Tomorrow, President Obama will be sworn in for his second term. His inauguration coincides with MLK weekend, traditionally a weekend for citizens to participate in community service. This year is no different, save for the Tea Party’s decision to demonstrate their acute allergy to class by simultaneously holding their Gun Appreciation Day. I am not making that up.
On the evening of October 30, 1938, anyone tuning in to CBS’s radio station would’ve encountered what at first was an unremarkable broadcast—a weather report, some news, then a live band performance. But then the broadcast was interrupted by a disquieting bulletin; astronomers had just observed strange explosive flashes on the planet Mars featuring “jets of flame” pointed directly toward Earth. The broadcast eventually returned to the band, but CBS cut in again with an interview of Princeton astronomy professor Richard Pierson discussing the Mars event. As Pierson spoke, he was handed a note: a “huge flaming object” from the heavens had crashed into a nearby field. Pierson and a CBS reporter immediately went to investigate. Upon arriving the reporter described a massive cylinder lying in the bottom of a large crater. The cylinder began to hum. Then it opened. Screams were heard, then the line went dead. The invasion had begun.
Lance Armstrong won a record seven Tour de France titles, until this past Monday, when he won exactly zero—he was unceremoniously stripped of his victories, banned from cycling for life, and sent home with his underwear pulled over his head. The verdict had come down from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and was quickly supported by the Union Cycliste Internationale, the world’s cycling governing body. As more information is released and more Armstrong-era riders come forward, it appears that Armstrong not only doped, but encouraged doping among his teammates, even supplying them with the necessities.
It was June of 1973, and Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen and the man whose vocals remain one of the few reasonable arguments for the existence of God, had a serious problem. Queen was about to release its debut album, but they had no logo, no brand. So one night, Mercury drew up an insignia featuring the creature of each member’s zodiac sign—two lions, a crab, and fairy maidens—and lo, the Queen crest was born. It also may have been astrology’s only truly useful moment.