Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Today -100: January 19, 1916: The Charlie nickel

King Nikola of Montenegro hands his sword to German Gen. Herlees. Not all of the army is following the king’s surrender, though, and a couple of Montenegrin generals have joined the Serbs. Nikola doesn’t know it yet, but he’s done as king.

British papers are peddling the story that Nikola always had a secret deal with Austria, and that if Italy had sent troops to rescue Montenegro, they’d have been marching into a trap. Italian papers are likewise pointing out that shipments of food and munitions Italy had sent Montenegro were left on the dock, as if the Montenegrens knew they weren’t really going to be fighting Austria.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: the NYT publishes a report from Berlin, and a denial of that report from London, that Britain and France have issued an ultimatum to Greece to expel Central Power ambassadors within 48 hours.

Headline of the Day -100:

A couple of Pancho Villa’s lieutenants (or generals, as the case may be) are publicly executed in Juarez and their corpses displayed at the train station, as was the custom. They will also go on a posthumous roadtrip and be publicly displayed in Chihuahua. This is necessary, Carranza’s people say, to convince the US that they’d really caught and killed Gen. José Rodriguez, the man they claim was responsible for the train massacre.

A young woman believed to be an escaped novice from St. Joseph’s Convent in Philadelphia is arrested in Baltimore, on the convent’s request. Not sure what grounds there are to arrest a 23-year-old adult woman for leaving a convent.

Vending machine and telephone and nickelodeon and subway interests are trying to stop the sale of nickel-shaped coins, sold for a penny each, that can be used in their machines. The fake coins were supposedly intended as novelty items – they have an elastic cord, so you give it to someone, then it whips back to you, ZOINK!, hours of hilarity – and were only subsequently discovered to have more nefarious purposes.

Oh, the face on the coins? Charlie Chaplin.

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