Sunday, July 31, 2011

Patent pending

July 31st
On this day in 1790 the United States patent office grants its first patent to Samuel Hopkins. Hopkins petitioned the US government for his invention of an apparatus that improved the process of making pot ash and Pearl ash. Pot ash is mineral used in the making of glass and bleaching fabric, and mostly in making soap.

On this day in 1965 the Ranger 7 satillite photographed the moon for the first time. It was able to get images that were up to 1,000 times closer than any telescope had seen at the time. This mission helped NASA decide on the best locations to land men on the moon.

On this day in 1975 Jimmy Hoffa, the head of the Teamsters Union, went missing. He is one of the most high profile missing persons in the history of the United States. The circumstances involving his disappearance have become a running joke because of his ties to organized crime. Rumors have him being burried underneath the goalposts of the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey. He was declared legally dead in 1982.

On this day in 1954 Italian climber Ardito Desio and his team become the first people to reach the summit of K2 in the Himilayas. Mt Everest may be the tallest mountain in the world, but K2, the second tallest on earth, is famous for being a much more difficult climb. Of every 4 people to reach the summit, one dies attempting it. It would be 23 years before the second successful attempt at the summit.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

You gotta keep track of your pills.

July 30th
On this day in 1965 President Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare bill into law. It gave persons over the age of 65 medical insurance, allowing US citizens to live longer, healthier lives. The first recipient of Medicare was former president Harry Truman.

On this day in 1864 Union troops tried and failed to end the siege at Petersburg, Virginia by tunneling under the Confederate lines and detonating explosives. The explosives created a large crater that was soon filled with Union troops. The stunned Confederates soon recovered to discover the Union troops couldn't ascend their side of the crater. The Confederates were able to pick off Union troops one by one until a retreat was ordered.

On this day in 1999 the Blair Witch Project was released. The mockumentary film about 3 young film makers going out in the woods to search out the fabled ghost. After a bunch of shaky camera work, screaming, bloody teeth, and a guy in the corner, the film ends.

On this day in 1966 The Troggs reached number one on the singles chart with "Wild Thing". Famously covered throughout the years, most notably by Jimi Hendrix, the song came to symbolize the transition from poppy, prefabricated rock, to more progressive, deeper themed rock.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Don't blame me, the dog told me to do it!

July 29th
On this day in 1976 the "Son of Sam" serial killer shot and killed his first victim, Donna Lauria, while she sat in a parked car with her boyfriend. Throughout the next year, David Burkowitz would target women, sometimes in parked cars, shooting them at close range. He was finally caught when police found a machine gun in the back of his car. He claimed that his neighbors dog spoke to him after he shot it, telling him to kill.

On this day in 1981 the first royal wedding  to be televised worldwide occurred when Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer. The crown prince found his princess, and they lived happily ever after, for 15 years. Prince Charles had been keeping a mistress for nearly the entire length of the marriage and the constant glare of the media would cost the couple their family.

On this day in 1945 the USS Indianapolis is sunk in the Pacific Ocean by a Japanese submarine. It had delivered a top secret supply of parts for the atomic bombs that were to be dropped on Japan and was returning to Pearl Harbor when a torpedo struck the side. The ship went down in less than 15 minutes, and 300 sailors went down with the ship. Because of the top secret nature of the mission, no one began searching for the ship. Of the nearly 900 survivors of the sinking, only about 300 were rescued four days later. The high number of deaths were attributed mainly to shark attacks while the sailors floated in the water.

On this day in 1958 President Eisenhower authorized the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Less than 11 years later the United States would put a man on the moon. Pretty incredible, but conspiracy theorists can suck it. How could you fake the building of the Saturn V rocket and a space race with the Russians. Achem's razor would say we most likely succeeded in getting to the moon.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl harbor?

July 28th
On this day in 1943 one of the worst air raids occurred over Hamburg, Germany when British bombers continued Operation Gomorrah. The targets were purely the industrial districts of the city, but due to firefighting resources being exhausted from the previous nights bombings, and the hot summer weather, the fires began to spread. Winds began to kick up to nearly 100 mph from the fire. Almost the entire city was consumed and 43,000 people were killed and the term "Firestorm" entered the English vernacular.

On this day in 1868 the 14th amendment of the Constitution is ratified by the three-quarters ratio of states, giving African Americans citizenship. Because most of the southern states were not readmitted to the Union, the most racist parts of the country were circumvented from the vote. The Radical Reconstruction that occurred after the Civil War was able to accomplish some good things like this, yet it ultimately failed. The US government found out you can't force people to change their minds.

On this day in 1978 Animal House is released. Filmed on the campus of THE University of Oregon, the film ended up a box office success AND a cult phenomena. Fraternities across the country experienced an incline in popularity. Although it didn't launch the careers of any famous actors, it was able to solidify the status' of both John Belushi and Donald Sutherland.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

You wascally wabbit!

July 27th
On this day in 1940 Bugs Bunny is introduced to the world in the cartoon "A Wild Hare". Warner Brothers studios became the chief rival to Disney in the animation world after WWII. Although short on plot, Bugs Bunny cartoons always resulted in crazy shenanigans. Yes Bugs, you are a stinker.
On this day in 1794 Maximilien Robespierre is overthrown as the leader of the French Revolution. Robespierre was the architect of the "reign of terror" that executed anyone who was thought to be an enemy of the revolution. After he was unanimously voted the leader of the National Convention, he immediately put forth a law that took away the rights of citizens to have a trial. 1,400 people were executed in about a month. Before his election he was a member of the Committee of Public Safety that arrested 300,000 people, executed 17,000, and allowed many more to die in jail. But the Revolution cannibalized its creators and Robespierre was guillotined.

On this day in 1943 Joseph Stalin issued order number 227, which outlawed cowards. In the face of the advancing Nazi army, Stalin had to deal with defeat after defeat. What's a crazed dictator to do? Tell your troops you either die at the hands of enemy or die by my hands. Slowly, the tide of war turned. Whether this was due to order number 227, or another reason is up for debate.

On this day in 1953 the Korean war ends with an armistice. After three long years a stalemate on the battlefield occurred and peace talks were initiated. A new border was drawn dividing Korea in half and the two sides have been at odds for nearly 60 years. But we stopped those darn communists! Didn't we?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Don't go postal!

July 26th

On this day in 1775, what would become the US postal service was established by Benjamin Franklin. He envisioned a mass communication network across the colonies. After the Declaration of Independence this communication was vital to the cause of the American Revolution. Now it's a way for bill collectors to get their message across, "Some guys are coming to your door soon".

On this day in 1908 the Federal Bureau of Investigation is founded. It became the chief means of the government to investigate federal crimes. Throughout its history, the FBI was able to nab criminals who had otherwise eluded state agencies, whether because of lack of evidence or just plain corruption. J. Edgar Hoover became the head of the FBI in 1924, just 7 years after joining the department. He came to symbolize the US government agent tracking down the career criminal during prohibition. Al Capone, "Machine Gun" Kelly, "Babyface" Nelson, and John Dillinger were just a few of those brought to justice under his administration.

On this day in 1941 the US froze all Japanese assets after Japan invaded French Indo-China, present day Vietnam. This was just another step towards war in the Pacific, and yet another reason to call into question the US government claim of having "no clue" an attack was imminent at Pearl Harbor.

On this day in 1948 President Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981 officially desegregating the US military. Blacks had fought in every major American conflict, but often times they were forced to do the job that white soldiers wouldn't. Apparently WWII changed enough minds that this order was presented to Truman and he was progressive enough to sign it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Conception in a petrie dish!

July 25th
On this day in 1978 Louise Brown is born, becoming the first successful "test tube baby". Since then millions of babies have been born through in vitro fetilization. Although some women still are unable to get pregnant, this procedure helped out many others who had no other option. Now what to do with all the orphans?

On this day in 1965 Bob Dylan did the unthinkable and plugged in his guitar at the Newport Folk Festival. There were many reports that the crowd actually "boo'ed" Dylan, but apologists say they were unhappy with the sound system. Yeah right guys.

On this day in 1985 actor Rock Hudson announced to the world that he had contracted the AIDS virus. He was often portrayed as the stalwart leading man in many of his movies during the 50's and 60's. But in reality he was most likely gay. His plight brought AIDS to the forefront of the nation's attention.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pine tar!

July 24th
On this day in 1983 Kansas City Royal George Brett throws one of THE best adult temper tantrums of all time after it is ruled that his home run is overturned and he is called out because of his use of pine tar on his bat. Pine tar is not illegal, players had been using it for years to get a better grip on the bat. But there was a rule that said if the pine tar was beyond a certain point on the bat that it was illegal. The opposing manager knew this and saved his protest for an important hit. What followed is legendary. No video = Lame.

 On this day in 1701 Fort Detroit is founded. Strategically posted in between lakes Erie and Huron, it was the scene of many battles during the years it was on the frontier, specifically the French and Indian war and the war of 1812. Now it's a symbol of unemployment.

On this day in 1567 Mary Queen of Scots is deposed in favor of her infant son James VI. Mary ascended to the throne as an infant as well, and became a strong candidate for the Catholics in England who wanted a Catholic monarch. Her claim to the throne was blocked by Queen Elizabeth I, who was her cousin. When various plots to overthrow Elizabeth were traced back to Mary, she was deposed and beheaded.

On this day in 1998 "Saving Private Ryan" opened to critical acclaim worldwide. Depicting a special operation just after D-Day to try and find a private who had all his brothers die in combat, it follows 7 army rangers and their commanding officer from the landing on the beach to their demise along a bridge in France. It would go on to win 5 oscars.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The rise and fall of Axl Rose

July 23rd
On this day in 1988 Guns N' Roses reach the top 40 for the first time with their hit "Sweet Child O' Mine". Rose made a lot of his midwestern roots and subsequent journey to Los Angeles. He joined the music scene there and was in and out of bands. They played in the now famous clubs Whiskey A Go-Go and the Troubadour. When he formed Guns N' Roses he wanted to go away from the glam rock that was popular at the time. They were signed to Geffen records and hoped their first single "Welcome to the Jungle" would be a hit. It was, but not until they toured for over a year and released "Sweet Child O' Mine". If you ask me, it's more about Slashs' opening riff, than Axl's whiney voice.

On this day in 1878 the outlaw "Black Bart" robbed a stage coach in California while wearing a flour sack over his head. It was the last time he was to get away with a robbery. His next attempt was a failure and he was caught. As it turns out his name was Charles Bolton. He served only a small sentence in jail, and upon release never lead a life of crime again.

On this day in 1914 the ultimatum that would start WWI was made by Austria-Hungary toward Serbia. Angry about the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand while he visited Sarajevo, they put forth an impossible list of demands that, if not met, would lead to war. Germany decided to back their ally Austria-Hungary, while Russia decided to back their ally Serbia. Russia was also allies with Britain and France, who pledged their assistance in any conflict. Serbia met all the terms of the ultimatum but one, it felt the external investigation of it's infrastructure was unfair. Indignant, Austria-Hungary declared war two days later.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Let's see what kind of leftovers we have in the freezer.

July 22nd
On this day in 1991 serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is caught in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when his latest victim escaped and ran down the road in handcuffs. Dahmer would lure men into his apartment and kill them. He would then dismember the bodies, eat part of them, and keep the rest as souvenirs in an oil drum and his freezer.

On this day in 1934 John Dillinger is gunned down as he left a movie theater after becoming "Public Enemy #1". He, along with his gang, were famous for their daring bank robberies. J. Edgar Hoover made it a priority to catch him. In the end a brothel madam ended up turning him in. Ironically the movie he watched before his death was Manhattan Melodrama, a gangster film.

On this day in 1598 The Merchant of Venice is listed in stationers' register, which was the official way to publish any written works in England at the time. This was a means for the Crown to control everything that was officially written in England. This is also why much of Shakespeare's work was unauthorized while he was alive.

On this day in 1793 Alexander MacKenzie reached the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first European to cross the continent of North America by land. He was on a mission to find the fabled "Northwest Passage", which he never did find. His expedition laid the groundwork for Lewis and Clark a decade later. He also laid claim to the region for England.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

That'll make your bull run!

July 21st

On this day in 1861 the first battle of Bull Run occurred 30 miles outside of Washington DC. It was the first major battle of the war and resulted in a Confederate victory. It was at this battle that General Thomas Jackson received the nickname "Stonewall" after staying steadfast at his position in the face of numerous Union charges. The retreat of Union soldiers was so unorganized that they left everything on the battlefield and ran all the way to the capitol.

On this day in 2007 I, along with many other nerds, waited in line for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book of the series. I proceeded to read it in less than two days. The hype and antici...pation for the book was so huge that all over the world kids and adults alike were dressing up like wizards and witches while they waited to conclude this series.

Hey! It's Hemingway's birthday! No, not that crappy actress:
But the actual talent in the family. A man who knew his alcohol about as well as the Dos Equis guy, Ernest Hemingway was able to use his life experience to paint a very realistic portrait of life through his characters.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

We landed on the moon!

July 20th
On this day in 1969 Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the moon. Come to find out, it's not made of cheese. Conspiracy theorists be damned, I believe that we did it. If for no other reason than we were able to build the Saturn V rocket. What did getting to the moon accomplish? Well, there's a flag up there! I remember that scene in one of the superman movies where the bad guys landed on the moon and beat up the astronauts. Scary stuff!
On this day in 1973 actor Bruce Lee died at the age of 32. All actors who do their own stunts or fight scenes owe everything they have to this guy. He was actually born in San Francisco, while his father was on tour as an opera singer, but moved back to China at a very young age. His major US film debut Enter the Dragon was released one month after his untimely death.

On this day in 1944 an assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler fails after the bomb used in the plot is unintentionally moved from underneath the Fuhrer. Codenamed Valkyrie, the plot was thought up by Col Claus von Stauffenberg who was able to gain support for his plan throughout the German high command. They were aware that fighting the war on two fronts was suicidal and destined to fail. It was felt that if they could just kill Hitler than the war would soon end.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I'm your huckleberry!

July 19th
On this day in 1879 famed gunslinger Doc Holliday kills his first victim after Mike Gordon decided to shoot up Holliday's saloon. Holliday only officially killed two men in his life, but garnered a reputation of being fearless. His only other confirmed kill came in the shootout at the OK corral. The following video portrays an event that never actually happened, but it's still awesome! It gives the quote from my blog on 14th of July some context.

On this day in 1553 15 year old Lady Jane Grey was deposed as Queen of England and Queen Mary was put on the throne after a backlash occurred. Grey was named heir after 15 year old King Edward VI died of tuberculosis, because she was a Protestant, and Mary, the rightful heir, was a Catholic. Oh those silly royals and their claims to the throne! Grey was executed for high treason for her efforts, despite not really wanted to be queen. More fallout from Henry VIII and his wish to marry and divorce whomever he pleased.

On this day in 1991 Mike Tyson raped Desiree Washington after a date. Tyson had just lost his heavy weight title the previous year, but was still a formidable boxer. Washington was a Miss Black America contestant. Tyson was famous for his attitude toward women, having his marriage end due to domestic violence, numerous claims of unwanted advances and crude comments. Tyson claimed the sex to be consensual, but he was found guilty and sentenced to six years in jail.

On a side note, the history channel site that I link at the top of my page claims the Rosetta Stone to be found on this day 1799, and I put that it was found on July 15th, 1799. I stand by my claim because my source says that was the case. The aforementioned source also says it was a report of the finding that was made on this day in 1799. So suck it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fiddle me this!

July 18th
On this day in 64 AD the Great Fire of Rome occurred. It is said that the emperor Nero played a fiddle while everyone around him suffered. Another legend has Nero starting the fire himself. Either way, in the aftermath the emperor rebuilt the city the way he envisioned it. Let's get one thing straight, Nero didn't play the fiddle, it hadn't been invented yet. He rocked the lute! However, Nero was a little more caring in actuality, allowing his palace to be used as a shelter for those affected by the fire.

On this day in 1969 a drunk Senator Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge at Chappaquiddick Island, killing his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne. He fled the scene and did not report the accident for 10 hours. He was able to escape any serious charge due to his influence and money. But his presidential aspirations died that night along with his mistress. What? Mistress you say? Yes, Kennedy was a married man, and the Chappaquiddick bridge led to a secluded beach. Kopechne had left her purse and room key back at her hotel. You're a bad man! You're a VERY bad man!

On this day in 1925 Adolf Hitler publishes his book Mein Kampf. A book filled with all his crazy thoughts, Hitler wrote it while in prison for starting the Beer Hall Putsch, an attempt to overthrow the local government in Bavaria. It describes the ins and outs of why Germany was in need of a revolution to get out of the mire that beset it after WWI, and pointed all of its problems at the Jews.

On this day in 1976 Nadia Comaneci becomes the first person in Olympic Games history to receive a perfect 10, doing it a remarkable 7 times at the Montreal Olympics. The scoreboards at the arena were not even equipped to register a 10 because it had never happened, so it gave her a 1.00 instead.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I'm going to Disneyland!

July 17th
On this day in 1955 Disneyland theme park opened in Anaheim, California. Some might have seen it as Walt Disney's scheme to cash in on his animated film empire, but after seeing it first hand I'll have to admit that it is quite possibly the happiest place on earth. Big thunder mountain railroad is pretty badass, and getting your picture taken when you go over that edge on splash mountain is really cool.

On this day in 1918 the deposed Czar Nicholas II and the rest of the Romanov family are killed by Bolsheviks. The Russian revolution was a direct result of WWI and the populous of the largest country in the world were sick and tired of being down trodden. They took to the streets in 1917 and forced the abdication of the Czar. The Bolsheviks felt as long as there was an heir to the the Romanov dynasty alive then there would still be a chance that people would rally behind the Czar. So in the middle of the night they rounded up the entire family and shot them.

On this day in 1945 the Potsdam conference occurred with the final meeting between the leaders of the allied powers of WWII. It was supposed to put a plan in place of how to divide the spoils of Europe, how to rebuild the war torn continent, and what would be done to defeat the Japanese. Stalin came away the big winner when he was able to put forth a plan that would put all of eastern Europe under his control in at least a small way. It was here that Russia decided to also finally attack Japan, despite a non-aggression pact.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Up and ATOM!

July 16th

On this day in 1945 the first atomic bomb was successfully tested in the desert of New Mexico. The top secret Manhattan Project involved the sharpest minds of the day to create a device so lethal that it would help to end WWII in one blast. Little did the scientists who created know that it would also create an arms race that would threaten to wipe out the entire planet.

On this day in 1994 the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with Jupiter. Astronomers calculated the impact months before and turned their telescopes to the Jovian world to witness impact clouds the size of planet Earth. The comet was broken into many large pieces that impacted like a necklace across Jupiter as it rotated.

On this day in 1999 John F. Kennedy Jr. was killed in an airplane crash off the coast of Martha's Vineyard. His wife Carolyn and her sister Lauren were also aboard. Although famous mostly for being the son of a slain president and the iconic image of him saluting his father's funeral procession, Kennedy Jr. had shown interest in politics and his name alone would have garnered him attention. Kennedy's should avoid planes at all cost as this wasn't the only death in the family due to a plane crash. Joseph Kennedy Jr. crashed his plane in WWII before he could fulfill his destiny to become first Kennedy in political office in Washington. He had to give that honor to his little brother John. Kathleen Kennedy was killed in a plane crash in France four years later. Ted Kennedy was involved a plane crash that killed the pilot and another passenger, but he survived.

On this day in 1863 there were draft riots in New York City over the forced proscriptions of men into the United States army. A man could pay $300.00 to stay at home for the war, but only the richest of Americans could afford that. Discontent with the draft process caused five days of riots that targeted not only the draft office, but affluent houses and blacks as well. The clan of the Dead Rabbits also went to war over control of the Five Points at this time and Bill the Butcher was killed.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Yippee Ki Yay motherfucker!

July 15th
On this day in 1988 the movie Die Hard debuts and makes Bruce Willis the superstar action hero that he is today. Playing the role of John McClain, the smart-ass New York cop, Willis was able to mix street smarts with the tough guy image to pull off one of the best set of action movies around. The basic premise is McClain is constantly finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and it's up to him to save the day, and when he does he utters his catch phrase "Yippee Ki Yay motherfucker!"

On this day in 1799 the Rosetta Stone is found by Pierre-Francois Bouchard during Napoleon's Egypt expedition. It is a decree written on behalf of King Ptolemy V written in Egyptian hieroglyphic, and ancient Greek. Before its rediscovery the meaning to the Egyptian hieroglyphs were lost to history. But now we know so much more about their culture and day to day life because of this find.

On this day in 2003 AOL Time Warner disbands Netscape, one of the more popular forms of internet browsers. I always used Netscape when I first used the internet on a computer. Microsoft internet explorer didn't really become my browser of choice until Netscape died. In the ashes of Netscape, Mozilla was born. Yay firefox!

On this day in 1997 Andrew Cunanan killed his 5th and most high profile victim of his killing spree when he shot fashion designer Gianni Versace in his driveway. He was put on the FBI's most wanted list during his 3 month killing spree and killed himself a little more than a week after this murder.