30 September 2009

Daily Chat 30/09/09

First, I'd just like to mention that this is the Untrusted's 200th thread.  That feels like a bit of a milestone, considering I was afraid no one would ever show up here when I started the place.  Thanks, everybody!  Now, on with our regularly scheduled post:

Henry IV was crowned  in 1399.  The world's first commercial hydroelectric power plant was put into operation in Appleton, Wisconsin, in 1882.  Hubert Cecil Booth patented the vacuum cleaner in 1901.  Bastard.  James Dean died in a car crash at the age of 24 in 1955 and Aldwych Underground station was closed in 1994 after 88 years of service.

Born today:  Rumi (1207-1273), Deborah Kerr (1921-2007), Truman Capote (1924-1984), Elie Wiesel (1928), Johnny Mathis (1935), Marc Bolan (1947-1977), Frank Rijkaard (1962) and Martina Hingis (1980).

It is Independence Day in Botswana.

29 September 2009

Daily Chat 29/09/09

The Office of Addresses and Encounters, the world's first recorded dating service, was opened by one Henry Robinson in Threadneedle Street in 1650.  The Metropolitan Police force was founded in 1829.  The cornerstone for the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., was laid in 1907.  The first of what would be seven victims of a mass murder via poison-laced Tylenol capsules was found in Chicago in 1982.  The murders caused a national panic and forever changed the way over the counter medications are packaged in the US.  The National Cathedral was completed in 1990.

Born today:  Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865), Enrico Fermi (1901-1954), Colin Dexter (1930), Silvio Berlusconi (1936), Jean-Luc Ponty (1942), Lech Walesa (1943), Sebastian Coe (1956) and Robert Webb (1972).

It is Michaelmas.

28 September 2009

Daily Chat 28/09/09

Pompey the Great was assassinated on order of King Ptolemy in 48 BC.  Wenceslas was murdered by his brother, Boleslaus in 935.  William the Conqueror landed at Bulverhythe in 1066.  And this day in 1928 was a good one for people with infections, but a bad one for British stoners.  Alexander Fleming noticed bacteria-killing mould growing in his laboratory and cannabis was outlawed in the UK.

Born today:  Confucius (551-479 BC), Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610), Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929), Max Schmeling (1905-2005), Peter Finch (1916-1977), Marcello Mastroianni (1924-1996), Brigitte Bardot (1934) and Ben E. King (1938).

It is World Rabies Day. (No.  Really.)

27 September 2009


Anyone more technically minded than me out there who can tell me why I can write a new post, but not comment on an old one?

I'm signed in, obviously, but the "comment as" tab at the bottom is tiny, and empty. Same problem in firefox and explorer, tried allowing all cookies, no joy.

I can comment from work, but I've never actually managed it from home (where the problem is).




Thanks for the advice.

Think I'll keep the new browser as a last resort.

Everything's enabled for javascript.

I've had this problem for days.

Thanks for trying!


Daily Chat 27/09/09

The Jesuits received their charter from Pope Paul III in 1540.  The Stockton-Darlington Railway began the world's first locomotive-hauled passenger service in 1825.  A Southern Railway mail train called Old 97 jumped the track in 1903, providing the inspiration for this:

[deleted video embed]

(Of course, Hank's version wasn't a patch on my grandfather's, but no one ever recorded his.)

The Balinese tiger was declared extinct in 1937.

Born today:  Cosimo di Medici (1389-1464), Dith Pran (1942-2008) and Meat Loaf (1947).

Yom Kippur begins at sundown.

26 September 2009

Daily Chat 26/09/09

Sir Francis Drake returned to Plymouth in 1580, completing his circumnavigation of the globe.  The Chicago Cubs' Ed Reulbach became the only pitcher in Major League Baseball history to pitch two shutouts in a single day, in a double-header against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1908.  The first ever televised presidential debate, between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, took place in 1960.  The Beatles released Abbey Road, their last studio album, in 1969.  Concorde made its first trans-Atlantic flight in 1973.  Australia II became the first non-American entrant to win the Americas Cup in 1983.

Born today:  T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), George Gershwin (1898-1937), Bryan Ferry (1945), Andrea Dworkin (1946), Michael Ballack (1976) and Serena Williams (1981).

Today is the European Day of Languages.

25 September 2009

Daily Chat 25/09/09

The forces of Harold Goodwinson defeated an invading Norwegian troops lead by Harald Hardråde in the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066.  Vasco Nuñez de Balboa reached the Pacific Ocean in 1513.  President Dwight Eisenhower called on the 101st Airborne Division to force the integration of Little Rock Central High School in 1957 and 38 prisoners escaped from Maze Prison in 1983.

Born today:  William Faulkner (1897-1962), Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975), Ronnie Barker (1929-2005), Shel Silverstein (1930-1999), Felicity Kendal (1946), Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (1955), Will Smith (1968), Catherine Zeta-Jones (1969) and one of my lovely Trotters, Ricardo Gardner (1978).

Today is the feast day of Saint Finbarr.

24 September 2009

Daily Chat 24/09/09

Mohammed completed his hijra from Mecca to Medina in 622.  Theodore Roosevelt declared Devil's Monument in Wyoming to be the first national monument in the United States in 1906.  Camp Nou opened in Barcelona in 1957.

Born today:  Horace Walpole (1717-1797), F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940), Jim Henson (1936-1990), Pedro Almodóvar (1951), Fábio Aurélio (1979).

It is Republic Day in Trinidad and Tobago.

23 September 2009

Daily Chat 23/09/09

The first major battle of the Wars of the Roses was fought in 1459 in Blore Heath, Staffs.  The Siege of Vienna began in 1529.  Nintendo was founded in 1889.  The earliest game system consisted of 48 brightly coloured rectangles of heavy paper (quaintly referred to as 'cards') which were used for something called Hanafuda.  The union of Norway and Sweden was dissolved by the Treaty of Karlstad in 1905.  Nikita Khrushchev began a visit to Iowa in 1959.  In 1999, Qantas Airlines Flight 1 overshot the runway in Bangkok, causing minor injuries to 38 passengers.  It is the worst crash in the 49 year history of the airline.

Born today:  Euripedes (480-406 BC), Augustus Caesar (63 BC - AD 14), Kublai Khan (1215-1294), Walter Pidgeon (1897-1984), John Coltrane (1926-1967), Ray Charles (1930-2004), Bruce Springsteen (1949) and Cherie Blair (1954).

It is International Celebrate Bisexuality Day.

22 September 2009

Daily Chat 22/09/09

The last eight executions of the Salem Witch Trials took place in 1692.  Des Moines, Iowa, was incorporated as a city in 1851.  Queen Victoria became the longest-reigning monarch in British history in 1896 and ITV broadcast live for the first time in 1955.

Born today:  Anne of Cleves (1515-1557), Michael Faraday (1791-1867), Ségolène Royal (1953), Nick Cave (1957), Billie Piper (1982) and Tom Felton (1987).

It is Independence Day in Bulgaria and Mali.  It is also the first day of autumn or, as we like to call it here in America, fall.

21 September 2009

Dot's Questions!

Hi All,

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, and actually contribute to the more serious side of things for a change (rather than sitting around trying to expand my meagre knowledge of politics by learning from you lot) now seemed as good a time as any!

Some of you may know I’m a conservation biologist/ecologist, and as a profession we’re trying to answer some tough questions at the moment and sometimes I think we’re all too much in the same mindset and need a fresh perspective. I don’t think we ask “the public” enough (just industry, farmers and other interested “stakeholders”) so, really informally, here’s me, asking you lot what you reckon. I can’t promise your answers will get anywhere, or do anything, other than maybe change the way I think about things: I’m not very senior at the moment, but who knows, one day!

1) How much should we be trying to “turn back the clock” with conservation? Preventing further damage is somewhat less controversial (with some exceptions) but should we be:

a) Removing invasive species, (e.g. grey squirrels) even if this means culling them?

b) Relocating people to create/restore natural areas?

c) Destroying “unnatural” habitats to recreate “pristine” ones

2) How can “we” (the west/developed world etc.) possibly expect/ask/force “them” (developing countries) to protect their biodiversity when we’ve ballsed ours up so spectacularly?! More specifically if we do, how do we go about it?

3) Should “nature” earn its keep? For example sustainable hunting of African wildlife, where the revenue is ploughed back into conservation.

4) By the same token should we be “paying for ecosystem services”: a good example of this is pollinators, should farmers be paying towards the maintenance of bee populations that pollinate their crops (whether wild or “beekeepered”)

That’s all I can think of, off the top of my head on a Monday, I may add more if I can think of them!

Finally, my thread my rules: if this gets heated all name calling must be highly creative, and no swearing. (I’m thinking Monty Python’s “your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries”) Double points for being animal related, quadruple points for Latin names!

Daily Chat 21/09/09

In 1827, near Palmyra, New York, Joseph Smith, Jr. was visited by the angel Moroni, who told him the of golden tablets inscribed with the story of Jesus's post-resurrection life among Native Americans.  Smith translated the tablets into the Book of Mormon.  In 1937, JRR Tolkien published a slightly more believable tale about a little man with hairy feet in The Hobbit.  Malta became independent in 1964 and Sandra Day O'Connor was approved by the Senate to become the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court of the US.

Born today:  H.G. Wells (1866-1946), Gustav Holst (1874-1934), Leonard Cohen (1934), Stephen King (1947) and Liam Gallagher (1972).

It is the International Day of Peace

20 September 2009

Daily Chat 20/09/09

Flavius Aetius defeated Attila the Hun in the Battle of Chalons in 451.  Galileo Galilei was brought to trial before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1633 for stating that the Earth orbits the sun.  The first Cannes Film Festival was held in 1946 and Shrub declared war on terror during a joint session of Congress in 2001.

Born today:  Upton Sinclair (1878-1968), Jelly Roll Morton (1885-1941), Jay Ward (1920-1989) and Sophia Loren (1934).

Eid al-Fitr begins at sunset, so Eid mobarak, everybody!

19 September 2009

Good Afternoon

My apologies for the lack of a daily thread for today.  I was a bit too upset last night when I got home from work and saw the discussion that had unfolded.  It is never pleasant to see yourself being described in the terms that have been thrown around here.

I'm utterly confused by how one comment asking long-time regulars to be a bit less hostile to newbies and Graun staffers has kicked off such a shitstorm.  It was a gentle suggestion, not a fiat from the Supreme Overlord.  What really puzzles me is that the people who are upset/offended are newbies and lurkers -- the very people I was hoping to make feel more welcome.  Ah well, the road to hell and all that...

Just to clarify a couple of points:

This site isn't connected with the Guardian beyond the fact that the posters here became familiar with each other through Cif.  I've never been to Matt's house for a dinner party, never invited to Polly's villa, never even met a Graun file clerk.  I asked for a bit of politeness towards Graun staffers when they come here because my perception is, much as Thaumaturge said the other day, that people like Bella and Jessica probably not in positions that are responsible for the decisions that have made most of us angry.  Look, I worked in Starbucks' corporate headquarters as a temp for awhile when I lived in Seattle.  I think Howard Schultz is pond scum, but Starbucks was one of the most pleasant work environments I've ever been in.  Even as a temp, I was made to feel like part of a team and even as a temp, there were some lovely little perks.  I'm sure that, had I worked there longer as an actual employee, I'd have developped quite an affection for the place.  I'm guessing that it's the same with Bella and Jessica.  They like where they work.  They see it in a different light than we do.  Doesn't make them evil and it doesn't make them responsible for some of the more byzantine or hypocritical decisions that get made in Graun Towers.

As for the Phone Booth, yes it is a private blog.  As I have said here before, it was originally set up to be a place where banned Ciffers could keep each other informed of their latest Cif IDs.  Originally, I was granting readership to anyone who e-mailed me with a request to be allowed access.  That became untenable for reasons that I don't feel obligated to explain to anyone.  It has morphed into something a bit different, but I am not going to apologise to anyone for its existence.  This current bit of unpleasantness here is precisely why I have no qualms about the private nature of the Phone Booth.  For what it's worth, no one has been added to it for quite some time, precisely because I'm uncomfortable with the awkwardness of the logistics of adding people.  In order to add someone, I have to have an e-mail address.  I can't get an e-mail address for someone without asking here for the person I'd like to add to e-mail me.  That adds to the sense of exclusion for some people here, I'm sure.  But I hardly think that the fact that there is a group of people who enjoy being able to "chat" with each other without the type of unpleasantness that we're currently going through here constitutes an online Illuminati.

Last, as some of our anonymous posters may already have discovered (I've had multiple interruptions as I've been composing this and it has taken me far longer than I thought it would), I have changed the settings so that anonymous posting is no longer possible.  Comments will continue to be unmoderated, but if you can't at least be bothered to get a pseudonymous identity and have the balls to put even a pseudonym to your comments here, I'm not sure why any of the rest of us should give a flying fuck what you think.  My one regret in this decision is that I know that this will occasionally make it difficult for Deano to comment.  I'm sorry for that, Deano, but I trust that you will understand my reasons.

Normal service will be returned tomorrow.

Daily Chat 19/09/09

As martillo pointed out, we lost the great Gram Parsons on this day in 1973, and welcomed the wonderful Mama Cass Elliot into the world on this day in 1941.

History-wise - women's suffrage in New Zealand in 1893 (hurrah!), and in 1952 the United States barred Charlie Chaplin from re-entering the country after a trip to England (boo!) plus lots of other shit about wars and stuff. Check it out for yourself.

18 September 2009

Daily Chat 18/09/09

The Blackpool Illuminations were switched on for the first time in 1879. Women in the Netherlands received the right to vote in 1919. Actress Peg Entwistle committed suicide by jumping from the Hollywood sign in 1932. Dag Hammarskjöld was killed in a plane crash in 1961. Jimi Hendrix was found dead in a Notting Hill hotel in 1970 and the funeral of Mao Zedong was held on this day in 1976.

Born today: Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), Greta Garbo (1905-1990), Mo Mowlam (1949-2005), Peter Shilton (1949) and DeeDee Ramone (1952-2002).

Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown. Shanah tovah! Let's hope 5770 is a better year than 5769 was.

17 September 2009

Daily Chat 17/09/09

The city of Boston, Massachussetts, was founded in 1630. The US Constitution was ratified in Philadelphia in 1787. With more than 22,000 casualties, the one-day Battle of Antietam became the bloodiest day in American history in 1862. Manfred von Richthofen won his first aerial combat near Cambrai, France in 1916 and the independent Polish trade union, Solidarity, was formed in 1980.

Born today: Hank Williams (1923-1953), Roddy McDowell (1928-1998), Des Lynam (1942), Fee Waybill (1950), Kevin Clash (1960), Baz Luhrman (1962) and Pixie Geldof (1990).

It is National Heroes Day in Angola.

16 September 2009

Daily Chat 16/09/09

Owain Glyndwr was declared Prince of Wales in 1400. Homesteaders poured into the Cherokee Strip in what is now Oklahoma as part of the largest land rush in US history in 1893. The Wall Street Bombing of 1920 killed 38 people. Juan Perón was deposed in 1955. Between 2500-3500 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians were killed in the Sabra and Shatila Massacre of 1982.

Born today: Jean Arp (1886-1966), H.A. Rey (1898-1977), Lauren Bacall (1924) and B.B. King (1925). It is Independence Day in Mexico and Papua New Guinea.

15 September 2009

Daily Chat 15/09/09

The first non-aristocratic, free, public school in Europe was opened in Frascati, Italy, in 1616. The HMS Beagle reached the Galápagos Islands in 1835. Tich Freeman became the only bowler to take 300 wickets in an English cricket season in 1928. Nikita Khrushchev became the first Soviet leader to visit the United States in 1959. Four young, black girls were killed in 1963 when members of the Ku Klux Klan set off 122 sticks of dynamite in Birmingham, Alabama's 16th Street Baptist Church.

Born today: Marco Polo (1254-1324), François la Rochefoucauld (1613-1680), James Fennimore Cooper (1789-1851), Agatha Christie (1890-1976), Tommy Lee Jones (1946), Jimmy Carr (1972), Princess Letizia of Spain (1972) and Prince Harry (1984).

It is Independence Day in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

14 September 2009

Daily Chat 14/09/09

One of those days, I'm afraid. Not much happened to be bothered with and Morten Harket and human trainwreck Amy Winehouse are as good as it apparently gets for birthdays. Damn Catholic Church can't even come up with a saint's feast any more interesting than Notberga. Really. In honour of the fact that Tonga, Kiribati and Nauru joined the U.N. in 1999, enjoy the lovely Tongan beach scene and be grateful that I didn't post an A-ha video.

13 September 2009

Daily Chat 13/09/09

Hadrian's Wall was begun in 122. Francis Scott Key wrote The Star Spangled Banner in 1812. The temperature in Al Aziziyah, Libya, hit 57.8°, the highest ever recorded, in 1922.

Born today: Claudette Colbert (1903-1996), Bill Monroe (1911-1996), Roald Dahl (1916-1990), Mel Tormé (1925-1999), Oscar Arias (1940), Shane Warne (1969) and Goran Ivanisevic (1971).

It is Grandparents' Day in the United States.

12 September 2009

Daily Chat 12/09/09

In 1846, Elizabeth Barrett eloped with Robert Browning. Arbroath defeated Bon Accord 35-0 in what is still the most lopsided victory in professional football in 1885. The Lascaux cave paintings were discovered in 1940. Bonanza became the world's first regularly-scheduled tv programme to be broadcast in colour in 1959. Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed by the Derg in 1974 and Steve Biko was killed in police custody in 1977.

Notable births: Lorenzo II de Medici (1492-1519), Henry Hudson (1575-1611), H.H. Asquith (1852-1928), Maurice Chevalier (1888-1972), Jesse Owens (1913-1980), Ian Holm (1931), George Jones (1931), Michael Ondaatje (1943) and Neil Peart (1952).

It is National Day in Cape Verde.

11 September 2009

Labour – the Party of the working class?

I have supported Labour all my adult life and have been a party member for over 30 years. Although my parents were graduates, my family is rooted in working class South Wales, mainly in mining. I was brought up to be proud of those roots.

I am very conscious of what Labour has done for workers, the NHS in particular is still a source of pride to me. The difference its foundation made to the lives of working people was phenomenal, we too easily forget this.

For many years the Party structure gave workers a chance to contribute to politics by putting forward motions for Conference. This allowed working class concerns to reach the highest levels. Our MPs mostly came from working class backgrounds and understood the people they represented.

But today there are few working class MPs and the only role left for the ordinary member is to deliver leaflets. More important, Labour’s claim to be a Socialist party has been compromised by the removal of the old Clause IV All this resulted in a party that is now completely out of touch with its core voters. The policies that have been pursued have not addressed the problems they face, particularly in the present economic crisis.

Why did this happen? This article explains the events since the 70’s, that has brought the party to where it is today. The Labour Party, always an uneasy alliance between left and right, has always attempted to manage capitalism and in these circumstances can only go as far as capital will allow. This has never been more true than it is today.

The present government reflects this in its slavish support for US foreign policy and the absence of any attempt to make real improvements in the lives of working people. Instead they pursue policies based on identity politics. . As a Marxist I support all oppressed groups. What I cannot do is see Women, Muslims, Blacks or Gays as classes. Policies that single out any of those groups for special treatment result in dividing the working class and become another example of that old ruler’s standby ‘divide and rule’. They also tend to benefit middle class members of those groups. Such policies can never improve working class lives. Genuine social change can only begin when all working class people are united. Identity politics has divided the class just when it needs to be strong.

Many of the feminist articles on Cif make this mistake. An article found here shows how in the end men and women need to unite to create “the social conditions… for the establishment of real human relations between men and women. But unless and until the proletariat overthrows capitalism and lays the conditions for the achievement of a classless society, no genuine emancipation of women is possible.”

This does not mean that women should ‘wait until after the revolution’ before they can struggle for equality. We should all challenge the corrosive attitudes of misogyny and sexism. The same is true for challenging racism, homophobia Islamophobia etc. After all we don’t ‘wait for the revolution’ before taking action to defend jobs do we?’

When policies discriminate against or ignore men, the government divides men and women from each other. This causes a backlash and prevents progress.

Its not ‘men’ or ‘women’ its class society that corrupts our relationships. When you consider how consumer society makes so many of us succumb to the rat race its no wonder.

So what do we do? Many have suggested that Labour is ‘finished’, that we should all leave it and create a ‘New workers party’. I would disagree with this. Anger at the nature of the present crisis is building and workers are moving into action.

Today(11 Sept) Union leaders will meet Brown at chequers –it seems it wont be a cosy chat!

100 years ago the Unions formed the labour party to speak for them in Parliament. It is time once again to make Labour the voice of working people.

11 September 2009

It will probably come as no surprise to most of you that I've been arguing with myself over how to handle the daily thread today. Nearly 3,000 people died eight years ago (more than, if you include the hijackers themselves). Thousands more had gaping holes ripped in their lives. Children are growing up without a parent. Parents had to bury children. Lives were profoundly affected in many ways, including my own, even though I didn't know anyone who died and didn't even know anyone who did know someone who died.

I know that at least one regular here believes the conspiracy theories. I have family members who firmly believe that, at the very least, the Bush Administration knew of the planned attack deliberately did nothing to stop it. I guess my tendency is to fall back on Occam's Razor and believe that it probably was just what it seemed to be. The problem for me in putting up a fairly straightforward thread is not only the way that the Bush Administration used, or rather, abused the tragedy to further their agenda and to demonise those of us who didn't agree with them, but also the jingoist reaction that most of my compatriots had.

"They hate us for our freedom." Bullfuckingshit, they do. They hate us for the way we bully other countries. They hate us for our hypocrisy -- for the fact that we have no compunction about supporting and even helping into power, despots who mistreat their own people to curry favour with us. Eight years on and not a single American has learned a goddamned thing from it. There's been no reflection, no questioning. The only people who understand any of this are people who understood this before the attack. People still want their SUVs and cheap gas, no matter what the cost to funny looking people in countries with hard-to-pronounce names. To me, that's the second tragedy of 9/11 -- that we didn't learn anything from it. We just used it to buttress our own image of ourselves as a wonderful, wonderful place, despised by the enemies of freedom. To that extent, it seems to me like those 2,998 people died in vain.

10 September 2009

Daily Chat 10/09/09

The Battle of Pinkie Cleugh took place in 1547. Simón Bolívar became President of Peru in 1823 and the Large Hadron Collilder at CERN was powered up one year ago today.

Born today: Henry Purcell (1659-1695), Yma Súmac (1922-2008), Jose Feliciano (1945), Judy Geeson (1948) and Guy Ritchie (1968). It is National Day in Gibraltar.

09 September 2009

Daily Chat 09/09/09

Mary Stuart was crowned Queen of Scots at the age of nine months in 1543. Elvis Presley made his first television appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956. The bottom half of the picture was blacked out, to protect the innocent from the sight of his lewd hip gyrations. The PLO officially recognised Israel as a legitimate state in 1993.

Born today: Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), Otis Redding (1941-1967), Dave Stewart (1952), Hugh Grant (1960), Roberto Donadoni (1963) and Julia Sawalha (1968). It is Chrysanthemum Day in Japan.

08 September 2009

Daily Chat 08/09/09

The Russians defeated the Mongols and Tatars at the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380. Michelangelo's David was unveiled in 1504. The first six matches of the Football League were played in 1888. Galveston, Texas, was devastated by a category 4 hurricane in 1900. Eight thousand people were killed. The Severn Bridge was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1966 and Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office in 1974.

People born today: Richard I (1157), Antonín Dvoràk (1841), Siegfried Sassoon (1886), Harry Secombe (1921), Peter Sellars (1925), Patsy Cline (1932), Michael Frayn (1933), and Virna Lisi (1937). It is International Literacy Day.

07 September 2009

Daily Chat 07/09/09

Roman troops led by General Titus plundered Jerusalem in 70. Richard I defeated Saladin in 1191. British expatriates founded the Genoa Cricket and Football Club in 1893. It is the oldest football club in the Italian league today. The first games of the Northern Rugby Football Union (which became the Rugby Football League) were played in 1895. The first Miss America pageant was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1921. London endured the first of what would be 57 consecutive nights of Nazi bombing in 1940. Desmond Tutu became the first black Archbishop of the Anglican Church in South Africa in 1986. And an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale ruptured a previously unknown fault and shook Athens in 1999.

Famous births: Elizabeth I (1533), Grandma Moses (1860), Elia Kazan (1909), Julie Kavner (1950) and Chrissie Hynde (1951). It is Labor Day in the US and Labour Day in Canada.

06 September 2009

Daily Chat 06/09/09

One of the surviving ships in Magellan's fleet, the Victoria, arrived in Sanlúcar de Barrameda in 1522, making it the first ship to successfully circumnavigate the world. In 1888, Charles Turner became the first bowler to take 250 wickets in one season and in 1995, Cal Ripken Jr., played his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking Lou Gehrig's 56 year old record.

Celebrating birthdays today: Roger Waters, Dolores O'Riordan and Tim Henman. It is Father's Day in Australia and New Zealand.

More important than any of this, however, is the fact that in 1999, the most beautiful, intelligent and wonderful boy ever born came into this world at Providence Hospital in Seattle, Washington.

05 September 2009

Daily Chat 05/09/09

Only two historical events of any importance today - in 1698 Russia's Peter the Great imposed a tax on beards and in 1960, Cassius Clay captured Olympic light heavyweight gold medal.

Famous birthdays: 1187 - Louis VIII, [Coeur-de-Lion] king of France (1223-26); 1826 - John Wisden, England cricketer (d. 1884); 1847 - Jesse James, Missouri, bank/train robber, son of a clergyman; 1940 - Raquel Welch; 1946 - Freddie Mercury (picture).

04 September 2009

Daily Chat 04/09/09

El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula was founded in 1781. Fortunately, as the place got bigger the name got shorter. We call it Los Angeles today. Britain ended its policy of penal deportation to New South Wales in 1884. After more than 25 years of fighting the US government, Apache chief Geronimo surrendered in 1886 and the Forth Road Bridge officially opened in 1964. Beyoncé celebrates a birthday today and it is Immigrants Day in Argentina.

03 September 2009

Daily Chat 03/09/09

The Republic of San Marino was founded on this day in 301. Richard I was crowned at Westminster in 1189. And Sweden changed from driving on the left to driving on the right in 1967. Celebrating birthdays today: Pauline Collins, Al Jardine, Valerie Perrine, Steve Jones, Charlie Sheen and Fearne Cotton. It is the Ghost Festival in the Chinese calendar.

02 September 2009

Daily Chat 02/09/09

The Great Fire of London began on this day in 1666. Apart from that, nothing worth mentioning, as near as I can tell. Boring celeb birthdays: Keanu Reeves, Lennox Lewis and Salma Hayek. Nothing going on but obscure Roman Catholic saints days, too. Ho hum. Here's some funkiness for your Wednesday:

01 September 2009

Daily Chat 01/09/09

Louis XIV died in 1715, ending a 72 year reign. The Mission of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was founded in California in 1772. Martha, the world's last Passenger Pigeon died in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914. The Great Kanto Earthquake devastated the cities of Tokyo and Yokohama in 1923, killing 104,000 people. Germany invaded Poland in 1939.

Celebrating birthdays today: Seiji Ozawa, Lily Tomlin, Barry Gibb and Ruud Gullit. It is Knowledge Day in Russia.