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Friday, April 14, 2006

An Ode to April 15

When I was younger, I felt bad for April 15.

You read that right—I actually had sympathy for tomorrow's date. I was an odd child, sure, but hear me out. There was a reason.

You see, March 15 had that cool “Ides of March” vibe. And once I learned that the Romans only called the fifteenth day the “ides” during FOUR months (March, May, July, and October), I had two thoughts.

First, April got stiffed—it was the first month of the year to follow one with an ides on the fifteenth and yet not have the same. Poor thing.

Second, the Romans sure had some odd calendar designers.

But I grew up a bit, and I came to feel less sorry for April 15. To appreciate it. Because the day, it turns out, has an amazing history of its own.

In the US, of course, we primarily think of tomorrow as Tax Day—the date by which we file our returns if we know what's good for us. But there’s much more. Did you know the RMS Titanic sunk on April 15, 1912? That Jackie Robinson broke major league baseball’s color barrier on April 15, 1947?

As the years went by, I discovered that it was not just a memorable date for Americans.

Our friends in England remember April 15 as the anniversary of the worst disaster in British sport—the crushing deaths of 93 football fans at Hillsborough in 1989.

No need to fret, though; Brits can take pride that this day witnessed the births of prominent UK natives like author, MP, and scoundrel Jeffrey Archer; Dead Again’s talented actress Emma Thompson; chesty 80s vixen Samantha Fox; and budding Harry Potter minx Emma Watson.

(It’s also Dodi Al-Fayed’s birthday, but that’s a sore subject with many Diana lovers.)

I became aware of the date's dark side, too. John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln on April 15, 1865. The Nazi concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen was only liberated, finally, on April 15, 1945. Responding to Libya's sponsorship of attacks on Americans, US airplanes struck Tripoli on April 15, 1986.

In the Asia file, it’s known as former North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung’s birthday—and the day that the Cambodian butcher Pol Pot finally died in 1998. Remember the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing? They began on April 15, 1989.

And, in the most infamous association of all, the first McDonald’s opened in Des Plaines, Illinois on this same day in 1955. Read Fast Food Nation or watch Super Size Me; you’ll understand my scorn.

Yes, April 15 is special. It’s so remarkable that even the French like it. After all, it was on April 15, 1450 that the Frenchies soundly defeated English forces at the Battle of Formigny, ending English domination in northern France.

That probably explains why President Chirac didn’t wait a few days, until April 15, to buckle under the recent protests of spoiled French workers.

He didn’t want to spoil the anniversary of the last significant battle that the French fought while facing FORWARD.

28 Comments:

At April 14, 2006 7:12 AM, Blogger Curare_Z replied to my musings ...

There's a lot of tragedy on April 15th....I wonder if that's why the IRS picked this date, of all others.

Or perhaps they selected it to coincide with the Ancient Latvian holiday of Tipsa Diena, which commemorated the beginning of the ploughing of the fields. Because I feel ploughed by the IRS every year about this time.

1st commenter. YAY me!

 
At April 14, 2006 7:19 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Curare: You are such a kiss-up, pandering like that to the wide Latvian audience here ...

-- david

 
At April 14, 2006 9:07 AM, Blogger Metal Mark replied to my musings ...

I have to work tomorrow so it's not a real special day to me this year I am afraid.

 
At April 14, 2006 9:18 AM, Blogger LocuTus of Borg replied to my musings ...

ROFL David!! See my ex-wife was from France, so that last statement had me rolling! Cheers for April 15th! Tax day and all those other days. Thanks for the information, I didn't realize that the 15th was so cool :)

 
At April 14, 2006 9:35 AM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

My parents were stuck in their hotelroom during those idiotic protests. I guess French young people would rather stay unemployed then actually have to WORK to keep their jobs...damn patsies.

The IRS...when you put them together, it spells "theirs." How nice.

 
At April 14, 2006 10:23 AM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

And yet when you look up "French War Heroes" you'll be limited to pictures of a teenage girl (Joan of Arc) and a guy who did far more to help the Americans than he ever did to help the French (Marquis de Lafayette).

I never realized that so many substantial events happened on April 15th. The Samantha Fox connection is especially important due to the mastubatory fantasies of many youth of the mid-late eighties. There are plenty of young lads of the era (on both sides of the pond) who would not have minded "having some fun" with Samantha.

 
At April 14, 2006 12:26 PM, Blogger LostInTX replied to my musings ...

I hated April 15th until I realized that I didn't owe!! I really have no other feelings about the date, except the Samantha Fox comment has scarred me for the rest of the day. LOL ;)

 
At April 14, 2006 1:04 PM, Blogger Mimi replied to my musings ...

That is really interesting. April 15 seems scarier than Friday the 13th.

 
At April 14, 2006 1:15 PM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At April 14, 2006 1:15 PM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

Lostintx: I never said I was one of those boys (I wasn't btw, I was always more of a Kylie Minogue fan). Just that I could see where Samantha Fox would have been "inspirational" to many boys of that age.

 
At April 14, 2006 2:29 PM, Blogger LostInTX replied to my musings ...

Perplexio: Riiight.. "inspirational". Hey, don't get me wrong, I loved NKOTB(yes, I know I was a troubled child) but girls don't really go there at that age ;)

 
At April 14, 2006 3:02 PM, Blogger Godwhacker replied to my musings ...

Great post David!

Lincoln was assassinated on April 15? I didn't know that, but the conspiracy theorist in me would like to add this Lincoln quote: "The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies, all who question it's methods or throw light upon it's crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the Bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe... corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money powers of the country will endeavor to prolong it's reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed."

I've read that the tax dollars from every one west of the Mississippi go directly to pay interest on the national debt. It must be nice to be on the receiving end of that cash flow.

Peace and happy holidays every one.

 
At April 14, 2006 4:15 PM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

lostintx: I wasn't really going "there" yet at that age either... That came later. But I certainly was starting to notice the lasses at that age. And while neither Samantha Fox nor Kylie Minogue were "inspirational" (in THAT way) to me at that point in time I can certainly understand how they might have been "inspirational" to boys that were 2 to 3 years older than I was when she was at her peak of popularity.

 
At April 14, 2006 5:29 PM, Anonymous Bruce replied to my musings ...

Back in the 80s, Pat Benatar and Lita Ford were the ones that "inspired" me....

 
At April 14, 2006 6:34 PM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

Ha, up here in the Northeast we don't have to send taxes in until the 18th this year, because Monday is Patriot Day in MA, where our IRS center is located. And no, they aren't all gaga over the football team, if that's what you think.
As for Sammy Fox, at that age I was going for someone else, but it's been so long I can't remember. Ohhh, senility....
And Lost, Sweetie, I thought they were called Dead Kids on the Block with a blockbuster of a hot "Hangin's Tough"...

 
At April 14, 2006 6:35 PM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

I meant hit, not hot. First I'm senile, now I'm losing motor skills, just go ahead and bury me already!

 
At April 14, 2006 8:11 PM, Blogger Layla replied to my musings ...

This is the best history lesson I've had in years, thank you!

I will never look at 4/15 the same again and I will probably think of you and this post on 4/15 for the rest of my life (my mind just works that way).

Another historic event:

On 4/15/05 I started my blog, "Ramble On" :)

 
At April 15, 2006 8:12 AM, Blogger FredCQ replied to my musings ...

I will never look at April 15th the same again. Thanks David.

 
At April 15, 2006 8:36 PM, Blogger Bad Girl replied to my musings ...

Wasn't it the first McDonald's franchise? Ray Kroc's first store, not one of the *fabulous* McDonald brothers?

Yeah, I get my daily dose of Rotten too.

 
At April 15, 2006 8:43 PM, Blogger Crazy Dan replied to my musings ...

Interesting little post, death, pedophile, andmaking fun of the French all in one post, I think you might be my new hero.

 
At April 16, 2006 11:11 PM, Blogger Liz replied to my musings ...

Interesting. I feel a little sorry for it too.

 
At April 17, 2006 8:36 AM, Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen replied to my musings ...

Is it okay that I now officially HATE April 15th because I had to pay Uncle Sam even MORE money???

Grrrr.......

 
At April 17, 2006 1:55 PM, Blogger Blonde Vigilante replied to my musings ...

uck-fay the rench-fay. That's the second time I've gotten to use that in the past week. I'm totally stoked.

 
At April 17, 2006 5:40 PM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

Ray Kroc is the founder of McDonald's. There were no brothers ever associated with the chain. Coincidentally, the drive through was invented in Sierra Vista, AZ just outside of Ft Huachuca. the post commander didn't want his soldiers getting out of their cars in fatigues for some reason, so the manger put a hole in the wall, and the rest is history...ktisk

 
At April 17, 2006 6:43 PM, Blogger Zen Wizard replied to my musings ...

Sounds like by and large a pretty jinxed day.

 
At April 18, 2006 10:08 AM, Blogger cube replied to my musings ...

Cool. Live & learn.

 
At April 18, 2006 6:06 PM, Blogger An80sNut replied to my musings ...

Samantha Fox... I'm not going to be able to forget the day now. I actually had a topless poster of her that I hid in my closet when I was in high school. I was more upset when I found out that the adult film star of the same name was entirely the opposite (short black hair, small chest.)

 
At January 07, 2007 5:24 AM, Blogger Annelise replied to my musings ...

When you think about it, most days have such fascinating histories. If you think about all the things that have ever happened in the duration of Earth, and divide them by 365 1/4, you'll find that a lot of things have happened on each particular date - and many of these have been significant enough to be recored and considered important. Whether the day is pitiable or otherwise :-)

 

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