Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hope your Mother's Day is more pleasant than the labor was.

Your mom is one of your favorite parents.  (Enjoy one of the major holidays with encouraged daytime drinking.)

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 version of the 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.

In case you didn't get you mom a great gift, you can remind her that you will probably be helping with her nursing home costs.

May 10, 1893 -
The Supreme Court ruled on this date, in the case of Nix v. Hedden that although tomatoes were botanically fruit, they should be legally considered vegetables.

The case came up because at the time there was a tax on imported vegetables, but not imported fruit, leading farmers to contest the definition.

So now you know.

May 10, 1899 -
Can't sing. Can't act. Balding. Can dance a little.

Frederick Austerlitz was born on this date in Omaha, Nebraska.

May 10, 1962 -
The Toho studios classic monster movie Mothra (the original Japanese title was Mosura) was released  on a double bill with The Three Stooges in Orbit in the U.S. on this date.

The movie was edited also removing about 10 minutes from the original Japanese version for its release in America at 90 minutes. This is the first Japanese monster film in which the monster doesn't get "killed" at the end.

Today in History:
May 10, 238
Former soldier and then current Emperor Gaius Maximinus found out the downside of career advancement on this date when his army mutinied after a disastrous loss against a competing army, backed by the Senate and hacked off his and his son's heads and presented them to the Roman Senate in hopes of currying favor with the new administration.

You might have thought by this time, there would have been a warning sticker on the document you signed when you became emperor, pointing out the severe health risks associated with accepting the position.

May 10, 1869
The first transcontinental railroad was completed when the Union Pacific Railroad--building west from Omaha, Nebraska--and the Central Pacific--building east from Sacramento, California--met at Promontory Point, Utah. In the desert near Promontory, Utah on this date, railway official Leland Stanford, drove down a golden spike to unite the tracks from the east and the west.

In perhaps the world's first live mass-media event, the hammer and spike were wired to the telegraph line so that each hammer stroke would be heard as a click at telegraph stations nationwide. Technical problems occurred, so clicks were actually sent by the telegraph operator, which makes this, most likely, the world's first fake mass media event.

May 10, 1871 -
France and Germany signed a peace treaty in which France had to give up a lot of land (Alsace-Lorraine) to Germany.

They weren't happy about it, so after World War I they took it back. In the Second World War the Germans reclaimed it. After the war the victorious allies held it briefly but decided not to get involved. They gave it back to France, where it remains to this day.

May 10, 1877 -
Rutherford B. Hayes had the first telephone installed in the White House on this date.

While Hayes embraced the new technology, few people called him. One reason: The phone, whose number was “1,” could be reached only from the Treasury Department, then as now, across East Executive Avenue from the White House.  (It was not until 1929 that the president actually had a phone in the Oval Office, and it wasn't until the 1990s that the president had a private line — before that, anyone could listen in on the president by picking up an extension in the White House.)

May 10, 1924 -
In perhaps the single worst mistake in the history of crime fighting, Attorney General Harlan Fiske Stone selects J. Edgar Hoover to head the Bureau of Investigation, later known as the FBI, on this date.

Hoover, in his cha-cha heels, red lipstick and Raymond Burr Nipple Rouge will remain at the post until his death 48 years later. (Bet that's an image you won't be getting out of your head anytime soon.)

May 10, 1933 -
Joseph Goebbels
presided over a public book burning in Berlin, which destroys more than 20,000 volumes on this date. The collection includes books by Einstein and Freud.

Some 40,000 people watched or took part. During the bibliocaust, Goebbels declares: "We have directed our dealings against the un-German spirit; consign everything un-German to the fire." Other books burned by "unGerman" writers such as: Marx, Brecht, Bloch, Hemingway, Heinrich Mann and Erich Maria Remarque, author of All Quiet on the Western Front.

May 10, 1940 -
Winston Churchill
was sworn in as British Prime Minister on this date. Churchill formed a new government and served as the Conservative head of a coalition government with the opposition Labor Party.

Three days after being sworn in, he told parliament that he could offer only "blood, toil, tears, and sweat." This was grudgingly deemed satisfactory by a palpably disappointed parliament, but only after he agreed to be fitted with an IV.

May 10, 1941 -
Running out of fuel and unable to find a suitable spot to land his Messerschmitt, Deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess bailed out over Scotland on this date.

When Hess claims to have made the trip in order to negotiate a peace treaty with England, the Nazis declare that he was a psychotic who "lived in a state of hallucination." After the war, Hess was confined to Spandau prison until his apparent suicide in 1987.

May 10, 1969 -
The Battle of Dong Ap Bia began with an assault on Hill 937 on this date. It was one of the most significant battles of the Vietnam War as it spelled the end of major American ground combat operations.

It will ultimately become known as Hamburger Hill. The ground gained in the battle was soon abandoned to the North Vietnamese Army, which lost some 633 soldiers killed in the fight. The American lost at Hamburger Hill, though not the most in one single action of the war, set off a firestorm of protest in the US.

May 10, 1977 -
Joan Crawford succumbed to stomach cancer at the age of 73 on this date. In the early days of her career, Crawford had performed in several stag films, and later spent a considerable sum buying back the prints to destroy them.

Her final words were purportedly, "Damn it...Don't you dare ask God to help me," which were directed at her housekeeper, who had begun to pray out loud.

You can bet there are no wire coat hangers in Heaven.

May 10, 1994 -
Former building contractor, children party clown, and jail house artist John Wayne Gacy was executed by lethal injection. Police found 28 shallow graves in the crawlspace beneath Gacy's house in 1978.

After a dinner which included fried chicken, fried shrimp, and french fries, Gacy was strapped to a gurney. When asked if he has any last words, the serial killer obliges with: "Kiss my ass."

And so it goes.

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