Saturday, July 02, 2011

Today -100: July 2, 1911: Of earthquakes, gunboats, pocket moving pictures, crazy Moros, Taft’s soup, bananas, balloons, and hippopotamus skin

Earthquake in San Francisco, the largest since ‘06. No serious damage to buildings, but thousands of underpants need discarding. One man dies of fright. Stronger in Sacramento and Carson City.

Germany sends a gunboat, the Panther, to Agadir, Morocco, with 120 men, ostensibly to protect German businesses and nationals. France is upset because Morocco is mine! mine! mine! Well, technically France is still pretending that its troops are just trying to restore order in Morocco, not to complete its collection of North African colonies, so it’s reduced to complaining that the German move violates a 1909 agreement that Germany has pre-eminent commercial interests in Morocco and France pre-eminent political ones.

A new fad in Berlin: “pocket moving pictures.” You have yourself filmed briefly by a movie camera. Then you can walk around with a box containing a roll of photographs derived from the film, and you turn a crank very quickly to make the photos appear to be moving. All the cool kidz are getting them. Someone plans to import this novelty into the US. I predict it’ll be huge.

Headline of the Day -100: “Kills Crazy Moro and is Commended.” Private John Bonnell of the 2nd Cavalry, in the Sulu province of the Philippines (little-known fact: all provinces in the Philippines are named after Star Trek characters) (c’mon, we were all thinking it), shoots dead a “religion crazed Mohammedan Moro” who had just killed Lt. Walter Rodney. In a letter to his father, Priv. Bonnell (“I like soldiering in Sulu. We have exciting times as the tribes of the Moros are nothing but savages”) writes that not only is he getting a letter of commendation, but also the bloody bolo with which the “wild Moro” killed Lt. Rodney.

Other Headline of the Day -100: “Master Berri Didn’t Step in Taft’s Soup.” And he has a letter from the president to prove it.

Other Other Headline of the Day -100: “Slips on Banana Peel, Dying.” In NY Central Railroad Station, William Buick, evidently a pioneer in slapstick comedy, suffered the fate of all too many pioneers.

Yet Another Headline of the Day -100, because it’s just that kind of day: “Thief Escapes in Balloon.” A pickpocket. An awesome pickpocket. I wonder how many hot air balloon hijackings there have ever been?

A thief who doesn’t escape: Marie Amadeo, Baron Delord, son of the former King Amadeo I of Spain (r.1870-3) and nephew of the late king of Italy, pinched in Paris for trying to shoplift two bottles of scent and a dozen pairs of women’s stockings in a dry goods store. After a little research I can’t believe I took the time to do, I strongly doubt this guy is actually the son of King Amadeo (illegitimate son, which you’d have to read the NYT story quite carefully to realize they were saying).

The US Navy launches its first airplane, a hydroplane, and qualifies its first pilot.

Headline of, oh, you know: “Old Caliph’s Skin a Museum Exhibit.” Does it make this story more weird or less weird that Caliph was a hippopotamus? I can’t decide.

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