Saturday, April 11, 2015

They all can't be red letter days

April 11, 1954
According to a team of Cambridge University scientists, this date in history was the most boring day during the entire 20th Century.

It appears to have been so boring that it had to be named National Cheese Fondue Day  (and 8-track Tape Day) just so those people living through it didn't kill themselves.

Everything goes better with fondue,

and a K-tel Tape Selector.

April 11, 1942 -
Bob Clampett
was the first to tackle an adaption of a Dr. Seuss book when Merrie Melodies released Horton Hatches the Egg, on this date.

Peter Lorre was a favorite characterization for the famed Warner Bros. cartoonists, as he tangled several times with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck (look for him as a fish this time.)

April 11, 1947 -
Charlie Chaplin's
very dark comedy, Monsieur Verdoux, premiered on this date in NYC.

The film was a colossal box-office flop on its 1947 release, despite being ardently championed by writer-critic James Agee, who considered Charles Chaplin's acting performance the greatest male performance he had ever seen in films.

Today in History:
April 11, 1034
An ancient corollary (lost to the ages) of the phrase 'don't go to bed mad' is 'don't take a bath mad'. After cutting his wife's allowance, in order to balance the Byzantine Empire's budget, Emperor Romanos III Argyros was drowned by the Empress Zoe's eunuch (and lover?) Michael, in his bath on this date.

Zoe was so happy with Michael's handiwork, she had him made Emperor - Michael IVMichael's first act as Emperor was to cut Zoe's allowance.

April 11, 1713 -
Psst (in case it comes up in conversation),  Spain ceded Gibraltar in perpetuity to Britain under the Treaty of Utrecht on this date.

That should impress the person in the next cubicle.

April 11, 1814 -
Able was I ere I saw Elba.

Napoleon tried a forced retirement, for the first time, as Emperor of France, on this date.

He retaining the title of emperor and 400 volunteers to act as his guard. He was granted sovereignty over Elba and a pension from the French government. Retirement on a small island in the Mediterranean off the coast of Italy, didn't suit him and he comes back for his metric Hundred Day campaign (see March 20).

April 11, 1865 -
President Abraham Lincoln made his last public speech on this date. His speech centered on promoting the rights of African-Americans.

The speech apparently didn't come off as planned. After hearing it, John Wilkes Booth, who had originally been planning to kidnap Lincoln, become so incensed that he decided to assassinate him instead.

April 11, 1890 -
Joseph "John" Merrick, the Elephant Man died at the Royal London Hospital at the age of 27 on this date.

If I had a million dollars, I would buy Michael Jackson's skeleton.

April 11, 1905 -
A simple patent clerk, Albert Einstein, known mostly for looking at the town clock or passing trains, produces a not so simple paper discussing the Theory of Relativity which among other things postulates that E=MC² .

This astonished the world because previously E had always equated the fifth letter of the alphabet.

April 11, 1951 -
President Harry S. Truman roused himself from the fourth boiler maker of the day and relieved General Douglas MacArthur of his command on this date. Though MacArthur was a major force in the army in both World War II and Korea, he repeatedly ignored or stretched Truman's orders, suggesting the nuclear option on the peninsula.

MacArthur forgot the most important issue, several military men have forgotten when dealing with Washington D.C. - he was not actually president. The conflict between the two became very public, and Truman eventually replaced him.

April 11, 1979 -
Kampala, the capital of Uganda, fell to the Tanzanians and dictator Idi Amin was overthrown on this date (yes, this is on the exam.)  Amin escaped to Libya and settled into exile in Saudi Arabia.

Amin, an occasional cannibal who killed perhaps 300,000 during his reign, had made the mistake of invading Tanzania - a common mistake most occasional cannibals make.

And so it goes

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