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History Trivia and Comment: January 3

January 3, 2007

On this day in . . .

1892, “J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa.” [Source: NYT]

I wonder how long until this, or some other significant Lord of the Rings day (i.e. Bilbo’s birthday, September 22 I believe), gains the same status of Bloomsday (July 16, derived from James Joyce’s Ulysses)?

1959, “President Eisenhower signed a proclamation admitting Alaska to the Union as the 49th state.” [Source: NYT]

This will reveal my age, but it’s hard to imagine anything other than 50 states in the Union. Then again, Alaska had been a U.S. territory since the mid-19th century.

1961, “The United States severed diplomatic relations with Cuba.” [Source: NYT]

The U.S. is at its best in selling the positives of its political system when acting as a full trade partner. And, for all the negative attention given to U.S. popular culture on the world stage, it’s still U.S. culture that fosters good feelings about democracy and liberty.

2000, “The last new daily Peanuts comic strip by Charles Schulz ran in 2,600 newspapers.” [Source: NYT]

As a salesman of Creators Syndicate’s cartoons, I felt like an ambulance chaser when I had to call newspaper editors a few days after Mr. Schulz’s death to push replacement comic strips. I was a Peanuts fan, and I suppose I hadn’t finished mourning. I’m so glad to now have finished my credentials for a new line of work. – TL

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