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James Bulger Murder Case 1993 One of the truly shocking crimes of the late twentieth century was the abduction and murder of two-year-old James Bulger in Liverpool, England. His killers were two 10-year-olds, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, who committed the crime for no discernible reason. James wandered away from his mother, Denise, at the New Strand Shopping Centre on February 12, 1993. His mutilated body was found on a nearby railway line two days later. Thompson and Venables, who had skipped school, were photographed by a security camera leading Bulger away. They took Bulger two miles from the mall where they tortured him and bludgeoned him to death with bricks, stones, and an iron bar. The killers then placed the child's corpse on the railway tracks to make Bulger's death appear to be an accident. They were charged with Bulger's abduction and murder on February 20. The twosome were found guilty on November 24, 1993, thus becoming the youngest people ever to be convicted of murder in England. The trial judge sentenced them to be detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure, with a recommendation that they should be kept in custody for 'very, very many years to come,' recommending a minimum term of eight years. Shortly after the trial, the Lord Chief Justice ordered that the two boys should serve a minimum of 10 years, which would have made them eligible for release in February 2003 when they were both 20. The outraged British public felt the sentence was far too lenient. The editors of The Sun newspaper began a petition asking Home Secretary Michael Howard to increase the killers' time in custody. The petition eventually topped 300,000 signatures. This campaign was successful. In 1995 Howard announced the boys would be kept in custody for a minimum of 15 years, meaning that they would not be considered for release until February 2008 when they would be 25 years old. In 1997, the Court of Appeal ruled that Howard's decision was unlawful, and the Home Secretary lost his power to set minimum terms for life-sentence prisoners under 18 years of age. The High Court and European Court of Human Rights have since ruled that, though the parliament may set minimum and maximum terms for individual categories of crime, it is the responsibility of the trial judge, with the benefit of all the evidence and argument from both prosecution and defense council, to determine the minimum term in individual criminal cases. After a parole hearing in June 2001, Thompson and Venables were released on a 'life licence' after serving just eight years. The hearing concluded that 'public safety would not be threatened by their rehabilitation.' An injunction was imposed after the trial, preventing the publication of details about the boys, for fear of reprisals. The injunction remains in force, so their new identities and locations cannot be published (although this ruling only applies to the United Kingdom). They walk among us today, protected by legal anonymity. Meanwhile the hapless James Bulger remains two years old forever...
Tags: murder  James  Bulger  Jon  Venables  Robert  Thompson  Britain 
Added: 15th December 2009
Views: 3712
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
ZIP Codes Invented 1963 American postal addresses used to be the essence of simplicity: street address, city, and state. In 1946 numbers were added to the addresses of large cities to designate delivery zones. For example, an address might include 'Minneapolis 16, Minnesota'--meaning the mail was going to delivery zone #16 in that city. By the early 1960s a more general system was needed. On July 1, 1963 non-mandatory five-digit ZIP codes were announced for the whole country. ZIP is an acronym for 'Zone Improvement Plan.' The numerals in the ZIP codes progressively got larger as the addresses moved westward. ZIP codes became mandatory for second-class and third-class mail in 1967. Robert Moon, an employee of the post office, is considered the father of the ZIP code. He submitted his proposal in 1944 while working as a postal inspector. In 1983, large delivery centres had an additional four digits preceded by a hyphen added to their ZIP codes.
Tags: ZIP  codes 
Added: 15th March 2010
Views: 2757
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Posted By: Lava1964
JFK - Ich Bin Ein Berliner On June 26, 1963, in the shadow of the Berlin Wall, John F. Kennedy delivered the most famous speech of his presidency. To show solidarity with the free citizens of West Berlin, JFK said the German phrase, 'Ich bin ein Berliner.' This sentence has three translations: 'I am a Berliner,' 'I am a citizen of Berlin,' or rather comically, 'I am a jelly doughnut.' An urban myth claims the Germans in the audience snickered at the comment because of the possible jelly doughnut translation. However, the truth is that most Germans were intelligent enough to realize which meaning was intended. An English equivalent would be if someone said, 'I am a New Yorker.' What would a reasonable person conclude? Does the speaker mean he is a resident of New York or a renowned magazine?
Tags: JFK  Berlin  speech  jelly  doughnut 
Added: 24th November 2010
Views: 1276
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Posted By: Lava1964
NFL Champs Vs. College All-Stars 1934-1976 The Chicago Charities College All-Star Game was a preseason football tilt played annually (except 1974) from 1934 to 1976 between the National Football League champions and a team of star college seniors from the previous year. (There was one exception: The 1935 game involved the 1934 runner-up Chicago Bears instead of the champion New York Giants.) The game originally was a benefit for Chicago-area charities. Except for the 1943 and 1944 games which were held at Northwestern University, the game was always played at Soldier Field in Chicago. The first game, played before a crowd of 79,432 on August 31, 1934, was a scoreless tie between the all-stars and the Chicago Bears. The following year, a game that included future president Gerald Ford, the Bears won, 5-0. The first all-star win was in 1937 for a squad that featured Sammy Baugh. In the 1940s the games were competitive affairs that attracted large crowds to Soldier Field. But as the talent level of pro football improved, the all-stars had diminishing success. The last all-star win came in 1963, when a team coached by legendary quarterback Otto Graham beat the Green Bay Packers 20-17. By the 1970s, crowds for the event were dwindling. In addition, NFL coaches were reluctant to part with their new draftees (who would miss part of training camp) for a meaningless exhibition in which the players might be injured. A players' strike forced the cancellation of the 1974 game. The last game took place in a torrential downpour on July 23, 1976. Despite featuring stars such as Chuck Muncie, Mike Pruitt, Lee Roy Selmon and Jackie Slater, the collegians were hopelessly outclassed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh was leading 24-0 late in the third quarter when play was suspended due to the awful weather conditions. The game was not restarted. Chicago Tribune Charities Inc., the sponsor of the game, elected not to bring it back for 1977. A program from the 1941 game is shown here. Overall, the NFL teams won 31 of the 42 games. The all-stars won nine. Two games ended in ties.
Tags: football  all-stars  NFL 
Added: 13th December 2010
Views: 41125
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Posted By: Lava1964
Queen For A Day Total Television calls Queen For A Day, '...possibly the most maudlin game show ever broadcast'--and for good reason. Considered a forerunner of modern-day reality TV, QFAD was a successful radio program beginning in 1945 before airing on daytime television from 1956 through 1964. At the peak of the show's popularity in the late 1950s, NBC expanded it from 30 to 45 minutes to sell more commercials, at a then-premium rate of $4,000 per minute. QFAD opened with host Jack Bailey asking the largely female studio audience, 'Would YOU like to be queen for a day?' After this, the contestants were introduced and interviewed. Each contestant talked about recent financial and emotional hard times she had been through. The sob stories were rated on an applause meter. Bailey began each interview gently, asking the contestant first about her life and family, and maintaining a positive and upbeat response no matter what she told him. The interview climaxed with Bailey asking the contestant what she needed most and why she wanted to win the title of Queen for a Day. Often the request was for medical care or therapeutic equipment to help a chronically ill child, but sometimes it was as simple as the need for a hearing aid, a new washing machine, or a refrigerator. Many women broke down sobbing as they described their plights, and Bailey was always quick to comfort them and offer a clean white handkerchief to dry their eyes. The more pitiful the story a contestant had, the likelier the studio audience was to reach the applause meter's highest level. The winner, to the musical accompaniment of Pomp and Circumstance, would be draped in a sable-trimmed red velvet robe, given a glittering jeweled crown to wear, placed on a velvet-upholstered throne, and handed a dozen long-stemmed roses to hold as she wept, often uncontrollably, while her list of prizes was announced. The prizes began with the necessary help the woman had requested, but might include a vacation, a night on the town with her husband or escort, silver-plated flatware, an array of kitchen appliances, and a selection of fashion clothing. The losing contestants were each given smaller prizes; no one went away from the show without a meaningful gift. Bailey's trademark sign-off was 'This is Jack Bailey, wishing we could make every woman a queen--for every single day!' A 1970 short-lived syndicated revival of QFAD quickly fell into disfavor with viewers when it was revealed the 'contestants' were actually actresses.
Tags: Queen  For  A  Day  reality  TV  game  show 
Added: 24th February 2011
Views: 1839
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Posted By: Lava1964
Offensive Words Expunged From Scrabble Dictionary In 1993, Judith Grad, a kitchen-table Scrabble enthusiast was horrified to discover that the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (OSPD) contained racial, religious, and ethnic slurs along with common vulgarities and obscenities. She wrote letters of complaint to Hasbro (the company that owns Scrabble) and Merriam-Webster, the publisher of OSPD. The general response was that although some words were certainly offensive, they were still words that could be found in any collegiate-level dictionary. Moreover, their meanings were irrelevant to the game. Unsatisfied, Grad contacted the Anti-Defamation League of B'Nai Brith, the NAACP, and the Zionist Organization of America. That, combined with a letter-writing campaign organized by the National Council of Jewish Women, brought the 'offensive word issue' some mainstream publicity. Without consulting Merriam-Webster or the National Scrabble Association (NSA), Hasbro chairman Alan Hassenfeld, in a knee-jerk reaction, announced that '50 to 100 words' would be expunged when the next edition of OSPD was published. Predictably, serious tournament Scrabble players went nuts, accusing Hasbro of caving into censorship, political correctness and the 'language police.' A petition bearing the signatures of more than 800 tournament players was presented to Hasbro demanding Hassenfeld's decision be reversed. At the 1994 U.S. National Scrabble Championship in Los Angeles, an angry mob of more than 200 players vociferously declared their opposition to any expurgation and vowed to quit the game or even sue the NSA if any words were removed from the lists because of political correctness. An acceptable compromise was reached: Starting in 1996 a separate Official Word List (OWL)--without definitions--would be made available to tournament players through the NSA, while a sanitized OSPD would be sold to the general public. OSPD would contain no offensive words and a not-too-prominent disclaimer that it was only 'official' for school and recreational play. Since offensiveness is highly subjective, determining the words that were eventually expunged from OSPD was itself controversial. Brace yourself: Among the 303 'naughty' words you'll no longer see in OSPD are FATSO, LIBBERS, REDSKIN, GRINGO, BAZOOMS, COMSYMP, POONTANG, WETBACK, PAPIST, BADASS, REDNECK, BULLDYKE and STIFFIE.
Tags: Scrabble  words  censorship  political  correctness 
Added: 8th March 2011
Views: 3490
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Posted By: Lava1964
1992 Little League World Series Scandal In 1992 the Little League baseball team representing Zamboanga City, Philippines won its way through national trials and the Far East series. After brushing aside the competition at Williamsport, PA, the team was crowned the champion of the 46th Little League World Series. Not long afterward, though, the team was stripped of its title after Filipino journalists revealed the team had used ineligible players who did not meet either age or residency requirements. In 1992 the LLWS introduced a new format--round-robins within both the American and International pools. Zamboanga City thumped Kaiserslauten, Germany, then Valleyfield, Quebec to clinch a berth in the International final. They lost a meaningless game to Epyguerrerro, Dominican Republic, but beat them 5-1 when it counted in the International final. The LLWS championship game, on August 29, against Long Beach, California, was a blowout, with Zamboanga City scoring seven runs in the first inning and cruising to an easy 15-4 win. The team was hailed as heroes in the Philippines. Filipino president Fidel V. Ramos awarded the players' families a million pesos. Long Beach head coach Jeff Burroughs remarked that one Filipino pitcher, Roberto Placious, had the poise of a high school or college pitcher. He may have been right! A few days after Zamboanga City's victory, journalist Al Mendoza of the Philippine Daily Inquirer began a series of stories suggesting that some players were ineligible for the LLWS. In response to this allegation, Little League headquarters faxed administrator Armando Andaya questions regarding the players' ages, birth certificates, residence--and a specific question regarding pitcher Ian Tolentino's participation in a tournament in 1990 (suggesting this would have made him overage in 1992). Andaya admitted to violating rules on district representation. Eight players were from outside the Zamboanga City area--some came from as far away as Luzon and were unable to speak Chabacano, the language most commonly spoken in Zamboanga. Little League Baseball promptly stripped Zamboanga City of its title. Under Little League rules at the time, when a team was found to have used an ineligible player, it forfeited only its most recent game. Since the revelation was made after the championship game, that game was declared a 6-0 forfeit victory for Long Beach--which was awarded the LLWS title. The exposed players and parents remained defiant, and accused Little League Baseball of denying them due process. Many Filipinos were outraged at what they saw as a betrayal by Mendoza. (He was given the key to the city of Long Beach!) Nevertheless, fellow Inquirer journalist Armand N. Nocum conducted a further investigation and found that even the six true Zamboangueños were overage--one was at least 15--and thus ineligible. It was further discovered the fraud was based upon the ineligible players assuming the identities of eligible players who had represented the city at the national championships. In some cases, even the parents of the ineligible players assumed false identities to maintain the appearance of propriety. Apparently no lesson was learned by the Zamboanga City Little League. The very next year its team was disqualified from the Filipino national championship tournament in another overage-player scandal.
Tags: cheating  Little  League  Baseball  scandal  Philippines 
Added: 28th August 2011
Views: 4558
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
NFL Announcerless Telecast - 1980 "We are just moments away from the kickoff of today's Jets-Dolphins game and a telecast that figures to be different. The fact that we try something different--and dare to--has been greeted with almost every kind of reaction, from good-natured humor to applause to some surprising anger." That's how NBC's Bryant Gumbel's introduced what was about to happen on Saturday, December 20, 1980: NBC was going to broadcast an entire NFL game from Miami's Orange Bowl with neither a play-by-play announcer nor an analyst. It was a meaningless, season-ending game for two mediocre NFL teams, but Don Ohlmeyer (pictured here) turned it into a happening. Ohlmeyer was the first producer of Monday Night Football. He produced and directed three Olympics, won 16 Emmy awards, and is a member of the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Based on his years of experience, Ohlmeyer always believed that sports announcers talked too much. Here was an attention-seeking vehicle that would drive that point home. Ohlmeyer also thought the gimmick might be a way to boost ratings points out of an otherwise unattractive matchup. Dick Enberg, who was one of NBC's lead football announcers at the time, was not amused. He was worried. "My first reaction was of incredible nervousness," he recalled. "We're paid to talk, so all of us want to fill the air with lots of exciting words. We all gathered together, hoping that Ohlmeyer was dead wrong. I mean, he was flirting with the rest of our lives. What if this crazy idea really worked?" The game, won by the New York Jets 24-17, featured only sounds that could be picked up by on-field microphones, the referee's calls, plus the usual announcements from the Orange Bowl's stadium announcer. To compensate for the absence of TV announcers, NBC went overboard on its graphics and pre-recorded soundbites of players and coaches. It was a onetime experiment that was largely mocked by TV critics. Surprisingly, though, comments received at NBC's switchboard were about 60% favorable.
Tags: NFL  NBC  announcerless  telecast  Don  Ohlmeyer 
Added: 30th August 2011
Views: 2001
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Posted By: Lava1964
Dance Cards Here was a quaint custom that has sadly disappeared: Dance cards. A dance card was commonly used by a young woman to record the names of the gentlemen with whom she intended to dance each successive dance at a formal ball. They appear to have originated in 18th century, but their use first became widespread in 19th century Vienna. Typically a card would list of all the dances for the evening and their style: for example, waltz, polka, or quadrille. Opposite each dance was a space to record the name of the scheduled partner for that dance. After the event ended, the card was frequently kept by the young lady as a souvenir of the evening. Typically, it would have a cover indicating the date and sponsoring organization of the ball and a decorative cord by which it could be attached to a lady's wrist or ball gown. From the 19th century until the First World War, dance cards for the elite of Austria-Hungary were often very elaborate, with some even incorporating precious metals and jewels. In modern times the expression "dance card" is often used metaphorically, as when someone says "pencil me into your dance card," meaning "find some time to spend with me". Conversely, someone's "dance card is full" implies that even though they may be interested, they have no time for another person.
Tags: dance  cards 
Added: 3rd September 2011
Views: 2848
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Washington Senators Last Game - 1971 The Washington Senators' 71st and last season in the American League came to a sad and strange end on September 30, 1971. Some 14,000 disenchanted fans came to RFK stadium one last time to see the home team play the New York Yankees in a meaningless contest. Many brought along insulting and obscene banners denouncing team owner Bob Short who had announced the team was relocating to Texas for the 1972 season. Love was showered on the players, though. Even the most mediocre Senators were given hearty cheers when they first came to bat. The loudest ovation was saved for slugging fan favorite Frank Howard who responded with a home run. However, things began to turn ugly in the eighth inning just after the Senators had taken a 7-5 lead. Here's Shirley Povich's account of what happened as it appeared in the next day's Washington Post: "As if in sudden awareness that the end of major-league baseball in Washington was only one inning way, the mood hardened. 'We want Bob Short!' was the cry that picked up in loud and angry chorus, and it was the baying-fury sound of a lynch mob. Then a swarm of young kids, squirts who wouldn't know what it had meant to have a big-league team all these years, or what it would mean to lose one, flooded onto the field from all points of the stands. A public address announcement warned that the home team could forfeit the game unless the field was cleared, and pretty soon the game resumed. It got as far as two out in the ninth, the Senators' 7-5 lead intact, no Yankee on base, when one young rebel from the stands set off again. He grabbed first base and ran off with it. Some unbelievers, undaunted by the warning of forfeit, cheered, and from out of the stands poured hundreds, maybe a couple of thousand fans. They took over the infield, the outfield, grabbed off every base as a souvenir, tried to get the numbers and lights from the scoreboard or anything else removable, and by their numbers left police and the four umpires helpless to intervene. The mad scene on the field, with the athletes of both teams taking refuge in their dugouts, brought official announcement of Yankees 9, Senators 0, baseball's traditional forfeit count almost since Abner Doubleday notched the first baseball score on the handiest twig at Cooperstown. But by then the crowd-mood was philosophical, 'So what?' Or more accurately, 'So what the hell?' The Senators were finished, even if the ball game wasn't."
Tags: baseball  riot  1971  Washington  Senators 
Added: 16th January 2012
Views: 4411
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964

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