Monday, January 30, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 30


The first ever jazz record – Dark Town Strutter's Ball – is recorded on this day in 1917. Reefer madness and wanton miscegenation ensue.

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This day in 1922 was the first ever World Law Day. Hooray for laws!

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German President von Hindenburg appoints Adolf Hitler chancellor on this day in 1933. The mustachio'd madman quickly sets about expending political capital in the service of his mandate.

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On this day in 1935, "genius" poet Ezra Pound meets with Italian Fascist dictator Benito "Benji" Mussolini. During their meeting, Pound reads a selection from his epic, convoluted poem-cycle, Cantos. For those of you who haven't read Pound, but have read The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, know this: the Vorlons had nothing on this guy.

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You thought the Titanic was a disaster? On this day in 1945, the German cruise liner Wilhelm Gustloff is torpedoed by a Soviet sub. It was headed westward at the time, in order to escape the surging Soviet advance, and was thus jam-packed with over ten thousand people - men, women and children - non-combatant refugees of war. An incredible nine thousand three hundred and forty three people died in the freezing Baltic that night, making this the single worst catastrophe at sea in the history of maritime travel. And, if you're anything like the twenty-odd random people I've asked today, this is probably the first time you've ever heard about it. Pretty freaky, huh?

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On this day in 1948, Indian spiritual and political leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is assassinated by a Hindu fanatic who objects to the Mahatma's tolerance of Muslims. Thank you, Vishnu! And, finally, also on this day - only in the year 1956 this time - some pillars of the community drive out to Ghandi-fan Martin Luther King Jr's home... and fire-bomb it. Thank you, J. Edgar Hoover!

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On this day in 1972, a sunny Sunday in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, thirteen unarmed Catholic civil rights demonstrators are massacred by British Army paratroopers in an event that becomes known as Bloody Sunday, or Sunday, Bloody Sunday to fans of peat-eating bog-rockers Ewe Too. Since 1969, sectarian conflicts in Northern Ireland have claimed more than 3,000 lives. Thank you, Jeebus!

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On this day in 1976, soon-to-be-vice-president George Herbert Walker"Poppy" Bush is appointed by then-president Gerald Ford to head up the CIA. Despite evidence that he had been a CIA agent since before the Bay of Pigs fiasco, Bush has claimed he never worked for the agency prior to this appointment. Yeah... Right.

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