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Pizza, moptops, and meteors: Today, Feb. 9

February 9 is National Pizza Day

That’s right. Say it out loud once. Today is National Pizza Day. Delicious gooey pizza, slathered in tangy sauce and smothered in delicious toppings, today is the day specifically set aside to appreciate this most wonderful addition to world cuisine.

The history of pizza is pretty interesting, but for my money, the most interesting history of any pizza is the story of it being removed from the oven and delivered to me. But, for those who want a deeper understanding, the first mentions of pizza date to the 10th century, in a town called Gaeta, Italy, although modern pizza was invented in Naples.

There really isn’t much more to it Pizza can be topped with just about anything, from cheeses and meats to various vegetables and even fruits. For me the pizza tastes best when loaded up with mushrooms, pepperoni and sausage. How do you like yours?

However it is, enjoy a pizza today. It’s your patriotic duty, after all.


Today in history: February 9, 1965 The Beatles appear on the Ed Sullivan Show.

While many people have varied opinions on pop music and he various acts that have come and gone, there are certain events in the history of American popular culture that are monumental, and the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show is one of them.

The Ed Sullivan Show, also known as Toast of the Town, is one of the few entertainment programs that ran on network TV in the same time slot for more than 20 years. From 1948 to 1971 the Ed Sullivan Show was broadcast on CBS at 8PM every Sunday night. It’s format brought in every sort of act, from stand up comedians to opera singers to classical musicians to plate spinners, acrobats and sword swallowers, the show had it all. It also was a groundbreaking program in bringing the latest sensations from the exploding scene of rock and Roll to an American audience that was at once enthralled and terrified by what rock and roll represented. Elvis Presley performed on the Show as his career started to blossom, and the censors were so afraid of his gyrations that they refused to show him from the waist down.
Sullivan noticed the audiences rock and roll musicians were attracting and did not shy away. By chance in 1963 Sullivan was in Heathrow Airport in the UK when the Beatles arrived, and the reaction he saw from the crowd amazed him. So when the opportunity came for the Beatles to come to America, he seized at the chance to book them for three nights on his show.

As the date for the appearance approached, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was rapidly climbing the charts, and there was tremendous anticipation. The broadcast drew 73 million viewers, which smashed the records at the time.


Weird History: The Great 1913 Meteor Procession

The 1913 Great Meteor Procession occurred on February 9, 1913. It was a unique meteoric phenomenon reported from locations across Canada, the northeastern United States, and Bermuda, and from many ships at sea, including eight off Brazil, giving a total recorded ground track of over 7,000 miles

The meteors were particularly unusual in that there was no apparent radiant  point in the sky from which the meteors appeared to originate. The observations were analysed in detail, later the same year, by the astronomer Clarence Chant, leading him to conclude that as all accounts were positioned along a great circle arc, the source had been a small, short-lived natural satellite of the Earth.

Unfortunately, the night was cloudy across much of the northeastern US, depriving the event of some 30 million potential witnesses, but many detailed accounts came from frm many other locales. An observer in Ontario reported:

A huge meteor appeared travelling from northwest by west to southeast, which, as it approached, was seen to be in two parts and looked like two bars of flaming material, one following the other. They were throwing out a constant stream of sparks and after they had passed they shot out balls of fire straight ahead that travelled more rapidly than the main bodies. They seemed to pass over slowly and were in sight about five minutes. Immediately after their disappearance in the southeast a ball of clear fire, that looked like a big star, passed across the sky in their wake. This ball did not have a tail or show sparks of any kind. Instead of being yellow like the meteors, it was clear like a star.

Subsequent observers also noted a large, white, tail-less body bringing up the rear, but the various bodies making up the meteor procession continued to disintegrate and to travel at different rates throughout their course, so that by the time observations were made in Bermuda, the leading bodies were described as "like large arc lights in appearance, slightly violet in colour", followed closely by yellow and red fragments.

An unusual feature in the reports was that several appeared to indicate a second meteor procession on the same course around 5 hours later, although the Earth's rotation meant that there was no obvious mechanism to explain this.

One observer, an A. W. Brown from Thamesville, Ontario, reported seeing both the initial meteor procession and a second one on the same course at 02:20 the next morning. Chant's original report also referred to a series of three groups of "dark objects" which passed, on the same course as the previous meteors, from west to east over Toronto on the afternoon of February 10, which he suggested were "something of a meteoric nature".

Eight stations in Canada reported feeling a trembling of the house or ground. In many other places loud, thunder-like sounds were heard, occasionally by people who had not seen the meteors themselves. The sound reports to perform a check on the height of the meteors, which were calculated at 35 miles above Earth.

As said above, theories suggest that the meteors, dubbed the “Cyrillids”, appeared to have been the destruction of a small satellite object, either an asteroid trapped in Earth’s gravity, or the remnants of a ring that had been possibly formed by lunar ejecta due to volcanic activity or other impacts.

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