Saturday, September 19, 2009

R me buckos

It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day. ITLAPDis a parody holiday invented in 1995 by John Baur (Ol' Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap'n Slappy), of Corvallis, Oregon, who proclaimed September 19 each year as the day when everyone in the world should talk like a pirate. For example, an observer of this holiday would greet friends not with "Hello," but with "Ahoy, me hearty!" The holiday, and its observance, springs from a romanticized view of the Golden Age of Piracy.

Now back to Today's history -
September 19, 1692 -
Giles Corey was accused of witchcraft in 1692. This put him in a difficult spot. If he pleaded guilty, he'd be burned alive at the stake. If he pleaded not guilty, he'd have to take a lie-detector test.

The state-of-the-art lie detector of 1692 wasn't any less accurate than today's models, but it was significantly rougher on its subjects. It was called "dunking." The tightly bound subject would be dunked repeatedly into a pond or lake until the truth emerged.

One of the primary symptoms of demonic possession was immunity to water, so those who survived the process were rewarded with a warm, dry burning at the stake. Those who drowned, on the other hand, were clearly innocent and received a favorable ruling.

Giles Corey wasn't eager to be burned at the stake, but he wasn't keen on posthumous vindication, either. A plea of guilty meant the stake; a plea of not-guilty meant drowning (or the stake, depending on the results of the lie-detector test). Mr. Corey therefore did what any reasonable person might have done: he claimed his Fifth
Amendment rights under the Constitution and said nothing.

This was a foolish and costly blunder, as the Constitution had not yet been invented.

Baffled by the accused's refusal to enter a plea, the court pressed him for an answer. Literally. Giles Corey became the first, last, and only American ever to have been pressed to death by his own government, on this date in history.

September 19, 1931 -
Adolf Hitler's 23-year-old half niece, Geli Raubal, is found dead in her uncle's Munich apartment from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.

Some allege that she and Adolf had a sexual relationship, which involved Geli urinating on him. Hitler conveniently happens to be out of town at the time of the shooting.

Oh that Hitler, what a wacky Fuhrer.

September 19, 1934 -
Bruno Hauptmann is arrested for the kidnap-murder of the Lindbergh baby.

We aren't sure if he did it, but he did have $11,000 of the ransom money.

They fry him two years later.

September 19, 1947 -
The U.S. conducted its first underground nuclear test in the Nevada desert. This caused a major disturbance in the natural order of the fragile desert eco-system, ultimately resulting in Las Vegas

and giant spiders

and ants

September 19 1959 -
In a Cold War setback, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev is annoyed to learn that he will not be permitted to visit Disneyland, due to concerns for his personal safety.

This mean, most of the cold war could have been prevented, if we let that fat bald premier ride the freakin' teacups.

September 19 1961 -
Betty (Estelle Parsons) and Barney (James Earl Jones) Hill are picked up near Indian Head, New Hampshire and anally probed by five beings in a flying saucer. The couple later describes the craft as being "banana-like, with pointed tips and windows."

Anyway, that's what Barney told Betty what happened.

September 19 1991 -
A body was found frozen in a glacier in the Alps between Austria and Italy. A German tourist found the body and called the Austrian police. They tried to free the body from the ice with a jackhammer. It was only when an anthropologist showed up to examine the body that they realized it was a very, very old corpse—5,300 years old, in fact — of a man between 25 and 35 years old. He was five feet, two inches tall, with hair about three inches long. He had tattoos. He wore an unlined fur robe, a woven grass cape, and size six shoes stuffed with grass for warmth.

He came to be called Ötzi the Iceman, and what made him such a remarkable discovery for anthropologists was the fact that he died while he was out walking on an ordinary day wearing ordinary clothing. He carried a copper axe and a fur quiver for his arrows, the only quiver from the Neolithic period that has ever been found. His arrows had sharp flint points and feathers that were affixed at an angle that would cause the arrows to spin. And he carried mushrooms in his bag that scientists speculate were used for medicine.

It was not until ten years later that a forensics expert noticed in an x-ray that the Iceman had an arrowhead lodged in his back. He had been murdered.

Who murdered the Iceman. Stay tuned to CSI Austria on your local CBS networks.

September19 1995 -
The New York Times and the Washington Post publish the Unabomber's rambling, 35,000-word anti-technology screed, "Industrial Society And Its Future."

In exchange, he promises to halt his bombing campaign.

And so it goes

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