Today in Hystery January 11th

   On this day in 1569, the first recorded lottery in England was drawn in St Paul’s Cathedral. The government was trying to raise money by selling lottery tickets and offering all sorts of valuable prizes like donkeys and indoor plumbing. I would think the best prize they could offer in a lottery in 1569 was a piece of paper that said, “We promise not to behead you for the rest of your life.”

   On this day in 1759, the first American life insurance company was incorporated in Philadelphia, and the next thing you knew there were door-to-door insurance salesmen bothering you at supper. Of course, in 1759, there were still a lot of Americans living in Teepees, so they would have been bothered by flap-to-flap salesmen.

   On this day in 1803, U.S. cabinet ministers James Monroe and Robert Livingston set sail for Paris to buy New Orleans at the annual Paris Country Blow out and Bazzar. They had $15 million to spend. There were some great deals that year. Swaziland and Botswana were flying off the shelf in a two-for-one special. Estonia was marked way down and you did not have to pay until 1805. Monroe and Livingstone wanted to buy New Orleans, but, to their surprise, France said if they also bought Baton Rouge, they’d throw in the rest of Louisiana at no charge plus some end of the roll carpeting. Monroe and Livingstone couldn’t resist and that’s how the Louisiana Purchase happened…sort of.

   On this day in1892, the painter Paul Gauguin married a 13-year-old Tahitian girl. This probably explains why Jerry Lee Lewis has so many Gauguin paintings hanging in his house.

   On this day in 1963, the first discotheque in the world, the Whiskey-a-Go-Go, opened in Los Angeles featuring Go-Go dancers. In the late 1970s, Go-Go Went-Went, but in some parts of the world it has come Back-Back.

   On this day in  1989, Denver Nuggets’ rookie basketball player Jerome Lane missed 7 free throws in a game against Milwaukee, one of them missing by 2 feet. He was heavily criticised by the Denver fans. Lane shot back at his critics but missed…by 2 feet.

   If your birthday is January 11th, you share it with one of Canada’s most popular prime ministers, Jean Chretien, who was born on this day in 1934. His mangled phrases have become legendary in Canada. Here’s one of my favourites from the mouth of Jean Chretien, “A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It’s a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it’s because it’s proven.”

  • Print
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • FriendFeed
  • Live
  • MySpace
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • LinkedIn

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.