A Brief History On January 4, 1903, Thomas Edison’s company filmed the execution of Topsy the Elephant, the largest purported casualty in the “War of the Currents”!  The big argument over whether to use alternating current as championed by Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse or direct current as championed by Thomas Edison had already been decided in favor of alternating current  a decade before Topsy became an afterthought and legend of the Current Wars. Digging Deeper Digging deeper, we find Edison, the most prolific inventor of all time (electric light, phonograph, motion pictures, etc.) had been engaged in a bitter struggle with rival…

A Brief History On January 3, 1944, the top American air combat ace, Pappy Boyington, was shot down. Digging Deeper Digging deeper, we find Major Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, later made famous for his exploits leading “The Black Sheep” squadron flying his F4U Corsair against the Japanese in the Pacific theater in World War II. Commanding fighter squadron VMF 214, Pappy and his “Black Sheep” were known for their penchant for getting rowdy and partying with a purpose, hence their appellation.  The Corsair fighter plane they flew was vastly superior in many ways to their main opponent, the A6M Zero flown by…

A Brief History On January 2, 1979, the murder trial of punk rock legend Sid Vicious began. Digging Deeper Digging deeper, we find that the trial never came to a conclusion.  It was not because of a mistrial or legal wrangling, but because Vicious killed himself with a heroin overdose before the trial ended! Sid Vicious, born John Simon Ritchie, was a famous punk rock star with the group, Sex Pistols.  It is hard to say if Vicious committed suicide or died of an accidental overdose, but in light of previous suicide attempts and claiming that he and his girlfriend…

A Brief History On January 1, 1773, the all familiar hymn “Amazing Grace” was performed for the first time at a church service in England. Digging Deeper Digging deeper, we find what is generally considered to be the most familiar, best loved, all around greatest hymn based on music of unknown origin. The words, however, came from John Newton, a cleric who wrote them years before with the inspiration coming from his time on a slave ship threatened by fierce weather.  The prospect of imminent death elicited the beautiful words we know today, and in them he claims to have…

A Brief History January 1st is now celebrated as the beginning of the new year each year in virtually all of the western civilizations of the world today. Digging Deeper Digging deeper, we find that this particular day was not always when people celebrated the new year. Various European countries started using January 1st as New Year’s Day in a hap-hazard manner between the 15th and the 18th centuries!  Even the date marking the new year varied from country to country, sometimes with a date like March 25th considered as starting a new year, probably because of the connection to…

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