Friday, April 28, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR APRIL 28


On this day in 1192, two hashshashin ambush and stab to death the Frankish Crusader Conrad of Montferrat, who had just been elected King of Jerusalem three days prior. Although his murderers belong to the ostensibly Islamic Nizari Ismaili cult, historians believe that they were most likely in the employ of jealous rival Crusaders. It’s all rather complicated.

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On this day in 1945, Benito Mussolini and his mistress are shot dead by Italian partisans. Their bloating, fly-blown corpses were left hanging upside-down from the rafters of a gas station for days. The old ladies of Milan were all impressed by the fact that Il Duce's corpse remained suspended even after that of his mistress had fallen, succumbing to a gruesome combination of gravity and decay. By comparison, the old ladies agreed that Mussolini was very well hung, indeed.

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On this day in 1947, explorer/scientist/adventurer Thor Heyerdahl, along with five crew mates, sets out from Peru on the Kon-Tiki – a ship made using only “prehistoric technology” – to prove that Peruvian natives could have settled Polynesia. Interestingly, the latest theories backed up by DNA testing seem to back Heyerdahl’s thesis only a little bit, and contradict him in other spots.

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On this day in 1994, former CIA counter-intelligence officer and analyst Aldrich Ames pleads guilty to giving U.S. secrets to the Soviet Union and later, Russia. His betrayals led to the exposure (and often the liquidation) of more agents working behind the Iron Curtain than those of any other spy in US history, with possible exception of Robert Hanssen.

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On this day in 1996, Australian Martin Bryant goes on a shooting rampage in Port Arthur, Tasmania, killing 35 people and seriously injuring 21 more. Giving rise to a number of conspiracy theories about “gun grabbers” by many right wing commentators, the Port Arthur Massacre was Australia’s Sandy Hook, just as Sandy Hook was America’s Dunblane, and Dunblane was Scotland’s… um… Port Arthur Massacre? Yeah, I guess that works. And so it’s all come full circle. It’s the Circle of Death!


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