February 19, 1700

February 19, 1700, was the last day of usage in Denmark of the Julian Calendar, as it was adapting to the cool, new Gregorian calendar that all the rich kid nations, like England, Spain and France were using. Why did the nations change from the stodgy, it-ain’t-broken Julian Calendar to the New Math Gregorian calendar? Because it was broken. Even though the Julian calendar did observe a leap year every fourth year, the years weren’t exactly 365.25 days long. They are 365.24217 days long, good enough for farm work, but not for science or accounting. Therefore, every four hundred years, the calendar would gain about three days, and in 1700, those centuries were adding up and Denmark was 12 days behind the rest of the civilized world. The Gregorian calendar took into account that slight variance and fixed it. When the Danish were complaining about  January in Denmark, Spain was already in February and looking forward to Spring Break. So remember, pi isn’t 3 or 4 or 3.14 or 3.14159, it is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter and the number after the decimal point is important if you have to calculate out for a long time or a long distance. The Julian Calendar was only going to get more out of whack as each century rolled over and eventually our descendants would be having Summer Vacation in October. Remember, New Math happens every generation and if you don’t learn it, you’ll end up like those people who have stubbornly stuck to the Julian calendar, which means, instead of it being February 19, 2019, it would be February 6, 2019, and you’d still be waiting on payday, if you get paid twice a month.

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February 18, 1478

On February 18, 1478, George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence,  House of York was executed by his older brother and King of England, Edward IV, for treason. His manner of death? It is rumored that  he was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine. This was a very ‘Game of Thrones’ death. How did a once staunch supporter of his brother, Edward IV, become convicted of treason? He allowed his father-in-law, Richard Neville, the Kingmaker, to ply him with sweet, sweet words of power about how he would do better under a different king, maybe  even eventually become king, and convinced him to him to switch sides from the Yorks to the Lancasters, with him. When George was subsequently confronted by his brothers Edward IV and Richard III, he immediately felt remorse and switched back and helped them defeat the Lancasters. George wasn’t a bad person, as 15th century English nobility went. He did have an innocent woman hanged because his alcoholic paranoia convinced him she poisoned his wife, but who hasn’t done that after coming off a red-wine hangover? But his brother Edward never really trusted him again. Good old Edward had one of Georgie’s trusted retainers arrested, Oxford astronomer Dr. John Stacey and had his torturers extract a confession from Dr. Stacey. Johnny Boy claimed that he and two others ‘imagined and compassed’ the death of the King by the ‘black arts’. Stacey and the two unfortunate men, Thomas Burdett and Chaplain Thomas Blake were quickly tried and found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. Thomas Blake was spared at the last minute by a plea from the Bishop of Norwich, but the other two were killed as ordered. Angry, George sent Dr. John Goddard, a Lancaster, to Parliament to protest the innocence of the two men, which was a mistake. First, Goddard was a Lancaster, and the Lancasters had just been defeated in their bid for the Throne. Second, if didn’t matter how trumped up and ridiculous the charges were against Stacey and Burdett, by defending men convicted as traitors, Edward could now accuse George of treason, which he did. And found him guilty. And sentenced him to die. Being Game of Thronish and an alcoholic, it is rumored, and probably true, that George demanded he be drowned in a butt of Malmsey, his very favorite wine and died at the tender age of 29. I wonder if George RR Martin ever envisioned Tyrion Lannister dying this way?

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February 17, 1795

On February 17, 1795, amateur gardener and marrier of ugly women, Thomas Seddal harvested an 18 lb 5 oz potato from his garden in Chester, England. When people would come and look at it, they’d almost always claim that it was one of Mr. Seddal’s toddlers, and not a potato. To be honest, it could have been one of his toddlers, as they were always taking their clothes off and playing in the mud. The Seddal offspring were quite ugly, as neither Mr. Seddal, or the woman who wished to be a widow, Mrs. Seddal, were attractive in any sense of the word. To be fair, most of the people in the world in 1795 weren’t attractive and wouldn’t be until around 1880, when photography finally took off and people realized there would be a permanent record of how they looked, so they finally started making an effort into looking better.

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February 16, 1859

On February 16, 1859, the French government passed a law that set the A-note above middle C to a frequency of 435 Hz. This was to standardize the pitch. Violaters of this law would be required to teach elementary school children how to play ‘Frere Jacques’  on the recorder. Repeat offenders would be sentenced to teaching tone-deaf Americans how to play the banjo. Frenchmen found to be incorrigible, would be forced to move to Scotland and take up the bagpipes. The French were serious about standardizing the pitch.

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February 15, 2013

On February 15, 2013 a meteor exploded over Russia, bringing back memories of the Tunguska Event, when a meteor exploded over the Siberian Forest on June 30, 1908.  Although the Chelyabinsk falling space rock did not cause the super-enormous damage that the Siberian very small dinosaur killer did where it flattened almost 800 square miles of dense forest, it did injure 1,500 people and shook buildings and shattered windows. The official explanation was that a very small, previously undetected skipping star stone from space exploded over eastern Russia, causing the damage. The real explanation from deep within NASA was that some teenage Greys did a burnout over Russia after being kicked out of an underground nightclub in Chelyabinsk. It is believed it was these same Greys who were expelled from St. Petersburg by Nicholas II in June 1908 for not paying their vodka tab. Remember, if you’re going to invite extraterrestrials to party, make them pay up front for the vodka and put a security deposit down for the damages. It’s why Roswell has never had a ‘meteor’ explode over it.

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February 14, 1966

On February 14, 1966, Wilt Chamberlain broke the NBA scoring record at 20,884 points. This is not the only scoring record that Wilt claimed to have broken. At the time of his death in 1999, Wilt Chamberlain claimed to have had sex with over 20,000 different women. I would have had said sleep with 20,000 different women, but we all know, there was no actual sleeping going on. If he had become sexually active at 14 years of age, he’d have to had sex with on average 400 different women a year for the next 50 years. That’s more than one a day. That’s not including the call-backs on the women that he liked. He was active during the 70s and 80s, when sex was looser, but that’s a lot of two-fers and three-fers for one man, even Wilt ‘the Stilt’ Chamberlain.

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February 13, 1503

On February 13, 1503, the Challenge of Barletta took place and the French got their butts handed to them by the Italians. What happened to lead up to this famous duel of 13 French knights versus 13 Italian knights? Well, the French had just lost a battle to the Spanish in southern Italy and a captured French knight, Charles de la Motte, was drinking a lot of the fine local wine in the upscale gaol where he and the other French knights were being held, and not in the real jail where the men-at-arms and regular soldiers were suffering, and he said something after a few bottles, like, “Wot. Wot. These local Latin boys think their hot stuff, but if it wasn’t for the Spanish and their guns, those boy-loving EYE-talians wouldn’t even had a chance. Ain’t no Eye-talian knight can stand a chance against a real man, a real French knight.” Unfortunately for him, Ettore Fieramosca, a real terror of an Italian knight heard about this and challenged him and the French knights to a duel. The French had to accept, even though they didn’t want to, because they knew they weren’t the A-team of French knights, and knew what a true behemoth Fieramosca was. They also really, really wanted to punch de la Motte in the head, for not knowing when to quit drinking and shut up. The reason for their anger? The losers lost their horses, armor, and weapons and a knight’s horse, armor and equipment was extremely expensive, anywhere from $200,000 in today’s cash to well over a $1,000,000, as well as a cash penalty for losing. The French as the challengee got to pick the terms for the duel and they picked mounted jousting with 13 contestants, knowing how superstitious the Italians were about the number 13, hoping they’d turn it down. They didn’t. The 13 Italians were pretty much the varsity of the Italian knights and they wiped the French intramural team off the field. It would be very similar to the football game when Georgia Tech played the Cumberland College on October 7, 1916. Both were college teams and had all the right equipment, except one was fielded with elite, athletes in their prime and the other was made up of students who had a pulse and were willing to play. The French did make sure de la Motte faced Fieramosca, so that he’d be sure to lose his horse and equipment, because they really hated him. Just goes to show you, don’t talk trash about another place’s team when you’re drinking, unless you are really, really sure you can back it up.

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February 12, 1733

On February 12, 1733, James Oglethorpe and his colonists on his ship, the ‘Anne’ landed and settled near the present site of Savannah, Georgia, and started the British Colony of Georgia, which was named after the English King who gave Oglethorpe his charter, King George II. Mr. Oglethorpe founded the colony upon the promise of land and prosperity for the younger sons and debt-ridden of England and the people soon prospered. Also, on this date, in 1986, Georgia native sons, Matt Montgomery Vinson, Esquire and Charles Chapmen Greene, MD, CPA, ASCPA, started the Rename Georgia Action Committee. They said that Georgia is the state’s Indentured Servant’s name, and a new name to show its freedom from British tyranny would be appropriate. They thought Peanuta, Godsland, or even Eastern Dawgia would be more appropriate than being named after a goofy British king. When asked why Eastern Dawgia, Mr. Vinson said he was just thinking ahead and if Alabama wanted to rename itself Western Dawgia, that would be okay. He also said that he’d had some thoughts on what to rename Florida, and believed Southern Whitetrashia sounded appropriate.

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February 11, 1878

On February 11, 1878, the first bicycle club was formed in the United States, the Boston Bicycle Club. Adventurous young men sporting their Eton caps, Bowler hats and Natties could be found racing their huge-wheeled penny-farthings around town and flaunting their bulging calves to the admiration of the young ladies, and the scowls of the older gentlemen. These young men were the skate-boarders of their time, sporting scars and broken bones from taking a header or ‘coming a cropper’ as the enormous front wheel was notorious for finding every imperfection in the road and flipping the rider into the air and slamming them into the ground, often breaking both of their wrists and shattering their teeth. As has been proven throughout history and in every culture, young men will take risks and compete with each other to see who can go the fastest or cut the tightest corner, just to impress a girl with a pretty smile.

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February 10, 1567

On February 10, 1567, Lord Darnley, the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, was found dead, following an explosion at the Kirk o’Field house in Edinburgh, Scotland. Surprisingly, he didn’t die from the explosion, but instead was found to have been strangled. For years, it was whispered that he hadn’t committed suicide, but was a suspected assassination victim. It has only been recently that a new theory has been pushed about his death. With numerous men experimenting with erotic asphyxiation throughout history, and the accidental deaths of Peter Anthony Motteus, Kichizo Ishida, Frantisek Kotzwara, Albert Dekker, Stephen Mulligan, David Carradine, Michael Hutchence, and Reverend Gary Aldridge, it is now believed that space aliens killed Lord Darnley in a rectal examination gone awry. They put a noose around his naked body and blew up Darnley’s residence to hide their involvement. When a message was sent to Giorgio Tsoukalos and asked his expert opinion about this new theory, it is reported that he replied, “It’s a possibility.”

 

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