February 29, 1916: In South Carolina, a law is passed raising the minimum age for children factory workers from twelve to fourteen. Children have worked on the farm and in houses since time immemorial. However, with the Industrial Revolution, children were sent to the factories to work. They were employed in dangerous, sometimes fatal, jobs and were working as young as age four. Victorian England became notorious for hiring young, small children to work in mines and as chimney sweeps, as well.
Children would be pressed into work if their families were placed in debtor’s prison. The youngsters were expected to help with the family’s financial situation. They often worked long hours and were only paid 10-20% of an adult male’s wage. In 1788 about two-thirds of those employed in Scotland and England in their 143 water-powered cotton mills were classified as children. By the 1800s, one-third of households had children as the major breadwinners, either through neglect, abandonment, or death of parents.
Small children could crawl through narrow mine shafts which could not accommodate grown men. They also took jobs as errand runners or crossing sweepers [cleaning up horse manure and other detritus] in hopes of the wealthy walker offering them a tip. Small children would gain work as shoe blacks or selling cheap goods such as matches or flowers. There was better paid and more respectable work to be gained as either apprentices or domestic help. However, both of these types of employment could lead to abuse, physical and sexual. Even more sadly, a number of children would be put to work as prostitutes.
Apprentice construction workers could work 64 hours per week in the summer and a mere 52 hours per week in the winter. Domestic servants could work 80 hours per week. Many children [as well as adults] worked 16 hour days. In 1802 and 1819, laws were passed decreasing a normal workday to 12 hours. They were not, however, enforced. Today, in industrialized countries, there are much stricter labor laws, especially for children. In poorer or third world countries, child labor continues to be a human rights issue. According to UNICEF, there are still 158 million children aged 5 – 14 involved in child labor worldwide.
“Child labor and poverty are inevitably bound together and if you continue to use the labor of children as the treatment for the social disease of poverty, you will have both poverty and child labor to the end of time.” – Grace Abbott
“Children do not constitute anyone’s property: they are neither the property of their parents nor even of society. They belong only to their own future freedom.” – Mikhail Bakunin
“These children and their parents know that getting an education is not only their right, but a passport to a better future – for the children and for the country.” – Harry Belafonte
“When the lives and the rights of children are at stake, there must be no silent witnesses.” – Carol Bellamy
February 28, 1983: The final episode of M*A*S*H is televised to the largest audience in American television history. It is estimated that 106-125 million viewers watched the two-and-a-half hour program. The Neilson ratings show a 77% share for the program. It is far more difficult to get a majority of viewers in an age of cable and satellite television offering hundreds of channels.
M*A*S*H was first a book written by Richard Hooker in 1968 that was turned into a movie of the same name in 1970. Larry Gelbert brought the program to the small screen in September 1972. The show ran for 11 seasons and 251 episodes. Alan Alda’s character, Dr. Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, was the only person to be in all 251 episodes. He and Loretta Swit playing Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan were the only two actors to appear in both the first and last episode. The 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital was a field hospital in the Korean War [1950-1953].
Through the years there were cast changes that were seamlessly incorporated. Colonel Blake, the first to leave, was discharged. His plane was shot down over the Sea of Japan without survivors. This death of a star was horrifying to the fans and some stations edited the ending of the episode. No other starring characters were killed off, but left and were replaced by either discharge or transfers.
The final episode had a party bus to the beach turn into Hawkeye’s nightmare. A tank crashed into the hospital latrine and Major Winchester “captured” some Chinese refugees and became a music teacher, having the men play Mozart. Hot Lips helped Winchester with his job prospects. Father Mulcahy was deafened by a mortar round shelling the tank in the compound. BJ was discharged, left, and returned. A truce was signed and a huge party was held in the mess tent where all major characters told of their plans for the future. Klinger, after years of trying to get out of Korea, planned to stay with his new wife. Everyone said their goodbyes. Almost everyone. Hawkeye and BJ took their leave without BJ saying the word to his long time friend. He rode off on his motorcycle while Hawkeye took off in a helicopter. And there, the last shot after 11 seasons, was BJ’s and M*A*S*H’s final message. Written across the landscape in stones was the one word “GOODBYE.”
“Ladies and Gentleman, five minutes ago at 10:01 this morning, a truce was signed in Panmunjeom. The hostilities will end twelve hours from now at 10:00, THE WAR IS OVER!” PA Announcement
“Listen, when you love somebody, you’re always in trouble. There’s only two things you can do about it: either stop loving ’em, or love ’em a whole lot more.” – Colonel Potter [Harry Morgan]
“I can’t say that I’ve loved all of you either…(devilishly)…but I’ve loved as many of you as I could.” – Hawkeye [Alan Alda]
“I’ll see you in the states, I promise! But just in case I left a note!”- BJ [Mike Farrell] to Hawkeye, last words of the last show of the television series M*A*S*H
February 27, 1812: George Gordon Byron first speaks before the House of Lords. He became the sixth Baron Byron and was referred to as Lord Byron. He was also a poet and adventurer. He was a leading figure in the Romanticism movement and is still regarded as one of the greatest British poets. He led a life of excess and amassed huge debts as well as a titillating past. Lady Caroline Lamb said he was “mad, bad and dangerous to know.”
Lord Byron first took his seat in the House of Lords on March 13, 1809. He left London for the continent on June 11, 1809. He was back in Parliament to speak out in defense of Luddites who had destroyed weaving frames in Nottinghamshire. With new automation and the use of these new textile machines, men were being put out of work. When they reacted violently, they were given a death sentence. Lord Byron came to their defense. He later said of his speech that it was sarcastic and spoke to the “benefits” of automation – producing inferior materials and putting people out of work.
These men had been professional weavers, but the Industrial Revolution was taking their livelihood away. Ned Ludd, their leader, gave his name to the social movement. The economy was already struggling due to the Napoleonic Wars. As mechanized looms were put into place, they were staffed by unskilled and cheaper labor leaving the skilled workers out of jobs and nothing else available. The movement grew so heated that the Luddites even faced off against the British Army. However, the Luddites were not the first to destroy unwanted machinery. This had a tradition going back to 1700s.
There may not be an actual person named Ned Ludd [or Ned Lud or even Ned Ludlam or Edward Ludlam]. However, he became a folklore hero called “Captain Ludd” or sometimes given the title of King or General. The leader of the group was said to have come from the village of Anstey outside Leicester, England. Folk tales talk about a young man whipped for idleness or perhaps taunted and bullied who broke two knitting frames in a “fit of passion.” Some say his father, a framework-knitter, asked his son to “square his needles” whereupon young Ned smashed them with a hammer. By 1812, when anyone took to smashing textile equipment, it was said he was a Luddite, in honor of Ned Ludd.
As the liberty lads o’er the sea
Bought their freedom, and cheaply, with blood,
So we, boys, we
Will die fighting, or live free,
And down with all kings but King Ludd!”
When the web that we weave is complete,
And the shuttle exchanged for the sword,
We will fling the winding sheet
O’er the despot at our feet,
And dye it deep in the gore he has poured.”
Though black as his heart its hue,
Since his veins are corrupted to mud,
Yet this is the dew
Which the tree shall renew
Of Liberty, planted by Ludd!” – Lord Byron’s poem, Song for the Luddites
“They said Ned Ludd was an idiot boy
That all he could do was wreck and destroy, and
He turned to his workmates and said: Death to Machines
They tread on our future and they stamp on our dreams.” – Robert Calvert in “Ned Ludd”
February 26, 1991: Tim Berners-Lee introduces his WorldWideWeb browser, the first stable web browser in the world. It was a WYSIWYG [pronounced – whiz-e-wig] meaning What You See Is What You Get and HTML or Hypertext Markup Language editor as well. It used both FTP [File Transfer Protocol] as well as HTP [ Hypertext Transfer Protocol] and was the only way to access the World Wide Web, hence the name. To avoid confusion, the name was changed to Nexus.
A web browser is a software application for a computer. This application allows the user to interact with text, images, and other information via the World Wide Web. Information is displayed on web pages within the browser program after a connection to the Internet is established via an Internet Service Provider. Protocols are the methods or rules that allow your computer to communicate with a web server – another computer hosting or storing uploaded web pages. HTTP or Hypertext Transfer Protocol allows your computer to “fetch” a webpage that someone else has created and stored on a server.
As browsers developed, so did the Internet and conversely, as the Internet developed, browsers did, too. New and improved browsers have continued to flourish produced by competing entities, sometimes to the detriment of the end users. Microsoft developed the proprietary Trident layout engine used in Internet Explorer and various other browsers who have paid a licensing fee. Mozilla Foundation developed the open-source Gecko layout engines that are also used in a variety of browsers. Trident is used more frequently but Gecko is a more compliant engine meaning it works and plays well with others.
Tim Berners-Lee was born in 1955 in London to two mathematicians. He is the inventor of the World Wide Web [sorry Mr. Gore], the director of the World Wide Web Consortium, and holder of the 3Com Founders Chair at MIT. He is also the recipient of The Millennium Technology Prize. While attending Oxford University, he and a friend were found hacking computers and were banned from all computers during the rest of their stay. That has not appeared to slow Tim down. He now lives in Lexington, Massachusetts and is a leading voice for Net Neutrality, a preservation of the system he envisioned so long ago.
“Anyone who has lost track of time when using a computer knows the propensity to dream, the urge to make dreams come true and the tendency to miss lunch.”
“You affect the world by what you browse.”
“Sites need to be able to interact in one single, universal space.”
“They may call it a home page, but it’s more like the gnome in somebody’s front yard than the home itself.” – all from Tim Berners-Lee
February 25, 1570: Pope Pius V excommunicates Queen Elizabeth I. Christianity came to Britain with the Romans in the first or second century. There were three Romano-British bishops at the Council of Arles in 314, predating the council of Nicaea in 325 where the Catholic Church began to formalize the books of the Bible as well as their beliefs or creed. The Church of England is aligned with the early Western church. Early Christians were not particularly good at converting the native pagans so Pope Gregory I send Augustine of Canterbury to evangelize. He built the Gregorian mission and the church dates itself from this time, 597.
Things went along pretty smoothly, with the English Church under papal authority for nearly 1,000 years. However, in 1534, King Henry VIII was having difficulty continuing his line. He married and divorced several women in hopes of gaining a healthy son to carry on the Tudor line and forestall another bloody civil war. The Pope was displeased with Henry VIII’s willful disobedience and the religious difficulties began. Henry married six times and had four children, two sons and two daughters. His older son [Henry FitzRoy] died at the age of 17 and his younger son [Edward VI] managed to be crowned king at the age of nine, but died before his sixteenth birthday. His mother was Jane Seymour and they were Protestants.
Eventually Mary I of England came to the throne. Mary was the daughter of Catherine of Aragon and a strong Catholic. She tried to purge the British Isles of the evils of Protestants and became known as Bloody Mary while doing so. She reigned until 1558. Mary died childless at the age of 42 during an influenza epidemic. Her half-sister, Elizabeth, rose to the throne. She was the daughter of Anne Boleyn and was raised Protestant. She had been imprisoned by Mary for almost year, on suspicion of helping Protestant rebels.
Rather than persecuting Catholics, one of Elizabeth’s first moves as queen was to establish an English Protestant church and making herself as Queen of the land the Supreme Governor. The Elizabethan Religious Settlement eventually evolved into today’s Church of England. The Pope responded and declared Elizabeth a heretic and a servant of crime. He not only excommunicated her via the Papal bull, Regnans in Excelsis or “ruling from on high,” but also any who obeyed her orders.
“Do not tell secrets to those whose faith and silence you have not already tested.”
“Fear not, we are of the nature of the lion, and cannot descend to the destruction of mice and such small beasts.”
“God forgive you, but I never can.”
“He who placed me in this seat will keep me here.” – all from Elizabeth I
February 24, 1981: Jean Harris is convicted of murder. Harris was the headmistress of The Madeira School for girls in McLean, Virginia. The murder victim, Dr. Herman Tarnower, was a cardiologist and author of The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet. They had been lovers. Harris was a divorcée at the time and Tarnower was a lifelong bachelor and continued to see other women even as he dated Harris. Tarnower’s infidelities were distressing to Harris and on the night of March 10, 1980 she drove from Virginia to his house in New York carrying a handgun.
Harris began dating Tarnower in 1965, about two years after her divorce. Tarnower showered her with gifts and took her on wonderful trips. He also had several affairs over the fourteen years of their relationship. He did not try to keep his affairs secret. Eventually, he hired a new, young secretary-receptionist – Lynn Tryforos. He began a casual affair with her, as well. This affair lasted for several years.
Harris still claims she was going to commit suicide after talking in person to the doctor. However, when she got to his house, she found Tryforos’ lingerie scattered throughout Tarnower’s bedroom. Harris and the doctor argued and she then pulled the gun and shot him four times at point blank range. She was charged with second degree murder because in New York, first degree murder was only used for law enforcement officers killed while on duty. Harris pled not guilty and was released on $40,000 bond raised by her siblings.
She hired attorney Joel Aurnou for her defense. The case went to trial on November 21, 1980 and lasted for fourteen weeks, becoming one of the longest trials in the state’s history. The press sensationalized the story and the case became known across the country. She was found guilty, making her ineligible to receive the $220,000 left to her by Tornower’s will. She was sentenced to 15 years to life. She served eleven years and was released and pardoned by Governor Mario Cuomo on December 29, 1992. While in prison she wrote three books. She maintains to this day that she did not mean to kill Tornower and the gun discharged as they were fighting over the control of it.
“Jesus, Jean, you’re crazy! Get out of here!” – Herman Tornower, the night he died
“We are grateful to Jean Harris for her splendid assistance in the research and writing of this book…” – from the acknowledgements page of The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet
“We wish, especially, to thank Lynne Tryforos…” – two paragraphs later in the acknowledgements page of The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet
“Loving an old bachelor is always a no-win situation, and you come to terms with that early on, or you go away.” – Jean Harris
February 23, 1455: The Gutenberg Bible is published, the first western book printed with movable type. The book is known as the 42-line Bible or B42 because there were 42 lines per page. The books were printed on paper or vellum, a sort of parchment. There are rarer editions with only 36 lines per page as well and one Bagford Fragment which is illustrated.
Movable type was invented in China by Bi Sheng around 1040 using balked clay or ceramic tiles. Around 1230 in Korea, metal was used. Both systems of movable types were not widely used mainly because of the enormous amount of Chinese characters. Gutenberg, in Mainz, Germany, independently devised a movable type using a metal alloy of lead, tin, and antimony – a combination still used today. This was a vast improvement over woodblock printing. It was quicker, the metal was more durable, and print became uniform with the introduction of fonts.
Gutenberg held a monopoly on his technique, but after a fight with investors, the secret leaked out. Since the system was such an improvement, other movable type printing presses spread throughout Europe and by 1500 there were 220 presses. Not everyone was pleased with this technology. The Ottoman Empire banned the invention from 1483-1727 with the death penalty handed down to lawbreakers. By the end of the 18th century printing was spreading rapidly and by the mid-19th century, it was virtually available worldwide.
As of 2003 there remained 11 complete Gutenberg Bibles printed on vellum, 1 New Testament only on vellum, and 48 “substantially” complete Bibles printed on paper. Germany has 12 of the rare books. Paris, Moscow, Mainz, and Vatican City each have two volumes. London has three copies and New York City has four. There are three “perfect vellum” Bibles in the world with Paris, London, and Washington, DC each owning a copy.
“It is a press, certainly, but a press from which shall flow in inexhaustible streams…Through it, God will spread His Word. A spring of truth shall flow from it: like a new star it shall scatter the darkness of ignorance, and cause a light heretofore unknown to shine amongst men.” – Johann Gutenberg
“Gutenberg made everybody a reader. Xerox makes everybody a publisher.” – Marshall McLuhan
“We can put television in its proper light by supposing that Gutenberg’s great invention had been directed at printing only comic books.” – Robert M. Hutchins
“It might be argued that genuine spontaneity is not really possible or desirable so long as printed scores of great works exist. All modern musicians are, for better or worse, prisoners of Gutenberg.” – Donal Henahan
February 22, 1949: Grady the Cow gave birth to a stillborn calf. The cow lived with farmers Bill and Alyne Mach and was six years old at the time. The birth was difficult and so the Machs called in veterinarian, D.L. Crump to assist with the birth. The vet tied the cow to a post in the shed so she would hold still. When he was finished with his treatment, he untied the cow. The cow was enraged by this treatment and upon release began to chase Bill around the shed. Bill jumped on a pile of cottonseed sacks and escaped the cow’s charge.
The only light in the shed was from a small opening in a silo. Grady went for the light and tried to escape. When Bill and Dr. Crump looked at the silo, all they could see was some red hair on the edges of the heavy steel silo door. The door measured only 17 inches wide by 25 inches high. They could not get the cow out. To tear the silo down was just too expensive. Widening the door was not possible as it was encased in steel. The two men could not figure out how to get the cow out of this predicament.
Bill went to the local newspaper and asked for help. They published his story and helpful farmers from around the United States gave possible solutions to this problem. Phone calls, telegrams, and letters poured in. People even got into their cars and drove to the farm to see what all the hoopla was about. Some enterprising (and wealthier) folks even had planes take a flyby. Grady the Cow was featured in Life and TIME magazines as well as many other newspapers across the country. One person suggested tunneling under the silo. Another thought an attractive bull outside the door could lure Grady out. An Air Force officer even knew of a helicopter that could lift 1,200 pounds, but it was elsewhere at the time.
Bill Mach got a call from Ralph Partridge, the farming editor of The Denver Post. Partridge said he was coming to Yukon, OK to help. Partridge supervised the building of a ramp and then coated the door with axle grease. Two heavy halters were placed on the cow and Dr. Crump administered some tranquilizers. Men outside the silo started to pull on the ropes while others inside the silo pushed on Grady to edge her toward and eventually out the door. She slid through without a couple scratches. She went on to have a long life and had several live calves before she died in July 1961.
“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
“There are three easy ways of losing money – racing is the quickest, women the most pleasant, and farming the most certain.” – Lord Amherst
“I do not believe there ever was any life more attractive to a vigorous young fellow than life on a cattle ranch in those days. It was a fine, healthy life, too; it taught a man self-reliance, hardihood, and the value of instant decision…I enjoyed the life to the full.” – Theodore Roosevelt
“Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a Swiss farm, and live entirely surrounded by cows – and china.” -Charles Dickens
February 21, 1931: Miles Laboratories introduces Alka-Seltzer to the world. Dr. Franklin Miles began Miles Laboratories in 1884 in Elkhart, Indiana. He marketed some patent medicines that remained on the market for years. In 1928 there was a severe flu epidemic. Hub Beardsley, then president of Miles Lab visited the local newspaper to find that the men working there were remaining healthy. Tom Keene, the editor, told Beardsley that they took aspirin and baking soda at the first sign of illness and did not succumb to the flu.
Beardsley asked his chief chemist, Maurice Treneer, to come up with a concoction that the company could market. Treneer made up something. Beardsley took 100 of the tablets with him on a cruise and as people became ill with the flu, he passed out his free samples and found that they worked. One Alka-Seltzer dropped into water made a refreshing drink.
The mixture is effervescent, caused when an acid mixes with the baking soda whose chemical name sodium bicarbonate. It worked well to ease indigestion while the aspirin in the drink helped to ease minor pains. The brand mascot was a funny little guy made of an Alka-Seltzer tablet and wearing a second one as a hat and was named “Speedy” to help get the idea across about how quickly the drink worked. Speedy had a high-pitched voice provided by Dick Beals.
By the 1960s, the popularity of the drink was waning. Hip young people thought of it as an old person’s remedy. It was associated with hangovers and indigestion and was just uncool. A new ad campaign blitz helped to increase sales for a few of reasons. First the campaign was catchy with a new tune, “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz / Oh what a relief it is.” Secondly, the spots were original and entertaining. And most of all, they recommended dropping two tablets into the water instead of just one. Miles Laboratories was bought by Bayer in 1979. Today there is plain Alka-Seltzer along with nine effervescent varieties of Alka-Seltzer Plus, four kinds of liquid gel caps, and three varieties of liquids. Most brands do not contain aspirin today, but instead use acetaminophen.
“If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.” – Satchel Paige
“I have never developed indigestion from eating my words.” – Winston Churshill
“Culture is a little like dropping an Alka-Seltzer into a glass-you don’t see it, but somehow it does something.” – Hans Magnus Enzensberger
“Alka-Seltzer has some of the most famous advertising of all time and the brand has withstood the test of time. This was a way to tap into the 75th anniversary. Tapping into the familiar, tried and true seemed a very natural place to go.” – Jay Kolpon
February 20, 1872: New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art opens. Often called simply The Met, the museum is on the eastern edge of Central Park and is part of the “Museum Mile.” There are eleven museums on Fifth Avenue, between 110th Street and 70th Street. The Met is located at 82nd Street. It is one of the world’s largest art galleries without taking into consideration the second smaller location in Upper Manhattan – “The Cloisters” which contains medieval art. The Met’s permanent collection contains over two million works divided into nineteen curatorial departments.
The New York State Legislature granted the Metropolitan Museum of Art an Act of Incorporation on April 13, 1870. They were to establish and maintain a museum and library of art in New York City. Their secondary purpose was to encourage and develop the Study of Fine Arts as well as applications of art into everyday operations. On this day, the museum opened at 681 Fifth Avenue. John Taylor Johnston used his private art collection to seed the new museum. The railroad executive also served at The Met’s first President. Publisher George Palmer Putnam was the founding superintendent. Eastman Johnson was Co-Founder of the museum. Luigi Palma di Cesnola, a Civil War officer, was the first director and served from 1879 to 1904.
When the museum first opened, there was a Roman stone sarcophagus and 174 paintings, mostly European, on display. The next year, they purchased the Cesnola Collection of Cypriot antiquities. They also moved to the Douglas Mansion at 128 West 14th Street. The museum’s collections kept expanding and a new building was designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould. The design was already going out of style by the time the building was finished and twenty years later, it was deemed “a mistake.” Even so, it has been part of The Met ever since, with buildings going up around it and incorporating it into the design, albeit without some of the distinctive design elements.
Today, The Met measure almost ¼ mile long and has more than 2,000,000 square feet of floor space. It is more than twenty times the size of the original 1880 building. It is a group of 26 structures, most not visible from the exterior. New York City owns the museum building and contributes utilities as well as part of the cost of guardianship. The collections are owned by a private corporation of Fellows and Benefactors, made up of 1,630 people. The 2009-10 budget was $221 million or about $47 per visitor.
“A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession.” – Albert Camus
“All art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.” – Federico Fellini
“An artist is never ahead of his time but most people are far behind theirs.” – Edgard Varese
“An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.” – James Whistler