Day 79: Become an expert on today.

The Book instructs me to “read all the newspapers” and “watch all the news bulletins” – and I can tell you right now that I absolutely did not do that. All the newspapers? There are thousands of them, far more than I could read in a week, let alone a day. I might have been able to get through a few of the big ones: the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, maybe The Times (UK). It would have been a long and boring day, I think, because newspapers don’t really excite me. I scan the headlines on a daily basis, but usually that’s enough to satisfy my curiosity.

The Book then presents me with a quiz – and, true to form, most of the things it asks me are not things I’d’ve learned by reading all the newspapers. World population? Weather in Zambia? Number of astronauts in space? Number of faked orgasms? First topic on Jerry Springer, whose show is still on the fucking air?

Instead, I went to the fount of all knowledge, and learned about things that happened on this day in history – and I’m going to give you all the highlights, to save you the work of deciding what you think is interesting, noteworthy, or important – because that’s what you pay me for, right?

  • Henry IV of England died in 1413 – he had health problems. Henry V, his son, became king the next day. Later, Shakespeare wrote a bunch of plays about all of them.
  • In 1600, in the misleadingly-named Linköping Bloodbath, five Swedish nobles were publicly beheaded. Sorry, everyone, but five dead Swedish dudes doth not a bloodbath make.
  • Napoleon, in 1815, marched into Paris – not long after his escape from Elba – to begin the Hundred Days, which ended shortly after the Battle of Waterloo.
  • In 1916, Einstein published his general theory of relativity. Nearly a century later, there are still only three people who understand it.
  • Some dude named Fred Rogers was born in 1928. Not sure why this is a big deal…
  • The stupendous David Thewlis was born in 1963 – “Oh, just a friend of Maudie’s…”

There you go. Now you’re as much of an expert on today as I am, for whatever that’s worth.

A few final things, which actually pertain to the day we’re having, right now, in 2011, except in those places where it’s already tomorrow: today is the vernal equinox – the first day of spring, you spongy plume-plucked strumpets! – and Wyclef Jean was shot today, though in Haiti, not Reno.

Should’ve gotten his glock back, I guess?


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