Pop Culture

History of A Charlie Brown Christmas

By billpetro / December 9, 2022 /

HISTORY OF A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS On December 9, 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas premiered on CBS TV as a 30-minute animated Christmas special written by Charles M. Schulz, creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip. The comic was hugely popular when the TV special debuted. Though this was not Schulz’s first TV special — that…

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Carol of the Bells

History of Carol of the Bells: from a Ukrainian folk song

By billpetro / December 7, 2022 /

HISTORY OF CAROL OF THE BELLS: FROM A UKRAINIAN FOLK SONG The favorite Christmas song, Carol of the Bells, is based on a Ukrainian folk song that originally had nothing to do with Christmas and was, in fact, popular in pre-Christian Ukraine. How did this folk song become such a popular American Christmas carol, and…

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Covent Garden Theatre inside

History of A Sacred Oratorio: How was popular Christmas music considered scandalous and profane?

By billpetro / December 1, 2022 /

HISTORY OF A SACRED ORATORIO The genteel reception accorded the original debut performance stood in marked contrast to the savage hostility which greeted the work less than a year later in the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, London. The English aristocracy and churchmen began an unrelenting campaign against the work and its creator. They…

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Black Friday

History of Black Friday: One Day Only?

By billpetro / November 25, 2022 /

What is the origin of Black Friday, and the modern practice around it.

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JFK

History of John F Kennedy

By billpetro / November 22, 2022 /

HISTORY OF JOHN F KENNEDY For one brief shining moment… On November 22, 1963, a shot rang out in Dallas, Texas, ending the life of John F. Kennedy, the most popular post-WWII President. He was the youngest American President voted to the office, having succeeded Dwight D Eisenhower, the oldest President at the time. Kennedy…

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FIFA World Cup

History of the World Cup

By billpetro / November 18, 2022 /

HISTORY OF THE WORLD CUP The World Cup 2022 Tournament takes place in Doha, Qatar starting Sunday, November 20, and running until December 18. It is starting in November rather than the usual June or July to avoid Qatar’s summer heat. Thirty-two teams will compete in eight groups. It begins with the host country team…

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Twitter

Whither Twitter: What’s Next for the Social Platform?

By billpetro / November 10, 2022 /

Whither Twitter: What’s Next for the Social Platform? I wrote about Twitter several years ago because many people I knew “didn’t get it.” Endeavoring to explain what it was, how it worked, and what made it different from other social technologies like the better-known Facebook, I talked about Twitter’s history and its use at the…

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Hedy Lamarr

History of Hedy Lamarr: Technology Inventor

By billpetro / November 9, 2022 /

HISTORY OF HEDY LAMARR: TECHNOLOGY INVENTOR Hedy Lamarr, the Austrian-American actress and Hollywood legend known as “the most beautiful woman in the world,” is remembered today, November 9, on the anniversary of her birthday for her pioneering work on the technology that would become the basis for today’s WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth communications systems. What?…

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History of Guy Fawkes Night: How Gunpowder Mixed with Parliament

By billpetro / November 4, 2022 /

HISTORY OF GUY FAWKES NIGHT For our friends across the Pond November 5th is known as “Bonfire Night” or “Guy Fawkes Night,” and all over Britain, people fire off fireworks, light bonfires, and burn effigies of Guy Fawkes. Guido Fawkes was an Englishman who, in popular legend, tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament…

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Jack-o-Lantern

History of Halloween: What’s the Backstory?

By billpetro / October 30, 2022 /

HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN I did an hour-long interview on this topic on this podcast Halloween (Allhallows Eve’n) is the evening of October 31. This occasion is known as the vigil of Hallowmas in its strictly religious aspect. There are several names used during this time of year. To eliminate confusion, Allhallowstide includes these three holidays:…

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World Series

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

By billpetro / October 29, 2022 /

HISTORY OF THE 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…

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Mole Day

History of Mole Day: Avogadro’s Number

By billpetro / October 23, 2022 /

HISTORY OF MOLE DAY: AVOGADRO’S NUMBER Today, October 23, at 6:02 AM, begins Mole Day. As a Geek Holiday, which is part of National Chemistry Week, it is based on something you may remember from high school chemistry:   Avogadro’s Number: 6.02 x 1023 Or fully, it’s 602,214,076,000,000,000,000,000. What better reason than at 06:02 (6.02)…

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