Here are some one liners...
Rules for Radicals -- I talk about the nihilist movement in Russia and how it relates to the Marxists, the Black Panthers and Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals".
Samuel Clemens is Mark Twain -- Twain publishes his best selling book. It will be his best ever. I also talk about shaggy dog stories and the idioms of the time without actually using any of them.
The Golden Spike -- The transcontinental railroad and how Abraham Lincoln moved mountains.
In Other News -- The Prohibition Party, Suez Canal and Celluloid.
Rules for RadicalsIf you ever wanted to know how anarchy got such a bad name, welcome to the world of nihilism (NYE-ill-is-em). It's like "annihilation", but less fun. A few decades ago a philosopher figured out that critical reasoning breaks down every ideal into smaller and smaller elements until they are nil... nothingness. In other words, there are no standards. There are no ideals. There is no love, no religion and certainly no God. This is "nihilism," but the idea hasn't caught on until recently. Russian anti-conformists have been shocking the sensibilities of society, so the nihilists are sent to Siberia. It is a cold exile in rough prisons with regular beatings. They return with a new attitude. They are no longer anti-conformist, anti-government beatniks. They are now beatniks with guns and bombs. The pamphlet "Catechism of a Revolutionist" is published this year and it will serve as a constitution for the nihilists... a sort of "Rules for Radicals". Government officials will be attacked... often shot... and blown to bits. When the perpetrators are caught they can give no comprehensible reason for their actions. Certainly it is not due to any hate. They simply want government to back off, but their actual goals are vague. It seems to officials that they are describing a minimalist government or no government at all. In other words, Nihilism, Anarchy and Terrorism are now in the same basket. Until Tsar Alexander is assassinated, it will only get worse.    
Samuel Clemens is Mark TwainEver since Samuel Clemens became popular with that ridiculous story about the "Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", he has been doing well writing short stories and articles for the newspapers. He talked a number of newspapers into funding his travels through Europe and the Holy Land. In exchange, he submitted letters detailing his adventures overseas. The letters have been collected and published this year under the title "Innocents Abroad." It will become his best seller in his lifetime and the best seller of travelogues ever. Clemons has been using the pen name "Mark Twain." There are numerous explanations for why he chose such a name, but Clemens clearly states the reason. The guy who originally used the pen name had died recently, so he grabbed it. Isaiah Sellers was a riverboat captain. The Captain apparently wrote articles for the New Orleans Daily Picayune as he plied the waterways of the Mississippi. The river changes its depths from season to season so soundings are taken using a weighted rope. When the rope measures two fathoms (or 12 feet) the cry goes out "mark twain!" meaning the second mark on the line. It is the minimum depth for safe passage for a river boat.  
The Golden SpikeThe date is May 10th, 1869. The place is Promontory Summit in the Utah Territory. Union Pacific's Engine Number 119 meets Central Pacific's Jupiter. This is the final stretch in creation of the first US Transcontinental railroad. Several other commemorative ceremonies have already taken place with various spikes of differing makeup. This final spike is made of a gold and copper alloy, A hole has been pre-drilled, the spike is dropped into the hole and gently tapped into place by Leland Stanford, Governor of California, owner of the railroad, founder of Stanford University and for all intents and purposes, a robber baron, but right now, all that matters is that there is now a railway that binds the country together in more ways than one. This is real. The golden spike will be pulled out and placed on display at Stanford Museum. Several things are written on the spike, but one thing stands out above all the others.... THE WRONG DATE! The lettering on the spike reads May 8, 1869. Due to weather problems and a labor dispute, the ceremony was delayed, but they got it done. 
In Other News
- The Suez Canal is open for business. This canal saves the trip around the tip of Africa. The Empress of France attends the opening ceremony since this is largely a French effort. 
- Celluloid is invented...(sort of). J. W. Hyatt experiments with a patented plastic substance and discovers a substitute for ivory. (Elephants trumpet his achievement.) Billiard balls soon follow. Flexible celluloid for film will be in use by 1889. Patent disputes will be resolved eventually.