31 August 2009

Daily Chat 31/08/09

The Iroquois tribes founded the Confederation of Haudenosaunee in 1142. A group of men led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out from Pittsburgh on the Voyage of Discovery in 1803. The body of Mary Ann Nichols, the first known victim of Jack the Ripper, was found in 1888. The Soviet passenger liner Admiral Nakhimov collided with the cargo vessel Pyotr Vasev, killing 423 people, in 1986. Diana, Princess of Wales, Dodi Al Fayed and chauffeur Henri Paul were killed in Paris in 1997 and Edvard Munch's The Scream was found by Oslo police in 2006, more than two years after it was stolen.

Celebrating birthdays today: Martin Bell, Van Morrison, Itzhak Perlman, Glenn Tilbrook, Pàdraig Harrington and José Reina. It is the Day of Our Language in Moldova.

30 August 2009

Daily Chat 30/08/09

The city of Melbourne, Australia, was founded in 1835. The city of Houston, Texas, was founded in 1836. The Siege of Leningrad began in 1941 and Thurgood Marshall was confirmed as the first black Supreme Court Justice in 1967.

Celebrating birthdays today: Laurent deBrunhoff and Horace Panter. It is Rose of Lima Day in Peru.

29 August 2009

Daily Chat 29/08/09

The naval forces of Edward III defeated the Castilian fleet in the Battle of Winchelsea in 1350. The Ottoman Turks captured Buda in 1541. Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction in 1831. The Beatles performed their last concert in front of a paying audience at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1966 and in 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the US Gulf Coast, killing 1,836 people and causing $80 billion in damages.

People born on this day: John Locke (1632-1704), Ingrid Bergman (1915-1982), Charlie Parker (1920-1955), Richard Attenborough (1923), Elliott Gould (1938), Lenny Henry (1958) and Michael Jackson (1958-2009). It is the Commemoration of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist.

28 August 2009

Daily Chat 28/08/09

The Third Siege of Acre began on this day in 1189. A fourteen year-old black boy from Chicago named Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman in 1955. His mother insisted on an open casket funeral to show the world the brutality of the attack. The incident helped galvanise the Civil Rights Movement. In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

Another day of decidedly D-list living celebs. If Goethe were still alive, he'd be turning 260 today. Leo Tolstoy would be celebrating his 181st. It is the feast day of St. Augustine of Hippo.

27 August 2009

Daily Chat 27/08/09

The marriage of Henry the Young King and Margaret of France took place on this day in 1172. Oil was discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania, in 1859, leading to the world's first commercially successful oil well. The Anglo-Zanzibar War was fought on this day in 1896, between 9:00 and 9:45 a.m. The Zanzibari forces suffered 500 casualties. One British sailor was injured. In 1928, the Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed by fifteen nations. There were 61 signatory nations by the time the pact took force in 1929.

Celebrating birthdays: Antonia Fraser, PeeWee Herman and Deco. It is Independence Day in Moldova.

26 August 2009

Daily Chat 26/08/09

Michaelangelo was commissioned to sculpt the Pietà in 1498. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was approved by the National Assembly at Versailles in 1789. Krakatoa entered the paroxysmal stage of its eruption in 1883.

Not one single living 'celeb' birthday was the slightest bit interesting today, so here are some of the dead people who used to celebrate the day: Robert Walpole (b. 1676), Prince Albert (b. 1819), Guillaume Apollinaire (b. 1880) and Christopher Isherwood (b. 1904). It is Heroes Day in Namibia.

25 August 2009

Daily Chat 25/08/09

The Honourable Artillery Company, the oldest surviving regiment of the British Army was formed in 1537. Galileo Galilei demonstrated his first telescope to Venetian lawmakers in 1609 and Paris was liberated by the Allies in 1944.

Celebrating birthdays today: Sean Connery, Martin Amis, Rob Halford, Elvis Costello and Tim Burton. It is Independence Day in Uruguay.

24 August 2009

Daily Chat 24/08/09

Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79, burying the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae in ash and rock. Six thousand Jews were killed in Mainz in 1349 after being blamed for the bubonic plague. British troops invaded Washington, D.C., in 1814, setting fire to the White House and several other buildings. And in 2006, those bastards at the International Astronomical Union declared that Pluto is not really a planet.

Celebrating birthdays today: Kenny Baker, A.S. Byatt, Jean Michel Jarre, Stephen Fry and Rupert Grint. The Roman Catholic Church observes the feast of St. Bartholomew today and we go back to school. It's gonna be a long week.

23 August 2009

Daily Chat 23/08/09

William Wallace was executed in 1305. Calvinists were granted rights in the Netherlands in 1555. Italian immigrants Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed in Boston in 1927 after what is now considered one of the most controversial trials in American history. And in 1989, two million people from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia stood alon the Vilnius-Tallinn road singing and holding hands. Not a single vaguely interesting famous person (to me, at least) is celebrating a birthday today. Maggie, Rick and Tami are celebrating birthdays today, but you don't know them. Keith Moon would be celebrating a birthday today if he hadn't died. And it's Flag Day in Ukraine. It feels funny not to type 'the' in front of Ukraine, but I don't think we're supposed to anymore. The picture is of Theddingworth, Leicestershire. It's got nothing to do with today's events, but it's more pleasant than any of the pictures I could find that did have something to do with today's events.

22 August 2009

Daily Chat 22/08/09

Wow, chockablock with interesting events today! St. Columba reported seeing a monster in Loch Ness in 565. Richard III died in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. Charles I called Parliament 'traitors' in 1642. Jacob Barsimson, the first known Jewish immigrant in North America, arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654. George III declared the American colonies to be in open rebellion in 1775. The Red Cross was formed in Geneva in 1864. Michael Collins was assasinated in 1922. Gold was discovered near Johannesburg in 1926. The BBC conducted its first experiments in television broadcasting in 1932. Althea Gibson became the first black woman to compete in international tennis in 1950 and the Devil's Island penal colony was closed in 1952.

Celebrating birthdays today: Ray Bradbury, Honor Blackman, Roland Orzabal, Lee Camp and Kiko Macheda. Today is the first full day of Ramadan.

21 August 2009

Daily Chat 21/08/09

Ooops! Bit late today -- sorry. In 1770 James Cook claimed eastern Australia for Great Britain. In 1851, Tlingit destroyed Fort Selkirk, Yukon Territory. And in 1863, Confederate guerilla William Quantrill led a raid on the town of Lawrence, Kansas. More than 200 people were killed. I have a personal connection to this event. My great-great-great grandfather, William Franklin Treakle was a farmer in Cass County, Missouri, on the Missouri-Kansas border. About a week before Quantrill's raid, he overheard some of Quantrill's men discussing the plans. At the age of 85, he walked the 35 miles to the US army garrison at Lawrence to warn them about the raid. The Union soldiers there ignored his warning and didn't request additional troops or take any precautions against the raid. When Quantrill's men found out that my ancestor had tried to warn the Union troops, they killed him.

Celebrating birthdays today: Kenny Rogers, Peter Weir, Mamadou Diallo and Usain Bolt. The Orthodox Church observes the feast of St. Thaddeus today.

20 August 2009

Hello Princesschipchops!

Everyone else, just move along down there to the Daily Chat thread. Nothing for you to see up here!

Most of this conversation should probably take place via e-mail. You can get to me at: thewildhack@gmail.com

The short version is just that I've always wanted to live there -- from as soon as I knew that the place existed. I blame Petula Clark, really. I felt so at home from the first day I was ever there. See, for all the noise we Americans make about individual rights, we're really pretty bad at allowing people to be individuals. Conformity is the name of the game -- especially in a place like Iowa. It's not that I'm some great eccentric, I'm not. But I've just never fit in. Combine that with the fact that my political views, while relatively mainstream by European standards, put me on the fringe left in the US.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Daily Chat 20/08/09

Stephen I established Hungary as a Christian kingdom in 1000. The Lewis and Clark expedition suffered its only death in 1804. Charles Floyd died on a bluff by the Missouri River and was buried on a spot which is now in Sioux City, Iowa. The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London published articles by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace on nearly identical theories of the evolution of species in 1858. Lou Gehrig hit his 23rd career grand slam* in 1938. The record still stands. Leon Trotsky was fatally wounded with an ice pick by Ramon Mercader in Mexico City in 1940. The only vaguely interesting famous birthdays today are Sylvester McCoy and Robert Plant. It is the feast day of Bernard of Clairvaux in the Roman Catholic Church.

*In case anyone doesn't know: a grand slam is a home run when there are runners on all three bases. Don't want to insult your intelligence, but don't want to leave you guessing either.

19 August 2009

Daily Chat 19/08/09

Mary, Queen of Scots, returned to Scotland in 1561, after 13 years in France. In 1772, Gustavus III of Sweden staged a coup d'etat. He established a new government in which he shared power with the Riksdag. In 1987, Michael Ryan killed 16 people and injured 15 others in the Hungerford Massacre. And in 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev was placed under house arrest while on holiday in the Crimea. Celebrating birthdays today: Ginger Baker, Johnny Nash, Bill Clinton, Tipper Gore, John Deacon, Kyra Sedgwick and Matthew Perry. The Russian, Georgian and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches observe the Feast of the Transfiguration today.

18 August 2009

Thank You Elizabeth, Sojourner, Susan, et al.

The 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified on this date in 1920. So rather than my usual Daily Chat, I'd like to take this opportunity to honour the women who fought so valiantly for my right to vote. Eighty-nine years isn't so long ago. Both of my grandmothers were born before suffrage. Their mothers' and grandmothers' generations had fought hard for it. By the time my grandmothers died, their daughters' and granddaughters' generations were taking that right for granted.

Just a few of the more famous champions of women's suffrage in the US: Frances Wright, Lucretia Mott, Mary Ann M'Clintock, Lucy Stone and Iowa's Carrie Chapman Catt. Among the men who were brave enough to champion the cause: Frederick Douglass, Gerrit Smith and William Lloyd Garrison. But the three most famous and most ardent campaigners for women's suffrage were Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth and Susan B. Anthony. I am grateful for their courage.

17 August 2009

Daily Chat 17/08/09

Seattle's Pike Place Market, the oldest continually operating farmer's market in the US, opened in 1907. Fantasmagorie, the world's first animated cartoon, was shown for the first time in Paris in 1908. An earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale struck Montana in 1959. Miles Davis's Kind of Blue, the best selling jazz album of all time was released on the same day. In 1969, Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi coast, killing 248 people and causing $1.5 billion in damage. In 1999, a magnitude 7.4 earthquake shook Izmit, Turkey, killing 17,000. Quite a birthday list today: Maureen O'Hara, V.S. Naipaul, Robert deNiro, Nelson Piquet, Guillermo Vilas, Kevin Rowland, Robin Cousins, Belinda Carlisle, Sean Penn, Thierry Henry, William Gallas and Phil Jagielka. It is Independence Day in the Gabon and Indonesia.

16 August 2009

Daily Chat 16/08/09

Seventeen people were killed and 600 were injured when cavalry charged a public meeting at St. Peter's Field, Manchester, in 1819. A tsunami struck the coast of northern Chile and southern Peru in 1868, killing 70,000. The Klondike Gold Rush began in 1896, after gold was found in a tributary of the Klondike River. In 1962, the Beatles replaced drummer Pete Best with Ringo Starr and Elvis Presley died of an overdose in 1977. Celebrating birthdays today: Catwoman Julie Newmar, Trevor McDonald, Madge, Steve Carrell, Ulrike Jonsson, Frankie Boyle and Joleon Lescott. The lucky residents of Palau de Cerdagne, France, will be celebrating Xicolatada today by drinking hot chocolate at 11:00 am.

15 August 2009


By request:

Daily Chat 15/08/09

In 1040, Duncan I of Scotland was killed in battle by Macbeth. In 1057, Macbeth snuffed it during the Battle of Lumphanan. Liberia was founded by freed American slaves in 1824. Tivoli opened in Copenhagen in 1843. The Japanese surrendered in 1945. Celebrating birthdays today: Tony Robinson, Princess Anne and Ben Affleck. It is Independence Day in India.

14 August 2009

Daily Chat 14/08/09

Meteorites like Missouri in August. In 1846, a 2.3 kg meteorite landed near Cape Girardeau, Missouri. In 1921, Tannu Tuva became independent from the Soviet Union. Rainy Bethea was the last person to be publicly executed in the United States in 1936. British troops were deployed to Northern Ireland in 1969. Lech Welesa led strikes in the shipyards of Gdansk in 1980 and in 1994, the terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal was captured. Celebrating birthdays today: Lina Wertmüller, Trevor Bannister, David Crosby, Steve Martin, Wim Wenders, Sarah Brightman and Halle Berry. It is Independence Day in Pakistan.

13 August 2009


Daily Chat 13/08/09

Tenochtitlán fell to Hernán Cortés in 1521. Louis XVI was arrested by the National Tribunal and declared an enemy of the people in 1792. Nat Turner led a slave rebellion in 1831. Seventy slaves took part, 55 whites were killed in Southampton County, Virginia. The German Democratic Republic closed the border between the eastern and western sectors of Berlin in 1961. Celebrating birthdays today: Fidel Castro, Feargal Sharkey and Alan Shearer. Party's at Fidel's place. Today is the feast day of St. John Berchmans. Seriously.

12 August 2009

Daily Chat 12/08/09

Cleopatra committed suicide in 30 BC. The city of Chicago was founded in 1833. IBM introduced its first personal computer in 1981. The Russian submarine Kursk exploded in 2000, all 118 submariners on board died. Celebrating birthdays today: Mark Knopfler, Pat Matheny and Pete Sampras. Today is the Glorious Twelfth -- a very bad day to be a red grouse in Britain.

11 August 2009

Daily Chat 11/08/09

The Jardin du Luxembourg, where we hope it won't be 44° today
The constitution of the Weimar Republic was adopted on this day in 1919. Race riots began in the Watts neighbourhood of Los Angeles in 1965. The last US Army ground combat troops left Viet Nam in 1972 and a heatwave took temperatures in Paris to 44° in 2003. Celebrating birthdays today: Ian McDiarmid, Steve Wozniak, Joe Jackson (the English singer, not the father of the Jackson 5) and Richie Ramone. It is Independence Day in Chad.

10 August 2009

Daily Chat 10/08/09

In 610, Mohammed began receiving the first verses of the Koran. Twenty minutes into its maiden voyage, the HMS Vasa sinks in Stockhom harbor in 1628. The foundation stone of the Royal Greenwich Observatory is set in 1675. A 5 kg meteorite breaks into seven pieces which land near the town of Archie, in Cass County, Missouri (less than 20 miles from my great-grandfather's farm), in 1932. In 2003, the temperature hits 38.5°C in Kent. It is the highest temperature ever recorded in the UK. Celebrating birthdays today: Eddie Fisher, Ronnie Spector, Ian Anderson, Rosanna Arquette, Jon Farriss and Roy Keane. It is Independence Day in Ecuador.

09 August 2009


40,000 died instantly
80,000 died by the end of 1945

08 August 2009

Daily Post 08/08/09

The city of Oulu, Finland, was founded in 1605. The Graf Zeppelin began an around the world voyage in 1929. The Great Train Robbery was carried out in 1963 and Richard M. Nixon announced his resignation as President of the United States in 1974. Celebrating birthdays today: Dustin Hoffman, Connie Stevens, Keith Carradine, Nigel Mansell, The Edge and Princess Beatrice. It is Fathers' Day in Taiwan.

07 August 2009

Daily Chat 07/08/09

Today's date reminds me of the old joke, "Why was Six scared?" Now, for our usual broadcast:

The first documented performance of Macbeth took place in the Great Hall at Hampton Court in 1606. Anna Månsdotter was the last woman to be executed in Sweden in 1889 and Philippe Petit performed a high wire act between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City in 1974. Celebrating birthdays today: Edward Hardwicke, Garrison Keillor, Alexei Sayle, David Duchovny and Charlize Theron. It is Youth Day in Kiribati.

06 August 2009

6 August 1945

70,000 died instantly
140,000 dead by the end of 1945

05 August 2009

Daily Chat 05/08/09

Penda of Mercia defeated Oswald of Northumbria in 642. Sir Humphrey Gilbert established the first English colony in North America in 1583, at what is now St. John's, Newfoundland. The world's first electric traffic light was installed in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1914 and Nelson Mandela was imprisoned in 1962. Celebrating birthdays today: Neil Armstrong, Loni Anderson, Pete Burns, Sophie Winkleman and Iowa's own Lolo Jones. It is Independence Day in Burkina Faso.

04 August 2009

Daily Chat 04/08/09

The second temple at Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon supposedly discovered champagne in 1693. Germany invaded Belgium in 1914, causing the United Kingdom to declare war on Germany. The USA declared its neutrality. Sorry, Belgium. In 1987, the US Federal Communications Commission rescinded the Fairness Doctrine which had required broadcasters to try to present issues impartially. Cambridgeshire schoolgirls Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells went missing on this day in 2002. Celebrating birthdays today: Billy Bob Thornton, Ian Broudie, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Barack Obama, Frederik Reinfeldt and Luis Boa Morte. It is the feast day of St. Sithney, who not only has a wonderful name but is also the patron saint of mad dogs.

03 August 2009

Daily Chat 03/08/09

In the year 8, Tiberius defeated the Dalmatians. Why he would want to harm those cute dogs, I don't know. Columbus set sail from Palos de la Frontera in 1492. And in 1936, Jesse Owens took the gold medal in the 100m dash at the Berlin Olympics. Celebrating birthdays today: P.D. James, Tony Bennett, Terry Wogan, Martin Sheen, Jack Straw and John C. McGinley. It is Independence Day in Niger.

02 August 2009

Daily Chat 02/08/09

In 1610, Henry Hudson sailed into the body of water now known as Hudson's Bay, believing that he had found the Northwest Passage into the Pacific Ocean. Tower Subway opened in 1870 in London as the world's first underground tube type railway. The Marihuana Tax Act passed on this day in 1937, effectively outlawing marijuana in the United States. Celebrating birthdays today: Alan Whicker, Peter O'Toole, Wes Craven, Isabel Allende and Mary-Louise Parker. It is Republic Day in the Republic of Macedonia.

01 August 2009


The Swiss Confederation was formed on this day in 1291. The Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1800. Slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire in 1834. The last entry in Anne Frank's diary was 1 August, 1944. In 1966, sniper Charles Whitman killed fifteen people from the clocktower at the University of Texas in Austin. MTV began broadcasting in 1981. Celebrating birthdays today: Robert Cray, Sam Mendes, Honeysuckle Weeks (the only actress I know of with a band named after her) and Bastian Schweinsteiger. It is Yorkshire Day -- felicitations to everyone in God's Own Country. Here's the first video ever shown on MTV: