Dr. Hurlbutt's Highly Peculiar Online Calendar
(Vegetarian Awareness Month)
October 1: The United States Government begins its fiscal year.
October 3: In 1929, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes officially adopted the name Yugoslavia. In 1932, Iraq became independent. In 1935, Fascist Italy invaded Abyssinia. In 1995, O. J. Simpson was acquitted of murder.
October 4: The Soviets launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit around the earth in 1957. Not to be outdone, the U.S. television network CBS launched the sitcom Leave It to Beaver.
October 6: William Tyndale was executed for heresy in 1536 after translating the bible into English.
October 8: Montenegro declared war on the Ottoman Empire in 1912, starting the First Balkan War. Within days the other members of the Balkan League – Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece – joined the conflict with the intention of seizing Macedonia and Thrace. Turkey, which had just lost Tripolitania and Cyrenaica (today's Libya) to Italy, suffered a quick and humiliating defeat. When the victors quarreled over their spoils, the Second Balkan War broke out in 1913, enabling the Turks to recoup some of their losses.
October 9: Columbus Day (U.S.); Thanksgiving Day (Canada); Hangul Day (South Korea).
Commemorating the arrival of Christopher Columbus's expedition in the New World (specifically at San Salvador Island in the Bahamas) on October 12, 1492, Columbus Day became a U.S. federal holiday in 1937. In accord with the Monday Holidays Act of 1968, it is now observed on the second Monday of October. Columbus Day has the distinction of being the least widely observed federal holiday, with South Dakota even seeing fit to rename it "Native American Day" in 1990.
Canada has officially observed a day of Thanksgiving for the autumn harvest since 1879, with Parliament assigning it to the second Monday in October in 1957.
Marking the publication of the Korean alphabet (hangul) by King Sejong the Great in 1446, Hangul Day was an official holiday in South Korea until 1991, when it was downgraded to the status of a national commemoration day to appease large employers who wanted their workers to have fewer days off.
October 12: Holy Translators Day (Armenian Apostolic Church). According to tradition, St. Mesrop Mashtots and St. Sahak Partev created the distinctive Armenian alphabet around A.D. 400 in order to translate the Bible.
October 13: A pack of 200 stray dogs attacked the town of Mamurras in northern Albania, savaging at least nine people in 2004. "Even in the movies I have never seen a horde of 200 stray dogs from the mountains attacking people in the middle of a town," exclaimed one eyewitness. "I was going to a cafe when the pack of dogs attacked and bit me," explained another. "They kept biting and I fell to the ground." Assisted by hunters, the police managed to kill twenty of the dogs, including their leader, and the pack dispersed.
October 15: The Dutch dancer and courtesan Mata Hari (Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, 1876-1917) was executed as a German spy by a French firing squad.
October 16: Oscar Wilde was born in 1854.
October 22: The Great Disappointment (Millerism). The Millerites, a large nineteenth-century Protestant sect, became convinced that the Second Coming of Christ would occur on this day in 1844, with an accompanying purification of the earth by fire. When events did not proceed according to these apocalyptic expectations, the Millerite movement collapsed in dismay and acrimony.
October 23: National Mole Day (unofficial). Celebrated from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m. on the twenty-third day of the tenth month, mostly by pleasantly deranged chemists and the schoolchildren in their power, Mole Day honors the physical constant known as Avogadro's Number (approximately 6.02 x 10^23), a "mole" being a theoretical quantity of molecules equal to said number. It is of no immediate help to know that in 1811 the Italian scientist Amedeo Avogadro (1776-1856) proposed what became known as Avogadro's Law — namely that equal volumes of different gasses, held at the same temperature and pressure, will contain the same number of molecules — for the relevant contemplation of this theory by later scientists led off in a direction having nothing to do with either volumes or gasses. These scientists, however, appear to have felt that decent respect for Avogadro required a Number as well as a Law, so one was designated. The key fact about a mole — indeed the sole reason Avogadro's successors imagined it into existence — is that its weight in grams corresponds to the molecular weight of the molecule composing it. Thus, for example, a mole of water weighs 18 grams, since a water molecule has a molecular weight of 18 (consisting, as it does, of one oxygen atom, with an atomic weight of 16, plus two hydrogen atoms, each with an atomic weight of 1). The most recent estimates of Avogadro's Number place it at 602,213,700 quadrillion (give or take a few quadrillion), which is simultaneously more molecules than the human mind can conceive and less water than would overflow a teacup.
October 24: Nylon stockings went on sale for the first time in 1939, in Wilmington, Delaware.
October 26: The first jackasses came to America in 1795, as a gift from King Charles IV of Spain to President George Washington.
October 29: "Black Tuesday" on the New York Stock Exchange in 1929. Following the disastrous "Black Thursday" (October 24) and "Black Monday" (October 28), panic selling brought the market to its knees. Trading volume set a record not to be broken until 1968.
October 30: Credulous listeners panicked in 1938, believing that the radio play The War of the Worlds depicted a genuine Martian invasion.
October 31: Halloween (a contraction of "Allhallows Even"). A traditional celebration associated with death and the supernatural, Halloween occurs the night before the Catholic and Anglican holiday of All Saints' Day (also known as Allhallows and Hallowmas). although historically an interesting example of the intrusion of pagan preoccupations upon Christian observance, the holiday had been thoroughly sanitized of any genuine morbidity by the early decades of the twentieth century, when it became primarily an opportunity for small children to dress up in costumes and acquire candy from indulgent neighbors. In recent decades it has become an excuse for adults to dress up, as well, and go to parties. Halloween is celebrated throughout the United States and Canada, and to a more limited extent in Europe. And how better to do so than with this highly peculiar card from Archelaus?
While Archelaus reasonably believes the contents of this calendar to be accurate, it disclaims
all liability for the consequences of any action undertaken in reliance upon said contents.