Your Week in History: NASA disasters and Super Bowl performances - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, Florida-

Your Week in History: NASA disasters and Super Bowl performances

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Edward Smith, who was captain of Titanic, was born Jan. 27, 1850. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) Edward Smith, who was captain of Titanic, was born Jan. 27, 1850. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Jackie Robinson was born Jan. 31, 1919. (Source: Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons) Jackie Robinson was born Jan. 31, 1919. (Source: Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons)
The crew cabin of Apollo 1 after a fire broke out during launch testing and killed all three astronauts on board Jan. 27, 1967. (Source: NASA/Wikimedia Commons) The crew cabin of Apollo 1 after a fire broke out during launch testing and killed all three astronauts on board Jan. 27, 1967. (Source: NASA/Wikimedia Commons)
Space Shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after launch Jan. 28, 1986. (Source: NASA/Wikimedia Commons) Space Shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after launch Jan. 28, 1986. (Source: NASA/Wikimedia Commons)
Weather satellites picked up the debris field of Space Shuttle Columbia on Feb. 1, 2004, after it broke apart on re-entry. (Source: NASA/Wikimedia Commons) Weather satellites picked up the debris field of Space Shuttle Columbia on Feb. 1, 2004, after it broke apart on re-entry. (Source: NASA/Wikimedia Commons)

(RNN) - Fat, ugly rodents can't tell you what the weather is going to be like.

I'll go ahead and tell you what Punxsatawney Phil is going to "say" this weekend for Groundhog Day. First of all, he isn't going to say anything because he's a freaking groundhog and groundhogs can't talk.

What happens if there's no shadow for Phil to see? Well, in 1942, "war clouds blacked out part of the shadow" so Phil couldn't make a prediction.

Phil has been spouting his nonsense since 1887, and there are only a few years in the early going where records have been lost. But in the records that are known (all of them since 1900 except during World War II), Phil has never - not once - predicted early spring in back-to-back years.

Last year, Phil "said" there would be an early spring. Given his history and the fact that Alabama has been colder than Alaska several days in the past few weeks, Phil is going to say we will have a long winter.

Everything about the Groundhog Day foolishness is hilarious. I think it's meant to be that way, and I love it. The whole thing happens at a place called Gobbler's Knob, the people in charge wear top hats, the stupid animal is given "groundhog punch" every summer that adds seven years to his life and the land beaver (it's an actual name for groundhogs, who knew?) purportedly speaks in Groundhogese to the only person on Earth who understands it.

The "prediction" is right about 40 percent of the time, but the Inner Circle - the top hat wearers - claim 100 percent accuracy because they say the prediction isn't beholden to a specific location.

Here are some of the events of note that happened between Jan. 27 and Feb. 2.

Life and Death

The first John Wayne reference I ever made came a year ago this week in reference to Wayne's character in The Shootist orchestrating his own death in a shootout Jan. 29, which was his birthday. The only video of the scene that I could find on YouTube is a stupid prank fake ending.

Some actual connections are Katherine Ross, who was born Jan. 29, 1944, and was in Hellfighters, and John Agar, who was born Jan. 31, 1921, and was in Sands of Iwo Jima, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Fort Apache.

Edward Smith, the captain of Titanic, was born Jan. 27, 1850, and Millvina Dean, the youngest passenger and last living survivor from the ship, was born Feb. 2, 1912.

Henry VIII died Jan. 28, 1547, Mozart was born Jan. 27, 1756, Tom Selleck was born Jan. 29, 1945, Jackie Robinson was born Jan. 31, 1919, Sherman Helmsley was born Feb. 1, 1938, Oprah Winfrey was born Jan. 29, 1954, Gene Hackman was born Jan. 30, 1930, and Howard McNear was born Jan. 27, 1905.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s son, Dexter Scott King, was born Jan. 30, 1961, and King's wife, Coretta Scott King, died Jan. 30, 2006.

Robert Frost died Jan. 29, 1963, Guy Fawkes was executed Jan. 31, 1606, and Daniel Pearl was killed by his captors Feb. 1, 2002.

Overlooked Anniversaries

NASA's three deadliest accidents all occurred this week. Three men were killed in a fire during launch rehearsal for Apollo 1 on Jan. 27, 1967, when an electrical short sparked a fire; all seven astronauts on board Space Shuttle Challenger were killed Jan. 28, 1986, when the shuttle exploded shortly after launch; and all seven astronauts on board Space Shuttle Columbia were killed Feb. 1, 2003, when the shuttle disintegrated upon re-entry into the atmosphere.

Pride and Prejudice was published Jan. 28, 1813, and The Raven was published Jan. 29, 1845.

Michael Jackson was burned while filming a Pepsi commercial Jan. 27, 1984.

Something About Sports

Two Super Bowls that are famous for the performances surrounding them were played this week.

Super Bowl XXXVIII was played Feb. 1, 2004. Adam Vinatieri kicked a game-winning field goal with four seconds left to lift the New England Patriots over the Carolina Panthers. But the game is more famous for the "wardrobe malfunction" suffered by Janet Jackson during her halftime performance.

Super Bowl XXV, which is notable for the missed field goal by Scott Norwood in the final seconds, was played Jan. 27, 1991. It was the first of four consecutive losses in the Super Bowl for the Buffalo Bills. The national anthem before the game was performed by Whitney Houston in one of the most memorable performances of the song ever given.

The Week in Warfare

The Tet Offensive was launched Jan. 30, 1968. There had been a cease fire agreement to celebrate the Lunar New Year, but North Vietnam launched a surprise attack at multiple locations to coincide with the truce.

The first American bombing raid against Germany in World War II took place Jan. 27, 1943, nuclear testing began at the Nevada Test Site on Jan. 27, 1951, and the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated Jan. 27, 1945.

Holiday You Should Celebrate

Jan. 27 - TODAY! - is Chocolate Cake Day. Jan. 28 is Fun at Work Day. Make a cake and take it to work tomorrow to kill two birds with one stone.

Preview of next week

British Invasion.

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