News, Events, Birthdays, History - January 22 - January 28
John Hancock - January 23, 1737
John Hancock was a merchant, statesman, and prominent Patriot of the American Revolution. He served as president of the Second Continental Congress and was the first governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is remembered for his large and stylish signature on the United States Declaration of Independence, so much so that "John Hancock" became, in the United States, a synonym for "signature".
Although not fully confirmed by historical accounts, it is claimed that Hancock signed his name in this manner so that King George of England could read it clearly without his glasses on...in other words, a kind of "Take That!" attitude.
We have all heard of Paul Revere's famous ride during which he warned Boston-area residents of a British attempt to seize ammunition. Perhaps lesser known is that Revere's mission included bringing a warning to John Hancock, who was spending the night in Lexington. There was concern that the British aim was to capture Hancock and other revolutionary leaders.
John Belushi - January 24, 1949
Belushi was a comedian, actor, and musician notable for his work on Saturday Night Live, National Lampoon's Animal House, and The Blues Brothers. O Belushi's 30th birthday (in 1979), he had the number one film in the U.S. (Animal House), the number one album in the U.S. (The Blues Brothers: Briefcase Full of Blues) and Saturday Night Live was the highest-rated late night television program. On March 5, 1982, Belushi died of a drug overdose in Los Angeles, California.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - January 27, 1756
Mozart is one of the most well-known and most gifted composers of all time. Beginning at only five years of age, he composed over 600 works during the course of his short life, and had a direct influence on several other great composers, including Ludwig von Beethoven and Joseph Haydn. Beethoven wrote his own early compositions in the shadow of Mozart, and Hadyn wrote of Mozart that "posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years". Some would claim that posterity has not seen such a talent since.
January 25, 1961 - First Televised Presidential News Conference
President John F. Kennedy's first press conference - covered by all three networks -was the first live telecast of a presidential news conference. Broadcast on January 25, 1961, the conference was held in the auditorium of the State Department building in Washington, D.C.. A total of 31 questions were asked over a 38-minute period. And for those of you younger than 30 or 40....yes, there used to be only three networks - ABC, NBC, and CBS!
January 25, 1924 - First Winter Olympics
The Winter Olympics first took place in 1924, in Chamonix, France. A total of 16 nations sent athletes, totaling 258 (247 men and 11 women). The Games were actually called "The International Winter Sports Week" and went on for 11 days, from January 25 to February 5. A total of 16 events were scheduled, including bobsled racing, figure skating, hockey, cross-country skiing, and curling.
January 25, 1984 - Apple Macintosh debuts
The first Macintosh was introduced on January 24, 1984; it was the first commercially successful personal computer to feature a mouse and a graphical user interface rather than a command-line interface. The Macintosh had a retail price of $2495 (in today's dollars, that would be about $5000), and came bundled with two applications designed to show off its interface: MacWrite and MacPaint.
January 26, 1784 - Franklin Prefers Turkey
Benjamin Franklin was one of our country's most prominent founding fathers, and is also remembered for his prolific writings, including a wealth of wise statements and witty advice published in the "Poor Richard's Almanac". But no one can be on target 100% of the time, and Ben seems to have clearly been having an off day when he wrote this in a letter to his daughter dated January 26, 1784:
For my own part, I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character; he does not get his living honestly. Too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labor of the fishing-hawk; and when that diligent bird has at length take a fish...the bald eagle pursues him and takes it from him. In truth, the turkey is, in comparison, a much more respectable bird..."
Ben, Ben, Ben.... a turkey??