John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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Happy Birthday, welah!

For your present, here's today's Forgotten English (© Jeffrey Kacirk):

Passing through the air in balloons.
--Noah Webster's Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, 1806

As George Washington Watched,
the first New World flight took place on this date in 1793. He and other dignitaries stood speechless as Frenchman Jean Pierre Blanchard quietly ascended in the gondola of his hot-air balloon from the seclusion of Philadelphia's Walnut Street Prison. Nearly ten years had elapsed since the Montgolfer brothers first accomplished this in Paris, and the president and his colleagues were especially pleased that the French daredevil had agreed to demonstrate this amazing feat in America. Being unable to predict where the winds would carry the "greatest of aeronauts," Washington himself signed a passport for him and wished him a bon voyage. But his unpublicized journey lasted just forty-six minutes, taking the aerial pioneer across the Delaware River to the outskirts of Woodbury, New Jersey. There Blanchard, who spoke little English, brandished his ad hoc passport and a bottle of spiritous liquor when approached by puzzled locals, who marveled at his unexpected arrival and conveyed him back to Philadelphia, America's capital.

I've heard of it raining frogs, but I don't think that's what it meant. ;)

-The Gneech
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