Category Archives: today in history

Events that happened today in history.

Today in History…Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening was Published

On this day, 90 years ago, “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening”, perhaps one of the most well-known and beloved poems of the 21st century, was published.

Author Robert Frost ironically began working on this poem on a hot summer day on his farm in Vermont.  Told from the perspective of a weary traveler, this poem has been said to be about everyone from Robert Frost himself to Santa Claus.  In its quiet and picturesque portrait of a quiet and calm winter’s night, “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” has been a staple in literature classes since its creation, and has been used for years to help introduce children to poetry.

To help celebrate the publication of this monumental piece of literature, here’s a video of Robert Frost reading “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening.”

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Today in History…Annie Hall Wins Best Picture

It was on this day, 34 years ago, that a little picture titled Annie Hall took the Best Picture Oscar, beating out what would come to be one of the biggest feature films of all time,Star Wars.

Perhaps one of my all-time favorite Woody Allen movies, Annie Hall is a testament to the wonders and troubles of romantic relationships.  With the wit and comedy that makes Allen’s movies so enjoyable, Annie Hall ranks up there with When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, in terms of awesome romantic comedies.

At the 50th Annual Academy Awards, Annie Hall also won Oscars for Allen as Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, and for Keaton as Best Actress.  It was clear that this film would go down in history as one of the best of our time.

To celebrate this little anniversary, here’s my favorite scene fromAnnie Hall (click the picture to watch it!).

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Today In History…Sistine Chapel Painting Opens

By the time little Michelangelo Buonarroti was 13 years old, he was already an artist’s apprentice to Lorenzo de’ Medici, the ruler of the Florentine republic and a great patron of the arts.  After proving his sculptural skills with pieces like the Pieta and David, he was called to Rome in 1508 to create what would become his most famous piece ever…the Sistine Chapel.

The ceiling itself took a little more than four years to complete.  Many of his most famous ceiling frescoes are devoted to Biblical history…the most popular being The Creation of Adam.

On this day, 499 years ago, the ceiling opened to the public for the first time.  In no time at all, Michelangelo was praised as one of Europe’s greatest living artists.  He continued to work up until his death in 1564, at the ripe old age of 88.  His impact to the world of artistic creation is comparable to the influences William Shakespeare and Mozart have on their respective fields.

Not many people get the opportunity to see the Sistine Chapel in all its glory.  While this isn’t even close to seeing it live, there is a way you can get a good idea of what this stunning chapel looks like.

The Vatican has a virtual tour available of the Sistine Chapel…all you have to do is click here.  Drag your mouse around to get the full view of this breathtaking piece of art.

Don’t quite know what you’re looking at?  Here’s a guide to the stories painted on the ceiling.

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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Today in History…Buster Keaton was Born

If he were alive to celebrate his birthday today, Buster Keaton would be 116 years old.  “The Great Stone Face”, as he was known in his time, was a tall, thin, deadpan actor who stole the silver screen with his spot on wit and charm.  Before his death at age 70, Keaton starred in and/or contributed to more than 60 films.  Roger Ebert even said that Keaton was, and perhaps still is, one of the greatest actor-directors in the history of movies.  Films such as The General, Sherlock Jr., and Our Hospitality are ranked as some of the greatest movies of all time…all thanks to a little man in a little hat.

Equally as famous as Keaton were his hats…more specifically, his pork pie hats.  Keaton and his wife Eleanore were said to have made thousands of hats during Keaton’s acting career.  Many were destroyed during filming…which is obvious if you’re a fan of Keaton’s pictures…and others were given away as gifts.

If you’re unfamiliar with Keaton’s work, there’s tons of clips available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.  I’ve attached the famous hat scene from Steamboat Bill, Jr. here.

Fans of Johnny Depp might also remember a particular touching scene in Benny and Joon, one of Depp’s earlier and more touching films (personally, one of my favorites).  In this hat scene, Depp pays tribute to Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, dancing with a “magic hat” with minimal dialogue and clever “stunts”.  Watch Depp dance “In the Park” here.

In his short lifetime, Buster Keaton made his mark on the stages of vaudeville, Broadway, and Hollywood.  Though his body of work lacks a physical voice, it speaks volumes to the cleverness and sincerity of the silent picture era.  Happy Birthday, Buster Keaton!

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Today in History…Happy Flitch Day!

The Flitch of Bacon

What’s Flitch Day, you ask?  An old custom started by monks in Dunmow Priory, England (probably around 1104) has become the holiday we now call Flitch Day.  Once a year, a slab of bacon was given to any married couple who could prove they have lived in harmony and fidelity for the past twelve months.  It appeared that very few couples actually “took home the bacon.”

“The court was held in a marquee erected on Talberds Ley, especially for the occasion.  Couples that had been married for at least a year and a day came from far and wide to try and claim the Flitch.  This was not a competition between the couples. All couples could be successful in their claim, which was vigorously defended by Counsel employed on behalf of the Donors of the Bacon, whose job it was to test their evidence and to try and persuade the Jury not to grant them the Flitch.”  Sounds like a new reality TV show in the works…

“Successful couples were then carried shoulder high by bearers (humble folk) in the ancient Flitch Chair to the Market Place where they would take the oath (similar to pre-Reformation marriage vows) kneeling on pointed stones. Unsuccessful couples had to walk behind the empty chair to the Market Place, consoled with a prize of gammon.”

You can celebrate Flitch Day today by cooking up some bacon for your hubby (or hubby-ess).  If you want to go all out and kneel on stones while reciting the oath, I commend you.  Here’s the oath, should you be so enclined.

“We do swear by custom of confession
That we ne’re made nuptial transgression
Nor since we were married man and wife
By household brawl or contentious strife,
Or otherwise at bed or board,
Offended each other in deed or word;
Or since the parish clerk said amen,
Wished ourselves unmarried again;
Or in a twelvemonth and a day
Repented in thought in any way,
But continue true and in desire
As when we joined in holy quire.”

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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