Little Bits of History

Stonewall

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 28, 2015
Stonewall riots*

Stonewall riots*

June 28, 1969: Police raid the Stonewall Inn. Located in New York City, it was built between 1843 and 1846 as stables. It was turned into a restaurant in 1930 and continued to operate as such until it was gutted by a fire in the mid-1960s. It reopened on March 18, 1967 as a bar owned and operated by the Mafia. It was a meeting place for gays and attracted some of the most marginalized of this subset of clients – drag queens, effeminate young men, male prostitutes, and homeless teenagers. It was often raided and yet, when the police entered on this night as was their routine, they quickly lost control of the situation. A crowd gathered outside Stonewall and sided with the gays against the police. Greenwich Village had more protests the next night and again several nights later.

The late 1960s were a time of social ferment with many social movements gaining momentum. The Civil Rights movement and antiwar demonstrations were part of 60s counterculture as many looked for social equity given to all American citizens. The LGBT community wanted the same things. At the time, it was illegal to practice homosexuality. Gays were tracked by both local police and the FBI. Their gathering places were raided and after arrests, they were vilified in the media with many upstanding citizens not only facing jail time, but losing their jobs and the respect of the community at large. The American Psychiatric Association included homosexuality as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in 1952 where it remained until 1973.

Homophile groups (what pro LGBT groups were called) advocated for the rights of all citizens, helped with education, and helped to fund cases against “deviant behaviors” for their members. One of the first gay rights groups was the Mattachine Society formed in Los Angeles in 1950. Over time, their focus came to be acceptance of gays into society and respect for their lives. After the World War II, Greenwich Village and Harlem in New York City had sizable homosexual populations. With the raid on one of their posts on this night, they had had enough. At 1.20 AM on this Saturday night, four plainclothes police, two uniformed police and a Detective and Deputy Inspector crashed the party.

The raid did not go as planned. All patrons were to line up and have identification ready. Female police officers were to take all customers dressed as women to the bathroom and check out their physique. Any males would be arrested on the spot. But on this night, the people dressed as women refused to cooperate and the men refused to hand over identification. Everyone recalls that the atmosphere quickly turned and things got out of hand. A crowd assembled outside and things got physical until a full scale riot broke out. The date is commemorated with Gay Pride marches, the first of which took place one year later on June 29, 1970.

Things happened so fast you kind of got caught not knowing. All of a sudden there were police there and we were told to all get in lines and to have our identification ready to be led out of the bar. – Michael Fader

When did you ever see a fag fight back?… Now, times were a-changin’. Tuesday night was the last night for bullshit… Predominantly, the theme [w]as, “this shit has got to stop!” – anonymous Stonewall riots participant

My biggest fear was that I would get arrested. My second biggest fear was that my picture would be in a newspaper or on a television report in my mother’s dress! – Maria Ritter (then known as Steve)

You’ve been treating us like shit all these years? Uh-uh. Now it’s our turn!… It was one of the greatest moments in my life. – Sylvia Rivera (who had been in full drag on the night of the riot)

Also on this day: The Kelly Gang – In 1880, Ned Kelly was captured.
Going Home – In 2000, Elián González was sent back to Cuba.
Conformation Dog Show – In 1859, the first show was held.
Boxed In – In 1948, Dick Turpin won his boxing match.
Battle of Sullivan’s Island – In 1776, one of the first American victories of the Revolutionary War took place.

* “Stonewall riots” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stonewall_riots.jpg#/media/File:Stonewall_riots.jpg

Battle of Berne

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 27, 2015
Hungarian soccer team

Hungarian soccer team

June 27, 1954: Hungary and Brazil meet in a quarter-final game of the FIFA World Cup series. The 1954 FIFA World Cup was played in Switzerland at six different cities with this day’s match held at the Wankdorf Stadium in Berne. Basel, Geneva, Lausanne, Lugano, and Zürich also hosted games. The Wankdorf Stadium had the largest seating capacity at 64,000. Geneva’s stadium, Charmilles, only held 9,250. The FIFA World Cup was founded in 1930 as a worldwide competition for football/soccer. The tournament is played every four years (with 1942 and 1946 cancelled due to World War II). Brazil has been included in every single FIFA match (the only team to do so) and been the most successful team with five titles.

Thirty-two teams compete in the tournament which lasts about a month. The 1954 games were played between June 16 and July 4 – a period of 19 days. There were 26 matches played with a total of 140 goals scored for an average of 5.38 per match, a record. Brazil had already beaten Mexico (5-0) and tied with Yugoslavia (1-1). Hungary had already beaten South Korea (9-0) and West Germany (8-3). The day’s weather was pouring rain which led to slippery conditions and difficulty controlling the ball. Within minutes of the start, Hungary took the lead and before ten minutes had gone by, the score was 2-0 Hungary. Brazil made a goal on a penalty kick and at half time the score was 2-1.

Soon after the start of the second half, Hungary was awarded a penalty and scored to bring the score to 3-1. Brazilian journalists and officials were outraged and had to be ushered off by the police. The game became a battlefield with increasingly nasty fouls and borderline tactics. A Hungarian player was fouled and he and his opponent got into a fight on the field and both were sent off. The final score was 4-2 Hungary. There were 42 free kicks and 2 penalties awarded during the game along with 4 cautions and 3 dismissals. The end of the game did not mean the end to the hostilities. After the game, the Brazilian players entered the Hungarian dressing room to continue the fight. The game became known as the Battle of Berne.

The final match for the 1954 FIFA World Cup was a rematch between West Germany and Hungary. West Germany won (their first win) and Hungary was in second place with Austria and Uruguay in third and fourth places respectively. Brazil was out of the top four but came back to win the 1958 Cup. They went on to win again in 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002. Hungary has made nine appearances at the World Cup with the first in 1934. Their best outcome has been as runners up in 1938 and in this event. The German team has been in 18 World Cup tournaments and took first place in this one as well as 1974, 1990, and 2014.

One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than fifty preaching it. – Knute Rockne

I would advise all youths aspiring to athletic fame or a professional career to practice clean living, fair play and good sportsmanship. – Major Taylor

Sportsmanship and easygoing methods are all right, but it is the prospect of a hot fight that brings out the crowds. – John McGraw

Professionalism is not sportsmanship. If you don’t succeed, you won’t be in your profession for long. In our society, it’s not about good or bad. It’s about who’s on top. – Chili Davis

Also on this day:  The Oscar of the Children’s Library – In 1922, the Newbery Medal was first awarded.
Collinswood – In 1966, Dark Shadows premiered.
ATM – In 1867, the world’s first ATM was installed.
Helen Keller –  In 1880, Helen was born.
High Score – In 1899, the highest score in cricket was made by AEJ Collins.

A Star (Searcher) is Born

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 26, 2015
Charles Messier

Charles Messier

June 26, 1730: Charles Messier is born. The French astronomer was born in Badonviller and is most noted for publishing an astronomical catalogue filled with what is today called the 110 Messier objects. He was a comet hunter and he wished to help others distinguish between permanent and transient objects found in the sky. He began compiling this list in 1771 along with his assistant, Pierre Mechain. The hope was to avoid wasting time on these permanent features in the sky and make comet discovery more efficient. Giovanni Hodierna had published a similar list in 1654 but it had no impact on astronomy and Messier probably did not know about it.

The first edition of the catalog contained 45 objects which Messier numbered M1 to M45. The total list, as published by Messier, contained 103 objects but other astronomers have added some items since Messier’s death in 1817. After finding some notes of Messier’s M104 was added in 1921. Kenneth Glyn Jones added the last item, M110, in 1967. The Frenchman’s final catalog was published in 1781 even though it was called Connaissance des Temps for 1784, and the objects listed are still known by the Messier number.

Messier lived and worked at the Hotel de Cluny (today the Musee national du Moyen Age) in Paris. The objects found in the listing are only found in the night sky which he could observe. These items reside in the band of sky from the north celestial pole to latitudes of about -35.7⁰. Southern hemisphere items are not listed by Messier. What he was finding were nebulae and star clusters. He found something interesting on October 13, 1773 and it was later named the Whirlpool Galaxy. The object is located with the constellation Canes Venatici and has recently been calculated to be 23 ± 4 million light years from the Milky Way. Different methods of measurement give the distance between 15 and 35 million light years.

Close to the Whirlpool Galaxy is NGC 5195, also sometimes called Messier 51b. These two galaxies are one of the most famous pair of interacting galaxies in the sky. Many amateur astronomers can easily find the pair and they can even be seen with a good pair of binoculars. Professional astronomers study the Whirlpool galaxy in order to better understand galaxy structure, especially spiral arm galaxies. The galaxy is thought to be made of 160 billion solar masses with a black hole in the center, surrounded by a ring of dust. The distinctive spiral arm structure is thought to be the result of the interaction with the companion galaxy, NGC 5195.

What caused me to undertake the catalog was the nebula I discovered above the southern horn of Taurus on September 12, 1758, while observing the comet of that year.

This nebula had such a resemblance to a comet in its form and brightness that I endeavored to find others, so that astronomers would not confuse these same nebulae with comets just beginning to shine.

I observed further with suitable refractors for the discovery of comets, and this is the purpose I had in mind in compiling the catalog.

After me, the celebrated Herschel published a catalog of 2000 which he has observed. This unveiling the sky, made with instruments of great aperture, does not help in the perusal of the sky for faint comets. Thus my object is different from his, and I need only nebulae visible in a telescope of two feet [focal length]. – all from Charles Messier

Also on this day: Helicopters – In 1934, the FW-61 helicopter was flown for the first time.
Cyclone – In 1927, Coney Island opened a new ride.
Pied Piper – In 1284, a piper led 130 children out of Hamelin.
CN Tower – In 1976, the Ontario tower opened to the public.
Fast France – In 1906, the first Grand Prix race was held.

Tagged with: ,

Man Oh Man

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 25, 2015
Mann Act poster

Mann Act poster

June 25, 1910: The Mann Act is passed. Also known as the White-Slave Traffic Act, it was named after Representative James Robert Mann of Illinois. The law made it a felony to engage in interstate or foreign commerce dealing with transporting “any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose”. It was the last three words that would eventually lead to many problems with the act, making it necessary to be amended in 1978 and again in 1986. Surprisingly, in the 1800s many American cities had designated, legally protected areas of prostitution. As young women came from rural areas to the big cities, they would sometimes find better employment opportunities in these parts of town. The rumors began that these young women were being forced into a life of prostitution by cartel-type organizations.

The Mann Act was a response to fears of moral turpitude. There were many books and pamphlets written about fragile young women being abducted by foreigners with Jewish, Italian, and Asian men being the most often cited. These men would capture, drug, and rape young women and then put them to work on the streets. Feminist Emma Goldman spoke more directly to the real problem involved. Young women left rural American to come to the city only to find work that paid so little they couldn’t make ends meet. In order to earn more money, they took up prostitution not because they were coerced by wicked foreigners but because women and their work were considered second class and the pay was meager.

Between 1910 and 1913, many of the major cities in America began to withdraw protection of the once legal areas. Brothels were closed and morality was endorsed with the usual consequences. The Mann Act was used to prosecute men for having sex with underage females regardless of willingness of both parties. It was even used in the Caminetti v. United States in 1917 because of the “illegal fornication” which was “immoral purpose”. Caminetti and a friend took their mistresses from California to Reno, Nevada. The men’s wives informed police and had them arrested for violation of the Mann Act even though all the parties involved in the “illegal fornication” were consenting adults. Also included in illegal fornication was the interracial marriage of two willing partners.

Other cases making it to the Supreme Court based on the act found that prostitution can only be legislated at a local or state level but that crossing state lines makes it a federal case. A 1913 case found that it was not just prostitution, but also “debauchery” that was being controlled. A 1946 ruling found that consensual polygamous marriages are immoral and therefore can be prosecuted under the act. Fortunately, transporting two women at a time across state lines only results in one criminal charge (1955). Not always used to bad purpose, the Mann Act was used in prosecution against Jack Schaap in 2012 when the pastor at a mega-church was found guilty of transporting a 16-year-old he was counseling across state lines for the purpose of having sex with her. He received a 12 year sentence. This was the last major case invoking the Mann Act.

Prostitution, although hounded, imprisoned, and chained, is nevertheless the greatest triumph of Puritanism. – Emma Goldman

There will never be a day when there is no such thing as prostitution. Quote me: I would like to see prostitution legalized. – Ruth Westheimer

A prostitute can give you all kinds of wonderful excitement and inspiration and make you think that nirvana has arrived on the two-o’clock plane, and it ain’t necessarily so. – Marlon Brando

It is a silly question to ask a prostitute why she does it. These are the highest-paid “professional” women in America. – Gail Sheehy

Also on this day: Great Star of Africa – In 1905, The Cullinan diamond was discovered.
The End – In 1906, a bizarre love triangle ended badly.
Last Stand – In 1876, Custer was defeated at Little Bighorn.
Lady Doctor Elena – In 1678, Elena earned the first PhD awarded to a woman.
Treason – In 1960, Martin and Mitchell left the country.

Tagged with: ,

Battle of Magh Rath

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 24, 2015
Canal bridge at Moira

Canal bridge at Moira

June 24, 637: The Battle of Magh Rath is fought. Known today as the Battle of Moira, it was fought between the Gaelic High King of Ireland Domnall II (aka Domnall mac Áedo) and his foster son, King Congal of Ulster and Domnall the Freckled (Domnall Brecc) of Dalariada. The battle was fought near the Woods of Killultagh which is outside the village of Moira in what is today known as County Down. It was allegedly the largest battle ever fought in Ireland. The strength of either army is unknown as are the number of casualties suffered on each side.

At the time, Ireland was subdivided into several fiefdoms with lots of tribal loyalties shifting with time as kings allied themselves or fought with neighboring kings. There was some involvement from Great Britain, mostly from Scotland. Dalariada was a Gaelic kingdom encompassing western Scotland and Ulster around this time. Kings would shift alliances and allies as their needs changed with time. Congal first came to power in Dalaradia before being declared King of Ulster. Domnall II came into conflict with Congal, even though Domnall’s rise to power came because of Congal’s defeat of the previous High King, Suibne Menn.

It was Domnall’s raid into Leinster in 628 which brought him to the position of High King, which may have been possible only because of Congal’s prior success on the battlefield. The two powerhouses met in battle in 629 with Congal losing the engagement. Domnall continued to engage rivals throughout the 630s until near the end of the decade, Congal along with his ally from Dalariada were brought to face the High King. There is not much known of the actual battle. Tales exist which stated the enormity of the armies. Domnall II’s armies were local Irishmen while Domnall I was able to bring in Scots, Picts, Anglo-Saxons, and Briton (Welshmen). At least one side had a cavalry of substantial size. A 19th century historian claimed the fighting may have lasted a week.

Also in the 19th century, a railway line was constructed in the area. As excavation was underway, the remains of thousands of men and horses were unearthed. The numbers found speak to the size of the armies brought into battle on this day. It is known that Congal was killed during the engagement and Domnall II’s position of power was secured. Domnall I’s plans for conquest were shattered and the Uí Néill clan of Domnell II became the de facto dominant power in northern Ireland. This was something they would hold on to, at last in some form, until the Flight of the Earls in 1607. The clan and their descendants ruled for nearly a thousand years.

A field commander never has the information he needs. He has to go with his best hunch. The more information he has, the easier it is for him to win the battle. – Tom Clancy

No battle is worth fighting except the last one. – Enoch Powell

Carry the battle to them. Don’t let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive. And don’t ever apologize for anything. – Harry S Truman

The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug. – Chris Hedges

Also on this day: The Cynic – In 1842, Ambrose Bierce was born.
UFO – In 1947, Kenneth Arnold saw something strange in the sky.
Victory Parade – In 1945, a parade was held in Moscow.
Dance Fever – In 1374, St. John’s Dance broke out in Germany.
All Four Engines Cut Out – In 1982, a plane lost all four engines and managed to not crash.

* “Canal bridge (road) at Moira – geograph.org.uk – 360218″ by Albert Bridge. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Canal_bridge_(road)_at_Moira_-_geograph.org.uk_-_360218.jpg#/media/File:Canal_bridge_(road)_at_Moira_-_geograph.org.uk_-_360218.jpg

It’s a Tough Job

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 23, 2015
Brick Owens

Brick Owens

June 23, 1917: Brick Owens gets clobbered. Clarence Bernard Owens was a Major League Baseball umpire. He worked in the National League in 1908 and from 1912-13 and in the American League from 1916 through 1937. He was famous for officiating in the World Series in 1918, 1922, 1925, 1928, and 1934 (serving as crew chief for the last two). He also worked the All-Star Game in 1934 behind the plate for the last half of the game. Born in Wisconsin in 1885, he hoped to pursue a career in baseball. On July 4, 1901, he accidentally shot himself in the left hand, ending his hopes of playing professionally. He was supposed to play in a sandlot game and instead of staying home, he went to the game and when the umpire quit early in the game due to a dispute, Owens took over the position. The next year, his family moved to Chicago and he again umpired games for fifty cents per game. He soon raised his fee to a dollar and when he was noticed by minor league executive Al Tearney, he began to coach minor league games for $5 each.

These minor league games were far more contentious than those played in sandlots. At age 17 he was offered a position with the Northern League for $75 a month but got into so many fights that when he met the president of the league, Harry Pulliam, wanted to know if Owens had been in a train wreck. At one game, after calling a final player out on strikes, the player dropped his bat and got into a fight with Owens. A fan jumped from the stands, picked up the bat, and hit Owens over the head with it. The attacker’s father paid Owens $750 to not file assault charges. Owens got his nickname when angry fans began throwing bricks at the umpire and one struck him in the head. He was not seriously injured and returned to his position just a few days later.

On this day, the Washington Senators were playing against the Boston Red Sox. Babe Ruth was pitching. The first batter for Washington stepped up to the plate with Owens standing behind the plate as umpire. Ruth threw four pitches. All were called balls and the player was walked to first base. Ruth, never known for his calm demeanor, was irate. When he let his displeasure be known to the umpire, Owens threw him out of the game. Before leaving, Ruth punched Owens. Ernie Shore replaced Ruth and picked off the runner who had made his way to first base. He then retired the next 26 Washington batters. Shore regarded it as a perfect pitched game. Statisticians did not.

Shore was from North Carolina and played his first Major League Baseball game on June 20, 1912 with the New York Giants. He did not resign and was off for the 1913 season before Boston picked him up. He played for the Red Sox from 1914-1917 and then once again had a year off. The New York Yankees picked him up for 1919-1920. He won 65 games and lost 43. Since he did not strike out the first batter on this day, the game is credited as a no-hitter rather than a perfect game. Ruth was fined $100, had to make a public apology, and was suspended for ten games.

I didn’t mean to hit the umpire with the dirt, but I did mean to hit that bastard in the stands. – Babe Ruth

I never questioned the integrity of an umpire. His eyesight? yes. – Leo Durocher

Despite all the nasty things I have said about umpires, I think they’re one-hundred percent honest, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how they arrive at some of their decisions. – Jimmy Dykes

An umpire is a loner. The restraints of his trade impose problems not normally endured by players, coaches, management, press and others connected with organized baseball. He is a friend to none. More often he is considered an enemy by all around him – including the fans in the stands who threaten his life. – Art Rosenbaum

Also on this day: Mutiny on the Discovery – In 1611, Henry Hudson’s crew mutinied.
Clackity clack – In 1868, an improved typewriter was patented.
Lorena and John – In 1993, domestic violence made the world headlines.
Banff – In 1887, the Rocky Mountains Park Act of Canada was passed.
Iced – In 1953, Zamboni received a patent for an ice cleaner.

Summer Exercises

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 22, 2015
HMS Victoria sinking in 1893

HMS Victoria sinking in 1893

June 22, 1893: HMS Camperdown and HMS Victoria collide near Tripoli, Lebanon. Victoria was a Victoria-class battleship launched on April 9, 1887. She was 340 feet long and 70 feet wide at the beam. Her displacement was 11,200 tons. Camperdown was an Admiral-class battleship launched on November 24, 2885. She was 330 feet long and 68.5 feet wide at the beam. Her displacement was 10,800 tons. Both ships were operated by the British Royal Navy. The Admiral class was preceded by the Colossus class and replaced by the Victoria class. There were six ships in the Admiral class while there were only two of the Victoria class. Trafalgar class came next. All the ships were powered by steam engines.

The Royal Navy had a huge presence in the Mediterranean Sea during this period of time. It was a vital route for trade with India and Britain felt compelled to defend passage from against French and Italian fleets. On this day, with most of the fleet participating in annual summer exercises, there were 11 ironclads which included 8 battleships and 3 large cruisers near Tripoli. Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon was in charge of the British Mediterranean Fleet. He was aboard the Victoria on this day. It was his belief that the best way to keep crews efficient was by continuous fleet evolutions. Since this was before the use of wireless communication, movements were signaled by flags, semaphore, and signal lamp. Tyron had earned a reputation for daring as well as being proficient at handling ships.

He was known for his use of a new system of maneuvers whereby only a few simple signals could be used for complex movement. The system needed all ship captains to use initiative, something blunted after years of peace. Tryon was known for being taciturn and used limited communication as a training method. This forced his captains to think quickly. Tryon and Victoria were at the head of one column of six ships and traveling at 8 knots. Rear-Admiral Albert Markham was in the lead ship of the second column, Camperdown. The two had broken with tradition and Markham had been apprised of Tryon’s intention of anchoring the fleet in close formation. While under discussion, others under Tryon’s command noted the close quarters were too close. He was not swayed.

As they practiced their maneuver, the two lead ships collided with Camperdown ramming the starboard side of the Victoria about 12 feet below the waterline and penetrating about 9 feet into the other ship. Camperdown reversed engines, which allowed more water to pour in. Two minutes after colliding the ships were separate again. This left a 100 square foot hole in the ship. The shore was five miles distant and Tyron headed toward it. Other ships launched rescue boats. Five minutes after the collision the bow had already sunk. Eight minutes later, water was lapping the main deck. Thirteen minutes after, the ship rotated to starboard and then slipped under the water. Rescue efforts managed to save 357 crew, but 358, including Tryon, died.

The Royal Navy of England hath ever been its greatest defense and ornament; it is its ancient and natural strength; the floating bulwark of the island. – William Blackstone

I’m a huge fan of the Navy. My father was a Naval historian, and I’ve been studying Naval battles forever. – Peter Berg

There were gentlemen and there were seamen in the navy of Charles the Second. But the seamen were not gentlemen; and the gentlemen were not seamen. – Thomas Babington Macaulay

The head of a ship however has not always an immediate relation to her name, at least in the British navy. – William Falconer

Also on this day: Deke – In 1844, the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity was founded.
No Fun – In 1918, the worst circus train wreck took place.
Burn, Baby, Burn – In 1969, the Cuyahoga River caught fire.
Sweden – In 1906, Sweden adopted a new/old national flag.
In the House – In 1633, Galileo was put under house arrest.

Sidewalk Surfing

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 21, 2015
Go Skateboarding Day*

Go Skateboarding Day*

June 21, 2004: The first Go Skateboarding Day (GSD) takes place. It was the official holiday initiated by the International Association of Skateboard Companies (IASC) to promoted skateboarding. The day involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard. These are usually made of a specially designed maplewood board (the deck) over which has been laid a polyurethane coating. The surface of the board is often covered with grip tape to help the rider’s feet grip the board. The board rests on two trucks, usually made of an aluminum alloy. These have the ability to swivel and turn. Attached to the trucks are the wheels which are usually made of polyurethane. The wheels are mounted on an axle with two bearings.

The first skateboards were wooden boxes or boards mounted on roller skate wheels. The boxes turned into planks which were similar to the decks used today. In 1944, an American WAC serving in France noticed children riding on boards with roller skates wheels and gliding through Paris in this fashion. By the late 1940s or early 1950s, skateboarding as it is known today had arrived. There is no record of who made the first board and it was likely that several people came up with the idea simultaneously. The first manufactured skateboards were ordered by a surf shop in Los Angeles. Bill Richard, owner of the shop, made a deal with the Chicago Roller Skate Company to produce sets of skate wheels which were attacked to boards for “sidewalk surfing”.

The first trick was the ollie created by Alan “Ollie” Gelfand in 1976. This is where the rider and board leap into the air without the rider using his or her hands. Once this was achieved, skateboarders could balance their boards on any surface and glide. Municipalities did not like the idea and put up many signs declaring “No Skateboarding” which sparked the idea by the IASC. The signs were often marked by graffiti changing the first letter to a G and Go Skateboarding was the eventual result. GSD has been given Special Congressional Recognition by the US Congress for promoting the sport of skateboarding. There are thousands of participants each year with the largest number congregating in New York City.

The IASC was founded in 1995 by Jim Fitzpatrick to promote skateboarding and increase participation. They also have as a mission the educating of communities about the sport. Members include skateboard manufacturers, distributors, skatepark designers, and contest organizers. Another initiative began in 2012 by both the IASC and the Go Skateboarding Foundation (established by the IASC to run the event of GSD). The Just One Board campaign is a non-profit initiative to collect used skateboards and refurbish them for distribution to underprivileged children. They have been able to supply over 1,500 boards to kids who just want to have fun. There is an International Skateboarding Hall of Fame located in Simi Valley, California which honors those who have contributed to sport.

I feel like skateboarding is as much of a sport as a lifestyle, and an art form, so there’s so much that that transcends in terms of music, fashion, and entertainment. – Tony Hawk

For me, skateboarding is a lifestyle. I really don’t know anything different. My life revolves around skating. If I wasn’t a professional skateboarder, I’d still be skating every day. – Ryan Sheckler

Skateboarding teaches you how to take a fall properly. If you try to kickflip down some stairs, it might take you thirty tries – and you just learn how to take a tumble out of it without getting hurt. – Bam Margera

Skateboarding helps a ton with balance, precision, with air awareness… it gets your senses to be spot-on and it’s also a great way to take my mind off things. – Shaun White

Also on this day: Job Insecurity – In 1919, the Winnipeg Strike went horribly wrong.
Manchester Baby – In 1948, the world’s first stored program computer worked.
SpaceShipOne – In 2004, the first privately funded ship made it into space.
Long – In 1948, the first LP album was demonstrated.
Burnin’ Down the House – In 1734, Marie-Josèphe dite Angélique was executed.

* “Go-skateboarding-day” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Go-skateboarding-day.jpg#/media/File:Go-skateboarding-day.jpg

Tragedy in Nicaragua

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 20, 2015
William Stewart in 1963

William Stewart in 1963

June 20, 1979: William Stewart is killed. Bill was born in West Virginia in 1941 and had graduated from Ohio State University in 1963. He eventually was hired by ABC News after already working as a foreign correspondent. He had covered the Iranian Revolution in February 1979 and was sent to Nicaragua to cover the fighting going on there between the American-backed Somoza dictatorship and the Sandinistas. On June 19, the newspaper Novedades had run an editorial describing foreign journalists as “part of the vast network of Communist propaganda”. On this day, the Nicaraguan Guardia (the National Guard, the main force of President Somoza) had a road block set up.

Stewart and his crew were in a clearly marked press van going through the eastern slums of the capital city when they came to the roadblock. Juan Francisco, a 26 year old interpreter, and Stewart got out of the van and approached the barricade. Stewart presented his official press credentials which should have given them safe passage since they were issued by the office of Somoza. When they were still several yards away, inside the van cameraman Jack Clark began filming. One of the guards separated the two approaching men. Francisco was killed off camera. Stewart was told to kneel, then to lie face down. He was kicked in the ribs and then the guard stepped back and shot him behind his right ear, killing him instantly.

The van escaped. The driver, another local later claimed the killer had commented, “I’m sure he’s no journalist. He’s a dog.” When it was realized the guards had killed an American journalist, they were ordered to report it was a Sandinista sniper. Stewart’s body was recovered and sent home for burial. Along with the body, the filming of the execution was also shipped back to the US. All three major networks showed the gruesome spectacle for several days. Millions in the US were shocked and began to demand withdrawal of support for the Somoza regime. President Jimmy Carter condemned the act.

The Guard brought in the commander of the roadblock, Corporal Lorenzo Brenes. He claimed he was not responsible and that the man who had killed the journalist was someone called Private Gonzales. There was no private named Gonzales. The mythical Gonzales had supposedly reported before he disappeared that he had to kill the man because he was “trying to run away” even though the film did not support this accusation. Since the entire nation soon fell into chaos, there is no way to know if anyone was ever brought to justice for the execution. Somoza fled Nicaragua on July 17 and his regime was overthrown on July 19, 1979. The Sandinista junta took over control of the country.

Being a famous print journalist is like being the best-dressed woman on radio. – Robin Williams

The power to mould the future of the Republic will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations. – Joseph Pulitzer

Going to where the silence is. That is the responsibility of a journalist: giving a voice to those who have been forgotten, forsaken, and beaten down by the powerful. – Amy Goodman

If you’re a good journalist, what you do is live a lot of things vicariously, and report them for other people who want to live vicariously. – Harry Reasoner

Also on this day: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe – In 1893, Lizzie Borden was acquitted of murder.
Fort William – In 1756, the fort was attacked and 146 prisoners taken – the Black Hole of Calcutta.
Communication is Key – In 1963, a hot line was set up between the US and USSR.
Great Seal of the United States – In 1782, the Great Seal design was adopted.
Toasting Ed – In 1948, Ed Sullivan came to the small screen.

Ecology the French Way

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 19, 2015
Maritime pines

Maritime pines

June 19, 1857: The conveniently named 19 June 1957 law passes in France. The law is also called oi relative à l’assainissement et de mise en culture des Landes de Gascogne or the Law related to sanitation and culture of the Gascongne landes. Landes and Gironde are two of France’s departments (regions or territories in France and her overseas holdings) today. The law concerned a large region of the country known for its marshy, moorish condition. In the southwest of France, in what is today known as Aquitaine, the lands now support the Landes forest, the largest maritime-pine forest in Europe. The French word, landes, and the Gascon, lanas, mean “moors” or “heaths”.

The forest is known as the “moors of Gascony” and was formerly called the “moors of Bordeaux” and covers large portions of the two departments as well as small parts of the Lot-et-Garonne department. Several rivers find their source in the region. Unlike most European forests, Landes is mostly manmade and began with this law. The swampy land was only sparsely populated prior to the passage of the law and the people there were engaged in traditional pastoralism. The nomadic peoples traveled by stilt-walking to move through the wet terrain. With the passage of the law, the lands were reforested to protect against further erosion. The forest covers about 3,900 square miles and is about 90% maritime pines. Near the center, along the edges of rivers (which helped to drain the land) are some old growth trees of other species.

Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) is native to the area. It is a fast growing pine that favors a Mediterranean climate of hot, dry summers and cool, rainy winters. In some places, it has become an invasive species, especially so in Africa. The tree reaches heights of 65 to 115 feet tall and has a diameter of about 4 to 6 feet. It has historically been used for fuel and more recently is used for timber. It is sometimes used as a decorative tree. The tree is used in the patented extract Pycnogenol which is marketed as a dietary supplement and claims to treat a variety of conditions. The product has not been proven to treat any chronic health disorder.

Before the law passed, the moors were mostly used for raising sheep but with the manure produced and with some thatching of the ground in the wet winters, it was possible to grow some rye as well. With the reforestation of the area, this was no longer possible and iconic image of the shepherds on stilts disappeared. It was replaced by a resin collector and his tools. The resins were used in a variety of ways and the trees were harvested for both timber for construction and for the making of paper. With modern processes, even some of these economic ventures are no longer in effect.

We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can’t speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees. – Qwatsinas

For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. – Hermann Hesse

If you’re in a forest, the quality of the echo is very strange because echoes back off so many surfaces of all those trees that you get this strange, itchy ricochet effect. – Brian Eno

A handful of pine-seed will cover mountains with the green majesty of forests. I too will set my face to the wind and throw my handful of seed on high. – Fiona MacLeod

Also on this day: NASCAR – In 1949, NASCAR began.
Julius and Ethel – In 1953, the Rosenbergs were executed.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – In 1939, Lou Gehrig’s illness was named.
Emancipation Proclamation, a Bit Late – In 1865, the people of Galveston were informed of the proclamation.
Dad’s Day – In 1910, the first Father’s Day was celebrated.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 495 other followers