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Friday Fun: Commentary On The Absurd, The Serious, And The Useless In History Trivia (2/22/2008)

February 22, 2008

On this day in…

1862, “Jefferson Davis is officially inaugurated for a six-year term as the President of the Confederate States of America in Richmond, Virginia. He was previously inaugurated as a provisional president on February 18, 1861.” … Do you think Davis’s fellow Southerners would take back at least one of those inaugurations if they knew ahead of time about the (purportedly) ignominious and unceremonious way (i.e. escaping disguised in a dress) in which he would abandon his office? … I know the escape-in-a-dress thing is a myth, but it seemed absurdly fun to recount today.

1915, “World War I: Germany institutes unrestricted submarine warfare.” … Bastards! Oh, wait, you tell me that we’d already shipped millions of tons of goods to Britain and France before then? Well who provoked whom? … Speaking of German submarines, and I realize this was a different war, but have you seen Hitchcock’s Lifeboat? It’s a suspenseful film, but the excessive water-lapping-against-the-boat sounds subtract from the mood.

1920, “In Emeryville, New York, the first dog race track to employ an imitation rabbit opens.” … So does the novelty of this explain why Looney Tunes artists consistently use this in their work? Aside: I couldn’t find a picture/frame—which I just know exists—of Bugs Bunny sitting on a dog-track rabbit with dogs in chase, so I used this cool 1920s-ish Bugs-as-Hobo picture instead.

1935, “It became illegal for airplanes to fly over the White House.” … Wait, so this was only strictly enforced after Sept. 11, 2001? Yikes. …BTW: I went looking for a picture of a prop plane flying over the White House but found the composition to the right. No matter your politics, this is a silly, funny picture.

1959, “Lee Petty wins the first Daytona 500.” … I think this is your dose of useless—err “petty”—information of the day.

1980, “The U.S. Olympic hockey team upset the Soviets at Lake Placid, N.Y., 4-3. (The U.S. team went on to win the gold medal.)” … This is an oh-so-typical sports-related entry from the Tribune‘s Almanac. They’re my only source of history trivia, even including the very random and useless entries at Wikipedia, that consistently remind us of “significant” sports happenings.

1987, “Pop artist Andy Warhol died at age 58.” … Does it not diminish our memory of Warhol to simply call him a “pop artist?”

[Sources: Chicago Tribune, NYT, Wikipedia]

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