Little Bits of History

Crystal Palace

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 30, 2014
Crystal Palace burns

Crystal Palace burns

November 30, 1936: The Crystal Palace burns. The Crystal Palace was built in Hyde Park, London to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. The cast-iron and plate-glass building contained over 990,000 square feet of space and housed more than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world. Displayed within were examples of the latest technology developed during the Industrial Revolution. Sir Joseph Paxton designed the building which was 1,851 feet long with an interior height of 128 feet. Cast plate glass methodology had only been developed in 1848, making the building a marvel of its time. It was the most glass seen in one building up to that time and was astonishing to see. After the Great Exhibition, the building was rebuilt even larger at Penge Common next to Sydenham Hill with construction complete in 1854.

Playwright Douglas Jerrold wrote in the July 13, 1850 issue of Punch magazine about the proposed palace of very crystal and the oft repeated phrase became the name of the building which had not even been approved yet. The Crystal Palace’s construction began in July 1850. Timber used to rough in the building was eventually used for the flooring. More than 1,000 iron columns supported 2,224 trellis girders and 30 miles of guttering. There were 4,000 tonnes of iron in all. Up to 2,000 navvies worked on the building at any one time with over 5,000 employed during the entire construction period. After the transept was installed, a team of 80 glaziers placed more than 18,000 panes of glass in a week. The building was complete in just five months.

The Great Exhibition lasted only six months and the building was doomed to destruction. Instead, a group of eight businessmen formed a holding company and had the building moved. Construction of the new building began in 1852 and it was quite different from the original being even larger and grander. Queen Victoria held opening ceremonies in 1854. The original palace had cost £150,000 (about £14.3 million in today’s currency) and the move cost another £1.3 million (about £115 million today). The debt was never fully repaid even though the venue was opened on Sundays beginning in 1861. That first Sunday had 40,000 visitors. Three decades later, the popularity of the Palace as well as its state of disrepair led to its decline.

The board declared bankruptcy in 1911 and in 1914 the Earl of Plymouth purchased it. Eventually, the country bought it back and Sir Henry Buckland began the job of restoration. Visitors were coming back and the Palace made a small profit. Improvement continued. On this day, a fire started and within hours, the entire Palace had been destroyed. A small office fire had started after an explosion in the women’s cloakroom. Two men had attempted to put out the fire, but help was called. In all, 89 fire engines and over 400 firemen worked to put the blaze out, but high winds spread the fire and soon the Crystal Palace was no more.

In a few hours we have seen the end of the Crystal Palace. Yet it will live in the memories not only of Englishmen, but the whole world. – Henry Buckland

This is the end of an age. – Winston Churchill

One size of glass was chosen and this in turn determined the size of the repetitive units. Paxton’s prefabricated modular design enabled a low cost and quick build. –

It stood to remind us that we did contribute something to the pioneer efforts of the Modern Movement – J.M. Richards

Also on this day: I’ll Take Television for $200, Alex – In 2004, Ken Jennings finally lost at Jeopardy! after winning over $2.5 million.
100 Miles Per Hour – In 1934, the Flying Scotsman reached a speed of 100 mph.
Lucy – In 1974, Australopithecus was discovered.
Penal Reform – In 1786, the death penalty was outlawed for the first time.

Video Games

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 29, 2014


November 29, 1972: Atari announces their new game – Pong. One of the earliest arcade video games, it was the first successful venture into this new market. It is a tennis sports game and is played using simple two-dimensional graphics. Other games hit the market prior to Pong’s release, but this was the first mainstream game to make it big. Allan Alcorn created Pong as a training exercise for Atari Incorporated. The game was based on an electronic ping-pong game included in the Magnavox Odyssey. This would later result in a lawsuit. The lawsuit wasn’t filed immediately but eventually Sanders, Associates prevailed and Atari decided to settle with Magnavox and Sanders out of court.

Atari had hoped to develop more games and license them to other companies. They hired Alcorn who had no experience with video games and gave him the task of developing something. He produced Pong. Alcorn had looked over schematics for Computer Space, but found them impossible and so he created his own game. He based his design on knowledge of transistor-transistor logic but felt the game was too boring. He divided the paddle into eight segments with each returning the ball at a different angle. The ball also accelerated the longer it was in play and the paddles were limited to which part of the screen they could traverse.

Three months into development, Bushnell told Alcorn to add realistic sound effects and the roaring of a crowd. Dabney, company-owner of Atari, wanted boos and hisses to emit from the machine after a missed ball, but the space available did not allow for this. A new method was devised and the different sounds were added. Alcorn purchased a $74 Hitachi black-and-white TV set from a local store and put it into a 4-foot wooden cabinet. He added the necessary circuitry and presented his prototype. In August 1972, Bushnell and Alcorn put a prototype game into a local bar, Andy Capp’s Tavern. They picked the spot because they had a good relationship with Bill Gattis, the manager, since they provided the bar’s pinball machines.

The game was played the first night and continued to have players amused for the next ten days. After that time, the game showed some problems and Alcorn went on site to fix it. The problem was that the coin mechanism was overflowing with quarters. Since the game was such a local success, Bushnell announced on this day, that it was available. They found a manufacturer and shipping began soon after with international sales coming in 1973. The game was such a success in arcades and bars, that a home version was made. It was first rejected as too expensive. Marketing kept trying and finally the Sears Sporting Goods department helped get the game into private homes in 1975.

Some of the best projects to ever come out of Atari or Chuck E. Cheese’s were from high school dropouts, college dropouts. One guy had been in jail.

I had an awful lot of my soul invested in Atari culture.

We had some really powerful technology – Atari always was a technology-driven company, and we were very keen on keeping the technological edge on everything. There’s a whole bunch of things that we innovated. We made the first computer that did stamps or sprites, we did screen-mapping for the very first time, and a lot of stuff like that.

Selling Atari when I did – I think that’s my biggest regret. And I probably should have gotten back heavily into the games business in the late Eighties. But I was operating under this theory at the time that the way to have an interesting life was to reinvent yourself every five or six years. – all from Nolan Bushnell

Also on this day: Warren Commission formed – In 1963 the Warren Commission was formed to investigate President Kennedy’s assassination.
Phonetic – In 1877, Thomas Edison demonstrated his phonograph.
Zong – In 1781, the Zong Massacre took place.
Going South – In 1929, the first fly-over of the South Pole occurred.

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There Goes the Groom

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 28, 2014
William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

November 28, 1582: Witnesses post bond guaranteeing no lawful impediments to marriage exist. Eighteen-year-old William Shakespeare and 26-year-old Anne Hathaway were issued a marriage license through the consistory court of the Diocese of Worcester the day before. Two of Anne’s neighbors posted bond and the chancellor allowed the marriage banns to be read only once rather than the customary three times. Six months later, Anne gave birth to a daughter, Susanna, who was baptized on May 26, 1583. Hamnet and Judith, twins born almost two years later, were baptized on February 2, 1585. Hamnet died of unknown causes and was buried on August 11, 1596. He was eleven. Little is known of Shakespeare’s whereabouts until he appeared on the London theater scene in 1592.

William was the son of John Shakespeare, an alderman and successful glover and Mary Arden, daughter of an affluent landowning farmer. His date of birth is unknown, but he was baptized on April 26, 1564. Traditionally, the date of birth is given as April 23, but this has been based on an 18th century historian’s mistake. Where Shakespeare was educated is also unknown although it is theorized it was at the King’s New School in Stratford which was a free school chartered in 1553 and was located about a quarter-mile from his home. Each school was of varying quality but most were based on the same curriculum – a basic Latin text was standardized by royal decree. The youngster would have been educated using classical Latin authors.

There has been much speculation on the “lost years” – the time between the birth of twins and Shakespeare’s appearance in London in 1592. In one story, William fled after getting in trouble with the local squire, Thomas Lucy. Perhaps he poached a deer or maybe he wrote an unflattering ballad or even he wrote a scurrilous ballad after being prosecuted for poaching a deer. John Aubrey, writer of Brief Lives written 1669-1696, claimed Shakespeare had been a “schoolmaster in the country” based on stories from contemporaries of the playwright. Perhaps he had become an actor when the traveling troupe, Queen Elizabeth’s Men found themselves short staffed in Stratford. In some way, Shakespeare did eventually make his way to London.

The man is often regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s supreme dramatist. He is sometimes called the Bard of Avon and called England’s national poet. Some of his work has been lost over time. Today, there exist 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and some other verses. His plays have been translated into every major living language. They are performed more than those of any other playwright. It appears that he retired back to Stratford around 1613 at the age of 49 and died there three years later. Speculation abounds about his private life and his public works, even questioning whether he actually wrote the words attributed to him.

This bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath, / May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet. (Romeo and Juliet, 2.2)

Hear my soul speak: / The very instant that I saw you, did / My heart fly to your service. (The Tempest, 3.1)

If thou remember’st not the slightest folly / That ever love did make thee run into, / Thou hast not loved. (As You Like It, 2.4)

When Love speaks, the voice of all the gods / Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony. (Love’s Labour’s Lost, 4.3) – all from William Shakespeare

Also on this day: The Pitch Experiment – In 2000, the eighth drop in the 73 year old Pitch Experiment drops.
Night Life & Death – In 1942, the Cocoanut Grove burned.
Hot Off the Presses – In 1814, The London Times was printed using a steam operated press.
Attack – In 2002, the Mombasa attacks took place in Kenya.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 27, 2014


November 27, 1924: The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is held. During the 1920s, many of the store’s employees were first-generation immigrants and proud of their American heritage. They wanted to celebrate the United States feast of Thanksgiving and harkened back to their parents love of festival back in Europe. Prior to this, Louis Bamberger had held an annual Thanksgiving Day parade in Newark, New Jersey. Bamberger’s parade was transferred to New York City by Macy’s and the employees marched to Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street dressed in costumes. Also included were floats, professional bands, animals borrowed from Central Park Zoo and Santa Claus bringing up the end.

The famous balloons of the parade come in three varieties. The first and oldest class are novelty balloons. These are smaller and some so small they fit on the heads of performers. The largest of these required up to 30 handlers. The next and most famous type are licensed pop-culture full-sized balloons and each takes exactly 90 handlers. The last and most recent type are those which are transformed, full-sized balloons depicting works of contemporary artists. The first balloon to be included was Felix the Cat who made his debut in 1927. Falloons, a float/balloon, made their debut in 1991 with Humpty Dumpty. In 2004, the first balloonicle, a self-powered balloon vehicle, had the Weebles included in the Parade.

Also included are live music and other performances. College and high school marching bands from across the country participate in the event. The television broadcast has performances from famous singers and bands such as The Rockettes of Radio City Music Hall fame. Cheerleaders and dancers chosen by the National Cheerleaders Association are selected from a variety of high schools. The NBC telecast takes place from in front of the Macy’s on Broadway and 34th Street. Most of the “live” performances have artists lip syncing to pre-recorded versions of their work. Singing into a wireless microphone on a moving vehicle remains technically challenging.

More than 44 million people watch the televised Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was first televised in 1939 as an experimental broadcast. There were no broadcasts in 1940 or 1941 and then the Parade was suspended due to World War II. The Parade returned in 1945 and local broadcasting began with it. Network TV picked it up in 1948 when CBS began to show the parade nationwide. Beginning in 1952 and continuing through to today, NBC has been the broadcaster. CBS has a studio on Times Square and also carries unauthorized coverage. The first few years saw only one hour of coverage and it increased over time so that by 1969, all three hours were shown. It began color broadcasting in 1960. The show is seen across the nation from 9 AM to noon, local time meaning it is only live for Eastern Time zone viewers.

I am so excited this year getting to play the 85th Anniversary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Everyone knows on Thanksgiving morning to get up, turn on the TV and watch the parade, so to be an actual participant is going to be fun and I’m looking forward to it. I am gonna have to put on my deer hunting gear, though, to stay warm! – Rodney Atkins

When I was just starting out in the business, I used to love to watch Lorne Greene doing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I said right then, ‘That’s what I want to do someday,’ and it’s been one dream that has come true. – Willard Scott

A lot of Thanksgiving days have been ruined by not carving the turkey in the kitchen. – Kin Hubbard

I absolutely adore Thanksgiving. It’s the only holiday I insist on making myself. – Ina Garten

Also on this day: First Crusade – In 1095, Pope Urban II calls for European princes to rescue the Holy Lands from desecration by the infidels.
No Twinkies – In 1978, Harvey Milk and George Moscone were murdered.
Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics – In 1839, the American Statistical Association was formed.
Hung – In 1835, the last executions for homosexuality in England took place at Newgate Prison.

We Interrupt This Program

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 26, 2014
Program interrupted

Program interrupted

November 26, 1977: The Southern Television broadcast is interrupted. The Hannington transmitter was part of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) in the United Kingdom. The video programming remained intact while there was an override in the sound system. A disguised voice which was accompanied by a deep buzzing broke through the local ITV station and took over the UHF audio signal. The voice said its name was “Vrillon” or “Gillon” while others thought it called itself “Asteron”. Beginning at 5.10 PM local time, the voice took control for six minutes. The speaker claimed to be a representative of an “Intergalactic Association” and insisted on peace.

The broadcast ended after the statement from Vrillon had been delivered and a Looney Tunes cartoon, which had been the video playing at the time, was still in progress. Later in the evening, Southern Television apologized for “a breakthrough in sound” for some of the viewing public. ITN’s broadcast was interrupted while Andrew Gardner had been reading the news and they, too, mentioned the disruption in their own late-evening Saturday bulletin.

The Hannington UHF transmitter was unusual since it was one of a few transmitters which rebroadcast an off-air signal received from another transmitter located on the Isle of Wight. That was also owned by Southern Television. Most transmitters at the time were fed directly by landline. Because of this technology, it was possible for even a low-powered transmission placed very close to the receiver to overwhelm the reception and hijack the signal. Then their own signal would be amplified and rebroadcast over a wider area. Even so, it was thought that such a hijacking would take a considerable amount of technical knowhow. The perpetrator’s method was deduced, but the culprit was never located.

The incident made a local stir and was reported widely in the next day’s newspapers. Being a Sunday, the news was given a wide range of readers and the story spread to a worldwide audience. The UPI press agency picked up the story and from there it spread to many American papers. The IBA immediately declared the message a hoax but it still became part of ufology’s alien broadcast. Someone wrote to the Times and wanted to know how the IBA could be so sure it was a hoax and what if it was real. By late 1985, the story had entered urban folklore.

This is the voice of Asteron. I am an authorised representative of the Intergalactic Mission, and I have a message for the planet Earth. We are beginning to enter the period of Aquarius and there are many corrections which have to be made by Earth people.

All your weapons of evil must be destroyed. You have only a short time to learn to live together in peace. You must live in peace… or leave the galaxy. – transcript of the message

Inexplicably the News Of The World and D. Mail call the owner of the voice ‘Gillon, of the Ashdown Galactic Command’ and that he said: “Unless the weapons of Earth are laid down, destruction from outer space invasion will quickly follow.”

I hope their regular news reportage is more accurate than that, for the indication is that they’ve simply invented a more shocking message. – all from Fortean Times, Winter 1977

Also on this day: Instant Camera – In 1948, Polaroid produced an instant picture camera, first sold on this day.
Puck You – In 1917, the National Hockey League was founded.
KV62 – In 1922, Howard Carter opened King Tut’s tomb.
Water – In 1805, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct opened.

Plans Gone Awry

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 25, 2014
Drawing of the White Ship sinking

Drawing of the White Ship sinking

November 25, 1120: The White Ship sinks. The ship was plying the English Channel and sank near the Normandy coast off Barfleur. It was a new ship and captained by Thomas FitzStephen whose father, Stephen FitzAirard, had captained the ship William the Conqueror used when he invaded England in 1066. The ship had been offered to Henry I of England to use for his return to England from Barfleur. The King had already made other arrangements but allowed the White Ship to take much of his retinue back to England. Aboard the ship was William Adelin, heir to the throne, and two of the kings’ illegitimate children (Richard of Lincoln and Matilda FitzRoy) as well as many other nobles.

William had been born in 1103 in Winchester, Hampshire in southern England. His mother was Matilda of Scotland. His name is sometimes written as William Ætheling, Adelinus, Adelingus, or Audelin. Henry I was the youngest son of William the Conqueror. When William was fatally injured, he divided his property amongst his sons since primogeniture had not taken full effect. Henry had two, possibly three, legitimate children. Matilda, his eldest, William followed, and Richard may have existed, but if so, he died young. Henry’s extracurricular activities were far more fruitful. He had up to nine sons and fifteen daughters by various mistresses. William was a pampered, spoiled child, set to inherit the throne of England. He was 17 years old when he died.

Prior to the journey from the mainland to England, William supplied wine to the travelers and crew. According to Orderic Vitalis, William supplied so much wine that some of the travelers were no longer well enough to travel. Still, there were about 300 on board when the ship set sail. The drunken passengers pressed Thomas FitzStephen to try to overtake the king’s ship which had set off earlier. The White Ship was fast and new, with the best technology of the time put into her construction. She sailed away in the dark and soon struck a submerged rock. Taking water from the huge gash in the port side, the ship capsized. William made his way to a small boat and would have survived except he turned back to rescue his half-sister Matilda. Other drowning passengers swamped the boat and all of the drowned.

With his only legitimate son dead, King Henry I was in a quandary. His only surviving legitimate child was Matilda (not the woman on the boat) and he pressed his barons to swear an oath of allegiance to her. No woman had ruled England independently and Matilda was not a popular person in her own right. Without a male heir, a period known as The Anarchy ensued. Two factions arose with one led by Stephen of Blois, the king’s nephew, and the other by Matilda and her husband Geoffrey of Anjou – founder of the Plantagenet dynasty. The two sides warred and The Anarchy lasted from 1135 to 1153 with devastating effects, especially in southern England.

Here also perished with William, Richard, another of the King’s sons, whom a woman without rank had borne him, before his accession, a brave youth, and dear to his father from his obedience; Richard d’Avranches, second Earl of Chester, and his brother Otheur; Geoffrey Ridel; Walter of Everci; Geoffrey, archdeacon of Hereford; the Countess of Chester; the king’s niece Lucia-Mahaut of Blois; and many others … No ship ever brought so much misery to England. – William of Malmesbury

To reach a port we must set sail – Sail, not tie at anchor / Sail, not drift. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

When I’m all grown up, come what may, / I’ll build a boat to carry me away. – Guy Gavriel Kay

Now I remembered a captain’s honor and his only duty: to bring his crew back alive. – Carsten Jensen

Also on this day: Trapped – In 1952, Agatha Christie’s play, The Mousetrap, is first produced – and it continues live performances to this day.
Striking Hunger – In 1984, Do They Know It’s Christmas was recorded.
Perfect Storm – In 1703, England was ravaged by its worst storm when a hurricane made landfall.
Thankful – In 1926, this Thanksgiving Day spawned several tornadoes.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 24, 2014
On the Origin of Species,

On the Origin of Species,

November 24, 1859: Charles Darwin publishes. The full title of his book was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. For the sixth edition, published in 1872, the title was thankfully shortened to On The Origin of Species. Darwin’s book introduced scientific theory stating populations evolve over time through a process of natural selection. He based this on observations and data gathered during his trip aboard the Beagle in the 1830s. After his return to England, he furthered his studies using research and experimentation as well as correspondence with other scientists of the era. Various evolutionary ideas had already been proposed.

Biologist Ernst Mayr has summarized the key points of the book. Every species is fertile to produce offspring which survive to reproduce so the species can grow (fact). Despite fluctuations, populations remains about the same size (fact). Resources are limited and relatively stable over time (fact). A struggle to survive results (inference). Individuals in a population vary significantly (fact). Much of the variance is inheritable (fact). Those less suited are less likely to survive and reproduce while those better suited do survive and create offspring which is the basis for natural selection (inference). This slow process results in populations changing to adapt to their environment (inference).

In later editions of On the Origin of Species, Darwin included a history of evolutionary ideas back as far as Aristotle. Early Christian Church fathers and Medieval European scholars interpreted the Genesis creation story as allegorical rather than literal. Nature was seen as capricious with odd births between species and spontaneous creation of life. The Protestant Reformation inspired a literal interpretation of the Bible. The biblical story did not agree with emerging scientific facts. After the English Civil War, one of the Royal Society’s goals was to show that religion and science could coexist without disrupting political stability.

Darwin was not the only person working on the theory of evolution. An 1855 paper written by Alfred Russel Wallace, described patterns in geographical distribution of living and fossil species and how new species developed from the old similar ones. Charles Lyell saw the relative merits in the paper as well as how it related to Darwin’s work. Darwin had long avoided publishing the controversial work but with this impetus, he rushed to publish a short paper outlining his own theory in order to retain discovery status. Both men were permitted to present papers at the Linnean Society in 1858. There are differences between the two papers in some details. Darwin’s book was published on this date and went on sale for fifteen shillings. It has been in print ever since.

In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.

False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for every one takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness.

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.

I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars. – all from Charles Darwin

Also on this day: Little Jamie – in 1993, James Bulger’s murderers are found guilty.
Jump to Nowhere – In 1971, Dan Cooper jumped from a plane and was never seen again.
Wilt the Stilt – In 1960, the basketball player garnered another record.
Alone? – In 1963 Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 23, 2014
Perkin Warbeck

Perkin Warbeck

November 23, 1499: Perkin Warbeck dies. Little is known for certain about his early life. His own account is most certainly inaccurate. He presented himself to English Court as Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, younger son of King Edward IV. In 1497, he was captured and interrogated with King Henry VII in attendance. The captured man confessed, probably with additional inaccuracies, to have been the son of John Osbeck or Jehan de Werbecque. Osbeck was Flemish and comptroller of the city of Tournai. His mother, Katherine de Faro, was married to Osbeck. Research into municipal archives of Tournai show evidence of most of the people Warbeck claimed to be related to.

His mother brought him to Holland around age ten to learn Dutch and he was taught by several masters of the region before gaining employment with an English merchant, John Strewe. Warbeck longed for world travel and was hired by another merchant who brought the younger man to Cork, Ireland in 1491 and there he learned to speak English. Warbeck claimed that some Yorkists living in Cork offered him the honor of being a member of the Royal House of York as they were intent on gaining revenge on the King of England. They plotted to have Warbeck make his claim to the throne.

Warbeck’s first claim to the British throne came at the court of Burgundy in 1490. His back story was that his brother, Edward V had been murdered while the younger brother was spared because of his youth and innocence. He was forced at the time to swear himself to silence for “a certain number of years”. Between 1483 and 1490, according to his story, he had lived on the continent under protection of Yorkist loyalists with his main guardian being Sir Edward Brampton who returned to England and left the “Duke of York” free. In 1491 while in Ireland, Warbeck found little support and was forced to return to mainland Europe.

Eventually, Warbeck was officially recognized as Richard of Shrewsbury by Margaret of York, the widow of Charles the Bold and the sister of Edward IV. It is unknown as to whether or not Margaret truly believed the pretender or just wanted to support his cause. Warbeck landed in England in July 1495 and most of his small army were killed before he could get off his ship. He did receive support from James IV of Scotland. Warbeck once again tried to take England in 1497 but was again unsuccessful. He was arrested and initially treated well by King Henry. After his confession to being an imposter, he was released from the Tower of London. He was kept under guard at the King’s court and when he fled, he was quickly recaptured. Warbeck publicly confessed and was hanged at Tyburn on this date.

In the past, people were born royal. Nowadays, royalty comes from what you do. – Gianni Versace

Your part can be the king, but unless people are treating you like royalty, you ain’t no king, man. – Jeff Bridges

Upper class to me means you are either born into wealth or you’re Royalty. – Benedict Cumberbatch

When Religion and Royalty are swept away, the people will attack the great, and after the great, they will fall upon the rich. – Honore de Balzac

Also on this day: Healthy Hearts – In 1964, the first coronary bypass graft surgery was performed by Dr. Michael DeBakey.
Censorship – In 1644, John Milton wrote about freedom of the press.
Hijacked – In 1985, EgyptAir Flight 648 was hijacked.
Why Thespians? – In 534 BC, Thespis won an entertainment contest in Athens.

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Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 22, 2014
Humane Society logo

Humane Society logo

November 22, 1954: The Humane Society is founded. Originally known as the National Humane Society, it is today called The Humane Society of the United States or HSUS. Fred Myers, Larry Andrews, Marcia Glaser, and Helen Jones moved to address issues of animal welfare. They saw that local organizations were not equipped to handle the far-reaching problems. The HSUS formed after a schism with the American Humane Association due to disagreements over pound seizures, rodeos, and other policies. Their guiding principle, as issued in 1954 was “the Humane Society of the United States opposes and seeks to prevent all use or exploitation of animals that causes pain, suffering, or fear.”

The humane movement began in the 1860s with the idea of kindness to animals making great strides during the Civil War. The most influential source in 1954 was Dr. Albert Schweitzer. In his 1952 Nobel Peace Prize speech, he advocated for compassion as the root of ethics and including not just all men, but every living thing. Joseph Wood Krutch was also influential and his writings indicated a deep level of appreciation for wilderness and nonhuman life. With these inspiring forces, the founders of HSUS devised a society to be founded in Washington, D.C. to help confront and combat cruelties nationwide.

The Humane Slaughter Act was passed in 1958, just four years after their founding. This law covered the entire nation rather than all the local laws passed in prior times. An early issue for the HSUS was animals used in research, testing, and education. Biomedical research was becoming more widespread and it was hoped that animals could not be obtained from pounds or shelters. While local humane societies tried to protect animals from pound seizure, the clout brought by a national entity helped to curb this operation. By the 1970s the issue was gathering far more attention and animal rights were moving forward.

In 2004, Wayne Pacelle was appointed CEO and president. Since then, the HSUS has been working on a number of initiatives including greyhound racing, puppy mill cruelty, and animal trapping. They have worked for Animal Protection Litigation and have partnered with other humane organizations. They helped during Hurricane Katrina with animal rescue and saved about 10,000 animals (along with the help of other organizations). They advocate for the rights of all animals, not only for those forced to fight, but also for abused animals used for display such as in circuses and zoos or aquariums. They have questioned the pet industry and have a program, Pets for Life, to ensure proper treatment of companion animals. Their efforts are ongoing and extensive, reaching out for a human treatment for all nonhuman life.

God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages. – Jacques Deval

The question is not, “Can they reason?” nor, “Can they talk?” but rather, “Can they suffer?” – Jeremy Bentham

Personally, I would not give a fig for any man’s religion whose horse, cat and dog do not feel its benefits. Life in any form is our perpetual responsibility. – S. Parkes Cadman

Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight. – Albert Schweitzer

Also on this day: Blackbeard – In 1718, Blackbeard the Pirate (alias for Edward Teach) was tracked down and killed.
10 – In 1928, Ravel’s Bolero was first performed.
China Clipper – In 1935, airmail service began.
The Ship – In 1869, Cutty Sark was launched.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 21, 2014
Mulberry Pub after the bombing

Mulberry Pub after the bombing

November 21, 1974: Two Birmingham, England pubs are bombed. Both bars were located in central Birmingham with the Mulberry Bush near the Rotunda and the Tavern in the Town on New Street. The explosions went off at 8.25 and 8.27 PM. Ten people were killed at the Mulberry Bush and eleven at the Tavern in the Town. Another 182 people were injured in the blasts. A third bomb was placed outside a bank on Hagley Road but did not detonate. It was the most serious incident in Great Britain since World War II and had the most people injured since the war.

The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) was immediately blamed. They denied responsibility for the bombings. A small militant group called Red Flag 74 took credit for the violence but their claim was not given credence. Five Belfast born Roman Catholics and a sixth man born in Derry were arrested. Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Joseph Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power, and John Walker were brought in. All but Callaghan had been traveling toward Belfast to attend the funeral of James McDade, an IRA member. They left from the New Street Station shortly before the explosions went off. Callaghan had seen them off. They were detained at Heysham where Special Branch had set up a stop and search team.

On the morning of November 22, the Birmingham Criminal Investigation Department took the men from Morecambe where forensic tests had been run. The men were deprived of food and sleep and were beaten. Four of them confessed to the bombings under duress while Hill and Hunter never signed documents. Their trial began on June 9, 1975 and they were charged with murder and conspiracy to cause explosions. Three others were charged with conspiracy. Forensics were inconclusive. Legal arguments were presented to Mr Justice Bridge about the unreliability of the confessions, but they were deemed admissible. The six men were found guilty and sentences to 21 life sentences.

After a number or appeals, the Court of Appeal overturned the convictions as unsafe and unsatisfactory on March 14, 1991. The six men were later awarded compensation ranging from £840,000 to £1.2 million. The IRA has maintained they were not involved. Thirty years after the events, Joe Cahill, a former IRA chief, said the IRA played some role and Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Fein, said he had regrets about the killings. Patrick Hill, in April 2012, said the Six knew the names of the real bombers and claimed it was common knowledge among the upper ranks of the IRA and the British government.

This atrocity was one of the terrible horrors of the troubles stemming from Northern Ireland and those who caused It merit the most severe condemnation.

We believe that the six Irishmen condemned to life Imprisonment for the bombings are innocent. Their lives and the lives of their families can be added to the long list of Innocent victims of those diabolic explosions.

Power alleges that he was interviewed by Birmingham police between 7.a.m. and 9.a.m. Friday morning. He describes the beating, punching, kicking, vocal abuse he received.

The trial then. really rested on the admissibility of the police evidence, verbal statements and the “confessions.” – all from The Birmingham Framework by Fr. Denis Faul and Fr. Raymond Murray

Also on this day: Missing Link – In 1953, the Piltdown Man was declared a hoax.
North, to Alaska – In 1942, the Alaskan Highway’s completion was celebrated.
Senator Rebecca – In 1922, the first female US Senator took her seat.
Revolting – In 1910, the Revolt of the Lash took place.