" Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament; adversity is the blessing of the New. "
Francis Bacon

Back in the day


First Attempted Assassination of a US President

US President Andrew Jackson was leaving a congressional funeral held at the Capitol when an unemployed, mentally ill housepainter named Richard Lawrence made an attempt on his life. Fortuitously, Lawrence's pistol misfired. Improbably, the second pistol he produced did too. The 67-year-old president attacked Lawrence with his cane, and the deranged gunman was caught and institutionalized. What surprising discovery was made when the guns were tested to determine what had caused them to misfire?



The Mistel

Toward the end of World War II, the German Luftwaffe introduced a new weaponry scheme that consisted of two airplanes attached to each other. Called the Mistel, it featured a crewless bomber packed full of explosives and mounted below a manned fighter plane. The fighter would drop or steer the entire bomber onto a target, then return alone. It was largely ineffective. In one instance, Mistel pilots who claimed to have made a successful hit may have actually done what instead?

Born on a day like today


Richard Brautigan

Born in Tacoma, Washington, and raised in abject poverty, Brautigan became a counterculture hero of the 1960s and 70s with his surrealistically random novels and poems about alienation. His extremely original, loosely connected fiction includes A Confederate General from Big Sur, In Watermelon Sugar, and the 1967 bestseller Trout Fishing in America. Suffering from alcoholism and depression, Brautigan committed suicide in September of 1984. When was his body discovered?

Last updated on Wednesday, 30th January 2013

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