Monthly Archives: April 2017

Casey Jones Dies on the Cannonball Express (1900)

Jones was an American locomotive engineer whose main claim to fame, until his fateful run on the Cannonball Express, was his punctuality. On April 30, 1900, he was driving the Cannonball Express south on a dangerous, accident-prone run when he suddenly saw a stalled freight train ahead. Instead of jumping to safety, he stayed to slow his train, saving his coworkers and passengers but losing his own life in the process. Who wrote the ballad that immortalized him as a folk hero? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Liberation Day (Vietnam)

On April 30, 1975, the Vietnam War officially came to an end as communist North Vietnamese tanks rolled onto the grounds of the Presidential Palace in the South Vietnamese capital city of Saigon. The Vietnamese hold celebrations throughout the month of April that culminate on April 30th, when the entire nation celebrates the final victory in Saigon (now named Ho Chi Minh City). In Ho Chi Minh City, there are military parades featuring marching bands and Vietnam War veterans. Fireworks are shot off to mark the hour when the South Vietnamese government officially surrendered. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Willie Nelson (1933)

Nelson is an American musician who helped create the blues-rock-country genre known as “outlaw music.” In his five-decade career, he has made more than 200 recordings. In the 1960s, he became a successful songwriter in Nashville but was not recognized for his own singing until he moved back to Texas and adopted the unique image that made him an icon. He is known for raising money to aid farmers and for his generous appearances at benefit concerts. What hit song did he write for Patsy Cline? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Forget-Me-Nots

Though they belong to a genus with roughly 50 species, most forget-me-nots are small, flat, five-petalled blue flowers with straggly stems. According to legend, the flowers received their name when a medieval knight, picking a posy for his lady by a riverside, fell into the water and drowned under the weight of his armor. As he was drowning, he threw the bouquet to his lover and shouted, “Forget me not!” Christian tradition, however, attributes the flower’s name to what event? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Oldsmobile Builds Its Last Car (2004)

Founded in 1897 by Ransom Olds, Oldsmobile—not Ford—was the first company to mass produce automobiles. After it became part of General Motors in 1908, it shifted to making luxury vehicles. Sales soared in the 1970s and 80s—the Cutlass was the top-selling car in America in 1976—but by the 90s, Oldsmobile had lost its market to other GM divisions. Amid declining profitability, GM discontinued the line in 2004 after 107 years. The first Oldsmobile was the Curved Dash. What was the last? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

A 10-day feast for the ears, the eyes, and the stomach held in New Orleans, Louisiana, this festival brings together thousands of musicians, artisans, and cooks who do their thing for more than half a million visitors. The concerts feature not only traditional and contemporary jazz, but also other music forms developed in New Orleans: ragtime, country, Cajun, zydeco, gospel, folk, and Latin. Food tents serve a multitude of indigenous foods, such as jambalaya, andouille, crawfish bisque, gumbo, frog legs, and so on. Hundreds of artisans also display their crafts. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis (1957)

The son of a British poet laureate and an actress, Day-Lewis is one of the most respected and critically acclaimed actors today. He is also one of the most selective, working only sporadically and maintaining a low profile between films. The intense method actor has won two Academy Awards for best actor, for 1989’s My Left Foot and 2007’s There Will Be Blood, and is known for his diverse and convincing roles. In 1997, he disappeared and became an apprentice in Italy—in what trade? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary