Little Bits of History

95 Theses

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 31, 2012

Martin Luther

October 31, 1517: Martin Luther posts his “Disputation” on the Castle Church in Wittenberg. “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” was written in Latin and posted on the door as was the custom of the time at the university. On this same day, a hand-written copy was sent to the archbishop, Albert of Mainz and Magdeburg. This included “honorable” comments concerning the practice of selling indulgences – something the bishop was wont to do. Another copy was sent to the bishop of Brandenburg who was Luther’s immediate superior. It took weeks for copies of the 95 Theses, as it was called, to spread across Germany and another two months for the disputation to reach all of Europe.

It wasn’t until January 1518 that the work was translated by Luther’s friends into German. Then using the relatively new printing press, copies were made and the controversy began in earnest. Luther was adamantly against the selling of indulgences, or the forgiveness of sins. At the time there was a saying that “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory into heaven springs.” Luther maintained that God alone was capable of granting forgiveness and wished to see Christians return to more theologically sound practices.

On June 15, 1520, Pope Leo X responded by issuing a rebuttal with the English translated title of  “Arise, O Lord” and he outlined where he thought Luther was in error. Luther’s Theses became a declaration of independence of Northern Europe wishing freedom from Papal authority. This was the beginning of the Catholic Church’s loss of power over much of Europe as well as the decline of feudalism and the rise of commercialism. Some of these social changes may have happened without the break from the Church, but with one type of freedom, another was easier to achieve.

In 1517, Luther was 34 years old and he lived to the age of 62. He was a respected theologian and had no plan to break from the church in which he practiced his faith. However, he became an iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation and maintained throughout his life that buying salvation with cash was against doctrinal preaching. He was adamant about salvation coming via grace through faith in Jesus Christ. He also believed that the Word of God should be accessible to more people and translated the Bible into the vernacular rather than keeping it in the esoteric Latin of the Church. His hymns brought singing into churches and his marriage to Katharina von Bora set an example of married clergy. Luther was excommunicated by the Pope and condemned as a outlaw by the Holy Roman Emperor when he refused to retract his 95 Theses at the Diet of Worms in 1521.

All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired.

Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.

Peace if possible, truth at all costs.

The Lord commonly gives riches to foolish people, to whom he gives nothing else. – all from Martin Luther

Also on this day:

“I’m just a patsy” – In 1959, Lee Harvey Oswald in Moscow, vows to never return to the US.
Shooting Shooters – In 1912, the first gangster film was released by DW Griffith.
Hot, Hot, Hot – In 1923, a heat wave began in Marble Bar, Australia.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 30, 2012

Michael Woodruff

October 30, 1960: Dr. Michael Woodruff performs the first kidney transplant in the UK. Organ transplantation is the moving of an organ from one person to another or from one place in the body to another in the same person for the purpose of replacing the recipients damaged or missing organ. The biggest stumbling block was the rejection of the tissue when supplied by a non-genetically identical donor. The first reliable mention of transplantation was a skin allograft (from one person to another) that took place in India in the second century BC. The first successful corneal allograft was done in 1837 but it was done on a gazelle. The first successful human corneal transplant took place in 1905. During World War I, skin grafting was greatly improved.

The first kidney transplant took place in 1950 when 44-year-old Ruth Tucker received a cadaver kidney. Her body eventually rejected the implanted kidney, but by that time, her other kidney had recovered functionality and she was able to live another five years. The first successful kidney transplant took place in 1954 between identical twins. Rejection was an issue not yet solved and the identical DNA of the twins subverted the problem. On this day, Dr. Woodruff also used identical twins for the first kidney transplant in Edinburgh. By 1964, drugs were available to prevent and treat acute rejection making more transplants possible. However, it was still imperative that tissue matches be as close as possible. The relative ease of the procedure and the fact that living donors can be used has made the procedure more common today.

Dr. Woodruff was born in London in 1911. His father was a veterinarian and moved the family to Australia. Michael studied engineering and mathematics in college, but because of the Great Depression, decided there would be limited job opportunities with that degree. Therefore, he opted to go on to study medicine. He was one of four students from Melbourne who was able to pass the exam for Royal College of Surgeons and finished his degree in 1937. He enlisted in the Medical Corps during World War II. He was eventually captured and made a prisoner of war by the Japanese and remained captive for three and a half years.

In 1957 he was appointed Chair of Surgical Science at the University of Edinburgh. He split his time between practicing medicine and teaching. His group’s principal investigation centered around immunological tolerance, the basis for tissue rejection, and immune responses to cancers in a variety of animals. He is best remembered for this kidney transplant between identical twin 49 year olds. Both twins survived the procedure and his patient lived for an additional six years before dying of an unrelated disease.

Dedicated researchers seek better treatments and cures for diabetes, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s and every form of cancer. But these scientists face an array of disincentives. We can do better. – Michael Milken

I had been living with dialysis for three years or so, and the new kidney felt like a reprieve, a new gift of life. I felt alive again and I guess that has had an effect on my use of colour. – Peter Wright

Individuals with kidney disease who are able to obtain treatment early experience a higher quality of life and are able to maintain more of their day-to-day activities, including keeping their jobs. – Xavier Becerra

I think we can allow the therapeutic uses of nuclear transplant technology, which we call cloning, without running the danger of actually having live human beings born. – David Baltimore

Also on this day:

“Isn’t there … anyone?”– In 1938, the radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds led to panic in the streets.
Europe and Asia Linked – In 1973, the first Bosphorus Bridge was completed.
Rebuilding – In 2005, the rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche was reconsecrated.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 29, 2012

Sir Walter Raleigh

October 29, 1618: Sir Walter Raleigh dies. He was born into a Protestant family in the year 1552 or 1554. He was the youngest of five sons, three of the older boys were half-brothers. All of Catherine’s sons were prominent in Elizabethan England. Catherine’s aunt was Elizabeth’s governess and so the boys were introduced at court. Since religion was such an issue during this time, the family had many close calls during Queen Mary I of England’s reign, as she was a staunch Roman Catholic. Because of their trouble with Queen Mary, Raleigh grew to hate Roman Catholicism and Catholics. He was a staunch supporter of Queen Elizabeth I – a Protestant – and made it known soon after her taking the throne in 1558.

Raleigh was part of the colonization effort beginning in 1584 in the Colony and Dominion of Virginia. However, his first attempt ended in failure with the loss at Roanoke Island. This first attempt paved the way for others in the coming years but his own ventures in the New World were funded for the most part by himself and some of his friends. In 1587 he once again tried to establish a colony on Roanoke Island with a more diverse group of settlers and under John White’s leadership. White returned to England only to have war intervene and was trapped in Britain as all ships were needed to defend against the Spanish Armada. By the time suppliers could return to the colony, it was once again missing.

Raleigh secretly married one of Elizabeth’s ladies-in-waiting. The couple left London and a child was born, only to die shortly thereafter. When the Queen found out about the subterfuge, both were imprisoned in the Tower of London. Eventually, all was forgiven and Raleigh was released. He once again went exploring in the New World and found a purported city of gold at the headwaters of the Caroni River. He continued to serve and explore and was once again a favorite at court. But it was not to last.

The Queen died in 1603 and was followed by King James. On July 19 of that year, Raleigh was arrested and once again thrown into the Tower of London. On November 17 he was tried for treason and acted as his own defense lawyer – brilliantly. The main piece of evidence against Raleigh was a confession by Henry Brooke, 11th Baron Cobham. He was never called to testify. Even though found guilty, King James spared Raleigh’s life. He was released in 1616 and was back exploring in Venezuela searching for El Dorado. There, he and some men attacked a Spanish outpost. When he returned to England, the Spanish ambassador was outraged and called for Raleigh’s death. To appease the ambassador, Raleigh was beheaded, his head was embalmed, and then presented to his wife.

War begets quiet, quiet idleness, idleness disorder, disorder ruin; likewise ruin order, order virtue, virtue glory, and good fortune.

He that doth not as other men do, but endeavoureth that which ought to be done, shall thereby rather incur peril than preservation; for whoso laboureth to be sincerely perfect and good shall necessarily perish, living among men that are generally evil.

I have loved her all my youth, / But now old, as you see; / Love likes not the falling fruit / From the withered tree. / Know that love is a careless child / And forgets promise past; / He is blind, he is deaf when he list / And in faith never fast.

Strike, man, strike! (last words with his head on the block waiting to be decapitated) – all from Walter Raleigh.

Also on this day:

Ali, the Greatest – In 1960, Cassius Clay, later to be known as Muhammad Ali, had his first professional fight.
Seeing Red – In 1863, the International Red Cross got its start.
You’re in the Army Now – In 1940, the first peacetime draft in the US was instituted.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 28, 2012

The Gateway Arch

October 28, 1965: The Gateway Arch construction is completed. Also known as the Gateway to the West, the arch remains the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri. The arch is located at the site on the west bank of the Mississippi River where Pierre Laclède asked for a city to be built back on February 14, 1764. The arch reaches up 630 feet into the Midwestern sky making it the tallest man-made monument in the US. It is also the tallest accessible building in Missouri as well as the largest structures designed as a catenary arch – meaning an arch that describes an idealized, natural forming curve when supported only at the ends.

Luther Ely Smith came home to St. Louis back in 1933 and was faced with a crumbling riverfront area. In Indiana, where he had just visited, the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park had impressed him and he wished for something like it in Missouri. He petitioned the mayor who presented the idea on December 15, 1933 to the city leaders. The idea was sanctioned and a nonprofit – Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Association (JNEMA—pronounced “Jenny May”) – was established. It was not an immediately popular idea as funds during the Great Depression were scarce. The city believed the project would cost $30 million and petitioned the federal government for ¾ of the funds. The project of riverfront renewal would create much needed jobs.

Franklin D. Roosevelt approved the plan with Executive Order 7253. The site was found and the historic buildings were condemned and demolished after many court cases finally allowed their destruction. Monies were distributed to the land owners and the property was taken over. Designs for the memorial were taken and a winner of the contest with Eero Saarinen becoming the architect of choice. Hannskarl Bandel was the structural engineer. Even with the design in hand, more road blocks were on the horizon. The railroads had to be dealt with as they needed to be relocated. After all these details had been accomplished, the arch needed to be built. Bidding for the construction opened on January 22, 1962. MacDonald Construction Company won the contract for the arch and visitor center.

Ground was broken in 1959 and by 1961 the foundation structure was laid. Construction of the arch itself began on February 12, 1963 as the first steel triangle on the south leg was placed. These triangles narrow was they arch upwards. The arch was assembled, using 142 prefabricated stainless steel sections each measuring 12 feet long. Once these were in place, concrete and tension bars were placed within the double-walled skin of each section. The cost of building the arch was about $13 million (nearly $96 million today). The arch opened to the public on June 10, 1967 and was inaugurated on May 24, 1968.

During a nation-wide competition in 1947-48, architect Eero Saarinen’s inspired design for a 630-foot stainless steel arch was chosen as a perfect monument to the spirit of the western pioneers. – National Park Service

The Arch weighs 17,246 tons. Nine hundred tons of stainless steel was used to build the Arch, more than any other project in history. – St. Louis Arch website

The ancient Romans had a tradition: whenever one of their engineers constructed an arch, as the capstone was hoisted into place, the engineer assumed accountability for his work in the most profound way possible: he stood under the arch. – Michael Armstrong

Human society is like an arch, kept from falling by the mutual pressure of its parts. – Seneca

Also on this day:

Higher Education – In 1538, the first university in the New World was established.
The Two Sisters – In 1886, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated.
Volstead Act – In 1919, Prohibition passed over President Wilson’s veto.

Tagged with: ,


Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 27, 2012

Wallis Simpson

October 27, 1936: Wallis Simpson becomes single – again. Born Bessie Wallis Warfield on June 19, 1896, she was an only child. She was born in Pennsylvania and her father died in November 1896 of tuberculosis. She and her mother depended on the charity of Solomon Davies Warfield, her rich uncle. When she was four, she and her mother moved in with a recently windowed aunt and then eventually moved into their own house. Her mother remarried in 1908. Wallis’s wealthy family helped to make sure she was educated in the best schools where she met other rich and famous people of her time. She was said to be quite intelligent and was the “head of her class” according to a classmate. She was always fashionably dressed and worked hard to do well.

She met Earl Winfield Spencer, Jr. at Pensacola, Florida while visiting a cousin. Win (as he was called) was a US Navy aviator. Wallis witnessed two plane crashes about two weeks apart which resulted in her lifelong fear of flying. She and Win, who did not crash his plane, were married on November 8, 1916. Win was an alcoholic and drank even before flying. He left his wife for four months, but they were reunited. However, they separated soon afterwards. Win was transferred to China and Wallis joined him. However, the couple finally divorced on December 27, 1927. By that time, Wallis was already involved with Ernest Aldrich Simpson. He divorced his first wife and the two were married on July 21, 1928. Simpson was a British-American shipping magnate. At various parties at their lavish flat, Wallis met Edward, Prince of Wales.

At the time of their meeting, Edward was involved with Thelma, Lady Furness. However, Wallis and Edward were smitten with each other. They denied their affair at first, but by the end of 1934, Wallis was being introduced at Buckingham Palace to the Queen and then the King of England. They did not approve of her, mostly because of her marital history. Divorced people were generally excluded from court at the time. Edward was not to be swayed and he showered his beloved with ever increasing gifts. The court became worried that the affair would lead to the prince’s inability to perform his official duties. Wallis filed for a divorce from her second husband, citing his infidelity and it was filed on this day.

The court was in a dither, King George had died on January 20, 1936 and Edward VIII was now ruler. However, his increasing infatuation with the twice-divorced Wallis led to pressures from outside to demand he give up the woman or the throne. He abdicated on December 10, 1936. The couple traveled together and Wallis’s divorce was finalized in May 1937. On June 3, 1937 she and Edward married. Edward was made Duke of Windsor and his new wife was Duchess over protestations from the Royal Family. The couple lived happily together until Wallis was widowed in 1972. She lived until April 24 1986 and died at the age of 89 growing increasingly frail and reclusive after her husband’s demise.

A woman’s life can really be a succession of lives, each revolving around some emotionally compelling situation or challenge, and each marked off by some intense experience.

I have always had the courage for the new things that life sometimes offers.

Never explain, never complain.

I am so anxious for you not to abdicate and I think the fact that you do is going to put me in the wrong light to the entire world because they will say that I could have prevented it. – all from Wallis Simpson

Also on this day:

Fancy Dry Goods Store – In 1858, Macy opened his first NYC store.
Underground – In 1904, the first section of the New York City subway opened.
Paris Riots – In 2005, riots broke out in Paris.

Tagged with: ,


Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 26, 2012

Battle of Myeongnyang

October 26, 1597: The Battle of Myeongnyang is fought. A series of attacks between a newly unified Japan and modern day Korea took place between 1592 and 1598. Toyotomi Hideyoshi of Japan led attacks against the Joseon Dynasty of Korea, the Jurchens (people of Manchuria), and eventually the Ming Dynasty of China. There are several names for this: Hideyoshi’s invasions of Korea, the Seven Year War, or the Imjin War. The last name is in reference to the first attack led by the Japanese in the the imjin year of the sexagenary cycle of the Korean calendar. In China, it is also called the Wanli Korean Campaign, after the reigning emperor of that country.

The Josean admiral Yi Sunsin had been in trouble with the leaders of the fractious dynasty court. He was impeached and nearly put to death. Rather than a death sentence, he was tortured and reduced in rank to a common soldier. His rival, Admiral Won Gyun took over the fleet which Yi and carefully built from 63 heavy ships to 166. Admiral Won was a master of political intrigue but a buffoon at logistical and tactical maneuvers in war. At the Battle of Chilchonryang on August 27, 1597 the Japanese under the command of Todo Takatora nearly wiped the Korean navy out.

Admiral Won was killed at Chilchonryang. There were only 12 panokseon ships left to the navy. These were oar and sail propelled ships and were the major type of warship used by the Josean Dynasty. King Seonjo opted to disband the navy. Yi wrote him a letter proclaiming that there were still 12 ships and he would never allow the Japanese into the Western Sea. One more ship was added to Yi’s fleet before this day’s battle. Yi placed his fleet guarding the Myeongnyang Strait, a place with strong currents which switched directions every three hours. The narrowness of the strait would also make it impossible for his small fleet to be flanked by the approaching Japanese fleet of over 300 ships.

Using his understanding of the currents and his military knowhow, Yi managed to damage many Japanese ships. His ships, in the shadows of the surrounding hills, were difficult to target. Early in the battle, a body was seen floating in the water wearing the distinctive clothing of a daimyo, or Japanese leader. The body was hauled aboard and was identified as Kurushima Michifusa, a leader met in battle prior to this day. His head was cut off and posted on the mast of the Josean flagship. As the tide shifted, the Japanese ships were pulled back out of the strait and ran into other ships behind them. They lost 31 ships and many others suffered significant damage. The Japanese withdrew. With supplies cut off from the mainland, the Japanese had to institute an general retreat as well.

A country’s strategy is always based on a fundamental philosophical outlook. – Marc Forne Molne

Finally, strategy must have continuity. It can’t be constantly reinvented. – Michael Porter

Leaders establish the vision for the future and set the strategy for getting there. – John P. Kotter

Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy. – Sun Tzu

Also on this day:

Tombstone, Arizona – In 1881, the gunfight at the OK Corral took place.
Whoa! – In 1861, Pony Express service officially ended.
Cloud of Death – In 1948, Donora, Pennsylvania was shrouded in a toxic fog.

Fox River Grove

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 25, 2012

Fox River Grove bus accident scene

October 25, 1995: A train runs into a school bus. Fox River Grove, Illinois is a small village northwest of Chicago. The population is around 5,000 living in the 1.8 square mile community.  Because of its proximity to Chicago, Metra trains run for commuters working in the city. On this day, the train was running its regularly scheduled trip. However, the school bus was driven by a substitute driver, Patricia Catencamp. The bus was approaching Highway 14 on Algonquin Road. There were two tracks owned by the Union Pacific Railroad, a small space, and then the highway with a stop light at the intersection. Because the railway communicates with the traffic light, this is called an “interconnected crossing” and it supposed to work seamlessly.

Thirty-two seconds before the impact with the train traveling at 66 miles per hour, the communication system deemed there was time and waited another eight seconds before communicating with the traffic light. One second later, the light responded and prepared to turn red. The school bus also slowly approached the intersection. Eleven seconds later, with pedestrian traffic having had time to clear the intersection, the traffic signal on US 14 turned yellow. The train was now traveling at 69 mph. At 7.5 seconds before impact, the light on US 14 turned red with an all red interval. The train was only 600 feet from the bus when the light turned green.

The bus was longer than the space between tracks and light. In fact, the bus was over the tracks by about three inches. Trains, however, are wider than the tracks they ride on and the Metra extended three feet past the rails. Even if the driver had realized the danger, her only other option at the time was to pull into the intersection while the light was still red. The high school children on the bus at first joked about the gates having come down and trapping the bus. They quickly began to scream for the bus to pull forward. The driver, unaware of the impending impact, was concerned that something was going wrong inside the bus. She did not pull forward.

The train engaged the emergency brakes and slowed to 60 mph before impact at 7:10 AM. With impact, the body was separated from the chassis of the bus and it was sent careening into the intersection. Five students were instantly killed by the impact and two later died from injuries sustained. Another 21 students were injured, some critically. Most of the injuries were blunt trauma and head injuries. Because of the proximity of the crash to the police station, help was immediately available at the scene. The driver’s inexperience was partially at fault. The poor design of the intersection along with improper preemption programming were also culpable.

Art has to move you and design does not, unless it’s a good design for a bus. – David Hockney

Finding a good bus driver can be as important as finding a good musician. – Reba McEntire

I hated school. Even to this day, when I see a school bus it’s just depressing to me. The poor little kids. – Dolly Parton

Know how to travel from your town to a nearby town without a car, either by bus or by rail. – Marilyn vos Savant

Also on this day:

Who Blinked? – In 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis confrontation between Adlai Stevenson and Valerian Zorin took place.
George, George, George – In 1760, George III began his reign in England.
Nuke It – In 1955, microwaves became available for home use.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 24, 2012

First picture of Earth from outer space

October 24, 1946: The White Sands rocket launches. The official name of the craft was V-2 No. 13 and it flew out of the White Sands Missile Range in White Sands, New Mexico. The rocket flew straight up and when it reached the peak altitude of 107.5 miles, it fell back to Earth. The mission had included a camera. Black-and-white photos were taken with the movie camera every second and a half beginning at 65 miles of altitude. The rocket plunged back to Earth and struck the ground at a speed of 500 feet per second. The camera was smashed to bits. However, the film had been protected in a steel cassette and it was unharmed. These were the first pictures of Earth from space.

Fred Rulli was a 19-year-old enlisted man at the time. He was also part of the recovery team whose job it was to find the crash site in the desert and retrieve the film. When the scientists found the cassette in good shape, they were ecstatic – according to Fred. He also relates that when they first projected the pictures on a screen they “just went nuts.” Before 1946, Earth had been pictured from an altitude of 13.7 miles from aboard the Explorer II balloon. Eleven years later, that distance had been greatly surpassed and for the first time, the curvature of the planet could be seen using the camera designed by Clyde Holliday. When the pictures were displayed, Earth could be seen against the blackness of space.

This was only one of the “firsts” from the V-2 rocket program. The Army was able to fire off the captured German missiles brought to New Mexico aboard 300 railroad cars. The scientists on site used the missiles to perfect their own rocket designs and with ongoing launches inserted a number of instruments inside the nosecones. They were able to study temperatures, pressures, magnetic fields, along with other aspects of the heretofore unexplored upper atmosphere.

Holliday worked for the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and worked with many of the other leading scientists of the time – James Van Allen and S. Fred Singer among them. Both of these men would be instrumental in planning the early US satellites. Holliday was concerned with the camera, not just because of the wonderful pictures it was able to return to the home planet. He was also studying how the rocket was steering in the upper atmosphere and what sort of disturbances might be caused by cosmic rays. Today, we have seen the Blue Marble and the wonders of the planet as seen from the Moon. These grainy 35 mm photos are not the same quality, but they have the distinction of being the first pictures from outer space.

They were ecstatic, they were jumping up and down like kids. – Fred Rulli, about the scientists at the crash site

[This is] how our Earth would look to visitors from another planet coming in on a space ship. – Clyde Holliday in National Geographic in 1950

We considered clouds to be a nuisance. – S. Fred Singer

[Holliday was] in an environment with super-Ph.D.s, and he wanted to make clear that photography was a science, too. – Cy O’Brien

Also on this day:

Nedelin Catastrophe – In 1960, a Soviet Union ICBM exploded on the launchpad.
Notre Dame – In 1260, the cathedral was dedicated.
Terror Along the Beltway – In 2002, the Beltway Sniper was arrested.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 23, 2012

The Smurfs

October 23, 1958: A Belgian cartoon strip makes its debut. Pierre Culliford, pen name Peyo, had lunch with a friend, André Franquin. Peyo forgot the word for “salt” and asked his friend to pass the “schtroumpf”. Franquin responded, ” Here’s the Schtroumpf—when you are done schtroumpfing, schtroumpf it back…” The two joked for the for the rest of the meal about schtroumpf. Peyo went on to draw a cartoon which became a television franchise as well as the comic strip. In French it is called Les Schtroumpfs. In Dutch the word was Smurf, which is what we know them as in English.

The Smurfs are small, blue fictional creatures. They are short, just three apples tall. They are mostly male but there are three female Smurfs who were all added later. The men wear white trousers with a hole for their short tale. They also wear a white Phrygian cap and some carry identifying bits or pieces as well. Most of the Smurfs are 100 years old. Papa Smurf is older and Baby Smurf is younger. Originally there were 99 Smurfs but more were added as needed. They are all archetypal, such as Lazy Smurf or Grouchy Smurf. They speak their own language with “smurf” being used frequently but with enough nouns and verbs for the audience to understand the underlying message.

Their 50th anniversary was celebrated with a commemorative coin minted in Belgium. The year 2008 was also the 80th anniversary of Payo’s birth. The Smurfs was listed as the 97th best animated series by IGN. A movie called The Smurfs was released in 2011. There were two French Les Schtroumpfs movies released, one in 1965 and the other in 1976. The Smurfs were also used as advertising mascots for several products including BP and a public service announcement by UNICEF. They have even appeared at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, as a balloon float. In the US, there was a television series starring the little blue folks from 1981 to 1990. They went into syndication and remained on the air until 2003.

Peyo was born in Brussels in 1928 to an English father and Belgian mother. His name was based on an English cousin’s mispronunciation of Pierrot, a diminutive form of Pierre. He began working in a small Belgian animation studio where he met Franquin. After World War II, the studio folded and Peyo went to work for a newspaper drawing comics. He also did promotional drawing jobs to supplement his income. He had been drawing Johan and Peewit for some time before the first Smurf appeared in the series. The Smurfs went into history. Peyo died on Christmas Eve in 1992 at the age of 64, suffering a heart attack.

Narrator Smurf: There is a place. A place that knows no sadness, where even feeling blue is a happy thing. A place inhabited by little blue beings three apples high. It lies deep within an enchanted forest, hidden away beyond the medieval village. Most people believe this place is made up, only to be found in books or children’s imagination. Well, we beg to differ. (opening lines)

Papa: I’m 546, I’m getting too old for this…

Grouchy: Where the Smurf are we?
Gutsy: Up the smurfin’ creek without a paddle, that’s where!

Patrick Winslow: SMURF, SMURF, SMURFETY, SMURF!  [all the Smurfs are shocked]
Gutsy: There is no call for that sort of language, laddie! – all from The Smurfs (2011)

Also on this day:

Fore – In 1930, the first miniature golf tournament was held.
Bump! Boom! – In 1958, the Springhill mining disaster struck.
Poison Gas – In 2002, the Moscow Theater Hostage Crisis began.

Tagged with: , ,

No, Thanks

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 22, 2012

Jean-Paul Sartre

October 22, 1964: Jean-Paul Sartre was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature. Sartre was born in Paris in 1905. His mother was a first cousin of Albert Schweitzer. Sartre’s father died when he was a year old and his mother returned to her parents’ house in Meudon to raise him. There, his grandfather who was a professor, helped to school the young boy, teaching him mathematics and classical literature. When Sartre was twelve, his mother remarried and they moved away to La Rochelle ending the idyllic childhood he had known. In his new environment, he was bullied frequently.

As a teen, Sartre became interested in philosophy and earned a doctorate of philosophy from École Normale Supérieure, a school noted for its encouragement of French thinkers and intellectuals. While Sartre enjoyed the philosophical nature of the school, he was also a committed prankster and his pranks often resulted in those in charge having to leave their positions. He would look back on this with a sense of chagrin or possibly shame. In 1939 he wrote about pranks saying, “There is more destructive power than in all the works of Lenin.”

During World War II, Sartre was drafted into the French army. He was captured by the Germans and spent nine months as a prisoner of war. He wrote his first theatrical piece while in prison. Due to poor health, he was released in April 1941 and given civilian status. He was back in Paris the next month and founded an underground group which soon dissolved without enough support. Sartre took up writing rather than resistance. After the liberation of Paris in 1944, he wrote Anti-Semite and Jew, a study in anti-Semitic hate. Albert Camus referred to him as a “writer who resisted, not a resister who wrote.”

When he was awarded the Nobel Prize, he refused the honor. In fact, he had written a letter on October 14 asking to be removed from the list of nominees and warned that he would not accept the award if offered it. They did not read the letter. On October 23, Sartre published a statement in Le Figaro explaining his refusal stating he did not wish to be “transformed” by such an award and did not want to participate in an East vs. West cultural struggle. He went into hiding soon after. However, his support of existentialism during this time remained intact. He continued to write and as his health failed, he wrote even more quickly trying to get the words onto paper. He died on April 15, 1980 and was mourned by as many as 50,000 people who lined the streets to pay their respects.

As far as men go, it is not what they are that interests me, but what they can become.

Evil is the product of the ability of humans to make abstract that which is concrete.

If I became a philosopher, if I have so keenly sought this fame for which I’m still waiting, it’s all been to seduce women basically.

Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat. – all from Jean-Paul Sartre

Also on this day:

When the World Was New – In 4004 BC, the world was created – according to the math.
Where Is He? – In 1844, Jesus Christ did not return to Earth.
Pretty Boy – In 1934, Charles Floyd was killed.