358th day of 2010 - 7 remaining
Friday, December 24, 2010

The moon seemed a little closer to Earth this day ... and the world got a little smaller. It was 1968 and three astronauts, James A. Lovell, William Anders and Frank Borman, had reached the moon. It had been just three days earlier that Borman, Captain of Apollo 8, and his team left Cape Kennedy.

Before their return to Earth, the three astronauts would orbit the moon ten times, paving the way for the first Earthling to walk on the lunar surface some seven months down the road.

People all around the globe were able to see (via direct TV transmission) the most important parts of the Apollo 8 mission. This night proved to be one of the most emotional moments of the space flight. It was Christmas Eve, and Lovell, Anders and Borman, 250,000 miles from home, were reading verses from their bible and transmitting a message to all mankind calling for “peace on earth.”

To you, whom we can now communicate with because the Internet has made this earth a much smaller place, whatever your faith or nationality, we wish you... Peace.

Events December 24

1818 - Franz Gruber of Oberndorf, Germany composed the music for Silent Night to words written by Josef Mohr. The traditional song was sung for the first time during Midnight Mass this night.

1867 - “Oh by gosh by golly!” Is it that time already? It was Christmas Eve that R.H. Macy’s Department Store in New York City remained open until midnight to catch last-minute shoppers. The store took in a record $6,000, giving itself a very Merry Christmas.

1871 - Opera-goers in Cairo, Egypt were treated to Verdi’s Aida in its world premiere. The composer was commissioned to write the opera for festivities celebrating the opening of the Suez Canal.

1889 - Daniel Stover and William Hance, of Freeport, Illinois, were up late putting together bicycles for their tiny tots when, lo and behold, they patented the back pedal brake! It would later be known as the safety brake and became a standard feature on most brands of bikes. Today, we have 18 gears on a bike (more than on a big rig truck!). We need two hands to use the brakes instead of just pedaling backwards with our feet. Ah, those were the days.

1893 - Henry Ford completed construction of his first useful gasoline engine. It would not be long before old Henry changed the world with his Model T Ford cars.

1906 - Professor Reginald A. Fessenden sent his first radio broadcast -- from Brant Rock, MA. The program included a little verse, some violin and a speech.

1924 - Notre Dame football coach (1918-1930) Knute Rockne said he opposed elimination of the forward pass since it has helped “to curb the brutality of football.” Knute knew a little something about football. His record for highest winning percentage in Division I-A football (.881) still stands. Oh, they decided not to eliminate the forward pass (just in case you hadn’t noticed).

1928 - The first broadcast of The Voice of Firestone was heard. The program aired each Monday evening at 8:00. The Voice of Firestone became a hallmark in radio broadcasting. It kept its same night, time (in 1931 the start time changed to 8:30) and sponsor for its entire run. Beginning on September 5, 1949, the program of classical and semiclassical music was also seen on television.

1936 - The first radioactive medicine (radioactive isotope of phosphate) was administered -- in Berkeley, CA.

1943 - U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed General Dwight D. Eisenhower Supreme Commander of Allied Forces. The appointment was part of Operation Overlord, the plan to invade Europe in World War II.

1948 - The first completely solar-heated house was occupied by the first solar-heated people -- in Dover, MA. The system was developed by Dr. Maria Telkes of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

1950 - Coach Paul Brown won his fifth straight pro-football championship as Lou Groza kicked a field goal in the final 20 seconds. The Cleveland Browns edged the Los Angeles Rams, 30-28.

1951 - NBC-TV presented the first opera written for television. Amal and the Night Visitors became a Christmas classic.

1953 - Dragnet, starring Jack Webb as Detective Joe Friday, became the first network program to be sponsored. Dragnet was on NBC-TV, for you who want the facts, just the facts. “Who was the sponsor, you ask?” Fatima cigarettes, that’s who.

1955 - The lovely Lennon Sisters debuted as featured vocalists on The Lawrence Welk Show on ABC-TV. They became regulars with Welk within a month and stayed on the show until 1968.

1963 - New York’s Idlewild Airport was renamed JFK Airport in honor of the late U.S. president John F. Kennedy.

1966 - A military-chartered CL-44 plane crashed into a village in Binh Thai, South Vietnam. 129 people were killed.

1970 - Walt Disney’s The Aristocats was released. The movie featured the voices of Phil Harris, Eva Gabor, Sterling Holloway, Scatman Crothers, Paul Winchell and many more.

1976 - Takeo Fukuda became prime minister of Japan. He was the political boss until Dec 1978.

1977 - The Bee Gees spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve at the top of the music charts. How Deep is Your Love became #1 this day and stayed that way for three weeks.

1981 - Reggie Jackson picked Christmas Eve to announce that he would join Gene Autry’s California Angels for the 1982 season.

1985 - A graying beard, olive-green uniform and Cuban cigar -- once trademarks of Fidel Castro -- were no more. The Cuban presidente announced that he was a non-smoker.

1988 - Giving You the Best that I’ve Got, by Anita Baker, was #1 on U.S. album charts for four weeks. The other albums in the top five that week: Rattle and Hum by U2; The soundtrack from Cocktail; Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’ Roses; and Bon Jovi’s New Jersey.

1989 - Ousted Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega, who had succeeded in eluding U.S. forces, took refuge at the Vatican’s diplomatic mission in Panama City. It took weeks of negotiation and loud rock music played incessantly outside the embassy by American forces before Noriega agreed to give himself up.

1992 - U.S. President George Bush (I) pardoned former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and five others involved in the Iran-Contra scandal.

1993 - Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, who applied Christianity to everyday problems and had a keen understanding of human psychology, died at age 95. Peale’s book, The Power of Positive Thinking, has sold many millions of copies worldwide and has been translated into more than 40 languages.

1994 - Pearl Jam’s album Vitalogy hit #1 for one week in the U.S. The other top-five albums of the week were: Miracles: The Holiday Album, by Kenny G; Live at the BBC, by The Beatles; Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas; and II, by Boyz II Men.

1995 - A holiday meal and Christmas Eve religious services were planned for the U.S. troops in Bosnia. President Bill Clinton, wishing the troops well in a videotaped message from the White House, said, “You will make the difference between horror and hope, between a war that resumes and a peace that takes hold.”

1997 - The world’s first civilian spy satellite, EarlyBird I, was launched from Russia. It was built by EarthWatch Inc. of Longmont, CO.

1998 - A bus carrying New Yorkers to Atlantic City casinos skidded and flipped on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey. Eight people were killed and fifteen injured.

2000 - Nick Massi, one of the original members of The Four Seasons music group, died. He was 73 years old.

2001 - Government officials announced that U.S. President George Bush (II) had created a formal line of succession at several key federal agencies in case a Cabinet secretary were to be killed or incapacitated.

2002 - 27-year-old Laci Peterson disappeared from her Modesto, CA neighborhood. She was 8-months pregnant. A reward for her return soon reached $500,000. On Jan 24, 2003 Amber Frey stepped forward and admitted to an affair with Scott Peterson, the husband of Laci. Laci's body was found April 14 near the San Francisco Bay Berkeley Marina, where Scott had gone fishing on Dec 24. (On Nov. 13, 2004, Scott Peterson was convicted of murdering Lacy and her unborn child.)

2003 - A U.S. federal appeals court blocked the George Bush (II) administration from implementing a major environmental rule change that would have allowed power plants to upgrade their facilities without installing anti-pollution equipment.

2004 - The world’s biggest earthquake in four years, measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale, struck off the coast of Australia’s southern island state of Tasmania. (No damage or injuries were reported.)

2005 - The Japanese government said it has decided to move forward with a ballistic missile defense program with the United States.

2006 - A study was published saying traces of cocaine could be found on 94% of banknotes in Spain, a country that has one of the world’s highest rates of drug users.

2007 - Merrill Lynch agreed to sell $5 billion of new stock to Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign investment company. Merrill Lynch also announced the write down of $8 billion in mortgage investments for the 4th quarter of 2007.

2008 - U.K. stores increased discounts, hoping to lure last-minute shoppers on Christmas Eve.

2008 - Nobel Prize-winning British playwright Harold Pinter died at 78 years of age. Pinter was one of theatre’s biggest names for nearly half a century. His 32 plays include The Birthday Party, The Dumb Waiter and The Homecoming. His first play, The Room, appeared in 1957 and his breakthrough came with The Caretaker in 1960.

2009 - A woman jumped a barrier at the Vatican and rushed toward Pope Benedict XVI, managing to knock him down. The attacker was quickly pulled away by security. The pope was unhurt but retired Vatican diplomat, French Cardinal Roger Etchegaray (87), suffered a fractured during the commotion.

2010 - Dahmer vs. Gacy opened in U.S. movie theatres. The action, horror, comedy stars Ford Austin, Art LaFleur, Randal Malone, Ethan Phillips and Harland Williams.

Birthdays December 24

1745 - Benjamin Rush
‘father of psychiatry’: physician: paper: Inquiry: the 1st American to recognize alcoholism as a disease; signer of America’s Declaration of Independence; died Apr 19, 1813

1809 - Kit (Christopher) Carson
frontiersman: subject of adventure novels; fur trapper, guide, American Indian agent and brevet Union general; died May 23, 1868

1818 - James Joule
physicist: discovered the SI Unit of work or energy: Joule’s Law, also called the newton-meter; died Oct 11, 1889

1822 - Matthew Arnold
poet, essayist: Culture and Anarchy; died Apr 4, 1888

1894 - Harry Warren (Salvatore Guaragna)
composer: Song Writer’s Hall of Famer: Best Song Oscars: Lullaby of Broadway [1935], You’ll Never Know [1943], On the Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe [w/Johnny Mercer-1946]; You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby, That’s Amore; died Sep 22, 1981

1905 - Howard Hughes
industrialist: Hughes Aircraft; pilot [the ‘Spruce Goose’]; Hollywood producer: Jean Harlow’s career; The Front Page, Scarface, The Outlaw; eccentric recluse: long fingernails; died Apr 5, 1976

1906 - Franz Waxman
film composer: Bride of Frankenstein, Sorry, Wrong Number, Prince Valiant, Miracle in the Rain, Taras Bulba, Cimarron, The Nun’s Story; died Feb 24, 1967

1907 - I.F. (Isidor Feinstein) Stone
journalist: I.F. Stone’s Weekly, I.F. Stone’s Bi-Weekly; died July 17, 1989

1914 - Ralph Marterie
‘Caruso of the trumpet’: musician, bandleader: Pretend, Caravan, Skokiaan; died Oct 10, 1978

1915 - Helen Brown
radio actress: Big Town; actress: A Friend to Die For, What’s Love Got to Do with It, The Boys Next Door, The Missouri Traveler, Teen-Age Crime Wave, Shane; died Sep 9, 1994

1920 - DAVE Bartholomew
Rock & Roll/Songwriters Hall of Famer: musician: trumpet, band leader, composer, arranger; discovered and produced rock legend Fats Domino

1922 - Ava Gardner
actress: The Barefoot Contessa, Earthquake, The Long Hot Summer, The Night of the Iguana; once married to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw, Frank Sinatra; died Jan 25, 1990

1923 - David F. Friedman
filmmaker/producer: Goldilocks and the Three Bares, The Adult Version of Jekyll and Hide, The Headmistress, Blood Feast, Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS, Charlie and Sadie, An American Werewolf in Paris, Redneck Revenge, Matinee Idol, House of a Thousand Dreams, She Freak, Blood Feast

1924 - Carol Haney
dancer: member of Jack Cole dance company, worked with Bob Fosse; in film: Pajama Game; died May 10, 1964

1927 - Mary Higgins Clark
novelist, author: All Through the Night, Before I Say Goodbye, Daddy’s Little Girl, On the Street Where You Live, We’ll Meet Again

1930 - Robert Joffrey (Khan)
choreographer: The Joffrey Ballet; died Mar 25, 1988

1931 - Jill Bennett
actress: For Your Eyes Only, The Old Curiosity Shop, The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Sheltering Sky; died Oct 4, 1990

1931 - Ray Bryant
pianist, composer: Slow Freight, Little Susie, Cubano Chant, The Madison Time, Sack of Woe, After Hours

1944 - Mike Curb
music executive: producer: Oscar-winner: You Light Up My Life [1977]; Curb Records; The Mike Curb Congregation: United We Stand, Sweet Gingerbread Man

1945 - Cas Banaszek
football: San Francisco 49ers OT

1945 - (Ian) Lemmy Kilmister
musician: bass, singer: group: Motorhead

1945 - Nicholas Meyer
playwright, director: Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country, Company Business, Time After Time; playwright: Sommersby, Start Trek 4: The Voyage Home, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, Invasion of the Bee Girls; director: Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, The Deceivers, Volunteers, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, The Day After

1946 - Jan Akkerman
musician: guitar, lute: bands: Friendship Sextet, Johnny and the Cellar Rockers, Brainbox, Focus, Eli

1955 - Clarence Gilyard Jr.
actor: Walker, Texas Ranger, CHiPs, Top Gun, The Karate Kid, Part II, Die Hard, Big One: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake, Left Behind: The Movie

1956 - Stephanie Hodge
comedienne, actress: Combustion, Evolution, Almost an Angel, Big Top Pee-wee

1957 - Ian Burden
musician: bass: group: Human League: Don’t You Want Me, [Keep Feeling] Fascination, Mirror Man, The Lebanon, Life on Your Own, Louise

1961 - Wade Williams
actor: Flicka, The Naughty Lady, I Witness, Ken Park, Bark!, Ali, Terror Tract, Prison Break

1966 - Diedrich Bader
actor: The Drew Carey Show, The Beverly Hillbillies [1993], Hercules, Hollywood Squares, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

1971 - Ricky Martin
Latin music star, singer: group: Menudo; solo: LPs: Ricky Martin, Me Amaras, A Medio Vivir; actor: General Hospital, Barefoot in Paradise, Mas que Alcanzar una Estrella; Broadway actor: Les Miserables

1974 - Kevin Millwood
baseball [pitcher]: Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers

1974 - Ryan Seacrest
TV host: American Idol: The Search for a Superstar, On-Air with Ryan Seacrest, Ultimate Revenge, NBC Saturday Night Movie, The Click, The New Edge

1974 - Jamey Wright
baseball [pitcher]: Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals

Chart Toppers December 24

1950Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
Nevertheless - Jack Denny
If You’ve Got the Money Honey I’ve Got the Time - Lefty Frizzell

1959Heartaches by the Number - Guy Mitchell
Why - Frankie Avalon
The Big Hurt - Miss Toni Fisher
El Paso - Marty Robbins

1968I Heard It Through the Grapevine - Marvin Gaye
Abraham, Martin and John - Dion
Stormy - Classics IV featuring Dennis Yost
Wichita Lineman - Glen Campbell

1977How Deep is Your Love - Bee Gees
Blue Bayou - Linda Ronstadt
(Every Time I Turn Around) Back in Love Again - L.T.D.
Here You Come Again - Dolly Parton

1986Walk Like an Egyptian - Bangles
Everybody Have Fun Tonight - Wang Chung
Notorious - Duran Duran
Too Much is Not Enough - The Bellamy Brothers

1995One Sweet Day - Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men
Exhale (Shoop Shoop) - Whitney Houston
Hey Lover - LL Cool J
That’s as Close as I’ll Get to Loving You - Aaron Tippin

2004Over And Over - Nelly featuring Tim McGraw
I Don’t Want to Be - Gavin DeGraw
My Boo - Usher & Alicia Keys
Back When - Tim McGraw

Chart Topper December 24th, 2004...Over And Over - Nelly featuring Tim McGraw


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