Daily TWiP ArchivesSomething interesting has happened on (just about) every day of the year, and Daily TWiP provides the proof. An offshoot of my local events column The Week in Preview (affectionately known as TWiP), Daily TWiP was published April 2008-Aug. 2011 and is still giving readers reasons to celebrate.
More in "Daily TWiP"
- Daily TWiP - Oct. 23: National Mole Day
- Daily TWiP - June 18: International Picnic Day
- Daily TWiP - June 30, 1859: The Great Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope
- Daily TWiP - Dec. 1, 1761: Famed wax sculptor Madame Tussaud born
- Daily TWiP - Dec. 4: National Cookie Day
- Daily TWiP - Oct. 8: National Fluffernutter Day
- Daily TWiP - Sept. 7, 1936: "Benjamin," the last thylacine, dies
- Daily TWiP - Nov. 12, 1933: First photograph of the Loch Ness Monster taken
- Daily TWiP - April 1, 1957: The BBC pulls off its infamous spaghetti tree hoax
- Daily TWiP - April 11, 1954: The most boring day of the 20th century
- Daily TWiP - May 3, 1978: The first spam email is sent
- Daily TWiP - Feb. 28, 1939: The non-word “dord” is discovered in Webster’s New International Dictionary
- Daily TWiP - March 3, 1931: "The Star-Spangled Banner," set to the tune of an English drinking song, becomes the U.S. national anthem
- Daily TWiP - May 16, 1777: The American with the most valuable autograph is fatally wounded in a duel
- Daily TWiP - May 25: Towel Day and Geek Pride Day
- Daily TWiP - June 30: National Ice Cream Soda Day
- Daily TWiP - July 22: Spoonerism Day
- Daily TWiP - Aug. 13: International Left-Handers' Day
- Daily TWiP - Aug. 23, 1784: The short-lived state of Franklin declares its independence from North Carolina
- Daily TWiP - Feb. 5, 1897: The Indiana General Assembly unanimously votes to change the value of pi
- Daily TWiP - March 10: International Day of Awesomeness and Chuck Norris' birthday
- Daily TWiP - Jan. 25: National Irish Coffee Day
- Daily TWiP - Nov. 30, 1954: Ann Hodges becomes the first person hit by a meteorite
- Daily TWiP - Oct. 6, 1582 does not happen in certain countries
- Daily TWiP - Sept. 17, 1859: Joshua A. Norton declares himself Emperor of the United States
- Daily TWiP - Sept. 30, 2004: First images of a live giant squid in its natural habitat are taken
- Daily TWiP - Aug. 27, 1896: The shortest war in recorded history is fought
- Daily TWiP - July 30, 1419: Czechs chuck politicians (literally) during the First Defenestration of Prague
- Daily TWiP - July 21, 356 B.C.: Herostratus destroys one of the Seven Wonders of the World to ensure his own fame
- Daily TWiP - May 14: National Dance Like A Chicken Day
- Daily TWiP - Jan. 26, 2004: Dead whale unexpectedly explodes in Tainan, Taiwan
- Daily TWiP - Jan. 8, 1835: U.S. national debt hits zero for the first and only time
Daily TWiP – March 3, 1931: “The Star-Spangled Banner,” set to the tune of an English drinking song, becomes the U.S. national anthem
On March 3, 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed a congressional resolution that made Maryland resident Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner” the official national anthem of the United States of America.
It is relatively common knowledge that the anthem’s lyrics were taken from Key’s poem “Defence of Fort McHenry,” which Key penned after witnessing the British bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. The slightly bawdy history of the tune to which “The Star-Spangled Banner” is set, on the other hand, is not quite as well known.
Originally titled “The Anacreontic Song,” it was composed in the mid-1760s by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a gentleman’s club in London made up of amateur musicians. The Society was named after the Greek court poet Anacreon, whose favorite topics included wine, women and entertainment.
Although the purpose of the Society was to encourage an interest in the musical arts, their club song (what with its references to Bacchus, the god of wine, and Venus, the goddess of love) soon became popular as a drinking song.
According to the rather unreliable annals of tavern culture, “The Anacreontic Song” was also used as a sobriety test. Since the melody was challenging to sing and covered an octave and a half, pub patrons figured that if you could sing a stanza of the song and keep relatively in tune, you were O.K. to have another drink.
Speaking of drinking establishments, the first public performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” actually took place in a tavern. Actor Ferdinand Durang sang what would become the United States’ national anthem at Captain McCauley’s tavern in Baltimore in October of 1814, just one month after Key had written the lyrics and mere weeks after the lyrics (with mention of the tune) had been published in the Baltimore newspapers.
The popularity of “The Star-Spangled Banner” continued to grow, with various politicians requesting it be played on official occasions. It was even used to open sporting events as early as 1897.
When Robert Ripley, creator of the “Ripley’s Believe it or Not!” cartoon strip, published a cartoon saying, “Believe It or Not, America has no national anthem,” on Nov. 3, 1929, it was clear that there was only one logical choice. The congressional resolution naming “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the U.S. national anthem arrived on President Hoover’s desk less than two years later, and he happily signed it.
– Teresa Santoski
Originally published March 3, 2010.