Sunday, April 17, 2011


On April 15 in 1865, Abraham Lincoln succumbs to the wound inflicted upon his person the previous evening.

On this day in 1896, the first Olympic Games of the Modern Era come to a close in Athens, Greece, with a relatively simple closing ceremony. First-place winners didn't win gold medals, but silver ones creepily stamped with the big, staring face of Greek pagan deity Zeus. Second-place winners got copper medals. Third-place got a handshake and a signed, autographed picture of His Royal Majesty Lord Jack Fucking Squat.

On this day in 1912, two and a half hours after hitting an iceberg, the Titanic sinks in the North Atlantic with 1,517 people still on board. The wreck would not be located until 1985.

On this day in 1947, Jackie Robinson debuts for the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking baseball's color line, not to mention the brains of, like, a dozen million racist assholes.

On this day in 1952, a prototype B-52 Stratofortress super-bomber -- known inside the military as the BUFF, which stands for Big Ugly Fat/Fucker/Flying/Fellow, depending on who you ask -- takes off from Boeing Field in Seattle to Larson Air Force Base, Moses Lake, Washington, with test pilot "Tex" Johnston at the controls, and if this brings to mind the movie Dr Strangelove or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb, that's probably not a coincidence. B-52s would circumnavigate Soviet airspace with redundant nuclear payloads for years, refueling in mid-flight, staying up in the air for weeks at a time, until Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles -- with a little help from rocket scientist and dedicated occult practitioner Jack Parsons -- made these flying fortresses obsolete.

On this day in 1955, milkshake-machine salesman Ray Kroc opens the doors to his first franchise of a McDonald's Brothers restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois. The McDonald's restaurant chain dates its founding to this day.

On this day in 1989, 96 soccer fans die in what authorities describe as a "human crush" during the FA Cup semi final at Hillsborough Stadium.

On this day in 1989, protesters begin gathering in Tienanmen Square in the People's Republic of China to commemorate the death of the recently ousted and publicly humiliated General Secretary Hu Yaobang, who was relatively liberal and reform-minded by Chinese standards. The protests would grow and intensify until June 4, at which point all Hell broke loose.

And now for some birthday announcements!

On April 15, in 1452, Renaissance painter, sculptor, engineer, scientist, mathematician, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, inventor, musician and all-around super-genius Leonardo da Vinci is born. Seventeen years later, in the Punjab, Nanak Dev is born. He will go on to found the Sikh religion and be its first Guru. The dictionary is born on this day in 1755, when Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language is first published in London. The General Electric Company is founded on this day in 1892, and since corporations have the same rights as human beings nowadays, I guess it's only fitting that this event be listed as a birthday. In 1920, psychiatrist and humanist Thomas Szasz is born. He later emerges as one of the most eloquent voices speaking out against the mis-use and abuse of science, reason and medicine as a tool for social control. The road atlas was born on this day on 1924, when Rand McNally publishes the first book of its kind. In 1942, Bush Crime Family crony Kenny-Boy Lay is born... Enron ensues. And, finally, on this day in 1970, exactly nine months after his parents consummate their wedding vows while bathed in the flickering glow of a Niagara Falls motel room TV set reporting the stupendous news that two human beings were actually walking on the goddamn Moon... yer old pal Jerky is born.

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