Monday, February 15, 2010

Once again it's generic Presidents day

Celebrate anyone of them in style - John Quincy Adams for example. Let's celebrate the fact that he like to take a nude morning swim in the Potomac daily (that must have been a sight.) Or Jimmy Carter, the first U.S. president to have been born in a hospital. Or my personal favorite, Warren G. Harding.

Besides being the only President probably murdered by his wife because of his philandering ways (he actually did have sex will someone in a White House broom closet), Warren was such a lousy poker player that he once lost a complete set of china that had been in the White House dating back to President Benjamin Harrison's years.

So let's hear it for all the generic Presidents.

I'm sure you're exhausted from all that running around eating chocolate and being struck by naked youths flicking you with strips of bloody goat flesh.

Hopefully your day was better.

February 15, 1931 -
Tod Browning's legendary bloodsucker, Dracula was released on this date (yeah, yeah, so reference book say that the film opened on the 14th - sue me.)

A Spanish-language version, DrĂ¡cula, was filmed at night on the same set at the same time, with Spanish-speaking actors.

February 15, 1950 -
Walt Disney's Cinderella was released on this date.

Not only is the name of the Prince never revealed, he is nowhere in the film mentioned as Prince Charming.

Today in History -
Galileo Galilei was born on February 15, 1564. He invented a telescope with which he later discovered craters on the moon, the satellites of Jupiter, and every luscious detail of the girl next door's nubile young form. Galileo's astronomical observations seemed to confirm Copernicus's theory that the Earth went around the sun rather than the other way around. Unfortunately, Copernicus's theory was heresy and therefore not supposed to be confirmed.

The church was in a tough spot. Galileo was every bit as Bad and Heretical as Copernicus had been, but they didn't want to inspire a bunch of angry Germans to start another church, as Martin Luther's followers had not long after the church's previous brush with Astronomy.

High-ranking church officials pleaded with the astronomer: "Come on, Galileo." "Please, Galileo." "Knock it off, Galileo."

But he wouldn't stop talking about the earth spinning around the sun. He couldn't even be persuaded to talk about something else, such as sports, the weather, or the girl next door's nubile young form. So they threatened to kill him.

At this point Galileo remembered that the sun actually did revolve around the earth, and the church rewarded his improved memory by giving him free room and board for the rest of his life (a level of hospitality sometimes referred to as "house arrest").

On February 15, 1763, Austria and Prussia signed the Treaty of Hubertusburg. This ended the Seven Years War, and just in time: the war had lasted almost exactly seven years!

February 15, 1898 -
The battleship U.S.S. Maine blows up in Havana Harbor, commencing a splendid little war against Spain that ends with the United States owning a colonial empire and Cuba under martial law.

The situation is immortalized in the film Citizen Kane with the lines, "You supply the prose poetry. We'll supply the war."

February 15, 1933 -
An unsuccessful attempt on FDR's life by Joseph Zangara in Miami leaves Chicago mayor Anton Czermak dead.

Zangara is electrocuted the following month.

February 15, 1936 -
At a speech in Berlin, Hitler confronts German industry with the challenge of creating the Volkswagen.

Thus Ferdinand Porsche designs the Beetle which is now widely seen as the final solution to fahrvergnugen.

February 15, 1961 -
The U.S. figure skating team is obliterated when Sabena Flight 548 crashes in Belgium.

The crash was the first fatal accident involving a Boeing 707 in regular passenger service.

February 15, 1995 -
The most wanted computer hacker in history, Kevin Mitnick, is arrested in Raleigh North Carolina for various offenses, one of which was breaking into security specialist Tsutomu Shimomura's computer.

Mitnick now runs Mitnick Security Consulting, a computer security consultancy.

Sometimes, crimes does pay.

And so it goes.

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