January 13, 2013 - Rubber Duckie Day

What does my favorite Sesame Street character, Ernie, have to do with a song that hit the Billboard Top 40 chart for pop/rock for seven weeks of 1970?

That song was “Rubber Duckie,” and since the duckie in question belongs to Ernie, he was the singer credited with this hit!

Take a listen—and remember that this song was on the same pop/rock list as “I'll Be There” by the Jackson 5 and “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor, along with hits by the Beatles, the Who, and the Grateful Dead! 

For today's foreign language lesson, listen to this song dubbed in German—and with a techno beat! 

Why is today, of all days, “Rubber Duckie” Day? Today is the birthday of Ernie's famous rubber duckie. But we can all celebrate with our very own (non-famous) rubber duckies, of course!

Are rubber duckies made of rubber?

They used to be, in the late 19th Century—hence the name! But nowadays more durable, flexible plastic bath ducks have taken over the market. They are generally yellow with flat bottoms, but some special duckies have hit the market—including an Elvis rubber duckie. A woman named Charlotte Lee has the world's largest collection of rubber duckies—2,583, to be exact.

Squeakers and squirters

Some rubber duckies squeak when squeezed. Some squirt water from their mouths when squeezed. We can definitely say that Ernie's rubber duckie is a squeaker, not a squirter. How about yours?

(Some rubber duckies don't squeak or squirt. They last longer, float better, and even stay cleaner than their fun-oriented cousins because there is no way for water and dirt and soap scum and mold to get or grow inside.)

By the way...

Ernie's rubber duckie, like most, is bright yellow with orange beak and feet. But have you ever seen a real duck with those colors?

 Rubber duckies probably get their cheerful coloring from the most common color scheme of baby duckings.


Check out this amazing real-world rubber duckie story:

During a Pacific storm on January 10, 1992, over 29,000 rubber ducky bath toys from a Chinese company were washed off of a cargo ship. Months after the storm, about two thirds of the rubber duckies had made there way to the shores of Indonesia, Australia, and South America. Some of the ducks also entered into the Bering Straight between Alaska and Russia where they became trapped in the Arctic ice. The ducks slowly made their way through the ice at one mile per day and in 2000, they were spotted in the Northern Atlantic Ocean. Talk about some world traveled ducks!” (from My Life with Malcolm)

Also on this date:

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