Ciao: 11/11/11 only comes around once ... well, once every hundred years

BILL KLAUBER

Today is the 11th day of the 11th month in the 11th year of the 21st century. It has been 100 years since that last happened and it will be 100 years before it will happen again.

I thought it would be interesting to see what has occurred in the hundred years since 11/11/11. As you can imagine a lot has happened, good and bad, extraordinary and commonplace, wondrous and disastrous, funny and sad.

It was a century of two World Wars and countless human catastrophes and natural disasters, upheavals of all dimensions. But it also was a hundred years of unprecedented innovation and invention, unbelievable scientific discoveries and achievement as well as remarkable medical advances and significant social reform which have led to a more convivial, comfortable, convenient and enjoyable lifestyle.

We have experienced a steady stream of achievements in areas which have contributed to our human comforts and well being, our every day enjoyment of life, our food for the body and for the soul, so to speak.

So, with the wink of an eye and a hint of a smile, here is a list, in chronological order, of some milestones of the last 100 years, some trivial and others perhaps amusing, but all noteworthy in one way or another.

1911: The Mona Lisa is stolen from the Louvre. When she is returned she appeared to have a bit of a smirk, rather than a broad smile. Does that give any kind of a hint? Also, how about the Venus di Milo. Who really cut off her arms and legs?

1912: The Oreo cookie is introduced but it took a hundred years for the company to realize that the bits and pieces broken off by careless bakers could be packaged and sold as Mini Oreos.

1913: The crossword puzzle became an immediate success as a diversion. In response, the government, surmising that citizens had too much time on their hands, introduced the personal income tax and we have been taxed by it ever since.

1914: The Panama Canal officially opened and the first traffic light was installed, but not at the Canal. World War I begins, but not over who had the right of way.

1918: Daylight Saving Time introduced. Let’s see, is it fall back or spring back?

1920: Women granted the right to vote. Prohibition begins. Think it’s a coincidence?

1921: Lie detector invented, probably because of Prohibition. As in, “Honey, I swear, I never had a drop.”

1928: Bubble gum was sold for the first time (probably by a dentist).

1929: First Academy Awards were presented. Also the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre occurred, but that didn’t make the best movie list because “talkies” were in their infancy and “The Untouchables” had yet to be filmed.

1932: Air conditioning was invented and the movie business grew exponentially as temperatures rose. Hence the motto “Movies Are Better Than Ever--In The Summer.”

1933: The Loch Ness Monster was first sighted in the Scottish Highlands. From personal experience, I can tell you that I saw nothing until I was on my third fifth (and you can bank on that).

1934: The cheeseburger was created, but McDonald’s waited till the burger reached adulthood in 1955 to begin its chain with the burger as its main offering.

1936: Dale Carnegie publishes his formula on “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Regarding home life, he suggests “Don’t nag, don’t criticize and read a good book on the sexual side of marriage.” Personally I believe in practice makes perfect. I read a good book to fall asleep.

1938: Nylon stockings hit the market. What will they think of next? How about the T-shirt in 1942 leading to wet T-shirt contests? Or the introduction of bikinis in 1946 where everything got wet.

1945: To help dry everything — well, almost everything — the microwave oven was invented.

1947: The Polaroid camera was introduced so photos of ladies in wet T-shirt contests and in bikinis could be seen immediately and passed around to all the nearby men.

1950: In retribution, the first modern credit card was issued with women permitted to have one, or two or….

1951: The TV remote control was marketed as retribution to husbands of the above and which also led to the coining of the phrase couch potato by some vindictive wife.

1953: Ah yes, retribution is so sweet. The first Playboy magazine published. Thank you, Hugh.

1955: Disneyland opens in California followed a few years later by Disney World here in Florida. (Now we can claim Mickey and Minnie, Donald and Daffy and the rest of the troop as Floridians and as dependents. I suspect they have homesteaded, but I wonder if they are covered by Citizen’s Insurance and if they contribute to the state’s health insurance plan.)

1955: Hoola hoops come on the scene. They are all the rage.

1959: I was married and there has been no rage there, although I have been jumping though hoops ever since. Whoops, there’s a blooper if I ever made one! Just kidding, darling.

1960: Quiz shows found to be “fixed.” Too bad I didn’t know sooner or I might have spun my “Wheel of Fortune” to “Beat the Clock” without any “Jeopardy.”

1964: Beatlemania infests the United States and the Beatles become the most popular arrivals from Britain since the Revolutionary War, although people have been buzzing about the more recent visit of Prince William and Kate.

1969: And the next rock and roll invasion takes place in Woodstock, N.Y., where more than a half million concertgoers jammed the hillsides in the Catskills Mountains for the three-day festival.

1972: MASH comes to TV and stays for 11 seasons. Its 251 episodes were viewed by more than 125 million people and countless more as the show remains in syndication.

1979: SONY markets the first Walkman, a product that certainly didn’t fall on deaf ears. For walkers, joggers and bicycle riders they can be as distracting as cell phones and to some they are to pedestrians what cell phones and texting are to drivers.

1989: President George H. W. Bush announces his dislike of broccoli leading to the precipitous decline in broccoli futures and Bush’s as well when he said “Read my lips, no more broccoli.”

1994: O.J. Simpson is arrested for double murder. His “if the gloves don’t fit, you must acquit” defense succeeded and he pledged to find the “real killer.” Years later when his search took him to Las Vegas, his involvement in an armed robbery attempt proved that what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas where O.J. now remains in prison for up to 33 years.

1998: Viagra hits the market and “raises” the hopes of millions of men suffering from erectile dysfunction. The majority of their wives are pleased as well.

2003: Arnold Schwarzenenegger is elected governor of California. The movie star of such smash hits as “The Terminator” has apparently smashed and terminated both his public career when his second term expires this year as well as his 25-year marriage because of his adulterous affair with a staff member. His wife, Maria Shriver, has filed for divorce.

While this brings us to 2011 and the end of this 100-year mostly lighthearted chronology, obviously there has been much omitted, including the unbelievable growth of social media such as Googling and blogging, Twitters and podcasts, Facebook and YouTube and all of the other web-based and mobile technologies.

I wonder what the world will be like in 2111? I would like to be here to find out. Perhaps I’ll look into the cryogenic freezing process. Ciao!

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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