Saturday, January 30, 2010

National Inane Answering Message Day

Observed on January 30th every year, this holiday encourages you on this day to bring an end to all of the mindless and endlessly long answering machine messages that annoy and waste the time of callers.

Or, you could leave a long, drawn out, insane message on your machine this day. The choice is up to you.

Did you get a chance to see last night's full moon (you can see it again tonight) - it was the biggest and brightest full moon of the year. It offers anyone with clear skies an opportunity to identify easy-to-see features on the moon.

This being the first full moon of 2010, it is also known as The Full Wolf Moon. Amid the zero cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages.

In London, impeccably dressed werewolves are often seen on the prowl in search of a dish of beef chow mein.

The moon was about 14 percent wider and 30 percent brighter than lesser full moons of the year, according to

As a bonus, Mars was just to the left of the moon (the reddish, starlike object.)

January 30, 1969 -
At a free concert at their Apple corporate headquarters in London, The Beatles made their last-ever public appearance as a group.

Their performance of Get Back was filmed for the movie Let It Be.

Another in the series of science mockumentaries - Look Around You: Germs

Remember: Germs originated in Germany (this will be on the test.)

Today in History:
January 30, 1649 -
Once again, history proves that it's not always good to be the king (or apparently the man who overthrows him either). Charles I was your average inbred near dwarf royalty that much of Europe was popping out at the time. He is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the nation's shortest king. He married another inbred royal princess (Princess Henrietta Maria of France) and that would have been that. Unfortunately for him, two issues got in his way - his wife was Catholic and after much tsuris, England was in a Protestant mood.

Also, Charles had picked up the nasty habit of believe in the Divine right of the Monarchy. Parliament was feeling it oats and would have none of it and this lead to the English Civil War. Rather than the Blue and the Grey, England had the Roundheads and the Cavaliers (it really doesn't matter who was who - but it might be on the test.)

Charles and his supported were defeated and Charles was put on a show trial for High Treason. Since Charles believed he had a Divine right to be King, he put up no defense. Parliament, wishing all the best to meet the Divine, convicted him of treason and ordered his execution.

When Charles was beheaded on January 30th, 1649, it is reputed that he wore two shirts as to prevent the cold January weather causing any noticeable shivers that the crowd could have been mistaken for fear or weakness. He put his head on the block after saying a prayer and signaled the executioner when he was ready; he was then beheaded with one clean stroke.

It was common practice for the head of a traitor to be held up and exhibited to the crowd with the words Behold the head of a traitor!; although Charles' head was exhibited, the words were not used. In an unprecedented gesture, one of the revolutionary leaders, Oliver Cromwell, allowed the King's head to be sewn back on his body so the family could pay its respects. Charles was buried in private and at night on February 7th, 1649, in the Henry VIII vault inside St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.

This was Cromwell's big mistake.

Under Oliver Cromwell, England became a Republic and became Protectorate and ruled England until his death from malaria in 1658. He was succeeded as Lord Protector by his son Richard. Although Richard was not entirely without ability, he had no power base in either Parliament or the Army, and was forced to resign in the spring of 1659, bringing the Protectorate to an end. In the period immediately following his abdication, the head of the army, George Monck took power for less than a year, at which point, Parliament restored Charles II as king.

Now here's the kicker - in 1661, Oliver Cromwell's body was exhumed from Westminster Abbey, and was subjected to the ritual of a posthumous execution. Symbolically, this took place on January 30; the same date that Charles I had been executed. As Cromwell was quite dead at the time, he could put up a very weak defense at best. His body was hung in chains at Tyburn. Finally, his disinterred body was thrown into a pit, while his severed head was displayed on a pole outside Westminster Abbey until 1685. Afterward, the head changed hands several times, before eventually being buried in the grounds of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, in 1960.

January 30, 1835 -
Andrew Jackson is the subject of the first recorded assassination attempt on a U.S. president. Jackson was crossing the Capitol Rotunda following the funeral of a Congressman when Richard Lawrence approached Jackson and fired two pistols, which both miraculously misfired. Jackson proceeded to beat the living daylights out of Lawrence with his cane, prompting his aides to restrain him.

As a result, Jackson's statue in the Capitol Rotunda is placed in front of the doorway in which the attempt occurred. Lawrence was later found to be mentally ill, having accused Jackson of preventing him from becoming King of England.

January 30, 1948 -
Sometimes, it's not good to be the world's greatest advocate of non violence.

Mohandas K. Gandhi is assassinated by Hindu extremist Nathuram Godse on his way to morning prayers.

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent - Gandhi

January 30, 1968 -
North Vietnam launches the Tet Offensive, in which they suffer a defeat and 46,000 dead,

but shocks the complacent American television viewer who had been led to believe the war was won.

Faced with an unhappy American public and depressing news from his military leaders, President Lyndon B. Johnson decided to end the escalation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

January 30, 1976 -
George HW Bush becomes the 11th director of the Central Intelligence Agency, a position which he holds until 1977.

Perhaps he knows who killed the Kennedys.

When after all it was you and me

And so it goes.

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