Monday, 29 February 2016

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY 29th FEBRUARY

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY - FEBRUARY 29th
 
On This Day in 1504, Christopher Columbus became a really sneaky explorer, or a witch, as he used his knowledge of the forthcoming lunar eclipse that night to persuade the Native Americans to give him supplies.
 
They believed he had mystical, magical powers. All things considered, Columbus was lucky they didn't just burn the witch.
 
On This Day in 1720, Ulrika Eleonora, Queen of Sweden, abdicated the crown in favour of her husband, who had been royally peeved at having to take a back seat to her all those years.
 
Gotta wonder how Prince Philip has done that so loyally for the last 60 years for his wife, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.
 
But, then again, some people are always the bridesmaid, never a bride.
 
On This Day in 1796, there was peace between The Great Britain and those ungrateful colonists, the United States of We-Whipped-Your-Butts-So-Suck-It.
 
The Jay Treaty was signed, which did actually give ten years of peaceful trade between the UK and USA.
 
On This Day in 1916, South Carolina decided forcing kids to work was not a good idea.
 
The State raised the minimum working age in factories, mills, and mines, from twelve-years-old to the ripe old age of fourteen.
 
On This Day in 1940,
Hattie McDaniel became the first
African-American to win an Academy Award for her
role as Mammy in Gone With The Wind.
 
On This Day in 2008, Prince Harry, the younger son of Prince Charles, who is heir to the British Throne, was withdrawn from his tour of duty in Afghanistan.
 
The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence pulled him out immediately after they realised he was ginger, and that Afghanistan was pretty hot and sunny. Fearing for his life with that much direct exposure to the sun, they could take no chances.
 
An M.O.D spokesman played down the ginger-ness of Prince Harry, and the alarming increase in freckles on his face, by blaming his withdrawal on a leak about his tour of duty, which was reported on by the foreign media.
 
Who is your favourite Royal Prince?
 
 

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Fun Facts About The Leap Year and Why do we have a Leap Year

Fun Facts About a Leap Year: Why do we have a leap year?
 
February 29th only happens once every four years. In the Gregorian calendar, at least. And 2016 is a leap year, meaning we have 366 days this year instead of the normal 365.
 
Why do we have leap years?
 
It's all down to the number of days it takes for the Earth to orbit the sun. We all take it as given that it's 365 days. It isn't. It's actually 365.25 days. This means we have an extra quarter of a day floating around. And that has to go somewhere or the universe will implode.
 
That's why we have a leap year. We simply add four quarter-days together to make a full day and plonk it on the calendar every four years.
 
It's not actually as simple as that, though.
 
How long is a year?
 
I mean, really. How long is an actual year? And be accurate and precise.
 
The amount of time it takes for the Earth to orbit the sun is actually 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds.
 
This means that it's not exactly 365 and a quarter days.
 
Basically, there is an excess of 44 minutes that needs to be accounted for somewhere. About the actual length of an hour long show without all the annoying adverts.
 
We therefore subtract 3 days every 400 years to compensate for those 44 minutes.
 
To simplify it:
 
All years that are divisible by 4 have a leap year. For example, 2004, 2008, 2016, 1996, 1704.
 
However, if the year is divisible by 100, but not by 400, then that year will not be a leap year.
 
Confused yet? I am. It's giving me a headache doing all this math.
 
To give an example: because of the divisible by 100 but not by 400 rule, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900, weren't leap years. Nope, no extra day on February 29th.
 
In the future, the same will go for 2100, 2200, 2300, and 2500. No February 29th.
 
But, I'm pretty sure none of us will have to worry about making sure our calendars are correct.
 
So, how long is a year? Depends on who you ask.

Fun Fact:
In the Chinese calendar, the extra day in a leap year, February 29th, only occurs in the years of the dragon, monkey, and rat.

 

On This Day In History - February 28th

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY - FEBRUARY 28th

On This Day in 628, Khosrau II, the last King of Persia to have anything like a decent length reign, was executed. To death. Yes, all the way.
 
His execution came by way of his son, Mihr Hormozd, who had become annoyed with his dad when he wasn't allowed to stay up late and play on his PlayStation.
 
Although really miffed with his father, Mihr Hormozd killed the King under the orders of Kavadh II, who had just recently invaded and taken control of the Sasanian Empire.
 
On This Day in 1525, CuauhtĂ©moc, the last Aztec King, if only for a year, was executed by the Spanish Conquistador, Hernan Cortes.
 
Cortes had invaded with his Spanish army in the hope of finding some gold. Or a decent cigar. Or semi-decent massage parlour.
 
He deposed or killed all the kings in and around Mexico, and anyone he met on his way, and those left were just kings-in-name-only.
 
Cortes was out walking through the jungle one night, perhaps as part of an expedition, perhaps as part of a mating ritual with the local gorilla population, who knows.
 
He saw King-Now-A-Hostage CuauhtĂ©moc having a laugh with two of his fellow former-kingies. It seems the famous Spanish Explorer and Conqueror, Herman Cortes, didn't like laughter.
 
After asking a bloke to translate what the three were discussing - apparently it was something to with comparing Breaking Bad with Game of Thrones - Cortes got upset at their conclusion.
 
He immediately ordered all three to be hanged. To Death. All the way. Cortes then invented a story to tell the locals. It involved a boy wizard, a special school in Scotland, and the ginger kid getting the girl.
 
When the locals wouldn't believe that story - no way the ginger kid gets the girl - Cortes made up another.
 
He informed them that the three kings were plotting his murder. Mwerder. To Death. All the way. And because of this plot, Cortes had no choice but to execute them all.
 
And anyone else who plots his Mwerder. So just you lot all watch yourself. Mwerderers.
 
Also ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
On This Day in 1883, the first vaudeville theatre opened in Boston.
 
On This Day in 1897, Queen Ranavalona III, the last monarch of the kingdom of Madagascar, was deposed by a French military force.
 
The Queen tried everything in her power to stop the French invading, including making trade deals with both the United Kingdom and the United States of America. She thought they'd come over and help save the singing and dancing wildlife which featured so heavily in the movie.
 
Neither the UK or the USA seemed that bothered and let the French do whatever they liked. And so, those pesky French invaders invaded the Kingdom of Madagascar and deposed its monarch.
 
She didn't really suffer. Even though her people did. Despite killing their own King, the French still had a liking for monarchs, although they'd never admit it.
 
The French treated Queen Ranavalona very well, giving her an allowance, house, staff, and even shopping trips to Paris to buy new clothes.
 
Sheesh. Wish I'd get invaded.
 
On This Day in 1940, Basketball was shown on television for the first time ever when Fordham University played the University of Pittsburgh at Madison Square Garden.
 
On This Day in 1983, a little shy of 106 million people tuned in to watch the final episode of M*A*S*H. It hold the record for the highest viewership of any season finale.
 
On This Day in 1986, Olof Palme, the Prime Minister of Sweden, was assassinated in Stockholm.
 
On This Day in 1991, the first Gulf War ends.
 
Bonus Round
 
On This Day in 1155, Henry the Young King, son of King Henry II of England, was born.
 
Henry the Young King was the only titular king of England. He was crowned King of England whilst his father, Henry II, was still alive. And Henry the Young King never reigned, dying before his father.
 
In fact, dying whilst trying to overthrow his father. The little git.
 
In the summer of 83, that's 1183, whilst he was 28 years old, and leading a campaign in Limousin against his father, the King, and his brother Richard, the next king, he died of poops-a-lot.
 
He died of dysentery on the 11th of June 1183, not long after completing a pillaging of the local monasteries. When it became clear kicking-the-bucket was inevitable, he asked for confession and the last rites.
 
As part of his penitence, he prostrated himself naked nekkid on the floor in front of a crucifix ... and several dozen hedgehogs with camcorders. The footage later found its way onto the Fail Army Youtube channel.
 
What is your favourite fail from youtube? Post in the comments below.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

On This Day In History - 27th February

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY - FEBRUARY 27th
 
On This Day in 380, Emperor Theodosius issued the Edict of Thessalonica, co-signed by co-emperors, Gratian and Valentinian II. What's better than one Emperor? Three Emperors. The same applies to cake.
 
The Edict of Thessalonica declared all Roman citizens convert to Trinitarian Christianity.
 
Theodosius, also known as Theodosius the Great, or Cute-Squirrel-Lips by his Praetorian Guard, was born on the 11th of January, 347.
 
Theodosius became Emperor of the entire Roman Empire in 379 AD, the last Emperor to rule over the whole thing.
 
Theodosius-Cute-Squirrel-Lips had a serious problem with the Goths during his reign and set about trying to eradicate them. Perhaps they reminded him of his own moody teenage years.
 
Unfortunately, his reputation took a serious hit, along with his gonads, a war injury he would never recover from, as he wasn't successful in destroying them. Or the other barbarians. Or One Direction. Soon after, one Emperor became three.
 
Theodosius-Now-Speaks-In-High-Pitched-Voice had a problem, not only with his dangles, but also with pagan rituals. Mainly down to him not being able to perform some of them because of his now-deformed Julius Caesars.
 
He banned a lot of the pagan rituals, including the Olympic Games, which wouldn't be restored until 1896.
 
On This Day in 425, Emperor Theodosius II founded the University of Constantinople, after his wife bullied and badgered him. "You get me a university, Theo. Get me one or else."
 
He did have a habit of being dominated by the other sex.
 
When Theodosius was 13, he had to yield power to his older sister, Aelia Pulcheria, who kept bullying and teasing poor Theodosius until he gave in.
 
She proclaimed herself as Empress and reined as regent for a couple of years until Theodosius stopped crying, grew a pair, and kicked her out.
 
In other news On This Day In History
On This Day in 1594, Henry IV was crowned King of France.
 
On This Day in 1898, King George I of Greece survived an attempt on his life.
 
On This Day in 1900, the British Labour Party was founded.
 
On This Day in 1951, Presidents of the United States of We-Rule-The-World-Go-Suck-It, were limited to two terms in office by the 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution.
 
Celebrity News On This Day In History
On This Day, February 27th 2015, Leonard Nimoy passed away.
 
As we all know, unless you're one of "Those" people, Leonard Nimoy played Spock, the most iconic character from Star Trek.
 
Did You Know:
NBC, the studio which made Star Trek, actually told its
creator, Gene Roddenberry, to get rid of the
pointy-eared guy. Roddenberry refused and
the pointy-eared guy became the icon we know as Spock.
 
 
 
 
 

Fun Facts About Spock And Leonard Nimoy

Fun Facts About Leonard Nimoy And Spock From Star Trek
 
As we all know, unless you're one of "Those" people, Leonard Nimoy played Spock, the most iconic character from Star Trek.
 
Fact One: Deforest Kelly was offered the role of Spock before Leonard Nimoy.
 
Yep, DeForest Kelly, who eventually went on to play I'm-A-Doctor-Jim-Not-A-Martian, Doctor "Bones" McCoy, was offered the role of the "Alien From Mars" in 1964. He turned it down as it would be illogical, Captain.
 
Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek even offered the role of Spock to Adam West, who was Batman in the original cheesy Batman television series. But Adam West couldn't fit it into his schedule as he was filming the movie Robison Crusoe on Mars at the time.
 
The role finally went to Leonard Nimoy after Roddenberry remembered him from his guest appearance in the pilot show. Skinny, pale, sharp facial features, Michael Jackson wasn't available either. But, Leonard Nimoy looked similar.
 
Fact Two: NBC, the studio which made Star Trek, actually told its creator, Gene Roddenberry, to get rid of the pointy-eared guy.

Roddenberry refused and the pointy-eared guy became the icon we know as Spock.
 
Fact Three: Spock and Captain Kirk were the only two characters to appear in every single episode of the original Star Trek series.
 
Fact Four: The Vulcan V-Shaped hand gesture was created by Leonard Nimoy.
 
Yes, the hand gesture made famous by Spock, used as a greeting much like humans would shake hands, and also whenever Spock said, "Live long and prosper," or, "Have you seen my little Spock?" was a creation of Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock in the original Star Trek series and films.
 
It's a modified version of a gesture made by Jewish priests making the sign for the Hebrew letter, "Shin".
 
Fact Five: Spock was originally not meant to be a green-blooded Vulcan.
 
When Gene Roddenberry pitched the idea for Star Trek to the television studio NBC, he pitched Spock as a Half-Martian with a reddish complexion and pointy ears.
 
It was then noticed, that on black and white televisions, he wouldn't look red, he'd look black.
 
Leonard Nimoy was also not happy when they said he'd have to spend hours in make-up before each shoot, so they abandoned the idea and went with a slightly yellow-green tinge instead.
 
Fact Six: William Shatner admitted in a recent interview that he stole Leonard Nimoy's bicycle during their lunch breaks when filming Star Trek. He used it to get to the front of the queue at the canteen quicker than the rest of the cast.
 
Fact Seven: Leonard Nimoy was paid $1,250 per episode in the first season of the original series of Star Trek.
 
Fact Eight: There were two actors who couldn't do the Vulcan hand gesture.
 
William-I-Can't-Sing-But-I-Talk-Slow-And-Sexy-Shatner, had to have his fingers tied together with wire whenever he had to perform it for the show.
 
Little Spock, Zachary Quinto, the newer version of Leonard Nimoy's Spock, actually had his fingers glued together when he performed the gesture.
 
Fact Nine: The first interracial kiss on television was meant to be with Spock and Uhura.
 
It actually happened between Captain Kirk and Uhura after William Shatner basically pulled rank and insisted he should be the one to do it.
 
Leonard Nimoy said in an interview, "My understanding is Bill Shatner took one look at the scene and said, '"No you will not. If anyone's going to be part of a first interracial kiss in television history, it's going to be me. So they rewrote it."
 
Fact Ten: Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock, and William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk, actually met up two years before they were best of Star Trek friends.
 
They starred as enemies in an episode of The Man From Uncle in 1964.
 
Fact Eleven: Spock wasn't going to be in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
 
Nope. Leonard Nimoy refused to be in the movie, having had enough of playing the pointy-eared Vulcan. It wasn't until the producers promised he'd have "The Greatest death scene in movie history" that he was persuaded.
 
Fact Twelve: Spock was meant to die at the beginning of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
 
The movie was re-written after the original script was leaked. When fans got wind of Spock dying, they went bonkers-nutso-crazy. It forced the re-writing of the script to have Spock get killed at the end of the movie.
 
Robert Sallin, one of the production team on the movie got messages on his answering machine, "You kill Spock, we kill YOU."
 
Fact Thirteen: Leonard Nimoy died on February 27th, 2015, at the age of 83.
 
His character, Spock, on the other hand, is currently double that age and is still going strong trying to re-populate New Vulcan by persuading other Vulcans they don't have to wait seven years between getting a bit of hanky-panky.
 
Yes, seven years!
 
Vulcans only wink-wink/nudge-nudge/hide-the-shuttlecraft-in-the-shuttlebay once every seven years! Hmm, that kinda explains the eyebrows.
 
Bonus Fact:
 
Did you know that Spock had three ears?
 
Yes, three.
 
His left ear, his right ear, and his final front ear.

Friday, 26 February 2016

On This Day In History - February 26th

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY - 26th FEBRUARY

On This Day in 1570 Elizabeth-The-First-Virginger-Queen was excommunicated by Pope-Pius-V-For-Vendetta for being ginger, and not catholic.
 
On This Day in 1616, after having a very rough week, Galileo Galilei, so good they named him twice, is formally banned from teaching or defending his views on the Earth orbiting the Sun, by the Catholic Church.
 
Burn the witch.
 
Hmm, I wonder if he was actually right about the Earth orbiting the sun? And, instead of being a witch, perhaps he was a scientist with real and factual scientific knowledge?
 
Nah, Burn the Witch.
 
On This Day in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson signed an act of Congress to establish the Grand Canyon, that massive hole in the ground that's hundreds of miles long, as a United States National Park.
 
On This Day in 1929, President Calvin Coolidge signed an Executive Order, because who needs an act of Congress when you're Calvin-Friggin-Coolidge, establishing the Grand Teton National Park, a 96,000 acre park in Wyoming.
 
On This Day in 1935, Adolf Hitler, everyone's favourite mass murdering psychopath dictator, ordered the Luftwaffe, or German Air Force, be re-formed.
 
This act violated the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. No one did much about it. Not as if the re-establishment of the Luftwaffe could do any harm in the future.
 
On This Day in 1993, six people are killed and over a thousand injured, when a truck bomb exploded below the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York, eight years before two planes were flown into them, which destroyed both towers.
 
On This Day in 1995, Barings Bank, the United Kingdom's oldest investment bank, collapsed when Nick Leeson, one of their securities brokers, lost over $1.4 billion speculating on the Singapore International Monetary Exchange.
 
It was made into a great movie starring Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Famous Birthdays
On This Day in 1846, Buffalo Bill was born. His real name was William Frederick Cody and he was a scout and bison hunter in the wild west, eventually becoming a showman and founding the Buffalo Bill's Wild West show in 1883.
 
On This Day in 1852, John Harvey Kellogg was born. He was an American doctor based in Michigan, who was also nutso-crazy, and ran a sanitarium which focused on nutrition, enemas, and exercise.
 
Of course, John Harvey Kellogg is most famed for creating the breakfast cereal Kellogg's Corn Flakes with his brother, Will Keith Kellogg.
 

Kellogg's Corn Flakes invented to stop masturbation

Why were Kellogg's Corn Flakes invented?
 
On This Day, the 26th of February, in 1852, John Harvey Kellogg was born.

He was an American doctor based in Michigan, who was also nutso-crazy, and ran a sanitarium which focused on nutrition, enemas, and exercise.
 
Of course, John Harvey Kellogg is most famed for creating the breakfast cereal Kellogg's Corn Flakes with his brother, Will Keith Kellogg.
 
But, did you know, Kellogg's Corn Flakes were originally invented to prevent masturbation.
 
John Harvey Kellogg believed in not bashing the bishop, spanking the monkey, wrestling the snake.

Corn Flakes were created from a belief that bland foods, like his Corn Flakes, would decrease and even prevent arousal.
 
John's brother, Will, wanted to get the Corn Flakes to a mass market and decided they had to add sugar.

John was dead set against this. You might as well just lace them with Viagra. This started a life-long feud, and Will left to form his own company to bring Corn Flakes to the masses.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

On This Day In History - February 25th

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY - 25th FEBRUARY

On This Day in 138, Roman Emperor Hadrian, the guy who hated the Scots so much he built a massive wall across northern England to keep them out, adopted Antoninus Pius as his son.
 
That is so sweet, adopting a little boy because he had no kids of his own. His adoption, as well as getting a daddy, also made little Antoninus heir to the Roman Empire.
 
Hang on, one plus two, multiply by the square root of .... son of a .... Antoninus wasn't a little boy when he was adopted. He was 44 years old.
 
On This Day in 1797, the Last Invasion of Britain ends after Colonel William Tate issues an unconditional surrender.
 
On This Day in 1870, Hiram Rhodes Revels, the first African-American to sit in the US Congress, is sworn into the United States Senate. He was a Republican from Mississippi. Oh, come on, no one's perfect.
 
On This Day in 1919, the state of Oregon put a 1cent per US gallon tax on gasoline. It was the first state in America to put a tax on gasoline. So now we know where that idea came from. It's all Oregon's fault.
 
On This Day in 1932, Adolf Hitler becomes a German citizen, after obtaining his citizenship by naturalization. It allowed him to run for election in the Reichsprasident. And eventually start a World War.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

On This Day In History - February 24th

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY - 24th February
 
On This Day in 1386, King Charles III of Naples, was assassinated by Buddha. Oops, that should have said "at Buda." Because why would Buddha assassinate anyone?
 
King Charles III of Naples was also King Charles II of Hungary, although he was better known as Charles the Short.
 
He became King of Hungary after the death of Louis I of Hungary, by sitting on the throne and claiming baggsie. This royally annoyed the daughter of Louis, Mary of Hungary, who should have been Queen, and Mary's mother, Elizabeth of Bosnia.
 
They decided enough was enough and conspired together to have the King assassinated. It was a botched job, as the deed was done on the 7th of February 1386. It took a few weeks before he eventually died as a result of the wounds.
 
On This Day in 1848, King Louis-Philippe of France abdicates his throne.
 
On This Day in 1868, President Andrew Johnson is impeached by the United States House of Representatives. He was the first President of the United States to be impeached.
 
Andrew Johnson was also the first President of the United States to be acquitted in the Senate. And the first to be caught on camera licking a hedgehog that had been dipped in chocolate. Ah, so that's why he was impeached.
 
On This Day in 1981 Prince-Charles-Still-Waiting-For-Mum-To-Die and Lady-Diana-Headbutted-Dashboard-Spencer announced they would get married.
 
On This Day in 2008, after 50 years in power, the dictator, oops, I mean President, of Cuba, Fidel Castro, is pensioned off.
 
On This Day in 2011, the Space Shuttle Discovery is launched for the final time.
 
Celebrity Birthdays
On This Day in 1966, Ben Miller, an English comedian and actor who was the funnier half of the comedic duo Armstrong and Miller, was born.
 
On This Day in 1981, Lleyton Hewitt, the Australian former world number one tennis player, was born with the abilities of a kangaroo. He's so bouncy.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

On This Day In History - February 23rd

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY - 23rd of FEBRUARY
 
On This Day in 1739, at York Castle, a man going by the name of John Palmer, was identified by his former schoolteacher as the infamous highwayman, DICK TURPIN.
 
Dick Turpin, a highwayman who has a funny first name, was later executed in York for the theft of a horse.
 
When he began his career as a highwayman, he would ride alongside the carriages of the rich on his horse, Black Bess, and tell the driver to stop. He would then open the carriage door, point his pistols inside and shout, "Your money or your wife."
 
What he didn't realise, was that most people valued their money more than their wife. This meant Turpin ended up with a lot of wives back in his secret Dick Turpin Hideout Cave, or Dick Cave, for short.
 
Because of the overcrowding, he changed his demand to, "Your money or your life." Which was a much better business plan.
 
He retired to Yorkshire in luxury with loads of money, and plenty of wives, under the alias Penis Gherkin.
 
However, that really was a silly name, because who would want to be called Gherkin? So he changed it to John Palmer.
 
The lavish lifestyle and his ability to write a letter would be his downfall. The local magistrates arrested and imprisoned him inside York Castle, suspecting him of being a Dick. Turpin was revealed when he wrote a letter to his brother-in-law from his prison cell detailing his cunning plan to escape, and once again change his name, this time to Manhood Burping.
 
He was tried and sentenced to death.
 
In other news On This Day In History
On This Day, 1861, after slaying three dozen vampires, Abraham Lincoln, at the time still only the President-Elect, arrives in Washington, D.C, in secret. He had survived an alleged assassination plot the day before by a lone wolf. Where? Baltimore. Or it could have been a vampire.
 
On This Day in 1903, Cuba leased the notorious Guantanamo Bay to the United States of America in perpetuity.
 
On This Day in 1934, Leopold III became the King of all Belgium.
 
On This Day in 1954, In Pittsburgh, the first mass inoculation of children against Polio with the Salk vaccine began.
 
On This Day in 1958, Juan Manuel Fangio, the five-times Formula One world champion is kidnapped by Cuban rebels. If only he'd had a faster car.
 
Famous Births
 
On This Day in 1944, Bernard Cornwell is born.
 
He is an English novelist specialising in historical novels that are truly great reads. His most famous series of books feature the infamous Rifleman, Richard Sharpe.
 
Considering Richard Sharpe is played by Sean Bean in the television show, it's really quite surprising that character made it past the first book without being killed.

Monday, 22 February 2016

On This Day In History - February 22nd

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY February 22nd
 
On This Day in 1797, the Last Invasion of Britain occurred when the French invaded Fishguard, a small town in Wales.
 
The invasion took place between February 22nd and February 24th, and involved around 1,400 soldiers on four French warships.
 
Things did not go well for the French invasion of Wales. John Campbell, 1st Baron Cawdor, gathered a force of 500 British reservists, militia, and sailors.
 
The two armies fought on February 23rd, then Tom Jones was wheeled out to sing Delilah. A day later the French gave an unconditional surrender.
 
Also in the news On This Day In History
 
On This Day in 1371, Robert II becomes King of Scotland, to start a three hundred year rule for the house of Stuart.
 
On This Day in 1632, Galileo's dialogue concerning the Two Chief World Systems is published. Neither system addressed what to do in a Zombie Apocalypse.
 
On This Day in 1819, Spain sold Florida to the United States for $5,000,000 in the Adams-Onis Treaty.
 
In reality, they hated oranges and would have sold it for a subscription to Iron Man Monthly if the cash had been a problem.
 
On This Day in 1872, The Prohibition Party nominated James Black as its president in its first ever national convention in Columbus, Ohio.
 
After his speech, they all drank a glass of champagne to celebrate. Twelve glasses later, someone pointed out they really shouldn't be drinking at a convention about Prohibition.
 
On This Day in 1904, Britain sold a meteorological station on the South Orkney Islands to Argentina. Four years later and the Britain declared those islands were its property. As was the station, and the sheep. All of sheep. Everywhere.
 
On This Day in 1924, Calvin Coolidge became the first ever President of the United States to deliver a radio broadcast from the White House. "The aliens have landed. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES."
 
On This Day in 1974, Richard Nixon, President of the United States of American, survived an assassination attempt by Samuel Byck.
 
On This Day in 1997, Scottish scientists announce to the world that they had cloned an adult sheep named Dolly.
 
Later, in private, they have a right laugh. "Can't believe they fell for that. Wasn't hard to find two sheep that look like each other."
 
Famous Births
 
On This Day in 1403, King Charles VII of France was born.
 
On This Day in 1440, Ladislaus the Posthumous, was born. He was a Zombie Hungarian king. Although that's not why he was Posthumous. He was born after his father had died. Plus, he was an undead Zombie.
 
On This Day in 1732, George Washington, one of the four faces on the rock, plus a general and the first ever President of We-Hate-You-Britain, was born.
 
On This Day in 1962, the famous Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, was born.

Steve Irwin died in 2006, not by being eaten by a crocodile, or boa constrictor, or bitten by three hundred venomous spiders, but by a stingray barb striking him in the chest as he swam.

Have you been attacked by an animal? [Leave a comment below] 
 
On This Day in 1974, James Blunt was born. He was originally James Hillier Blount, and although he started off as a soldier in the British Army, he went on to become a very cheesy, but successful singer. You're Beautiful.

Do you have a favourite James Blunt song?

[Please leave a comment]

Sunday, 21 February 2016

On This Day In History - February 21st

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY - February 21st
 
On This Day in 1437, King James-The-First-King-Of-Scotland-To-Lose-His-Balls was assassinated whilst hiding in a sewage pipe, which had been blocked off to stop his tennis balls getting lost.
 
During the night, thirty men, followers of the Earl of Atholl, had been secretly let into the residence at the Monastry of Blackfriars, Perth, Scotland. They had but one intent - to kill the king.
 
James the first of Scotland was warned by a servant about the intruders and fled his bedchamber. He headed down to the sewers, expecting to be able to escape. However, he had a fondness for tennis, and an inability to play.
 
He kept losing his balls in the sewers, so had them blocked off. This saved the tennis balls, but didn't save him. The intruders found him and killed him.
 
When one king dies, another takes his place.
 
On This Day in 1437, the six-year-old James-Get-Me-A-Fire-Extinguisher became king of Scotland after his father's assassination.
 
King James II, as he became known, after he got King'd, had the nickname "Fiery Face". This either referred to a party trick he liked to perform, where he dipped his face in petrol and then set on fire, or because he had a vermilion birthmark on his face.
 
In Other News On This Day In History
On This Day in 1925, The New Yorker was published for the first time.
 
On This Day in 1952, Winston Churchill's government abolished identity cards in the United Kingdom. Churchill said it was "to set the people free."
 
On This Day in 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated in New York at the Audubon Ballroom.
 
On This Day in 1971, The Convention on Psychotropic Substances was signed in Vienna, using crayons made from the horns of Unicorns.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Fun Facts About James Earl Jones

Fun and Fascinating Facts About James Earl Jones

1. James Earl Jones is an African-American actor most famous for having one of the best voices on the planet. He was born on the 17th of January 1931, in Arkabutler, Mississippi, which happens to be a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

2. James Earl Jones is well known for being the voice of Darth Vader in the mildly popular Star Wars movies. His parents were Shmi Skywalker and the Force itself. Or midichlorians. Or something like that.

3. His actual parents were Robert Earl Jones, who was an actor, boxer, and chauffeur, and Ruth Connolly Jones, who was a teacher and maid.

4. His father, Robert, left the family soon after little James Earl Jones was born. When he was five, James moved to Jackson, Michigan and was brought up by his maternal Grandparents.

5. James Earl Jones once described his grandmother, Maggie, as "The most racist person I have ever known."

6. James Earl Jones had a very bad stutter when he was a child. So bad, in fact, was his stutter, he refused to speak. He was mute for almost eight years until an English teacher, Donald Crouch, taught him how to write poetry and Jones ended his long-running silence.

7. Jones said of his stutter, "I was a stutterer. I couldn't talk. So my first year of school was my first mute year, and then those mute years continued until I got to high school."

8. James started out as a baby before progressing to be the most evil Jedi turned Sith in the whole galaxy. Although, to be factually correct, Darth Vader wasn't the most hated of evil monsters in Star Wars. That accolade went to George Lucas after he ruined the prequel trilogy.

9. James Earl Jones was only paid $7,000 for his appearance in the first Star Wars film. He didn't mind, though, and it doesn't matter now, as he is worth in excess of $45 million.

10. "I got paid $7,000," James Earl Jones told the American Film Institute in an interview, "and I thought that was good money." He hasn't revealed what he earned for the two sequel movies.

11. James Earl Jones is also the voice of Mufasa in the Lion King.

12. James Earl Jones has type 2 diabetes.

13. He has played title roles in Othello, King Lear, Hamlet, and Macbeth.

14. In fact, he has won four Tony Awards for being the best actor in a play. The most recent Tony Award was in 2012 for his role in The Best Man.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

On This Day In History - February 18th

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY - 18th February
 
On This Day in 1885, Mark Twain had his book, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, published in the United States of America.
 
On This Day in 1478, George, Duke of Clarence, was tried, convicted, and then executed for treason against his older brother, King Edward IV.
 
His execution took place in the Tower of London. Instead of the usual method of executing nobles, which was giving them a serious case of Off-With-His-Head, the Duke of Clarence was drowned.
 
And not in water.
 
Nope.
 
He was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine. Because, well, why not. Happy National Drink Wine Day.
 
On This Day in 1930, Clyde Tombaugh discovered the cow that jumped over the moon. Oh, and Pluto. Back in the days when it was actually a planet.
 
On This Day in 1930, Holy Cow, they can fly. A cow called Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly in an airplane.
 
At the same time, she also became the first cow to be milked in an aircraft. It's obviously common practice nowadays. Makes the milk even milkier.
 
On This Day in 1954, the first Church of Scientology was founded in Los Angles. 
 
On This Day in 1957, New Zealand carried out its last legal execution by killing Walter James Bolton for poisoning his wife.
 
He was hanged, although it didn't really go as planned. When he was dropped, his neck should have been broken instantly. However, that didn't happen and he was eventually strangled to death.
 
By the rope. Not by some random guy in the crowd.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

On This Day In History - 17th February

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY 17th FEBRUARY
 
On This Day in 364 AD, the Roman Emperor Jovian is found dead in his tent at Tyana, where they had camped the night before on their way back to Constantinople.
 
Jovian had been eating magic mushrooms the night before and bungee-jumped off his bed into a tea cup full of gorillas in purple tutus.
 
On This Day in 1753, Where the heck did our twelve days go? It was like, err, the middle of February when I went to sleep.
 
In 1753, Sweden went to sleep on February 17th and woke to find it was March 1st all ready. And they could have sworn they only got eight hours.
 
It was either aliens, or they finally switched from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar. I'm going with aliens.
 
On This Day in 1801, Thomas Jefferson is elected President of the United States of America. He actually tied with his opponent, Aaron Burr.
 
However, to resolve the issue, they played Rock-Paper-Scissors. Jefferson won, and he became President. Aaron Burr, to stop him saying Jefferson cheated, was made Vice President.
 
Best of three? Okay, best of five? They played three hundred and twenty nine games before Jefferson eventually got the result he wanted.
 
On This Day in 1854, The United Kingdom recognised the independence of the Orange Free State. That's where the fruit comes from. It's disgusting. Horrible smell. Horrible taste. It should be banned. Oranges are evil.
 
On This Day in 1974, Robert K. Preston buzzed the White House, where the President lives, in America, Washington DC, not the state, that's the other side, in a stolen helicopter.
 
On This Day in 2003, the London Congestion Charge is introduced in London, England. Hasn't made it less congested, though. The place is a nightmare to drive around.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

On This Day In History - 16th February

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY 16th February
 
On This Day in 1742, Spencer Compton, the Earl of Wilmington, became the British Prime Minister.
 
He was Britain's second Prime Minister, after Robert Walpole. The guy was a workaholic and quite literally worked himself to death after a year in office.
 
On This Day in 1874, the Silver Dollar became legal tender in the United States of America.
 
On This Day in 1918, Lithuania became an independent state after the Council of Lithuania unanimously adopted the Act of Independence.
 
On This Day in 1923, Howard Carter is cursed for eternity after unsealing the burial chamber of the Egyptian Boy Pharaoh, Tutankhamun.
 
The following week he uncovered the Stargate and, with the US Air Force, began exploring other planets. Watch out for the Goa'uld. Too late.
 
On This Day in 1959, Fidel Castro became the Premier of Cuba, and later a total dictator, after he overthrew Fulgencio Batista, who liked to serve coffee, the previous dictator.

Monday, 15 February 2016

On This Day In History 15th February

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY 15th FEBRUARY
 
On This Day in 1214, King John of England, the evil one in the Robin Hood stories, and the king who signed the Magna Carta landed in La Rochelle, France, at the head of an invasion force.
 
On This Day in 1710, King Louis XV of France, the useless one, was born. He became king at aged five, and when he reached maturity and took control of France, he gave territories away to other countries, lost wars, and was generally unpopular.
 
On This Day in 1879, Rutherford B. Hayes, the President of the United States of America, signed a bill allowing female attorneys to argue a case before the Supreme Court.
 
On This Day in 1952, King George VI, father of the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, was laid to rest in St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.
 
On This Day in 1954, Matt Groening was born. He is the writer, producer and voice actor behind cartoons such as The Simpsons and Futurama.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

On This Day In History - February 14th

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY 14th February
 
On this day in history, the 14th of February, everyone goes overboard in the celebrations of Valentine's Day.
 
Roses are red.
The floor is red.
The walls are red.
Murder. There's been a murder.
 
Statistically speaking, you're more likely to be murdered by your partner on Valentine's day if you've forgotten to get her a card, present, or taken her out for a romantic meal.
 
If you haven't even noticed she had her hair done, or bought a new dress, or nice thong, then your chances of survival dwindle to about 6 percent.
 
Check out our Humorous History
and 
 
On This Day In History, the 14th February 1400, Richard II of England, not no longer nope maybe a King, died. Perhaps, maybe, who knows, of starvation, at Pontefract Castle.
 
Let's first assume he was still King of England when he died. Which is all we really do know about his death.
 
Richard II had taken a holiday to Ireland after really annoying a lot of people. A bloke called Henry Bolingbroke was chiefly peeved with Richard after having his autographed One Direction poster stolen.
 
When Richard returned to England, he was confronted by Henry at Conwy Castle, Wales, and at that point, he was persuaded to relinquish the crown. The kipper slapping Henry gave Richard was probably enough persuasion, but Henry's army may have tipped the balance.
 
Henry took Richard to the Tower of London and imprisoned him.
 
Henry had a slight problem with regard to who-was-next-to-be-king. As Henry really wanted it. If Richard abdicated, and Henry didn't get it, then what was the point.
 
After some colouring of the lines-of-succession, it was decided, at sword-pointy point, that Henry had a better claim to the throne than the actual heir presumptive, Edmind Mortimer, Earl of March.
 
Henry was crowned King of England, as Henry IV, on October 13th 1399.
 
It was happiness for Henry, who had what he wanted, The Kingy-Ship. But what of Richard? Well, as it turns out, Henry was quite content to let Richard live. But then he found out the Earls of Huntingdon, Kent, Salisbury, Rutland, and Lord Despenser, who had his buttons pushed for a Mars Bar, were planning on killing the new king and restoring Richard to the throne.
 
Shut the front door!
 
Henry IV had Richard immediately transported from the Tower Of London to Pontefract Castle. After this, little is actually known about the last days of Richard II.
 
It is widely believed he starved to death in the dungeons. Even the exact date of his death isn't known for certain. February 14th 1400 is taken as the most likely date.
 
On February 17th, Richard's body was taken from Pontefract and displayed in the old St Paul's Cathedral. He was buried on March 6th in Kings Langley (sheesh, first wrote that as King's Landing. Got Game of Thrones on my mind today. When is that new book coming out? Seems like years since the last one. Me needs Game of Thrones). 
 
In Other News On This Day In History
On This Day in 1778, for the first time in its history, which didn't date back that far, the United States Flag was formally recognized by a foreign naval vessel.
 
French Admiral Toussaint-Guillaurne Picquet de la Motte, which is one heck of a name, and almost impossible to say ten times when you're drunk, ordered his ship to render a nine-gun-salute to the USS Ranger, captained by John Paul Jones.
 
On This Day in 1779, Captain James Cook was killed by the Native people of Hawaii, after he failed to remember to buy any of them a Valentine's Day card. What a goit.
 
On This Day in 1849, James Knox Polk became the first ever serving President of the United States of America to have his picture taken. It was taken in New York, and was instantly posted to twitter, facebook, and instagram, garnering around 7 likes and 9 retweets.
 
On This Day in 1852, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children is founded in London. It was the first hospital in England to specifically provide in-patient beds for children.
 
On This Day in 1876, both Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray appied for a patent for the telephone.
 
On This Day in 1912, Arizona became the 48th State of the United States Of America.

Valentine's Day: The Truth and the Myths

The Truth and the Myths behind Valentine's Day

On this day in history, the 14th of February, everyone goes overboard in the celebrations of Valentine's Day.
 
Roses are red.
The floor is red.
The walls are red.
Murder. There's been a murder.
 
Statistically speaking, you're more likely to be murdered by your partner on Valentine's day if you've forgotten to get her a card, present, or taken her out for a romantic meal.
 

If you haven't even noticed she had her hair done, or bought a new dress, or nice thong, then your chances of survival dwindle to about 6 percent.

Check out our special Valentine's Day blog post:

We celebrate Valentine's day because of a Saint called, well, I'd like to say Valentine, but his true name was Valentinus.
 
Valentinus was a 3rd-century saint, who died around 270AD, of Roman descent and is most famed for being a nymphomaniac.

Saint Valentine was martyred and buried in a
cemetery on the Via Flaminia, north of Rome.
 
In reality, we don't know much about Valentinus, or Valentine, but there is a good chance he is two people. Or three. No one knows for sure. He could just all be the same person using slightly different hairstyles to pork as many men and women as he could. As I say, no one really knows. However, just for the record -- Dirty boy.
 
The Roman Catholic Church does recognise a St Valentine as a real person who died in or about, give or take twenty years, 270 AD.
 
It isn't until the 1400s we start to get stories about St Valentine. They refer to a temple priest beheaded outside Rome by the Emperor Claudius II after he started conducting marriage ceremonies on Christian couples. With their knowledge. He didn't drug them, or knock them over the head with a plank of wood, before forcibly marrying them. Although he did videotape them having coital fun on their wedding night.

Because of the confusion about St Valentine's true identity (no, he's not Batman),
the Catholic Church stopped their liturgical veneration of him back in 1969.
His name does, however, remain on the Catholic Church's list of saints.
 
The Valentine, or Valentinus, we celebrate today on February 14th is officially known as St Valentine of Rome. There are actually about a dozen Valentinus/Valentines listed on the Catholic list of saints.
 
In 1988, Pope John Paul George and Ringo, or Pope John Paul II, canonised St Valentine Berrio-Ochoa, who was beheaded in 1861 in Vietnam.
 
They eventually retrieved Valentine Berios-Ochoa's head, sewed it back onto his rotting corpse and Pope John Paul II shot him out of canon. That is how they canonise saints, right?

Fun Fact:
There was a Pope Valentine in 827 AD, who served as Pope for just 40 days.
 
St Valentine isn't just the patron saint for happy marriages, couples, and nymphomaniacs. He is also the saint for epilepsy, beekeeping, the plague (I'm guessing he's against it), traveling and fainting. Not farting, which is what I mistakenly wrote the first time round.
 
But, where did Valentine's Day originate?
 
Before Geoffrey Chaucer wrote about it in 1375, there were no records for romantic celebrations on February 14th.
 
For this was sent on Saint Valentine's Day.
When every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.

Chaucer, in his poem, linked the celebration of the feast day of St Valentine to lovers hooking up. So, now we know who to blame for having to show affection to our partners one day of the year.