Opinion

Moments in Time

The History Channel

• On April 7, 1776, Navy Captain John Barry, commander of the American warship Lexington, makes the first American naval capture of a British vessel when he takes command of the British warship HMS Edward off the coast of Virginia.

• On April 11, 1917, composer Scott Joplin, the “King of Ragtime,” dies in New York City. His “Maple Leaf Rag” of 1899 launched a national craze for ragtime music, and he composed many other popular ragtime songs, including “The Entertainer.”

• On April 9, 1939, black contralto Marian Anderson gives a free open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial. She had been scheduled to sing at Washington’s Constitution Hall, but the Daughters of the American Revolution denied her the right to perform because of her race.

• On April 12, 1954, Bill Haley and his band, the Comets, record “Rock Around the Clock.” Two years later the song became a hit when it was used as a theme for the movie “Blackboard Jungle,” becoming the first rock ‘n’ roll song to reach No. 1.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

By Samantha Weaver

• In the small Asian country of Bhutan, nestled in the mountains between China and India, there was no access to TV until 1999, and the capital city (if you can call it a city) still has not a single traffic light.

• It was Rwandan humanitarian leader Paul Rusesabagina who made the following sage observation: “There is no greater gift to an insecure leader that quite matches a vague enemy who can be used to whip up fear and hatred among the population.”

• Other than the fact that they were all famous writers, what did Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, James A. Michener and Leo Tolstoy have in common? They were all adopted.

• The medical journal Pediatrics conducted a study of 38 animated films, including “Sleeping Beauty,” “Dumbo,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Pinocchio,” “Fantasia” and “Peter Pan,” and its finding were somewhat surprising for films created for children. The films studied showed an average of 42 seconds of alcohol use.

(c) 2008 King Features Synd. Inc.

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