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History Trivia & Comment: The Fun, The Useless, The Serious (11/30/2007)

November 30, 2007

On this day in …

1934, “The steam locomotive Flying Scotsman becomes the first to officially exceed 100mph.” … I just love the image this conjures in my mind. Which below did you think of?

1954, “Elizabeth Hodges [lower right] of Sylacauga, Ala., was slightly injured when an 8 1/2 – pound meteorite crashed through the roof of her house.” … ‘Tis only a flesh wound. … [I can’t verify the source of this picture: it could be a hoax.]

1979, “The album ‘The Wall’ by Pink Floyd was released.” … We can thank NYT for reminding us of one of the most overplayed radio albums of all time. I mean, I was IN SCHOOL and not always enjoying it, but even I got tired of the following refrain from the song “Another Brick In The Wall”: “Hey, teacher, leave those kids alone.” … Not to mention, by the way, that the song is basically antithetical to everything I hope and believe about education. Look at the lines:

We don’t need no education.
We don’t need no thought control.
No dark sarcasm in the classroom.
Teacher, leave those kids alone.
Hey, teacher, leave those kids alone!
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.

Okay, I did get tired of the emphasis on irony (read: “dark sarcasm”) in graduate school. But no one tried to emphasize sarcasm and irony, with me at least, in high school or college. And, “we don’t need no education”? The song sucks.

1993, “1993 – U.S. President Bill Clinton signs the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (the Brady Bill) into law,” “which requires a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases and background checks of prospective buyers.” … Boy, that was a rousing success, wasn’t it?

1995, “Official end of Operation Desert Storm.” … Do you think future historians will just say that the war started in 1990 and continued through 2007 and onward? Didn’t we enforce a no-fly zone in Iraq from 1995 to 2003?

2003, “Walt Disney Co. Vice Chairman Roy Disney stepped down from the board of directors.” … This is really, really, really useless information.

2004, “Longtime Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings finally loses, leaving him with $2,520,700, television’s all-time biggest game show haul.” … My aunt loves Jeopardy!. … How’s that for pretty useless information? … Doesn’t Ken look tough in this picture?

[Sources: NYT, Wikipedia, Chicago Tribune]

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