Saturday, February 15, 2014

For some. at least it's over

In case you had a bad Valentine's Day:

Once again here's Lewis Black explaining why the holiday should not be celebrated in February -

Ok, swipe you nose, wash you face and get back out there.

February 15, 1950 -
Walt Disney's
12th animated feature, Cinderella was premiered in Boston, Massachusetts on this date.

Excluding the initial prologue explaining how the stepmother came into Cinderella's life and the closing wedding scene, the main story of the film takes place over approximately a 24-hour period. Cinderella starts her day with her chores, the prince's ball is that evening and she successfully tries on the lost slipper the following morning.

February 15, 1987 -
Broadcast over the course of seven nights, Amerika, premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

Amerika sparked much controversy from many camps long before it even aired. Many liberals dismissed the mini-series as right wing paranoia, while many conservatives complained that the Soviet brutality that was depicted was seriously underplayed. The Soviet government at one point threatened to shut down the ABC News Moscow Bureau if the mini-series aired (although this threat was never carried out.) This prompted ABC President John B. Sias to state "We're going to run that program come rain, blood, or horse manure."

Today in History -
Galileo Galilei
was born on February 15, 1564. He invented a telescope with which he later discovered craters on the moon, the satellites of Jupiter, and every luscious detail of the girl next door's nubile young form. Galileo's astronomical observations seemed to confirm Copernicus's theory that the Earth went around the sun rather than the other way around. Unfortunately, Copernicus's theory was heresy and therefore not supposed to be confirmed.

The church was in a tough spot. Galileo was every bit as Bad and Heretical as Copernicus had been, but they didn't want to inspire a bunch of angry Germans to start another church, as Martin Luther's followers had not long after the church's previous brush with Astronomy.

High-ranking church officials pleaded with the astronomer: "Come on, Galileo." "Please, Galileo." "Knock it off, Galileo."

But he wouldn't stop talking about the earth spinning around the sun. He couldn't even be persuaded to talk about something else, such as sports, the weather, or the girl next door's nubile young form. So they threatened to kill him.

At this point Galileo remembered that the sun actually did revolve around the earth, and the church rewarded his improved memory by giving him free room and board for the rest of his life (a level of hospitality sometimes referred to as "house arrest".)

February 15,  1758 -

Mustard was first advertised for sale in America on this date, by Benjamin Jackson who had set up business in Globe Mills, Germantown, Philadelphia, selling mustard packed in glass bottles with his label on them.

In the Philadelphia Chronicle, he claimed to be "the original establisher of the mustard manufactory in American, and ... at present, the only manufacturer on the continent," and that he had brought the art with him from London to America.

February 15, 1763 -
Austria and Prussia signed the Treaty of Hubertusburg on this date.

This ended the Seven Years War, and just in time: the war had lasted almost exactly seven years!

February 15, 1898

The battleship U.S.S. Maine blew up in Havana Harbor on this date, commencing a splendid little war against Spain that ends with the United States owning a colonial empire and Cuba under martial law.

The situation is immortalized in the film Citizen Kane with the lines, "You supply the prose poetry. We'll supply the war."

The first teddy bear is introduced in America by two Russian immigrants, Morris and Rose Michtom, who own a toy and novelty store in Brooklyn, New York on this date in 1903.

While bear hunting in Mississippi in 1902, President Teddy Roosevelt decided to spare the life of a bear cub which had been orphaned during the hunt. The event was the subject of a cartoon in the Washington Post seen by the Michtoms. Inspired by the cartoon, Mrs. Michtom made a toy bear which became enormously popular with the public in short order.

Now you know.

February 15, 1933 -
President-elect Franklin Roosevelt escaped an assassination attempt in Miami. Giuseppa Zangara, an unemployed New Jersey bricklayer from Italy, fired five pistol shots at the back of President-elect Roosevelt's head from only twenty-five feet away.

While all five rounds missed their target, each bullet found a separate victim. One of these was Mayor Anton Cermak of Chicago. Gunman Giuseppe Zangara was executed more than four weeks later, on March 20, 1933.

February 15, 1936 -
At a speech in Berlin on this date, Hitler confronts German industry with the challenge of creating the Volkswagen.

Thus Ferdinand Porsche designs the Beetle which is now widely seen as the final solution to fahrvergnugen.

February 15, 1961 -
The U.S. figure skating team is obliterated when Sabena Flight 548 crashes in Belgium on this date.

The crash was the first fatal accident involving a Boeing 707 in regular passenger service.

February 15, 1995 -
Kevin Mitnick
, at the time the most wanted computer hacker in history, was arrested in Raleigh, North Carolina for various offenses, one of which was breaking into security specialist Tsutomu Shimomura's computer on this date.

Mitnick now runs Mitnick Security Consulting, a computer security consultancy.

Sometimes, crimes does pay.

February 15, 2005 -
You Tube, the video-sharing website, was launched by three former PayPal employees on this date. The first video was uploaded on April 23, 2005.

Later that year, the Time Person of the Year issue featured a YouTube screen with a mirror, citing the growth of social media and networking for making "You" the person of the year.

And so it goes.

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