Your Week in History: Creation and the Lone Ranger - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Your Week in History: The Creation story and the Lone Ranger story

Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger with his horse, Silver. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger with his horse, Silver. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
A picture of the Earthrise taken by astronauts on board Apollo 8. (Source: NASA/Wikimedia Commons) A picture of the Earthrise taken by astronauts on board Apollo 8. (Source: NASA/Wikimedia Commons)
A painting by Emanuel Leutze depicting George Washington crossing the Delaware River. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) A painting by Emanuel Leutze depicting George Washington crossing the Delaware River. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
British and German soldiers in 'no man's land' during a Christmas truce in World War I. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) British and German soldiers in 'no man's land' during a Christmas truce in World War I. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

(RNN) - So, it's Christmas.

There are a few good things about Christmas, but none is better than the food. I don't know what kinds of things you stuff your face with every year, but I'm a fudge and sausage ball-eating machine. Fudge can get old after a little while because it's so sweet, but sausage balls never get old.

I can't be in a room with sausage balls and not eat them. I can't be in the same zip code with sausage balls and not eat them.

There are always sausage balls at my family's Christmas gatherings and I've been told this year will be no different. It's my No. 1 reason for wanting to be there. I even bought the dog some treats that are "made with real meat and cheese." She's going to love me.

Betty Crocker has a ridiculous recipe that includes parsley and rosemary, which is completely unnecessary (though the added Parmesan cheese intrigues me). Paula Deen recommends adding pepper. You can even find a recipe that includes cream cheese.

I'm a sausage ball purist, if such a thing exists. Sausage, cheddar cheese and Bisquick are all you need. Oh, and a good place to hide them from everybody else.

Here are some of the events of note that happened between Dec. 23 and 29.

Life and Death

Let's spend Christmas with the Duke, shall we? Starting Tuesday, AMC has 48 hours worth of John Wayne scheduled: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Chisum, Rio Bravo, Cahill U.S. Marshall, The Shootist, McLintock!, El Dorado and The Sons of Katie Elder. Now, that's a good Christmas. The only thing that could make it better would be if True Grit was thrown in there, too.

This is a huge week for Wayne connections - one of the biggest of the year - and let's start with the guy who wrote True Grit - Charles Portis - who was born Dec. 28, 1933.

When I was in the fifth grade, we spent some library sessions listening to the school librarian read True Grit and then watched the movie. I'd already seen it like three times by then, but still - Greatest. Class. Ever.

Some other Wayne connections this week are Marlene Dietrich (Seven Sinners and The Spoilers) who was born Dec. 27, 1901, James Gregory (The Sons of Katie Elder) was born Dec. 23, 1911, Richard Widmark (The Alamo) was born Dec. 26, 1914, Our Gang star Mary Kornman (The Desert Trail) was born Dec. 27, 1915, Patric Knowles (Chisum) died Dec. 23, 1995, Harry Carey Jr. (Red River and Cahill U.S. Marshall) died Dec. 27, 2012, and Denver Pyle (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Horse Soldiers and The Alamo) and Dean Martin (The Sons of Katie Elder and Rio Bravo) both died Christmas Day 1995.

Woodrow Wilson was born Dec. 28, 1856, Andrew Johnson was born Dec. 29, 1808, Harry Truman died Dec. 26, 1972, and Gerald Ford died Dec. 26, 2006.

Isaac Newton (1642), Clara Barton (1821), Robert Ripley (1890), Humphrey Bogart (1899) and Jimmy Buffett (1946) were all born on Christmas Day, and W.C. Fields (1946) and Charlie Chaplin (1977) died.

Sitcom legend Mary Tyler Moore was born Dec. 29, 1936, director Sam Peckinpah died Dec. 28, 1984, Jack Klugman, half of The Odd Couple, died Dec. 24, 2012, and Clayton Moore, who played the Lone Ranger and is the subject of a David Letterman Christmas tradition, died Dec. 28, 1999.

Overlooked Anniversaries

The coronation of Charlemagne was held Dec. 25, 800, and William the Conqueror was crowned King of England on Dec. 25, 1066. The Stone of Scone, upon which British monarchs are crowned, was stolen Dec. 25, 1950, but it was recovered a few months later.

Iowa became a state Dec. 28, 1846. I think Iowa has a lot of corn and without corn we'd have no food, so I'm allowing Iowa to stay.

Beatlemania reached America on Dec. 26, 1963, when I Want to Hold Your Hand was released in the United States. They performed the song six weeks later on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Astronauts on board Apollo 8 made a live TV broadcast Christmas Eve 1968 and read the creation story from Genesis.

Something About Sports

The Boston Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees on Dec. 26, 1919, ushering in the Curse of the Bambino. The Red Sox didn't win the World Series for 86 years.

The Greatest Game Ever Played was Dec. 28, 1958. The Baltimore Colts won 23-17 over the New York Giants in the NFL championship game. The game was played at Yankee Stadium and was the first game to go into overtime.

The game featured two comebacks, with the Giants overcoming a 14-3 deficit to take a 17-14 lead. Baltimore then tied the game with a field goal with seven seconds left to send the game to overtime. Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas said after the game that they didn't even know what overtime was prior to having to play it.

The Giants took the kick, but were forced to go three-and-out. Baltimore then drove 80 yards on 13 plays, capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Alan Ameche.

The game was shown nationally by NBC but was blacked out in New York, and the network lost its feed with the Colts on the 8-yard line about to win the game. So, NBC ordered a sideline stat guy to run on the field to delay the game so they could fix the problem. It is a somewhat disputed event, but all evidence points to it actually happening.

The Week in Warfare

George Washington led the Continental Army across the Delaware River during Christmas night 1776 to mount a surprise attack the next day against Hessian soldiers in the Battle of Trenton.

In what is perhaps the most famous military engagement of the Revolutionary War, the colonists won in a rout. The battle lasted only a couple of hours and even though it was a small battle in terms of size, it had a major impact on morale.

Washington's army lost only two men in the battle and both died of exposure to the elements.

Confederate Civil War soldiers were pardoned by President Andrew Johnson on Christmas Day 1868, and the Eggnog Riot occurred at the United States Military Academy on Christmas Eve 1826.

One-third of the cadets at the academy were involved, including future Confederate President Jefferson Davis. A large quantity of whiskey had been smuggled into the academy in preparation for a Christmas party and when it was discovered, cadets took up arms and defended the barracks against confiscation.

Twenty-one people were court-martialed in the incident, though Davis was not one of them.

A Christmas truce in World War I began Christmas Eve 1914. Soldiers from Great Britain and France exchanged gifts, played games and sang with rival German soldiers and mutually buried their dead. The most popular song sung during the unofficial truce was Silent Night, which was first performed Christmas Eve 1818, because it was one of the few songs known in all of the soldiers' languages.

Holiday You Should Celebrate

Obviously Christmas is this week, but here's some others worth talking about.

Today is Roots Day, where you can learn about your family's history and have your own boring story to tell to your cousin on Christmas when she rambles on about how well her baby sleeps at night, and how much better this baby sleeps than her first one, who she claims to love but says nothing good about. (Everybody pretends to care about both things, even though nobody cares about either. Oh, girl, let me tell you…)

For the foodies, Dec. 24 is National Egg Nog Day and National Chocolate Day, Dec. 25 is National Pumpkin Pie Day, Dec. 27 is National Fruitcake Day and Dec. 29 is Pepper Pot Day.

And, of course, the holiday season wouldn't be complete without the traditional airing of grievances. Festivus is Dec. 23 - TODAY! - but some of you celebrated early when I gave Christmas music its rightful disparaging a couple of weeks ago.

Preview of next week

"Why? Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy?"

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