December 12, 1965: Gale Sayers Scores Six Touchdowns in Game

On this day in 1965, Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers scored 6 touchdowns in a 61-20 rout of the San Francisco 49ers at Wrigley Field. The performance was the most exciting in the career one of the most electrifying players in NFL history.

Gale SayersOn this day in 1965, Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers scored 6 touchdowns in a 61-20 rout of the San Francisco 49ers at Wrigley Field. The performance was the most exciting in the career one of the most electrifying players in NFL history.

A rookie out of the University of Kansas, Sayers was already a star when the Bears and 49ers met in the 13th game of the season. He scored early on a screen pass. Then with his team leading 13-7, Sayers ran off-tackle for a 21-yard touchdown and took a 7-yard pitch for another. The Bears led 27-13 at halftime.

In the third quarter, he sealed the game with touchdown runs of 1 and 45 yards. Ironically, his most exciting score came on an 85-yard punt return in the 4th quarter when the Bears already had the game in hand.

His performance that day tied Ernie Nevers’ and Dub Jones’ records for the most touchdowns in a game, and has not since been touched. Knee injuries limited Sayers career to seven seasons, but performances like this one are why he was still inducted into the Hall of Fame.

December 11, 1934: Bill Wilson Takes Last Drink

On this day in 1934, Bill Wilson took his last drink. The next year he cofounded Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Bill WilsonOn this day in 1934, Bill Wilson took his last drink. The next year he cofounded Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Wilson began drinking in his early 20s and by his late 30s, was in and out of drug and alcohol treatment facilities. He finally found permanent sobriety after experiencing a spiritual conversion.

In 1935, Wilson teamed up with Dr. Bob Smith to help other alcoholics achieve sobriety and stay sober. After helping more than 100 individuals become sober, they published AA’s Twelve Steps in 1939.

Today, AA has helped countless recovering alcoholics.

December 10, 1864: Sherman Reaches Savannah

On this day in 1864, Union Major General William Tecumseh Sherman’s army reached the outskirts of Savannah. Thanks to certain circumstances, Savannah is one of the few cities along the “March to the Sea” that was not irrevocably damaged.

Sherman Entering SavannahOn this day in 1864, Union Major General William Tecumseh Sherman’s army reached the outskirts of Savannah. Thanks to certain circumstances, Savannah is one of the few cities along the “March to the Sea” that was not irrevocably damaged.

Following the capturing and burning of Atlanta in mid-November, Sherman’s troops headed southeast to Savannah, a crucial port for the Confederacy. Along the way, they burned crops and buildings, destroyed railroads and destroyed key military and industry targets, effectively breaking the economic and military backbone of the South.

When Sherman reached Savannah in December, there was a high likelihood that Georgia’s oldest city would burn. However, Confederate General William Hardee effectively blocked the Union Army’s entrance into the city for 10 days before escaping across the Savannah River with his men. On December 21, Savannah Mayor R. D. Arnold formally surrendered the city in exchange for the Union Army protecting the city and its property.

Sherman then telegraphed President Abraham Lincoln with the words, “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the City of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty guns and plenty of ammunition, also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.” In January of 1865, he then moved into South Carolina and applied the same methods he used in southeast Georgia.

December 9, 1994: Joycelyn Elders Fired as U.S. Surgeon General

On this day in 1994, U.S. President Bill Clinton fired U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders for controversial comments she made regarding human sexuality. Her tenure was the shortest of any Surgeon General, other than those serving in an acting capacity.

Joycelyn EldersOn this day in 1994, U.S. President Bill Clinton fired U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders for controversial comments she made regarding human sexuality. Her tenure was the shortest of any Surgeon General, other than those serving in an acting capacity.

Elders was effective. As Director of the Arkansas Department of Health, she led a substantial increase in the number of annual early childhood screenings and almost doubled the immunization rate for two-year-olds. However, she was also controversial, advocating for contraceptives to be distributed in schools and the possibility of legalizing drugs.

After being confirmed as Surgeon General in September of 1993, Elders got into hot water by suggesting that drug legalization could possibly reduce crime and should be studied. In January of 1994, she said, “We really need to get over this love affair with the fetus and start worrying about children.” The final straw came when she spoke at the United Nations on AIDS and was asked if promoting masturbation would prevent teens from engaging in riskier sexual activity. Elders replied, “I think that it is part of human sexuality, and perhaps it should be taught.” She was fired and served through the end of 1994.

Elders is currently professor emeritus at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She still continues to speak out on the issues that brought her under fire as Surgeon General.

December 8, 1927: The Brookings Institution Formed

On this day in 1927, The Brookings Institution was formed in Washington, DC. It is one of the nation’s capitol’s oldest think tanks and arguably the most influential in the world.

Brookings InstitutionOn this day in 1927, the Brookings Institution was formed in Washington, DC. It is one of the nation’s capitol’s oldest think tanks and arguably the most influential in the world.

Businessman and philanthropist Robert Brookings had originally founded three organizations, the Institute for Government Research, the Institute of Economics, and the Robert Brookings Graduate School affiliated with Washington University in St. Louis. He merged the three in 1927 to form the Brookings Institution.

Since then, the Institution has been involved in every almost policy issue facing the U.S. today. It has been credited with contributing to the creation of the United Nations, the Marshall Plan, and the Congressional Budget Office. The University of Pennsylvania’s 2012 Global Go To Think Tanks Report, ranks Brookings as the most influential think tank in the world.

December 7, 1963: Instant Replay Debuts in Televised Sports

On this day in 1963, video instant replay was used for the first time in CBS’ telecast of the Army-Navy game. While the start was bumpy, it revolutionized the way games were broadcast.

Army-Navy 1963On this day in 1963, video instant replay was used for the first time in CBS’ telecast of the Army-Navy game. While the start was bumpy, it revolutionized the way games were broadcast.

Showing plays again had begun in sports telecasts as early as 1955, but because of technological constraints, the plays would be re-run several minutes after they happened. For the Army-Navy game, CBS Sports Director Tony Vena had invented a system to replay instantly. Because of technical difficulties, it was only used once, showing Army’s Rollie Stichweh’s touchdown at full speed. Broadcaster Lindsey Nelson assured viewers that Army did not score again. Navy won the game 21-15.

Since then, instant replay has become vital to any broadcast. It’s hard to imagine life without it.

December 6, 1947: Everglades National Park Dedicated

On this day in 1947, U.S. President Harry Truman dedicated Everglades National Park in south Florida. The park preserves the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States.

Everglades National ParkOn this day in 1947, U.S. President Harry Truman dedicated Everglades National Park in south Florida. The park preserves the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States.

Prior to being drained in areas, this unique swampland covered 4,000 square miles along the southeast coast of Florida. Realizing the area was quickly diminishing, Congress passed legislation n 1934 establishing the park. President Truman then dedicated the park 13 years later.

Today, Everglades National Park protects about 20 percent of the original Everglades and receives about a million visitors. The one time I visited, I saw 5 alligators in a span of 30 minutes. If you’re in south Florida, it should be on your “must” list.

December 5, 1990: Iben Browning Predicts New Madrid Fault Earthquake

On this day in 1990, time ran out on the late Iben Browning’s prediction that an earthquake would occur on the New Madrid Fault. Folks in Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana breathed a sigh of relief.

Iben BrowningOn this day in 1990, time ran out on the late Iben Browning’s prediction that an earthquake would occur on the New Madrid Fault. Folks in Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana breathed a sigh of relief.

Browning was a climatologist who made a lot of bold predictions throughout his life. He predicted the 1980 eruption of Mt. Saint Helens and the 1985 Mexico City and 1989 San Francisco earthquakes. Then on an episode of “Unsolved Mysteries,” Browning predicted that a major earthquake would occur on the New Madrid Fault between December 1 and 5 in 1990.

The New Madrid Fault runs for 120 miles through Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois. In 1811-1812, an earthquake along the fault caused the Mississippi River to flow backwards and form Reelfoot Lake, a swampy body of water that you may have seen in “In the Heat of the Night” and “U.S. Marshals.”

For those five days, the focus of the world was on New Madrid, Missouri, which Browning said would be the epicenter of the earthquake. Even in East Tennessee, preparation mixed with skepticism was the main topic of discussion.

Fortunately, Browning was wrong and life returned to normal within a few days.

December 4, 1956: Paul Hornung Wins Heisman Trophy

On this day in 1956, Notre Dame’s Paul Hornung became the only player to ever win the Heisman Trophy on a losing team. Johnny Majors, an All-American running back on an undefeated Tennessee team, finished second. Thus began the Vol fans tumultuous relationship with college football’s most prestigious award.

1956 Heisman TrophyOn this day in 1956, Notre Dame’s Paul Hornung became the only player to ever win the Heisman Trophy on a losing team. Johnny Majors, an All-American running back on an undefeated Tennessee team, finished second. Thus began the Vol fans tumultuous relationship with college football’s most prestigious award.

Tennessee has never had a Heisman Trophy winner and only two players, Majors and Peyton Manning, who finished second in the race. The first time, Heisman voters chose to break the mold and select a player from a losing team. The second time, voters decided to make Charles Woodson of Michigan the only defensive player to ever receive the Heisman. Tennessee fans’ reaction to Manning’s loss is the stuff of embarrassing lore, but the behavior stemmed from this original insult in 1956.

Notre Dame started the season ranked third in the preseason AP poll. They laid an egg in their opening game, losing 19-13 to Southern Methodist, on their way to a 2-8 season. Their losses included a 28-14 defeat by Purdue, a 47-14 drubbing by Michigan State, a 40-0 shutout by Oklahoma, a 33-7 whooping by Navy and 48-8 slaughter by Iowa.

Today, any player from a team with that resume would be laughed out of the race, but not in 1956. Times were obviously different and when asked about it, Majors always said the Heisman should have gone to Syracuse’s Jim Brown, who finished fifth in the voting (The Heisman would not be awarded to an African-American player until the Orangemen’s Ernie Davis won it in 1961.).

While Tennessee fans’ behavior following Manning’s loss was trashy by all standards, it is important to understand where their frustration began.

December 3, 1948: Ozzy Osbourne Born

On this day in 1948, John Michael Osbourne was born in Birmingham, England. Under his nickname, “Ozzy,” he has become the Godfather of Heavy Metal.

Ozzy OsbourneOn this day in 1948, John Michael Osbourne was born in Birmingham, England. Under his nickname, “Ozzy,” he has become the Godfather of Heavy Metal.

Osbourne’s first band, Black Sabbath, launched the heavy metal genre with its dark, bone-crunching sound. When Osbourne was fired from the band in 1979, he embarked on a solo career and became the darkest music of the 1980s. He bit the head off both a bat and a dove, peed on the Alamo and famously proclaimed that “Sobriety fucking sucks.” The fact that he was the same age as my dad only added to his notoriety.

The irony was that unlike the doom and gloom of Sabbath’s tracks, Osbourne’s solo music was actually… well, fun. And as he has settled into a life of sobriety that didn’t suck, he has become embraced and accepted by a legion of Americans who know little about his music.

Whether your knowledge of Osbourne does not extend beyond his shenanigans, reality TV and “Crazy Train,” here are five great solo songs worth downloading.

5. I Don’t Want to StopBlack Rain (2007)
Fun song sums up anyone who has a smidgeon of drive in them.

4. Flying High AgainDiary of a Madman (1981)
This song summed up Osbourne’s feeling after his career was resurrected from the doldrums.

3. Perry MasonOzzmosis (1995)
The most controversial performer of the 1980s sings about one of the most conservative shows of the 1950s and 1960s. Awesome.

2. I Don’t Want to Change the WorldNo More Tears (1991)
Osbourne won a well-deserved Grammy for this one.

1. Crazy TrainBlizzard of Ozz (1980)
Unforgettable riff launched Osbourne’s solo career. Who would’ve thought that you’d one day hear this song at weddings?