Five Things That Should Be Remembered About May 5

It’s the beginning of Spring, the days are getting warmer and longer, but what was going on in the world on the history of this day?  You don’t have to be a History professor to enjoy the sex, violence and mayhem of a good story.  You just need myFiveBest to explain it to you in a fun way.  Read on, dear…err…readers.

East Meets West As We Begin Our Global Village – 1260
Kublai Khan takes over as the leader of the Mongol Empire this day back in 1260.  Who’s Kublai Khan?  He was the grandson of Ghengis Khan….ok, still not ringing any bells? He was the leader of 20% of the inhabited land on the earth at one time.  He did a lot of great stuff, like meeting Marco Polo who would walk back to Italy and tell the Western World of how cool China was. China was a part of Kublai’s empire and he was the first non-Chinese guy to rule China.  Kublai was also a great warrior.  His troops invaded all of China, across Russia, areas which are now Iraq and Iran, and into Eastern Europe.  He had a problem with only four places during his reign: Japan, which he failed to invade twice because of bad weather; Afghanistan, due to it’s tribal ways and mountainous regions (sound familiar?); India; and Vietnam (something we also should have paid attention to).

Fiesta Time – Let’s Have A Martguerita On The French! – 1862
The French never fail to amaze me with their total lack of fighting ability.  This time, the war was in Mexico and the battleground was a little place called Puebla.  France decided that it would try to take over and occupy Mexico because the Mexicans stopped paying interest on the loans they borrowed from Frenchies.  While the French had a superior army, more people in the army, and better weapons, they lost the Battle of Puebla to the Mexicans.  In all fairness, they didn’t lose the war, but they did get embarrassed over this little defeat.  Today, some Mexicans and a lot of alcohol and salsa-eating Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) in honor of this French defeat.

Stick ‘em Up.  This is a Train Robbery – 1865
It had to be in Ohio.  This was the date of the first bank robbery, held at North Bend – which is a suburb of Cincinnati.   Train robberies were more common in the past because the railways were how people moved money and they were an easy target for bad men.  At this particular robbery, about a dozen men tore up the railroad to try and derail the train (knock it off the tracks).  When the train stopped in time, the men went on board the train and robbed the passengers at gunpoint.  They then went on to blow up the safes and steal the money.  The robbers got away with it by crossing the Ohio River into Kentucky.  By the time the train was able to warn the authorities of the robbery, the bad guys were gone.  They were never captured.  In this case, crime did pay.  No one was hurt in the making of this train robbery.

How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall? – 1891
The answer is practice, practice, practice.  On this date, Carnegie Hall (at the time called The Music Hall of New York City before the name was changed to honor the man who built it – Andrew Carnegie) opened its doors for the first time.  Since then, thousands of great musicians have performed in these hallowed halls.  At its first performance, Tchaikovsky, the great Russian composer, was a guest conductor.  You can find Carnegie Hall in midtown Manhattan in New York City located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park.  It presents about 800 concerts a year (pretty popular) and has not one, but several stages within it.  Carnegie Hall is one of the last large buildings in New York built entirely of masonry, without a steel frame.  It used to be held primarily for classical music, but in 1955, rock and roll hit the stage with a performance by Bill Haley and the Comets.

You Think You’re In Trouble Now? Just Wait Till Your Father Gets Home! – 1994
Michael Fay was an American kid living in Singapore with his mom and step-dad.  When he was 18 years old, he thought it might be fun to do a little vandalism with his friends. OK, it wasn’t a little vandalism – they put hot tar on cars, they broke windows with hatchets, threw paint remover on different vehicles and slashed tires.  Additionally, he stole some road signs.  Then he got caught.  Well, in Singapore, they have different rules than they do in the United States and their law states that if you vandalize, you don’t go just to jail, you get fined and caned, too.  What is caning?  It’s when you get your ass beat by a big stick.  The American media went nuts.  How could another country uphold its laws the same for Americans as it does for its own people?  We’re Americans for God’s Sake and we don’t cane over here!  Well, Singapore said to us, “He’s not in America”, and they caned him anyway.  After a lot of pleading from the United States, they did reduce his whipping from six strokes with the bamboo stick from six to four.  Caning, by the way, isn’t like corporal punishment they used to do in school (that’s right kids, when I was young, your teacher had a wooden paddle and they weren’t afraid to use it – and no one threatened to sue them!).  It is made up of a long piece of bamboo and the person doing the caning swings it against your back end and legs with both hands.  Often, the cane-ee will pass out from even six strokes.  One thing is for sure, Michael Fay never picked up another spray paint can.