Tag Archives: Chicago

Almanac – March 07

1274 – Saint Thomas Aquinas died. He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology, his influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy was conceived in development or refutation of his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory.

He is held in the Roman Catholic Church to be the model teacher for those studying for the priesthood, and indeed the highest expression of both natural reason and speculative theology.

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1671 – Rob Roy MacGregor born.  Scottish folk hero and outlaw of the early 18th century, sometimes known as the Scottish Robin Hood. Rob Roy is anglicised from the Gaelic Raibeart Ruadh, or Red Robert – he had red hair.

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1942 – Lucy Parsons died.  American labor organizer and radical socialist and anarchist communist, described by the Chicago Police Department as “more dangerous than a thousand rioters”  (in 2004, the City of Chicago named a park after her.)

Born circa 1853 in Texas, probably as a slave, to parents of Native American, African American and Mexican ancestry, in 1871 she married Albert Parsons, a former Confederate soldier. They were forced to flee north from Texas due to intolerant reactions to their interracial marriage, and settled in Chicago, Illinois.

She died in a house fire in Chicago, believed to be 89 years old.   Her lover, George Markstall, died the next day from injuries he received while trying to save her.  After her death, police seized her library of over 1,500 books and all of her personal papers.

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1988 – Divine died. American actor, disco singer and drag queen. A character actor who often performed female roles in both cinema and theater, Divine adopted a female drag persona in his musical performances, leading People magazine to describe him as the “Drag Queen of the Century”.

Often associated with independent filmmaker John Waters, he starred in ten of his films, usually in a lead role.

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Almanac – October 28

St. Jude’s Day

In the Roman Catholic Church he is the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes. Which is very appropriate all things considered, because I couldn’t find anything else of interest to say about today.  A complete blank. Jude – you’re on !

Apparently he  is also  the patron saint of the Chicago Police Department. I’m not sure what that tells us about Chicago…

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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…

Mr. Frankenstein

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