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15 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate in November

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Turkey day may be the main event in the second-to-last month of the year, but there are plenty of unusual holidays to fill your November days with celebration.

1. November 2nd: National Plan Your Epitaph Day


Whether you’re morbid or just really on top of planning ahead, take the day to decide which of your legacies you want set in stone. No pressure, but some claim that a “forgettable gravestone is a fate worse than death.”

2. November 3rd: Sadie Hawkins Day (the first Saturday in November)

The woman asking the man to a dance? How novel! Apparently it was quite novel back in the late 1930s, when Sadie Hawkins Day first appeared in the popular comic strip Li’l Abner. Worried that his homely daughter Sadie might never find a beau, Hekzebiah Hawkins organized a race in which his daughter would chase all the unmarried men in town to the finish line. If she caught one, he was legally obligated to wed her. The holiday became an annual event in the comic strip, and evolved into a real life event as well—with more dancing and less capturing. These days, Sadie Hawkins Day generally occurs on the first Saturday of November.

3. November 4th: King Tut Day


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No, this day does not commemorate the great Egyptian king’s birthday. On this day in 1922, British archeologist Howard Carter and his crew discovered the entrance to King Tut’s tomb. This monumental discovery was one of the greatest archaeological achievements of the 20th century, and remains a huge attraction well into the 21st. The least we can do is take a day to honor it. History for the win!

4. November 5th: Guy Fawkes Day

Let anarchy and chaos reign today, although if you aren’t in England, you may get a lot of strange looks. The eponymous man behind the infamous “Gunpowder Plot” planned to blow up Britain’s Parliament in 1605, spawning annual bonfire celebrations, effigies, and creepy masks for centuries to come. It was Parliament that declared November 5th as a day of celebration to commemorate their foiling of Fawkes and company's plot, but it's Fawkes' mischievous spirit that pervades the festivities.

5. November 6th: National Saxophone Day

Brass on the outside, woodwind on the inside, the saxophone has created sweet, sweet baby-making jams for more than 150 years. Invented in 1846 by Belgian instrument-maker Adolphe Sax, the saxophone has since become a staple of both modern jazz and classical compositions.

6. November 7th: International Tongue Twister Day

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Whether you’re in unique New York or selling seashells by the seashore, show off your impressive command of diction today. Or if you’re really in the mood for a challenge, try mastering a few tongue twisters not in your native tongue.

7. November 13th: World Kindness Day

Founded in 1998 by an organization called the World Kindness Movement, this international holiday encourages everyone to look deep into their hearts past religion, race, and other differences to do something nice for their neighbors and/or humankind.

8. November 15th: Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day


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Or as we like to call it, “Discover the science project you didn’t know you had growing in your refrigerator Day.”

9. November 18th: Use Less Stuff Day

Although the advertising industry works terribly hard to convince us that we never quite have enough stuff, many of us probably use way more stuff than we need. Take the day to reflect on exactly which kinds of stuff are excessive in your day-to-day life, and how you might reduce using said stuff. Or at least clear room for all the new stuff you’ll be getting soon for the holidays.

10. November 19th: World Toilet Day

A holiday devoted to the John, the Pot, the Latrine, the Porcelain God? Sounds like the brainchild of a group of 5th graders. In fact, it’s an international event dedicated to destigmatizing toilets and address the challenges of global sanitation. Created in 2001, the official website points out that billions of people in the world do not have proper access to toilets, but also that in addition to being vital to life, toilets can be “fun and sexy.” (Their words, not ours.)

11. November 19th: International Men’s Day

You may be hard-pressed to find anyone who believes men are internationally underrepresented, but someone still deemed the male gender worthy of a worldwide holiday. The theme of this year’s men’s day is health, more specifically “Helping Men and Boys Live Longer, Happier, and Healthier Lives." We can’t argue with that!

12. November 22nd: National Start Your Own Country Day

If you’re over the pumpkin pie and family cheer, here’s a fun alternative to Thanksgiving. The apparent product of the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, National Start Your Own Country Day salutes those plucky—albeit potentially treasonous and/or imperialist—individuals who believe so strongly in self-determination that they might one day form their own nation-state.

13. November 23rd:  National Day of Listening

Sponsored by oral history nonprofit StoryCorps, this year’s National Day of Listening honors teachers. The organization has asked everyone wanting to participate to take a few minutes to thank a teacher (or two). Other ways to commemorate National Day of Listening is by recording interviews in veteran’s hospitals, senior centers, homeless shelters, and other community centers.

14. November 28th: Red Planet Day

The fourth planet from the sun, and home to a future dystopian civilization according to Total Recall, gets its own day of honor in November. And what a year to celebrate, after NASA’s successful landing of the rover on Mars this past August! Plot out your dream Mars colony, wear all red, or perhaps read stories of the Roman God of War—whatever Red Planet activity suits your fancy!

15. November 29th: National Square Dance Day

Despite its close association with cowboys and honky tonk bars, the square dance actually originated in Europe in the 17th century. However, the United States has since taken over its cultural reins, so much so that 19 states have declared it their official dance. If you have yet to try this folk dance, take your partner by the hand and swing him/her down to the nearest hootenanny.

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10 Memorable Neil deGrasse Tyson Quotes
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Neil deGrasse Tyson is America's preeminent badass astrophysicist. He's a passionate advocate for science, NASA, and education. He's also well-known for a little incident involving Pluto. And the man holds nearly 20 honorary doctorates (in addition to his real one). In honor of his 59th birthday, here are 10 of our favorite Neil deGrasse Tyson quotes.

1. ON SCIENCE

"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."
—From Real Time with Bill Maher.

2. ON NASA FUNDING

"As a fraction of your tax dollar today, what is the total cost of all spaceborne telescopes, planetary probes, the rovers on Mars, the International Space Station, the space shuttle, telescopes yet to orbit, and missions yet to fly?' Answer: one-half of one percent of each tax dollar. Half a penny. I’d prefer it were more: perhaps two cents on the dollar. Even during the storied Apollo era, peak NASA spending amounted to little more than four cents on the tax dollar." 
—From Space Chronicles

3. ON GOD AND HURRICANES

"Once upon a time, people identified the god Neptune as the source of storms at sea. Today we call these storms hurricanes ... The only people who still call hurricanes acts of God are the people who write insurance forms."
—From Death by Black Hole

4. ON THE BENEFITS OF TECHNOLOGY INVENTED FOR USE IN SPACE

"Countless women are alive today because of ideas stimulated by a design flaw in the Hubble Space Telescope." (Editor's note: technology used to repair the Hubble Space Telescope's optical problems led to improved technology for breast cancer detection.)
—From Space Chronicles

5. ON THE DEMOTION OF PLUTO FROM PLANET STATUS 

PBS

"I knew Pluto was popular among elementary schoolkids, but I had no idea they would mobilize into a 'Save Pluto' campaign. I now have a drawer full of hate letters from hundreds of elementary schoolchildren (with supportive cover letters from their science teachers) pleading with me to reverse my stance on Pluto. The file includes a photograph of the entire third grade of a school posing on their front steps and holding up a banner proclaiming, 'Dr. Tyson—Pluto is a Planet!'"
—From The Sky Is Not the Limit

6. ON JAMES CAMERON'S TITANIC

"In [Titanic], the stars above the ship bear no correspondence to any constellations in a real sky. Worse yet, while the heroine bobs ... we are treated to her view of this Hollywood sky—one where the stars on the right half of the scene trace the mirror image of the stars in the left half. How lazy can you get?"
—From Death by Black Hole

7. ON DEATH BY ASTEROID

"On Friday the 13th, April 2029, an asteroid large enough to fill the Rose Bowl as though it were an egg cup will fly so close to Earth that it will dip below the altitude of our communication satellites. We did not name this asteroid Bambi. Instead, we named it Apophis, after the Egyptian god of darkness and death."
—From Space Chronicles

8. ON THE MOTIVATIONS BEHIND AMERICA'S MOONSHOT

"[L]et us not fool ourselves into thinking we went to the Moon because we are pioneers, or discoverers, or adventurers. We went to the Moon because it was the militaristically expedient thing to do."
—From The Sky Is Not the Limit

9. ON INTELLIGENT LIFE (OR THE LACK THEREOF)

Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/neildegras615117.html
Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/neildegras615117.html

"Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life."

10. PRACTICAL ADVICE IN THE EVENT OF ALIEN CONTACT 

A still from Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Universal Studios
"[I]f an alien lands on your front lawn and extends an appendage as a gesture of greeting, before you get friendly, toss it an eightball. If the appendage explodes, then the alien was probably made of antimatter. If not, then you can proceed to take it to your leader."
—From Death by Black Hole
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40 Fun Facts About Sesame Street
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Now in its 47th season, Sesame Street is one of television's most iconic programs—and it's not just for kids. We're big fans of the Street, and to prove it, here are some of our favorite Sesame facts from previous stories and our Amazing Fact Generator.

Sesame Workshop

1. Oscar the Grouch used to be orange. Jim Henson decided to make him green before season two.

2. How did Oscar explain the color change? He said he went on vacation to the very damp Swamp Mushy Muddy and turned green overnight.

3. During a 2004 episode, Cookie Monster said that before he started eating cookies, his name was Sid.

4. In 1980, C-3PO and R2-D2 visited Sesame Street. They played games, sang songs, and R2-D2 fell in love with a fire hydrant.

5. Mr. Snuffleupagus has a first name—Aloysius

6. Ralph Nader stopped by in 1988 and sang "a consumer advocate is a person in your neighborhood."

7. Caroll Spinney said he based Oscar's voice on a cab driver from the Bronx who brought him to the audition.

8. In 1970, Ernie reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the timeless hit "Rubber Duckie."

9. One of Count von Count's lady friends is Countess von Backwards, who's also obsessed with counting but likes to do it backwards.

10. Sesame Street made its Afghanistan debut in 2011 with Baghch-e-Simsim (Sesame Garden). Big Bird, Grover and Elmo are involved.

11. According to Muppet Wiki, Oscar the Grouch and Count von Count were minimized on Baghch-e-Simsim "due to cultural taboos against trash and vampirism."

12. Before Giancarlo Esposito was Breaking Bad's super intense Gus Fring, he played Big Bird's camp counselor Mickey in 1982.

13. Thankfully, those episodes are available on YouTube.

14. How big is Big Bird? 8'2". (Pictured with First Lady Pat Nixon.)

15. In 2002, the South African version (Takalani Sesame) added an HIV-positive Muppet named Kami.

16. Six Republicans on the House Commerce Committee wrote a letter to PBS president Pat Mitchell warning that Kami was not appropriate for American children, and reminded Mitchell that their committee controlled PBS' funding.

17. Sesame Street's resident game show host Guy Smiley was using a pseudonym. His real name was Bernie Liederkrantz.

18. Bert and Ernie have been getting questioned about their sexuality for years. Ernie himself, as performed by Steve Whitmere, has weighed in: “All that stuff about me and Bert? It’s not true. We’re both very happy, but we’re not gay,”

19. A few years later, Bert (as performed by Eric Jacobson) answered the same question by saying, “No, no. In fact, sometimes we are not even friends; he can be a pain in the neck.”

20. In the first season, both Superman and Batman appeared in short cartoons produced by Filmation. In one clip, Batman told Bert and Ernie to stop arguing and take turns choosing what’s on TV.

21. In another segment, Superman battled a giant chimp.

22. Telly was originally "Television Monster," a TV-obsessed Muppet whose eyes whirled around as he watched.

23. According to Sesame Workshop, Elmo is the only non-human to testify before Congress.

24. He lobbied for more funding for music education, so that "when Elmo goes to school, there will be the instruments to play."

25. In the early 1990s, soon after Jim Henson’s passing, a rumor circulated that Ernie would be killed off in order to teach children about death, as they'd done with Mr. Hooper.

26. According to Snopes, the rumor may have spread thanks to New Hampshire college student, Michael Tabor, who convinced his graduating class to wear “Save Ernie” beanies and sign a petition to persuade Sesame Workshop to let Ernie live.

27. By the time Tabor was corrected, the newspapers had already picked up the story.

28. Sesame Street’s Executive Producer Carol-Lynn Parente joined Sesame Workshop as a production assistant and has worked her way to the top.

29. Originally, Count von Count was more sinister. He could hypnotize and stun people.

30. According to Sesame Workshop, all Sesame Street's main Muppets have four fingers except Cookie Monster, who has five.

31. The episode with Mr. Hooper's funeral aired on Thanksgiving Day in 1983. That date was chosen because families were more likely to be together at that time, in case kids had questions or needed emotional support.

32. Mr. Hooper’s first name was Harold.

33. Big Bird sang "Bein' Green" at Jim Henson's memorial service.

34. As Chris Higgins put it, the performance was "devastating."

35. Oscar's Israeli counterpart is Moishe Oofnik, whose last name means “grouch” in Hebrew.

36. Nigeria's version of Cookie Monster eats yams. His catchphrase: "ME WANT YAM!"

37. Sesame's Roosevelt Franklin ran a school, where he spoke in scat and taught about Africa. Some parents hated him, so in 1975 he got the boot, only to inspire Gob Bluth’s racist puppet Franklin on Arrested Development 28 years later.

38. Our good friend and contributor Eddie Deezen was the voice of Donnie Dodo in the 1985 classic Follow That Bird.

39. Cookie Monster evolved from The Wheel-Stealer—a snack-pilfering puppet Jim Henson created to promote Wheels, Crowns and Flutes in the 1960s.

40. This puppet later was seen eating a computer in an IBM training film and on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Thanks to Stacy Conradt, Joe Hennes, Drew Toal, and Chris Higgins for their previous Sesame coverage!

An earlier version of this article appeared in 2012.

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