On this day 115 years ago, Puccini’s Italian opera Madama Butterfly premiered. The heart-wrenching love story of a beautiful geisha who sacrifices her family, religion, and more, for her American husband, Lieutenant Pinkerton, who buys the 15-year-old’s hand in marriage while stationed in Japan–with no intention of taking her home to America. HEAR the beautiful aria sung by the great American Maria Callas… (1904)

Photo by tobze, CC license

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • The Armory Show opened in New York City as the first large exhibition of modern art in America featuring the impressionists of Europe (1913)
  • The world’s first comic superhero, The Phantom, published (1936)
  • Pope Pius XII declared the patron saint of television: Saint Clare [1193~1253] of Assisi (1958)
  • Kosovo declared independence (2008)

Happy Birthday to Michael Jordan, who turns 56 today. Considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all-time, he’s a 6-time NBA champ and 5-time MVP.

One legendary “double-nickel” performance (scoring 55 points in a night) just five games into his comeback from retirement to baseball, reminded everyone of his reign as King of the Air.  (1963)

Happy 47th Birthday to guitarist and singer Billie Joe Armstrong who co-founded Green Day, the band whose anti-war album, American Idiot, won a Grammy and six other music awards.

Billie Joe Armstrong-2006-CC-Lloyd Morgan
Photo by Lloyd Morgan, CC

He wrote his first song when he was five years old and met his future bandmate in the lunch room of his elementary school, a partner with whom he later achieve massive commercial success. (1972)

And, on this day in 1996, Russian chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov completed his defeat of the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue in a six-game chess match.

Garry Kasparov chess champ webKasparov had been the youngest-ever World Chess Champion in 1985 at the age of 22, a title he held for 15 years. Considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time, Kasparov is also an author and outspoken political activist for democracy, dedicating himself to “establishing free and fair elections in his homeland”.

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