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.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Nimoy! Since yesterday was Tolkien Reading Day, it feels right to celebrate the two days together with one clip. You know the one. Leonard Nimoy singing “Bilbo Baggins!” Because William Shatner shouldn’t have all the fun, right?
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!Tweet
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.)Tweet
Unless you’ve been abandoned on a deserted island by your crew, you know today is Talk Like A Pirate Day! This yearrrrr marrrrks the 10th anniversarrrry of the holiday, and each one holds more booty for the swarthy mates of the sea. Dress up in full pirate gear and walk into a Krispy Kreme for your complimentary dozen donuts, or just talk like a pirate to receive one donut. But really, who wouldn’t go full Johnny Depp for the whole treasure chest? Arby’s is also offering discounts for the day via their text marketing program.
If you’re on Facebook, make your day more arrrrthentic by switching your language to Pirate. If nothing else, it will liven up those endless political jabs and inspirational doggie photos cluttering your Wall. If you need more Yo-ho-ho-motivation, visit the official Talk Like A Pirate Day site or enjoy the Talk Like A Pirate Day song above.Tweet
The first semi-self portrait of Curiosity. If there were bathroom mirrors on Mars, we'd be seeing a lot more of the rover on Twitter.
Most of our geeky historic holidays are from decades or even centuries ago, so it’s a thrill when history is being made this very moment. The Mars Curiosity rover landed during the wee hours of the night, and the entire geek world erupted in applause, cheers and humorous tweets.
After the deconstructing of the space shuttle program, it’s nice to have something new in terms of exploration. NASA has pulled out all the stops by releasing the photos Curiosity takes as they come in, and even setting up a Twitter account for the roving SUV-sized paparazzi machine. If there is any life on Mars, they should buy giant sunglasses now.
Of course, there’s a lot more to Curiosity than cameras; the rover has its own geological toolkit, including items to drill, scoop, and sort samples. There’s also a laser onboard, but that’s to check what a distant rock is made of. Really. *coughlightsabercough* Curiosity also won major cool points for hitting the planet in true James Bond/Mission Impossible style, dangling from cables on a rocket backpack. Take that, rest of the science world! Boo-yah!
As Curiosity continues to explore and wow the world, you can follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter. Celebrate today by keeping the latest info open under the PowerPoint presentation you’re supposed to be working on today.
Ditch that e-reader today and grab yourself a handful of dead trees! Today commemorates the launch of Penguin Books in 1935, the first time notable authors like Ernest Hemingway and Agatha Christie were published in an affordable, accessible format.
The physical attributes of paperbacks were already around, but were only used for pulp novels designed to titillate rather than inspire; before this day, you needed a sugar daddy or a library card to read the good stuff.
To keep the books affordable, art was stripped down to just a color-coded cover, title and author, along with the now-famous Penguin logo. Science fiction and fantasy has long been a staple of Penguin Books, and “Erewhon” by Samuel Butler was published in that first seminal year. Other titles in those first years included several H.G. Wells titles, from “The Invisible Man” to “The Time Machine,” John Wyndham’s “The Day of the Triffids” and “1984” by George Orwell. The easy-to-carry books not only enabled secret sci-fi nerds, they also were slipped in the pockets of countless WWII soldiers looking for a few minutes of diversion. Paperbacks went from a trend to a book lover’s necessity. Even though digital reading is the new thing, admit it: you have a stash of beloved paperbacks you pick up time and time again.
Celebrate today by grabbing your favorite paperback book and stretching out under a beach umbrella. Or, if you’re not on vacation, curl up under your desk with a flashlight.
That QWERTY keyboard's looking pretty good now, right?
Today in 1829, a device called the “Typographer” was patented by William Austin Burt, an inventor and surveyor. His typing machine was an ancestor of the typewriter as we know it today.
Touch-typing was a long way off from Burt’s machine, which involved turning a crank attached to a wheel inside a large wooden box until the desired letter lined up, then pulling levers to imprint the letter on the paper. No worries about carpal tunnel with this machine; in fact, it would have been better than Tae-Bo for building those muscles after cranking and yanking all day. (Yes, we hear your snickering.)
Printing with the typographer was apparently slower than writing by hand, but since when has complicated processes ever stopped a geek when the end product was so cool? Still, Burt’s typing device was never commercially reproduced, but it was a vital first step in the evolution of typewriters and keyboards. If the typographer had been a runaway success, we would all likely be Tweeting on something resembling a Salad Shooter.
If any family-minded organizations truly want to combat the 50 percent divorce rate, maybe they should fund this holiday!
Flitch Day started centuries ago in England as a reward for happily married couples. If you honestly said you both had been faithful and happy in your marriage, the monks would give you a side (or a flitch) of bacon. Yes, that’s right, FREE BACON! The harmonious (or ham-onious, if you like) duo would totter off to enjoy their well-earned year’s supply of meat. It’s like Santa became real, only he’s a marriage counselor who gives away food.
Celebrate today by serving up some bacon-y goodness to your sweetie and celebrate a year of happiness with a BLT, bacon cupcakes or even a bacon sundae. Mmm, the salty, delicious taste of togetherness.Tweet