Halcyon days, begin today, a week before the winter solstice and end a week after.
December 14, 1970 -
Another holiday special from Rankin/Bass, Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town premiered on this date.
Fred Astaire returned as postman S. D. Kruger in the 1977 Rankin/Bass holiday special, The Easter Bunny Is Comin' To Town. Mickey Rooney returned to voice Santa Claus in the 1974 Rankin/Bass special, The Year Without A Santa Claus. Shirley Booth voiced Mrs. Claus in the latter.
Today's Christmas special: An IBM Christmas
Today in History:
December 14, 1503 -
If you write vague enough prophecies, they will fool almost anyone.
December 14, 1656 -
Artificial pearls were first manufactured by M. Jacquin in Paris on this date.
December 14, 1702 -
A major part of Japanese history - the 47 Ronin were samurai until their master was ordered to commit suicide after killing an arrogant official. In revenge, the Ronin killed the official, and were then were ordered to commit suicide themselves.
The story of the 47 Ronin remains a popular Japanese legend, and the 47 Ronin are seen as examples of loyalty and faithfulness.
Try getting your staff to turn in reports on time.
December 14, 1807 -
A 'shooting star' fell in Weston, Connecticut at 6:30am on this date, making a hole five feet long and 4.5 feet wide. A young Yale professor, Benjamin Silliman, who rushed to the scene of the phenomenon pronounced it a meteorite.
December 14, 1900 -
Max Planck published his theory of quantum mechanics, which is often considered one of the most radical scientific discoveries of the 20th century, on this date. It's even more radical than the belief in the collection of Turkish union dues or Iraqi clerics
But five years later, Albert Einstein took Planck's theory of light seriously, and wrote his first major paper exploring the idea of light traveling in packets, which he called photons. Even though he became better known for his theory of relativity, it was Einstein's work expanding on Planck's original ideas about light that won him a Nobel Prize. Einstein later said, "I use up more brain grease on quantum theory than on relativity."
With the discovery of quantum mechanics, physicists found that subatomic particles were by nature unpredictable. If you shot one across the room, you could guess where it might end up, but you could never be sure. This idea made Einstein miserable. He famously said, "I am at all events convinced God does not play dice."
Today quantum mechanics remains one of the most mysterious and difficult scientific theories ever. The Danish physicist Niels Bohr once said that a person who was not shocked by quantum theory did not understand it, and the physicist Richard Feynman once said that while only a modest number of people truly understand the theory of relativity, no one understands quantum mechanics.
Max Planck himself died in 1947 and he never came to fully accept the theory he discovered. But even if few people really understand it, quantum mechanics led to the development of modern electronics, including the transistor, the laser, and the computer.
December 14, 1911 -
Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his expedition successfully reached the South Pole on this date, beating out the rival expedition of British Robert Falcon Scott by almost a month.
Amundsen would later become the first explorer to ever fly over the North Pole in 1926.
December 14, 1944 -
Lupe Velez, Hollywood's Mexican Spitfire of the 1940s, committed suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills on this date.
Contrary to her plans of being found laid out on the bed in a silk nightgown, she is instead discovered in the bathroom with her head in the toilet. (OK bunkies, this is just an urban legend but let it get in back of the list of others, like the death of Cass Elliot or Judy Garland. Don't even get me started about the death of Albert Dekker.)
What a way to go!!!
December 14, 1955 -
Tappan Zee Bridge (Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee toll bridge) in New York opened to traffic on this date.
The bridge is expected to be decommissioned in 2016 and a new bridge is scheduled for completion in 2018. Don't hold your breath.
December 14, 1963 -
Dinah Washington, the "Queen of the Blues", juggled numerous prescription medications, primarily for dieting and insomnia, most of her life.
An unintentional but lethal combination of alcohol and pills forever stilled her magnificent voice on this date. She was only 39 and was thankfully found in bed.
December 14, 1972 -
Eugene Cernan becomes the last person to walk on the Moon on this date, after he and Harrison Schmitt complete the third and final Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) of Apollo 17.
It will be the last manned mission to the Moon of the 20th century.
On this anniversary of the terrible act at Sandy Hook,
Brenda Lee was just 13 years old when she recorded Rockin around the Christmas Tree back in 1958.
The record mostly flopped upon its initial release, selling just 5,000 copies. The next year, they released the song a second time and it again flopped, selling just over what it did on its initial release. It finally started to gain some traction the next year as Brenda Lee’s fame began to skyrocket, managing to rise as high as number 14 on the Hot 100 Pop Singles list. Within five years of that, it went as high as number three on that same list. By the song’s 50th anniversary in 2008, Brenda Lee’s original version of it had sold over 25 million copies, including about 700,000 digital copies, making it the fourth most digital downloads sold of any Christmas single.
And so it goes..