Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 02.08.10
Stanstead, Quebec


This day in history

1302 -- William McGargle, Thane of Camphor, becomes the first man to wear a kilt, the result of losing a bar bet in which he declared that he could out-needlepoint any grown man in the room.

1492 -- In the Christopher Columbus expedition, Santa Maria midshipman Giuseppe Pantolini becomes the first man to utter the phrase, "Are we there yet?"

1666 -- Peace treaty between New France and the Mohawk people, giving the French the right to send missionaries into the Mohawk villages. The treaty remains controversial today, with many contemporary Mohawks arguing that their ancestors thought they were signing a "pizza treaty," and that the white people have still not delivered.

1695 -- Britain's Lord Gaggenhammer, First Earl of Pleats, swallows an entire sheep whole, an occurrence marked by the annual Mutton Glutton Festival in the English village of Worbershisterlestshirethrop (pronounced "Wobbleton").

1706 -- Belgian monk Brother Ignatz first to use word "gnarly," as in "Yon cheese hath a gnarly pungency. Bludgeons! Why doth I speak? The vow to silence upon which I took my oath is, like, totally botched, dude!"

1782 -- The passing of Spain's Anti-Rioting Act results, ironically, in rampant rioting and, inexplicably, reckless juggling.

1821 -- German scientist Helmut Schplintzer describes the process known as "Shtickiness" in the journal "Zings Ve Haf Discoffered." The process leads to the discovery two years later of duct tape.

1832 -- Charles Dickens finishes his first novel (unpublished), entitled "Abattoir Alice; or Cow's It Goin'?"

1862 -- At Wimple, Georgia, Confederate soldiers beat the Union in canasta tournament. Dozens of sheep injured.

1905 -- Russian workers in beet soup factories go on strike, leading Tsar Nicholas to declare, "I could crush these soup makers with one hand. But that's nothing to borscht about."

1916 -- First military use of spitballs at the Battle of Credenza.

1937 -- Ethel Merman vehicle "Hot Stocking Feet" opens on Broadway.

1938 -- President Franklin Roosevelt declares a state of emergency in Chirping, Ohio in the Wake of the Great Showgirl Infestation.

1942 -- Soviet Union bans argyle socks.

1943 Lévis Boheme's rendition of "I'll See You, Ya Ya, on Champs-de-Ooolala" becomes top-selling record in UK.

1944 -- First-ever underwater performances of Czech folk dances aboard a small four-man German U-boat named Das gelbes Boot, later dubbed "The Itsy-Bitsy Teeny-Weenie Yellow Polka Submarine-y."

1963 -- Cuba marks a national Day of Solidarity and Glorious Hirsuteness to mark the 20th anniversary of Fidel Castro's beard.

1967 -- The San Francisco Board of Education and Whoopie presents a draft for what would eventually become known as "The Summer of Love," although in this first draft of the plan it was referred to "The Late Spring of Mild Infatuation."

1973 -- American scholar Gerald Zup publishes paper, "Is it Just Me or Did More Things Happen on This Day in the Twentieth Century?"

1976- The United Nations General Assembly amends the Universal Declaration of Human Right to include the Right to Shake Your Groove Thang.

1981 -- Togo celebrates 2000 consecutive days of going completely unnoticed. Citizens mark the occasion by sleeping in.

1987 -- Ron Gorley of Shimmy, Wisconsin sets the Guinness World Record for Longest Continual Use of a Toothbrush (48 years).

1991 -- The Canadian government passes the National Trivia Act, which states that all "today in history" lists must contain at least one Canadian fact.

2005 -- First-ever appearance of YouTube comment, "OMG, this is, like, the funniest video ev-ahr!"

2010 -- Ross Murray meets the minimum word count on his weekly column, triggering sighs of relief from readers worldwide. The resulting air mass blows in an extreme cold front that settles over the American Midwest, making everyone even crankier than usual. Fox News ratings soar.