There’s no time like the present … except for maybe 100 years ago, and maybe 50, too

Dec 29, 17 • 5enses, FeatureNo Comments

“Carolina Parakeets.” Painting by John James Audubon, 1825, public domain.

By Markoff Chaney

By now, you’re probably sick of holidays and those inevitable (and inevitably redundant and/or boring) “Year in Review” and “Top Stories of the Year” articles.

Don’t pretend you’ve kept up with the papers. You’ve probably started the New Year with a stack of old news that would make the Collyer brothers balk.

Instead of recapping recent events, let’s look toward the future … by looking back a century and half-century.

Here’s a highly partial, by-no-means complete list of famous, infamous, or otherwise noteworthy 100-year and 50-year anniversaries to ponder in 2018.

(And for Alert Readers, yes, this is a nearly identical intro to a similarly themed piece that’s run the past few years in 5enses. Was it any less effective?)

15 things that happened in 1918

Jan. 8, 1918: Woodrow Wilson delivers his “Fourteen Points” speech outlining the principles of peace to be used for negotiations to end World War I.

January, 1918: Spanish flu, i.e. influenza (specifically H1N1), is observed in Kansas, kicking off the 1918 flu pandemic in the U.S. Worldwide, the influenza pandemic infects 500 million people resulting 50 million-100 million deaths, then three to five percent of the world’s population. In the U.S., alone, life expectancy dropped by a dozen years as a result.

Feb. 6, 1918: The “Representation of the People Act” gives most women over the age of 30 the right to vote in the U.K.

Feb. 14, 1918: Russia switches from the Julian to Gregorian calendar and the date skips from Feb. 1 to Feb. 14.

Feb. 21, 1918: The final captive Carolina Parakeet, the last native parrot breed in the eastern U.S., dies in the Cincinnati Zoo.

March 12, 1918: Moscow becomes the capital of Soviet Russia.

May 2, 1918: General Motors buys the Chevrolet Motor Company of Delaware.

May 16, 1918: The U.S. Congress enacts the “Sedition Act of 1918,” extending the “Espionage Act of 1917” and forbidding the use of “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” about the U.S. government, its flag, and its armed forces or that caused others to view the American government or its institutions with contempt.

Photo by unknown staff photographer for The Tennessean, 1918, public domain.

July 9, 1918: The Great Train Wreck of 1918, involving two passenger trains in Nashville, Tenn., claims 101 lives and injures an additional 171, marking what’s considered the worst rail accident in U.S. history.

July 14, 1918: The U.S. movie “The Glorious Adventure” is released featuring Mammy Lou, one of the oldest people ever featured in a film, with a claimed age of 114.

July 17, 1918: The Romanov family is executed by order of the Bolshevik Party in Russia.

Nov. 1, 1918: The Malbone Street Wreck, aka the Brighton Beach Line Accident, in New York City, claims 93 lives, marking the worst subway accident on the New York City Subway.

Nov. 11, 1918: World War I ends.

Nov. 30, 1918: Orchestre de la Suisse Romande is founded by Ernest Ansermet and Paul Lachenal.

Date unknown, 1918: The Native American Church is founded in Oklahoma.

10 cultural figures born in 1918

Jan. 26, 1918: Science fiction and fantasy author Philip José Farmer, of World of Tiers and Riverworld fame, is born in Terre Hauta, Ind. (Died Feb. 25, 2009.)

March 25, 1918: Sports broadcaster Howard Cosell is born as Howard William Cohen in Winston-Salem, N.C. (Died April 23, 1995.)

March 29, 1918: Walmart and Sam’s Club founder Sam Walton is born in Kingfisher, Okla. (Died April 5, 1992.)

May 9, 1918: Journalist Mike Wallace is born as Myron Leon Wallace in Brookline, Mass. (Died April 7, 2012.)

May 1, 1918: Talk show host Jack Paar is born in Canton, Ohio. (Died Jan. 27, 2004.)

July 14, 1918: Filmmaker Ingmar Bergman is born in Uppsala, Sweden. (Died July 30, 2007.)

July 18, 1918: Revolutionary and South African President Nelson Mandela is born as Rolihlahla Mandela in Mvezo, Cape Province, Union of South Africa. (Died Dec. 5, 2013.)

Aug. 3, 1918: CIA Spymaster Sidney Gottlieb, of Project MKUltra fame, is born as Joseph Scheider in the Bronx, New York City. (Died March 7, 1999.)

Sept. 4, 1918: Broadcaster Paul Harvey is born as Paul Harvey Aurandt in Tulsa, Okla. (Died Feb. 28, 2009.)

Nov. 7, 1918: Evangelist Billy Graham is born in Charlotte, N.C. (He turns 100 this year.)

5 inventions from 1918

The French dip sandwich, invented by accident by Philippe Mathieu of the L.A., Calif.-based restaurant Philippe the Original, though his rival at Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet lays a similar claim.

The torque wrench, invented by Conrad Charles Bahr, though he didn’t receive the patent for it until 1937.

The crystal oscillator, used in devices like quartz wristwatches, invented by Alexander M. Nicholson, though common knowledge has it that Dr. Walter Guyton Cady was the first to use a quartz to control the frequency of an oscillator circuit.

The grocery bag, with handles, invented by Walter Deubener, though he wasn’t issued the patent until the following year.

The hydraulic brake, invented by Malcolm Loughead, whose ethylene gylcol-leveraging device replaced the mechanical brake in automobiles.


20 things that happened in 1968

March 18, 1968: The U.S. Congress repeals the requirement for a gold reserve to back U.S. currency.

April 3, 1968: The movies “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Planet of the Apes” are released in U.S. theaters.

April 4, 1968: Civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. (Born Jan. 15, 1929)

April 11, 1968: The “Civil Rights Act of 1968,” aka the “Fair Housing Act” is enacted in the midst of the King assassination riots, aka the Holy Week Uprising.

April 29, 1968: The musical “Hair” opens on Broadway.

June 5, 1968: Robert F. Kennedy is shot in L.A. and dies the next day. (Born Nov. 20, 1925)

July 20, 1968: The first International Special Olympics Summer Games are held in Chicago.

July 25, 1968: Pope Paul VI publishes “Humanae Vitae,” condemning birth control.

Sept. 24, 1968: “60 Minutes” debuts on CBS.

Oct. 1, 1968: The movie “Night of the Living Dead” is released in U.S. theaters.

Oct. 11, 1968: NASA launches Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo mission.

Oct. 22, 1968: The “Gun Control Act of 1968” is enacted, largely focusing on regulating interstate commerce of firearms.

Nov. 14, 1968: Yale University announces it’s going to admit women.

Nov. 22, 1968: The Beatles release their self-titled album, aka the White Album.

Nov. 22, 1968 , too: The 12th episode of the third season of Star Trek, “Plato’s Stepchildren,” airs featuring the first-ever interracial kiss on U.S. national TV.

Dec. 10, 1968: Japan’s biggest heist, the unsolved “300 Million Yen Robbery,” goes down in Tokyo.

Dec. 20, 1968, The Zodiac Killer shoots Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday in San Francisco, Calif., marking the first of the serial killer’s police-confirmed victims.

Dec. 21, 1968, NASA launches Apollo 8, which orbits around the Moon.

1968, date unknown, Mattel introduces Hot Wheels cars.

1968, date unknown, also, United Artists pull the infamous “Censored Eleven” cartoons from the “Looney Tunes” and “Merrie Melodies” cartoons because of their depictions of racist stereotypes.

10 musicians born in 1968

Jan. 27, 1968: Mike Patton, of Faith No More (and many others), is born in Eureka, Calif.

Jan. 28, 1968: Sarah McLachlan is born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Feb. 1, 1968: Lisa Marie Presley, is born in Memphis, Tenn.

March 15, 1968: Mark McGrath, of Sugar Ray, is born in Hartford, Conn.

March 22, 1968: Øystein Aarseth, aka Euronymous, of Mayhem, is born in Egersund, Norway. (Died Aug. 10, 1993)

March 23, 1968: Damon Albarn, of Blur, is born in Whitechapel, London.

March 30, 1968: Céline Dion is born in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada.

Oct. 7, 1968: Thom Yorke, of Radiohead, is born in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England.

Oct. 17, 1968: David Nesta Marley, aka Ziggy Marley, is born in Kingston, Jamaica.

Nov. 15:, 1968: Russell Tyrone Jones, aka Ol’ Dirty Bastard (aka Dirt McGirt, Big Baby Jesus, and The Man of All Rainbows, and many, many others), of Wu-Tang Clan, is born in Brooklyn, New York City. (Died Nov. 13, 2004)


A trio of predictions for 2018 via Sci-Fi/SF movies

The events of the 1975 movie “Rollerball” take place and Jonathan E. proves there are, in fact, multiple Is in “team” — namely, the ones you rip out of your opponents’ sockets.

Bruce Wayne retires from being Batman as depicted in the 1999 animated movie “Batman Beyond,” probably in order to take advantage of fleeting health care that covers his litany of pre-existing conditions.

Nazis return to Earth from the Moon à la the 2012 movie “Iron Sky,” which features another far-fetched conspiracy fantasy: a woman president in the Oval Office.


Markoff Chaney is an Earth-based whodunit pundit and (Fnord) Discordian Pope. He has lotsa bills and no sense. Contact him at NoisyNoiseIsNoisome@Gmail.Com.

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