Thursday, August 1, 2013

August 2: The hazards of playing poker -- and the day the Declaration of Independence was actually signed

Wild Bill Hickok met his end on August 2, 1876, playing poker in a Deadwood saloon. He was holding a pair of aces and a pair of 8's (all black) when he was gunned down by Jack McCall. Thus, the line from the old song, "Aces and eights are the dead man's hand."

Hickok preferred to sit at the poker table with his back to the wall; he really hated sitting with his back to the door -- as he was when McCall shot him.

Understandable, particularly in retrospect.

If you'd rather celebrate something other than Wild Bill Hickok's demise today, most of the Usual Suspects agree that Friday will be National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. Just don't drip any ice cream on your cards.

Usual Suspect suggests that Friday, August 2 will also be International Beer Day. Ordinarily, we're wary of microminiholidayettes that celebrate beer -- there are so many of them -- but since this will fall on a Friday... we can't see the harm.

Of course, Saddam Hussein probably couldn't see the harm in invading Kuwait -- which he did on August 2, 1990. Gulf War I followed -- and a Saudi mujahideen who'd been America's pal when he was resisting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan became America's enemy because he couldn't stomach the idea that American troops would be stationed in Saudi Arabia while they geared up for the liberation of Kuwait. His name? Osama bin Laden.

The Declaration of Independence wasn't actually signed until August 2, 1776. The Continental Congress had voted to declare independence on July 2, and the Declaration -- a committee report, really, explaining why Congress did what it did on July 2 was passed a couple of days later -- but it took some time to make a copy of the Declaration large enough for all the delegates to sign.

Actor Peter O'Toole turns 81 on August 2. Butch Patrick -- whom you may remember as little Eddie Munster -- turns 60 on Friday.

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