Tag Archives: short story

Almanac – June 16

BLOOMSDAY – in 1904  James Joyce began a relationship with Nora Barnacle and subsequently used the date to set the action of his novel Ulysses; this date is now traditionally called Bloomsday.

 

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1816 – Lord Byron read Fantasmagoriana to his four house guests at the Villa Diodati –  Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, Claire Clairmont, and John Polidori –  and issued his challenge that each guest write a ghost story, which resulted  in Mary Shelley writing the novel Frankenstein, John Polidori  the short story The Vampyre, and Byron the poem Darkness

 

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1829 – Geronimo born. A prominent leader of the Bedonkohe Apache who fought against Mexico and the United States for their expansion into Apache tribal lands for several decades during the Apache Wars.


Geronimo” was the name given to him during a battle with Mexican soldiers. His Chiricahua name is often rendered as Goyathlay or Goyahkla  in English.

 

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1881 – Marie Laveau died. Louisiana Creole practitioner of Voodoo, renowned in New Orleans.


Of her magical career there is little that can be substantiated. She was said to have had a snake she named Zombi after an African god. Oral traditions suggested that the occult part of her magic mixed Roman Catholic beliefs, including saints, with African spirits and religious concepts.


Her daughter Marie Laveau II (1827 — c. 1895) also practiced Voudoun, and historical accounts often confuse the two.  Some believe that the mother was more powerful while the daughter arranged more elaborate public events (including inviting attendees to St. John’s Eve rituals on Bayou St. John), but it is not known which (if not both) had done more to establish the voodoo queen reputation.


Marie Laveau was reportedly buried in Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans in the Glapion family crypt. The tomb continues to attract visitors who draw three “x”s (XXX) on its side, in the hopes that Laveau’s spirit will grant them a wish.

Some  researchers claim that Laveau is buried in other tombs, but they may be confusing the resting places of other voodoo priestesses of New Orleans.

 

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1963 – Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space.


During her three-day mission, in Vostok 6,  she performed various tests on herself to collect data on the female body’s reaction to spaceflight.


After the dissolution of the first group of female cosmonauts in 1969, she became a prominent member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, holding various political offices. She remained politically active following the collapse of the Soviet Union and is still revered as a heroine in post-Soviet Russia.

 

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1999 – Screaming Lord Sutch died. Cult English singer and musican, and founder of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, who he served as its leader from 1983 to 1999, during which time he stood in numerous parliamentary elections.


Sutch was also a pioneer of pirate radio in the UK, and worked with the legendary record producer  Joe Meek.


His album Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends was named – unfairly ! –  in a 1998 BBC poll as the worst album of all time, despite the fact that Jimmy Page, John Bonham, Jeff Beck, Noel Redding and Nicky Hopkins performed on it and helped write it.


Sutch suffered from depression and committed suicide by hanging.

 

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Almanac – August 5

Oyster Day

Traditionally the beginning of the oyster-eating season.

Greengrocers rise at dawn of Sun
August the fifth – come haste away
To Billingsgate the thousands run
Tis Oyster Day ! Tis Oyster Day !

Every-Day Book, 1829

It was thought that anyone eating an oyster on this day would not lack for money for the rest of the year [an idea no doubt encouraged by oyster-sellers – “the more you eat, dearie, the richer you’ll be.”]

Kids in parts of London used to take more practical steps towards ensuring prosperity by gathering discarded oyster shells and building with them cone-shaped grottos with lighted candles inside or on top, exhibiting them on the streets and begging coins from passers-by for their efforts.

910 – The last major Danish army to raid England was defeated at the Battle of Tettenhall by the allied forces of Mercia and Wessex, led by King Edward the Elder and Earl Aethelred of Mercia.

1850 – Guy de Maupassant born.  19th-century French writer, considered one of the fathers of the modern short story and one of the form’s finest exponents.

1862 – Joseph Merrick born. Englishman with severe deformities who was exhibited as a human curiosity, popularly known as  the  Elephant Man.

1895 – Friedrich Engels died.  German-English industrialist, social scientist, author, political theorist, philosopher, and father of Marxist theory, alongside Karl Marx.

1925 – Plaid Cymru  formed with the aim of disseminating knowledge of the Welsh language that was at the time in danger of dying out. As a political party in Wales it advocates the establishment of an independent Welsh state. It won its first seat in 1966 and  by 2012 had 1 of 4 Welsh seats in the European Parliament, 3 of 40 Welsh seats in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, 11 of 60 seats in the National Assembly for Wales, and 206 of 1,264 principal local authority councillors.

1962 – Nelson Mandela  jailed. He would not be released until 1990.

1962 – Marilyn Monroe died.  Dr. Thomas Noguchi of the Los Angeles County Coroners office recorded cause of death as “acute barbiturate poisoning”, resulting from a “probable suicide”. Many theories, including murder, circulated about the circumstances of her death and the timeline after the body was found. Some conspiracy theories involved John and Robert Kennedy, while other theories suggested CIA or Mafia complicity. It was reported that President Kennedy was the last person Monroe called.

Mr. Frankenstein

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