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Friday Fun: The Absurd, The Serious, And The (Nearly) Useless In History Trivia (9/19/2008)

September 19, 2008

On this day in

1863, American Civil War: Battle of Chickamauga. … I had never heard of the Battle of Chickamauga before this week. In fact, before this week Chickamauga was only an Uncle Tupelo song in my mind. But, on top of this trivia entry, I read an obscure reference to Chickamauga in Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in American Life earlier this week. Here’s the video for the Uncle Tupelo song:

1945, Nazi propagandist William Joyce, known as Lord Haw-Haw, was sentenced to death by a British court. … Lord Haw-Haw. Before picking up this bit of trivia, I would’ve guessed that William was a character on a 1970s-era show about southern hillbillies.

1959, Nikita Khrushchev is barred from visiting Disneyland. … This was the real reason behind the whole 1963 missile fiasco in Cuba. I mean, we know that Khrushchev was prone to throwing fits, don’t we? 🙂

1963, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. is founded at Morgan State (College) University in Baltimore, Maryland. … Candidate #1 for your useless information of the day.

1982, Emoticons were born when Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott E. Fahlman proposed punctuating humorous or sarcastic computer messages with a colon followed by a hyphen and a parenthesis as a horizontal “smiley face.” 🙂 … Who knew that this was the 26th year for emoticons?! All hale Professor Fahlman. :-0 … I think this might be the front-runner for useless information of the day.

1985, Tipper Gore and other political wives form the Parents Music Resource Center as Frank Zappa and other musicians testify at U.S. Congressional hearings on obscenity in rock music. … This really worked because, you know, music has certainly gotten less offensive since 1985. And that Frank Zappa really turned out to be the worst of those obscene musicians, didn’t he? … I wonder if Ms. Gore regrets any of this? I’ve not read any post-mortems in relation to her on the group.

2002, President George W. Bush asked Congress for authority to “use all means,” including military force if necessary, to disarm and overthrow Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein if he did not quickly meet United Nations demands to abandon all weapons of mass destruction. … Sigh. While I agree that we should never forget the lessons of 9/11, let’s also not forget the [incompetence or lies or deception or idiocy] involved in this subsequent effort to remove a cruel dictator with no clear ties to Afghanistan or Al Qaeda.

[Sources: NYT, Wikipedia]

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