WEEKEND BRIEFINGThe Moron's Weekend Briefing
Feb. 14 - There was no daily briefing on February 13. There were no major holidays to report, however, so unless you were hoping to wish Peter Tork or Jerry Springer a happy birthday, you didn't miss much.
(The Valentine's Day Special can be accessed from the main page.)
Galileo Galilei was born on February 15, 1564. He invented a telescope with which he later discovered craters on the moon, the satellites of Jupiter, and every luscious detail of the girl next door's nubile young form.
Galileo's astronomical observations seemed to confirm Copernicus's theory that the Earth went around the sun rather than the other way around. Unfortunately, Copernicus's theory was heresy and therefore not supposed to be confirmed.
The church was in a tough spot. Galileo was every bit as Bad and Heretical as Copernicus had been, but they didn't want to inspire a bunch of angry Germans to start another church, as Martin Luther's followers had not long after the church's previous brush with Astronomy.
High-ranking church officials pleaded with the astronomer: "Come on, Galileo." "Please, Galileo." "Knock it off, Galileo."
But he wouldn't stop talking about the earth spinning around the sun. He couldn't even be persuaded to talk about something else, such as sports, the weather, or the girl next door's nubile young form. So they threatened to kill him.
At this point Galileo remembered that the sun actually did revolve around the earth, and the church rewarded his improved memory by giving him free room and board for the rest of his life (a level of hospitality sometimes referred to as "house arrest").
On February 16, 1959, Fidel Castro was sworn in as Prime Minister of Cuba after having led the revolution that removed Fulgenico Batista. At the time, Cuba was a nation plagued by poverty, racked by corruption, and held in thrall by the military force of its leader. Today, of course, Cuba is a nation plagued by poverty, racked by corruption, and held in thrall by the military force of its leader.
On February 14, 1797, the British Fleet under admirals Nelson and Jervis defeated the Spanish Armadillo.
On February 16, 1918, Lithuania declared its independence from Russia. It was such a successful declaration that they didn't have to repeat it for more than seventy years.
On February 15, 1763, Austria and Prussia signed the Treaty of Hubertusburg. This ended the Seven Years War, and just in time: the war had lasted almost exactly seven years!
Drew Bledsoe turns 31 on Valentine's Day. Others born on the day poor Valentine lost his head include Porsche Lynn (1962), Meg Tilly (1960), Gregory Hines (1946), Carl Bernstein (1944), Florence Henderson (1934), Vic Morrow (1932), Hugh Downs (1921), Jimmy Hoffa (1913), and Jack Benny (1894).
February 15 is the birthday of Chris Farley (1964), Matt Groening (1954), Melissa Manchester (1951), Jane Seymour (1951), Claire Bloom (1931), Harvey Korman (1927), Cesar Romero (1907), John Barrymore (1882), Susan B. Anthony (1820), and the aforementioned astronomer.
February 16 is the birthday of John McEnroe (1959), Ice-T (1958), LeVar Burton (1957), Sonny Bono (1935), Hugh Beaumont (1909), and Edgar Bergen (1903).
The 14th is Valentine's Day, and the 15th is the unobserved celebration of Presidents' Day in the United States, Lupercalia in Ancient Rome, and the Birthday of the Sultan in Malaysia.
February 16 is not only Independence Day in Lithuania; it's also Flag Day in Turkmenistan and, sometimes, Chinese New Year.
Enjoy the weekend.
© 2002, The Moron's Almanac