Rotten.com history of Boston excerpts...
15 Jan 1919 The molasses holding tank of the United States Alcohol Company explodes, sending two million gallons of crude molasses down Commercial Street in the North End of Boston. While hilarious on the surface, 21 people are drowned in the molasses, over a dozen horses are lost, an elevated train platform collapses, and an entire firehouse is pushed on its side. 125 lawsuits are filed, resulting in over a million dollars in damages.
1984 New Kids on the Block (later NKOTB) formed. Created by Maurice Starr and Mary Alford by auditioning 500 Boston-area teens. Intended by Starr to be a white version of New Edition, a band Starr had lost control of in 1983. The band goes on to mar the musical landscape until 1994, when the group disbands.
12 Jun 1989 The Boston Hard Rock Cafe (#17) opens on Clarendon Street in the Back Bay. It dubs itself the "Massachusetts Institute of Rock", conveniently forgetting the existence of the Berklee School of Music, an institute where Rock is in fact taught, sans expensive meals.
Some London history...
12 Sep 1878 The magnificent phallic symbol Cleopatra's Needle is erected in London on the bank of the Thames. It doesn't really have anything to do with Cleopatra. The obelisk has a twin in New York's Central Park, also named Cleopatra's Needle. It has nothing to do with Cleopatra, either.
17 Aug 1896 Bridget Driscoll, a 44-year-old mother of two, becomes the world's first automobile fatality when she steps in front of a car outside the Crystal Palace in London. At the coroner's inquest, Arthur Edsall states he had been driving at only 4 mph. The motorist also claims that when he saw the pedestrian, he rang his bell and shouted "Stand back!" For whatever reason, the coroner accepts Edsall's preposterous story.
22 Jun 1969 Judy Garland dies of a barbiturate overdose in her London apartment, either by accident or suicide. Quote from Judy: "When I die I have visions of fags singing 'Over the Rainbow' and the flag at Fire Island being flown at half mast."
14 May 1976 Keith Relf, former vocalist of the Yardbirds, is electrocuted in his London home while either tuning or playing a guitar belonging to either him or his son, in either the basement or the bathtub. Details are sort of sketchy, resulting from the family's reticence to describe the death scene.
10 Jul 1984 British customs officials in London open a large wooden crate marked "diplomatic baggage" because of its extremely odd odor. Inside they discover Alhaji Umaru Dikko, Nigeria's former Minister of Transport and Aviation. He had been abducted, drugged, and bound for Nigeria to face trial for embezzlement.
Now Los Angeles!
8 Feb 1915 D.W. Griffith's film The Birth of a Nation
debuts in theaters. It is partially based on the stage play The Clansman, An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan.
In fact, the title on the marquee at the Los Angeles premiere is The Clansman
. The three-hour film becomes an overnight sensation, and inspires thousands of honkies to join the KKK.
1939 All maintenance stops on the HOLLYWOODLAND sign because, well, war, man.
1940 Mexicans become largest ethnic group in Los Angeles.
1 Jun 1943 Zootsuit riots, between zoot suiters and sailors. Time Magazine called it "the ugliest brand of mob action since the coolie race riot of the 1870's."
17 Jul 1955 Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California. In the words of Walt Disney, "That place is my baby, and I would prostitute myself for it."
24 Jul 1993 After a game in Los Angeles, New York Mets outfielder Vince Coleman tosses an M-100 firecracker at a crowd of baseball fans in Dodger Stadium's parking lot. The firework injures three children waiting for autographs, including two-year-old Amanda Santos. Coleman spends 200 hours performing community service and the rest of the year not playing professional baseball.
29 May 1999 Hikers discover the skeletal remains of Philip "Taylor" in his Ford Aerostar at the bottom of a 200-foot ravine in Malibu, California. The onetime bassist for the band Iron Butterfly had disappeared four years prior.
And some random points...
5 Aug 2003 National Coalition for the Homeless ranks Las Vegas as the Meanest City for the Homeless.
26 Jun 1945 The United Nations Charter is signed at San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House, paving the world for the New World Order. Aim for the blue helmets, everyone!