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Saturday, May 18, 2013

May 18, 1981

I hope that nobody minds too much, but for today's edition of the blog, I thought that I would flip the script a smidgen.

Firstly, I'm doing this blog entry entirely in purple. Not because it happens to be my favourite colour and the predominant colour of this site, but because it's somewhat symbolic. May 18 happens to be National Armed Forces Day in the United States, and the first symbol I think of when I think of the military is the Purple Heart Award, an honour given to all war veterans who were wounded while in combat. So, I thought that I would open today's entry by thanking all of the soldiers all over the world for their contributions to our nations for keeping us safe. Your sacrifices are not in vain.

And, perhaps what may be seen as the biggest shock of today is the fact that you will be witnessing the very first (and only) edition of the SATURDAY TIMELINE.

Yes, I know that Tuesdays are typically known as the Timeline entry...but for some reason, I decided to do a Saturday Timeline for today...just because I was curious to know what sort of events took place on a specific date in history. I'm sure that most of you know what today's timeline date was before you saw it listed in the title. But, for those of you who aren't aware, things will be made clearer in no time.

So, today is May 18, 2013, and like I would normally do for the Tuesday Timelines, I will be focusing on other events that happened throughout history on this date, as well as some famous people who are turning one year older today.

So, what happened on May 18? Lots, actually.

1565 – The Siege of Malta begins

1631 – John Winthrop becomes the first Governor of Massachusetts, 145 years before the United States of America becomes an independent nation

1652 – Rhode Island passes the first law making slavery illegal

1763 – A large portion of Montreal, Quebec burns to the ground

1804 – Napoleon Bonaparte is proclaimed Emperor of the French by the French Senate

1910 – The Earth passes through the tail of Halley's Comet

1911 – English ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn is born in Reigate, Surrey, England

1917 – The Selective Service Act of 1917 is passed, granting the President of the United States of America the power of conscription

1920 – Pope John Paul II is born in Wadowice, Republic of Poland

1927 – At least 45 are killed in the Bath School Disaster, after a disgruntled member of the Michigan school board plants and detonates bombs at the school.

1953 – Jackie Cochran becomes the first woman to break the sound barrier

1969 – Apollo 10 is launched

1980 – Mount St. Helens eruption causes $3 billion in damage and kills 57 people

1988 – Legendary voice artist, Daws Butler (Yogi Bear) dies at the age of 71

1990 – A new rail world speed record of 515 km/h is set by a modified TGV train in France

1995 – Actress Elizabeth Montgomery dies of cancer at the age of 62

2003 – Anti-smoking activist Barb Tarbox succumbed to brain and lung cancer at the age of 42

2012 – Facebook goes public, offering sales of stock to the masses and public trading on NASDAQ

And, for celebrity birthdays, I personally want to wish the following celebrities a happy birthday...especially today. So, to Bill Macy, Priscilla Pointer, Robert Morse, Reggie Jackson, Gail Strickland, Rick Wakeman, Mark Mothersbaugh, George Strait, Chow Yun-fat, Toyah Willcox, Rob Base, Martika, Tina Fey, Chantal Kreviazuk, Jack Johnson, Matt Long, Ryan Cooley, Luke Kleintank, Spencer Breslin, and Jessica Watson, I wish you all a happy day!

So, which date will we be flashing back to in this special edition of the Saturday Timeline?

May 18, 1981.

And, rather than focus on just one defining event in regards to May 18, 1981, I thought that instead, I would talk about several events that took place on this date. They might all seem like insignificant little details to most of you, but I thought it would be fun just to see what was going on in the world of pop culture.

So, for starters, let's talk about current events. And, the big news story of Monday, May 18, 1981 was not particularly happy news. That was the day that the first article on the newly discovered disease that would be known as AIDS appeared on page seven of the New York Native, which was an LGBT newspaper that was published between 1980 and 1997. The report noted that there was an increase in reported cases of pneumocystis pneumonia amongst gay men, and the publication was the first one to break the news. It would be just two weeks later that the acronym AIDS would soon become public knowledge.

In other news, let's see what was happening in Sydney, Australia on May 18, 1981. Well, okay, depending on when the broadcast happened, in North America, it would have still been May 17, 1981...but I digress. Anyway, here it is.

I don't have too many celebrity birthdays for May 18, 1981. The only two that I could find were Mahamadou Diarra, a football (soccer) player from Mali, and a porn star from Hungary named Alexa Weix.

(Just for clarifications sake, I have no idea who Alexa Weix is, as I don't make it a habit to check out her work. Just thought I'd throw that in there.)

Sadly, we also had to say goodbye to a couple of famous people on May 18, 1981. Firstly, there was actor Arthur O'Connell (b. March 29, 1908), whose first appearance was a tiny role in the epic 1941 film “Citizen Kane”, and appeared in such films as “Picnic”, “The Guy in the Gray Flannel Suit”, “Bus Stop”, “Gidget”, and “The Poseidon Adventure”. He continued to work until his death on May 18, 1981 from Alzheimer's Disease at the age of 73, with one of his final roles being in a series of commercials advertising Crest toothpaste. Here's one of these commercials below.

We also said goodbye to William Saroyan (b. August 31, 1908), who wrote several plays and stories over his career. Among some of his biggest success stories were “The Time of Your Life”, “My Name Is Aram”, and “The Human Comedy”. His works earned him a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1940, and the Academy Award for Best Story three years later. He died in Fresno, California (the same city as his birth) on May 18, 1981 at the age of 72

(TRIVIA: Did you know that William Saroyan is the cousin of Chipmunks creator, Ross Bagdasarian? It's true!)

Hmmm...okay, let's see what was happening in the world of daytime television on May 18, 1981...ah, wow...look at this. If you CLICK HERE, you can see a classic episode of “Family Feud” back when it was hosted by the late Richard Dawson. The families feuding are the Johnsons and the Smiths. No really wacky answers were given, but it's really interesting to see how much the show has changed between Dawson's 1981 episodes and Steve Harvey's 2013 episodes.

Also happening in the world of daytime television in May 1981, Robert attempts to get Laura to tell him where Luke is hiding in the ABC television soap opera, “General Hospital”. It is only six months later that the most watched soap weddng takes place between Luke and Laura. And, as of May 18, 2013, Luke and Laura are both still on the program, although both characters have appeared on and off in the thirty-two years that have spanned between now and then.

In music news, on May 18, 1981, the progressive rock band Rush performed a set at Madison Square Garden, and you can listen to a portion of it by clicking below.

And, the #1 song of that day belongs to Kim Carnes.

And, just for comparison's sake, here's what was #1 in the UK up above.

And, that almost wraps up our look back on May 18, 1981. Well, except for one thing.

May 18, 1981 is a very special day for me, as it was on this date thirty-two years ago at 7:35 am that I was born!

And, do you want to know something? That was actually nearly three weeks past the date that I was supposed to be born!

According to my parents, I was actually supposed to be born in April! Mind you, the due date was April 30, but was April. I was two and a half weeks overdue. My poor mother.

But even though I took my time to be born, I have to say that the first 32 years of my life have been an experience in itself. There are years that I can say were some of the best years of my life (I'm singling out 2009 in particular for being a banner year). Some years where I struggled (2011 healthwise, 2003 financially), and there are some years that I just want to forget (basically the whole period between 1995 and 2000). But I wouldn't trade it all for a second.

There are some things that I wish I could have accomplished by now. I'd love to get married, start a family of my own, and live in a nice house...but in time those things will come. I have to believe that it will happen. Even if I am the only one who does. But one of the things that I have to keep telling myself is that life doesn't have a timetable, and that when things feel ready, I'll know it.

And, I suppose that's good enough right now.

That concludes our look back on May 18, 1981, as well as the only Saturday Timeline entry to ever appear in this blog. Things will go back to normal next week. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this piece, and may all your birthdays be happy ones, whenever they are.

And, may the next 32 years of my life be filled with excitement, adventure, and fulfillment. At the very least, if I still keep this blog going, I can title the Candle Confessional “When I'm 64”.

But, that won't be until May 18, 2045.


  1. Happy Birthday Matthew! I posted a comment on your 'guess who's coming to dinner' post and decided to see your latest....blessings...