6/27/2014

Blunders in History






The dictionary defines a "blunder" as "a gross, stupid mistake."  There have been plenty of blunders in history.  As an example, Japan's attack on the United States, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, is considered one of the truly classic military blunders of all time.  The U.S. had long took an isolationist view of the "European War" as it was characterized in the press.  But, with Japan bringing in the world's most powerful economic power, into WWII, doomed whatever goals Japan had of acquiring additional countries natural resources to boost her own economy.  Japan had no hope of defeating the USA, short of marching on Washington D.C., which would have been impossible.  As such, Japan set the stage for the end game of WWII with the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Hitler had long tried to keep the USA out of the war.  His Japanese ally made that issue a moot point. Hitler had no choice but to follow suit and declare war on the USA a few days later, albeit reluctantly.  Let's look at some other blunders in history.

Jim Denny was the manager of the Grand Ole Opry back in the early to mid 1950s.  He made or broke many a country singer or band as a result.  Many would try out at the GOP and many would fail with one word from Mr. Denny.  One young singer gave a performance so bad, in Jim Denny's opinion, that he reportedly told the young man, `You ain’t going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck.’’  That young man didn't take Mr. Denny's advice.  He persevered on and continued to play.  That man's name?  "Elvis Presley."

I happen to remember this next blunder.  I remember it because I was watching it on TV.   On November 17, 1968, at 7 p.m. (ET) with 65 seconds remaining during a classic battle between the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders, NBC cut to the two-hour made for television drama, ``Heidi’’. East coast viewers lost coverage of the game, the Jets were holding a slim 32-29 lead over their AFL rivals. As it turns out, the Raiders scored two touchdowns within nine seconds to stun the Jets, 43-32. It became known forever as "The Heidi Game."

On June 5, 1998, Arizona Rep. Bob Stump announced the death of comedian Bob Hope in the US House of Representatives after Dick Armey of Texas hands him a breaking news report.  A solemn moment was held for the famed comic.  The only problem with that is that Bob Hope's death was greatly exaggerated.  He was home In California eating breakfast when he got news he had died!  The great Bob Hope did die five years later in 2003.

Coca Cola is one of the most if not THE most iconic names in world history.  They have had the top selling soft drink for over 100 years.  So, if it's not broke, don't fix it, right?  Wrong.  Coke committed one of the most epic blunders of all time by changing the formula from the old coke brand to a "New Coke" that immediately flopped. Many customers stated it tasted like Pepsi, only worse.  To their credit, Coke realized their terrible blunder and came back with "Coke Classic."  "Old Coke" for obvious reasons, will never be changed again, I wager.

Spelling can be so hard to do.  Just ask any 5 year old.  But, you wouldn't expect that to be the case for most adults.  You certainly wouldn't expect that from the Vice-President of the USA.  The name Dan Quayle still emits laughter today due to one particular blunder (among many he made).   On June 15, 1992: Vice President Dan Quayle visits Rivera Elementary School in Trenton, N.J. to oversee a spelling bee.  Just your usual routine for the VP who has nothing particularly important to do.  12 year-old William Figueroa stepped to the blackboard in front of a flood of reporters and television cameras where he is asked to spell the word ``potato’’. The student spells it perfectly; only Mr.Quayle wrongly tells the student that he was missing an`` e’’ at the end of potato. Oh hell no. It was a blunder that VP Quayle was never able to overcome.  His image as a bumbling, blunderhead was now secure.  He never came close to winning the nomination for President of the GOP.  He was done and I bet he knew it at that moment.

These are a few of the many blunders throughout history. Some changed the course of history.  Others were nothing more than a footnote. 

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