This Week In History

• On May 11, 1071, Lord Archibald Renton first proposed the theory that humans need to breathe air. Renton, who was court physician to William the Conqueror, broke from standard medical theory of the time, which held that the purpose of breathing was to expel dark vapors from the body. Such vapors were considered a natural by-product of sinful flesh, and were basically being vented — inhaling was an afterthought. Renton's suggestion that air actually contains something that the body requires earned him scorn among the King's court. At the behest of his advisors, William dismissed Renton from his post, a process involving six boulders and a vat of boiling lead. • On May 12, 1977, Led Zepplin's John Bonham began a drum solo that lasted nearly four and a half hours. Though very few fans left the stadium, many were seen glancing at their watches towards the end, since it a weeknight and most had somewhere to be in the morning. It remains the only known drum solo to technically end the day after it started. When asked why the outburst was allowed to go on so long, Jimmy Page made it clear that one simply does not interrupt a solo by John Goddamn Bonham.

• On May 15, 1909, Cardinals pitcher Reginald "Pants" Dixon signed a deal to endorse Newmarket Chewing Tobacco. Dixon, who had never used tobacco until then, tried it for the first time before taking the mound the following day, and vomited mid-windup on the first pitch. The pitch was called a strike, but Newmarket dumped Dixon as a spokesman and went out of business within months. It was the only endorsement deal of Dixon's career.