Wednesday, June 30, 2010

This Day in History

1859 – French acrobat Charles Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Why is it always a French guy? Philippe Petit walked a tightrope between the Twin Towers in 1974.

1905 – Albert Einstein published the article, On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, in which he introduces special relativity. I have read this article so many times that I have it practically memorized. Look for a review shortly.

1944 - World War II: The Battle of Cherbourg ends with the fall of the strategically valuable port to American forces. This was critically important as the Allies had been relying on two artificial harbors, Mulberry A and B, one of which had been destroyed on June 19 in a major Atlantic storm. In the 10 months following D-Day, the two harbors were used to land over 2.5 million men (including my Uncle John Heslip and Uncle Joe Lydon), 500,000 vehicles, and 4 million tons of supplies.

1972 – The first leap second is added to the UTC time system. A leap second? Just think about that.

1997 – The United Kingdom transfers sovereignty over Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China. As a result, the cost of making cheap men’s suits in the former crown colony skyrockets, necessitating “Casual Fridays” and bringing about the demise of the three-piece suit.

On this day, we said hello to:

1950 – Leonard Whiting, British actor, who starred in Franco Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet. My sister and I went to this movie with one facial tissue between us. Not a good idea. But we went back the next night with a box of Kleenex. It was barely enough.

1974 - Vixxxen - Calumet City, California – She sure does have a lot of xxx’s in her name.

On this day, we said goodbye to:

1993 – George “Spanky” McFarland, American actor (b. 1928), a member of “Our Gang.”

2003 – Buddy Hackett, American comic (b. 1924), and the voice of the seagull in The Little Mermaid. He knew what a dinglehopper was.


  1. What on earth is a dinglehopper, mary? I for one don't know. Or is that because I'm British?

    Travelling over to france for holidays over the years. France is a major holiday destination for British teachers. Cheep plonk anaesthetises their brains after the bashing they have had over the year.I should know. Cherbourg still has many of it's WWII fortifications in place. There is a steep, high hill and i mean steep, vertical and I mean high, probably 2 thousand feet, still with a concrete fort and gun placements on top.

    Arromanche where one of the mulberry harbours was still has many of the concrete caissons in place. The beaches are beautiful around there but nobody goes in swimming. You can't help thinking!!!!!!!

  2. LOL!

    I'm looking forward to your review of Einstein's Electrodynamics article. ;)

    @Southerner - You mean you haven't watched Disney's Little Mermaid? That's OK--you were never a preteen girl so you're forgiven.

  3. When my husband and I were in France in 1985, we toured WWI sites (e.g., Vimy Ridge) and the Normandy beaches. We stayed in a hotel near where a section of the Mulberry harbor was still floating. My uncle, Joe Lydon, was an engineer and was in the first wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day. It can chill the blood to think of the things he saw. He never talked about it.

  4. What is a dingelhopper? Ariel, the mermaid, has a cache of miscellaneous objects she has discovered under the sea. She finds a fork and takes it to the seagull for identification. He really doesn't know what it is, but "wings" it (pun intended) and tells her it is a dingelhopper, which is used to comb your hair.

  5. Just a thought Mary.
    (including my Uncle John Heslip and Uncle Joe Lydon),

    After the initial D-Day, when the first 250,000 troops who landed on the beaches, came from all ports along the South Coast, Portsmouth, Southampton but all along to the far reaches of the West Country past Plymouth, the majority of troops, a good 2,million or more all came through Southampton. Your uncles may well have marched down the High Street from the holding camps on the Common, through bombed out Southampton, within a hundred yards of where Jane Austen had lived in Castle Square down to the ships in the port.

  6. Another couple of thoughts Mary.

    My grandmother, my dad's mum, provided accomodation for two Yanks during the war before they went over to France. Any Americans who had friends or relations over here were allowed to stay with the people they knew rather than billet in the holding camps.

    I've got pictures of my aunts with Yanks. Now let me see their names could have been John and Joe.Only joking Mary.

    My dad was in Burma with the RAF at the time. He was stationed in the middle of the Burmese jungle. They actually carved an airfield out of the jungle. Amazing.

    My grandfather was a draughtsman and worked in a small shipyard in Southampton called Thorneycrofts. They built minesweepers , destroyers and some of those caissons for the Mulberry harbours.

  7. Tony, Thank you for sharing. I love stuff like that!