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This Day In History

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4 hours ago, Don Edwards said:

It's kind of odd... most of the military victories that became part of England's (not Britain's, just England's) national self-image occurred in this war, which lasted about 70 years and thus is known as the Hundred Years War.

But... England decisively lost the war. At the start of it, nearly half of modern France owed fealty to England's king or was substantially surrounded by fiefdoms that did... at the end, almost none of modern France reported to England. Like, one or two small port cities on the English Channel were all that was left of that half of the kingdom.

Actually, the war was not a single war but a series of conflicts that took place over about 116 years. Also, England didn't start in the position you describe; that was their high water mark. At the beginning of the conflict in 1337, their only holdings on the continent were a tiny strip of land down in Gascony.

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26 October

1597 – Imjin War: Admiral Yi Sun-sin routs the Japanese Navy of 300 ships with only 13 ships at the Battle of Myeongnyang.  There is an advantage to being lighter an more maneuverable than your opponent.  But 23:1 is a bit much.

1640 – The Treaty of Ripon is signed, restoring peace between Scotland and Charles I of England.  Don't despair, Scotland.  Your descendants in America will use the lesson of your treaties with England when writing treaties with the Native Americans.

1689 – General Piccolomini of Austria burns down Skopje, supposedly to prevent the spread of cholera.  Others think he ordered the destruction of the city just because it was too far from his own headquarters to rule effectively.  He died of cholera himself soon after, so good job preventing the disease from spreading.

1774 – The first Continental Congress adjourns in Philadelphia. I wonder if anyone will notice.

1775 – King George III of Great Britain goes before Parliament to declare the American colonies in rebellion, and authorizes a military response to quell the American Revolution.  I guess someone did notice what they were doing in the City of Brotherly Love.

1776 – Benjamin Franklin departs from America for France on a mission to seek French support for the American Revolution.  "Hi France.  Would you like to help us annoy England?"

1813 – War of 1812: A combined force of British regulars, Canadian militia, and Mohawks defeat the Americans in the Battle of the Chateauguay.  Canadians still invade the US every autumn.  Especially Florida for about six months.

1825 – The Erie Canal opens: Passage from Albany, New York to Lake Erie.  Sal the Mule becomes the most famous female in the New World.

1861 – Two days after the first transcontinental telegraph was completed,  the Pony Express officially ceases operations.  What?  No federal bailout or bankruptcy restructuring?

1881 – The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral takes place at Tombstone, Arizona.  For those of you unfamiliar with the event, some cowboys involved with illegal activities objected to law enforcement interfering with those activities.

1905 – Sweden accepts the independence of Norway.  But what will Scandinavia fight about now?

1912 – First Balkan War: The Ottoman occupied city of Thessaloniki, is liberated and unified with Greece on the feast day of its patron saint Demetrius. On the same day, Serbian troops captured Skopje.  Only 223 years after it was burned down it had once again become a military target.  Nice recovery.

1917 – World War I: Battle of Caporetto; Italy suffers a catastrophic defeat to the forces of Austria-Hungary and Germany. The young unknown Oberleutnant Erwin Rommel captures Mount Matajur with only 100 Germans against a force of over 7000 Italians.  In case you didn't realize it, Erwin Rommel was the Chuck Norris of Germany.

1946 – H _ P P Y   _ _ R T H _ _ Y   P _ T   S _ J _ K

1947 – The Maharaja of Kashmir and Jammu agrees to allow his kingdom to join India.  When Britain left India, there were more than a few unresolved issues...

1996 – In Boston where the American Academy of Pediatrics was holding its annual conference.  Intersex activists Morgan Holmes and Max Beck attempt to deliver an address, "on long-term outcomes and to challenge their still-prevailing opinion that cosmetic surgery to "fix" intersexed genitals was the best course of action", but were "met, officially, with hostility and were escorted out of the conference by security guards".  The group only later demonstrated, carrying a sign saying "Hermaphrodites With Attitude"

1999 – Britain's House of Lords votes to end the right of hereditary peers to vote in Britain's upper chamber of Parliament.  If this keeps up, ancient titles will no longer be worth the parchment upon which they are illuminated.

2001 – The United States passes the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 or USA PATRIOT Act into law.  It faced a lot of legal challenges, some of which might have been avoided if anyone had bothered to read the entire act before it was passed and signed into law.  But the nifty acronym title was enough to silence any early dissent.

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27 October

939 – Æthelstan, the first King of England, died and was succeeded by his half-brother, Edmund I.  The Royal names of England were so much more interesting before the Normans replaced the Anglo-Saxon monarchs.

1275 – Oldest documentation of the city of Amsterdam.  Actually, it was a declaration allowing the inhabitants of the village of Aemstelredamme to travel freely through the County of Holland, paying no tolls at bridges, locks and dams.  It seems that if you're Dutch, you don't need to be a Billy Goat to avoid paying the Troll under the bridge.

1795 – The United States and Spain sign the Treaty of Madrid, which establishes the boundaries between Spanish colonies and the U.S.  That seems to be a practical solution.  Unless, of course...

1810 – United States annexes the former Spanish colony of West Florida.  Well, so much for that treaty.

1904 – The first underground New York City Subway line opens; the system becomes the biggest in United States, and one of the biggest in the world.  Can you dig it?

1914 – The British lose their first battleship of World War I: The British super-dreadnought battleship HMS Audacious (23,400 tons) is sunk off Tory Island, north-west of Ireland, by a minefield laid by the armed German merchant-cruiser Berlin. The loss was kept an official secret in Britain until 14 November 1918 (three days after the end of the war). The sinking was witnessed and photographed by passengers on RMS Olympic.  The Olympic passengers included many Americans who, as citizens of a neutral state, were not obligated to keep the secret, and they did talk.  By the end of the war, the only people who did not know about the sinking of the Audacious were British civilians who relied entirely on the British press for information.  How Audacious indeed.

1988 – Cold War: Ronald Reagan suspends construction of the new U.S. Embassy in Moscow due to Soviet listening devices in the building structure.  If the KGB had not demanded that the local contractors install so many listening devices, the American security might not have noticed a smaller number.

1994 – Gliese 229B is the first Substellar Mass Object to be unquestionably identified.  Who would have thought that there were things other than stars orbiting other stars?

2017 – Catalonia declares independence from Spain.  Spain did not agree...

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28 October

AD 97 – Emperor Nerva is forced by the Praetorian Guard to adopt general Marcus Ulpius Trajanus as his heir and successor.  The Emperor's Guard is so much more loyal when they choose the Emperor.

1636 – A vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony establishes the first college in what would become the United States, today known as Harvard University.  And do fight fiercely... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27PSHASlGUU

1664 – The Duke of York and Albany's Maritime Regiment of Foot is established.  Tell it to the Marines.  The Royal Marines, that is.  

1726 – The novel Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift is published.  Is it a parody of traveler's tales?  Is it political satire?  Or is the sophisticated literature lost on the Yahoos of the English speaking world?

1775 – American Revolutionary War: A British proclamation forbids residents from leaving Boston.  This order will be rediscovered in 1991 and enacted as the Big Dig, keeping everyone from moving into, out from, around, or through Boston until 2007.

1886 – In New York Harbor, President Grover Cleveland (not the Muppet, not the Family Guy neighbor) dedicates the Statue of Liberty. The first ticker tape parade takes place in New York City when office workers spontaneously throw ticker tape into the streets as the statue is dedicated.  If you throw your office waste paper out the window, that's littering.  If you throw your office waste paper out the window onto a parade, that's patriotism.

1893 – Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 in B Minor receives its première performance in St. Petersburg, only nine days before the composer's death.  Critics call it Pathétique.

1919 – The U.S. Congress passes the Volstead Act over President Woodrow Wilson's First Lady Edith Wilson's veto, paving the way for Prohibition to begin the following January.

1922 – Italian fascists led by Benito Mussolini march on Rome and take over the Italian government.  The King convinced the Prime Minister to step aside and let the Black Shirt Bullies wear themselves out playing with the government.  This couldn't possibly turn out badly.

1940 – World War II: Greece rejects Italy's ultimatum. The Greco-Italian War begins. Italy invades Greece through Albania, marking Greece's entry into World War II.  Did Mussolini think that Greece would do the same thing Italy did?

1942 – The Alaska Highway (Alcan Highway) is completed through Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska.  They can build a 1,700 mile highway through Canadian wilderness in less than a year, but I can't get anyone to patch a pothole where the street meets the highway?

1943 – According to "Anonymous" letters received by Astronomer Morris K. Jessup in 1955, it was on this date in 1943 that the US Navy conducted experiments involving invisibility, teleportation, interdimensional and time travel on the destroyer escort USS Eldridge (DE-173) at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.  The so-called Philadelphia Experiment.  Interesting idea, except that the Eldridge was on a shakedown cruise in the Bahamas at the time.

1955 – William Henry Gates version 3.0 goes live in Seattle, WA.  The US Mint begins putting his baby picture on the currency.   He'll own it all anyway.

1956 – Elvis Presley receives a polio vaccination on national TV. This single event is credited with raising immunization levels in the United States from 0.6% to over 80% in just six months.  But is there any treatment for that twitchy lip of his?

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29 October

This one is late.  Sorry...

539 BC – Cyrus the Great (founder of Persian Empire, not Achy Breaky Billy Ray) entered the capital of Babylon and allowed the Jews to return to their land.  Tip for future conquerors, don't go conquering people if there is any chance they could see someone else conquer you.  It really wears away at the mystique.

1618 – English adventurer, writer, and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh is beheaded for allegedly conspiring against James I of England.  Royal Survival Tip: when there is a change of monarch, the closer you were to the former monarch, the farther you should stay from the current monarch.

1888 – The Convention of Constantinople is signed, The Con-Con.  No, it's not a gathering of people with the purpose of taking each other's money.  That's every other Convention.  This one is a guarantee  of free maritime passage through the Suez Canal during war and peace.  Signatories included representatives from United Kingdom, Germany, Austro-Hungary, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire.  Strangely absent from the proceedings was Egypt.

1901 – In Amherst, Massachusetts, nurse Jane Toppan is arrested for murdering the Davis family of Boston with an overdose of morphine.  After her arrest she confessed to 31 murders. She is quoted as saying that her ambition was "to have killed more people—helpless people—than any other man or woman who ever lived".  It is good to have a goal in life.

1922 – King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy appoints Benito Mussolini as Prime Minister.  Yes, let's see if appeasing political bullies makes them less annoying and/or dangerous.  Neville Chamberlain is taking notes.

1923 – Turkey becomes a republic.  The Ottoman Empire is reduced to the footstool of history.

1929 – The New York Stock Exchange crashes in what will be called the Crash of '29 or "Black Tuesday", ending the Great Bull Market of the 1920s and beginning the Great Depression.  This time it isn't just ticker tape falling from the high windows on Wall Street.

1944 – World War II: The Soviet Red Army enters Hungary.  They would not leave until significantly later.

1998 – Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off on STS-95 with 77-year-old John Glenn on board, making him the oldest person to go into space.  During an in-flight interview, the Senator claims that he can now get his Tang with Geritol or Metamucil.

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On October 30 in History:

637 - Rashidun Caliphate conquest of Antioch. Of the Pentarchy, that's one down and four to go. Here's lookin' at you, Jerusalem and Alexandria.

1340 - Portuguese and Castilian forces put a stop to any ideas of re-reconquisting at the Battle of Río Salado. And stay out!

1485 - Henry VII Tudor is crowned, putting these ridiculous Rose Wars or whatever they're called to an end. England never fights with itself again.

1735 - The birth of John Adams is accompanied, one can only assume, by a stunning and impressive musical number.

1806 - Prussian general Friedrich Gisbert Wilhelm Freiherr von Romberg, commander of over 5,000 men, surrenders the city of Stettin to 800 French soldiers without a fight. You had one job, dude.

1817 - Simón Bolívar is chosen as president of the Third Republic of Venezuela, which doesn't officially exist. It is the successor to the First and Second Republics of Venezuela, which never officially existed either.

1863 - A Danish prince named Vilhelm changes it to George so he can be King of Greece. God dammit, Europe.

1864 - The Treaty of Vienna forces Denmark to cede Schleswig to Prussia, and Holstein to Austria. The Austrians are only slightly more pleased with the results than the Danes.

1905 - Nicholas II of Russia grants his subjects basic civil liberties (better late than never?) and the right to elect a parliament (called a duma). It should be noted that he did not want to do this, and only did so because the guy he handpicked to head a military dictatorship instead threatened to shoot himself in the head if he didn't.

1938 - Orson Welles scares the shit out of a lot of really gullible people across the United States.

1975 - Prince Juan Carlos assumes acting Head of State duties in Spain for ailing but not-yet-dead dictator Francisco Franco. He is trusted in this position because of how much he loves fascism. Yesiree, loves him some fascism. Can't get enough of it, really. He's the best possible choice to take over once Franco is gone. Because of how great at fascism he is.

1981 - Ivanka Trump is born. Punchline redacted.

1983 - Democratic elections are held in Argentina after seven years of military rule. Hopefully they won't elect a fascist who thinks the military dictatorship wasn't militaristic enough. Because wow, that would be stupid. Can't imagine anybody doing that.

1995 - For the second time, citizens of Quebec vote to stay part of Canada. This does not deter hardliners, who remain convinced that Quexit would be wonderful idea that would not only benefit the people of Quebec, but would be easy to execute in a timely, efficient manner.

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On October 31 in History:

475 - Romulus Augustulus becomes Western Roman Emperor. I do love a good set of bookends.

1517 - Martin Luther is upset with - among other things - the Church's practice of selling plenary indulgences, a method of fleecing money from people in exchange for empty promises of salvation. He comes up with an astonishing 95 arguments that the Church is full of shit, and in so doing inadvertently sets in motion the process of the Protestant Reformation, a process that will ultimately - among other things - result in the creation of Evangelical megachurches, a method of fleecing money from people in exchange for empty promises of earthly prosperity. Meet the new god, same as the old god.

1917 - At the Battle of Beersheba, soldiers riding horses run right into the enemy army as they have been doing for thousands of years. This is the last time it ever actually works.

1918 - Austria-Hungary becomes Austria and Hungary.

1922 - Benito Mussolini becomes prime minister of Italy. His primary skills are posturing, maintaining a cult of personality, and stirring up nationalist fervor. Why does that sound so familiar?

1926 - Italian independent newspaper Il Mondo is shut down by the Mussolini government for being outspoken against the regime. No need to worry; I'm sure this isn't relevant.

1941 - Construction of Mount Rushmore is finished, if by "finished", you mean they ran out of money, looked at the 25% completed project and said, "Eh, good enough." And then left without cleaning up their mess.

1967 – American rapper Robert Matthew Van Winkle is born, preceded inexplicably by some vanilla beans and two bags of ice.

1998 - Iraq decides the UN can't boss them around, and they're not going to comply with weapons inspectors anymore. I mean really, what are they going to do about it? Nothing? That's what I thought.

2000 - Humans start living in space. We've been up there continuously ever since. Go us.

2011 – The human population hits 7 billion. You know, give or take a few hundred thousand.

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3 hours ago, Illjwamh said:

At the Battle of Beersheba, soldiers riding horses run right into the enemy army as they have been doing for thousands of years. This is the last time it ever actually works.

Last time a mass charge worked.  Small "charges" happened in the 70's  by the Grey Scouts in what was then Rhodesia.  Also small charges to get out of ambushes by US special forces that happen to be mounted in Afghanistan.

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If you are sufficiently Anglo-Saxon, Blōtmōnaþ, Blod-monath, or blót month.  The month of sacrifice.  It was the month when the ancient, heathen, barbarian Britons would sacrifice their cattle to various gods and have a huge feast.  Now it is the month when the modern, Christian, civilized American descendants of the Britons sacrifice Turkeys to Football and have a huge feast.

November is the month, according to Catholic tradition, to pray for Holy Souls in Purgatory.  Although, isn't the point of Purgatory to be the place for souls that aren't really Evil, but not really Holy?

November is also the Annual Family Reunion Planning Month.  Note that it is NOT the Family Reunion Month.  If you really can't stand some (or all) of your relatives, it is sufficient to PLAN a family reunion.

November is celebrated as Movember.  A month when men are encouraged to grow moustaches for awareness of men's health issues.  Like that fuzzy thing that sprouts between the lip and the nose on men.

And of particular interest to EGS, November is Transgender Awareness Month.

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Got some catching up to do!

On 9/30/2018 at 11:57 PM, Illjwamh said:

On October 1 in History:

1887 - Baluchistan is conquered by the British Empire. For the people of the region, it is one of the most significant days of their lives. For the British, it is Tuesday.

Oct 1, 1887 = Friday  ;-P


1903 - The first game of the first modern World Series is played between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Boston Americans (who will go on to win). The Americans would later change their name, and if you can't guess to what based on the fact that I've bothered to included this event in the first place, we're not friends anymore.

The Celtics?


1960 - Nigeria attains independence from the United Kingdom. For the Nigerians, it is the most important day of their nation's modern history. For the U.K., it is Tuesday.

Another Friday.  Perhaps the expression needs modification?  ;-)


1978 - Tuvalu gains independence from the U.K. Another Tuesday.

Whoops, maybe not, that's a Saturday....


1982 - Epcot Center opens in Disney World. Still not happy enough.

My family went shortly after Epcot opened.  It seemed crowded then, but considering the very longest lines were a bit over an hour, and the wait time for a couple of Avatar rides on my last visit were closer to four hours than three, I guess it wasn't so bad then.


1992 - Cartoon Network begins broadcasting. Nickelodeon scoffs at their pretension.

I remember when Nickelodeon was non-commercial.  And had an actual nickelodeon, being cranked by a mime, for their station IDs.  Nick cannot scoff at anyone else, ever.  A mime!

On 10/8/2018 at 11:46 AM, Illjwamh said:

On October 8 in History:

1871 - The Great Chicago Fire, perhaps the most famous fire in American history, begins. It is not, however, the largest or most deadly. That honor goes to the Peshtigo Fire, which by the way also begins today. Somebody has to do something about that damn cow!

There were some interesting theories going around for a while that Peshtigo, Chicago, and several other fires that same day were started by a meteor that broke up into pieces which landed across the midwest and started the fires.  Trouble is, meteorites don't generally start fires, they're cool by the time they land.

If it were London, it would be aliens.

On 10/10/2018 at 6:54 AM, Illjwamh said:

Okay, how the hell have I not done 10/10 yet?

On October 10 in History:

1957 - Manga artist Rumiko Takahashi is born. They thought she was a boy until someone splashed some cold water on her.

Isn't that usually the other way round, re cold water making things more or less prominent?  ;-)


1967 - The Outer Space Treaty comes into effect. Among other things, it bans the stationing of weapons of mass destruction in Earth orbit or on the moon, as well as moon-based weapons testing or permanent moon bases. Supervillains everywhere are outraged.

No permanent bases in the moon?  Even if they're peaceful?  I think I'm a little outraged, too!


1971 - London Bridge opens, but not in London. It has been transported and rebuilt block for block in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. The nursery rhyme becomes a lot more cumbersome.

I remember driving past that on our big California trip!  That, we got to see, but not Meteor Crater??  Aw, c'mon, Dad!


1973 - U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew, having been charged with tax evasion, resigns. "Why didn't he just pretend it didn't matter until everyone forgot about it?" asks...someone. I'm not going to say who.

Even the crooks had more integrity back then.  Or at least cared about that part of their image more.

On 10/11/2018 at 7:39 AM, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

11 October

1968 – Apollo program: NASA launches Apollo 7, the first successful manned Apollo mission, with astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn F. Eisele and Walter Cunningham aboard.  The professional American Rocket Scientists finally get one right.

I just have to speak up on this one.  Those men and women got more right that most of us will ever get right or wrong in our lives.  People struggled and died to get them up there, and then on to the moon.  I'm with the xkcd guy on this one....they deserve our utmost respect.

On 10/17/2018 at 0:10 PM, Illjwamh said:

On October 17 in History:

1091 - A massive freaking tornado hits right in the middle of London. I dunno, this feels like a really sloppy cover-up for some wizard shenanigans.

It's London.  Wizards would be up in Scotland in their castle.  In London, it's aliens and Time Lords.

On 10/17/2018 at 0:10 PM, Illjwamh said:

1814 - Several vats burst, leading to a literal flood of beer in London. Now I'll make an obvious joke about it! Except eight people die, you monster.

People talk about "as slow as molasses" -- well, apparently, molasses can flood a city at 35 mph.  Killed 21, injured 150 in Boston.

On 10/17/2018 at 0:10 PM, Illjwamh said:

2018 - Canada, already one of the most chill, laid-back places on Earth, legalizes recreational marijuana use. Word is still out on whether they have achieved some sort of friendly Nirvana.

They're ahead if us on so many things....

On 10/18/2018 at 8:41 AM, Illjwamh said:

Just for some context, today's ma birfday.

On Oct. 18 in History:

629 - Dagobert I is crowned king of the Franks. Naturally, he still must answer to an incompetent, pointy-haired Pope.

I thought of Dagobah, myself.  Not as easy a joke, though.

On 10/18/2018 at 8:41 AM, Illjwamh said:

1867 - Alaska is purchased for the U.S. from Russia at a price of $7.2 million. In 1867 dollars, that's like the equivalent of Zeus's diamond-encrusted golden testicles. Everyone thought it was a worthless purchase and William Seward, who oversaw the deal, would never live it down. No, really. Because even though gold and oil and down-to-earth folksy hockey-moms were later found in abundance, he would die nearly five years to the day (Oct. 10) later and never got to see any of that. He may have lucked out on that last one.

Ah, yes, Seward's Folly, one of two such deals, the other being the Louisiana Purchase.

On 10/18/2018 at 8:41 AM, Illjwamh said:

1898 - The United States takes Puerto Rico from Spain. Because we feel like it. If the pattern holds, this means Sarah Palin 2.0, now in Latina form, has already been born.

Bite your tongue!  (Or whatever the typing equivalent is)

On 10/18/2018 at 8:41 AM, Illjwamh said:

1922 - The BBC is founded, which among other things eventually leads to the creation of both Dr. Who and Monty Python. And there was much rejoicing.

Yay Downton Abbey!  Yay Sherlock!

On 10/18/2018 at 8:41 AM, Illjwamh said:

1929 - I won't bore you with the details, but long story short: The Supreme Court of Canada is overruled and it is determined that women are, in fact, considered "persons" under Canadian law. What were they considered before? Given Canada's national animal, I'm trying REALLY hard not to make the obvious joke. You're welcome.

Too late, you already made it.  But you'd be surprised how the law defines things -- there are a lot of laws which refer to "animal" in such a way that it doesn't include, say, birds or lizards.

On 10/18/2018 at 8:41 AM, Illjwamh said:

1983 - The first human being to live to the age of 150 is born. Interestingly, that is also his I/Q. Rumor has it he is also very witty and charming.

First so far as you know, anyway.  ;-)

On 10/20/2018 at 3:09 PM, Illjwamh said:

On October 20 in History:

1720 - Pirate Calico Jack Rackham is captured by the royal navy. He is notable for having not one but two famous female pirates in his crew, and for being one of the chief inspirations for Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow. It is unknown whether infusing him with Keith Richards made him more or less eccentric.

"Ah, Jack, if ye'd fought like a man, ye needn't be hanged like a dog!"  Mary Reade and Anne Bonney went above to fight while the men were all cowering and/or drunk down below.

On 10/23/2018 at 0:56 PM, Don Edwards said:

Is guaca-mole made with avogadros?

There's a guacamole for sale at Trader Joe's called "Avocado's Number"!

On 10/27/2018 at 7:03 AM, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

27 October

1795 – The United States and Spain sign the Treaty of Madrid, which establishes the boundaries between Spanish colonies and the U.S.  That seems to be a practical solution.  Unless, of course...

1810 – United States annexes the former Spanish colony of West Florida.  Well, so much for that treaty.

Should've asked the natives whether to trust our treaties.

On 10/27/2018 at 7:03 AM, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

1914 – The British lose their first battleship of World War I: The British super-dreadnought battleship HMS Audacious (23,400 tons) is sunk off Tory Island, north-west of Ireland, by a minefield laid by the armed German merchant-cruiser Berlin. The loss was kept an official secret in Britain until 14 November 1918 (three days after the end of the war). The sinking was witnessed and photographed by passengers on RMS Olympic.

The Olympic, of course, being the sister ship to the Titanic.  Guess it's better to witness a sinking than to participate.


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01 November,

1348 – The anti-royalist Union of Valencia attacks the Jews of Murviedro on the pretext that they are serfs of the King of Valencia and thus "royalists".  As far as pretexts to attack Jews go, that was certainly one of them.

1512 – The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo, is exhibited to the public for the first time.  Reclining Pews would make it so much easier for the faithful to appreciate this art.  Why must the Vatican refuse to work with La-Z-Boy?

1555 – French Huguenots establish the France Antarctique colony in present-day Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  How did this French Huguenot colony fare?  Well... suffice to say there is a reason why present-day Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is largely Catholic and Portuguese speaking.

1604 – William Shakespeare's tragedy Othello is performed for the first time, at Whitehall Palace in London.  Although this was a live play and not a movie, it was in Black and White.

1611 – Shakespeare's play The Tempest is performed for the first time, at Whitehall Palace in London.  Sci-Fi fans know Shakespeare totally ripped off Forbidden Planet for this story.

1765 – The British Parliament enacts the Stamp Act on the Thirteen Colonies in order to help pay for British military operations in North America.  Eventually someone in Britain will need to ask if keeping the American Colonies was worth all the expense, effort, and fighting involved.

1790 – Edmund Burke publishes Reflections on the Revolution in France, in which he predicts that the French Revolution will end in a disaster.  "I predict that the <Insert Location> War of <Insert Date> will bring much Suffering, Destruction, and Death."  This is entry level prognostication.

1870 – In the United States, the Weather Bureau (later renamed the National Weather Service) makes its first official meteorological forecast.  It is humbling to think that despite the vast improvements in weather measurement and observation technology in the last one hundred fifty years, our weather forecasts are only slightly less wrong now than theirs were back then.

1894 – Nicholas II becomes the new (and last) Tsar of Russia after his father, Alexander III, dies.  The good news, Nick, is that you have lifetime job security...

1894 – Buffalo Bill, 15 of his Indians, and Annie Oakley were filmed by Thomas Edison in his Black Maria Studio in West Orange, New Jersey.  And thus was born the Western.

1896 – A picture showing the bare breasts of a woman appears in National Geographic magazine for the first time.  And people really did believe it when a man said that he subscribed to Nat Geo just for the articles.

1897 – The first Library of Congress building opens its doors to the public; the library had previously been housed in the Congressional Reading Room in the U.S. Capitol.  Considering what the Library has become, it can be quite a shock for some people to learn that the Library of Congress was actually established as a Library for Congress.  A reference library members of Congress could use when writing legislation.  Fortunately, this is no longer needed because modern members of Congress allow lobbyists to do the tedious writing of legislation and they just present the Bill.

Also, the first day of November is All Saints Day.  Alleluia.

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02 November

1868 – Time zone: New Zealand officially adopts a standard time to be observed nationally by everyone in the country, not just the Railroads.  Perhaps the first country to do so.  Please syn-kiwi-nise your clocks.

1889 – North Dakota and South Dakota are admitted as the 39th and 40th U.S. states.  The rivalry between the two new states presented a dilemma of which was to be admitted first. President Benjamin Harrison directed Secretary of State James G. Blaine to shuffle the papers and obscure from him which he was signing first. The actual order went unrecorded, thus no one knows which of the Dakotas was admitted first. However, since North Dakota alphabetically appears before South Dakota, its proclamation was published first in the Statutes At Large. Nothing quite like dealing with over-competitive siblings.

1917 – The Balfour Declaration proclaims British support for the "establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" with the clear understanding "that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities".  A nice idea.  Except that every inch of inhabitable and/or arable land anywhere near the traditional region of Palestine is already claimed and occupied by communities, most of which are non-Jewish.  So is Britain willing to use its vast military, political, diplomatic, and economic influence to make sure this goal is achieved in a fair, timely, and peaceful manner?  Or will they just make speeches in London?

1920 – In the United States, KDKA of Pittsburgh starts broadcasting as the first commercial radio station. The first broadcast is the result of the United States presidential election, 1920.  Cox and Roosevelt take the south, except for Tennessee.  But Harding and Coolidge win everything else, including the Electoral College.  Broadcast complete without commercials.

1936 – The British Broadcasting Corporation initiates the BBC Television Service, the world's first regular, "high-definition" (then defined as at least 200 lines) service.  There would be an interruption of the service from September 1939 to June 1946.  And it would be renamed BBC1 in 1964.  But otherwise, the channel still runs to this day.  Binging Monty Python, Dr Who, and visual warnings about the dangers of inadequate dental hygiene to all the world.

1947 – In California, designer Howard Hughes performs the maiden (and only) flight of the Hughes H-4 Hercules (also known as the "Spruce Goose"), the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built.  It was supposed to transport tanks across the Atlantic for the war.  But two years after the war was over and $23 Million later, it only flew empty for a few seconds at low altitude.  In the opinion of Hughes, this vindicated the expense.

1951 – Canada in the Korean War: A platoon (usually under 50 infantry) of The Royal Canadian Regiment defends a vital area against a full battalion (anywhere from 300 to 800 infantry) of Chinese troops in the Battle of the Song-gok Spur. The engagement lasts into the early hours of November 3.  Why do we who are south of the Great Lakes refuse to tell our children about the martial prowess of our northern neighbors?

1959 – Quiz show scandals: Twenty-One game show contestant Charles Van Doren admits to a Congressional committee that he had been given questions and answers in advance.  It is good to know that there was so little real trouble for America that Congress could form committees to investigate whether Game-Shows were really games or shows.

1960 – Penguin Books is found not guilty of obscenity in the trial R v Penguin Books Ltd, the Lady Chatterley's Lover case.  When the prosecution pointed out that girls could read and asked if this was a book you would want your wife or servants to read, the jury realized just how far out of touch with contemporary culture the Government's position had become.

1967 – Vietnam War: US President Lyndon B. Johnson and "The Wise Men" conclude that the American people should be given more optimistic reports on the progress of the war.  A more Optimistic Report?  How about win it or get out?  Don't put lipstick on the escalating-stalemate pig.

Also, 02 November is All Souls Day.  For those who don't quite qualify as Saints.

Edited by Pharaoh RutinTutin
Useful Detail Added

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03 November

1492 – Peace of Etaples between Henry VII of England and Charles VIII of France.  This is madness,  When will England and France resume their natural state of fighting one another?

1534 – English Parliament passes the first Act of Supremacy, making King Henry VIII head of the Anglican Church, supplanting the pope and the Roman Catholic Church.  This time, Mr VIII is divorcing an entire religion.

1793 – French playwright, journalist and feminist Olympe de Gouges is guillotined.  A warning for anyone with a radical ideology.  The WORST place to spread a revolutionary idea is in a revolution.

1817 – The Bank of Montreal, Canada's oldest chartered bank, opens in Montreal.  What an amazing coincidence.

1883 – American Old West: Self-described "Black Bart the poet" gets away with his last stagecoach robbery, but leaves a clue (a handkerchief with a laundry mark) that eventually leads to his capture.  There is still some debate whether his thefts or his poems were the greater crimes.

1908 – William Howard Taft is elected the 27th President of the United States.  They say this Taft is one bad mother...

1957 – Sputnik program: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 2. On board is the first animal to enter orbit, a dog named Laika.  The space race has gone to the dogs.

1973 – Mariner program: NASA launches the Mariner 10 toward Mercury.  It becomes the first space probe to reach that planet on March 29, 1974 .  Mercury, it turns out, is nearly identical to Earth.  If you take away the magnetosphere, atmosphere, ocean, crust, continents, tectonic plates, mantle, and about a third of the core then park it so deep in the Sun's gravity well that Newtonian physics can't describe its orbit.  Other than that, it is almost indistinguishable from Earth.

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November is also National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to crank out 50,000 words of a first draft between Nov 1 and Nov 30.

After which you're probably sick of that story, so National Novel Editing Month isn't until March. (Also, the delay will typically make it easier for you to read - and thus edit - what is there, rather than what should be there.)

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42 minutes ago, Don Edwards said:

November is also National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to crank out 50,000 words of a first draft between Nov 1 and Nov 30.


This is my fifth year in a row participating. Won in '14 and '15, then failed twice. I'm goin' all the way this year. In fact, just today I wrote the introduction scene to probably my favorite character I've ever created.

Anyone else doin' it?

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5 hours ago, Illjwamh said:


This is my fifth year in a row participating. Won in '14 and '15, then failed twice. I'm goin' all the way this year. In fact, just today I wrote the introduction scene to probably my favorite character I've ever created.

Anyone else doin' it?

Sorta,.  Doing a MegaDungeon that goes from 1st to 20th level.


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On November 4 in History:

604 - Death of Queen Yohl Ik'nal of Palenque, first female Mayan monarch in recorded history. So much more progressive than Europe.

1429 - Jeanne d'Arc captures the town of Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier. As a reward for this, she is given noble status. I tell you, that woman is going nowhere but up.

1501 - Catherine of Aragon meets her future husband Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales. With these two at the helm, England will soar to new heights as a bastion of strength in the Catholic world.

1780 - Tupac Amaru II begins a rebellion in Peru against Spanish rule. Spoiler alert: it doesn't work.

1921 - Japanese Prime Minister Hara Takashi is stabbed to death by a right wing malcontent who presumably didn't like that Takashi was in favor of letting the Koreans speak Korean and learn Korean history and stuff.

1922 - Howard Carter and his team of archaeologists in the Valley of the Kings incur on themselves a terrible curse.

1924 - Just four years after women are given the right to vote, America elects its first female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross, in...Wyoming? Wait, seriously?

1969 - Matthew McConaughey is born. There are some concerns about his health at first, but after a thorough check, doctors confirm he is all right, all right, all right.

1979 - Several American diplomats are taken hostage by a bunch of college students in Tehran. Some notable results of this: a fake movie, a real movie, the Reagan presidency.

1980 - A movie actor is elected president of the United States. It will never get sillier than this.

1995 - Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated by a right wing Israeli malcontent for his radical stance of wanting to make peace with Palestinians instead of continuing to antagonize and displace them. I'm sensing a theme here.

2008 - Barack Obama becomes the first non-white person to be elected president of the United States. After 220 years, I still don't need to be any more specific than that.

2011 - Death of Andy Rooney. His epitaph is a long-winded, meandering, yet charming and endearing spiel about the pointless pageantry of tombstones.

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On November 5 in History:

1138 - Two year old Lý Anh Tông becomes emperor of Vietnam. His mother serves as his regent, meaning the real power is the official she is allegedly sleeping with. Not a bad gig if you can get it.

1605 - Some random Guy tries to blow up the English government, fails, and is ritualistically burned in effigy annually until the end of time.

1688 - A fellow named William launches an invasion into southern England. What a Glorious sense of déjà vu.

1862 - Abraham Lincoln finally realizes and accepts that George B. McClellan is a useless twat, and removes him from command of the Union army. McClellan, vastly overestimating the number of mouths he'd have to feed, is unsure about going home, and spends the rest of the war being wishy-washy about it.

1872 - Susan B. Anthony is fined $100 for the heinous, unforgivable crime of voting. Two questions: Did her vote count? And more importantly, why do we have a convicted criminal on our coins?

1917 - The October Revolution takes place in Russia and Estonia, with communists overthrowing the government. Damn you, Julian calendar!

1959 - Singer Bryan Adams is born, an event for which the Canadian government has apologized on several occasions.

1995 - An assassination attempt on Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien is thwarted when his wife takes the expedient security measure of locking the door. Evidently the entire incident had been scripted by M. Night Shyamalan.

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06 November

963 – Synod of Rome: Emperor Otto I calls a council at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Pope John XII is deposed on charges of an armed rebellion against Otto.  A suggestion to future Popes.  When the Emperor arrives in Rome and accuses you of corruption, you should answer the charges, not go on a hunting trip.  A suggestion to future Emperors.  When you depose a Pope, make sure he knows he is deposed.  Otherwise, he will only oppose your new Pope when he gets back from the hunting trip.

1217 – The Charter of the Forest is sealed at St Paul's Cathedral, London by King Henry III, acting under the regency of William Marshall, 1st Earl of Pembroke which re-establishes for free men rights of access to the royal forest that had been eroded by William the Conqueror and his heirs.  This could set a dangerous precedent.  What if people insist upon breathing the King's air without royal consent?  This would be handled differently If I Were King of the Forest.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ak3J5DayiCk

1528 – Shipwrecked Spanish conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca becomes the first known European to set foot in the area that would become Texas.  So hypothetically speaking, would you rather drown in the Gulf of Mexico, or land in Texas?


1789 – Pope Pius VI appoints Father John Carroll as the first Catholic bishop in the United States.  About two hundred years later, there are about two hundred bishops in the United States.  Coincidence?  Yeah, pretty much.

1856 – Scenes of Clerical Life, the first work of fiction by Mary Anne Evans, the author later known as George Eliot, is submitted for publication.  In 19th Century British publishing, a woman needed to present herself as a man to get her work noticed.  In early 21st Century internet, men often present themselves as women.

1865 – American Civil War: CSS Shenandoah is the last Confederate combat unit to surrender , in Liverpool, after circumnavigating the globe on a cruise on which it sank or captured 37 unarmed merchant vessels.  Liverpool would eventually retaliate towards America with an infestation of Beatles.

1869 – In New Brunswick, New Jersey, Rutgers College defeats Princeton University (then known as the College of New Jersey), 6–4, in the first official intercollegiate American football game.  Princeton would win the rematch a week later.  The game was played with different rules at each school.  The third and deciding game was never played due to some concerns that the athletes were being distracted from their studies, but mostly due to disagreements about the rules to be followed for that game.  So the only two teams that played each received a share of the national championship.  A century and a half later with NCAA and FBS and BCS and CFP and ESPN we still have trouble officially determining the college football national champion.

1935 – Edwin Armstrong presents his paper "A Method of Reducing Disturbances in Radio Signaling by a System of Frequency Modulation" to the New York section of the Institute of Radio Engineers.  Thus bringing FM radio out of the experimental realm and into the reach of high fidelity music fans, pirate radio, and covert broadcasting devices.

1944 – Plutonium is first produced at the Hanford Atomic Facility and subsequently used in the Fat Man atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.  Humans will even expand the Periodic Table to find new ways to pursue our favorite endeavor, destroying each other.

1945 – Concerned that her cover was about to be blown, Elizabeth Bentley turns herself in to the FBI and confesses she had been spying for the Soviet Union.  Fair warning to those considering joining radical political movements as university students.  Radicalism loses a lot of its appeal outside the ivy covered walls.  Most of your fellow college radicals will take on mundane political views in the "real" world.  And many of these former radicals will not hesitate to turn in their seditious comrades from the good old days.  To get your picture in the yearbook, stick to the Glee Club.

Additionally,  06 November is National Nacho Day in the United States.  Guess I know what I'm having for lunch.

Also,  06 November, 2018 is Election Day in the United States.  The choices on the ballot may not be as appealing as the options for Nachos on the menu.  But please vote, it could be worse.

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07 November

680 – The Sixth Ecumenical Council commences in Constantinople.  For the seventh time overall and the third time in Constantinople, a bunch of Christian Bishops gather to decide once and for all what it is to be Christian.  At least until the next Council or Schism or Synod or Anti-Pope or Reformation or Counter Reformation or Stubborn Bishop or Stubborn Monarch or...  what was the point?  Oh yes, Third Constantinople.  Jesus Christ has two energies and two wills.  Divine and Human.  The human will of Jesus Christ was subject to, and never in conflict with, his all powerful Divine will.

921 – Treaty of Bonn: The Frankish kings Charles the Simple (wouldn't "Chuck" be simpler?) and Henry the Fowler (who was for the birds) sign a peace treaty or 'pact of friendship' (amicitia), to recognize their borders along the Rhine.  "So like, if you keep your army on that side of the river, I'll keep my army on this side and we can both keep our boots dry?"  "Dude, that is so crazy it just might work!"

1492 – The Ensisheim meteorite, the oldest meteorite with a known date of impact, strikes the Earth around noon in a wheat field outside the village of Ensisheim, Alsace, France.  Even with an entire village witnessing the event, the idea that meteors are rocks from space does not catch on for another 300 years.

1619 – Elizabeth Stuart is crowned Queen of Bohemia.  In her coronation rhapsody she muses "Is this the real life?  Is this just fantasy?"

1665 – The London Gazette, the oldest surviving journal, is first published.  The publication of record, IF you actually believe the British government's version of the story.

1775 – John Murray, the Royal Governor of the Colony of Virginia, starts the first mass emancipation of slaves in North America by issuing Lord Dunmore's Offer of Emancipation, which offers freedom to slaves who abandoned their colonial masters to fight with Murray and the British.  Conscripting the slaves of rebellious slave owners sure seems like a desperate act for a colonial power, and the Americans had not yet declared Independence.

1786 – The oldest musical organization in the United States is founded as the Stoughton Musical Society.  Today it is know as The Old Stoughton Musical Society.  They added "Old" when they reached 122.  "Antique", "Classical", "Ancient", "Bronze-Age", and "Neolithic" letterheads have already been prepared.

1811 – Tecumseh's War: The Battle of Tippecanoe is fought near present-day Battle Ground, Indiana, United States.  Indiana Territory Governor William Henry Harrison and the militia came upon the Shawnee forces when their military leader, Tecumseh, was away.  Many of the Shawnee were eager, but not actually prepared, to fight.  The militia held off the initial attack, and then drove the Shawnee away.  Destroying the supplies Tecumseh's forces had stored for the winter in the process.  This became the cornerstone of the legend Harrison built for himself as he entered politics, ultimately winning the Presidency in 1840 with the slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too".

1874 – A cartoon by Thomas Nast in Harper's Weekly, is considered the first important use of an elephant as a symbol for the United States Republican Party.  In case you doubted it, the GOP Elephant is the original Nasty Boy.

1940 – In Tacoma, Washington, Galloping Gertie, the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapses in 40 mile per hour (64 km/h) winds, a mere four months after the bridge's completion.  If you have ever taken a class in physics or engineering since the second half of the twentieth century, this is the bridge you saw in that film.  The one with the scared dog in the shaking car that bit the man attempting the rescue.

1957 – Cold War: The Gaither Report calls for more American missiles and fallout shelters.  There was a Turtle by the name of Bert...

1967 – US President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, establishing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street? 

2000 – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration discovers one of the country's largest LSD labs inside a converted military missile silo in Wamego, Kansas.  And some people were worried that no one would find a use for these things when the Cold War ended.

2000 – Indecision 2000.  Controversial US presidential election that is later resolved in the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court Case, electing George W. Bush the 43rd President of the United States.  The recounts are still ongoing.

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08 November

1278 – Trần Thánh Tông, the second emperor of the Trần dynasty, decides to pass the throne to his crown prince Trần Khâm and take up the post of Retired Emperor.  What is surprising is how rarely this tactic is used.  Find an ambitious Prince, General, or Bureaucrat and leave them with the real work and responsibility of government.

1519 – Hernán Cortés enters Tenochtitlán and Aztec ruler Moctezuma welcomes him with a great celebration.  This plan works about as well as any other attempt to stop the invading Europeans.

1602 – The Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford is opened to the public.  "Open" in this case to those willing to take an oath in Latin vowing to obey the Library rules and above all else to NEVER bring a fire into the building.

1605 – Robert Catesby, ringleader of the Gunpowder Plotters, is killed.  Catesby may have been the ringleader and among the first executed, but the first Guy arrested is the name that lives on in infamous song and story.

1895 – While experimenting with electricity, Wilhelm Röntgen discovers the X-ray.  In 2012, the anniversary would be designated the International Day of Radiology.  Having found the X-ray, where are the W and Y rays?

1901 – Gospel riots: Bloody clashes take place in Athens following the translation of the Gospels into demotic Greek.  This may be a surprise, but the ancient koine Greek into which the Septuagint had been originally translated was not the language of the modern Greek people

1917 – The first Council of People's Commissars is formed, including Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin.  This council, made up of men who achieved their goals through violence, was stable and effective.  Until the mutually acknowledged leader, Lenin, died.  Then the violence returned until only one was left in power.  In hindsight, it seems so obvious.

1957 – Operation Grapple X, Round C1: The United Kingdom conducts its first successful hydrogen bomb test over Kiritimati (Christmas Island) in the Pacific.  Hold on to the receipt, you may want to exchange this Christmas present.

1966 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs into law an antitrust exemption allowing the National Football League to merge with the upstart American Football League.  This legislation didn't specifically say that Big Budget American Sports were outside, above, and beyond the reach of American Law.  Apparently they want to hold that proclamation in reserve for a special occasion.

1968 – The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic is signed to facilitate international road traffic and to increase road safety by standardising the uniform traffic rules among the signatories.  This is why most of Europe, and about half the countries in the world outside Europe, use nearly identical road signs.  And if you aren't from one of those countries you are uniformly confused by the road signs everywhere else on Earth.

1972 – HBO launches its programming, with the broadcast of the 1971 movie Sometimes a Great Notion, starring Paul Newman and Henry Fonda.  Good news for those who enjoy watching the same movie twenty or more times in a given month, a year or more after its initial theatrical release.

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09 November

694 – At the Seventeenth Council of Toledo, Egica, a king of the Visigoths of Hispania, accuses Jews of aiding Muslims, sentencing all Jews to slavery.  SPOILER ALERT:  This day of the year will not get better for Jews.

1526 – Jews are expelled from Pressburg (Bratislava), Hungary, by Maria of Hapsburg.  Yes, it gets worse.

1541 – Queen Catherine Howard (Henry VIII's fifth wife) is confined in the Tower of London.  Or, as Mr VIII calls it, Wednesday.

1620 – Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower sight land at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  But how does a cod wear a cape in the first place?  Don't you need shoulders and a neck to make those things work?

1720 – The synagogue of Judah HeHasid is burned down by Arab creditors, leading to the expulsion of the Ashkenazim from Jerusalem.  You do realize that if someone owes you money, burning down their home or business usually decreases their ability to pay.

1862 – American Civil War: Union General Ambrose Burnside assumes command of the Army of the Potomac, after George B. McClellan is removed.  He may not have been a better officer than McClellan, but his facial hair was legendary.

1862 – US General Ulysses S. Grant issues orders to bar Jews from serving under him.  Not necessarily the worst thing on the list, but it does fit the pattern.

1888 – The mutilated body of Mary Jane Kelly, believed to be the final victim of Jack the Ripper, is discovered in Spitalfields, London, England.  130 years of investigation and no arrests?  It seems like this case is no longer a high priority for Scotland Yard.

1906 – Theodore Roosevelt is the first sitting President of the United States to make an official trip outside the country. He did so to inspect progress on the Panama Canal.  Can you dig it?

1907 – The Cullinan Diamond is presented to King Edward VII on his birthday.  Often it can be awkward to give diamonds as a gift to a man.  But with a characteristic British stiff upper lip, Edward managed to accept the thirty one hundred carat stone graciously. 

1918 – Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany abdicates after the German Revolution, and Germany is proclaimed a Republic.  At this rate, the only remaining Caesars will include raw eggs and Worcestershire sauce on Romaine lettuce.

1921 – Partito Nazionalista Fascista formed in Italy by Mussolini.  Just in case there wasn't enough bad news.

1922 – Albert Einstein is named the winner of the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect".  Ok, this was one good day for one Jew.

1923 – In Munich, Germany, police and government troops crush the Beer Hall Putsch in Bavaria. The failed coup is the work of the Nazis.  They won't stay down.

1934 – Birth of Carl Sagan, American astronomer, astrophysicist, and cosmologist (d. 1996).  A few "This Day In History" lines are simply not enough.  For Carl Sagan, I would need Billions and Billions...

1938 – The Nazi German diplomat Ernst vom Rath dies from gunshot wounds by Herschel Grynszpan, an act which the Nazis used as an excuse to instigate the 1938 national pogrom, also known as Kristallnacht.  This is the point when things get really bad.

1953 – The Supreme Court rules Major League baseball exempt from anti-trust laws.  Apparently the American game of politics doesn't apply to sports.

1989 – Cold War: Fall of the Berlin Wall: East Germany opens checkpoints in the Berlin Wall, allowing its citizens to travel to West Berlin.  And for about a year, those of us who were living in that time allowed ourselves to think that Peace had broken out.  Boy, were we crazy.

2007 – The German Bundestag passes the controversial data retention bill mandating storage of citizens' telecommunications traffic data for six months without probable cause.  Really, Germany?  You chose this anniversary date to pass legislation many people would regard as intrusive or oppressive?

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On November 10 in History:

937 - Li Bian deposes Yang Pu of Wu, now Li, and becomes Xu Zhigao of Nan Tang. I have been assured that this makes sense.

1202 - Crusaders fighting for the Pope besiege Zara in Croatia, despite the Pope explicitly telling them not to. You know, I'm beginning to think some of these fellows might just have ulterior motives.

1293 - Raden Wijaya becomes the first monarch of Mapajahit. Er...Mahajapit. No, Mahapajit. Mapahajit. Majahapit. Ma...ja...pa...hit? Right, that one. He renames himself Kertarajasa Jayawardhana, because my job isn't hard enough already.

1444 - Speaking of names impossible to pronounce, King Władysław III of Poland (and also Hungary and Croatia, because Europe) is killed at the Battle of Varna against the Ottomans. The battle goes so badly that European Christians are still too scared to send help to Constantinople nine years later. They will come to regret this.

1674 - New Netherlands is ceded to England. New Amsterdam is renamed New York, because people just liked it better that way.

1775 - "Semper Fidelis" enters the American lexicon.

1777 - Shawnee leader Hokoleskwa ("Cornstalk") is murdered while in custody by American militiamen at Fort Randolph. His death shocked native and American leaders alike, who had respected him as a voice of peace and neutrality. Whenever there had been an opportunity for diplomacy rather than violence, he was always all ears.

1793 - French Revolutionaries, fed up with Catholicism (and theism altogether), establish a cult around the oxymoronic Goddess of Reason. They were strongly opposed by Robespierre, which is probably why you haven't heard of them.

1871 - Henry Morton Stanley racistly presumes that Dr. David Livingstone is the only other white person in the middle of Africa.

1871 again - Ameican novelist Winston Churchill is born. The good news is, his name will go down in history. The bad news...

1923 - Birth of Hachikō, the most famous dog in Japanese history and all-time number one good boy. If you'll excuse me, I have something in my eye.

1942 - Germany invades France. Again. Au revoir, Vichy.

1960 - Neil Gaiman presumably imagines himself into existence.

1975 - In Lake Superior, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sinks, and you're now all hearing Gordon Lightfoot in your head.

1983 - Bill Gates unveils Windows 1.0. It is a revolutionary new graphic user interface (GUI), if by "revolutionary", you mean "just like Apple, but not quite as good and cheaper".

1989 - Mr. Gorbachev tears down his wall. If by "Mr. Gorbachev", you mean "the people of Berlin" and by "tear down" you mean "get swept up in the moment and start wrecking shit".

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On November 11 in History:
1100 - King Henry I of England marries Princess Matilda of Scotland. I'm sure that's important to somebody.
1500 – Louis XII of France and Ferdinand II of Aragon, regarding Naples: "I'll take this half, you take that half." Naples: "Do we get a say in this?" Louis and Ferdi: "No."
1620 - The Mayflower Compact is signed in Provincetown Harbor by a bunch of people seeking the religious freedom to impose their religions practices on everyone who lives in or near their settlement.
1634 – Irish parliament, under pressure from an Anglican bishop, outlaws buggery. Yes, that term encompasses more than just anal sex. No, don't google it.
1813 – Canada to U.S. invaders at the Battle of Crysler's Farm: “GTFO.”
1864 – William Tecumseh Sherman sets Atlanta on fire. He wanted to go to the beach and it was in his way.
1869 – The Aboriginal Protection Act in Australia gives the government control over where aboriginal people can live, what jobs they can have, how much they can be paid, whom they can marry, and what will happen to their children.You know, to protect them.
1889 – Washington becomes a state, ensuring that anyone who does not live in either it or the national capital will never be certain which one a speaker is talking about. They were going to call it Columbia, but that’s already the name of the federal district, so it was deemed too confusing. No, really.
1918 – End of hostilities in the War to End All Wars. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t.
1923 – Adolf Hitler is arrested for high treason for an attempted coup d’état. Sadly for him, this means his political career is likely finished.
1954 – The United States renames Armistice Day to Veterans Day, because soldiers who fought in other wars are important, too.
1974 – Leonardo DiCaprio is born. Several Academy Award statuettes are prepared in advance for other people.
1975 – Angola becomes independent of Portugal. Hey, cool, they don’t get many of these. It’s usually Britain or Spain.
1999 – The United Kingdom no longer allows people to inherit seats in the nation’s representative governing body. Good job guys, you’re getting it!

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1 hour ago, Illjwamh said:

1889 – Washington becomes a state, ensuring that anyone who does not live in either it or the national capital will never be certain which one a speaker is talking about. They were going to call it Columbia, but that’s already the name of the federal district, so it was deemed too confusing. No, really.

There's also the fact that just north of Washington is British Columbia, so..... yeah.

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