History of Guy Fawkes Night: How Gunpowder Mixed with Parliament

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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History of Mach 1: Yeager Breaks the Sound Barrier

Mach 1

THE HISTORY OF MACH 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…

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History of J.R.R. Tolkien: A 100-Year Love Affair

jrr tolkien

HISTORY OF J.R.R. TOLKIEN: A 100-YEAR LOVE AFFAIR Tonight begins the Amazon Prime TV series “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” which depicts the Second Age of Tolkien’s legendarium, set over three thousand of years before the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. This is expected to be the most expensive TV series in…

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History of Woodstock: Over 50 Years Ago

Woodstock

HISTORY OF WOODSTOCK August 15 marks the anniversary of the “3 Days of Peace & Music” held in 1969 at Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm in the rural town of Bethel, New York, southwest of the village of Woodstock. This outdoor music event, despite thundershowers, gave voice to the counterculture youth generation of its time.…

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History of William Wilberforce: Champion of British Slavery Abolition

William Wilberforce

HISTORY OF WILLIAM WILBERFORCE One hundred eighty-nine years ago today, on July 26, 1833, the Slavery Abolition Act passed its third reading in the House of Commons, ensuring the end of slavery in the British Empire. William Wilberforce authored it. August 24 marks the birthday of British statesman and England’s greatest abolitionist William Wilberforce. He…

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History of St. John the Baptist Day

St John the Baptist

HISTORY OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST DAY The Feast of St. John the Baptist, or the Nativity of St John the Forerunner, sometimes called St. John the Baptist Day, is celebrated on June 24 in many places around the world, though not much in the United States, as we’ll see below. Celebration of the Feast…

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History of D-Day: 78 Years Ago

D-Day

HISTORY OF D-DAY Why has D-Day captured the imagination of American consciousness for over three-quarters of a century? Seventy-eight years ago, on June 6, 1944, the Allies launched an offensive on the Normandy coast of France to liberate continental Europe from the Nazi German occupation. On Twitter, the hashtag is #DDay78 D-Day was the largest invasion…

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History of the Golden Gate Bridge: 85 Years Old

Golden Gate Bridge

HISTORY OF THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE This week we celebrate the 84th anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. On May 27, 1937, the bridge opened to traffic after taking over five years to build. I remember asking my father when I was young: “Why isn’t the Golden Gate Bridge golden?” He didn’t…

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History of Towel Day: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Towel Day

HISTORY OF TOWEL DAY May 25 celebrates Towel Day as a day to honor Douglas Adams, the author of the five (or six) book trilogy Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Created in May of 2001 to mark the passing of English science fiction humor author Douglas Adams, the day is set aside for fans of his…

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History of Star Wars: Premiered 45 Years Ago

Star Wars

HISTORY OF STAR WARS The original Star Wars movie premiered on May 25, 1977. Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away… in Berkeley, in November 1976, I picked up a new science fiction novel called “Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker” by George Lucas. I did not know at the time that…

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History of The Who’s Tommy: 53 Years Ago

Tommy album

HISTORY OF THE WHO’s TOMMY Fifty-three years ago today, on May 23, 1969, the British rock group The Who released the double-album rock opera, Tommy. Commercially the record went Gold in the UK and Double Platinum in the US. Several of the songs were released as singles that charted in the Top 20 in both…

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History of Amazing Grace, part 2: William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce

HISTORY OF AMAZING GRACE, part 2: William Wilberforce As I mentioned in my first article on the History of Amazing Grace, this is the story of the lives of two men and that one song. In the first part, we discussed the life of the song’s author John Newton. However, the 2007 film “Amazing Grace”…

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