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Go on Vacation and Discover Penicillin

Dr. Alexander Flemming began this journey when his nasal excretions came in contact with the bacteria he was studying. That's a nice way of saying that snot dripped from his nose into a petri dish, and he noticed that bacteria didn't grow on that spot. This proved that natural processes of the body fight off bacteria. Since that time he has been looking for a cure for bacterial infections, but it's vacation time now. He is sharing lab space, so he pushes aside his petri dishes to make room. When Flemming returns, the petri dishes are contaminated with mold. His work has been lost. Then his lab partner walks in. Dr. Flemming complains bitterly. He picks up a moldy petri dish to show what has happened, and notices that the mold has killed his bacteria. WTF! (Well... That's Funny!) The development of penicillin is years away, but this is where it starts: in a contaminated lab with dirty dishes, and a man willing to whine for science. [1] [2] [3]

...I certainly didn't plan to revolutionise all medicine by discovering the world's first antibiotic, or bacteria killer, but I suppose that was exactly what I did.
-- Sir Alexander Flemming, commenting on his initial discovery. [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
History writers always play this one for laughs, but Dr. Flemming was a pretty sharp guy. He shared the Nobel Prize in medicine with several others after developing the penicillin antibiotic. Flemming's discovery has saved the lives of millions, and has also cured gonorrhea. (A pun just occurred to me, but I'll keep it to myself.) Antibiotics became the miracle cure. Remember that Calvin Coolidge, Jr., son of the President, developed a blister while playing tennis, and died from a bacterial infection just 4 years prior to Flemming's discovery. With the introduction of antibiotics, it seemed that science could curing anything! My mother-in-law, of blessed memory, was born in the 1920s. Her faith in doctors was a little frightening, but typical for her generation. I have less faith, but I do have respect for a doctor's skill and expert opinion. They help me. They do not rule me. [5]

Killing for Communism

Trotsky has been been removed from the Soviet leadership, removed from the Communist Party and banished by Stalin. Stalin might be insane, but a man with that much power can make his opinion stick... especially when the secret police is backing him up. Unfortunately for Stalin, one of his senior secret policemen has defected to the West. He says he has fallen in love with a teacher, but Stalin's personal secretary (another man) has also defected. It seems that those who known him best, don't want to know him. Stalin will send out assassins to take care of these counter-revolutionaries, and in time, even murder Trotsky. Lenin boasted of shooting thousands. Stalin will murder millions. In fact, the only person in the world who will murder more people than Stalin will be Mao Tse-tung of China, but Mao is not ready to take the world stage yet. Mao has just won his first battle as a commander. Before he puts the county chief to death by piercing him with spears, Mao recites a poem he has written to commemorate the event... [6]

Watch us kill the bad landlords today.
Aren't you afraid?
It's knife slicing upon knife. [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I'm unhappy with fascists, communists, socialists, progressives, Maoists and Stalinists. They are not the same thing, but they are similar, and often difficult to tell apart. I found it odd that Ben Stein, the economist, intellectual, and co-star of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, was criticized for depicting Darwinists as Nazi murderers in his documentary "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed". In fact, the images Ben Stein showed in the movie were of East Germany... a communist country... not Nazi Germany. The socialist revolution of the Nazis, the Maoists, the Stalinists, the Leninists, and even President Woodrow Wilson were attempting to build a new modern man, genetically pure, ideologically consistent, and devoid of a soul. Everyone else could be expelled. [8]

Notable Births

  • Elie Wiesel: Author of Night an account of his suffering in Nazi concentration camps. [9] [10] [11]
  • Hosni Mubarak (Living): President of Egypt after Anwar Sadat and overthrown in 2011. [12]
  • Che Guevara: Communist, cultural icon and mass murderer of the Cuban Revolution. [13]
  • Jack Kevorkian: Labeled "Dr. Death" for euthanizing his patients upon request and convicted of 2nd degree murder. [14]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Shirley Temple: Child movie star and US ambassador to Ghana and later Czechoslovakia. [15]
  • -- Mr. Rogers: Fred Rogers will create the children's show, Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. [16]
  • -- Philip K. Dick: Scifi author whose works will become movies like Blade Runner, Minority Report, Paycheck, and The Adjustment Bureau. [17]
  • -- Eddie Fisher: Pop singer and father of actress Carrie Fisher. [18]

**Note: (Living) means they were alive when I checked on 2017-Jan-10.

In Other News

  • Bambi: A Life in the Woods is published in English. I wonder if Disney Studios has read it yet. [19]
  • Mickey Mouse appears in Steamboat Willie. Disney's first movie with synchronized sound. [20]
  • Daily TV programming begins. WRGB is broadcasting from Schenectady, New York. [21]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1928, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. 9 Brilliant Inventions Made by Mistake. smallbusiness.yahoo.com (2015). Retrieved on 30 October 2015. “Like anyone eager to go on vacation, Alexander Fleming left a pile of dirty petri dishes stacked up at his workstation before he left town. When he returned from holiday on September 3, 1928, he began sorting through them to see if any could be salvaged, discovering most had been contaminated--as you might expect would happen in a bacteria lab in a hospital.”
  2. Alexander Fleming Discovers Penicillin. history1900s.about.com (March 10, 2016). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “But where did the mold come from? Most likely, the mold came from La Touche's room downstairs. La Touche had been collecting a large sampling of molds for John Freeman, who was researching asthma, and it is likely that some floated up to Fleming's lab.”
  3. How Penicillin Owes a Debt to Alexander Fleming's Slopiness. time.com (Sept. 28, 2015). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “The bacteriologist Alexander Fleming is recalled as one of the brightest minds in the history of science. TIME once called him 'a short (5 ft. 7 in.), gentle, retiring Scot with somewhat dreamy blue eyes, fierce white hair and a mulling mind, which, when it moves, moves with the thrust of a cobra.'”
  4. Alexander Fleming - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “He investigated its positive anti-bacterial effect on many organisms, and noticed that it affected bacteria such as staphylococci and many other Gram-positive pathogens that cause scarlet fever, pneumonia, meningitis and diphtheria, but not typhoid fever or paratyphoid fever, which are caused by Gram-negative bacteria, for which he was seeking a cure at the time. It also affected Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which causes gonorrhoea although this bacterium is Gram-negative.”
  5. Shlaes, Amity. Coolidge. Harper. ISBN 9780061967559. “Calvin Coolidge, Jr.; President Coolidge; the first lady; and John Coolidge on June 30, 1924. The day this picture was taken, Calvin, Jr., had developed a blister on his toe from playing tennis on the White House court. A week later the boy died of sepsis.” 
  6. Georges Agabekov - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “He was the first senior OGPU officer to defect to the West (1930), motivated presumably by his amorous infatuation with an English language teacher in Constantinople; his revelatory books led to massive arrests of Soviet intelligence assets across the Near East and Central Asia.”
  7. Mao: The Unknown Story. Anchor. ISBN 9780679746324. “Mao did not invent public execution, but he added to this ghastly tradition a modern dimension, organized rallies, and in this way mad, killing compulsory viewing for a large part of the population. To be dragooned into a crowd, powerless to walk away, forced to watch people put to death in this bloody and agonizing way, hearing their screams. struck fear deep into those present.” 
  8. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “The film contends that the mainstream science establishment suppresses academics who believe they see evidence of intelligent design (ID) in nature and who criticize evidence supporting Darwinian evolution and the modern evolutionary synthesis as part of a 'scientific conspiracy to keep God out of the nation's laboratories and classrooms.'[4][5] The scientific theory of evolution is portrayed by the film as contributing to communism, fascism, atheism, eugenics and, in particular, Nazi atrocities in the Holocaust.[6][7] The film portrays intelligent design as motivated by science, rather than religion, though it does not give a detailed definition of the phrase or attempt to explain it on a scientific level.”
  9. Elie Wiesel - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “a Romanian-born American Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor. He was the author of 57 books, written mostly in French and English, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.”
  10. David Weiss Halivni - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “David Weiss Halivni (born 1927) is a European-born American-Israeli rabbi, scholar in the domain of Jewish Sciences and professor of Talmud.”
  11. Alex Shrugged notes: I am associated with the only other survivor of Elie Wiesel's village, HaRav David Weiss Halivni.
  12. Hosni Mubarak - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “Some time in the 1950s, he returned to the Air Force Academy as an instructor, remaining there until early 1959.[1] He was appointed Vice-President of Egypt by President Anwar Sadat in 1975 and assumed the presidency on 14 October 1981,”
  13. Che Guevara - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “Following the Cuban Revolution, Guevara performed a number of key roles in the new government. These included reviewing the appeals and firing squads for those convicted as war criminals during the revolutionary tribunals, instituting agrarian land reform as minister of industries, helping spearhead a successful nationwide literacy campaign, serving as both national bank president and instructional director for Cuba's armed forces, and traversing the globe as a diplomat on behalf of Cuban socialism. Such positions also allowed him to play a central role in training the militia forces who repelled the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing the Soviet nuclear-armed ballistic missiles to Cuba which precipitated the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.”
  14. Jack Kevorkian - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “He was often portrayed in the media with the name of 'Dr. Death'; however, many consider him a hero,[3] as he helped set the platform for reform. He famously said, 'Dying is not a crime'.[5]”
  15. Shirley Temple - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “Shirley Temple began her film career in 1932 at age 3. In 1934, she found international fame in Bright Eyes, a feature film designed specifically for her talents. She received a special Juvenile Academy Award in February 1935 for her outstanding contribution as a juvenile performer to motion pictures during 1934, and film hits such as Curly Top and Heidi followed year after year during the mid-to-late 1930s.”
  16. Fred Rogers - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “American television personality, famous for creating, hosting, and composing the theme music for the educational preschool television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968–2001), which featured his kind-hearted, gentle, soft-spoken personality and directness to his audiences”
  17. Philip K. Dick - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “A variety of popular films based on his works have been produced, including Blade Runner (1982), Total Recall (1990), A Scanner Darkly (2006), Minority Report (2002), Paycheck (2003), Next (2007), and The Adjustment Bureau (2011).”
  18. Eddie Fisher (singer) - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “He was the most successful pop singles artist during the first half of the 1950s, selling millions of records and hosting his own TV show.”
  19. Bambi, a Life in the Woods - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “The novel was well received by critics and is considered a classic, as well as one of the first environmental novels ever published. It was adapted into a theatrical animated film, Bambi, by Walt Disney Productions in 1942, two Russian live-action adaptations in 1985 and 1986, and a stage production in 1998.”
  20. Steamboat Willie - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “The cartoon is considered the debut of Mickey Mouse and his girlfriend Minnie, although both the characters appeared several months earlier in a test screening of Plane Crazy. Steamboat Willie was the third of Mickey's films to be produced, but was the first to be distributed because Walt Disney, having seen The Jazz Singer, had committed himself to producing the first fully synchronized sound cartoon.”
  21. WRGB - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “WRGB is most notable for being among the first experimental television stations in the world. It began with test broadcasts in early 1928. Later that year the first daily programs were broadcast. It later became one of a handful of television stations licensed for commercial broadcasting operation before the end of World War II.”

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