The Moron's Daily Briefing

Jul. 8 - July 8 was a Sunday in 1881, so when a hot young man entered Edward Berner's drugstore in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, and ordered an ice-cream soda, his request was denied. Ice-cream sodas could not be served on the Sabbath. The hot young man pleaded his case so eloquently, however, that Berner felt sympathetic and came up with a compromise: he plopped a scoop of ice-cream into a dish and poured the chocolate-flavored syrup directly over it. This religious dodge quickly became popular and came to be known as the Ice Cream Sunday. (The spelling was later changed to conceal the heretical origins of the dish.) As a result, millions of Americans have subsequently consigned themselves to Hell.

Peter the Hermit died on this day in 1115. Peter is notable for his invention of THE CRUSADES. He whipped up support for the first Crusade as an attempt to dislodge the Seljuk Turks from Jerusalem: over three hundred thousand Christians perished in less than a year, during which they destroyed hundreds of villages throughout Europe and Asia Minor and killed tens of thousands of European Jews and fellow Christians on their way to a holy land they never reached. As a result of this astonishing success, the Crusades were serialized and ran for several centuries.

The crank-operated machine gun was patented on this date in 1856 by C.E. Barnes of Lowell, Massachusetts, and the revolving gun turret was invented exactly six years later by Theodore Timby. Both inventions enabled mankind to kill itself off with unprecedented ease and efficiency, thereby launching the modern era.

The first smallpox vaccine was administered on this date in 1800. Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse (no relation to Price) of Massachusetts administered the vaccination of cowpox serum to his five-year-old son Daniel and a household servant. Neither ever contracted smallpox and the vaccination was determined to have been an udder success.

Today is the birthday of Kevin Bacon (1958), Anjelica Huston (1951), and both Nelson (1908) and John D. (1839) Rockefeller.

2002, The Moron's Almanac™

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