Today in Hystery January 29th

   On this day in 904, Sergius the 3rd came out of retirement to take over the Pope’s job from the deposed antipope Christopher. You’ve got a couple of question here, I’m sure; how could a Pope come out of retirement when he’s supposed to die in office? Okay…let’s see, Sergius the 3rd, and we mentioned this yesterday, was one of those weird Popes. He was possibly the only Pope to have ordered the murder of another Pope. Would that be Papacyde? Also, Sergius the 3rd was the only Catholic Pope to have fathered an illegitimate son…who then became Pope himself. They made Sergius resign. No kidding! Your second question would be; how was Pope Christopher an antipope? Well, Christopher, it seems, faked his credentials for getting the Pope’s job. I’m not sure how, but maybe he added to his resume a Bachelor of Papacy from the University of Phoenix, which, as everyone knows, is just an online university and because there was no internet back then, people got suspicious when they saw that. Could be.

   On this day in 1595, William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet was first performed. It was the Elizabethan era and there was great demand for entertainment. For example, for a special evening, the wife could slip into her best corset and bodice, the hubby could put on his special-occasion leggings and jerkin and they could head out for a night on the town. First up, a dinner of salted mutton at Dirty Dicks Pub, washed down by a few tankards of mead, then a public hanging at the town square, just to let dinner settle, then over to the Globe Theatre for a sold out performance of Romeo and Juliet. That would be a fine night out.

   On this day in 1951, Elizabeth Taylor’s first divorce took place as she parted ways with Conrad Hilton Jr. Obviously; the lure of a lifetime of complimentary room upgrades and chocolates on her pillow was not enough for Liz to keep the marriage going.

   On this day in 1988, a United Airlines Boeing 747-SP, circled world in 36 hours, 54 minutes and 15 seconds. There were the usual two classes on the plane. First class, with free food, drinks and movies, and coach, where you were squeezed between a fat lady and a large extra fuel tank.

   On this day in 1990, Ray Hnatyshyn (Natishin) was sworn in as Canada’s 24th Governor General. He was a lawyer by training and after he graduated, he went to work for his father’s law firm. In my fantasy, I imagine he stayed on and became a partner with his father. Then, when someone phoned the firm, the receptionist would answer with “Hnatyshyn, Hynatyshyn? Then, you’d think you’d either reached a father and son law firm, or the receptionist had just sneezed as she answered the phone.

   If your birthday is January 29th, you share it with one of the all-time great comedians, W.C.Fields, who was born on this day in 1880. This guy is hard to beat for funny lines, so I’ll leave you with one of my favourites. He said, “A man’s got to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another drink.”

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