31 January 2010


The first clinic for venereal diseases opened in London in 1747.  The Battle of George Square took place in Glasgow in 1919, as workers striking for shorter working hours clashed with police in what is one of the worst riots in Glasgow history.  Trotsky was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929.  James Van Allen discovered the Van Allen radiation belt in 1958 (what are the chances of that?).  A truck loaded with explosives was crashed into the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in 1996, killing 86 people and injuring 1400.

Born today:  Franz Schubert (1797-1828), Zane Grey (1872-1939), Anna Pavlova (1881-1931), Alva Myrdal (1902-1986), Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks (1931), Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (1938), Phil Manzanera (1951), John Lydon (1956), Anthony Paglia (1959) and Lloyd Cole (1961).

It is International Leprosy Day.  I'm guessing the point is awareness, not celebration.

30 January 2010


King Charles I was beheaded in 1649.  Cromwell got his own back in 1661.  The Menai Suspension Bridge was opened in 1826.  Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by Hindu extremist, Nathuram Godse, in 1948.

Born today:  Thomas Tallis (1505-1585), Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), Barbara Tuchman (1912-1989), Olaf Palme (1927-1986), Gene Hackman (1930), Vanessa Redgrave (1937), Boris Spassky (1937), Steve Marriott (1947-1991), Phil Collins (1951), Christian Bale (1967), Olivia Colman (1967).

It is the feast day of St. Aldegonde.

29 January 2010


Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven was published in 1845.  Karl Benz patented the first successful gasoline-powered automobile in 1886.  And in 1979, sixteen year-old Brenda Ann Spencer barricaded herself into a room in her house overlooking Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California.  Using the .22 calibre semi-automatic rifle that her father had given her for Christmas, she began shooting at children and staff.  Eight students and one police officer were injured, the school's principal and a custodian were killed.  When asked why she had done it, she replied, "I just did it for the fun of it.  I don't like Mondays.  This livens up the day."

Born today:  Thomas Paine (1737-1809), Anton Chekhov (1860-1904), Frederick Delius (1862-1934), Sacha Distel (1933-2004), Germaine Greer (1939), Andrew Loog Oldham (1944), Tommy Ramone (1952) and Oprah Winfrey (1954).

It is Constitution Day in Gibraltar.

28 January 2010


The Diet of Worms began on this day in 1521.  Make your own joke.  The Russian Academy of Sciences was founded in 1724.  The best novel in the English language* was published in 1813.  In 1898, Walter Arnold of East Peckham, Kent, became the first person in the world to be issued a citation for speeding when he was found to be driving a positively reckless 8 mph when the speed limit was 2 mph.  His fine was 1 shilling.  In 1986, the space shuttle, Challenger, broke apart during take-off, killing all seven crew members.

Born today:  Colette (1873-1954), Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), Acker Bilk (1929), Claes Oldenburg (1929), Alan Alda (1936), Nicolas Sarkozy (1955) and Jamie Carragher (1978).

It is the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas.

*Pride and Prejudice by Miss Jane Austen, of course.

27 January 2010


The trial of Guy Fawkes and other Gunpowder Plot conspirators began in 1606.  Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee were killed when a fire broke out on board Apollo I during testing.  The Paris Peace Accord ended the Viet Nam War in 1973.

Born today:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), the pride of Denison, Iowa, Donna Reed (1921-1986), Mikhail Baryshnikov (1948), Alan Cumming (1965).

It is Holocaust Remembrance Day.

26 January 2010


The Deccan Sultanates defeated the Vijayanagara Empire at the Battle of Talikota in 1565.  This marked the end of the last Hindu empire on the subcontinent.  The First Fleet arrived at Port Jackson in 1788 to establish the first permanent European colony in Australia.  The Cullinan Diamond was found at the Permier Mine near Pretoria, South Africa, in 1905 and an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Moment Scale hit Gujarat in 2001, leaving more than 19,000 dead and injuring 166,000.

Born today:  Stephane Grapelli (1908-1997), Michael Bentine (1922-1996), Paul Newman (1925-2008), Roger Vadim (1925-2008), Jules Feiffer (1929), Eddie Van Halen (1955), José Mourinho (1963) and Andrew Ridgeley (1963).

It is Australia Day in Australia (What?  You thought maybe Peru?), Republic Day in India and Liberation Day in Uganda.

25 January 2010


Happy Burns Night/Day!

Address To A Haggis 

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!

Aboon them a' ye tak your place,

Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, 
they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
"Bethankit!" 'hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' heads will sned,
Like taps o' thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

24 January 2010

24/01/10 Chat

I felt it would be better to set up a separate page for general chat today.

On this day:

Caligula was assassinated in the year 41 and C-C-C-Claudius succeeds him. in 1679, King Charles II dissolved parliament, although I have no idea why. The massacre of Atocha in Spain happened in 1977 and in 2003 the US Department for Homeland Security swings in to operation.

Born this day: Emporor Hadrian in 76, who built that fantastic wall to keep the English out, William Congreve in 1670, Marguerite Durand in 1864, Desmond Morris in 1928, Neil Diamond in 1941 and Vic Reeves in 1959.

Died on this day: Winston Churchill 1965 (funnily enough on the same day as Lord Randolph Churchill in 1895) L. Ron Hubbard in 1986, Ted Bundy in 1989 and French singer Gerard Blanc in 2009 (sniff! I hadn't realised).

For Alisdair, with sympathy

"In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night . . . You--only you--will have stars that can laugh!"

And he laughed again.

"And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure . . . And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, 'Yes, the stars always make me laugh!' And they will think you are crazy. It will be a very shabby trick that I shall have played on you . . ."

Antoine de Saint Exupéry, The Little Prince

23 January 2010


In 393, Emperor Theodosius I named his 9 year old son, Honorius, co-emperor.  The deadliest earthquake ever recorded shook Shannxi, China, in 1556.  As many as 830,000 people were killed.  Scottish regent, James Stewart was assassinated in 1570.  Elizabeth Blackwell became the first female M.D. in the United States in 1849.  Duke Ellington performed at Carnegie Hall for the first time in 1943.  And one year ago today, three people were killed and twelve wounded when a man armed with a knife attacked a nursery in Dendermonde, Belgium.

Born today:  John Hancock (1737-1793), Stendhal (1783-1842), Edouard Manet (1832-1883), Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948), Django Reinhardt (1910-1953), Jeanne Moreau (1928), Rutger Hauer (1944), Robin Zander (1953) and Princess Caroline (1957).

It is Bounty Day on Pitcairn Island.

22 January 2010


Ok, me again, again hope Montana's OK!

Notable birthdays today, my mate Dave, doesn't everyone have a mate called Dave?


21 January 2010


Running a bit late and there are no historical events that seem worth the bother of typing, to be honest, so I'll just give you this view of Mt. Rainier.

Mildly interesting birthdays today:  Paul Scofield (1922-2008), Benny Hill (1924-1992), Plácido Domingo (1941), and Edwin Starr (1942-2003).

It's National Hug Day here in the US.  And Cinnamon comes home!

20 January 2010


Seems to be a day for changes in power.  Duke Wladyslaw Lokietek became King of Poland in 1320.  Edward Balliol abdicated as King of Scotland in 1356.  Christian II abdicated as King of Denmark and Norway in 1523.  Willem II became King of the Netherlands in 1840.  Edward VIII became King of the United Kingdom in 1936.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated to his second term as President of the United states in 1937 and every subsequent president has been inaugurated on 20 January since then.  Philippine president Joseph Estrada was ousted in a peaceful coup in 2001 and was succeeded by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Born today:  André Marie Ampère (1775-1836), Joy Adamson (1910-1980), Federico Fellini (1920-1993), Buzz Aldrin (1930), Tom Baker (1934), David Lynch (1946) and Owen Hargreaves (1981).

Today is the feast day of Saint Sebastian.

19 January 2010


Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn were bombed by German zeppelins in 1915 -- the first major aerial bombardment on civilian areas.  In 1917, an explosion of 50 tons of TNT at a munitions factory in Silvertown, West Ham, killed 73 people and injured 400 others.  Indira Gandhi was elected Prime Minister of India in 1966.  The last Volkswagen Beetle to be manufactured in Germany was produced in 1978 and the Apple Lisa, the first home computer with a graphical interface and a mouse, was introduced in 1983.

Born today:  James Watt (1736-1819), Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849), Henry Bessemer (1813-1898), Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), Phil Everly (1939), Janis Joplin (1943), Dolly Parton (1946), Robert Palmer (1949-2003), Simon Rattle (1955), Stefan Edberg (1966) and Jenson Button (1980).

It is the feast day of St. Wulfstan.

18 January 2010


Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States.  I had written my own thoughts and feelings about him and about the Civil Rights Movement, but I think I'll just give you his words, instead.  This is from his last public speech, on 3 April, 1968.

17 January 2010


Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote was first published in 1605.  Modoc warriors defeated the US Army in the First Battle of the Stronghold in 1873.  Raoul Wallenberg disappeared in Budapest while in Soviet custody in 1945.  The Great Hanshin Earthquake, measuring 7.3 on the Moment Scale, shook Kobe, Japan, in 1995, leaving more than 6,400 people dead.

Born today:  Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Anne Brontë (1820-1849), David Lloyd George (1863-1945), Nevil Shute (1899-1960), Eartha Kitt (1927-2008), James Earl Jones (1931), Kip Keino (1940), Muhammad Ali (1942), Steve Earle (1955), Paul Young (1956), Keith Chegwin (1957), Andy Rourke (1964), Michelle Obama (1964), Naveen Andrews (1969), Cuauhtémoc Blanco Bravo (1973)*, Zooey Deschanel (1980)**, Alvaro Arbeloa (1983).

It is the feast day of St. Mildgytha in the Roman Catholic Church.

*Yeah, I never heard of him, either.  But isn't it a great name?  (Mexican footballer)
**You've probably never heard of her, but she was in a movie called 500 Days of Summer, for which my cousin did the Art Direction.  Gives me an excuse to tell you that.

16 January 2010


The Medicis were appointed official bankers for the Vatican in 1412.  Ivan IV (the Terrible) became Tsar of Russia in 1547.  Ernest Shackleton's expedition found the magnetic South Pole in 1909.  The United States started bombing Iraq, beginning the first Gulf War in 1991.  Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf became President of Liberia and Africa's first elected female head of state in 2006.

There is not one single sleb birthday worth the effort of typing.

It is National Religious Freedom Day here in the United States.

15 January 2010


In 588 BC, Nebuchadnezzar II began a siege of Jerusalem that would last until 23 July, 586 BC.  Elizabeth I was crowned in 1559.  The British Museum opened to the public in 1759.  Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were tortured and killed by the Frei Korps in 1919.

Born today:  Molière (1622-1673), O. Mandelstam (1891-1938), Gene Krupa (1909-1973), Gamal Abdal Nasser (1918-1970), Frank Thornton (1921), Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), James Nesbitt (1965), Claudia Winkleman (1972).

It is John Chilembwe Day in Malawi.

14 January 2010


The Order of the Templar was approved by the Council of Troyes in 1129.  Afghan forces led by Ahmad Shah Durrani defeated the Marathas in the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the first President of the United States to fly while in office in 1943, when he flew to Morocco to meet with Churchill.  Queen Margrethe II ascended the throne of Denmark in 1972.  She is Denmark's first queen since 1412 and the first Danish monarch since 1513 to not be named either Frederick or Christian.

Born today:  Berthe Morisot (1841-1895), Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965), Martin Niemöller (1892-1984), John Dos Passos (1896-1970), Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), Richard Briers (1934), Trevor Nunn (1940), Faye Dunaway (1941), Mark Addy (1964) and Dave Grohl (1969).

It is the feast day of Macrina the Elder in the Roman Catholic Church.

13 January 2010


Ok, sorry I'm not Montana (hope she's ok btw?) so I haven't carefully researched what happened on this day in history, I'm sure some interesting stuff did!

Anyway thought I better start a new thread for anyone who made it through the snow!


Update: medve offered some info so I thought I'd add it in here:

Galileo Galilei discovers Ganymede (1610): 400th anniversary

12 January 2010

12 January 2010

The National Trust is founded in Britain in 1895. (Hello, andysays!) The first long-distance wireless message was sent from the Eiffel Tower in Paris in 1908, and in 1984, Mark Thatcher went missing in the Sahara. Unfortunately, they found him again after six days.

Born today: Edmund Burke (1729), John Hancock (1737) Jack London (1876), Long John Baldry (1941),Ray Manzarek (1954).

11 January 2010


Mount Etna erupted in 1693.  The accompanying earthquake destroyed 45 towns on Sicily and Malta and killed more than 60,000 people.  William Herschel discovered two of Uranus's major moons.  They were later named Oberon and Titania.  Insulin was first used to treat diabetes in a human patient in 1922.  Los Angeles received its first-ever recorded snowfall in 1949.  And East Pakistan changed its name to Bangladesh in 1972.

Born today:  Alexander Calder (1870-1945), Maurice Durufflé (1902-1986), Alan Paton (1903-1988), Arthur Scargill (1938), Tony Kaye (1946) and Emile Heskey (1978).

It is Unity Day in Nepal.

10 January 2010


Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC.  The London Underground opened in 1863.

Born today:  Rod Stewart (1945), Aynsley Dunbar (1946) and Donald Fagen (1948).

It is PhilippaB's birthday everywhere that matters.

09 January 2010


In 1349, Jewish residents of Basel were rounded up and set on fire by residents who blamed them for the Black Death.  Lord Nelson's funeral took place on this date in 1809.  The French Academy of Sciences announced the Daguerreotype process of photography in 1839.  Russian workers marched on the Winter Palace in 1905, resulting in a massacre by tsarist troops.

Born today:  Karel Capek (1890-1938), Gracie Fields (1898-1979), Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986), Susanna York (1939), Joan Baez (1941), Jimmy Page (1944), Imelda Staunton (1956) and Joely Richardson (1965).

It is Republic Day in the vowel-deficient Republika Srpska.

08 January 2010


Ethelred of Wessex defeated the Danes in the Battle of Ashdown in 871.  Monaco received its independence in 1297.  The Battle of New Orleans was fought in 1815.  Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud became king of Hejaz in 1926 and changed the name of the kingdom to Saudi Arabia.  Ninety-three people were killed when two trains collided near Harmelen, the Netherlands, in 1962 and a British Midlands plane crashed on the M1 near Kegworth, Leicestershire in 1989, killing 47.

Born today:  Wilkie Collins (1824-1889), William Hartnell (1908-1975), Elvis Presley (1935-1977), Shirley Bassey (1937), Graham Chapman (1941), Stephen Hawking (1942) and David Bowie (1947).

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Prompt Succour in the Roman Catholic Church.

07 January 2010


Boris Godunov became tsar of Russia in 1598.  Galileo Galilei first observed the four largest moons of Jupiter in 1610.  Jean Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries flew from Dover to Calais in a gas balloon in 1785. The interior of the Leaning Tower of Pisa was closed due to safety concerns in 1990.

Born today:  Charles Addams (1912-1988), Jean Pierre Rampal (1922-2000), Gerald Durrell (1925-1995), Nicholas Cage (1964), Mark Lamarr (1967) and Nick Clegg (1967).

It is the Festival of the Seven Herbs in Japan.

06 January 2010


Harold Goodwinson was crowned King of England in 1066.  The Rump Parliament voted to put Charles I on trial in 1649.  maria Montessori opened her first school for working class children in Rome in 1907.  The Crown of St. Stephen was returned to Hungary by the United States, where it had been held since WWII.

Born today:  Joan of Arc (1412-1431), Gustave Doré (1832-1883), Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915), Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), Khalil Gibran (1883-1931), Earl Scruggs (1924), Terry Venables (1943), Syd Barrett (1946-2006), Anthony Minghella (1954-2008), Rowan Atkinson (1955), Nigella Lawson (1960).

It is the Feast of the Epiphany.

05 January 2010


Burgundy became part of France when Charles the Bold was killed in the Battle of Nancy in 1477.  Preston North End became the first Football League Champions in 1889, having gone unbeaten all season.  Ford Motor Company announced that workers would have an 8 hour day and earn a minimum wage of $5 per day in 1914.  Construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge in 1933.  The warmest temperature ever reliably measured in Antarctica was 15°C at Vanda Station in 1974.

Born today:  Shah Jahan (1592-1666), Konrad Adenauer (1876-1967), Robert Duvall (1931), Umberto Eco (1932) and King Juan Carlos I (1938.

Tonight is Twelfth Night.

04 January 2010


The Fabian Society was founded in 1878.  In 1903, Topsy, an abused circus elephant who had killed three men, was electrocuted by Thomas Edison.  She was fed postassium cyanide-laced carrots before Edison sent 6000 volts of electricity through her.  He caught the whole sick spectacle on film.  Rose Heilbron became the first female judge at the Old Bailey in 1972.  In 1975, Elizabeth Ann Seton was the first American-born person to be canonised by the Roman Catholic Church.  And in 1999, 16 people were killed and 25 wounded, when gunmen opened fire in a mosque in Islamabad.

Born today:  Isaac Newton (1643-1727), Jacob Grimm (1785-1863) and Louis Braille (1809-1852).

It is Independence Day in Myanmar.

03 January 2010


Joan of Arc was turned over to Bishop Pierre Cauchon to be tried for heresy in 1431.  Martin Luther was excommunicated in 1521.  Construction began on the Brooklyn Bridge in 1870.  Howard Carter found the sarcophagus of King Tutankhamen in 1924.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the March of Dimes, a national drive to raise funds for the prevention and treatment of birth defects in 1938.  If for no other reason, he is one of my heroes.  Without the March of Dimes, I would probably be blind.  Fidel Castro was excommunicated by Pope John XXIII in 1962.  And I'm ignoring one of today's "milestones".

Born today:  Cicero (106-43 BC), Clement Attlee (1883-1967), JRR Tolkien (1892-1973), Victor Borge (1909-2000), George Martin (1926), Sergio Leone (1929-1989), John Thaw (1942-2002), Stephen Stills (1946), John Paul Jones (1946) and Michael Schumacher (1969).

It is the feast day of St. Genevieve.

02 January 2010


The Emirate of Granada, the last Moorish stronghold in Spain, fell in 1492.  More than 4000 people across the US, mostly members of the Industrial Workers of the World, were arrested as suspected Communists and anarchists in the second and largest, of the Palmer Raids, in 1920.  In 1971, 66 people were killed at the Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow when a stairway barrier gave way.  And 68 people were killed in a blizzard that slammed the Midwestern US in 1999.

Born today:  Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) and Roger Miller (1936-1992).

It is the feast day of Macarius the Younger.

01 January 2010


Best wishes for a great 2010!