Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Another minor question addressed

The folks at Minute Physics try to answer a small matter - What is the Universe?

Today is tenth day of Chinese New Year; tomorrow will be the 11th and the day after that - the 12th.  Are you really still celebrating?

February 19, 1913 -
Prizes were inserted into a Cracker Jack box for the first time on this date (A Prize in Every Box.)

In ensuing decades, over seventeen billion prizes have been "awarded" to Cracker Jack purchasers. Among the numerous Cracker Jack prizes offered across the years are miniature plates, puzzles, books, bookmarks, pinball games, plastic figurines, and self-adhesive stickers (but alas, no Coup de Villes.)

Extra credit question: The name of Jack's dog ... Bingo.

February 19, 1940 -
William Smokey Robinson, singer was born, on this date.

Robinson, when still a child, was nicknamed "Smokey Joe" by an uncle because of his love of cowboy movies.

February 19, 1982 -
The Wes Craven film Swamp Thing, starring Louis Jourdan, Adrienne Barbeau, Ray Wise and Dick Durock, was released on this date.

Dick Durock was forced into the role of the Swamp Thing by necessity. He'd been brought on board the project as a stuntman, but the filmmakers found that it was impossible to go from Durock to Ray Wise - who had been cast as Alec Holland, Swamp Thing's former self - and back again because the two men looked so different in Swamp Thing's makeup.

Today in History:
February 19, 1329 -
(Antipope) Nicholas V presided at a bizarre ceremony in the Duomo of Pisa, at which a straw puppet representing his rival, Pope John XXII and dressed in pontifical robes was formally condemned, degraded, and handed over to the secular arm (to be "executed").

John XXII had the last laugh when he excommunicated Nicholas V in April 1329 and had him imprisoned until his death in August 1333.

Oh those wacky Antipopes.

February 19, 1473 -
Nicolaus Copernicus (or Mikolaj Kopernik or Nicolaus Koppernigk - apparently he was running some sort of scheme at an early age) was born in Poland on this date.

He stated an early theory that the earth and the planets move around the sun that led the way to our understanding of planetary movement.

In the presidential election of 1800, Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson drew to a tie. The House of Representatives broke the tie by throwing their weight behind Jefferson, making him president, on February 17, 1801. Burr was given the vice-presidency as either a consolation prize or a practical joke.

Like many other people, Vice-President Burr was often irritated by Alexander Hamilton. Unlike most other people, he shot and killed him. Although it had been a fair duel, the vice-president was indicted for murder. He was never actually arrested for the shooting, nor was he removed from office, because there was no controlling legal authority in place to prevent a vice-president from shooting Alexander Hamilton.

Instead of reviving Burr's political career, the duel helped to end it. Burr was charged with two counts of murder. After his term as vice president ended, he would never hold elective office again. And his next plot to gain power would end with charges of treason.

Civilized political discourse?

(A subsequent constitutional amendment that would have made it illegal for members of the executive branch to shoot Alexander Hamilton was defeated on the grounds of its limited usefulness to the deceased.) After serving out his term as VP, Mr. Burr moved to the southwest and decided to establish his own empire. Fortunately there were controlling legal authorities that prohibited the establishment of empires. President Jefferson had him arrested on February 19, 1807.

Burr was ultimately acquitted. (His descendant Raymond Burr would go on to restore a bit of varnish to the family name as Perry Mason and as spokesperson for Raymond Burr Nipple Rouge.)

February 19, 1910 -
Mr. Creosote had nothing on Diamond Jim Brady - at a New York dinner party on this date, Mr. Brady amazed his guests with his appetite:

he ate five helpings of roast beef, gallons of stewed fruit, 84 oysters and drank three gallons of orange juice to wash it all down!

February 19 is also notable for the 1995 marriage, on that date, of Pamela Anderson to rocker Tommy Lee. Their marriage is best remembered for having produced the most widely-distributed honeymoon pictures in the history of the world.

Sorry folks, you're going to have to find the link to the video yourself.

February 19, 1951 -
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.

Nobel laureate, Protestant, cocaine addict and noted pederast, Andre Gide died on this date .

February 19, 1997 -
Supreme Chinese leader and one time replacement for Diana Ross, Deng Xiaoping died on this date.

Dying takes the shine off of being Supreme.

And so it goes.

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