July 18, 1929 -
It's Screamin' Jay Hawkins Birthday.
Don't ask, just do it.
Today in History:
July 18, 64 -
Most of imperial Rome was burned to the ground because Emperor Nero had been playing the fiddle. This resulted in the persecution of Christians, many of whom were believed to have encouraged him.
You know how those early Christians love their city burning, fiddle playing, crazed Emperors.
Yes, I'm aware that Nero wasn't even in Rome at the time of the fire. At this time, I do not believe even the stringent libel laws in England cover this.
July 18, 1870 -
At the end of Vatican I, Catholic popes are proclaimed infallible by chapter four of the papal bull Pastor Aeternus. The pope's declarations on matters of faith are protected from error by the Holy Spirit. In a nutshell: whatever he says about the scripture, goes.
This is an interesting doctrine, considering how often St. Peter is himself contradicted by the Gospels.
July 18, 1913 -
Richard "Red" Skelton, was born in Vincennes, Ind., on this date. During a career that stretched through medicine shows,vaudeville, motion pictures, radio and television, the gentle Skelton created a host of characters from the silent tramp Freddie the Freeloader to the Mean Widdle Kid, who coined the catch phrase, "I dood it!"
In a People Magazine interview late in his life, Skelton admitted that he fudged his officially accepted birth year, but did not elaborate. The year 1910 is sometimes given instead of 1913, but Skelton's biographer Arthur Marx claims that the comedian told close associates he was really born in 1906.
July 18, 1925 -
Today marks the 87th anniversary of the publication of Adolf Hitler's best-selling political memoir, Mein Kampf (or, in English, "I'm Crazy and I'm Gonna Kill You"). The book remains extremely popular with genocidal sociopaths and is therefore experiencing a renaissance of sales.
The book's original title was Four-and-a-Half Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice.
Taking him at his word and assuming the little lance-corporal really had struggled against lies, stupidity, and cowardice for 54 months, one has to ask, in light of his later activities, if maybe lies, stupidity, and cowardice aren't so bad.
July 18, 1939 -
Hunter S. Thompson's birthday is today.
He was once considered, armed, and dangerous. Now he is no more than soot on the window sills of his and his neighbors homes. Dr. Thompson founded the Gonzo school of journalism in the 1970s; graduates from that school can today be seen every night on cable news.
Dr. Thompson inspired the character "Uncle Duke" in the comic strip Doonesbury, by former Canadian Prime Minister Gary Trudeau.
(Uncle Duke first appeared in Doonesbury on July 8, 1974.) Several movies have been made about Dr. Thompson's life and work and psychotic episodes. He is perhaps the only American journalist to have been played on-screen by both Bill Murray
and Johnny Depp.
July 18, 1947 -
British seized the Exodus 1947 ship of Jewish immigrants to Palestine on this date. The British Royal Navy intercepted the ship President Warfield, which had been renamed Exodus by its passengers, forcing the 4,000 Jewish would-be immigrants aboard back to Displaced Person camps in Germany.
Britain was still the ruling power in Palestine, which was being wracked by conflict resulting from Jewish national aspirations. The return of the Jewish immigrants, many of them survivors of Nazi persecution, heightened anti-British sentiment among Jews in Palestine and elsewhere.
July 18, 1966 -
In Los Angeles, the beaten corpse of Bobby Fuller was found sprawled across the front seat of his mother's Oldsmobile. Fuller, whose band The Bobby Fuller Four released the hit I Fought The Law, was found to have died from "forced inhalation of gasoline."
Technically, Fuller died from huffing... although circumstances point to murder.
July 18, 1969 -
Driving home from a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Senator Ted Kennedy's car goes over the side of Dike Bridge and flips over into a pond. Kennedy manages to free himself from the automobile, but his passenger, one Mary Jo Kopechne, drowns.
For some reason, Kennedy tells no one about the accident for at least an hour, and waits until the following morning to notify local police.
July 18, 1976 -
Romanian Nadia Comaneci became the first gymnast to receive a perfect-ten score in 1976 Olympic competition.
In 2000, Comaneci was named as one of the athletes of the century by the Laureus World Sports Academy.
July 18, 1988 -
Rock and Roll performer/ heroin addict Nico wipes out on her bicycle on Ibiza and dies from a brain hemorrage - that combined with a lack of medical treatment.
And so it goes.
Before I let you go - For some bizarre reason today, July 18th, is National Caviar Day. In the middle of July, no less!
While it's normal to wash down fish roe with champagne or iced vodka, but why not down shots of iced Bombay Sapphire. (I'm not a paid spokesperson but am more than willing to be.)