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10 Things We’re Supposed to Remember

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1. …the Alamo

A quick refresher on the basics of the Battle of the Alamo: fought from February 23-March 6, 1836, between Mexico and the Republic of Texas as a part of the Texas Revolution of 1835-1836. The first 12 days were a siege by Mexican General Santa Anna and his troops of the Alamo Mission and its small contingent of Texans including the commanders, William Travis and James Bowie and the “King of the Wild Frontier” himself, Davy Crockett. The siege came to a swift conclusion on the 13th day, March 6, with an all-out assault that killed most of the Texan soldiers. Commander Travis is said to have been the first killed, by a single gunshot wound to the forehead.

The phrase “Remember the Alamo,” then, was used as a rallying cry (often attributed to General Sam Houston) throughout the rest of the revolution and referring to the cruelty exhibited by Santa Anna. General Santa Anna had purportedly even executed those who had surrendered in the battle and burned the bodies of the Texans, including Travis, Bowie, and Crockett. As far as pep talks go, this one appears to have been quite successful. The Texans earned a quick and decisive victory over the Mexicans at San Jacinto on April 21 and Santa Anna was forced to sign a treaty giving Texas their independence the following day.

2. …the first of Octember

Please Try to Remember the First of Octember is a 1977 children’s book written by Theodore Geisel under the pen name Theo. LeSieg (Geisel, spelled backwards). You may recognize Mr. Geisel by his more well-known pseudonym, Dr. Seuss. In addition to all of his Seussian goodness, Geisel wrote, but did not illustrate, 13 books released under the LeSieg pen name and 1 under the name Rosetta Stone. So, if you want to have the complete Seuss canon in your library, you might have some shopping to do.

According to this particular Geisel book, one of the things that will occur on the first of Octember: “…you’ll stay up all night, drinking 66 six-packs of Doodle Delight.” And to think Geisel’s first children’s book, To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was turned down by 27 publishers.

3. …the Time

“Remember the Time” was a 1992 Michael Jackson single from Dangerous. Perhaps more notable than the song itself, which peaked at number three on the Billboard charts, is the randomly star-studded music video directed by John Singleton (of Boyz n the Hood, Higher Learning, and 2 Fast 2 Furious fame). The “short film” stars Eddie Murphy, Magic Johnson and Iman (the Somali-American model who is married to David Bowie) and features Jackson’s first on-screen kiss (with Mrs. Bowie).

4. …the Titans

Remember the Titans is a 2000 football movie from Disney Studios and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. The movie stars Denzel Washington, so you can be assured of good acting, and it has one of those choreographed football pre-game, on-field team motivational dance scenes that are just all-too-rare in American cinema.

The real story of T.C. Williams High School is pretty cool to remember too, lack of choreography aside. The consolidation of three Alexandria, Virginia, public high schools into one and the resulting formation of an essential all-star football squad consisting of the best from each of the three schools.

Though dramatized for the purposes of the movie, there were certainly racial implications of the school consolidation. Even though integration had technically occurred years prior, the previous three schools had still been racially imbalanced prior to consolidation. Of course, there was some embellishment here-and-there for the purposes of the movie, in most cases to heighten the intensity of the situation’s racial tensions. One thing that was made slightly more mild, however, was the incident in which a brick was thrown through the window of African-American Coach Boone’s family home.

“There wasn’t a brick thrown through my window,” the coach explains during the DVD commentary, “it was something far more devastating to any human being than a brick could be. I guess Disney, being the family movie production company that it is, felt that to depict a toilet stool coming through your window was a bit much ... I've never gotten over that incident that particular night, because I could never understand how anybody could feel so bad about another human being as to throw a toilet commode through a window.”

5. …the Maine

The USS Maine was a U.S. Navy battleship that was stationed in Havana, Cuba during the Cuban revolt against Spain in the late 19th Century for the purpose of protecting U.S. interests there. On February 15, 1898, the Maine exploded in Havana Harbor and 261 sailors lost their lives. Just a couple months later, President William McKinley asked congress for permission to use force in Cuba and the U.S. was catapulted into the Spanish-American war, in part because of media and public pressure (thanks, Hearst and Pulitzer) for a U.S. reaction to the Maine incident.

Much like “Remember the Alamo” became a rallying cry for the Texas Revolution, the more emphatic and, indeed, poetic “Remember the Maine, to hell with Spain!” became a similar cry during the Spanish-American War. Rally cries are always pretty fun, but the problem with this particular motivational rhyme is that there is, to this day, no conclusive evidence that the Maine disaster was the result of a Spanish attack. Alternate theories include that the explosion was the result of an accidental fire in one of the ship’s coal bunkers, that she was destroyed by a naval mine, and even that the United States was responsible for the ship’s sinking as a means to fuel public support for a war against Spain.

6. …Baker

OK—Remember Baker was a guy. I had never heard of him before, but maybe we just ought to remember him, after all. Aside from having a very memorable first name, he was Ethan Allen’s first cousin and a member of Allen’s Green Mountain Boys militia who, in the decade prior to the Revolutionary War, were crucial in resisting New York’s attempts to control the territory that is now Vermont.

But the Boys’ most remembered accomplishments occurred during the early part of the Revolutionary War when Ethan Allen, et.al. captured some strategically important military posts in New York, most notably Fort Ticonderoga in 1775. Remember was there.

A disturbing thing to remember about Remember is that, after leaving Ticonderoga on a scouting mission, he was shot and killed by Native Americans, who then cut off his head and stuck it right on a pole.

7. ...How You Got Where You Are

"Remember How You Got Where You Are" is the subtitle of the 1971 Temptations single "Superstar." Lyrics like, “No, you didn’t make it by yourself; You had help from somebody else” and “Remember beneath the glitter and gleam, like everyday people, you’re just a human being” were some verbal slaps from the Temptations to former band members David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks, who had left the band in 1968 and 1971, respectively. Kendricks and Ruffin had been vocal about their negative feelings toward their former band mates in several 1971 interviews and the song served as a melodious means for the remaining and replacement Temptations to call out their old pals as sell outs. Some view the song as an early ancestor of today’s “diss tracks” that are sometimes released by artists as a part of musical rivalries most famously, perhaps, in the battle between East and West Coast rappers.

Apparently, people liked the way the superciliousness sounded – "Superstar" peaked at #18 on the Billboard charts. As the ultimate in-your-face comeback, David Ruffin recorded a cover of the song four years later. Also, incidentally, the Temptations version is featured on the soundtrack of the aforementioned movie, Remember the Titans.

8. ...the fifth of November

The fifth of November is to be remembered as Guy Fawkes Day in England and commemorates the day Mr. Fawkes was arrested while guarding 36 kegs of gunpowder that he and his Gunpowder Plot co-conspirators had placed below the House of Lords for the commencement of the Parliamentary session. They had high hopes of blowing up the Lords sending them a’leaping along with King James I, who they resented for not following through on a promise to relax England’s strict laws against Catholics.

Although Richard Catesby was the real mastermind behind the plot, Guy Fawkes’ is the name that most people remember. Either way, they were both killed for their role in the treasonous plot, Catesby by gunshot wound in a gunfight with the Sheriff of Worcester who was hunting down the conspirators and Fawkes by a good ol’ fashioned hanging, drawing and quartering. It is really a pretty interesting piece of history and, as the rhyme says, “…I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.” So, c’mon, join in the fun, light up those bonfires, chase each other through the streets with flaming barrels of tar, and set those Guy Fawkes effigies ablaze!

9. …me to Herald Square

“Remember me to Herald Square” is a lyric from George M. Cohan’s song “Give My Regards to Broadway.” The song is from Cohan’s first full-length musical Little Johnny Jones, which is based on the true story of American jockey Tod Sloan. Sloan went to England in 1903 to ride in the English Derby. The song is sung by the title character to a friend returning to America while Jones remains in England to clear his name in a scandal that erupts around the Derby. While the musical is extremely patriotic (it also features the song "Yankee Doodle Boy"), Cohan’s patriotism was even more apparent in real life. He was the first artist to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, which he was given by FDR for his contributions to the nation’s cause in World War I, primarily for the songs "Over There" and "You’re a Grand Old Flag."

As of 1959, you no longer have to give Cohan’s regards to Broadway—an 8-foot bronze statue of Cohan stands at Broadway and 46th Street and that seems to take care of all of the requisite regard-giving. But you really still ought to remember him to Herald Square (which is at the intersection of Broadway and Sixth).

Also remember this: potentially the only thing cooler than George M. Cohan is James Cagney as George M. Cohan. In the movie Yankee Doodle Dandy, the classic actor typically known for his gangster roles, played the song and dance man to audience acclaim, superlative reviews, and the approval of the Academy who awarded him the 1942 Oscar.

10. ...Two Things

Remember Two Things is the name of Dave Matthew’s Band 1993 self-released album (reissued by RCA in 1997 when more people started jumping on the DMB bandwagon) that included three of their first major hits: "Ants Marching," "Tripping Billies," and "Satellite."

The cover of the album is one of those magic eye thingies that is supposed to show a person’s hand giving the peace sign. Unfortunately, and verrrrrry frustratingly, I cannot confirm this for you and never ever will be able to do so. Ever.

So, what are the two things that one is supposed to remember? Two theories out there: one is that it is referring to the two fingers on the alleged hand giving the peace sign on the album cover. The other is that the two things are to “love your mother” and to “leave only your footprints.”

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11 Popular Quotes Commonly Misattributed to F. Scott Fitzgerald
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F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a lot of famous lines, from musings on failure in Tender is the Night to “so we beat on, boats against the current” from The Great Gatsby. Yet even with a seemingly never-ending well of words and beautiful quotations, many popular idioms and phrases are wrongly attributed to the famous Jazz Age author, who was born on this day in 1896. Here are 11 popular phrases that are often misattributed to Fitzgerald. (You may need to update your Pinterest boards.)

1. “WRITE DRUNK, EDIT SOBER.”

This quote is often attributed to either Fitzgerald or his contemporary, Ernest Hemingway, who died in 1961. There is no evidence in the collected works of either writer to support that attribution; the idea was first associated with Fitzgerald in a 1996 Associated Press story, and later in Stephen Fry’s memoir More Fool Me. In actuality, humorist Peter De Vries coined an early version of the phrase in a 1964 novel titled Reuben, Reuben.

2. “FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH: IT’S NEVER TOO LATE OR, IN MY CASE, TOO EARLY TO BE WHOEVER YOU WANT TO BE.”

It’s easy to see where the mistake could be made regarding this quote: Fitzgerald wrote the short story “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in 1922 for Collier's Magazine, and it was adapted into a movie of the same name, directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, in 2008. Eric Roth wrote the screenplay, in which that quotation appears.

3. “OUR LIVES ARE DEFINED BY OPPORTUNITIES, EVEN THE ONES WE MISS.”

This is a similar case to the previous quotation; this quote is attributed to Benjamin Button’s character in the film adaptation. It’s found in the script, but not in the original short story.

4. “YOU’LL UNDERSTAND WHY STORMS ARE NAMED AFTER PEOPLE.”

There is no evidence that Fitzgerald penned this line in any of his known works. In this Pinterest pin, it is attributed to his novel The Beautiful and Damned. However, nothing like that appears in the book; additionally, according to the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Association, although there were a few storms named after saints, and an Australian meteorologist was giving storms names in the 19th century, the practice didn’t become widespread until after 1941. Fitzgerald died in 1940.

5. “A SENTIMENTAL PERSON THINKS THINGS WILL LAST. A ROMANTIC PERSON HAS A DESPERATE CONFIDENCE THAT THEY WON’T.”

This exact quote does not appear in Fitzgerald’s work—though a version of it does, in his 1920 novel This Side of Paradise:

“No, I’m romantic—a sentimental person thinks things will last—a romantic person hopes against hope that they won’t. Sentiment is emotional.” The incorrect version is widely circulated and requoted.

6. “IT’S A FUNNY THING ABOUT COMING HOME. NOTHING CHANGES. EVERYTHING LOOKS THE SAME, FEELS THE SAME, EVEN SMELLS THE SAME. YOU REALIZE WHAT’S CHANGED IS YOU.”

This quote also appears in the 2008 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button script, but not in the original short story.

7. “GREAT BOOKS WRITE THEMSELVES; ONLY BAD BOOKS HAVE TO BE WRITTEN.”

There is no evidence of this quote in any of Fitzgerald’s writings; it mostly seems to circulate on websites like qotd.org, quotefancy.com and azquotes.com with no clarification as to where it originated.

8. “SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL, BUT NOT LIKE THOSE GIRLS IN THE MAGAZINES. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL FOR THE WAY SHE THOUGHT. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL FOR THE SPARKLE IN HER EYES WHEN SHE TALKED ABOUT SOMETHING SHE LOVED. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL FOR HER ABILITY TO MAKE OTHER PEOPLE SMILE, EVEN IF SHE WAS SAD. NO, SHE WASN’T BEAUTIFUL FOR SOMETHING AS TEMPORARY AS HER LOOKS. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL, DEEP DOWN TO HER SOUL.”

This quote may have originated in a memoir/advice book published in 2011 by Natalie Newman titled Butterflies and Bullshit, where it appears in its entirety. It was attributed to Fitzgerald in a January 2015 Thought Catalog article, and was quoted as written by an unknown source in Hello, Beauty Full: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You by Elisa Morgan, published in September 2015. However, there’s no evidence that Fitzgerald said or wrote anything like it.

9. “AND IN THE END, WE WERE ALL JUST HUMANS, DRUNK ON THE IDEA THAT LOVE, ONLY LOVE, COULD HEAL OUR BROKENNESS.”

Christopher Poindexter, the successful Instagram poet, wrote this as part of a cycle of poems called “the blooming of madness” in 2013. After a Twitter account called @SirJayGatsby tweeted the phrase with no attribution, it went viral as being attributed to Fitzgerald. Poindexter has addressed its origin on several occasions.

10. “YOU NEED CHAOS IN YOUR SOUL TO GIVE BIRTH TO A DANCING STAR.”

This poetic phrase is actually derived from the work of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who died in 1900, just four years after Fitzgerald was born in 1896. In his book Thus Spake ZarathustraNietzsche wrote the phrase, “One must have chaos within to enable one to give birth to a dancing star.” Over time, it’s been truncated and modernized into the currently popular version, which was included in the 2009 book You Majored in What?: Designing Your Path from College to Career by Katharine Brooks.

11. “FOR THE GIRLS WITH MESSY HAIR AND THIRSTY HEARTS.”

This quote is the dedication in Jodi Lynn Anderson’s book Tiger Lily, a reimagining of the classic story of Peter Pan. While it is often attributed to Anderson, many Tumblr pages and online posts cite Fitzgerald as its author.

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Fumbled: The Story of the United States Football League
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There were supposed to be 44 players marching to the field when the visiting Los Angeles Express played their final regular season game against the Orlando Renegades in June 1985.

Thirty-six of them showed up. The team couldn’t afford more.

“We didn’t even have money for tape,” Express quarterback Steve Young said in 1986. “Or ice.” The squad was so poor that Young played fullback during the game. They only had one, and he was injured.

Other teams had ridden school buses to practice, driven three hours for “home games,” or shared dressing room space with the local rodeo. In August 1986, the cash-strapped United States Football League called off the coming season. The league itself would soon vaporize entirely after gambling its future on an antitrust lawsuit against the National Football League. The USFL argued the NFL was monopolizing television time; the NFL countered that the USFL—once seen as a promising upstart—was being victimized by its own reckless expansion and the wild spending of team owners like Donald Trump.

They were both right.

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Spring football. That was David Dixon’s pitch. The New Orleans businessman and football advocate—he helped get the Saints in his state—was a fan of college ball and noticed that spring scrimmages at Tulane University led to a little more excitement in the air. With a fiscally responsible salary cap in place and a 12-team roster, he figured his idea could be profitable. Market research agreed: a hired broadcast research firm asserted 76 percent of fans would watch what Dixon had planned.

He had no intention of grappling with the NFL for viewers. That league’s season aired from September through January, leaving a football drought March through July. And in 1982, a players’ strike led to a shortened NFL season, making the idea of an alternative even more appealing to networks. Along with investors for each team region, Dixon got ABC and the recently-formed ESPN signed to broadcast deals worth a combined $35 million over two years.

When the Chicago Blitz faced the Washington Federals on the USFL’s opening day March 6, 1983, over 39,000 fans braved rain at RFK Stadium in Washington to see it. The Federals lost 28-7, foreshadowing their overall performance as one of the league’s worst. Owner Berl Bernhard would later complain the team played like “untrained gerbils.”

Anything more coordinated might have been too expensive. The USFL had instituted a strict $1.8 million salary cap that first year to avoid franchise overspending, but there were allowances made so each team could grab one or two standout rookies. In 1983, the big acquisition was Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker, who opted out of his senior year at Georgia to turn pro. Walker signed with the New Jersey Generals in a three-year, $5 million deal.

Jim Kelly and Steve Young followed. Stan White left the Detroit Lions. Marcus Dupree left college. The rosters were built up from scratch using NFL cast-offs or prospects from nearby colleges, where teams had rights to “territorial” drafts.

To draw a line in the sand, the USFL had advertising play up the differences between the NFL’s product and their own. Their slogan, “When Football Was Fun,” was a swipe at the NFL’s increasingly draconian rules regarding players having any personality. They also advised teams to run a series of marketable halftime attractions. The Denver Gold once offered a money-back guarantee for attendees who weren’t satisfied. During one Houston Gamblers game, boxer George Foreman officiated a wedding. Cars were given away at Tampa Bay Bandits games. The NFL, the upstart argued, stood for the No Fun League.

For a while, it appeared to be working. The Panthers, which had invaded the city occupied by the Detroit Lions, averaged 60,000 fans per game, higher than their NFL counterparts. ABC was pleased with steady ratings. The league was still conservative in their spending.

That would change—many would argue for the worse—with the arrival of Donald Trump.

Despite Walker’s abilities on the field, his New Jersey Generals ended the inaugural 1983 season at 6-12, one of the worst records in the league. The excitement having worn off, owner J. Walter Duncan decided to sell the team to real estate investor Trump for a reported $5-9 million.

A fixture of New York media who was putting the finishing touches on Trump Tower, Trump introduced two extremes to the USFL. His presence gave the league far more press attention than it had ever received, but his bombastic approach to business guaranteed he wouldn’t be satisfied with an informal salary cap. Trump spent and spent some more, recruiting players to improve the Generals. Another Heisman winner, quarterback Doug Flutie, was signed to a five-year, $7 million contract, the largest in pro football at the time. Trump even pursued Lawrence Taylor, then a player for the New York Giants, who signed a contract saying that, after his Giants contract expired, he’d join Trump’s team. The Giants wound up buying out the Taylor/Trump contract for $750,000 and quadrupled Taylor’s salary, and Trump wound up with pages of publicity.

Trump’s approach was effective: the Generals improved to 14-4 in their sophomore season. But it also had a domino effect. In order to compete with the elevated bar of talent, other team owners began spending more, too. In a race to defray costs, the USFL approved six expansion teams that paid a buy-in of $6 million each to the league.

It did little to patch the seams. Teams were so cash-strapped that simple amenities became luxuries. The Michigan Panthers dined on burnt spaghetti and took yellow school buses to training camp; players would race to cash checks knowing the last in line stood a chance of having one bounce. When losses became too great, teams began to merge with one another: The Washington Federals became the Orlando Renegades. By the 1985 season, the USFL was down to 14 teams. And because the ABC contract required the league to have teams in certain top TV markets, ABC started withholding checks.

Trump was unmoved. Since taking over the Generals, he had been petitioning behind the scenes for the other owners to pursue a shift to a fall season, where they would compete with the NFL head on. A few owners countered that fans had already voiced their preference for a spring schedule. Some thought it would be tantamount to league suicide.

Trump continued to push. By the end of the 1984 season, he had swayed opinion enough for the USFL to plan on one final spring block in 1985 before making the move to fall in 1986.

In order to make that transition, they would have to win a massive lawsuit against the NFL.

In the mid-1980s, three major networks meant that three major broadcast contracts would be up for grabs—and the NFL owned all three. To Trump and the USFL, this constituted a monopoly. They filed suit in October 1984. By the time it went to trial in May 1986, the league had shrunk from 18 teams to 14, hadn’t hosted a game since July 1985, kept only threadbare rosters, and was losing what existing television deals it had by migrating to smaller markets (a major part of the NFL’s case was that the real reason for the lawsuit, and the moves to smaller markets, was to make the league an attractive takeover prospect for the NFL). The ruling—which could have forced the NFL to drop one of the three network deals—would effectively become the deciding factor of whether the USFL would continue operations.

They came close. A New York jury deliberated for 31 hours over five days. After the verdict, jurors told press that half believed the NFL was guilty of being a monopoly and were prepared to offer the USFL up to $300 million in damages; the other half thought the USFL had been crippled by its own irresponsible expansion efforts. Neither side would budge.

To avoid a hung jury, it was decided they would find in favor of the USFL but only award damages in the amount of $1. One juror told the Los Angeles Times that she thought it would be an indication for the judge to calculate proper damages.

He didn’t. The USFL was awarded treble damages for $3 in total, an amount that grew slightly with interest after time for appeal. The NFL sent them a payment of $3.76. (Less famously, the NFL was also ordered to pay $5.5 million in legal fees.)

Rudy Shiffer, vice-president of the Memphis Showboats, summed up the USFL's fate shortly after the ruling was handed down. “We’re dead,” he said.

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