Wednesday, October 25, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR OCTOBER 25


On this day in 1415, the army of Henry V of England defeats the numerically superior French army at the Battle of Agincourt. It was an important battle in many ways, not least of which being the novel use of the English longbow, used in very large numbers. The battle is also the centerpiece of the play Henry V, by William Shakespeare.

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You've probably heard of the Charge of the Light Brigade, even though you probably never really knew what it was all about. Well, the "light brigade" in question "charged" on this day in 1854. It was at the Battle of Balaklava, during the Crimean War. A witness to the charge, Marshal Canrobert, declared: "C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre!" which means "it's nice, but it's not butter!" or something. I'm not sure. My French is a little rusty these days.

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On this day in 1861, the Toronto Stock Exchange is created. Big freakin' whoop.

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On this day in 1917, the Russian Royal Family's Winter Palace in Petrograd, Russia is captured. This is the traditionally understood date of the beginning of the October Revolution.

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On this day in 1940, Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. is named the first African American general in the United States Army.

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On this day in 1962, US ambassador to the UN Adlai Stevenson shows photos at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council proving that Soviet missiles are installed in Cuba.

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On this day in 1999, the Coca-Cola company start market-testing a new vending machine that senses the air temperature and raises the price of the product when it gets really hot outside. At the time, Coke chairman Doug Ivester defended the concept to various brown-nosing business reporters, saying: "Coca-Cola is a product whose utility varies from moment to moment." Justice was soon done, however, as Ivester would soon become the subject of one of the most humiliating corporate turfings in the history of corporate turfings, although the $120 million golden parachute he got probably helped to cushion the blow quite a bit...

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Also on this day in 1999, a runaway Learjet with golf pro Payne Stewart (and five others) on board crashes near Mina, South Dakota, after flying on autopilot for several hours. It is believed the accident is due to a loss of cabin pressure at high altitude, which would have caused all on board to go unconscious from lack of oxygen. After air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane, it was tracked by the FAA, assisted by several Air Force and Air National Guard fighters and an AWACS radar control plane, up until when it crashed. The 9/11 Commission will later compare NORAD’s response to this incident with its response to Flight 11 on 9/11, and claim: “There is no significant difference in NORAD’s reaction to the two incidents,” thus making the 9/11 Commission Report perhaps the greatest work of political satire since The Warren Commission, released roughly four decades earlier.

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