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Friday Fun: The Absurd, The Serious, And The Useless In History Trivia (May 9, 2008)

May 9, 2008

On this day in…

1457 BC, “Battle of Megiddo…between Thutmose III and a large Canaanite coalition under the King of Kadesh. It is the first battle to have been recorded in what is accepted as relatively reliable detail.”

… Is this date in accordance with the same, so-called “Young Earth” timeline that reports the world to be about 6000 years old? 😉 I guess I shouldn’t insult archaeologists by insinuating that everything Canaanite is related only to Biblical history.

1726, “Five men arrested during a raid on Mother Clap’s molly house in London are executed at Tyburn.”

… A “molly house,” eh? You learn something new every day.

1868, “The city of Reno, Nevada, is founded.”

… Any readers seen any episodes of Reno 911? I’ve never watched a complete program, but even the snippets make me laugh.

1914, “J.T. Hearne [right]becomes the first bowler to take 3000 first-class wickets.”

… First in the running for Useless Information of the Day. …Am I the only one who thinks of Bill Buckner whenever the word “wickets” is used? Hearne’s mustache certainly adds to the association.

1941, “World War II: The German submarine U-110 is captured by the Royal Navy. On board is the latest Enigma cryptography machine [left] which Allied cryptographers later use to break coded German messages.”

… Okay, obviously this is the beginning of the end for Hitler—along with the failure on the Russian front. But how does the crack bureaucracy of the Nazis ~not~ learn that an entire sub with a cryptography machine has gone missing?! Any military historians out there want to clear this up for me?

1955, “Sam and Friends debuts on a local U.S. television channel, marking the first television appearance of both Jim Henson and what would become Kermit the Frog and the Muppets.”

… Wow. I had no idea that Henson first appeared on television that early. That means Kermit is 53 years old—10 years away from Social Security. Kermit’s a Baby Boomer!

1974, “Bruce Springsteen performed a concert in Cambridge, Mass., that prompted rock critic Jon Landau to write, ‘I saw rock and roll future and it’s name is Bruce Springsteen.’ “

… This is a good trivia entry from the New York Times. What does Landau think of that somewhat absurd statement today? Born to Run is one of the great all-time rock albums, but my question to Landau is this: What kind of rock and roll was he talking about? But hey, it’s easy to take potshots at statements about history and the future when it’s 34 years later.

1980, “In Norco, California, five masked gunman hold up a Security Pacific bank, leading to a violent shoot-out and one of the largest pursuits in California history. Two of the gunmen and one police officer are killed and thirty-three police and civilian vehicles are destroyed in the chase.”

… Serious business. No wonder Hollywood was fascinated with law-and-order politicians and films in the 1970s and early 1980s. 33 cars. Smokes. – TL

[Sources: NYT, Wikipedia]

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2 Comments
  1. If I know the story of U-110, the RN did a great job of faking the distress signals of the sub going down, which was one thing, but mainly, the rigid German command structure seemed to simply believe it was an uncrackable code, and thus acted as if this was so.

    Of course we then need to mention fake American history – the film U-571 – in which the American Navy takes credit for this.

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  2. Ira,

    Thanks for the comment. I have not seen U-571 but, if I'm thinking of the correct film, a friend of mine from the Loyola History Dept., who also worked at the Museum of Science and Industry, helped with the making of that movie. He found other flaws in it, so I'm not surprised.

    On Nazi arrogance, well, I can certainly believe that. They probably also figured they'd have gained what they wanted before the code was broken.

    – TL

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