May 27, 2017
May 27. In 1647, America executed its first so-called witch, Alice Young. In 1668, three colonists were expelled from Massachusetts for being Baptists. In 1907, the Bubonic Plague broke out in San Francisco. In 1941, the Bismarck was sunk, killing 2100 German soldiers. In 1964, 11 boys were suspended in Coventry England for having hair like Mick Jagger. Happy Birthday, Amelia Bloomer, Isadora Duncan, Rachel Carson, Siouxsie Sioux, Left Eye. It’s Slavery Abolition Day and the beginning of National Reconciliation Week. Mission: Don’t wear a neck scarf while riding in a convertible. And watch the new Rachel Carson documentary on “American Experience.”
May 20, 2017
May 6. In 1527, Spanish and German troops sacked Rome, signaling the end of the Renaissance. In 1840, the first adhesive postage stamp went on sale in Great Britain. In 1877, Chief Crazy Horse surrendered in Nebraska. In 1915, Babe Ruth hit his first major league home run. In 1937, the Hindenburg crashed and burned in New Jersey. In 1954, Roger Banister broke the four-minute mile. In 1960, Eisenhower signed the Civil Rights Act of 1960, which attempted to ensure justice in voter registration procedures. Happy Birthday, Sigmund Freud, Orson Welles, Sonia Rykiel, Willie Mays, Angela Hernandez Nunez. It’s International No Diet Day. Mission: Eat well, no limits. You need strength for the new Renaissance. Oh, and what about those voter registration laws???
May 20. In 1506, Christopher Columbus died a pauper. In 1609, Shakespeare’s sonnets were first published. In 1830, the fountain pen was patented. In 1873, Levi Strauss began marketing blue jeans with copper rivets. In 1930, the first airplane was catapulted from a dirigible. In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. In 1940, the first “campers” arrived at Auschwitz. In 1941, Germany invaded Crete. In 1961, a white mob attacked the Freedom Riders in Montgomery. In 1978, Mavis Hutchinson (53) became the first woman to run across America. In 1989, Gilda Radner died. Happy Birthday, Honoré de Balzac, Henri Rousseau, Joe Cocker, Cher. It’s Josephine Baker Day and National Awakening Day in Indonesia. Mission: Dress up and dance for national awakening.
May 13, 2017
May 13. In 1821, the first practical printing press was patented. In 1861, Britain declared its neutrality in the American Civil War. In 1873, Ludwig Wolf patented the sewing machine lamp holder. In 1888, slavery was abolished in Brazil. In 1917, the Virgin Mary was spotted in Portugal. In 1954, “The Pajama Game” debuted on Broadway. In 1958, VP Nixon’s limo was battered by rocks in Caracas. In 1960, hundreds of UC Berkeley students protested against a visit by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. In 1989, groups of Chinese students occupied Tiananmen Square. In 1995, Alison Hargreaves became the first woman to conquer Everest without oxygen or a Sherpa. Happy Birthday, George Braque, Daphne du Maurier, Mary Wells, Stevie Wonder, Stephen Colbert (He is on fire these days!) Mission: Stamp out all this un-American activity. Impeach now.
Apr 29, 2017
April 29. In 1429, Joan of Arc led Orleans, France, to victory over Britain. In 1672, rubber was patented. In 1852, the first Roget’s Thesaurus was published. In 1913, Gideon Sundback patented an all-purpose zipper. In 1945, Dachau was liberated. In 1967, Ali was stripped of his boxing title for refusing to be inducted into the Army. In 1990, the destruction of the Berlin Wall began. In 1992, the Rodney King riots began in Los Angeles. In 2003, Mr. T sued Best Buy. Happy Birthday, Constantine Cavafy, Duke Ellington, April Stevens, Tammi Terrell, Daniel Day-Lewis. It’s Day of Remembrance of all the Victims of Chemical Warfare, Sean. It’s International Dance Day. It’s March for Climate Day (N. Williams and Stanton at noon). Mission: Victory over THE WHITE HOUSE. It’s enough already. March for sanity.
Apr 22, 2017
April 22. In 1864, Congress passed legislation allowing “In God We Trust” to be inscribed on one and two-cent coins. In 1915, at the Second Battle of Ypres, the Germans debuted poison gas. On the same day, the New York Yankees debuted pinstriped uniforms. In 1952, the first nuclear explosion was shown on live network TV (Nevada test). In 1966, the Troggs’ “Wild Thing” was released. In 1969, John Lennon changed his middle name from Winston to Ono. In 1970, the first Earth Day was observed. Happy Birthday, Vladimir Nabokov, Rita Levi-Montalcini (1986 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology), Yehudi Menuhin, Charles Mingus, Louise Gluck. It’s Earth Day. Mission: Honor our Mother.
Apr 15, 2017
April 15. In 1784, the first balloon was flown in Ireland. In 1850, San Francisco was incorporated. In 1865, Abraham Lincoln died. In 1912, the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic. In 1923, insulin became available for the diabetic. In 1945, British and Canadian troops liberated Bergen-Belsen, where Anne Frank and her sister had died of typhus only weeks before. In 1947, Jackie Robinson played his first major league game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1953, Pope Pius XII gave his approval for psychoanalysis. In 1964, the first Ford Mustang rolled off the showroom floor. In 1996, Jerry Garcia’s ashes were scattered under the Golden Gate Bridge (a small portion were scattered in the Ganges also). In 1998, Pol Pot died, evading prosecution for the deaths of millions of Cambodians. Happy Birthday, Leonardo da Vinci, Henry James, Bessie Smith, Claudia Cardinale, Emma Thompson. It’s Jackie Robinson Day, International Day of Culture and World Art Day. Mission: Let art and culture be your psychiatrist. Then float.
Apr 8, 2017
Saturday Morning Post. April 8. In 1093, Winchester Cathedral was dedicated. In 1730, Shearith Israel, the first synagogue in NYC, was dedicated. In 1820, the Venus de Milo was discovered on Milos. In 1864, the US Senate passed the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery (so to speak). In 1873, oleomargarine was patented. In 1939, Italy invaded Albania. In 2002, Suzan-Lori Parks became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for drama. Happy Birthday, Guatama Buddha, Carmen McRae, Jacques Brel, Barbara Kingsolver, Julian Lennon. It’s International Romani Day. Mission: Use butter. Find art. Fund art.
Apr 1, 2017
April 1. In 1578, William Harvey discovered blood circulation. In 1748, the ruins of Pompeii were found. In 1778, Oliver Pollock created the “$” symbol. In 1924, Hitler was sentenced to five years in prison for high treason. (Too bad it wasn’t 50.) In 1929, Louie Marx introduced the Yo-Yo. In 1933, Nazi Germany called for a boycott of Jewish businesses (Step 1). In 1970, President Nixon signed a bill banning cigarette advertisements on TV and radio. In 1976, Apple Computer began. In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage. In 2004, Google announced gmail. Happy Birthday, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Alberta Hunter, Maria Polydouri, Debbie Reynolds, Gil Scot-Heron. It’s Fossil Fools Day and Edible Book Day. Mission: Eat a fossil fool. There are many.
Mar 25, 2017
Saturday Morning Post. March 25. In 1776, the Continental Congress decided to give General George Washington a medal. In 1807, Britain abolished the slave trade. In 1811, Percy Shelley was expelled from Oxford for publishing The Necessity of Atheism. In 1900, the US Socialist Party was formed in Indianapolis. In 1902, 567 students were found guilty of “political disaffection” in Russia and exiled to Siberia. (Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.) In 1911, 146 women were killed in the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire in New York. (The owners were indicted for manslaughter as women were stuck behind locked doors—but acquitted. They did have to pay damages to 23 families.) In 1954, RCA manufactured its first color TV and began mass production. In 1957, US Customs seized Ginsberg’s Howl on obscenity grounds. In 1965, MLK Jr. led a march of 25,000 from Selma to Montgomery’s capitol. In 1969, John and Yoko held their first Bed-In for Peace in Amsterdam. In 1985, Prince won an Oscar. In 1998, an Oregon cancer patient was the first known to die under the dotor-assisted suicide law. Happy Birthday, Simone Signoret, Flannery O’Connor, Gloria Steinem, Aretha Franklin, Elton John. It’s Revolution Day in Greece, Struggle for Human Rights Day in Slovakia and Tolkien Reading Day. Mission: Revolt, resist, read. And celebrate these fabulous birthday people.
Mar 18, 2017
March 18. In 37, Caligula was proclaimed emperor of Rome. In 1673, Lord Berkley sold his half of New Jersey to the Quakers. In 1766, the Stamp Act was repealed. In 1818, the US Congress approved the first pensions for government service. In 1931, Schick introduced the first electric shaver. In 1940, Hitler and Mussolini met and decided to work together. In 1945, 1250 bombers attacked Berlin. In 1965, Russian cosmonaut Leonov became the first human to walk in space. In 1986, the US Treasury announced that a clear, polyester thread was to be woven into bills to thwart counterfeiters. In 1990, the first free elections took place in East Germany. In 1994, four guns and 25 boxes of ammo were confiscated from Kurt Cobain after his wife, Courtney Love, called police fearing he was going to commit suicide, which he did 3 weeks later. In 1998, Michael Jackson and his son went shopping for toys in Munich. Jackson dressed as an Arab woman. Happy Birthday, George Plimpton, John Updike, Susan Tyrrell, Bonnie Blair, Queen Latifah. Mission: Take a walk in someone else’s shoes. Dress like an Arab woman.
Mar 11, 2017
March 11. In 537, the Goths began their siege on Rome. In 1302, Romeo and Juliet were married. In 1818, Frankenstein was first published. In 1969, Levi-Strauss started selling bell-bottoms. In 1986, Popsicle ended the twin-stick frozen treat model in favor of the one-stick model. In 1990, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare independence from the Soviet Union. In 1993, Janet Reno became the first female attorney general. In 1993, North Fucking Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Happy Birthday, Wanda Gág, Ralph Abernathy, Harvey Mandel, Bobby McFerrin, Nina Hagen. It’s Johnny Appleseed Day. Mission: Grow something.
Mar 4, 2017
March 4. In 1634, the first tavern opened in Boston. In 1789, the first US Congress met and declared the US Constitution was in effect. In 1877, Emile Berliner invented the microphone. In 1908, whipping students in schools was banned. In 1917, Jeanette Rankin became the first woman elected to the House of Representatives. In 1933, Labor Secretary Frances Perkins became the first woman to serve in a Presidential cabinet. In 1950, “Cinderella” was released. Happy Birthday, Antonio Vivaldi, Barbara Follett, Robert R. Wilson, Miriam Makeba, Lynn Sherr. Mission: Grant a wish today.
Feb 25, 2017
February 25. In 1836, Samuel Colt was granted a patent for the revolver. In 1848, the provisional government in revolutionary France guaranteed workers’ rights. In 1866, miners in Calaveras County, CA, discovered the Calaveras Skull, indicating that man, mastodons and elephants had co-existed. In 1919, Oregon became the first state to levy a gas tax. In 1941, a General Strike was called in Amsterdam in response to increasing anti-Jewish measures instituted by the Nazis. In 1986, in the People Power Revolution, Ferdinand Marcos fled the Philippines and Corazon Aquino became the first woman president. Happy Birthday, Maria Margarethe Kirch, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Myra Hess, Anthony Burgess, George Harrison. It’s Day of the Revolution in Suriname and People Power Day in the Philippines. Mission: Co-exist with the mastodons?
Feb 18, 2017
February 18. In 1841, the first continuous filibuster in the US Senate began and lasted until March 11. In 1930, Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly and be milked in an airplane. On the same day, Pluto was discovered. In 1970, the Chicago Seven were found innocent of conspiring to incite riots at the ’68 Democratic National Convention. In 2006, Shani Davis became the first Black athlete to win an individual gold in Winter Olympics history. Happy Birthday, Nikkos Kazantzakis, Wallace Stegner, Toni Morrison, Yoko Ono, Audre Lorde. It’s National Democracy Day in Nepal. Mission: Milk the rage. It’s justified.
Feb 11, 2017
February 11. In 1790, the Quakers petitioned the US Congress to abolish slavery. In 1812, the term "gerrymandering" was coined when the governor of Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry, signed a redistricting law that favored his party. In 1937, General Motors agreed to recognize the United Automobile Workers Union, ending a 44-day sit-down strike. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZ7v1FQJTiQ In 1964, the Beatles played their first live American concert in DC. In 1990, Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in prison. In 1993, Janet Reno became the first woman Attorney General under (dare I say it?) Bill Clinton. Happy Birthday, Tina Louise, Mary Quant, Sergio Mendes, Sheryl Crow, D’Angelo. Mission: Sit down for a second and relax.
Feb 4, 2017
February 4. In 1783, Britain declared a formal cessation of hostilities with America. In 1789, electors unanimously chose George Washington to be the first President of the US. In 1824, JW Goodrich introduced rubber galoshes. In 1952, Jackie Robinson became the first black executive of a major radio/TV network (NBC). In 1957, the first electric typewriters went on sale. In 1986, I got married to Steve Sander. Happy Birthday, Jacques Prevert, Rosa Parks, Ida Lupino, Betty Friedan, Jonathan Larson. It’s World Cancer Day. Mission: Gather all your strength to fight the cancer that is eating this country.
Jan 28, 2017
January 28. In 1935, Iceland became the first country to introduce legalized abortion. In 1956, Elvis made his first TV appearance. In 1958, Legos were patented. In 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded just after takeoff. In 2017, a maniac finished his first week of destroying America and everything it stands for. Happy Birthday, Colette, Artur Rubinstein, Alice Neel, Jackson Pollock, Susan Sontag. Mission: Scream against this bogus, destructive bully machine.
Jan 21, 2017
January 21. In 1789, the first American novel, The Power of Sympathy or the Triumph of Nature Founded in Truth, was printed in Boston. In 1793, King Louis XVI was executed for treason during the French Revolution. In 1853, the envelope folding machine was patented. In 1865, an oil well was drilled by torpedoes for the first time. In 1977, President Carter pardoned almost all Vietnam War draft evaders. In 1997, Newt Gingrich was fined for ethical misconduct. Happy Birthday, Richie Havens. It’s Grandmother’s Day in Poland and National Hugging Day in America. Mission: Hug like a grandmother. March like a stallion. "The beginning is near."
Jan 14, 2017
January 14. In 1784, the Treaty of Paris, ending the Revolution War, was ratified by the US. In 1878, Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated the telephone for Queen Victoria. In 1954, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were married. In 1967, the first Be-in took place in Golden Gate Park, launching the Summer of Love. (Anyone there? I would have been, but I was in high school in Stockton, didn’t have a car, my parents would have never let me, I was chicken to overtly defy them, and I wasn’t a hippie. What was I? An annoyed A factory, among other things.) In 1985, Martina Navratilova won her 100th tournament. Happy Birthday, Cecil Beaton, Tillie Olsen, Julian Bond, T-Bone Burnett, Maureen Dowd. It’s Day of Defenders of the Motherland in Uzbekistan, Feast of the Ass in Medieval Christianity, Revolution and Youth Day in Tunisia. Mission: Start a revolution and feast on the asses.