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Friday Fun: History Trivia And Comment

March 23, 2007

On this day in . . .

– 1839, “First recorded use of ‘OK’ as an abbreviation for ‘oll korrect’ in the Boston Morning Post.” . . . Funny one! . . . Oh wait, this isn’t a joke. . . . Ahem.

– 1857, “Elisha Otis’s first elevator is installed at 488 Broadway New York City.” . . . And I’ll bet someone took it up just one floor, to the annoyance of everyone else present.

– 1896, “The Raines Law is passed by the New York State Legislature, restricting Sunday sale of alcohol to hotels.” . . . And shortly thereafter mini-refrigerators were invented, inaugurating the hotel mini-bar phenomenon.

– 1909, “Theodore Roosevelt leaves New York for a post-presidency safari in Africa. The trip is sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society.” . . . And in honor of the post earlier this week about the institution’s soon-to-be-past-Secretary Lawrence M. Small, thus began the history of useless overspending at the Smithsonian.

– 1989, “Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announce cold fusion at the University of Utah.” . . . Hoaxarama!

– 1990, “Former Exxon Valdez Captain Joseph Hazelwood was sentenced by a judge in Anchorage, Alaska, to help clean up Prince William Sound and pay $50,000 in restitution for his role in the nation’s worst oil spill.” . . . I have this fantasy picture – likely unjust – of the former Captain Hazelwood in an “O’ Brother Where Art Thou” striped suit cleaning up the Alaskan seashore with a toothbrush.

– 1994, “Aeroflot Flight 593 crashes in Siberia when the pilot’s fifteen-year old son accidentally disengages the autopilot, killing 75.” . . . Horrible. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of this. . . . But why, upon reading this, did I instantly think of all those scenes in Airplane between Joey and Captain Oveur? Not to mention those lewd autopilot scenes! – TL

[Sources: LOC, NYT, Wikipedia]

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