Today in Hystery January 25th

   On this day in 1533, England’s King Henry the 8th married Anne Boleyn. For those of you who think marriage today is hard, try this story; Anne was accused of adultery by Henry the 8th and was sentenced to be burned at the stake. Henry then, the old softie, reduced her sentence from burning to a much gentler beheading. Then Henry got even mushier; rather than have Anne Boleyn beheaded by the regular public axe man, a commoner, he decided to allow her to be beheaded by a royal swordsman. She must have been beside herself with joy…well, her head was…beside herself.

   On this day in 1792, the London Corresponding Society was founded. Imagine the fun of going to the meetings and all you could hear was the sound of pens writing on paper.

   On this day in 1858, Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” was first played at the wedding of Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Victoria, to the crown prince of Prussia. These days it’s still a thrill to hear that tune as the bride and groom march down the aisle. Almost as thrilling as when they do their first dance to “Feelings”. I know it brings tears to my eyes.

   On this day in 1915, Alexander Graham Bell inaugurated transcontinental telephone service in the U.S. by calling from New York to Thomas Watson in San Francisco. I believe his first words were, “Hey Tom! What’s shakin’?”

   On this day in 1949, the first Emmy Awards were held. The big winner: CBS television’s “Pantomime Quiz”. The winners thanked the judges with a three syllable word meaning ‘gratitude’ and got bonus points for doing it in less than 30 seconds.

   On this day in 1955, Columbia University scientists developed an atomic clock, accurate to within one second in 300 years. Atomic clocks are really wonderful things, except when the alarm goes off…bit of a mushroom cloud over your bedroom.

   On this day in 2002, Wikipedia switched to the new version of its software (“Phase II”) also known as Magnus Manske Day. You can look it up!

   If your birthday is January 25th, you share it with Scotland’s greatest poet, Robert Burns, who was born on this day in 1759. His birthday is celebrated every year on this date by people gathering together, getting hammered on Scotch and eating a sheep’s stomach. The evening of the 25th is absolutely fabulous. The morning of the 26th…not so fabulous.

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