Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Today -100: October 25, 1911: Of roving bands, the Burgs, and Santa Claus

In Mexico, “roving bands of Zapatistas” are looting and burning villages.

Archduke Ferdinand renounces his archdukitude and all his privileges as a member of the Austrian royal family so he can marry the woman he loves, the daughter of a Swiss professor. He will now be known as plain old Ferdinand Burg and will live with Mrs. Burg in Switzerland. The name Burg was evidently just made up. If you’re confused right now, as I was, it turns out that the Archduke Ferdinand whose assassination started World War I was Franz Ferdinand, and this one is his younger brother Ferdinand Karl. Being out of the royal family (officially banished, in fact) only kept him alive a few months longer than his brother; he died of tuberculosis in 1915; Mrs. Burg died in 1979 at 99.

This year, all letters sent to Santa Claus will be destroyed. In the past few years the Post Office had distributed them to charities, but there were abuses, whatever that means.

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