There’s No Time Like The Present : except for the 100 years, and maybe 50, too

Jan 4, 19 • 5enses, FeatureComments Off on There’s No Time Like The Present : except for the 100 years, and maybe 50, too



By Markoff Chaney


“The Signing of peace in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, 28th June 1919,” by William Orpen, 1919, public domain

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. Here’s a highly partial, by no means complete list of famous, infamous, or otherwise noteworthy 100-year anniversaries to ponder in 2018. (And for Alert Readers, yes, this intro is nearly identical to that of a similarly themed piece for the January 2015, 2016, and 2017 issues of 5enses. Was it any less effective?)


1919, i.e., 100 years ago

5 things that happened in 1919

• Jan. 16, 1919: The U.S. Congress approves the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, instigating prohibition of “intoxicating liquors,” though it won’t go into effect for one year. The related Volstead Act is later passed on Oct. 28, 1919 against President Wilson’s veto.

• Feb. 26, 1919: Grand Canyon is established as a National Park, the 15th such site designated as such. • June 4, 1919: The U.S. Congress approves the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees suffrage to women, though it won’t be ratified by the states until Aug. 18, 1920.

• Oct 9, 1919: Cincinnati Reds defeat Chicago White Sox 5-3 games in the 1919 World Series, ending in the infamous Black Sox Scandal trial of 1921.

• June 28, 1919: The Treaty of Versailles is signed, formally ending World War I.

• Nov. 9, 1919: Felix the Cat appears in the silent film “Feline Follies,” marking the first popular cartoon character, though technically, the character from the Paramount Pictures short is named Master Tom.

5 cultural figures born in 1919

• March 17, 1919: American jazz pianist and vocalist Nathaniel Adams Cole, better known as Nat King Cole, is born (dies Feb. 15, 1965).

• May 3, 1919: American folk singer and musician Pete Seeger is born (dies Jan. 27, 2014).

• May 16, 1919: Władzia Valentino Liberace is born (dies Feb. 4, 1987)

• July 20, 1919: New Zealand mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mount Everest, is born (dies Jan. 11, 2008).

• Nov. 26, 1919: American science-fiction writer and editor Frederik George Pohl Jr. is born (dies Sept. 2, 2013). 3 inventions from 1919

• Stephen J. Poplawski invents an upright, stationary kitchen appliance used to mix beverages and puree food, a.k.a. a blender.

• Walter A. Patrick, chemistry professor at John Hopkins University, receives the patent for the synthetic route for silica gel — you know, from those little packets.

• Charles P. Strite receives the patent for the first automatic pop-up toaster. The history of toasting spans all of human history, though many inventions were patented 1905 through 1933.

1969, i.e., 50 years ago

5 things that happened in 1969

• June 28, 1969: A police raid at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, spurs the Stonewall riots/uprising/rebellion, widely considered the most important event leading to the modern fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the U.S.

Neil A. Armstrong on the Moon during Apollo 11, photo by NASA, public domain.

• July 20, 1969: An estimated 500 million people worldwide watch as Neil Armstrong takes his historic first steps on the moon as part of Apollo 11.

• Aug. 9, 1969: The Manson Family commit the infamous home invasion and murder of eight-and-half-months pregnant Sharon Tate, Abigail Folger (Folgers coffee heiress), Wojciech Frykowski, Jay Sebring, and Steven Parent.

• Oct. 29, 1969: The first communication is sent over ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency NETwork), the forerunner of the internet.


• Dec. 17, 1969: The U.S. Air Force announces the termination of Project Blue Book, a series of systemic studies of UFOs began in 1952 and covering a total of 12,618 sightings. Conclusions: No UFO investigated posed a threat to national security; no “unidentified” sightings represented technological developments beyond the range of modern scientific knowledge; and there was no evidence that “unidentified” sightings were extraterrestrial vehicles.

5 cultural figures who died 1969

• Feb. 2, 1969: Actor Boris Karloff dies (born Nov. 23, 1887).

• March 28, 1969: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th U.S. president, dies (born Oct. 14, 1890).

• June 22, 1969: Actress Judy Garland dies (born June 10, 1922).

• Aug. 14, 1969: Author, publisher, and husband of author Virginia Woolf, Leonard

Sidney Woolf dies (born Nov. 25, 1880).

• Oct. 21, 1969: Author Jack Kerouac, born Jean-Louis Kérouac, dies (born March 12, 1922).

7 inventions from 1969

• Randolph Smith and Kenneth House patent a battery-powered smoke detector for home use.

• Bell Lab’s George Smith and Willard Boyle inventa charged-couple device, i.e. CCD, which is still found in modern digital cameras.

• Walmart incorporates as Wal-Mart Stores, though the company was founded by Sam Walton in 1962.

• The Boeing 747 jumbo jet makes its debut by carrying 191 people — mostly reporters and photographers — from Seattle to New York City.

• The first Automated Teller Machine is installed at Chemical Bank in Rockville Centre, New York.


2019, i.e., the current year This year, scheduled …

Brexit graphic, fair use.

• March 29, 2019: The U.K. Officially leaves the E.U. per Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.

• April 30, 2019: Emperor Akihito of Japan abdicates his position, marking the first abdication by a Japanese monarch in nearly two centuries. This year, in popular fiction … • Bruce Wayne retires from being Batman (according to “Batman Beyond,” 1999).

• The events of “The Running Man” and “Blade Runner” take place (according to the titular movies of 1987 and 1982, though both the dates differ from the books on which they’re based).

• NeoTokyo explodes in a singularity and Tetsuo Shima instigates a new Big Bang spawning a better universe in another dimension (according to “Akira,” 1988 (film) and manga (1982-1990)).


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. IMAGES, FROM LEFT: “The Signing of peace in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, 28th June 1919,” by William Orpen, 1919, public domain; Neil A. Armstrong on the Moon during Apollo 11, photo by NASA, public domain; Brexit graphic, fair use.

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