Here are a few random things I've read recently that caught my interest. Perhaps you'll find them of interest as well.
The Babushka Lady
There is an unsolved mystery regarding the 1963 assassination of US Pres. John F Kennedy. Captured on film recording the events is a woman, wearing an overcoat and scarf (resembling a Russian babushka), but never identified. For decades historians and scholars have speculated about who this person is that has never come forward to provide what she filmed on that November day. The term "babushka" literally means grandmother or old woman in Russian. She's shown on other film made that day holding a camera. She was observed standing on the grass between Elm and Main streets and is visible both on the film already made public. Even though the shooting had taken place and the surrounding witnesses had taken cover, she can still be seen remaining where she was standing with her camera continuing to film. After the shooting she crossed the street and went up the grassy knoll and is last seen walking East on Elm Street. Neither her identity nor the film she may have taken, have ever been disclosed or made public. Her face cannot be identified because she was either facing away from the camera or her camera obscured her face.
In 1970, a woman named Beverly Oliver claimed she was this woman and had filmed the assassination. She said she turned the film over to two men who identified themselves as FBI agents but received no receipt from them. However, the camera she claimed she was using was not made until after the assassination. Her response was that she had received an "experimental" camera from a friend but this was largely unrelieved. The actual identity of the woman who filmed the event remains a mystery to this day and the film has never been made public.
James Rogers Carroll
As a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, I received a publication that lists the obituaries of members who have died. The last issue reported the death of 89 year old John Rogers Carroll from Pennsylvania. I did not know him but I was impressed with the brief report of his life achievements. He was a white-collar criminal defense lawyer who also was Nolan as a recovering alcoholic. After earning his law degree at the University of Pennsylvania, and fresh out of law school, he agreed to represent defendants caught up in the Communist hysteria of the "red's care" in the 1950s. This included teachers would been fired for taking their Fifth Amendment rights before congressional committees. However, in addition to being a courageous lawyer willing to take on unpopular causes I was most impressed with his contribution to fellow lawyers and their battles with addiction. He became one of the founding members of one of the country's most influential organizations providing assistance to impaired lawyers. He created a fund for financial assistance for treatment of alcohol and addiction for judges, lawyers and law students.
Crossing the Rubicon
In 49 BC Julius Caesar had been appointed to a governorship in Gaul. When his term of governorship ended, the Roman Senate ordered Caesar to disband his army and return to Rome. He was strictly ordered not to bring his army across the Rubicon River which was the northern boundary of Italy. Caesar led his army to the river and paused on the banks of the Rubicon. He was undecided about what to do. It's reported that Caesar uttered the famous phrase "the die has been cast" and led his army across the river in direct violation of the order of the Senate. This was a risky and revolutionary course of action equivalent to the modern phrase "passing the point of no return." His quick decision and swift action forced the leaders and Roman Senate faithful to flee Rome in fear of their life. He was victorious in the Civil War that followed and became a dictator. On March 14 44 BC Caesar was assassinated by people close to him which led to civil wars and the eventual collapse of the Roman Empire.
Greek jury duty
In ancient Greece all Greek citizens were eligible to serve as jurors. When sitting in judgment on a case they were given to bronze discs. One was hollow and that disk stood for condemnation. One was solid and that disk stood for acquittal. There were two urns. One of bronze called "the decisive earn" into which the juror dropped the disk which stood for their verdict. The other man, made of wood, was called "the inoperative earn" into which the juror dropped the disk they were discarding. At the end of the deliberations the disk would be counted and the verdict announced. To any observer the disk look exactly alike and no one could tell which verdict the juror had voted for.