Sunday, March 13, 2016

This week in history: Man spots Uranus

This week in history...

In the year 461, St. Patrick dies. A full 1301 years later, in 1762, the first St. Patrick's Day parade is put on. This becomes the new standard in what is known as "the long game."

In 1751, future president James Madison is born. He quickly becomes most famous for marrying the woman who invented cupcakes. 

In 1820, Maine joins the union, bringing the state motto, "It's too cold to think of anything" to a national audience. In summer, the motto is changed to something Latin.

In 1837, future president Grover Cleveland is born. I would say more about his life, but that was the high point.

In 1850, "The Scarlet Letter" is published, causing the stock price of CliffsNotes to skyrocket astronomically. 

In 1871, German astronomer William Herschel discovers Uranus, for which schoolboys, even now, owe him a silent debt.

In 1879, Albert Einstein is born, an event which would finally, after thousands of years of human history, make the world safe for goofy hair in the workplace. 

In 1911, Irving Berlin copyrights the song, "Alexander's Ragtime Band," which becomes the first song in history to sell more than a million copies of sheet music despite the presence of "honey lamb" in the lyrics.

In 1916, the U.S. engages in its first-ever air combat, not in World War I; in Mexico, searching for Pancho Villa. This is not only history; it's a future winning bar bet. 

In 1931, the state of Nevada legalizes gambling, leading sadly, but inevitably, to buffets. 

In 1933, car maker Studebaker goes bankrupt, realizing too late that the buying public thinks it is a company which bakes studes, which nobody has ever heard of. 

In 1950, the FBI debuts its now-iconic "10 Most Wanted" campaign, replacing its previous, unsuccessful mug shot-based operation, "Who Dis?"

In 1958, "Tequila" by the Champs tops the pop charts, thanks to ground-breaking lyrics like this: "Tequila." It quickly becomes Maine's new state motto. 

In 1969, "The Love Bug" opens in movie theaters, redeeming the "sentient car" as legitimate cinematic device; a conceit begun disastrously three years earlier with the TV series, "My Mother The Car," which is about a dude whose dead mother is reincarnated as a car. I do not have a better punchline.

Say what you want about history. I will.