On this day in 772, the Catholic cardinals elected Pope Adrian. You may remember this from the movie Rocky; as he’s walking down the street, he spots the Pope and yells, “Yo, Adrian! It’s me, Rocky!” Or am I thinking of another movie?
On this day in 1420, the English king Henry the Fifth entered Paris with his army. I knew a guy once who had studied neither British history nor Latin and when Kenneth Branagh’s movie came out, he honestly thought it was called “Henry Vee”. I guess when the “Richard the Third” movie came out he must have gone round saying, “Did you guys see Richard Aye Aye Aye?”
On this day in 1852, a telegraph company opened throughout the Netherlands and people lined up to get these new things. “Look”, they said. “How cool is this? You can send messages to your friends just by using your thumbs!”
On this day in 1891, Almonte, Ontario’s James Naismith created the game of basketball. The truth is; Canadians have invented a lot of great things that have helped the world. Let me see…there’s ginger ale, plastic garbage bags, goalie masks, instant mashed potatoes (these are all real), the Jolly Jumper, the Snow Blower, Trivial Pursuit, the zipper and my all-time favourite Canadian invention, the Abdominizer. Call now, operators are standing by.
On this day in 1918, Iceland became an independent state. Icelanders were ecstatic! They leapt out of their saunas and took a celebratory roll in the snow. Is that crazy or what??
On this day in 1921, the U.S. Post Office established the philatelic agency. I know that’s a hard word to say. That’s why people prefer “stamp collectors”. Fortunately, and so far, there hasn’t been a famous stamp collector who was also a womanizer…because you would have to try and say “a philatelic philanderer”.
On this day in 1929, and there are very few bigger anniversaries than this one; the game of Bingo was invented by Edwin S Lowe. It’s quite the game. Amongst many other things, it has created the only time when you’ll hear an old lady swear…when someone else yells, “Bingo!”.
If your birthday is December 1st, you share it with Woody Allen who was born on this day in 1935, and I will leave you with one of my favourite Woody Allen quotes; “It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”