(RNN) – There are only two days of the year where I have personally known three people who were born that day.
One of them was my own birthday, and I'm counting myself among those three people. The other is March 10. That's a statistical oddity that I won't even begin to try to explain, but March 10 seems to be a pretty awesome day to be born.
First of all, it's spring. There's rebirth and new life and allergy-aggravating pollen, and it's always in the middle of Lent, so if you gave something up you can claim a birthday exemption and gorge yourself on caffeine, chocolate or Facebook to your heart's content.
You're also in some pretty good birthday company. If you're an Abraham Lincoln nut, it's the day his second son, Eddie, was born. If you like college basketball, you can claim kinship with Jim Valvano. If you like magic, you can name-drop Lance Burton. If you like British royalty, you share a birthday with Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
If you like attractive women, Shannon Tweed, Sharon Stone, Carrie Underwood and Olivia Wilde all share your birthday. If you like attractive men, you have Jon Hamm.
For people who like to destroy their careers with motorcycle accidents, there is Bobby Petrino. And finally, for those who love to see the forces of good triumph no matter what gets thrown at them, there is Chuck Norris, and for those who love evil, your birthday is shared by Osama bin Laden.
Here are some of the events of note that happened between March 4-10.
If you've ever wondered what each season sounds like, and you haven't heard that Antonio Vivaldi – who was born March 4, 1678 – somehow figured that out, getteth thee to YouTubeth. Or just look below. I was kind enough to embed it (because I'm a nice guy, I'll give you the link too). Let it play while you read this article 20 times. Spring you've no doubt heard somewhere before, but the others may be unfamiliar.
Henry the Navigator found his way into the world March 4, 1394, and Tyler the Creator was himself created March 6, 1991. Bobby Fischer and serial killer Dennis Rader, better known as BTK, were born March 9 in 1943, and 1945, respectively. Neither became crazy until much later.
March 6 has an eclectic mix of birthdays. Michelangelo (1475), Rob Reiner (1947), John Stossel (1947), Tom Arnold (1959) and Shaquille O'Neal (1972) were all born then. Michelangelo should be the most famous of those five, but here in America he probably isn't. We don't have anything here that can rival his painting of the Sistene Chapel and I won't discuss what does or does not rival a naked statue of David, but no one can dispute Michelangelo's nunchuck prowess, which is the stuff of legend.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry was born March 4, 1950. Perry has made a name for himself in three ways: He hates "Obamacare," loves executions and the, uh, what's the third one? I can't name the third one. Oops.
Alan Hale Jr, known for his portrayal of Jonas Grumby, was born March 8, 1921. If you're struggling to place him, it might help if I say Grumby is better known as The Skipper from Gilligan's Island.
James Earl Ray was born March 10, 1928, and confessed to assassinating Martin Luther King Jr on the same day in 1969. He later retracted the confession and tried to get a new trial, but was unsuccessful.
Two people qualify for both parts of his category this week. First, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes Jr was born March 8, 1841, and died March 6, 1935. Prominent Spanish religious figure John of God was born March 8, 1495, and died the same day in 1550. John was canonized in 1690, and was named the patron saint of booksellers (no, seriously, he was).
Patsy Cline died in a plane crash March 5, 1963, along with Hawkshaw Hawkins and Cowboy Copas in a rural area near Camden, Tennessee. The crash site is marked by a memorial.
Ivan the Young died at age 32 March 6, 1490, and Christopher Wallace – better known as Notorious B.I.G. – was killed at age 24 March 9, 1997.
Presidents Millard Fillmore (1874) and William Howard Taft (1930) died March 8. Taft was the only former president to serve on the Supreme Court and starting this year will be honored in a dignified way – by having a goofy foam version of himself run haphazardly around a baseball field.
This isn't really of note because it happened a lot, but the Catholic Church banned a book it didn't like March 5, 1616. I already wrote an article about this a couple of weeks ago, so if you want to know more about it, go here.
Civil rights protestors were beaten at the base of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL, on March 7, 1965. The incident - known as "Bloody Sunday" - helped get the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed. Part of that law is currently being challenged in the Supreme Court, proceedings that got MSNBC's Rachel Maddow stirred up (If you haven't heard, she called Justice Antonin Scalia a troll).
SCOTUS has done a lot this week. It said people of African descent weren't citizens in the Dred Scott ruling March 6, 1857, upheld the murder conviction of Timothy McVeigh on March 8, 1999, said the Africans who took control of La Amistad were taken into slavery illegally March 9, 1841, and said the parodies of original work generally fall under the umbrella of fair use, giving Weird Al Yankovic and South Park a reason to exist.
The first Congress met in March 4, 1789, and it's been all downhill from there. The British House of Commons voted to make House of Lords 100 percent elected March 7, 2007. The House of Lords later rejected this idea. Imagine if U.S. senators were appointed by state governors and the House of Representatives voted to say senators had to be elected and the Senate then rejected that idea. It's always encouraging to know there are places with a government more ridiculous than our own.
In Great Moments In Finding Stuff, Hernan Cortes arrived in Mexico on March 4, 1519, and was followed two years and two days later by Ferdinand Magellan landing at Guam.
William Penn was granted a land charter March 4, 1681, for what would later become Pennsylvania. Vermont became a state March 4, 1791. Vermont is home to Ben & Jerry's. They make fantastic ice cream and gave me an excuse to use an ampersand, so Vermont can stay.
Speaking of fat people's paradise, Oreo cookies were first introduced March 6, 1912. Barbie dolls debuted March 9, 1959.
Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for the telephone March 7, 1876, and made the first successful phone call three days later. Bell suggested answering phone calls by saying "Ahoy" because, apparently, he was a pirate.
Toronto was incorporated March 6, 1834. It's Canadian, so I don't care. Chicago was incorporated March 4, 1837. Chicago has Wrigley Field and a hot dog place where the servers curse at you while you order. That sounds like my kind of city.
Knute Rockne was born March 4, 1888, and during football season I waxed somewhat poetically about my love for the Notre Dame box he created. It probably wouldn't work today, because nobody outside of Bill Belichick or Nick Saban would be smart enough to run it right.
Actually, scratch Saban from that list. He likes to get cute and try to throw down in the red zone so the Notre Dame box couldn't possibly work for him. Belichick could probably pull it off, but Tom Brady is slow and too "valuable" to get touched by the defense, so he wouldn't do it, either. That's depressing.
The Daytona Beach Road Course held its first oval stock car race March 8, 1936. There hasn't been a race there since 1958. NASCAR can't hold races during the rain, so I shudder to think what would happen if they tried to race on a beach.
Last week Jeff Gordon was in danger of overheating his engine because a piece of paper got stuck to the front of his car. With all the sand flying up, he would've had no chance. I've been to the beach, and I've brought half of it home with me. Sand gets everywhere. That's not to mention if you got too close to surf, the car would slide all the way to Morocco before you could get it back.
On second thought, that actually sounds like it could be fun.
The Alamo was captured March 6, 1836, and all the people in it were killed. The remains of the defenders, including those of Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and William Travis were burned and are supposedly contained in a coffin at San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio, but nobody really knows what happened to them. There are some accounts that Crockett wasn't killed in battle, but surrendered and was executed. Nothing is known for certain, except that he did, in fact, die.
The Confederacy adopted its first national flag March 4, 1861, and adopted its third national flag four years later. The second national flag was adopted May 26, 1863. The first flag was known as the Stars and Bars and had a big red stripe at the top and bottom with stars in a circle, reminiscent of the U.S. flag.
The second flag had the familiar Confederate Battle Flag emblem in upper left corner but was otherwise white. It was sometimes confused for being a flag of surrender (given how the war ended, that's probably how it should have been used) but the third flag added a big vertical red bar to the outside of it to make sure the Union knew to keep shooting. It worked, because the war ended two months later.
Sticking with the Civil War, the CSS Virginia (perhaps better known as the USS Merrimac) was launched March 8, 1862. Being an ironclad ship, it started wreaking havoc on the wooden Union ships it came across. It didn't even have to shoot them, it just rammed them and they sunk. Then the next day the USS Monitor showed up and play time was over. In the Battle of Hampton Roads – the first ever battle between ironclad ships – the ships battled to a draw, which is terribly anticlimactic. By the end of the year, both ships were sunk – the Virginia by its own crew so it wouldn't be captured and the Monitor by a storm off the coast of North Carolina.
The Boston Massacre occurred March 5, 1770, but only five people were killed, so it wasn't really a massacre. The British apparently knew this because they call it the Incident on King Street. The soldiers who shot at colonists had things thrown at them and were antagonized for a long time before they finally had enough. They were even defended in court by future revolutionary John Adams.
Six soldiers were acquitted and two were convicted of manslaughter. Their punishment was to be branded on the thumb.
Finland declared war on Germany on March 4, 1945, in the Lapland War. Germany considers this to be part of World War II, because it was. But Finland was waging its own little, private war independent of the rest of the world – just, you know, at the same time. Finland was also at war with the Soviet Union and Great Britain.
That means Finland waged war on three fronts. When did Finland become a state?
March 5 is National Tree Planting Day in Iran. I didn't even know trees could grow in Iran, but apparently they can. Wikipedia has a page dedicated to it, because of course it does. One of the trees on that list – the first one, actually – is a pistachio tree. So if you don't feel like planting a tree, eat some pistachios instead.
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