1. The U.S. Post Office was created on July 26, 1775. (Thank you, Ben Franklin.)
2. The final Battle of Pliska occured on July 26, 811, after which Bulgarian Khan Krum celebrated victory by making a cup from invading Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus’ skull. (Makes you wonder what Krum used to make the rest of his place settings.)
3. In 1499 on this date, the Europeans discovered Curacao Island, near Venezuela. I’ve never been there. But then I’ve hardly been anywhere.
4. The National Bar Association was incorporated on this day in 1926. Bar Association, BTW, refers to a professional association of lawyers and has its origins in a physical bar that separated people in old courts of law.
5. July 26, 1882 saw the premiere of Parsifal in Bayreuth, with a 107-piece orchestra and a chorus of 135 singers. (Dear God, the temperaments on that stage!)
6. George Bernard Shaw saw fit to make his entrance into the world on this day in 1856. In addition to being a Nobel-winning writer, he also co-founded the London School of Economics. (Suddenly, writing a blog seems less of an accomplishment…)
7. Paul Gallico was born on July 26, 1897. Maybe not as famous (or as good) as Shaw, Gallico wrote the superior The Snow Goose, a number of highly enjoyable lesser works (e.g., Love of Seven Dolls, Thomasina, Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris) and the trashily immortal The Poseidon Adventure.
8. In 1875, Carl Jung made his appearance on this date, eventually giving us such psychological concepts as the archetype, the collective unconscious and the complex. And I’m sure if he ever encountered me, he could have come up with several other valuable concepts.
9 .Naples and Calabria suffered a terrible earthquake on this day in 1805, with some 26,000 dying.
10. The cherished Vivian Vance, Ethel Mertz on I Love Lucy, was born on this date in 1909. We all give thanks. And hostess pants.