Day By Day

Friday, December 04, 2009

This Day In History

Today is "Santa's List Day" -- that time of year when the jolly old elf and his minions decide just which of you boys and girls have been naughty this year, and which were nice. Think about it -- the elves have been stalking you twenty-four hours a day, spying on even your most intimate moments, and reporting back to headquarters. And you were worried about the National Security Agency intercepting phone calls. What if someone hacks the big elf's data base? What if details are leaked to the press? The mind reels....

On this day in 771 AD Carloman I died suddenly of a nosebleed. He was the younger brother of Charlemagne and his death conveniently opened the way for Charles to consolidate his control of the Frankish kingdom. The brothers had long been rivals and historians have suspected that Charlemagne and perhaps the boys' mother, Bertrada, conspired to have Carloman killed. Nothing has been proven conclusively, but as many have noted the death sure was convenient.

On this day in 1833 Arthur Tappan founded the American Anti-Slavery Society in Philadelphia.

And on this day in 1836 the Whig Party held its first national convention in Harrisburg, PA.

And on this day in 1927 Pirates third baseman, Paul Waner, won the NL MVP award. He was extremely nearsighted but refused to wear glasses because he said without them the ball looked as big as a grapefruit and was easy to hit.

Entering the Building:

Thomas Carlyle [1795] Scottish satirist, essayist and historian. A fun read, even if his ideas [he was a romanticist] are hopelessly wrong-headed and outdated.

Francisco Franco [1892] Authoritarian ruler of Spain 1936-1975, dedicated anti-Marxist, and longtime favorite whipping-boy of the Left.

Leaving the Building:

Irving Lahrheim [1967] - you probably would recognize him by his stage name, Bert Lahr. He played the Cowardly Lion in the "Wizard of Oz".

Hannah Arendt [1975] - sociologist and political theorist [she refused to be called a philosopher]. Longtime lover of existentialist philosopher Martin Heidegger. She was Jewish, he was a Nazi -- it didn't work out. She eventually wound up with Heinrich Blucher. He was a Communist -- a much better match. She was smart enough to recognize the essential similarities between Stalin and Hitler and was much denounced by Lefties for pointing them out. They also attacked her for suggesting that the American Revolution was far more successful than the French one. Her most famous writing was an article on Adolf Eichmann in which she coined the term "the banality of evil". Interesting woman, interesting mind, interesting life.

Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis and Frank Zappa both died on this day in 1993. Coincidence? I think not. Hey, I'm just connecting the dots.