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Friday Fun: Commentary On The Absurd, The Serious, And The Useless In History Trivia (3/7/2008)

March 7, 2008

On this day in…

1277, “Condemnation of 219 philosophical and theological theses by Stephen Tempier, Bishop of Paris.” … This is my least favorite Catholic Church decision of all-time—including the Galileo affair. Why? Because Bishop Tempier was proscribing against the work of Aquinas among other neo-Aristotelians. I’m not a Thomist, but I have a lot of sympathies for their work. In some ways my bringing this up is just a convenient excuse to post this beautiful picture titled “The Apotheosis of Thomas Aquinas.” Cool.

1854, “Charles Miller of St. Louis patented a sewing machine that could stitch buttonholes.” … This probably reveals some horrific lack of appreciation for historical developments in technology, but I’m going to classify this as useless information of the day.

1875, “Composer Maurice Ravel [right, 1912] was born in Ciboure, France.” … Sometimes Ravel’s Bolero goes on for so long that I feel that it too began in 1875.

1876, “Alexander Graham Bell received a patent for the telephone.” … See this H&E entry for more on the truth or falsity of this bit of trivia. One day last week that entry received nearly 40 hits. That’s an amazing number for H&E.

1918, “World War I: Finland forms an alliance with Germany.” … And you know that Finland’s numerous battalions of skiing marksmen struck fear into the hearts of Allies—particular those fighting on warm weather fronts.

1978, “President Jimmy Carter welcomed Yugoslav President Tito to the White House, praising him as a ‘true friend’ of the United States, thus reaffirming support for Yugoslavia’s role as a non-aligned communist state.” … Ah, the Chicago Tribune never tires of pointing out the foibles of Democrats—just as the NYT seems to do the same with Republicans.

1994, “The Supreme Court of the United States rules in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc.that parodies of an original work are generally covered by the doctrine of fair use.” … In thinking of who would’ve been affected the most by the ruling in the mid-1990s, I’m sure that Adam Sandler and Lorne Michaels breathed a big sigh of relief. Man, did I h-a-t-e all those idiotic Sandler parodies. For someone who seemed to have a popular following, there wasn’t a skit or a movie of his that ever grabbed me—and I’m a h-u-g-e fan of movies involving SNL regulars: Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Chris Farley, etc. [By the way, did you know that Aykroyd is a ufologist? At least that’s what his authoritative Wikipedia entry says.]

1999, “Movie director Stanley Kubrick died at age 70.” … I wonder if working with eccentric Tom Cruise on Eyes Wide Shut hastened Mr. Kubrick’s demise—sapping the latter’s energy. Uh oh. It just occurred to me that I better delete this. I’ve seen those stories about how Mr. Cruise studiously monitors the media, particularly tabloids, for slanderous stories. And Friday Fun entries are tabloid history, are they not? Hmm… – TL

[Sources: Chicago Tribune, NYT, Wikipedia]

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