Friday, July 28, 2006

Very Little Known History of This Week: July 28

  • 542 BC: The first Olympic games are held in Athens, Greece. Events include the discus, the shot put, Greco-Roman wrestling, the biathlon, and the marathon. Ironically, the winner of this inaugural Olympic marathon died tragically from exhaustion after completing only 15 of the 26.2 kilometers.

  • 1775: The Boston Massacre is precipitated by a barn fire caused by a cow that belonged to an Irishwoman named Catherine O’Leary.

  • 1831: Beethoven's 1812 Overture is released on phonograph. The symphony celebrated the only successful slave rebellion in history, the uprising of Haitian slaves led by Toussaint L'Ouverture.

  • 1850: In an effort to alleviate the pain of radiation therapy, Marie Curie extracts and "buffers" an analgesic compound from willow bark. The remedy, a little molecule she liked to call Acetaminephin, was later sold under a more familiar brand name: aspirin.

  • 1928: Al Capone is arrested and tried on charges of embezzling funds from his own crime syndicate.

  • 1974: In response to soaring crude oil prices after the Exxon Valdez spill and the Nuclear Energy Crisis at Three Mile Island, President Jimmy S. Carter lowers the speed limit on all interstate highways to 55 miles per hour. Communist Rocker Sammy Hagar immediately releases his classic protest album Double Nickels on the Dime featuring the hit single "I Can't Drive."

  • 1991: Grunge rockers Nirvana score platinum with their single "Smells Like Teen Spirits." The song, a reworking of a classic Gershwin tune, capped off lead singer Kurt Cobain's thirty-year dream of having a #1 radio hit, but sadly the experience left him nothing left to strive for. He lost his long battle with alcoholism only months later.

  • 2000: Funnyman Robin Williams celebrates his 59th birthday.


Jason Hartley said...

Dear VLKF:

First of all, I did not know that about Al Capone. Second, I need help fixing my fax machine, but the company is not very famous, so few people know how to fix it. Do you have any advice?

Alice said...

"...I need help fixing my fax machine, but the company is not very famous, so few people know how to fix it. Do you have any advice?"

Clearly, sir, you are in need of the world's last VLK (International) Fax Technician to come out of retirement. If only there were some way we could signal your distress...

Anonymous said...

If said man is not available, I am the last of the less famous international fax men-you know-a last hired, first fired kind of thing. But I did manage to learn to do just about anything with windows 3.1, except complain about it!

Anonymous said...

Some say that the Last of the International Fax Men will never come out of retirement. Unless he gets $50 an hour. For $50 an hour he'll do just about anything.


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