Saturday, August 29, 2015
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…
Friday, August 28, 2015
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.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
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.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
1819: Britain’s Prince Albert is born. Doctor uses can opener.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
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…
The articles caused quite a stir, not seen again until another bat-like hoax hit the mainstream many moons later…
Monday, August 24, 2015
1456: The Gutenberg Bible, the first major book produced on a moveable-type printing press, is complete.
Sunday, August 23, 2015
Saturday, August 22, 2015
1485: Richard III is killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field. Sadly, no horse arrived in time to take advantage of the swingin’ deal.
Friday, August 21, 2015
1911: Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is stolen from the Louvre during business hours.
The culprit: Vincenzo Peruggia
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!
Thursday, August 20, 2015
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….