Thursday, April 11, 2013


People tend to find books when they are ready for them.” 
― Neil Gaiman

Today is National Alcohol Screen Day. Held annually on Thursday of the first full week of April, National Alcohol Screening Day is an outreach, education, and screening program that raises awareness about alcohol misuse and refers individuals with alcohol problems for further treatment. Thousands of colleges, community-based organizations, and military installations provide the program to the public each year.

April 11th is Eight Track Tape Day. Who remembers these? Eight Track Tape Day brings back found memories of the sixties and seventies. During this era, eight track tapes ruled the music world. America’s love of the automobile, was a driving force in creating the demand for musical cassette formats. For those who grew up in this era, an eight track tape player in your home and your car was an essential. It was eventually replaced by cassette and other formats for storing music. If you still have tapes and a player, by all means enjoy the day listening to some great music. If not, just spend a few minutes looking back in time to when you loved your eight track tapes! Eight track tapes were created by the jet maker William Lear.

Today is also Barbershop Quartet Day. Barbershop Quartet Day honors four guys with great voices. This day celebrates the founding of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America in Tulsa, Oklahoma on April 11, 1938. Barbershop Quartets date back to the early 1900’s in America. Barbershop quartets are a popular musical group. Musical selections are usually happy and light hearted, and allow full utilization of the voice ranges and skills of these great singers. Competitions at local and national levels encourage these groups to flourish. Celebrate today by listening to a Barbershop Quartet, either live or recorded. This day was most likely created by the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America to recognize the founding of their society but they do not make any reference to this day on their website.

April 11th is International “Louie Louie” Day. Today provides an annual opportunity to celebrate the song that has been called best party song of all time, has been recorded more times than any other rock song in history, and was very nearly declared the official state song of Washington State. April 11th was chosen primarily because it’s the birthday of Richard Berry, the man who composed Louie Louie. Many other important milestones in the history of Louie Louie occurred on or around April 11th as well. The first recorded version of Louie Louie, by Richard Berry and the Pharaohs, was released in April of 1957 on Flip records as a b-side to “You Are My Sunshine”. On April 6, 1963, at Northwestern Recorders in Portland, Oregon, the Kingsmen record what is to become the most famous version of Louie Louie. About a week later, Paul Revere and the Raiders record their own version of Louie Louie in the same studio. On April 12, 1985, Louie Louie Day” in Washington state was declared by the Washington State Senate. This was as far as the legislature was willing to go along with a somewhat tongue-in-cheek campaign to make Louie Louie the official state song of Washington. On that day, a rally and performance were held at the State Capitol in Olympia, which featured a number of performers including the Kingsmen, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and Thurston County Commissioner George Barner. “Louie Louie Day” in Seattle occurred April 14, 1985 as proclaimed by the mayor of Seattle. On this day, a Louie Louie event was held at Seattle Center, which included a performance by Jr. Cadillac. These two events in mid-April 1985 marked the height of the effort to make Louie Louie the official state song of Washington. “Louie Louie Day” was proclaimed by the state of Oregon on April 2, 1986. On April 10, 1998, The Kingsman won a historic legal case against Gusto Records and GML in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. At the heart of their case was the undisputed fact that Gusto Records/GML, which acquired the rights to the original Kingsmen masters from Wand/Scepter Records, including the most well known recording of Louie Louie, never paid a penny in royalties from record or CD sales, despite a 1968 contract that guaranteed a 9% royalty to the band members. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case, the members of the Kingsmen were able to collect about $200,000 in royalties that had been held in trust since the group sued in 1993 on grounds that the companies had failed to honor a 1968 contract. By winning this case, the Kingsmen gained complete ownership of all 105 recordings originally recorded for Wand/Scepter Records. Ten years ago today a group Louie Louie fans discussing Richard Berry’s birthday on the Yahoo Louie Louie Party decided that April 11 should be designated “Louie Louie Day” as an annual recognition of this great song. On April 11, 2007 an only slightly more organized effort to promote Louie Louie Day occurs, under the auspices of the newly formed Louie Louie Advocacy and Music Appreciation Society (LLAMAS). So make sure to listen to your favorite version(s) of Louie Louie, call your local radio station and request they play it, and spread the word about the song and ts important place in rock history.

World Parkinson’s Disesase Day is held annually on April 11th. The day is intended to boost awareness of the disorder and to spur new research and treatment innovations. It should be a day of advocacy for PD patients and their families.

Some of the writer’s born on April 11th include:

Christopher Smart (1722), Stefanos Thomopoulos (1859), Bernard O’Dowd (1866), Ivane Javakhishvili (1876), Rachele Mussolini (1890), Léo-Paul Desrosiers (1896), Sandor Marai (1900), József Attila (1905), Leo Rosten (1908), David Westheimer (1917), Peter O’Donnell (1920), Edwin Pope (1928), Anton LaVey (1930), Tony Brown (1933), Mark Strand (1934), Jill Gascoine (1937), Ellen Goodman (1941), John Milius (1944), James Patrick Kelly (1951), Peter Windsor (1952), Michael Callen (1955), Michael Card (1957), Jeremy Clarkson (1960), Lynn Ferguson (1965), Sergey Lukyanenko (1968), and Walid Soliman (1975).

Today we remember Erskine Preston Caldwell, an American author who passed away April 11, 1987. His writings about poverty, racism and social problems in his native South in novels such as Tobacco Road and God’s Little Acre won him critical acclaim, but also made him controversial among fellow Southerners of the time who felt he was deprecating the people of the region. Caldwell was born on December 17, 1903 in Moreland, Georgia. He was the only child of Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church minister Ira Sylvester Caldwell and his schoolteacher wife Caroline Bell Caldwell. Rev. Caldwell’s ministry necessitated moving the family to various southern states, including Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina. When Erskine was 15 years old, the family settled permanently in Wrens, Georgia. He was six feet tall, athletic, and played football. His political sympathies were with the working class, and he used his experiences with common workers to write books that extolled the simple life of those less fortunate than he was. When his first book, The Bastard (1929), was published, it was banned and copies were seized by authorities. Later, with the publication of God’s Little Acre, authorities, at the instigation of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice (apparently incensed at Caldwell’s choice of title), arrested Caldwell and seized his copies when he went to New York for a book-signing event. A trial exonerated Caldwell, and he counter-sued for false arrest and malicious prosecution.

We also remember William H. Armstrong today. He was an American children’s author and educator, best known for his 1969 novel Sounder, which won the Newbery Medal. William Howard Armstrong was born on September 14, 1911, during the worst hailstorm and tornado in the memory of his Lexington, Virginia, neighbors. He was the third child born to Howard Gratton Armstrong, a farmer, and his wife, Ida Morris Armstrong. He had a difficult time in school, being a small child with asthma and glasses. While his father taught him to work hard, his mother taught Armstrong to love stories. “No one told me the Bible was not for young readers, so I found some exciting stories in it,” Armstrong said. “Not until years later did I understand why I liked the Bible stories so much. It was because everything that could possibly be omitted [left out] was omitted. There was no description of David so I could be like David… .” Armstrong later used the art of omission in his own writing of Sounder which he wrote based on an account told around his family’s kitchen table in Virginia. One story in particular, told by an elderly black man about Argus, the faithful dog of Odysseus, fascinated him; the dog recognized his master when he returned home after being away for twenty long years. This story stayed with him throughout his life and ultimately was the inspiration for his award winning children’s book, Sounder. He attended Hampden-Sydney College where Armstrong wrote for the college’s newspaper and its literary magazine, and even served as the magazine’s editor. He graduated cum laude in 1936, then continued his higher education with graduate work at the University of Virginia. He farmed in Connecticut near the Housatonic River, also learning to be a carpenter and a stonemason. In 1945, he became a history master at Kent School in Kent, Connecticut, where he remained for fifty-two years, teaching general studies and ancient history to generations of ninth grade students. Armstrong was loved, admired, and feared by his students. A truly formidable character and head of “study hall“, he suffered no fools lightly. More than once he was known to send a text book flying across the classroom with unerring accuracy to awaken one inattentive student or another. In 1956, at the request of his school headmaster, he published his first book, a study guide called Study Is Hard Work. Armstrong followed this title with numerous other self-help books, and in 1963 he was awarded the National School Bell Award of the National Association of School Administrators for distinguished service in the interpretation of education. He died April 11, 1999 at his home in Kent, Connecticut at the age of 87.

The last execution for witchcraft in Germany took place on April 11, 1775.

Spelman College was founded on April 11, 1881 in Atlanta, Georgia as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary, an institute of higher education for African-American women.

The International Labour Organization was founded on April 11, 1919. The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency dealing with labour issues, particularly international labour standards and decent work for all. Almost all (185 out of 193) UN members are part of the ILO. The ILO registers complaints against entities that are violating international rules; however, it does not impose sanctions on governments.

American forces liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp on this day in 1945 during World War II.

In the Korean War, President Harry Truman relieved General of the Army Douglas MacArthur of overall command in Korea on April 11, 1951. That same day the Stone of Scone, the stone upon which Scottish monarchs were traditionally crowned, was found on the site of the altar of Arbroath Abbey. It had been taken by Scottish nationalist students from its place in Westminster Abbey.

The trial of Adolf Eichmann began in Jerusalem. Otto on April 11, 1961. Otto Adolf Eighmann was a German Nazi SS-Obergruppenführer (lieutenant colonel) and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust. Because of his organizational talents and ideological reliability, Eichmann was charged by SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich with the task of facilitating and managing the logistics of mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in German-occupied Eastern Europe. After World War II, he fled to Argentina using a fraudulently obtained laissez-passer issued by the International Red Cross. He lived in Argentina under a false identity, working a succession of different jobs until 1960. He was captured by Mossad operatives in Argentina and taken to Israel to face trial in an Israeli court on 15 criminal charges, including crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was found guilty and executed by hanging in 1962. He is the only person to have been executed in Israel on conviction by a civilian court.

On April 11, 1963, Pope John XXIII issued Pacem in Terris, the first encyclical addressed to all instead of to Catholics alone.

The Palm Sunday tornado outbreak of 1965 occurred April 11th. Fifty-one tornadoes hit in six Midwestern states and killed 256 people.

Forty-five years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing.

Apollo 13 was launched April 11, 1970.

First edition of the BBC comedy panel game I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue was broadcast for the first time April 11, 1972. It is one of the longest running British radio shows in history.

The original Apple Computer, the Apple I was created April 11, 1976. The Apple 1 is a personal computer released by the Apple Computer Company in 1976. They were designed and hand-built by Steve Wozniak. Wozniak’s friend Steve Jobs had the idea of selling the computer. The Apple I was Apple’s first product, and to finance its creation, Jobs sold his only means of transportation, a VW Microbus and Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator for $500. It was demonstrated in July 1976 at the Homebrew Computer Club in Palo Alto, California.

London Transport‘s Silver Jubilee busses were launched April 11, 1977. Exactly ten years later The London Agreement was secretly signed between Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Shimon Peres and King Hussein of Jordan.

Twenty years ago today 450 prisoners rioted at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio, and continued to do so for ten days, citing grievances related to prison conditions, as well as the forced vaccination of Nation of Islam prisons (for tuberculosis) against their religious beliefs.

The detained crew of the United States Ep-3E aircraft that landed in Hainan, China after a collision with a J-8 fighter were released April 11, 2001.


Today we highlight Hiroshima by John Hersey.  We have new copies in stock of this mass market paperback. Amazon gives the following description:

On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atom bomb ever dropped on a city. This book, John Hersey’s journalistic masterpiece, tells what happened on that day. Told through the memories of survivors, this timeless, powerful and compassionate document has become a classic “that stirs the conscience of humanity” (The New York Times).

Almost four decades after the original publication of this celebrated book, John Hersey went back to Hiroshima in search of the people whose stories he had told.  His account of what he discovered about them is now the eloquent and moving final chapter of Hiroshima.


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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