Today in History with a Twist: September 19, 20213
1881 - President James A. Garfield died from the wounds he suffered in a July 2 shooting. He had been shot by a disgruntled (and crazy) office seeker named Charles J. Guiteau. Guiteau had given a short speech supporting Garfield prior to the election and believed he was responsible for Garfield's victory. He requested a Federal appointment as the United States consul in Paris. The request was denied and his behavior got him banned from the White House. After the shooting he believed he would be exonerated and elected President himself. Garfield actually died from an infection that set in after the shooting, most likely caused by the unsanitary conditions that the doctors of the day worked under. The assassination was also responsible for several inventions. One was a metal detector designed by Alexander Graham Bell which was developed to find one of the bullets still in Garfield's body that the doctors could not find. It did not find the bullet but it is believed that it was unsuccessful because the scanned the wrong side of his body. On another side note, Robert Todd Lincoln was with Garfield when he was shot and would develop some paranoia about such events. - Don't think I would feel too safe with him around.
Arrrr! Ye who desires to talk like a pirate, look nae further for today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day! You can also blog like a pirate, tweet like a pirate, and just let ye true pirate shine. Believe it or not, this fun holiday started in 1995 by two regular guys playing a game of racquetball. They started to yell encouragement to each other in pirate speak ("Arrr!") and had so much fun speaking in pirate lingo that they decided to create a new holiday. For seven years they celebrated this holiday on their own. Then, in 2002, their story was told in a nationally syndicated newspaper. Today, International Talk Like a Pirate Day has a pretty big following. So gather round me hearties, and learn how you can talk like a pirate all day long! "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me!" (Punchbowl.com)
1692 - Giles Corey is pressed to death after refusing to plead in the Salem witch trials. The execution lasted for three days and he was asked several times during the process to make a plea but he refused every time, asking for more weight. He could have stopped the procedure even if he pleaded not guilty but he refused to do so. It is believed he did not make a plea because he would go on trial anyway and probably realizing he would be probably be found guilty decided not to plea. The primary reason being if he was found guilty all his property would go to the state, but not making a plea his sons were able to inherit his land. Don't feel so bad for Corey though, he had previously beat an indentured servant for stealing apples. the servant would die from the beating. - Sometimes justice is served in unusual ways.
1863 - Battle of Chickamauga - Largest Confederate victory in the Western Theater of the war. Also it is second only to Gettysburg for the number of casualties (over 34,000) suffered in a single battle during the war. Helped keep Confederate hopes alive for a victory in the war. Though it would take a victory in the East to give them that and Grant was on his way to make sure that wouldn't happen. - Took me years to be able to pronounce Chickamauga correctly.
1944 - Battle of Hürtgen Forest between United States and Nazi Germany begins. The battle lasted until December 19, 1944 and was the longest battle fought on German soil during World War II and the longest battle in the history of the American Army. The battle was fought in an area about the size of Columbia. Casualties for both sides totaled over 60,000. - That would probably make Hurtgen an appropriate name for the area.
1940 - Polish military officer Witold Pilecki voluntarily allows himself to be captured and sent to Auschwitz in order to smuggle out information and start a resistance. He would escape in 1943, bringing back proof of Nazi atrocities. He would finish the war fighting for the free Polish government stationed in London. Couldn't escape evil though, being executed in 1948 by the Communists for being an agent of the west. - Talk about living on the edge!
634 - The Rashidun Arabs under Khalid ibn al-Walid capture Damascus from the Byzantine Empire. - Mandatory conversion.
1976 - Two Imperial Iranian Air Force F-4 Phantom II jets fly out to investigate an unidentified flying object when both independently lose instrumentation and communications as they approach, only to have them restored upon withdrawal. The event was witnessed by hundreds and the UFOs were seen on Radar, NSA even intercepted the communications between the fighters and their ground control. - Do you believe now?
1982 - Scott Fahlman posts the first documented emoticons :-) and :-( on the Carnegie Mellon University Bulletin Board System. He is notable for early work on automated planning in a blocks world, on semantic networks, on neural networks (and, in particular, the cascade correlation algorithm), on the Dylan programming language, and on Common Lisp (in particular CMU Common Lisp). In period of the standardization, he was recognized as "the leader of the Common Lisp. - All that and he is most remembered for a smiley face!
1985 - Tipper Gore and other political wives form the Parents Music Resource Center as Frank Zappa and other musicians testify at U.S. Congressional hearings on obscenity in rock music. - Didn't congress have anything better to do than debate about song lyrics? Oh yeah, they had to dig into baseball's steroid scandal.
Today we celebrate the birthdays of:
1932 - Mike Royko - Chicago journalist (d. 1997) - Dave Barry of his time. - One of my inspirations.
1949 - Twiggy - English model, actress, and singer - Top model of her time and set beauty standards. - I just don't see it and when she turned sideways no one could see her.
To learn more about the above topics check out the books below that are in the Library's collection: