November 7th, 1965: Land-Speed record is broken
On this day in ’65 drag racer Art Arfons broke the land-speed record at Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats, driving to an average of 576mph in his jet-powered vehicle (which he had built himself) he affectionately referred to as “The Green Monster”.
He held the record for 8 days before Californian Craig Breedlove averaged 601mph, sparking a rivalry between the two that reporters would call “The Bonneville Jet Wars”. Arfons would later stage a comeback and reach 610mph, but his return trip was ruined when one of his car’s bearings froze, causing him and The Green Monster to fly off of the track. Arfons would exit the accident unscathed, but The Green Monster was destroyed. Breedlove would retain the title for another four years.
Arfons died in 2007, buried with wrenches in his hands and a jar of salts from the flats to commemorate his record and rivalry.
November 8th, 1960: JFK elected as President
On this day in 1960 John F. Kennedy was elected as President, becoming the youngest ever President of the United States. His campaign ran alongside Republican Vice President Richard Nixon’s, who frequently undermined Kennedy as an unworthy competitor due to his young age, claiming that the 43-year-old would be incapable of making the difficult decisions required of the President during the Cold War.
However, Kennedy’s charm during the four debates won the public over, narrowly granting him the victory against Nixon and beginning an illustrious Presidency, that was unfortunately brought to a shocking conclusion after just less than 3 years in office when he was assassinated on November 22nd, 1963.
November 9th, 2004: Halo 2 is released
On this day in 2004 Bungie released Halo 2 for the original Xbox and Windows, and it instantly became the reason to pick up Microsoft’s oversized black box of goodness.
Halo 2 is my personal favourite entry in the series, with it also being my first foray into online console gaming. I’m sure millions of gamers the world over can relate to my fond memories of Team Deathmatch on Lockout, or Zombies on Foundation. Sure, the series has technically improved since then, but that first week of bathing myself in Red Bull and going toe-to-toe with thousands of other early adopted of the Xbox’s now practically mandatory Live service was a gaming experience that has yet to be rivalled.
November 11th, 1918: World War I ends
On this day in 1918 a defeated Germany signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car, effectively bringing an end to a war that had saw the deaths of nine million soldiers and 5 million civilians.
As both British and German forces found themselves at a stalemate throughout the latter half of the war, American soldiers were brought in to help tip the balance in the Allies favour, eventually spurring them on to victory.
Although the incomprehensible death and destruction earned WWI the moniker “the war to end all wars”, the peace treaty signed at the end of the war, demanded extremely high terms of Germany that unfortunately led to World War II.
November 11th, 2002: McCartney angers Yoko Ono and Beatles Fans
On this day in 2002 Paul McCartney infuriated Yoko Ono Beatles’ fans worldwide by altering the infamous songwriting tag “Lennon-McCartney” to “McCartney-Lennon” for his live album “Back in the US: Live 2002”.
The tag had originally been flipped in 1976 for McCartney’s album “Wings Over America”, but the second time sent shockwaves throughout the Beatles’ fan base and angered Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono to the point where she started a public campaign, stating that McCartney’s supposed disrespect of Lennon was a petty response to Ono’s admission of his name from a recent Lennon hits compilation.
McCartney released a public statement concerning the controversy, which included this brilliant line:
"The truth is that this is much ado about nothing and there is no need for anybody to get their knickers in a twist."