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Friday Fun: The Absurd, The Serious, And The (Nearly) Useless In History Trivia (8/29/2008)

August 29, 2008

On this day in…

1786, “Shays’ Rebellion, an armed uprising of Massachusetts farmers, begins in response to high debt and tax burdens.” … It’s convenient for those using the Colonial Period for today’s political purposes to forget that debt—otherwise known as a “class issue” or maybe even “redistribution”—also energized the Colonial populace for “change.” It’s the “other” kind of equality, you know.

1882, “The date attributed to the death of English Cricket and the origin of the legend of The Ashes.” …First candidate for Useless Information of the Day.

1898, “The Goodyear tire company is founded.” … Party at Goodyear today! Woo hoo! Actually, they’re probably only giving away that same week-old coffee that’s available while you wait in tire changing shops. I think they melt old tires to create that bitter brew.

1957, “Sen. Strom Thurmond, D-S.C. [below left], ended the longest filibuster in Senate history after talking for 24 hours, 18 minutes against a civil rights bill.” … I wish the old bastard would’ve been alive to see Obama accept the Democratic Party’s nomination last night. I hope he’s turning over in his grave.

1991, “Supreme Soviet suspends all activities of the Soviet Communist Party.” … Someone needs to send this memo to Vladimir Putin.

1996, “President Bill Clinton’s chief political strategist, Dick Morris, resigned amid a scandal over his relationship with a prostitute.” … The NYT’s history trivia page loves remembering political scandals—especially by Republicans (Morris had mostly worked with Republicans, if I’m remembering rightly, up to this point).

2002, “A judge in Norwalk, Conn., sentenced Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel to 20 years to life in prison for bludgeoning his teenage neighbor with a golf club in 1975.” … Yikes. But why did it take 27 years for this sentencing to occur? It seems absurd, but the wheels of justice do turn slowly—sometimes painfully so. – TL

PS – Paris Hilton’s “White Haired Dude” turns 72 today. Not a Hilton fan, but I loved it when she called him that in her little YouTube video hit.

PSS – Yes, today’s post is a bit political. ‘Tis the season.

[Sources: NYT, Wikipedia]

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One Comment
  1. Allow me to offer my lill' video, that was used in the
    World Civilizations Since 1500 class
    @ Southern Methodist University fall/winter '08 – Class Materials week 6, for your consideration and/or use as a Creative Commons work.

    This 'may not' be for students under 13, that's your call, but the older kids REALLY think it's “Awesome” and it sure as shootin' takes the “Dry” outta class materials.


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