On this day in 1879 Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany, which is about 90 miles or 141 km West of Munich. Six weeks after Einstein was born his family travelled that 141 km to Munich. This is where Einstein began his education at Luitpold Gymnasium. His family would again move to Italy, but Einstein would be attending school in Aaru, Switzerland. In 1896 he found himself in Zurich attending the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School. There, he trained to be a teacher of Physics and Mathematics. In 1901 he gained his Swiss citizenship and his diploma. When he was not able to find a teaching position he grabbed a job at the Swiss Patent Office. He married Mileva Maric in 1903 and they had a daughter and two sons, but this didn’t slow down his education. He wasn’t able to stop his education and in 1905 he obtained his doctor’s degree. Still this wasn’t enough and in 1908 he got his PhD in Berne.
In 1911 he became a professor of theoretical physics in Prague. In 1914 he was appointed Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Physical Institute and Professor in the University of Berlin. In 1919 his wife died and he married his cousin, Elsa Löwenthal, who died in 1936. He must of liked it in Germany because he became a citizen the same year and stayed there until 1933. But that didn’t last because he left for America because of “political reasons”. He quickly got a job as Professor of Theoretical Physics at Princeton. In 1940 he became an American citizen and in 1945 he retired. But he continued to learn and try to figure out things himself.
Einstein’s work is chronicled in many publications:
Einstein traveled the world giving speeches and presentations. He was honored with numerous awards and received many honorary degrees from a bunch of universities. Einstein died on April 18, 1955 at Princeton, New Jersey.
On this day in 1818 Frankenstein was published. Another title of the book was The Modern Prometheus. Prometheus was a demigod, one of the Titans, who was worshiped by craftsmen. When Zeus hid fire from man, Prometheus stole it by trickery and returned it to earth. As punishment, Zeus chained him to a rock where an eagle fed each day on his liver, which grew again each night; he was rescued by Hercules.
Shelley started writing the novel when she was only 18 and didn’t finish it until she was 21. When it was first published in 1818 it was anonymously, then in the second edition, published in France Shelley’s name appears.
Frankenstein is commonly thought to be the monster, but in fact, the monster is never referred to as Frankenstein, only as monster, fiend, etc. Victor Frankenstein was the doctor who created the monster.
The company Mattel was founded in 1945 by Elliot Handler and Harold “Matt” Matson. The company name was a combination of the too names Matt and El from Elliot. Which of course is Mattel. Before Mattel was Mattel, it was a small picture frame shop, that Harold and his wife Ruth Handler owned. They started to create toy furniture in the 1940’s. When the toy furniture became a better seller than the picture frames, they changed the company to a toy company. In the 1950’s after Mattel had already been founded Ruth was in Switerland and happened to purchase a German doll called Lilli. Lillit was the inspiration for Barbie. Why call it Barbie? Ruth’s daughter’s name was Barbra and her son’s? One guess…yep, Kenneth. So, there you have the history of the names at least.
Happy Birthday Barbie!
Barbie (the doll) was first shown at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959. This date is also the date of Barbie’s birthday. Making her 52 years old today! And she still looks great. There were 350,000 Barbie dolls sold in that first year. Barbie even has a full fictional biography in case you were wondering her full name is, Barbra Millicent Roberts. Her parent’s names are George and Margret and she lives in Willows, Wisconsin (not a real place).
Barbie and Ken
She has had an on-again-off-again relationship with her boyfriend Ken Carson, who she met in 1961. On Valentine’s Day 2004, the couple broke it off, but recently they got back together. Mattel staged a huge transmedia campaign at barbieandken.com.
On this day in 1950 the VW Bus went into production. The official name of the VW Bus or Camper is actually the Transporter. I think this is a fun topic and one that is best illustrated with a timeline. So please see the embedded youtube video from my new youtube channel.
On this day in 1994, John Franklin Candy died of a heart attack. At the time, Candy was filming Wagons East! In Durango, Mexico. The movie was finished using a body double for Candy. John Candy was born in Newmarket, Ontario in Canada. Candy grew up with his older brother, playing football and attending an all-boy Catholic high school in Toronto.
Candy started in film in the 1970’s. In 1976 he started working on The Second City which would become Second City Television (SCTV). After NBC picked up the show in 1981 it became hugely popular. In 1980, Candy got a part in Steven Spielberg’s 1941 and another in The Blues Brothers. Then in 1981 he received a part in Stripes. During the following 2 years, he had a cameo in National Lampoon’s Vacation and appeared on Saturday Night Live (SNL) twice.
In the 1990’s you may remember Candy playing roles in The Rescuers Down Under, Cool Runnings, and Home Alone. In an effort to avoid being type cast, Candy appeared in a light romantic film called Only the Lonely and a dramatic role in JFK. In 1991, Candy joined Bruce McNall and Wayne Gretzky to become a co-owner of a Canadian Football team known as the Toronto Argonauts. This culled a lot of attention in Canada, as they spent a lot of money signing some big players to the team and it paid off, as they won the 1991 Grey Cup.
In the 80’s and 90’s Candy had put on even more weight. He is believed to be at least 100 pounds overweight by 1994. Just before he passed he had made an effort to lose weight. He had stopped smoking. It seems that the physically demanding role in Wagons East! may have been too much for Candy’s body. He passed away on March 4, 1994 in his sleep from a heart attack. He was only 43 years old.
Wagons East! and Canadian Bacon, a movie filmed in 1993 were released after his death.
This would be his 107 birthday if he had not died in 1991 at the age of 87. His name was actually Theodor Seuss Geisel. His friends and family called him Ted. Seuss’ name is Bavarian. His mother emigrated from Bavaria int he ninetieth century. Seuss is actually pronounced Zoice.
Geisel started using Dr. when he was in college. The story goes that one day he was in his room having a little party with his friends and drinking a little gin. He and his friends were busted by the dean of the college, Dartmouth. His punishment was that he could no longer write for the college’s humor magazine, called the Jack-O-Lantern. To work around that Geisel started using a pen name. Sometimes he used L. Pasteur, T. Seuss or just “Seuss”. This is the first time he started using his middle name to mark his work.
Then in 1927 he stated signing his work “Dr. Theophrastus Seuss”. And in 1928 it was shortened to the name we are all familiar with Dr. Seuss. American’s pronounced his name as Soose and it stuck.
Dr. Seuss was going did continue his schooling after Dartmouth and went to Oxford after a English master’s, but instead of getting a master’s he got engaged to Helen, whom he would marry in 1927. She convinced him that he wasn’t after higher education, he was an artist and liked to draw. Helen was right and he dropped out of Oxford.
In 1955 he received his first of many honorary doctorates. This one from Dartmouth. Dr. Seuss was not an immediate success, he struggled for a year until he hit his stride when writing an advertisement for Flit a popular insecticide. After the hit with Flit Seuss went on to create advertisements for NBC, General Electric, Ford and others. This went on for the next 30 years, but a cat in a hat would change that.
Seuss wrote an unpublished children’s book in 1931, then in 1937 he wrote Saw It on Mulberry Street and in 1957 he wrote the hugely successful The Cat in the Hat.
In 1957 he told the Dartmouth librarian Edward Connery that:
I would like to say I went into children’s book writing because of my great understanding of children. I went in because it wasn’t excluded by my Standard Oil contract.
It turns out there may have been another reason. His first children’s book was written the year he found out that his wife Helen could not have a baby. When people asked Seuss how he was able to write so well for children, not having any of his own he replied:
You make ’em. I’ll amuse ’em.
Seuss did want children he is quoted tell his niece Peggy, “it was not that we didn’t want to have children. That wasn’t it.” Sadly Helen passed away in 1967. The next year he met and married Audrey Stone who already had two daughters a fifteen year-old and a eleven year-old.
During the period between April 1941 and January 1943, WWI, Seuss took a break from children’s books and published over 400 political cartoons for PM, a liberal New York newspaper.
Many of Seuss’ following books contained political messages like Yertle the Turtle which was inspired by the rise of Hitler or Horton Hears a Who! about anti-prejudice particularly prejudice against the Japanese who were being bombed out of existence, just like the Who’s.
Seuss wrote and illustrated 44 books. When asked where he got his ideas for all these wonderful books Seuss replied:
This is the most asked question of any successful author. Most authors will not disclose their source for fear that other, less successful authors will chisel in on their territory. However, I am willing to take that chance. I get all my ideas in Switzerland, near the Forka Pass. There is a little town called Gletch, and two thousand feet up above Gletch there is a smaller hamlet called Uber Gletch. I go there on the fourth of August every summer to get my cuckoo clock repaired. While the cuckoo is in the hospital, I wander around and talk to the people in the streets. They are very strange people, and I get my ideas from them.
Seuss would later state the he based two characters after himself, the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch. His license plate said GRINCH.
Following several years of poor health the man the world new as Dr. Seuss succumbed to throat cancer on September 24, 1991 in San Diego, CA.
On March 1, 1932 Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr., the son of the famous aviator, was kidnapped at 9pm, just 4 months prior to his 2 year-old birthday. He was taken from the second story nursery of the Lindbergh home in Hopewell, New Jersey. Betty Gow, the baby’s nurse discovered the child missing at 10 p.m. and it was immediately reported. A search of the home revealed a ransom note for $50,000 that was left on the nursery window sill. Read more…
You may not know, but I am a huge fan of ice hockey. A little odd for someone who lives outside of Canada, but never the less a huge fan. So when I saw that it was the 31st anniversary of the Miracle on Ice today, I was very excited. Finally something that links my two great loves hockey and history.
Even though hockey is not as popular as other sports, see Google trends graph above, I still love it. This Olympic hockey game seems to be very well known. Of course, it helps that it was the Olympics and not a regular National Hockey League (NHL) game. And it also helps that there has been a movie made on the subject, not to mention a couple books. Like The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team which Jim Craig, the USA team goalie wrote the forward to. Sport Illustrated even said, “It may be the single most indelible moment in all of U.S. sports history.” That is a pretty big statement.
The Winter Olympics that year took place at Lake Placid. The USSR, was the team to beat. They were unstoppable. In ’79 the USSR embarrassed the NHL All Stars in the final game of a challenge series; the score was 6-0 USSR. Ouch! The U.S. would need a great team if they were going to beat the USSR at the games.
The man chosen to lead this team was Herb Brooks. He was a NCAA coach for Minnesota, where he led that team to three titles. He himself was a student of international studies and played for the U.S. in two Olympics. He was cut from the 1960 team at the last moment.
Brooks spent one and a half years working his team, making them into Olympians. His first step was to gather those troops. He held several tryout camps and gave the prospects psychological tests. The final team then spent four months playing exhibition games in Europe, Canada and the U.S. Brooks concentrated on speed, conditioning and discipline for his team, since matching the Europeans skill would be all but impossible in the time he was given.
These college players that Brooks had on his team didn’t like each other. They had come from competing colleges. It was a constant struggle to keep them from fighting. Brooks, got them to all hate him and with a common enemy things cooled down between the players. One of the defenders, Mike Ramsey once said of Brooks, “He messed with our minds at every opportunity.” Captain Mike Eruzione added, “If Herb came into my house today, it would still make me feel uncomfortable.”
Brooks was able to tap talent out of all his team members and with that skill and his training he had a winning team. Still, this USA team was seen as the underdogs. Brooks felt that a Bronze medal was in reach for his team. Before the Olympics he arranged for an exhibition game to be played against the USSR team. The U.S. team lost 10-3. Brooks took the blame saying that his game plan was too conservative.
The first game of the Winter Olympics for the U.S. team was against Sweden. They were tied 2-2 near the end of the game, but at the last moment Bill Baker scored, sending them to play Czechoslovakia, which went much better, they won 7-3. They turned up the heat and won two more games against Norway and Romania. Then they had a comeback win in a gripping game against Germany, that ended 4-2.
The Soviets dominated in almost every game. They did fall behind in the Finland and Canada games briefly before they came back to win those games. The outcomes of those games meant that the first team that the U.S. team would play against in the medal round was the USSR. They had to win or there would be no medal, not even the Bronze which Brooks had thought within their reach.
Center Mark Johnson and right wing Mike Eruzione would be remembered for their scoring, but without goalie Jim Craig they would not have had a chance. Craig kept them in the game. After the first period the score was 2-1, the USSR was winning. But a last minute goal late in that period was still being considered. Dave Christian got a lucky break when USSR goalie Tretiak gave a fat rebound and Christian knocked it in at the buzzer. The referees deemed it good and now the teams were tied after only 20 minutes.
When the USSR came back on the ice, they replaced their seasoned goalie with their backup Myshkin. Tretiak expressed his disappointment in the coaches decision in his book. In the second period, the Soviets were definitely playing much harder. The Americans were only able to get two shots at the goal and the USSR team scored, bringing the game to 3-2 at the end of the period.
Brooks had prepped his team well. In the third and last period one of the main components of Brooks’ training came into play. Speed. The Soviet coach leaned heavily on his veteran players, but the U.S. players could catch them. Brooks’ team was faster. When the USSR did finally make a mistake an American player was there to make the most of it. That is exactly what Eruzione did when he scooped up a botched pass, skated to the top of the USSR zone and landed a wrist shot, making the score 4-3 USA.
The game began to roll down to the final moments and that’s when broadcaster Al Michaels said these now famous words:
“Eleven seconds. You got ten seconds, the countdown going on right now. Five seconds left in the game! Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”
The building erupted in applause. It was the first loss by a Soviet Union team in Olympic play in 20 years. The soviets had actually outshot the USA 39-16 shots on goal during the game, but it just wasn’t enough for the USSR. The USA team wasn’t done yet though. That was only the first game in the medals round, now they had to win against Finland.
In a practice game before the next medal game Brooks kept up his torment saying, “You’re too young. You can’t do this.” It seemed like he might be right, because in the first period the U.S. team was down 2-1. In the intermission, Brooks said to his team that if they didn’t win, “this will haunt you for the rest of your lives.” His players responded by three unanswered goals in the last period of the game.
This article is getting pretty long so I’ll just tell you that there is this great post at lifewhile.com about where the players of the miracle team are now. It was published last year on the 30th anniversary of the great game.
On this day in 1965 Malcolm X was assassinated. Below you see a picture of the Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom, this is where on February 21, 1965 39 year-old, Malcolm X was assassinated by three men. He was taken to New York’s Columbia Presbyterian Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:30pm. The main shooter was Thomas Hagan, He was shot in the leg by one of X’s bodyguards and almost beaten to death by the crowd while trying to escape.
All three of Malcolm X’s murders are now released from prison. Talmadge Hayer also known as Thomas Hagan, who was arrested at the scene of the shootings was released in 2010 and now goes by the name Mujahid Halim. He is interviewed in the second video below.
Eye witnesses at the crime scene identified the other two gunman as Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson. Both continue to maintain their innocence today. Butler, now goes by Muhammad Abdul Aziz, and was paroled in 1985. He became the head of the Nation of Islam’s Harlem’s Mosque in New York in 1998. Johnson, changed his name to Khalil Islam, was released from prison in 1987.
Back in high school I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X. It was an amazing book and if you have not read it I would highly recommend it. I still remember the passage where he tells the story of how they used to break into houses. But if the bathroom light was no they would skip that house. His logic being that anyone can be using the restroom at any time of night. So if you don’t want your house to be robbed while you sleep then turn on the bathroom light before you go to bed. Great, great book!
Did you know that there is an official website of Malcolm X? Neither did I. Wow. I usually have to search wikipedia or some other source for information. I’ll tell you this much there was no conference of Vienna official website. But thats ok, I can see where conferenceofvienna.com would be a really long url. The website says:
The Official Web Site of Malcolm X has everything you want to know about this historical figure. Read his biography and read inspirational quotes from this talented speaker. Browse the photo gallery for pictures of Malcolm X throughout his life!
Free wallpapers and screen savers. What? You’ve got to be kidding me! This site has everything. The store link is not working, but there are links to posters from allposters.com and links to books from an amazon store. Lots of affiliate links. At the bottom of the site it says copyright Estate of Malcolm X. Unbelievable! I am very impressed.
Sequels aren’t inherently bad-remember that Huckleberry Finn was a sequel to Tom Sawyer. But Twain understood what modern storytellers seem to have forgotten-a compelling sequel offers consumers a new perspective on the characters, rather than just more of the same. -Henry Jenkins
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written by Mark Twain or Samuel Clemens (thats a whole other post). It was first published in England in 1884, then published in the United States in 1885. It is, rightly, considered to be one of the great American novels. T.S. Elliot called it a “masterpiece.” Ernest Hemingway said, it was the source of “all modern american literature.” Even though, this work of Twain’s is considered to be an American classic it has had plenty of problems:
It was condemned by many reviewers in Mark Twain’s time as coarse and by many commentators in our time as racist. In 1885 it was banished from the shelves of the Concord Public Library, an act that attracted a lot of publicity and discussion in the press. It is still frequently in the news, as various schools and school systems across the country either ban it from or restore it to their classrooms. -http://etext.virginia.edu/railton/huckfinn/huchompg.html
Just last month, the press was light on fire with the news of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn being re-published without the N word. I’m not going to state that word, here because I believe it to be offensive as well, but I do believe that we should not be altering this great american novel. That is the way the author intended his work and it should not be altered and re-published under the same title. The book is in the public domain, so I can’t argue that it should not be changed and republished under a different name. I believe in public domain, but I don’t believe we should change Twain’s work and republish it under the same title.
Alan Gribben and publisher NewSouth Books intend to republish the book without the N word or another derogatory slang term for American Indian. Sorry for leaving out all these “bad” words. You can read all about it in this article.
I encourage you to read more about Twain. He was a truley amazing person. One of those people in our history that really stands out, not just for his amazing literature, but also for being a fascinating person. I read this autobiography, The Autobiography of Mark Twain and can tell you that you will not be disappointed if you read it. In fact, maybe it is time to go back and read some of his classic works?
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