Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hong Kong Phuey!

June 30th
On this day in 1997 Great Britain officially ceded Hong Kong to China after 156 years of ruling it as a colony. Hong Kong was, and still is one of the economic centers of the world and helped usher China into being one of the economic powers that it is just 15 years later. People were initially worried that a modern city such as Hong Kong would collapse after becoming part of communist China, but it has thrived like never before.

On this day in 1975 Cher caused a stir by marrying Greg Allman less than a week after divorcing Sonny Bono. This tumultuous marriage would only last 4 years, largely due to Allman's drug use. Cher filed for divorce just 10 days into the marriage after Allman abandoned Cher during their honeymoon to go on a drug binge and pass out. Cher recanted this to give it another try, but alas it wasn't meant to be.
 Daddy's little girl ain't a girl no more!

On this day in 1859 daredevil Jean-Francois Gravelet crossed over Niagara Falls on a tight rope, thrilling a crowd of about 5,000 spectators. He walked 1,100 foot rope that hovered 160 feet above the Niagara River using only a pole for balancing. He would go onto a lengthy career of daredevil work that helped inspire future performers in the field.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

No! Not THAT kind of docking!

June 29th
On this day in 1995 some 225 miles above the earth the space shuttle Atlantis docked with the Russian space station Mir. This was the final step to unify the former rivals in the space race. Both countries came out of the cold war with a desire to share their knowledge of space exploration. Yay progress!

On this day in 1985 the Go Go's broke up. The most important all-female rock group of the 80's (suck on that Bangles) got too big for their own good. Belinda Carlisle wound up listening to the record people who said she would be more successful without the baggage. She started out pretty good putting together a few hits, but the finicky public wanted younger pop stars like Debbie Gibson and Tiffany.

On this day in 1972 the Supreme Court of the United States rules that the death penalty falls under cruel and unusual punishment. Many states have since overturned this ruling, which was a bit far reaching to say the least. Many victims of crimes want justice, and when a family member is killed sometimes the only justice is an eye for an eye.

On this day in 1613 the original Globe Theater in London burned down. Shakespeare debuted many of his plays here after his theater company built it 14 years prior. Having his theater in the heart of the city help popularize his work throughout England, and throughout Europe.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Maybe it would have tasted better with steak sauce.

June 28th
On this day in 1997 Mike Tyson bit both of Evander Holyfield's ears during their heavyweight title fight. Tyson bit a small chunk out of one of Holyfield's ears before going for the other ear when the fight was resumed. Boxing had been on a downward trend before this fight, but this was the final nail in the coffin of it being a legitimate sport.

On this day in 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo ushering in the start of WWI. The Balkans have always been an unstable part of the world, and through a series of complicated pacts and treaties Europe had been on the edge of war for years. Serbia was allied with Russia and Austria-Hungary was allied with Germany, and these countries were in turn allied to other European countries.

On this day in 1974 Gordon Lightfoot scored his only #1 hit with "Sundown". Lesson learned here, don't go creepin by his back stairs. He wants you to go to the front door.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Frankly, my dear I don't give a damn.

June 27th
On this day in 1939 Clark Gable filmed the scene in Gone With the Wind where he leaves Scarlett O'hara. The director was fined $5,000 for the use of the word "damn". The epic film would go on to be nominated for 12 academy awards and win 9 including best picture. The 1930's were a coming out party for Hollywood as more and more American's were using the theater to escape their troubles during the Great Depression.
On this day in 1950 President Harry Truman ordered the invasion of North Korea, thus starting the Korean War. Two days prior 90,000 North Korean troops invaded South Korea. You see, in 1948 the Korean Democratic People's Republic was proclaimed in North Korea. Wait, I thought they were communists? Yes, but somehow they have democratic in their name, and we wonder why there's been so many problems with that country. They can't even get their own name right. Anyway, US troops lead a UN invasion of North Korea that was extremely successful, chasing their troops all the way to the border with China. Had they stopped there the war might have ended in a month. But we're America, we do what we want, so we attacked their troops while they were in China and blew up a few bridges. China wasn't happy and re-invaded North Korea, chasing the UN all the way down to the tip of South Korea. Maybe that's why it's the forgotten war.

On this day in 1829 the only surviving family member of James Smithson dies without children thus setting up a curious clause in his will. He stated that if he had no surviving heirs that he would give his fortune to the United States to create museums in his name. Thus, the Smithsonian Institution was born. No one really knows why an Englishman like Smithson would donate money to a country that he had never visited, but our nation's capitol is a much nicer place because of it.

On this day in 1844 Mormon founder Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum are killed in Illinois by an angry mob. Smith had earlier in the year announced his candidacy for President of the United States, creating a huge wave of anti-Mormon sentiment. Imagine if he had somehow won, we'd have a first lady, a second lady, a third lady, a fourth lady...and so on. And I don't really want to knock the Mormons but when a 17 year old boy says he was visited by an angel telling him he can bed multiple women and legally call them all his wives, that raises an eyebrow from me.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A model of ineffeciency!

June 26th
On this day in 1945 the United Nations charter is signed in San Francisco, California. Just like the failed League of Nations, the UN was created at the end of a world war. And just like the League of Nations, the UN is an exclusive club that caters to the rich and powerful. It has succeeded in many areas around the world, but if you are a rich country you can just circumvent the rules and do whatever you want. Lucky for us, we live in one of those rich nations. Team America, fuck yeah!

On this day in 1956 Congress passes the Federal Highway Act. From this the interstate highway system was built, uniting our country in ways that it has never been. This ushered in the era of the automobile, and the glorification of the cross-country road trip. Instead of a 3 hour drive through city traffic, a journey could be cut in half with the elimination of stop lights. In theory. In some cases the traffic just got worse. Hello Los Angeles!!!

On this day in 2003 South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond died. I bring up this point because he was the quintessential career politician. This guy served in Washington for 46 years up to his death. I remember wondering what in the hell an 80-something year old man who ran for president against Truman was still doing in office in 2002. He ran under the "Dixiecrat" party before the south turned Republican because of the civil rights movement. Oh yes, he was a staunch supporter of segregation and a brutal racist. Why the heck not have him dictating our laws? For 46 years. Oh, and he had an affair with a black woman, so he couldn't even keep to his own racist philosophies. Way to go South Carolina! Keep things progressive!

On this day in 1807 the deadliest lightning strike in history occurred in Luxembourg when a gunpowder factory is struck during a thunderstorm. 300 people were killed. Two entire blocks of the city of Kirchburg were destroyed. The town had been occupied by Napoleon and he decided to store his excess ammunition and gunpowder there.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Into the great blue!

June 25th
On this day in 1997 Jacques Cousteau died at the age of 87. Cousteau brought the depths of the ocean into the living rooms of millions and showed a great passion for sea life. I remember seeing many a nature program featuring his French accent. A sad day indeed.

On this day in 1876 the battle of Little Big Horn happened. Native American warriors lead by Co-Chiefs Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse annihilated the 200 men serving under Lieutenant Colonel George Custer. Custer was seeking glory in the shrinking frontier and thought a win in a large battle against the Sioux nation was the ticket to fame. As it turns out, he got the fame he was seeking.

On this day in 2009 the king of pop died at age 50. Michael Jackson died in his mansion in California from an apparent overdose of prescription pills right before he was to begin a long string of shows in London. Much like Elvis, Jackson's later life was full of controversy and scrutiny before an untimely death. I don't suppose we'll get Michael Jackson fake-death conspiracies or sightings any time soon, will we?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thank you for smoking

June 24th
On this day in 1964 the Federal Trade Commission announced that all cigarette packs carry warning that state their harmful effects. This was among the first announcements to show that cigarettes were bad for the general populous, yet they are still legal. Why is that? The department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. That's why. Tobacco is big business and the government regulates it for a huge profit. Follow the money!

On this day in 2005 Tom Cruise showed he's just a crazy guy who makes movies when his personal views on psychiatry were broadcast to the world on the Today Show. Cruise had earlier in the year had his "couch jumping" moment with Oprah.

On this day in 1997 Disney pulled the debut album of the Insane Clown Posse off of shelves the day it was released because of content reasons. Point #1, why did Disney sign these guys in the first place, their lyrics are not family friendly to say the least. Point #2, why did anyone sign these guys. They suck more than words can describe. Only fat guys that wear "Big Dog" shirts and think that lyrics about raping corpses are funny would even buy this crap. Who am I to judge though, right?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Back when Mercedes was just a name of a car.

June 23rd
On this day in 1902 German auto maker DMG registered the brand name Mercedes. Amongst the first auto enthusiasts who wanted to increase performance for racing purposes, DMG used the non-German name to help sell in France and the rest of Europe. The first Mercedes sold could achieve speeds of about 50 mph.

On this day in 1959 Klaus Fuchs is released from prison in Britain. Fuchs was one of the scientists who helped create the atomic bomb at Los Alamos, New Mexico and was part of the Manhattan project. Shortly after arriving in the United States, Fuchs made contact with a Soviet spy. He was arrested and convicted of espionage after pleading guilty to have given the USSR many of the plans for building an atomic bomb. The USSR would not have been able to build their bomb as soon after WWII as they did if not for Fuchs. He gave the Soviets the needed leverage to compete in the Cold War. He was originally sentenced to only 14 years in prison because at the time of his espionage the Soviet Union was not an enemy of either Britain or the United States. But you can't blame the guy, he was very forthright in saying he was a communist, that's why he left Nazi Germany in the first place.

On this day in 1989 Batman was released. I was in California at the time of its release and watched it with my family. I thought it was pretty good. Michael Keaton has great range as an actor. But now I don't think it holds a candle to the newer Batman movies. Despite being the best of the Batman trilogy (spits on the ground) it is still a little bit silly to be a believable story. I dunno, Jack Nicholson as the Joker was good too. Good for 1989, not so much for 2011. I remember my friend Willie had a Joker poster with him on the beach with a bunch of seagulls around him. One of my favs.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I freeze to death in a boat and all I get is a bay named after me.

June 22nd
On this day in 1611 Henry Hudson, his son, and 7 supporters are set adrift by the mutinous crew of the HMS Discovery. Hudson and his crew were in search of the fabled northwest passage when he discovered the bay that bears his name in Canada. He was trapped there by the weather for the winter and when the ice in the bay melted, his crewmen mutinied.

On this day in 1944 Franklin Roosevelt signed into legislation the GI bill. The war may have pulled the country out of the Great Depression, but the GI bill helped the economy boom afterward. It gave returning soldiers breaks on loans and education which allowed them a smooth transition back to everyday life. The result was a more educated populous and economic growth that was unprecedented.

On this day in 1945 the battle of Okinawa ended. The island had some of the fiercest fighting of the entire war due to the Japanese resolve to not surrender their homeland. Okinawa was defended by 100,000 Japanese soldiers, most of whom lost their lives in the defense of the island. This battle hastened the push for results with the Manhattan project. The United States did not want another drawn out battle for the remaining Japanese home islands.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

United we stand, divided we stand in different places.

June 21st
On this day in 1788 New Hampshire became the 9th state to ratify the Constitution, thus making it the law of the land and now the oldest written Constitution in the world still in use. Many nations have followed suit and created their governments in the same mold because it has stood the test of time. The ability to add amendments was a compromise at the time, but it certainly made things easier in the long run for my country. All except for that 19th amendment, screw that one! Minority my ass, more like lazy majority!

On this day in 1964 three civil rights workers disappeared after investigating a church burning in Mississippi. It was later found that they were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan and buried in an earthen dam. The FBI got involved after the local law enforcement proved to be less than helpful (more like they were involved), and were able to get convictions. The civil rights worker's murders attracted the nations attention to the plight of many people in the south.

On this day in 1981 John Hinckley Jr. used the ever popular insanity plea to his advantage after shooting Ronald Reagan 3 months prior and was judged to be not guilty. He fired 6 shots at the president, wounding him in the abdomen. Reagan made an unexpected quick recovery from his wounds. Now some folks want to call him one of the best American presidents ever, I won't disagree, but he better not be put on the $10.00 bill.

Monday, June 20, 2011

We're going to need a bigger boat.

June 20th
On this day in 1975 the summer blockbuster is born when Jaws is released to widespread panic and popularity. Now we just see it as just another movie on Speilberg's resume, but at the time it was his greatest success. People still think twice about entering the water on a hot summer day.
On this day in 1900 the Boxer Rebellion began when Chinese nationalists grew tired of foreign involvement in their country. They started to sabotage foreign interests and attacks on any foreigner they saw. The rebellion was put down by a joint force of Great Britain, the United States, Russia, Japan, France, and Germany. As a result China became a puppet state and was essentially ruled by many foreign powers until WWII.

On this day in 1994 George Michael lost his lawsuit with Sony Records that claimed Michael was being treated unfairly with his 15 year contract. Michael was particularly offended by the clause that stated Sony could refuse to release any album it thought would not be commercially viable. George Michael refused to ever record again with Sony. Two things. Why would Sony release  anything it thought wouldn't sell. This is George Michael, he sucks! Second of all, George Michael signed a new contract with Sony in 2003 when his old one ended. Way to stick to your guns guy, now go find a bathroom stall.

The birth of the Republican Party!

June 19th
On this day in 1856 the first Republican National Convention ended. The end of the Whig political party created a hole for the two-party system in America. It was filled by the Republican party, and got off to a shaky start on this day in 1856. It was actually found two years prior, but the first presidential election was in 1856. The Republicans were the default anti-slavery party, and were immediately shunned in the south. John C. Fremont was chosen as their first presidential nominee, but he would go on to lose to James Buchanan.

On this day in 1993 I turned 10. I caddied for my daddy that day, making $1.00 a hole to carry around his golf clubs.
On this day in 1917 Britain's King George the V changed the royal surname from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor because of WWI. God forbid the British citizens think that their king is related to the very people they were at war with. Heck, it's not like he was first cousins with the Kaiser or anything. What's that? They were first cousins? Their grandmother was Queen Victoria? Britain was ruled by German Kings throughout the 1700's. Some didn't even speak English. If we go to war with Britain, I'm going to change my last name from Kent to something more American. Like Ranch Dressing, or Coca Cola.
On this day in 1953 Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for espionage. The 50's were to Communism like the 2000's were to wardrobe malfunctions. Although the Rosenbergs were spies, it was the fact that they were also dirty, red commies that caused them to die. Martyrs to the cause, they brought about a wave of sympathy to communism in the US that brought the democratic government of capitalist pigs to their knees. Wait, what? That didn't happen? Democracy won? The bums lost Lebowski!

Waterloo, couldn't escape if I wanted to.

June 18th
On this day in 1815 Napoleon and his Grand Armee met their match when they met Wellington and his Invincibles at Waterloo in Belgium. Although he had been sent to exile earlier in the year, Napoleon had escaped and gathered his army once again and sought to retake what he had lost. Waterloo is now synonymous with losing everything. Napoleon would spend the rest of his life in exile, this time not in the Mediterranean, but in the south Atlantic on Saint Helena.
On this day in 1812 the War of 1812 began. Weird, huh? The war was started because the vocal minority wanted more land (ie Canada) and more freedoms on the high seas. Great Britain had used its naval might to put a blockade on Napoleon and France. This meant that American goods could not get into that country and American commerce would have to take the hit. Rightly so, the British took the declaration of war as tough America was an repugnant child. Most of the fighting would take place after the Napoleonic wars ended (see above).
On this day in 1967 the Monterey Pop festival came to an end. This three day event at the start of the so-called "summer of love" represented the high point of 60's culture and music. Woodstock would be the biggest concert of the decade, but it would not have taken place if not for the Monterey Pop festival. Jimi Hendrix played his guitar with his teeth before setting it on fire, the Who destroyed their instruments at the end of their set, and Otis Redding put on a soul scorching set well into the night just 6 months before his death. The Mamas and the Papas, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, the Animals, Jefferson Airplane, and the Byrds would also perform.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Run OJ! Run!

June 17th

On this day in 1994 OJ Simpson lead police on the most famous low speed chase in history. With a gun to his head and his friend Al Cowlings at the wheel OJ lead police through the greater Los Angeles on one strange trip. He was talked out killing himself by the police and told them he wanted to see his mother before turning himself in. All telltale signs of innocence.
On this day in 1972 Forrest Gump made a fateful phone call that ended up with the arrest of men burglarizing the Democratic National Committee. They were caught with burglary tools and bugging equipment. The conspiracy went all the way up to the president and lead to Richard Nixon resigning.

On this day in 1989 the New Kids on the Block topped the charts with "I'll be loving you forever", yet another sign of the apocalypse.

On this day in 1775 the Battle of Bunker Hill occurs in Boston. The soon to be American army held the high ground atop the hill and the British under General William Howe went up the hill to remove them. Although the battle would be won by the British, it would be at a high cost. It lead the British to believe they were not going to be fighting a rag-tag army after all.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A house divided against itself is pretty normal these days.

June 16th
On this day in 1858 Abraham Lincoln gave his famous "House Divided" speech which helped him get elected to the Senate. It's weird to think that he went from failed lawyer to president in less than three years, but it was though his speeches that garnered him fame and popularity throughout the divided nation.

On this day in 1965 Bob Dylan recorded "Like a Rolling Stone". He was already a famous singer/songwriter, but this song transcended the 1960's with talk of diplomats with siamese cats, and selling alibis and vacuum eyes.  At over 6 mins long it challenged how long a successful pop song could be.

On this day in 1896 a tsunami ravaged the coast of Japan in Kamaishi. 20,000 people were killed by waves reported to be as high as 115 feet.
On this day in 1903 the Ford motor company became incorporated. Henry Ford needed financial backing to mass-produce his automobiles, so he sold stock in his company to 12 shareholders. With the money he was able to set up his famous assembly lines that contained interchangeable parts that allowed for cars to be made in huge numbers daily.

On this day in 1980 the Blues Brothers movie opened . Featuring legendary performances and crazy car chases, this movie goes down as a classic in my book.
Mrs. Murphy: May I help you boys?
Elwood: You got any white bread?
Mrs. Murphy: Yes.
Elwood: I'll have some toasted white bread please.
Mrs. Murphy: You want butter or jam on that toast, honey?
Elwood: No ma'am, dry.
[Mrs. Murphy gives him a look, then turns to Jake]
Jake: Got any fried chicken?
Mrs. Murphy: Best damn chicken in the state.
Jake: Bring me four fried chickens and a Coke.
Mrs. Murphy: You want chicken wings or chicken legs?
Jake: Four fried chickens and a Coke.
Elwood: And some dry white toast please.
Mrs. Murphy: Y'all want anything to drink with that?
Elwood: No ma'am.
Jake: A Coke.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Near miss

June 15th
On this day in 2002 an asteroid came within 75,000 miles of earth. That is roughly a third of the way to the moon. This doomsday scenario would have left us without the horrors of Miley Cyrus, the Jonas brothers, that annoying "Friday" song, and Bin Laden would have been killed 9 years earlier. Take that Obama!

On this day in 1215 Magna Carta was sealed. This was the document that formed the basis for modern democracy with the predecessor for trial by jury. It also stated that a king must govern under certain laws, thus taking away the god-like image of the monarchy.

On this day in 1844 Charles Goodyear receives a patent for the vulcanization of rubber. This method makes rubber strong and allows it still be stretchy. And stinky.
On this day in 1859 the Pig War began in the remnants of the Oregon Territory. Oregon became a state on Valentine's Day that year and the parts that would become Washington and Idaho were still called the Oregon Territory when this unfortunate incident occurred. In the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound a border dispute between British and United States settlers happened when a pig was shot. Both sides said the other was at fault and a war nearly broke out. The United States sent their highest ranking general, Winfield Scott to barter a treaty. Lines were drawn and tempers cooled. The pig was tasty!

Ironically enough on this day in 1846 the border between Canada and the United States was seemingly finalized along the 49th parallel. The Oregon treaty gave the United States control of all land below this parallel and the aforementioned Puget Sound, while Britain got Vancouver Island and everything north of this parallel. That is until the tasty pig.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Stars and stripes forever

June 14th
On this day in 1777 the Continental Congress adopts the "stars and stripes" as the flag of the infantile nation. Many different flags were proposed, but the flag with the 13 stripes (they're for luck if you ask Homer Simpson) and the 13 stars in a circular pattern was the winner.

On this day in 1903 Heppner, Oregon was wiped off the map as the result of a flash flood.  The tiny central Oregon town was built on a flood plain and a strong late spring thunderstorm in the mountains that surrounded the town caused a twenty-foot tall wall of water to envelope the citizens and wash them away. 324 people were killed.

On this day in 1924 Warren G. Harding became to first president to be heard on the radio. He was dedicating a memorial to Francis Scott Key and the "Star Spangled Banner".
On this day in 1846 the Bear Flag revolt began. It was an anticipatory move by settlers in California against the Mexican government. They declared the short lived California Republic independent from Mexico and sided with the US when war broke out with Mexico. The rabble was started by John C. Fremont, the explorer sent west by the US government to map the west for further expansion. He drummed up support for a revolt in Sonoma, California that turned out to be a bloodless battle. But significant in it was the first skirmish of the Mexican-American war.

Monday, June 13, 2011

What gives Miranda the right?

June 13th
On this day in 1966 the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Miranda vs Arizona that upon arrest the arresting officer had to read the suspect their rights. The right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Ernesto Miranda had confessed to a crime without knowing his rights. The ACLU took his case to the Supreme Court and had the conviction overturned. In the aftermath Miranda was re-tried, convicted again, served his time, and was stabbed to death in a bathroom in 1976.

On this day in 1381 the peasant's revolt occurred in London. A group peasants lead by a man named Wat Tyler fought their way into London after capturing a few cities along the way. When he was refused a meeting with King Richard II, he captured the Tower of London and beheaded the Bishop of Canterbury. Tyler was then able to negotiate with the king to have serfdom revoked in all of England. But he couldn't stop there and demanded more, which caused the mayor of London to stab him to death and have most of the peasants killed, thus snuffing out the revolt.

On this day in 2003 one of my favorite bands, the Arctic Monkeys, performed live for the first time at The Grapes in Sheffield, England. They made about $44.00 that night.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Drink apple juice, 'cause Oj will kill you.

June 12th
On this day in 1994 Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown-Simpson were murdered in Brentwood, California. Mrs. Simpson, the ex-wife of OJ Simpson, went to dinner the night she was killed and had forgotten her glasses at the restaurant. Ron Goldman was a waiter at that restaurant, and her friend, so he decided to return the glasses to her, and was killed for his efforts. OJ became the prime suspect because of his prior domestic violence against his ex-wife and the mountain of evidence pointing to him being the killer. He's dedicated his life to finding the real killer. Maybe look in the mirror buddy.
On this day in 1987 president Ronald Reagan gave a famous speech in Berlin asking Mikhail Gorbachev to "Tear down this wall.", referring to the Berlin Wall. This was part of the thawing of the Cold War and lead directly to the wall being taken down 2 years later.

On this day in 1963 civil rights leader Medgar Evers was killed in his driveway by Byron De La Beckwith. Had he survived the 1960's, Evers would have his name alongside Martin Luther King and Rev. Jesse James, but was killed before many of the results of the civil rights movement could be finished. De La Beckwith was tried 3 times for the murder of Evers and was only convicted 31 years after the murder when new evidence of corruption and conspiracy were found in his first two trials.
On this day in 1942 Anne Frank received the diary that would make her famous. She would move into hiding with her family about a month later and document her hardship nearly every day. Her diary was published after her death at the hands of the Nazi's in an internment camp and sent around the world.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


June 11th

On this day in 1982 ET came out. I remember vaguely seeing this with my family when it first came out on tape. Especially the scene where ET gets drunk. Anther summer blockbuster was released on this day in 1986 when Ferris Buellers Day Off came out. "We ate pancreas!".

On this day in 1963 the University of Alabama was desegregated by presidential order. You see, in the south, them good ol' boys don't like to mix with colored folks. Not at their schools, not at their restaurants, not anywheres. But that damn yankee president had to stick his nose where it don't belong, I'll tell you what. Yeah, this was the scene of Forrest Gump where he picks up the book that the girl dropped in front of the school.

On this day in 1938 during the second Sino-Japanese war in China the Nationalist government creates the Yellow River Flood in order to stop the Japanese army advancing. Turns out to be one of the worst military blunders in history when the flood waters kill over 500,000 civilians. Talk about cutting off your nose in spite of your face, yeah, let's destroy the cities we're trying to protect so they don't get destroyed by the Japanese.
Also on this day in 1963 Buddhist Monk Quang Duc lights himself on fire to protest the the intolerance of the South Vietnamese government towards religious freedom. This picture circulated around the world and drew attention to the plight in southeast Asia. Later it was put on the cover Rage Against the Machine's first album.