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Friday Fun: History Trivia & Comment

August 24, 2007

On this day in …

– 1814, “British forces invaded Washington, D.C., and set fire to the Capitol and the White House,” . . . Ah, those were the good old days when wars were over trade, and terrorism meant impressment – or worse yet we were actually the terrorists in our encroaching upon American Indian settlements (with the “enemy” British defending the latter).

– 1949, “The North Atlantic Treaty went into effect.” … Has anyone else ever wondered – at least geographically in the beginning of one’s thinking about the subject – how Italy, Turkey, and Greece fit into the N-Atlantic-TO vision? You’d think they would’ve at least changed the name.

– 1951, My dad was born. Now this picture of Homer is decidedly not meant to convey that my dad is a yellow, fat, lazy, donut eater. No way! To me it symbolizes the absurdities of fatherhood. Happy birthday Dad!

– 1954, “The Communist Control Act went into effect, virtually outlawing the Communist Party in the United States.” … Good ‘ole domestic containment. But I’m surprised this didn’t happen in 1919.

– 1989, “Baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti banned Pete Rose from the game for gambling.” … I’ve always loved the name: A. Bartlett Giamatti. In light of admittedly stereotypical mob associations, doesn’t it seem like the two actors in this sentence ought to be reversed?

– 1990, “A judge rules that Judas Priest are not responsible for the deaths of two youths who committed suicide after listening to the band’s music.” … I totally forgot about this. Tipper Gore had to be involved in this before switching over to berating the early rappers. … Was anyone else out there as scared as I was, as a kid, of a band called “Judas Priest?” I mean, that’s totally sacrilegious and blasphemous – not to mention ironic.

– 1990, “Sinead O’Connor refuses to perform at the Garden State Arts Plaza in Holmdel, New Jersey if ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ is played before her show, as is customary.” … I don’t know how I missed this one. Can you imagine being Sinead’s mother, having to explain everything your friends?!

– 2006, “The International Astronomical Union declared that Pluto was no longer a planet, demoting it to the status of a ‘dwarf planet.’ ” … Ah, the Scandal of Last Year. In my mind, no planet named after a Disney character ought hold the dignity of planet status. In that way “dwarf planet” still applies.

[Sources: NYT, Wikipedia]

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  1. Mike N. permalink

    In 1919, the government just deported or imprisoned communists, anarchists, and socialists. There's no need to outlaw the party, even “virtually” if you lock everyone up or give them a ticket to Leningrad.


  2. True enough. I suppose this is another one of those Progressive contradictions – namely, being concerned for good government but not paying as much attention to civil liberties/rights (like not being aggressively against separate but equal). – TL


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