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Why Is There So Much His In History?

Apr 13, 2008
They say lightening doesn't strike twice, but no one would have said that to Virginia Park Ranger, Roy Sullivan. Between the years 1942 and 1977 he was struck by lightening seven times - once each in his ankle, his leg, his chest and his shoulder and three times in his head. Ranger Sullivan died in 1983 - but not because he broke his own record for lightening strikes. He died from a broken heart. Perhaps the woman of his dreams didn't think marrying the "Human Lightening Rod" would be lightening her load.

They also say haste makes waste - but not always. After experimenting with coal tar derivatives, chemist Constantin Fahlberg was in too much haste to wash his hands. Later, when he discovered there was a sweet taste on his fingers, he discovered saccharin. Fahlberg became rich. Ira Reusen, however, became irate. Because Fahlberg had used his lab, Reusen thought he deserved some of the sweet taste of success.

Part of George Frideric Handel's success was his "Hallelujah Chorus". Although everyone loves hearing this moving music at Christmas, the Western Publishing Company heard its opening bars throughout the year. That's why they sued the composers of the 1923 hit, "Yes, We Have No Bananas" for plagiarism. The publishers won, which proves even unpeeled bananas can cause a fall.

Felix Mendelssohn wrote the wedding march - unintentionally. What he intentionally wrote was incidental music for his favorite play, "A Midsummer Night's Dream"; but when Queen Victoria's daughter used that music sixteen years later in her wedding, it became "The Wedding March". Mendelssohn was seventeen when he wrote "The Wedding March". He was fifteen when he wrote his first symphony for full orchestra. When my sons were fifteen, I must have been tone-deaf. Just hearing them say "Yes, Mother" was music to my ears.

Picking the right music is what made Decca Records the second largest record label in the world. In the 30's and 40's they recorded Louis Armstrong and Judy Garland. In 1947 Decca released Bing Crosby's White Christmas", which was the best selling single until 1997. In 1954 Decca released Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock", which was the first, international, rock and roll hit. Then came 1962. That's when Decca turned down a new singing group because they thought guitar music was on the way out. The group was the Beatles and Decca Records has been bugged ever since.
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KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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