Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Tyler narrowly escapes death on the USS Princeton » 1844
The USS Princeton disaster of 1844 occurred on February 28, 1844, aboard the newly built USS Princeton when one of the ship's long guns, the "Peacemaker", then the world's longest naval gun, exploded during a display of the ship. Twenty people were injured and six people died. President John Tyler survived the disaster because he was below decks.
The six people who were killed were:
- Armistead, the slave and personal valet of President John Tyler
- David Gardiner, father of Julia Gardiner, President Tyler's fiancée
- Thomas Walker Gilmer, Secretary of the Navy
- Beverly Kennon, the Navy's chief of construction
- Virgil Maxcy, American chargé d'affaires to Belgium
- Abel P. Upshur, Secretary of State
Ben Hecht is born » 1894
Hecht c. 1945
|Born||February 28, 1894|
New York City, New York, United States
|Died||April 18, 1964 (aged 70)|
New York City, New York, United States
|Occupation||Screenwriter, novelist, playwright, journalist|
|Style||Comedy, newspapers, gangster|
Ben Hecht // (February 28, 1894 – April 18, 1964) was an American screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, journalist and novelist. A journalist in his youth, he went on to write thirty-five books and some of the most entertaining screenplays and plays in America. He received screen credits, alone or in collaboration, for the stories or screenplays of some seventy films.
At the age of 16, Hecht ran away to Chicago, where in his own words he "haunted streets, whorehouses, police stations, courtrooms, theater stages, jails, saloons, slums, madhouses, fires, murders, riots, banquet halls, and bookshops". In the 1910s and early 1920s, Hecht became a noted journalist, foreign correspondent, and literary figure. In the 1920s, his co-authored, reporter-themed play, The Front Page, became a Broadway hit.
The Dictionary of Literary Biography - American Screenwriters calls him "one of the most successful screenwriters in the history of motion pictures." Hecht received the first Academy Award for Original Screenplay, for Underworld (1927). Many of the screenplays he worked on are now considered classics. He also provided story ideas for such films as Stagecoach (1939). Film historian Richard Corliss called him "the Hollywood screenwriter", someone who "personified Hollywood itself." In 1940, he wrote, produced, and directed, Angels Over Broadway, which was nominated for Best Screenplay. In total, six of his movie screenplays were nominated for Academy Awards, with two winning.
He became an active Zionist shortly before the Holocaust began in Germany, and wrote articles and plays about the plight of European Jews, such as, We Will Never Die in 1943 and A Flag is Born in 1946. Of his seventy to ninety screenplays, he wrote many anonymously to avoid the British boycott of his work in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The boycott was a response to Hecht's active support of paramilitary action against British forces in Palestine and sabotaging British property there (see below), during which time a supply ship to Palestine was named the S. S. Ben Hecht.
According to his autobiography, he never spent more than eight weeks on a script. In 1983, 19 years after his death, Ben Hecht was posthumously inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
John Wesley charters first Methodist Church in U.S. » 1784 American Revolution
Monday, February 27, 2017
Patriots score early victory at Moores Creek, North » 1776 American Revolution
A carousel (American English: from French carrousel and Italian carosello), roundabout (British English), or merry-go-round, is an amusement ride consisting of a rotating circular platform with seats for riders. The "seats" are traditionally in the…
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Julia Child is a well-loved American icon best known for cooking French cuisine. She was a pioneer during the early stages of cooking shows and charmed audiences…
When you look at the parades and parties of Mardi Gras, it’s hard to believe that it started with long hard winters and acts of charity.
Braille was invented by a nineteenth century man named Louis Braille, who was completely blind. Braille’s story starts when he was three years old. He was playing in his father’s shop in Coupvray, France, and somehow managed to injure his eye. Though he was offered the best medical attention available at the time, it wasn’t enough—an infection soon developed and spread to his other eye, rendering him blind in both eyes. While a tragedy for him, had this accident not happened, we wouldn’t have braille today. There was a system of reading in place for the blind at the time, which consisted of tracing a finger along raised letters. However, this system meant that reading was painfully slow...(more)
Today I fount out that all lifesavers spark when chewed, not just the Wintergreen Lifesavers (also known as Wint-O-Green). The flash you see when these hard sugar candies are crunched is caused by triboluminescence, which is similar to the electrical charge build-up that produces lightning, except on a much smaller scale here. With most hard sugar candies, this flash tends to be mostly outside of the human visual spectrum; typically giving off most of the flash in the ultra-violet spectrum. However, many other kinds of hard sugar candies, such as normal fruit lifesavers will give off a very dim flash in the visual spectrum if crunched and a nice bright flash in the ultra-violet spectrum. This phenomenon has been noticed...(more)
In the autumn of 1901, Booker T. Washington, the great educator, author, and orator, was on a speaking tour. In Mississippi, he received a telegram from President Theodore Roosevelt. (President William McKinley had been assassinated less than two months before, an event which led to Roosevelt being sworn in as President.) The telegram asked Washington to come to the capitol for a conference. When Washington arrived on the afternoon of October 16, 1901, he received an invitation to dine with the President at 8:00p that evening. According to Roosevelt biographer...(more)
Having served variously as a mark of virility, servility and gentility, circumcision has throughout the centuries worn many symbolic hats. While anthropologists disagree as to the definitive origins of circumcision, the earliest hard evidence comes from the first ancient Egyptian mummies of considerable vintage, around 2300 BC. That being said, Egyptian paintings date circumcision to centuries prior, depicting ritual circumcision as prerequisite to entering the priesthood. Contention remains as to whether circumcision was a sign of pride rather than prejudice among the ancient Egyptian world. While popular among the elite, forced circumcision was inflicted on...(more)
Most couch-potatoes have probably at some point in their lives said, “I can’t run a mile without feeling like I’m going to die!” They might also sarcastically proclaim they must be allergic to exercise. And, amazingly enough, it turns out there is a rare disorder in which someone can be deathly allergic to exercise, a condition known as Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis (EIA). Allergies, in general, come with a wide range of symptoms, and can range from mild to deadly. Fortunately for most, a deadly allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, is rare. It’s generally accepted..(more)