Saturday, May 14, 2011

Did you remember to send a card?

It's Israel's 63th anniversary.

I don't suppose that Egypt will be sending a gift for their birthday this year.

Today in History:
May 14, 964 -
Pope John XII dies of injuries inflicted eight days prior by a jealous husband who caught him in flagrante delicto with his wife.

The 26-year-old pontiff had received a blow to the temple, causing immediate paralysis. Critics had accused John of converting the Lateran Palace into a whorehouse.

Give me that old time religion.

The first inoculation against smallpox was administered on May 14, 1796, by Edward Jenner, when Jenner took fluid from a cowpox blister and scratched it into the skin of James Phipps, an eight-year-old boy

(a brief aside - how much do you trust your kid's doctor -

"Good Afternoon Mr & Mrs. Phipps. Little Jimmy seems fine, nothing out of the ordinary. I'll see him next year for his check up. Oh by the way, I'd like to smear some pus from a cow sore into a small open wound I've just inflicted upon Jimmy. It's no big deal.")

This medical wonder came only four days after Napoleon's army defeated the Austrians in the Battle of Lodi.

Exactly twenty-two years prior to that, King Louis XV had died of smallpox (on May 10, 1774.)

When he died, Louis XVI became king, and only five years later (on La Quatorze Juillet, French for "the Fourth of July"), the Revolution began (mostly because Louis's wife kept telling everyone to eat cake), which resulted in the Rain of Terror, which resulted, eventually, in Napoleon.

Which practically brings it all full circle, if you're not a stickler for circularity.

May 14, 1878 -
Robert A. Chesebrough begins selling Vaseline (registered trademark for petroleum jelly (U.S. Patent 127,568).)

For the remainder of his life, he ate a teaspoon of the product every day.

Insert dirty joke here (of course liberally lubricated with Vaseline.)

May 14th, 1932 -
New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker, organized a day-long Beer rally known as the "We Want Beer Parade." Nearly 100,000 people showed up in support of repeal and the legalization of beer.

On the very same day the city of Detroit held a similar even of there own, in which some 40,000 people attended. They marched and the chanted "Who want's a bottle of beer?"

May 14, 1943 -
At approximately 4:10 a.m., Australia’s AHS Centaur, a hospital ship, was sunk without warning after it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine.

Of the 332 medical personnel and civilian crew aboard, only 64 survived.

May 14, 1951 -
The seminal Ernie Kovacs Show, debuts on NBC on this date.

Show like as Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, Monty Python's Flying Circus, The Uncle Floyd Show, Saturday Night Live, The David Letterman Show and even Captain Kangaroo and Sesame Street were influenced by Kovacs and his television work.

TV has never been quite the same since.

May 14, 1989 -
Moonlighting, one of the better "boy/girl detective show" airs it's last episode on ABC on this date.

The series had long since 'jumped the shark' but wow, Bruce Willis' toup was fantastic.

May 14, 1998 -
The final episode of Seinfeld aired on this date. Jerry Seinfeld holds both the record for the "most money refused" according to the Guinness Book of World Records by refusing an offer to continue the show for $5 million per episode, and another record for the Highest Ever Annual Earnings For A TV Actor, while the show itself held the record for the Highest Television Advertising Rates until 2004, when the final episode of Friends aired.

Not too shabby for a show about nothing.

May 14, 1998 -
"The kid's name is Sinatra. He considers himself the greatest vocalist in the business. No one ever heard of him. He looks like a wet rag. But he says he's the greatest." - Harry James

Francis Albert Sinatra, Ole' Blue Eyes, died on this date. Chairman of the Board of Show Business had an oddly appropriate personal motto: "You gotta love livin' baby, 'cause dyin's a pain in the ass."

After all is said and done, it the voice that matters. It triumphs over the banality of death.

And so it goes.

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