Dear Kid,

Stop the Presses!!! My Friend the Internet let me down. Fortunately, My Uncle the Brilliant picked up the slack.

“Stop the Presses” is a phrase from back in the Dark Ages (before the internet). Since late-breaking news couldn’t be shared on Twitter, the newspaper industry actually had to report the news (crazy, I know). When Something Really Important happened after the paper was put to bed (putting the paper to bed meant sending it to print), someone would yell Stop the Presses! (especially in cartoons) in order to change what was being printed. This didn’t happen often, because A) nothing that interesting tended to happen in the middle of the night and B) it was very expensive to stop and reset the presses—not to mention throwing away the already printed copies. So exciting news was generally reported the next day. Again, no internet so no one knew the difference.

You may recall that yesterday was Leap Day (Happy March 1st btw) and that in celebration thereof I provided Interesting Facts About February 29th.

Unfortunately, I left off An Important-ness. February 29, 1792, was the birthdate of Gioachino Antonio Rossini.

Didn’t send a birthday card? Not a problem; he wasn’t expecting to hear from you. Don’t recognize the name? Not a problem; I’m here to help.

Rossini was a composer. Not only did he write the opera The Barber of Seville (see Looney Toons for the CliffNote version) and Cinderella, he wrote—wait for it—The William Tell Overture! (He wrote the whole thing, but the Overture is the best known part. It was very considerate of Rossini to write the Overture as it would be needed in the 20th Century for the Lone Ranger.)

Still not clear? Listen to the clip I’ve so thoughtfully included.

Rossini’s music was wildly popular (then and now). His birthday parties probably weren’t well-known since he only had them every four years. Making him a candidate for piracy (extra points if you get the reference).

Hope you had a great February and have an even better March.

Love, Mom