Every year we gather around our television sets to watch Academy Awards (this year Sunday, Feb 27 8PM EST, 5PM EST on ABC), also called the Oscars. This awards ceremony was developed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to recognize those working in the film industry who have performed their job excellently. The formal ceremony is televised to over 200 countries and is the oldest award ceremony in media.
The Academy itself is composed of roughly 6,000 film industry professionals from around the world; however the majority are based in the United States. The idea of the AMPAS began with the then head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Louis B. Mayer. The original goal of the organization was to mediate labor disputes and improve the industry’s image.
Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. was elected as the first president of the Academy. One of his first jobs was to bestow awards of merit for distinct achievement. Mayer asked MGM art director, Cedric Gibbons to design the now famous Oscar trophy. Sculptor George Stanley was paid $500 to execute the original statue from Gibbons’ design. Trivia tidbit: Because of a metal shortage during World War II, Oscar statuettes were made of painted plaster. The very first ever Academy Awards nominees were notified via telegram in February 1928. The awards would be for films made in 1927 and 1928.
The Ceremony was held on May 16, 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, California. 207 people showed up. They paid $5 a ticket. It was not broadcast on radio or television; however, fans of the celebrities did show up to watch them step out of their luxury vehicles. Douglas Fairbanks, the president of the Academy, made the official award presentations. Twelve awards were presented at the dinner and 20 additional certificates of honorable mention were given to runners-up in each awards category.
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.
What is wrong with the world today? No one is interested in history anymore? Just look at this horrible downward trend. I’m afraid to compare this trend to Britney Spears or Justin Bieber, and yes I did have to look up how to spell his last name. No idea what he is even famous for. Just know he is famous. What can we as history enthusiasts do to turn this tend upside down?
Bob gets right into it. No, “This is Bob and the show name”, nothing. The show I listened to was called, Atlanta Campaign Part 1 of 4. It was published 2/11/11. The episode was ten minutes and 32 seconds long. This is Bob’s description of the podcast episode:
This show is about the Atlanta campaign in May 1864 Part 1 of 4 this one deals with early movements and Rocky Face Ridge.
This particular episode could have used some visuals. It was hard to visualize the battle scene and who was where.
Bob is hard-core old school. He has a very distinctive almost nasally voice. His podcast has no music, no sponsors, no picture associated with the mp3. I’m some what surprised he had the show description in the lyrics field of the mp3.
I thought this particular episode was very well done. Its pretty quick so I won’t summarize it here, just go check it out for yourself. At the end of the show he does quickly cover the name of his website and sources he used to put together this episode
Even though, what I have written above criticizes Bob’s podcast, ignore all that. It has been said that content is king and if you agree with that, you will be very hard pressed to find a better history podcast than History According to Bob [iTunes Link]. Bob’s was the first history podcast available that I know of. I would say that it was one of the first 300 podcast available in the beginning. It came before History Podcast, my own creation. I still think History According to Bob is a stellar show! No one knows their stuff better than Bob. His is the podcast that inspired me to podcast. His show is simply awesome. If you only subscribe to one podcast this should be it.
History According to Bob is number 58 in the Top 100 history podcast on iTunes. His show has 114 ratings with an average rating of 5 stars.
After listening to this episode I decided to listen to the episode entitled Questions 86 as well. These are episodes that Bob creates specifically to cover what is happening with him personally and to go over the emails that he receives.
I was sorry to hear while listening to Questions 86 that Bob’s wife has cancer. I hope she has a full recovery and is healthy soon! I’ve missed out on a lot since not keeping up with his episodes. He does so many that I have a hard time keeping up. Strangely enough he talks about the show Who Do You Think You Are?, something that we talked about briefly in another podcast review posting, BBC History Magazine. Bob goes on to talk about request for episodes he has received and his addiction to the video game Mass Effect 3 (gotta love a guy who is a gamer). In addition to Who do You Think You Are, he also discusses the HBO program Rome.
Below is a YouTube video that Bob did on the cold war:
The origins of Valentine’s Day go back to a holy man, just which holy man is unknown though. There are a few different possibilities: He could be a priest from Rome, the bishop of Ineramna (now Terni, Italy) or a martyr in the Roman province of Africa. The feast of St. Valentine was established by Pope Gelasius in 496 he said Valentine was among those, “…whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.” As you can see, even then, they didn’t know much about Valentine.
The first written record of Valentine appears in 1493 in the Hartmann Schedel: Nuremberg Chronicle , which was an illustrated world history written in Latin by Hartmann Shaedel. This text says that Valentine was a Roman priest (maybe just in Rome at that time and could still have been the Valentine form Terni?) beheaded during the reign of Claudius II. Valentine was arrested and imprisoned for marrying couples and aiding Christians in other ways. The marriages at the time were illegal in Rome. Valentine suffered greatly for helping Christians, before his beheading he was beaten with clubs and stoned.
Some make the case that the celebrations of Valentine’s Day did not start until after Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Parlement of Foulys, generally thought to have been written in 1381 – 1382. Could it be the author Chaucer, best known for his work The Canterbury Tales is the originator of Valentine’s Day?
“For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.”
From Chaucer’s The Parlement of Foulys
Who do you think Valentine was?
The bishop from Terni (0%, 0 Votes)
Some Priest from Rome (0%, 0 Votes)
A Martyr from the Roman province of Africa (0%, 0 Votes)
Nobody Chaucer made him up (0%, 0 Votes)
I don’t care I just want a boy/girl friend on Feb 14! (100%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 0
In the video below the creator interviews a priest from Terni.
This is a request from Colin F. way back in October 2005. Colin asked, “…I was wondering if you had done anything on the Vienna Conference of 1815…”. So here you go Colin. First, see the timeline below, which will hopefully help you align all the events.
The congress was held to agree on a plan for Europe politically and territorially. This was done to prevent any one group from obtaining too much power, or what you could today call a monopoly. This group of people had a very altruistic attitude. The leader of the talks was an Austrian named Metternich. Their goal was to create a balance of power in order to prevent widespread conflict in the future.
The conference worked, because even though they were all there for themselves and were greedy, they were forced to concede and come to a compromise by the other members of the congress, no one person willing to give up too much. For Example, Alexander I of Russia wanted all of Poland and Prussia wanted Saxony, but Russia had to share Poland with Austria and Prussia. Only half of Saxony went to Prussia and some smaller parts of the Rhineland.
After much deliberation they came to a final settlement. In the end, the conference helped Europe has a whole, while creating a balance of power. It was the first group of international members gathered to discuss and handle European affairs. In doing so, they protected themselves from being overthrown when one member became too powerful.
The below is the best video I could find on the Internet. The speaker goes over everything really well. Some of the commenters were kind of mean so if you have time give her some props she deserves it!
Looking for something to read? We’ve got you covered. I love reading. I thought it would be nice and easy to let you all know that bestseller’s this week. I have unfortunately only read one of the books on the list below. Outliers was an amazing book and I highly recommend it. I’ve read all (I think) of Gladwell’s books, and I must say he is a talented writer! Have you read any of these? Let us know in the comments.
Patty Hearst, the granddaughter of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst was kidnapped on February 4, 1974 by a neo-revolutionary group called the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). She was taken from her Berkley, California apartment that she shared with her fiance Steven Weed. By her account, she was kept for 2 months and brain washed. In April 1974 the now famous picture of her holding a gun was photographed.
On April 15, 1974 she officially became an outlaw. She was photographed helping a group of SLA members commit a bank robbery. In September 1974, Patty Hearst was arrested with other members of the SLA in a San Francisco apartment. On March 20, 1976 she was convicted of the bank robbery and sentenced to 35 years in prison. After serving 22 months of her sentence Hearst was released in February 1979, when Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence. President Bill Clinton granter her a full pardon January 20, 2001. After her release Patty married her former bodyguard, Bernard Shaw. She now lives with her husband and two children, Gillian and Lydia in Garrison, New York.
Groundhog Day may be one of may favorite all time movies, but it is also a pretty big deal everyday for Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the same two depicted in the movie. The movie was actually filmed in Woodstock and it so proud of being the location of the movie that they’ve erected a plaque at the corner with the troublesome puddle and named it “Ned’s Corner.” They also have their own groundhog now, Woodstock Willie, and the local movie theater shows the movie for free every Groundhog’s Day weekend. Despite the terrible weather the midwest and east are getting it all seems to be moving forward.
Here is a great overview of the history of the day. I was going to paraphrase all this, but I liked exactly how it was written:
Groundhog Day, February 2nd, is a popular tradition in the United States. It is also a legend that traverses centuries, its origins clouded in the mists of time with ethnic cultures and animals awakening on specific dates. Myths such as this tie our present to the distant past when nature did, indeed, influence our lives. It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow.
If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole.
If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.
The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe, and for centuries the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.
In 1857 the members of the Philological Society of London decided that the available english language dictionary were terrible. They thought they could do better. They new it was a huge project, but they didn’t know just how bad it was going to get.
The project proceeded at a snails pace. It wasn’t until 1879 that the Society made a deal with the Oxford University Press and James A.H. Murray to begin on a new English Dictionary.
It was to be a 4 volume work, 6,400 pages in all. It would include English language vocabulary from Early Middle English Period (1150 AD) to present. It was estimated that the project would take about 10 years. But 5 years later, they had only reached ‘ant’. By Feb 1, 1884 they had published the first part of the dictionary.
In April 1928 the last volume was published. It was no longer a 4 volume, 6,400 page work. The project had ballooned into a 10 volume 400,000 page work.
Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages – This book is about a man who spends a year reading the OED. This is on my list of books to read and I’m looking forward to it. From the book description: “Shea shares his year inside the OED, delivering a hair-pulling, eye-crossing account of reading every word.”
In this video is the Yale University Library and Oxford University Press sponsored a panel lecture on October 1, 2008 to celebrate the 80th birthday of the Oxford English Dictionary, the comprehensive dictionary of the English language. The speakers were Fred Shapiro, Simon Winchester, Jesse Sheidlower, and Ammon Shea, and each brought unique and engaging insights to this discussion of the history, function, and future of the dictionary.
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