80 years ago today, Sir Bobby Robson was born. Over a managerial career that spanned nearly 40 years and included title-winning tenures in Portugal, Spain, England, and The Netherlands, Bobby Robson was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to football, which also included an 8 year-management of the English National Football Team. READ more about Sir Bobby… (1933)
No British manager has ever had so much success in so many different countries. While British managers mostly tend to remain in the country of their birth, Robson proved that the English way of playing the game could compete, and win, across the continent.
His reign at Ipswich Town created the finest years the club had ever seen. Taking the helm in 1968 and lasting 13 years, the club twice finished as league runners-up, won the 1978 FA Cup, and made regular appearances in European competitions, winning the UEFA Cup in 1981.
Sir Bobby described moving to the Dutch Eredivisie (the top division) as a “culture shock” and found the Dutch habit of debating tactics overwhelming at times. Despite that, he claimed the 1990-91 and ’91-’92 league titles. After a brief and calamitous tenure at Sporting Lisbon, Robson was appointed manager of their fierce rivals in the Portuguese city of Porto, which he found in a “sorry state.” Nevertheless, he led FC Porto to back-to-back league titles, and a league and cup double. Such was the impact of Robson at Porto, he became known to the locals as “Bobby Five-O” in honor of the number of matches Porto won 5–0. He won another Portuguese title in 1995, despite being diagnosed with melanoma earlier that year.
The Brazilian Ronaldo, who Robson signed for Barcelona during a brief spell as manager there, said of the Englishman that “as a trainer without doubt [Robson] is one of the greatest in the world.” He won European Manager of the Year that season.
MORE Good News on this Date:
- Hindus and Hare Krishnas commemorate the day Lord Krishna left his body (3102 BC)
- The First Academy Award winners were announced (1929)
- Happy 67th Birthday to John Travolta, star of such films as Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Pulp Fiction, Get Shorty, Hairspray, and Swordfish (1954)
- Gambia became the 37th sovereign state in Africa and the last of Britain’s West African colonies to gain independence (1965)
- California’s Supreme Court struck down the state’s death penalty (1972)
- The Space Shuttle Enterprise test vehicle went on its maiden “flight” perched atop a Boeing 747 (1977)
- Snow fell in the Sahara Desert for the only time in recorded history, with a snowstorm that lasted 30 minutes (1979)
2 years ago today, Perseverance, the world’s most sophisticated extraterrestrial robotic biology lab landed on Mars’ Jezero Crater to continue humanity’s search for life beyond Earth. Launched on July 30th the previous year, the rover touched down while capturing the first-ever footage of a craft descending onto the red planet. The rover is equipped with a drilling arm that allows it to sample soils and rock and cache them in sample tubes described as “the cleanest place in the universe,” so that any microbes found in the tubes, made of pure sapphire glass, can be clearly said to be Martian. After taking a variety of samples, it will leave them at the landing site, where a future lander will take them back to Earth.
It’s been a busy year for the rover, which has taken some incredible imagery, experienced malfunctions, drilled for samples, recorded the sounds of the Martian wind, and more. It’s seen its friend, the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter fly over 30 flights. Taken onboard the rover’s underbelly and separating during landing, Ingenuity performed the first roto-powered flight on Mars while generating useful data and awesome images as it conducts short, solar-energy flights to scout for Perseverance.
So far exploring the crater floor of Jezero Crater, an ancient dried-up lakebed, it’s now on the way to what would have been that lake’s delta region. Deltas are freshwater ecosystems on earth that teem with life, and contain plenty of mud and other geological conditions ideal for preserving signs of ancient life.
The rover will also find time to test a pair of instruments which are designed to gather data on potential human habitation, including a novel device that’s designed to convert Martian atmospheric CO2 into oxygen, and another to gather exquisitely precise data on barometric pressure, dust size and shape, humidity levels, and other important information critical for designing space suits and space buildings.
Interested Mars lovers can follow along with the Perseverance blog, as the crew shares regular updates. WATCH the rover’s descent… (2021)
138 years ago today, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was first published in the US.
The sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a scathing satire on entrenched attitudes, particularly racism, and was among the first novels in major American literature to be written fully in regional vernacular English, which made it controversial, especially in the 20th century, because of its course language and use of racial slurs. (1885)
And, 92 years ago today, Toni Morrison, the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, was born.
Born Chloe Wofford in Lorain, Ohio, the author is known for her lyrically narrated novels of black American life, including, The Bluest Eye (her first), Song of Solomon, and Beloved, which became a film and also earned her a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988. Her recent book, God Help the Child, was also recorded as an audio book with Morrison reading it herself. She worked for years as a book editor for Random House and as Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. (1931-2019)
17 years ago today, American speed skater Shani Davis became the first Black athlete to win a gold medal in Winter Olympic history for an individual event, winning the men’s 1,000-meter in Italy. He also won a silver medal in the 1500-meter race. Four years later at the Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, he repeated the feat, and became the first man to win back-to-back gold medals in the 1000 meters, and repeating as the 1500-meter silver medalist, too.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, his mother worked for a local lawyer who happened to be a speed skating official and whose son was an elite-level skater. At the lawyer’s suggestion, Cherie enrolled Shani in lessons when he was 6—and later waking him every morning to run a mile, building his endurance.
In 2000, he made history by becoming the first U.S. skater to make both the long and short track teams for the Junior World Teams. His height of 6’2″ always made him unique among ‘short’ trackers, but he used the extra height to race lower to the ice.
Frozone, an animated African-American superhero with ice powers from the film The Incredibles, was allegedly inspired by Shani Davis—so was the creation of the Washington, DC Inner City Excellence (DC-ICE). He retired in 2019 but continues to support and encourage kids in the program. WATCH him win the gold… (2006)Featured photos: (left) Mingo Hagen, and (right) in 2006 by McSmit, CC licenses
Also, 55 years ago today, David Gilmour joined Pink Floyd, replacing a classmate who had checked himself into a psychiatric ward. With the addition of the innovative songwriter–vocalist–guitarist, whose sound is instantly recognizable, Pink Floyd achieved international success with the concept albums Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall. One of the most critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music, the band by 2012 had sold over 250 million records worldwide. Now 72, the British-born Gilmour is ranked #14 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the greatest guitarists of all time.
In 2003, the multi-instrumentalist (plays bass, drums, keyboards, and more) sold one of his houses and donated the proceeds worth £3.6 million to help fund a housing project for the homeless. He has also contributed to animal rights, poverty, environmental, wildlife, human rights, and music therapy charities.
Fun Facts: Gilmour discovered and nurtured to a recording contract the singer-songwriter Kate Bush. He is also an aviator–pilot whose hobby was flying, buying, and selling vintage bi-planes. Check out his fifth solo album since 1995 when the band broke up. (1968)
And, Happy Birthday to actress Cybill Shepherd who turns 73 today. Born in Memphis, Tennessee—and named after her grandfather Cy and father Bill—the blonde won a beauty pageant and became a model. A Glamour magazine cover of the 20-year-old caught the eye of film director Peter Bogdanovich, who cast her in The Last Picture Show co-starring Jeff Bridges, a critical and box office hit that earned several Oscars, with Shepherd nominated for a Golden Globe. Afterward, she was cast in The Heartbreak Kid and also earned good reviews for her work in the film Taxi Driver.
But it was her role as charismatic Maddie Hayes in the TV hit series Moonlighting (1985–1989) that defined her career. The brilliant chemistry and repartee with her young co-star Bruce Willis on the comedy detective show earned Shepherd two Golden Globes—and 40 Emmy nods for the show, with 7 wins.
In 2000, Shepherd’s bestselling autobiography was published, titled Cybill Disobedience: How I Survived Beauty Pageants, Elvis, Sex, Bruce Willis, Lies, Marriage, Motherhood, Hollywood, and the Irrepressible Urge to Say What I Think.
In 1997, she won her third Golden Globe for her sitcom Cybill in which she played an aging actress struggling to get roles, loosely modeled on herself, with Christine Baranski playing Cybill’s hard-drinking gal pal.
After many TV films, screen roles, and a Broadway debut, she starred in Being Rose, a 2019 drama about a dying ex-sheriff who finds love (with James Brolin) while soul searching in a motorized wheelchair on a road trip around the southwest during her final days.
WATCH the trailer and an interview about her career… (1950)
MORE READ: Good News in History, February 19