History Articles

History of the World Series: For People Who Don’t Watch

October 27, 2023 /
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World Series


The World Series is over a hundred years old, starting in 1903 as a contest between the National League and the American League.

This sporting event, usually held in October and sometimes called the Fall Classic, has already infringed upon the territory of the following athletic contest run-up with the football season, which has already begun.


History of Mach 1: Yeager Breaks the Sound Barrier

October 14, 2023 /
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Mach 1

Captain Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1


On June 10, 1948, The U.S. Air Force confirmed that Capt. Chuck Yeager had repeatedly attained supersonic speeds in the Bell X-1.


Yeager’s Background

But it was actually on October 14, 1947, that Chuck Yeager, who died in 2020, broke the sound barrier, Mach 1, for the first time.

I met Yeager on his 50th anniversary of that earlier date in Washington DC, on October 14, 1997 — when he retired as a military consultant and broke the sound barrier again, this time in an F-15.

On this occasion in 1997, he spoke at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. He told us how he did it in the room next to the gallery where the Bell X-1 rocket plane is hung. This is a man with “The Right Stuff.” Indeed, you saw his exploits in the movie by that name.


History of Friday the 13th

October 13, 2023 /
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If you’re reading this article to learn the history of Friday the 13th, you’re in luck.

Or perhaps bad luck.

No one knows, with any certainty, when it began or why it’s to be feared. However, there are lots of entertaining speculative theories about the topic.



What is the Fear of Friday the 13th?

  • Paraskevidekatriaphobia — is the name of the superstition. The word is constructed from the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή), meaning “Friday,” and dekatreís (δεκατρείς) meaning “thirteen.”
  • Friggatriskaidekaphobia — is the fear of Friday the 13th. The word is made of both Norse and Greek roots: Frigg or Frigga, the name of the wife of the Norse god Odin. Friday gets its name from Frigg. Triskadeka is “thirteen” in Greek (literally: “three” “and” “ten”), and phobia means “fear.”


History of Christopher Columbus: Hero or Heel?

October 6, 2023 /
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The man who sailed from Spain to discover America was neither Spanish nor did he discover America, at least not the mainland. But it was true that:


In fourteen hundred and ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue


History of the Aspens: in the Colorado Rockies

October 3, 2023 /
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This week, I had the pleasure of driving through the high country of the Colorado Rockies. I live at 6500 feet elevation, so “high country” means about another 3000 feet or more above me. Every year about this time, Fall is ushered in by a flush of Aspen trees as their leaves turn to gold. The particular aspen is called the “trembling” or quaking aspen. The broadleaf and flattened stem cause them to flutter in the breeze. It is a type of poplar tree called populus tremuloides. As tourists visit New England in Autumn for Leaves and Lobsters, visitors come to Colorado to Leaf Peep as the aspens change to dramatic yellows, golds, and reds.


History of October: The Pumpkin Spice Saga

October 1, 2023 /
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October, the tenth month of the year in both the older Julian and the current Gregorian calendar, used to be the 8th month (Latin octo) in the ancient Roman calendar. But with the addition of January and February, it got bumped to Number 10.

This month is significant because, according to the modern Gregorian calendar, it is the first full month that enjoys Pumpkin Spice Latte, initially promoted by St. Starbucks. But it has not always been so; in some years, it is not so.

Pumpkin spice lattes were initially launched in October 2003, twenty years ago. By 2015, Starbucks welcomed the season in early September, and by 2018, pumpkin spice lattes were for sale in August – which is when I first saw it this year.

Therein lies the saga of this coffee concoction.


History of Coffee: International Coffee Day

September 29, 2023 /
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September 29 is National Coffee Day in the U.S. and 16 other countries.

But October 1 is International Coffee Day, shared by the National Coffee Day in 12 countries.

Whether percolated, filtered, steeped in a French press, poured over, or made with high-pressure steam in an espresso maker – at 10 to 15 times the quantity of coffee-to-water as gravity-brewing – 90% of humans ingest this caffeinated beverage regularly. It is the most widely used psychoactive drug, capturing the imagination of people worldwide.


History of Sukkot: Festival of Booths

September 29, 2023 /
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Beginning at sunset on September 29 and ending at nightfall on October 6 is the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, also known as the Festival of Booths or Festival of Tabernacles.

The Old Testament book of Leviticus discusses the Exodus from slavery in Egypt of the Children of Israel. They were to commemorate it by living in temporary booths for a week

“… that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.”  Leviticus 23:43

The week started with a Sabbath (rest from work) and ended on the eighth day with a sabbath.

We’ve talked about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but this holiday is significant because it is considered one of the three “pilgrimage” festivals in the Jewish calendar.


History of Yom Kippur: Day of Atonement

September 24, 2023 /
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The Jewish High Holy Days begin with Rosh HaShanah and continue until Yom Kippur, which starts at sundown tonight. It is the holiest day of the year and marks the end of these 10 Days of Repentance, which begin with the Jewish New Year — as I described in my article on Rosh HaShanah.

Yom Kippur, the “Day of Atonement,” or more correctly, Yom ha-Kippurim (Leviticus 16), goes back in Jewish antiquity almost 4,000 years to the time of Moses. This most solemn occasion of the Jewish Festival cycle was the season for annual cleansing from sin. In time, its significance was deepened so that it acquired personal meaning and filled an individual need. It is observed on the 10th day of Tishri, the seventh month, and is the climax of the whole penitential season.


History of Fall: What is the Autumnal Equinox?

September 22, 2023 /
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FallHISTORY OF THE FALL: What is the Autumnal Equinox?

This time of year represented New Year’s Day, according to the French Republican Calendar. However, since that calendar was only in use from 1793 to 1805, following the fall of the French monarchy in 1792, very few still celebrate this day.


Date of Autumn

Instead, either September 22 or 23 marks the beginning of Fall or Autumn associated with the Equinox. This word is made up of two Latin root words, aequus, and nox, meaning “equal night,” referring to the fact that daylight and nighttime are equal in duration.

History of September 21: Earth, Wind & Fire

September 21, 2023 /
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September single

History of September 21: Earth, Wind & Fire

When the band Earth, Wind & Fire released the feel-good song September in 1978, it broke into the Top 10 and has been one of their biggest commercial successes. However, it was originally released on November 18 of that year as a new song on the album “The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1.


History of Talk Like a Pirate Day: Ahoy, Matey!

September 19, 2023 /
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The International Talk Like A Pirate Day began not back in the “Golden Age of Pirates” in days of yore but in 2002. It is celebrated each year on September 19; though it started in the United States, it is now celebrated internationally across the Seven Seas.