Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thomas Jefferson liked to collect beads too.

Bon temps roulez mes amis. It's Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) folks. So everybody shake your groove thing.

No one needs to disrobe, we've got plenty of beads (unless you like to disrobe in public.)

Today is also know as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day, which heralds the beginning of fasting in Lent. On this day (so the historians say) there were feasts of pancakes to use up the supplies of fat, butter and eggs... foods that were forbidden during austere Lent.

In England there are several celebrations on this day but perhaps the best known one is the Pancake Day Race at Olney in Buckinghamshire which has been held since 1445. The race came about when a woman cooking pancakes heard the shriving bell summoning her to confession. She ran to church wearing her apron and still holding her frying pan, and thus without knowing it, started a tradition that has lasted for over five hundred years.

Keep flipping them pancakes

February 21, 1931 -
Plop Plop Fizz Fizz, Oh what a relief it is ...

Miles Laboratories introduced Alka-Seltzer® on this date.

February 21, 1967 -
One Million Years B.C., starring Raquel Welch, her bodacious tatas and a bunch of dinosaur puppets, premiered on this date.

As I've mentioned in the past, folks going to the Creation Museum, this is NOT a documentary.

February 21, 1981 -
Charles Rocket, first in the long line of performers on Saturday Night Live to drop the f-bomb, curses live at the end of the episode in response to a question about how it felt being shot during a skit.

Due partially to the violation of broadcast standards, along with Saturday Night Live's low ratings, Rocket and most of that seasons cast and writers were fired shortly thereafter. (Sorry but Youtube has taken down the clip)

Today in History:
King James I of Scotland was assassinated on February 21, 1437. (Please feel free to chart the following genealogy, it may be on the test) James I's grandfather, Robert II, had married twice and the awkward circumstances of the first marriage (the one with James's grandmother Elizabeth Mure - he didn't get around to marrying her until several years and children into their relationship) led some to dispute its validity. Conflict broke out between the descendants of the first marriage and the unquestionably legitimate descendants of the second marriage over who had the better right to the Scottish throne.

Matters came to a head on February 21, 1437, when a group of Scots led by Sir Robert Graham assassinated James at the Friars Preachers Monastery in Perth. He attempted to escape his assailants through a sewer. However, three days previously, he had had the other end of the drain blocked up because of its connection to the tennis court outside, balls habitually got lost in it.

I'm sure the irony was not lost on James while he scrambled around in the sewer.

February 21, 1803 -
Edward Despard and six co-conspirators were executed at Horsemonger Lane Gaol for plotting to assassinate England's King George III and to destroy the Bank of England, in front of a crowd of at least 20,000 spectators. Despard was originally sentenced, with six of his fellow-conspirators (John Wood and John Francis, both privates in the army, carpenter Thomas Broughton, shoemaker James Sedgwick Wratton, slater Arthur Graham and John Macnamara,) to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

These were the last men to be so sentenced in England, although prior to execution the sentence was commuted to simple hanging and beheading, amid fears that the Draconian punishment might spark public dissent.

This must have been a very pretty sight indeed.

February 21, 1878 -
The first telephone directory was issued with 50 subscribers, by the District Telephone Company of New Haven, Connecticut on this date.

The first prank phone call to a Mr. Lipshitz soon follows.

February 21, 1885 -
America's greatest phallic symbol, the Washington Monument, is dedicated by President Chester A. Arthur. The shaft towers over 555 feet into the air and sports an aluminum foreskin.

The monument was the tallest structure in the world when completed .

Talk about feeling inadequate (and talk about smegma.)

February 21, 1916 -
The Battle of Verdun began today, which in nine months yielded 975,000 casualties and almost no change in the front line.

It is the bloodiest battle in history, and often the one remarked as having the "highest density of dead per square yard."

February 21, 1925 -
The top hatted character Eustace Tilley first appeared on a magazine cover on this date.

The first issue of the New Yorker magazine, founded by Harold Ross, hit the newsstands.

February 21, 1953 -
Francis Crick and James D. Watson discover the structure of the DNA molecule.

At first they were going with a squiggle or smiley face structure until they hit upon the double helix.

February 21, 1965 -
Former Black Muslim leader El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, aka Malcolm X was shot to death in front of 400 people in New York by assassins identified as Black Muslims.

He was murdered at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan. His wife, Betty Sha-bazz, was pregnant with twins and sat in the audience along with his 4-year-old daughter Quibi-lah.

February 21, 1972 -
Richard M. Nixon visits the People's Republic of China to normalize Sino-American relations, becoming the first US president to visit a country not diplomatically recognized by the US.

He fulfills the old Vulcan proverb - Only Nixon could go to China.

February 21, 1988 -
Television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart of the Assemblies of God, with tears streaming down his face, confesses sinning with a prostitute (Debra Murphree) in a Louisiana hotel room.

A second scandal with yet another prostitute emerges in 1991, further killing his evangelical career. It way have not to do with the situation but Jimmy is related to both Mickey Gilley and Jerry Lee Lewis.

And so it goes.

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