV and eat pizza.–America Ferrera

I’m a huge pasta and pizza lover. I can eat those every single day.–Shay Mitchell

As far as I’m concerned, progress peaked with frozen pizza.–Bonnie Bedelia

If you can’t feed a team with two pizzas, it’s too large.–Jeff Bezos

I will never understand the appeal of the Hawaiian pizza.–Judd Winick

Venus is 900 degrees. I could tell you it melts lead. But that’s not as fun as saying, ‘You can cook a pizza on the windowsill in nine seconds.’ And next time my fans eat pizza, they’re thinking of Venus!–Neil deGrasse Tyson

Pre-heat the oven? Really? If I was the sort of person who planned ahead, I wouldn’t be eating this Totino’s Party Pizza in the first place.–Adam Peterson

If properly dried and trimmed, New York-style pizza could be used to make a box for Chicago-style pizza.–Nick Offerman

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Fall Hat Month

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.

So begins the poem “Warning” by Jenny Joseph. It seems like the perfect poem for September’s Fall Hat Month. At least in the northern hemisphere, September is the month to put away the straw hats of summer and pull out the warmer ones for fall and winter. It’s time for crocheted hats, for felt hats, for Stetsons, and other such headgear.

But more than a reminder of the change of season, “Warning” inspired the founding of the Red Hat Society, “the place where there is fun after fifty.” In over 40,000 chapters of the group, women wear purple dresses and red hats to their outings. As someone well over 50, who loves the color purple and loves hats, I celebrate the idea.

In many books, hats play a major role. The earliest I remember is Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina, subtitled A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys, and Their Monkey Business. It’s now called a Reading Rainbow book, but I’m old enough to remember hearing it on Captain Kangaroo.

From Dr. Seuss, we have The Five Hundred Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, about a boy with problems removing his hat before the king, and of course, Cat in the Hat. In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, we meet the Mad Hatter. (Did you know that mercury used in the manufacture of felt hats in the Victorian era caused neurological damage, which is behind the phrase “mad as a hatter”?) What would Sherlock Holmes be without his deerstalker? And of course, in Harry Potter, students’ lives are shaped by which house the sorting hat puts them in.

So dust off your fall hats today, or even buy yourself (or make yourself) a new one and celebrate this great month.

Quotes about hats.

You take the lies out of him, and he’ll shrink to the size of your hat; you take the malice out of him, and he’ll disappear.–Mark Twain

Never try to wear a hat that has more character than you do.–Lance Morrow

Cock your hat – angles are attitudes.–Frank Sinatra

Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.–E. B. White

How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about.–Philip Treacy

I myself have 12 hats, and each one represents a different personality. Why just be yourself?–Margaret Atwood

I can wear a hat or take it off, but either way it`s a conversation piece.–Hedda Hopper

A hat should be taken off when you greet a lady and left off for the rest of your life. Nothing looks more stupid than a hat.–P. J. O’Rourke

The whole shadow of Man is only as big as his hat.–Elizabeth Bishop

I measure your health by the number of shoes and hats and clothes you have worn out.–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Her hat is a creation that will never go out of style; it will just look ridiculous year after year.–Fred Allen

I have a hat. It is graceful and feminine and give me a certain dignity, as if I were attending a state funeral or something. Someday I may get up enough courage to wear it, instead of carrying it.–Erma Bombeck

I think that a woman wears so many hats, we have so many aspects to us that we’re not just one thing. We represent so much within us and that kind of comes across for me as a designer through mixing prints and colors.–Rachel Roy

If a woman rebels against high-heeled shoes, she should take care to do it in a very smart hat–George Bernard Shaw

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World Letter Writing Day

For so much of human history, there were only two ways of communicating with others – you sat and talked with them face to face, or you wrote a letter. On September 1, we celebrate the latter. Richard Simpkin, an Australian photographer, author and artist invented World Letter Writing Day (not to be confused with Holiday Letter Writing Day, which is December 7) in 2014. As a fan of handwritten letters, he believes they are much more personal than e-mails for example.

There are good reasons for taking the time to write with pen and paper. For one thing, you naturally stop and think about what you are writing, to express yourself with clear and complete thoughts. It is also such an unexpected thing in this day of instant communication, that it can make you stand out as special, and can be very meaningful to the receiver. It can be a good way to slow down in our hectic world. You can express your own personality in letters in the way email or other ways don’t provide by choosing the paper style and ink color. And, politically speaking, it is said that physical letters carry much more weight with elected officials than do emails or signing a petition.

Now purists of this day would have you believe that you must use actual paper and pen to write your letter – and it is certainly nicer that way. However, when I want to do more than dash off a quick email reply to someone, I “write” my letter in a word processing program so that I can get my thoughts down, and then copy and paste it into the email reply. So, it’s better to do something like that, than to let this day pass unnoticed altogether. But do write to someone today!

Quotes about writing letters

A letter always seemed to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend.–Emily Dickinson

I consider it a good rule for letter-writing to leave unmentioned what the recipient already knows, and instead tell him something new.–Sigmund Freud

In an age like ours, which is not given to letter-writing, we forget what an important part it used to play in people’s lives.–Anatole Broyard

I have now attained the true art of letter-writing, which we are always told, is to express on paper exactly what one would say to the same person by word of mouth.–Jane Austen

Letter writing is an excellent way of slowing down this lunatic helterskelter universe long enough to gather one’s thoughts–Nick Bantock

More than kisses, letters mingle souls.–John Donne

Don’t you like to write letters? I do because it’s such a swell way to keep from working and yet feel you’ve done something.–Ernest Hemingway

Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often – just to save it from drying out completely.–Pam Brown

I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.–Blaise Pascal

To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere, without moving anything but your heart.–Phyllis Grissim-Theroux

It does me good to write a letter which is not a response to a demand, a gratuitous letter, so to speak, which has accumulated in me like the waters of a reservoir.–Henry Miller

This at least should be a rule through the letter-writing world: that no angry letter be posted till four-and-twenty hours will have elapsed since it was written.–Anthony Trollope

I like writing letters and receiving letters. It’s a shame that we’ve lost the art of letter-writing and saving correspondence. I mourn that.–Elizabeth McGovern

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Slinky Day

What walks down stairs, alone or in pairs
and makes a slinkity sound?
A spring, a spring, a marvelous thing!
Everyone knows it’s Slinky.

Yes, August 30 we celebrate the springy toy that has brought so much fun to children. Richard James, a naval engineer, invented the slinky. In 1943, he accidentally knocked a torsion spring off a workbench and watched the spring “walk” along the floor. Intrigued, he decided to see if he could create just the right steel and tension to turn it into a toy. After months of experimentation, he decided he had found the right wire and design, took out a loan of $500 and had a local machine shop make 400 of the toys. He priced them at $1 a toy. His wife Betty gave the toy its name, a Swedish word meaning sleek and graceful.

When Gimbels in Philadelphia allowed him to set up an inclined plane in their toy department during the Christmas season, he sold out of his entire stock in 90 minutes, and a toy classic was born. James quit his day job and went into full-time production, setting up a shop in Philadelphia. His wife came up with the jingle, which you can see and hear in several versions on YouTube.

In 1999, the United States Postal Service issued a Slinky postage stamp. The Slinky was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame in 2000. In 2001, the General Assembly of Pennsylvania made Slinky the Official State Toy of Pennsylvania.

Slinkys now come in both metal and plastic, and in various colors, but still provide simple joy to children (and the adults who remembered playing with the toys when they were young) If you are intrigued, there is a marvelous history of the toy here.

Quotes about slinkys and toys in general

I met this wonderful girl at Macy’s. She was buying clothes and I was putting Slinkies on the escalator.–Steven Wright

If time is a staircase, reality is a Slinky.–Louis Menand

I’ve kind of fashioned my life after a Slinky. Bend me in a million shapes, and eventually I’ll spring back to what I originally was.–Sylvester Stallone

Time is the continuous loop, the snakeskin with scales endlessly overlapping without beginning or end, or time is an ascending spiral if you will, like a child’s toy Slinky.–Annie Dillard

I have three step brothers and one step sister. It’s like a staircase, and I am the slinky.–Jarod Kintz

Give children toys that are powered by their imagination, not by batteries.–H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

A toy has no gender and no idea of whether a girl or boy is playing with it.–Letty Cottin Pogrebin

I like to do nice things for my grandchildren – like buy them those toys I’ve always wanted to play with.–Gene Perret

No matter how old you are, if a little kid hands you a toy phone… you answer it.–Dave Chappelle

Were I a philosopher, I should write a philosophy of toys, showing that nothing else in life need to be taken seriously, and that Christmas Day in the company of children is one of the few occasions on which men become entirely alive.–Robert Wilson Lynd

To a real child anything will serve as a toy.–John Cowper Powys

The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate, is called a grandparent.–Sam Levenson

Sports is the toy department of human life.–Howard Cosell

You get to relive your childhood when you have a baby and you see these toys and these books you read when you were little – the innocence that you are able to maintain because you have to find that again in order to connect with your child keeps you in a special state of mind.–Idina Menzel

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Bow Tie Day

How could I be a Doctor Who fan and not celebrate Bow Tie Day on August 28? I love how Days of the Year begin their remarks about this holiday: “A whirling noise in the distance, followed by a male in a bow tie and a female in a summer dress running out of a blue police box. A small wooden puppet with a large blue bow tie that is still there when the puppet comes to life. Or a sharply dressed man hunting around for information in order to save the world from annihilation. … Whether it be the Doctor from Dr. Who, Pinocchio, or James Bond, each wears a bow tie very well, and accentuates it for that very character.” I must admit, however, that the second person I think of wearing a bow tie is Bill Nye, the Science Guy.

Before there were bow ties, in the 17th century, soldiers in Croatia wore cravats to tie their shirts together. The French soldiers saw this during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) and brought the idea home, but it didn’t really catch on until 1886 when a tobacco magnate Pierre Lorillard wore one with his new style of formal wear to the Tuxedo Club. He made a hit, and from then on, bow ties became part of men’s formal wear. If you want to learn to tie a proper bow tie, you can find the instructions on a site called Ties.com.

In modern day, bow ties can be seen as eccentric, as fashionable, or as a throwback to another era. It’s up to the wearer to carry off the image he wants to present. As is put in the essay, “In Defense of the Bow Tie,” by Ellis Perry, “Don’t wear a Bow to stand-out. Wear it to be Outstanding.”

Quotes about bow ties

Wearing a bow tie is a statement. Almost an act of defiance.–Rick Kaplan

To its devotees the bowtie suggests iconoclasm of an Old World sort, a fusty adherence to a contrarian point of view. The bowtie hints at intellectualism, real or feigned, and sometimes suggests technical acumen, perhaps because it is so hard to tie. BowTies are worn by magicians, country doctors, lawyers and professors and by people hoping to look like the above. But perhaps most of all, wearing a bow tie is a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think.–Warren St. John

When you wear a bow tie, doors open for you. Your posture is a little more erect; your shoulders are a little further back; your style is a little more dynamic. It’s about the reestablishment of the gentleman.–Dhani Jones

See the bowtie? I wear it and I don’t care. That’s why it’s cool.–Steven Moffat

Read about a few men who wear (or wore) bow ties as an act of defiance, and check out a tie that makes a strong statement. Bow ties are cool.–Matt Smith

You can’t dribble on bow ties.–Dr. Seuss

As a southern man, there’s two things I’m definitely not scared of: bow ties and white pants.–Justin Townes Earle

I was a show-off as a kid. I was wearing bow ties and matching coloured trousers.–Mika

My father was a very good Boy Scout. He was very skilled with knots, and he showed me how to tie a bow tie.–Bill Nye

I was a ‘Laurel and Hardy’ nut. I got to know Laurel at the end of his life, and it was a great thrill for me. He left me his bow tie and derby and told me that if they ever made a movie about him, he’d want me to play him.–Dick Van Dyke

A gentleman can never have too many bow ties.–Justin Timberlake

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