May 24

Once more into today, dear friends. Today in 1626 a man named Peter Minuit, a Dutch colonist, bought the island of Manhattan for $24, the equivalent of around $1000 today. See how much of Manhattan $1000 buys you in 2013. Minuit had the option of buying Queens as well for just $6 but said, “Naw, I’m good.” Today in 1830, Mary Had a Little Lamb, a poem by Sarah Josepha Hale, based on a real experience of a classmate of Hale’s bringing a damn animal to school, was published for the first time. The full original poem has an additional verse – “It followed her to school one day which was against the rule. It made the children laugh and play to see a lamb at school.” Sure, it’s all fun and games until someone gets sore mouth from a walking petri dish with fleece as white as snow. Today in 1970, the Soviet Union began drilling the Kola Superdeep Borehole which, wonderfully, is its official name. What’s the Kola Superdeep Borehole, you ask? Well, besides being the greatest band name imaginable it’s the result of a scientific drilling project that the USSR undertook to see if they could dig the deepest hole in the world. This is how the Cold War worked, people. We beat them to the moon so they were going to show us by making a big hole into the Earth.You’d think that drilling such a hole would have a practical purpose like, say, looking for oil but no, it was just to see how far down they could get. Surprisingly, the expensive project that had no real purpose had it’s funding cut in 2005. 

Today is Battle of Pichincha Day in Ecuador, commemorating the 1822 battle for independence. It is not to be confused with Battle of Chincilla Day, which is a different thing. 

Jean-Paul Marat, who had a fatal addiction to writing letters in the bathtub, was born today. Two giants of popular entertainment were born today Bob Dylan and this cat, Maru, who has been viewed more than 200 million times on YouTube, which is about twice as many views than Bob Dylan has sold records.

Duke Ellington died today.

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