Is That A Fact!?
Aubrey Beardsley’s “On This Day” Fun Facts and Trivia
On this day, in 2007, students in Minnesota threw a golf cart in a pond.
The students at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota were so excited at graduating that they decided to take a skinny dip in a pond on campus. The security guard was rather alarmed to find between 50 and 80 students re-enacting a blue version of the Friends credits. He asked them to compose themselves, at which point they tipped his golf cart into the pond. The police were called, but by the time they arrived most of the students had dressed or left (presumably dressing first).
Speaking of swimming, on this day, in 2003, Finding Nemo premiered. Finding Nemo is set in Australia, where Nemo the Clownfish’s lives. One day, at home in the Great Barrier Reef, Nemo swims too close to the surface, Icarus style, and gets caught by scuba divers (in a possible reference to Australian tall poppy syndrome). Nemo’s dad, named Marlin, and a regal blue tang, named Dory (who enjoyed her own spin-off in Finding Dory), travel all the way to Sydney Harbour to find Nemo, who ends up in a fish tank in a dentist’s office. After his rescue, there is a brilliant sequence of inter-species joint intentionality (well studied in Orcas, but perhaps less investigated in animated fish species) when Dory is caught in a fishing net with a school of grouper. Nemo gets the grouper to swim downward to break the net, and they all escape in a excellent display of cooperation.
But one person who was adamant that fish should never escape, not even during a nap, was George Cook, who patented an automatic fishing device on this day in 1899. The idea was to include a trip lever that would be activated by tension on the line, ring an alarm gong, and wake a napping fisher.
But if it weren’t for a nap, millions of party-goers for two heady years between June 1999 and July 2001, would have had to rely on mix-tapes. Well, that’s the possibly-not-true legend anyway. Because on this day, in 2003, the remake of The Italian Job was released in US cinemas. In that movie a flashback scene shows Lyle (Seth Green) taking a nap, when a person comes in and steals a disc with “Napster” on it. The intruder is played by Shawn Fanning, the real creator of Napster! So that is how Napster got its name. In the prequel! Ha ha!
Whatever the legend, Napster would have been a fantasy without Mahlon Loomis. Dr Loomis proposed wireless communication, way back in 1866, when he said he was able to use kites as antennas to transmit signals between mountaintops. Despite getting a patent, US Congress described the idea as “a wild dream” in 1873, but also knew that if it worked that it might one day “light and warm your houses”. Imagine that! Napster, Facebook, and everything else all starting with Dr Loomis flying a kite!
And in honour of this wild dream, today is Loomis Day! And Nemo might be interested to know that Mahlon Loomis was also a dentist! Now there’s a waiting room that would be worthy of finding Nemo. So, enjoy and celebrate Loomis Day. And go fly a kite!
And that’s a fact!