The World Turned Upside Down (Cricket)

This is an old English ballad dating back to their civil war in the 17th century. It is however significant in US history as it was played at the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781, which marked one of the major victories of the Americans in their revolution.http://www.contemplator.com/england/worldtur.html

Cornwallis did not suffer too badly, and went on to be Governor-General and top military commander in India in 1786-1792. Perhaps his victory against Tipu Sultan made up for his losses in the American colonies

This is a famous painting of that occasion named “The World Turned Upside Down”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-N0ckzU1mI

Now, cricket fans would appreciate this ballad after the events on June 18:

1) Bangladesh beat India in an ODI.

2) Scotland beat Ireland in a T-20

3) and Papua New Guinea beat Netherlands in a first-class match (in the Intercontinental Cup).

There have been great upsets in cricket before, but perhaps never this many on a single day.

Escaping from the impregnable prisons of the US

The US media has really gone to town with the escape of two long-term criminals from the Clinton Correctional Center near Dannemora in northern New York state. This is said to be first successful escape from the facility since it started functioning in 1865. This NY Times article sums up what is known today:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/08/nyregion/convicts-escape-prison-in-upstate-new-york.html?_r=0

(Tail piece: see how small errors in the report have been corrected in the end. This is quite rare in the Indian print media)

In case you are wondering, the facility is named after George Clinton, the first Governor of New York State (and later Vice-President of the US) and NOT Bill and Hillary.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_Correctional_Facility

Anyway, there have been other impregnable prisons in the US, the best known being Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay.

https://www.google.co.in/maps/@37.8266029,-122.4228235,13z

At the time it was closed in 1963, this was its “scorecard”:

During its 29 years of operation, the penitentiary claimed that no prisoner successfully escaped. A total of 36 prisoners made 14 escape attempts, two men trying twice; 23 were caught, six were shot and killed during their escape, two drowned, and five are listed as “missing and presumed drowned”.

There is some belief that one of the last attempts in 1962 might have been successful but this has never been proved conclusively. For more on this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_1962_Alcatraz_escape

Today, of course, it is on the main tourist circuit at San Francisco. It has figured in a number of well-known movies, including

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escape_from_Alcatraz_%28film%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rock_%28film%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birdman_of_Alcatraz_%28film%29

It remains to be seen if the recent CCC escape is successful. The facility is not too far from the Canadian border which might make things more complicated.

https://www.google.co.in/maps/@44.8651084,-73.737376,11z

Present and past US Presidents

First take a good look at this picture:

USPres

This picture was taken in late 1991. It shows the then President George Bush (Sr) along with all four of his living predecessors: Reagan, Carter, Ford and Nixon. All five of them have autographed the original photograph. This original, along with a certificate of authenticity, can be purchased for USD 7,500 (about INR 470,000). See below:

Presidents-5

If the incumbent President Barack Obama were to have a similar opportunity, he could also be accompanied by all four of his living predecessors. Only two of the five in the above picture survive, having crossed 90.

As of January 2015, there are four living former presidents:

President Term of office Date of birth
Jimmy Carter 1977–1981 October 1, 1924 (age 90)
George H. W. Bush 1989–1993 June 12, 1924 (age 90)
Bill Clinton 1993–2001 August 19, 1946 (age 68)
George W. Bush 2001–2009 July 6, 1946 (age 68)

Although George Bush (Sr) also had a W in his name, no one thought of calling him Dubya.

An interesting coincidence is that Carter and Bush (Sr) were both born in 1924, while Clinton and Bush (Jr) were both born in 1946. Prior to Carter, both Nixon and Ford were born in 1913.

As in the case of the British royal family, every possible bit of trivia has been teased out of Presidential history. For instance, there have been times when 5 ex-Presidents were living. The last such instance was between January 2001 (George Bush (Jr)’s inauguration and June 2004 (Reagan’s death), with Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush (Sr) and Clinton. And there have been some occasions when there were no living ex-Presidents. Obviously this was true of George Washington’s presidency in 1789-1797 but it occurred a few more times, the last occasion being between February 1973 (Johnson’s death) and August 1974 (Nixon’s resignation). A listing of the number of living Presidents and ex-Presidents at any point of time since 1789 can be seen here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_Presidents_of_the_United_States

In the US, any aspiring school quizzer worth his or her salt would have to know the names of all Presidents and their terms. By college level, they would have to know the Vice-Presidents as well. This comes in useful because there are enough obscure Presidents and Vice-Presidents to generate many questions. In connection with Vice-Presidents, Woodrow Wilson is believed to have said “There were two brothers. One went to sea and the other became Vice-President. Neither was heard of again.”

Indeed, relatively few Vice-Presidents are elected to the Presidency immediately after their Vice-Presidency. Bush (Sr) was the first to do so in over a century. Richard Nixon had a gap of 8 years before he was elected President.

Now, if you are from India, you only have a data set starting from 1947 (and 1950 for Presidents and 1952 for Vice-Presidents). See if you can recite from memory all the Presidents, Vice-Presidents and Prime Ministers (Yes, Gulzarilal Nanda also counts). Toss in the few who have been designated Deputy Prime Minister. (Not in UPA-1 or 2 or at present).