History Schmistory: August 29. Mafia Schmafia!

1991: Libero Grassi was a successful business man, a proud father and a well-loved human being throughout Sicily. When his fancy underwear business became a success, the mafia came calling to extort his profits. Instead of paying them off, he decided to go public with the incident, sending a scathing open letter to the Palermo daily newspaper with the heading, “Dear Extortionist”. He later appeared on national tv to further amplify the issue.

Dear mafia, I challenge you”

Libero was not only standing up to the mafia, but also exposing a dispassionate  government which repeatedly turned a blind eye to fearful communities throughout Sicily. Twenty years ago today, Libero Grassi was gunned down while taking a stroll. He had even turned down police protection, almost as if he was ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good

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History Schmistory: August 28. Go get ‘em Tommy!

1830: Peter Cooper introduces Tom Thumb, the first American steam-powered locomotive, by racing it against a horse-drawn carriage. Horse claims he wasn’t ready and calls for a do-over.

 

 

By The original uploader was Pottok at German Wikipedia (Transferred from de.wikipedia to Commons.) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

By The original uploader was Pottok at German Wikipedia (Transferred from de.wikipedia to Commons.) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

History Schmistory: August 27. Give peace a chance.

1928: The Kellogg-Briand Pact, also known as the World Peace Act, is signed by 15 countries including the US, UK, Italy, Germany, and Japan. Must have been a few loopholes I guess.

By Mark Baker (Flickr: Stay Alive and Avoid Zombies) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Mark Baker (Flickr: Stay Alive and Avoid Zombies) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

History Schmistory: August 26. Well, let him out!

1819: Britain’s Prince Albert is born. Doctor uses can opener.

 

By Alexisrael (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Alexisrael (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

History Schmistory: August 25. Life on the Moon?

1835: The New York Sun begins to perpetuate what later became known as the Great Moon Hoax, six articles written by a fictitious doctor who claimed that he viewed the moon through “an immense telescope of an entirely new principle” and discovered it was inhabited by, among other things, bat-people…

 

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


The articles caused quite a stir, not seen again until another bat-like hoax hit the mainstream many moons later…

By Vinya [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Vinya [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

History Schmistory: August 24. More Gospels Omitted!

1456:  The Gutenberg Bible, the first major book produced on a moveable-type printing press, is complete.

By NYC Wanderer (Kevin Eng) (originally posted to Flickr as Gutenberg Bible) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By NYC Wanderer (Kevin Eng) (originally posted to Flickr as Gutenberg Bible) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

History Schmistory: August 23. Silence! The Mad King Speaks!

1775: King George III declares that the American colonies exist in a state of open and avowed rebellion. And that his teacup has turned the sugar against him.
tea-153067_1280

History Schmistory: August 22. “My kingdom for a horse!”

1485: Richard III is killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field. Sadly, no horse arrived in time to take advantage of the swingin’ deal.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

History Schmistory: August 21. Mona Lisa Smuggle

1911: Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is stolen from the Louvre during business hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The culprit: Vincenzo Peruggia

See page for author [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

See page for author [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His motive was to return the piece to Italy as a long overdue retaliation against France, whose former leader, Napoleon, stole boatloads of priceless art from Italy and sent it to Paris. A noble cause, but Leonardo actually brought the Mona Lisa to Paris himself in 1516, and it has been there ever since. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts. Vinny was arrested trying to sell it out of his closet.

Sister Windy would be ashamed!

History Schmistory: August 20. Who brought the cannon?

1882: Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky premiers the 1812 Overture in Moscow, with a section of real cannon blasting away during the finale. Six months later a cannonball falls out of the sky and kills Wagner. It was that awesome.

Don’t think you know it? Skip to 3:05….

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