Your Week in History: Political scandal and a perfect score - News, Weather & Sports

Your Week in History: Political scandal and a perfect score

Snooty, what is believed to be the world's oldest manatee, interacts with a trainer at the South Florida Museum. (Source: Dhphoto/Wikimedia Commons) Snooty, what is believed to be the world's oldest manatee, interacts with a trainer at the South Florida Museum. (Source: Dhphoto/Wikimedia Commons)
The Rosetta Stone, shown here, was found July 15, 1799. (Source: Hans Hillewaert/Wikimedia Commons) The Rosetta Stone, shown here, was found July 15, 1799. (Source: Hans Hillewaert/Wikimedia Commons)
Buzz Aldrin walks on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission. (Source: NASA/Wikimedia Commons) Buzz Aldrin walks on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission. (Source: NASA/Wikimedia Commons)
The aftermath of a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler on July 20, 1944. (Source: German National Archives/Wikimedia Commons) The aftermath of a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler on July 20, 1944. (Source: German National Archives/Wikimedia Commons)
The trinity bomb test was conducted July 16, 1945. (Source: Los Alamos National Laboratory/Wikimedia Commons) The trinity bomb test was conducted July 16, 1945. (Source: Los Alamos National Laboratory/Wikimedia Commons)

(RNN) – Are you as stoked about the royal baby as I am?

I'm going to assume you said yes, because otherwise my job is meaningless and that's not something I'm willing to ponder at the moment.

I think the birth of the little Tudor - I know it's Windsor, but I refuse to let facts get in the way of hilariously word play - is perhaps the greatest thing to happen in my lifetime. I mean, it's the third next king/queen. That's monumental. (By the way, the surname Windsor was established July 17, 1917, by George V.)

This is a person who will ride in carriages and wear silly hats. This must be celebrated.

When you hear of the royal baby's birth, take a moment to look around so you can remember where you were for the rest of your life. These kinds of events only come once in a generation.

Moving from historic events of the future to historic events from the past, here are some of the events of note that happened between July 15 and July 21.

Life and Death

I watched the remake of True Grit on Friday night and it was fortunate timing because I noticed Rooster Cogburn was born July 15, 1825. It's listed on his tombstone at the end of the movie. Naturally, I was stoked. I'm only assuming his birthday is the same across all Rooster-related formats, but I'm celebrating regardless.

This isn't the first time I connected John Wayne based on a fictional character's birthday. Actually, the first John Wayne reference I made was due to a fictional character's birthday. That was in January in the third one of these columns I ever wrote. However, it wasn't until April that Wayne became a weekly staple.

Anyway, I didn't have to do that to talk about John Wayne this week, it was just convenient. Natalie Wood was born July 20, 1938, and Wayne spends the entire movie looking for her in The Searchers. He's John Wayne, so obviously he succeeds. It's too bad he died two years before she fell off a boat.

Barbara Stanwyck was born July 16, 1907, and appeared on screen with Wayne in Baby Face. It's probably more accurate to say Wayne appeared with Stanwyck because she was the female lead and he was in a lesser role because it was near the start of his career.

Chill Wills was born July 18, 1903, and was in several movies with Wayne, including McLintock! and The Alamo, for which he was nominated for an Oscar.

Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle was born July 15, 1948. Pyle not only survived the band's plane crash but survived being shot by a local farmer shortly thereafter while seeking help for his band mates. In recent years, he's had some legal issues, including having to register as a sex offender. One of the band's guitarists, Allen Collins, was born July 19, 1952. Collins suffered severe injuries in the plane crash but went on to make a full recovery. He died in 1990.

A manatee named Snooty was born July 21, 1948. Snooty was the first recorded captive-born manatee, is the oldest captive manatee in the world and possibly the oldest manatee in the world. He lives at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, FL.

Two great comedians share a birthday. Don Knotts (1924) and Robin Williams (1951) were both born July 21. Rembrandt was born July 16, 1606, Phyllis Diller was born July 17, 1917, Nelson Mandela was born July 18, 1918, Art Linkletter was born July 17, 1912, and Phoebe Cates was born July 16, 1963.

Rembrandt is known for painting portraits, Diller became famous for her laugh and talking about her husband Fang, Mandela helped end Apartheid in South Africa and is in failing health, Linkletter got kids to speak what's on their minds ("The more wine we get, the better the wedding is") and Cates is known for something that can't be discussed here.

Machine Gun Kelly was born and died July 18. He was born in 1895 and died of a heart attack in prison in 1954.

Gianni Versace was murdered by serial killer Andrew Cunanan on July 15, 1997. The motivation for the killing is still unknown. Cunanan was on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List at the time of the murder and committed suicide eight days later.

Mary Jo Kopechne died July 16, 1969, after U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge at Chappaquiddick Island near Martha's Vineyard, John F. Kennedy Jr. died in a plane crash July 16, 1999, Mary Todd Lincoln died July 16, 1882, and Ty Cobb died July 17, 1961.

Overlooked Anniversaries

July 20, 1969, marks one of the most remarkable achievements in human history when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. Armstrong delivered what is one of the most famous quotes in human history when he said, "That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind."

But that quote might be wrong. Armstrong was supposed to say, "small step for a man" and he claimed to have done so, but the audio of the statement didn't pick up one of the words. Or did it?

It might be one of the greatest mysteries of all time. What is not a mystery, however, is if the event actually happened as portrayed. There are still a bunch of idiots who claim the landings on the moon were faked. Those people and their ludicrous ideas need to be sent to the moon and left there.

The conspiracy theories were revealed to be complete lunar lunacy on MythBusters, and Aldrin even once punched a guy in the face over the assertion that he was a fraud.

Space shuttle Atlantis landed July 21, 2011, ending the space shuttle program and leaving the U.S. without a vehicle with which to launch astronauts into space.

TWA Flight 800 exploded July 17, 1996, shortly after takeoff, killing all 230 people on board. The cause was attributed to a short circuit that led to an explosion in one of the engines. Alternate theories still abound, including that the plane was shot down by a missile. The theory has gained new attention in recent weeks because a documentary that supports it is scheduled to be televised Wednesday.

Douglas Corrigan flew from New York to Ireland on July 17, 1938, while trying to fly from New York to California. Some claim he went to Ireland on purpose, but Corrigan himself never admitted it. He claimed to notice the error after 26 hours in the air. It might have all been a publicity stunt, but no matter what his intentions, the nickname "Wrong Way" stuck with him and he garnered a lucrative book deal from the misadventure.

A walkway at the Hyatt Regency in Kansas City, MO, collapsed July 17, 1981. The disaster resulted in 114 deaths, and 216 people were injured. It was the deadliest structural collapse in U.S. history at the time and has only been surpassed by the collapse of the World Trade Center.

The Rosetta Stone was found July 15, 1799, Adolf Hitler published Mein Kampf on July 18, 1925, Catcher in the Rye was published July 16, 1951, and Disneyland opened July 17, 1955.

Something About Sports

The first ever perfect 10 was awarded to Nadia Comaneci on July 18, 1976, during the team competition in the Olympics in Montreal. She earned six more during the competition and won the gold medal in the all-around competition, balance beam and uneven bars, a silver medal in the team competition and a bronze medal in the floor exercise.

Her score was listed in the arena was a 1.00 because the display board had been set up in the belief that a 10.00 score was impossible.

What is perhaps the greatest record in all of sports came to an end July 17, 1941. Joe DiMaggio had hit in 56 consecutive games until then, when the Cleveland Indians and hot-fielding third baseman Ken Keltner brought the streak to an end.

DiMaggio not only holds the record for longest hit streak, but the day after the streak ended, he started a 16-game hitting streak, giving him a mark of at least one hit in 72 of 73 games, which is also a record. The closest anyone has come to equaling DiMaggio was Pete Rose with a 44-game hitting streak in 1978. The longest active MLB hitting streak is 13 by Seattle's Kyle Seager.

The Week in Warfare

Christian Crusaders took over the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on July 15, 1099, during the first crusade. The church is notable for being the purported site of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus, though alternate locations have been theorized. The church was rebuilt and consecrated July 15, 1149.

The first Battle of Bull Run was fought July 21, 1861, near Manassas, VA. Known as the First Battle of Manassas to the Confederacy, it was the first major land battle of the war and resulted in Confederate victory. The Union thought a quick march on Richmond, VA, would end the South's rebellion and avoid a long and bloody war. The Union's attack was poorly executed and a counterattack by the Confederacy earned then-Col. Thomas Jackson the nickname "Stonewall." The Union suffered nearly 3,000 casualties while the Confederacy suffered nearly 2,000.

The battle led to the adoption of the Confederate Battle Flag due to confusion on the field. After the Union retreated, Confederate President Jefferson Davis wanted the army to march toward Washington, DC, to capitalize on their advantage, but Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard saw his troops in disarray and held them back.

The Messerschmitt Me-262 was flown with jet engines for the first time July 18, 1942. It was the first operational jet-powered fighter plane, but due to ongoing problems with the engines, Germany didn't introduce it until late in World War II. Though it was a better plane than those of the Allies, it was produced in small numbers, only used for a short time and poorly supplied due to Allied raids on supply stores. Its effect on the war was minimal.

The first flight of the B-2 stealth bomber was July 17, 1989, and the Trinity nuclear bomb test was conducted July 16, 1945.

A plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler was carried out by German military officials July 20, 1944. It was the fifth such plan, but the only one to be carried out. Known as Operation Valkyrie, a bomb was placed in a conference room in Hitler's Wolf's Lair. The explosion destroyed the room and killed four people, but Hitler escaped with only minor wounds.

The conspirators in the plot were rounded up and either executed or allowed to commit suicide. Claus von Stauffenberg, who had placed the bomb, was executed by firing squad the following day.

Holiday You Should Celebrate

July 17 is Yellow Pig Day. It is for math nuts and celebrates the number 17, and believe it or not there are songs dedicated to it.

It's also a good week to be old if you live in Kiribati. July 15 is Elderly Man Day and July 16 is Elderly Woman Day in the tiny island nation.

Preview of next week

"Kerri Strug has won the gold medal for the United States team."

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