May 17 Today in History and the Word of the Day

Today’s Important Historical Events

1527 Pánfilo de Narváez departs Spain to explore Florida with 600 men – by 1536 only 4 survive

1792 24 merchants form New York Stock Exchange at 70 Wall Street

1803 John Hawkins & Richard French patent the Reaping Machine

1973 Senate Watergate Committee begins its hearings

2004 Massachusetts becomes the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage

2014 The center-right Hindu Nationalist Party, the BJP, wins landslide election victory in India

Today’s Historical Events

218 7th recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet

352 Liberius begins his reign as Catholic Pope replacing Julius I

884 St Adrian III begins his reign as Catholic Pope

1521 Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, is executed for treason

1525 Battle at Zabern: duke of Lutherans beats rebels

1527 Pánfilo de Narváez departs Spain to explore Florida with 600 men – by 1536 only 4 survive

1536 Anne Boleyn‘s 4 “lovers” executed shortly before her own beheading

1544 Scot Earl Matthew Lennox signs secret treaty with Henry VIII

Today’s Historical Events in Film and TV

1938 Radio quiz show “Information Please!” debuts on NBC Blue Network

1939 1st televised baseball game is broadcast on NBC, with Princeton defeating Columbia 2-1

1957 10th Cannes Film Festival: “Friendly Persuasion” directed by William Wyler wins the Palme d’Or

1963 Bruno Sammartino beats Buddy Rogers in NYC, to become WWWF champ

1966 KFDO (now KVIJ) TV channel 8 in Sayre, OK (ABC) begins broadcasting

1970 Anonymous buyer purchases one of the pairs of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz” for $15,000 at MGM Studio auction, and donates them to the Smithsonian Institute

1975 NBC pays $5M for rights to show “Gone With The Wind” one time

1976 28th Emmy Awards: “The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Jack Albertson & Michael Learned win

Today’s Historical Events in Music

1713 Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi‘s first opera “Ottone in villa” opens at Teatro delle Grazie in Vicenza, Republic of Venice (now Italy)

1890 Pietro Mascagni’s opera “Rustic Chivalry” premieres in Rome at the Teatro Costanzi

1904 Maurice Ravel‘s song cycle “Shéhérazade” premieres with Jeanne Hatto as soprano, at the Salle Nouveau Théâtre, Paris, France

1947 “Street Scene” closes at Adelphi Theater NYC after 148 performances

1969 “My Wife, My Dog, My Cat” by Maskman & The Agents hits #92

1971 Stephen Schwartz’ musical “Godspell” premieres off-Broadway

1973 “Nash at Nine” opens at Helen Hayes Theater NYC for 21 performances

1973 Stevie Wonder releases the music single “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life”, goes to #1 and wins him a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance

Today’s Historical Events in Sports

1860 German football club TSV 1860 München is founded

1875 1st Kentucky Derby: Oliver Lewis aboard Aristides wins in 2:37.75

1881 7th Kentucky Derby: Jim McLaughlin aboard Hindoo wins in 2:40

1894 19th Preakness: Fred Taral aboard Assignee wins in 1:49.25

1895 W. G. Grace completes his 100th 100 v Somerset at Bristol

1903 Cleveland Indians beat NY Highlanders 9-2 in Columbus Ohio

1905 Waseda U of Tokyo defeats LA High School 5-3 in baseball

1911 36th Preakness: Eddie Dugan aboard Watervale wins in 1:51

Today’s Word is


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Cattywampus / Adjective / cat·​ty·​wam·​pus

Cattywampus is an American-based colloquialism or slang that etymologists believe to be of Scottish influence. We use “cattywampus” in the English language as an adjective. The word has alternate spellings and we also use it as “catawampus.” This American-based noun modifier has a multi-part description. In one sense of the word, “cattywampus” describes people, places or things we believe to be fierce, animal-like or savage. When used in this sense, the word describes someone we see as frightening.

In a Sentence

The cattywampus became upset and lunged at me!

I’m terribly afraid of a “cattywampus” staring at me when I ride public transportation.

That “cattywampus” of a woman is coming this way, and she looks very upset!


Etymologists say we find the word “cattywampus” used in North American-based slang in the late 1800s. American English-speakers used “cattywampus” to describe people with outrageous temperaments and those seen to go “off-kilter” or ‘awry’ with little provocation. This colloquial slang has been in use with its original definition since its inception in 1864.


Awry, Twisted


Affable, Hospitable


In my family we used this word to mean something being off kilter.