Monday, May 10, 2010

Today is Human Kindness Day!

You don't have to go all over the world to be kind,

just be kind to the people you see around you.

May 10 1871 -
France and Germany signed a peace treaty in which France had to give up a lot of land (Alsace-Lorraine) to Germany.

They weren't happy about it, so after World War I they took it back. In the second World War the Germans reclaimed it. After the war the victorious allies held it briefly but decided not to get involved. They gave it back to France, where it remains to this day.

May 10, 1899 -
Balanchine and Nureyev rated him the greatest dancer of the twentieth century, and he is generally acknowledged to have been the most influential dancer in the history of filmed and televised musicals. Frederick Austerlitz was born on this date in Omaha, Nebraska.

He was named the fifth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute. Not bad for a guy who's comments concerning his first first screen were, in part, "Can't sing. Can't act. Balding. Can dance a little."

May 10, 1924 -
In perhaps the single worst mistake in the history of crime fighting, Attorney General Harlan Fiske Stone selects J. Edgar Hoover to head the Bureau of Investigation, later known as the FBI.

Hoover, in his cha-cha heels, red lipstick and Raymond Burr Nipple Rouge will remain at the post until his death 48 years later. (Bet that's an image you won't be getting out of your head anytime soon.)

May 10, 1933 -
Joseph Goebbels presides over a public book burning in Berlin, which destroys more than 20,000 volumes. The collection includes books by Einstein and Freud.

Some 40,000 people watched or took part. During the bibliocaust, Goebbels declares: "We have directed our dealings against the un-German spirit; consign everything un-German to the fire."

May 10, 1940 -
Winston Churchill was sworn in as British Prime Minister. Churchill formed a new government and served as the Conservative head of a coalition government with the opposition Labor Party.

Three days after being sworn in, he told parliament that he could offer only "blood, toil, tears, and sweat." This was grudgingly deemed satisfactory by a palpably disappointed parliament, but only after he agreed to be fitted with an IV.

May 10, 1941 -
Running out of fuel and unable to find a suitable spot to land his Messerschmitt, Deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess bails out over Scotland.

When Hess claims to have made the trip in order to negotiate a peace treaty with England, the Nazis declare that he was a psychotic ho "lived in a state of hallucination." After the war, Hess is confined to Spandau prison until his apparent suicide in 1987.

May 10, 1969 -
The Battle of Dong Ap Bia begins with an assault on Hill 937. It was one of the most significant battles of the Vietnam War as it spelled the end of major American ground combat operations.

It will ultimately become known as Hamburger Hill. The ground gained in the battle was soon abandoned to the North Vietnamese Army, which lost some 633 soldiers killed in the fight. The American losses at Hamburger Hill, though not the most in one single action of the war, set off a firestorm of protest in the US.

May 10, 1977 -
Joan Crawford succumbs to stomach cancer at the age of 73. In the early days of her career, Crawford had performed in several stag films, and later spent a considerable sum buying back the prints to destroy them.

Her final words were purportedly, "Damn it...Don't you dare ask God to help me," which were directed at her housekeeper, who had begun to pray out loud.

You can bet there are no wire coat hangers in Heaven.

May 10, 1994 -
Former building contractor, children's party clown, and jail house artist John Wayne Gacy is executed by lethal injection. Police found 28 shallow graves in the crawlspace beneath Gacy's house in 1978.

After a dinner which included fried chicken, fried shrimp, and french fries, Gacy is strapped to a gurney. When asked if he has any last words, the serial killer obliges with: "Kiss my ass."

And so it goes.

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