Almanac – December 07

521 – Saint Columba born. Gaelic Irish missionary monk who propagated Christianity among the Picts during the Early Medieval Period, and more to the point involved in the first recorded encounter with the Loch Ness Monster.

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1928 – Noam Chomsky born. American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, historian, political critic, and activist. According to the Arts and Humanities Citation Index in 1992, Chomsky was cited as a source more often than any other living scholar from 1980 to 1992, and was the eighth most cited source overall.

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1949 – Tom Waits born. American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor. Waits has a distinctive voice, described by critic Daniel Durchholz as sounding “like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car.”

With this trademark growl, his incorporation of pre-rock music styles such as blues, jazz, and vaudeville, and experimental tendencies verging on industrial music, Waits has built up a distinctive musical persona.

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1985 – Robert Graves died. English poet, scholar/translator/writer of antiquity specializing in Classical Greece and Rome, and novelist. .

Graves’s 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, Good-Bye to All That, and his speculative study of poetic inspiration, The White Goddess—have never been out of print.

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