Saturday, December 27, 2014

Today -100: December 27, 1914: Those v’s will get you every time

Germany is telling neutral countries that it won’t recognize their consuls in Belgium anymore, part of its slow-moving annexation.  If the US and other neutrals accept this move, they’d be effectively accepting German sovereignty over Belgium.

Headline of the Day -100 (AP story in the LA Times):  “German Spy’s Accent Sends Him to Death.”  I’m guessing this is nonsense, but the story goes that when the German army was near Paris, a German spy pretending to be a French officer got into the collection of artillery assembled to defend the city, claiming to belong to the military staff but not knowing the password and wearing a new uniform.  A suspicious French colonel had him count the artillery pieces, in ordinal rather than cardinal numbers because it’s a well-known fact that Germans can’t pronounce vingt-neuvieme, something about the v’s and the t.  So the spy was arrested and shot.

Mexico’s Provisional President Gutierrez orders everyone to stop all the summary executions.

Headline of the Day -100 (NYT Magazine):  “New Ruler of Egypt Is a Dancing Sultan.”

Most Terra Haute, Indiana officials, from Mayor Donn Roberts down, are arrested for corrupting in the November elections, including for Congress and the US Senate.  The conspiracy included repeat voting (some of the floating voters testified that they were paid to vote for Republicans in Illinois and Democrats in Indiana), infiltrating election boards, fake registrations, arresting people they didn’t want voting, all paid for with a “tax” on saloons, gambling houses, dance halls etc.  Roberts, who had been planning to spend 1916 running for governor, instead was serving a sentence for bribery in Leavenworth.

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