This Week’s Trivia


The Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dragon, began January 23, 2012. Since there was no United States Google doodle, it’s a good thing I read international papers! I would have otherwise completely missed it.

I wondered what else I might be missing, so I searched out a few pieces of trivia for our collective edification. Fortunately for you, it’s a slow Christian feast week so you’re being spared my warped sense of saint humor. Here’s what I found for this week instead:

January 24, 1984: The first Macintosh personal computer went on sale. Two days before the now-famous Super Bowl commercial aired. The Mac was the first commercially successful personal computer featuring a mouse and graphical interface. The rest has become history.

January 25, 1858: Felix Mendelssohn’s Wedding March becomes a favorite wedding recessional on this day when Queen Victoria’s daughter, Victoria married Frederich of Prussia. Queen Victoria greatly admired Mendelssohn’s music so it was no surprise when she selected this incidental music from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for her daughter’s wedding.¬†Incidentally, Mendelssohn, who’s father denounced his religion and converted the family to Lutheran, was never ashamed of his Jewish heritage and refused to go by the family’s changed name.

January 26, 1961: President John F. Kennedy appoints Janet G. Travell, M.D. as his personal physician, the first woman to hold such a position. Kennedy’s orthopedic doctor consulted Dr. Travell who was known for her research in alleviating skeletal muscular pain. President Kennedy suffered from back pain due to injuries from World War II. Dr. Travell prescribed the rocking chair to help in alleviating pain. As a result, the rocking chair became a popular piece of American furniture. She’s also know for the concept of trigger points as a cause for referred pain and spray analgesics which are still popular in sports medicine treatments today.

January 27, 1825 and January 27, 1945: On this day in 1825, the U.S. Congress authorized Indian Territory in current day Oklahoma. This act paved the way for the relocation Native Americans in what is now known as the Trail of Tears. The British and later American governments has been practicing Indian Removal since they arrived, but President Andrew Jackson aggressively pursued its implementation. When Oklahoma became a state in 1907, the Indian Territory was disbanded. Not one of America’s finest hour.

On this date in 1945, the Soviet Red Army liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. This camp was designated as the final solution for the Jewish question in Europe. Not one of humanity’s finer hours.

January 28, 1521: The Diet of Worms. I wish I could just leave it at that because you’re imagination is much more interesting. No, it’s not a worm diet, although I bet a worm diet would be very effective in weight reduction! A diet is a deliberative assembly. Worms was the German town in which the diet was held. Emperor Charles V summoned Martin Luther to address his 95 Thesis that started the whole Protestant Reformation. The edict that was handed down had this declaration by Charles V:

For this reason we forbid anyone from this time forward to dare, either by words or by deeds, to receive, defend, sustain, or favor the said Martin Luther. On the contrary, we want him to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic, as he deserves, to be brought personally before us, or to be securely guarded until those who have captured him inform us, where upon we will order the appropriate manner of proceeding against the said Luther. Those who will help in his capture will be rewarded generously for their good work.

Hmm. Not much has changed for those with differing opinions in almost six hundred years.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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