31 July 2009
The oldest recorded eruption of Mt. Fuji happened on this date in 781. The city of Thessaloniki fell to the Arabs in 908. In 1703, Daniel Defoe was placed in a pillory for publication of the satirical pamphlet The Shortest Way with the Dissenters; Or, Proposals for the Establishment of the Church. According to legend, he was pelted with flowers. Operation Banner, the longest-running British Army operation ever, came to an end in 2007. Celebrating birthdays today: Lynne Reid Banks, Jonathan Dimbleby, Evonne Goolagong, J.K. Rowling and Emilia Fox. It is Hari Pahlawan in Malaysia.
30 July 2009
A couple of firsts and a couple of lasts today. The First Defenestration of Prague took place on this date in 1419. Uruguay defeated Argentina by a score of 4-2 in the first FIFA World Cup in 1930. The last 'old style' Volkswagen Beetle rolled off an assembly line in Mexico in 2003 and the last weekly broadcast of Top of the Pops was aired in 2006. Today's celebrity birthdays would make for quite a party: Buddy Guy, Paul Anka, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rat Scabies, Kate Bush, Daley Thompson, Laurence Fishburn, Lisa Kudrow, Jürgen Klinsmann, Simon Baker, Hilary Swank, and Justin Rose. It is Tisha B'Av in the Jewish calendar and Independence Day in Vanuatu. Here's a completely randomly chosen classic Top of the Pops performance. Not sure what ever happened to these guys:
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29 July 2009
The Arc de Triomphe was dedicated in 1836. Umberto I of Italy was assassinated in 1900. The 1948 Olympics opened in London. Two crazy kids got married in an understated little ceremony at St. Paul's in London in 1981 and they said it would never last. They were right. The only two remotely interesting people celebrating birthdays today are Ken Burns (of the Civil War film fame) and Geddy Lee (I'm going to assume you all know who he is). It is National Anthem Day in Romania.
28 July 2009
Henry VIII married Catherine Howard in 1540. He had Thomas Cromwell executed for treason on that day, too. In 1865, a group of Welsh immigrants arrived in the Chubut province of Argentina. Welsh is still spoken in some areas there. In 1996, two men who had gone to watch hydroplane races on the Columbia River near the city of Kennewick, Washington, found a skull which turned out to be 9,000 years old. Archaeologist James Chatters was able to find almost the complete skeleton later. In 2005, a tornado touched down in Birmingham, injuring 39 people and causing about £4,000,000 in damage. Famous birthdays today: Luis Aragonés, Jim Davis (Garfield cartoonist) and Hugo Chàvez. It is Independence Day in Peru.
27 July 2009
Jesuit priest Francis Xavier arrived in Japan on this day in 1549. Tich Freeman became the only bowler ever to take 200 first class wickets before the end of July in 1928. Bugs Bunny was introduced to the world in the animated short A Wild Hare in 1940 and in 1981, Ken Barlow married Deirdre Langton on Coronation Street. Notable birthdays today: Shirley Williams, Bobbie Gentry, Christopher Dean and Jonathan Rhys Myers. It is National Sleepyhead Day in Finland.
26 July 2009
Incan emperor Atahualpa was executed by Spanish conquistadors in 1533. The first recorded women's cricket match was played near Guildford in 1755 between sides from the villages of Hambledon and Bramley. The event was reported in the Reading Mercury, which noted, "The girls bowled, batted, ran and catches as well as most men could do in that game." In 1963, an earthquake near Skopje, Yugoslavia, left 1,100 dead. Celebrating birthdays today: Darlene Love, Mick Jagger, Helen Mirren, Roger Taylor (Queen, not Duran Duran), Kevin Spacey, Sandra Bullock and Kate Beckinsale. It is Independence Day in Liberia and the Maldives.
25 July 2009
It has actually happened. Historic events and slebs so boring, I can't be arsed. It's Día da Pátria in Galicia. Dunno why a place that isn't even a country has a National Day, but there you go. Enjoy this photo of lovely, downtown Ystad. I used to be a barnflicka near Ystad. Lovely town.
24 July 2009
The good citizens of Leeuwarden demonstrated that they had their priorities in order by going on strike on this date in 1487 to protest a ban on foreign beer. In 1567, Mary, Queen of Scots, was deposed in favour of her one year-old son, James VI. What do you want to bet his first statement as king was, "Kitty!"? In 1847, after a 17 month-long journey, Brigham Young and 148 Mormons arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. The SS Eastland capsized in the Chicago River in 1915, killing 845 passengers and crew. And in 1948, Marvin the Martian made his cinematic debut in Haredevil Hare. Celebrating birthdays today: Ruth Buzzi, Lynda Carter, Gus VanSant, Jennifer Lopez and Anna Paquin. It is Simón Bolívar Day in Ecuador.
23 July 2009
On this day in 1829, William Austin Birt filed for a patent for his typographer machine, a precursor to the typewriter. In 1914, Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to Serbia for the determination of who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand. In 1962, Telstar relayed the first transAtlantic television signal and in 1986, Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson. Celebrating birthdays today: David Essex, Graham Gooch (oh look, another cricketer I've heard of!), Slash, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Alison Krauss and Daniel Radcliffe. Rastas will be getting closer to Jah today as they commemorate the birthday of Emperor Haile Selassie.
22 July 2009
King Edward I defeated the forces of William Wallace in the Battle of Falkirk in 1298. Alexander Mackenzie became the first white person to complete a transcontinental journey of Canada on this day in 1793 and in 1934, FBI agents mortally wounded John Dillinger outside the Biograph Theatre in Chicago. Celebrating birthdays today: Terence Stamp, George Clinton, Bobby Sherman, Danny Glover, Mireille Mathieu, S.E. Hinton, Willem Dafoe, Rhys Ifans, Rufus Wainwright and Dirk Kuyt. It is Pi Approximation Day.
21 July 2009
On this date in 1403, Henry IV defeated rebel forces led by Henry 'Hotspur' Percy at the Battle of Shrewsbury. In 1831, Leopold, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, was inaugurated as Leopold I, first King of Belgium. In 1873, Jesse James and other members of the James-Younger gang carry out the first successful train robbery of the American West in Adair, Iowa. It was also the first ever successful robbery of a moving train. In 1925, John T. Scopes is found guilty of violating Tennessee's Butler Act, by teaching evolution to his high school science class. Celebrating birthdays today: Janet Reno, Yusuf Islam, Garry Trudeau and Robin Williams. In addition to being Belgium's national holiday, today is Racial Harmony Day in Singapore.
20 July 2009
Stirling Castle fell to King Edward I on this date in 1304. The Football Association legalised professionalism in football in 1885. The first unit of the Women's Army Corps began training in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1942. In 1960, Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the world's first democratically-elected woman head of government as Prime Minister of Ceylon. And who could possibly forget that Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969? Celebrating birthdays today: Cormac McCarthy, Dame Diana Rigg, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and a lot of rockers. They are: John Lodge (Moody Blues), Carlos Santana, Dave Evans (AC/DC), Jem Finer (Pogues), Paul Cook (Sex Pistols), Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) and Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam). It's Independence Day in Colombia.
19 July 2009
On this date in 1545, the Tudor war ship Mary Rose sank off the coast of Portsmouth. In 1692, five women were hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Massachussetts. The Val di Stava dam collapsed in 1985, killing 268 people and in 1989, United Airlines flight 232 crashed during an emergency landing in Sioux City, Iowa, killing 112 of the people on board. The only person celebrating a birthday today who is remotely interesting to me is Brian May, without whom I would never have survived adolescence. Well, without his music. Haven't actually met the man. Adolescence probably would have been actually downright pleasant for me had I actually known Brian in the way that I wanted to know Brian back in 1977. It is the feast day of Saint Macrina the Younger.
18 July 2009
Not a good date for the Romans, today. In 390 BC, the Gauls defeated them in the Battle of Allia and the Great Fire began in AD 64. The cornerstone for the Giotto-designed campanile of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence was laid in 1334. Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and in 1976, Nadia Comaneci became the first person to be awarded a 10 in Olympic gymnastics. Celebrating birthdays today: Nelson Mandela, John Glenn, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Martha Reeves and Nick Faldo. It's Constitution Day in Uruguay.
17 July 2009
Busy date in history. In Russia, Sophie Friederike August became Empress Catherine II in 1762 and Tsar Nicholas II, his family and several retainers were assasinated in 1918. The Spanish Civil War began in 1936. Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California, in 1955. TWA flight 800 crashed off the coast of Long Island, New York in 1996, killing 230. In 1997, F.W. Woolworth closed after more than 117 years in business. In 1998, an earthquake in Papua New Guinea triggers a tsunami which killed more than 3,000 people and in 2007, a TAM Airlines flight crashed in São Paulo, Brazil, killing 199 people. Celebrating birthdays today: Donald Sutherland, Spencer Davis, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Camilla, David Hasselhoff, Angela Merkel and Jaap Stam. Today is the Yamaboko Junko in Kyoto.
16 July 2009
This date in 622 marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. In 1661, Stockholms Banco issued the first banknotes in Europe. The District of Columbia was established as the capital of the United States in 1790 and the Mont Blanc tunnel, joining Italy and France, was opened in 1965. Celebrating birthdays today: Anita Brookner, Corin Redgrave, Margaret Court, Ruben Blades, Pinchas Zukerman, Stewart Copeland, Tony Kushner, Michael Flatley, Miguel Indurain and Will Farrell. It is the feast day of St. Helier.
15 July 2009
John Ball was hanged, drawn and quartered on this date in 1381. James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth was beheaded in 1685. The Rosetta Stone was discovered in Egypt in 1799 and Napoleon Bonaparte surrendered to Captain Frederick Maitland aboard the HMS Bellerophon in 1815. Celebrating birthdays today: Clive Cussler, Linda Ronstadt, Trevor Horn, Marky Ramone, Joe Satriani and David Miliband. Today is the feast day of St. Swithin in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches.
14 July 2009
Well, apart from the time a bunch of French peasants stormed a prison back in 1789, not much of note has happened on this date in history and the only vaguely interesting people who seem to be celebrating a birthday today are Harry Dean Stanton, Javier Solana, David Mitchell and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. So, I guess it's Vive la France! today, then. Here's Mireille to put us in the mood:
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13 July 2009
Apparently 13 July has been a fairly uneventful day in the annals of history. The seven month Siege of Haarlem came to an end on this day in 1573. The British airship R34 completed the first east-to-west transAtlantic crossing in 1919. It took 182 hours to fly from Norfolk to Minneola, New York. There was no in-flight movie. And in 1923, the Hollywood sign first appeared. At that time, the sign was actually 'Hollywoodland' and served as an advertisement for a housing development. Celebrating birthdays today: Wole Soyinka, Patrick Stewart, Harrison Ford, Roger McGuinn, Erno Rubik, and Ian Hislop. It is Statehood Day in Montenegro. Engage.
12 July 2009
The two year long Siege of Acre ended on this day in 1191, when Saladin's garrison surrenders to the leaders of the Third Crusade. In 1543, King Henry VIII married for the last time. Catherine Parr had the good fortune to out live him. In 1932, Yorkshire cricketer Hedley Verity took 10 wickets for 10 runs against Nottinghamshire. Whatever that means. And in 1962, the Rolling Stones played their first formal gig at the Marquee Club in London. Celebrating birthdays today: Van Cliburn, Bill cosby, Christine McVie and Anna Friel. It is Independence Day in Kiribati and São Tomé and Principe.
11 July 2009
Odd day in history. Bloody day in history. In 1804, US Vice President Aaron Burr mortally wounded Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Four major plane crashes have occured on this date. In 1973, a Brazilian plane crashed at Orly, killing 124 passengers. Ten years later, a plane crashed outside of Cuenca, Ecuador, killing 119. In 1991, a Nigerian charter plane crashed near Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, killing 261 hajjis and in 1995, a Cuban jet crashed, killing all 44 passengers. Also on this day in 1995, more than 8,000 Bosnians, mostly men and children, were killed by Serbian troops near Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Two hundred nine people were killed in a series of bombings in Mumbai in 2006. On a more pleasant note, our literary heritage was greatly enhanced twice on this date by the publication in 1859 of Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities and in 1960, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Celebrating birthdays today: Giorgio Armani, Richie Sambora, Suzanne Vega and Craig Charles. It is the first day of the Mongolian sport and cultural festival known as Naadam.
10 July 2009
The city of Dublin was founded on this day in 988. In 1925, the trial of Tennessee high school teacher John Scopes began in Dayton, Tennessee. Scopes was charged with teaching evolution to his class, in violation of the Butler Act. In 1962, Telstar, the world's first communications satellite was launched. Celebrating birthdays today: Virginia Wade, Arlo Guthrie, Ludmilla Tourischeva, Neil Tennant, Bela Fleck and Jessica Simpson. It is Independence Day in the Bahamas.
09 July 2009
On this day in 1357, Charles IV set the foundation stone for the Charles Bridge in Prague. In 1868, the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution was passed, granting full citizenship to black Americans and guaranteeing all US citizens due process of law. In 1986, homosexuality was legalised in New Zealand. Celebrating birthdays today: David Hockney, Shaft (aka Richard Roundtree), Marc Almond, Tom Hanks, Jim Kerr, and Paolo diCanio. Bahá'ïs commemorate the Martyrdom of the Bab today.
08 July 2009
On this day in 1497, Vasco daGama set sail on the first direct European voyage to India. In 1874, a force of 22 officers and 287 men departed from Fort Dufferin, Manitoba on their way to what is now Alberta, to form the Northwest Mounted Police. And in 1947, reports were broadcast of the crash landing of a UFO in Roswell, New Mexico. Celebrating birthdays today: Anjelica Huston, Kevin Bacon, Beck and Robbie Keane. Today is the feast day of St. Elizabeth of Portugal.
07 July 2009
James Adams, Samantha Badham, Lee Harris, Phil Beer, Anna Brandt, Ciaran Cassidy, Elizabeth Daplyn, Arthur Frederick, Karolina Gluck, Gamze Günoral, Ojara Ikeagwu, Emily Jenkins, Adrian Johnson, Helen Jones, Susan Levy, Shelley Mather, Michael Matsushita, James Mayes, Behnaz Mozakka, Mihaela Otto, Atique Sharifi, Ihab Slimane, Christian Small, Monika Suchoka, Mala Trivedi, Rachelle Chung For Yuen, Michael Stanley Brewster, Jonathan Downey, David Foulkes, Colin Morley, Jenny Nicholson, Laura Webb, Lee Baisden, Benedetta Ciaccia, Richard Ellery, Richard Grey, Anne Moffat, Fiona Stevenson, Carrie Taylor, Anthony Fatayi-Williams, Jamie Gordon, Giles Hart, Marie Hartley, Miriam Hyman, Shahara Islam, Neetu Jain, Sam Ly, Shyanuja Parathasangary, Anat Rosenberg, Phillip Russell, William Wise, Gladys Wundowa
06 July 2009
When it rains, it pours. Quite a bit today that seems worthy of note. The English king on whom I once had a totally irrational crush, Richard I, was crowned in 1189. Jan Hus was burned at the stake in 1415. Richard III was crowned in 1483. Sir Thomas More was executed in 1535. Louis Pasteur successfully tested the rabies vaccine on a human in 1885. Robert Peary set out for the North Pole in 1908. The family of Anne Frank went into hiding in 1942 and Althea Gibson became the first black athlete to win Wimbledon in 1957. Celebrating birthdays: Della Reese, Ned Beatty, Burt Ward, Sylvester Stallone, Nathalie Baye, Geoffrey Rush, Nanci Griffith and Jennifer Saunders. Today is the first day of the festival of San Fermin in Pamplona. Since Nanci Griffith is one of my favourites, here is one of my favourite Nanci Griffith songs:
05 July 2009
The Scots and the French formed an alliance against the English on this day in 1295. Isaac Newton published Philosophæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica in 1687. The Salvation Army was founded in London in 1865. Vaguely meat-like substance Spam was introduced in 1937. The bikini was introduced in 1946 and Arthur Ashe became the first black man to win Wimbledon in 1975. Celebrating birthdays today: Robbie Robertson, Huey Lewis, Bill Watterson and Gianfranco Zola. It is Independence Day in Venezuela, Cape Verde, and Algeria.
04 July 2009
Chinese and Arab astronomers observed a supernova in the sky in 1054 that lit up the night sky for days. The remnants of that supernova are today known as the Crab Nebula. In 1837, the Grand Junction Railway opened between Birmingham and Liverpool. It was the world's first long-distance railway. In 1838, the Iowa Territory was formed and in 1987, Klaus Barbie was convicted of crimes against humanity. Celebrating birthdays today: Eva Marie Saint, Gina Lollobrigida, Bill Withers, Kirk Pengilly, Koko the signing gorilla, and Malia Obama. Today is the day of the Earth's aphelion. Oh, and in 1776, a bunch of jerkwads in Philadelphia ruined any chance I ever had of getting residency in Britain as a citizen of a Commonwealth nation.
03 July 2009
On this day in 987, Hugh Capet was crowned King of France. The Great Auk became extinct in 1844, when a trio of Icelandic men killed the last nesting pair and smashed the egg they'd been incubating. Arseholes. And in 1996, the Stone of Scone was returned to Scotland. Celebrating birthdays: Ken Russell, Tom Stoppard, Julie Burchill, Vince Clark, Tom Cruise and Yeardley Smith. It's Independence Day in Belarus.
02 July 2009
The Battle of Marston Moor was fought on this day in 1644. Charles Guiteau shot President James Garfield in 1881. Garfield died of his wounds in September. In 1937, Amelia Earhart and navigator Frank Noonan disappeared over the Pacific Ocean and in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race. Celebrating birthdays today: Imelda Marcos and Lindsay Lohan. Sounds like a party, doesn't it? The Palio di Provenzano is run today in Siena and 2009 is officially half over at noon.
01 July 2009
The Battle of Gettysburg began on this day in 1863. The British North America Act established the Canadian Confederation in 1867, with John MacDonald becoming Canada's first Prime Minister. The Sony Walkman was introduced in 1979. The Scottish Parliament was officially opened in 1999. And the Oresund Bridge was opened to traffic in 2000. Celebrating birthdays today: Leslie Caron, Jean Marsh, Deborah Harry, Fred Schneider, Pamela Anderson, Patrick Kluivert and Ruud van Nistelrooy. In addition to being Canada Day, it is Independence Day in Burundi and Rwanda, Republic Day in Ghana and Somalia, and Emancipation Day in the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname.