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26th August 2016
Women's Equality Day
and the Feast of Melchizedek. :
1498: Rome - Michelangelo receives the commission that will lead to the Pietà.
1883: Krakatoa - The famous eruption reaches its paroxysmal phase which will lead to the explosive destruction of the island.
1920: Washington, DC and elsewhere - Amendment XIX to the US Constitution takes effect, giving women the right to vote in those States where it did not already exist.
1970: US - Betty Friedan leads a nationwide Women's Strike for Equality.
1978: Rome - Cardinal Albino Luciani is elected as Pope, choosing the name John Paul I to honor his two predecessors. He will reign only 33 days before his death.
1740: Joseph-Michel Montgolfier, inventor of the hot-air balloon.
1743: Antoine Lavoisier, "father of modern chemistry."
1819: Albert, Prince-Consort of the United Kingdom.
1873: Lee de Forest, electrical engineer, invented the "Audion tube," the first vacuum tube.
1875: John Buchan, writer (Prester John
, The Thirty-Nine Steps
1880: Guillaume Apollinaire, surrealist poet and writer (Alcools
, The Three Don Juans
1898: Peggy Guggenheim, art collector and philanthropist.
1906: Albert Sabin, developed the oral polio vaccine.
1910: Mother Teresa, nun and missionary.
1911: Otto Binder, half of "Eando Binder," comix writer, creator of the Legion of Super-Heroes.
1920: Brant Parker, comix artist, co-creator of The Wizard of Id
1921: Benjamin C. Bradlee, editor of the Washington Post
25th August 2016
1609: Venice - Galileo demonstrates his first telescope. :
1875: Dover, England - Calais, France - Captain Michael Webb becomes the first person to swim the Channel.
1912: Beijing, China - Foundation of the Kuomintang.
1945: Xuzhou, China - Eleven people, mainly Kuomintang members, are stopped by a group of Chinese Communists. One, John Birch, an American, is killed.
1948: Washington, DC - In the first ever televised Congressional hearing, Alger Hiss confronts Whittaker Chambers.
1967: Arlington, VA - George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party, is assassinated by a former follower.
1981: Space - Voyager
2 makes its closest approach to Saturn.
1989: Space - Voyager
2 makes its closest approach to Neptune.
1991: Helsinki - Linus Torvalds announces the first version of Linux.
2012: Space - Voyager
1 becomes the first man-made object to enter interstellar space.
1530: Ivan the Terrible, Tsar.
1744: Johann Gottfried (von) Herder, poet and philosopher.
1767: Louis Antoine de Saint-Just, leader of the Terror.
1819: Allan Pinkerton, founder of the Pinkerton agency, union-buster.
1836: Bret Harte, poet and writer ("The Luck of Roaring Camp", "The Outcasts of Poker Flat").
1905: Saint Maria Faustyna Kowalska of the Blessed Sacrament.
1909: Michael Rennie, who was Klaatu.
1913: Walt Kelly, animator (Disney Studios) and comix writer-artist (Pogo
1918: Leonard Bernstein, conductor and composer (Mass
, score for West Side Story
1919: George Wallace, racist Presidential candidate.
1921: Monty Hall, who was, well, Monty Hall. And still is.
1927: Althea Gibson, color-line-breaking tennis player long before Arthur Ashe.
1930: Sean Connery, who was Robin Hood, William of Baskerville, and Henry Jones, Sr.
1938: Frederick Forsyth, writer (The Day of the Jackal
, The Odessa File
1942: Howard Jacobson, writer (Roots, Schmoots
, Whatever It Is, I Don't Like It
1949: Martin Amis, writer (Time's Arrow
, Einstein's Monsters
1958: Tim Burton, director-producer-screenwriter (Big Fish
24th August 2016
National Waffle Day
79: Mount Vesuvius - Erupts, destroying Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae by burying them in many feet of ash. (Traditional date; many modern historians suggest October 24). :
394: Philae, Egypt - The scribe Esmet-Akhom leaves a graffito which is the last known historical use of hieroglyphics.
410: Rome - Is sacked by the Visigoths under Alaric I.
1215: Rome - Pope Innocent III voids the Magna Carta. The British nobles do not, as a whole, accept this nullification.
1349: Mainz, Germany - The Jews are blamed for the bubonic plague, and six thousand of them murdered.
1456: Mainz, Germany - Gutenberg finishes the printing of his Bible. No, it was not
the first thing he printed.
1662: London, England - Parliament passes the Act of Uniformity, which requires the use of the 1662 edition of the Book of Common Prayer in the Established Church of England. Adherence to the Act and the BCP was required to hold any governmental (or church) office.
1814: Washington, DC - British troops invade and burn many buildings, including the Capitol and the Presidential Mansion.
1891: Menlo Park, NJ/Washington, DC - Thomas Edison patents the "kinetograph," or motion picture camera.
1932: Newark, NJ - On arrival here, Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly non-stop across the United States (she started in Los Angeles).
1954: Washington, DC - President Dwight Eisenhower signs the Communist Control Act, outlawing CP-USA and criminalizing membership in it or in any "Communist action" group. Even J.Edgar Hoover opposed this bill (because it would force Communists underground and make them harder to surveil).It has never been repealed, but neither has any Administration made any serious effort to enforce it. It was declared unconstitutional by a federal district court in Arizona in 1973; however, it has never been ruled on by SCOTUS.
1967: New York, NY - Abbie Hoffman leads the YIPpie party in disrupting trading on Wall Street by throwing dollar bills from the viewing gallery. Because of this, the NYSE closed the viewing gallery until a glass partition could be installed to prevent further such incidents.
1989: Columbia - Drug lords declare "total war" on the Columbian government.
1995: Redmond, WA and elsewhere - Microsoft releases Windows 95, which claims to be an operating system though it still relies on MS-DOS to handle many functions.
2016: Prague, Czech Republic - The traitorous International Astronomical Union redefines "planet" so that Pluto is not one. We still love you, Pluto!
1552: Lavinia Fontana, considered the "first significant" woman artist.
1556: Sophia Brahe, astronomer.
1591: Robert Herrick, poet.
1872: Max Beerbohm, cariacaturist and writer (Zuleika Dobson
1890: Jean Rhys, writer (Wide Sargasso Sea
, Sleep It Off Lady
1898: Malcolm Cowley, poet and writer (Exile's Return
1899: Jorge Luis Borges, writer (Labyrinths
, The Book of Imaginary Beings
1902: Carlo Gambino, mob boss.
1911: Durward Kirby, television host/announcer.
1915: James Tiptree, Jr (Alice Sheldon), writer ("Houston, Houston, Do You Read?", "The Girl Who Was Plugged In").
1922: Howard Zinn, activist and historian (The People's History of the United States
1929: Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian National Authority.
1936: A.S. Byatt, writer (Possession
1938: Mason Williams, guitarist and composer (Classical Gas
1945: Vince McMahon, wrestling promoter.
1948: Alexander McCall Smith, writer (The "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series.)
1951: Orson Scott Card, writer (Ender's Game
, "Lost Boys") and bigot.
1955: Mike Huckabee, politician, minister, and bigot.
1957: Stephen Fry, who was Mycroft Holmes and much else.
1977: John Green, writer (The Fault in Our Stars
1988: Rupert Grint, who was Ron Weasley.
23rd August 2016
Black Ribbon Day...
...also known as the "Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism. :
79: Mount Vesuvius, Italy - Begins to stir for the eruption that will destroy Pompeii and Herculaneum.
1305: London, England - Sir William Wallace is executed for treason.
1600: Gifu, Japan - Tokugawa Ieyasu's armies destroy Gifu Castle, leading to the Battle of Sekigahara, in which the Tokugawa Shogunate will be established.
1614: Frankfurt, Holy Roman Empire - Jews are expelled from the city following a minor pogrom in which the "Judengasse" or Jewish Alley is plundered.
1775: London, England - King George III declares (to Parliament) that the American colonies are in a state of open and avowed rebellion.
1927: Charlestown State Prison, MA - Despite an almost complete lack of evidence, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are executed for murders that they almost certainly did not commit.
1966: Space - Lunar Orbiter</b> 1 takes the first picture of the Earth from orbit around the Moon.
1970: Salinas Valley, CA - Between five and seven thousand UFW workers begin the "Salad Bowl Strike," the largest farm worker strike in US history. This strike leads directly to the institution of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act.
1973: Stockholm, Sweden - In Normalmstrong Square, a bank robbery goes wrong and turns into a hostage crisis. Some of the hostages begin to sympathize with the robber. This is the incident that gives rise to the term "Stockholm Syndrome," which will later be used to excuse the actions of Patricia Hearst as a convert to the Symbionese Liberation Army.
1996: London, England - First publication (in the Arabic-language Al-Quds-Al-Arabi) of Osama bin-Laden's "A declaration of war against the Americans occupying the land of the two holy places."
2011: Bab al-Aziza Compound, Tripoli, Libya - Muammar Gaddafi is overthrown by forces of the National Transitional Council.
1754: Louis XVI of France.
1849: William Ernest Henley, poet ("Invictus").
1852: Arnold Toynbee, historian.
1868: Edgar Lee Masters, poet (Spoon River Anthology).
1884: Will Cuppy, writer (The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody, How to Become Extinct).
1891: Roy Agnew, composer (Rabbit Hill, Deirdre's Lament).
1900: Malvina Reynolds, activist and songwriter ("Little Boxes", "Morningtown Ride").
1905: Ernie Bushmiller, cartoonist (Nancy).
1912: Gene Kelly, who danced with Jerry Mouse.
1927: Alan Kaprow, conceptual artist ("Happenings", "Environments").
1931: Barbara Eden, who was Jeannie.
1946: Keith Moon, drummer (The Who, Plastic Ono Band).
22nd August 2016
Feast of the Queenship of Mary
565: Loch Ness, Scotland - St Columba reports seeing a monster. :
1485: Market Bosworth, England - In the Battle of Bosworth, King Richard III of England is killed, ending the Plantagenet line of Kings and passing the crown to Henry VII Tudor.
1639: Chennai, India - The British East India Company builds a fort, which is the beginning of the city of Madras, which will become Chennai.
1642: Nottingham, England - King Charles I raises his standard, which is regarded as the first move of the English Civil War.
1654: New Amsterdam - Jacob Barsimon becomes the first (known) Jewish immigrant in America.
1791: Saint-Domingue, Haiti - Vodou priest Dutty Boukman gives a signal and the Haitian Slave Revolt begins. Influenced by the French Revolution, and led by Toussaint L'Ouverture, the slaves overthrow their masters and declare a free republic; however, the whites are massacred even after the republic is established.
1831: Southampton County, VA - Nat Turner's Rebellion begins. It fails, with 60 whites and 250 blacks killed.
1902: (location unknown without more research than I'm prepared to put in right now) - Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first POTUS to ride in an automobile.
1910: Korea - is annexed by Japan.
1952: Bagne de Cayenne, French Guiana - The Devil's Island penal colony is permanently closed.
1968: Bogotá, Colombia - Pope Paul VI makes the first visit of a Pope to a Latin American country.
1978: Managua, Nicaragua - The FSLN ("Sandinistas") occupy the national palace.
1996: Washington, DC - Bill Clinton signs a welfare "reform" law.
2003: Montgomery, AL - Roy Moore, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, is suspended for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the lobby of the Alabama Supreme Court building.
2004: Oslo, Norway - Two paintings by Edvard Munch (The Scream
) are stolen at gunpoint. They will be recovered by police two years later.
1647: Denis Papin, physicist and mathematician, invented the pressure cooker.
1862: Claude Debussy, pianist-composer (Claire de Lune
, Pelléas et Mélisande
1880: George Herriman, cartoonist (Krazy Kat
1893: Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker.
1898: Alexander Calder, sculptor, inventor of the mobile.
1902: Leni Riefenstahl, actress and director (Triumph des Willens
, Impressionen unter Wasser
1920: Ray Bradbury, writer (The Martian Chronicles
, Dandelion Wine
1925: Honor Blackman, who was Cathy Gale and Pussy Galore.
1928: Karlheinz Stockhausen, composer (Zyklus
1932: Gerald P. Carr, astronaut.
1934: Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., general.
1935: Annie Proulx, writer ("Bareback Mountain", The Shipping News
1939: Valerie Harper, who was Rhoda Morgenstern.
1959: I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, scapegoat.
21st August 2016
1770: New South Wales, Australia - Captain James Cook claims Eastern "New Holland" for Britain, naming it New Wales. The "South" is added in his report to the Admiralty. :
1831: Southampton County, VA - Nat Turner leads a slave rebellion that ultimately costs the lives of about 60 whites and 200 black slaves.
1879: Knock, County Mayo, Ireland - Fifteen people witness an apparition of the Blessed Virgin, St Joseph, St John the Evangelist, an altar, and several angels.
1888: St Louis, MO/Washington, DC - William Seward Burroughs receives several patents related to his adding machine, and founds what will become the Burroughs Corporation.
1897: Lansing, MI - Ransom E. Olds founds the Oldsmobile company.
1911: Paris, France - A Louvre employee steals the Mona Lisa
1959: Washington, DC - President Dwight Eisenhower signs the executive order that makes Hawai'i the 50th state.
1567: Francis de Sales, bishop and saint.
1872: Aubrey Beardsley, artist.
1904: William James "Count" Basie, pianist, songwriter, and bandleader.
1906: Isadore "Friz" Freleng, animator (260+ Warners' cartoons, created Porky, Bugs, Tweety, Sylvester, Yosemite Sam, and Speedy Gonzales).
1908: M.M. Kaye, writer (The Far Pavilions
) and artist.
1920: Christopher Robin Milne, inspiration.
1929: X.J. Kennedy, poet.
1936: Wilt "the Stilt" Chamberlain, basketball player.
1943: Jonathan Schell, writer (The Fate of the Earth
, Observing the Nixon Years
1943: Lucius Shepard, writer (The Jaguar Hunter
). The Dragon Griaule
1953: Ivan Stang, cultist and writer (The Book of the Sub-Genius
20th August 2016
Yes, indeedy, it's WORLD MOSQUITO DAY. Beware!
1308: Rome - Pope Clement V pardons Jacques de Molay, head of the Knights Templar, essentially absolving him of heresy. de Molay will be burned at the stake five years later for heresy. :
1858: London, England - Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace publish essentially identical theories of evolution in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London
. Indeed, it is a letter from Wallace that prompts Darwin to publish.
1882: Moscow, Russia - Premiere of Tchaikovski's 1812 Overture
1920: Detroit, MI - The first commercial radio station (now known as WWJ) begins operations.
1940: Mexico City - Assassination of Leon Trotski by Ramón Mercader, though Trotski will actually die the next day.
1975: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of Viking
1, the first probe to succesfully land on Mars, and will operate for about 6 years.
1977: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of Voyager
2, which is still operating.
1778: Bernardo O'Higgins, first leader of an independent Chile.
1833: Benjamin Harrison, 23d President of the US.
1881: Edgar Guest, poet.
1886: Paul Tillich, theologian (The Courage to Be
1890: Howard Phillips Lovecraft, writer (At the Mountains of Madness
, "The Call of Cthulhu").
1910: Eero Saarinen, furniture designer and architect (the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO).
1918: Jacqueline Susann, writer (Valley of the Dolls
, The Love Machine
1935: Ron Paul, libertarian congresscritter.
1943: Sylvester McCoy, who was the Doctor and a rather unfortunate Radagast.
1947: Alan Lee, arguably the best Tolkien illustrator.
1947: James Pankow, trombonist (Chicago).
1948: Robert Plant, singer (Led Zeppelin).
1951: Greg Bear, writer (Blood Music
1961: Greg Egan, writer (Permutation City
, Our Lady of Chernobyl
1974: Amy Adams, who was Polly Purebred and Lois Lane.
19th August 2016
43 BC: Rome - Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (who would become Augustus) is elected Consul by the Roman Senate. :
1561: Leith, Scotland - Mary Queen of Scotland, having spent thirteen of her eighteen years in France, arrives in Scotland. She has nominally been Queen since her father died when she was six days old, but she now intends to take power. What actually happens is a lot more complicated than that.
1692: Salem Village, MA - five people (four women and a clergyman) are executed for witchcraft.
1812: 400 mi. southeast of Halifax, NS - A single-ship battle between USS Constitution
and HMS Guerriere
ends with the destruction of the British ship. It is this battle that earns Constitution
her nickname of "Old Ironsides."
1839: Paris, France - The Government of France, having purchased the rights from Louis-Jaques-Mandé Daguerre in return for a lifetime pension, announces that Daguerreotypography is "a gift free to the world," with no patent restrictions.
1854: Near Fort Laramie, modern WY- Troops come to arrest a Miniconjou Lakotan warrior who has killed and eaten a cow belonging to Mormon pioneers. When the Lakota refuse to turn him over, 2d. Lt. John Lawrence Grattan breaks off the negotiations, but a nervous trooper shoots Chief Matȟó Wayúhi ("Conquering Bear") in the back. In return all thirty troopers are massacred, beginning the First Sioux War.
1895: El Paso, TX - Constable John Selman, Sr. shoots and kills outlaw John Wesley Hardin (not Harding) in a saloon.
1934: Germany - A referendum approves the merging of the offices of Chancellor and Prime Minister, the new title to be Führer.
1953: Iran - American (CIA) and British (MI5) agents arrange the toppling of the government of Mohammad Mosaddegh, a democratically elected leader, for the crime of nationalizing oil reserves claimed by British companies. They replace the democratic government with the absolute rulership of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
1960: Baikonur Cosmodrome, USSR - Launch of Korabl-Sputnik 2, which carries aboard two dogs, who survive, as well as 40 mice, 2 rats, and some plants.
1964: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of Syncom 3, the first successful geostationary communications satellite.
1570(?): Salmone Rossi, violinist and composer unique for his putting original Hebrew texts to Baroque arrangements in his "Songs of Solomon."
1689: Samuel Richardson, publisher and writer (Clarissa
1743: Jeanne Bécu, comtesse du Barry, "Madame du Barry," mistress to Louis XV and victim of the Terror.
1871: Orville Wright, engineer and pilot.
1883: Coco Chanel, designer.
1889: Arthur Waley, sinologist and translator.
1900: Gilbert Ryle, philosopher (The Concept of Mind
1902: Ogden Nash, versifier (Parents Keep Out!
1903: James Gould Cozzens, writer (The Last Adam
, The Just and the Unjust
1906: Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of the video camera tube, the all-electronic television, and the fusor.
1915: Ring Lardner, Jr., screenwriter (Forever Amber
, M*A*S*HThe Steel Crocodile
, The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe
1944: Jack Canfield, writer ("Chicken Soup for the Soul" books).
1945: Ian Gillian, who was Jesus Christ.
1946: Bill Clinton, president and womanizer.
1952: Jonathan Frakes, who was Number One.
1961: Jonathan Coe, writer (The Rotters' Club
, The Dwarves of Death
18th August 2016
1587: Roanoke Colony, NC - Birth of Virginia Dare, first English child born in the Americas. She will disappear along with the rest of the colonists. :
1612: Lancaster, England - At the Lancaster Assizes, the trial of the Pendle and Samlesbury Witches and two others begins. Of the eleven Pendle witches who survived gaol, ten were found guilty of murder by witchcraft and sentenced to hang.
1634: Loudon, France - Urbain Grandier, who had spoken and written against Cardinal Richelieu, is burned alive for sorcery.
1920: Washington, DC - Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, giving women the right to vote (which they already had in many states).
1958: New York, NY - G.P. Putnam's Sons publishes Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita
. It is into its third printing within three days, and sells over 100,000 copies in three weeks.
1977: Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Student and activist Stephen Bantu Biko is arrested by security police at a roadblock under the notorious Terrorism Act No 83. In Police Room 619 of the Sanlam Building, Biko is questioned, tortured, and beaten for 22 hours, resulting in a coma. He will die in police custody in Pretoria on 12 September.
1596: Jean Bolland, priest and hagiographer (The Lives of the Saints
1750: Antonio Salieri, composer (La fiera di Venizia
), who did not
1774: Meriwether Lewis, soldier, explorer, Governor of Upper Louisiana.
1904: Max Factor, Jr., businessman, guided the development of Pan-Cake makup for use with Technicolor film.
1917: Caspar Weinberger, Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan, indicted but pardoned by George H.W. Bush.
1922:Alain Robbe-Grillet, writer (Jealousy
) and screenwriter (Last Year at Marienbad
1925: Brian W. Aldiss, writer (Hothouse
, Barefoot in the Head
1933: Roman Polanski, director (Fearless Vampire Killers
) and child abuser.
1934: Vincent Bugliosi, celebrity lawyer and writer (Helter Skelter
, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder
1934: Roberto Clemente, baseball player and relief worker.
1936: Robert Redford, who was the Sundance Kid and John Dortmunder.
1943: Martin Mull, who was Colonel Mustard.
1944: Paula Danziger, writer (the "Amber Brown" books).
1954: Umberto Guidoni, astrophysicist and astronaut.
17th August 2016
309 (or maybe 310): Rome - Emperor Maxentius exiles Pope Eusebius to Sicily, over the issue of the : lapsi
, Christians who became apostate and then returned to the Church. The question was whether they should, after appropriate penance, be readmitted to Holy Communion. Eusebius said yes; Maxentius said no.
1498: Italy - On the death of Giovanni Borgia, illegitmate son of Pope Alexander VI, is brother Cesare becomes the first person to resign from the cardinalate (he had been Cardinal of Valencia); on the same day Louis XII of France names him Duke of Valentinois.
1560: Scotland - The Roman Catholic church is overthrown as the national religion of Scotland, to be replaced with a form of Calvinism.
1585: Antwerp, Flanders - The city is taken by Spanish forces. Protestants are ordered to leave the city.
1858: Roanoke Island, NC - Landing of the colonists for the first Roanoke Colony, led by Ralph Lane. This is the one that famously disappears.
1798: La Vang, Quảng Trị Province, Vietnam - During a persecution of Christians, Vietnamese Catholics hiding in the rain forest here report a Marian apparition, in which a "Lady bearing a child" tells them to boil certain leaves to cure the illnesses ravaging them.
1896: London, England - While crossing Dolphin Terrace on the grounds of the Crystal Palace, Bridget Driscoll is struck by a Benz automobile going that the fantastic speed of 4 MPH and killed, becoming the first pedestrian motor fatality in the UK.
1908: Paris, France - Premiere of the first animated film, Émile Cohl's Fantasmagorie
. It's on YouTube, and it's only about a minute long.
1958: Cape Canaveral, FL - The space probe Pioneer
, intended to orbit the Moon, fails to launch.
1970: Baikonur, USSR - Launch of Venera
7, which, on 15 December 1970, will become the first probe to send back data from the surface of another planet (Venus).
1977: North Pole - Is reached by the Soviet icebreaker Arktika
1978: Miserey, France - Double Eagle
II, crewed by Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson, and Larry Newman, becomes the first balloon to successfully cross the atlantic, having launched from Presque Isle, ME, five an a half days earlier.
1980: Ayers Rock, Northern Territory, Australia - "A dingo ate my baby!" Azaria Chamberlain, 2 months 8 days old, disappears from a family campground. It is years before the parents' story is corroborated by physical evidence, during which time the mother was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.
1998: Washington, DC - President Bill Clinton admits to an "improper physical relationship" with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
1601: Pierre de Fermat, lawyer and mathematician.
1786: Davy Crockett, pioneer, soldier, and congresscritter.
1863: Gene Stratton-Porter, writer (A Girl of the Limberlost
, The Magic Garden
) and photographer.
1887: Marcus Garvey, journalist, activist, founder of the Black Star shipping line.
1893: Mae West, actress and screenwriter.
1913: Mark Felt, deputy director of the FBI, who was "Deep Throat."
1924: Evan S. Connell, writer (Mrs. Bridge
, Son of the Morning Star
1929: Francis Gary Powers, CIA U-2 pilot.
1930: Ted Hughes, husband of Sylvia Plath, poet, playwright, and writer (The Iron Man
1932: V.S. Naipaul, writer (The Mystic Masseur
, A House for Mr Biswas
1933: Gene Kranz, NASA mission director, who did not in fact say "Failure is not an option."
1944: Larry Ellison, cofounder of Oracle Corporation.
1945: Rachel Pollack, writer (Grandmother Night
) and comix writer (Doom Patrol
1959: Jonathan Franzen, writer (The Corrections
1959: David Koresh, cult leader.
1959: Eric Schlosser, writer (Fast Food Nation
1988: Mohammed Emwazi, "Jihadi John".
16th August 2016
Gozan no Okuribi
1819: Manchester, England - Between sixty and eighty thousand people gather on St. Peter's Field to peaceably demand reform of the antiquated Parliamentary allocation system. (For example, Old Sarum, a ghost town with one eligible voter, controlled two MPs.) Cavalry charge into the crowd with sabres drawn, killing fifteen and wounding 600. (The first to die is a two-year-old thrown from his mother's arms as cavalry rode her down.) This is commemorated as the Peterloo Massacre. :
1841: Washington, DC - President John Tyler vetoes a bill to re-establish the Second Bank of the United States, whose charter had expired. Every member of his Cabinet except for Daniel Webster resigns, and Whigs riot outside the White House, but Tyler stands firm.
1927: Oakland, CA - The "Dole Air Derby" begins with eight participants attempting to fly to Honolulu. Only two make it; the other six crash or disappear.
1930: United States - Release of "Fiddlesticks," Ub Iwerks's first cartoon after leaving Disney Studios. Notable as the first cartoon to feature both sound and color (two-strip Technicolor), it is the first of Iwerks's "Flip the Frog" series, and also features an awfully familiar-looking mouse.
1942: San Francisco Bay Area - the Naval Blimp L-8 takes off from Treasure Island on a routine anti-submarine patrol. Several hours later, it crashes in Daly City, with no sign of the two-man crew. The crew have never been seen or accounted for.
1945: Manchuria, China - The Last Emperor of China, Puyi, is captured by Soviet troops. Puyi had collaborated with the Japanese and been their titular ruler of "Manchukuo." In the 1946 tribunals, he testified that he had been captured and pressured by the Japanese, but later recanted this, saying that he was ashamed of his testimony. During the Cultural Revolutiion he was targeted by the Red Guard and placed under protection by the local security bureau, but died shortly thereafter.
1962: Liverpool, England - Ringo Starr leaves Rory Starr and the Hurricanes to join The Beatles, who have just fired their previous drummer, Pete Best.
1989: Space - A solar flare causes a geomagnetic storm on Earth, affecting microchips in various places, and forcing a halt of all trading on the Toronto exchange.
1815: John Bosco, priest and saint.
1884: Hugo Gernsback, writer (Ralph 124C41+
) and publisher-editor (Amazing Stories
1888: T.E. Lawrence, "Lawrence of Arabia."
1892: Hal Foster, comix writer-artist (Prince Valiant in the Days of King Arthur
1892: Otto Messmer, animator, co-creator of Felix the Cat.
1894: George Meany, plumber and union leader.
1902: Georgette Heyer, writer (Regency Buck
, These Old Shades
1902: Wallace Thurman, writer (The Blacker the Berry
1911: E.F. Schumaker, economist and statistician (Small is Beautiful
1913: Menachim Begin, Prime Minister of Israel.
1917: Matt Christopher, writer (The Lucky Baseball Bat
1920: Charles Bukowski, poet.
1924: Fess Parker, who was Davy Crockett.
1933: Julie Newmar, who was THE Catwoman.
1934: Diana Wynne Jones, writer (Tough Guide to Fantasy
, Howl's Moving Castle
1954: James Cameron, director-producer-screenwriter (Titanic
1958: Madonna Ciccone, entertainer.
15th August 2016
Feast Day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin
1056: Peel of Lumphanan, Scotland: Mac Bethad mac Findlaích (Macbeth) is defeated and killed by the forces of Máel Coluim mac Donnchada (Malcolm III). :
1248: Köln, Germany - The foundation stone of Cologne Cathedral, which contains relics (allegedly) of the Three Magi, is laid. Construction will take 632 years.
1843: Honolulu, HI - The Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace (Malia o ka Malu Hale Pule Nui) is dedicated. It is now a Minor Basilica, and holds the relics of Sts. Damien de Veuster & Marianne Cope; it is the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral in continuous use in the United States.
1843: Copenhagen, Denmark - The Tivoli Gardens opens. It is the second oldest amusement park still operating in the world (the oldest is Dyrehavsbakken in nearby Klampenborg). Featuring many rides, a concert hall, and a pantomime theatre, it hosts nearly 5 million visitors per year.
1914: Panama - The Panama Canal opens to traffic. The first ship to transit the Canal is the otherwise unmemorable SS Ancon
1935: Barrow, AK - Will Rogers and Wiley Post are killed in a takeoff plane crash.
1939: Los Angeles, CA - The Wizard of Oz
premieres at Graumann's Chinese Theater. Though it has great critical acceptance, it is not an immediate commercial success, and will not be profitable for ten years.
1965: New York, NY - The Beatles play to 55,000 fans in Shea Stadium. This is generally considered the beginning of "stadium rock."
1969: Bethel, NY - The Woodstock Music and Art Fair opens on Max Yasgur's farm. Over 400,000 people attend.
1971: Washington, DC - President Richard Nixon produces "Nixon Shock" by ending the convertibility of US currency to gold for foreign investors, one of the bases of the "Bretton Woods" international monetary system.
1717: Blind Jack Metcalf, builder of turnpikes.
1740: Matthias Claudius, poet, whose "Der Tod und das Mädchen" was set to music by Schubert.
1769: Napoleon I Bonaparte, general and emperor.
1771: Walter Scott, writer (Ivanhoe
, Rob Roy
1785: Thomas De Quincey, writer (Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
1858: E. Nesbit, writer (Five Children and It
, The Story of the Treasure Seekers
1875: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, composer (Little Songs for Little Folks
, Hiawatha, ballet in five scenes
1885: Edna Ferber, writer (Show Boat
1892: Louis de Broglie, physicst.
1904: George Klein, invented the motorized wheelchair.
1912: Julia Child, chef and writer.
1914: Paul Rand, logo designer.
1917: Blessed Óscar Romero, martyr.
1924: Phyllis Schlafly, activist.
1928: Nicholas Roeg, director (The Man Who Fell to Earth
, The Witches
1933: Stanley Milgram, social psychologist.
1938: Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice of SCOTUS.
1954: Stieg Larsson, writer (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo et seq.
1964: Melinda Gates, philanthropist.
1990: Jennifer Lawrence, who was Katniss and Mystique.
14th August 2016
1040: Bothnagowan, Scotland - King Donnchad mac Crinain (Duncan I) dies in battle against Mac Bethad mac Findlaích (Macbeth), who succeeds him as King of Scotland. :
1880: Köln, Germany - The construction of Cologne Cathedral (which began in 1248) is completed.
1888: London, England - At a press conference, a recording of Arthur Sullivan's "The Lost Chord" is played, the first use of a phonograph in England. Sullivan recorded a message to Edison, in which he admitted that he was amazed by the device, but "terrified at the thought that so much hideous and bad music may be put on record forever."
1901: Fairfield CT - Gustave Whitehead allegedly flies half a mile in his "Number 21" powered aircraft. While the truth of this is debated, it was reported in a local newspaper at the time. If it is true, then he precedes the Wright Brothers by two years.
1935: Washington, DC - President Franklin Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act.
1945: USS Missouri
, Pacific Ocean - The Empire of Japan formally surrenders to the Allied Powers.
1975: London, England - Premiere of The Rocky Horror Picture Show
2015: Havana, Cuba - Re-opening of the US Embassy after 54 years.
1777: Hans Christian Ørsted, physicist, chemist, and philosopher.
1840: Richard von Krafft-Ebing, psychiatrist (Psychopathia Sexualis
1851: John Henry "Doc" Holliday, gambler, gunfighter, and dentist.
1863: Ernest Lawrence Thayer, poet and columnist ("Casey at the Bat").
1867: John Galsworthy, writer (The Forsyte Saga
1923: Alice Ghostly, who was Esmerelda.
1928: Lina Wertmüller, director and screenwriter (Seven Beauties
1932: Lee Hoffman, fan and writer (The Valdez Horses
1934: Trevor Bannister, who was Mr. Lucas.
1945: Steve Martin, comedian, actor, banjo player.
1947: Maddy Pryor, singer (Steeleye Span, Silly Sisters).
1947: Danielle Steele, writer.
1950: Gary Larson, cartoonist (The Far Side
1953: James Horner, film score composer (Humanoids from the Deep
). (Oh, all right: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
1959: Earvin "Magic" Johnson, basketball player.
1966: Halle Berry, who was Ororo and
13th August 2016
1624: Paris, France - Louis XIII appoints Cardinal Richelieu Prime Minister of France. :
1779: Penobscot Bay, ME - A 44-ship American naval task force is routed by the British Navy, losing the most significant number of ships the US will experience until Pearl Harbor.
1831: Southampton County, VA - Slave Nat Turner sees an eclipse which inspires him to lead a slave revolt. (Yes, of course that's an oversimplification...)
1876: Bayreuth, Germany - The premiere of the complete Ring des Nibelungen
cycle begins at the Beyreuth Festspielhaus. The first two operas, Das Rhinegold
and Die Walküre
, had previously been performed separately in 1869 and 1870 respectively.
1898: Berlin, Germany and Nice, France: Gustav Witt (Berlin) and Auguste Charlois (Nice) discover Eros, the first near-earth asteroid to be discovered.
1918: Washington, DC - By sheer dint of being first in line, Opha May Johnson becomes the first woman to enlist in the US Marine Corps.
1942: US - Premiere of Walt Disney's Bambi
1997: US - First broadcast of the first episode of Comedy Central's South Park
1860: Annie Oakley, trick and target shooter.
1895: Bert Lahr, who was the Cowardly Lion and the "Betcha can't eat just one" guy.
1899: Alfred Hitchcock, direck-tohr.
1902: Felix Wankel, SS officer and engineer, developed the Wankel rotary engine.
1926: Fidel Castro, President of Cuba.
1930: Don Ho, singer.
1933: Jocelyn Elders, Surgeon-General of the United States.
1959: Danny Bonaduce, who was Danny Partridge and is a radio asshole.
1963: Valerie Plame, former CIA operative.
12th August 2016
World Elephant Day
And, lest we forget, it's the Glorious Twelfth. :
And Sea Org Day.
1099: Ascalon, Holy Land - At the Battle of Ascalon, the Crusader army of Godfrey of Bouillon defeats Fatimid forces led by Al-Afdal Shahanshah, at least partly because the numerically-superior Fatimid army was caught unprepared. This battle was the effective end of the First Crusade, as most of the Crusaders, having fulfilled their vows (usually involving visiting the Church of the Sepulchre), returned home.
1164: Harenc - The Battle of Harim is fought between the forces of Nur ad-Din Zangi and a combined army from the County of Tripoli, the Principality of Antioch, the Byzantine Empire and Armenia. Nur ad-Din wins a crushing victory, capturing most of the leaders of the opposing army. The Crusader States are thus left without their leaders.
1624: Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal-Duke of Richelieu and of Fronsac becomes the chief minister of King Louis XIII.
1765: Allahabad, India - The Treaty of Allahabad is signed, granting the East India Company the right to collect taxes, and effectively marking the beginning of Company rule in India.
1851: Boston, MA/Washington, DC - Isaac Singer receives a patent for improvements in the design of sewing machines. His primary improvements were the use of a straight, rather than a curved, needle, and a shuttle that moved in a straight line rather than a circle.
1877: Washington, DC - At the US Naval Observatory, Asaph Hall discovers Deimos, moon of Mars. He discovers Phobos in the same month.
1883: Amsterdam, Netherlands - The Quagga, a subspecies of the Plains Zebra, becomes extinct as the last living specimen dies in the Artis Magistra Zoo.
1898: Honolulu, HI - The annexation of the Republic of Hawai'i by the United States is symbolized in an elaborate ceremony at 'Iolani Palace, including the lowering of the Hawai'ian flag and the raising of the American Stars and Stripes.
1952: Moscow, Russia - "The Night of the Murdered Poets" - Thirteen Jewish intellectuals, members of the "Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee," having been imprisoned for three years, tortured, beaten, and forced to falsely confess treason and espionage, are executed in the Lubyanka Prison.
1960: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of Echo
1A, NASA's first successful communications satellite.
1964: Tokyo, Japan - South Africa is banned from the Olympic Games due to the racist policy of apartheid.
1977: Edwards Air Force Base, CA - Experimental space shuttle Enterprise
performs its first "free" flight, detached from the Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft that was used to launch it.
1981: Boca Ratan, FL and nationwide US - Release of the IBM PC computer.
1990: Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, South Dakota - Discovery (by Sue Hendrickson) of Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton found to date. Sue (the fossil) is now on display at the Field Museum in Chicago. Sue (the palaeontologist) now lives on an island off the coast of Honduras, where she is presumably not on display.
1774: Robert Southey, Poet Laureate of Britain.
1831: Helena "Madame" Blavatsky, co-founder of the Theosophical Society.
1852: Michael J. McGivney, priest and founder of the Knights of Columbus.
1856: "Diamond" Jim Brady, millionaire, philanthropist, and gourmand; inspiration for Mr. Creosote.
1859: Katharine Lee Bates, poet ("America the Beautiful").
1867: Edith Hamilton, scholar and writer (Mythology
, The Greek Way
1876: Mary Roberts Rinehart, author (The Door
- inspiration for "the butler did it", The Circular Staircase
- the first "Had-I-but-known" mystery) and playwright (The Bat
- which partially inspired Bob Kane in creating Batman).
1881: Cecil B. DeMille, director and producer.
1887: Erwin Schrödinger, physicist and cat-lover or cat-hater (indeterminate which).
1891: C.E.M. Joad, popular philosopher.
1910: Jane Wyatt, who was Amanda Spock.
1925: Norris and Ross McWhirter, publishers, activists, founders of the Guiness Book of World Records
1930: George Soros, businessman and philanthropist.
1931: William Goldman, novelist (Marathon Man
, The Princess Bride
) and screenwriter (Marathon Man
, The Princess Bride
) (Okay and also Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
and All the President's Men
1949: Mark Knopfler, guitarist (Dire Straits).
11th August 2016
3114 BC: Mesoamerica - Beginning of the Mayan "Long Count" calendar. :
2492 BC: Armenia - Traditional date on which Hayk Nahapet, legendary progenitor of the Armenian people, defeated the God-King Bel (or maybe Nimrod) in battle.
1804: Vienna, Austria - Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, having dissolved the Holy Roman Empire, proclaims himself Francis I of the Empire of Austria. (He was also Apostolic King of Hungary and Bohemia as Francis I.)
1858: Swiss Alps - First successful ascent of the Eiger, by Charles Barrington, Christian Almer, and Peter Bohren.
1919: Germany - Adoption of the Weimar Constitution.
1929: Cleveland, OH - Babe Ruth hits his 500th home run, the first baseball player to achieve this mark.
1934: San Francisco-ish, CA - The first civilian prisoners arrive at Alcatraz (formerly a military prison).
1942: Hollywood, CA/Washington, DC - Actress Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil receive their patent for frequency-hopping spread spectrum communications. Intended for use with radio-controlled torpedoes, this system now underlies cellphone technology and WiFi.
1958: Wichita, KS - The owner of the state's Rexall drugstore chain, in response to an ongoing sit-in, desegregates the chain's lunch counters, saying, "I'm losing too much money. Serve them." Nineteen months before the more famous Greensboro sit-ins, this was the first successful sit-in in the civil rights movement of the '50s and '60s.
1962: Baikonur Cosmodrome, USSR - Launch of Vostok
3, in which Andrian Nikolayev becomes the first person to float freely in
1965: Los Angeles, CA - In the Watts neighborhood, Marquette Frye, an African-American motorist, is arrested for drunk driving. A fight breaks out and the violence spreads, looting and arson begin, and the whole thing becomes the Watts riot, which will last six days and result in 34 deaths and the complete destruction of 268 buildings.
1972: Vietnam - The last ground-based US combat unit leaves the country.
1984: Washington, DC - During a sound check for his weekly National Public Radio address, President Ronald Reagan "jokes" that Congress has declared the Soviet Union illegal, and "We begin bombing in five minutes." This was not
broadcast but was recorded and later leaked by radio technicians.
2015: United States - In a "statistical miracle," all fifteen Major League games today are won by the home teams. (The previous record, over a century old, was twelve.)
1833: Robert G. Ingersoll, "The Great Agnostic," lawyer, politician, and writer (Some Mistakes of Moses
1892: Hugh McDiarmid, poet and linguist.
1892: Eiji Yoshikawa, writer (Musashi
1897: Enid Blyton, writer (The Magic Faraway Tree
, the "Famous Five" series, and much more).
1897: Louise Bogan, American Poet Laureate, and poetry editor of The New Yorker
1908: Don Freeman, writer (Corduroy
, Quiet! There's a Canary in the Library!
1913: Angus Wilson, Bletchley Park code-breaker and writer (The Middle Age of Mrs Eliot
1920: Mike Douglas, big band singer and talk show host.
1921: Alex Haley, writer (ghostwriter of The Autobiography of Malcolm X
and plagiarist of Roots
1933: Jerry Falwell, televangelist, founder of the so-called "Moral Majority."
1943: Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan.
1946: Marilyn vos Savant, columnist.
1950: Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple.
1953: Hulk Hogan, wrestler.
1962: Brian Azzarello, comix writer (100 Bullets
, Wonder Woman
1964: Jim Lee, comix writer-artist (WildC.A.T.S.
10th August 2016
991: Maldon, England - Viking raiders defeat Byrhtnoth (Beortnoth). :
1270: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Yekuno Amlak takes the Ethiopian throne, reestablishing the Solomonic dynasty. The dynasty will continue to reign until the deposition of Haile Selassie in 1974.
1519: Seville, Spain - Ferdinand Magellan sets sail with five ships to circumnavigate the globe. Magellan will die in the Phillipines in 1521. In the end only one ship, the Victoria
, will return to Seville in September of 1522, with eighteen survivors and a cargo of spices.
1776: London, England - Copies of the Declaration of Independence arrive and are printed in British newspapers. The reaction is not exactly positive.
1792: Paris, France - The journée du 10 août
. The National Guard of the Paris Commune seizes control of the Tuileries palace, killing roughly eight hundred (all male), and taking Louis XVI and his family prisoner.
1793: Paris, France - Opening of the Louvre museum.
1846: Washington, DC - Congress charters the Smithsonian Institute, beginning with a $500,000 bequest from British scientist James Smithson.
1905: Portsmouth, New Hampshire - Theodore Roosevelt convenes peace talks between Russia and Japan, with a major display of American naval power to encourage the two countries to come to terms. Roosevelt will receive the Nobel Peace Prize for ending this war.
1948: United States - The television program Candid Camera
debuts, after a year on radio as Candid Microphone
1961: Vietnam - The US Army uses Agent Orange for the first time in this war.
1969: Los Angeles, CA - The Manson "family" concludes their murder spree with the killing of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.
1977: Yonkers, NY - David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz is arrested.
1988: Washington, DC - President Ronald Reagan signs the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, making restitution to Japanese-Americans who were interned by President Franklin Roosevelt during WW2. The internees receive checks for $20,000 each.
1990: Space - The Magellan
space probe reaches Venus, where it will perform radar mapping of the planet's surface.
1560: Hieronymous Praetorius, composer (numerous motets and settings of the Magnificat
1814: Henri Nestlé, founder of the eponymous chocolate empire.
1856: William Willet, founder of British Summer Time (equivalent to US Daylight Savings Time).
1874: Hoobert Heever, 31st President of the United States.
1878: Alfred Döblin, writer (Berlin Alexanderplatz
1889: Charles Darrow, nominal inventor of the game Monopoly
1902: Curt Siodmak, writer (Donovan's Brain
, The Beast with Five Fingers
1903: Ward Moore, writer (Bring the Jubilee
1912: Jorge Amado, writer (Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
, The Discovery of America by the Turks
1931: Dolores Alexander, activist, co-founder of "Mother Courage," the first "feminist restaurant."
1947: Ian Anderson, flautist-guitarist-singer-songwriter (Jethro Tull).
1960: Antonio Banderas, who was Gregorio Cortez and the voice of Puss-in-Boots.
1962: Suzanne Collins, writer (The Hunger Games
1965: Claudia Christian, who was Susan Ivanova.
1968: Pete Doctor, animator-director (Monsters, Inc.
, Inside Out
9th August 2016
From : davidgoldfarb
So the deal is, you bold the ones you've read, and italicize the ones where you've read something else by the writer. Following a hint from wildirises
, I'll also underline those where I think the book is not the author's best/most representative work. And, on my own initiative, I'll add an asterisk to those I *mean* to read.
Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro
* The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodRange of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear
Flesh and Spirit by Carol Berg
Chime by Franny Billingsley
Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop
Tithe by Holly BlackThe Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett
Cordelia's Honor by Lois McMaster BujoldWar for the Oaks by Emma BullParable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
* Synners by Pat Cadigan
* Foreigner by C.J. CherryhJonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Survival by Julie E. Czerneda
* Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
King's Dragon by Kate Elliott
Black Sun Rising by C.S. FriedmanSlow River by Nicola Griffith
Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly
Fly by Night by Frances HardingeAssassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
The God Stalker Chronicles by P.C. HodgellBrown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
Valor's Choice by Tanya Huff
God's War by Kameron Hurley
The Killing Moon by N.K. JemisinHowl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Daggerspell by Katharine Kerr
The Steerswoman by Rosemary KirsteinBeggars in Spain by Nancy KressDeryni Rising by Katherine KurtzA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Tender Morsels by Margo LanaganThe Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
* Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Ash by Malinda Lo
Warchild by Karin Lowachee
Legend by Marie LuDragonsong by Anne McCaffreyRosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuireDreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre
The Thief's Gamble by Juliet E. McKenna
* Sunshine by Robin McKinley
*His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
* Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
* Diving into the Wreck by Kristine Kathryn RuschThe Female Man by Joanna RussOld Man's War by John Scalzi
* A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski
The Grass King's Concubine by Kari Sperring
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
City of Pearl by Karen TravissHer Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree, Jr.
* The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
* The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge
* Farthing by Jo Walton
The Cloud Roads by Martha WellsTo Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples
48 BC: Palaeopharsalos, Greece - At the Battle of Pharsalos, Julius Caesar routs Pompey, who flees to Egypt, where he is assassinated on the orders of Pharaoh Ptolemy XIII. :
1173: Pisa, Italy - Construction begins on a campanile for the the Cathedral of Pisa, which will take 200 years to complete. It is now known as the "Leaning Tower."
1854: Boston - Henry David Thoreau publishes Walden; or, Life in the Woods
1892: Washington, DC/Menlo Park, NJ - Thomas Edison receives a patent for a two-way telegraph.
1930: United States - Fleischer Studio's six-minute short "Dizzy Dishes" includes the first appearance of an anthropomorphic dog who will evolve into Betty Boop.
1936: Berlin, Germany - Jesse Owens wins his fourth gold medal, "single-handedly crushing the myth of Aryan supremacy."
1944: United States - First appearance of Smokey Bear, on a wartime fire prevention campaign poster. "Smokey says - Care will
prevent 9 out of 10 forest fires!" Contrary to popular legend, Smokey was not
based on a bear cub rescued from a forest fire (though a bear cub saved from a forest fire later was named "Smokey" and put in the National Zoo). Disney had licensed the Bambi
characters to the Forest Service for a year, and when the year was up they needed a new spokesanimal. They chose a bear, and named him after NYCFD hero "Smokey" Joe Martin.
1945: Nagasaki, Japan - you know.
1969: Los Angeles (area), CA - Cult members lead by Charles Manson murder pregnant actress Sharon Tate (wife of Roman Polanski), coffee heiress Abigail Folger, Polish actor Wojciech Frykowski, men's hairstylist Jay Sebring and recent high-school graduate Steven Parent. There appears to be no truth to the rumor that Manson was inspired in any way by Robert Heinlein's novel Stranger in a Strange Land
1974: Washington, DC - Richard Nixon's resignation as the President of the United States takes effect. He is succeeded by Vice President Gerald Ford.
2014: Ferguson, MO - 18-year-old Michael Brown is shot and killed by police, sparking protests and contributing to the origins of the "Black Lives Matter" movement.
1631: John Dryden, first Poet Laureate of England.
1757: Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, wife of Alexander Hamilton.
1896: Jean Piaget, child psychologist and philosopher.
1899: P.L. Travers, writer (Mary Poppins
1914: Tove Jansson, writer (the "Moomin" books).
1922: Philip Larkin, poet.
1925: David Huffman, computer scientist (developed Huffman coding).
1927: Daniel Keyes, writer (Flowers for Algernon
1927: Marvin Minsky, computer scientist (The Society of Mind
1942: Jack DeJohnette, drummer.
1944: Sam Elliott, who was General Ross and the Caretaker.
1947: John Varley, writer (Titan
, "The Persistence of Vision").
1949: Jonathan Kellerman, writer (the "Alex Delaware" books)
1963: Whitney Houston, singer.
1968: Gillian Anderson, who was Sculley.
1976: Audrey Tautou, who was Amélie.
8th August 2016
International Happiness Happens Day
1503: Edinburgh, Scotland - King James IV of Scotland marries Margaret Tudor, sister of King Henry VII of England, at Holyrood Abbey. This legitimizes the union of the crowns in James's and Margaret's great-grandson, James VI of Scotland and I of England. :
1876: Washington, DC/Menlo Park, NJ - Thomas Edison receives a patent for the "Electric Pen" and "Autographic Printing" - an early mimeograph.
1908: Le Mans, France - Wilbur Wright makes his first flight and the Brothers' first public flight.
1942: Mumbai, India - Mohandas Gandhi delivers his "Quit India" speech, with its "Do or Die" call for mass public civil disobedience demanding an "orderly British withdrawal" from India.
1963: Ledburn, England - At the Bridego Railway Bridge, fifteen or sixteen men pull off the "Great Train Robbery," successfully stealing £2.6 million in banknotes from a Royal Mail train. Most of them are later captured and sentenced to thirty years in prison, but the money is never recovered.
1969: London, England - Iain Macmillan takes the photograph that becomes the iconic cover of the Beatles's record Abbey Road
1974: Washington, DC - President Richard Nixon announces on a nationwide television address that he is resigning from the Presidency. Why isn't this a national holiday or solemnity or something?
1989: Cape Canaveral, FL - In secret mission STS-28, space shuttle Columbia
is launched on a five-day military mission. The mission activities are still classified, though it is believed that a military communications satellite was the payload.
1990: Kuwait - Is invaded and annexed by Iraq, leading to the (first) Gulf War.
1991: The Warsaw Radio Mast, the tallest man-made structure in the world at this time (and as of 2016 the second-tallest ever), collapses due to an error in exchanging guy wires.
1879: Bob Smith, "Dr. Bob," co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.
1879: Emiliano Zapata, Mexican revolutionary general.
1882: Ladislas Starevich, stop-motion animator ("The Beautiful Lukanida," the world's first puppet-animated film).
1884: Sara Teasdale, poet ("There Will Come Soft Rains", "I Shall Not Care").
1896: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, writer (The Yearling
1902: Paul Dirac, physicist.
1919: Dino De Laurentis, film producer.
1921: Esther Williams, swimming actress.
1922: Gertrude Himmelfarb, historian and writer (Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution
1929: Ronnie Biggs, mastermind of the Great Train Robbery and prison escapee.
1930: Terry Nation, screenwriter (created the Daleks for Dr. Who
1931: Roger Penrose, physicist-mathematician-philosopher (The Emperor's New Mind
1936: Jan Pieńkowski, writer of children's books (The "Meg and Mog" series).
1937: Dustin Hoffman, who was Captain Hook and Rain Man.
1948: Svetlana Yevgenyevna Savitskaya, astronaut, first woman to perform a spacewalk.
1951: Randy Shilts, journalist (And The Band Played On
7th August 2016
Purple Heart Day
1420: Florence, Italy - Construction begins on the dome of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. Both the dome and the cathedral are commonly referred to as Il Duomo di Firenze, or simply Il Duomo. :
1782: ? - General George Washington orders the commission of the "Badge of Military Merit," to be given to "not only instances of unusual gallantry in battle, but also extraordinary fidelity and essential service in any way." This award is significant in three ways: it is the direct ancestor of the Purple Heart; because of this, the Purple Heart is considered the senior badge in the US Military; and it broke with the European tradition of awarding badges only to successful officers, so that the "road to glory in a patriot army and a free country is thus open to all."
1794: Philadelphia, PA - President George Washington invokes the Militia Acts of 1792 to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion, a militant anti-tax movement in western Pennsylvania.
1927: Buffalo, NY and Erie, Ontario - The Peace Bridge between the US and Canada opens.
1930: Marion, OH - Thomas Smith and Abram Shipp have the dubious honor of being the last two African-Americans to be lynched in the Northern US.
1944: Cambridge, MA - IBM dedicates the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator, an electromechanical computer, also known as the Harvard Mark I.
1955: Japan - Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering, which will become Sony in 1958, sells its first transistor radios.
1959: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of Explorer
6, which (among other things) will send back the first photographs of the Earth from space.
1964: Washington, DC - Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, giving President Lyndon Johnson broad war powers, with respect to Vietnam...and elsewhere. The resolution authorized the President to do whatever necessary in order to assist "any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty".
1976: Space - Viking
2 enters orbit around Mars. Its lander will send back some spectacular pictures of the Martian surface.
1978: Washington, DC - President Jimmy Carter declares Love Canal, NY, a Federal emergency, due to the earlier dumping of 22,000 barrels of "caustics, alkalines, fatty acids and chlorinated hydrocarbons produced from the manufacturing of dyes, perfumes, solvents for rubber and synthetic resins". The Superfund cleanup will take until 2004.
1987 - Little Diomede Island - Big Diomede Island - Lynne Cox becomes the first person to swim from the United States to the Soviet Union.
1560: Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed, serial killer.
1742: Nathanael Greene, who entered the Revolutionary War as a militia private and ended as one of its most successful generals.
1876: Mata Hari, dancer and spy.
1884: Billie Burke, who was Glinda.
1903: Louis Leakey, paleoanthropologist and archaeologist.
1916: Kermit Love, Muppeteer, and, no, the frog was not named after him.
1926: Stan Freberg, puppeteer, adman, producer, and all-around comic genius.
1928: Betsy Byars, writer (Summer of the Swans
, Wanted ... Mud Blossom
1928: James "The Amazing" Randi, magician and skeptic.
1933: Jerry Pournelle, writer (King David's Spaceship
1942: Garrison Keillor, writer and radio host.
1960: David Duchovny, who was Mulder.
1966: Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia.
6th August 2016
Feast of the Transfiguration
1538: Bogotá, Colombia - is founded by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada. :
1806: Vienna, Austria - Following the disastrous Battle of Austerlitz, Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor, dissolves the Empire and abdicates the throne, though he continues to rule Austria. Two years later he will declare Austria an Empire (in reaction to Napoleon's declaring himself Emperor), and rule as Francis I of Austria.
1890: Auburn, NY - Hatchet-murderer William Kemmler is the first person in history to be executed by electric chair. The chair is a direct-current demonstration device built by Edison, and takes two zaps to kill Kemmler.
1912: Chicago, IL - The Progressive Party - better known as the Bull Moose Party - meets to nominate Theodore Roosevelt as their candidate for the Presidency of the United States.
1926: Cape Gris-Nez, France to Kingsdown, England - Gertrude Ederle becomes the first woman to successfully swim the English Channel.
1926: New York, NY - Premier of Warner Brothers' "Vitaphone" system for synchronized sound with movies which is not, surprise, The Jazz Singer
. It is a re-release of Warners' silent film Don Juan
with a symphonic score and no dialogue.
1930: New York, NY - Judge Force Crater exits a restaurant, enters a taxicab, and is never seen again.
1945: Hiroshima, Japan - The detonation of "Little Boy," the first atomic weapon used in war, kills 70,000 immediately and tens of thousands over the years that follow through burns and radiation sickness.
1964: Wheeler Peak, NV - Graduate student Donald R. Currey cuts down "Prometheus," a bristlecone pine roughly 5000 years old (at least 4862), as part of a research project. "Prometheus" is believed to have been the world's oldest nonclonal organism.
1965: Washington, DC - President Lyndon Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965, with several provisions designed to prevent state governments from discriminating in elections based on racial or linguistic divisions.
1991: ? - Tim Berners-Lee releases the files that create the World-Wide Web.
2012: Space - NASA's Curiosity
rover lands on Mars.
1809: Alfred, Lord Tennyson, poet (Idylls of the King
1868: Paul Claudel, playwright (L'Ours et la Lune
) and French ambassador to the United States.
1874: Charles Fort, author and student of the anomalous.
1881: Alexander Fleming, discovered penicillin.
1881: Louella Parsons, first movie columnist/gossipmonger (for the Hearst papers).
1902: Dutch Schultz (Arthur Simon Flegenheimer), gangster mostly remembered for his cryptic dying words.
1911: Lucille Ball, comedienne and actress.
1916: Richard Hofstadter, historian.
1928: Andy Warhol, artist and work of art.
1962: Michelle Yeoh, who was Yu Shu Lien.
1970: M. Night Shyamalan, screenwriter-producer-director.
1972: Paolo Bacigalupi, writer (The Windup Girl
5th August 2016
25: China - The Han dynasty is restored as Emperor Guangwu (Wenshu) takes the throne. In his 32-year rule, he would reunify China, defeating local warlords and a peasant army. :
910: Near Tettenhall, England - Mercian troops led by Æthelred and Wessexian(?) troops led by King Edward the Elder defeat the last large Danish army to invade England. According to the Chronicles, "thousands" of Danes are killed, including both of the Danish kings leading the raid.
1305: Near Glasgow, Scotland - English troops capture William Wallace, Guardian of Scotland, who inspired the film Braveheart
. He is brought to London and tried before Edward I, who has him hung, drawn and quartered for "treason" and for crimes against English civilians.
1620: Southampton, England - Departure of the Mayflower
for North America.
1735: New York, NY - Newspaper publisher John Peter Zenger is acquitted of criminal and seditious libel after the jury deliberates for less than ten minutes. The basic form of the defense was that what Zenger had printed was true, though in fact this was not a defense against libel under English law at the time.
1861: Washington, DC - Congress levies America's first income tax (3% of all incomes over $800).
1861: Washington, DC - The US Army abolishes flogging as a punishment for soldiers.
1888: Mannheim to Pforzheim and back, Germany - Bertha Benz completes what is generally considered the first long-distance or cross-country automobile trip; the one-way distance is 66 miles.
1914: Cleveland, OH - Installation of the first electric traffic light on the corner of East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue. It has only two colors (red and green) and a buzzer to warn when the colors are about to change.
1926: New York, NY - Harry Houdini performs what some consider his greatest feat: he is locked into a coffin and lowered into a swimming pool, where he remains for 91 minutes before escaping. He explains that no trickery or supernatural powers are used, just controlled breathing.
1957: Philadelphia, PA - First national broadcast (on the ABC network) of American Bandstand
, hosted by Dick Clark, who will continue to host the show in various forms and formats until its last broadcast in 1989.
1962: Near Howick, South Africa - Civil rights leader Nelson Mandela is arrested and jailed. He will not be released for 28 years.
1969: Space - Mariner
7 reaches its "periAres," 3254 kilometers from the Red Planet's surface.
1981: Washington, DC - President Ronald Reagan fires eleven thousand striking air-traffic controllers.
2012: Oak Creek, WI - White supremacist Wade Michael Page opens fire in a Sikh temple, killing six and committing suicide when wounded by police fire.
2015: Near Silverton, CO - Three million gallons of toxic wastewater, bearing heavy metals, is accidentally released into the Animas River by workers for the EPA and Environmental Restoration LLC.
1844: Ilya Repin, painter (Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks
1850: Guy de Maupassant, writer ("The Horla, or Modern Ghosts", "Ball of Fat").
1862: Joseph Merrick, "the Elephant Man."
1889: Conrad Aiken, writer ("Silent Snow, Secret Snow")
1906: John Huston, director (The Maltese Falcon
, Treasure of the Sierra Madre
1930: Neil Armstrong, astronaut, first man to set foot on the Moon.
1934: Wendell Berry, writer (What Are People For?
, Nathan Coulter
1941: Leonid Kizim, astronaut.
1960: David Baldacci, attorney and writer (Absolute Power
4th August 2016
Coast Guard Day
Also, feast of St. John Vianney (the Curé of Ars), patron of parish priests. :
1693: Champagne, Kingdom of France - Traditionally, on this day, Dom Pierre Pérignon, O.S.B., invented sparkling champagne wine. There is some reasonable doubt as to whether he invented or improved existing techniques, and in either case, whether he did it in one day.
1790: Philadelphia, PA - A tariff act pushed through Congress by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton creates the Revenue Cutter Service. In 1915, this service will be merged with the United States Life-Saving Service to form the modern Coast Guard.
1821: Philadelphia, PA(?) - Publication of the first issue of a weekly newspaper, the Saturday Evening Post
1892: Fall River, MA - Andrew Jackson Borden and Abby Durfee Gray Borden are found murdered. Their daughter, Lizzie, is accused but ultimately found innocent.
1944: Amsterdam, occupied Netherlands - Anne Frank and her family are discovered and arrested by Gestapo following a tip from an anonymous Dutch person.
1958: The first Billboard Hot 100
premieres, with Ricky Nelson's "Poor Little Fool" at #1.
1964: Mississippi - The bodies of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney are found; nobody will be found guilty of the murder for over forty years.
1964: Gulf of Tonkin, Vietnam - Two US destroyers report coming under attack by North Vietnamese forces. These reports turn out to be false.
1969: Paris, France - Secret peace negotiations between Henry Kissinger (for the US) and Xuân Thuỷ (for North Vietnam) begin; they will ultimately fail.
1977: Washington, DC - President Jimmy Carter signs the legislation that creates the US Department of Energy.
1987: Washington, DC - The Federal Communications Commission rescinds the "Fairness Doctrine," opening the path for Fox News's "fair and balanced" reporting.
1993: Los Angeles, CA - LAPD officers Stacey Koon and Laurence Powell are sentenced to 30 months in prison for violating the civil rights of motorist Rodney King by beating him half to death.
2007: Cape Canaveral, FL - Launch of Phoenix
1755: Nicolas-Jacques Conté, painter and inventor of the pencil led (thus "Conté crayons").
1792: Percy Bysshe Shelley, poet and playwright ("Ozymandias", Prometheus Unbound
1821: James Springer White, founder of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
1834: John Venn, philosopher, inventor of the Venn diagram.
1839: Walter Pater, writer and critic (Marius the Epicurean
1901: Louis Armstrong, trumpeter and singer.
1915: Warren Avis, founder of Avis Rent-A-Car System.
1918: Iceberg Slim, pimp and writer (Pimp: The Story of My Life
, Mama Black Widow
1920: Helen Thomas, White House correspondent.
1955: Billy Bob Thornton, who was Karl Childers.
1961: Barrack Obama, 44th President of the United States.
1965: Dennis Lehane, novelist (Gone, Baby, Gone
, Shutter Island
3rd August 2016
1492: Palos de la Frontera, Spain - Christopher Columbus sets out on his first voyage of exploration. :
1778: Milan, Italy - Inauguration of the Teatro alla Scala (La Scala).
1795: Greenville, modern OH - General Anthony Wayne and the Western Confederacy of Native American peoples sign the Treaty of Greenville, which establishes settlement rights in much of modern Ohio, and begins the "annuity" system in which the US Government provides the Native American peoples yearly grants of money and/or goods.
1852: Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire - In the first American intercollegiate athletic event on record,
Harvard beats Yale in the first Boat Race.
1907: Chicago, IL - The Standard Oil company is found guilty of 1,903 counts of violating the Elkins Act. Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis fines them the maximum, $29,240,000, though the fine and verdict are later overturned on appeal.
1913: Wheatland, CA - Striking hop pickers riot against police sent to break up their meeting. In the ensuing violence, a District Attorney, Deputy Sheriff, and two hop pickers are killed. Though the Wheatfield Hop Riot began when police fired a shotgun, two IWW organizers are found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.
1921: Chicago, IL - The day after the "Black Sox" baseball players are found innocent of accepting bribes in a courtroom, Commissioner of Baseball Kennesaw Mountain Landis affirms their ban from professional baseball.
1936: Berlin, Germany - Jesse Owens messes up Adolf Hitler's plan for an Aryan sweep of the Olympics by winning the 100m dash. The silver goes to Ralph Metcalfe, another African-American.
1946: Santa Claus, IN - Opening of Santa Claus Land (now Holiday World & Splashin' Safari), the world's first themed amusement park.
1948: Washington, DC - Before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), Whittaker Chambers accuses Alger Hiss of being a Communisty spy.
1972: Washington, DC - The US Senate ratifies the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
1977: Washington, DC - The US Senate begins hearings on the CIA MKUltra program.
1803: Joseph Paxton, gardener and architect (The Crystal Palace).
1811: Elisha Otis, inventor and businessman, founded Otis Elevator.
1867: Stanley Baldwin Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, whom Dinsdale nailed.
1900: Ernie Pyle, war correspondent.
1900: John T. Scopes, educator.
1904: Clifford D. Simak, writer (City
, Way Station
1909: Walter Van Tilburg Clark, writer (The Ox-Bow Incident
, The Track of the Cat
1920: P.D. James, writer (the Adam Dalgliesh mysteries).
1924: Leon Uris, writer (Exodus
1926: Tony Bennett, singer and painter.
1941: Martha Stewart, businesswoman.
1950: John Landis, director (The Twilight Zone
1951: Jay North, who was Dennis Mitchell, Prince Turhan, and Bamm-Bamm Rubble.
1994: Esther Earl, writer and vlogger.