Category Archives: History

This Day in History ~ May 10

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Taking a look back on a few events that has taken place on May 10th in previous years.

1969 – Apollo 10 transmit 1st color pictures of Earth from space. The Apollo 10 mission encompassed all aspects of an actual crewed lunar landing, except the landing. It was the first flight of a complete, crewed Apollo spacecraft to operate around the moon.

1973 – Bruce Lee collapsed in Golden Harvest studios in Hong Kong while doing dubbing work for the movie Enter the Dragon. Suffering from seizures and headaches, he was immediately rushed to Hong Kong Baptist Hospital where doctors diagnosed cerebral edema. These same symptoms occurred again on the day of his death on July 20, 1973.

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1986 – “Rock Me Amadeus” by Falco hits number one in the United Kingdom, becoming the first single by an Austrian act to achieve this distinction.

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1994 – Nelson Mandela becomes South Africa’s first black president after more than three centuries of white rule.

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2003 – this day ended most prolific continuous period of tornado outbreaks in American history. 401 tornadoes were reported in 19 states and 1 Canadian province, 1,587 reports of large hail and 740 reports of wind damage.

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THIS DAY IN HISTORY ~ APRIL 6

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Taking a look back on a few events that has taken place on April 6th in previous years.

1954  – The first TV Dinners were put out for sale. Several smaller companies had tried to market the prepared meals that would become coined as TV Dinners, but they all failed. The first company to successfully market these new frozen convenience meals was Swanson. The first TV Dinner meals to come onto the market consisted of turkey, cornbread dressing, peas and sweet potatoes.

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1965 – The first commercial geosynchronous communications satellite was launched. The satellite was named Intelsat I, but was nicknamed Early Bird, and it was built by It was the Space and Communications Group of Hughes Aircraft Company. This important satellite was the first move towards live, on-air coverage of important events. The first major live event that the satellite broadcast coverage for was that of the splashdown of the Gemini 6 spacecraft on December 26, 1965.

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1975 – After 45 performances, the musical “The Rocky Horror Show” closes its Broadway run at the Belasco Theater in NYC. Later that same year in August, the film adaptation of the show, “The Rocky Horror Picture” Show, is released by 20th Century Fox.

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1980 – After a year of consumer testing in a select market, the familiar Post-It Notes were released for sale on this date nationally across America. A year later, the product was introduced to the Canadian and European markets. Originally, the notepads all had lines and were only available in yellow.

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1998 – Well-known country music singer and song-writer, Virginia Wynette Pugh, better known by her professional stage name, Tammy Wynette, passed away on this date in her sleep at her Nashville home at the age of 55. It was later released that she had died from a blood clot in her lung. Wynette was called “The First Lady of Country Music” and is best known by her 1968 number one hit song that she co-wrote, “Stand by Your Man.”

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THIS DAY IN HISTORY ~ APRIL 4

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Taking a look back on a few events that has taken place on April 4th in previous years.

1964 – The Beatles’ hit single, “Can’t Buy Me Love” goes to number one & stays at number one for five weeks. This song was composed by Paul McCartney. It was recorded on January 29th and released on March 16th.

Beatles CantBuyMeLove

1975 – The Microsoft Corporation is founded as a partnership between childhood friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Allen came up with the original name of “Micro-Soft,” as recounted in a 1995 Fortune magazine article.

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1981 – San Antonio native, Henry Cisneros, is elected the first Mexican-American mayor of a major American city, in his beloved Texas home city. Cisneros held this office for 8 years, from May 1, 1981 – June 1, 1989. Cisneros later served as the 10th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the administration of President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997.

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1994 – Netscape Communications was founded, under the original name of Mosaic Communications. Netscape was best known for its Netscape Navigator web browser. The Netscape Navigator web browser was once a dominate force with its of usage share of about 75%, but then its usage dropped off in favor of Internet Explore by the end of the 90’s.NetscapeNavigator

2007 – Fifteen British Royal Navy personnel which had been held for 13 days in Iran are released by the Iranian President. No casualties were reported during this incident.

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2013 – American journalist and film critic Roger Ebert passed away in a Chicago hospital, ending his 11-year battle with cancer. Ebert was 70 years old. In 2005, Ebert became the first film critic to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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It’s April Fools’ Day!

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Today is April 1st which makes it April Fools’ Day. April Fools’ Day is also widely known as All Fool’s Day and it is observed worldwide. It is a day of practical jokes, pranks and tricks. In recent years, some newspapers, magazines, and other published media report fake stories, which are usually explained the next day or below the news section in small letters. Even though this day has been popular since the 19th century, it is not observed as an official public holiday in any country.

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Even though there is no documented history of the origins of April Fools’ Day, the most common theory is that it began in 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII issued a decree setting forth a standardized calendar for Christian Europe which mostly had been using the Julian calendar. This calendar would later take his name (the Gregorian calendar) and would eventually become the international standard.

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Among other changes, the adoption of the new calendar moved New Year’s Day from April 1st on the Julian calendar to January 1st on the Gregorian calendar. Given the slow travel of far reaching news communication, as well as rejection of the change entirely by some, some Europeans continued to celebrate the New Year between March 25 and April 1. April Fools were those who still celebrated the holiday in the spring, and were the subject of pranks and ridicule by those who observed the New Year months ago.

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Another theory is that it was started by the Ancient Romans. It is known through recorded history that they celebrated a day of playing practical jokes one another another around the time of the Vernal Equinox, or first day of Spring.

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Other cultures celebrate the day, but it is known by other names. In the Persian culture, the day is known as Sizdahbedar. In Scotland, April Fools’ Day was originally called Huntigowk Day. In Poland, it is known by the Latin name for April 1st, which is prima aprilis. In Italy, France, Belgium, and French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Canada, the April 1st tradition is often known as April fish, where pranksters attempt to attach a paper fish to the victim’s back without being noticed.

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Although it is celebrated about a month earlier, in India they celebrate day that is called Holi and it is a colorful Hindi festival that is celebrated by people playing jokes and throwing colorful dyes on each other.

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Personally, I am not one who likes to be a prankster and I definitely do not like being pranked. I find April Fools’ Day to usually be full of immature attempts at poor humor which usually isn’t very funny at all to the “victim.” Therefore it is a day that I do not participate in. So there you have it. Now you know the most likely beginnings and a little bit of history about April Fools’ Day. I hope that YOU don’t get pranked today! 🙂

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This Day in History ~ March 22

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Taking a look back on a few events that has taken place on March 22nd in previous years.

1954 – First shopping mall in the United States opened in Southfield, Michigan, a suburb north of Detroit. The mall was built on a 159 acre tract of land and was named Northland Center. It took approximately 2 years to build and housed 100 stores including 4 anchor stores and a cinema. This mall remained open for exactly 61 years, with the last anchor store, Macy’s, closing its door on March 22, 2015.

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1967 – Muhammad Ali knocks out Zora Folley in round 7 of a planned 15 round bout held at Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, to win Boxing’s Heavyweight Champion of the World title. This was the first World Heavyweight Championship fight to be held at Madison Square Garden since 1951.

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1972 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was named the National Basketball Association’s Most Valuable Player while he was part of the Milwaukee Bucks team. He later went on to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. He always wore number 33. He is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points and won the league-record of six MVP awards. After 20 season of playing in the NBA, he retired from basketball in 1989 at the age of 47. Abdul-Jabbar stands a towering 7 feet 2 inches tall!

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1986 – Heart’s “These Dreams” single goes #1.  This song was released as a single on January 18, 1986, the third single released from their 1985 self-titled album on the Capitol Records label. Even though Heart gained notoriety and commercial success with previous hits such as “Crazy On You”, “Magic Man”, “Barracuda” and “Straight On”, “These Dreams” was the band’s first number one hit. Interestingly, this song was first offered to Stevie Nicks, who had no interest in recording it.

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1997 – the Hale-Bopp Comet made its closest approach to Earth on this date. This comet was considered to be the most widely observed comet of the 20th century. It was most definitely one of the brightest comets to be seen for many decades. This comet was visible to the naked eye for a record 18 months! This comet is now beyond Uranus, but is expected to still be visible with powerful telescopes for another few years. Hale-Bopp Comet is not expected to be back this way for at least another 2500 years.

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2009 – Mount Redoubt, also known as Redoubt Volcano, erupted after being dormant for 20 years. It is located in the Aleutian Mountain Range of Alaska. It is the highest summit of this mountain range.

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Welcome Spring 2016!

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Today is the day of the Vernal Equinox, which means it is the official first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Conversely, it marks the official first day of Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. In astronomical terms, the Vernal Equinox marks the time when the axis of our planet increases its bend towards the Sun. In the Northern Hemisphere this causes the days to have longer daylight hours and the temperatures to grow warmer.

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Spring has always been a welcomed sign of renewal. The grass begins to become greener, the trees bud new leaves and flowers spring up from the ground and bloom. The birds are hatching eggs and all kinds of animals are giving birth to their young.

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This year, Spring has a very special significance. In 2016, Spring is arriving earlier than usual! Normally, Spring arrives on March 21, but this year it arrives a whole day earlier! As a result this is the earliest Spring has arrived in 120 years, since 1896! Therefore, it is safe to say that no one alive today has seen Spring arrive a whole day earlier than usual.

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This special circumstance of an earlier than usual Spring has to do with the fact that 2016 is a leap year and how our Gregorian calendar works. I explained the precise workings of the Gregorian calendar and leap day in depth, in my recent blog post “What Is Leap Day & This Day in History”.

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Now that you are versed with this unusual fact about the early arrival of the first day of Spring (or Autumn for those in the Southern Hemisphere) go out and dazzle your friends and family with your brilliance! 😉

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

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Today is March 17th, so that means it is Saint Patrick’s Day! It is the day celebrated around the globe by those of Irish descent, as well as those who are “Irish at heart.” The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years.

Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. Interestingly enough, he wasn’t even born in Ireland! He was actually born in Roman Britain. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave. At one point, he escaped from his enslavement, but ultimately, he returned to Ireland. Saint Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to the people of Ireland.

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The people of Ireland began observing the Roman Catholic feast day of Saint Patrick on March 17th because the date of his death is thought to have been on March 17, 461. As the years passed, myths and legends about Saint Patrick have become more and more ingrained into the Irish culture. The most widely known legend is that Saint Patrick explained the Holy Trinity (which is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock. This explains why shamrocks and the color green have become closely associated with Saint Patrick’s Day.

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Saint Patrick’s Day is now celebrated globally with parades and festivals. It is interesting to note that the first parade in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day did not take place in Ireland, but rather in the United States on March 17th, 1762. This parade was comprised of Irish soldiers serving in the English military before American had won her independence from Britain. The parade was held in New York City.

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So, how do leprechauns, pots of gold and rainbows tie into Saint Patrick’s Day? In Irish lore, a leprechaun is an Irish fairy, except this fairy isn’t a typical pretty fairy. Instead, a leprechaun is a two-foot tall, old man with pointy ears! He wears a green suit and top hat and carries a big stick called a shillelagh. He uses his shillelagh to scare people away who try to steal his pot of gold! He likes to spend his time doing nothing more than seeking more gold! Leprechauns are said to be inherently lucky and they find the gold they are seeking at the end of rainbows. This myth has led to the creation of the saying, “The luck of the Irish.”

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Now that you are armed with a bit of history and lore of this fun day, I sincerely hope that you have yourself a very Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

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Happy 180th Birthday, Texas!

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Today is March 2nd which means that it is Texas Independence Day! On this day in 1836, Texas declared her independence from Mexico and the Texas Declaration of Independence was adopted, thus creating the Republic of Texas. Texas is the ONLY state in the union to ever be an independent Nation!

Being a Texan, I am extremely proud of my state, as many fellow Texans are. Texas is one of the few states that is easily recognized by its unique shape, not only by fellow Americans, but also by many people from around the world! The unique shape of Texas is defined by the Gulf of Mexico on one side, rivers on three sides, and the remaining four sides were marked by surveyors.

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Just saying the name of our great state – Texas – immediately conjures up romantic images of cowboys, rodeos, longhorns, oil wells, cotton fields, bluebonnets, fiestas, the Alamo and Rio Grande Ruby Red grapefruit in almost everyone! The are not too many people around who have not at least heard the names of Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, Amarillo, Laredo, Abilene, Waco or El Paso.

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Texas is home to six of the 20 largest cities an America. Those would be Houston (#4), San Antonio (#7), Dallas (#9), Austin (#11), Fort Worth (#16) and El Paso (#19). This list is based on information from the United States Census Bureau as of July 1, 2014.

According to the Texas Almanac, the Lone Star State extends 801 straight-line miles from north to south and 773 miles from east to west. Although we have many large cities, we also take great pride in our large, wide-open natural spaces. In all, Texas is home to 54 State Parks , 4 State Forests, 1 State Historic Site, 2 National Parks, 4 National Forests, 1 National Historic Site, 1 National Historic Park, 10 National Wildlife Refuges, 2 National Recreation Areas, as well as 1 National Seashore.

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I feel that I am very lucky, as well as extremely proud, to call the beautiful state of Texas, “Home!”

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What IS Leap Day & This Day in History

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What is Leap Day and why do we have one?  As most everyone knows, a year is measured by the time it takes the earth to revolve around the sun, which is 365 days. A solar year is the length of time it takes the earth to make one complete revolution around the sun, which is actually equal to 365.24219 days. This means that our calendar is off by about a quarter of a day per year or roughly 6 hours. That equates to a loss of about 24 hours every four years.

In 45 B.C., Julius Caesar announced a decree that began the practice of adding one extra day every four years, making up for the loss of the 24 hours that had accumulated during the four previous years.  Thus, creating the Julian calendar. Well, that sort of made up the difference. In actuality, it is even more complicated than that!

By 1582 A.D. that slight discrepancy in the Julian calendar added up to 10 days. So Pope Gregory XIII created the Gregorian calendar, coined the term “leap year” and established February 29 as the official date to add to a leap year. He also introduced a rule to take into account the discrepancy in the Julian calendar.

Now, a leap year occurs in every year that is divisible by four, but only in century years that are evenly divided by 400. Therefore, 800, 1200 and 2000 were leap years, but 1700 and 1900 were not, because even though they are divisible by four, they were not divisible by 400.

Well, now that we have that all sorted out or have you totally confused, let’s take a look back on a few events that has taken place on February 29th in previous years.

1960 – Hugh Hefner opens the original Playboy Club in Chicago.

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1968 – The Beatles’ eighth album, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, wins a Grammy. The album was released on June 1, 1967.

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1972 – At the age of 39 while playing for the Atlanta Braves, Hank Aaron becomes first baseball player to sign a contract with a salary of $200,000 a year. Hank was born on born February 5, 1934 in Mobile, Alabama with the given name of Henry Louis Aaron.  His two nicknames were “Hammer” and “Hammerin Hank.” He is currently 82 years old.

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2004 – At the 76th Academy Awards, with host Billy Crystal, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ruled the day sweeping all 11 categories in which it was nominated. Not only that, it tied Titanic and Ben Hur for the most Oscar wins. The biggest prize of all was being named Best Picture.

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2012 – My daughter gave birth to our youngest Grandson, Corbin. Yes, he is our very special Leap Day baby! He is my daughter’s third child (first and only son) and our fourth Grandchild.

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This Day in History ~ February 28

Taking a look back on a few events that has taken place on February 28th in previous years.

1940 – The first basketball game is televised. from Madison Square Garden. The University of Pittsburgh wins over Fordham University with a score of 50-37.

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1960 – the 8th Winter Olympic games held at Squaw Valley, California closes.

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1972 – President Richard Nixon ends historic week-long visit to China.

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1984 – Michael Jackson won an unprecedented eight Grammys at the 26th Annual  Grammy Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. This beat Paul Simon’s previous record of seven. Jackson’s wins included Record Of The Year for “Beat It” and Album Of The Year for Thriller.

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1993 – Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raid the Branch Davidian cult compound in Waco, Texas, prompting a gun battle in which four agents and six cult members are killed. The federal agents were attempting to arrest the leader of the Branch Davidians, David Koresh, on information that the religious sect was stockpiling weapons. A nearly two-month standoff ensued after the unsuccessful raid.

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2007 – The New Horizons Pluto observer spacecraft, which was originally launched on On January 19, 2006, makes its closest approach of Jupiter, at a distance of 1.4 million miles.

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2010 –  the 21st Winter Olympic games held at Vancouver, Canada closes. Approximately 2,600 athletes from 82 nations participated in 86 events in fifteen disciplines.

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