February 28th, 1939: A Dord by Any Other Name is Still Not a Word

  One of the areas of history that I’ve always found fascinating is etymology – the study of where words come from and, sometimes more importantly, why they become part of our culture. There’s a reason, for example, why in addition to saying we have bad dreams, we also say we have nightmares: a “mare” in…

February 14, 1779- Captain Cook is Killed in Hawaii

    Talking about Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day would be too easy, so let’s instead turn to everyone’s favorite subject: death and dismemberment! Today’s victim: Captain James Cook, British explorer responsible for beginning the cultural erosion of the Hawaiian islands by setting into motion a complex series of social, cultural, and biological exchanges and…

February 12, 1554 – Lady Jane Grey is Beheaded

    Nine days. That’s all Lady Jane’s reign as Queen of England lasted.  Two-hundred and sixteen hours, give or take, from the time she was usurped and arrested. Seven months later, she would be dead. Historians still have a hard time classifying Jane Grey’s role in the English monarchy – specifically whether she was…

February 9th, 1913: The Great and Mysterious Meteor Procession

“To most observers, the outstanding feature of the phenomenon was the slow, majestic motion of the bodies; and almost equally remarkable was the perfect formation which they retained.” – University of Toronto astronomer, Clarence Chant (source) On a cloudy and cold February evening in 1913, residents of eastern North America witnessed an astronomical phenomenon that…