January 16, 1605 — “Don Quixote” first published

Widely seen as the first modern novel, Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote” (in full, “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha”) remains a classic even today. It is a deconstruction and an affectionate parody of the chivalric romances that had dominated fiction in Europe for several centuries prior to its publication. The plot of the book concerns a deluded man named Alonso Quijano, whose head has been addled by reading too many chivalric romances. Adopting the name Don Quixote, he sets out to perform what he considers appropriately knightly endeavours.

Unfortunately, the rest of the world doesn’t go along with his delusions, and this conflict is the origin of most of the book’s famous comedy. Famously, Quixote attempts to battle windmills, believing them to be giants – from whence the phrase ’tilting at windmills’ originates. He is also the origin of the word quixotic. To say that Quixote – the character and the book – cast a long, long shadow over Western literature is to understate the case: this one book is more influential than all but the most important and well-known of Shakespeare’s plays, for example.

El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha.jpg
By Juan de la Cuesta (impresor); Miguel de Cervantes (autor) – http://bdh-rd.bne.es/viewer.vm?id=0000192233&page=1, Public Domain, Link

As mentioned in:

Rambozo the Clown — Dead Kennedys

January 16, 1935 — Kate ‘Ma’ Barker is killed in a shootout with the FBI

The Barker-Karpis gang was, in its time, one of the most feared and deadly gangs of criminals in the United States of America. Between 1910 and 1935, they committed a number of robberies and were implicated in a dozen murders.

Ma Barker and her son Fred were shot to death by the FBI at a rented house in Lake Weir, Florida. Later evidence strongly suggests that Ma Barker, although often covering for her four son’s criminal endeavours, was not the criminal mastermind or teacher she has often been portrayed as. John Ford would understand why.

Ma Barker.jpg
By Source, Fair use, Link

As mentioned in:

Ma Baker — Boney M

January 18, 1980 — Paul McCartney is busted for marijuana possession in Tokyo

It was a scandal briefly, and then completely forgotten. While passing through customs at Tokyo (on his way to tour Japan with Wings), Paul McCartney was discovered to have approximately 200 grams (or 8 ounces, if you prefer) of cannabis in his luggage. He was immediately arrested, and the news made headlines around the world.

But after ten days, the sheer weight of celebrity proved too great for the Japanese government. McCartney was released from prison without any charges being laid, although he was deported from the country, completely ruining the planned Wings tour. If only this had been the worst thing to happen to a Beatle in 1980.

Paul McCartney being interviewed by two reporters holding microphones.
By Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989 – negatiefstroken zwart/wit, nummer toegang 2.24.01.05, bestanddeelnummer 930-6404 – <a rel=”nofollow” class=”external text” href=”http://www.gahetna.nl/collectie/afbeeldingen/fotocollectie/zoeken/q/zoekterm/paul%20mccartney%20schiphol%201980″>Nationaal Archief</a>, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl, Link

As mentioned in:

I’ve Been To Bali Too — Redgum