Daily Archives: February 4, 2014

A terrific new book about 1927, an amazing year. Seattle even riots politely. And a way-cool flash mob orchestra


Some years are memorable for one or two major events. Other years, like 1927, had so much stuff in them that they could make up a fantastic book.

In the spring/summer of 1927, here’s a partial list of what happened in America: Charles Lindbergh became the first person to fly from New York to Paris on a solo flight, setting off mass hysterica all across the country. Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs, a new record. Floods destroyed much of the South and put millions out of their homes.
The first talking movie, “The Jazz Singer,” was filmed. Sacco and Vanzetti were executed despite most likely being completely innocent. The events that would set in motion the Great Depression took place.

And oh yeah, Al Capone was in his prime.

It was a remarkable year for so many reasons, and Bill Bryson, who has written a slew of best-sellers, has just published a new book about it. “One Summer, America, 1927,” and I finished reading it the other day.

It’s really terrific in every way; fun to read, informative, hilarious at times, scary at others (truly, the scenes of Lindbergh being literally mobbed at every stop of his celebration tour were horrifying; even in today’s celeb culture, I can’t believe anyone ever had it as bad as he did in 1927. Of course, Lindbergh would turn out to be far, far from heroic as he got older).

Bryson explains all the big topics that year, like Ruth and the floods (which led the rise of Herbert Hoover), in wonderful detail. But it’s the smaller stuff that really hooked me, like how RCA and David Sarnoff completely rubbed out television inventor Philo T. Farnsworth’s place in history, and the sordid saga of Henry Ford and why he gets WAY too much credit for being an innovator.

Bryson’s book brings his characters completely to life (who knew Hoover was so joyless before the Depression even hit?), and I flew through the book.

Highly recommend it if you like American history or just want to know what it was like to be alive in 1927. Check it out on Amazon here.

**You may have seen this video Monday; it was making the rounds on a bunch of sites, and I just think it’s really cute.

It’s of a group of wildly happy Seattle Seahawks fans in their home city, who can’t wait to celebrate their team’s Super Bowl victory… but because it’s the rules, they wait until the light changes to green before crossing.

The video is great; the Twitter meme it sparked is even better. Under the hashtag “How Seattle Riots,” came these gems (more of them are here):

— “Americanos after 9PM… With no room!”

— “We are going to party until our Priuses run out of juice.”

— “Taking off all the “contains nuts” and contains gluten” signs off of the appetizers at the Super Bowl party”

— “Parking in a 15 minute Load/Unload only zone for 16 minutes.”

“Deferring a McAfee scan.”

**Finally today, this video is a couple of years old but was just posted on Facebook by a friend of mine, and I thought it was fabulous: In 2012 the city of Sabadell, Spain was celebrating its 130th anniversary, and to help celebrate a local orchestra helped create an amazing musical flash mob in the town square.

Very, very cool.