Monthly Archives: July 2012

Almanac – July 31

1703 – Daniel Defoe was placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but was alledgedly pelted with flowers by the crowd, rather than the normal semi-lethal objects.

1970 – Black Tot Day – the last day on which the Royal Navy issued sailors with a daily rum ration. Some sailors wore black armbands, tots were ‘buried at sea’ and in one navy training camp there was a mock funeral procession complete with black coffin and accompanying drummers and piper. The move was not popular with the ratings despite an extra can of beer being added to the daily rations in compensation

Mr. Frankenstein

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Almanac – July 30

762 – Baghdad  founded by caliph Al-Mansur.

1751 – Although official executions for Witchcraft was supposed to have ceased in England in 1682 [1722 in Scotland], a Mrs. Osborne on this day became the last known person to be killed as a result of a witch-trial, being given the water test [float and you’re guilty, sink and you’re innocent] until she drowned – so was thus presumably innocent.

1818 – Emily Brontë born. English novelist and poet, best remembered for her solitary novel, Wuthering Heights. Although it received mixed reviews when it first came out, and was often condemned for its portrayal of amoral passion, the book subsequently became an English literary classic. She published under the pen name Ellis Bell.


1958 – Kate Bush born , English singer-songwriter who’s first hit single  was – coincidence or not – Wuthering Heights.

2003 – Sam Phillips died. American businessman, record executive, record producer and DJ who played an important role in the emergence of rock and roll in the 1950s. He was a producer, label owner, and talent scout throughout the 1940s and 1950s and  founded Sun Studios and Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. Through Sun, Phillips discovered  Howlin’ Wolf, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis , Johnny Cash  and Elvis Presley.

2007 – Ingmar Bergman died. Swedish director, writer and producer for film, stage and television. described by Woody Allen as “probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera,”  Bergman is recognized as one of the most accomplished and influential film directors of all time.

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Almanac – July 29

1848 – Battle of Ballingarry, Tipperary, Ireland – an unsuccessful nationalist revolt against British rule was put down by police. The Young Irelander Rebellion was a failed  nationalist uprising led by the Young Ireland movement, part of the wider Revolutions of 1848 that affected most of Europe.  After being chased by a force of Young Irelanders and their supporters, an Irish Constabulary unit raided a house and took those inside as hostages. A several-hour gunfight followed, but the rebels fled after a large group of police reinforcements arrived.

It is sometimes called the Famine Rebellion, as it took place during the Great Irish Famine.

1885 – Theda Bara born as  Theodosia Burr Goodman.  American silent film actress, one of the most popular of her era –  ranking behind only Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford – and one of cinema’s earliest sex symbols. Her femme fatale roles earned her the nickname “The Vamp”.  She made more than 40 films between 1914 and 1926, but complete prints of only six still exist.

Theda Bara” is an anagram of “Arab Death

1890 – Vincent van Gogh died, 29 hours after he had  shot himself. His reported last words were  “The sadness will last forever.”

1907 – Sir Robert Baden-Powell set up the Brownsea Island Scout camp in Poole Harbour on the south coast of England, United Kingdom. The camp ran  from August 1 to August 9, 1907, and is regarded as the foundation of the Scouting movement.

1921 – Adolf Hitler became  leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party.

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Almanac – July 28

1586 – Said by some to be the date that Thomas Harriot first introduced the Potato to Europe.

1655 – Cyrano de Bergerac died.  French dramatist and duelist. He is now best remembered for the works of fiction which have been woven, often very loosely, around his life story, most notably the 1897 play by Edmond Rostand. In these fictional works he is featured with an overly large nose, which people would travel from miles around to see. Portraits suggest that he did have a big nose, though not nearly as large as described in Rostand’s play and the subsequent works about him.

1844 – Gerard Manley Hopkins born.  English poet, Roman Catholic convert, and Jesuit priest, whose posthumous fame established him among the leading Victorian poets. His experimental explorations in prosody (especially sprung rhythm) and his use of imagery established him as a daring innovator in a period of largely traditional verse.

1887 – Marcel Duchamp born. French artist whose work is most often associated with the Dadaist and Surrealist movements. Considered by some to be one of the most important artists of the 20th century, his  output influenced the development of post-World War I Western art.

   
1932 – U.S. President Herbert Hoover ordered the United States Army to forcibly evict the “Bonus Army” of World War I veterans gathered in Washington, D.C.
The Bonus Army was the popular name of an assemblage of some 43,000 marchers—17,000 World War I veterans, their families, and affiliated groups—who gathered in Washington, D.C., in the spring and summer of 1932 to demand immediate cash-payment redemption of their service certificates. Its organizers called it the Bonus Expeditionary Force to echo the name of World War I’s American Expeditionary Force, while the media called it the Bonus March. It was led by Walter W. Waters, a former Army sergeant.

Many of the war veterans had been out of work since the beginning of the Great Depression. The World War Adjusted Compensation Act of 1924 had awarded them bonuses in the form of certificates they could not redeem until 1945.

1945 – A U.S. Army B-25 bomber crashed into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building, New York,  killing 14 and injuring 26.

Mr. Frankenstein

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Almanac – July 27

1880 – The Battle of Maiwand, one of the principal battles of the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Under the leadership of Ayub Khan, the Afghans defeated two brigades of British and Indian troops under Brigadier-General George Burrows.

 Doctor  John Watson, companion of Sherlock Holmes, was wounded in the Battle of Maiwand, as described in the opening chapter of A Study in Scarlet, which led to him being invalided  out of the military and into a life of  a fictional detective’s side-kick.

1890 – Vincent van Gogh shot himself  (and died two days later).



1949 – Robert Rankin, born.  British humorous novelist. His books are a mix of science fiction, fantasy, the occult, urban legends, running gags, metafiction, steampunk and outrageous characters.

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Almanac – July 26th

1533 – Atahualpa, the 13th and last emperor of the Incas, died by strangulation at the hands of Francisco Pizarro’s Spanish conquistadors. His death marked the end of 300 years of Inca civilization.

1856 – George Bernard Shaw born – Irish writer, Nobel laureate.

1875 – Carl Jung born –  Swiss psychiatrist.



1887 – The Unua Libro (Esperanto:  First Book) was the first publication to describe the international language Esperanto (then called Lingvo Internacia, “international language”).First published in Russian  in Warsaw, by Dr. L.L. Zamenhof, the creator of Esperanto, over the next few years editions were published in Russian, Hebrew, Polish, French, German, and English.

The booklet included the Lord’s Prayer, some Bible verses, a letter, poetry, the sixteen rules of grammar and 900 roots of vocabulary. Zamenhof declared, “an international language, like a national one, is common property.” and signed the work as “Doktoro Esperanto”   –  the title stuck as the name of the language which means “one who is hoping”.

1894 – Aldous Huxley born – English author, best known for  his novel Brave New World and his experiments with  psychedelic drugs, resulting in the essays The Doors of Perception  (from which the band The Doors took their name).

1984 – Ed Gein died.  American murderer and grave robber., his crimes, committed around his hometown of Plainfield, Wisconsin, gathered widespread notoriety after authorities discovered he had exhumed corpses from local graveyards and fashioned trophies and keepsakes from their bones and skin, although he apparently drew the line at necrophilia. After police found body parts in his house in 1957, Gein confessed to killing two women.

The police investigation of his house uncovered –

    Four noses
    Whole human bones and fragments
    Nine masks of human skin
    Bowls made from human skulls
    Ten female heads with the tops sawn off
    Human skin covering several chair seats
    Nine vulvae in a shoe box
    A belt made from female human nipples
    Skulls on his bedposts
    A pair of lips on a draw string for a window-shade
    A lampshade made from the skin from a human face

Sentenced to life imprisonment in a mental hospital,  his case influenced the creation of several fictional serial killers, including Norman Bates from Psycho, Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Jame Gumb from The Silence of the Lambs.

Mr. Frankenstein

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Almanac – July 25th

St James’s Day – in 1782, John Knill had constructed a 3-sided stone obelisk on a hill outside of St. Ives, Cornwall, which becamr known as Knill’s Steeple.He intended it originally to be his mausoleum, but it was never used as such.
However, he did draw up a complicated deed which gave strict instructions for a ceremony to take place at the Steeple ever 5 years on the feast of St. James – today.
The ceremony involved 10 girls[who must be the daughters of fishermen, tinners or seamen], 2 widows, a fiddler and 3 trustees [the mayor, vicar and customs officer of the day].
The girls were to dance around the Steeple to Cornish tunes played on the fiddle, and then everyone was to sing the 100th Psalm. Knill attended the first ceremony himself in 1801.

1834 – Samuel Taylor Coleridge died. English poet,  Romantic, literary critic and philosopher who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets. He is probably best known for his poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, as well as for his major prose work Biographia Literaria.

1965 – Bob Dylan went electric as he plugs in at the Newport Folk Festival, signaling a major change in folk and rock music.

1976 – : Viking 1 took  the famous Face on Mars photo.

1984 – Big Mama Thornton died, American singer, she was the first to record “Hound Dog”, in 1952 – the song was #1 on the Billboard R&B charts for seven weeks in 1953 and  sold almost two million copies. Three years later, Elvis Presley recorded his version.

She also  wrote and recorded “Ball ‘n’ Chain,” which became a hit for her and later for  Janis Joplin,

 

 

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Almanac – July 24

St. Christina The Astonishing’s Day

Christina apparently died aged 22. Carried to church in an open coffin for requim mass, she not only came back to life but also “…soared to the beams of the roof, and there perched herself”, much to the understandable disconcertion of the congregation.

She claimed that she really had been dead, had visited Heaven, Hell and Purgatory, and then went on to spend the next 50-odd years of her life [she died again and for keeps this time on this day in 1224] generally running wild in a manner which in a less-lucky person might have resulted in accusations of witchcraft [or being undead] – as chronicled by her contemporaries,  she would throw herself into burning furnaces and there suffered great tortures for extended times, uttering frightful cries, yet coming forth with no sign of burns upon her.

In winter she would plunge into the frozen Meuse River for hours and even days and weeks at a time, all the while praying to God and imploring God’s mercy. She sometimes allowed herself to be carried by the currents downriver to a mill where the wheel “whirled her round in a manner frightful to behold,” yet she never suffered any dislocations or broken bones. She was chased by dogs which bit and tore her flesh. She would run from them into thickets of thorns, and, though covered in blood, she would return with no wound or scar.

Suprise, suprise – veneration of Christina has never been formally approved by the Catholic Church, but there still remains a strong devotion to her in her native region of Limburg.

1783 – Simón Bolívar born as Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte y Blanco , Venezuelan military and political leader. Together with José de San Martín, he played a key role in Hispanic-Spanish America’s successful struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire, and is today considered one of the most influential politicians in American history.

1847 – After 17 months of travel, Brigham Young led 148 Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake Valley, resulting in the establishment of Salt Lake City.

1895 – Robert Graves born. English poet, scholar/translator/writer of antiquity specializing in Classical Greece and Rome, and novelist. He produced more than 140 works, and his  poems—together with his translations and innovative analysis and interpretations of the Greek myths, his memoir of his early life, including his role in the First World War, Goodbye to All That, and his speculative study of poetic inspiration, The White Goddess—have never been out of print. Also wrote   I, Claudius.

2001 – Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the last Tsar of Bulgaria when he was a child, was sworn in as Prime Minister of Bulgaria, becoming probably  the first monarch in history to regain political power through democratic election to a different office.

 

 

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Almanac – July 23

1690 – Death of Richard Gibson, aged 75. He had been court-dwarf to Charles I and a miniature-painter [in every sense of the term].

His wife, Ann Shepherd, who died 19 years later, aged 89, was court-dwarf to Queen Henrietta Maria. They had 9 children, 5 of whom survived to maturity and were of ordinary stature.

1888 – Raymond Chandler born, American novelist.

1892 – Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia born. Revered as the returned messiah of the Bible, God incarnate, among the Rastafari movement  which perceives Haile Selassie as a messianic figure who will lead a future golden age of eternal peace, righteousness, and prosperity.  Haile Selassie himself was  was an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian throughout his life.

 

 

1929 – The Fascist government in Italy banned the use of foreign words.

1942 – Treblinka  Nazi extermination camp in German-occupied Poland  opened.. Approximately 870,000 died there.

1962 –  The  Telstar-1   communications satellite relayed the first publicly transmitted, live trans-Atlantic television program, featuring Walter Cronkite.

 

Telstar -1  became a victim of  Cold War technology. The day before it was launched, the USA had tested a high-altitude nuclear bomb (called Starfish Prime) which energized the Earth’s Van Allen Belt where Telstar-1 went into orbit. This vast increase in radiation, combined with subsequent high-altitude blasts, including a Soviet test in October, overwhelmed Telstar’s fragile transistors; and  it went out of service in November 1962, after handling over 400 telephone, telegraph, facsimile and television transmissions. It was restarted by a workaround in early January 1963. but the additional radiation associated with its return to full sunlight once again caused a transistor failure, this time irreparably, and Telstar-1 went out of service on February 21, 1963.

Although no longer functioning, Telstar-1 is still apparently in orbit at time of writing (July 2012).

 

Mr. Frankenstein

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Almanac – July 22

St. Mary Magdalen’s Day
Patron [matron ?] saint of pharmacists, hairdressers, repentant sinners and prostitutes.
Historically, her name would probably have been Mariam, rather than Mary, and she may well have been the wife of the historical Yeoshua [Jesus].  Gnostic writings describe tensions and jealousy between her  and other disciples, so perhaps the Yoko Ono figure in the group dynamic.

1284 – A musician dressed in a patched, multi-colourd coat – thus known as ther Pied Piper – appeared in the town of Hamel, Brunswick, struck his pest-control deal, and exacted his famous revenge when the burghers reneged.

1889 – James Whale born  –  English film director, responsible for such classics as  Frankenstein (1931), The Old Dark House (1932), The Invisible Man (1933) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

1918 –   Death of Indra Lal Roy, Indian  WWI flying ace –  born in Calcutta, he flew with the Royal Flying Corps over France, he claimed 11 victories before being killed in action over Carvin  while flying in formation with two other S.E.5a in a dog fight against Fokker D.VIIs of Jagdstaffel 29. Roy was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in September 1918 for his actions during the period of 6–19 July 1918. He is buried at Estevelles Communal Cemetery.

1934 – Death of Public Enemy #1 -gangster John Dillinger, shot dead by US federal agents outside the Biograph Cinema, Chicago. He was struck three (or four, according to some historians) times, with two bullets entering the chest, one of them nicking his heart, and the fatal shot – which entered  through the back of his neck, severed his spinal cord and tore through his brain before exiting out the front of his head just under his right eye.

There were reports of people dipping their handkerchiefs and skirts into the blood pool that had formed as Dillinger lay in the alley in order to secure keepsakes of the entire affair, and his gravestone, in Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, has had to be replaced several times because of people chipping off pieces as souvenirs.

1942 – The systematic deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto begins.

1946 –   The Irgun,  a Zionist terrorist organisation,  bombed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, site of the civil administration and military headquarters for Mandate Palestine, resulting in 91 deaths,   most of them being staff of the hotel or Secretariat:

21 were first-rank government officials; 49 were second-rank clerks, typists and messengers, junior members of the Secretariat, employees of the hotel and canteen workers; 13 were soldiers; 3 policemen; and 5 were members of the public. By nationality, there were 41 Arabs, 28 British citizens, 17 Palestinian Jews, 2 Armenians, 1 Russian, 1 Greek and 1 Egyptian. 46 people were injured. Some of the deaths and injuries occurred in the road outside the hotel and in adjacent buildings. No identifiable traces were found of thirteen of those killed.

The Irgun was a political predecessor to Israel’s right-wing Herut (or “Freedom”) party, which led to today’s Likud party. Likud has led or been part of most Israeli governments since 1977. Which may explain a lot about contemporary Middle Eastern politics…

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