70: DURING THE SIEGE OF JERUSALEM, TITUS, SON OF EMPEROR VESPASIAN, STORMS THE FORTRESS OF ANTONIA NORTH OF THE TEMPLE MOUNT.
My Lord. It's only seventy years after Jesus and already the Mideast is a freakin' powder keg.
911: ROLLO LAYS SIEGE TO CHARTRES.
I mention this only because I have no clue who Rollo is.
1304: IN THE WARS FOR SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE, KING EDWARD I OF ENGLAND TAKES THE STRONGHOLD USING THE WAR WOLF.
Gee, even those pansies in kilts got their licks in.
1738: CANADIAN EXPLORER PIERRE GAULTIER DE VARENNES ET DE LA VERENDRYE REACHES THE WESTERN SHORE OF LAKE MICHIGAN.
And realizes he should have packed a sweater.
1807: NICEPHORE NIEPCE IS AWARDED A PATENT BY NAPOLEON BONAPARTE FOR THE PYREOLOPHORE, THE WORLD'S FIRST INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE.
Damn, this sure is a boring date in history. And a tough one to make jokes about.
1810: CITIZENS OF BOGOTA, NEW GRANADA DECLARE INDEPENDENCE FROM SPAIN.
See! Not funny.
1871: BRITISH COLUMBIA JOINS THE CONFEDERATION OF CANADA.
Also not funny.
1877: RIOTING IN BALTIMORE, MARYLAND BY BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD WORKERS IS PUT DOWN BY THE STATE MILITIA, RESULTING IN NINE DEATHS.
I tried to make an Oriole joke work. I couldn't. Also not funny.
1881: SIOUX CHIEF SITTING BULL LEADS THE LAST OF HIS FUGITIVE PEOPLE IN SURRENDER TO UNITED STATES TROOPS.
Okay, good, the joke is... Er, never mind. Not funny.
1901: BASEBALL PLAYER HEINIE MANUSH IS BORN.
What an unfortunate first name.
1903: THE FORD MOTOR COMPANY SHIPS ITS FIRST CAR.
And it's immediately recalled. Leave it to the American car industry to bring the funny back to this date.
1916: IN ARMENIA, RUSSIAN TROOPS CAPTURE GUMISKHANEK.
Which may explain why the Armenians all moved to Glendale, California.
1921: AIR MAIL SERVICE BEGINS BETWEEN NEW YORK CITY AND SAN FRANCISCO.
Is this with or without pigeons?
1921: CONGRESSWOMAN ALICE MARY ROBERTSON BECAME THE FIRST WOMAN TO PRESIDE OVER THE US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
I wish she had been the last. That's, of course, making the assumption that Nancy Pelosi is really a woman.
1926: A CONVENTION OF THE SOUTHERN METHODIST CHURCH VOTES TO ALLOW WOMEN TO BECOME MINISTERS.
How long before one of them tries to tell us that Jesus was a girl?
1928: THE GOVERNMENT OF HUNGARY ISSUES A DECREE ORDERING GYPSIES TO END THEIR NOMADIC WAYS, SETTLE PERMANENTLY IN ONE PLACE, AND SUBJECT THEMSELVES TO THE SAME LAWS AND TAXES AS OTHER HUNGARIANS.
Well, that's a stupid rule. Isn't that what gypsies do? Move around? Meanwhile, we had some in my neighborhood when I was growing up and my grandmother said that, if I looked them straight in the eye, they would put nails in my throat.
1932: IN WASHINGTON DC, POLICE FIRE TEAR GAS ON WORLD WAR I VETERANS WHO ATTEMPT TO MARCH ON THE WHITE HOUSE.
Almost as dumb as forbidding gypsies from moving. Who tosses tear gas on a war veteran???
1938: ACTRESS NATALIE WOOD IS BORN.
The kind of wood that doesn't float.
1940: DENMARK LEAVES THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS.
They shifted to a division that had the designated hitter.
1940: CALIFORNIA OPENS ITS FIRST FREEWAY, THE ARROYO SECO PARKWAY.
How many minutes before it was completely clogged?
1944: ADOLF HITLER SURVIVES AN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT LED BY GERMAN ARMY COLONEL CLAUS VON STAUFFENBERG.
How many Jews would have been saved if this guy could shoot straight?
1949: ISRAEL AND SYRIA SIGN A TRUCE TO END THEIR NINETEEN-MONTH WAR.
A fat lot of good that did.
1953: THE UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL VOTES TO MAKE UNICEF A PERMANENT AGENCY.
And gave cheapskates an excuse not to give out candy on Halloween.
1969: APOLLO 11 SUCCESSFULLY LANDS ON THE MOON.
And the astronauts were introduced almost immediately to Alice Kramden.
1976: HANK AARON HITS HIS 755TH HOME RUN, THE FINAL HOME RUN OF HIS CAREER.
The true leader in this category, not that Barry Bonds asshole.
1977: JOHNSTOWN IS HIT BY A FLASH FLOOD THAT KILLS 80.
So there really was a Johnstown flood???
1984: OFFICIALS OF THE MISS AMERICA PAGEANT ASK VANESSA WILLIAMS TO QUIT AFTER PENTHOUSE PUBLISHES NUDE PHOTOS OF HER.
As if Bert Parks never saw a pubic hair in his life.
1987: ACTOR RICHARD EGAN DIES.
Well, that, at least, got his teeth unclenched.
1999: ACTRESS SANDRA GOULD DIES.
Gladys Kravitz!!! Well, the second one.
2005: ACTOR JAMES DOOHAN DIES.
Beamed up. Really.
2007: TELEVANGELIST TAMMY FAYE BAKKER MESSNER DIES.
2013: JOURNALIST HELEN THOMAS DIES.
Years after she first started to look like death.
2014: AFTER FIVE DECADES, THE US AND CUBA RESUME FULL DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS.
2015: ACTOR THEODORE BIKEL DIES.
I met him on line for popcorn at a screening of "My Fair Lady."
Dinner last night: Chopped chef's salad.