February 9, 1891

On February 9, 1891, the very first shipment of asparagus arrived in San Francisco from Sacramento. Now native San Franciscoers’ pee will smell bad because of them eating asparagus and no longer just because of the rampant syphilis and gonorrhea. A definite improvement for everyone. Except for the people with syphilis and gonorrhea, they’re still up the creek without a paddle and would be for another 46 years until a cure was developed.

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February 8, 1802

On February 8, 1802, American clock inventor, Simon Willard, patented the ‘Banjo Clock’. When his family, friends, and close neighbors and their cats learned about it, they eagerly lined up at his house and took turns bitch-slapping him. When he was finally able to explain to them that his clock only ‘resembled’ a banjo, they stopped. The cats were unwilling to concede the point until he showed everyone his prototype, and they could see for themselves that is was well and truly just a clock. They all laughed at their misunderstanding and went home. Except for the cats. Over the rest of his life, the cats took turns sneaking into his house and throwing up in his shoes. Why? Because they’re cats.

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February 7, 2013

On February 7, 2013, the state of Mississippi finally, officially certified the Thirteenth Amendment, only a short 18 years after it had formally ratified it, and became the last state in the United States to do so. When the government leaders of Mississippi were asked why they waited 148 years to officially certified the 13th Amendment, the one against slavery, they said, and I quote, “We didn’t want to look like quitters and besides, we always thought it might come back, our particular institution, you know. But we came to understand that not recognizing the 13th Amendment was hurting football recruiting to our fine collegiate institutions, and you can’t beat Alabama unless you’ve got a healthy percentage of those young men with a deeper tan. SEC! SEC!” And so, SEC football dragged Mississippi into the 20th Century, not 1990 or even 1992, but around 1961 or 1962. And yes, I realize its currently the 21st Century, but it is Mississippi.

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February 6, 1959

On February 6, 1959, Jack St. Clair Kilby of Texas Instruments filed the first patent for an integrated circuit, thereby setting the world on the path of electronic realization, making computers and the other wonders of the 21st Century possible. Mr. Kilby was also awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000 for his work in helping to develop the integrated circuit. Because of the integrated circuit and the subsequent breakthroughs in superconductivity, Miles Bennett Dyson, of Cyberdyne Systems, was able to design his breakthrough artificial neural network general intelligence system, also known as Skynet. Without the inventions of Jack Kilby, Skynet would never have been possible.

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February 5, 1953

On February 5, 1953, in Great Britain, the sweet and sugar rationing that started in World War II, ended, just eight short years after the end of the war. Candy shop and confectionaries nationwide in England braced for the onslaught of children and adults, money in hand, who would finally be able to indulge their sweet tooths without a government-imposed limit. Shop owners were offering free samples of nougat, toffee and licorice to children to get them hooked, before guiding them to the harder, more expensive sweets, like Mars Bars, Snickers, and Toblerones. With the hope of eventually cultivating a select few into connoisseurs of Swiss Milk Chocolate or even, dare we say, Belgium Dark. The back-alley Candymen, and their “hey kid, wanna buy some American chocolate, Snickers and Milky Ways, just like the Yanks get,” quickly were pushed out of business. No one needed to buy back alley knock-offs, when the real thing could be bought cheaper and fresher in the local shop. The paradigm had shifted and the shady chocolate pushers died off like the dinosaurs when the meteor of de-rationing hit. So, Big Chocolate was born in England and the Brits waistlines haven’t been the same since.

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February 4, 1866

On February 4, 1866, the future founder of the Church of Christ, Scientists, Mary Baker Eddy, believed her injured back was healed by opening her Bible and reading scripture. This is the watershed moment that put Mary Baker Eddy onto the path of establishing the Christian Science religion.  The doctor who examined Mary after her fall, Alvin M. Cushing, later testified under oath that he, “did not at any time declare, or believe, that there was no hope for Mrs. Patterson’s (Mary Baker Eddy’s married named at that time) recovery, or that she was in critical condition.” Mary’s belief that her back and spinal cord were injured beyond medical science’s cure was her own drama and statements. Her neighbors, on the other hand, fell in completely about Mary’s miracle ‘cure’, and the fact that Mary was an attractive, and dramatic, woman, launched her new career as the leader and founder of the Church of Christs, Scientists, which taught that prayer and belief in God, was the best way to cure every disease and ailment. People didn’t need medicine for sickness or pain-relief. They didn’t need to vaccinate their kids or animals, as prayer would work better than any science created by man. Mary Baker Eddy became a powerful and respected leader in the Christian Scientists movement, even though there was no science in her movement. There were no double-blind studies to determine if prayer actually healed people. There were no tests and gathering of data to see if a little bit of prayer and belief in God healed a little bit, or was it based on the moral strength of the person praying that determined if they were healed or doomed to death and decay. But people flocked to this new religion and were converted, just based upon the words and testimony of an attractive woman who spoke convincingly about her spinal cord injury cure, even though the doctor who saw her, said there was no real injury. And to top it off, money was sent to this church. A lot of money. Sort of goes to show what it was really about, doesn’t it.

 

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February 3, 2008

On February 3, 2008, Grace Saenz-Lopez, the mayor of the Texas town of Alice, resigned after she was caught lying about her neighbor’s Shih Tzu. She had been asked to pet-sit the dog, Puddles, while they were on vacation. When they returned, Mayor Saenz-Lopez told them the dog had died and she had it buried. The family was distraught, but they believed her, since she was a family friend and the Mayor. A couple of weeks later, when a family member of the neighbors saw and heard a suspicious barking at a dog groomer’s, to their surprise, they found Puddles. When confronted, Mrs. Saenz-Lopez, said no, that wasn’t Puddles, instead, it was her dog, a newly purchased Shih Tzu, Panchito, a completely different dog from the dead Puddles. No, it was Puddles, and Mrs. Saenz-Lopez even tried to hide the dog at her twin sister’s house, fourteen miles away from Alice, Texas. The Mayor’s lies over the dog got so complicated, she even filed a false police report to say that Puddles was missing. To avoid questions about the dog, she even tried to claim to be her twin sister once when a reporter quizzed her about the pet theft, but when another reporter shouted, “Hey, Mrs. Mayor!” she turned around and looked at him, ruining her attempt at deception. Mrs. Saenz-Lopez claimed to do have taken the dog, and lie about its death, because her neighbors had mistreated it, and she was doing everything to save its life. Mrs. Saenz-Lopez stubbornly throughout this ordeal of her own making, tried to keep the dog, and even asked the judge to reward Puddles to her. At the end, Mrs. Saenz-Lopez was forced to resign as Mayor of Alice, Texas, return the purloined pet, pay a fine of $300, serve 48 hours of community service, and be on probation for two years. All that because someone wanted to keep a cute dog that wasn’t theirs.

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February 2, 1349

On February 2, 1349, the Bubonic Plague was ravaging through Europe and England, and in London, there were at least 200 human bodies a day being buried. While most everyone in London considered this to be a horrible, apocalyptic time, where death and the possibility of dying from a horrible, painful disease was extremely likely, there was another group of people who thought differently. The morticians, cremators, gravediggers, and funeral home directors never had it so good. They called it the time of ‘Mors Auream’. As the gravediggers were found of saying, you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a body waiting to be buried and money to be made. So, it just goes to prove, even when everything has gone to hell in a handbasket and bodies are dropping like flies, there’s somebody who’s figured out how to make a dollar off of it.

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February 1, 1964

On February 1, 1964, Indiana Governor Mathew Walsh tried to get the rock song by the Kingsmen, “Louie, Louie” banned for obscenity. He went so far as to ‘ban’ the song from the airwaves in Indiana. He claimed that just trying to listen to it caused his ears to ‘tingle’. Mrs. Walsh smirked and said he should put the radio closer to his crotch and give her something to be obscene about. The FBI was called and assigned the case of determining if “Louie, Louie” was actually obscene. After a four-month investigation, the FBI said that the lyrics ‘as sung’ were unintelligible at any speed, and therefore could not be called obscene. The morale to this story is, if you want a song to make a ton of money, write a snappy tune and sing a bunch of mumbled, garbled words to it and have a conservative politician try to ban it for obscenity. Works every time.

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