Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Candle 1: Maryln Candle 2: Diana Candle 3: Lindsey Lohan?

August 31st
On this day in 1997 Princess Diana, Dodi Al-Fayed, and their driver are killed in a car accident in Paris. They were attempting to flee from paparazzi when their speeding car struck a pylon in a tunnel. The driver, Henri Paul, was said to have been drunk and was found to be at fault for the crash. But the Al-Fayed family thought it was a conspiracy and cover up by the British Royal family to get rid of the popular princess.

On this day in 1888 Jack the Ripper claims his first victim in Mary Ann Nichols, a London prostitute. The killing of prostitutes has been common practice throughout history, but in this particular instance it became headline material by the brutality shown by the killer. The killer would strike again four more times in the same manner, all victims prostitutes in London's East End, and remain at large for all of history. He slice the victim's throat, then proceed to mutilate the body while the woman was still alive.

On this day in 1949 Richard Gere was born. Gerbils, hamsters, and other small rodents have cowered in fear every since.

On this day in 1939 after moving their troops to the Polish border, Germany created a ruse to use as an excuse to attack Poland. Nazi soldiers dressed like the Polish army attacked a radio station on the German side of the border. Dead German prisoners were dressed in Polish uniforms as further "evidence" of the attack. WWII would start the next day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Roman muse

August 30th
On this day in the year 30 B.C. Egyptian Pharaoh Cleopatra VII commits suicide at her palace in Alexandria, Egypt. She and her lover Mark Antony were seeking to regain power in Rome against emperor Octavian (Augustus). Antony thought that they had entered a suicide pact, rather than be captured and executed they would kill themselves together. Antony was given a message stating that Cleopatra had already died, so he stabbed himself with his sword, only to be given a second letter stating that she still lived. Oops! Cleopatra, the seducer of Casar and Antony, and tried in vain to seduce Octavian. When these attempts were fruitless she was bitten by a poisonous Asp and died.

On this day in 1963 a hotline between the Soviet Premier and the United States President was established. Often portrayed as a red telephone with direct access to both offices, the phone probably saved us from a global nuclear war. It was established in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis in hopes of avoiding any future "misunderstandings".

On this day in 1969 Ho Chi Minh responded to a letter sent to him on July 15th from Richard Nixon. In Nixon's letter he proposed a plan for peace in Vietnam. Minh responded in his letter that it was the United States that were the aggressors and it was up to them to withdraw their troops. Minh knew that the longer the war dragged on, the more resistant to the war the people of the US would become. He also said that the Vietnamese people knew how to govern themselves without outside influences. Minh began his political career admiring the US government and how it achieved its independence, he thought that following WWII (where Vietnam and the US were allies) that they would be in support of Vietnamese independence from France. Unfortunately for us, those were not the plans of the US government.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Didn't see that one coming? Hmmm

August 29th
On this day in 2005 the costliest natural disaster in the history of the United States occurs when Hurricane Katrina makes landfall on the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. It caused devastating floods in lowland areas, especially hard hit was the city of New Orleans. The storm brought with it sustained winds of 145 mph and a huge storm surge that caused Lake Pontchartrain to overflow into the city, submerging 80 percent of it under water. In a city built below sea level, wouldn't you think a hurricane might hit at some point? Wouldn't you want to protect the city by, I don't know, building large, secure levies that could withstand a storm surge? I came up with these questions up to ten years prior whenever a hurricane had a near miss with the city of New Orleans. If a 15 year old in Oregon thought these things, why couldn't someone with some political clout think it too?

On this day in 1911 Native American Ishi is discovered in California. He was the last stone aged Indian in America, and had been wandering the hills of Northern California for his entire life. He had made very little contact with the outside world and was unaware of so-called white culture. Anthropologists at the university of California, Berkley took him in and studied him. He would go on to live in the Bay area for the next five years before white culture killed him in the form of tuberculosis.

On this day in 1966 the Beatles performed their last live concert not on a rooftop in San Francisco's Candle Stick Park. The members of the band were too full of themselves to play the same songs in front of the screaming girls who made them famous. They'd rather learn eastern culture, drop acid, marry shady artists, inspire serial killers, and make movies. Oh yeah, and fight amongst themselves.

On this day in 1949 the arms race became just that when the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb in Kazakhstan. They had been getting nuclear secrets from some of the Manhattan scientists for some time. Those who participated in the espionage went undetected until the Soviets had the bomb. Then security measures were boosted and an investigation was started. See my June 23rd post.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

He had a dream

August 28th
On this day in 1963 Martin Luther King Jr delivered his "I have a dream" speech in Washington DC as part of a civil rights march. It was him most famous speech and elevated him as one of the most influential people of the civil rights movement.

On this day in 1898 Caleb Bradham  renames his carbonated soft drink, Brad's Drink, to Pepsi Cola. He named it after the digestive enzyme pepsin, and kola nuts used in the recipe. His initial goal was to invent a drink that would not only aid in digestion, but taste good too.

On this day in 1996 the fairytale wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana came to an unceremonious end when their divorce papers are finalized. The split was blamed on the tabloid media, but Charles' affair with Camilla Parker Bowels might have had something to do with it. Just maybe. The Queen pushed for the couple, who had been separated since 1992, to divorce. Diana would be dead a little over a year later. Coincidence?

On this day in 2006 Warren Jeffs wild ride came to a crashing halt. Jeffs was at the head of a sect of Mormonism that advocated polygamy. The way I see it he was the leader of a cult of pedophiles who thought having more than one wife was God's work. He was arrested on a traffic stop in Nevada, where he was detained on arrest warrants in Utah and Arizona. After several trials and appeals, Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison for having sex with a 12 year old and impregnating a 15 year old. He would brainwash young girls into thinking he was the messiah. Have fun in prison buddy!

Fucking gross man!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I've plaid games of Monoply that lasted longer.

August 27th
On this day in 410 the sacking of Rome by the Visigoths ends after three days. This was the first time an enemy's army had enter the city walls in over 800 years. Regarded as the final blow in the downfall of western civilization and the beginning of the dark ages, the entire city of Rome was destroyed. Many of the temples were leveled and the ashes of Augustus and Hadrian were thrown on the ground.

On this day in 1896 the shortest war in world history starts and finishes in forty five minutes. The Anglo-Zanzibar war between the United Kingdom and Zanzibar took place when pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini died and was succeeded by Khalid bin Barghash. The British preferred another to be the head of their puppet state, and when Barghash refused to step down the British responded with their army. The conflict came to a quick ending.

On this day in 1967 Beatles manager Brian Epstein died of a drug overdose. Credited with starting the careers of the Beatles, Epstein guided the group from their humble beginnings to pop super stardom. He had managed every aspect of their business affairs. After his death the Beatles created the Apple label that was part of their undoing.

On this day in 2007 NFL quarterback Michael Vick pleads guilty to the federal charge of illegal dog fighting. He was sentenced to 23 months in prison. Vick ran an underground dog fighting ring known as Bad Newz Kennels, that was raided by federal agents, where they found several neglected dogs and evidence of their abuse. Vick and his co-defendants initially plead not guilty until they chose to snitch on each other.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Don't blow your top 2: The reconing

August 26th
On this day in 1883 the volcano island of Krakatoa explodes in one of the most cataclysmic events in recorded history. Located in the Sundra Straight between the islands of Java and Sumatra, Krakatoa has been known throughout history to be a very active volcano. In the year following the eruption was known for the dramatically cooler temperatures around the world and the fabulous sunsets. Both of these events are attributed to the ash that was sent into the atmosphere. The explosion is considered  the loudest sound ever heard in modern history as reports of it were heard some 3,000 miles away. 

On this day in 1862 the battle known as Second Bull Run, began. For the second time the Confederates captured the rail junction as Manassas. The Confederates had just staved off Union forces in the Peninsula campaign and were on the offensive again. The Union army now had to protect its capitol from invasion.

On this day in 1939 the first and second baseball games are televised. The Brooklyn Dodgers hosted the Cincinnati Reds for a double header from Ebbets Field. They split the series with the Reds winning the first 5-2, and the Dodgers winning the second 6-1. Thousands of men were nagged to do some work around the house by their wives. "Ah honey, the games on!"

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Little green men

August 25th
On this day in 1835 the newspaper New York Sun first printed a series of articles collectively known as the "Great Moon Hoax". They claimed the articles were taken from the Edinburgh Journal of Science, which had actually stopped production years earlier. The articles were about the inhabitants of the moon, including unicorns, and a bat-humanoid combination. It soon became the most circulated newspaper in the world, even after it admitted that it had played a joke on everyone.

On this day in 1944 the city of Paris was liberated from the Germans. The allied forces lead by general Dwight Eisenhower, thought it would be better if a French leader was to lead them into the city. After the French liberation army had cleared the city of Nazi resistance, General Jacques Leclerc lead his armored division through the city.

On this day in 1962 17 year old nanny Eva Boyd, aka Little Eva earned her only #1 hit with "Loco-motion". During the dance craze of the late 50's and early 60's this song found its unlikely way to fame when Boyd moved to Manhattan looking for work. She became the nanny for assistant record producers and song writers Gerry Goffin and Carole King. They heard her singing to their child and had the great idea to have her sing the demo of their new song. Although it was her only hit of a short career, it became one of the most recognizable songs of all time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Don't blow your top!

August 24th
On this day in 79 A.D. Mount Vesuvius erupts and buries the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in tons of ash and cinders. Thought to be a dormant volcano, Vesuvius was where Spartacus went after he escaped slavery. The towns were buried so quickly that many of the inhabitants didn't have time to escape. Much of Pompeii was preserved, and when archaeologists excavated the site, they found casts of the people buried by the volcanic ash.

On this day in 1814 British troops under the command of Robert Ross capture and burn all the federal buildings of Washington D.C. The United States army was caught completely off guard when British ships showed up on the Chesapeake a week prior. The British encountered little resistance and the capitol was forced to evacuate. What wasn't burned was destroyed by a hurricane that arrived the next night.

On this day in 1873 William Henry Jackson captured the first picture of the Mount of the Holy Cross, proving its existence. It had long been rumored that a perfect cross made out of snow was in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Jackson set out to find it and prove it was real. It is a natural phenomena where two eroded gullies in the hills intersect at a 90 degree angle. The snow inside these is hidden from the sun and lasts long after the surrounding snow melts away.

On this day in 2006 Pluto was demoted from a planet to a dwarf planed by the scientific community at large. Because of it's irregular orbit and its small size, Pluto was just a bit more odd than its fellow planets. At times it is closer to the sun than Neptune, and it dips well below and well above the other planets in its orbital plane. So we have 8 planets again.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

You bet your life

August 23rd
On this day in 1989 Pete Rose is banned for life from any activity that has anything to do with Major League Baseball. Rose made a settlement that was equivalent to a no contest plea for betting on baseball games while manager of the Cincinnati Reds. The worst accusation was that he bet on his own team. Rose maintained his "innocence" until he was persuaded that coming clean might allow the ban to be lifted and get Rose into the hall of fame. Nope, Rose is now looked upon as a liar and a cheat.

On this day in 1305 Scottish patriot William Wallace was executed by means of hanging, drawing, and quartering for high treason against Edward I of England. No he didn't yell "freedom" upon his death, no there weren't cries of mercy from the crowd, and no he didn't have fireballs come out of his eyes.
On this day in 1775 King George III declares the American colonies in a state of open and avowed rebellion. This recognition by the king actually helped the American cause of independence as their side was publicly acknowledged.

On this day in 1942 the battle of Stalingrad begins with the German army capturing much of the city from the Russians. Save one pocket of resistance near the Volga river, the entire city was in German hands. But Josef Stalin ordered his soldiers to make their stand. Soon bitter street battles took place. Victories were made by a matter of feet, instead of miles. A counter attack by the Russians was made that encircled the Germans in Stalingrad and they were forced to surrender after a bitterly cold winter. 2 million people died as a result of this battle alone.

On this day in 1927 amid numerous protests Sacco and Vanzetti, admitted anarchists, were executed in the electric chair. They were accused of killing a paymaster and his guard and stealing $15,000. Although there was no evidence tying them to the crime, they were convicted 6 years prior. Most of the evidence presented was later discredited and the fact that they were Italian immigrants in an era of racial discrimination against foreigners was attributed to the verdict. Even after another man confessed to the crime a judge upheld the ruling.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Don't shoot the damn dog

August 22nd
On this day in 1992 the incident at Ruby Ridge occurred on the second day of a standoff at white separatist Randy Weaver's property. The FBI and ATF were watching Weaver because he allegedly sold illegal firearms. When one of the agents shot Weaver's dog, which caused a shoot out between agents and Weaver where his 14 year old son was killed. When Weaver barricaded himself in the family home a sharpshooter killed his wife. This incident along with Waco, would inspire the Oklahoma City bombing.

On this day in 565 St Columba reports seeing a "water beast" that had attacked a swimmer and pull him beneath the waters of Loch Ness. This is the earliest report of a "monster" at the Scottish Loch. Columba was an Irish monk staying in Scotland when he came across the beast again attacking one of his companions. St Columba pulled out his cross and commanded the beast to halt and go back to for which it came. It promptly reversed course.

On this day in 1642 King Charles I calls the English Parliament traitors to the crown, a volley that officially starts the English Civil War. Charles disagreed with some of the policies issued by Parliament, and Parliament was suspicious of some of Charles' intentions, namely his marriage to a French princess and his desire to unite Scotland, England and Ireland into one nation. Charles and his supporters would end up losing the war, and Charles was executed.

On this day in 1962 the Kennedy administration admits a stalemate in Vietnam. Despite numerous victorious skirmishes, the Viet Cong only grew stronger in their resistance, and there was nothing to suggest anything different in the future. Had the war department pulled out then it would save thousands of lives on both sides and billions of dollars. Instead the undeclared war would go on for another 12 years.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Not valid in Hawaii

August 21st
On this day in 1959 after a long and controversial road to statehood, Hawaii became the 50th state in the Union. The lower 48 was supposed to be the limit to the United States, but the people of Alaska wanted representation if the US was going to sap its natural resources. Hawaii on the other hand was granted statehood after it's strategy in the middle of the Pacific and the feelings of unity after the Pearl Harbor attacks. It's still a freak state to me.

On this day in 1961 Patsy Cline recorded her version of Willie Nelson's "Crazy". It would go on to be her signature song. She recorded it just two months after her near fatal car accident that sent her through her windshield. She sung while on crutches and had trouble singing due to her injured ribs. Cline would die in a plane crash 2 years later.

On this day in 1911 Leonardo da Vinci's  Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre. It turned out to be stolen by a former employee who just walked up to the painting, removed it from the wall, and walked out of the museum with it under his coat. He would be caught two years later trying to collect a ransom for the painting in Florence, Italy, where the painting was found unharmed.

On this day in 1935 Benny Goodman introduced the world to big band swing, the genre of music that would dominate the landscape for the next 15 years. Goodman performed at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles with his band in front of an audience thousands of young fans, and heard by countless more on a radio broadcast. His music was a more up tempo style than what was popular at the time, and the kids loved it!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Going postal

August 20th
On this day in 1986 in Edmond, Oklahoma U.S. Postal worker Patrick Sherrill went on a shooting rampage that killed 14 people. He later committed suicide. He used two .45 caliber pistols to gun down his coworkers after being reprimanded the previous day for doing a poor job of delivering the mail. This incident is why we say someone "went postal" when they freak out.

On this day in 1968 Soviet troops invaded Czechoslavakia to put an end to the "Spring uprising" that had been taking place since April of that year. The country had been under communist rule since the end of WWII, but a group of intellectuals and students began to protest against the regime. The movement was quickly stamped out with the Soviet lead army took control of all television and radio stations in the country. Anyone who resisted was killed immediately.

On this day in 1858 Charles Darwin publishes his theory of evolution for the first time in "The Journal of Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London". His work was alongside that of Alfred Wallace who had published the same theory, but history doesn't remember his name. Darwin didn't see the planet being controlled by apes, perhaps he had it all wrong.

On this day in 1882 Peter Tchaikovsky debuts his 1812 Overture in Moscow. One of the most famous pieces of classical music, it was written to commemorate Russia's defense of Moscow against Napoleon. It is best know for it's climactic volley of cannon fire and church bells.

On this day in 1940 exiled revolutionary Leon Trotsky is stabbed with an ice axe in Mexico City. He would die the next day. Trotsky was trying to stir up a communist revolution in central and Latin America. What I want to know is why would someone have an ice axe in Mexico City. I understand that his assassin Ramon Mercader, was a Soviet agent, but he wasn't from the snowy country. He served 20 years for the murder in a Mexican prison. Upon release he was awarded several medals of honor from the Soviet Union.

Friday, August 19, 2011

What happens if you Google Google?

August 19th
On this day in 2004 search engine Google became public on Wall Street. It has gone on to have one of the most successful runs as a publicly traded stock reaching as high as $640 a share. Google is the most popular search engine on the internets, and provides millions of people a gateway to the world wide web. Careful though, big brother is watching what you type!

On this day in 1934 Adolf Hitler became the president of Germany. He was already chancellor at the time, and this consolidation of power paved the way for Hitler's quest to conquer Europe and get revenge for what happened to Germany after WWI. For all intents and purposes he was dictator for life.

On this day in 1812 the USS Constitution battles the HMS Guerriere' off the coast of Nova Scotia, earning its nickname "Old Ironsides". The Constitution was able to repel several broadside attacks, with many of the enemy cannonballs bouncing off the sides of the ship. The United States navy was almost non-existent at this time, so a victory of any kind was huge for moral. The war would drag on for another 2 and a half years and American's would chalk it up as a victory with the battle of New Orleans. I disagree. #1 The battle of New Orleans took place after the war had ended. #2 Any war where the enemy burns your capitol to the ground and you don't even set foot in their country is a loss.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

More like lazy majority.

August 18th
On this day in 1590 John White returns to his colony at Roanoke, Virginia to find it deserted. Roanoke was originally settled by Sir Walter Raleigh 5 years prior had experienced it's ups and downs. Virginia Dare was the first English child born in the new world on this day in 1587. White had returned to England to get supplies for the colony but was delayed in his return for 3 years due to financial and political reasons. No trace of the colony was ever found except for the word "Croatan". This could refer to the native indian tribe or an island some 50 miles away. Either way no one from Roanoke was ever seen again.

On this day in 1227 the scourge of the eastern world, Genghis Khan died. He was in his 60's and in failing health, but his legacy of conquest would live on in his descendants. The Mongols employed a type of warfare unseen on traditional battlefields. The Mongols were famous for their horsemanship and were masters of light cavalry which could move faster as a unit than any other at the time. They also had skilled archers who could fire with great accuracy from their horses. Khan had conquered Asia from China to the edge of Europe and down to India. His descendants made it all the way to Austria and Poland.

On this day in 1977 the Police made their live debut in Birmingham, England. Stewart Copeland, Sting and Andy Summers formed the unlikely trio that would go onto become the biggest band in the world. Copeland was an American drummer in England, eager to form a band in the wake of the punk scene. He met Sting and formed the Police with Henry Padovani, who was quickly replaced by Andy Summers. The eclectic influences of all three members showed in the music they performed and recorded which was the breath of fresh air Rock and Roll needed.

On this day in 1920 the 19th amendment is ratified by the two thirds majority of states and gave women the right to vote. Long an issue in the United States, women's suffrage was put at the forefront of the nation after WWI. The equality of women had a long way to go, but this at least gave them a voice in their government.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Catch the flying fish!

August 17th
On this day in 1907 Pike Place Market opened for business in Seattle, Washington. It is the longest continuously running public farmers market in the United States. Famous for the way fish are transported, by means of throwing them across the market into the waiting arms of employee, the market is an iconic part of Seattle.

On this day in 1962 18 year old Peter Fechter becomes the first publicly known person to be killed for an attempted crossing of the Berlin Wall. Built by the East Germans to stem the tide of refugees into West Berlin, the guards at the wall were ordered to shoot anyone trying to cross. This was the first proof that it was a serious threat.

On this day in 1982 the compact disc goes on sale for the first time to the public in Germany. In the coming years people were forced to buy all their favorite albums again in the new format. Longer lasting and cheaper to make than records or cassette tapes, the cd would be king for 25 years. But its reign would come to an end with the popularity of MP3's, legal or illegal. Consumers were tired of spending $18.00 or more on something that cost pennies to make.

On this day in 1998 President Bill Clinton admits to the nation that he did indeed have sexual relations with that woman, Ms Lewinsky. Many US tax dollars were spent to get to the bottom of the controversy before the President was forced to come clean. Presidents and cigars will never be looked at in the same light again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How fitting that the King died on his throne.

August 16th
On this day in 1977 Elvis Presley dies at his home at the age of 42. It was ruled a drug overdose, but the King was dealing with other health problems leading up to his death. Many people still think that he faked his own death but I don't really believe this. Why would he choose to have his fake death on the toilet?

On this day in 2008 Usain Bolt set the world record in the 100 meter dash with a time of 9.69 seconds at the Beijing Olympics. The pride of Jamaica, Bolt would also anchor the gold medal winning 4x100 relay squad. The next year Bolt would best this record with a time of 9.59 seconds at the world championships in Berlin.

On this day in 1962 drummer Pete Best is replaced by Ringo Starr and the final line up of the Beatles is realized. Best was fired by the rest of the band through manager Brian Epstein. He never really gelled with his band-mates off stage and therefore grew more distant as time went on.

On this day in 1954 the first edition of Sports Illustrated is published featuring baseball star Eddie Mathews. Long the standard for sports magazines, Sports Illustrated has become iconic throughout the years for capturing every important sporting event in the past 60 years on its collective covers. So much so that a "Sports Illustrated cover jinx" has been produced as many athletes and teams tend to fail just after appearing on the cover. The annual swimsuit issue is also very popular, but none of the cover models has died immediately after appearing on the cover.