December 10 – Mississippi's Statehood Day

Posted on December 10, 2016

Mississippi is known as
the Magnolia State.
On this date in 1817, Mississippi became the 20th state in the United States, and school kids all across America had a spelling challenge – lotsa S's and P's and I's!

Of course, the name Mississippi applies to more than just a state – it is the name of the main river in North America, and the mighty Mississippi River has been so important in the history and economics of the U.S., kids were probably already very familiar with it.

Mississippi ranks highest of all the states in percentage of African Americans (almost 40% of all MS residents are black) and in religiosity (almost 60% of all MS residents identify as “very religious”). However, the state is ranked last in terms of health care and income per person.

There are many lovely places to visit in Mississippi – although some of them remind us of a past marred by slavery and war!

Windsor Ruins

Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge

Tishomingo State Park

Clark Creek State Park

Biloxy, the birthplace of Mardi Gras

Also on this date:

Settlers' Day in Namibia


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December 9 – Musical Comings and Goings and an Unexpected New Offering!

Posted on December 9, 2016

Meet the Supremes!

Say goodbye to the Jackson Five!

A new Beatles song – after a quarter century of nada, nil, zip, zilch???

Everyday, history is being made all over the world. Here in Every Day Is Special, I talk about plenty of political history (national days, for example) and way too much military history (I'm sad that there are so many wars, so much military history lying about!). I love to talk about the history of science and innovation, and of course I also love to shine a light on historical gains in human rights!

But there are also really specific types of history – the history of the Olympics, for example, art history, the history of sci-fi, music history.

The latter is what I'm hitting today:

  • On this date in 1963, the first album of The Supremes was released. It was called Meet the Supremes.

  • On this date in 1968, the Supremes and the Temptations had a special on NBC-TV: TCB Takin' Care of Business.

  • On this date in 1984, the Jacksons played their last show together in Los Angeles, California.

  • On this date in 1992, Bill Wyman left the Rolling Stones. He'd been in the group for more than 30 years!!

  • On this date in 1995, a documentary on the Beatles aired. It included the song “Free as a Bird,” which had never before been released. So that made it the Beatles' first new song in 25 years (for the simple reason that the Beatles broke up 25 years earlier!!). This song was created by Paul, George, and Ringo based on John's 1977 demo; it reached Number 2 on the UK charts and peaked at Number 5 on the US charts.

Here are some videos; enjoy these historical musical greats:


A huge hit for the Supremes was “Stop in the Name of Love.” 

I only knew the name of one of the Supremes: Diana Ross. But there were actually a lot of women who sang in the band called The Supremes. Check it out! 

I never met the Supremes' songs from their first album (hey, I was pretty young!) – but here is one of the songs from that first record. 

Here is the special TCB


This video offering has clips from the EVEN younger Jackson 5, plus a performance from the Jackson 5 in 1983, very close to that last-ever-performance-together. 

One of the Jackson Five's huge hits was “ABC.” 


One of my favorite Rolling Stones hits is “RubyTuesday (Bill Wyman plays on the cello and bass). 

Another Stones great is “Paint It Black.” (Wyman is on the bass.) 


Enjoy the Beatles in “Free as a Bird.” 

This showing of a huge Beatles hit was my very first time a song ever REALLY got to me – I was nine years old, and suddenly I was INTO MUSIC! (All caps!) 

(By the way, I was so not into screaming. I was embarrassed of how so many girls acted about the Beatles.)

In those early days, I also loved a Beatles song that wasn't written by the Beatles (“Twist & Shout”), “A Day in the Life,” and  “A Hard Day's Night.” 

Honestly, there are too many great Beatles songs to even talk about “favorites”!

Also on this date:

Weary Willie Day

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December 8 – Battle of Falkland Islands Day

Posted on December 8, 2016

I don't think of World War I being fought near South America, do you? 

But I guess they don't call it a “world war” for nothing!

Imperial Germany had a squadron of ships that disrupted other nations' shipping by attacking merchant ships and supply bases.

And on this date in 1914, this overseas naval group was effectively destroyed!

The Germans' squadron was made up of eight ships under Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee. In November of 1914 they had sunk two British cruisers with all hands (“with all hands” means ALL of the sailors and officers died) in the South Pacific Ocean, near Chile. This was the first defeat for the Royal Navy in a century. In response to the defeat, the British sent a large squadron to track down and destroy the German ships.

The British were waiting at the port of Stanley, in the Falkland Islands, when the German squadron tried to raid the supply base. The weather was good, and the visibility was excellent, so I wondered why Spee would attack seeing the British squadron in port. Well, it seems that he was confident that he could outdistance the big battleships he saw – the British Dreadnoughts – and he was probably overconfident because of his earlier victory.

He paid for his mistake.

It turns out that the Brits also had two swift battle cruisers designed to combine speed and maneuverability with power and big guns. Even as early as nine in the morning it was obvious that the Germans were outgunned and would be easily caught.

Eventually, all but one German ship were hunted down and sunk.

The British suffered only very light casualties – only 10 dead compared to more than 2,000 German sailors, including Admiral Spee and both of his sons. (The three Spees were each on a different ship. But remember, 7 out of 8 ships were sunk.) There were a couple of hundred German sailors who survived and were taken aboard the British ships as prisoners. It was considered the most decisive naval battle of World War I – and it provided a much-needed surge of confidence for the Allies.

Also on this date:

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