Saturday, May 17, 2014

Today -100: May 17, 1914: Of Wagnerian bastards, dueling scars, unmolested privates, and wingos

Isolde Beidier is suing the family of the late composer Richard Wagner to be legally allowed to say that she is his daughter, which she is (Wagner had an affair with Cosima von Bülow, Franz Liszt’s daughter and the wife of conductor Hans von Bülow; Isolde was named after the opera of Wagner’s that the cuckold was conducting at the time).

At the Society for Aeronautics and Aviation in Dresden, mad scientist Prof. Conheim of Hamburg demonstrates that birds can maintain their balance in the air after their brains have been removed, thus proving that it is possible to invent an automatic pilot for airplanes. Also drones. Now you know who to blame for drones: Professor Conheim. Revile his name!

German university students think nothing is cooler than a dueling scar. But one student, unnamed in this story, wanted a cool scar but was afraid to duel, so he asked a university (which is also unnamed) servant to cut him very slightly on the face with a saber. He is now suing the servant because he got more of a slash than he bargained for.

Limerick County Council resolves to support the Nationalist volunteers, the counterparts of the Ulster Volunteers.

Headline of the Day -100: “Orangemen Play Joke on Officials.” A couple of bored members of the Ulster Committee chat on a phone line they know is being tapped about a fictitious shipment of arms being smuggled in. The Royal Navy scrambles some warships to Bangor (near Belfast).

Ford Motors is laying off 6,000 or so workers during its annual slack season. First for the chop: bachelors.

After capturing Tampico, the Constitutionalists executed all the Federal officers, as was the custom, “but it is reported that the privates were not molested”.

Name of the Day -100: Rep. Otis Wingo (D-Ark), who predicts the US will annex Mexico and all the countries down to the Panama Canal. Congress was discussing appropriations for a new embassy in Mexico City; and Mr. Wingo thinks there is no need for one because Mexico won’t be a foreign country much longer.

Name of the Day -100 #2: When Mr. Wingo died in 1930, his widow, Effiegene Wingo, was elected to replace him. (Wikipedia mistakenly names as her children the children of another congresswoman, Ruth Pratt, leading me briefly to believe that Effiegene had married a Pratt before marrying a Wingo. Imagine my disappointment upon realizing the error, but imagine my joy at reading of something called the Pratt-Smoot Act.)

China now requires all newspapers to make a security deposit with the government against their good behaviour, and for all editors, publishers and printers to be 30 years or older. And there’s a long list of things they’re not allowed to report on.

As the Colorado Legislature’s special session is coming to an end without really accomplishing anything, Pres. Wilson telegrams Gov. Ammons saying that he only sent federal troops into the strike district until Colorado could take control of its own affairs, so get on with it.

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