Saturday, January 2, 2010


While everyone else seems all excitable about the year 2010, I remain skeptical. I'm more of a 1910 kind of guy. Now, that was some kinda year, boy. The kind they just don't make no more. The kind money just can't buy. The Chinese Year of the Fruitgum Company.

1910 was the year Halley's Comet reared its scary tail, making manifest to the assembled multitide of pink primates that yes, outer space really is filled with weird things whizzing around and yes, sometimes they come perilously close to Earth. (Previous pinks were already hip to Halley's ways: Chinese, Babylonian, Persian, and Mesopotamian texts make reference to previous sightings of the old faithful comet.)

1910 was the year that Sherlock Holmes was first portrayed by an actor. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stage adaptation of the story The Adventure of the Speckled Band was staged at the Adelphi Theatre in London. H.A. Saintsbury was Holmes, Claude King was Dr. Watson, and Lyn Harding was the villain, Dr. Grimesby Roylott.

1910 was the year the United States granted statehood to the territories of Arizona and New Mexico. Dash it all.

1910 was the year of the world's first airline crash. The dirigible Deutschland was wrecked by high winds while attempting an emergency landing at Osnabruck, Germany. Count Zeppelin's airship was on a flight from Dusseldorf to Dortmund when it encountered high winds, and t 5:30pm the airship descended into the Teutoburg Forest. The 33 persons onboard were miraculously uninjured.

1910 was the year of the first-ever ballet adaptation of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade was presented, by the Ballets Russes in Paris.

1910 was the year that the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition, led by Roald Amundsen on the steamer Fram, departed quietly - almost secretly - from Christiania (now Oslo). No announcement was made until much later in the year that the purpose Amundsen's mission was to reach the South Pole.

1910 was the year that Charles Stewart Rolls became the first person to fly across the English Channel and back again without stopping.

1910 was the year that Henri Coanda made the first short flight in a plane with a jet engine.

1910 was the year that a wireless telegraph sent from the S.S. Montrose results in the identification and later arrest and execution of Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen, who was falsely accused of murdering his wife Cora. He was the first criminal to be captured with the aid of wireless communication.

1910 was the year the Vatican introduced a compulsory oath against modernism, to be taken by all priests upon ordination.

1 comment: