O.K. campers, what is 38 inches long and has 47 holes? Obviously, the answer is Irishman Bobby Sands’ belt. On the 1st in 1981, Robert Gerard Sands, while imprisoned in The Maze prison in Northern Ireland, began a hunger strike to protest the English treatment of the Irish nation. The following March 9 was his 27th birthday and I imagine he took a pass on the birthday cake. At the beginning of the strike, on April 9, 1981, he was elected to Parliament. Sands had been imprisoned in October, 1972 for his somewhat militant approach to the issue of Irish independence. The hunger strike ended only with Sands’ death on May 5, while still in custody.
John Philip Holland, an Irishman, was both an engineer and an inventor, was born in the 29th in 1840. He made a career out of mucking about with submarines. Holland wasn’t the first person to build a submarine, that honor would go to Cornelius Drebbel for his submarine built in 1620. David Bushnell came in second with the very early Turtle, built in 1775. He was not even third. That was Robert Fulton, an American inventor, with his Nautilus in 1800. In 1902, Holland designed and built a submarine for the English Royal Navy. The shame of being the fourth person to get in the aquatic race was tempered somewhat by Holland having the distinction of being the first person to design and build the USS Holland, which was the first submarine that was actually commissioned by the United States Navy. Which I suppose is marginally better than having your eyes poked out with a pointy stick.
Drebbel’s submarine was the first navigable submarine,
At the time of his building the Nautilus, Fulton was an expatriate and his did the work for the French Third Republic
Sir John Tenniel was born on the 28th in 1820. He made his mark on the world as an illustrator, most famously for his illustrations of Lewis Carroll’s books Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. A particular favorite of mine is the illustration he did of the hookah-smoking caterpillar, which only heightens my interest in finding out just what it was that the dormouse said.
Edward Cave was born on the 27th in 1691. He was a triple threat, as he was a printer an editor, and a publisher. In January of 1731, he began publication of The Gentleman's Magazine or, Trader's monthly intelligencer, the first general-interest "magazine" in the modern sense; sort of a People magazine for 18th century sensibilities.
On the 26th in 364, Valentinian I was proclaimed Emperor of Rome. Valentinian began his career as emperor in a decent manner; he founded schools, and provided medical attendants for the poor of Rome. However, like many of our own politicians, he had a violent and brutal temper, and was not only uncultivated, but was hostile to people who had cultivated themselves. Not exactly the kind of guy you would want to ask over for drinks, though he never once shot his best friend in the face.
It has often been recognized that in certain families the apple does not fall far from the tree. Among notable Americans, the two Adams presidents and the two Bush presidents are but two examples that spring immediately to mind. Another is the Parker family. No, not the Parker of fountain pen fame. I refer to Sir Hyde Parker who was born on the 25th in 1714. He became Vice-admiral of the British navy. His son, Hyde Parker, Jr. was also Vice-admiral of the British navy, followed in short order by his son, Hyde Parker, III who also became Vice-admiral of the British navy. This apparently was done by the British navy to save a couple of dollars on the navy’s stationery costs.