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Friday Fun: The Absurd, The Serious, And The (Nearly) Useless In History Trivia

September 5, 2008

On this day in

1698, “Russia’s Peter the Great [right] imposed a tax on beards.” … I’m surprised that no politician over the last few nights accused the Democrats of potentially doing this if they win in November. Sigh. …The NYT entry I just pasted leaves this bit of trivia vague in comparison to Wikipedia’s: “In an effort to move his people away from archaic customs, Tsar Peter I of Russia imposes a tax on beards.”

1882, “The first United States Labor Day parade is held in New York City.” … I feel silly bringing this up, but were there any parades on Labor Day this year? Or is the entire day now simply spent on vacation or at the ballpark?

1906, “The first legal forward pass in American football is thrown by Bradbury Robinson of St. Louis University to teammate Jack Schneider in a 22-0 victory over Carroll College (Wisconsin).” … This is candidate #1 for your Useless Information of the Day.

1939, “The United States proclaimed its neutrality in World War II.” … Ah, history has a way of making a mockery of us, doesn’t it?

1960, “The poet Léopold Sédar Senghor [left] is elected as the first President of Senegal.” … Has a poet ever been elected president of any country since? And I don’t mean “poets who didn’t know it.”

1997, “Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa died in Calcutta, India, at age 87.” … Boy, a certain connection to Mother Teresa was worked over at the RNC last night, yes? I wonder what audience was being pandered to—hmm…

2000, “The Haverstraw-Ossining Ferry [in New York state] makes its maiden voyage.” … This is candidate #2 for your Useless Information of the Day.

[Sources: NYT, Wikipedia]

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