Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations

Whiffy’s Club

Because Marilyn Meissler had always wondered if she was the only person who liked the smell of skunks, in 1989 she placed an ad in USA Today seeking out other skunk lovers:

Calling all Skunk Lovers. My family and friends think I am the only person in the world that likes the skunk scent. I would like to prove them wrong, so if you or anyone you know likes the scent, please reply.

She got such a positive response that a year later she founded "Whiffy's Club" — a club for people who like the odor of skunks. For $35 members got a t-shirt, button, membership card, and newsletter. And for an extra $11, they got a bottle of skunk aroma.

Montreal Gazette - July 3, 1989

Sequoyah County Times - Jan 31, 1991

Posted By: Alex - Fri Dec 03, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Perfume and Cologne and Other Scents

International Association of People Who Dine Over the Kitchen Sink

Norm Hankoff had the idea for the "International Association of People Who Dine Over the Kitchen Sink" in 1991, while he was standing at the sink using potato chips to spoon tuna salad into his mouth.

The next year he founded the Association. He referred to its members as 'sinkies'. Then, in 1994, he came out with The Official Sinkies Don't Cook Book, which included "recipes" such as:

  • cakeless frosting
  • a handful of mashed potatoes
  • a cracker topped with mayo, then another cracker, then American cheese, then another cracker, mustard, cracker, pickle chip, cracker and Swiss cheese
  • chocolate cake in a glass of milk

Amazon Link

The Association still exists. Or, at least, it still has a website:

Sinkies consider the day after Thanksgiving to be their annual holiday. They call it "Dine Over Your Kitchen Sink Day".

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 25, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Food, Thanksgiving

American Tentative Society

The officers of the American Tentative Society insisted that, despite the odd name, the society wasn't a joke. Its purpose, they explained, was to promote the idea that scientific knowledge should always be regarded as tentative — subject to growth, revision, and change.

The three founders of the society were science journalists Alton Blakeslee, Rennie Taylor, and Pat McGrady. They came up with the concept in the mid-1960s, but it remained nothing more than a crazy idea until 1974, when Taylor died. In his will he bequeathed $300,000 to making the society a reality. This left the other two stuck with the problem of how to spend the money. So they solicited ideas from the public.

As far as I can tell, they ended up using some of the money to give awards to scientists (such as Stephen Jay Gould) whom they viewed as embracing the tentative nature of scientific knowledge. The rest of it was eventually given to the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing to endow a fellowship awarded annually to students accepted for enrollment in graduate-level programs in science writing.

Science - May 24, 1974

Posted By: Alex - Tue Oct 19, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Science, 1970s

Who’s Nobody in America

Back in 1979, when being in Who's Who still had some kind of cultural cachet, Derek Evans and Dave Fulwiler decided to create an anti-Who's-Who, which they called "Who's Nobody in America." To acquire entries, they placed the following ad in newspapers:


Will your name be omitted from the 1980 edition of Who's Who?

Nobody Press is currently compiling the 1980 edition of Who's Nobody in America. This handsomely bound and widely distributed reference work will, for the first time, provide a comprehensive list of American nobodies.

If you think you might be a nobody, or know of one, at no cost or obligation, complete the attached request for applications."

Applicants included:
  • A woman who complained she had been seeing her psychiatrist monthly for eight years and he often called her Evelyn. Her name was Mildred.
  • An entire American Legion post in Newport, Ky.

More info: Washington Post

Posted By: Alex - Sat Aug 28, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Success & Failure, Books, Satire

Flagon and Trencher Society

In order to become a member of the Flagon and Trencher society, one has to satisfy the following rule of eligibility:

Those persons, either male or female, who can prove direct descent from an individual who conducted a tavern, inn, ordinary, or other type of hostelry prior to 4 July 1776 (within any of the the American Colonies that existed at that time).

According to their website, the society was founded in 1962 by Walter Lee Shepard and the late Kenneth Stryker-Rodda. As of 2002, they had more than 1000 members.

There's a $200 fee to apply to join. But if you apply and can't satisfactorily prove descent from a colonial barkeep, you'll only get a portion of that fee back.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jul 08, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Inebriation and Intoxicants

International Stop Continental Drift Society

The International Stop Continental Drift Society (ISCDS) was founded in 1976 by geologist John Holden with these demands: "the continents to stop moving, the sea floor to stop spreading, and such inconveniences as major earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to cease immediately." Its motto was "Eschew Sea-Floor Spreading." It also issued a newsletter that "like natural disasters will appear without warning".

By 1981 it had grown to 300 members. Mostly fellow geologists. However, Holden admitted, "So far, our demands have not been satisfactorily met."

By the mid-1980s it seems to have faded away. Although it does have a Facebook page (set to private) with 154 members.

More info: Science Year 1982,

"Dutch geologists drive a giant screw into the ground at Leiden, The Netherlands, in an attempt to stop the Eurasian tectonic plate from moving. The scientists are members of the International Stop Continental Drift Society whose purpose is to put some stability in the earth's crust."

Jack Holden - founder of the ISCDS
Longview Daily News - Sep 15, 1981

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jul 03, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Humor, Science

Uglies Unlimited

Uglies Unlimited was founded by Danny McCrory in 1973. Its purpose was to promote the rights of ugly people. As far as I can tell, it remained in existence for only about a year.

Seems ironic that the member the media chose to focus on (below) was obviously attractive.

Camden Courier-Post - Nov 14, 1973

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jun 09, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, 1970s

International Society for the Abolition of Data-Processing Machines

The International Society for the Abolition of Data-Processing Machines (or ISADAPROM) was founded by Harvey Matusow in the late 1960s. Its aim was "to conduct guerrilla warfare against the computer by such means as sending a penny too much or too little when paying a utility bill."

San Francisco Examiner - Oct 27, 1968

Matusow also authored The Beast of Business, which was supposed to serve as a manual for the guerrilla warfare against the computer. I wonder if any of the techniques he detailed would still work today?

However, Matusow is best known for giving evidence in court against individuals during the McCarthy era. Later he claimed that the FBI had paid him to give false testimony, and he detailed these allegations in his book False Witness.

He seems to have had a rather eccentric life and career. Some other highlights of it, from the University of Sussex's page about him:

  • Founded a band called the Harvey Matusow’s Jew’s Harp Band
  • Married approximately twelve times
  • Is possibly part of the reason The Beatles broke up – he held the party where John Lennon met Yoko Ono
  • Worked as a children’s TV clown called Cockyboo in Tucson, Arizona
  • Converted to Mormonism and spent his last years known as Job Matusow

Posted By: Alex - Sat May 29, 2021 - Comments (7)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Technology, Computers, 1960s

American Airlines Wine Club

Fans of mile-high drinking can now get a taste of the same experience at home thanks to the new American Airlines Wine Club. For $99 a month, members get three bottles of some of the wines served inflight shipped to them each month.

I'm sure it's good wine. For $33 a bottle, it better be. But it seems to me like a weird extension of the American Airlines' brand. Although as an economy flyer I associate air travel with misery and discomfort. Perhaps if I flew first-class I'd feel differently.

via Retail Therapy

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 28, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Inebriation and Intoxicants, Air Travel and Airlines, Alcohol


Rumors of the existence of an organization with these initials have been circulating for decades. It's said to stand for the Pan-American Protective Program for the Prevention of People Putting Parsley on Potatoes in Public Places.

Variations on the name do exist, such as the Society for the Prevention of People Putting Parsley on People’s Plates in Prominent Public Places.

Oakland Tribune - Sep 9, 1941

Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Mar 18, 1939

Posted By: Alex - Thu Feb 27, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations

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