Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Old MacDonald had a farm, Moby had a dick.

November 14th
On this day in 1851 Moby Dick by the bearded one, Herman Melville, is published for the first time. Regarded as a true American literary classic (like there's a false one) it follows the exploits of Ishmael on board the Pequod. Largely forgotten until years after Melville's death, this novel was republished to great fanfare during the 1920's. Melville was probably looking down saying "Motherfuckers!" Cheers buddy!

On this day in 1970 a plane carrying most of the Marshall University football team crashes into a hillside killing everyone on board. The entire school was in mourning and left to decide whether or not to bring back the football program the next season. They decided it would help heal the school and surrounding city by bringing back the team. Not expecting to win any games that first season with a patchwork team, it was a story fit for a movie when the team won their second game on a last second touchdown pass. Yeah, they made a movie about it.

On this day in 1914 the leaders of the Ottoman Empire declare a holy war or Jihad, against Britain, France, and the other allied nations during WWI. The declining empire had lost most of it's vast territory during the previous century and saw the great war as a means to regain lost lands. Right until joining the Germans in the war it wasn't clear which side the Ottoman's would join. Perhaps if they would have sided with Britain they would be able to remain in the middle east, thus avoiding the upheaval that we enjoy today.

Chris Gaines? He looks like Ben Stiller.

November 13th
On this day in 1999 Garth Brooks performed on Saturday Night Live as his alter ego Chris Gaines. Gaines was a risky venture into puss rock for Brooks that would eventually end his career along with his burning infidelity. Brooks had single handed brought country music to the masses and established himself as a great live performing artist. But that all self destructed in a wonderful mess with the pile of shit.

On this day in 1982 the Vietnam War Memorial was dedicated in Washington DC. A black marble was inscribed with the names of those who died in the Vietnam conflict. The reflective material used in the memorial adds to the ambiance as you stare at the names on the wall your reflection stares back at you. It is one of the most visited memorials in the country and draws thousands every day who want to see the names of their war buddies, sons, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, and friends.

On this day in 1979 Darryl Dawkins, aka "chocolate thunder" breaks his first backboard while dunking a basketball in an NBA game. Dawkins was famous for his high-flying dunks during games, but this dunk topped them all and added to his mystique. He was one the first players to be drafted straight out of high school and helped the Philadelphia 76ers to become a force in the struggling NBA. Two weeks later he did it again, cementing himself in the lore of Philadelphia sports history.

I'll bring home the turkey if you bring home the bacon.

November 12th
On this day in 1864 during his "march to the sea" General William Tecumseh Sherman starts the burning of Atlanta. After building a stockade of supplies Sherman ordered the burning of the business district of Atlanta to prevent Confederates recovering anything of use after he left. Sherman would cause similar destruction as he worked his way to Savannah, Georgia.

On this day in 2004 Scott Peterson is found guilty of the murder of his wife, Laci, and their unborn child in Modesto, California. Laci Peterson was reported missing on Christmas Eve of 2002. His mistress came forward a month later shattering the image of Mr. Peterson being a devoted husband. He referred to himself as a widower even before the authorities discovered Laci's body in San Francisco Bay near where Scott kept his boat. He was arrested in San Diego with his brothers passport, large amounts of cash, and a new hair color. He plead not guilty. The act failed and he was sentenced to death.

On this day in 1979 President Jimmy Carter ends all imports of oil from Iran in response to the hostage crisis in Tehran. All that this achieved was the rise in oil prices and high gas prices in the US. Did he really think an oil embargo would make inspired students change their minds about abducting Americans? Carter had once said Iran was "an island of stability in the Middle East". This act formally ended the friendly relations between the two nations.

Their horn whistles Dixie

November 11th
On this day in 1918 WWI officially ends with the Germans signing a treaty of peace aboard a railroad car in France. The terms made by the Allies were meant to humiliate the Germans after they had lost the war to end all wars. This was done even though the Germans hadn't started the war and had actually done more militarily than any of the allies. But the toll taken on the home front caused the government to sue for peace. Turns out that the Germans didn't like being humiliated very much and they came back with a vengeance twenty years later.

On this day in 1978 a stuntman on the set of the Dukes of Hazard jumps his 1969 Dodge Charger over a police car. The jump totaled the car, known as the General Lee, but was featured at the beginning of every episode of the show. I never really got the premise of an orange car that had no doors and a confederate flag on its roof. Further confusing me was the Duke brothers lust for their cousin Daisy. So that's how it is in that family.

On this day in 1831 Nat Turner was executed for leading the largest slave revolt in US history. He and 75 followers spread death and destruction across Southampton county, Virginia, killing 60 whites. The local militia was raised and suppressed the rebellion. Turner was interrogated and confessed without regret for what he had done. A series of lynching of innocent slaves was done in reprisal of the revolt, and new laws were put into effect that would punish the movement, assembly, or education of slaves.

On this day in 1994 teenage girls across the country got their wish when the Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt led cast of Interview with a Vampire made their debut. Heck, they even got Christian Slater as a consolation prize. In this movie the Vampires didn't shine in the sun, they died.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Today's blog is brought to you by the letter R and the number 27

November 10th
On this day in 1969 Sesame Street made its debut on public television. Set in a fictional New York neighborhood, the show offers a positive social message from a diverse cast with songs and short segments to keep the attention of younger viewers. If you were to ask 20 people what their favorite character from the show you'd probably get a variety of answers, but I'm sure no one would say they hated the show. And if they did then they are clearly a douche bag who doesn't know how to read. For the record I like Kermit the Frog.

On this day in 1975 the cargo ship Edmond Fitzgerald sinks in Lake Superior during a strong storm. It was one of the largest ships operating on the great lakes and had been through several big storms before. It began taking on water, which along with its heavy cargo was too much and the ship sank, taking with it all 29 crew members. The sinking inspired Gordon Lightfoot to write a song.

On this day in 1775 the Continental Congress authorizes the building of two battalions of landing crews to help their army in seaborne attacks against the British. Thus the Marines were born, very proud of the fact that they are older than the United States itself. Since then they have distinguished themselves in all of Americas major wars and engagements and over 200,000 men and women proudly serve our country today. They are usually the first to participate in a battle, a fact that they pride themselves on.

Mother should I trust the government?

November 9th
On this day in 1938 Adolf Hitler authorizes Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass. This was an escalation in Hitler's political stance against the Jews. He used the murder of a low level German diplomat by a Polish Jew to instigate soldiers to into rioting all over the country. They smashed windows of Jewish business and homes and burned synagogues to the ground. They then blamed the Jews for the riots and fined them 1 billion marks for the damage caused.
On this day in 1965 the great northeast blackout occurred when a transmission line near Ontario, Canada was tripped causing a surge that spread across 8 states. 30 million people lost power, and 3 quarters of a million people became stranded aboard the New York City subway system. Efforts were made strengthen the power grid to avoid any further widespread loss of power. A similar blackout occurred in 2003, so good job guys!

On this day in 1989 the East German government lifts it ban on travel through the Berlin wall. The wall was a symbol of the Cold War, dividing not only an important system, but the world in two. At first people were afraid that the Soviet Union would intervene and close travel once again, but Mikhail Gorbachev encouraged those involved to help improve relations with the western world.

I Louvre you!

November 8th
On this day in 1793 the Louvre museum is opened in Paris, France. It had been a royal palace for two centuries, but aristocrats were out of style at the time, so it was converted into a museum. Now it houses some of the finest pieces of art the world has ever know, including the "Mona Lisa". Much of the early art in the museum was plunder taken during the French Revolution, and later during Napoleon's campaigns across Europe.

On this day in 1923 the Beer Hall Putsch began. This was the first attempt by Adolf Hitler to seize power in post war Germany. The German government had been complying with the sanctions, but this was unsatisfactory to little Adolf. He blamed all of his miseries on the Jews and spread his word to anyone who would listen. The German government didn't take to kindly people trying to overthrow them, and they arrested Hitler and his colleagues. He would take his revenge on the world.

On this day in 1895 Wilhelm Rontgen discovered X-rays while experimenting with the scientific properties of cathode rays. X-rays are similar to light waves, but are 1000 times shorter, so they are on a different spectrum. Rontgen experimented with his discovery and found that X-rays penetrated skin, but not harder substances like bone, so they were able to be photographed. The first medical use occurred in 1897 when X-rays were used to find bullets in soldiers that had been wounded in battle.

Keep your magic johnson to yourself.

November 7th
On this day in 1991 Ervin "Magic" Johnson announced that he had the HIV virus and was quitting the National Basketball Association. Regarded as one of the best players in the 1980's, Johnson was a philanderer while on road trips, sleeping with anything with a pulse. Funny how a life threatening STD will make someone monogamous. Turns out having millions of dollars will help stop the spread of HIV into full blown AIDS. Weird.

On this day in 1980 Steve McQueen died while in Mexico trying to treat his lung cancer at the age of 50. McQueen was the star of The Great Escape, Gone in 60 seconds, and The Towering Inferno.
On this day in 1940 the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapses only four months after its completion. It was the third longest suspension bridge in the world, but the designers didn't take the high winds coming off Puget Sound into consideration. It soon became clear that during any wind storm the bridge would start pitching back and forth. Drivers would drive across on such days to experience "Galloping Gerdie". It soon became too much for the bridge and it collapsed.

On this day in 1944 Franklin Roosevelt is re-elected for the third time. The voters were satisfied with the way he handled WWII and had once again given him the keys to the car. Now don't get me wrong, but the guy presided over the vast majority of the depression and was only able to get the country out by orchestrating America's involvement in WWII. He then rewarded himself by being the first man to run for re-election a second time. I'm not arguing with his fourth term, what was he supposed to do, leave before the end of the world? Well it seems that wasn't in the cards anyway.

We've got elections! Get em while they're hot!

November 6th
On this day in 1861 Jefferson Davis is voted the first president of the Confederate States of America. As it turns out he ran unopposed, a noble victory indeed. He was the son in law of former US president Zachary Taylor, and was a decorated war hero, fighting in the Mexican-American war. Later he was the Secretary of War for Franklin Pierce. Upon being elected president it was his job to guide his infantile country to victory in the war of northern aggression. But he was unable to solicit outside aid, and thus lost in a war of attrition despite having far better leadership in his armies and the advantage of fighting on his own territory.

On this day in 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected president giving the slave states the excuse they had been looking for when deciding on secession. Because the nation was divided Lincoln was able to win a close election by garnering a majority of electoral votes in the north. Had there not been such polarizing candidates the war might have been delayed another 4 years, but the split had started even before the ink was dry on the Constitution.

On this day in 1917 under the leadership of VI Lenin, the Bolsheviks launched a nearly bloodless revolution in Russia against the provisional government. After the murder of the Czar Russia was plunged into chaos, a vast country without a leader, ripe for a revolutionary mind to take over. Bolshevik Russia would go onto become the USSR and became a superpower in the world, spreading communism to other countries bored with capitalism.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Flux capicitor? Fluxing!

November 5th
On this day in 1955 Dr. Emmett Brown came up with his idea for the flux capacitor. This would be the device that makes time travel possible. He would successfully test it on October 26th, 1985 shortly before being killed by Libyans. The legend behind his coming up with the flux capacitor is that he slipped off his toilet while hanging a clock, knocking himself unconscious. When he came to he had the vision for the device, which he quickly put on paper.

On this day in 1605 the gunpowder plot is discovered by King James I and put down. Early in the morning Guy Fawkes was discovered lurking in the cellar beneath Parliament along with 20 barrels of gunpowder. After a lengthy torture session Fawkes revealed that he was behind a Catholic revolt bent on destroying the Protestant government of England in one gigantic explosion. The people shouldn't be afraid of their government, the government should be afraid of their people.

On this day in 2007 the concept of good television died with the Writers guild strike. Most new television shows were put on hold while the networks and the writers negotiated a new contract. In the mean time unscripted "reality" television shows were put out in large numbers. One more step downward in the decline of western civilization. Names like Darva Conger, Tila Tequilla, Kim Kardashian, Sanjaya, and Daniel Tosh all benefited from these new trends and we are all the worse for it.

Someone back east is sayin "Now why don't he write?"

November 4th
On this day in 1922 archaeologist Howard Carter stumbles upon the entrance to King Tut's tomb. Although unaccounted for, the tomb was thought to be long ago looted of its contents, but Carter had tried to find it none the less. Back by English rich guy Lord Carnarvon, Carter successfully located the tomb amongst debris from the tomb of Ramses VI. Soon after the curse of the mummy would be released!

On this day in 1990 Avatar: the prequel was released under the title Dances with Wolves. Directed by Kevin Costner, the success of this film can be directly blamed for Waterworld and The Postman. But it was this film that Costner captured a side of the American west that had not been portrayed often in film with the United States army being the bad guys and the Native Americans being the good guys. Oh yeah, he eats a giant chunk of meat from a buffalo he killed moments before. Ewwww!

On this day in 1979 Iranian students storm the US embassy in Tehran and captured 90 hostages. The students were angered that the deposed Shah had been granted entrance into the United States for medical treatment. Jimmy Carter sent in a rescue mission in which 8 servicemen were killed and zero hostages were rescued. Dumbass. The conflict was solved on the day that Ronald Reagan was inaugurated when a deal was struck that gave the Iranian government $8 billion. Who says money is the root of all evil?

Get to the choppah!

November 3rd
On this day in 1998 Jesse Ventura is elected governor of Minnesota, going to show that the people shouldn't be trusted en masse. At first he became the beloved figurehead for the state, using his professional wrestler charisma to his advantage. But when the proverbial economic shit hit the fan the entire nation was shown his true colors. Ventura spent more time lashing out at those who he thought were to blame for the problems than trying to solve them.

On this day in 1957 the Soviet Union found a creative way to control its pet population when it sent Laika the dog into space. She became to first animal to leave Earth, but was killed when her life support systems failed due to short battery life. I suppose sending a dog to its doom was better than sending a person, but the Soviets became quite good at killing cosmonauts too.

On this day in 1969 Richard Nixon calls on the "silent majority" to speak up against the growing antiwar sentiment to the Vietnam Conflict. Nixon was in under the impression that most people were behind the endless conflict in the jungles of southeast Asia, but the people protesting weren't just homeless people in tents. They were students, activists, and Vietnam veterans who were tired of the violence for an increasingly empty mission to halt the advance of communism. Say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


November 2nd
On this day in 1948 Harry Truman won the presidency in upset fashion over Thomas Dewey. Truman was thought to be unfit for the highest office in the country when his first term came to an end. Most of this time was spent fighting southern democrats over civil rights laws and trying to fight criticism about being a shadow of FDR. As it turns out Truman would leave the presidency in disgrace over the Korean War, so maybe Dewey would have been a better man for the job.

On this day in 1947 the largest airplane ever to get airborne,Spruce Goose, flies for the first and only time. The brainchild of Howard Hughes, it was designed to be a mass troop carrier for the war department, but with the end of WWII the project was scrapped. Hughes pushed the production ahead on his own dime and the plane flew for just over a mile at a maximum altitude of 70 feet. It's ok to ridicule this guy because he was a germophobe who saved his own piss in jars and wore kleenex boxes on his feet.

On this day in 1983 the US got another federal holiday when Reagan signed a bill creating MLK jr day. It's supposed to honor a man who strove  to gain equality for all people in this country, but unfortunately this day of remembrance became the subject of controversy when Arizona refused to honor this day. Not surprising these days with the forward thinking politicians who think any brown skinned person is an illegal immigrant.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Forcast calls for pain!

November 1st
On this day in 1960 John F. Kennedy announced his idea for the formation of the Peace Corps while on campaign for president. It is an organization build on promoting world peace and understanding between other nations. I've known only a few people that have joined, but I look up to them as folks who are making the world a better place. As some of you know I don't have faith in humanity as a whole, but there is some good left.

On this day the Weather Bureau made its first weather prediction. Formed in February of the same year it would go on to become the National Weather Service. The weather predictions have been wrong ever since. I'm not one of those people who blames the weather man/woman for being incorrect, they are just making an educated guess as to what the next days weather is going to be. But it's frustrating when they guess wrong. Here's my weather prediction for the next year, for the next 4 months it will be cold, and rainy. It might snow but probably not, it will get below freezing a lot and I'll have to scrape my damn windshield while my car warms up. There will be a fake Spring for about a week and a half in March where the sun will come out and t shirts and flowers will come out all over the place. This will be quickly followed by a series of storms that will bring hail, snow, rain, wind, sun, rail, wind, and more rain. This pattern will continue into June when in a matter of three days it will start to get hot. There will be no clouds or rain until September. There will be a fake Autumn for about a week where things will cool, but summer will make one last push, but as the days get shorter it will become cold and I'll be pissed when I have to scrape my window again.

On this day in 1941 Ansel Adams takes a picture of the moon rising over Hernandez, New Mexico. It is one of those pictures worth a thousand words, and is one of the most famous ever done by Adams. There is just so much going on in this picture, yet at the same time there really isn't much ACTUALLY going on in this picture. Check it out, let me know what you think:

On this day in 1896 National Geographic published the unclad breasts of a woman for the first time. Known to every boy in the whole world as topless tribes women, it was the most accessible way to look at boobs before the internet. Oh the innocence of it all!

Monday, October 31, 2011

You'll come back as an eagle. You'll come back as a dragon. You'll come back as Jude Law.

October Halloween
On this day in 1517 Lisa Simpson created Lutherans. No wait, that was 400 or so years before television. Ok, what really happened was a priest named Martin Luther (not King) posted his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This was the beginning of the Protestant Revolution. In a nut shell Luther was sick of the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church. He didn't believe God would absolve you of your sins if you made a payment to the Pope, for example. I wish I was Pope.

On this day in 1892 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was published for the first time in book form. Doyle had been submitting his stories in magazines for the previous 5 years, but he went global with this book. History's most famous detective was inspired by the works of Edgar Alan Poe and from Doyle's own life experiences. It  just gives me another excuse to see Jude Law on the big screen again.

On this day in 1993 River Phoenix died outside the Viper Room in Los Angeles from an overdose. He was one of Hollywood's most promising young actors at the time of his death, appearing in movies like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Sneakers, and Stand by Me. His death sent shock waves through his generation only surpassed by the death of Kurt Cobain.

On this day in 1926 Harry Houdini died from a burst appendix brought on from being punched in the stomach 11 days prior. The injury remained undetected until the day of his death when doctors rushed to save the famous magician. By no means a humble man, Houdini bragged about the strength of his stomach muscles to a group of students. Is it so surprising that one of them would test him on this statement?

Rumble in the jungle!

October 30th
On this day in 1938 millions of people believe that the United States is being invaded by Martians when Orson Welles broadcasts a "War of the Worlds" dramatization. Switchboards lit up with people concerned about their well being in the face of the enslavement of the human race. Wells took a lot of heat for this stunt, but he proved how powerful the media could be if put in the wrong hands. How gullible can you get?

On this day in 1974 the heavy weight boxing title was decided with the "Rumble in the Jungle". Muhammad Ali agreed to fight George Foreman in Zaire and solidified his already legendary status with the way he fought. Ali was older than the title holder Foreman by 7 years and was believed to be past his prime. No one believed Ali could take a punch from Foreman. But Ali spent the entire fight dancing around Foreman, at times taunting him to hit him. Ali enticed Foreman to punch him and would back against the ropes protecting himself with his arms. His brilliant strategy was to tire Foreman out, and it worked. Foreman's punches became more and more ineffective as the fight wore on, and Ali took advantage knocking him out in the eighth round.

On this day in 1995 the people of Quebec voted to stay with Canada, rather than becoming their own sovereign nation. I'm not really sure why, they speak a different language, hold a geographic advantage within Canada (splitting the nation in two) and would have had their own established economy. And they dip their fries in mayonnaise instead of ketchup....catsup...ketchup...whatever.  The results were 49% in favor of independence and just over 50% against.

Nothing as it seems

October 29th
This day in 1929 will forever be known as "Black Tuesday" because of the stock market crash that occurred. The roaring 20's came to a crashing end during the week leading up to this day. But after a big crash in its own right and a moderate rally stockholders sold everything in an attempt to get anything on their investments. People were literally jumping out of windows in New York City because life as they knew it was over. The nation, as well as the world was not prepared for the crisis and the Great Depression set in.

On this day in 1971 Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers Band died in a motorcycle accident. He was only 24, but already regarded as an accomplished musician. His brother and the rest of the band continued to perform in honor of Duane, and continue to play shows to this day.

On this day in 1966 "96 Tears" reaches number 1 on the billboard chart for ? and the Mysterians. ? beat Prince to the punch as far as representing yourself as a symbol is concerned. This song represented a turning of the tide of popular music from more prefabricated music to organic rock based out of garages. One of the first "Garage Rock" bands, ? and the Mysterians provided a foothold for many bands to come to at least believe they had a chance of making it without being good looking or necessarily talented.

Liberty of Statue

October 28th
On this day in 1965 the Gateway Arch is completed in St. Louis, Missouri. One of the most recognizable landmarks of Americana, this arch was built as the "Gateway to the West", signifying the American spirit of expansion. The romantic image of manifest destiny died with this giant arch. Instead of taking over the North American continent, the US was looking to the skies. The conquered Indian tribes were on the verge of their revenge with the increasing popularity of their casinos. Most significant was Americans now went camping for recreation, and not for survival. I don't understand the logistics of getting to the top of this thing. I'll have to see it to believe it I guess.

On this day in 1886 the Statue of Liberty was officially dedicated by President Grover Cleveland. The bronze statue was a gift from the French and represented the friendship of the two nations. I swear this thing has been closed to the public more than its been open, the least they could have done is not make it out of Bronze, but a metal that doesn't rust. Anyway, millions of immigrants knew they had reached the promise land when they first sighted Lady Liberty, so it is really the first lady of the United States of America. I used to call this thing the Liberty of Statue when I was a kid, hence the title of today's blog.

On this day in 1919 Congress enacts the 18th amendment, making the manufacturing, sale, or consumption of alcoholic beverages illegal. Morality won a great victory over the evils of the naughty water, but all this did was increase the thirst of the nation and create a racket run by gangsters. Oh yeah, and the Kennedy dynasty got a big boost from bootlegging. Before this the idea of a Catholic in the White House was laughable!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Moving right along, free coupon inside!

October 27th
On this day in 1904 the New York City Subway opened for the first time. Why is this event significant? Was it the first subway in the world? No, that honor goes to London. Was it the oldest in the US? Nope, that's in Boston. Then why is this significant? Duh, it's what the restaurant Subway is named after! Why would the History channel page put this as the most significant event? Why do New Yorkers think that they are better than everyone else? I don't know. I guess I never will.

On this day in 2006 the last Ford Taurus rolled off the assembly line in Hapeville, Georgia. It was bought by the 85-year old founder of Chic-Fil-A. This is what you give me to work with today? Really History Channel? Make something up! This is boring! This is stupid! How am I supposed to write a blog when this is all that give me, an insignificant milestone by a conceited city and an even more insignificant car being bought by some chicken geezer. And you guys wonder why I'm getting tired of writing this thing.