The Year was 1582

Or was it 45 BC? Or 1752? Or 1929? Or… This was the year that January 1st became New Year’s Day. The first person to decree this was Julius Caesar in 45 BCE. He was disgusted with the mess the lunar calendar had created over time. And emperors weren’t averse to added or taking days…

The Year was 1955

Santa! Quick! Where is he??? NORAD knows? What? If you call this number, 877-HI-NORAD, someone will answer and give you an update. How did the military in the United States and Canada start this, now operated by some 1,500 military personnel and volunteers? They didn’t. In 1955, someone at Sears got a brilliant idea. Why…

The Year was 165 BCE

That was the year the Jews reclaimed the Temple. Three years earlier, they had been attacked and lost, Judaism was outlawed and the Temple was trashed. Then, with Judas Maccabeus leading them, the Jews fought and won,regaining their land. It was the 25th of the month of Kislev. They cleaned out the Temple and wanted…

The Year was 1441

O tannenbaum, o tannenbaum… We know this is Oh Christmas Tree, oh Christmas tree…and in fact the Christmas tree comes from early German Protestant celebrations of Christmas. But where did the Lutherans get this idea of decorating greenery in the middle of winter? The Vikings made green bows part of their celebration of mid-winter, perhaps…

The Year was 2018

A lot of companies are receiving huge tax breaks. Apple – $100 billion Cisco – $25 billion Wells Fargo – $22.6 billion Pepsi – $15 billion* Many more are receiving $10 million or less. What are they doing with this money? The lion’s share will go to stock buybacks and dividends to stockholders. A very…

The Year was 1254

On November 1, 1254, when she was 13, Eleanor of Castile married her first cousin, Prince Edward. At 15, he was tall and strong. And he detested his father, England’s King Henry III. Heir to the throne he couldn’t wait to get his hands on, Edward had to wait another 16 years. Henry in fact,…

The Year was 1924

The first woman to be elected governor of state in U.S. history was Nellie Tayloe Ross. Her husband was elected governor of Wyoming but died in office about a year later from complications after having had his appendix removed. By law, the Secretary of State succeeded him as governor. Nellie decided to run for office…

The Year was A Date Lost in Antiquity

It was a pagan holiday. Now, the first day of November is called All Soul’s Day. According to various religions, this is the day to pray for the dead. In the Roman Catholic Church tradition, those who have gone to Heaven are Saints. Those who still have a chance to get into Heaven, who have…

The Year was 1969

You have seen him on TV. Maybe thousands of times. He has done more than 4,000 shows. But you would not recognize him. If he was introduced to you, you would not recognize his name. It is Caroll Spinney. He just retired this week as, yes, Big Bird. Caroll met fellow puppeteer Jim Henson at…

The Year was 1618

It was 400 years ago almost to the day (Oct. 29, 1618) that Sir Water Raleigh joked, “This is sharp medicine indeed.” He was talking about an axe. Raleigh had done the impossible – born a commoner, he had been knighted. In Elizabethan England, Raleigh did it with daring, intelligence, talent, and not the least,…