Archive for ‘History’

February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict stuns the world, becomes first since 1415 to resign the Papacy

Pope Benedict  XVI     Photo:

Pope Benedict XVI shocked the Catholic Church and the rest of the world Monday,  becoming the first Pontiff since the Middle Ages to resign the office.

Benedict, 85  made the announcement during a Latin Mass in Vatican City, saying his deteriorating health and waning energy made him unable to effectively continue leading the world’s nearly 2 billion Catholics.  Benedict’s resignation will take effect on Feb 28 and a new Pope is expected to be chosen before Easter.

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July 16, 2012

Jon Lord, ‘Deep Purple’ Keyboardist dies

The hard rocker passed away in London today at the age of 71, following  a long bought with pancreatic cancer.


July 14, 2012

One Hundred years of Woody

It was one hundred years ago today Woodrow Wilson Guthrie, better known to the world and those who met him as ‘Woody’ Guthrie, was born in Okemah, Oklahoma a place marked by rural poverty. Eventually Woody’s search for work in the years of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl would take him across much of America, where with his guitar he documented  the beauty of the lands, the injustices of the powerful,  the events of his  time, and the characters he met.

During his life Guthrie wasn’t a celebrity in the modern sense. Nor during his life did he have many if any best selling albums.  He wasn’t donning the covers of magazines and sure as hell would never be handled by a publicist,  but his original music well simple, would become the call of  many. It would touch the pioneer,  the dispossessed wanderer, the migrant farmers, the labor union member, the  coal minor, and all those  suffocated by hardship or the powerful. Over time he would not become merely a king among the pantheon of other singers and songwriters, many of whom he inspired (could you really picture Bob Dylan without Woody Guthrie), or even as an artist who heralded a message of  social justice. Rather, Woody would become an icon a force in and of himself. One whose words and imagery reminded those who he sat and sang with that in a difficult world they were not alone, and offered a glimpse to all of us into their lives.

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June 5, 2012

This Date in History- RFK Assasinated

He was an isle of hope for many Americans in a world of increasing turbulence, and on this day in 1968 then Senator and Democratic Presidential nominee Robert F Kennedy was assassinated after winning the  California State Democratic primary.  Hours after being hit by two shots, Kennedy died at the age of 42.

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June 1, 2012

Whatever Happened to the ‘napalm girl’ ?

Phan Thi Kim Phuc (center) fleeing as napalm burns her back and arm (UT/ Associated Press 1972 ).

On June 8, 1972, Associated Press photographer  Huynh Cong “Nick” Ut  took this  iconic  Pulitzer prize-winning photograph that has become one of the most powerful images of the Vietnam War.

The most searing element of  this  image was Phan Thi Kim Phuc, a then nine-year-old Vietnamese girl running from the plumes of smoke  during an air attack on the South Eastern Vietnamese Trang Bang District by U.S-allied South Vietnamese  forces.  The napalm dropped in that assault burned through her clothes and ate away at the flesh on the arms and the back of nine-year old Kim Phuc as she and others fled.

This black and white image is a slice of time frozen in the  ice of history that will never fully melt, only be lost among a mosaic of others . But as explained by this Associated Press piece,  time or life  did not stop for Kim or the man behind the camera who also saved her life. 

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October 2, 2011

James Dean’s prescient words and a sad anniversary

I’ve been a little busy the last couple of days, so Friday I didn’t have time to mention that it was fifty-six years ago Friday that screen legend James Dean died at the age of 24 in a car crash in California.

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September 6, 2011

Daily Hampshire Gazette first published on this date in 1786

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Those who don’t reside in Western Massachusetts or aren’t steeped in the history of the American media, likely are unaware that today marks a seminal day in the life of both. It was on September 6, 1786 in a small printing office lodged in Northampton Massachusetts, where a young printer by the name of William Butler in a desire to keep the populace knowledgeable and ensure the continuation of spirited debate on issues of the age, printed the very first issue of what would become the  Hampshire Gazette.

Three years had passed since the signing of the ‘ Treaty of Paris’ which ended the American Revolution and secured her independence from the British Empire. Butler worried that with the objectives of victory and independence reached, his fellow countrymen (and women) would lose interest in the issues and challenges facing the young nation’s future. In response to those fears, he with the support of others began the printing and publication of what would become one of America’s oldest newspapers.

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