Today is National Doughnut Day in the US . It’s always on the first Friday of June – that’s June 3, this year. It was started in 1938 by the Salvation Army as a day to honor their members who had served donuts to service members during World War I. This makes today a good day to ask, when were the first donuts?
The first woman to run and complete the Boston Marathon was Bobbi Gibb in 1966. She finished in 3:21:40. In 2016, 50 years after being refused an official entry because women weren’t thought to be capable of running that distance, Gibb was the Boston Marathon’s grand marshal.
Construction on the iconic San Francisco bridge across the Golden Strait began on January 5, 1933. It was completed and opened to traffic on May 27, 1937 although it had been opened to people to cross on foot the day before.
If you live somewhere with hard water (there’s lots of minerals in the water like calcium and magnesium), then you know what it does to everything it touches. Baths, sinks, and toilets get white and orange stains, your drinking glasses get white spots, and if you look inside your pipes, you’ll see a build up that will keep growing until it clogs them.
In the 5th Century BC in Ireland, October 31 was seen as the divide between summer and winter and was called Samhain (pronounced sow-han because after a few days of partying, you have a really hard time pronouncing the letter “m” – not really, it’s just that their language is weird like that).
It was the night that the spirits of the dead could walk the Earth. To encourage the spirits not to linger, people would put out the fires in their homes (to make it cold and unwelcoming) and dress as demons, goblins, and witches. They would parade through the houses, making as much noise as possible. (Parents of small children can relate.)
Then they would gather outside the village where the druid priests would light huge bonfires. The fires were a tribute to the sun god in thankfulness for the crops they had grown. It was also meant to frighten away spirits who might want to inhabit a villager’s body over the next year. Sometimes, if someone seemed to be already possessed, that person was thrown onto the fire. (The 5th Century BC was not a high point in caring for the mentally ill.) This was to warn off other spirits from trying to take over any of the other villagers.
The festivities changed some over the years. The Romans came and banned burning the
crazies possessed, and burned effigies instead. The Christians came and the holiday began losing its connection to the old religion. In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as All Saints Day, a day to honor saints and martyrs. Church sanctioned holidays were moving in on the holidays of the old gods and taking over their festivities.
People probably didn’t care much. They still got bonfires and a night of partying. While churches in other parts of the world had All Saints Day on November 1, not much was going on for All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween) until the potato famine forced Irish immigrants to come to the United States. America in the 1840s discovered Mischief Night where young people in costumes would go out and destroy stuff (knock over outhouses, for example). They also brought the custom of trick-or-treating.
Even in the 1880s people were already talking about making the holiday less frightening so as not to upset the children. Now, a little over a century later we’re just trying to take away the fun and creativity. The only appropriate costumes anymore are generic store-bought ones that are guaranteed not to offend anyone – funny how most of them are licensed comic book or movie characters. (But the change isn’t for profit, it’s for the Chiiiiilllldddrrreeennnn!)
At least we can still dress our pets up in weird costumes.
People have been using cosmetics to decorate and enhance their eyes since at least 10,000 BC. Egyptians used powdered malachite, a green copper ore, and ground galena, a gray-black lead sulfide, as an eye shadow on their upper and lower lids and kohl eyeliner (made from a paste of powdered antimony, burnt almonds, black oxide of copper, and brown clay ocher).
OJ Simpson was tried for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman in 1995. (Although the jury was sworn in on November 2, 1994, the opening statements of the trial were January 24, 1995.) The trial lasted for 252 days. 134 days of it were televised (bad idea – it turned a media sideshow into a full blown media 3-ring circus.)