It’s been more than two weeks since my last update. Had a few days with food poisoning; note: do not buy anything instant that requires you to boil milk.
February 18th, 2013, marks a special President’s day for Civil-War buffs. On this day, in 1861, Jefferson Finis Davis was inaugurated as the first — and only — President of the Confederate States of America.
Confusion during parades is likely to ensue in the states of Texas, Alabama, and South Carolina, where some patriot will march down the street wrapped in nothing but a Confederate flag, drunk on moonshine, singing “I Wish I Was In Dixie. ”
In four years, Davis managed to lose the war and destroy the Confederate economy through inflation, but not before he shamed himself on the world stage. Something about being the leader of a pro-slavery confederacy, fighting an anti-slavery union, didn’t sit well with the leaders of the countries from which Davis sought to enslave.
In aviation and postal history, in 1911, the first official air-mail flight took place, and in a rather arrogant manner. About 6,500 letters were flown over the excruciating distance of six miles, and what better person to do it than a French pilot, Henri Pequet, over a British-controlled territory known today as India.
If you didn’t vote for Pedro in 1913, don’t worry; nobody did. In 1913, Mexican military general Victoriano Huerta staged a coup that overthrew the then-reigning Presdient Francisco I. Madero, ultimately conspiring with Pedro Lascurain to give some legality to the takeover. Pedro’s presidency lasted a mere forty-five minutes, about the length most people can pay attention to politicians ramble on the news before realizing there’s something better on the next channel.
The planet Pluto was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, as he studied photographs he took the previous month. And, by no coincidence, Walt named Mickey Mouse’s dog in true Disney-fashion to cash in on the craze of whatever was sweeping the nation at the time.
Speaking of dumb animals, on this day in 1930, Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly without the use of a catapult. The flight began in Bismarck, Missouri, and landed in St. Louis, as Elsworth W. Bunce became the first farmer to milk a cow in mid-flight, raising the bar of the mile-high club for bestiality enthusiasts.
Tom Cruise can celebrate today, for back in 1954, the first Church of Scientology was established in Los Angeles, California. Due to legal constraints, I regret to inform you I cannot comment further on the Church of Scientology or young Navy Fighter Pilots.
Finally, in a show of mercy on convicted felons, and to bolster bureaucratic budgets, the California Supreme Court decided in 1972 it was perfectly fine to invalidate California’s death penalty laws, and commuted all death-row inmate sentences to life in prison.
Not to be outdone, the California voters — then at the time more sane — voted for Proposition 17 just nine months later, thereby re-instituting capital punishment. And though they were quick to fix the law, they wouldn’t enforce it until twenty years later.