Happy New Year! Here is my official statement on the holiday, as presented by ABBA:

Here’s a bit more musical news for you. Today in 1959, Johnny Cash played at San Quentin Prison. In the crowd was a young prisoner named Merle Haggard, who… well, you know what he went on to do.

Today in 1928 was the birthday of Ernest Tidyman, the screenwriter and novelist who first wrote about a cat who won’t cop out when there’s danger all about.

That’s right, I’m talking about Shaft. Can you dig it?

And Betsy Ross was born today in 1752. She’s credited with making the first US flag, though the story is a little more complicated than the legend.

Speaking of complicated, it was today in 1993 that the country of Czechoslovakia formally split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. At least a few citizens had mixed feelings. “I know it had to be done,” said one, “but it’s too sad.”