Monday, July 31, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JULY 31


On this day in 30 BC, the Battle of Alexandria takes place, during which Mark Antony achieves a minor victory over Octavian's forces, but most of his army subsequently deserts, leading to his suicide (he was under the mistaken impression that his lover, Cleopatra, had already done herself in). Or was it an Egyptian priest in Octavian's pay who murdered him? We will never know. In any case, after her capture by the Roman general, Cleopatra was allowed to give Marc Antony full burial rites.

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On this day in 1790, the very first United States patent is granted to Samuel Hopkins, for his miraculous potash processing technique. I don't even know what potash is but am duly impressed, nonetheless!

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On this day in 1922, some dude by the name of Ralph Samuelson becomes the first person to ride on water skis. The weird thing is, he doesn't do it in Florida, where you might expect that kind of thing to happen. Trail-blazing Samuelson strapped those planks to his tootsies in the great state of Minnesota, on one of her many scenic (and ice-cold) lakes.

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On this day in 1932, the NSDAP (better known as the Nazi Party) wins more than 38% of the vote in German elections. It is their greatest showing at the polls.

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On this day in 1941, under instructions from Adolf Hitler, Nazi official Hermann Göring orders SS General Reinhard Heydrich to "submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired Final Solution of the Jewish question." The birth of the Holocaust.

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Starting just before midnight on this day in the year 1966, chronic headache-sufferer Charles Whitman goes totally fucking ape-shit. After killing his mother and wife, he grabs a rifle and climbs to the observation deck of the University of Texas clock tower and proceeds to rain hot leaden death upon the cowering students below. Ninety minutes and sixteen corpses later, a police officer is finally able to introduce Mister Whitman to his maker. Later, an autopsy would reveal a golf ball-sized tumor in Whitman's brain. The concept of S.W.A.T. policing basically came about because of Whitman's rampage.

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On this day in 2006, revolutionary Cuban dictator Fidel Castro hands over power to brother Raúl Castro like it was some kind of car dealership or something.

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