On This Day, July 28

Posted on 28th Jul 2012 by ian under Uncategorized | No Comments »

“Hey, hey it’s Saturday and off with his head!” said Henry VIII on this day in 1540 when he had Thomas Cromwell executed on charges of treason.  He was beheaded, badly, in the Tower of London and then his head was boiled and whacked on a spike on London Bridge.  Then, on the same day, after a quick lunch, a drink and a burp, Henry married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard.

On this day in 1965, US President Lyndon B Johnson increased the number of US troops in South Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000.  Menzies was still Australian Prime Minister and it wasn’t until July 1966 that his successor, Harold Holt, announced his famous, “all the way with LBJ”.  I never warmed to LBJ, not just because I was anti the war, but because he allowed journalists into his bathroom so he could brief them while sitting on the toilet.

In 2001, on his dais, Ian Thorpe became the first swimmer to win six gold medals at a single World Championship.  Nothing funny there but in case he is more remembered for his failed attempt to make the London Games, he was pretty hot at his peak.

And in the Olympics, following Sir Paul McCartney’s Gold Medal performance of Hey Jude (do they drug test the entertainment?), from tomorrow until August 12 On This Day will have a daily look at the medal tally and anything quirky or silly happening at the games.

To those born on this day…

In 1866, British author Beatrix Potter… her 23 tales began in 1902 with The Tale of Peter Rabbit and wended their way through 28 years with characters like Squirrel Nutkin, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Mrs Tittlemouse, Miss Moppet, Timmy Tiptoes and the Flopsy Bunnies.  She may sound like an airy-fairy, arty-farty type but she was an astute businesswoman.  In 1903 she patented a Peter Rabbit doll and had other spin off merchandise like painting books, board games, wallpaper, figurines, baby blankets and china tea-sets.

Influential French surrealist/dada painter, Marcel Duchamp, was born on this day in 1887.  He was handy with a brush but didn’t paint that much.  The painting right is titled Nude Descending a Staircase #2.  Hmm… He once put a urinal forward as a valid sculpture, titled ‘Fountain’, he was passionate about Habana cigars and he gave up painting altogether to devote the rest of his life to chess.

In 1936, in Barbados in the West Indies, Sir Garfield St Aubrun (Gary) Sobers was born, but without the knighthood – that was awarded when he was 39. He was also awarded and Officer of the Order of Australia thanks to his dual citizenship (he played Sheffield Shield for South Australia).  Richie Benaud described Sobers as, “the greatest all-round cricketer the world has seen”.  He would have loved 20/Twenty – he was the first batsman to hit six sixes in an over. Happy 76th, Gary!  And commiserations to bowler Malcolm Nash who saw 36 runs against his name in that over.