Friday, June 30, 2006

This Week In History: June 30

  • 11 BC: Cleopatra, Queen Of the Nile and Empress of India, seduces Roman general Ptolemy* and leads her forces into battle against her ex-husband Marc Anthony. She dies from a cobra bite, which is where we get the term "Achilles heel."

  • 1704: Polish ingenue Frederic Chopin debuts his groundbreaking piano piece entitled "Flight Of the Bumblebee," the first song to use every note on the piano. He died 31 years later from grief.

  • 1892: Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert of Monaco, has a Hyde Park man arrested for eating a loaf of bread in public.

  • 1929: Menlo Park, NY native Thomas "Al" Edison is given the Noble Prize posthumously for discovering the phonograph, the fluorescent light bulb, the refrigerator, the dictaphone, and an early precursor to the VCR that used wax cylinders to record black and white television signals.

  • 1938: Anglican chemists Francis Crick and Tom Watson invent the structure of DNA (Double-helix Nucleic Acid) proving their theory that every race, creed, and color of human beings on the planet are genetically identical. The only exceptions are the Irish who are predisposed to alcoholism.

  • 1981: The Buick Riviera becomes the best-selling car of all time, second only to the Saab 9000.

  • 1987: Funny guy Dan Aykroyd, illiterate crooner Bob Dylan, and hard rocker Kenny Loggins use their extensive Motown pull to gather several out-of-work celebrities together in a recording studio. The result: the smash hit "We Are the World." Once a throw-away track from Off the Wall, this Michael Jackson tune draws the attention of the world to the mounting AIDS crisis. Legend has it that Waylon Jennings, sole survivor of the 1958 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and Richie Havens, walked out of the session due to a dispute over royalties.

  • 1999: President William S. Clinton celebrates his 59th birthday.

*NOTE: During the battle, Ptolemy realized that the Roman catapults could launch rocks taken from the nose of the Eqyptian Sphinx "over the horizon." It was this epiphany that led him to conclude that the earth was, in fact, round and not, in fact, flat.


Tasha said...

Dear Fact Men,

Can you tell me the origin of the term "salad days"?

Jon Black and Britt Bergman said...

Thanks for your question tasha! And indeed it is a good one! The term "salad days" comes from a quote from the book, "The Salad of the Bad Cafe", coincedentally written by the late Johnny Carson's daughter Carson McCullers! The novel addresses a childhood battle Carson fought with being overweight. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

you must be unbelievably stupid achilles heel is when achilles dies from getting hit with a spear on the heel and dies in the trojan war, at the trojan wall, who ever made this website is the stupidest person ever, and people shouldnt take wat they say serious

Anonymous said...

not sure where you got your facts, but you couldn't be more wrong. Waylon Jennings was not a survivor of the 1959 crash that killed The Big Bopper, Richie Valens and Buddy Holley. in fact he wasn't even on the plane. while he was supposed to fly on the fateful trip, he did indeed give up his seat. it is told that he decided instead to go by bus whose heater had given out. To Buddy Holly's remark to Waylong "I hope you freeze your ass off," Waylon replied, "I hope your plane crashes." But he was not on the plane. you need to do some more research on your so called "little known facts."