The year of 2008 is coming to a close. Instead of doing a recap of the events of the past year, the following is a recap of the events of 1908 -- 100 years ago.
Jan 1 – For the first time, a ball signifying the new year was dropped in Times Square. Dick Clark was not the emcee that year.
Jan 8 – A subway linking Brooklyn and Manhattan opened.
Jan 11 – President Teddy Roosevelt signed a proclamation creating the Grand Canyon National Monument. I've been there – it's a big hole in the ground.
Jan 15 – Edward Teller, Father of the H-bomb, was born in Budapest, Hungary. "Life improves slowly and goes wrong fast, and only catastrophe is clearly visible."
Jan 21 – New York City passed an ordinance prohibiting females from smoking in public, punishable by one night in jail and a five dollar fine.
Feb 1 – King Carlos I of Portugal was assassinated by a mob.
Feb 27 – The U.S. flag gained a 46th star with the admission of Oklahoma into statehood.
Mar 2 – An international conference on arms reduction opened in London. I wonder how that worked out.
Mar 5 -- Rex Harrison, actor, was born in Lancashire, England. "Exhilaration is that feeling you get just after a great idea hits you, and just before you realize what's wrong with it."
Mar 11 – Lawrence Welk, orchestra leader, was born in Strasburg, North Dakota. "Ah one and ah two."
Mar 22 – Louis L'Amour, author of 116 western novels, was born in Jamestown, North Dakota. "Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more."
Mar 23 – Joan Crawford, film actress with a fetish for coat hangers, was born in San Antonio, Texas. "I love playing bitches. There's a lot of bitch in every woman – a lot in every man."
Mar 25 – David Lean, film director of BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, was born in Croyton, England. "I've just begun to dare to think I perhaps am a bit of an artist." As for myself, I've just begun to dare to think I perhaps am a bit of a goofball.
Apr 2 – Buddy Ebsen, actor, was born in Bellville, Illinois. No quotes from Ebsen – he was a dull person.
Apr 5 – Bette Davis, film actress, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. She had Bette Davis eyes. "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride."
Apr 21 – Explorer Frederick A. Cook discovered the North Pole. It was cold and icy, so he turned around and went back home.
Apr 25 – Edward R. Murrow, TV newscaster and chain smoker, was born near Greensboro, North Carolina. "Good night, and good luck."
Apr 27 – Hootch Simpson, a saloon keeper in Death Valley, Cal., shot and killed Joe Arnold, the town banker. Simpson was hung and buried the following morning. Soon thereafter, Simpson was dug up and re-hung for a newspaper reporter.
May 10 – The first Mother's Day observance took place in Grafton, West Virginia.
May 14 – The first passenger flight in an airplane took place. The passenger was given a complementary bag of peanuts and his luggage was lost.
May 20 – James Stewart, film actor, was born in Indiana, Pennsylvania. "If I had my career over again? Maybe I'd say to myself, speed it up a little."
May 22 – The Wright Brothers registered their flying machine, dubbed an airplane, for a U.S. patent. Apparently, they thought it might catch on.
May 22 – In San Francisco, U.S. Army Pvt. William Bulwada was sentenced to 5 years in prison for shaking hands with Emma Goldman, an anarchist. I once shook hands with my ex-wife's younger brother in San Francisco and had to get a tetanus shot the next day.
May 26 – Robert Morley, actor, was born in Semley, England. "Anyone who works is a fool -- I merely inflict myself upon the public." Me too.
May 26 -- British engineers struck oil in Iran, the first major oil strike in the middle East. The entire region has been in continual turmoil ever since. In fact, the entire region has been in turmoil for four thousand years.
May 28 – Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels, was born in Mayfair, England. He was also the author of the children's book CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. "Older women are best, because they always think they may be doing it for the last time."
May 30 – Mel Blanc, voice of Warner Brothers cartoon characters Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig, was born in San Francisco. His tombstone reads "That's All Folks."
Jun 18 – William Howard Taft was nominated for president at the Republican National Convention in Chicago.
Jun 24 – Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United Stated, died in Princeton, New Jersey, at age 71..
Jun 30 – In Siberia, the Tunguska Explosion took place. An estimated 300 square miles were incinerated. Some 40,000 trees over 900 square miles were flattened. People were struck unconscious 40 miles away. It was believed to be caused by a falling fragment from a meteorite. Other theories also exist.
Jul 2 – Thurgood Marshall, a civil rights attorney who became the first black U.S. Supreme Court Justice, was born in Baltimore.
Jul 7 – The Democratic National Convention opened in Denver.
Jul 8 – Nelson Rockefeller, Republican Governor of New York and Vice President of the United Stated under President Gerald Ford, was born in Bar Harbor, Maine.
Jul 10 – William Jennings Bryan was nominated for president by the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Jul 11 – My maternal grandmother, Amelia, celebrated her 16th birthday, along with her 11 older brothers. She would live to celebrate her 100th birthday. Rest in Peace, dear lady.
Jul 13 – My maternal grandfather, Benjamin, celebrated his 16th birthday, probably wooing Amelia and trying to avoid her 11 older brothers. Rest in peace, dude.
Aug 12 – The first Model T Ford rolled off the assembly line. There would eventually be 15 million Model T's built, from 1908 to 1927. The selling price was $825.The Model T featured a steering wheel on the left side of the car for a better line of site when approaching other cars. The first air bag was also introduced when someone took their mother-in-law for a ride.
Aug 27 – Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States, was born in Stonewall, Texas.
Sep 3 – Orville Wright began two weeks of field trials with his new flying machine, the Type A Military Flyer. He set an altitude record of 310 feet and an endurance record of one hour.
Sep 9 – Russia annexed part of Poland.
Sep 16 – An upstart company called General Motors filed papers for incorporation.
Sep 22 – The Chicago Cubs won the Baseball World Series. They have not won it since – weak pitching.
Sep 28 – Amos Alonzo Stagg, football coach of the University of Chicago, introduced numbers on the jerseys of football players. Someday, the U.S. government will issue a number for each of us – oh, that's right, they already have.
Oct 6 – Carole Lombard, film actress, was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She would later marry Clark Gable. "I live by a man's code, designed to fit a man's world, yet at the same time I never forget that a woman's first job is to choose the right shade of lipstick."
Oct 11 – The Goldfield Hotel was opened in Goldfield, Nevada. The town had a population of 25,000 due to a gold-mining frenzy. Today, the population is 356. It's amazing how greedy people will flock to the middle of nowhere to get rich quick. I've been to Goldfield. It's undoubtedly a much better place with 356 people than with 25,000 vagabonds and hustlers.
Nov 3 – Republican Howard Taft was elected the 27th President of the United States over William Jennings Bryant.
Nov 6 – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were killed in Bolivia. However, there has been some controversy as to whether or not it actually took place, or if it had been fabricated by Butch and Sundance to allow them to return to the United States and live happily ever after. Either way, they're probably dead by now.
Nov 14 – Joseph McCarthy, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, was born on a farm near Appleton, Wisconsin. He became notorious for his witch-hunts against communists. Personally, I'd rather conduct witch-hunts for real witches, most of whom live in New England, New Orleans, New Mexico or Brea, California.
Nov 14 – Albert Einstein, a man in dire need of a good haircut, presented his quantum theory of light. "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
Nov 20 – Alistair Cook, Journalist and TV host of Masterpiece Theater, was born in Salford, England. "Canned music is like audible wallpaper."
Dec 2 – Zxuan Tong, age 2, became the last Emperor of China. Obviously, China prefers to be ruled by someone who doesn't really know what they are doing yet. In the United States, we elect Presidents who don't know what they're doing.
Dec 11 – The first organized dog sled race took place in Alaska, a 408 miles round trip from Nome to Candle.
Dec 25 – Jack Johnson, a black boxer from Texas, knocked out Tommy Burns in Australia. Johnson became the first black man to become heavyweight champion of the world. Five years later, Johnson would be arrested for violating the Mann Act, which stipulated a prohibition against transporting white women across state lines for the purpose of prostitution. He served time in Leavenworth, Kansas, on basically trumped up charges and was appointed athletic director of the prison.
Dec 28 – Some 100,000 people died in an earthquake in Sicily.
Life goes on.
Quote for the Day – "If you saved a nickel every year for 100 years, you'd have five dollars." Bret