Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Galloping Gertie


On Novermber 7, 1848, Zachary Taylor was elected the nation's 12th chief executive--launching an upreecedented succession of really bad presidents, men whom historians consistently rank among the worst.  Taylor, who died in office before he could do too much damage, was succeeded by the equally incompetent Millard Fillmore, champion of the calamitous Compromise of 1850.  Then there was Franklin Pierce, a chronic drinker mocked by his political adversaries as "the hero of many a well-fought bottle."  Rounding out this quartet of presidential duds was James Buchanan, who sat idly by as the nation careened toward civil war.  Mercifully, Abraham Lincoln replaced him, thus ending the disastours White House losers streak....

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In 1940, four months after its completion, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington state suffers a spectacular collapse.  Having earned the nickname "Galloping Gertie" for its bending and twisting on windy days, the bridge was destroyed by harmonic vibrations induced by a 42-mile per hour wind.



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In ancient Greece, a fire festival known as the Night of Hecate was held each year on this date to honor the crone of the waning Moon and the underworld and the guardian of the crossroads.  Hecate's worship was performed at night.  Wherever three roads crossed, food and drink were left as offerings to the venerable triple goddess.  

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