Sunday, May 9, 2010


Betty White killed last night - not that everything was hysterical but they gave her the ball and she ran with it.

The United States celebrates Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May. In the United States, Mother's Day was loosely inspired by the British day and was imported by social activist Julia Ward Howe after the American Civil War. However, it was intended as a call to unite women against war. In 1870, she wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation as a call for peace and disarmament. Howe failed in her attempt to get formal recognition of a Mother's Day for Peace. Her idea was influenced by Ann Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through what she called Mothers' Work Days. She organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides, and in 1868 she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors.

When Jarvis died in 1907, her daughter, named Anna Jarvis, started the crusade to found a memorial day for women. The first such Mother's Day was celebrated in Grafton, West Virginia, on May 10, 1908, in the church where the elder Ann Jarvis had taught Sunday School. Originally the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, this building is now the International Mother's Day Shrine (a National Historic Landmark). From there, the custom caught on — spreading eventually to 45 states. The holiday was declared officially by some states beginning in 1912. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mother's Day, as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.

Nine years after the first official Mother's Day, commercialization of the U.S. holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become. Mother's Day continues to this day to be one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother's Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States.

So now you know.

Today in History
May 9, 1949 -
William Martin Joel, Grammy Award-winning rock vocalist/singer was born on this date.

I'm old enough to remember when one used to eagerly await a new Billy Joel album as much as a Bruce Springsteen album (not that many people still eagerly await a Springsteen album anymore.)

May 9, 1950 -
L. Ron Hubbard publishes the first edition of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.

This follows on the heels of a feature article in the pulp sci-fi magazine Astounding Science Fiction.

A book review in the The New Republic describes the work as "a bold and immodest mixture of complete nonsense and perfectly reasonable common sense, taken from long-acknowledged findings and disguised and distorted by a crazy, newly invented terminology." The subsequent movement goes on to become one of the scariest, most powerful pseudoreligious cults in modern history.

But you didn't here this from me.

May 9,1958 -
Alfred Hitchcock's thiller Vertigo starring James Stewart and Kim Novak premiered in San Francisco on this date.

It seems unbelieveable but this film was a box office flop at the time, specifically because of Jimmy Stewart being perceived as miscast. Hitchcock never worked with Stewart, previously one of his favorite collaborators, again.

May 9, 1978 -
The body of former Italian premier Aldo Moro is discovered in the back seat of a Renault. He had been kidnapped 54 days prior by the Red Brigades, who demanded the release of their incarcerated comrades.

When Italian authorities refused to give in, Moro's captors killed him, but not before forcing the hostage to hold a newspaper announcing his own death.

May 9, 1980 -
35 people are killed in Tampa, Florida when the Liberian cargo ship Summit Venture smashes into a supporting pier of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Seven vehicles, including a Greyhound bus, topple into the water 150 feet below.

May 9, 1983 -
Pope John Paul II retracts the Catholic Church's condemnation of astronomer Galileo Galilei, issued in 1633 by Pope Urban VIII. The Church had convicted the scientist of heresy, sentenced him to house arrest, and forced him to recant central scientific truths.

In the end, this error only took 350 years to correct. A speedy correction by church standards.

May 9, 1989 -
VP Dan Quayle said at a United Negro College Fund speech: What a waste it is to lose one's mind' on this date.

Joe Biden works very hard to meet this high bar indeed

May 9, 1992 -
Final episode of Golden Girls airs on NBC-TV .

That must have been some after party.

And so it goes

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