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26th July 2016

6:11am: Feast of St. Anne, Mother of Mary
1581: The Hague - The Low Countries sign the Plakkaat van Verlatinghe (Act - lit. "Placard" - of Abjuration), in which they declare their independence of the Spanish throne.
1745: Near Guildford, England - The first recorded women's cricket match takes place between Bramley and Hambledon.
1775: Philadelphia - The Second Continental Congress establishes the first national Post Office (though we weren't, technically, a nation yet, but let that be).
1882: Bayreuth, Germany - Premiere of Richard Wagner's Parsifal.
1887: Warsaw, Poland - First publication of the "Unua Libro," or first book: the first book on the Experanto language, beginning a noble but doomed crusade for a universal language.
1908: Washington, DC - US Attorney-General Joseph Bonaparte orders the staffing of the "Office of the Chief Examiner," which will morph into the FBI. The first chief is Stanley Finch.
1944: Lviv (Lwow), Ukraine - The Soviet army enters the city, finding that, of the 160,000 Jews who lived there before German occupation, 300 remain alive.
1947: Washington, DC - President Harry S Truman signs the National Security Act of 1947, which creates the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Department of Defense, United States Air Force, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the United States National Security Council.
1948: Washington, DC - President Harry S Tryuman signs Executive Order 9981, which officially desegregates the US military.
1951: London, England - Premiere of Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland.
1953: Short Creek, AZ - Arizona National Guard raids a community of 400 Mormon fundamentalists in the largest mass arrest of polygamists in US history. 263 of those taken prisoner are children, many of whom will not be returned to their parents for two years or longer.
1958: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of Explorer 4, to study the van Allen belts.
1963: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of Syncom 2, the first geosynchronous communciations satellite.
1971: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of Apollo 15, which will be the first "J-mission," missions where the lunar descent crew spends three days (and three EVAs) on the Moon's surface. This is also the first mission to use a Lunar rover.
1971: Newport, RI - Nicolette Milnes-Walker becomes the first woman to sail solo across the Atlantic 44 days after setting sail from Milford Haven, UK.
2005: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of Discovery on STS-114, the first mission to launch after the loss of Challenger.

1739: George Clinton, Governor of New York for 22 years (total) and Vice President of the United States for seven years. Considered a Founding Father, Clinton helped feed the army at Valley Forge. However, he was also known for oppressing Tories after the Revolution had ended.
1796: George Catlin, painter of Native Americans.
1875: Karl Jung, psychiatrist and philosopher.
1894: Aldous Huxley, writer (The Doors of Perception, Brave New World).
1895: Gracie Allen, who never said "Good night, Gracie."
1897: Paul Gallico, writer (The Poseidon Adventure, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris).
1909: Vivian Vance, who was Ethel Mertz.
1921: Jean Shepherd, radio personality and writer (A Christmas Story; co-wrote I, Libertine with Theodore Sturgeon</b>).
1923: Jan Berenstain, bear co-creator.
1928: Stanley Kubrick, auteur (2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange).
1943: Mick Jagger, lips with attached singer.
1945: Helen Mirren, who was Queens Charlotte, Elizabeth I, and Elizabeth II, Ayn Rand, Hedda Hopper, and Dean Hardscrabble.
1956: Dorothy Hammil, figure skater.
1956: Nana Visitor, who was Kira Nerys.
1959: Kevin Spacey, who was Hopper and Richard M. Nixon.
1973: Kate Beckensale, who was Selene.

25th July 2016

6:20am: 25 July
1603: London, England - James VI of Scotland is crowned James I of England. Technically they remain separate kingdoms, "two crowns on one head."
1837: London, England - William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone demonstrate the commercial viability of the electric telegraph, using their system of needles pointing to a letter of the alphabet.
1853: Near (what will become) Coalinga, CA - California Rangers, led by Harry Love, either do or do not kill Joaquin Murieta and his associate "Three-Fingered Jack" Garcia. There remains some doubt as to the identity of the Mexicans killed on this day. Murieta was the primary inspiration for El Zorro; however, Murieta himself was basically just a bandit.
1866: Washington, D.C. - Congress authorizes a new military rank, General of the Army. It is granted first to Ulysses S. Grant.
1898: Guánica, Puerto Rico - U.S. troops under General Nelson Miles invade the Spanish colony of Puerto Rico, ultimately capturing it as a US territory. It remains so.
1909: Calais, France to Dover, England - Louis Blériot makes the first heavier-than-air flight across the English Channel in 37 minutes.
1925: Moscow, Russia - Founding of the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union, or TASS.
1946: Bikini Atoll - The United States detonates an atomic bomb underwater as part of Operation Crossroads.
1946: Atlantic City, NY - Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin appear at Club 500, their first show as a comedy duo.
1952: Puerto Rico - Adopts a constitution.
1959: Calais, France to Dover, England - The SR.N1, the first practical hovercraft, crosses the English Channel in just over two hours.
1965: Newport, RI - At the Newport Folk Festival, Bob Dylan performs his first electric set, which provokes controversy, though the audience's reaction to the set is generally positive.
1969: Washington, DC - Declaration of the "Nixon Doctrine," the general principle that America's Asian allies are to take care of their own defense. This begins the "Vietnamization" of the war, though American troops will remain in Vietnam until 1975.
1976: Space - Viking 1 takes the famous "face on Mars" photo.
1978: Oldham, England - Birth of Louise Brown, the first successful human baby conceived by in-vitro fertilization, a/k/a "test-tube baby."
1984: Space - Svetlana Savitskaya, cosmonaut on Salyut</b> 7, becomes the first woman to make a spacewalk.

1165: Ibn Arabi, Sufi poet, mystic, and saint.
1750: Henry Knox, Revolutionary War general, first US Secretary of War.
1844: Thomas Eakins, painter and sculptor.
1870: Maxfield Parrish, painter/illustrator.
1896: Josephine Tey, writer (The Man in the Queue).
1902: Eric Hoffer, philosopher (The True Believer).
1905: Elias Canetti, writer (Kafka's Other Trial).

24th July 2016

5:03pm: Seen: The Secret Life of Pets (2016)
The new film from Illuminations, the company that brought us the surprisingly good Despicable Me, hits the laughs out of the park, but provides very little for the brain to chew on. It's essentially yet another buddy film with a gimmick.

The gimmick here is that the buddies are housepets. Max (voiced by Louis CK) is a terrier who has a really happy life in New York City with his owner, Katie *Ellie Kemper) ... until Katie brings home Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a very large, shaggy dog who quickly takes over. Max and Duke square off and wreak havoc, until they find themselves, collarless, in an Animal Control van. They are rescued from the van by a bunny named Snowball (Kevin Hart) and his cohort of "flushed pets," who seek the destruction of humanity.

Meanwhile, Max's neighborhood friends, notably a pomeranian named Gidget (Jenny Slate) who will do anything to get him back, mount a search. Aided by a hawk named Tiberius (Albert Brooks) and an elderly, two-legged basset hound named Pops (Dana Carvey), they scour the city for the missing duo.

Set pieces include a sausage factory and the Brooklyn Bridge, in a sequence more than vaguely reminiscent of a certain Spider-Man movie. Max and Duke (of course) become fast friends by depending on each other through their adventures, and the ending is as happy as one would expect.

The animation is run-of-the-mill modern 3D, adequate but nothing spectacular or new. The roller-coaster-motion-sickness factor is fairly low. This is, in short, an excellent popcorn movie.
9:05am: Parent's Day
Or, in Utah, Pioneer Day

1148: Damascus - Louis VII of France lays siege to the city. After a week, the siege ends in a decisive defeat for the besiegers, and the Second Crusade falls apart.
1567: Loch Leven Castle, Scotland - Mary, Queen of Scots, held prisoner here, is forced to abdicate in favor of her one year old son, James VI of Scotland (who will become James I of England).
1847: Salt Lake Valley, UT - Brigham Young leads 148 Mormons into this valley (currently claimed by Mexico), where they found Sal Tlay Ka Siti.
1866: Tennessee/Washington D.C. - Tennessee is the first rebel state readmitted to the Union.
1901: Columbus, OH - William Sydney Porter, better known as the writer O. Henry, is released from prison after serving three years for embezzlement. Porter may never have spent a night on the cell block; he was a licensed pharmacist, and worked the pharmacy in the prison hospital, where he was given a room.
1911: Machu Picchu, Peru - Is (re)discovered by Hawaiian explorer Hiram Brigham III. No, he wasn't a Mormon.
1929: Paris and the World - The Kellogg-Briand pact goes into effect. It has 62 signatories at this point. Its basic theme is an agreement to give up war as a manner of settling disputes between nations. Thank God, we've had nothing but peace for 87 years since then.
1950: Cape Canaveral, FL - Official opening of Cape Canaveral AFB, with the launch of a Bumper rocket.
1959: Moscow, Russia - At the American National Exhibition, American Vice President Richard Nixon has a spontaneous debate with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev on the relative values of the US and Soviet systems. Because the debate, which is televised live, takes place in the Exhibition's "model kitchen of the future," it is called the "Kitchen Debate."
1969: Pacific Ocean - splashdown of Apollo 11.
1974: Washington, DC - SCOTUS orders President Richard Nixon to turn over subpoenaed tapes to the Watergate Special Prosecutor.

1783: Simón Bolívar, revolutionary and second President of Venezuela.
1802: Alexandre Dumas, père, writer (The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask).
1860: Alphonse Mucha, painter.
1867: E.F. Benson, writer (The Lucia series).
1878: Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany, writer (The King of Elfland's Daughter, The Gods of Pegana).
1895: Robert Graves, writer (The White Goddess, I, Claudius).
1897: Amelia Earhart, pilot.
1899: Chief Dan George, who was Old Lodge Skins.
1900: Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, inspiration and writer (Save Me the Waltz).
1916: John D. MacDonald, writer (The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything; the Travis McGee series).
1920: Bella Abzug, feminist and Congresscritter.
1935: Aaron Elkins, writer (The Gideon Oliver series).
1935: Pat Oliphant, cartoonist.
1936: Ruth Buzzi, comedian.
1942: Chris Sarandon, who was Prince Humperdinck.
1951: Lynda Carter, who was Princess Diana.
1968: Kristen Chenoweth, who was Sally Brown and Galinda.
1981: Summer Glau, who was River Tam.
1982: Anna Paquin who was Rogue.

23rd July 2016

7:35am: July 23
1829: Washington, DC - Letters Patent issued to William Austin Burt for the "typographer," a strange predecessor to the modern typewriter.
1921: Shanghai, China - Founding national congress of the Chinese Communist Party opens.
1929: Italy - The Fascist government bans the use of "foreign words." How they determine what words are "foreign" is beyond my ability to reckon.
1962: Space - Telstar relays the first live transatlantic television program.
1968: European airspace - Three members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijack an El Al jet en route from London to Israel. The jet is diverted to Algeria, where most of the passengers are deplaned and moved to France. The crew and some Israeli passengers are held for a forced prisoner exchange. This is the only time an El Al plane is successfully hijacked; it is also, at 40 days, the longest hijacking incident on record.

1865: Max Heindel, Rosicrucian.
1888: Raymond Chandler, writer (The Big Sleep).
1892: His Majesty Haile Selassie, Ras Taffari.
1894: Arthur Treache, who was Jeeves and a fish'n'chips icon.
1914: Virgil Finlay, illustrator.
1928: Hubert Selby, Jr., writer (Requiem for a Dream, Last Exit to Brooklyn).
1936: Anthony Kennedy, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Status.
1946: Andy Mackay, obonist and composer (Roxy Music, Rock Follies).
1947: Gardner Dozois, writer and editor (Strangers).
1957: Theo van Gogh, martyr.
1961: Woody Harrelson, who was Tallahassee.
1973: Monica Lewinsky, handbag designer.
1989: Daniel Radcliffe, who was Harry Potter.

22nd July 2016

6:15am: Pi Approximation Day (22/7)
and also the Feast of St Mary Magdalene.

1099: Jerusalem - Godfrey of Bouillon is elected by the Crusaders to rule the recently-conquered Jerusalem. As he believes the rightful King of Jerusalem is Jesus Christ, Godfrey takes the title Advocate (or Defender) of the Holy Sepulchre.
1209: Béziers, France - In the first major battle of the Albigensian "Crusade," the city of Béziers is sacked by the Abbot of Citeaux, Arnaud Amalric, who was also the Papal legate. When the townspeople had been rounded up, it was impossible to tell the Catholics from the heretics, so 20,000 people were put to the sword. (The story that Amalric said, "Kill them all, God will know his own," is of uncertain veracity and first appeared twenty years later.)
1706: London - Commissioners from the Scottish and English governments agree on the text of the Acts of Union, which would create the Kingdom of Great Britain when enacted in 1707. Though the two kingdoms already had a common monarch, the Acts of Union were far more than a formality, as there were a number of issues to be addressed, ranging from trade issues to inclusion of Scottish Peers in the House of Lords to the Presbyterian establishment of the Church of Scotland.
1793: Bella Coola, Canada - Alexander Mackenzie completes the first crossing of the North American continent (north of Mexico, by a European...), ten years ahead of Lewis and Clark.
1894: Paris to Rouen, France - The first ever (official) motorcar race, sponsored by Le Petit Journal. The fastest time (5 hr 40 min) was made by Jules-Albert, Comte de Dion, in a Dion-Bouton steam car, but he was disqualified because he required a stoker; in the event, he was given the second prize. The first prize is shared by "Les fils de Peugeot Frères," Albert Lemaître and Auguste Doriot, who drove a pair of Peugeots and made times of (respectively) 5 hr 45 min and 5 hr 50 min.
1933: New York, NY - Wiley Post completes the first solo flight around the world in 7 days, 18 hours, and 40 minutes.
1934: Chicago, IL - John Dillinger is fatally shot by Federal agents outside the Biograph Theater.
1937: Washington, DC - The Senate votes down the "Judicial Procedures Reform Bill," also known as the "Court Packing Act," by which President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to increase the number of Justices on the Supreme Court, so as to get more favorable rulings on his New Deal policies. The oddly-worded bill would have allowed the President to appoint one more Justice for each sitting Justice over the age of 70 years 6 months.
1942: Warsaw, Poland - Germany begins systematically deporting Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka concentration camp.
1951: Space - Two dogs, Dezik and Tsygan, become the first Earthlings in space, surviving a suborbital flight whose maximum altitude was 110 miles. Dezik will eventually die in another flight when its parachute fails to deply; Tsygan is adopted as a pet by a Soviet physicist.
1962: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of the Mariner 1 probe. It almost immediately develops guidance problems, and is "destructively aborted" less than five minutes into the flight.
1991: Milwaukee, WI - Arrest of Jeffrey Dahmer.

1844: William Archibald Spooner, priest and scholar.
1849: Emma Lazarus, poet ("The New Colossus").
1882: Edward Hopper, painter.
1889: James Whale, director (Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Showboat).
1890: Countess Rose Kennedy, philanthropist.
1898: Stephen Vincent Benét, writer ("The Devil and Daniel Webster," "The King of the Cats</b>).
1908: Amy Vanderbilt, etiquette-ologist.
1923: Bobdole, candidate.
1932: Tom Robbins, writer (Another Roadside Attraction, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues).
1940: Alex Trebek, game-show host.
1941: Vaughn Bodē, comix writer-illustrator ("Cheech Wizard").
1941: George Clinton, singer-songwriter-bandleader (Parliament/Funkadelic/P.Funk Allstars).
1941: David M. Kennedy, historian (The American Pageant).
1946: Danny Glover, who was Harry.
1948: S.E. Hinton, writer (Rumble Fish, That Was Then, This Is Now).
1949: Alan Mencken, composer (Score for "Little Shop of Horrors" and many Disney films).
1964: John Leguizamo, who was Sid the Sloth.
1992: Selina Gomez, who was Mavis.

21st July 2016

6:57am: July 21
In "Universal" GMT, this is the anniversary of Neil Armstrong's first steps on the Moon. I don't think of it as confusing - I think of it as getting to celebrate twice.

There are some interesting resonances below...

356 BC: Ephesus, modern Turkey - A man named Herostratus, in a bid for fame at any cost, sets fire to the roofbeams of the Temple of Diana, destroying it. He is not merely sentenced to death; it is forbidden to ever speak his name again. But his name survives, not only as such, but in the metonym "herostratic fame."
365: Crete/Alexandria - An earthquake in Crete causes massive damage in southern and central Greece. It is followed by a tsunami which causes devastation along the Mediterranean coast; the most significant damage is in Alexandria, where 5000 people are killed (another 45000 are killed outside the city).
1865: Springfield, MO - In a fight over a poker debt, Wild Bill Hickock shoots and kills Davis Tutt. This is not only one of the few one-on-one pistol battles actually fought in the Old West, it is the first known.
1873: Adair, IO - Jesse James and the James-Younger Gang rob a train. This is the first recorded train robbery in the Old West.
1904: Ostend, Belgium - Driving a Gobron-Brillié automobile, Louis Rigolly becomes the first human being to break the 100 mph barrier.
1925: Dayton, TN - The "Scopes Monkey Trial" ends. Schoolteacher John T. Scopes is found guilty of teaching evolution and fined $100.
1925: Pendine Sands, Wales - Driving a Sunbeam automobile, Sir Malcolm Campbell becomes the first human being to break the 150 mph barrier.
1961: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of Mercury-Redstone 4 mission. Aboard Liberty Bell 7, Gus Grissom becomes the second American in space.
1983: Vostok Station, Antarctica - The lowest temperature ever recorded in a (sort of) inhabited place happens here. -128.6 Fahrenheit/-89.2 Celsius.
2011: Cape Canaveral, FL - Atlantis lands at Kennedy Space Center, ending the Space Shuttle program.

1816: Paul Reuter, journalist.
1851: Sam Bass, train robber.
1899: Hart Crane, poet (The Bridge).
1899: Ernest Hemingway, writer (The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and the Sea).
1911: Marshall McLuhan, theorist (The Medium Is the Massage).
1920: Isaac Stern, violinist and conductor.
1921: James Cooke Brown, author (The Troika Incident), game designer ("Careers"), and language designer (Loglan).
1924: Don Knotts, who was Mr. Limpet and the Reluctant Astronaut.
1933: John Gardner, writer (Grendel, Jason and Medea).
1938: Janet Reno, Attorney-General.
1944: Paul Wellstone, Senator.
1946: Ken Starr, self-aggrandizing attorney.
1948: Snooty, manatee.
1948: Yusuf Islam, who was Steven Demetre Georgiou and Cat Stevens, singer-songwriter.
1948: Garry Trudeau, cartoonist (Doonesbury).
1951: Robin Williams, who was Mork.
1962: Ryk E. Spoor, writer.
1966: Sarah Waters, writer (Night Watch, Tipping the Velvet).

20th July 2016

6:17am: Moon Day
1304: Stirling, Scotland - King Edward I of England takes Stirling Castle using the "War Wolf," an immense trebuchet capable of hurling three hundred pound stones. Seeing it as it was assembled, the Scots attempted to surrender, but Edward sent them back into their castle, saying "You don't deserve any grace, but must surrender to my will." The first stone hurled leveled a section of the castle's curtain wall.
1807: France - Napoleon Bonaparte grants a patent to Nicéphore Niépce for the Pyréolophore, an internal combustion engine. Using a fuel made of moss spores, coal dust, and resin, it successfully powered a boat up the river Saône.
1932: Washington, DC - The US Army routs the Bonus Expeditionary Force, a group of impoverished WWI veterans seeking redress, using tanks and tear gas.
1934: Minneapolis, MN - Police fire on striking teamsters, killing two and injuring sixty-seven.
1934: Seattle, WA - Police fire tear gas and use clubs on striking longshoremen. Something must have been in the air that day.
1938: New York City - The US Department of Justice files suit against the entire motion picture industry, alleging that the "studio system" violates the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Ten years later, the studios will be broken up.
1940: Southern California - Opening of (most of) the Arroyo Seco Parkway, a/k/a the Pasadena Freeway, California's first freeway.
1944: Rastenburg, Germany - With the activation of Operation Valkyrie, Claus von Stauffenberg smuggles a bomb into Hitler's headquarters. The bomb detonates, but Hitler is not killed (though his trousers are singed a bit). In the aftermath, 7000 people are arrested, and 4980 of them are executed.
1960: Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) - Election of Sirimavo Bandaranaike to the Prime Ministry, making her the world's first elected female head of government.
1968: Chicago, IL - The first Special Olympics are held at Soldier Field, for athletes with intellectual disabilities.
1969: Space - Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin land Apollo 11's lunar module on the Moon. Depending on time zone, they also complete the first moonwalk today or tomorrow.
1976: Space - Viking 1 successfully lands on Mars.
1977: Fairfax, VA - The CIA, under the Freedom of Information Act, releases documents about MKUltra, a program that experimented on humans to find effective methods of mind control. Methods used included surreptitious administration of drugs (especially LSD) and other chemicals, hypnosis,[9] sensory deprivation, isolation, verbal and sexual abuse, as well as various forms of torture.
1997: Boston, MA - The USS Constitution, fully refurbished, as a celebration of its 200th "birthday," sets sail for the first time in 116 years.
2016: US and Cuba - resume diplomatic relations after five decades.

356 BC: Alexander the Great.
1304: Petrarch, poet and scholar; believed to have coined the term "Dark Ages."
1822: Gregor Mendel, monk and botanist.
1919: Edmund Hillary, mountaineer.
1920: Elliot Richardson, Attorney-General who resigned rather than fire a special prosecutor.
1924: Thomas Berger, writer (Little Big Man).
1932: Dick Giordano, comix illustrator and editor.
1933: Cormac McCarthy, writer (No Country for Old Men, The Road).
1938: Diana Rigg, who was Mrs. Peel.
1938: Natalie Wood, who was Maria and Susan Walker and Anna Muir.

19th July 2016

8:56am: Read: Poems, by C.S. Lewis (2016-45)
Read over a period of several months, so as not to potatochip them, these poems form a nice constellation of Lewis's thought. There are light poems and heavy, rhymed and un-. Some of them use unusual forms (internal rhyme schemes, alliterative verse); others are straightforward sonnets and such.

The first section ("The Hidden Country") deals with light and often fantastical matters. Here we find the "Narnian Suite," along with many others. Then comes "The Backward Glance," a set of poems largely on scientific and critical matters. "A Larger World," paradoxically, goes deeper; and then "Further Up & Further In" becomes very personal indeed, meditations on Lewis's own soul. Finally, "A Farewell to Shadow-Lands" consists of a few "Epigrams and Epitaphs."

Lewis' handling of meter and other sound effects is generally deft. Occasional bouts of syntactical stiffness occur, especially in the first section, but are mostly minor and mostly forgivable. Overall, I rate this quite high for a single-author poetry collection.
6:14am: July 19
I mean, the best I can come up with is National Daiquiri Day, and that just doesn't cut it. Some mornings it just isn't worth it.

1553: England - After just 9 days' reign, Queen Jane (Lady Jane Grey) is replaced by Mary I.
1701: Albany, NY - The Iroquois Confederation signs a treaty with acting colonial governor John Nanfan, the Nanfan Treaty. The Iroquois cede territory including the Western ends of modern New York and Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, most of Illinois, the lower peninsula of Michigan, and a bit of modern Canada, not getting much of anything in return.
1843: Bristol, England - Launch of the Great Britain. This is the first oceangoing ship with both an iron hull and a propeller screw, and is designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It is the largest vessel afloat in the world, and makes the crossing to New York in fourteen days.
1848: Seneca Falls, NY - The Seneca Falls Convention, the first women's rights convention in the United States, opens. Planned by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and local Quaker women, with Frederick Douglass as a featured speaker, the Convention releases two documents: a "Declaration of Sentiments," and a list of resolutions, which includes the right of women to vote - partly at Douglass' urging.
1900: Paris - the first line of the Métro (subway system) opens.
1979: Nicaragua - Sandnista rebels overthrow the Somoza family's government of this country.

1814: Samuel Colt, gun manufacturer.
1834: Edgar Degas, painter.
1860: Lizzie Borden, accused murderer.
1865: Charles Horace Mayo, founder of the Mayo Clinic.
1883: Max Fleischer, animator (Popeye, Betty Boop).
1898: Herbert Marcuse, philosopher (A Critique of Pure Tolerance).
1922: George McGovern, Presidential candidate.
1924: Arthur Rankin, Jr., animator (The Hobbit, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer).
1930: Darko Suvin, critic.
1946: Stephen Coonts, writer (Flight of the Intruder).
1947: Brian May, guitarist for Queen and Doctor of Astrophysics.
1956: K.A. Applegate, children's writer ("Animorphs" series and many others).
1963: Garth Nix, writer (the "Abhorsen" trilogy).

18th July 2016

6:24am: Nelson Mandela International Day
Or just July 18.

64: Rome - The Great Fire of Rome destroys half the city. Nero either started it or didn't, either blamed Christians for it or didn't, either organized containment measures or didn't, and either provided for refugees or didn't. One of history's great uncertainties. What is certain is that he didn't fiddle, as the fiddle hadn't been invented yet, though a roughly-contemporary report has him playing the lyre (though other contemporary reports have him nowhere near Rome when it happened...)
1290: England - King Edward I issues the Edict of Expulsion, banishing all Jews from England. There were about 16,000 Jews to be banished. They were not permitted to return until the 1650s, when Oliver Cromwell let them back in, expecting financial assistance in return.
1870: Rome, Italy - The first Vatican council defines the doctrine of Papal infallibility.
1925: Munich, Germany - Publication of Mein Kampf.
1966: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of Gemini 10, a 70-hour mission that included docking with two Agena modules.
1968: Mountain View, CA - Founding of Intel.
1969: Chappaquiddick Island, MA - Senator Edward Kennedy drives his car off a bridge. His passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, dies.
1976: Montreal, Quebec, Canada - Nadia Comăneci, along the way to winning three Olympic gold medals in gymnastics, becomes the first person to score a perfect 10 for a routine (on the uneven bars).
1995: Montserrat - Beginning of the Soufrière Hills volcano eruption that devastates the island and forces most of the population to flee. The eruption continues to this day.

1797: Immanuel Hermann Fichte, philosopher, opponent of Hegel.
1811: William Makepeace Thackeray, writer (Vanity Fair, The Luck of Barry Lyndon).
1867: Margaret "The Unsinkable Molly" Brown, socialite, philanthropist, activist; Titanic survivor.
1887: Vidkun Quisling, traitor.
1895: George Francis Barnes, Jr., a/k/a Machine Gun Kelly, gangster.
1902: Jessamyn West, writer (The Friendly Persuasion).
1906: S.I. Hayakawa, general-semanticist and politician.
1909: Harriet Nelson, of Ozzie and Harriet fame.
1913: Red Skelton, comedian.
1918: Nelson Mandela, activist and politician.
1921: John Glenn, astronaut and politician.
1922: Thomas Kuhn, physicist and philosopher (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions).
1929: Screamin' Jay Hawkins, singer-songwriter ("I Put a Spell on You").
1930: Burt Kwuok, who was Cato.
1937: Hunter S. Thompson, writer (Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail).
1938: Paul Verhoeven, director (Starship Troopers, Total Recall).
1943: Joseph J. Ellis, writer (Founding Brohthers, American Sphinx).
1950: Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin group.
1967: Vin Diesel, who was Richard B. Riddick.
1969: Elizabeth Gilbert, writer (Eat Pray Love).

17th July 2016

9:22am: world day for international justice...
...or world emoji day.

1717: Thames River, England - Premiere of George Frideric Handel's Water Music, on a barge.
1902: Buffalo, NY - Willis Carrier creates the first air conditioner.
1938: Brooklyn, NY - Douglas Corrigan takes off, ostensibly for California, after being denied permission to fly to Ireland. He flies to Ireland, alleging cloud cover and low light conditions that cause him to misread his compass. Regardless of the truth of his story, he comes to be known as Wrong-Way Corrigan.
1955: Anaheim, CA - Disneyland opens.
1975: Space - An Apollo command module docks with Soyuz 19.
1984: USA - National drinking age is raised from 18 to 21.

1674: Isaac Watts, hymn writer, famously parodied by Lewis Carroll.
1698: Pierre Louis Maupertuis, philosopher, presaged "survival of the fittest."
1744: Elbridge Gerry, Vice President of the United States, gave his name to Gerrymandering.
1763: John Jacob Astor (I), fur trader, real estate speculator, and philanthropist.
1889: Erle Stanley Gardner, lawyer and writer (the "Perry Mason" series).
1902: Christina Stead, writer (The Seven Poor Men of Sydney).
1912: Art Linkletter, TV host.
1917: Phyllis Diller, actress and comedienne.
1920: Gordon Gould, inventor of the laser.
1935: Peter Schickele, inventor of P.D.Q. Bach.
1952: Robert McCammon, writer (Swan Song).
1954: Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany.
1954: J. Michael Straczynski, writer and screenwriter (Babylon 5).

16th July 2016

9:10am: Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
622: Everywhere - This is the beginning date for the Islamic lunar calendar. No, it was not the date of the Hijrah.
1054: Constantinople (not Istanbul) - Three Papal legates place a bull of excommunication on the altar of Hagia Sophia. This is generally considered the nominal start of the Great Schism, though the political, theological, and ecclesiastical differences between the East and West had existed for some time.
1769: San Diego, CA - Founding, by Father Junipero Serra, of Alta California's first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcalá.
1782: Vienna - Premier of Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio. The Emperor famously accuses it of having "too many notes."
1790: New York, NY - Congress and President George Washington enact the Residence Act, which places the Capital of the United States temporarily in Philadelphia and permanently in a city to be built on the banks of the Potomac River. This bill is very much the joint work of Jefferson and Hamilton, who pounded out a compromise at a dinner at Jefferson's house.
1935: Oklahoma City, OK - Installation of the world's first parking meter.
1951: New York, NY - Little, Brown and Company publish the first edition of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.
1956: Pittsburgh, PA - The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus hold their last "tent" show.
1965: Courmayeur, Italy/Chamonix, France - Opening of the Mont Blanc tunnel.
1969: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of Apollo XI, the first manned mission to land on the Moon.
1994: Space - Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 smacks into Jupiter.

1194: St. Clare of Assisi, nun, founder of the "poor Clares."
1723: Joshua Reynolds, portrait painter.
1796: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, painter.
1821: Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science movement.
1862: Ida B. Wells, activist, cofounder of the NAACP, and writer (Southern Horrors, The Red Record).
1880: Kathleen Norris, writer.
1887: Shoeless Joe Jackson, baseball player. It was so, kid.
1896: Trygve Lie, author, politician, first Secretary-General of the United Nations.
1907: Orville Redenbacher, farmer and businessman.
1927: Shirley Hughes, children's writer-illustrator (the "Alfie" books).
1928: Robert Sheckley, writer (</b>Dimension of Miracles</b>).
1929: Sherri S. Tepper, writer (Grass).
1956: Jerry Doyle, who was Michael Garibaldi and is now a Rush Limbaugh wannabe.

15th July 2016

6:59am: Another day, another day...
484 BC: Rome - Dedication of the Temple of the Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux).
1099: Jerusalem - At the end of the Siege of Jerusalem, Crusaders capture the Church of the Sepulchre. It will be reconstructed and, fifty years to the day, (re)consecrated.
1381: St. Albans, England - Peasants Revolt leader, Fr. John Ball, is hanged, drawn, and quartered in the presence of King Richard II.
1789: Paris, France - By acclamation of the crowd, the Marquis de Lafayette is declared the Colonel General of the National Guard.
1799: Rosetta, Egypt - ... you guessed it ... discovery of the Rosetta Stone by Captain Pierre-François Bouchard of Napoleon's army.
1815: Off Rochefort, France - Napoleon Bonaparte, quickly becoming persona non grata in France, surrenders himself to English Captain Frederick Lewis Maitland aboard HMS Bellerophon.
1834: Rome/Spain - Offical disbanding of the Spanish Inquisition.
1838: Cambridge, MA - At Harvard Divinity School, Ralph Waldo Emerson delivers the "Divinity School Address," in which he denies the divinity of Jesus and the reality of His miracles, claiming that the true guide to moral behavior is the "moral intuition" which exists in each person.
1870: Washington, DC/Georgia - Georgia becomes the last State readmitted to the Union after the Civil War.
1975: Cape Canaveral, FL/Balkonur Cosmodrome, Kazakh SSR - Launch of the Apollo/Soyuz Test Project, a mission that culminated in the first docking of an American and a Russian spacecraft. This symbolically ends the Space Race; it is also the end of both the Apollo and the Saturn programs.

1573: Inigo Jones, classical-style architect.
1606: Rembrandt van Rijn, painter and etcher.
1779: Clement Clarke Moore, one-hit wonder poet.
1796: Thomas Bulfinch, mythologist.
1850: Mother Cabrini, saint.
1858: Emmeline Pankhurst, suffragist and activist. ("Deeds, not words!")
1892: Walter Benjamin, philosopher and critic ("The Task of the Translator").
1917: Robert Conquest, whose Third Law should be required reading.
1919: Iris Murdoch, writer (A Severed Head, The Green Knight).
1930: Jacques Derrida, philosopher (Disseminations, Of Grammatology).
1931: Clive Cussler, writer (Raise the Titanic!, Deep Six).
1946: Linda Rondstadt, singer-songwriter.
1951: Jesse Ventura, wrestler and politician.
1961: Forest Whitaker, who was the Last King of Scotland and the Butler.

14th July 2016

1:45pm: Read: A Quick Guide to LLAMA, by Megan Torrance (2015-44)
Megan Torrance is the creator and primary evangelist for LLAMA - Lot Like Agile Methods Approach, a way of developing training. Agile, in turn, is a not-exactly-a-methodology for developing software, emphasizing team development, rapid iterations of usable software, and several other things that are very good for developing software quickly and well.

Torrance's book is a collection of aphorisms for developing training using Agile-like methods. Some of them seem very useful to me: for example: "Make small mistakes faster. Skip the big mistakes."

I question how useful a lot of Agile is for what I do, because I generally work on projects solo or, at most, duo. There are stakeholders galore, and none of them exactly is "THE" stakeholder for the project, so it's hard to get consensus on what is the most important/valuable step to take next. And it's hard to break down a course development project into "story cards" until you have done a lot of research.

Well, maybe. Maybe research itself can be divided into "stories." And maybe I'm just afraid to try a new methodology when the one I've been using for over two decades has served me so well. At any rate, my boss and his boss seem to have decided that This Is The Way, so I need to learn more about it.

Did this book help me? A little. But I don't need a bunch of aphorisms right now; I need an organized exposition of what I'm expected to do differently, and how. So maybe I'm not the target audience for this book; or maybe I am and I'm too slow to figure it out.
6:42am: Bastille Day
1789: Paris, France - Enraged citizens storm and overwhelm the Bastille, a symbolic moment in the French Revolution, though a rather silly one. The Bastille contained exactly seven prisoners at the time, and only one of them was what you would call a political prisoner or likely to be sympathetic to the revolutionary cause.
1798: Philadelphia, PA - The Sedition Act becomes law in the United States, making it illegal and criminal to publish or utter "false or malicious" statements about the US Goverment. This law was passed by President John Adams's Federalists, and successfully used to repress Democratic-Republican papers; however, it, and the other three laws that composed the "Alien and Sedition Acts," were a major issue in the 1800 election, helping Thomas Jefferson to win the Presidency.
1865: New York, NY - Opening of the "Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations," effectively the first World's Fair. Featuring New York's "Crystal Palace" and a 315-foot wooden observation tower, it was a showplace for new industrial products and processes. Perhaps the most famous of these was Elisha Otis's demonstration of a "safety elevator," which would automatically stop if the hoisting rope broke.
1865: Switzerland - A team composed of Edward Whymper, Lord Francis Douglas, Charles Hudson, Douglas Hadow, Michel Croz, and two Zermatt guides, successfully climb the Matterhorn. This is the last great peak of the Alps to be ascended, and is considered "the end of the golden age of alpinism." On the way down, Hadow slips and falls, dragging Douglas, Hudson, and Croz with him down the North Face of the Matterhorn to their deaths.
1874: Chicago, IL - A fire of unknown origin destroys 47 acres and 812 buildings, killing 20 people. This was the second such conflagration in three years (the 1871 fire was the one with Mrs. O'Leary's famous cow, though that story is probably false), and causes fire insurance companies to demand reforms.
1877: Martinsburg, WV - After the B&O Railroad cuts workers' wages for the third time in a year, the workers strike (note: they were not yet represented by unions at this time), beginning at the B&O's Martinsburg Shops. The Great Railroad Strike of '77 will spread to areas from New York to Missouri, involve about 100,000 workers, and last 45 days in all. One hundred people die in this struggle; over a thousand railroad cars are destroyed and 39 buildings burned in Pittsburgh alone. Estimates of economic damage range from five to ten million dollars (in 1877, that was a lot). The strike ends only when President Rutherford B. Hayes sends troops to put down the strikers.
1881: Fort Sumner, NM - Sherriff Pat Garrett, having spent eight months searching for William "Billy the Kid" Bonney, finds him. He sneaks up on Bonney while Bonney sleeps and fires twice at the unarmed man, killing him.
1902: Venice, Italy - the Campanile in St. Mark's Square collapses, killing a cat and destroying the nearby loggetta.
1933: Germany - All political parties but the Nazis are outlawed. On the same day, the "Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring" is proclaimed, mandating sterilization of anyone who suffers from certain (allegedly) genetic disorders.
1943: Diamond, IL - Founding of the George Washington Carver National Monument. This is not only the first National Monument dedicated to an African-American; it is the first National Monument dedicated to a non-President.
1957: Rawya Ateya takes her seat in the Egyptian National Assembly. She was previously the first woman to be commissioned as an officer in the Arab Liberation Army; she is now the first woman to be seated as a parliamentarian in the Arab world.
1960: (present-day) Tanzania - Jane Goodall arrives at the Gombe Stream Reserve (now Gombe Stream National Park) to begin her study of chimpanzees.
1965: Space - Mariner IV begins its flyby of Mars, taking pictures that significantly change the scientific view of the planet.
1969: United States - Paper currency with amounts greater than $100 (the $500, $1000, $5000, and $10000 bills) are withdrawn from circulation. They are still legal tender, but are generally worth far more than their face values to collectors. There had also been a $100,000 bill, but it was used only for internal transactions. The reason given for withdrawing these bills is that they were not being used; a more probable explanation is their use in illegal trade such as counterfeiting, money laundering, and drug trafficking.
1992: Release of 386BSD, or "Jolix," a free Unix-like operating system. This is generally pointed to as the beginning of the Open Source "revolution." It is followed shortly by Linus Torvald's release of Linux.
2003: Washington, DC - In a Washington Post article, columnist Robert Novak "outs" undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame, apparently under orders from the Bush White House.

1602: Jules Raymond Cardinal Mazarin, Chief Minister of the King of France.
1860: Owen Wister, writer (The Virginian).
1861: Kate M. Gordon, suffragist and racist.
1862: Gustav Klimt, painter (The Kiss) and illustrator.
1894: Dave Fleischer, animator (Gulliver's Travels).
1903: Irving Stone, novelist (Lust for Life, The Agony and the Ecstasy).
1906: Tom Carvel, founder of Carvel frozen custard shops.
1910: Bill Hanna, animator, cofounder of Hanna-Barbera.
1911: Terry-Thomas, who was Kaa and Sir Hiss.
1912: Northrop Frye, critic (Anatomy of Criticism, Fearful Symmetry).
1912: Woody Guthrie, singer-songwriter.
1913: Gerald R. Ford, 38th President of the United States.
1918: Ingmar Bergman, filmmaker (The Seventh Seal, Cries and Whispers).
1927: Mike Esposito, comix writer-artist.
1938: Jerry Rubin, activist.
1943: Christopher Priest, writer (The Prestige, The Inverted World).
1960: Angélique Kidjo, singer-songwriter and activist.
1966: Brian Selznick, writer-illustrator (The Invention of Hugo Cabret).

13th July 2016

6:44am: July 13
Oh, I give up.

1787: Philadelphia, PA - The Second Continental Congress enacts the Northwest Ordinance, which establishes the first US Territory ranging from the Appalachian mountains on the east to the Mississippi River on the west. It prohibited slavery in this territory, though it also allowed for the recovery of fugitive slaves who fled to it.
1793: Paris, France - Charlotte Corday stabs Jean-Paul Marat to death in his (medicinal) bath.
1863: New York, NY - Poor, mostly Irish immigrant, residents rise in riot against the draft. The anger is fueled to a large extent by a clause that lets the rich buy their way out of the draft by paying a $300 "commutation" fee and hiring a substitute. This turned into a race riot, with the white rioters attacking blacks. Prsident Abraham Lincoln was forced to divert badly-needed troops headed for the front lines after Gettysburg to quell the rioting, which is considered the worst in New York's history, with at least 119 dead.
1878: Berlin, Germany - The Treaty of Berlin declares Serbia, Crna Gora, and Romania independent of the Ottoman Empire.
1923: Hollywood, CA - the "Hollywood(land)" sign is dedicated in the hills.
1973: Washington, DC - During Senate committee hearings investigating the breakins at the Watergate offices of the Democratic National Committee, Alexander Butterfield reveals the existence of President Richard Nixon's taping system in the White House. "Everything was taped."
1985: International - The Live Aid benefit concert takes place, mostly in London and Philadelphia, but also in places including Sydney, Vienna, the Hague, Belgrade, Moscow, Cologne, and studios in England, Japan, and the United States.
1985: Washington, DC - In the first invocation of Clause 3 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution, Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush becomes Acting President while President Ronald Reagan undergoes polyp surgery.

1527: John Dee, astrologer and mystic.
1821: Nathan Bedford Forrest, first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
1864: John Jacob Astor IV, businessman and Titanic victim.
1894: Isaac Babel, writer (Odessa Tales).
1903: Kenneth Clark, historian of art.
1915: Kaoru Ishikawa, developed the Fishbone Diagram.
1918: Marcia Brown, children's writer-illustrator (Stone Soup, Once a Mouse).
1928: Bob Crane, who was "Hooooogaaaaan!"
1930: Sam Greenlee, writer (The Spook Who Sat by the Door).
1934: Wole Soyinka, writer (The Interpreters).
1935: Kurt Westergaard, cartoonist ("Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban").
1940: Paul Prudhomme, chef.
1940: Patrick Stewart, who was Jean-Luc Picard and Charles Xavier.
1942: Harrison Ford, who was Han Solo and Indiana Jones.
1944: Ernő Rubik, he of the cube.
1946: Cheech Marin, of Cheech y Chong.
1950: George Nelson, astronaut.
1986: Tashfeen Malik, San Bernardino terrorist.

12th July 2016

6:38am: July 12
I mean ... Paper Bag Day? National Eat Your Jello Day? Not worth it...

1493: Nuremberg, Germany - Publication of the Nuremberg Chronicle, a Biblical paraphrase and "history of the world."
1543: Hampton Court Palace, London, England - King Enery the Aitth marries Catherine Parr, his sixth and last wife. He is her third husband (of four). She outlives him by about a year.
1690: near Drogheda, Ireland - William of Orange soundly defeats the overthrown James II of England, effectively ending James's bid to rgain the throne, in the Battle of the Boyne.
1691: Aughrim, Ireland - William III again defeats James II, ending the Jacobite movement in Ireland.
1790: Paris, France - Passage of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy essentially subjects the Catholic Church in France to the government, making bishops and priests take loyalty oaths. "Refactory" clergy were subject to arbitrary and often humiliating punishment by The People.
1862: Washington, DC - The Congress institutes the Congressional Medal of Honor.
1917: Bisbee AZ/Tres Hermanas, NM - In Bisbee, a deputized possee of 2000 rounds up thirteen hundred people including striking mine workers, their families, their supporters, and onlookers, and carries them via cattle car (without food or water) to Tres Hermanas, where they are threatened and warned against returning to Bisbee.
1948: Lydda and Ramle, Palestine - David BenGurion orders the expulsion of 50 to 70000 Arab Palestinians from these two towns in what will come to be called the Lydda Death March.
1962: London - The Rolling Stones perform their first ever concert, at the Marquee Club.

1730: Josiah Wedgwood, potter and businessman.
1803: St. Peter Chanel, missionary and martyr.
1817: Henry David Thoreau, philosopher (Walden, "On Self-Reliance").
1854: George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak.
1880: Tod Browning, actor, director, and screenwriter (Freaks).
1884: Amedeo Modigliani, painter.
1884: Louis B. Mayer, co-founder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
1895: R. Buckminster Fuller, architect and philosopher (I Seem to Be a Verb, Synergetics).
1895: Oscar Hammerstein II, lyricist (Show Boat, The King and I).
1904: Pablo Neruda, poet and diplomat.
1908: Milton Berle, comedian.
1909: "Curly Joe" deRita, who was the sixth Stooge.
1917: Andrew Wyeth, second-generation painter.
1933: Donald E. Westlake, writer (Dancing Aztecs, The Hot Rock).
1934: Van Cliburn, pianist.
1937: Bill Cosby, rapist.
1944: Delia Ephron, writer and screenwriter (You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle).
1948: Richard Simmons, fitness guru.
1957: Rick Husband, astronaut.

11th July 2016

6:25am: World Population Day
Or, if you live near a 7-11 store, it's Free Slurpee Day.

1405: Nanjing - Zheng He sets sail on the first of his seven voyages of exploration, which covered, between them, most of the northern and central Indian Ocean.
1789: Paris - Finance Minister Jacques Necker, who has been seen as a champion of the people, resigns (is dismissed). This is a flashpoint leading directly to the storming of the Bastille.
1804: Weehawken, NJ - In a duel, Vice President Aaron Burr fatally wounds Alexander Hamilton.
1893: Ago Bay, Mie prefecture, Japan - Mikimoto Kōkichi harvests the world's first cultured pearl.
1895: (?), France - Brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière demonstrate their cinematograph to scientists. Unlike Edison's kinetoscope, a sort of peepshow, the cinematograph projects from film onto a screen, allowing multiple viewers. Ten years later, the brothers exit the cinema industry, declaring that it has no future, and begin work on color film.
1914: Boston, MA - Babe Ruth pitches his first major league game for the Red Sox, defeating the Cleveland Naps 4-3.
1921: Washington, DC - Former President William Howard Taft is sworn in as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, providing a precedent for Obama to be appointed to the Court after leaving the Presidency.
1922: Hollywood, CA - Opening of the Hollywood Bowl.
1960: New York, NY - Publication of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.
1972: Reykjavik, Iceland - First game in the world chess championship between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer begins.
1979: Space - Skylab reenters Earth's atmosphere and is destroyed.

1274: Robert the Bruce.
1653: Sarah Good, one of the first three women accused of witchcraft at Salem. She was hanged.
1767: John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United States.
1897: Theophilus Eugene "Bull" Connor, sadistic, racist police officer.
1899: Elwyn Brooks White, academic (The Elements of Style) and writer (Charlotte's Web).
1913: Paul Myron Anthony "Cordwainer Smith" Linebarger, sinologist, theorist on psychological warfare, and science fiction writer (Norstrilia, "The Game of Rat and Dragon").
1916: Gough Whitlam, dismissed Prime Minister of Australia.
1918: Venetia Burney, who, at age 11, was the first person to suggest the name "Pluto" for the planet Clyde Tombaugh had discovered.
1920: Yul Brynner, who was Ramesses and the Gunslinger.

10th July 2016

10:31am: National Clerihew Day.
Or Silence Day. Or Nikola Tesla Day. Or Feast of the Seven Brothers. Take your pick.

1086: Odense, Denmark - King Canute IV is killed by rebellious peasants in St Alban's Priory.
1553: London - Lady Jane Grey, the "Nine-Day Queen," takes the throne of England, as directed in the will of Edward VI. The Privy Council decides, in the event, to back Edward's half-sister Mary, and arrests Queen Jane, eventually finding her guilty of treason.
1778: Versailles, France - Louis XVI declares war on Great Britain in support of the American rebellion.
1821: Florida - The US takes possession of this territory, recently purchased from Spain.
1913: Death Valley, CA - The temperature reaches 134 Fahrenheit, the highest temperature ever recorded on the surface of the Earth (except for, well, volcanoes and such).
1925: Mumbai, India - Meher Baba (Merwan Sheriar Irani) begins his self-imposed silence, communicating from then on by an alphabet board.
1925: Dayton, TN - The "Monkey Trial" of John T. Scopes begins.
1941: Jedwabne, Poland - Ethnic Poles lock at least 340 Jews into a barn and set it on fire, killing them all.
1962: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of Telstar I, the world's first communications satellite.
1966: Chicago, IL - The Chicago Freedom Movement holds a rally for as many as 60K people. Speakers/singers include Dr. Martin Luther King, Mahalia Jackson, Peter Paul and Mary, and Stevie Wonder.
1985: Auckland Harbor, New Zealand - Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior is bombed and sunk by French agents.
1992: Miami, FL - Manuel Noriega is sentenced to 40 years for drug and racketeering violations.

1509: John Calvin, theologian.
1723: William Blackstone, lawyer, judge, and commentator.
1830: Camille Pissarro, painter.
1834: James Abbot MacNeil Whistler, painter.
1839: Adolphus Busch, brewer and businessman.
1856: Nikola Tesla, electrifying personality.
1871: Marcel Proust, writer (À la recherche du temps perdu).
1895: Carl Orff, composer (Carmina Burana).
1897: Legs Diamond, gangster.
1903: John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris, writer (The Chrysalids (Re-Birth)).
1914: Joe Schuster, comix artist, co-creator of Superman.
1920: David Brinkley, journalist.
1921: Harvey Ball, illustrator, creator of the "Smiley Face."
1922: Jean Kerr, writer and playwright (Please Don't Eat the Daisies).
1926: Fred Gwynne, who was Herman Munster.
1929: George Clayton Johnson, writer and screenwriter.
1931: Julian May, writer ("Pliocene Exile" series).
1931: Alice Munro, writer.
1941: David G. Hartwell, editor.
1943: Arthur Ashe, tennis player.
1947: Arlo Guthrie, singer-songwriter ("Alice's Restaurant Massacree").

9th July 2016

8:37am: Nunavut Day
1540: England - King Enery the Aitth (he am, he am) annuls his own marriage to Anne of Cleves.
1572: Gorkum, Netherlands - Hanging of the Nineteen Martyrs of Gorkum.
1776: Manhattan, NY - George Washington orders the Declaration of Independence to be read to the Continental Army soldiers.
1850: Washington, DC - President Zachary Taylor dies of dysentery, leaving the field open to fun-loving Millard Fillmore.
1850: Tabriz, Persia - The Báb and a young companion are placed before a firing squad. When the smoke clears, the companion is unharmed and the Báb is found in another part of the prison, calmly dictating final instructions to his secretary. A second firing squad successfully executes them.
1868: United States - Official effective date of the Fourteenth Amendment, guaranteeing citizenship to African Americans and and due process of law to all citizens.
1896: Chicago, IL - At the Democratic National Convention, William Jennings Bryan gives a speech advocating bimetallism ("free silver"), concluding, "You shall not crucify mankind on a cross of gold."
1937: Little Ferry, NJ - Decaying silver nitrate film in the Fox Films archive spontaneously combusts, destroying this silent film archive.
1981: Japan - Release of Donkey Kong by Nintendo, introducing the popular character Mario.

1764: Ann Radcliffe, writer (The Mysteries of Udolpho).
1775: Matthew Lewis, writer (The Monk).
1819: Elias Howe, inventor of the sewing machine.
1901: Dame Barbara Cartland, writer.
1909: Basil Wolverton, comix artist of the grotesque.
1911: Mervyn Peake, writer (Gormenghast).
1911: John Archibald Wheeler, physicist.
1926: Murphy Anderson, comix artist.
1932: Donald Rumsfeld, evil evil evil.
1933: Olver Sacks, psychologist and writer (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat).
1937: David Hockney, painter.
1945: Dean Koontz, writer (the "Odd Thomas" books).
1947: O.J. Simpson, criminal.
1953: Thomas Ligotti, horror writer.
1956: Tom Hanks, actor.
1964: Courtney Love, singer-songwriter (Hole, Babes in Toyland).

8th July 2016

6:52am: July 8
I got nuthin.

1497: Lisbon, Portugal - Vasco da Gama sets out on what will, ultimately, be the first successful sea voyage by European vessels to India.
1775: Philadelphia, PA - The Second Continental Congress signs the "Olive Branch Petition," a declaration of loyalty to the British Crown and request that the differences between England and her American colonies be settled without further bloodshed. Since Congress, nearly simultaneously, authorized an invasion of Canada and issued a "Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms," the petition was extremely unlikely to have the desired effect.
1776: Philadelphia, PA - From the steps of the State House (now Independence Hall), John Nixon gives the first public peroration of the Declaration of Independence.
1853: Edo Bay, Japan - Commodore Matthew Perry's expedition to force Japan to open for trade arrives.
1889: New York, NY - Publication of the first issue of the Wall Street Journal.
1932: New York, NY - One low point of the Depression. The Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches 41.22, the lowest it will go during this period.
1970: Washington, DC - President Richard Nixon declares a self-determination policy for Native American peoples.
2011: Cape Canaveral, FL - Atlantis is launched for the last time, on the final mission (STS-135) of the US Space Shuttle program .

1621: Jean de la Fontaine, fabulist and poet.
1830: Frederick W. Seward, US Secretary of State who arranged the purchase of Alaska from Russia.
1831: John Pemberton, inventor of Coca-Cola.
1838: Eli Lilly, businessman and chemist, founder of Eli Lilly and Company.
1838: Ferdinand von Zeppelin, businessman and general, founder of the Zeppelin Airship Company.
1839: John D. Rockefeller, businessman and philanthropist, founder of Standard Oil.
1900: George Antheil, composer (Ballet Mechanique, A Jazz Symphony).
1907: George W. Romney, politician.
1908: Nelson Rockefeller, Vice-President of the United States.
1926: Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, psychiatrist and author (Of Death and Dying).
1934: Marty Feldman, who was Eye-gore.
1948: Raffi, singer-songwriter ("Bananaphone").
1963: Whilce Portacio, comix writer-artist.
1982: Pendleton Ward, animator (Adventure Time).

7th July 2016

6:34am: Saba Saba Day
...or, world Chocolate day.

1456: Notre-Dame de Paris, France: Jeanne d'Arc is cleared, in a retrial hearing, of the charges for which she had been burned at the stake 25 years earlier, and is declared a martyr - though she will not be canonized until 1920.
1585: Nemours, France - Signing of the Treaty of Nemours, which terminates promises of tolerance to French Protestants. Pressured by the Catholic League, King Henry III signs the treaty banning all "heretics" from public office and Protestant ministers from the country.
1798: Washington, DC: Congress rescinds treaties with France, beginning the "Quasi-War." The proximate cause for this is the "XYZ Affair," in which French diplomats demanded large bribes before negotiating with their American counterparts.
1846: Monterey and Yerba Buena (modern San Francisco), CA - American troops occupy these towns, beginning the American conquest of Alta California.
1863: Washington, DC and elsewhere: Begining of the United States's first military conscription, to meet the growing demands for fresh bodies for the Civil War. Exemptions could be bought for $300, and substitutes hired, often, for less.
1898: Washington, DC - President William McKinley signs the Newlands Resolution, a joint resolution of Congress to annex the Republic of Hawai'i as an American territory despite Hawai'ian opposition.
1907: New York, NY - In the Jardin de Paris, on the rooftop of the New York Theater, Flo Ziegfeld produces his first "Follies." Stars include Mlle Dazie, Edna Luby, and Harry Watson, Jr.
1911: Washington, DC - Signing of the North Pacific Fur Seal Convention of 1911, by the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, and Japan. This treaty, the first international treaty on wildlife preservation, banned pelagic (open-water) seal hunting. An exception was granted to "aboriginal tribes," specifically including the Aleut and Ainu, using traditional hunting methods for non-commercial purposes.
1928: Chillicothe, MO - The Chillicothe Baking Company sells sliced bread for the first time, using a machine, created and built by Otto Frederick Rohwedder of St. Joseph, MO, which not only sliced but wrapped the bread. (The machine is now in the Smithsonian.) In less than five years, American bakers were producing more sliced than unsliced loaves. Oddly, the pop-up toaster was invented in 1926, two years before the production of sliced bread.
1930: Black Canyon of the Colorado River - Henry J. Kaiser begins construction of the Boulder (Hoover) Dam.
1946: Rome - Pope Pius XII canonizes Frances Xavier "Mother" Cabrini, the first American (actually an Italian immigrant) saint. Cabrini, an Italian, originally petitioned Pope Pius X for permission to form a mission to China, but he advised her, "West, not East," suggesting she provide support for the Italian immigrants flooding American cities.
1947: Roswell, NM - An object, SUPPOSEDLY an Air Force surveillance balloon, crashes here. I'm not saying it was aliens, but ...
1954: Memphis, TN - WHBQ Radio plays Elvis Presley's first recording, "That's All Right," for the first time.
1958: Washington, DC - President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Alaskan Statehood Act, though Alaska does not actually become the 49th State until the following January.
1980: Iran - Institution of sharia law following the overthrow of Shah Reza Pahlavi.
1981: Washington, DC - President Ronald Reagan appoints Sandra Day O'Connor as the first female Justice of SCOTUS.
2005: London, England - "7/7" bombings. Four explosions in London's Underground kill 56 people, including four suicide bombers, and injure 700 others.

1752: Joseph Marie Jacquard, looming inventor.
1860: Gustav Mahler, composer (Das Lied von der Erde, ten Symphonies).
1861: Nettie Stevens, geneticist.
1880: Otto Frederick Rohwedder, inventor (see above).
1884: Toivo Kuula, composer, student of Sibelius.
1899: George Cukor, director (The Philadelphia Story, My Fair Lady).
1907: Robert A. Heinlein, writer (Stranger in a Strange Land, "The Man Who Traveled in Elephants").
1915: Margaret Walker, writer (Jubilee).
1919: Jon Pertwee, who was the Doctor.
1931: David Eddings, writer (The Belgariad).
1932: T.J. Bass, writer (Half Past Human, The Godwhale).
1933: David McCullough, historian and writer (John Adams, The Path Between the Seas).
1940: Ringo Starr, Beatle.
1941: Nancy Farmer, writer (The House of the Scorpion, The Sea of Trolls).
1960: Kevin A. Ford, astronaut.
1968: Jeff VanderMeer, writer (the Southern Reach trilogy) and editor (The Weird).

6th July 2016

6:27am: National Fried Chicken Day
Honestly, that was the best I could come up with.

1348: Avignon, France - Pope Clement VI issues a bull condemning the belief that Jews are responsible for the Black Death, saying that those who blamed the Jews have been "seduced by that liar, the Devil." He also condemns violence against Jews.
1415: Konstanz, Germany - Reformist Jan Hus is condemned as a heretic, and burned at the stake.
1535: London, England - St. Thomas More is beheaded for treason against King Enery the Aitth of England, having refused to agree that the Crown has religious supremacy.
1854: Jackson, MI - The first convention of the United States Republican Party meets.
1865: New York, NY - The first issue of The Nation is published, making it the oldest continually published weekly magazine in the United States.
1885: Paris, France - Louis Pasteur successfully tests a rabies vaccine (originally developed by Emile Roux) on a human being.
1887: Honolulu, Kingdom of Hawai'i - King David Kalākaua is forced to sign the "Bayonet Constitution," which severely limits the power of the crown, transfering that power to the Legislature. This is forced on him by a group of Americans whose ultimate goal is American annexation of Hawai'i.
1892: Homestead, PA - Three hundred Pinkerton agents attempt to take the Homestead Steel Works from striking workers so that scab labor can enter. A firefight ensues, and, after twelve hours of on-and-off violence, the Pinkertons surrender and are taken to a temporary jail to be charged with murder; in the event, the state presses no charges.
1917: Aqaba, Jordan - During the Arabian Revolt against the Ottoman Empire, this city is taken by Arab troops led by T.E. Lawrence and Auda ibu Tayi.
1933: Chicago, IL - The first Major League Baseball All-Star Game is held at Comiskey Park, home of the White Sox. The American League team (featuring players like Lou Gehrig, Joe Cronin, and Babe Ruth) defeat the National League (featuring Bill Terry, Frankie Frisch, and Pepper Martin) 4-2.
1942: Amsterdam, Netherlands - Anne Frank and her family go into hiding in the "Secret Annexe."
1944: Hartford, CT - The Big Top of the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus catches fire. The bandleader, Merle Evans, immediately strikes up "Stars and Stripes Forever," signaling disaster to the personnel. Ringmaster Fred Bradna tries to appeal for a calm exit, but, with the power out, fails. Making matters worse, paraffin used to waterproof the tent melts and drips. 167 die and over 700 are injured.
1957: London, England - Althea Gibson is the first black athlete to win at Wimbledon, eighteen years before Arthur Ashe.
1957: Liverpool, England - John Lennon meets Paul McCartney for the first time.
1967: Nigeria - National forces enter Biafra, beginning the Nigerian Civil War.
1988: North Sea - The Piper Alpha oil drilling platform explodes and catches fire, causing the deaths of 167 workers (weird coincidence there...), making it the worst offshore oil disaster in terms of human lives lost.
1990: San Francisco, CA - Partly in response to the seizure of the computers of Steve Jackson Games, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is founded.
1995: Srebenica, Bosnia - Serbian General Ratko Mladić attacks this city and kills over 8000 Bosniak, mostly civilians.

1747: John Paul Jones, naval captain.
1781: Stamford Raffles, colonialist, founder of Singapore.
1887: Marc Chagall, painter.
1892: Will James, author-illustrator, Newberry award winner (Smokey the Cowhorse).
1907: Frida Kahlo, painter.
1918: Sebastian Cabot, who was Mr French and the narrator of Winnie-the-Pooh.
1921: Nancy Reagan, first lady of the United States.
1925: Merv Griffen, talkshow host and gameshow creator (Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune).
1925: Bill Haley, who rocked around the clock.
1927: Janet Leigh, who was Marion Crane.
1927: Pat Paulsen, Presidential candidate.
1935: Candy Barr, stripper and model.
1935: Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama.
1945: Burt Ward, who was Dick Grayson and who rescues Great Danes.
1946: [redacted], 43d President of the United States.
1946: Jamie Wyeth, third-generation painter.
1950: John Byrne, comix writer-artist (X-Men, first reboot of Superman).
1952: Hilary Mantel, writer (Wolf Hall).
1962: Peter Hedges, screenwriter and novelist (What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, About a Boy).

5th July 2016

7:08am: Happy X-Day!
On this day in 1998, an alien armada SECRETLY took away all the Sub-Genii it could carry, leaving the rest of us with the normals and pinks in these END TIMES. We will all be ruled by a secret society of MALEVOLENT CLOWNS. And if you don't believe me, just look at the roster of Presidential candidates we've had.

1687: London (Royal Society) - Publication of Isaac Newton's Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, arguably the single most influential book in the history of science. Newton describes, among other things, his three Laws of Motion and a universal theory of gravitation, and justifies and explains the heliocentric view of the universe (which has since become the heliocentric theory of the Solar system).
1841: Leicester, England - Thomas Cook organizes the first ever "package" excursion, arranging for a group of 500+ temperance campaigners to travel from Leicester to Loughborough on a train, including round trip tickets and food, for one shilling per person, from which Cook received a percentage.
1935: Washington, DC - President Franklin Roosevelt signs the National Labor Relations Act, which guarantees basic rights of private sector employees to organize into trade unions, engage in collective bargaining for better terms and conditions at work, and take collective action including strike if necessary. It also creates the National Labor Relations Board. It explicitly excludes railroad employees covered by the Railway Labor Act.
1937: United States - Hormel Foods Corp. introduces "the ham that didn't pass its physical," a/k/a "Special Process Army Meat," a/k/a Spam. Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam....
1948: London, England - The National Health Service Acts create the National Health System of the United Kingdom.
1950: Jerusalem, Israel - Passage by the Knesset of the "Right of Return," guaranteeing all Jews the right to migrate to Israel.
1975: London, England - Arthur Ashe becomes the first black man to win the Wimbledon singles tennis title.
1996: Edinburgh, Scotland - Birth of Dolly the Sheep, the first mammal cloned from two adult cells (one providing the DNA and one the "medium").

1586: Thomas Hooker, founder of the English colony of Connecticut.
1801: David Farragut, admiral ("Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead").
1810: Phineas Taylor Barnum, showman and businessman.
1853: Cecil Rhodes, colonialist.
1889: Jean Cocteau, novelist (Les Enfants Terribles) and filmmaker (Beauty and the Beast, Orpheus).
1902: Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., politician.
1904: Ernst Mayr, ornithologist and biological theorist, proposed the "breeding group" theory of species.
1958: Bill Watterson, cartoonist (Calvin and Hobbes).
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