Saturday, April 16, 2005
1178 BC: Odysseus finally reaches Ithaca on his journey back from the Trojan War.
1071: The last bit of the Roman empire expires in Italy, as Norman Robert Guiscard captures Bari.
1844: Writer Anatole France is born at Paris. His most famous line: "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."
1881: In Dodge City, Kansas, Bat Masterson fights his last gun battle. He will end his career as a sportswriter for the New York Morning Telegraph. "New York is the biggest boobtown in the world," he would say. "They'll buy any Goddamned thing here."
1915: Rhode Island Senator Nelson W. Aldrich dies at New York City. He's the man who introduced the constitutional amendment creating the Federal income tax. At the time of his death the maximum tax rate is 7 percent on amounts over $500,000 (or $9.2 million today).
1926: One of the most successful mail order businesses of all time, Harry Scherman's Book of the Month Club, ships its first selection, Lolly Willows by Sylvia Townsend Warner. It is credited with being the first step in the modern commodification of the book business.
1927: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, who will later teach successively at the Universities of Bonn, Münster, Tübingen, and Regensburg, and will be considered by many as a front-runner to succeed Pope John Paul II, is born at Marktl am Inn in Bavaria.
1943: Dr. Albert Hofmann discovers the psychedelic effects of LSD. It was, like, totally spiritual.