Nov 18, 2017
November 18. In 401, the Visigoths crossed the Alps and invaded northern Italy. In 1302, Pope Boniface VIII issued the Unam Sanctum, claiming spiritual supremacy for the papacy. In 1872, Susan B. Anthony and 14 other women were arrested in Rochester for voting illegally in the Presidential election. They did not pay the fine. In 1928, the first fully synchronized sound cartoon was released starring Mickey and Minnie Mouse. It was directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. In 1959, “Ben Hur,” the movie that introduced me to leprosy, which gave me nightmares for years, premiered at Loew’s Theater in NYC. In 1961, JFK sent 18,000 troops to South Vietnam. In 1966, US Roman Catholic bishops did away with the rule against eating meat on Fridays (goodbye fish sticks). In 1969, Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr and Alan Bean landed on the moon in the 2nd manned lunar mission. In 2003, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts ruled the ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional and gave the state legislature 180 days to change the law. Happy Birthday, Imogene Coca, Don Cherry, Brenda Vaccaro, Margaret Atwood, Chloe Sevigny. Mission: Impeach Predator Trump NOW. End this shit show. It’s enough already.
Nov 11, 2017
November 11. In 1831, Nat Turner was hanged. In 1851, the telescope was patented. In 1918, World War I ended when the Allies and Germany signed an armistice. Later that day, Poland was re-established. In 1940, the Jeep debuted. In 1952, the first video recorder was demonstrated in Beverly Hills. In 1965, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) declared its independence from Britain. In 1972, Berry Oakley of the Allman Brothers was killed in a motorcycle accident. In 1992, the Church of England voted to ordain women as priests. In 1993, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in DC was dedicated to honor the more than 11,000 who served. In 1998, Jay Cochrane set a record for the longest blindfolded skywalk. In 2004, the PLO confirmed the death of Yasser Arafat. Happy Birthday, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Shirley Graham Du Bois, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Jonathan Winters, Bibi Andersson. Mission: Look upward after your breakfast of champions.
Nov 4, 2017
November 4. In 1429, Joan of Arc liberated Saint-Pierre-le-Moutier in the Armagnac-Burgundian Civil War. In 1842, Abe Lincoln and Mary Todd got married. In 1846, the patent for an artificial leg was granted. In 1880, the first cash register was patented. In 1924, Nellie T. Ross was elected the first female governor in America (Wyoming). In 1939, the first air-conditioned car was displayed. In 1960, Dr. Jane Goodall observed chimps creating tools. In 1961, Bob Dylan made his Carnegie Chapter Hall debut. Fifty people came to the show and paid $2/each. In 1989, a million East Germans held a pro-democracy rally in East Berlin. In 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli after a peace rally. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first non-White person to be elected President of the US. Happy Birthday, Walter Cronkite, Mary Sherman Morgan, Hannah Weiner, C.K. Williams, Robert Mapplethorpe. Mission: Scour out the sleaze. It’s everywhere.
Oct 28, 2017
October 28. [A slow news day.] In 1492, Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba. In 1636, the Massachusetts Bay Colony established Harvard. In 1793, Eli Whitney patented that old cotton gin. In 1886, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated by President Cleveland. In 1918, Czechoslovakia declared independence from Austria-Hungary after 300 years. In 1919, Congress enacted the National Prohibition Act. In 1956, Elvis Presley received a polio vaccination on TV, credited with raising immunization levels from .06% to 80% in six months. Happy Birthday, Edith Head, Evelyn Waugh, Jonas Salk, Cleo Laine, Wayne Fontana. It’s International Animation Day. Mission: Prohibit destructive idiocy in American government.
Oct 21, 2017
October 21. In 1774, the word LIBERTY appeared on a colonial flag in Taunton, MA, in defiance of British rule. In 1849, the first tattooed man, James O’Donnell, was put on exhibition at the Franklin Theatre in NYC. In 1858, the Can-Can was performed for the first time in Paris. In 1917, the first US soldier entered combat in WW1 in Nancy, France. In 1918, Margaret Owen set a typing speed record of 170 wpm (I could have challenged her in my legal secretary days). In 1921, President Harding spoke out against lynching. In 1925, 29,620 people were fined for alcohol violations. In 1945, women in France were allowed to vote for the first time. In 1994, North Korea and the US signed an agreement requiring North Korea to halt its nuclear program (hahaha). Happy Birthday, Samuel Coleridge, Dizzy Gillespie, Ursula LeGuin, Carrie Fisher, Elvin Bishop. It’s International Day of the Nacho. Mission: Defy for the sake of liberty (and let’s not forget: 94% of what POTUS says is a lie.)
Oct 14, 2017
October 14. In 1656, Massachusetts enacted punitive legislation against the Quakers, regarding them as politically subversive. (What???) In 1908, the Cubs clinched the World Series (and then waited 108 years to clinch another.) In 1912, Teddy Roosevelt was shot in the chest while campaigning in Milwaukee. In 1926, Winnie the Pooh was published. In 1933, Nazi Germany announced it was withdrawing from the League of Nations. In 1943, prisoners of the Polish Sobibor extermination camp revolted against the Germans. (300 escaped, but only 50 survived the war.) In 1944, Athens was liberated by the British. In 1947, Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in a Bell X-1 rocket plane. In 1962, US intelligence discovered Soviet missile sites in Cuba. In 1964, MLK, JR., received the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1966, Grace Slick debuted with the Jefferson Airplane. In 1968, Jim Hines became the first man to break 10 seconds in the 100-meter sprint. In 1979, 100,000 marched on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights. In 1982, President Reagan proclaimed a War on Drugs. Happy Birthday, Katherine Mansfield, e.e. cummings, Hannah Arendt, Katha Pollitt, Natalie Maines. It’s World Standards Day. Mission: Let’s raise ours in America.
Oct 7, 2017
October 7. In 3761, the modern Hebrew calendar began. In 1542, Cabrillo discovered Santa Catalina. In 1944, Jewish prisoners burned down Crematorium IV in an uprising at Birkenau. In 1956, a US House subcommittee began investigating allegedly rigged TV quiz shows. In 1968, the Motion Picture Association of America adopted the film-rating system. In 1996, Fox “Fake” News Channel began broadcasting [30% False/21% Mostly False/9% Outrageous Lying/10% True]. In 1998, Matthew Shepard was found tied to a fence after being savagely beaten by two young brainless adults in Laramie. Happy Birthday, Joe Hill, Desmond Tutu, Diane Ackerman, Yo-Yo Ma, Sherman Alexie. Mission: Grow your brain. [P.S. Granddaughter born 10/6/17 at 3:33 PM. Everyone doing fantastic.]
Sep 30, 2017
September 30. In 1846, Dr. William Morton performed the first painless tooth extraction using ether. In 1882, the first hydroelectric power plant began operating in Appleton, WI. In 1888, Jack the Ripper killed his 3rd and 4th victims, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes. In 1927, Babe Ruth hit his 60th homerun of the season, a record that stood for 34 years until broken by Roger Maris. In 1946, 22 top Nazis were found guilty of war crimes by an international military tribunal in Nuremberg. In 1962, on his 4th attempt, James Meredith registered at the University of Mississippi. On the same day, Cesar Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association. In 1997, France’s Roman Catholic Church apologized for its silence during the persecution and deportation of Jews. Happy Birthday, Rumi, Ann Jarvis, W.S. Merwin, Elie Wiesel, Frankie Lymon. It’s Blasphemy Day, which celebrates freedom of expression. Mission: Scream profanities at those who deserve them.
Sep 23, 2017
September 23. In 1806, Lewis and Clark returned to St. Louis after exploring the Pacific Northwest. In 1846, Johann Galle, Jean LeVerrier and John Couch discovered Neptune. In 1930, flashbulbs were patented by Johannes Ostermeier. In 1957, the Little Rock 9 withdrew from Little Rock High as they were besieged by a dangerous and brainless white mob outside the school. The next day, Eisenhower sent in heavily armed US troops, who remained throughout the school year, as did the 9 students, albeit bullied and sickeningly beaten. In 1962, “The Jetsons” premiered on ABC as the first ABC program in color. In 1964, Chagall’s ceiling painting at the Paris Opera house was unveiled. In 1969, the London Daily mirror reported Paul McCartney was dead (fake news). In 1980, Bob Marley performed his last show. Happy Birthday, Victoria Chaflin Woodhull (first woman to run for President), Louise Nevelson, John Coltrane, Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen. It’s Kyrgyz Language Day. Mission: Күнүңүз жакшы өтсүн! And rock on.
Sep 16, 2017
September 16. In1620, the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, for Provincetown, MA, with 102 passengers. In 1630, the village of Shawmut changed its name to Boston. In 1814, Francis Scott Key completed “The Star-Spangled Banner.” In 1959, the first photocopier, the Xerox 914, was demonstrated on live TV. In 1963, “The Outer Limits” premiered on ABC. In 1964, “Shindig” premiered on ABC. In 1970, Jimi Hendrix made his final public appearance in London. In 1974, President Ford announced an amnesty program for Vietnam War draft evaders. In 1976, the Episcopal Church approved women as priests and bishops. In 1992, Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was given a 40-year sentence for drug trafficking and money laundering. Happy Birthday, Anna Kingsford, Jean Arp, BB King, Betty Kelly (Martha and the Vandellas), Henry Louis Gates, Jr. It’s International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer and National Guacamole Day. Mission: Dance in the streets. Kiss the sky.
Sep 9, 2017
September 9. In 490 BC, the Battle of Marathon between the Persians and the Athenians took place--the marathon race was derived from this (RUN LIKE HELL!). In 1776, it was decided that the “United States” would replace the “United Colonies.” In 1836, Lincoln got his law degree. In 1850, California joined the union. In 1940, George Stibitz pioneered the first remote operation of a computer. In 1942, Japan dropped bombs in an attempt to set fire to Oregon and Washington, but the fires did not ignite (Hmmm—call that kid?). In 1948, North Korea became the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (hahahaha). In 1956, Elvis made his first appearance on Ed Sullivan’s “Toast of the Town.” He was shot from only the waist up. In 1969, Hendrix made his TV debut on the “The Dick Cavett Show.” In 1997, Sinn Fein (IRA’s ally) formally renounced violence. Happy Birthday, Leo Tolstoy, Topol, Otis Redding, Inez Foxx, Dee Dee Sharp. It’s Steak Au Poivre Day and Wienerschnitzel Day. Mission: Renounce violence. (Eat a little meat?)
Sep 2, 2017
September 2. In 1649, the Italian city of Castro was completely destroyed by the forces of Pope Innocent (?!#$%?) X. In 1666, the Great Fire of London broke out and burned for 3 days, destroying 10,000 buildings. In 1775, the “Hannah,” first American war vessel, was commissioned by General George Washington. In 1792, during the French Revolution, mobs slaughtered 3 Roman Catholic bishops and more than 200 priests believed to be royalist sympathizers. In 1945, Japan surrendered to the US aboard the USS Missouri, ending WW2, which lasted 6 years and 1 day. On the same day, Vietnam declared its independence. In 1963, Alabama Governor George “StupidAss” Wallace sent in state troopers to prevent the integration of Tuskegee High School. On the same day, the “CBS Evening News” went from 15 to 30 minutes. In 1969, “Star Trek” was cancelled. In 1985, a French/American expedition found the “Titanic,” missing for 73 years. Happy Birthday, Lucretia Hale, Cleveland Amory, Horace Silver, Rosalind Ashford, Christa McAuliffe. Mission: Keep looking.
Aug 26, 2017
Saturday Morning Post. August 26. In 1498, Michelangelo was commissioned to carve the Pieta. In 1791, John Fitch patented the steamboat. In 1920, women were given the right to vote by the passage of the 19th amendment. In 1947, Don Bankhead became the first Black major league pitcher. In 1957, the first Edsel rolled off the Ford assembly line. In 1970, the Women’s Strike for Equality was held across America. In 1973, a US Presidential Proclamation declared August 26 Women’s Equality Day. In 1987, Fuller Brush Co opened its first retail store in Dallas. In 2009, Jaycee Dugard was discovered alive after missing for 18 years. Happy Birthday, Zona Gale, Eleanor Dark, Katherine Johnson, Geraldine Ferraro, Melissa McCarthy. It’s Women’s Equality Day. (And tomorrow is Go Topless Day.) Mission: Get rid of these idiotic bullies! NOW! Full steam ahead.
Aug 19, 2017
Saturday Morning Post. August 19. In 295 BC, the first temple to Venus, goddess of love, beauty and fertility, was dedicated in Rome. In 1848, gold was discovered in California and announced in the New York Herald. In 1856, Gail Borden patented a process of condensing milk by vacuum. In 1934, Adolf Hitler was given sole executive power in Germany and proclaimed Fuehrer. On that same day, the first All-American Soap Box Derby was held in Dayton. In 1944, Paris rose up against German occupation with the help of the Allies. In 1960, the Soviet Union launched two dogs, 40 mice, 2 rats and a variety of plants into space. In 1964, the Beatles began their first American tour in San Francisco. In 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev was placed under house arrest while on holiday. (Hmmm) Happy Birthday, Bernard Baruch, Coco Chanel, Ogden Nash, Renee Richards, Ginger Baker. It is World Humanitarian Day. Mission: Condense humanely.
Aug 12, 2017
August 12. In 1865, disinfectant was used for the first time during surgery. In 1867, President Andrew Johnson sparked a move to impeach him when he suspended Secretary of War Edwin Stanton in defiance of Congress. In 1877, Thomas Edison invented the phonograph and made the first sound recording. In 1883, the last quagga died in Amsterdam. In 1898, the Spanish-American War ended. America acquired Guam. In 1939, “The Wizard of Oz” premiered in Oconomowoc, WI. In 1950, North Korean troops massacred 75 Americans POWs in the Bloody Gulch Massacre. In 1964, Mickey Mantle set a major league record when he hit home runs from both sides of the plate in the same game. And South Africa was banned from the Olympics due to their racist policies. In 1966, John Lennon apologized for saying “the Beatles are more popular than Jesus.” In 1998, Swiss banks agreed to pay $1.25 billion to Holocaust victims for restitution. Happy Birthday, Helena Blavatsky, Katharine Lee Bates, Zerna Addis Sharp, Walter Dean Myers. Mission: Mend.
Aug 5, 2017
August 5. In 1620, the Mayflower departed from Southampton, England, on its first attempt to reach North America. In 1861, the federal government levied its first income tax—3% of all incomes over $800. On this same date, the US Army abolished flogging. In 1884, the cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was laid. In 1921, the first cartoon to win a Pulitzer Prize (“On the Road to Moscow”) was published. In 1925, Houdini spent 91 minutes underwater in a sealed tank before escaping. In 1957, “American Bandstand” debuted on ABC. In 1962, Nelson Mandela began his 28-year prison term. In 1974, Nixon ordered the investigation into Watergate halted, but said he expected to be impeached. Happy Birthday, Guy du Maupassant, Mary Ritter Beard, Betty Oliphant, Wendell Berry, Jesse Williams. Mission: If you are going to flog, flog those who deserve it. If you need help with that, I’ve got some suggestions.
Jul 29, 2017
July 29. In 587 BC, the Neo-Babylonians sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the First Temple. In 1773, the first schoolhouse west of the Allegheny Mountains was built in Ohio. In 1874, lawn tennis was patented. In 1914, the first cross-country phone call was made between San Francisco and New York. In 1966, Bob Dylan was seriously injured when he crashed his motorcycle. In 2005, Xena, a planet larger than Pluto, was discovered orbiting the sun. Happy Birthday, Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil (“The Redemptress,” who freed all Brazilian slaves in 1888), Clara Bow, Theda Bara, Dag Hammarskjold, Stanley Kunitz, Melvin Belli. It’s International Tiger Day. Mission: Move quietly and with utter grace.
Jul 22, 2017
July 22. In 1376, the Pied Piper of Hamelin led the rats out of Hamelin. In 1893, Katharine Lee Bates wrote “America the Beautiful” inspired by the view from Pikes Peak, CO. In 1926, Babe Ruth caught a baseball dropped from an airplane at 250 feet. In 1933, Caterina Jarboro became the first Black prima donna of US opera history, singing “Aida” at the Met. In 1979, Little Richard, then a reverend, warned against the evils of rock & roll in a California revival meeting. In 2000, astronomers found a 17th moon orbiting Jupiter. In 2009, the longest total solar eclipse (6 minutes/38.8 secs) of the 21st century occurred over Asia and the Pacific. Happy Birthday, Emma Lazarus, Edward Hopper, Stephen Vincent Benet, Tom Robbins, Albert Brooks, Rufus Wainwright. It’s Ratcatcher’s Day. Mission: You know who they are so GET ‘EM OUT OF HERE.
Jul 15, 2017
July 15. In 70, Titus breached the walls of Jerusalem. In 1410, the Poles and Lithuanians (my people!) defeated the Teutonic knights at Tannenburg. In 1834, the Spanish Inquisition was officially disbanded after 356 years. In 1838, Ralph Waldo Emerson discounted the divinity of Jesus, declaring him a great man but not God, in a speech at Harvard Divinity School. The Protestant community was outraged. In 1901, 74,000 steel workers in Pittsburgh went on strike. In 1910, Alzheimer’s disease was named after Alois Alzheimer. In 1922, the duck-billed platypus arrived in America (Bronx Zoo). In 1972, NASA’s Pioneer 10 became the first spacecraft to enter the asteroid belt. In 2006, Twitter was launched. Happy Birthday, Rembrandt, Emmeline Pankhurst, Iris Murdoch, Vivian Malone Jones, Linda Ronstadt. It’s Elderly Men Day. Mission: Save your outrage for the outrageous. Honor our old men.
Jul 8, 2017
July 8. In 1099, 15,000 starving Christian soldiers began the siege of Jerusalem by marching in a religious procession around the city as its Muslim defenders watched. In 1776, Col. John Nixon gave the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. In 1865, the machine gun was patented. In 1889, John Sullivan defeated Jake Kilrain in the last championship bare-knuckle fight (75 rounds). In 1969, Twister was patented. In 1932, the Dow Jones Industrial Average bottomed out at 41.22. In 1962, Ne Win besieged and dynamited the Rangoon University Student Union to crush the Burmese Student Movement. In 1969, Marianne Faithfull took an overdose of barbiturates on the set of “Ned Kelly.” Happy Birthday, Kathe Kollwitz, Billy Eckstine, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Raffi, Angelica Huston, Beck. Mission: Don’t use religion as a weapon. Biggest hypocrisy of all. (Also, please leave it out of American government.)