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.
Jan 7, 2017
January 7. In 1887, Thomas Stevens made the first world-wide bike ride, riding 13,500 miles in three years. In 1924 at age 26, George Gershwin completed “Rhapsody in Blue.” In 1949, the first photograph of genes was shown at USC. In 1955, Marian Anderson became the first African-American to sing at the New York Metropolitan Opera. In 1963, Gary “US” Bonds sued Chubby Checker. In 1979, Vietnamese troops seized Phnom Penh, toppling the brutal regime of Pol Pot. In 1990, the Leaning Tower of Pisa was closed to the public due to too much leaning. Happy Birthday, Zora Neale Hurston, Butterfly McQueen, Vincent Gardenia, Katie Couric. It’s Victory from Genocide Day in Cambodia. Mission: Don’t fall down. Don’t allow genocide.
Dec 31, 2016
Saturday Morning Post. December 31. In 1687, the first Huguenots set sail for the Cape of Good Hope, where they later created the South African wine industry with the vines they took with them on the voyage. In 1841, Alabama enacted the first dental legislation. In 1897, Brooklyn, NY, spent its last day as a separate entity before becoming part of New York City. In 1907, the first New Year’s Eve celebration was held in Times Square (known then as Longacre Square). In 1946, President Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II. In 1970, Paul McCartney filed a suit to dissolve the Beatles. In 1999, Russian President Boris Yeltsin resigned. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was designated acting president. In 2009, both a blue moon and a lunar eclipse occurred. Happy Birthday, Henri Matisse, Elizabeth Arden, Simon Wiesenthal, Odetta, Gabby Douglas. It’s International Solidarity Day. Mission: Set sail for the Cape of Good Hope.
Dec 24, 2016
December 24. In 1814, the War of 1812 ended. In 1826, there was an eggnog riot at the US Military Academy. In 1948, the first completely solar-heated house was occupied in Dover, MA. In 1965, a 100-lb meteorite landed on Leicestershire. In 1985, Fidel Castro said he quit smoking. Happy Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. Merry Christmas. Mission: Shine brighter! Survive this insanity.
Dec 17, 2016
December 17. In 1538, Henry VIII was excommunicated by Pope Paul III. In 1791, the first one-way street was established in New York. In 1862, General US Grant issued General Order #11 expelling Jews from Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky, supposedly in an attempt to shut down the cotton black market, which, of course, was blamed on the Jews. The order was revoked a year later. In 2002, McDonald’s reported its first financial loss in 47 years. In 2014, Cuba and America re-established diplomatic relations. Happy Birthday, John Greenleaf Whittier, Erskine Caldwell, Penelope Fitzgerald, Paul Butterfield, Eugene Levy. It’s International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, as well as Saturnalia, a holiday that started with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn, followed by a public banquet, private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms. Mission: Overturn social norms—wait until after January 20.
Dec 10, 2016
December 10. In 1869, women were granted the right to vote in the Wyoming Territory. In 1898, the Spanish Civil War was officially declared over and Cuba became independent of Spain. In 1909, Selma Lagerlof became the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1931, social activist Jane Addams became a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize—the first American woman. In 1958, the first domestic passenger jet flight took place from New York to Miami. In 1964, MLK Jr received the Nobel Peace Prize—the youngest person ever. In 1967, Otis Redding and his band died when their plane crashed into a Wisconsin lake. In 1992, Senator Packwood apologized for being offensive toward women, but refused to resign. In 1996, Nelson Mandela signed into law a new democratic constitution in South Africa, completing the transition from white-minority rule to a non-racial democracy. And in 2016, the American people woke up to more shady, deleterious, and unacceptable Donald Trump bullshit. How much can we bear? Happy Birthday, Emily Dickinson (only 7 poems published in her lifetime), Melvil Dewey, Dorothy Lamour, Carolyn Kizer (Fred?). It’s International Human Rights Day. Mission: Resist. Revolt against the revolting.
Dec 3, 2016
Saturday Morning Post. December 3. In 1833, Oberlin, the first truly co-educational college, opened. In 1910, the neon lamp debuted at the Paris Motor Show. In 1931, Alka Seltzer entered the market. In 1967, the first human heart transplant was performed in Cape Town by Dr. Christian Barnard. In 1999, Tori Murden became the first woman to row across the Atlantic alone. In 1964, over 800 students at UC Berkeley were arrested for protesting UC’s decision to forbid protesting. In 1976, Bob Marley was shot twice in an assassination attempt, but played a concert 2 days later. In 1984, over 3800 people were killed by a Union Carbide pesticide plant leak in Bhopal, India. In 1992, the first text message was sent via the Vodafone network. Happy Birthday, Ellen Swallow Richards, Joseph Conrad, Jean-Luc Godard, John Cale. It’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Mission: Stop fucking around. Be a human.
November 26. In 1789, the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in America. In 1863, President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. In 1940, Nazis forced 500,000 Polish Jews to live in the Warsaw Ghetto. In 1941, FDR changed Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday in November instead of the third Thursday. In 1942, “Casablanca” had its New York World Premiere. In 1970, the most rain ever recorded (1.5 inches in one minute) fell in Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe. In 1973, Nixon’s personal secretary, Rose Mary Woods, took responsibility for erasing 18 ½ minutes from a key Watergate tape. In 1992, Queen Elizabeth II volunteered to start paying taxes and she also took her children off the public payroll. In 2000, in another US election travesty, George W. Bush was declared the winner in Florida, even though he wasn’t and AGAIN, the President-Elect won while losing the popular vote. Happy Birthday, Bat Masterson, Eugene Ionesco, Charles Schulz, Tina Turner, Roz Chast. Mission: Wipe off the bullshit.
Nov 19, 2016
November 19. In 1850, the first life insurance policy was issued to a woman. In 1863, Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. In 1881, a meteorite landed in a village near Odessa, Ukraine. In 1943, the Nazis murdered 6000 Jews at the Janowska concentration camp in Lviv, Ukraine. In 1959, production was stopped on the Edsel. In 1990, Milli Vanilli was stripped of their Grammy due to recording fraud. Happy Birthday, Dick Cavett, Sharon Olds, Ann Curry, Gail Devers, Savion Glover. It’s World Toilet Day. Mission: Let’s not throw 240 years of progress down the toilet. (A well-placed meteorite?)
Nov 12, 2016
November 12. In 1859, Jules Leotard performed the first flying trapeze act in his self-designed outfit. In 1927, Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, leaving Stalin in total control. In 1936, the Bay Bridge opened to traffic. In 1940, “Fantasia” was released by Walt Disney. In 1954, Ellis Island closed after processing over 20 million immigrants. In 1970, the Oregon Highway Division rather unsuccessfully exploded a rotting, beached sperm whale in Florence, sending small chunks of whale flying all over Florence. Happy Birthday, Juana Ines de la Cruz, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Auguste Rodin, Neil Young, Tonya Harding. Mission: Build bridges not walls. (Pope Francis)
Nov 5, 2016
November 5. In 1831, slave leader Nat Turner was tried, convicted and sentenced to death in Virginia. Turner was executed six days later. In 1872, Susan B. Anthony was fined $100 for attempting to vote in the presidential election. She never paid that fine. (You better not fuck around.) In 1895, the first American patent for an automobile was granted to George Selden. In 1974, Ella T. Grasso was elected governor of Connecticut, the first woman in the U.S. to win a governorship without succeeding her husband. Happy Birthday, Eugene Debs, Sam Shepard, Peter Noone, Bill Walton, Tilda Swinton. It’s Love Your Red Hair Day. Mission: VOTE. Then henna your hair.
Oct 29, 2016
October 29. In 1390, the first witchcraft trial took place in Paris. In 1618, Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded. In 1792, Mt. Hood was named after Samuel Hood, a British admiral known for his service during the Revolutionary War. In 1863, the International Red Cross was founded. In 1901, the assassin of President McKinley (Leon Czolgosz) was electrocuted. In 1929, the Wall Street stock market crashed. In 1941, 10,000 Lithuanian Jews were shot in the Kaunas Ghetto (having a Lithuanian grandfather, I can only assume some of my relatives died this day). In 1945, ballpoint pens went on sale at Gimbel’s in NY for the first time at $12.50/ea. In 1960, Ali (Cassius Clay) won his first fight. In 1966, the National Organization of Women was founded. In 1971, Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle crash. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast. In 2015, China announced the end of the one-child policy. Happy Birthday, Fanny Brice and Zoot Sims. It’s National Cat Day. Mission: Based on the history, I’d say stay home and snuggle with your kitty.
Oct 22, 2016
October 22. In 4004 BC, the world was created according to the Ussher chronology (Ussher was the Archbishop of the Church of Ireland). In 1879, Thomas Edison tested the first electric light bulb. In 1939, the first televised pro football game was telecast. (Brooklyn defeated Philly.) In 1957, the first America casualties were reported in the Vietnam War. In 1961, Chubby Checker performed “The Twist” on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” In 1964, Jean-Paul Sartre was awarded but refused the Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1966, the Supremes became the first all-female group to put out a #1 album (“The Supremes a Go-Go”). In 1976, Red Dye #4 was banned. Happy Birthday, Franz Liszt, Doris Lessing, Timothy Leary, Robert Rauschenberg, Annette Funicello. It’s Wombat Day. Mission: As Leary said, “You are only as young as the last time you changed your mind.”