Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Interesting Things That Happened On This Day In History

1384 -- Jadwiga is crowned King of Poland, even though she is a woman. Apparently, she tells them she is not actually a man, but they don't believe her until fifteen years later when the royal doctor does her autopsy.

King Jadwiga of Poland, not very feminine-looking

1758 -- Noah Webster is born. Some years later, he will go on to invent hundreds of thousands of words all by himself. (Very few words were actually spoken before Webster was born.) He will even make a book out of them, and call it a "dictionary." You might have heard of it?

Noah was especially fond of "dapper" and "spiffy," words he used to describe himself.

1793 -- Marie Antoinette, widow of Louis XVI, is guillotined (decapitated, for the uninitiated) at the height of the French Revolution. The executioner asks if he gets two points or three for landing her head in the basket.

She let them eat cake, but she didn't lose her head over it.

1843 -- Sir William Rowan Hamilton comes up with the idea of quaternions, a non-commutative extension of complex numbers. His friends have no idea what he is talking about, and shun him for being "too nerdy."

Haters gonna hate...

1846 -- William TG Morton first demonstrates ether anesthesia at the Massachusetts General Hospital. People have been waking up after surgery and not remembering a thing ever since.

Morton also patented the phrase "Now count backwards from 10..."

1875 -- Brigham Young University is founded in Provo, Utah. Four years later, the school's  first graduating class celebrates their matriculation by hopping on their bicycles in groups of two and spreading the news across the nation that mankind is "the offspring of parents who were first brought here from another planet, and power was given to them to propagate their species."

We come in peace. On Schwinns.

1923 -- The Walt Disney Company is founded by Walt Disney and his brother, Roy Disney. If only the coin had landed on "tails," Roy's name would have appeared on all those theme parks and movies.

Roy: "I coulda been a contendah."  Walt: "Will you stop being such a crybaby?"

1978 -- Pope John Paul II is elected after the papal conclave. The world thought that the pope had been selected three days earlier when they saw smoke rising. But as it turned out, the cardinals had just been a tad chilly and had lighted a fire to keep warm.

This little girl has been in therapy for years after this papal smoochy.

1997 -- Novelist James Michener dies after living for 90 years and writing approximately 673,248,490,129,385,234,684,934,477 pages in more than forty overly descriptive, sweeping sagas which have sold at least as many copies in both hardcover and paperback. It's said that Michener kicks the bucket approximately five minutes after declaring, "I can't think of anything else to say."

James Michener: Could've given Webster a run for his money.

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