Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oh, Bevis! And I though you were so butch!

The movie Monty Python introduced it seminal brand of comedy to American audiences, And Now for Something Completely Different premiered on this date.

My hovercraft is full of eels.

In appreciation of Leonard Cohen Part 2 (no he's not dead but why not celebrate him now while he's still here.)

Today in History:
August 22, 1485 -
At the Battle of Bosworth, England's King Richard III was terminated for having made a fiscally irresponsible bid on a horse.

August 22, 1776 -
George Washington asks the Continental Congress for permission to burn New York City, to stop the city from being used to quarter troops arriving via the British fleet. It is declined, but his soldiers set 1/4th of the town ablaze on September 21.

There are still many in the government that would like to enact Washington's plan right now.

August 22, 1864 -
12 nations sign the first Geneva Convention specifically calling for the protection of the wounded during times of active warfare on this date. This leads directly to formation of the Red Cross.

In 1882, U.S. President Chester Arthur signed the treaty, making the U.S. the 32nd nation to do so. Hopefully, someone reminded Mr. Bush that we did, in fact, sign.

August 22, 1893 -
Dorothy Parker was born in New York City, to Henry and Eliza Rothschild ("My God, no, dear! We'd never even heard of those Rothschilds") on this date.

Her birth was two months premature, allowing her to say that it was the last time she was early for anything; her early writing was a "following in the exquisite footsteps of Edna St. Vincent Millay, unhappily in my own horrible sneakers."

While she was a successful writer, she was just plain lousy at committing suicide. Dorothy Parker attempted suicide four times herself before succumbing to a heart attack in 1967.

August 22, 1942 -
The Battle of Stalingrad began on this date, which many historians think of as the turning point of World War II. Hitler had already conquered all of Europe except for England, Switzerland and Monaco and he began the invasion of Russia in the summer of 1941 with an army of four million men. The Germans reached Stalingrad on this day in 1942 and flew more than 2,000 bombing raids in just the first day of the battle. They hit oil storage tanks that flowed into the river and caught fire and laid siege to the city. It went on for months.

It's been called the most terrible battle the world has ever known, and in the end the Russians won, thanks to the approach of winter. The German troops were not prepared for fighting in below zero weather.

By February of 1943, all the German soldiers had surrendered or been killed, the first defeat of Hitler's army.

And so it goes.

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