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History Trivia & Comment: Fun Facts, Useless Information, And Otherwise (10/19/2007)

October 19, 2007

On this day in …

– 1864, “Battle of Cedar Creek – Union Army under Philip Sheridan destroys Confederate Army under Jubal Early” [right]. … Considering that this occurred late in the Civil War, you can’t say Jubal made an Early exit—can you? Get it?

– 1873, “Yale, Princeton, Columbia, and Rutgers universities draft the first code of American football rules.” … Consider this a lesson for all you critics of college athletics—yes, UD, I’m talking to you, in a spirit of love on the subject of futility:Tenure for college professors, as we know it today, received its first tentative formulation only in 1915 by the AAUP. That’s right, colleges began caring about the formal rules for football almost a half-century before seriously caring about academic freedom. Yikes.

– 1935, “The League of Nations places economic sanctions on fascist Italy for its invasion of Ethiopia.” …Ah, another case study in the failures of confederacies.

– 1944, “The Navy announced that black women would be allowed into the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES)” … So long as they didn’t, you know, make any…ripples?

– 1953, “Arthur Godfrey fires Julius La Rosa [left] live on American national TV.” … Who says TV is more interesting today, or that “reality TV” is merely a recent phenomenon? I wonder if this is in any way related to Elia Kazan’s A Face In The Crowd? I only first saw that movie about a month ago. Loved it.

– 1960, “The United States government decides to place an embargo on Communist Cuba.” … That sure did work.

– 1969, “Vice President Spiro T. Agnew referred to anti-Vietnam War protesters ‘an effete corps of impudent snobs.’ ” … And this came from the smiling clown on the right named Spiro?!

– 1985, “The first Blockbuster Video store opens in Dallas, Texas.” … Useless Information of the Day.

[Sources: NYT, Wikipedia]

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