Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Susan B. Anthony Day. Susan B. Anthony Day is a commemorative holiday to celebrate the birth of Susan B. Anthony and the Women’s suffrage in the United States. It has been historically celebrated since 1920, after 31 of 48 states had ratified the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, giving women the right to vote when fully ratified later that year.

Some of the writers born on February 15 include:

Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (1811), Demetrius Vikelas (1835), Nguyen Khuyen (1835), Sax Rohmer (1883), Walter Donaldson (1893), Miep Gies (1909), George Mikes (1912), Hank Locklin (1918), Radha Krishna Choudhary (1921), Norman Bridwell (1928), Troy Kennedy Martin (1932), Susan Brownmiller (1935), Gregory Mcdonald (1937), Brian Holland (1941), Douglas Hofstadter (1945), Ádám Nádasdy (1947), Chrystine Brouillet (1958), Ali Campbell (1959), Axelle Red (1968), Josh Marshall (1969), and Conor Oberst (1980).

Two American cartoonists were also born on this day. Art Spiegelman turns 65 today and Matt Groening turns 59. Art Spiegelman’s work first gained prominence in the underground comix scene in the 1970s. A selection of these strips appeared in the collection Breakdowns in 1977. After Breakdowns, Spiegelman decided to work on a “very long comic book” about his father’s experiences as a Holocaust survivor. The book, Maus, took thirteen years to complete. It depicts Nazis as cats, Jews as mice, and ethnic Poles as pigs. The book won a Pulitzer. It has come to be viewed as a pivotal work in comics, responsible for bringing serious scholarly attention to the medium. He is married to artist, designer and editor Françoise Mouly. Matt Groening is the creator of the comic strip Life in Hell (1977–2012) as well as two successful television series, The Simpsons (1989–present) and Futurama (1999–2003, 2008–present). Groening made his first professional cartoon sale of Life in Hell to the avant-garde Wet magazine in 1978. At its peak, the cartoon was carried in 250 weekly newspapers. Life in Hell caught the attention of James L. Brooks. In 1985, Brooks contacted Groening with the proposition of working in animation for the Fox variety show The Tracey Ullman Show. Originally, Brooks wanted Groening to adapt his Life in Hell characters for the show. Fearing the loss of ownership rights, Groening decided to create something new and came up with a cartoon family, The Simpsons, and named the members after his own parents and sisters — while Bart was an anagram of the word brat.

While on board the Niña, Christopher Columbus wrote an open letter dated February 15, 1493. This letter was widely distributed upon his return to Portugal and described his discoveries and the unexpected items he came across in the New World.

The city of St. Louis, Missouri was established on February 15, 1784.

As part of the American Civil War, General Ulysses S. Grant attacked Fort Donelson, Tennessee on this day in 1862.

President Rutherford B. Hayes signed a bill on February 15, 1879 that allowed female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.

On this day in 1898 the USS Maine exploded and sank in Havana harbor in Cuba, killing more than 260 people. This event led to the United States declaring war on Spain.

In Miami, Florida, Giuseppe Zangara attempted to assassinate President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 15, 1933. He instead shot Chicago mayor Anton J. Cermak who died of his wounds on March 6th of that year.

The ENIAC was the first electronic general-purpose computer. It was formally dedicated at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia on the fifteenth of February in 1946.

On this day in 1949 Gerald Lankester Harding and Roland de Vaux began excavations at Cave 1 of the Qumran Caves. This is where they would eventually discover the first seven Dead Sea Scrolls.

Canada and the United States agreed on February 15, 1954 to construct the Distant Early Warning Line, a system of radar stations in the far northern Arctic regions of Canada and Alaska. It was set up to detect incoming Soviet bombers during the Cold War, and provide early warning of any sea-and-land invasion.

On February 15, 1961, Sabena Flight 548 crashed in Belgium. Seventy-three people were killed, including the entire United States figure skating team, several coaches and family members.

A new red-and-white maple leaf design was adopted on this day in 1965 as the flag of Canada, replacing the old Canadian Red Ensign banner.

The decimalisation of British coinage was completed on Decimal Day, February 15, 1971. Decimal Day itself went smoothly and did not even form the lead story the following day in most national newspapers. It took a long time and a lot of work ahead of time to prepare for this change.

Sound recordings were granted U.S. Federal copyright protection for the first time on February 15, 1972.

Thirteen years ago today Indian Point II nuclear power plant in New York State vented a small amount of radioactive steam when a steam generator failed.

The first draft of the complete human genome was published in Nature on this day in 2001.

Today is the 10th anniversary of the protests against the Iraq war that took place in over 600 cities worldwide. It is estimated that between 8 million to 30 million people participatde, making this the largest peace demonstration in history.

a dolls house and other plays

Today’s highlighted title is A Doll’s House and Other Plays by Henrik Ibsen. We have new copies of this classic collection in stock.  It is approximately 336 pages long. Amazon gives the following brief description:

“The League of Youth” (1869) was Ibsen’s first venture into realistic social drama and marks a turning-point in his style. By 1879, Ibsen was convinced that women suffer an inevitable violation of their personalities within the context of marriage. In “A Doll’s House”, he portrayed the wife struggling to break free: this was unheard of at the time and Ibsen’s play caused a sensation. Continuing the theme of tensions within the family in “The Lady from the Sea”, Ibsen put forward the view that freedom with responsibility might at least be a step in the right direction.
Disclaimer: Much of the information in this blog is taken directly from Wikipedia and Amazon.   Images have been taken from various sources around the World Wide Web.

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