On this date: Alternate Almanac is born

Almanacs are an odd breed. They’re usually antiquated the very day of publication, as that’s the first day their weather forecasts are proven wrong. They were the 18th and 19th century version of the horoscope that somehow could hide its charlatan qualities beneath reader's reverence for the printed word. (Kind of like information posted to the Internet today.)

And they were lucrative. The second-most famous almanac was Poor Richard’s Alamanac (1732-1758), which made Ben Franklin a millionaire. Really? Revolutionary America’s great man of Ben Franklin & Grays Sports Almanancscience and publishing? How could that be? First and foremost, Ben was a capitalist. With his predictable contributions (or so he predicted) to the Age of the Reason just a few years off, he thought it fair to first strike it rich by selling as many as 10,000 of his meteorological guesses a year to the nation’s unenlightened sod-busters.

And what’s the best remembered almanac? That would, of course, be Grays Sports Almanac: 1950-2000. While the Fluxcapacitor was key to all time travel in Back to the Future, Grays was the key plot point for turning the 1985 movie into a triology and all involved into millionaires (including briefly the movies’ much-manured bully Biff Tannen).

So might the world be ready for another almanac-made millionaire? The Fluff Post intends to find out with its “Alternate Almanac” that contains daily funny twists on the popular “On This Date” newspaper feature. To enjoy, just follow me (SkitSketchJeff) on Twitter. New items are posted daily at 7 a.m. Central Time. Also catch up by scrolling through past Tweets in my Twitter Feed to the right.

As sample, here are my 10 favorite Alternate Almanac items to date:

  • Feb. 1: #OnThisDate in 1919, 1st Miss America is crowned in New York City, but it will be 5 years until women are allowed to participate
  • Jan. 24: #OnThisDate in 1980, U.S. announces intention to sell arms to China, helping millions of amputees return to their sweat shops
  • Jan. 10: #OnThisDate in 1776, Thomas Paine self-publishes “Common Sense” after 13 NY publishers reject it for lacking a more provocative title
  • Jan. 4: #OnThisDate in 1896, Utah earns statehood after banning polygamy, ending era when a man lunching with 5 women wasn’t assumed to be gay
  • Dec. 25: #OnThisDate 2,000 years ago, a young Jesus of Nazareth becomes certain his parents are lying about Santa
  • Dec. 23: #OnThisDate in 1888, Van Gogh lops off his ear lobe & kills promising career as Paris’ most beloved children’s party act
  • Dec. 16: #OnThisDate in 1985, Mafia chief Paul Castellano is gunned down outside a NYC restaurant after tipping excellent service just 10%
  • Dec. 11: #OnThisDate in 1967, France unveils prototype of the Concorde. Wind-tunnel tests prove it safe for mid-air orgies up to Mach 3
  • Dec. 3: #OnThisDate in 10,672 B.C., the name “Oogah” surpasses “Blarg” as the most popular name for newborn girls
  • Black Friday: #OnThisDate in 2011, Jacob McCallister observes his first Black Friday by camping overnight to save $30 on a tent

SkitSketchJeff is Jeff Burdick, who thinks every patriotic American should take one Duck Tour along Boston’s Freedom Trail or be deported.

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Filed under: Humor

Tags: Humor essay, Top 10 list

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