FEBRUARY 25-29 IN TIME
SOME WERE BORN, SOME DIED, STUFF HAPPENED
Feb. 26, 1616 — Galileo is told to stand down on ridiculous claim that world is round. He flatly refuses.
Feb. 29, 1692 — Salem Witch Trials begin a tradition that continues to this day.
Feb. 26, 1733 — Composer Johann Birkenstock dies and is laid to rest in groovy designer sandals.
Feb. 29, 1736 — Ann Lee, early leader of the Shaker religious movement in America, was born in 1736. Through the magic of Leap Year she would now be in her 70s if she hadn’t died in her 40s. Shakers preached complete separation of the sexes, and were evidently faithful: Met any Shakers lately?
Feb. 28, 1784 — Methodist Church chartered by John Wesley. Today, the church he founded faces a major rift over issues of human sexuality.
Feb. 25, 1793 — George Washington hosts the nation’s first-ever Cabinet meeting in his home, Newspapers do not accuse him of padding the catering budget or profiteering.
Feb. 27, 1795 — Revolutionary War officer Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion dies. Many say his heroic reputation exceeds his virtue.
Feb. 26, 1802 — The arts would be Les Mis without Victor Hugo, born without a hunchback in 1802.
Feb. 25, 1836 — Samuel Colt patents his revolver. Washington Post demands common-sense gun control laws and a ban on quick-draw holsters.
Feb, 25, 1841 — Pierre Auguste Renoir made the first of many great first impressions on this, his birthday.
Feb. 27, 1892 — Paper, plastic or designer? Louis Vuitton dies at 70. Bag-maker had no idea he’d be remembered, much less a “brand.”
Feb. 28, 1905 — French Dr. Joseph (He’s So Vein) Juglar dies.
Feb. 28, 1906 — One of many gangsters suffering from PE, Benjamin “Don’t call me Bugsy” Siegel was born in 1906. He succumbed to Premature Extermination in 1947.
Feb. 26, 1907 — Dub Taylor appeared in every western ever made (except All’s Quiet on the Western Front).
Feb. 29, 1908 — Old West lawman Pat Garrett’s cause of death was the same as his victim Billy the Kid’s: lead poisoning. Garrett’s shooter was never clearly established, and Pat wasn’t saying..
Feb. 26, 1917 — Tsar Nicolas II orders army to quell civil unrest. In less than a month he is forced to abdicate, and in less than a year he is quelled with prejudice along with his entire family.
Feb. 25, 1919 — Oregon introduces penny-a-gallon gasoline tax. Today it’s 31 cents, relatively modest at a No. 21 state ranking.
Feb. 25, 1932 — Adolf Hitler is granted German citizenship. With legal immigrants like that, who needs illegal ones?
Feb. 26, 1932 — Arkansas birthplace, Nashville soul: An American music giant, Johnny Cash, born this date.
Feb. 27, 1932 — Elizabeth Taylor took a husband (on average) once every 9.8 years. Clearly her favorite was Richard Burton, who bought two of her eight wedding rings. She died at 79 in 2011.
Feb. 27, 1936 — Dr. Ivan Pavlov of the FidoRex Institution of Indogtrination dies age 86.
Feb. 27, 1938 — Appeasement? We don’t need no stinkin’ appeasement:
Britain and France recognize Franco government in Spain, providing Hitler with a venue to rehearse for World War II.
Feb. 28, 1940 — Mario Andretti, one of the most versatile and accomplished auto racers ever, oft referenced by traffic cops: “Whoudya think you are, Mario Andretti?” Born in Italy, lives in Pennsylvania, man of the world.
Feb. 26, 1943 — Paul Cotton is not the most famous musician ever, but he helped make Poco not only a great and enduring band, but my favorite. This is my blog and we share a birthday, so Happy Birthday, Pablo!
Feb. 27, 1950 — How’d that work out? General Chiang Kai-shek elected president of Nationalist China. Hires Chuck Norris as personal trainer.
Feb. 28, 1953 — New York Times economics writer Paul Krugman, born in 1953, was the most clueless Nobel Prize winner in history until Barack Obama knocked him off his pedestal in 2009.
Feb. 25, 1957 — Like his archrival Al Capone, gangster Bugs Moran survived the mean streets of Chicago but died in prison.
Feb. 29, 1960 — Famed FIBbie Melvin Purvis was known for taking down John Dillinger and shooting Fay Dunaway, but sadly he also shot himself.
Feb. 28, 1961 — John F. Kennedy names Henry Kissinger as special advisor.
Feb. 25, 1966 — Secretary of State Tea Leoni is born in New York City.
Feb. 29 1984 — Pierre Trudeau announces he will step down after 15 years as Canadian Prime Minister; names his 3-year-old son Justin as successor.
Feb. 27, 1986 — Think Jake the Snake was a pro wrestler? Before Jake Roberts came pro hockey’s first goalie to don a protective mask: Canadian Jacques “Jake the Snake” Plante. With seven Vezina Trophies and Hall of Fame credentials, Jacques was the real deal.
Feb. 28, 1986 — Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme is murdered … shot in the back by an assassin who is never caught.
Feb. 26, 1993 — Days of Future Past: Six killed as truck bomb explodes in parking garage of World Trade Center.
Feb. 27, 2003 — So long, Neighbor. Fred Rogers passes at 74. The man could rock a sweater.
Feb. 28, 2011 — Jane Russell lived to see her wardrobe in 1943’s The Outlaw, considered scandalous at the time, become standard fare. She died at age 89.
Feb. 29, 2012 — Almost seven years to the day before his bandmate Peter Tork’s recent passing, Monkee Davy Jones died suddenly, aged 64.
Feb. 27, 2013 — Jumping ship? Pope Benedict XVI makes farewell address and eases into retirement. Looking more like a good move every day.
February 26, 2017 — Judge Joe Wapner of The People’s Court fame left his earthly bench at a spry 97 to face THE judge.
February 26, 2019 — That’s all, folks!