Tag Archives: physician

Almanac – June 14

1928 – Che Guevara born. Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist.

A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia within popular culture.

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1949 – Albert II, a rhesus monkey, rode a V2 rocket to an altitude of 134 km (83 mi), thereby becoming the first monkey in space. He survived the flight but   died on impact  after a parachute failure.

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1953 – David Thomas born.  American singer, songwriter, and musician.

He was one of the founding members of the short-lived protopunk Rocket From The Tombs (1974–1975), where he went by the name of Crocus Behemoth, and of  Pere Ubu (1975–present, intermittently). He has also released several solo albums. Though primarily a singer, he sometimes plays melodeon, trombone, guitar or other instruments.

Thomas has described his artistic focus as being the “gestalt of culture, geography and sound“. Common themes crop up throughout much of his work, such as the US Interstate Highway system, images of roadside or “junk” tourist culture, Brian Wilson, AM Radio, and many others.

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1966 – The Vatican announced the abolition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (“index of prohibited books“), which was originally instituted in 1557.

The avowed aim of the list was to protect the faith and morals of the faithful by preventing the reading of immoral books or works containing theological errors, and noteworthy intellectuals and religious figures on the Index included Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, André Gide, Immanuel Kant, David Hume, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, John Milton, John Locke, Galileo Galilei, Blaise Pascal, Hugo Grotius and Saint Faustina Kowalska. Charles Darwin’s works were notably never included, nor was Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

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Almanac – March 26

1814 – Joseph-Ignace Guillotin died.  French physician who proposed in  1789 the use of a device to carry out death penalties in France.

While he did not invent the guillotine, and in fact opposed the death penalty, his name became an eponym for it. The actual inventor of the prototype guillotine was Antoine Louis.

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1859 – A. E. Housman born.  English classical scholar and poet, best known to the general public for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad.

Lyrical and almost epigrammatic in form, the poems’ wistful evocation of doomed youth in the English countryside, in spare language and distinctive imagery, appealed strongly to late Victorian and Edwardian taste, and to many early 20th century English composers (beginning with Arthur Somervell) both before and after the First World War.

Through its song-setting the poetry became closely associated with that era, and with Shropshire itself.

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1923 – Sarah Bernhardt died.  French stage and early film actress, sometimes referred to as “the most famous actress the world has ever known“. She made her name on the stages of France in the 1870s, and was soon in demand in Europe and the Americas, and  developed a reputation as a serious dramatic actress.

In 1905, while performing in  La Tosca in Teatro Lírico do Rio de Janeiro, she injured her right knee when jumping off the parapet in the final scene. The leg never healed properly, and by  1915  gangrene had set in and her entire right leg was amputated; she was required to use a wheelchair for several months.

She reportedly refused a $10,000 offer by a showman to display her amputated leg as a medical curiosity and  continued her career,  often without using a wooden prosthetic limb; she had tried to use one but didn’t like it.

 She died from uremia following kidney failure in 1923;  believed to have been 78 years old.

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1950 – Teddy Pendergrass born. American R&B/soul singer and songwriter.

Pendergrass first rose to fame as lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes in the 1970s before a successful solo career at the end of the decade. In 1982, he was severely injured in an auto accident in Philadelphia, resulting in his being paralyzed from the waist down.

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1959 – Raymond Chandler died. American novelist and screenwriter.

Chandler had an immense stylistic influence on American popular literature, and is considered by many to be a founder, along with Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and other Black Mask writers, of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction.

His protagonist, Philip Marlowe, along with Hammett’s Sam Spade, is considered by some to be synonymous with “private detective,” both having been played on screen by Humphrey Bogart, whom many considered to be the quintessential Marlowe.

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Almanac – September 24

1534 – Guru Ram Das born. The fourth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism, one of his main contributions to Sikhism was organizing the structure of Sikh society. Additionally, he was the author of Laava, the four hymns of the Sikh Marriage Rites, and he was planner and creator of the township of Ramdaspur which became the Sikh holy city of Amritsar.

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1541 –  Paracelsus  (Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim) died.  German-Swiss Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist. He is also credited for giving zinc its name, calling it zincum, and is regarded as the first systematic botanist.

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1893 – Blind Lemon Jefferson born. American blues singer and guitarist from Texas. He was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s, and has been titled “Father of the Texas Blues”.

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1930 – Angelo Muscat born. Maltese-born film and television character actor,  he appeared in 14 of the 17 episodes of the sixties cult television series The Prisoner, as the notably mute butler. Only 4 ft 3 in tall, he played an Oompa-Loompa in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), and also appeared in the Beatles‘  Magical Mystery Tour and  Doctor Who.

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1993 – A Jehovah’s Witness buttonholed actor James Purefoy outside his London flat. They began a friendly conversation, but then   “I just said I thought it was odd that the Bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs, and he punched me in the face.”

“At first I tried to laugh it off, but that just incensed him and he kept hitting me.”

Finally, Purefoy lifted his assailant into the air and threw him to the ground, shouting: “I hope Jehovah witnessed that !”

The actor came out of the theological discussion with a black eye and a slipped disc, causing him to have to pull out of Noel Coward’s  Present Laughter at the Globe Theatre.
The fate of the JW isn’t recorded.

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