So today is another abbreviated Today in History:
March 30, 315 -
The Donation of Constantine grants to the See of Rome dominion over all earthly thrones of Europe, a document made by the Roman Emperor Constantine I after his conversion to Christianity in return for being cured from leprosy (it was the least he could do after avoiding his nose falling off his face).
But in 1440, anachronisms in the document prove that it was really a fraud written around 752 AD, during the reign of and under orders of Pope Stephen II and the Frankish king Charlemagne (more about him later).
March 30 1282 -
After vespers on Easter Monday, a French sergeant named Drouet touches the breast of a young Sicilian bride, causing an outrage that precipitated the slaughter of perhaps 2,000 Frenchmen living and ruling over Sicily.
One of Giuseppe Verdi's (Joe Green) most musically acclaimed operas, Les Vêpres Siciliennes is based on this conflict.
March 30, 1840 -
If people turn to look at you on the street, you are not well dressed, but either too stiff, too tight, or too fashionable.
George Bryan Beau Brummell, English dandy and former favorite of the prince regent, died of syphilis in a French lunatic asylum for paupers (I hate when that happens.)
March 30, 1853 -
Vincent Van Gogh was born on this date. Exactly 134 years later to the very day, his painting Sunflowers sold for $39.7 million.
Van Gogh’s life was full of such eary coincidences.
March 30, 1856 -
(In case this comes up) Russia signed the Treaty of Paris ending the Crimean War on this date. It guaranteed the integrity of Ottoman Turkey and obliged Russia to surrender southern Bessarabia, at the mouth of the Danube.
The Black Sea was neutralized, and the Danube River was opened to the shipping of all nations.
March 30, 1863 -
OK kids, it's your favorite topic - life among the those wacky inbred royals.
As well as second cousins once removed, the couple are also third cousins: they share Queen Victoria as a great-great-grandmother. Elizabeth's great-grandfather was Edward VII, while Edward's sister Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine was the Duke's great-grandmother. All of this was probably painfully obvious to them on their wedding day as everyone assembled to witness their wedding was related to one another.
So goes love amongst the royals and hillbillies.
On March 30, 1870, the U.S. Congress readmitted Texas to the Union. Texas is the only state in the Union whose name is an anagram for taxes. Texas had been naughty and seceded in 1861, but they said they were sorry and promised never to do it again.
Conclude this paragraph with the Texaphobic slur or Texaphiliac slogan of your choice.
March 30, 1909 -
...The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge, is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.... - F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
The Simon & Garfunkel song Feelin' Groovy uses the bridge as its namesake.
March 30, 1964 -
What gameshow is celebrating if 50th anniversary on this date? Pens down.
Merv Griffin's game show Jeopardy! maked its debut on television. He sold the rights for the show to Coca-Cola for $250 million in 1986. The show was hosted by Art Fleming until 1975. It resurfaced in syndication in 1984 with Alex Trebek as host.
March 30, 1967 -
The Beatles visited Michael Cooper's London photographic studio on this date and shot the most iconic album cover ever created.
The cover of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was designed by Peter Blake and put together by Peter Blake and Jann Haworth, who painstakingly combed through hundreds of photos for months before the photo shoot. (Kids, remember, this was all done before Photoshop.)
March 30, 1968 -
Two children playing in a deserted East Village tenement at 371 East 10th St come across the body of a homeless drug addict later identified as Bobby Driscoll (the patron saint of child actors gone wrong), 31, the first actor Walt Disney put under contract and the voice of Disney's Peter Pan on this date.
So I guess he really wouldn't grow up.
March 30, 1981 -
President Ronald Reagan was shot and wounded by John W. Hinckley Jr.outside the Washington Hilton Hotel on this date. Press Sec. James Brady was also shot as was Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy and District of Columbia police officer Thomas Delahanty.
While President Reagan underwent surgery for a life-threatening gunshot wound, Secretary of State Alexander Haig announced to the press: "As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending return of the Vice President."
As bloodless coups go, it was a brilliant though short-lived one.
And so it goes