DAILY BRIEFINGThe Moron's Daily Briefing
Jun. 13 - In early 1381 England imposed a new tax, which was called the "Pole Tax" because everyone got the shaft.
In the village of Maidstone, Kent, there lived a Pheasant (Villain) whose daughter was about fourteen years old. When the Taxman came around to collect, he didn't believe the girl was less than fifteen. The girl and her mother protested that she was. The Taxman tore the girl's clothes off to see for himself.
After he stripped her, he concluded a more tactile examination would be necessary. When she resisted, the situation took a violent turn. At this moment the girl's father came in and smashed the Taxman's skull open.
News of the event spread, and the Pheasants (Villains) of southeast England rallied to the father's support. They began Wat Tyler's Rebellion on June 13, 1381. They made the girl's father their leader because his name was Wat Tyler.
Over the next few days, Tyler led the Pheasants (Villains) against the government, burning the Archbishop of Salisbury at the Stake (hence "Salisbury Steak").
The purpose of the rebellion was to secure a pardon for having rebelled. When Wat Tyler confronted King Richard II in Smithfield, he voiced this demand and was consequently stabbed to death, etc, by the Lord Mayor of London. Upon Wat Tyler's death, of course, it was no longer possible to have Wat Tyler's Rebellion, so everyone else went home (hence "Pheasants coming home to roost"). Many of them were later killed.
Further back in history, on June 13, 323 BC, a youthful Alexander the Great died in Babylon. The precise cause of his death has baffled modern science for thousands of years. Many historians believe he died of hybris, also known as Syphilis or the Greek Fire. Alexander had a horse named Bucephelas, and is best known for having devoured the Gordian Nut.
On June 13, 1917, fourteen German Gotha bomber planes flew over London in the first aerial bombardment in history (not counting Zeppelins); on June 13, 1944, Germany commemorated the anniversary by launching the first of its V-1 flying bombs on southern England; on June 13, 1990, East Germany began tearing down the Berlin Wall. The date apparently has some significance in the Teutonic psyche. Be gentle with men in lederhosen.
Malcolm McDowell, Christo, Paul Lynde, and William Butler Yeats were born today.
It's Flag Day in Palau.
© 2002, The Moron's Almanac