May 23, 1785

On May 23, 1785, US Founding Father and inventor Benjamin Franklin announced that he had invented bifocals, which were glasses that would allow a person to see both far away and up close. He also announced that for $18.99, he would sell to discerning customers an upgrade that would allow a person to see a woman in her chemise (17th and 18th century underwear). When asked how that was possible, Mr. Franklin would hold out his hand and wait. Once the $18.99 was paid, he would take the customer aside and tell them. “First, you put the bifocals on, then you go up to the lady that you are interested in seeing naked or nearly naked, and say to her, ‘Did you know that I’m Benjamin Franklin, and I discovered electricity.’ The next thing you know, you’re in her bedroom and her clothes are off.” His customers would invariably say, “That’s not going to work for me, I’m not Benjamin Franklin!” and he’d always respond, “But it works for me every time?”

 

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May 22, 1892

On May 22, 1892, American dental surgeon and inventor of toothpaste, Dr. Washington Sheffield invented the collapsible toothpaste tube. And just so you know, Dr. Sheffield, the inventor of the toothpaste tube, quickly put to rest the question of ‘do you squeeze from the middle or do you squeeze from the end like a civilized person of breeding and education’. He said, and I quote him here, “You squeeze from the end, you damned imbecile. Only an inbred, unwashed animal who still hasn’t learned to not fling its own feces at others would squeeze from the middle.” So, there you have it. Squeeze the toothpaste tube from the end, like a real person.

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May 21, 1471

On May 21, 1471, King Henry VI was killed in the Tower of London. His cousin Edward IV became his successor. With all the kings, princes, queens, princesses, and other nobility killed in the Tower of London, you’d think that England’s insurance companies would require the place to have a written warning at all entrances. Something along the lines of “If ye be of nobility or royal lineage, enter at thous own risk.” There should also be a sign located in a conspicuous place that would read, “No personage of noble lineage executed in “blank” days. This should be the minimum requirement for workplace safety in the Tower.

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May 20, 1774

On May 20, 1774, Britain passed the Coercive Acts to punish the American colonists for their increasingly anti-British behavior. All American colonists were immediately prohibited from drinking coffee. Tea was to be the caffeinated beverage of choice. Also, rum was to be only allowed for the lower classes. The higher caste colonials were told to drink gin, as that was properly posh. And to start immediately upon the reading of the Act in all of the major American cities, the telling of  Thou King Jokes was to cease at once. Examples included “Thou King is so fat, when God said let there be light, he had to ask King George to move out of the way,” and “Thou King’s so old, when he lifted his womanly boob to wash under it, a pilgrim fell out” and last but not least, “When Thou King steps on the scales, it reads ‘All you guys in the same regiment?’”. The Americans were not pleased and continued to tell Thou King jokes.

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May 19, 1935

On May 19, 1935, T. E. Lawrence, famed British archaeologist, army officer, diplomat, and writer died in England from the injuries he received in a motorcycle crash. Before his accident, he had received international fame for the books written about his activities in Arabia during the First World War and became known as Lawrence of Arabia. A movie was made about him in 1962, that was also titled Lawrence of Arabia. It was surmised that if he’d been riding a camel, he’d probably would have walked away from that wreck with only a camel bite or two.

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May 18, 1949

On May 18, 1949, Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) was incorporated. Members of the Association agreed to self-police in the selling of certain manuscripts to the general public. It was agreed that all works by Abdul Alhazred were to be sold only to certified representatives of an accredited university that had a library certified in the containment of dangerous works. Also, all copies of The King in Yellow were to be stored in a locked safe immediately when purchased and no attempt at reading the copies was to be undertaken to verify their authenticity. That was to be left to the trained agents of the ABAA. Any sales of grimoires were to be strictly regulated, and exceptions for seventh sons of seventh sons, was to be checked against the ABAAs database before a sale could be completed. Since the incorporation of the ABAA and its rules and regulations, the accidental triggering of apocalyptic prophesies and near-world destruction by other-dimensional entities has been reduced by a staggering 73%.

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May 17, 1964

On May 17, 1964, the first Tim Horton’s coffee and donut shop opened in Hamilton, Ontario by NHL player Tim Horton. This was a big deal in Canada. It is like when the first Starbucks opened in Seattle, Washington, or, duh duh DUH, the first Krispy Kreme opened in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In Canada, Tim Horton’s is now considered a religion, and all Canadians are required to go there at least once a week for communion. When the Canadian solemnly walks into a Tim Horton and opens the door, they’ll say “Sorry” and everyone in line will respond “No, I’m sorry” and then he or she (Canadians aren’t very sexist about most things, except for hockey) will wait politely in line. When they get to the counter and are greeted by the cashier, the cashier will say, “Hello, Davesy, what cha having.” Knowing full well that they’ll be ordering a Double Double (cup of joe, two creams, two sugars), a bag of Timbits (doughnut holes, for us Americans) and a Honey Cruller. The cashier, in full Tim Hortons regalia, the hat and the shirt, will ring up the order, receive the coffee and pastries from the acolytes working the food prep in back and hand them to the customer with their change and a smile. The customer will then say ‘Thank you’ and the cashier will reply “You’re welcome” which then indicates to the customer that the service is over. The customer will then leave the store, while saying sorry and excuse me to the other customers waiting in line, with them replying in kind. This is such a beautiful ceremony, one that tourists all over Canada gather to watch. And in this religious ceremony, the faithful get hot coffee and pastries, instead of cheap wine (or fruit juice in the DEEP south) and crackers so stale that they stick to the roof of your mouth.

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May 16, 1914

On May 16, 1914, the American Horseshoe Pitchers Association (AHPA) was formed in Kansas City, Kansas. Also, in 1914, the first hand-grenades were used during World War I by the British. But it took almost 60 years before the two would team-up together to form a true American saying. It was in 1973 that Superstar baseball player, Frank Robinson told a reporter after a close loss, “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades.” This was the first time this was recorded as being said. Frank Robinson was a true baseball poet, following in the footsteps of the truly great, Yogi Berra, who said, “It ain’t over, until it’s over”, “You can observe a lot by watching” and my favorite, “The future ain’t what it use to be.” Plus many, many more.

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May 15, 2018

On May 15, 2018, the “Laurel versus Yanney” disagreement hit social media. An audio file went global as people argued over what was being said. Intelligent people with jobs and who were proven to be responsible and could be trusted with pets and small children heard “Laurel”. The rest heard “Yanney” and asked if there were any Hot Pockets left in the fridge. GET A JOB, you freeloading Yanneys.

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May 14, 1853

On May 14, 1853, Gail Borden, land surveyor, newspaper publisher and inventor, patented his process for condensed milk. That’s right, his process. In 1853, Gail was a boy’s name. Well, it really wasn’t, but he was Gail Borden, Jr. Which means that his dad, Gail Borden, Sr., was determined to not be the only boy with a girl’s name. Gail, Jr., even had a beard, but no mustache. A thick, luxurious beard. An inventor’s beard. He could have grown a good mustache, but choose not to. But less about beards and more about his invention. Condensed milk was his big invention. He was able to use a vacuum pan to reduce milk without scorching or curdling it. This product could also be canned and kept without spoiling for a significant amount of time and needed no refrigeration, which was very important in the 1850s. When the Civil War broke out, he became a very rich man by selling his condensed milk to the Union. He also tried to sell his earlier two inventions to them, which was the meat biscuit and a terraqueous machine. The meat biscuit was really just meat jerky, and the Union Army could get that from anyone. And the terraqueous machine was a sail-powered wagon that was designed to travel over land and sea. Not well, though. Not well. All because you have one really good idea, it doesn’t mean that you can catch lightning in a bottle twice. Or condensed milk in a can.

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