March 31st National “She’s Funny That Way” Day

Back in Shakespeare’s day if you wanted to be a comedian you had to be a man, even if you dressed like a woman. Boy have things changed!  The first known female stand-up comedian was Moms Mabley, working in vaudeville starting in 1908.  Many have followed, Jane Curtain, Goldie Hawn, Gilda Radner, Phyllis Diller, Whoopie Goldberg, Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, the list goes on and on and on.


Some play roles like the grandmother that suddenly says something totally out of their character, like Betty White.  Some are a little more risqué, like Mae West.  Others use their cuteness to sell their comedy, like Kaley Cuoco.  Make no mistake though, they all have studied their craft and know their jobs well.

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Comedy is not easy.  Timing is everything.  Give the joke away too soon and it’s no longer funny, drag it out too long and its dry and boring.  Some have made their acts so political the only ones who think they are funny are the ones who agree with their point of view.  Some use sex as shock value, people believing only those kinds of thoughts could come from a man.  Some use everyday life, finding the humor in it and passing that on to their audience.  Whichever tickles your funny bone is right for you.9b5

Laughter is good for you, it decreases stress, increases immune cells, increases infection-fighting antibodies, releases endorphins and helps relieve pain.  Even if it kills you… well, at least you died laughing!    So here’s to all the ladies that make us laugh, this is their day!  But really, it’s your day because the world is a much better place because of them.


March 30 Manatee Appreciation Day

Well, I have to start off with a song here…

OK, I couldn’t resist!…

Having worked for the Sea World Education Department eons ago, I have a fond place in my heart for these gentle giants. I saw daily what injuries they had to endure but I also saw how resilient they were.

I am happy that they receive their day in the spotlight!

If you have never seen a manatee in person before, it is a sight to behold. They are basically big, fat, grey teddy bears.


How can you not love that ball of fluff…uh…I mean… blubber 🙂

This is why I find it amusing that they are associated with the tales of mermaids.

Legend has it that sailors at sea saw beautiful women swimming and beckoning them into the depths. In fact, even Christopher Columbus noted seeing such beauties – that is until they surfaced and he was quoted as saying they are “not half as beautiful as they are painted.”


No one really knows why sailors thought they saw beautiful women. Was it possibly due to scurvy from all the sea water they drank – or maybe visions made up by love-sick men stuck at sea for months or years.

Manatees do continue to carry on one part of the legend though – they belong to the Taxonomic Order Sirenia – named after the songstress temptresses from folklore.

Continue reading “March 30 Manatee Appreciation Day”

Smoke And Mirrors Day

It seems we all love some form of magic.  We want to believe that someone is showing us something truly sensational and beyond the bounds of human comprehension.  The truth is, it’s all smoke and mirrors.

Even the great Houdini was nothing more than an illusionist.  He was really, really good at it, but he tricked us into believing that he was doing something no one else could do.

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One of his more famous tricks involved being buried in a casket underground for a significant period of time.  Many others tried but failed, unfortunately fatally ending their acts.  So how did Harry survive when others failed?  Well, for months prior to attempting the trick he spent time learning to control his breathing.  Learning out to put his body into a state that it required, and consumed, very small amounts of oxygen.  He also chose an over sized coffin so that he could have the largest air supply available to him.  While others tried with small coffins that ran out of air, did no special conditioning prior to their unsuccessful attempts and even selected coffins that could not hold the weight of the earth piled on top of it, Harry had it all planned.  There was no magic.

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In another trick he was able to get out of a safe that was specifically built to hold him.  The trick here was to get the safe a day ahead of time pretending to need to stage it.  Well, stage it indeed his crew did.  They removed the springs in the safe and replaced them with softer springs, easier to manipulate.  He would have legitimate safe inspector come up to see that it had not been tampered with. (Nobody checked the springs because this was not an obvious, or easily done, job.) They would check the safe and Houdini himself and walk away satisfied all was on the up and up.  To reassure the audience he would also select a guest to come up with the safe people to check out everything as well.  The odd thing, that no one ever caught on to, was that the audience guest member would always be the last to leave before Houdini would be locked up in the safe.  This “Guest” was always a plant that slid Houdini the tool required to “spring” the lock and get out.  The safe was then covered by a curtain that allowed the sides to be seen so that no one could accuse him of going on or off stage.  Then hours would pass, long after the oxygen should have run out in the airtight enclosure.  The truth is, Houdini had been out of the safe within fifteen minutes of being locked up.  He would sit on top of the safe and wait for others to doubt anyone could survive this ordeal before revealing his great escape.


His third great escape was one that had him, handcuffed, sealed in a crate and the crate lowered into the water. Houdini would first be handcuffed, making sure that only his “special” handcuffs were used.  They were real, and anyone trying them could not get out of them, unless you knew where the release was, which of course, Harry did.  Once he was in the crate, his crew would nail the lid down.  People would watch them, inspect the nails and verify that they were real.  They were, and equal to them was the nail trimmer that Houdini had inside the crate with him.  A boat would be brought along side with a crane and lift he crate up, moving out away from the dock slightly so the crate could be lowered into the water without interference.  By the time the crate hit the water, Houdini would already be free of the handcuffs and have started clipping away the nails he need to get out of the crate.  Now remembering he learned to control his breathing, he could stay under water for quite some time, when the crate was raised by the crane, Houdini would be sitting on top of the boards he had clipped away the nails from so that they would appear to still be in place.  The crate would be lowered onto the deck of the ship and while everyone paid attention to the Great Houdini, his crew would drive new nails in to replace the broken ones he had freed himself of.

It was all smoke and mirrors, and even Houdini told everyone that, though few believed him.  We see what we want to see, or in some cases, what a truly great performer wants us to see.  It is, more than often, not a true representation of what has actually taken place.

To celebrate: try learning a few card tricks to dazzle your friends!  Learn how to pull a rabbit from a hat! Run for a political office and try to make people think you are sincere!




The day after Easter – Dyngus Day (Smigus Dyngus)

What is a Dyngus you may ask? Well, I would answer, probably one of the most bizarre holidays celebrated in the world.

Here at Unboxing the Bizarre, this of course, is our kind of holiday!

Guys, have you ever agonized over your pick-up line – well apparently the Polish men did too, so they decided rather than say something stupid, they would just pour a bucket of water on the woman that they admired. Ya, right – I think I would rather have a corny pick-up line than be soaking wet and cold – but hey, that’s just me.

Smigus Dyngus as it is known in Poland, also called Wet Monday, dates back to at least the 14th Century and possibly as far back as before 1000AD.

Now mind you, I know that this is a custom and tradition – but what the heck??? It sounds a little creepy – boys sneaking into girls bedrooms, dousing them with water, then chasing or kidnapping them – bed and all – to dunk in a river or lake. The pretty girls had this horror bestowed on them multiple times in a day. But wait, it doesn’t stop there – they were then swatted on the bottom with pussy willow branches! (you can’t make this stuff up).

But not to despair too much, the girls get their revenge on Wet Tuesday! Kind of makes me think of the image from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney of the women chasing the men with rolling pins or brooms (I have to admit though, if some guy snuck into my room nowadays while I was sleeping, I wouldn’t wait until the next day to get revenge or to chase him out, and believe me,  I would be wielding more than a broom or rolling pin – just sayin’):

Photo Credit: Parkeology.comDSC_1286
Photo Credit:

But I digress – back to Dyngus Day…

If you want to celebrate in a big way – you can attend the Huge Annual Smigus Dyngus celebration in Buffalo, New York (which is now a week long celebration), or in other cities such as Cleveland, Ohio, and South Bend, Indiana.

Or you can stay home and celebrate these non-water soaking ways:

Grab a cold Krupnik with a buddy – Well, normally you could have a Krupnik, but it seems as though there may be a shortage this year so you better hurry to your local pub or liquor store quickly to partake


Cook and eat some authentic Polish Food – Pierogi Time!!!


Learn to Dance the Polka Hop!


Why Does a Bunny Lay Eggs on Easter? (strange traditions)

Easter is the Holiest Day in the Christian Calendar. The Bible talks of many animals such as donkeys, cattle, sheep, etc…. But bunnies??? and egg laying bunnies at that!

The idea of an egg laying hare here in America seems to date back to the early 1700’s from a tale (Osterhase) that traversed the Atlantic with German immigrants.

Like many other holidays that we see, such as Christmas and the German Rose Sunday Festival, the idea of the Easter Bunny arose out of parents wanting to create a tall tale of why the children should be good throughout the year. It seems that the Bunny was considered a “watchman” much like St Claus’s and his Elves with a list of those that were “Naughty or Nice”. If the children were “Nice”, the Easter Bunny would visit the house on Easter Eve.

He would bring eggs, candy, and gifts in a basket to make a nest filled with the goodies in the children’s Easter Bonnet or Caps – hence the idea of baskets, nests, and bonnets!

No one knows exactly how the eggs in the basket came to be, but the idea of using and dyeing eggs seems to date back to the early 13th Century. Some believe the egg was a symbol of fertility and birth, just as the bunny and spring are,  while there are other accounts of the preserved, boiled, decorated egg being used in celebrations after the fasting of lent. However the tradition of eggs being symbolic at Easter came about – there is one sure thing – they aren’t going to disappear from the modern Easter tale. According to an article by CNN in 2015, “180 million eggs are ‘eggs-pected’ to be purchased by Americans for dyeing and decorating this year”.

As for the other main goodie in the Easter Nest – Chocolate! – well it has been satisfying sweet-tooth’s for Centuries. Once reserved as a luxury for kings, queens, and emperors billions of chocolate is enjoyed yearly by every-day people today.

So there’s only one question – do you eat the Ears first??? (If you do, you’re not alone – in 2014 89% of Americans did :))

Suggested Activities to celebrate:

Gorge on Chocolate – yes it’s OK to have chocolate for breakfast one day a year  🙂


Continue reading “Why Does a Bunny Lay Eggs on Easter? (strange traditions)”

March 26th, 2016 National Make Up Your Own Holiday Day

Have you ever wanted to create your own holiday?  Well today is the day to do it, March 26th, is National Make Up Your Own Holiday Day.  It is believed that the Wellness Permission League started the day but no one knows for sure, guess it doesn’t really matter because this is supposed to be your day.

If you want to make this (Insert your name here) Day, go ahead.  Or maybe you could create a day with a little more pizzazz!  Like, I Love My Hammer Day, or Dance With Your Dog Day, or maybe even Have a Flower For Lunch Day!

Of course you’ll need to come up with how you celebrate this day. No one is going to know if you are wrong or right, this is your creation!  What food is best served for this holiday?


Do you send out cards?


Do you give gifts?


It’s your choice because it’s your day!


March 25, 2016 National Medal of Honor Day

It is National Medal of Honor Day. A medal created for “personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty.” Created in 1861 for the Navy, the Army soon followed with its version in 1862.  An Air Force Medal of Honor was created during World War I.  To date, over 3,500 Medal of Honors have been awarded to military men serving their country’s needs.

There were few medals offered prior to the American Civil War.  In 1780, the Fidelity Medallion was offered to veterans of the Revolution.  For those who went above the call of duty another medal was awarded in 1782, called the Badge of Military Merit.  In 1847, a Certificate of Merit was awarded veterans of the Mexican-American War.

This is truly a holiday that does not get the recognition in the mainstream that it deserves. Congress declared this day a National Holiday in 1863 when the first Medal of Honor was awarded for Jacob Parrott’s actions during the Andrews Raid. Of the 24 Raiders only 6 members received this honorable distinction for their role in the “Great Locomotive Chase“. Oddly, Andrews could not receive the award since he was a civilian and the award was distinctly meant to be offered only to military personnel. Eventually the The Medal of Valor was created for civilians.

Other Medals of Honor were given out to civilians by mistake.  Buffalo Bill received one that was later taken back, as well as Mary Edwards Walker, though hers was restored by Jimmy Carter in 1971.

The most recent Medal of Honor awarded was on February 29. 2016 to Edward C. Byers Jr., U.S. Navy Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator for his role in the US Navy SEAL operation ENDURING FREEDOM, freeing American hostage Dr. Dilip Joseph.


Above is the Medal of Honor flag awarded with the Medal of Honor


So in honor of this day:

Fly your American flag proudly


Visit the Great Locomotive Chase Andrew’s Raiders Monuments and Markers in person or virtually


Thank a service member or vet for all that they do or write a Thank You Letter to a Medal of Honor Recipient


Watch the Walt Disney Film the Great Locomotive Chase



National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day

As you probably already know, chocolate is not natural to Europe.  Christopher Columbus brought back the use of chocolate from his exploration of the Americas in 1502.  Mesoamerican’s had been using the plant to flavor and enhance their foods since 1750 BC.  Aztec and Inca populations were known to drink the substance and use it to coat various fruits and nuts to make them more enjoyable to eat.  So while Columbus did not discover the gold he hoped to find (Though others later did) he did bring back an economic boom to Europe that would surface a century later.

In Europe, they profess that the original Chocolate covered raisin was mentioned in the Germanic speaking regions where they were mentioned in a children’s folktale kleine Schokokugeln. In a Christmas prayer the treat is referred to as, “my little chocolate balls, oh, how nobly you glorify the fruit hanging down.  My vineyard weeps with good cheer at the gift from Heaven”.  Ah, maybe it losses a little in translation.  At least, let’s hope it was raisins they were coating in chocolate. I am a little worried about the term, “hanging fruit”.

While I have a little problem with the dateline, there is no doubt that one of the most popular treats in central Germany is the chocolate covered raisin.  Today it is hard to imagine any real holiday passing without a glass bowl of chocolate covered raisins set out on a table.  It’s hard to imagine a bridge game without chocolate covered raisins.

Today, we coat nearly everything in chocolate.  I’m pretty sure the Inca’s never thought about covering bugs that crawl on the ground with chocolate but it’s fairly common today.  Of course, who looked at a dried up grape and said to themselves, “Oh, I bet that would taste good!”  I don’t know about you but I like my raisins covered up with chocolate so I don’t have to look at them in the natural state.  Under normal circumstances, when I see something all wrinkled up, black or brown in color, and laying on the ground where it fell I’m not going to run over, pick it up and put it in my mouth!  However, I am glad someone did!

March 23rd National Chips & Dip Day

Break out those potato chips, tortilla chips, or the chip of your choice and start dipping! This is your day!  No one knows when it began, or why it began other than as an excuse to add a few extra pounds.  We do, however, have a little history on when the potato chip got its start.

The first reference to a thinly sliced chip made of potatoes comes from William Kitchiner’s “The Cook’s Oracle” published in England in 1822, they were called Crisps. At least a little more romantic, the story goes that American Chef George Crum in Saratoga NY, in 1853 got annoyed with one of his customers who kept sending back his potato saying it was under cooked.  Crum cut the potato into very thin slices and fried it until is was burnt to a crisp.  Amused with himself, Crum sent out his joke to his customer who in turn loved the potato adding to Crum’s frustration.  Soon, everybody was asking for Crum’s potatoes and an entire new industry was begun.  His customer may have been Cornelius Vanderbilt which would explain how it caught on so fast.

Now dip has no real history.  It also means many, many different things… chewing tobacco, an unsavory character, or something that enhances the flavor of a chip.  It probably first came from ancient days when breads were dunked in herbs and oils.  Since then, people have been trying all sorts of new items to include in their “dip”.


So somewhere along the line somebody got the bright idea that our chips and dip were not healthy enough for us.  They decided to put things like fruits and vegetables along side the dip to get us all eating better.  Okay, so it’s a good idea and is better for us but this sort of anarchy just leads us to a total meltdown of what National Chips & Dip Day is all about!

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A little less objectionable to connoisseurs of the traditional Chips and Dips  is the dessert chip & dip.  While it does leave us craving salt it satisfies other taste buds in our palate.

So raise that chip, or carrot, or cookie high in the air and with a determined, yet graceful, motion bring it down and scoop up whatever flavor dip you desire to consume, taking care that you are not close to a spittoon where you might find another sort of dip less accommodating.

March 22nd National Goof Off Day

Today is National Goof Off Day.  It also happens to be International Goof Off Day.  This gives you twice the incentive to participate!  Birds do it, bees do it and even bears in trees do it… goof off that is.

Apparently it is even good for you to goof off every once in a while.  You know, just take a day to do what you want to do, not what you have to do.  No one claims to have created the day, which is appropriate since that would require working on a day you are supposed to be goofing off!    This also explains all those people on the highway you pass by who are pointing at you in your suit, or work clothes, and laughing.  They know how to enjoy a good goof off day.  So what, they may not have  job tomorrow but today they are celebrating by goofing off and doing anything except what they are supposed to be doing.

Think about it for a moment.  Today what if all the police goofed off?  No tickets for speeding!  If doctors goofed off no one could get sick!  If the government goofed off no one could… well the government always goofs off so things there might be pretty normal!

Anyway, take it from our friend the bear above, find a good hammock and take a nap.  Read a book that has no words.  Watch a tv show that has no plot (No problem there!)  Just be one with the universe… unless that happens to be your job.