Ever have one of those days when nothing goes right? How about a year when nothing does?

1871 was one such year, for a lot of people. Over in Fairport, on the 28th of April, a section of the canal bank gave way, carrying the barge Bonnie Bird, her crew and her horses a mile away. Luckily all survived.

The next month, in France, the socialist Communards rioted, burning much of Paris. Their luck ran out with their capture several days later, and many of them were executed in the city's Pere-Lachaise cemetery. An interesting sidelight to their story ­p; it was around the time of this event that Paris police began collecting photographic portraits of the Communards - the first mug shots.

July brought some bad luck to New York City political boss William Marcy Tweed, as the New York Times began printing an exposé of his corrupt administration.

In August an express train departing from Boston rammed into the rear of a stopped train at Revere, killing 29 people.

The midwest was very unlucky on October 8th. An alleged bovine arsonist did a number on Chicago, while forest fires off to the west destroyed Peshtigo, Wisconsin, and left very little of Menominee, Michigan, standing.

The year had its share of miscalculations, also. Syracuse, New York, began drawing drinking water from Onondaga Creek. Not such a good idea when you considered all the glue factories and tanneries pouring waste products into it. Upstream.

In Kansas, Abilene marshall Wild Bill Hickock got himself mixed up in a gunfight. Which was unfortunate for an innocent bystander and his own deputy, both of whom he accidentally killed.

Sometimes you are more unlucky than you know at the time; you think then, "what else could happen to me?" A young veteran military officer traveled to New York City, looking for a career which would get him out of the Army. He was disappointed; couldn't find an occupation that suited him. He didn't stay. His loss was Legend's gain, when George Armstrong Custer returned to the West. At least he didn't pass through Abilene.

For Classical ninety-one five, this is David Minor.

© 1999 David Minor / Eagles Byte