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10th October 2016

8:15pm: Read: Death's End, by Cixin Liu (2016-55)
So this is the end of a trilogy, which means a certain amount of spoilerage for previous volumes is in order. I'll put them behind the clickythingy.

clickythingyCollapse )
Cixin Liu is the kind of writer who tosses off ideas in passing that other writers would make into entire series, and there are a lot of ideas tossed off in the course of this trilogy and especially its last volume.

If there's a theme to all this, it's an existential kind of theme: the Universe is a cold and heartless place, indifferent not only to Humanity but to life at all; life will always distrust and destroy life different from itself; and the only meaning to it all is what we make. It's not a cheering view - but it's a bracing one.

Recommended to fans of Clarke, Stapledon, Baxter, and the like.
10:08am: End of it
I had been planning on ending the almanacking soon anyway, when I had completed a year of it. I'm endingn it early because I fell yesterday. Gashed my left hand and sprained two fingers on the right. Typing is very painful. So, it's over.

8th October 2016

10:50am: Can you believe the year is 282 days old?
1645: Montréal, QU - Jeanne Mance opens the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, the oldest established hospital (and first lay hospital) in North America.
1860: San Francisco-Los Angeles - A telegraph line between these two cities is opened.
1871: Four major fires break out on the shores of Lake Michigan, including the Great Chicago Fire, which will kill 300 people. It was is believed to have been caused by a knocked-over lantern, though there is no substantive evidence for this - and none at all for the "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" story. It kills about 300 people; another of the fires, in Peshtigo, WI, however killed at least 1500 and possibly as many as 2500, and is the deadliest wildfire in recorded history.
1956: New York, NY - Yankee Don Larsen pitches a perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers at Yankee Stadium, the only perfect game ever played in a World Series.
1967: Bolivia - A CIA-backed force captures Che Guevara; two days later, they will execute him.
1974: Mineola, NY - Collapse of the Franklin National Bank, with Mafia involvement. This is the largest bank collapse in US history up to this point.
1982: Poland - Bans Solidarity and all labor unions. We all know how that turned out.
1982: New York, NY - Broadway premiere of Cats.
2001: Washington, DC - President George W. Bush announces the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

1834: Walter Kittredge, songwriter ("Tenting Tonight").
1890: Eddie Rickenbacker, flying ace, race car driver, and head of Eastern Airlines.
1895: Zog I, King of the Albanians.
1895: Juan Perón, President of Argentina.
1907: Richard Sharpe Shaver, crank.
1910: Kirk Alyn, who was Superman, Blackhawk, and General Sam Lane.
1917: Walter Lord, historian (A Night to Remember, Day of Infamy).
1920: Frank Herbert, writer (Dune, The Dosadi Experiment).
1929: Betty Boothroyd, first and only woman Speaker of the British House of Commons.
1936: Rona Barrett, gossip columnist and philanthropist.
1939: Harvey Pekar, comix writer-illustrator (American Splendor).
1941: Jesse Jackson, minister without portfolio and activist.
1941: Shane Stevens, writer (Dead City, Anvil Chorus).
1943: R.L. Stine, writer ("Goosebumps" series).
1949: Sigourney Weaver, who was Ellen Ripley, Dana Barrett, Gwen "Tawny Madison" DeMarco, and The Director.
1959: Carlos I. Noriega, astronaut.

7th October 2016

6:24am: Poetry Day
3761 BC: Eden, presumably - Day Zero of the Hebrew calendar.
1571: Northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth - The "Battle of Lepanto," not very near Lepanto, takes place. Ships from the "Holy League" of Catholic maritime states - mainly Spain and Italy - meet and demolish an Ottoman fleet. This is often said to have ended the Turkish expansion, though they actually soon took Cyprus from Venice.
1691: London - King William and Queen Mary of England issue a new Charter for the Massachussetts Bay Colony, over the objections of Increase Mather, making it a Province. One of the effects of this was to change the test for the franchise from religious to financial; also, senior officials of the Provincial government would be appointed by the Crown rather than elected.
1763: London - King George III of England issues the "Royal Proclamation of 1763," which draws an end mark to white colonialization along the Allegheny Mountains, reserving the land beyond for aboriginal peoples.
1826: Quincy to Milton, MA - The Granite Railway, for the purposes of hauling granite from a quarry in Quincy to the Neponset River, opens. It is the first chartered railway in the US.
1919: Amsterdam, Netherlands - Eight Dutch businessmen found KLM (short for Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij, the "Royal Aviation Society"), the national airline of the Netherlands. It is the oldest commercial airline still running under its original name and charter.
1944: Oświęcim, Poland - Hundreds of Jewish Sonderkomanndos revolt. The revolt is thoroughly unsuccessful, killing three SS guards and 451 Jews, plus many who escaped and were executed on recapture. Crematorium IV was destroyed in the fighting.
1950: Calcutta, India - Saint Teresa of Calcutta establishes the Missionaries of Charity.
1955: San Francisco, CA - At the Six Gallery (a garage with a dirt floor), six poets read their work. One of these is Alan Ginsberg, who performs Howl for the first time, and receives a huge, tribal response to his shamanic performance (the audience is only about 125 people).
1958: Washington, DC and elsewhere: "Project Astronaut" changes its name to Project Mercury.
1959: Space - Soviet prove Luna 3 sends the photographs to Earth of the far side of the Moon.
1963: Washington, DC - President John Kennedy signs the "Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty," which forbids nuclear tests in the atmosphere, under water, or in outer space, leaving as Hobson's Choice the underground tests that follow.
1985: Off the coast of Egypt - Members of the Palestinian Liberation Front hijack the Italian ship Achille Lauro, killing one disabled Jewish passenger and throwing his body overboard. The Lauro appears to have been a singularly unfortunate ship; as well as the hijacking, it suffered, in its forty-five year career, two major collisions, and four onboard fires or explosions, the last of which destroyed her in 1994.
1998: Laramie, WY - The body of gay student Matthew Shepard is found beaten and tied to a fence.
2003: California - Governor Gray Davis is recalled and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

1576: John Marston, playwright (Eastward Ho [with George Chapman and Ben Jonson], Antonio and Mellida).
1849: James Whitcomb Riley, poet ("Little Orphant Annie", "The Raggedy Man").
1879: Joel Emmanuel "Joe Hill" Hägglund, labor activist.
1885: Niels Bohr, physicist.
1893: Alice Dalgliesh, editor (edited Robert Heinlein's juvenile series).
1897: Elijah Muhammed, not-exactly-but-sort-of founder of the Nation of Islam.
1900: Heinrich Himmler, builder of extermination camps.
1907: Helen MacInnes, writer (Assignment in Britanny).
1927: R.D. Laing, rogue psychiatrist and writer (Knots, The Divided Self).
1931: Desmond Tutu, archbishop.
1934: Amiri Baraka (a/k/a LeRoi Jones), poet and playwright.
1935: Thomas Keneally, writer (Schindler's Ark, Blood Red, Sister Rose).
1943: Oliver North, colonel and shredder.
1955: Yo-Yo Ma, cellist.
1964: Dan Savage, columist, founder of "It Gets Better."

6th October 2016

6:24am: October 6
Day 3 of National Space Week...

1600: Florence, Italy - Premiere of Euridice. Created for the wedding of Henry IV of France to Maria de Medici, it is the earliest surviving opera. Music by Jacopo Peri, with additional music by Giulio Caccini, and libretto by Ottavio Rinuccini; it weirdly gives a happy ending with Eurydice actually reaching the upper world.
1683: Modern-day Philadelphia, PA - Thirteen German Quaker and Mennonite from Krefeld found "the bailiff, burgesses, and commonality of Germantown," as their charter from William Penn calls it. Germantown is the birthplace of the American anti-slave movement. It was consolidated into Philadelphia in 1854.
1723: Philadelphia - Arrival of the 17-year-old Benjamin Franklin.
1876: Philadelphia - Founding of the American Library Association.
1927: New York - Premiere of The Jazz Singer, which, while it did usher in the age of the talking movie, was not the first talkie. The premiere date was deliberately set for Yom Kippur.
1973: Middle East - Egypt and Syria launch a coordinated attack on Israel, beginning the Yom Kippur War.
1976: Barbados - A Cubana flight crashes into the ocean after two bombs, planted by terrorists connected to the CIA, explode, killing all aboard.
1976: Beijing, China - The new Premier, Hua Guofeng, orders the arrest of the Gang of Four (Jiang Qing - Mao's last wife - , Jiang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and Wang Hongwen) as "major counter-revolutionary forces," marking the end of the Cultural Revolution.
1979: Washington, DC - Pope John Paul II becomes the first Pope to visit the White House.
1981: Cairo - Members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, under a fatwa obtained from Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman (who would later be convicted for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing), assassinate Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

1820: Jenny Lind, soprano, whom P.T. Barnum would exhibit as "The Swedish Nightingale."
1846: George Westinghouse, engineer, founded Westinghouse Air Brake Company.
1866: Reginald Fessenden, inventor of the radiotelephone.
1887: Le Corbusier, architect.
1908: Carole Lombard, who was Helen Hathaway, Mildred Plotka, and Irene Bullock.
1914: Thor Heyerdahl, ethnographer, adventurer, and writer (Kon-Tiki, Apu-Apu).
1942: Britt Ekland, who was Rachel Schpitendavel, Willow, and Goodnight.
1950: David Brin, writer (Startide Rising, The Practice Effect).
1965: Peg O'Connor, Wittgensteinian feminist.

5th October 2016

6:40am: Fast of Gdalia
plus, bonus! World Teachers Day.

869: Constantinople (not Istambul) - The Fourth Council of Constantinople is convened. This Council will depose Patriarch Photius of Constantinople, who challenged the authority of the Pope. However, the Eastern Church considers this council invalid, and held its own Fourth Council of Constantinople ten years later; the Eastern Church reveres Photius as a Saint.
1582: Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain - This day does not exist in these countries because of the implementation of the Gregorian calendar.
1789: Versailles, France - A mob of 7000 women march on the Palace, seeking Queen Marie Antoinette for her ignorant and dismissive attitude towards hunger amongst the commons. They kill two of her bodyguard, but she escapes, emerging later on a balcony: amazingly, the musket-bearing women do not kill her. The mob demanded that the bread hoarded in the palace be distributed, that the King sanction the August Decrees (which ended feudalism) and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen; and that he accompany them to Paris to see how his subjects lived. He and the Queen were then prisoners of "the people" until their executions in 1791.
1793: Paris - Christianity is disestablished as the State religion of France.
1813: Near Chatham, ON - In the Battle of the Thames, William Henry Harrison defeats British and Shawnee forces, killing Tecumseh.
1857: Anaheim, CA - is founded by German families. The name comes from the Santa Ana river plus the German suffix "-heim," home: thus "a home by the Ana."
1877: Near present-day Chinook, MT - Hinmatóowyalahtq̓it ("Chief Joseph") surrenders to General Nelson A. Miles. Though it is attributed to him, he probably did not say "I will fight no more forever."
1905: Huffman Prairie, OH - Wilbur Wright makes a circling flight totaling 24 miles in 39 minutes 23 seconds, longer than all the flights the Brothers had made in 1903 and '04. This record will stand for three years.
1921: New York - The World Series (the first "Subway Series" featuring the New York Giants and Yankees [in their first Series appearance]) is the first ever to be broadcast on radio. With an injured Babe Ruth mostly out of action, the Yankees lose the series, 3 games to 5.
1944: France - Women receive the vote.
1945: Hollywood, CA - After six months' striking against various studios, 300 members of the Conference of Studio Unions gather to picket at the main gate of Warner Brothers. Cars full of scab workers were stopped and overturned. Reinforcements brought the strikers to roughly 1000 people, while Glendale, Los Angeles, and Burbank police, with Warner Security, attempted to keep the peace. When another wave of scabs showed up, a riot broke out, with over 40 injuries. This is known as "Hollywood Black (or Bloody) Friday," and contributed directly to the downfall of the CSU and the passage of the abominable Taft-Hartley Act.
1947: Washington, DC - President Harry Truman gives the first ever televised White House address.
1955: Anaheim, CA - Opening of the Disneyland Hotel.
1962: London, England - Premiere of Dr. No, the first (official) James Bond film; there had been a sort-of telefilm of Casino Royale in 1954.
1962: England - Release of the Beatles' first single, "Love Me Do," backed with "P.S. I Love You."
1962: Due to the two events above, the "Sixties" can be meaningfully said to start on this day (and continue till either Nixon's resignation in 1973 or the fall of Saigon in 1975, take your pick...)
1966: Frenchtown Charter Township, MI - Fermi 1, a prototype "fast breeder" reactor, suffers a partial meltdown. No radioactive material is released.
1968: Derry, Northern Ireland - The Government bans a civil rights march. The marchers defy the ban and are beaten "indiscriminately and without provocation" by baton-wielding police. This nominally marks the beginning of "The Troubles."
1969: United Kingdom - The first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus airs on BBC One, concluding with the "Funniest Joke in the World" sketch.
1970: United States - First airing of the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), which replaces National Educational Television (NET).
1982: Nationwide - In response to seven deaths due to cyanide-laced Tylenol in Chicago, Johnson and Johnson recalls all products in the Tylenol line.
1986: London - The Sunday Times announces what pretty much everybody already knew, that Israel had a stockpile of nuclear weapons.

1703: Jonathan Edwards, pastor, famous for his "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" sermon.
1713: Denis Diderot, writer, critic, and Encyclopédist.
1728: Charles-Geneviève-Louis-Auguste-André-Timothée d'Éon de Beaumont, the Chevalier d'Éon, crossdressing spy.
1829: Chester A. Arthur, President of the United States.
1882: Robert H. Goddard, inentor of the multi-stage rocket and the liquid-fueled rocket.
1902: Louis "Larry Fine" Feinberg, the Middle Stooge.
1902: Ray A. Kroc, creator of McDonald's as we know it.
1907: "Mrs. Miller," singer, whose vibrato-laden voice was compared to "roaches scurrying across a trash can lid," but who cracked the Billboard Hot 100 with her rendition (if that is the right word) of "Downtown."
1916: Stetson Kennedy, who infiltrated the KKK and lived to tell the tale.
1922: Bil Keane, cartoonist (The Family Circus).
1923: Glynis Johns, who was Mrs. Banks.
1928: Louise Fitzhugh, writer (Harriet the Spy).
1938: Teresa Heinz Kerry, ketchup heiress and philanthropist.
1950: Jeff Conaway, who was Zack Allan.
1951: Karen Allen, who was Marian Ravenwood.
1952: Clive Barker, writer (The Books of Blood, Arabat).
1958: Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and cosmologist.

4th October 2016

7:17am: Feast of St. Francis of Assisi/World Animal Day
...and the beginning of World Space Week.

1535: Wurms, Germany(?) - Publication of the Coverdale Bible. Translated by William Tyndale and, after his execution for heresy, Miles Coverdale, this was the first printed Bible in the English language.
1883: Paris to Istanbul - First run of the train Orient Express. A train had run on this route for a while, but its terminus was Vienna.
1927: Black Hills, SD - Gutzon Borglum begins sculpting Mount Rushmore.
1941: Indianapolis and elsewhere: The Saturday Evening Post cover is Wilie Gillis: Food Package, the first of eleven "Willie Gillis" covers Norman Rockwell will paint for the Post. Gillis is a private and thus an "everyman" in World War II and shortly after.
1957: Baikonur, USSR - Launch of Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, and the beginning of the Space Race as a practical thing.
1965: New York, NY - Pope Paul VI becomes the first Pope to visit the Americas.
1985: Boston, MA - Founding of the Free Software Foundation, now host of GNU and the GNU General Public License.
2004: Mojave Desert and SPACE - SpaceShip One wins the Ansari X Prize by reaching 100km altitude for the second time in two weeks.
2006: (?) - Julian Assange registers the wikileaks.org domain.

1515: Lucas Cranach the Younger, painter.
1542: St. Robert Bellarmine, who cautioned Galileo, and provided a document acknowledging that Galileo had not been forced to abjure and do penance (he had not at this point).
1626: Richard Cromwell, Lord Protector of Great Britain.
1822: Rutherford B. Hayes, American President.
1861: Frederic Remington, painter and sculptor.
1862: Edward Stratemeyer, publisher, creator of the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Bobbsey Twins, Bomba the Jungle Boy, Rover Boys, and other series.
1880: Damon Runyon, writer ("Little Miss Marker", "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown").
1892: Robert Lawson, writer-illustrator (Ben and Me, Rabbit Hill).
1895: Buster Keaton, who was Erroneus, Lonesome Polecat, and a variety of Elmers.
1923: Charlton Heston, who was Moses, Judah Ben-Hur, George Taylor, Robert Neville...
1924: Donald J. Sobol, writer (The "Encyclopedia Brown" series).
1928: Alvin Toffler, writer (Future Shock).
1941: Roy Blount, Jr., writer (I Am Puppy, Hear Me Yap, One Fell Soup).
1941: Anne Rice, writer (Interview with the Vampire, The Mummy: or, Ramses the Damned).
1943: H. Rap Brown, activist.
1946: Susan Sarandon, who was Janet Weiss, Louise Sawyer, Marmee, and Sister Helen.
1956: Christoph Waltz, who was SS-Standartenführer Hans Landa and Dr. King Schultz.

3rd October 2016

1:07pm: Seen: Star Trek Beyond (2016)
After Into Darkness I was prepared to not like this one. Indeed, I wanted to not like this one.

I did like it.

New Universe Enterprise is about halfway through its five-year mission and is taking crew R&R at Starbase Yorktown, when an escape pod enters Yorktown space. An unknown alien in distress, Kalara, claims her ship was wrecked in an uncharted nebula and pleads for help to rescue her crew.

Enterprise is sent to respond Kalara's plea, and is quickly destroyed, with most of the crew escaping in pods of their own. It turns out that the big E is carrying the MacGuffin that will give the chief bad guy, Krall, control of a Terrifying Ancient Alien Weapon. Plot happens, and things are resolved satisfactorily.

Then four slow notes sound, and the familiar "Space ... the final frontier" speech begins. But it isn't spoken by Kirk, or Spock, or any individual: the whole crew takes turns. This brought something of a tear to my eye.

Yes, it's another damn Star Trek As Action-Adventure film, where things go fast and blow up. But I'm used to that now, and at least the script mostly made sense this time. I blame Simon "Scotty" Pegg for that, just as I blame Abrams for the parts where it doesn't. It has genuinely funny and unexpected "moments," some really good McCoy-Spock interaction, and in general is much more Trek-like than the last one.
6:27am: Islamic New Year
42 BC: Philippi, Greece - Brutus and Cassius are sort-of defeated by Marc Antony and Octavian. Cassius commits suicide; Brutus lives to fight another day - upon which he will be utterly defeated and commit suicide also.
1283: Shrewsbury, England - Dafydd ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales, is hanged, drawn, and quartered for treason against King Edward I of England. He is the first nobleman known to have been executed in this manner.
1712: Scotland - James Graham, 1st Duke and 4th Marquess of Montrose, issues a warrant for the arrest of Robert Roy ("Rob Roy") MacGregor.
1789: New York, NY - President George Washington declares 26 November of this year to be the first Thanksgiving designated by the Constitutional government.
1849: Baltimore, MD - Edgar Allan Poe is found delirious in a gutter. He will die four days later without becoming coherent.
1863: Washington, DC - President Abraham Lincoln declares the fourth Thursday in November to be Thanksgiving.
1873: Fort Klamath, OR - War leader Kintpuash (known to white troops as "Captain Jack") is tried and hung for his part in the Modoc war. Very little pretense of a fair trial is made: Kintpuash is not granted a lawyer, and they build the gallows outside the courtroom even as the trial is taking place. The key prosecution witness is a Modoc warrior named Hooker Jim. Kintpuash's last words: "You white people did not conquer me. My own men did."
1942: Peenemünde, Germany - A V2/A4 rocket designed by Wernher von Braun is the first manmade object to reach space.
1949: Atlanta, GA - WERD, the first African-American-owned radio station in the United States, opens for business.
1957: San Francisco California - Judge Clayton Horn of the California State Superior Court rules that Allen Ginsberg's book Howl and Other Poems is not obscene.
1962: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of Sigma 7, the sixth Mercury misison, carrying astronaut Wally Schirra on six orbits.
1985: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of STS-51-J, the maiden flight of Atlantis. Its cargo is a classified Department of Defense package.
1990: Germany - The German Democratic Republic (DDR) formally ceases to exist and is absorbed into the Federal Republic of Germany. October 3 is now celebrated as German Unity Day.
1995: Los Angeles, CA - O.J. Simpson is acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
2003: Las Vegas, NV - During their nightly act, Roy Horn of Siegfried and Roy is mauled by one of their tigers.
2008: Washington, DC - President George W. Bush signs the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, less formally known as the Bank Bailout.

85 BC (or earlier) - Gaius Cassius Longinus, Cassius of "Brutus and Cassius."
1790: Koo-wi-s-gu-wi ("Little White Bird"), a/k/a John Ross, who led the Cherokee "Nation Party" on the "Trail of Tears" and attempted (unsuccessfully) to reunify the Cherokee in Indian Territory.
1885: Sophie Treadwell, playwright (Machinal, Highway).
1900: Thomas Wolfe, writer (Look Homeward, Angel, You Can't Go Home Again).
1916: James Herriot, veterinarian and writer (All Creatures Great and Small).
1924: Harvey Kurtzman, editor of Mad magazine.
1925: Gore Vidal, writer (Burr, Kalki).
1936: Steve Reich, composer (Piano Phase).
1938: Eddie Cochran, singer-songwriter ("Summertime Blues", "C'mon Everybody", "Twenty Flight Rock").
1941: Chubby Checker, singer-songwriter ("The Twist" and others), first and only artist to place 5 albums in the Top 12 at once.
1944: Roy Horn, magician, of Siegfried and Roy.
1947: John Perry Barlow, lyricist for the Grateful Dead, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
1949: Lindsay Buckingham, singer-songwriter and guitarist (Fleetwood Mac).
1954: Al Sharpton, minister and activist.
1967: Rob Liefeld, comix writer-artist (The New Mutants, Youngblood).
1975: india.arie, singer-songwriter ("Video").

2nd October 2016

11:49am: International Day of Non-Violence
1187: Palestine - Saladin captures Jerusalem.
1528: England - William Tyndale publishes The Obedience of a Christian Man.
1789: New York, NY - George Washington sends twelve proposed Constitutional Amendments, ten of which will be ratified and known as the Bill of Rights, to the States.
1925: Hastings, England - John Logie Baird demonstrates the first working (mechanical!) television.
1928: Madrid, Spain - Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer has the vision that leads to the founding of the Prelature of the Holy Cross and the Work of God (Opus Dei).
1937: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - Rafael Trujillo orders the slaughter of 20,000 Haitians living in the Domincian borderlands.
1950: Nine US cities - The first Peanuts strip, by Charles M. Schulz, appears in newspapers.
1959: CBS-TV, US - The premiere episode ("Where Is Everybody?") of The Twilight Zone appears.
1980: Washington, DC - Congresscritter Mike Myers is expelled for his involvement in Abscam.
1996: Washington, DC - President William Clinton signs the Electronic Freedom of Information Amendments.
2002: Washington, DC and environs - the "Beltway Sniper" shootings begin.
2006: Nickel Mines, PA - Charles Carl Roberts shoots and kills five girls at an Amish school, then suicides.

1452: Richard III of England.
1800: Nat Turner, rebel slave.
1869: Mahatma Gandhi.
1879: Wallace Stevens, poet.
1890: Julius Groucho Marx, comedian/actor.
1897: Bud Abbot, comedian/actor.
1904: Graham Greene, writer (Our Man in Havana, The End of the Affair).
1911: Jack Finney, writer (The Body Snatchers, Time and Again).
1915: Chuck Williams, founded Williams-Sonoma.
1938: Rex Reed, film critic.
1944: Vernor Vinge, writer (Grimm's World, A Fire Upon the Deep).
1945: Don McLean, singer-songwriter ("American Pie").
1948: Avery Brooks, who was Commander Sisko.
1948: Persi Khambatta, who was Lt. Ilia.
1949: Annie Leibovitz, photographer.
1950: Mike Rutherford, bassist-songwriter (Genesis, Mike and the Mechanics).
1951: Sting, bassist-singer-songwriter.

1st October 2016

8:29pm: Seen: The Devil's Carnival (2012)
Three people die and find themselves in a very strange carnival - well, of course it's strange, it's Hell, as envisioned by writer Terrance Zdunich (who plays Lucifer) and director Darren Lynn Bousman. Each of them has a different experience: two of them are killed (though already dead), presumably to become players in the Carnival; the third ... well, that would be telling, but it is worth noting that he's the only one of the three who seems to care about anything but his own gratification: he's searching for his son Danny.

Who, it appears, is listening to Aesop's Fables as told by Lucifer. Which strangely reflect the fates of the three dead people.

The carnival is populated by players like the Painted Doll, the Twin, and the Scorpion, each of which is truly frightening in his or her own very different way.

The esthetic of the film is, perhaps, conveyed in Lucifer's line: "I'm not in the business of murdering innocent children. That's God's jurisdiction."

And, I should mention ... it's a musical.

IMDB estimates the budget as half a million dollars, and every penny is clearly on the screen. The only actor I've ever heard of is Paul Sorvino, who plays God.

The biggest downside is the soundtrack. The music is good enough, in a very dark and Brechtian way, but it's hard to hear the lyrics - a production problem that should have been solved before release. But it doesn't make anything really incomprehensible, so I can recommend this to anyone who likes not-particularly-gory horror.
8:17pm: Seen: Jodorowsky's Dune (2013)
In the mid-1970s, Chilean avant-garde filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky set out to make a film of Frank Herbert's Dune.

Well, sort of.

His grand vision for the film began with a zoom-in from infinite space on a pirate spaceship attacking a spice freighter, and ended with Paul dying and becoming universal, or the Universe, or everyone, or something. Oh, and the spice was a blue sponge, and Duke Leto was a eunuch...

Hey, it was the '70s, and there were probably drugs involved.

What was definitely involved was an amazing crew and cast.

Design work by Chris Foss (who did a complete, multi-hundred page, storyboard), H.R. Giger, and Jean "Moebius" Giraud. Planned special effects by Dan O'Bannon.

(By the way, if that sounds like a familiar list...all four of them worked on Alien. Just sayin'.)

Pink Floyd had agreed to do music.

Cast? He had arranged for Orson Welles to play the Baron Harkonnen, and Salvador Dali as the Emperor. He had Mick Jagger as Feyd-Rautha. And he put his son through a year of intense martial arts training to be Paul.

But, after all this development work, not a studio in Hollywood would touch it.

I probably would have hated this movie had it been made. But the story of Jodorowsky's vision and his failure are fascinating, and well told by this documentary.
4:51pm: Read: Getting things Done, by David Allen (2016-54)
It's a self help book, I guess, but it feels more like a business book. Mostly, it's about organizing the stuff in your life so that you are more in control of it, and accomplish more.

I've gotten some benefit from it already, enough so that I bought my own copy for review (this was a borrowed book). The simplest piece of advice it gives - and one that has been amazingly useful to me - is the "two minute rule." It's obvious enough in retrospective: when handling a new task/piece of input/whatever, if it will take you less than two minutes to do, just do it.

The basic concept of Getting Things Done is to get things (tasks, ideas, projects, etc.) out of your head and into some sort of "external brain," be it a set of paper lists, an electronic filing system, or whatever. Divide them into tasks (actual physical actions), projects (anything that takes more than one physical action), and someday/maybe things. Then for the projects, decide what the next action is - that's a real physical action - and put it on a next-actions list.

The idea behind this is that your brain is better at thinking about things than at remembering them (other than rote memorization). Things that you know you have to deal with cause stress and anxiety, but if you put them where you know you won't forget them, you can forget _about_ them until you actually deal with them - you won't have the nagging feeling of guilt that you haven't dealt with "that" yet if you have a physical plan for dealing with it.

It takes a fair amount of implementing, and I certainly haven't done it yet, but I'm going to give it a try.

30th September 2016

5:56am: Feast of St Jerome; also, Blasphemy Day
1791: Vienna, Austria - The premiere performance of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) takes place at the Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden.
1882: Appleton, WI - Thomas Edison's first hydroelectric plant, the Vulcan Street Plant (a/k/a The Appleton Edison Electric Light Company), opens.
1888: London, England - The bodies of Jack the Ripper's third and fourth victims, Elizabeth "Long Liz" Stride and Catherine Eddowes, are found early this morning.
1927: (Washington, DC? New York, NY?) - Babe Ruth hits his 60th home run of the season, setting a record that will stand for decades (and still stands for the shorter season of those days).
1931: Bloemfontein, South Africa - Founding of the "Die Voortrekkers" youth movement, which may be seen, depending on your point of view, as an analogue of either the Scouting Movement or the Hitler Youth - though I'd say more the former.
1954: Groton, CT - Commissioning of the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine.
1955: US Route 466 (now SR 46), near Paso Robles, CA - James Dean dies in a car crash.
1962: Stockton (area), CA - 35-year-old César Chávez founds the National Farm Workers Association, which will become the United Farm Workers (UFW).
1962: Oxford, MI - James Meredith enters the University of Mississippi, breaking the segregation of that institution.
1980: Palo Alto, CA - Xerox PARC publishes the Ethernet standard in association with Intel and DEC.
1982: Chicago (area), IL - Six people are killed by cyanide-laced Tylenol. Seven will die in all, plus several more in "copycat" killings. No one is ever charged or convicted of the murders, though James William Lewis is convicted of taking credit for them and attmepting to extort $1M from Johnson & Johnson. J&J, incidentally, did the right thing, halting production of Tylenol, recalling the product, and ceasing all production until "tamperproof" (actually tamper-resistant) packaging could be introduced.
2005: Viby J, Denmark - Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten publishes cartoon drawings of Prophet Muhammad, leading to violent protests around the world, and much more offensive cartoons in other journals.

1207: Rumi, mystic and poet.
1832: Anna Maria Reeves Jarvis, mother; with her daughter, Anna Marie Jarvis, is credited with founding the American holiday of Mother's Day.
1861: William Wrigley, chewing gum magnate.
1882: Johannes "Hans" Wilhelm "Gengar" Geiger, physicist, invented (part of) the Geiger counter.
1915: Lester Maddox, scumbag.
1923: Donald Swann, pianist-composer, of Flanders and Swann.
1924: Truman Capote, writer (Breakfast at Tiffany's, In Cold Blood), inspiration for Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird.
1927: W.S. Merwin, poet.
1928: Elie Wiesel, writer (Night).
1953: S.M. Stirling, writer (Marching Through Georgia, In the Courts of the Crimson Kings).
1957: Fran Drescher, who was Connie, Pamela Finkelstein, and Bobbi Flekman.
1960: Nicola Griffith, writer (Ammonite) and editor (the "Bending the Landscape" series).

29th September 2016

6:43am: National Coffee Day (Yay!)
1789: New York, NY - The US Department of War, under Secretary Henry Knox, establishes America's first standing army, consisting of several hundred soldiers and officers.
1850: Rome - Pope Pius IX issues the bull Universalis Ecclesiae, which re-establishes the Roman Catholic hierarchy of dioceses and parishes in England. There had been no such hierarchy since the time of Elizabeth I. To avoid confusion with the Anglican dioceses, which had succeeded the old Catholic dioceses, the new Catholic dioceses were given new names. However, the bull raised anti-Papist feeling among many English people.
1923: Palestine - The British Mandate for Palestine takes effect. The Mandate system of the League of Nations was essentially a way of (a) administering the lands of the defunct Ottoman Empire, and (b) maintaining European control over significant parts of the world, including Palestine/Eretz Yisrael. Mandatory Palestine will continue as such until Arab revolts and the local civil war in the 1940s creates Israel, transfers the West Bank to the Kingdom of Jordan, and puts the Gaza Strip in control of ethnic Palestinians.
1941: Nazi-occupied Kiev, Russia - After the destruction (by, as it turned out, the NKVD) of several German-occupied buildings, the Germans, blaming the Jews, issue an order for their assembly and "resettlement," telling them to bring their documents, money, and valuables to a certain site. Here they are made to strip naked and herded to the ravine of Babi Yar, where 33,771 are machine-gunned to death, the largest single mass killing the Nazis will commit.
1954: Western Europe - Twelve countries sign the agreement that creates CERN.
1957: Mayek Production Association, between Chelyabinsk and Ekaterinburg, USSR - A class-6 nuclear "event" releases 50-100 tons of high-level radioactive waste, equaling 740 petabecquerels of radioactivity, contaminating approximately 750 km2/300 mi2 of Ukraine; the accident is kept secret for 30 years or so, though signs telling people to "close all windows and drive as quickly as possible for the next XX km" were hints.
1975: Detroit, MI - WPGR, it says here, becomes the world's first black-owned-and-operated television station, though I have trouble believing there were none in Africa at the time.
1988: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of STS-26 (Discovery's seventh mission), the "Return to Flight" mission after the Challenger disaster.
1990: Washington, DC - Construction of the National Cathedral is completed, 83 years to the day after the laying of the cornerstone.
2008: New York, NY and elsewhere - Following the bankruptcies of Lehman Bros. and Washington Mutual, the Dow Jones drops 777.68 points, the largest single-day drop in its history.

106 BC - Pompey, Roman general and first counsel.
1511: Michael Servetus, physician/cartographer/theologian; described the function of pulmonary circulation, condemned by both Catholics and Protestants, and burned at the stake in Geneva.
1547: Miguel de Cervantes, writer (Don Quixote), poet, and playwright (El Trato de Argel).
1571: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, painter.
1703: François Boucher, painter
1758: Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté.
1810: Elizabeth Gaskell, writer (North and South, Wives and Daughters).
1864: Miguel de Unamuno, philospher (The Tragic Sense of Life) and novelist (Abel Sánchez: The History of a Passion).
1881: Ludwig von Mises, economist and philosopher (The Theory of Money and Credit, A Critique of Interventionism).
1899: László Bíró, inventor of the ballpoint pen.
1899: Billy Butlin, creator of British holiday camps.
1901: Enrico Fermi, "architect of the nuclear age."
1904: Greer Garson, who was Elizabeth Bennet, Calpurnia, and Eleanor Roosevelt.
1907: Gene Autry, singin' cowboy.
1923: Stan Berenstain, writer-illustrator, co-creator of the Berenstain Bears.
1927: Pete McClosky, respectable Republican.
1930: Colin Dexter, writer (The "Inspector Morse" mysteries).
1934: Stuart M. Kaminsky, writer (The Cold Red Sunset and many other mysteries).
1935: Jerry Lee Lewis, pianist-singer-songwriter.
1936: Silvio Berlusconi, crook.
1942: Madeline Kahn, who was Trixie Delight, Lili von Shtupp (the Teutonic Titwillow), and Elizabeth.
1942: Ian McShane, who was Al Swearingen, Blackbeard, and Tai Lung.
1942: Jean-Luc Ponty, violinist (Frank Zappa, Return to Forever).
1943: Lech Wałęsa, electrician and politician.
1944: Mike Post, composer of television theme music.
1956: Suzzy Roche, singer-songwriter (The Roches).
1963: Les Claypool, bassist-songwriter (Primus).

28th September 2016

7:22am: Freedom from Hunger Day
Also, International Right to Know Day.

And, perhaps related, Ask A Stupid Question Day.

48 BC: - Pompey the Great arrives in Alexandria. Ptolemy XIII does not want to welcome him (and offend Julius Caesar) or cast him out (and offend him, in case he returns to power) - so he orders Pompey assassinated.
935: Bohemia - Duke (knize) Wenceslaus I - "Good King Wenceslas," or Vaclav the Good - is murdered by his brother Boleslaus the Cruel.
1066: Pevensey, England - William the Conqueror lands, beginning the Norman Conquest of England.
1787: Philadelphia, PA - The Congress (under the Articles of Confederation) votes to send the proposed Constitution of the United States to the various State legislatures, to set up state conventions for the purpose of ratification.
1791: France - Grants legal equality to Jews, the first European country to do so.
1889: Sevres, France - The first prototype meter is created.
1924: Seattle, WA - Three Douglas World Cruisers land in Seattle, having completed the first circumnavigation of the globe in 175 days.
1928: London, England - Alexander Fleming observes a mold that kills bacteria in his laboratory, and discovers what will come to be known as penicillin, the first antibiotic.
1973: New York, NY - In an act of protest against the Pinochet coup in Chile (in which ITT was alleged to have played a part), the ITT building is bombed.
2008: Omelek Island, Marshall Islands - Launch of SpaceX's Falcon 1, the first private spaceship to achieve Earth orbit.

551 BC: Kong Qiu, known as Kong Fuzi (Confucius), politician, editor, teacher, philosopher.
1803: Prosper Mérimée, writer (La Vénus d'Ille, Carmen).
1836: Thomas Crapper, plumber and inventor. No, he did not invent the flush toilet, but he did invent the ballcock mechanism commonly used in modern toilets.
1901: William S. Paley, broadcaster, founded the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS).
1901: Ed Sullivan, host.
1905: Max Schmeling, boxer.
1909: Al Capp, comix writer-illustrator (Li'l Abner).
1914: Maria Franziska von Trapp, refugee and singer ("Louisa").
1925: Seymour Cray, founder of Cray Research, inventor of the Cray Supercomputer.
1934: Brigitte Bardot, actress.
1938: Ben E. King, singer ("Stand by Me", "Spanish Harlem", "Save the Last Dance for Me").
1967: Moon Unit Zappa, actress-writer.
1969: Piper Kerman, writer (Orange Is the New Black).

27th September 2016

6:29am: National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Also, World Tourism Day.

And the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul.

1066: Mouth of the River Somme, France - William the Conqueror sets sail for Britain, beginning the Norman Conquest.
1529: Vienna, Austria - Ottoman Emperor Suleiman I besieges the city. The city holds fast, and the siege ends by mid-October. This is the high-water mark of the Ottoman Empire's conquering days.
1540: Rome - Pope Paul III charters the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).
1590: Rome - Urban VII dies only thirteen days after being chosen as Pope, the shortest reign of any Pontiff.
1777: Lancaster, PA - Is the "capital of the United States" for one day, as the Continental Congress flees the British investment of Philadelphia. They then flee even farther, to York, PA.
1822: Paris, France - Jean-François Champollion announces the deciphering of the Rosetta Stone.
1905: Berlin, Germany - The Annalen der Physik receives the manuscript of Albert Einstein's paper, "Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?", which introduces the formula E=mc2.
1908: Detroit, MI - First production instance of the Ford Model T is built at the Ford Piquette Avenue plant.
1941: Baltimore, MD - Launch of the SS Patrick Henry, the first Liberty Ship. In the event over 2700 will be built.
1954: New York, NY - From the Hudson Theatre, the NBC program Tonight Starring Steve Allen - the "Tonight Show" - premieres.
1956: Mojave Desert, CA - USAF Captain Milburn G. Apt, flying the experimental Bell X-2, exceeds Mach 3; unfortunately the plane soon goes out of control, and Apt is killed attempting to bail out over Edwards Air Force Base.
1962: Boston, MA - Houghton Mifflin publishes Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.
1983: Cambridge, MA - Richard Stallman announces the GNU (GNU's Not Unix) project. Its initial goal is to develop a free UNIX-like operating system; it has since developed into an entire ecosystem of free software.

1722: Samuel Adams, philosopher, politician, revolutionary, and, no, not a beer brewer, but a maltster.
1840: Thomas Nast, political cartoonist; created the Republican elephant and popularized the Democratic donkey.
1885: Harry Blackstone, Sr., magician.
1894: Lothar von Richtofen, younger brother of Manfred "the Red Baron," and an ace in his own right with over 40 victories.
1896: Sam Ervin, racist, but investigator of both Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon.
1906: William Empson, poet and critic (Seven Kinds of Ambiguity).
1906: Jim Thompson, writer (The Killer Inside Me, The Grifters).
1913: Albert Ellis, psychologist, founder of Rational-Behavioral Therapy.
1916: Louis Auchincloss, writer (The Embezzler, The Cat and the King).
1920: William Conrad, who was Matt Dillon and Nero Wolfe.
1921: Bernard Waber, writer-illustrator (Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile).
1936: Don Cornelius, host of Soul Train and keeper of the MLK light.
1947: Meat Loaf, singer, who was Eddie.
1951: Jim Shooter, comix writer/illustrator/editor (The Legion of Super-Heroes).
1954: Larry Wall, programmer, created the Perl programming language.
1966: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congresscritter.
1972: Gwyneth Paltrow, who was Pepper Potts and Margot Helen Tennenbaum.

26th September 2016

6:58am: Johnny Appleseed Day
1580: Plymouth, England - The Golden Hind sails into harbour with Francis Drake and 59 remaining crewmen, having circumnavigated the globe.
1687: Athens - Bombs set by Venetian forces attacking Turks stationed here partially destroy the Parthenon.
1789: New York, NY - Thomas Jefferson is appointed the first United States Secretary of State, John Jay is appointed the first Chief Justice of the United States, Samuel Osgood is appointed the first United States Postmaster General, and Edmund Randolph is appointed the first United States Attorney General.
1914: Washington, DC - The Federal Trade Commission Act establishes, of all things, the Federal Trade Commission.
1933: Memphis, TN - Arrest of George Francis "Machine Gun Kelly" Barnes. As the FBI and Memphis police move in, Kelly surrenders, shouting, "Don't shoot, G-Men!" - which becomes a nickname for FBI agents. He will die in prison.
1934: Clydebank, Scotland - Launch of the RMS Queen Mary.
1960: Chicago, IL - The first televised Presidential debate takes place, between candidates Senator John Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon.
1969: Worldwide? - Release of Abbey Road, the Beatles' final studio (and last-recorded) album.
1980: Munich, Germany - Right-wing extremist student Gundolf Köhler plants an IED at the entrance to the Oktoberfest. It detonates prematurely, killing him and 11 others, and wounding 211, including 50 with life-threatening injuries.

1774: John "Johnny Appleseed" Chapman, gardener and environmentalist of a sort.
1791: Théodore Géricault, painter (The Raft of the Medusa).
1849: Ivan Pavlov, physiologist and dog-torturer.
1867: Winsor McCay, cartoonist (Little Nemo in Slumberland, Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend) and animator/performance artist (Gertie the Dinosaur).
1881: Hiram Williams, Imperial Wizard.
1888: T(homas) S(tearnes) Eliot, poet.
1889: Martin Heidegger, philosopher (What Is Metaphysics?, Being and Time).
1898: George Gershwin, pianist and composer.
1901: George Raft, who was Rinaldo, Steve Brodie, and Raoule De Baere.
1914: Jack LaLanne, fitness guru.
1936: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, activist and war criminal.
1945: Bryan Ferry, singer-songwriter.
1946: Andrea Dworkin, activist and writer (Right-Wing Women, Woman Hating).
1946: Louise Simonson, comix writer (Power Pack, Steel).
1956: Linda Hamilton, who was Sarah Connor and Catherine Chandler.
1981: Serena Williams, tennis player.

25th September 2016

9:20am: Gold Star Mothers Day
Or, National One-Hit Wonders Day.

1513: Chucunaque River, Panama - Balboa "discovers" the Pacific Ocean.
1689: Boston, MA - Richard Pierce and Benjamin Harris publish the first (and only) issue of Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, the first multi-page newspaper to be printed in what will become the United States.
1789: New York, NY - Congress passes and submits to the States twelve Amendments to the Constitution. Ten will, in the event, be ratified by the States, and are known as the Bill of Rights.
1790: Beijing, China - In honor of the 80th birthday of the Qianlong Emperor, the "Four Great Anhui Troupes" perform Anhui opera for him. This is regarded as the beginning of Peking Opera.
1868: Off Jutland - Wreck of the Alexander Nevsky.
1906: Bilbao, Spain - Leonardo Torres y Quevedo demonstrates to the King of Spain and a large crowd the invention he calls the Telekino, the first remote control, which he uses to guide a boat from shore.
1912: New York, NY - Founding of the Columbia School of Journalism.
1929: Mitchell Field, Hempstead Township, NY - Pilot Jimmy Doolittle makes the first blind flight from takeoff to landing, demonstrating the feasibility of instrument-based flying.
1992: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of Mars Observer, which fails.

1764: Fletcher Christian, mutineer.
1782: Charles Maturin, writer (Melmoth the Wanderer).
1897: William Faulkner, writer (The Sound and the Fury, The Reivers).
1906: Dmitri Shostakovich, composer (Lady Macbeth of Mtinsk, various symphonies and quartets).
1915: Ethel Rosenberg, spy, maybe.
1930: Shel Silverstein, writer (Where the Sidewalk Ends) and songwriter ("Queen of the Silver Dollar").
1951: Mark Hamill, who was Luke Skywalker and the Joker.
1952: Christopher Reeve, actor and activist.
1968: Will Smith, who was Agent J and Muhammad Ali.

24th September 2016

9:23am: N,at!ion?a;l !Pun(ct\ua}tion. D&ay.
Yes, I know some of those aren't technically punctuation marks.

622: Medina - Prophet Muhammad and his followers arrive at this city, completing the Hijra (Hejira).
1664: New Amsterdam - Is surrendered by the Dutch Republic to the English, by which transfer it will become New York.
1780: West Point to the Hudson River - Learning of the arrest of John André and the exposure of his treason, Benedict Arnold flees to the British warship HMS Vulture, narrowly evading his own arrest.
1789: New York - Congress passes the Judiciary Act, which creates the post of Attorney General and sets the size of the Supreme Court.
1852: Paris to Trappes, France - Henri Giffard, having invented the steam injector engine, has now adapted it to an airship, and makes the first powered and directed air flight.
1869: Washington, DC/New York, NY, and elsewhere - James Fisk and Jay Gould have attempted to corner the market in gold. President Ulysses Grant responds by ordering the Treasury to sell a large quantity of gold, causing the price of gold to plummet, making this day "Black Friday."
1890: Salt Lake City, UT - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) officially renounces polygamy.
1906: Washington, DC - President Theodore Roosevelt proclaims Devil's Tower, WY, a national monument, the first site to be so designated.
1957: Washington, DC/Little Rock, AR - President Dwight D. Eisenhower sends the 101st Airborne Division (the Screaming Eagles) to enforce school desegregation.
1968: CBS-TV: Premiere of 60 Minutes.

1717: Horace Walpole, writer (The Castle of Otranto) and politician.
1883: Franklin Clarence Mars, founder of the Mars candy company.
1896: F. Scott Fitzgerald, writer (The Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise).
1900: Ham Fisher, cartoonist (Joe Palooka).
1902: Ruhollah Khomeini, ayatollah and first Supreme Leader of Iran.
1934: John Brunner, writer (Stand on Zanzibar, The Sheep Look Up).
1936: Jim Henson, muppeteer and more.
1941: Linda McCartney, activist and photographer.
1950: John Kessel, writer (Good News from Outer Space, Corrupting Dr. Nice).
1957: Brad Bird, animator, director, voice talent (The Incredibles, The Iron Giant).

23rd September 2016

6:48am: National Dogs in Politics Day
1641: Off Land's End, Wales - The ship Merchant Royal sinks, drowning eighteen men and sinking 100,000 pounds of gold.
1780: Tarrytown, NY - British Major John André, travelling under a passport provided by Benedict Arnold, is stopped and searched by three armed militiamen, who discover papers that expose Arnold's treason.
1806: St. Louis - Return of the Lewis and Clark expedition.
1846: Berlin - Johann Gottfried Galle, following calculations made by Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier and John Couch Adams, is the first to view Neptune, within 1° of where Le Vernier had predicted it should be.
1868: Lares, Puerto Rico - The Grito de Lares, a rebellion against Spanish rule, begins. It will be crushed the following day, and over four hundred prisoners taken; they will be tortured, found guilty of treason and sedition, and executed.
1889: Kyoto, Japan - Fusajiro Yamauchi founds Nintendo Koppai (now known as Nintendo Company, Limited), to manufacture Hanafuda cards. (Nintendo still makes playing cards in Japan, and hosts an annual contract bridge tournament.)
1909: Paris(?), France - The newspaper Le Gaulois begins the serialization of Gaston Leroux's novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra (The Phantom of the Opera).
1911: Garden City, NY / Minneola, NY - Earle Ovington carries the first sack of official US Air Mail. Rather than land at Minneola, he tosses the sack over the side of the cockpit, and it burst on impact, scattering 640 letters and 1280 postcards.
1962: New York, NY - Opening of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Opening night features Leonard Bernstein, Adele Addison, Donald Bell, Abraham Kaplan, Eileen Farrell, and the Juilliard Chorus, and is hosted by Alistair Cooke.
1973: Santiago, Chile - Pablo Neruda dies of cancer. The Pinochet government refuses him a state burial, but thousands take to the streets to express their grief and pay their respects to Neruda.
1980: Pittsburgh, PA - Bob Marley plays his last concert.
2002: Mountain View, CA - First release of the Firefox browser.

1215: Khagan Qubilai (Kublai Khan), emperor.
1800: William Holmes McGuffey, writer (The "McGuffey Readers").
1838: Victoria Woodhull, Presidential candidate, free-love advocate, journalist.
1851: Ellen Hayes, professor and suffragist.
1865: Baroness Emma Magdolna Rozália Mária Jozefa Borbála "Emmuska" Orczy de Orci, "Baronnes Orczy," writer (The Scarlet Pimpernel and sequels).
1889: Walter Lippman, journalist and writer (Public Opinion; co-founded The New Republic).
1897: Walter Pidgeon, who was Admiral Harriman Nelson and Bob Munson.
1920: Mickey Rooney, who was Andy Hardy and Gus.
1926: John Coltrane, saxophonist and composer (A Love Supreme).
1930: Ray Charles, pianist and singer-songwriter.
1931: Stan Lynde, comix writer-artist (Rick O'Shay, Latigo).
1943: Julio Iglesias, singer-songwriter.
1944: Eric Bogle, singer-songwriter ("No Man's Land", "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda").
1949: Bruuuuuuuce Springsteen, the Boss.
1956: Peter David, writer (Sir Apropos of Nothing, The Incredible Hulk).

22nd September 2016

6:47am: Solstice.
And Elephant Appreciation Day. And something else, see below...

1598: London, England - Ben Jonson kills the actor Gabriel Spenser in a duel whose cause is unknown. Jonson is indicted for manslaughter but claims "benefit of clergy." Eventually he is branded on the thumb for the killing.
1692: Salem Village, MA - The last hangings of convicted witches here takes place. Some found guilty still remain, but are eventually released.
1776: New York, NY - Where a Gap store now stands, Nathan Hale is hanged by the British for spying.
1823: Manchester, NY - On this day, according to Joseph Smith, the angel Moroni leads him to find the golden plates containing the original text of the Book of Mormon.
1862: Washington, DC - President Abraham Lincoln issues the "Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation," a warning that those states still in rebellion as of 1 January 1863 will face the freeing of their slaves. Lincoln is emboldened to issue this warning by the Union victory at Antietam.
1888: Washington, DC - Publication of the first issue of the National Geographic Magazine, now known simply as National Geographic. This early version of the magazine was a purely text-based journal of geography; the first time photographs appeared was in a photo-essay on Tibet in 1905, while the first map supplement did not appear until 1918.
1892: East of Lindal-in-Furness, England - A 30-foot sinkhole (or some other subsidence phenomenon) opens up in front of the 7 AM Barrow-Canforth goods train. The driver cuts all steam and, with the fireman, jumps for his life; they stare in disbelief as the locomotive vanishes into the hole.
1896: England - Queen Victoria becomes the longest-reigning monarch in the history of England (eventually to be passed by Elizabeth II).
1910: Brighton, England - The Duke of York's Picture House opens; it is the oldest continuously operating cinema in Britain. As recently as 2012, it was voted the best cinema in the UK.
1927: Chicago, IL - In a rematch fight between Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney, Dempsey knocks Tunney down; the ten-second count is not started promptly because Dempsey fails to retire to a neutral corner. Tunney ultimately wins the fight by a unanimous decision.
1955: London, England - ITV (Independent Television) goes on the air for the first time.
1957: Haiti - François "Papa Doc" Duvalier is elected President, an office he will hold (as "President for Life" from 1964 on) until his death in 1971.
1975: San Francisco, CA - Outside the St. Francis hotel, Sarah Jane Moore fires two shots, attempting to kill President Gerald Ford. Moore is sentenced to life in prison, escapes once, and is eventually released on the last day of 2007.
1979: Prince Edward Islands - A bright flash, similar to that of a nuclear weapon, is observed; its cause is never determined.
1980: Preparatory to a land invasion the next day, Iraq bombs Iranian airbases, intending (but failing) to destroy the Iranian air force's ability to make war.
1991: San Marino, CA - A complete set of photographic copies of the Dead Sea Scrolls is made available to the public at the first time, at the Huntington Library.

TA 2890/SR 1290: Bilbo Baggins.
TA 2968/SR 1368: Frodo Baggins.
1515: Anne of Cleves, fourth wife of Henry VIII of England.
1762: Elizabeth Simcoe, water-colorist and diarist.
1791: Michael Faraday, physicist and chemist.
1885: Erich von Stroheim, actor-director-screenwriter (Greed, Queen Kelly).
1895: Paul Muni, who was Tony Camonte, Louis Pasteur, and Émile Zola.
1903: Joseph Valachi, gangster.
1904: Ellen Church, the first female flight attendant.
1920: Will Riker, game theorist.
1921: Will Elder, cartoonist (early Mad magazine, Goodman Beaver, Little Annie Fanny).
1931: Fay Weldon, writer (The Cloning of Joanna May, The Bulgari Connection).
1971: Elizabeth Bear, writer ("Shoggoths in Bloom", Karen Memory, Blood and Iron).
1982: Billie Piper, who was Rose Tyler.
1987: Tom Felton, who was Draco Malfoy.

21st September 2016

7:15am: Autumnal Equinox
And International Day of Peace.

1776: New York, NY - A fire in the West Side destroys about a third of the (British-occupied) city. Both the British and the rebels were accused of starting it, but no conclusive evidence exists.
1780: West Haverstraw, NY - Benedict Arnold turns over to British Major John André the plans for West Point, along with an agreement to surrender the fort to British forces. In the event, André will be captured on September 23, and eventually executed for spying, while Arnold narrowly escapes and receives a brigadier general's commission in the British army.
1897: New York, NY - The New York Sun publishes Francis Pharcellus Church's editorial "Is There a Santa Claus?", better known as "Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus."
1898: Beijing, China - Empress Dowager Cixi staes a coup, taking control from her nephew, the Guangxu Emperor, internally exiling him to the Ocean Terrace palace.
1937: London, England - Publication by George Allen and Unwin of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.
1942: Seattle, WA - The B-29 Superfortress makes its maiden flight from Boeing Field.
1961: Seattle, WA - The CH-47 Chinook helicopter makes its maiden flight.
1964: Palmdale, CA - The XB-70 Valkyrie makes its maiden flight.
1981: Washington, DC - Senate unanimously votes to advise and consent to the appointment of Sandra Day O'Connor as the first female justice of SCOTUS.
1996: Washington, DC - The Defense of Marriage Act overwhelmingly passes in Congress.
2001: Space - Probe Deep Space 1 flies by Comet 19P/Borrelly.
2003: Space - Termination of the Galileo mission, as the probe is deliberately sent into the giant planet's atmosphere. It collects nearly an hour of data before being crushed by the huge atmospheric pressure.
2013: Nairobi, Kenya - al-Shabaab terrorists attack the Westgate shopping mall, killing at least 67 and effectively destroying the mall.

1452: Girolamo Savonarola, priest and bonfirer of the vanities, excommunicated and himself bonfired.
1866: H(erbert) G(eorge) Wells, writer (The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine).
1874: Gustav Holst, composer (Maya, The Planets, The Perfect Fool).
1903: Preston Tucker, businessman, designed the Tucker Sedan.
1912: Chuck Jones, animator (How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, many "Road Runner" cartoons, "What's Opera, Doc?"...).
1931: Larry Hagman, who was Tony Nelson.
1934: Leonard Cohen, singer-songwriter ("Suzanne", "Dance Me to the End of Love").
1935: Henry Gibson, who was Judge Clark Brown, Head Nazi, and the poetry guy.
1944: Fannie Flagg, writer (Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe).
1945: Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of blockbusters.
1947: Stephen King, writer (...you know...).
1950: Bill Murray, who was Dr. Peter Venkman, Phil Connors, Bob Harris, and Sgt. Richard Campbell.
1955: Richard Hieb, astronaut.
1971: Luke Wilson, who was Richie Tennenbaum, Emmett Richmond, and Orville Wright.

20th September 2016

7:14am: September 20
622: Medina - The Muslim prophet Muhammad and his father in law, Abu Bakr, arrive in Medina after fleeing persecution in Mecca.
1187: Jerusalem - Is besieged by Saladin. In less than two weeks, the city will surrender to him.
1378: Avignon, France - Cardinal Robert of Geneva is elected as the first Avignon anti-Pope.
1519: Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain - Ferdinand Magellan sets sail on his voyage to circumnavigate the globe. Magellan will die in the Philippines, and only one of his five ships will return, but the voyage is technically successful.
1848: Philadelphia, PA - Founding of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
1906: Newcastle on Tyne, England - Launch of Cunard Line's RMS Mauretania.
1946: Cannes, France - The eponymous film festival is held for the first time.
1973: Houston, TX - Billie Jean King soundly defeats Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match.
1982: USA - The football players of the National Football League begin a strike that will last 57 days.
2001: Washington, DC - President George W. Bush declares the "War on Terror." It works out about as well as any war on an abstraction has done.

1486: Arthur, Prince of Wales, oldest son of Henry VII, who died young, making room for Henry VIII to become king.
1842: James Dewar, chemist and physicist; invented the vacuum flask.
1878: Upton Sinclair, writer (The Jungle) and EPIC candidate for the California governorship.
1884: Maxwell Perkins, editor; "discovered" Hemingway, Fitzgerald and (Thomas) Wolfe.
1886: Charles Williams, writer and poet (Taliessin Through Logres, War in Heaven).
1920: Jay Ward, animator (Rocky and Bullwinkle, George of the Jungle).
1934: Sophia Loren, who was Conchita, Cleopatra, and Doña Ximena (the Chimera).
1935: Keith Roberts, writer (Pavane, The Chalk Giants).
1941: Dale Chihuly, blown-glass artist.
1947: Steve Gerber, comix writer (Howard the Duck, Foolkiller) and screenwriter.
1948: George R.R. Martin, writer (A Song of Fire and Ice, Tuf Voyaging, "Sandkings").

19th September 2016

6:10am: TLAP day, aaargh.
Or, in Japan, Respect for the Aged Day.

1356: Poitiers, France - French king Jean le Bon (John II "the Good") is captured in battle by Edward, the Black Prince, Duke of Wales. Jean is allowed to return to France to raise his ransom, leaving his son Louis as hostage; when Louis escapes, Jean voluntarily returns to England as a matter of honor; here he dies.
1676: Jamestown, VA - Is burned to the ground as part of Nathaniel Bacon's rebellion against Governor William Berkeley, who had ignored the safety of the colonists in the Western parts of Virginia (oversimplification!). The rebellion was suppressed by armed British merchants.
1692: Salem Village, MA - After refusing to plea guilty or not guilty to charges of witchcraft, Giles Corey is "pressed" in an attempt to force him to plead. He dies, the only American known to have been judicially killed in this way.
1796: United States - George Washington's farewell "address" is published across the nation as an open letter to the public.
1879: Blackpool, England - The "Blackpool Illuminations," called "the greatest free light show on Earth," are turned on for the first time. The light show, consisting of over a million bulbs, stretches six miles from one end of the town to the other and features "scenes" such as Dr. Who fighting the Daleks.
1881: Washington, DC - President James A. Garfield dies of wounds suffered in a July 2 shooting. Vice President Chester A. Arthur succeeds to the White House.
1952: Washington, DC - As Charlie Chaplin sails to England for the premiere of Limelight, Attorney General James McGranery revokes his re-entry permit to the United States, pending an interview concerning his political views and moral behavior. Chaplin decides not to return to the US.
1957: Nevada Test Site, NV - Shot Ranier of Operation Plumbbob is America's first fully-contained underground nuclear test. At 1.7 kilotons, it was detected by seismographic instruments around the world.
1959: Anaheim, CA - Due to security concerns, Nikita Khrushchev, during his visit to the United States, is not permitted to visit Disneyland.
1970: United States - Premiere (on CBS) of the Mary Tyler Moore show.
1981: New York - Simon and Garfunkel perform a free concert in Central Park.
1985: Washington, DC - Tipper Gore founds the Parents' Music Resource Center (PMRC) in reaction to perceived (and some real) obscenity in popular music. Frank Zappa, speaking before a Congressional hearing, states, "The PMRC proposal is an ill-conceived piece of nonsense which fails to deliver any real benefits to children, infringes the civil liberties of people who are not children, and promises to keep the courts busy for years dealing with the interpretational and enforcemental problems inherent in the proposal's design"

1867: Arthur Rackham, illustrator.
1889: Sarah Louise Delany, supercentenarian, one of the "Delany Sisters."
1905: Leon Jaworski, Watergate Special Prosecutor.
1911: William Golding, writer (Lord of the Flies, The Inheritors).
1922: Damon Knight, writer ("To Serve Man", "Stranger Station", Humpty Dumpty: An Oval).
1928: Adam West, who was Bruce Wayne.
1932: Mike Royko, columnist.
1933: David McCallum, who was Illya Kuryakin.
1934: Brian Epstein, who more or less discovered the Beatles.
1940: Paul Williams, who was Swan.
1941: Mama Cass Elliot, singer.
1947: Thomas H. Cook, writer (Blood Innocents, The Chatham School Affair).
1947: Tanith Lee, writer (The Birthgrave, The Silver Metal Lover).
1948: Jeremy Irons, who was Scar and Simon Gruber.
1949: Twiggy.
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