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Illjwamh

This Day In History

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On 8/4/2018 at 6:21 AM, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

1852 – Harvard University wins the first Boat Race between Yale University and Harvard. The race is also the first American intercollegiate athletic event.  What was the point of college before intercollegiate athletics?

Why, drinking, partying, and pulling pranks on each other and their professors, of course!  (Look into the history of universities in America, it's either amusing or scary, depending if you empathise more with the students or the professors....)

On 8/4/2018 at 6:21 AM, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

1921 – Major League Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis confirms the ban of the eight Chicago Black Sox, the day after they were acquitted by a Chicago court.  Just like Captain Renault in Casablanca, Judge Landis was shocked! Shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.

Found innocent, yet still punished with loss of their livelihood and chief joy in their lives.  And the general consensus of history is that at least Shoeless Joe Jackson really was innocent.

On 8/4/2018 at 6:21 AM, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

1977 – Tandy Corporation announces the TRS-80, one of the world's first mass-produced personal computers.  Even when they were new and state-of-the-art, they were well known as the "TRaSh-80" computers.  Didn't Radio Shack run the name past a fifth grade class before putting it up for sale?

No point, they can turn anything into a snarky nickname.  Just ask Incredibly Bad Machines, or the makers of the Machine Always Crashes, If Not The Operating System Hangs.

5 hours ago, Illjwamh said:

1825 - Bolivia gains independence from Spain. Big deal, who hasn't?

Catalonia?

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2 hours ago, ChronosCat said:

You'd think after a few Godzilla attacks they might have learned their lesson, but no such luck.

I read a story once where a news broadcast casually mentioned that Godzilla had destroyed Tokyo again; but the creature had left and, after so many years of experience, the Japanese government estimated rebuilding the city would take three weeks to a month.

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5 hours ago, Don Edwards said:

I read a story once where a news broadcast casually mentioned that Godzilla had destroyed Tokyo again; but the creature had left and, after so many years of experience, the Japanese government estimated rebuilding the city would take three weeks to a month.

Sounds like a good April Fools' Day joke....does Japan do April Fools' Day?  Or some equivalent?

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07 August

461 – Roman Emperor Majorian is beheaded near the river Iria in north-west Italy following his arrest and deposition by the magister militum Ricimer.  It seems that Western Roman Emperor Majorian committed the unforgivable sin of attempting to rule as an Emperor.  Leading without the backing of the Barbarian Generals or the Byzantine Emperor.  And enacting laws that took away wealth and privilege from the Senate.

1679 – René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, has a brigantine towed to the south-eastern end of the Niagara River.  Le Griffon becomes the first large European style ship to sail the upper Great Lakes of North America.  Griffons in the Midwest are nothing new.

1782 – George Washington orders the creation of the Badge of Military Merit, the figure of a heart in purple cloth, or silk, edged with narrow lace or binding.  This medal could be awarded for many things to officers or enlisted soldiers.  But history seems to indicate that only three soldiers, all non commissioned officers, received the award in the Revolutionary War.  After the Revolutionary War, the Badge of Military Merit fell into disuse although it was never officially abolished. In 1932, the United States War Department authorized the new Purple Heart Medal for soldiers who had previously received either a Wound Chevron or the Army Wound Ribbon. At that time, it was also determined that the Purple Heart Medal would be considered the official "successor decoration" to the Badge of Military Merit.  Is issuing a medal retroactively really the same as the medal being in continuous use?

1789 – The United States Department of War is established.  The other departments?  Ground floor:  Perfumery, stationary, and leather goods, wigs and haberdashery, kitchenware and food. Going up...  First floor:  Telephones, gents ready made suits, shirts, suits, ties, hats, underwear, and shoes. Going up...

1794 – U.S. President George Washington invokes the Militia Acts of 1792 to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania.  Congress should have expected people to be upset over any measure involving taxes and alcohol.  But who could have anticipated needing the National Guard?

1858 – The first Australian rules football match is played between Melbourne Grammar and Scotch College.  For those not familiar with Australian Rules...

The seven faculty rules at the University of Woolamaloo:

  1. No poofters.
  2. No member of the faculty is to maltreat the "Abos" in any way whatsoever—if there's anyone watching.
  3. No poofters.
  4. I don't want to catch anyone not drinking in their room after lights out.
  5. No poofters.
  6. There is no rule six.
  7. No poofters.

1876 – Birth of Mata Hari.  If history is discussing your work as a spy a century later, were you really all that good as a spy?

1909 – Alice Huyler Ramsey and three friends (none of whom could drive a car) become the first women to complete a transcontinental auto trip, taking 59 days to travel from New York, New York to San Francisco, California.  How do four people spend two months in a car without killing each other?

1955 – Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering, the precursor to Sony, sells its first transistor radios in Japan.  This is just a fad,  People trust their vacuum tubes.

1987 – Lynne Cox becomes first person to swim from the United States to the Soviet Union, crossing the Bering Strait from Little Diomede Island in Alaska to Big Diomede in the Soviet Union.  The Cold War doesn't get much colder than swimming the Bering Strait.

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Whoops!

Forgot an important birthday for 07 August

1560 – Birth of Ecsedi Báthory Erzsébet, aka, Elizabeth Báthory, aka, Countess Dracula.  Hungarian aristocrat and serial killer.  Officially, she died in 1614.  But the location of her remains are "unknown".

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08 August

422 – Birth of the man who would rule the Mayan city of Palenque in Mexico from 435 to 487.  Based on Mayan Calendar details, he is officially known as "11 Rabbit".  However, he did have a personal name that so far has eluded translation.  But thanks to an American archeologist mentioning that he thought this Mayan's name glyph resembled a cartoon ghost, this Ajaw of Palenque is known in archeological circles as "Casper".  In a thousand years, will people look at the oversized ears of Prince Charles or Barack Obama and call either one "Mickey Mouse"?

1576 – The cornerstone for Tycho Brahe's Uraniborg observatory is laid on the island of Hven.  The most important astronomical observatory in Europe before the invention of the telescope is built on an island in (at that time) Denmark by a man with a gold nose.  This really should be the plot of a Bond film.

1876 – Thomas Edison receives a patent for Autographic Printing involving the Electric Pen for making printing stencils.  Albert Dick would license this and other patents from Edison and coin the name "Mimeograph" in 1887.  For a century after that time, almost every thing printed with less that a hundred copies was produced on a mimeograph.  Anyone born in America after that century mark has probably never even seen a mimeograph.

1969 – At a zebra crossing in London, photographer Iain Macmillan takes the iconic photo that becomes the cover image of the Beatles' album Abbey Road.  Instead of posing for pictures, the band should have been watching for crossing zebras.  Those things move quickly.  They kick and bite.  And it hurts if they hit you when they're crossing.

1974 – President Richard Nixon, in a nationwide television address, announces his resignation from the office of the President of the United States effective noon the next day.  And just to add one more insult to Nixon's injured credibility, Gerald Ford is sworn in as President while in a different room of the White House than the one Nixon had specified.

1989 – Space Shuttle program: STS-28 Mission: Space Shuttle Columbia takes off on a secret five-day military mission.  We know exactly when and where the shuttle launched and landed.  We know exactly how many times it orbited the Earth.  And many people and groups in many countries routinely tracked the shuttle every moment it was in orbit.  What part of this mission was "Secret"?

2002 – International Fund for Animal Welfare designates this as International Cat Day.  Some places celebrate Cat Day as 17 February, 01 March, or 29 October.  This is amusing to those of us who know better.  To Felines, and the humans who serve them, EVERY day is Cat Day.

2004 – Original Hollywood "Scream Queen" Fay Wray performs her final death scene.

Also, 8/8, or Ate/Ate, is Vore Day.  What can be said in good taste?

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09 August

48 BC – Caesar's Civil War: Battle of Pharsalus: Julius Caesar decisively defeats Pompey at Pharsalus and Pompey flees to Egypt.  SPOILER ALERT:  This does not work out well for Pompey.  Or Pharaoh Ptolemy the Last.  Or Ptolemy's sister/wife/queen/co-ruler Cleopatra.  Or Egypt.  Or Julius Caesar.  Or Mark Antony...

435 – "Casper" (see 08 August)  succeeds K'uk' Bahlam I as Ajaw of the Maya city of Palenque in Mexico.  Your civilization may be in decline if your ruler is a ghost.

1173 – Construction of the campanile of the Cathedral of Pisa (now known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa) begins.  Due to Pisa's frequent wars, construction will be interrupted for extended periods over the next two centuries.  Which is the only reason why it is standing at all.  If the tower was built to its full height at one time, the unstable ground would have made it collapse.  But with frequent interruptions, the building had repeated opportunities to settle.  But why did they keep building after it started leaning?

1842 – The Webster–Ashburton Treaty is signed, establishing the United States–Canada border east of the Rocky Mountains.  After a few more decades of bluster and posturing, they eventually agree to continue the same border west of the Rocky Mountains.

1854 – Henry David Thoreau publishes Walden.  Advocate for the simple life by writing a best seller.

1930 – Betty Boop makes her cartoon debut in Dizzy Dishes.  Apparently, the pretty cartoon girl singing in the background was more popular than the goofy animated men acting out a stale vaudeville sketch.

1944 – The United States Forest Service and the Wartime Advertising Council release posters featuring Smokey Bear for the first time.  Remember, only you can prevent forest fires.  So why are you reading some cheesy "This Day In History" forum?  You should be out there preventing forest fires.

1965 – Singapore is expelled from Malaysia and becomes the only country to date to gain independence unwillingly.  So apparently it is bad for a city or region to voluntarily leave a country the city doesn't like.  But it is ok for a country to kick out a city or region the country doesn't like?  I've got a list of about fifty places on which the American government might want to consider imposing unwilling independence.

1999 – Russian President Boris Yeltsin fires his Prime Minister, Sergei Stepashin, and for the fourth time fires his entire cabinet.  If you've fired everyone in the government, and the government is still not doing well, then perhaps the one who should be fired is the one who had been firing the others?

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9 hours ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

1944 – The United States Forest Service and the Wartime Advertising Council release posters featuring Smokey Bear for the first time.  Remember, only you can prevent forest fires.  So why are you reading some cheesy "This Day In History" forum?  You should be out there preventing forest fires.

Probably because the forest fires are already going, so it would be pointless to try to prevent them, best to focus on putting them out now.

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On August 10 in History:

1270 - Yekuno Amlak retakes the imperial throne of Ethiopia for the Solomonic dynasty, lost 100 years before. The north remembers.

1519 - Ferdinand Magellan sets sail from Seville to circumnavigate the globe. In his haste to get moving, he neglects to inoculate himself against the tropical disease known as hit by a spear.

1628 - The Swedish warship Vasa sinks on its maiden voyage. In the harbor. After 20 minutes. They hadn't even finished playing the theme music yet.

1776 - Word reaches London that the colonists are getting a bit uppity.

1792 - King Louis XVI of France is arrested and his guards killed by a mob. An awkward moment arises when the arresting officer, out of habit, declares it "in the king's name"; everyone has a good laugh.

1793 - The Louvre Museum opens in Paris. It mostly serves as a place to stash all the stuff they took from the king, such as the Louvre Museum.

1920 - The Ottoman Empire is divided up amongst the allies of World War One. Little thought is put into the newly drawn border lines because really, how much of a problem could it be?

1932 - Death of Rin Tin Tin. Who is a dog. I have reached the bottom of the barrel.

1988 - U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs the Civil Liberties act, which provides a sum of $20,000 to all surviving victims of WWII Japanese-American internment camps. No better way to pay back years of humiliation and the deprivation of human dignity and constitutional rights than with a down payment on your therapy bills.

1990 - The Magellan space probe reaches Venus. No joke, that is some kickass timing.

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11 August

3114 BC – The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, used by several pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations, notably the Maya, begins.  This is according to the Proleptic Gregorian calendar.  Working back on the Julian calendar, it was September 06.  And the Astronomical Julian Calendar insists the year was -3113.  Either way, acording to the Popol Vuh, a book compiling details of creation accounts known to the K'iche' Maya of the Colonial-era highlands, we are living in the fourth world. The Popol Vuh describes the first three creations that the gods failed in making and the creation of the successful fourth world where men were placed. In the Maya Long Count, the previous creation ended at the start of a 14th b'ak'tun.  The previous creation ended on a Long Count of 12.19.19.17.19. Another 12.19.19.17.19 occurred on December 20, 2012 (Gregorian Calendar), followed by the start of another 14th b'ak'tun, 13.0.0.0.0, on December 21, 2012.  So the world ended six years ago and we didn't notice.

355 – Claudius Silvanus, accused of treason, proclaims himself Roman Emperor against Constantius II.  Interesting defense.  You can't be a traitor to the government if you ARE the government.

1920 – The Latvian–Soviet Peace Treaty, which relinquished Russia's authority and pretenses to Latvia, is signed, ending the Latvian War of Independence.  That's settled.  This Baltic state can now rest easy knowing their neighbors will respect their borders forever.  Or at least until Germany and Russia need a place to fight.

1921 – Birth of Alex Haley, American Cost Guardsman, journalist, historian, and author.  Oft overlooked is his contribution to horticulture.  No one else better demonstrated the importance of Roots.

1929 – Babe Ruth becomes the first baseball player to hit 500 home runs in his career with a home run at League Park in Cleveland, Ohio.  When an actual kid hits a baseball out of the yard and loses it, he or she might get punished.  But when a grown man called "Babe" loses 500 balls, he is declared a hero.

1934 – The first civilian prisoners arrive at the Federal prison on Alcatraz Island.  Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage... but they sure help.

1942 – Actress Hedy Lamarr (Not the Harvey Korman character) and composer George Antheil receive a patent for a Frequency-hopping spread spectrum communication system based on player piano rolls that was intended to keep radio guided torpedoes from being jammed.  The US Navy didn't use the system in the war, but principles and details were later incorporated into technologies like wireless telephones, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.  The War Department continued to insist that Hedy Lamarr could best serve the war effort by making movies and selling war bonds.

1969 – The Apollo 11 astronauts are released from a three-week quarantine following their liftoff from the moon.  So why was three weeks the magic number?  What if the potential alien micro organisms had an incubation period of three months?  Three years?  Three decades?

1984 – "We begin bombing in five minutes": United States President Ronald Reagan, while running for re-election, jokes during a sound check before his weekly Saturday address on National Public Radio.  Contrary to some persistent rumors, the joke was not broadcast live.  But it was recorded and leaked.  The Soviet Union was not amused.

2009 – Death of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, American activist.  After her father, Ambassador Joseph Kennedy Sr, had her sister lobotomized Eunice dedicated her life to finding better ways to treat the disabled.  Eventually founding the Special Olympics.

2014 – Death of Robin Williams, American actor and comedian.  Sometimes the laughter and love of others can't overcome the sadness and loneliness inside.

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12 August

30 BC– Death of Cleopatra, Egyptian queen.  Sometimes history bites you in the asp.

1492 – Christopher Columbus arrives in the Canary Islands on his first voyage to the New World.  The place is for the birds.

1831 – The Game Act 1831 enshrines The Glorious Twelfth as the start of the Red Grouse shooting season in Britain.  Because what could be a better game than standing in a hide waiting to shoot birds that other people and/or dogs have driven toward you by beating the ground where they were nesting?

1865 – Joseph Lister, British surgeon and scientist, performs the first antiseptic surgery.  Who would have thought that cleaning hands and surgical tools before putting them into a patient's body would keep the patient from getting infections after the surgery?  For this, the surgeon's name would be applied to the food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes, as well as the slime mould genus Listerella.  Did any one bring some Listerine?

1883 – The last quagga dies at the Natura Artis Magistra, a zoo in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  Don't horse around with extinction.

1898 – The Hawaiian flag is lowered from ʻIolani Palace in an elaborate annexation ceremony and replaced with the flag of the United States to signify the transfer of sovereignty from the Republic of Hawaii to the United States.  The Pacific kingdom had been dominated by Britain and/or the United States for decades, so the Americans might as well make it official.

1907 – Birth of Joe Besser, American actor.  Perhaps best known for being the third Stooge following the deaths of Curly and Shemp Howard.  In his later years, he did voice acting work for Hanna-Barbera.  This included the animated version of "Jeannie" where he played the bumbling apprentice genie Babu in a cast that included pre-Star Wars Mark Hamill as Jeannie's master/love interest Corey.

1960 – Echo 1A, NASA's first successful communications satellite, is launched.  A shiny, Mylar balloon orbiting about one thousand miles above the Earth.  Isn't this what happens to every balloon that gets loose from a child?

1964 – Death of Ian Fleming, English spy, journalist, and author.  It seems he could not write his way out of every death trap.

1977 – The first free flight of the Space Shuttle Enterprise.  A massive fan effort convinced NASA to change the name of the atmospheric test version of the Space Shuttle to "Enterprise".  Should we be upset or grateful that fans don't expend that kind of effort on more meaningful matters?

1981 – The IBM Personal Computer is released.  But it crashed and froze so often that it never got far. No need for a leash.

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3 hours ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

1865 – Joseph Lister, British surgeon and scientist, performs the first antiseptic surgery.  Who would have thought that cleaning hands and surgical tools before putting them into a patient's body would keep the patient from getting infections after the surgery?  For this, the surgeon's name would be applied to the food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes, as well as the slime mould genus Listerella.  Did any one bring some Listerine?

And no-one ever as much as even mentioned Lister's faithful companion Rimmer.

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13 August

29 BC – Octavian holds the first of three consecutive triumphs in Rome to celebrate the victory over the Dalmatian tribes.  Everybody likes a nice parade and a big party.  Three consecutive Triumphs must be even better.  Right?  Oh, and make sure everyone knows that even though you conquered the Dalmatian people, their dogs are still available for fire house duty.

1516 – The Treaty of Noyon between France and Spain is signed. Francis I of France recognizes Charles's claim to Naples, and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, recognizes Francis's claim to Milan.  Do the people living in Naples and Milan have any say in the matter?

1521 – After an extended siege, forces led by Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés capture Tlatoani Cuauhtémoc and conquer the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.  Montezuma would have his revenge.

1624 – The French king Louis XIII appoints Cardinal Richelieu as prime minister.  “Upon learning of Cardinal Richelieu’s death, Pope Urban VIII is alleged to have said, “If there is a God, the Cardinal de Richelieu will have much to answer for. If not… well, he had a successful life.”  ― Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy

1889 – William Gray of Hartford, Connecticut is granted United States Patent Number 408,709 for "Coin-controlled apparatus for telephones."  He did not know it at the time, but until the invention of the Cell Phone, Mr Gray's invention was an indispensable tool for mild mannered reporters in a never ending battle for Truth, Justice, and The American Way!

1898 – Spanish–American War: Spanish and American forces engage in a mock battle for Manila.  The Spanish commander knew he couldn't win.  So he negotiated a plan to have Manila occupied by the Americans rather than let the city be taken by the revolting Filipinos.

1898 – Carl Gustav Witt discovers 433 Eros, the first near-Earth asteroid to be found BEFORE it became an Earth-impacting asteroid.

1940 – Battle of Britain: Adlertag, the first day of the Luftwaffe operation to destroy RAF.  This one wouldn't work out as Germany expected.

1961 – Cold War: East Germany closes the border between the eastern and western sectors of Berlin to thwart its inhabitants' attempts to escape to the West, and construction of the Berlin Wall is started.  And who is going to pay for this wall?

1967 – For the first time in the 57-year history of Montana's Glacier National Park, two young women become fatal victims of grizzly bear attacks in two separate incidents.  I learned almost everything I know about bears from Yogi, and I don't recall that topic being discussed in the cartoons.

1969 – The Apollo 11 astronauts are featured in a New York City ticker tape parade.  Later that evening in Los Angeles (that was a very long parade),  At an official dinner, US President Richard Nixon awards them the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Of course, "Freedom" is a relative concept.  These astronauts will be on call for several years.

1976 – International Left Handers Day was created to celebrate certain people's sinistrality by Dean R. Campbell, founder of the Lefthanders International, Inc.  Or, as Yogi Berra stated it so well,  “I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.”

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32 minutes ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

1889 – William Gray of Hartford, Connecticut is granted United States Patent Number 408,709 for "Coin-controlled apparatus for telephones."  He did not know it at the time, but until the invention of the Cell Phone, Mr Gray's invention was an indispensable tool for mild mannered reporters in a never ending battle for Truth, Justice, and The American Way!

I hear the iPhone XI will have a compartment you can use to keep superhero uniforms in.

33 minutes ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

Battle of Britain: Adlertag, the first day of the Luftwaffe operation to destroy RAF.  This one wouldn't work out as Germany expected.

An unfortunate side effect of spies and observers delivering inflated reports of enemy losses because OKW didn't want to hear of the actual ones, which were too low.

35 minutes ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

1961 – Cold War: East Germany closes the border between the eastern and western sectors of Berlin to thwart its inhabitants' attempts to escape to the West, and construction of the Berlin Wall is started.  And who is going to pay for this wall?

I understand Stalin tried to send the bill to Mexico. They didn't pay for that one, either.

35 minutes ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

1967 – For the first time in the 57-year history of Montana's Glacier National Park, two young women become fatal victims of grizzly bear attacks in two separate incidents.  I learned almost everything I know about bears from Yogi, and I don't recall that topic being discussed in the cartoons.

A missed opportunity, that. "Only you can keep yourself from getting stupidly mauled by bears" is actually a message with some point to it.

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On August 14 in History:

1183 - The controlling Taira clan of Japan escape with the 4 year-old emperor Antoku to avoid capture by the rival Minamoto clan. If they ran any farther west, they'd have gone right into the sea. That is probably the most egregious "one percenter" joke I've ever written.

1385 - In the Battle of Aljubarrota between Portugal and Castile, the forces of King John I prevail over the forces of King John I. God dammit, Europe.

1791 - Vodou priest Dutty Boukman leads a religious ceremony for slaves in Saint-Domingue, essentially kicking off the Haitian Revolution. "Sure beats a religion that condones this shit." ~All the slaves.

1848 - The U.S. Congress officially organizes the Oregon Territory. So many people die of dysentery.

1880 - The Cologne Cathedral in Germany is completed, just one day shy of its 632nd birthday. Go, German engineering!

1916 - Romania declares war on Austria-Hungary. All the cool countries were going to war; they didn't want to be left out.

1935 - In the U.S., the Social Security Act creates a slush fund to be used by political parties to fund pet projects without raising taxes.

1975 - The Rocky Horror Picture show opens in London. The longest running film release in history, it still has limited screenings to this day, like it's caught in some kind of Time Warp.

1983 - Mila Kunis is born. Nerds everywhere rejoice.

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Also this day:

2003- A software bug in FirstEnergy's energy management system prevents visual and audio alarms from notifying personnel to a problem in the grid, the problem ends up resulting in 256 power plants shutting down in a cascade leaving much of the NE US, most of southern Ontario and even parts of northern Ontario without power for up to 3 days. For the rest of the year Canada and the US would take turns trying to blame the other for the blackout, but a joint investigation would reveal that a generating plant in Ohio shut down due to being overstressed after powerlines came into contact with overgrown trees. In 2004, FirstEnergy would be found negligent in several areas, but was not punished due to lack of "enforceable reliability standards" in the US.

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For no reason!

 

On August 15 in history:

717 - The second Arab siege of Constantinople begins. Remember this; we'll come back to it later.

718 - The second Arab siege of Constantinople is lifted. What? I didn't say very much later.

1040 - Duncan I of Scotland is killed in battle by his cousin Macbeth, which everyone remembers incorrectly thanks to Shakespeare writing a play about it that we're not allowed to mention.

1057 - King Macbeth is killed in battle. Freaky coincidence aside, most surviving accounts of the time say he was a fairly decent fellow - but that doesn't make for good theater.

1248 - The foundation stone is laid for Cologne Cathedral. It would be completed in the year 1880. German industriousness at its finest.

1281 - For the second time, Kublai Khan attempts an invasion of Japan. For the second time, he is repulsed by a typhoon, and by samurai shooting arrows into his remaining soldiers. He takes the hint and does not try again.

1483 - Pope Sixtus IV consecrates the Sistine Chapel - a lavish holy church covered in paintings of naked people.

1519 - Panama City is founded. Wait for it...

1914 - The Panama Canal opens. What is it about this date that lends itself to significant echoes? Also, they should have waited just one more year.

1939 - Premier of The Wizard of Oz. Audiences are disappointed when a dog reveals the entrance to the projectionist's booth.

1945 - Japan surrenders, ending World War II. Did I say today's list was for no reason? Shame on you if you believed me.

1947 - Independence for India. They join the Commonwealth of course; they still want to hang out with all their friends.

1960 - Independence for Congo. Sadly for them, there is no commonwealth for former French colonies. Citizens of the Republic of the Congo are seen looking longingly over at India and sighing at all the fun they're missing out on.

1963 - President Fulbert Youlou of the Republic of the Congo is overthrown. Wait, didn't they just...good lord, get it together down there.

1969 - Woodstock begins. A pivotal moment in music history that has essentially been reduced to fodder for hippie gags in modern popular culture.

1971 - Independence for Bahrain, who decide they're way too cool for the Commonwealth.

1990 - Actress Jennifer Lawrence is born, presumably in the most charming and adorable manner imaginable.

There was going to be one more from 1998, but it was a terrorist bombing in Northern Ireland and I didn't want to end on a downer.

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On August 16 in History:

1 BCE - Wang Mang is declared Marshal of State in Han China. The only reason I put this in here is because I'm apparently twelve years old and find his name amusing.

1328 - The House of Gonzaga comes to power in the Duchy of Mantua. They'll hold it until 1708, and the local news networks will talk of nothing else the entire time.

1812 - General William Hull earns the title of biggest wuss in U.S. military history when he surrenders Fort Detroit to an inferior (in numbers) British and Native army without a fight.

1858 - U.S. President James Buchanan and Queen Victoria (you know the one) exchange greetings in the inauguration of the transatlantic telegraph cable. The Queen's read: "Lovely to hear from you. Stop. I'll not keep you. Stop. I know your work as president is impotent. Stop. Oh, damn. I meant important. Stop. Bloody autocorrect. Stop."

1888 - T.E. Lawrence (later of Arabia) is born. Several Academy Award statuettes are prepared in advance.

1958 - Madonna is born. No one thinks it is pretentious of her parents to name her after the most common appellation for the Christian mother of God.

1960 - Cyprus becomes the 437th country to obtain independence from Great Britain.

1966 - The House Un-American Activities committee starts looking for people aiding the Viet Cong. Despite many Americans' surprise that this is even still a thing, it manages to remain in operation for another nine years, until finally fizzling out, since looking for Charlies isn't nearly as exciting or glamorous as looking for Commies or Nazis.

1991 - Evanna Lynch is born. Full disclosure: she's my biggest celebrity crush and I was just looking for an excuse to shoehorn her in here.

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I must disagree with your meticulous analysis of history.

2 hours ago, Illjwamh said:

1812 - General William Hull earns the title of biggest wuss in U.S. military history when he surrenders Fort Detroit to an inferior (in numbers) British and Native army without a fight.

Have you been to Detroit?  Hull was probably under orders to get rid of the silly thing.

And while I'm at it for 16 August...

1916 – The Migratory Bird Treaty between Canada and the United States is signed.  Now the population of Florida swells six months each year as "Snowbirds" drive south for the winter.

1933 – Birth of Julie Newmar.  Meow.

1962 – Pete Best is discharged from The Beatles, to be replaced two days later by Ringo Starr.  What ever it was, I'm sure Mr Best is sorry and promises not to do it again if Sir James Paul McCartney would take him back.

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17 August

1498 – Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI (Yes, the Son of the Pope by his mistress), becomes the first person in history to resign the cardinalate; later that same day, King Louis XII of France names him Duke of Valentinois.  His struggle, and ultimate failure, to maintain rule over lands given to him by relatives and friends becomes the inspiration for The Prince by Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli.

1585 – A first group of colonists sent by Sir Walter Raleigh under the charge of Ralph Lane lands in the New World to create Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island, off the coast of present-day North Carolina. SPOILER ALERT:  This does not turn out well.

1907 – Pike Place Market, a popular tourist destination and registered historic district in Seattle, opened.  If you want to catch a fish, they will throw you a 11/2 foot, 10 pound Sockeye.  Or they might knock you over with a 3 foot, 40 pound Chinook.

1930 – World Premier of The Wrath Of Harve Bennett.

1943 – World War II:  A busy day for the Allies.

  • The U.S. Eighth Air Force suffers the loss of 60 bombers on the Schweinfurt–Regensburg mission.  They might want to rethink having bombers without fighter escort fly deep into enemy territory.
  • The U.S. Seventh Army under General George S. Patton arrives in Messina, Italy, followed several hours later by the British 8th Army under Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, thus completing the Allied conquest of Sicily.  Wasn't Montgomery supposed to capture the city of Messina?  Why didn't Patton stick to the plan?
  • First Québec Conference of Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and William Lyon Mackenzie King begins.  Since they were meeting in Canada, Churchill and Roosevelt thought it would be nice to invite the Canadian Prime Minister.  At least for the Photo Op.
  • Hail Hydra?  The Royal Air Force begins Operation Hydra, the first air raid of the Operation Crossbow strategic bombing campaign against Germany's V-weapon program.

1945 – The novella Animal Farm by George Orwell is first published.  Because it was critical of Stalin, nobody in Britain would publish it until after the war was over.  But who would believe politics could be dominated by pigs who have their mindless followers shut down all discussion and dissent by repeatedly shouting slogans?

1958 – Pioneer 0, America's first attempt at lunar orbit, is launched using the first Thor-Able rocket and fails. Notable as one of the first attempted launches beyond Earth orbit by any country.  It would have been even more notable if it had gotten any where near the moon.

1959 – Quake Lake is formed by the magnitude 7.5 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake near Hebgen Lake in Montana.  And they had just printed all those maps.

1998 – Lewinsky scandal: US President Bill Clinton admits in taped testimony that he had an "improper physical relationship" with White House intern Monica Lewinsky; later that same day he admits before the nation that he "misled people" about the relationship.  Did we mention that five hundred years earlier the POPE had several children with more than one woman?

2008 – American swimmer Michael Phelps becomes the first person to win eight gold medals at one Olympic Games.  At what point does "success" become "ostentatious"?

Also, 17 August is National Vanilla Custard Day.  Although I really don't know why.

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