Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Have you read anything interesting lately?

It's International Literacy Day

Please read a newspaper, a magazine, even some graffiti today.

Today in History -
Constantine the Great's three sons, Constantine II, Constans, and Constantius II, named themselves Caesars and divided the Roman Empire between them on this date in the year 337.

But it was nearly sixteen hundred years before Sid Caesar himself was born, on September 8, 1922.

September 8, 1504 -
Michelangelo's David, was unveiled in Florence on this date.

If you were staring too hard, you'll notice that Dave has got a turtleneck. The apparently uncircumcised form would be at odds with Judaic practice, but would be consistent with the conventions of Renaissance art.

Now put your eyes back in your head.

John Endicott arrived in Naumkeag, Massachusetts, as the leader of a group of Puritan Bastards who had purchased land patents from the Plymouth Council in England.

A previous group of settlers had established themselves in Naumkeag in 1626 but had no patent and were therefore Villainous Heretics. They gladly surrendered their claim in the face of the newcomers' Superior Moral Virtue, which came in a variety of gauges.

Later Naumkeag became Salem and developed witches, ultimately resulting in a profitable cottage industry.

September 8 1644 -
The Dutch surrendered the city of New Amsterdam to the British, who renamed it New York, on this day. The English navigator Henry Hudson claimed credit as the city's discoverer in 1609, when he sailed into its harbor and up the river that now bears his name, looking for a passage to India. Hudson was sailing for the Dutch West India Company, so it was the Dutch who moved in and settled the area in 1614, six years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock.

Forty years later, New Amsterdam became a city; its population, 800. In the 1660s the Dutch and English were at war, and on September 8, 1664, a fleet sent by the Duke of York seized the city and changed the name to New York.

There are many in the Congress who have been trying to give the city back to the Dutch, the English or the Indians for that matter ever since.

September 8 1935 -

Dr. Carl Austin Weiss confronts Senator Huey Long in a narrow corridor of the State House in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Weiss draws a .32 caliber pistol and fires one slug into Long's abdomen.

The Senator's bodyguards immediately make Swiss cheese out of Weiss, riddling him with 61 bullets. Long is rushed to the hospital, where he dies two days later.

September 8 1966 -
Star Trek debuts on NBC, with the airing of an episode titled "The Man Trap."

The science fiction show proceeds to suffer in the ratings against established sitcoms Bewitched and My Three Sons. I guess space wasn't the final frontier - TV is.

September 8 1974 -
President Gerald Ford pardons Richard M. Nixon, out of respect for Nixon's family. "Theirs is an American tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must."

Not to add to any sort of conspiracy theory or anything but 10 years earlier, Gerald Ford served on the Warren Commission.

September 8 1974 -
In Idaho, daredevil Evel Knievel climbs into his X-2 Skycycle (really just a rocket on wheels) and hits the ignition.

The vehicle manages to clear the quarter-mile-wide Snake River Canyon, but then the parachute deploys prematurely and prevailing winds push him back into the chasm. Total ripoff.

September 8 1993 -
The refrigerated remains of President Ferdinand Marcos, whose corpse spent several years exiled in Hawaii, returns to the Philippines for its final resting place.

Luckily, Imelda had preserved her husband, so they are finally able to put him on display just like Lenin, Stalin, and Pol Pot -- under glass in a mausoleum of his very own.

And so it goes

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