Tag Archives: Scott Walker

Almanac – January 09

1890 – Karel Čapek born.  Czech writer, his  first international success was Rossum’s Universal Robots, a dystopian work about a bad day at a factory populated with sentient androids. The play was translated into English in 1922, and was being performed in the UK and America by 1923, and introduced to the world the word robot.

While it is frequently thought that he was the originator of the word, he wrote a short letter in reference to an article in the Oxford English Dictionary etymology in which he named his brother, painter and writer Josef Čapek, as its actual inventor. In an article in the Czech journal Lidové noviny in 1933, he also explained that he had originally wanted to call the creatures laboři (from Latin labor, work). However, he did not like the word, seeing it as too artificial, and sought advice from his brother Josef, who suggested “roboti”.

The word robot comes from the word robota, meaning literally serf labor, and, figuratively, “drudgery” or “hard work” in modern Czech (in Slovak, Russian, Polish, archaic Czech and other Slavic languages a similar word means simply “work”).

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1908 – Simone de Beauvoir born.  French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist, and social theorist.

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1911 – Gypsy Rose Lee born.  American burlesque entertainer famous for her striptease act. She was also an actress, author, and playwright whose 1957 memoir was made into the stage musical and film Gypsy.

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1918 – Battle of Bear Valley. A small engagement fought in 1918 between a band of Yaquis and a detachment of United States Army soldiers.

On January 9, 1918, elements of the American 10th Cavalry Regiment detected about thirty armed Yaquis in Bear Valley, Arizona, a large area that was commonly used as a passage across the international border with Mexico.

A short firefight ensued, which resulted in the death of the Yaqui commander and the capture of nine others. Though the conflict was merely a skirmish, it was the last time the United States Army engaged hostile native Americans in combat and thus has been seen as one of the final battles of the American Indian Wars.

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1925 – Lee Van Cleef born. American film actor who appeared mostly in Westerns and action pictures. His sharp features and piercing eyes led to his being cast as a villain in scores of films, such as Kansas City Confidential, High Noon, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

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1943 – Scott Walker born. American-British singer-songwriter, composer and record producer. He is noted for his distinctive baritone voice and for the unorthodox career path which has taken him from 1960s pop icon to 21st century experimental musician.

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Almanac – October 09

1635 –  Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a religious dissident.  An English Protestant theologian, he was an early proponent of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. In 1636, he began the colony of Providence Plantation, which provided a refuge for religious minorities, and started the first Baptist church in America. He was a student of Native American languages and an advocate for fair dealings with Native Americans. Williams was arguably the very first abolitionist in North America, having organized the first attempt to prohibit slavery in any of the original thirteen colonies.
He was tried by the General Court and convicted of sedition and heresy, the Court declaring  that he was spreading “diverse, new, and dangerous opinions”.

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1920 – Yusef Lateef born, American jazz multi-instrumentalist, composer, and educator.

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1934 – Abdullah Ibrahim born. South African pianist and composer, his music reflects many of the musical influences of his childhood in the multicultural port areas of Cape Town, ranging from traditional African songs to the gospel of the AME Church and ragas, to more modern jazz and other Western styles. Ibrahim is considered the leading figure in the sub-genre Cape jazz.

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1967 – A day after being captured, Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara is executed for attempting to incite a revolution in Bolivia.

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1978 – Jacques Brel died. Belgian singer-songwriter who composed and performed literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that generated a large, devoted following in France initially, and later throughout the world.

He was widely considered a master of the modern chanson, and although he recorded most of his songs in French, he became a major influence on English-speaking songwriters and performers such as David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Marc Almond and Rod McKuen. English translations of his songs were recorded by many top performers, including Ray Charles, Judy Collins, John Denver, the Kingston Trio, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Scott Walker, and Andy Williams.He has sold over 25 million records worldwide. 

In French-speaking countries, Brel was also a successful actor, appearing in ten films. He also directed two films, one of which, Le Far West, was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973.

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1989 – An official news agency in the Soviet Union reported the landing of a UFO in Voronezh. The alleged landing occurred the previous month in the city’s park, and subsequently led to encounters between citizens and extraterrestrial beings.

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1992 – A 13 kilogram (est.) fragment of the Peekskill meteorite landed on the driveway of the Knapp residence in Peekskill, New York, destroying the family’s 1980 Chevrolet Malibu.

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