Today is January 12, 2010 and the 12th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 353 days left in the year 2010. According the Mayan calendar, there are 1074 days till the end of the current cycle. On this date in 1991, the U.S. Congress approved the use of military force to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. Here are five people that share a birthday on this day:
Howard Stern (Born 1954)
Radio disc jockey, author, and television talk-show host. Stern’s early taste for radio and recording seems to have been inherited from his father, the part-owner of a recording studio who frequently taped his son and daughter on the holidays. The sometimes short-fused father frequently quizzed his children on current events, an open invitation to his young boy to get sarcastic when he didn’t know the answers. Stern started off in a small rock station in Michigan, but after it turned to country music, left for bigger pastures. He ended up in Washington, DC where he met his co-host, Robin Quivers. Here, he also started getting a reputation for outrageous online antics. Stern took his radio career to new, pioneering heights, confronting two of his favorite subjects—race and sex—in controversial ways. To the surprise of radio executives but not hard-core fans, Stern, began to claim the ratings mantle. Within a year, Stern took the unprecedented step of syndicating his show, allowing him to break into other big markets like Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and eventually Los Angeles, New Orleans, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Dallas, Boston, and Chicago. By 1993, he was in 14 markets and claimed some 3 million daily listeners. Stern’s popularity was taken to new heights soon after with the release of his autobiography, Private Parts, a detailed, funny look at his Stern’s life that also served to pay homage to his wife Alison, her patience with him, and the job she’d done to raise their three daughters. With more than 500,000 copies in print its first month, Private Parts proved to be the fastest-selling book in Simon & Schuster’s 70-year publishing history. After taking the top spot atop The New York Times bestseller list in October 1993, it remained there for a full month. Five years later, the book was turned into a successful movie starring Stern himself. In 2005, he signed a $500 million deal with Sirius Satellite Radio. He began broadcasting exclusively on the subscription-based radio service on January 9, 2006.
Jeff Bezos (Born 1964)
American entrepreneur who played a key role in the growth of e-commerce as the founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com, Inc., an online merchant of books (and later of a wide variety of products). Under his guidance, Amazon.com became the largest retailer on the World Wide Web and the model for cyberspace sales. While still in high school, Bezos developed the Dream Institute, a centre that promoted creative thinking in young students. After graduating (1986) summa cum laude from Princeton University with degrees in electrical engineering and computer science, he undertook a series of jobs before joining the New York investment bank D.E. Shaw & Co. in 1990. Soon named senior vice president—the firm’s youngest—Bezos was in charge of examining the investment possibilities of the Internet. Its enormous potential—Web usage was growing by more than 2,000 percent a year—sparked his entrepreneurial imagination. In 1994 he quit D.E. Shaw and moved to Seattle, Washington, to open a virtual bookstore. Working out of his garage with a handful of employees, Bezos began developing the software for the site. Named after the South American river, Amazon.com sold its first book in July 1995. Amazon.com quickly became the leader in e-commerce. Open 24 hours a day, the site was user-friendly, encouraging browsers to post their own reviews of books and offering discounts, personalized recommendations, and searches for out-of-print books. In June 1998 it began selling CDs, and later that year it added videos. In 1999 Bezos added auctions to the site and invested in other virtual stores. The success of Amazon.com encouraged other retailers, including major book chains, to establish online stores. As more companies battled for Internet dollars, Bezos saw the need to diversify, and by 2005 Amazon.com offered a vast array of products, including consumer electronics, apparel, and hardware. Amazon.com’s yearly net sales increased from $510,000 in 1995 to some $600 million in 1998 and to more than $6.9 billion in 2004.
Jack London (1876-1916)
American novelist and short-story writer whose works deal romantically with elemental struggles for survival. He is one of the most extensively translated of American authors. At 14 he quit school to escape poverty and gain adventure. He explored San Francisco Bay in his sloop, alternately stealing oysters or working for the government fish patrol. He went to Japan as a sailor and saw much of the United States as a hobo riding freight trains and as a member of Kelly’s industrial army (one of the many protest armies of unemployed born of the panic of 1893). He saw depression conditions, was jailed for vagrancy, and in 1894 became a militant socialist. London educated himself at public libraries with the writings of Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Nietzsche, usually in popularized forms, and created his own amalgam of socialism and white superiority. At 19 he crammed a four-year high school course into one year and entered the University of California at Berkeley, but after a year he quit school to seek a fortune in the Klondike gold rush of 1897. Returning the next year, still poor and unable to find work, he decided to earn a living as a writer. London studied magazines and then set himself a daily schedule of producing sonnets, ballads, jokes, anecdotes, adventure stories, or horror stories, steadily increasing his output. During his life he produced steadily, completing 50 books of fiction and nonfiction in 17 years.
Rush Limbaugh (Born 1951)
Radio Show host. At the age of 16 he began working at the local radio station before and after school. After graduation from high school, he attended Southeast Missouri State University for one year and then dropped out. He left home in 1971 seeking a career in radio, but after being fired from stations in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Kansas City, Mo., he quit radio in 1978 to work in ticket sales for the Kansas City Royals professional baseball team. After five years he was back in radio as a news commentator, but he was fired for being too controversial. However, his controlled ad-lib manner was just what station KFBK in Sacramento, Calif., was looking for in 1984 to replace the outgoing Morton Downey, Jr., who exhibited a wild and often offensive style. Within a year Limbaugh had become the top radio host in Sacramento. Then in 1988 EFM Media Management signed him to a two-year contract and took him to New York City, where his national broadcast debuted on August 1. With the popularity of his show growing, many restaurants around the country began opening “Rush Rooms,” where the members of Limbaugh’s “amen choir” could have their lunch and listen to his piped-in program from what he dubbed his Excellence in Broadcasting Network. Although he was a thorn in the side of many Americans, further evidence of Limbaugh’s impact on radio was registered when he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in November.
“Smokin’ Joe” Frasier (Born 1944)
American world heavyweight boxing champion from February 16, 1970, when he knocked out Jimmy Ellis in five rounds in New York City, until January 22, 1973, when he was beaten by George Forman in Kingston, Jamaica. During Frazier’s amateur career he was one of the best heavyweights in the United States, but he lost in the Olympic trials to Buster Mathis in 1964 and made it to the Tokyo Olympic Games as a replacement boxer only when Mathis injured his hand. He won the gold medal in his weight division and then began his professional career in August 1965. A chunky man (5 feet 11 inches [1.8 metres] tall and weighing 205 pounds [92.9 kg]) with an aggressive style and a powerful left hook, he was likened to an earlier heavyweight champion, Rocky Marciano. After his loss to Foreman in 1973, Frazier faced Muhammad Ali in 1974, losing a 12-round decision. On October 1, 1975, the two faced off in the Philippines again. The fight, known as the “Thrilla in Manila,” was for the heavyweight championship, and this time Ali was the winner by technical knockout after 14 grueling rounds. After a few more fights, Frazier retired in 1976. He staged an unsuccessful comeback attempt in 1981. He then retired again and began operating a gym in Philadelphia. Frazier was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.