Friday, June 26, 2015


School's out for NYC elementary school kids.

But don't get too comfortable - school starts up again in 75 days (or 100,800 minutes if that makes you feel better.)

The Cyclone roller coaster opened on this date in 1927. The roller coaster opened in Coney Island and is still available to induce vomiting today.

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 and was made an historic New York City landmark in 1988.

June 26, 1925 -
Charlie Chaplin's
classic comedy, The Gold Rush, premiered at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, on this date.

Originally a stagehand wore the chicken suit from Jim's hallucination. But when he couldn't mime Charles Chaplin's walk and manners, Chaplin himself donned the suit.

Today in History:
June 26, 1284
The town of Hamelin had a large rat infestation. A weirdly dressed minstrel promised to help them get rid of their rats. The townsmen in turn promised to pay him for the removal of the rats. The man accepted and thus played a musical pipe to lure the rats with a song into the Weser River, where all of them drowned. Despite his success, the people reneged on their promise and refused to pay the rat-catcher. Pied Piper extracting his revenge, luring 130 children of Hamelin away on this date.

People, let this be a lesson to us all - please pay your exterminator bill promptly.

Richard III made himself King of England on this date in 1483 by killing everyone else who wanted to be king.

It seemed a clever stratagem at the time, especially for a hunchback, but his reign came to a bloody end just two years later as a result of his making a fiscally irresponsible bid on a horse.  (To all of you Richard rehabilitators, this is a joke.  Please, no e-mails.)

June 26, 1498 -
The toothbrush (as we know it) was invented in China during the Hongzhi Emperor's reign.  The toothbrush used hog bristles (or horse hair - again, please, no e-mails), at that time.

Hog bristle brushes remained the best until the invention of nylon.  I completely understand the slight gagging feeling you're experiencing this morning. We were able to ascertain this date through the diligent work of ancient Chinese chronologists, who were not plagued by the distraction of the massive amount of sodomy that was rampant throughout Western Europe, where they were going through a touch of Renaissance at the time.

Francisco Pizarro conquered the entire Peruvian Empire of the Incas with a handful of soldiers only to have those soldiers turn on and kill him on June 26, 1541. He was stabbed in the throat, then fell to the floor where he was stabbed repeatedly. Pizarro (who now was maybe as old as 70 years, and at least 62, remember the problem with calendars: sodomy), collapsed on the floor, alone, painted a cross in his own blood and cried for Jesus Christ. He then cried out: Come to me my faithful sword, companion of all my deeds.

Mr. Pizarro was a tiny bit of a drama queen.

Abner Doubleday
was born on this date in 1819. A forgotten footnote in his life is the fact that he aimed the cannon that fired the first return shot in answer to the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, starting the Civil War.

Mr. Doubleday is incorrectly credited with the invention of baseball, without which Americans would have nothing to watch between waits in line for more beer.

June 26, 1819 -
W.K. Clarkson
of New York received a patent for what was then called a velocipede (even though, Denis Johnson of London had patented his velocipede in December 1818.)

Unfortunately, the patent record was destroyed by fire, so the actual design is not known.

June 26, 1870 -
The day after Leon Day, Congress declared Christmas
a federal holiday to the great relief of Americans who'd been forced to flee to Canada every December.

June 26, 1959 -
In a ceremony presided over by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II, the St. Lawrence Seaway was officially opened, creating a navigational channel from the Atlantic Ocean to all the Great Lakes.

The seaway, made up of a system of canals, locks, and dredged waterways, extends a distance of nearly 2,500 miles, from the Atlantic Ocean through the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Duluth, Minnesota, on Lake Superior. (Great bar bet winner for tonight: Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, was probably conceived in Canada on this royal visit.)

June 26, 1963 -
President John F. Kennedy stood before the Berlin Wall and announced to a quarter of a million Germans that he was a jelly donut, in his famous "I am a jelly donut" ("ich bin ein jelly donut") speech.

Although embarrassing, this was considered an improvement over Eisenhower's infamous "I am a well-hung platypus" speech on a golf course in Costa Rica.

June 26, 1968 -
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones ....

Pope Paul VI declares that the bones of Apostle and first Pope, Saint Peter, found underneath St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, were authentic. The bones are now housed in containers near where they were found, but some of them are clearly those of domesticated animals.

Oh well ... another mystery of the church best left unexplained.

June 26, 1990 -
Irish Republican Army bombed the Carlton Club on this date, an exclusive conservative gentleman's cabal in London.

(It is a well known fact that Margaret Thatcher was denoted an "honorary man" in order to become a member. It is not clear what surgical modifications, if any, were necessary.)

And so it goes.

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