On this day in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka decision. The court ruled that putting white and black students in separate schools was inherently unequal, ending the practice of racial segregation in American public education.
A giant step for womankind! Japanese climber Junko Tabei became the first female to reach the summit of Mount Everest on this day in 1975.
Hello, friendly skies! Ellen Church, the first airline stewardess, went on duty aboard a United Airlines flight from San Francisco and Cheyenne, Wyoming on this day in 1930.
Pull up those weeds. Then pull down your pants. It’s World Naked Gardening Day!
Stevie Wonder was born on this day in 1950 in Saginaw, Michigan. This blind, braided soul & funk legend has won 22 Grammy Awards—more than any other male solo artist. Hear him sing his 1974 hit “Boogie on Reggae Woman” here.
I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.—Florence Nightingale, founder of professional nursing, born this day in 1820 in Florence, Italy
Melting clocks and flying cats! Salvador Dali, the lead painter of the surrealist movement, was born on this day in 1904 in Figueras, Spain, where he died 84 years later.
It’s Trust Your Intuition Day. Then again, you knew that.
On this day in 1960, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first birth-control pill.
In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s a look at how one goes about becoming a mother—the average gestation rates for a range of species:
elephant: 640 days
whale: 490 days
human: 266 days
moose: 245 days
llama: 330 days
lion: 108 days
kangaroo: 42 days
rabbit: 33 days
mouse: 19 days
It’s International Tuba Day! Go out and blow your horn.
We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love.—neurologist and psychoanalysis founder Sigmund Freud, born on this day in 1856 in Freiberg, Austria
Yum! This day in 2010, Johns Hopkins University researchers announced that epicatechin, a compound in dark chocolate, can protect the brain from damage after a stroke.
Zoom! On this day in 1954, England’s Roger Bannister became the first athlete to run a mile in under four minutes at Oxford University’s Iffley Road Track.
For the next two months, a million wildebeest are migrating to Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, marching nose to tail for thousands of miles in search of food and water.
There’s always some room for improvisation.—Satyajit Ray, Bengali writer, illustrator, and motion-picture director, who was born on this day in 1921 in Kolkata, India and whose film “Pather Panchali” can be seen here
On this day in 2006, the American toy company Hasbro marked the 50th anniversary of the invention of Play-Doh by introducing “eau de PLAY-DOH”—a “whimsical scent” that comes in a spray a bottle and that smells like everyone’s favorite rainbow-colored modeling clay.
Welcome, wascally wabbit! The cartoon character Bugs Bunny first appeared on screen on this day in 1938, featured in the theatrical short “Porky’s Hare Hunt.”
A problem is your chance to do your best.—jazz great Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, who was born on this day in 1899 in Washington, D.C. and whose band plays his composition “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” here.
Tuck Wordsworth and Whitman into your wallet! Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day.
On this day in 1992, Britain’s House of Commons elected Speaker Betty Boothroy—the first woman to be elected to the post in Parliament’s 700-year history.
Vermont Governor Howard Dean signed the nation’s first bill allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions on this day in the year 2000.
Leaping Leptoceratops! On this day in 2010, McGill University researchers announced they had determined there were less than 16 types of dinosaurs living in North America on the brink of their extinction 65 million years ago. These species were so similar that scientists consider them a “homogeneous fauna”–one big happy family of scaly behemoths.
Life is so unlike theory.—novelist Anthony Trollope, born on this day in 1815 in London, England
Holy hydra! On this day in 2010, University of Nottingham scientists isolated the gene that enables the planarian worm to regrow a new head and brain after amputation.
Happy EARTH DAY to you! It’s the 43rd anniversary of everyone’s favorite environmental campaign, amd a billion people in 190 countries take some form of eco-action.
Better to be without logic than without feeling.—Charlotte Bronte, who was the author of Jane Eyre and who was born this day in 1816 in Thornton, England
Surrealist painter and sculptor Joan Miró was born on this day in 1893 in Barcelona, Spain.
On this day in 1897, runners laced up for the first Boston Marathon. The event now attracts 500,000 spectators, with fastest time run by Kenyan Kenyan Robert “Mwafrika” Cheruiyot 2010, who breezed through the 26.22-mile course in just 2 hours, 5 minutes and 52 seconds in 2010.
On this day in 1775 in Boston, American patriot Paul Revere took his midnight ride.
On this day in 1969, 21-year-old Bernadette Devlin, a Catholic from Northern Ireland, became the youngest-ever female member of Britain’s Parliament.
On this day in 2001, cyclist Keiichi Iwasaki left his home in Japan with less than $2 in his pocket and the intention of biking across his own country. En route, he hopped a ferry to Korea, disembarked, and kept biking. A decade later, Iwasaki has rambled 40,000 miles through 40-some countries, sleeping on the street and performing magic tricks to earn pocket money.
“Empress of the Blues” Bessie Smith was born this day in 1894 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The most popular 1920s blues singer, she belts out “I’m Wild About That Thing” here.
I love people so much I’m fit to bust, sometimes.—quote from The Grapes of Wrath, published by novelist John Steinbeck on this day in 1939
On this day in 1964, Sidney Poitier became the first black actor to win the best actor Oscar for his role in the film “Lilies of the Field.”
On this day in 1961, Yuri Gagarin, a 24-year-old cosmonaut from the Soviet Union, orbited the earth in the shuttle Vostock and became the first man to venture into space.
Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.—author Kurt Vonnegut, who was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and died at age 84 on this day in 2007
Wear it on your clothes! Wear it in your nose! New York’s Walter Hunt patented the safety pin this day in 1849.
On this date in 1939, contralto Marian Anderson gave a historic performance at the U.S. Capitol. Weeks beforehand, she tried to sing at D.C.’s Constitutional Hall, but was barred by its racist managers. Public outrage erupted, and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the Daughters of the American Revolution, which owned the hall. Roosevelt arranged a free concert at the Lincoln Memorial, where Anderson (photographed above by Richard Avedon) was heard by 75,000 spectators and millions of radio listeners. Hear her performance here.
Key lime! Yum! Celebration, Florida is gearing up for The National Pie Championships.
Don’t threaten me with love, baby. Let’s just go walking in the rain.—jazz and blues legend Billie Holiday, born this day in 1915 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
On this day in 1930, Indian political leader and peace activist Mahatma Gandhi completed his 240-mile, month-long Salt March. Accompanied by thousands of supporters, Gandhi harvested salt by boiling seawater without paying the tax that Britain levied on salt. His march sparked large-scale civil disobedience that ended Britain’s 130-year occupation of India.
I am just too much.—actress Bette Davis, born this day in 1908 in Lowell, Mass.
On this day in 1722, Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen discovered Easter Island, a 15-mile stretch of volcanic rock that is the easternmost Polynesian Island and famous for its moai, massive statues that represent the deified ancestors of the native people, the Rapa Nui.
The Pony Express launched mail service between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California on this day in 1860. Its horseback riders speeding over mountains and across open prairies, it shortened cross-continental communication to 10 days before the use of the telegraph.
The excess in too little has ever proved in me more dangerous than the excess in too much. The last may cause indigestion, but the first causes death.—Giacomo Casanova, legendary lover, spy and soldier, born on this day in Venice in 1725
Happy April Fool’s Day! On this date in 1957, the British Broadcasting Company aired a TV spoof about pasta farms in Switzerland. The segment showed women carefully harvesting spaghetti strands from trees and placing them in the sun to dry. Hundreds of viewers called the BBC in response, begging to know where they could buy their very own spaghetti bushes.
I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.–the Dalai Lama, who escaped Chinese suppression by fleeing Tibet on this day 1959, fleeing to India on horseback over the Himalayas
I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.—artist Vincent Van Gogh, born on this day in 1853 in Groot Zundert, Holland
I shall be out there in silly frocks, singing filthy songs!—Eric Idle (left), who was born this day in 1943 in South Shields, England and who sings the “Galaxy Song” here
The washing machine was patented by New Hampshire’s Nathaniel Briggs on this day in 1797—and centuries’ worth of socks have been disappearing ever since.
Up and away! Viagra, the first prescription drug to treat male impotence, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on this day in 1998.
Follow your bliss—American mythologist and lecturer Joseph Campbell, born this day in 1904 in White Plains, New York
On this day in 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono launched their two-week “Bed In.”
Trapeze artist, newsboy, necktie cutter. Harry Houdini worked those jobs before becoming a magician (and escaping from a steam trunk, milk can, and straightjacket—the last while hanging upside down!). Such was the magic of Houdini, who was born this day in 1874 in Budapest.
Wag your tail, fetch a Frisbee, and leap in circles! Today is National Puppy Day.
Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words?—mime and actor Marcel Marceau, born on this day in 1923 in Strasbourg, France
Today marks the spring equinox…when the sun rises directly over the equator…when the number of daylight hours equals the number of nighttime hours…when the northern hemisphere marks the advent of spring…and when 5,000 hardy souls gathered at dawn to celebrate at Stonehenge, a 4,500-year-old Druid burial site and sun calendar that is, with the exception of Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s best-known ancient landmark.
On this day in 2009, British wildlife cameraman Mike Holding spotted a baby pink elephant—which turned out to be an albino—while filming BBC documentary in Botswana.
9 to 5! On this day in 1917, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the eight-hour workday.
On this day in 2010, Australian jogger David Striegl was running up a country hill in Canberra when he was assaulted—and knocked unconscious—by a rogue kangaroo.
Begosh and begorrah! In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a Clamaytion version of an Irish jig.
Happiness looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn how big it is.—novelist Maxim Gorky, born this day in 1868 in Nizhny, Russia
Admit it. You ate every last bite of it. Today is True Confessions Day.
3.141592653589793238462643383279502884…That’s only part of pi (also written π), the number equal to the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter—and a number that has mesmerized mathematicians for millennia. Today is March 14 or 3.14 or Pi Day. And in celebration, you can listen to a musical interpretation of this irrational number here.
Great galaxies, is that…..? Uranus, the icy blue planet that is the seventh from the sun, was discovered on this day in 1781 by British astronomer Sir William Herschel.
All of life is a foreign country.—Jack Kerouac, beat poet and author of “On the Road,” born on this day in 1922 in Lowell, Massachusetts
I’m not fancy. I’m what I appear to be.—Janet Reno, confirmed by the Senate as the United States’ first female attorney general on this day in 1993
Love is a verb.—playwright Clare Booth Luce, born this day in 1903 in New York
Welcome, Barbara Millicent Roberts! On this day in 1959, at the International Toy Fair in New York, the doll who would come to be known as Barbie made her debut. If Barbie were built to scale, she would tower seven feet high—with a 40-inch bust, 22-inch waist, 36-inch hips, five-foot legs and a neck so long that it would likely not support the weight of her head.
Censor the body and you censor breath and speech at the same time. Write yourself! Your body must be heard.—French feminist and author Helene Cixous, in honor of Girls Write Now Day, which the world commemorates today
Music must be emotional first and intellectual second.—Maurice Ravel, who was born this day in 1812 in Cibourne, France and whose “Bolero” can be heard here
Light tomorrow with today!—Victorian poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who was born on this day in 1806 in Durham, England
Hundreds of scantily-clad joggers are planning to brave Iowa City’s winter chill for the Nearly Naked Run, donating their clothes to the Salvation Army at the end of their mile-long sprint.
Frances Perkins became the first woman to serve in the United States Cabinet when she took her seat as secretary of labor under President Franklin D. Roosevelt on this day in 1933.
On this day in 1931, scat singer and big band leader Cab Calloway recorded his hit “Minnie the Moocher,” which you can see him perform here.
Yellowstone National Park was established on this day in 1872 by Congress. The first area in the world to be designated a national park, it lies in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.
Slip a pair of borrowed dentures under your pillow tonight. It’s National Tooth Fairy Day.
Fruit Loops! Cap’n Crunch! And Boo Berry, too! John Harvey Kellogg, the goateed physician who invented dry cereal, was born on this day in 1852 in Tyrone, Michigan.
I run while talking to God.—”Turbaned Torpedo” Fauja Singh, who took up marathon racing at age 89 and retired from the sport on this day in 2013 at age 101
Seventy-five days. And three feet of snow. That’s what it took for the residents of Bellevue, Washington to build the world’s largest igloo. Sculpted on this day in 2010 to celebrate the end of winter, the “Bigloo” stretched 27 feet wide and 17 feet high.
Beauty is whatever gives joy.—poet and Pulitzer Prize winner Edna St. Vincent Millay, who was born on this day in 1892 in Rockland, Maine
Do not seek the because. In love there is no because, no reason, no explanation, no solutions.—diarist Anais Nin, born day in 1903 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Things happen when the time comes.—singer Ibrahim Ferrer, who was born on this day in 1927 in San Luis, Cuba; who fell into obscurity for 40 years before reviving his career and winning a Grammy in 1999; and who sings “Marieta” here
Seal your lips, mumble incantations, and pass the chalice, too. The Knights of Pythias, the first secret fraternal organization in the United States, was founded on this day in 1864.
Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly in an airplane on this day in 1930, soaring over St. Louis, Missouri as she was milked and as containers of her milk were parachuted out of the plane.
Score one for the human brain! World chess champion Garry Kasparov beat IBM supercomputer “Deep Blue” on this day in 1996 in a six-game chess match in Philadelphia.
Umbrellas! Fishnets! And wetsuits, too! All this and more is possible thanks to the ingenuity of Wallace H. Carothers, a research chemist for Du Pont who patented nylon on this day in 1937.
Holy stars! Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei was born on this day in 1564 in Florence. Galileo proved that all bodies, large and small, descend at equal speed, gathering evidence to support the theory that the earth and other planets revolve around the sun.
Love with no set course of action today. It’s the first day of Random Acts of Kindness Week!
If you’re never tested, you’ll never define your character.” –slam poet and punk singer-songwriter Henry Rollins, born this day in 1961 in Washington, D.C.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded on this day in 1909 to campaign against lynching and other forms of racial oppression. It spearheaded lawsuits that successfully challenged segregation in the 1950s and1960s.
To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.–South African leader Nelson Mandela, who was released from prison after 27 years of confinement on this day in 1990
Everyone chases after happiness, not noticing that happiness is right at their heels.—avant-garde dramatist Bertolt Brecht, born on this day in 1898 in Berlin
I am a drinker with writing problems—Irish poet, playwright, and patriot Brendan Behan, who was born in Dublin on this day in 1923
Tie me up in knots, and feed me more s’mores! The Boy Scouts was created this day in 1910.
Eddie Izzard, the boa-and-bodice-wearing transvestite British comedian, was born this day in 1962. Watch him channel Darth Vader in the Death Star canteen by clicking here.
Today kicks off Jell-O Week! Invented by industrialist Peter Cooper in 1845, everyone’s favorite gelatin dessert now comes in every color known to man—and a few others, too.
On this day in 2009, Johanna Sigurdardottir became Iceland’s new national leader—and the first openly gay prime minister in the history of the world.
Resistance is futile! Or it has been since this day in 2004, when the social networking website Faceborg/Facebook was first launched by Harvard undergraduates.
Eileen Collins, the first female space pilot, blasted off on the shuttle Discovery this day in 1994.
The oldest couple to ever marry, Francois Frenandez (96) and Madeleine Francineau (95), exchanged vows on this day in 2002. They met a rest home in Clapiers, France, where she asked him to help her with a garlic press and asked her for a kiss in exchange.
Dote on Dewey Decimals! And send a thrill up book spines. February is Library Lovers’ Month.
A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.—Jackie Robinson, the first African-American baseball player to work (and to break records!) in the major leagues, born on this day in 1919 in Cairo, Georgia
Blah. Blah. And blahbetty blah! Today is National Inane Answering Machine Message Day.
Your dreams make you tough.–breast cancer survivor Barbara Hillary, 80, who reached the South Pole on skis on this day in 2011
Da plane! Da plane! The TV show “Fantasy Island” premiered on this day in 1978.
Snap! Crackle! Pop! Don’t hold back, because today is Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day.
Bollywood and baingan bhartha! On this day in 1950, India declared itself a republic.
I sing the songs that people need to hear. –blues legend Etta James, who was born in Los Angeles on this day in 1938 and who belts out “At Last” here
Giggle. Risa. Rire. Hassya. Xiào. And ضحك ! Today is Global Belly Laugh Day.
Sweet Georgia Brown! Composer and guitarist Django Rheinhardt, a gypsy in every sense of the word, was born this day in 1910 in Liberchies, Pont-à-Celles, Belgium.
Madeleine Albright became the first female U.S. secretary of state on this day in 1997.
Squeeze! Squeeze! Around the middle and then again. Today is National Hugging Day.
Spin! Spin! Spin! It’s National Disk Jockey Day—another reason to get your groove on.
Rock on out—blues singer Janis Joplin, who was born on this day in 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas, and who can be heard singing “Piece of My Heart” here
Britain’s Capt. James Cook became the first European to reach Hawaii this day in 1778.
Absence sharpens love, presence strengthens it. –statesman and inventor Benjamin Franklin, born on this day in 1706 in Boston, Massachusetts
Always give them the old fire, even when you feel like a squashed cake of ice.—musical theater diva Ethel Merman, who was born on this day in 1908 in New York City, and who can be heard belting out “An Earful of Music” here
Earth…god’s golf ball.—musician and painter Captain Beefheart, who was born Don Glen Vliet on this day in 1941 in Glendale, California and whose experimental 1969 album “Trout Mask Replica” can be heard by clicking here
One does not have to be an angel in order to be saint.—philosopher and theologian Albert Schweitzer, born on this day in 1875 in Kayserberg, Germany
On this day in 1968, country singer Johnny Cash gave a concert at Folsom Prison, the subject of his 1955 hit “Folsom Prison Blues.” Hear his live performance by clicking here.
Music impresario Berry Gordy Jr. founded Motown Records in Detroit on this day in 1959.
We have it in our power to begin the world over again.—”Common Sense,” a pamphlet that was published by the British writer Thomas Paine this day in 1776 that made the case for the American colonists declaring independence from Britain
I wasn’t naked, I was completely covered by a blue spotlight.—burlesque artist Gypsy Rose Lee, born this day in 1911 in Seattle, Washington
We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the universe. That makes us something very special.—physicist Stephen Hawking, who was born on this day in 1941 in Oxford, England and who has published 11 scientific books (most of them dictated using a voice synthesizer) since muscular dystrophy rendered him paralyzed in 1974
The Harlem Globetrotters played their first basketball game on this day in 1927. Not allowed to compete in segregated, all-white professional leagues, these talented black athletes became world-famous for their sleights of hand—and their barnstorming humor.
Joan of Arc, the religious visionary and teenage warrior who led France to crucial victories in the Hundred Year’s War, was born on this day in 1492 Domremy, France.
On this day in 1971, Maudi Lou Flippen and Peggy Williams became the first women in history to graduate from the clown college run by the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus.
Look into my eyes. Feel yourself relax and get very, very sleepy. It’s World Hypnotism Day.
The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing.—science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, born on this day in 1920 in Petrovichi, Belarus
Paper your walls New Year’s confetti! January is International Creativity Month.
It’s Make Up Your Mind Day. What will you give up for New Year’s this year? Perhaps it’s time give up making any New Year’s resolutions.
Y.M.C.A! The first U.S. branch of the Young Men’s Christian Association opened in Boston on this day in 1851, allowing American youths to work out—and the Village People to work it.
Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first test-tube baby in the United States, was born this day in 1981 in Norfolk, Virginia.
There is a gigantic difference between earning a great deal of money and being rich.—German actress Marlene Dietrich, born on this day in 1901 in Berlin. Dietrich can be heard singing her signature ballad, “Falling in Love Again,” here.
Grab your cow bells, feather headdress, and goatskin drum! It’s Junkanoo in the Bahamas.
Are you ready yet? Get up and get moving, because today is the start of It’s About Time Week.
On this day in 1867, Sarah Breedlove Walker, the businesswoman and philanthropist who became the first black female millionaire, was born in Delta, Louisiana. Married at 14, a mother at 17, and widowed at age 20, “Madame Walker” realized in her late 30s that she could never make a stable living if she continued to work as a washerwoman. Several nights later, she dreamed of starting a hair tonic company. Her business was so successful that Walker was able to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to the education of African-American youths.
Inspiration is an awakening, a quickening of all the faculties.—composer Giacomo Puccini, who was born on this day in Tuscany, Italy in 1858 and whose lofty aria “O mio babbino caro” can be heard here
R.I.P., “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” Today, President Obama signed legislation that finally allows gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military for the first time in the history of the United States. DECEMBER 21 Music in performance is a type of sculpture. The air in the performance is sculpted into something.—rock musician, composer and “Mothers of Invention” front man Frank Zappa, born on this day in 1940 in Baltimore, Maryland
On this day in 2012, scientists announced the discovery that relative to size, piranhas have a stronger bite than any other animal on the planet. Pound for pound, they have stronger bites than crocodiles or even sharks.
On this day in 2010, a total lunar eclipse shrouded the moon, turning it a glowing shade of amber across four continents. Occurring just before dawn and lasting an hour, this lunar eclipse was the first to happen on the winter solstice since 1638.
If God has allowed me to earn so much money, it is because he knows I give it all away.—French chanteuse Edith Piaf, who was born on this day in 1915 in Belleville, France and who can be heard singing her signature ballad, “La Vie En Rose,” here.
Free at last! On this day in 1865, the 13th Amendment ended slavery in the United States.
If birds can glide for long periods of time, then why can’t I?—Orville Wright, who, along with his brother Wilbur, made the first successful man-powered airplane flight over a field near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on this day in 1903
On this day in 2009, Ben Eckerson, a 24-year-old broadcast producer in Durham, North Carolina, became the world record holder for the longest time spent inside an inflatable snow globe.
On this day in 2009, Washington, D.C. resident and recently-laid-off non-profit administrator Reed Sandridge launched his Year of Giving. While unemployed and job hunting, Sandridge embarked on “a year-long journey of altruistic giving.” Every day for 365 days, Sandridge found a person to whom he gave $10, then shared that person’s story on his blog.
The land looks like a fairytale.—Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (bottom left), who, commanding a band of intrepid adventurers and a team of sled dogs, became the first man to reach the South Pole on this day in 1911
Carlos Montoya, the gypsy-born guitarist responsible for popularizing flamenco music across the world, was born in Madrid, Spain on this day in 1903. Hear him play Farucca here.
I’m gonna live till I die.—singer Frank Sinatra, born this day in 1915 in Hoboken, N.J.
New York City is wrapping up Santacon—“a non-denominational, non-commercial, non-political and non-sensical Santa Claus convention that occurs once a year for absolutely no reason” and that spurs thousands of revelers to descend on the streets dressed in bright red Santa outfits.
Whirling dervishes are flocking to Konya, Turkey for their annual spinning spree.
Today is the one and only day you should take anything personally. It’s Personal Passion Day!
You always have two choices: your commitment versus your fear.—crooner and Rat Pack member Sammy Davis, Jr. born this day in 1925 in New York City
There are more insects in a square mile of earth than there are people on the entire earth. Imagine if they got the vote!—actor, composer, and gravel-voiced musician Tom Waits, who was born on this day in 1950 in Pomona, California
My heart is like an apple tree/ Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit.—poet Christina Rossetti, born this day in London in 1830
Grab your Mr. Bubble, your rubber duckie, and your scuba fins, too! It’s Bathtub Party Day.
A very great vision is needed, and the one who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky.—Lakota Sioux leader Chief Crazy Horse, born on this day in 1849 in the Black Hills of South Dakota
On this day in 1967, South African surgeons performed the first human heart transplant.
Good teachers make the best of a pupil’s means; great teachers foresee a pupil’s ends.—opera singer Maria Callas, who was born on this day in 1923 in New York City and who can be heard singing composer Vincenzo Bellini’s area “Casta Diva” here
Knowing what must be done does away with fear.—Rosa Parks, the African-American seamstress from Montgomery, Alabama who refused to give up her bus seat for a white passenger on this day in 1955, sparking the civil rights movement in the U.S.
It’s the joint birthday of performance artists Marina Abramović (1946, Belgrade, Serbia) and Uwe “Ulay” Laysiepen (1943, Solingen , Germany) who spent 12 years living not as separate entities, but as a single being that formed one “two-headed body.” They dressed and behaved like twins, and staged performances during which they
* stood facing each other and screamed until their voices grew horse;
* sat opposite each other and took turns slapping each other’s faces repeatedly;
* stood nude in the door frame of a museum entrance, forcing patrons to squeeze past their naked bodies to gain entrance to the museum; and
* connected their mouths and took turns sipping exhaled breaths until they used up all the available oxygen and fell to the floor unconscious, having filled their lungs with carbon dioxide.
On this day in 1961, Enos the chimp was launched from Cape Canaveral aboard the Mercury-Atlas 5, which orbited Earth twice before returning. The first chimpanzee in space, Enos calmly shook the hand of the navy captain who fished him out of the ocean after landing.
This continent, an open palm spread frank before the sky.—author James Rufus Agee, born on this day in 1909 in Knoxville, Tennessee
Toss your wallet out the window. Then lock yourself in the house. It may be a few days after Thanksgiving and one of the busiest shopping days of the entire year. But you can fight the commercialist craze by participating in Buy Nothing Day.
I smashed five saloons with rocks before I ever took a hatchet.—take-no-prisoners temperance leader Carry Nation, born this day in 1846 in Garrard County, Kentucky
Flap your ears, whistle, and juggle six chipmunks! It’s Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day.
On this day in 2009, Tony Adams of Wellington, New Zealand set the record for the world’s fastest tap dancing, shuffling out 602 foot taps in just 60 seconds flat.
Assalamu alaikum! Bonjour! And namaskar! Hola like you mean it, because it’s World Hello Day.
It’s got to happen, happen sometime.—”Cabaret,” which opened on Broadway this day in 1966
Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.—U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address, delivered this day in 1863 on a Civil War battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
“Steamboat Willie,” starring Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse, premiered on this day in 1928 in New York City. It was the first successful sound-synchronized animated cartoon ever produced.
Appreciate the moment.—sculptor, philosopher and futurist Isamu Noguchi, who was born this day in 1904 in Los Angeles, California
Don’t scream. Don’t shout. Don’t furrow your face. Today is International Day for Tolerance.
I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.—artist Georgia O’Keeffe, born on this day in 1887 in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
Nothing exists in itself.—Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick,” published this day in 1851
Spread the hugs and the kisses! Spread the love! Today, the globe celebrates World Kindness Day.
The possibilities of one human soul will never be found in another—women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, born on this day in 1815 in Johnstown, New York
Holy Mary! And Maud and Margaret, too. On this day in 1992, the Church of England voted to ordain women as priests for the first time in the history of Christianity.
C is for Cookie! And also for “cheer,” because Sesame Street first aired on this day in 1969
There could be no clearer rebuke of tyranny; there could be no stronger affirmation of freedom.—U.S. President Barack Obama on the fall of the 28-year-old Berlin Wall, taken down on this day in 1989
Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.—Margaret Mitchell, author of the Pulitzer-winning novel “Gone With The Wind,” born this day in 1900 in Atlanta, Georgia
On this day in 1893, Colorado became the first U.S. state to grant women the right to vote.
Ladies, snag your man! It’s Sadie Hawkins Day, celebrated on the first Saturday of November.
Pass go, and collect $200! On this day in 1935, Parker Brothers launched the game Monopoly.
Hold the mayo! It’s Sandwich Day! On this day in 1718, John Montague, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, was born in London, England. The man after whom the Sandwich Islands were named, Montague was a lord of the admiralty—and a notorious rake. He invented the sandwich as a time-saving form of nourishment during a 24-hour-long gambling session.
On this day in 1920, Station KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania gave the world’s first commercial radio broadcast by sharing the results of the presidential election (Republican Warren G. Harding won). Within a year, there were nearly 400 radio stations in the U.S.
Happy Halloween! Best costume ever? That of the Oxford, Ohio man who was arrested for drunk driving in 2009 while dressed as a giant Breathalyzer.
The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet black bough.—poet Ezra Pound, born on this day in 1885 in Hailey, Idaho.
The Internet had its beginnings on this day in 1969, when the first host-to-host computer connection was made on an experimental, Stanford-UCLA network in Menlo Park, California.
The world’s first rapid-transit subway, the IRT, opened on this day in 1904 in New York City.
Without a song, each day would be a century.—gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, who was born on this day in 1911 in New Orleans, Louisiana and whose rendition of “How I Got Over” can be heard here.
The maintenance of peace depends not upon any document, but upon what is in the minds and hearts of men.—U.S. Secretary of James F. Byrnes, after signing the charter that created the United Nations on this day in 1945
On this day in 1947, a freak rainstorm startled hapless pedestrians in Biloxi, Mississippi when it deposited black bass and fresh minnows on the sidewalks of their town.
On this day in 1797, French balloonist Andre-Jacques Garnerin made the world’s first parachute descent, landing safely after jumping from a height of about 3,000 feet.
Celia Cruz, the “Queen of Salsa,” was born on this day in 1925 in Havana. Hear her sing her exuberant rendition of “Guantanamera”—Cuba’s unofficial national anthem—here.
On this day in 1967, tens of thousands of peace activists descended on Washington, D.C. to protest the Vietnam War. Their two-day march on the Pentagon seized nationwide media attention—and spurred a growing number of young men to become conscientious objectors.
You can fret that it’s Evaluate Your Life Day today. Or you can just eat dark chocolate instead.
Don’t wish for someone else to do later what you can do now.—jazz trumpeter and composer Wynton Learson Marsalis, born on this day in 1961 in New Orleans
I buy birds from the pet store, and I let them go.—musician Ziggy Marley, born on this day in 1968 in Trenchtown, Jamaica
One must have chaos within oneself to give birth to a dancing star.—philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, born on this day in 1844 in Röcken bei Lützen, Prussia
It is not power that corrupts, but fear.—Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize on this day in 1991
Satire is tragedy plus time.—cutting-edge comedian Lenny Bruce, born Leonard Alfred Schneider on this day in 1925 in Mineoloa, New York
Haul out your lederhosen! On this day in 1810, the German festival Oktoberfest was first held in Munich to celebrate the wedding of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese.
Welcome, Jake and Elwood! The sketch comedy show “Saturday Night Live” premiered on American television on this day in 1975.
Fancy. And fancier still! On this day in 1886, the tuxedo dinner jacket made its American debut at the autumn ball in Tuxedo Park, New York.
Viking explorer Leif Erikson landed in North America on this day in 1000 A.D.
On this day in 2009, Christy Harp of Circlecville, Ohio set the record for harvesting the world’s largest pumpkin. Fertilized by coffee grounds, compost and cow manure, the pumpkin weighed 1,725 pounds (0.86 of a ton) and grew at a rate of 33 pounds per day.
Nottingham, England kicks off its annual Goose Fair today. Held since 1284, it boasts 20,000 birds—and produces untold tons of goose poo!
On this day in 1889, the Moulin Rouge cabaret opened in Paris, France.
Between our quests/ we sequin vests/ and impersonate Clark Gable! On this day in 1969, the comedy series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” debuted on BBC television in England.
On this day in 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite.
Banana Man! And the Dancing Bear! Captain Kangaroo premiered on this day in 1955. Aired until 1985, it was the second longest-running children’s TV show (after “Sesame Street”).
“The Twilight Zone” premiered this day in 1959. Thanks the rabble-rousing right wingers in the Tea Party, it continues ad infinitum.
It’s National Sarcastics Awareness Month. Yeah. Sure. Right. Whatever.
On this day in 1846, ether was used as an anesthetic for the first time. No longer would doctors have to knock out their patients by beating them senseless with tongue depressors.
If I’m going to hell, I’m going there playing the piano.—musician and composer Jerry Lee Lewis, born on this day in 1935 in Ferriday, Louisiana
Moo! Madison, Wisconsin is welcoming 65,000 cow enthusiasts to its World Dairy Expo.
Choo-choo! On this day in England in 1825, the first locomotive hauled a passenger train.
On this day in 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female U.S. Supreme Court justice.
Bring on the broccoli! And bring on the cuddling! Today is Hug A Vegetarian Day.
I was born with music inside me. It was one of my parts. Like my ribs, kidneys, liver, and heart.—Ray Charles, born this day in 1930 in Albany, Georgia
It’s Hobbit Day. Shake off your shoes, slip off your socks, and flaunt those furry Frodo feet!
I’m a nut, but not just a nut.—comedian and “Lost In Translation” star Bill Murray, born on this day in 1950 in Wilmette, Illinois
It’s National Love Your Files Week. Watch out for paper cuts!
On this day in 1991, two hikers discovered a 5,300-year-old frozen mummy in the Austrian-Italian Alps. The man carried rough bow and arrows as well as a copper axe. His cloak was woven from grass, and his shoes were made from bearskin, deer hide and tree bark.
Elkton, Michigan welcomes a flood of Harley riders to its “Born to Be Wild” weekend.
I’d rather be a lightning rod than a seismograph.–”One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” author Ken Kesey, born on this day in 1935 in La Junta, Colorado
The environmental group Greenpeace was founded on this day in 1971 by Vancouver activists when they sailed the boat Phyllis Cormack to Amchitka, Alaska to protest nuclear testing.
A woman must not be awed by that which has been built up around her, but must revere the woman inside her who struggles for expression.—Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, born this day in 1879 in Corning, New York
Oompah loompahs and vermicious knids! “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” author Roald Dahl was born in Cardiff, Wales on this day in 1916.
Cheer up, sleepy Jean! On this day in 1966, “The Monkees” premiered on U.S. television.
On this day in 1962, the Beatles recorded their first single, “Love Me Do,” in London.
On this day in 1846, Elias Howe of Spencer, Massachusetts patented the sewing machine.
My love is growing stronger as you become a habit to me.—soul singer and songwriter Otis Redding, born on this day in 1941 in Dawson, Georgia
Beam me up, Scottie! The television program Star Trek premiered on this day in 1966.
If I hadn’t started painting, I would have raised chickens.—outsider artist “Grandma” Moses, who was born on this day in 1860 in Greenwich, New York and who took up painting at the advanced age of 67
Nome, Alaska is gearing up for its Great Bathtub Race, with four contestants pushing a tub on wheels while a fifth sits in the tub and keeps it filled with at least ten gallons of water.
Cinema does not come from abstract academic thinking; it comes from your knees and thighs.—German film director Werner Herzog, born in Munich on this day in 1942 and featured in the 1980 documentary Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe
Let there be light! On this day in 1882, four hundred bulbs brightened lower Manhattan as Thomas Edison hooked up the first underground cable carrying electrical power.
Red noses and rainbow pantaloons! The New York Clown Theatre Festival kicks off this week with a parade of clowns, jugglers, and stilt-walkers—followed by a massive public pie fight.
On this day in 2011, a rogue German cow named Yvonne was captured after a three-month hunt. On her way to the slaughterhouse, Yvonne broke free and fled to the forest, where she munched on leaves and meandered through trees, resisting attempts to lure her out that were made by hunters, an animal psychic, and an amorous bull. A farmer apprehended Yvonne when she wandered into his pasture to befriend his cows. He sent her to an animal sanctuary, where she and her family are living out rest of their days in peace. Read Yvonne’s full story here.
It’s National Honey Month—time to buzz about the 212,000 beekeepers in the United States and the 200 million pounds of golden honey that they produce each year.
Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.—educator Maria Montessori, born on this day in 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy
More than 60,000 bohemian revelers are descending on Black Rock City, Nevada for the 25th annual Burning Man Festival, where they will spend 10 days building a communal city, creating madcap art, and festooning their bodies with Muppet fur, glitter, and playa dust.
Don’t be “consistent,” but be simple true.—Oliver Wendell Holmes, American physician and poet, born on this day in 1809 in Cambridge, Massachusetts
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.—Martin Luther King, Jr., during a speech given on this day in 1963 to a crowd of 250,000 civil rights protesters at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.
Nickolas, a llama lost in Bend, Oregon, was recovered on this day in 2009 after an 18-day-search. Nickolas wandered away from his owners, trekked 25 miles through the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, then ventured back without explanation.
On this day in 1920, the 19th Amendment ratified, giving U.S. women the right to vote.
Bunol, Spain celebrates its annual Tomatina Festival, in which 30,000 revelers roll up their sleeves and pelt each other with 100 tons of tomatoes.
The International Astronomical Union declared on this day in 2006 that Pluto was no longer a planet, demoting it to the status of a “dwarf planet.” Across the galaxy, “Pluto is a Planet!” protests erupted like so many supernovas.
On this day in 1926, American Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim the 350-mile English Channel. Five men had done so before her. She beat their best time by two hours.
The cure for boredom is curiosity. But there is no cure for curiosity.—author, wit and New York literati/ Algonquin Round Table hostess Dorothy Parker, born on this day in 1893 in West Bend, New Jersey.
It’s the way you play that makes it. Play like you play. Play like you think. Whatever you get, that’s you, so that’s your story.—jazz pianist and big band leader Count Basie, born on this day in 1904 in Red Bank, New Jersey
Elementary, my dear! On this day in 1942, University of Chicago scientists isolated and weighed plutonium, the first man-made element. Hear Tom Lehrer sing his uproarious ode to plutonium—and the entire periodic table of the elements—here.
The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.—fashion designer Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, born this day in 1883 in Saumur, France
Music and mud! Tie dye and Thai sticks! On this day in 1969, the Woodstock Music Festival concluded with a raucous performance by bellbottom-and-bandana wearing guitarist Jimi Hendrix. Set on a 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York, the event featured 32 musical acts (including Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie and the Grateful Dead) and attracted 500,000 happy hippies.
I like restraint, if it doesn’t go too far.—actress, screenwriter and sex bomb Mae West, born on this day in 1893 in Bushwick, New York
Ooom! On this day in 1987, thousands of people worldwide began a two-day celebration of the “harmonic convergence,” believed to be the start of a new age during which humanity’s focus would shift from waging war to making peace.
Laze in your bathtub. Or chill out on the beach. It’s National Relaxation Day. Ahhhhhh!
Grab your bow and do-si-do! Galax, Virginia just wrapped up its Old Fiddler’s Convention.
It’s Blame Someone Else Day, and the rest of us think that this is all your fault.
Aloha! Grab your grass skirt and ukulule, because on this day in 1898, Hawaii formerly joined the United States.
Holy nun! It’s the feast day of St. Clare of Assisi. Born Chiara Favorone di Offreduccio in 1194 in Assisi, Italy, she was the first woman to create her own religious order—a group of “Poor Clares” who shunned material possessions and put their security in the hands of God.
Today, Memphis, Tennessee kicks off Elvis Week at Graceland. This six-day extravaganza features bowling games, Elvis impersonators and, of course, breakfast served at midnight.
It’s National Women’s Day in South Africa, where, on this day in 1956, more than 20,000 women marched on the capitol in Pretoria and petitioned against legislation that required African people to carry identification documents that curtailed Africans’ freedom of movement during apartheid.
On this day in 1876, U.S. inventor Thomas Edison received a patent for the mimeograph.
On this day in 1974, French acrobat Philippe Petit stole into New York City’s World Trade Center and, with the help of friends, strung a wire between its two towers. Wearing a lopsided grin, Petit walked the wire for 45 minutes, making eight crossings 1,350 feet above Manhattan.
On this day in 1884, the cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was laid n New York Harbor.
What a Wonderful World! Trumpeter Louis Armstrong was born this day in New Orleans. We don’t know if he actually arrived in 1900 or 1901. But we’ll always know him as Satchmo.
On this day in 1778, the world’s first opera house, La Scala, opened in Milan, Italy with a performance of Antonio Salieri’s “Europa riconosciuta.”
Grab your crystal ball! National Psychic Week starts today. But then again, you knew that.
Today kicks off Simplify Your Life Week—and marks the birthday of the world’s oldest-lived twins, Gin Kanie and Kin Narita, who were born on this day in 1892 in Nagoya, Japan, who both survived until the age of 107, and who attributed their longevity to the simplicity of their lives.
On this day in 1964, the American space probe Ranger 7 transmitted the first clear pictures of the moon’s surface—and determined that it was not made of green cheese after all.
On this day in 1619, the first voters’ assembly in the U.S. convened in Jamestown, Virginia.
Clara Bow, star of the silent screen, flapper extraordinaire, and the “it” girl of the roaring 1920s, was born on this day in 1905 in Brooklyn, New York.
On this day in 1998, my friend Kron Vollmer, a dancer and performance artist based in New York City, declared herself an independent country. She spent a decade trying to convince the United Nations to recognize “Mykronesia”—an “exotic, war-torn, one-woman nation.”
New year, new you! According to the Mayan calendar, the next year actually begins today.
Garlic allioli! And garlic ice cream! Today, Gilroy, California (a.k.a. “the garlic capital of the world”) is gearing up for its three-day, 34th annual Gilroy Garlic Festival.
Grab your hat and strap on your spurs! Today is the National Day of the Cowboy.
On this day in 1904, the ice cream cone was introduced by inventor Charles E. Menches during the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri.
Slip on your suspenders and your feathered fedora! Pulaski, Wisconsin is celebrating its 100th-plus anniversary with its three-day Pulaski Polka Days Festival.
If you want to sing out, sing out! If you want to be free, be free!—folk singer Cat Stevens, born on London on this day in 1948 and now called Yusaf Islam
American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon on this day 1969. After opening the hatch of his Eagle landing craft, he stepped his left foot in the Sea of Tranquility and declared: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
On this day in 1975, rapper and political activist M.I.A. was born in London. Named Mathangi Arulpragasam by her Sri Lankan Tamil parents, she sings her hit Paper Planes here.
Congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro of New York won the Democratic nomination for vice president at the party’s convention in San Francisco on this day in 1984.
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! On this day in 1955, Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California.
Dancer Ginger Rodgers was born on this day in 1911 in Independence, Missouri. She appeared in 73 films—often alongside dance partner Fred Astaire—and won the Academy Award for best actress for her performance in 1940’s Kitty Foyle.
Happiness is a matter of one’s most ordinary and everyday mode of consciousness being busy and lively and unconcerned with self.—Dame Iris Murdoch, writer and philosopher, born on this day in Dublin, Ireland in 1919
Symbolist painter (and “Kiss” creator) Gustav Klimt was born near Vienna on this day in 1862.
On this day in 1985, Live Aid, a concert to raise money for starving people in Africa, was held in London, Philadelphia, Moscow and Sydney. The largest performance ever staged, it included the musicians Bono, David Bowie, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez; was broadcast to 1.5 billion people in 60 countries; and reportedly raised $284 million in aid.
I learned about life/ from life itself/ love I learned/ in a single kiss—Pablo Neruda, poet, politician and Nobel Prize winner, born this day in 1904 in Parral, Chile.
Fireworks! From outer space! On this day in 1979, the abandoned United States space station Skylab plummeted back to Earth, burning up in the atmosphere and showering sparks of gorgeous debris over the Indian Ocean and Australia.
On this day in 1999, the U.S.women’s soccer team won the World Cup in Pasadena, California.
On this day in 2001, after 40 years of study, Stanford University scientists figured out why we’re here. Researchers had long known that the Big Bang—the explosion that gave rise to the universe—resulted in the creation of equal amounts of matter and anti-matter. They also knew that if matter and anti-matter continued to be present in equal amounts, the two would cancel each other out and there would no longer be a universe. On this day, Stanford scientists announced they’d discovered that matter and anti-matter decay at different rates. This explains the continued predominance of matter—and our continued existence.
On this day in 1998, a Russian wolfhound named Olive Oyl made the Guinness Book of World Records by skipping rope 63 times in one minute in Grays Lake, Illinois.
Running! With bulls! Today, Pamplona, Spain launches its San Fermin Festival, during which 15 bulls (six of them wild) will be set loose to gallop through the streets.
“I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.”—Frida Kahlo, expressionist artist, born on this day in 1907 in Coyoacán, Mexico
On this day in 1946, the bikini made its debut during an outdoor fashion show in Paris, France.
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!
Eighty-six people shaved their heads simultaneously at a soccer club in Cornwall, England on this day in 1999.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed sweeping civil rights legislation into law on this day in 1964.
Dairy Queen workers in Chicopee, Massachusetts whipped up a 5,316-pound ice cream-and-Oreo-cookie blizzard on this day in 1999.
Jazz singer and Grammy winner Lena Horne was born on this day in 1917 in New York City.
On this day in 1995, the American space shuttle Atlantis docked on the Russian space station Mir. Together, they formed the largest man-made satellite ever to orbit the earth.
We often marvel at the magnificence of a full moon. But it is impossible to fathom the magnitude of the universe that surrounds us.—Richard H. Baker
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. The must instead be felt with the heart. –deaf-blind author, political activist and lecturer Helen Keller, born this day in 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama
Loosen your girdle and let ‘er fly!—Olympic athlete “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias, who was born on this day in 1911 in Port Arthur, Texas, who excelled in golf, basketball and track, and who was considered one of history’s top athletes
Love. Love. Love! On this day in 1967, the Beatles performed a new song, “All You Need Is Love,” during a live international telecast.
On this day in 1947, pilot Kenneth Arnold spotted nine semicircular aircraft over the Cascade Mountains in Washington State—America’s first report of “flying saucers.”
On this day in 1972, U.S. President Nixon signed Title IX, ensuring equal funding for both male and female sports in schools.
On this day in 2001, biologists at Tufts University in Boston completed a study that found female fireflies are strongly attracted to males who give longer flashes.
Bask in the light! Sunlight, that is. It’s the longest day of the year: the summer solstice.
It’s not what they say about you. It’s what they whisper.—Errol Flynn, swashbuckling Australian actor, born this day in 1909 in Tasmania.
Bring on the marlins, mantas and musclemen! New York City is festooning itself with glitter, sequins and taffeta fins as its merry pranksters gear up for the 29th annual Mermaid Parade, held on the boardwalk and beach in Coney Island in Brooklyn.
On this day in 1948, the United Nations adopted its International Declaration of Human Rights.
On this day in 2008, hundreds of same-sex couples tied the knot in California on the first full day that gay marriage became legal by order of the state’s highest court.
Stately, plump Buck Mulligan! On this day, the world commemorates Bloomsday, the date that James Joyce’s epic novel Ulysses was set in in Dublin in 1904.
On this day in 1969, the variety show “Hee Haw” premiered on American television.
Beethoven had a great look.—Boy George, the lead singer of the Culture Club, born George Alan O’Dowd on this day in 1961 in London, England
Come away, o human child! To the waters, and the wild! With a faery, hand in hand! —William Butler Yeats, Irish poet, born on this day in 1865 in Dublin
Swiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing! The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum was dedicated on this day in 1939 in Cooperstown, New York.
Jeannette Rankin, the first woman to serve in the U.S. Congress, was born on this day in 1880 in Missoula, Montana. A dedicated pacifist as well as a devout feminist, she voted against the United States’ entrance into both World Wars I and II.
‘Twas not my lips that you kissed, but my soul.—“Wizard of Oz” star Judy Garland, born Frances Ethel Gumm on this day in 1922 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota
It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s de-lovely.—composer Cole Porter, the Tony winner who was born on this day in in Peru, Indiana and whose 1928 hit Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love) can be heard by clicking here
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on this day in 1953 that restaurants in the District of Columbia could no longer refuse to serve African-Americans.
On this day in 2003, New Hampshire Episcopalians elected the Rev. V. Gene Robinson to be the first openly gay bishop in American history.
Holy handlebars! Toss that razor away! Time to stop shaving in preparation for November’s World Beard and Moustache Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada.
On this day in 1932, an eagle swooped into Leka, Norway and flew off with four-year-old Svanhild Hansen. Villagers later found the girl resting on a high ledge, unharmed.
On this day in 1980, a blind, deaf man named Edwin Robinson was struck by lightning outside his house near Portland, Maine. When he regained consciousness 20 minutes later, both his sight and his hearing had been miraculously restored.
Cabaret legend Josephine Baker was born on this day in 1906 in St. Louis, Missouri. After emigrating to France, she became the most successful performer in the nightclubs of 1920s Paris. Topless, wearing ostrich plumes and covered in sequins, Baker sometimes danced alongside her diamond-collared pet cheetah. Watch her perform her 1927 hit “Tam Tam” here.
What a whirl! On this day in 1991, dancer Delia Gray made 166 consecutive spins at a ballet workshop in Harlow, England
It’s not true that I had nothing on. I had the radio on.—screen legend and sex symbol Marilyn Monroe, who was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on this day in 1926 and who can be heard singing “I Wanna Be Loved by You” from the film “Some Like It Hot” here
On this day in 1998, the citizens of Prague in the Czech Republic build the world’s largest Lego structure, using 1.5 million Lego bricks and constructing a monument that was 1,848 feet long.
On this day in 1989, student demonstrators at Tiananmen Square in Beijing erected a 33-foot statue they called the “Goddess of Democracy.”
On this day in 1953, New Zealand’s Edmund Hillary and Nepal’s Tenzing Norgay became the first humans to scale 29,028-foot Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain.
On this day in 1892, naturalist John Muir founded the Sierra Club in San Francisco. Today, the club is the largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States, with 1.3 million members working “to protect communities, wild places, and the planet itself.”
On this day in 1907, American biologist Rachel Carson was born. Her landmark 1962 book Silent Spring helped inspire the environmental movement and the work of the Silent Spring Institute.
You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you. —Isadora Duncan, dancer, choreographer, and founder of the modern dance movement, born this day in 1887 in San Francisco, California
Don’t play what’s there; play what’s not there.—trumpeter Miles Davis, who was born this day in 1926 in Alton, Illinois and who plays “Kind of Blue” here
On this day in 1626, Peter Minuit of the Dutch West India Company bought Manhattan from the Native Americans for $24 worth of cloth and brass buttons—which is less than a couple of fancy buttons will set you back to today at M&J Trimming in the city’s fabric district.
Holy Homo sapiens! It’s the birthday of botanist Carl Linnaeus, who was born on this day 1707 in Rashult, Sweden and who created the scientific system for defining genera and species.
I write music with an exclamation point!—composer Richard Wagner, who was born in Leipzig, Germany this day in 1813 and whose “The Ride of the Valkyries” is here
Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross on this day in 1881. Today, it responds to 67,000 disasters and trains 12 million people in emergency medical skills each year.
What is art? It is nature concentrated.—novelist and short-story writer Honore de Balzac, born on this day in 1799 in Tours, France
On this day in 1884, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus gave its first show.
Forty! And fierce! Forty-year-old Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks became the oldest pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game on this day in 2004.