Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Trolling for trivia

National Trivia Day is observed across the United States each year on January 4.

Fredric Baur invented the Pringles can.

When he passed away in 2008, his ashes were buried in one.

When the mummy of Ramses II was sent to France in the mid-1970s,

the mummy was issued an Egyptian passport that listed his occupation as "King (deceased)".

Duncan Hines was a real person.

He was a popular restaurant critic who also wrote a book of hotel recommendations.

As always, celebrate responsibly.

January 4, 1941 -
The animated short Elmer's Pet Rabbit was released on this date: it marks the second appearance of Bugs Bunny and the first to have his name on a title card.

It was directed by the legendary Chuck Jones.

(Note that Bugs hasn't developed his characteristic buck teeth yet.)

January 4, 1960 -
John Michael Stipe, the lead mumbler for R.E.M. was born on this date.

Poor Michael, still looking for something to do with himself now that REM has broken up.

January 4, 1963 -
Dave Foley, Actor/Comedian (The Kids In The Hall, News Radio) and Canadian was born on this date.

Hey, Christmas ain't over til Friday!

January 4, 1984 -
Night Court starring Harry Anderson premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

Neither the music nor the exterior shots in the opening credits ever changed during the entire series run.

Today's gift count (286): you currently have 11 piper's piping, 20 hyperactive effete British gentlemen, knocking furniture over, 27 Pole dancers (draw the shades, the neighborhood kids are staring into your  windows), 32 organized dairy workers striking for better working conditions, 35 Swans making a racket, befouling your second bathroom (I hope you have a second bathroom), 36 geese a' laying, 35 golden rings, 32 calling birds, 27 French hens, 20 turtledoves and 11 partridges in their respective pear trees.

Why are you still signing for any packages delivered at your home?

Today in History:
January 4, 1643
...There is no disputin', we're all indebted to Sir Isaac Newton ...

Sir Isaac Newton, English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian was born on this date (or on Christmas day 1642 Old Style)

And imagine, he still had time to invent  Cookies.

January 4, 1863 -
James L. Plimpton changed the skating world forever when he patented the forerunner of the modern roller skate with 4 wheels.

The skate accomplished what previous ones could not: it could maneuver in a smooth curve. Plimpton's skate was far superior to any other that had ever been invented.

January 4, 1885 -
A gravely ill 22-year-old named Mary Gartside was brought to Mercy Hospital in Davenport, Iowa with a sharp pain in her side, Dr. William Grant, decided to try an untested surgery rather than allow the young woman to die .

After giving her anesthesia, he cut into her side and removed the infected appendix.  Gartside recovered fully from the surgery and the medical community learned that the appendix was not necessary for living (except for removed organ collectors.)

January 4, 1903 -
Topsy was a domesticated elephant with the Forepaugh Circus at Coney Island's Luna Park. Because she had killed three men in three years (including a severely abusive trainer who attempted to feed her a lit cigarette), Topsy was deemed a threat to people by her owners and killed by electrocution on this date (Inventor Thomas Edison facilitates the entire affair.)

In an attempt to discredit Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla by showing how dangerous Alternating Current electricity was, Thomas Edison filmed the whole proceedings.

He would release it later that year under the title Electrocuting an Elephant (but that is another story.)

Raise your frozen Margaritas and toast dear old Stephen J. Poplawski. Mr. Poplawski was born in Poland on August 14, 1885, which was a fine place to be born if your wanted to be a farmer or fodder for the cannons of the next Austro-Hungarian Geopoliticial machination. He would have none of that and emigrated at age 9 with his parents to Racine, Wis (most children were usually beaten soundly when they suggested emigrating in the 1880's.) In 1918 he founded Stephens Tool Co. and in 1919 was hired by Arnold Electric Co. to develop an automatic malted milk mixer for use in restaurants (Racine being home of Horlick Malted Milk.)

On January 4, 1922 he filed a patent "for the first mixer of my design having an agitating element mounted in a base and adapted to be drivingly connected with the agitator in the cup when the cup was placed in a recess in the top of the base."

Well, you don't think they give you a patent for a machine that makes frosty, delicious alcoholic drinks, do you?

January 4, 1943 -
Josef Stalin, evil bastard and abused child, appears as Time's 1942 Man of the Year.

Circulation for the magazine would have increased dramatically, if Stalin hadn't purged millions of Russian citizens.

January 4, 1960 -
Albert Camus, French writer, died in an automobile accident at age 46 on this date. In his coat pocket lay an unused train ticket.

He had planned to travel by train with his wife and children, but at the last minute accepted his publisher's proposal to travel with him.

If that isn't absurd, I don't know what is.

January 4, 1965 -
Thomas Stearns Eliot, (American-born) English poet, playwright, literary critic and noted Anti-Semitism, died in London, on this date.

I guess he finished measured out his life with coffee spoons?

January 4, 1965 -
During his State of the Union address, President Lyndon B. Johnson outlined his plans for the "Great Society" on this date. President Johnson had introduced his vision of a Great Society in a May 22, 1964 speech: “The great society rests on abundance and liberty for all. It demands an end to poverty and racial injustice, to which we are totally committed in our time.”

It outlined many social reform programs, including Medicare/Medicaid, the Civil Rights Act, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

January 4, 1972 -
Hewlett-Packard (HP) introduces the HP-35, the first handheld scientific calculator.

The device takes its name from its thirty-five buttons. It’s release marks the beginning of the end of the widespread use of slide rules.

And so it goes.

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