It's Friday the 13th. In most large cities in the United States, many building don't have 13th floors. In Japan, they don't have 4th floors, because the word for four sounds similar to the word for DEATH! Some say that the modern basis for Friday the 13th phobia dates back to Friday, October 13, 1307.
It's International Frog Jumping Day - Frog Jumping Day celebrates Mark Twain's 'jumping frog' which made him famous.
The short story was first published in 1865 as Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog while Twain was still a struggling journalist in California - and two years later it was the main attraction of his first book. He never wrote another short story that had such widespread appeal and was so popular.
May 13, 1950 -
Steveland Morris Hardaway, musician was born prematurely, on this day. Too much oxygen in the incubator caused the baby to become permanently blind.
At the age of ten, Little Stevie Wonder, as he was called by Berry Gordy at Motown, was discovered singing and playing the harmonica. He had many hits during his teens including Fingertips and as an adult he has earned an Oscar and at least sixteen Grammy Awards.
It's too bad the whole blindness thing has held him back.
May 13, 1966 -
The Rolling Stones released Paint it Black, in the UK on this date.
The Stones former manager Allen Klein owns the publishing rights to this. In 1965, The Stones hired him and signed a deal they would later regret. With Klein controlling their money, The Stones signed over the publishing rights to all the songs they wrote up to 1969. Every time this is used in a commercial or TV show, Klein gets paid.
May 13, 1970 -
The Beatles' final movie, Let It Be, received its U.S. premiere, in New York City theaters on this date.
During the very contentious film shoot, when the cameras weren't rolling, John Lennon and George Harrison got into a fist fight over Lennon's lack of enthusiasm and the constant presence of Yoko Ono. They stress got to the 'quiet Beatle' Harrison and he temporarily quit the band. John Lennon famously quipped that if he's not back by Tuesday "we'll get (Eric) Clapton." Harrison returned with Billy Preston and the shoot continued.
May 13, 1978 -
Lt. Columbo finally got to that one last thing on this date when the series finale of Columbo, The Conspirators aired on NBC-TV.
The series was picked up again in 1989 and continued on its eighth season onwards produced by ABC-TV.
May 13, 1985 -
Dire Straits released their fifth album, Brothers in Arms on this date.
The album became the first CD to sell over a million copies, making it one of the world’s most successful CD album (the CD has now sold well over 30 million copies.)
May 13, 1988 -
Assassins, gangsters, and enraged mobs of the past have employed a wide variety of methods to silence their victims. One such method involves chucking people out of windows, an act known as defenestration. A very rare way to shut yourself up involves self-defenestration.
Chet Baker, heroin addict and world famous jazz trumpet player, while on a successful world tour, died in Amsterdam after "falling" from a hotel window.
May 13, 2004 -
The last episode of Frasier aired on TV following an 11-year run on NBC-TV on this date.
The series holds the record for the most Emmy wins for a TV series of any kind (comedy or drama) with 37 wins.
Today in History:
May 13, 1497 -
Pope Alexander VI excommunicated Girolamo Savonarola for heresy on this date.
May 13, 1568 -
May 13, 1637 -
The table knife was created by Cardinal Richelieu in France, on this date.
Richelieu had the points rounded off all of the knives to be used at his table reputedly to cure dinner guests of the unsavory habit of picking their teeth with their knife-points.
May 13, 1787 -
The first fleet of ships carrying convicted criminals left England en route to a new British prison called Australia.
May 13, 1846 -
The United States, under President James Polk, declared that a state of war already existed against Mexico, two months after fighting began, on this date.
This was in response to an incident where the Mexican cavalry surrounded a scouting party of American dragoons. $10 million was appropriated for war expenses by Congress. There are some in Arizona that haven't heard that the hostilities have long since ended.
May 13, 1913 -
The latest brainchild of Russian aircraft design genius Igor Sikorsky embarks on its maiden flight on this date. (The Tzar was a little confused and had to be convinced that being the Csar, or Czar for that matter, he was eligible for a seat inside the plane.)
May 13, 1940 -
Winston Churchill had just come into office as the British Prime Minister, a few days previously, after the pacifistic Neville Chamberlain resigned, gave his famous "blood, toil, tears and sweat" speech on this date.
The speech was one of several famous ones by the over weight and increasingly alcoholic Churchill, and set the tone for the British government's approach to the war.
May 13, 1917 -
Three small children in Fatima, Portugal receive the first of six visitations from the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, on this date, (being a former altar boy and on the other side of 50, I'm hedging my bets and making no jokes about the Virgin Mary.)
Over the next five months she lays some pretty heavy crap on the kids, including a three-part secret: a vision of Hell, a prophecy of war with godless Russia, and a third secret which involved Y2K.
May 13, 1973 -
Tennis players Bobby Riggs and Margaret Court played in a $100,000 winner-take-all challenge match, on this date. The match has become known as the first Battle of the Sexes (also known as the Mother's Day Massacre.)
Margaret Court, the 1970 the singles Grand Slam champion, underestimated the 55 year old Bobby Riggs and eventually lost, and Riggs went on to challenge Billie Jean King, who famously beat him in September of that year.
May 13, 1981 -
A delusional Turk (as opposed to a malignant and a turbaned Turk) shot Pope John Paul II four times in St. Peter's Square, (the pope survived after emergency surgery.) Mehmet Ali Agca believed:
a.) that the Vatican is an abomination before God,
b.) the pope was a representation of capitalism, and
c.) both must be destroyed.
19 years later, the Church will disclose that the assassination attempt was foretold in 1917, as part of the third secret of Fatima. (Like how we tied both those item together.) It must have been a comfort to John Paul II when he lay dying, Agca sent him his best wishes.
This may all be on the test
And so it goes.
Before you go - In case you actual feel that Friday the 13th is a bad luck day for you - here's a simple tune written (back in the day) by a now 60 something song writer, sung by a boy and a girl.
You may now go about your business.