Author Topic: Today in history

sam

Today in history
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2014 »


Nobody had told him the war was over.

Dropped behind enemy lines by mistake after there had stopped being an enemy, the unknown soldier takes a bead on a white van man, who surrenders then breaks the news. Disbelieving at first, the soldier briefly takes him prisoner before being convinced that he can finally lay down his arms. "Who won?" he asks.

sam

Today in history
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2014 »


In postwar Britain there were many shortages. Unable to find a bike in the shops which fits him properly, a man makes his own after measuring all relevant body parts and carefully assessing his optimal riding position. "It rides great!" he tells people, though certain discomforts will later surface, sending him to the nascent NHS for what he insists are unrelated discomforts.

sam

Today in history
« Reply #22 on: August 09, 2015 »
Richard Nixon narrowly avoids his own Chappaquiddick.



This carefully stage-managed publicity shot nearly ended in tragedy when the future president plunged into the reflecting pool, Julie squealing with innocent delight; both of them had to be pulled out by the quick-thinking photographer. It transpired he had never learned how to ride a bike.


Or swim. Here he is on holiday, awaiting rescue.

Nixon later took up cycling with a passion during his campaign against the much more athletic JFK, in an effort to woo fit voters.



Football was also a no-go area, much as he loved the game.



After his bitter loss to his photogenic rival he carried on with it, almost as a badge of honour. He could sometimes be heard muttering "two wheels good" under his breath as he licked his wounds in Bebe Rebozzo's Florida compound, planning his illustrious comeback.

After his long anticipated victory he would frequently be spotted pedalling furiously along the Potomac "to clear my head," a secret service agent struggling to keep up on a battered old Schwinn behind him (ah, for the days of fiscal prudence), nuclear launch codes in his panniers. Among the facts to later emerge after the scandals of Watergate, it was discovered that most of the missiles had been redirected from their Soviet destinations and pointed towards domestic targets unfriendly to the administration; Jack Anderson wouldn't have survived even if he'd ducked underneath the nearest fallout shelter hammock.

sam

Today in History
« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2015 »
The chemist William Ramsay rides to work on his birthday.


artist's reconstruction

That evening at his party he became the first person to inhale helium from a balloon to surprise and delight everyone with a high pitched squeaky voice – a discovery which won him the Nobel.

He later lent his credibility to an ill-fated scheme to extract gold from seawater, but nobody took him seriously because he wouldn't stop talking that way.



The eminent Victorian also founded a club called The Noble Gasbags that sponsored a series of lectures with topics diverse as "Argon constitutes 0.934% by volume and 1.288% by mass of the earth's atmosphere" and "Whalebone Corsets: Out of the Sexual Fetish Closet". They proved so popular that the general public was invited provided an atmosphere of proper decorum was maintained.


sam

Today in history
« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2016 »


Jimmy Carter walked to his inauguration. Bill and co-president* Hillary opted to pedal along the Potomac (looking particularly tidal that day) on the way to theirs.

Hillary was actually the stronger rider, but held herself in check for the press and the sake of the nation, which was not yet ready for a woman to take the lead.




* 'Deja Two' is clever, but I'll reserve judgement on the rest of the piece. As for the elections later this year, NOTA has my support, with Sanders a close second.

Click here for more presidents on bikes.

sam

Today in history
« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2016 »


The inaugural Tour de Trump launched from Albany NY in 1989 in a bid to be America's Freedom Fries answer to the Frenchie version. There were protests



which the police controlled using water canons loaded with champagne. The spectacle finished in front of Trump's casino in Atlantic City, with Norwegian Dag Otto Lauritzen claiming the orange jersey



and a free lap dance by Donna Brazile.


Still getting work in the post-noughties: "Acts of service can indeed cross boundaries."
You can't make this stuff up.


Sponsorship later changed to chemical company DuPont, which pulled the plug in 1996. The final race was won by up-and-comer Lance Armstrong.

sam

Today in history
« Reply #26 on: December 27, 2017 »


The princess proudly rides the new trike she believes she got for Christmas from her beloved papa, as yet still blissfully unaware that the diminutive steed she found hidden in the stables was actually meant as a Boxing Day gift for the daughter of one of Bertie’s “mistresses” employed as a charwoman he mistakenly thought he had impregnated after bumping into whilst in the course of her duties and of the belief that the jostle was sufficiently intimate to have induced fatherhood (a notion his butler Stevens, discretely employed by the queen to set him straight with a talk about the birds and the bees one would have assumed quite unnecessary at this point, was never able to disabuse him of). On being gently informed that the trike was not hers, a task it took the embarrassed king several days to communicate due to his stutter, Lilibet would dutifully hand it over to the charwoman’s daughter, one Penelope Creighton, who if history had any sense of whimsy would go on to record having many adventures as the future partner of crime-fighting chauffeur Burt Ward.


sam

Today in history
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2018 »
A cabbie declared “I saw you fine.”


sam

Today in history
« Reply #28 on: July 31, 2019 »


Ed and Fred had a portrait taken together to celebrate their friendship. Struck by inspiration, the photographer gave them bicycles to pose with, as they were unwilling to commit to any of the other props on offer. It turned out to be love at first sight. They would go on to found the Tiffin Scorchers, that small town’s pre-eminent cycling club. The two became so close they eventually underwent reverse Siamese twin surgery and joined the circus, which tastefully showcased their skills on a specially built tandem.