(RNN) – This is the first in a new and, supposedly, entertaining weekly series of articles designed to make you appreciate what happened in the past in a whole new way.
You're aware of major historical events like Washington crossing the Delaware, the election of Barack Obama and the death of Don Knotts, but there are many other lesser known events that deserve more attention than they receive. If you've ever felt the anniversaries of the ratification of the 21st Amendment (Dec. 5) and the day your state seceded from the Union (dates vary) get overlooked, then you've come to the right place.
All events chronicled will be treated with the proper decorum and ridicule they deserve.
Here are some of the events of note that have happened between Jan. 14 through 20.
We'll start with today, Jan. 14, and wish happy birthday to the Master of Disaster, Carl Weathers. Weathers is known for his portrayal of one of the most overrated boxers – real or fictional – of all time, Apollo Creed. Creed was pummeled twice by Rocky Balboa, who up to that point had only beaten dead cows. Creed was also beaten and killed by a Russian.
Later, in Happy Gilmore, he portrayed a golfer who had his hand bitten off by an alligator and, again, died after falling from a window when he was shown the alligator's head. I'm not sure what that says about Weathers' career choices, but I'm even more concerned what it says about my entertainment choices because I didn't have to look any of that information up.
Creed's creation was somewhat inspired by Muhammed Ali, whose birthday is Jan. 17 along with Benjamin Franklin. Martin Luther King Jr. and Lynyrd Skynyrd's Ronnie Van Zant share Jan. 15 as their birthday in what can only be described as a clash of cultures. Robert E. Lee, Edgar Allan Poe and Janis Joplin were born Jan. 19.
The anniversary of the death of two great American heroes comes this week. Curly Howard helped refine the English language with the introduction of his catchphrases "nyuk, nyuk, nyuk" and "soitanly." He died Jan. 18, 1952.
Jan. 15, 1987, marked the death of another American icon, Ray Bolger, who played the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. Bolger lived 83 years, which is a remarkable lifespan for someone without a brain. I hope scientists are looking into that.
The day life was created will likely never be known, but the day life was perfected was Jan. 15, 1889. On that day, the Pemberton Medicine Company was created. Today we know its most famous product as Coca-Cola. I will take any opportunity I can get to speak the praises of Coca-Cola, but this isn't supposed to be a book, so I'll just say it's wonderful stuff. It doesn't cure any of the health problems it was originally supposed to – and can help create a lot of other problems we should probably avoid – but Coca-Cola still may be the greatest thing mankind has ever invented.
Nineteen years earlier, Democrats were first portrayed as a jackass in an editorial cartoon. Today, both Democrats and Republicans portray themselves that way whenever they talk. And speaking of politicians, it was Jan. 20, 1265, when British Parliament met for the first time, and Jan. 16, 1581, that it outlawed Roman Catholicism.
Popeye first appeared Jan. 17, 1929, and Jan. 14, 2004, the flag of Georgia (country) was reinstated after 500 years. This week also marks the 12th anniversary of high school students writing inaccurate research papers because Jan. 15, 2001, was the date Wikipedia first went online.
Jan. 19 marks three historic milestones, one of which has never been equaled. Lucille Ball had both her real and fictional baby Jan. 19, 1953. The only recorded snowfall in the history of Miami fell in 1977, and 1935 provided the greatest moment in fashion history when Jockey, then known as Coopers Inc., sold men's briefs for the first time (and the previously unsupported male population was forever grateful).
Two sports of questionable importance got their start this week. First, modern field hockey was created in Great Britain on Jan. 18, 1886. This gives rise to questions of what pre-modern field hockey was like. If it was anything like pre-modern baseball when outs could be recorded by hitting runners with the ball (similar to every game played in your backyard) it might be more interesting to watch.
Additionally, the rules of basketball were first published Jan. 15, 1892, by James Naismith. If Naismith could see the game today, he would not only decry the lack of a second use for peach baskets, but wonder why there are so many professional players who can't make a free throw. It's been 120 years since this sport was invented, and we still don't understand charging.
In 1861, Georgia (state) became the fifth state to secede from the Union, and since it's now responsible for Honey Boo Boo, it needs to do that again. One year later to the day, the Union told the Confederacy to stick it and handed it the first of many significant losses at the Battle of Mill Springs.
A two-day span in 1943 ensured the perpetual dominance of the United States in all things militaristic. Franklin Roosevelt became the first president to fly on an airplane Jan. 14 to meet with Winston Churchill. I didn't find a transcript of this meeting, but I'm pretty sure Roosevelt made a few jokes about Churchill being short and fat, Churchill pointed out Roosevelt couldn't walk and after sharing a few cigars they poked a few pins in an Adolf Hitler voodoo doll. Good times. (Jan. 14 also was the day in 1784 the United States told England to forever stick it when the Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Revolutionary War and confirming that when we say we want to be left alone, we mean it.)
The next day a five-sided building was dedicated outside of Washington, D.C., and America's long-standing tradition of shape identification was started when it was called The Pentagon.
International Fetish Day is the third Friday in January. I will admit to knowing nothing about this, and I did no research into it because I was on a work computer and was scared of not being able to justify why I was looking at it. Also, there are some things that are better left unseen.
So, enjoy whatever it is you enjoy this Friday and, above all else, keep it to yourself.
I was born.
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