Archive for holidays

Earth Day/Immanuel Kant Day

Yes, yes, today is Earth Day, so Hack the Planet, er, Save the Planet and all that. (Sorry, had a bit of a Angelina Jolie-Jonny Lee Miller flashback there.) Today is also the birthday of Immanuel Kant, born in 1724. Kant became one of the most influential philosophers of his time. He championed both experience and reason together for a new approach to philosophy, and his work in idealist thought still affects modern philosophers today. He also worked in mathematics, anthropology and astronomy, and was even an early influence in the life of a young Albert Einstein.
Celebrate today by hugging a tree and buying a beer for a philosophy major; chances are, that former student is now also your bartender. We’ve also thrown in the excellent ode to thinking above by the professors known as Monty Python. (Language warning, just in case you’re NOT familiar with their work.)

First Contact Day

firstcontact“I don’t even like to fly. I take trains.” – Zefram Cochrane

Today in 2063 in the Star Trek universe, Zefram Cochrane pilots the first warp-drive craft into space and attracts the attention of the Vulcans, resulting in Earth’s official first contact with an alien species. The future is all conveniently documented for us in the 1996 movie “Star Trek: First Contact” so we have something to look forward to after the zombies attack.

There’s a certain poetry to Cochrane hosting the uptight Vulcans at a bar while Roy Orbison blasts away, don’t you think? We can only hope if aliens do find us interesting enough to talk to without probing, the human race will do it with similar style. Reality suggests, however, that first contact will be tweeted by someone before the aliens set foot (or tentacle) on our soil.

Celebrate today by defeating the Borg wherever you find them and cranking the song “Magic Carpet Ride” until the windows shake. The video clip below is one of our faves for two reasons. You can’t go into space without loud music, and some of the switches inside the Phoenix were Trekkie in-jokes: two of them were marked TOS 3 and TOS 8 for the original Star Trek series, referencing the first time Cochrane appeared in the series’ 38th episode.

Dr. Demento Day

Happy Birthday, Dr. Demento!

What time is it? It’s time for mad music and crazy comedy! Dr. Demento, also known to his parents as Barrett Hansen, was born today in 1941. His love of music began when he was a toddler, and his tastes included rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and anything else that pushed the boundaries. Fortunately for all of us, that included comedy. Although the thesis for his master’s degree was on R&B, his path to fame was studded with laughs and funny noises.

The Dr. Demento show began on local L.A. radio in 1970 and grew to influence millions of blossoming nerds in national syndication. Many of us were forever warped by the good Doctor, and we thank him dearly; he brought us Weird Al Yankovic and those awesome science fiction-themed shows. If you were frozen in place when you first heard “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by William Shatner, you know what we mean.

Although the radio scene has changed today and his show is no longer carried over the air, Dr. Demento still hosts a weekly show at his site. Even better, he gets to do it his way without censorship or apology. So if you think “Never Bite a Married Woman on the Thigh” was fun, just wait until you hear the latest.

 

 

Photo credit:www.drdemento.com

William Shatner Day

There are three geeky holidays today! They all revolve around William Shatner, and that’s how he likes it. Today in 1931, William Alan Shatner was born in Montreal. Because of one particular character in Shatner’s career, we also know that today in 2228 in Riverside, Iowa, James Tiberius Kirk was born. One major link between these two spun off our third holiday, Talk Like Shatner Day.

Whether you love him or hate him (there’s plenty in both camps) you can’t deny Shatner has entertained us for most of his 82 years. Whether he bedded curvy alien girls or sang conceptual albums or launched backstage drama, he has been a one-of-a-kind character in pop culture, and we salute him.

There are tons of awesome Shatner videos out there (including a hilarious turkey-frying PSA and a version of Bohemian Rhapsody) but to celebrate today, we went with something off-the-wall and completely Shatneresque: William Shatner backed by a chorus line of stormtroopers and singing “My Way” to George Lucas. Happy Birthday, Mr. Shatner!

First Tweet Day

Seven years ago today, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sent out the very first tweet, spawning a micro-blogging sensation that has changed how we communicate. Twitter has more than 300 million users, and it’s helped topple regimes, break news and connect us to everyone from Ashton Kutcher to the the Dalai Lama. Celebrate this day like you every day, by tweeting your little heart out until the fail whale strikes. By the way, you can still check out that first tweet.

 

 

 

Valentine, Schmalentine…Let’s Go Full Werewolf

Star Wars Holiday Special Day

It only appeared once, but that was enough.

On this day in 1978, this televised holiday special followed Han Solo and Chewbacca to the Wookiee home planet Kashyyyk for a LifeDay celebration, and to imply that things get weird is an understatement.

This special included Bea Arthur and Harvey Korman, and no Star Wars fan should see it without a blankie and the phone number of a good therapist. On George Lucas’ personal list of Things That Never Should Have Happened, this ranks way ahead of Jar Jar Binks. Even more frightening is the thought that this show could be topped by a future Disney project.

It still floats around the Internet in bootleg form, if you have a free evening and feel the need for some emotional trauma. (Hint: YouTube.)

Armin Shimerman Day

Geek world, meet your ersatz demi-god. It’s Armin Shimerman’s birthday, and he’s been in almost everything you’ve played or seen.

Warehouse 13? Yep. Batman: The Brave and the Bold? You know it. The Real Housewives of Ferengi? It’s only a matter of time.

Best known as DS9’s Quark, he’s also been a Nox in Stargate: SG-1, the school principal in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and has voiced characters in tons of games like BioShock, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 3, God of War 2, X-Men Legends 2, Diablo III and many more.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Shimerman. For the love of Odo, take a day off and enjoy a little cake.


National Mole Day

Today, from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m. on 10.23, is a celebration of Avogadro’s number (6.02 x 10^23). Avogadro discovered a number that facilitated balancing chemical formulas on the molecular level (and thus the name “mole”). This revolutionized chemical research. If Avagadro’s number was converted into dollars, and you spent one billion dollars a second, it would take you more than 19 million years to spend it.

What’s better than noting a landmark of science? Making really bad jokes about it. Here’s a few straight from the awesome National Mole Day website:

What do you get when you have a lot of moles acting like idiots? A bunch of moleasses.

 

If Avogadro were to watch M*A*S*H, who would be his favorite character? Father Molecahy.

Visit the site for some great Mole Day project ideas, or since Halloween’s just around the corner, put together a mole costume and completely befuddle your neighbors.

 

Photo credit: Cowboytoast at Flickr.com.

Optimus Prime Day

Before Michael Bay stocked up on enough explosions to take out the Death Star, a fun little cartoon called “Transformers” made its debut on television screens today in 1984. You have our permission to feel old.

The series started with an origin story of how the Autobots and Decepticons ended up on Earth, and starred stellar voice talents such as Casey Kasem, Don Messick and Frank Welker. Yes, the Transformers were just one plotline from becoming Scooby-Doo: Where Are You? Which, honestly, we would love to see. Peter Cullen’s throaty take on Optimus Prime was just one of many reasons that kids fought over who played the Autobot leader on the playground.

Celebrate today by watching some of the old episodes on Netflix and remembering the days when imagination was more powerful than CGI. For best results, remember to eat your favorite after-school snack while watching.

 

 

Photo credit: Flickr/kidtoro