Thursday, March 22, 2007

This Day in History

While I hope to entertain you with these columns, I also like to impart some knowledge in the process. So today, March 22, 2007, seems like a good time for a history lesson. According to Wikipedia, all of these events took place on March 22. For some reason, the popular online encyclopedia ignores the sports angle to each of these events. Therefore, for each entry I’ve added an extra sentence to fill in the gaps.

1630: Massachusetts Bay Colony outlaws the possession of cards, dice, and gaming tables. The last straw: a casino fight instigated by Joey Porter.

1765: British Parliament passes the Stamp Act, levying a tax on the American colonies. Proceeds are to finance a domed stadium in Williamsburg.

1832: German literary giant Johann Wolfgang von Goethe dies. His last words are “Nowitzki for MVP.”

1895: Auguste and Louis Lumiere hold the first private screening of motion pictures. The featured attraction is Rocky IV.

1923: Famous mime Marcel Marceau is born in France. He goes on to host the world’s least successful sports talk radio show.

1933: FDR signs into law a bill legalizing the sale of beer and wine. Finally, Babe Ruth gets to partake.

1941: The Grand Coulee Dam begins to generate electricity in Washington. In 1989, Ken Griffey, Jr. does likewise.

1945: The Arab League is founded in Cairo. It immediately becomes the first league to adopt the designated hitter.

1960: Arthur Leonard Schawlow & Charles Townes receive the first patent for a laser. They explain, “You know how they say that Johnny Unitas has a laser arm? Well, we made this device that’s like his arm.”

1978: Karl Wallenda of the Flying Wallendas dies after falling off a tight-rope in San Juan. It’s the worst fall of the year that doesn’t involve the Red Sox.

1993: The Intel Corporation ships the first Pentium chips. Sadly, by making computers even easier to use, it helps lead to the BCS.

1995: Cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov returns after setting a record of 438 days in space. His last words before departing earth were “Don’t play the World Series while I’m gone!”

1997: The comet Hale-Bopp has its nearest approach to earth. At this point, it’s far closer to earth than Dennis Rodman.