Category Archives: Culture


Tradition of the White Wedding Dress Started?

It became popular in Europe after Queen Victoria wore a white lace dress when she married Prince Albert in 1840, primarily to show support for the handmade lace industry in England which had been damaged by the rise of machine-made lace. Victoria’s twelve bridesmaids also wore white.


In 1849, Godey’s Lady’s Books said, “Custom has decided from the earliest ages, that white is the most fitting hue, whatever may be the material. It is an emblem of the purity and innocence of girlhood, and the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one” but making white symbolic of purity or virginity was a more recent attribution, not something “from the earliest ages”.

White didn’t become a popular wedding dress color in the U.S. until the 1860s, and then it was still only for those who could afford it since it was difficult and expensive to make a truly white cloth and, before dry-cleaning, or even reliable bleaches, it was an impractical color to keep clean.

Brides had worn white before but they also wore many other colors, depending on their wealth and status and what ways the gown would need to be repurposed for later.

See History of Wedding Dresses and Queen Victoria’s wedding, or why modern brides wear white for more information.


Last Beatles Concert?

The last buy-a-ticket-and-scream-so-you-can’t-hear-the-band concert was in January 1969 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The ticket prices ranged from US$4.50 to $6.50 each. That’s about $29 to $42 in 2013 dollar value. They only sold about 25,000 of the 42,500 seats. The Remains, Bobby Hebb, The Cyrkle, and The Ronettes also performed.

he last concert but possibly the first on-stage celebrity selfie.

Set List:
Rock and Roll Music
She’s a Woman
If I Needed Someone
Day Tripper
Baby’s in Black
I Feel Find
I Wanna Be Your Man
Nowhere Man
Paperback Writer
Long Tall Sally
In My Life

They did do public performances together after this, including playing “Hey, Jude” on several  TV shows in 1968 and the Apple recording studio rooftop performance in 1969.

Set List:
Get Back
I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
Don’t Let Me Down
I’ve Got a Feeling
One After 909
Danny Boy
Dig a Pony

God Save the Queen
A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody

“I’d like to say ‘Thank you’ on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition.” – John Lennon

You can find more information here:
Beatles Last Concert at Candlestick Park
10 Things: The Beatles Last Show


Do you have a favorite Beatles song? Or a favorite Beatle?


Statue of Liberty Built?

In 1870, Auguste Bartholdi began designing “Liberty Enlightening the World”. This was not the first time he had designed a giant statue if a robed woman holding a torch. He had planned on as part of a lighthouse for the Suez Canal in Egypt in 1869. He called it “Egypt Brings Light to Asia”. But, there was a change in plans and that statue was never built.

The statue we call the Statue of Liberty was completed in 1884 and presented to the United States Ambassador to France. It was shipped to the U.S. and assembled in New York in 1886 and dedicated on October 28 of that year. The arm and torch had visited America earlier, in 1876 for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. It was then sent to New York City until 1882.

In 1984 the statue’s original torch was replaced by a copper torch covered in 24k gold leaf.

The statue represents the Roman goddess Libertas and the tablet she holds is inscribed with the date “July 4, 1776″. From toes to torch top, she is 151 feet and 1 inch tall.

Statue of Liberty National Monument Visitor’s Information Guide


Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Martin Luther King, Jr.?

October 14, 1964.

He was 35 when he won the award, and at that time, the youngest person to receive it. Since then Mairead Corrigan, 32; Tawakkol Karman, 32; and Malala Yousafzai, 17 have won. The average age for winners is 61.


There used to be a photographer that stayed in my bedroom while I slept, just in case I got a call from the Nobel committee or some other prestigious award but we were both disappointed. Or, at least, I was. The camera guy seemed happy with his stack of Polaroids. (It was a long time ago. Now that I’m older and wiser, I think I should have questioned his “news” credentials. Using a Polaroid seems kind of sketchy.) But I digress.

King won the award for showing that a struggle can be waged without violence, for making the message of brotherly love a reality, and for bringing this message to all men, to all nations and races.

Some men, especially prominent Jim Crow Democrats such as Eugene “Bull” Connor and Leander Perez weren’t so thrilled to hear King’s message. Connor, a former Birmingham, AL police commissioner said that the Nobel selection committee was “scraping the bottom of the barrel” when they chose King.

Leander Perez, whom Wikipedia calls the “Democratic political boss of Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes in southeastern Louisiana” said that King getting the prize “only shows the Communist influence nationally and internationally.” He credited (blamed?) communists and the “Jews who were supposed to have been cremated at Buchenwald and Dachau but weren’t”  for the American Civil Rights movement.

You can listen to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech here.

You can find more information here:
Martin Luther King Jr. and the Global Freedom Struggle
From the Archives: 45th anniversary of MLK Jr.’s death (UPI)


First Class Ring?



The first class rings were worn by military cadets at West Point and, until 1869, the cadets designed their own rings. The cadets in the class of 1836 must have lacked imagination, or just didn’t want to be thought of as trend-followers, because there was no class ring that year. (Can you call it a trend when it had only been done one year?)

Excerpt from a West Point Ring Ceremony

Students wear a class ring beginning in their senior year of high school or college. During the senior year, you wear it on the ring finger of the right hand with the crest/insignia should be facing you (upright when you hold your hand in front of you). This is supposed to inspire you and remind you of your goal to graduate.

After graduation you turn the ring to face the other direction to show you are ready to face the world, or to show pride in your school, or because graduation ceremonies are dull (except for the few seconds when they read your name) and you need to give the students something to do at the end so they won’t fall asleep.

I don’t know how people are supposed to see that the crest is facing them, unless you hold your hand out like you’re expecting them to kiss your ring. This is only effective if you are the Pope or a Mafia Don.

Video from the Oklahoma State University Alumni that shows how a class ring is made

Only about 1/3 of students choose to get a class ring. Those who do may do so to show pride in their school. Or because it’s senior year and they’ve suddenly realized that their major will not provide them with many job opportunities and it’s nice to have a bit of parent-bought pawnable gold.,899641

Once upon a time, when gold prices were only a fraction of what they are now, a boy would ask a girl to go steady (to date him exclusively) and give her his class ring to wear. The girl would wrap string or yarn around the palm-side of the ring to make it fit her finger. If she also had a class ring, she might give it to the boy to wear on a chain around his neck.

Dick Armstrong: I Want to Go Steady With You

Do you have, or plan to have a class ring? For high school or college or both? If you designed your own ring, leave a comment about symbols you had the jeweler put on it and why.