January 1, 0001
HumourList Package #60 - A Brief History of Time
I don’t usually dedicate a whole Package to a single piece unless it’s REALLY worth it. This one came in from a subscriber who runs her own very small mailing list. I hope she doesn’t mind reading one of her own jokes.
Sorry this piece is a little late getting out this week, but it’s been a little busy.
Opening header is Copyright 1998 by Ian W. Douglas; all rights are reserved, and no portion should be copied in any way or modified in any way without permission of the author. The remainder of this Package is absolutely free for distribution provided all of the subscription / back issue / help instructions remain intact at the end
Part I (the B.C. years)
3050 B.C. - A Sumerian invents the wheel. Within the week, the idea is stolen and duplicated by other Sumerians, thereby establishing the business code of ethics for all times.
2900 B.C. - Wondering why the Egyptians call that new thing a Sphinx, it becomes the first of the world’s Seven Great Wonders.
1850 B.C. - Britons proclaim Operation Stonehenge a success. They’ve finally gotten those boulders arranged in a sufficiently meaningless pattern to confuse the heck out of scientists for centuries.
1785 B.C. - The first calendar, composed of a year with 354 days, is introduced by Babylonian scientists.
1768 B.C. - Babylonians realize something is wrong when winter begins in June.
776 B.C. - The world’s first known money appears in Persia, immediately causing the world’s first known counterfeiter to appear in Persia the next day.
525 B.C. - The first Olympics are held, and prove similar to the modern games, except that the Russians don’t try to enter a six footer with a mustache in the women’s shot put. However, the Egyptians do!
410 B.C. - Rome ends the practice of throwing debtors into slavery, thus removing the biggest single obstacle to the development of the credit card.
404 B.C. - The Peloponnesian war has been going on for 27 years now because neither side can find a treaty writer who knows how to spell Peloponnesian.
214 B.C. - Tens of thousands of Chinese people labor for a generation to build the 1,500 mile long Great Wall of China. And after all that, it still doesn’t keep the neighbor’s dog out.
1 B.C. - Calendar manufacturers find themselves in total disagreement over what to call next year.
Part II ( Early A.D.)
79 A.D. - Buying property in Pompeii turns out to have been a lousy real estate investment.
432 A.D - St. Patrick introduces Christianity to Ireland, thereby giving the natives something interesting to fight about for the rest of their recorded history.
1000 A.D. - Leif Ericsson discovers America, but decides it’s not worth mentioning.
1043 A.D. - Lady Godiva finds a means of demonstrating against high taxes that immediately makes everyone forget what she is demonstrating against.
1125 A.D. - Arabic numerals are introduced to Europe, enabling peasants to solve the most baffling problem that confronts them: How much tax do you owe on MMMDCCCLX Lira when you’re in the XXXVI percent bracket?
1233 A.D. - The Inquisition is set up to torture and kill anyone who disagrees with the Law of the Church. However, the practice is so un-Christian that it is permitted to continue for only 600 years.
1297 A.D. - The world’s first stock exchange opens, but no one has the foresight to buy IBM or Xerox.
1433 A.D. - Portugal launches the African slave trade, which just proves what a small, ambitious country can do with a little bit of ingenuity and a whole lot of evil!
1456 A.D. - An English judge reviews Joan of Arc’s case and cancels her death sentence. Unfortunately for her, she was put to death in 1431.
1492 A.D. - Columbus proves how lost he really is by landing in the Bahamas, naming the place San Salvador, and calling the people who live there Indians.
1497 A.D. - Amerigo Vespucci becomes the 7th or 8th explorer to become the new world, but the first to think of naming it in honor of himself…the United States of Vespuccia!
1508 A.D. - Michelangelo finally agrees to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but he still refuses to wash the windows.
1513 A.D. - Ponce de Leon claims he found the Fountain of youth, but dies of old age trying to remember where it was he found it.
1522 A.D. - Scientists, who know the world is flat, conclude that Magellan made it all the way around by crawling across the bottom.
1568 A.D. - Saddened over the slander of his good name, Ivan the Terrible kills another 100,000 peasants to make them stop calling him Ivan the Terrible.
1607 A.D. - The Indians laugh themselves silly as the first European tourist to visit Virginia tries to register as “John Smith”.
1618 A.D. - Future Generations are doomed as the English execute Sir Walter Raleigh, but allow his tobacco plants to live.
1642 A.D. - Nine students receive the first Bachelor of Arts degrees conferred in America, and immediately discover there are no jobs open for a kid with a liberal arts education.
1670 A.D. - The pilgrims are too busy burning false witches to observe the golden anniversary of their winning religious freedom.
1755 A.D. - Samuel Johnson issues the first English Dictionary, at last providing young children with a book they can look up dirty words in.
1758 A.D. - New Jersey is chosen as the site of America’s first Indian reservation, which should give Indians an idea of the kind of shabby living conditions they can expect from here on out.
1763 A.D. - The French and Indian War ends. The French and Indians both lost.
1770 A.D. - The shooting of three people in the Boston Massacre touches off the Revolution. 200 Years later, three shootings in Boston will be considered just about average for a Saturday Night.
1773 A.D. - Colonists dump tea into Boston Harbor. British call the act “barbaric”, noting that no one added cream.
1776 A.D. - Napoleon decides to maintain a position of neutrality in the American Revolution, primarily because he is only seven years old.
1779 A.D. - John Paul Jones notifies the British, “I have just begun to fight!” and then feels pretty foolish when he discovers that his ship is sinking.
1793 A.D. - “Let them eat cake!” becomes the most famous thing Marie Antionette ever said. Also, the least diplomatic thing she ever said. Also, the last thing she ever said.
1799 A.D. - Translation of the Rosetta Stone finally enables scholars to learn that Egyptian hieroglyphics don’t say anything important. “Dear Ramses, How are you? I am fine.”
1805 A.D. - Robert Fulton invents the torpedo.
1807 A.D. - Robert Fulton invents the steamship so he has something to blow up with his torpedo.
1815 A.D. - Post Office policy is established as Andrew Jackson wins the Battle of New Orleans a month after he should have received the letter telling him the War of 1812 is over.
1840 A.D. - William Henry Harrison is elected president in a landslide, proving that the campaign motto, “Tippecanoe and Tyler too” is so meaningless that very few can disagree with it.
1850 A.D. - Henry Clay announces, “I’d rather be right than president,” which gets quite a laugh, coming from a guy who has run for president five times without winning.
1859 A.D. - Charles Darwin writes “Origin of the Species”. It has the same general plot as “Planet of the Apes”, but fails to gross as much money.
1865 A.D. - Union Soldiers face their greatest challenge of the war: getting General Grant sober enough to accept Lee’s surrender.
1894 A.D. - Thomas Edison displays the first motion picture, and everybody likes it except the movie critics.
1903 A.D. - The opening of the Trans-Siberian Railway enables passengers from Moscow to reach Vladivostok in eight days, which is a lot sooner than most of them want to get there.
1910 A.D. - The founding of the Boy Scouts of America comes as bad news to old ladies who would rather cross the street by themselves.
1911 A.D. - Ronald Amundsen discovers the South Pole and confirms what he’s suspected all along: It looks a lot like the North Pole!
1912 A.D. - People with Reservations for the voyage of the Titanic get their money back.
1920 A.D. - The 18th Amendment to the Constitution makes drinking illegal in the U.S. so everyone stops. Except for the 40 million who don’t stop!
1924 A.D. - Hitler is released from prison four years early, after convincing the parole board that he is a changed man who won’t cause any more trouble.
1928 A.D. - Herbert Hoover promises “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage,” but he neglects to add that most Americans will soon be without pots and garages.
1930 A.D. - Pluto is discovered. Not the dog, silly; the planet. The dog wasn’t discovered until 1938.
1933 A.D. - German housewives begin to realize why that crazy wallpaper hanger with the mustache never came back to finish his work.
1933 A.D. - Hitler establishes the Third Reich, and announces that it will last for a thousand years. As matters develop, he is only 988 years off.
1934 A.D. - John Dillinger is gunned down by police as he leaves a Chicago movie theater. And just to make the evening a complete washout, he didn’t enjoy the movie either.
1934 A.D. - As if the Great Depression weren’t giving businessmen enough headaches, Ralph Nader is born.
1938 A.D. - Great Britain and Germany sign a peace treaty, thereby averting all possibility of W.W.II.
1944 A.D. - Hitler’s promise of Volkswagens for all Germans as soon as they’ve won the war doesn’t prove to be as strong an incentive as he had hoped.
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