Notes from around the Human Experience…
CAN’T WE JUST CUT AND PASTE THE LAST COLUMN?: Mass killings in this country long ago stopped being news in the context of actually being out of the ordinary. The root of the word ‘news’ is ‘new’ and there is nothing new about large numbers of innocents being slaughtered in America.
So when we found out something had happened in New York City Tuesday we mentally shrugged because it wasn’t a question of if something, somewhere in this country would happen, it was merely a question of when.
FunFact: The only difference is Tuesday’s slaughter did not involve firearms. A 29-year-old Uzbek man rented a truck and drove it down a bike path in Manhattan. Manhattan being Manhattan, the bike path was busy and eight people died while eleven others were injured.
After running into a school bus he scrambled out of the truck and proclaimed the greatness of God in Arabic before being shot by police. As we write this, the killer is in critical condition at a New York hospital.
Ready…Aim…Fire: Marksmanship standards must be slipping at the New York Police Department. If the officer was any good he would have killed him instead of merely wounding him in the gut.
Stop Us If You’ve Heard This Before: We say this every hour on the hour:
We are not going to have a peaceful world without a peaceful America.
We should not be surprised people want to fly airplanes into our buildings or plow trucks into our citizens. This nation has been at war continuously since 1989. That is almost three decades of not giving other nations the dignity of conducting their affairs without US interference. A violent world and a violent America are the consequences of that.
Testify, Gaylon, Testify!: Had we been at peace every day since 1989 9/11 would not have happened, ISIS would be a comic book character and eight people in New York that were killed today would still be alive.
We don’t think you can argue with that. We are never going to be rid of the misfits who want to cause harm. It’s been that way throughout history because that’s the way the world is built. But peaceful America would go a long way towards making this planet less violent.
ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE!: Pope Julius II is elected on this date in 1503. Julius’ pontificate would not be dull and he is noted for, among other things, commissioning Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He died in February 1513.
Speaking Of Michelangelo: The ceiling of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is shown to the public on this date in 1512. Painting had begun in 1508 and Pope Julius II had commissioned Michelangelo to paint it the year before. It remains one of mankind’s most significant achievements.
Fly In The Ointment: Before Michelangelo could get to work the small matter of exactly how to get a human up to the ceiling so it could be painted had to be worked out. A suggestion to hang scaffolding from holes cut in the ceiling proved unworkable and Michelangelo ended up designing his own platform supported by brackets secured to holes in the walls.
Dry, Technical Matter: The ceiling measured 131 feet by 43 feet. Michelangelo’s frescoes replaced the original design of gold stars on a blue sky.
Home Sweet Home: John Adams becomes the first president of the United States to live in the White House on this date in 1800. The White House was designed by James Hoban, whose design won a competition that included an anonymous entry by Thomas Jefferson.
Adams did not live there long. Already three years into his only term, he would move out the following March after Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated president.
More From The Government Facilities Desk: The Library of Congress building – now known as the Thomas Jefferson Building – opens to the public on this date in 1897. Prior to its completion, the Library of Congress had been housed in the US Capitol.
Up, Up And Away: A United Airlines flight from Denver to Portland is blown up over Longmont, Colorado shortly after takeoff on this date in 1955. 39 passengers and five crew members are killed. The investigation led to one Jack Gilbert Graham, who had mommy issues and had placed a dynamite bomb in his mother’s luggage. Graham also hoped to cash in on assorted flight insurance policies that had been purchased at Stapleton Airport vending machines immediately prior to the flight.
We Are Not Making This Up: At the time, there was not a federal law prohibiting the bombing of an airplane, so Graham was charged with one count of premeditated murder for the death of his mother instead of 44 counts of murder. Justice was swift back then and Graham was executed in Colorado’s gas chamber in January 1957, only 15 months after the crime.
Eff This Getting Hit In The Face Noise: Jaques Plante, a goaltender with the Montreal Canadiens, becomes the first goalie to wear a mask in an NHL game on this date in 1959. Plante had been wearing the mask in practice and put it on after he had taken a puck to the nose in the game against the New York Rangers.
Quotebook: I work harder than anyone who has ever lived. I am not well and worn out with this stupendous labor, and yet I am patient to achieve the desired end. – Michelangelo, letter to his brother while painting Sistine Chapel
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The world’s population is generally regarded to have reached one billion people in 1804.
Today’s Stumper: Who was the last goalie to play without a mask in the National Hockey League? – Answer next time!