Today is the greatest: April 14

I may earn money from the participating companies linked in this post: (supporting my nearby independent bookstore Bluebird & Co, in Crozet, VA) and/or Audible. My podcast is sponsored by Audible and Care/Of.

…with a nod to the Smashing Pumpkins, part of the soundtrack of the ’90’s.

And that nod is ironic, in that April 14 is a titanic (sorry not sorry) American anniversary, for two kabooms heard ’round the world. Would that we could go back in time and stop either one!


But, we must heed the words of the minor prophet King, reading from the book of 11.22.63: things, even earth-shattering things, happen for a reason, y’all. Good out of bad.


First kaboom: John Wilkes Booth, after failing to kidnap President Lincoln with his coconspirators on March 20, 1865, shot the president from the stage during Laura Keene’s performance in Our American Cousin. President Lincoln died the next day, the first American president to be assassinated.

No word on the life-shattering PTSD Miss Keene likely experienced for the rest of her years. I’ll bet my master’s degree in counseling that she was the hostess with the mostest for Independence Day soirees: late dinner, then dancing under the fireworks at Miss Keene’s, how divine, how thrilling!

Relevant entries:

tags: Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, the whole Booth clan of wacky


Second kaboom: April 14, 1912: The RMS Titanic “fails to divert its course from an iceberg” (thank you,, for that incredible turn of phrase).

tag: Titanic

entry referencing the Titanic, as of now: Episode 152: The Car Known as “The Dale”

titanic above
titanic below


Leo and Kate
King of the World.


One last bad event, just one:


In what came to be known as “Black Sunday,” one of the most devastating storms of the 1930s Dust Bowl era swept across the region on this day. High winds kicked up clouds of millions of tons of dirt and dust so dense and dark that some eyewitnesses believed the world was coming to an end.

The term “dust bowl” was reportedly coined by a reporter in the mid-1930s and referred to the plains of western Kansas, southeastern Colorado, the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, and northeastern New Mexico. (

tags: Dust Bowl, 1935, John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

entry (with photographs of that day): Episode 40: Dollop: LAPD 2: James Davis Years


I won’t leave you with all death and mayhem. April 14 has seen its share of shiny:


The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage, the first American society dedicated to the cause of abolition, is founded in Philadelphia on this day in 1775. The society changes its name to the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage in 1784. (

1775, not 1875: During the Revolutionary War, this Quaker badass was already publicly stumping for abolition. Just let that stew in your brainpan.

Started and led by Anthony Benezet, after he taught black children in his home after regular school hours, and then founded the first girls’ school in America in 1754.

…and then educating women. Women. Blacks and women. Reading and writing and critical thinking. In the 18th century. I’ll bet his neighbors lovvvvved him.

After Benezet’s death, Benjamin Franklin became the Pennsylvania Society’s president in 1787.

tags: feminism, abolition, Benjamin FranklinQuakers


1935: Loretta (Webb) Lynn, the most famous daughter of a coal miner ever, was born in Butcher Holler, Kentucky.

Trivia for Greg Behrendt: her 2004 album Van Lear Rose, named for a mining town near where she was born, was produced by Jack White of The White Stripes.

tags: country music, folk music, American folk music, mining, coal

related entry: Episode 68: Centralia

Loretta Lynn


And, my curtain call…once again, proving that it IS all connected…the first track on the soundtrack for the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter is “The Titanic”.

BOOM. That’s why you love me. And no, I didn’t know that when I started this entry.

Cue spooky music.


Shoutout to brother podcast, Generation Why: I highly recommend their podcast if you have any interest in true crime (you know you do, you’re all as eccentric as I am, otherwise, what are you doing here?). Check out their Titanic episode: The Titanic Conspiracy
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