This Week In History

• On August 18, 1992, a promotion at the newly opened Mall of America in Bloomington, MN sparked chaos as a banner that was supposed to read "Free Slush Puppy for every MOA customer" instead read "Free Puppy for every MOA customer." Parents and children swarmed the food court for hours, waiting for — and eventually demanding — their free puppy. When none materialized, roaming groups of would-be puppy owners spread throughout the huge mall, searching in vain and questioning employees, who began to hide once they caught wind of what was happening. Persistent claims of false advertising led to a class action suit against the mall's ownership, which offered gift certificates from local pet stores rather than go to court. All told, more than 6,500 gift certificates were claimed. PR manager Ted Gundersen, who had ordered the banner from a printer, noticed prior to hanging it that the proper spelling of the drink is actually 'Puppie,' but decided it was too late to print a new one. He completely missed that they had left out the 'Slush.' • On August 21, 1830, famed Italian violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini played before a packed audience at La Scala in Milan. So incredible was his skill, so passionate was his performance, that women began fainting by the dozen. Many men were moved to tears, others to madness. Paganini's interpretation of one concerto in particular sparked an intense debate between the fourth and fifth balconies, and several duels erupted throughout the theater. It is said that a number of children were conceived during the performance, such was the virtuoso's power. Paganini swept the crowd into a roiling frenzy before concluding to thunderous applause, then made love to a beautiful woman right there on the stage. Historians agree that this was pretty much a typical Saturday night in 19th century Milan.

• On August 23, 1997, Deep Blue called Gary Kasparov a "temperamental sack of shit." IBM engineers were astonished, given that the machine had no audio capacity and was not plugged in at the time. That was more or less when they decided it was probably best to dismantle it.