by James D. Irwin
On this day these things happened:
1783— Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 is first performed, a rare success for the Austrian composer.
1847— Sir James Young Simpson discovers the anaesthetic properties of chloroform— this highly scientific experiment was carried out with a few friends, casually huffing on various gasses to see what would happen. It took Simpson a few hours to realise the breakthrough he’d made, largely due to be unconscious.
1921— The SA, or ‘brownshirts’, physically assault Hitler’s opponents after a speech in Munich— an act generally overshadowed by later actions.
1922— Howard Carter finds the entrance to Tutankhamen’s tomb in the Valley of Kings, unleashing a horrifying curse that killed several members of the expedition and gave The Rock an ‘acting’ career.
1966— Arno river floods Florence, Italy, destroying hundreds of masterpieces. Loud cries of ‘mamma mia!’ heard as far north as the Alps.
2008— Barack Obama becomes first African-American to be elected US President, finally bringing an end to racism everywhere.
Bon Anniversaire to…
1916— Walter Cronkite, legendary US news anchor.
1923— Freddy Heineken, member of Heineken family, President of Heineken International, married the heir to a bourbon distillery. Lager and bourbon is always a winning combination.
1946— Laura Bush, former First Lady of the United States/unconvicted killer.*
1961— Ralph Macchio, the original Karate Kid.
1969— Matthew McConaughey, American ‘actor’ and star of Tiptoes, the greatest film about midgets ever made. The film also stars Gary Oldman. As a dwarf.
1974— Louise Redknapp, originally of girl band Eternal, whose name matched the endurance of their popularity, went on to ruin the Stealer’s Wheel classic Stuck in the Middle with You.
And good riddance to…
1847— Felix Mendelssohn, German composer of the famous Wedding March.
1940— Arthur Rostron, captain of RMS Carpathia, the ship that came to the rescue of the Titanic.
*In 1963 the future Mrs Bush drove through a red light, causing a fatal accident. It was ruled as an accident, in much the same way Dick Cheney accidentally shot Harry Whittington whilst bird hunting. He was less than 30 yards away.