This Week in History: Major snow storms and a stupid custom - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

This Week in History: Major snow storms and a stupid custom

The USS Nevada, shown here, was commissioned March 11, 1916. (Source: U.S. Navy/Wikimedia Commons) The USS Nevada, shown here, was commissioned March 11, 1916. (Source: U.S. Navy/Wikimedia Commons)
Satellite image of the "Storm of the Century" on March 13, 1993. (Source: NOAA/Wikimedia Commons) Satellite image of the "Storm of the Century" on March 13, 1993. (Source: NOAA/Wikimedia Commons)

(RNN) – Daylight saving time is the bane of my existence.

I hate it with unbridled passion. It makes me think bad thoughts about Benjamin Franklin, because he supported it. It makes me like Arizona because it refuses to acknowledge the rest of the country's stupidity.

I was in Arizona for a few days last summer and no one could give me a straight answer about their time zone affiliation. They claim to be in the Mountain time zone but half the year they are aligned with the Pacific. That's a bit crazy, but it has a lot to do with the weather and drive-in theatres. (No, seriously, it does.)

So, people of Arizona, do your TV shows come on at different times during the year? Do you still have drive-in theatres? Can you explain "dry heat" while you're at it, because I think that's a scam.

Anyway, daylight saving time is a bunch of bull. It's supposed to save energy, but there are some studies that show it has the opposite effect, not to mention decreased worker productivity, more traffic accidents, an increased suicide rate and more frequent than normal whining.

An enterprising person known as C.D. from Loveland, OH, created a petition on the White House's website proposing to eliminate the "archaic practice" because, among other reasons, "It's really annoying." I don't know who C.D. is, but they could murder kittens and I'd vote them into Congress due to this petition alone. It's a long way from getting the signatures it needs to get an official response, and that's a travesty.

If you disagree, watch this video, which makes the best case against daylight saving time I've ever seen, and it isn't even trying to do that. It gets really good at the four-minute mark.

Then watch this video and walk around your work place loudly singing this song for the rest of the day. (If you're so inclined, make a video of it, too, and I'll recommend it for the weekly viral videos article.)

Here are some of the events of note that happened between March 11-17.

Life and Death

Usually, this section starts off with births, but I'm changing it up this week because of Julius Caesar. If you believe we can accurate know dates from the B.C. years, Julius Caesar was assassinated March 15, 44 B.C. This is probably the most well recorded event in pre-A.D. time because the Romans were fairly sophisticated and kept good records.

Plus, Julius Caesar was perpetual dictator extraordinaire, so he was kind of a big deal. The history of the event has become somewhat muddled by the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar, including the final words of Julius Caesar himself. Still, though, it's good advice to beware the Ides of March, because this year it's a Friday that leads into a weekend-long St. Patrick's Day drinking binge celebration.

That is, of course, because Saint Patrick died March 17. The consensus on the year seems to be 461, but 460, 464 and 492 are also cited. We know when Julius Caesar died and don't have a holiday, but we don't know when Saint Patrick died and we do have a holiday? How can this be? The answer, of course, is beer.

Saint Patrick did not run the snakes out of Ireland, but he did point out a shamrock has three leaves and supposedly a guy couldn't move his arm until he became friends with Patrick (or so it says, here, anyway).

So what exactly did he do that makes us want to drink green beer? I have no idea. The only thing I drink that's green is Mountain Dew, and I'm fairly certain Saint Patrick had nothing to do with its creation. Let it never be said that Americans won't honor whoever they can just to have a reason to get a good buzz going.

This is a good year for Saint Patrick because his day is on a Sunday, which is apropos for a religious holiday, and it's plausible – I guess – that the new pope could be announced that day. This could be the start of a good conspiracy theory.

You could just as easily call it Marcus Aurelius day, because he died March 17, 180. Aurelius was the emperor at the start of the Russell Crowe movie Gladiator, which is a good movie, but contains more historical inaccuracies than facts.

Kitty Genovese was murdered March 13, 1964, and it gained attention due to bystanders not doing anything about it. However, that account is in dispute now. It's a stretch to say the incident led to the arrests of the main characters in the Seinfeld finale, but they showed equal apathy.

Susan B. Anthony died March 13, 1906, and Karl Marx died March 14, 1883. Contrary to some reports at the time, Thomas Dewey did not defeat Harry Truman, but he did die March 16, 1971. Since his birthday will happen next week, I'll mention that it was March 24, 1902.

A lot of people with powerful government positions were born this week. Mitt Romney, who is not one of those people, was born March 12, 1947. I covered Andrew Jackson's awesomeness a few weeks ago, and it all started when he was born March 15, 1767. James Madison was born March 16, 1751.

Current Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg (March 15, 1933) and Antonin Scalia (March 11, 1936) were born this week as well. Serial killer John Wayne Gacy was born March 17, 1942. Gacy never held a powerful government position, but he was photographed with first lady Rosalynn Carter while in the middle of his killing spree.

March 14 has an eclectic mix of famous births, including comedian Billy Crystal (1948), Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy (1921) and genius Albert Einstein (1879).

Rupert Murdoch was born March 11, 1931. Murdoch controls News Corp., which owns Fox Entertainment Group, which owns Fox, which owns Fox Sports Media Group, which announced Tuesday that it is going to kill ESPN. (Yay!)

Ok, that was just my personal fantasy, but it did announce the creation of Fox Sports 1, which is going to kill ESPN (I wish, but not really). You can read the excellent story I wrote about it last week here.

Overlooked Anniversaries

Mississippi ratified the 13th Amendment on March 16, 1995, except that it actually didn't … until last month.

A jury found Jack Ruby guilty of killing Lee Harvey Oswald on March 14, 1964, presumably because he did it on live TV and it was fairly obvious. Three years later, John F. Kennedy's body was moved from its burial location in Arlington National Cemetery to its permanent burial location in Arlington National Cemetery.

Coca-Cola was first bottled in Vicksburg, MS, March 12, 1894. There's a museum there now and everything. I remember going there once, but I don't remember anything about it. When I go to Vicksburg, I prefer to visit the Civil War battlefield, which you'll no doubt here more about in July.

The Girl Scouts were founded as Girl Guides on March 12, 1912. Their cookies came five years later.

The Great Blizzard of 1993 was March 12. I was on a school field trip to Washington, DC, when it started snowing there, and we made our way down to Opelika, AL, until we were stranded at a hotel and forced to stay in its lounge. I tried to locate that hotel a couple of years ago, and based on what I remember – a convenience store on one side and a McDonalds on the other – I think I found it.

The Great Blizzard of 1888 was March 11-14. I wasn't stranded anywhere during that one, but people in New York City were due to white out conditions, 85 mph winds and 50-foot snow drifts.

Maine became a state March 15, 1820. I don't know anything about Maine other than it supposedly has good drinking water. I thought I heard somewhere that Maine has more moose than people, but I couldn't confirm it. I did, however, find a whole industry around moose safaris. In fact, if you don't see a moose, you can take a second trip for free. Maine can stay.

The first Internet domain ( was registered March 15, 1985. Now it's a site dedicated to tooting its own horn and providing interesting facts about the Internet. It sounds boring, but it isn't.

Uranus was discovered March 13, 1781, giving rise to much juvenile humor, all of which is hilarious.

Something About Sports

March Madness made its debut with the first public basketball game March 11, 1892. Some of the rules from that game that are – thankfully – no longer used were nine players per team, a jump ball was held after every basket, each goal was worth one point and there was no dribbling, only passing. The game was played between the students and faculty of Springfield College. The students won 5-1.

The NFL adopted the use of instant replay for disputed calls March 11, 1986. It's hard to believe this is even possible, but it was much more horribly applied than it is today, and the idea was abandoned in 1992 before coming back in 1999.

The NFL's St. Louis Cardinals moved to Phoenix on March 15, 1988, presumably to escape name confusion and daylight saving time – mostly daylight saving time.

The Week in Warfare

The USS Nevada was commissioned March 11, 1916. Nevada has one of the more interesting Pearl Harbor bombing stories, but doesn't usually get talked about a lot. Nevada was on Battleship Row behind the USS Arizona, but wasn't next to another ship, so it was able to move.

When you're being bombed, moving is a good idea. When the only entrance to your home is narrow and shallow and you'll block it for months if you get stuck there, moving is bad. The Japanese knew this, so Nevada got pelted from all directions while trying to get out of the harbor. But it was so damaged it couldn't even make to the entrance and ran aground out of the way of other ships.

Nevada was the only ship at Pearl Harbor that also participated in the D-Day invasion, and was later used in the invasion of Iwo Jima. Later, Nevada was used a target ship for atomic bomb tests, naval gunnery and torpedo strikes, which sunk it in 1948.

The United States Military Academy was established March 16, 1802. West Point has produced two presidents, one Confederate president and three foreign heads of state. Additionally, 74 Medal of Honor recipients, three Heisman trophy winners, 18 astronauts – five of whom walked on the moon – and nearly every American general of note graduated from West Point.

The Battle of Guilford Courthouse was fought March 15, 1781, and was one of many "win while losing" battles during the Revolutionary War. The British won despite having twice as many troops and killing some of its own men with cannon fire. Due to the Colonial Army retreating, it is considered a loss, but the British suffered far more casualties.

Holiday You Should Celebrate

Pi Day is March 14, because it's 3.14. That's cute. I'm not sure how you're supposed to celebrate this, but I refuse to do so by doing math.

I suggest ordering a pizza (It's a pie. Get it?) and tipping the delivery guy $3.14, because that's roughly 15 percent of the bill on a $20 pizza. On second thought, get the $5 pizza at Little Caesar's, give the cashier $3.14 and tell them they will need it because "beware the Ides of March," and laugh like a maniac as you walk back to your car.

Preview of next week

J.R. got shot.

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