Friday, February 21, 2014

Plop Plop Fizz Fizz, Oh what a relief it is ...

February 21, 1931 -
I can't believe I ate the whole thing ...

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, 1970 -
The Jackson 5, led by 11-year old Michael Jackson, introduced themselves to America with their TV debut on American Bandstand.

The performances showed not only that the group were amazing performers, but that Michael was a superstar in the making.

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, as 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, in front of a crowd of at least 20,000 spectators, for plotting to assassinate England's King George III and to destroy the Bank of England. 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 followed.

February 21, 1885 -
America's greatest phallic symbol, the Washington Monument, was dedicated by President Chester A. Arthur on this date. 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, 1918 -
The last Carolina Parakeet, Incas, died at the Cincinnati Zoo on this date, the only native parrot species in the Eastern US. The species went extinct through a combination of loss of environment and overhunting for their decorative feathers.

Coincidentally, the last Carolina Parakeet died in the same cage in which the last Passenger Pigeon, Martha died.

February 21, 1925 -
The top hatted character Eustace Tilley first appeared on a magazine cover on this date.  Eustace Tilley, the mascot of The New Yorker magazine, was based on an engraving of Compte Alfred d'Orsay, interpreted by house cartoonist and art director Rea Irvin.

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

February 21, 1947 -
Edwin H. Land first demonstrated, the first instant camera, the Polaroid Land camera, during a meeting of the Optical Society of America (OSA) at the Hotel Pennsylvania, in New York City.

The camera produces a black and white photograph in sixty seconds, using development and fixer chemicals sandwiched in pods with the photographic paper and film.

February 21, 1953 -
Francis Crick and James D. Watson came up with a key insight in their discovery of the structure of the DNA molecule on this date.

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 on this date, 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 -
Only Nixon could go to China - old Vulcan proverb

To celebrate the 1848 publication of  The Communist Manifesto in London on this date, written by Karl Marx with the assistance of Friedrich Engels  -

Richard M. Nixon visited 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.

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

A second scandal with yet another prostitute emerges in 1991, further killed his evangelical career. It may not have anything 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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