This is “Last Week, Last Century,” where I’ll take a look at some of the wacky stuff that happened over the past seven days… and the same seven days 100 years ago.
Sunday, March 16th, 1913 – Emile Girade, a laborer from Hackensack, NJ, is sentenced to 90 days in jail. His crime? Standing near a church and telling passing parishioners to go to hell, or as the New York Tribune put it, “go to a warmer climate.”
Sunday, March 17th, 2013 – Samantha Mueller of Waukesha, WI, is released from the county jail on bond. Her crime? Standing near a church after a Narcotics Anonymous meeting and punching several of her fellow group members, including a 16-year-old boy and both of the police officers who came to subdue her.
Monday, March 17th, 1913 – Mrs. Charles Gimbel of Chicago returns from Europe with a new companion—Lord Marr, a King Charles Spaniel that she purchased for $10,000. She claims to be very comfortable with the price (about $235,000 in 2013), as she is confident that Lord Marr will earn her many victories in dog shows.
Monday, March 18th, 2013 – Michele Bachmann denounces President Obama’s lavish ‘$1.4 billion-a-year’ presidency. She is especially incensed by the fact that the White House pays an employee to walk Bo, the Obama family’s Portuguese water dog. What she doesn’t realize is that the ‘dog walker’ is the White House groundskeeper, Dale Haney, who also walked the dogs belonging to both George W. and H.W. Bush during their respective presidencies. Bo’s declared value is $1,600 ($68.23 in 1913), so he’s certainly no Lord Marr.
Tuesday, March 18th, 1913 – For the first time, President Woodrow Wilson overturns a policy of the Taft administration by withdrawing support for a $125 million loan to China. He expresses doubt that the newly established Republic of China can handle the responsibility of repaying the debt.
Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 – US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew meets with Xi Jinping, the new President of the People’s Republic of China. After congratulating the new President, Lew discussed the two nation’s struggles with North Korea and the theft of intellectual property. With China on track to outgrow the United States’ economy in the next four years, Jinping was all like, “Oh, so NOW you wanna be friends, is that it? NICE, America, reaaal classy.”
Wednesday, March 19th, 1913 – As spring begins, Washington DC’s Poundmaster Emil Kuhn prepares for the annual surge in the city’s feral cat and dog population. He pledges to silence the animals’ “beautiful spring-songs” and claims that as many as fifty animals a day will be trapped, and subsequently “missed from the summer councils of their friends.”
Wednesday March 20th, 2013 – The animal-rights group Alley Cat Allies speaks out harshly against an editorial advocating the use of Tylenol to poison feral cats. This course of action was recommended in response to a study that estimates nearly 25 million birds and small mammals are killed annually by cats. The less outspoken Bird and Small Mammal Allies sent a fruit basket to Tylenol’s corporate office.
Thursday, March 20th, 1913 – House Minority Leader James R. Mann (R-IL) declares that his party will not use obstructive tactics as Democrats attempt to pass tax legislation. He says that Republicans are “more concerned with the prosperity of the country than with the prosperity of their party.”
Thursday, March 21st, 2013 – House speaker John Boehner (R-OH) makes it very clear that he has no intention of allowing Democrats to raise the debt ceiling until they provide an equal amount of budget cuts from entitlement programs and health care. Boehner rejects tax hikes as a possible solution, adding, “I don’t know how we’re going to go forward.” Republicans then stomped their feet, crossed their arms, and blew a very patriotic raspberry.
Friday, March 21st, 1913 – The RMS Olympic, sister ship to the RMS Titanic (which sank less than a year prior) undergoes a $1.5 million renovation which triples the number of lifeboats and adds a double hull. Upon its return to sea, the Olympic regains the title of the ‘world’s largest ocean liner,’ before going on to serve as a troop transport in WWI.
Friday, March 22nd, 2013 – Australian billionaire Clive Palmer, known around the world for his plan to construct a full-scale functional replica of the RMS Titanic called Titanic II, nearly sinks his $5.3 million yacht “Maximus” after colliding with a rock wall. The vessel lost power and had to be towed to a nearby marina, where Palmer boasted to search and rescue personnel about some of his other ventures, including Hindenburg II and Challenger II.
Saturday, March 22nd, 1913 – Edythe Esther Purdy withdraws her suit for divorce against her husband after he promises to stop tickling her feet. Apparently, Dr. John Purdy’s inclination to tickle his wife’s feet had caused her “great mental and physical anguish,” which she cited as justification for her initial charge of “extreme cruelty.”
Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 – Harold Hamm and his wife Sue Ann continue with divorce proceedings in the wake of Harold’s alleged affair. Harold Hamm’s worth is estimated at over $11 billion, so if Sue Ann wins a majority of Continental Resources (the oil company that the couple shares) she stands to receive the largest divorce settlement of all time. The final line of Sue Ann’s divorce petition: “Does that tickle, honey?”