Wednesday, September 28, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 28


Confucius say: "Have some cake! It Confucius Birthday!" Actually, he probably never said that, seeing as birthday cake had yet to be invented in 551 BC, the year the great Chinese teacher was born.

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On this day in 1066, William the Bastard (as he was known at the time) invades England beginning the Norman conquest of England.

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On this day in 1867, Toronto becomes the capital of Ontario. And they STILL haven’t gotten over themselves!

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On this day in 1889, the first General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) defines the length of a meter as the distance between two lines on a standard bar of an alloy of platinum with ten percent iridium, measured at the melting point of ice. Seriously.

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On this day in 1928, the U.K. Parliament passes the Dangerous Drugs Act outlawing cannabis. Yeah... real dangerous drug, there, guys.

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On this day in 1973, the ITT Building in New York City is bombed in protest at ITT's alleged involvement in the September 11, 1973 coup d'état in Chile.

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On this day in 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat sign the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

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On this day in 1996, former president of Afghanistan Mohammad Najibullah is tortured and brutally murdered by the Taliban.

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On this day in 2000, Ariel Sharon visits Al-Aqsa Mosque known to Jews as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

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On this day in 2008, SpaceX launches the first private spacecraft, the Falcon 1 into orbit.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 27



On this day in 1540, the Society of Jesus – better known to conspiracy theorists as the Jesuits – receives its charter from Pope Paul III.

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On this day in 1590, Pope Urban VII dies 13 days after being chosen as the Pope, making his reign the shortest papacy in history.

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On this day in 1821, Mexico gains its independence from Spain.

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On this day in 1822, Jean-François Champollion announces that he has deciphered the Rosetta stone.

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On this day in 1905, the physics journal Annalen der Physik received Albert Einstein's paper "Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?", introducing the equation E=mc².

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On this day in 1937, the Balinese Tiger declared extinct.

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On this day in 1954, the nationwide debut of Tonight Starring Steve Allen (The Tonight Show) hosted by Steve Allen on NBC.

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The Warren Commission investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is first made public on this day in the year 1964. The Commission's conclusions? That Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, that every shot came from a window on the sixth floor of the Dallas school book repository building, and that yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

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On this day in 1968, the stage musical HAIR opens at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London, where it played 1,998 performances until its closure was forced by the roof collapsing in July 1973.

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On this day in 1988, lab tests approved by the Vatican show beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Shroud of Turin was fabricated in the early Middle Ages, and therefore could not possibly be Jesus's burial cloth. True believers, however, refuse to accept the findings, citing the fact that science is "a tool of the DEVIL!"

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On this day in 1998, the Google internet search engine retrospectively claims this as its birthday.

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On this day in 2008, CNSA astronaut Zhai Zhigang becomes the first Chinese person to perform a spacewalk while flying on Shenzhou 7.Or does he?

Monday, September 26, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 26


On this day in the year 31 AD, Jesus wept.

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On this day in 1580, adventurer and occultist Sir Francis Drake finishes his circumnavigation of the Earth.

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On this day in 1933, as gangster Machine Gun Kelly surrenders to the FBI, he shouts out, "Don’t shoot, G-Men!", which becomes a nickname for FBI agents. Meanwhile, not too far away, ten convicts escape from the Indiana State Prison with guns smuggled into the prison by bank robber John Dillinger.

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On this day in 1960, in Chicago, the first televised debate takes place between presidential candidates Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy. Those who watched said JFK won. Those who listened on the radio gave the edge to Nixon.

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On this day in 1984, President Ronald Reagan vetoes the first of several bills calling on the USA to impose economic sanctions on South Africa in protest of Apartheid. It isn't until 1986, when the Democratic Congress takes the initiative and over-rides another one of Reagan's shameful vetoes, that the sanctions were finally approved and implemented. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, the Powers That Be "agree" to the handover of Hong Kong to the communist Chinese government.

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On this day in the year 1990, the good folks at the MPAA create the totally useless NC-17 rating for films deemed too explicit to be rated R, but not so explicit that they merit an X, which is box-office death. Unfortunately, theater owners never picked up on the concept, deciding that an NC-17 was just as "bad" as an X. Yer old pal Jerky thinks most of these age-threshold parameters are bullshit anyway. They should just give everyone an IQ test before allowing them to enter the theater. Then you could rate films by the minimum IQ required to be able to understand or enjoy the film. So, for instance, a film like Battlefield Earth could be rated IQ-50, and a film like 2001: A Space Odyssey could be rated IQ-120.

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On this day in 2002, the overcrowded Senegalese ferry MV Le Joola capsizes off the coast of the Gambia killing more than 1,000.

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On this day in 2008, Swiss pilot and inventor Yves Rossy becomes first person to fly a jet engine-powered wing across the English Channel.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 25


On this day in 1690, Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, the first newspaper to appear in the Americas, is published for the first and only time.

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On this day in 1789, the United States Congress passes twelve amendments to the United States Constitution: the Congressional Apportionment Amendment (which was never ratified), the Congressional Compensation Amendment, and the ten that are known as the Bill of Rights.

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On this day in 1906, in the presence of the king and before a great crowd, Leonardo Torres Quevedo successfully demonstrates the invention of the Telekino in the port of Bilbao, guiding a boat from the shore, in what is considered the birth of the remote control.

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On this day in 1951, Luke Skywalker was born. Exactly one year later, Superman was born. Today, Luke Skywalker is playing "Pharoah" in a Branson dinner theater production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Superman is dead. Oh, how the mighty have fallen...

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On this day in 1956, the first ever transatlantic telephone call takes place, between AT&T bigwig Cleo Frank Craig and Dr. Charles Hill of the British Post Office. At its humble beginnings, the transatlantic cable could only handle a mere thirty-six conversations at any one time. Now, people get upset if their computer lags when they've got thirty-six full-resolution hardcore porn videos downloading at once. We've come a long way, baby!

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This day in 1986 was a bleak day for the Supreme Court of the USA, as neo-fascist bizarro-cult-member Antonin "the Godfather" Scalia is appointed to that formerly respectable institution by then-President, Ronald Fucking Reagan.

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On this day in 1990, Saddam Hussein warns that by attacking Iraq, the US would have to endure a re-run of the Vietnam experience. Little did anyone know it would take an unlucky thirteen years for the Mesopotamian dictator's prophecy to come (somewhat) true.

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On this day in 1992, NASA launches the Mars Observer, a $511 million probe to Mars, in the first U.S. mission to the planet in 17 years. Eleven months later, the probe would fail.

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On this day in 1996, the last of the Magdalene asylums - essentially laundromats run with an iron fist by Catholic nuns and operated on a slave labor system by captive women and children - closes in Ireland.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 24


On this day in 768, Charlemagne gets crowned the first King of the Franks.

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On this day in 1869, "Black Friday" takes place when gold prices plummet after Ulysses S. Grant orders the Treasury to sell large quantities of gold after Jay Gould and James Fisk plot to control the market.

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On this day in 1890, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially renounces polygamy.

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On this day in 1906, US President Theodore Roosevelt proclaims Devils Tower in Wyoming as the nation's very first National Monument.

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On this day in 1950, forest fires black out the sun over portions of Canada and New England. A blue moon is seen as far away as Europe.

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On this day in 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sends 101st Airborne Division troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce desegregation.

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On this day in 1968, the journalism show 60 Minutes debuts on CBS.

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On this day in 1979, CompuServe launches the first consumer internet service, which features the first public electronic mail service.

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With a little help from every professional athlete's little helper - steroids! - Jamaican/Canadian Olympic runner Ben Johnson becomes the fastest human being on the planet on this day in 1988, when he completes the 100 meter dash in an incredible 9.79 seconds. Taking his gold medal away from him will never change those awesome numbers. Besides, did you watch that race? Does anybody really believe Carl Lewis and Linford Christie weren't juiced to the gills, as well?!

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On this day in 1990, the Supreme Soviet gives final approval for the big switch-over to a free market economic system. Chaos ensues.

Friday, September 23, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 23



On this day in the year 1875, 15-year-old Billy the Kid gets thrown in jail for the first time in his life, after stealing a bag of clothes from a Chinese laundryman as a joke. Despite his crippling claustrophobia, Billy managed to escape prison by squeezing through the chimney. For the rest of his days, Billy would be on the wrong side of the law.

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On this day in 1889, Nintendo Koppai - later Nintendo Company Ltd - is founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi to produce and market the playing card game Hanafuda.

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On this day in 1909, The Phantom of the Opera, a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux, is first published as a serialization in Le Gaulois.

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On this day in 1952, Richard Nixon makes his "Checkers speech", in which he references his dog, Checkers.

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On this day in 1969, the Chicago Eight trial opens in - where else? - Chicago!

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On this day in 1976, Republican Presidential candidate Gerald Ford debates Democratic Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter on live television. Chaos ensues.

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On this day in 1977, Cheryl Ladd replaces Farrah Fawcett on Charlie's Angels. The millions of teenage boys who make up the show's target demographic briefly pause, shrug, then resume masturbating.

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On this day in 2008, the Kauhajoki school shooting takes place when Matti Saari kills 10 people before committing suicide.

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On this day in the year 1846, astronomers discover our solar system's eighth planet, Neptune, by extrapolating potential orbits based on some of the more unusual aspects of... Uranus. You see, it was hypothesized that, due to the way it moved, there had to be something behind... Uranus. It has subsequently been noted that Neptune is smaller in diameter, but larger in mass, than... Uranus. Which must be why you go through so much toilet paper, you fat tub of lard!

PS - Who would have thought Uranus could be so beautiful?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 22


On this day in 1598, English playwright Ben Jonson kills an actor in a duel and is indicted for manslaughter.

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For a timeless lesson on the inherent dangers in allowing religion to have too great an influence on public policy, one need look no further than the Salem Witch Trials, which came to an end after the last 8 "witches" were hanged by the neck until dead, on this day in the year 1692.

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On this day in 1789, the office of United States Postmaster General is established.

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On this day in 1823, Joseph Smith, Jr. states he found the Golden plates on this date after being directed by God through the Angel Moroni to the place where they were buried.

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On this day in 1869, Richard Wagner's opera Das Rheingold premieres in Munich.

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On this day in 1888, the first issue of National Geographic Magazine is published.

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On this day in 1896, Queen Victoria surpasses her grandfather King George III as the longest reigning monarch in British history.

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On this day in 1975, former Manson Family member Sara Jane Moore tries to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford, but is foiled by Oliver Sipple.

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On this day in 1979, the Vela Incident - also known as the South Atlantic Flash - is observed near Bouvet Island, thought to be a nuclear weapons test.

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On this day in 1980, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein launches an invasion of Ayatollah Khomeini's revolutionary Iran. It was the beginning of the deadly Iran/Iraq War, wherein we here in the USA played both sides against each other, overtly supporting Iraq while covertly supporting Iran. It was a win/win (or lose/lose) situation!

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On this day in 1991, the Dead Sea Scrolls are made available to the public for the first time by the Huntington Library. Well... a tiny chunk of them are, anyway.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 21


On this day in 1792, a month after imprisoning King Louis XIV and his wife, Marie Antoinette, the chief architects of the revolutionary movement in France declare the monarchy to be over and done with. Soon, despite sky-high constitutional promises of democracy, liberties and property rights for the common Frenchman, heads begin rolling down the streets in great numbers as the Terror begins.

Contemplating the hideous fate of the French monarchy got yer old pal Jerky thinking... which would be worse? To be obliterated in one of history's greatest bloody rebellions? Or, as has happened in England, to devolve into a kind of living soap opera for dullards, stripped of all power, and basically allowed to exist because they help keep British people's minds off the fact that their Empire crumbled more than half a century ago?

Yer old pal Jerky would like to be able to say that he'd stride defiantly towards the guillotine, giving future biographers and historians something to write about. However, being a comfort-loving coward, I'm afraid I'd eventually have to settle on the latter option, wherein posing for postcards, waving at idiots and dodging the occasional paparazzo would be the hardest I'd ever have to work for the rest of my fucking life.

And speaking of overthrowing monarchy, it was on this day in 1776, American patriot Nathan Hale uttered the immortal words: "I only regret I have but one life to live for my country," before being hanged for spying against the British. He was 21 years old.

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On this day in 1937, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit is published.

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On this day in 1977, a nuclear non-proliferation pact is signed by 15 countries, including the United States and the Soviet Union.

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On this day in 1981, Sandra Day O'Connor is unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate as the first female Supreme Court justice.

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On this day in 1991, Armenia is granted independence from Soviet Union.

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On this day in 1993, Russian President Boris Yeltsin suspends parliament and scraps the then-functioning constitution, thus triggering the Russian constitutional crisis of 1993.

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On this day in 2001, America: A Tribute to Heroes is broadcast by over 35 network and cable channels, raising over $200 million for the September 11 attack victims.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 20


It was (roughly) on this day in the year 622 that the Muslim era began, when Mohammad made his "hegira," which is a fancy Arab word that means: "fleeing." Chased out of Mecca for pestering citizens there with his tales of revelation-spouting angels in mountain caves, Mohammad made his way to Medina, where people actually believed his stories and raised an army in defense of them. Eventually, Mohammad would return to Mecca and FORCE them to believe. And they all lived happily ever after.

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On this day in 1187, Saladin begins the Siege of Jerusalem.

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On this day in 1848, the American Association for the Advancement of Science is created.

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On this day in 1881, Chester A. Arthur is inaugurated as the 21st President of the United States following the assassination of James Garfield.

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On this day in 1884, the Equal Rights Party nominates female candidates for both President and Vice President of the United States of America. Thus is explained their crushing defeat.

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On this day in 1945, after being secretly smuggled into the country in the top secret Project Paperclip, "former" Nazi rocket scientists begin their first day of "honest" work in the good old US-of-A.

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On this day in 1973, God once again proves he's an asshole when he makes singer/songwriter Jim Croce's plane crash. Croce, famous for such gentle, catchy hits as Bad Bad Leroy Brown, Time in a Bottle and Lover's Cross, was only 30 years old at the time.

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On this day in 2002, the Kolka-Karmadon rock/ice slide. It's a big one!

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On this day in 2011, the United States ends its "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, allowing gay men and women to serve openly for the first time.

Monday, September 19, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 19


On this day in 1778, the Continental Congress passes the first United States federal budget.

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On this day in 1796, George Washington's Farewell Address is printed across America as an open letter to the public.

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On this day in 1881, U.S. President James A. Garfield dies of wounds suffered in a July 2 shooting.

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On this day in 1928, Walt Disney's star creation Mickey Mouse makes his on-screen debut at New York's Colony Theater in Steamboat Willie, a really short and boring cartoon. Exactly thirty-one years later, on this day in 1959, Russian premier Nikita "We Will Bury You" Krushchev is denied entry to Walt Disney's experimental utopian community prototype, codename: Disneyland. Coincidence? Yeah. Right.

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On this day in 1934, a German immigrant named Bruno Hauptmann is arrested for the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh, Jr.

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On this day in 1946, the first Cannes Film Festival is held, having been delayed seven years due to World War II.

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On this day in 1957, the first American underground nuclear bomb test - part of Operation Plumbbob - takes place.

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On this day in 1970, the first Glastonbury Festival is held at Michael Eavis's farm in Glastonbury, United Kingdom.

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On this day in 1976, two Imperial Iranian Air Force F-4 Phantom II jets fly out to investigate an unidentified flying object when both independently lose instrumentation and communications as they approach, only to have them restored upon withdrawal.

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On this day in 1985, Tipper Gore and other political wives form the Parents Music Resource Center as Frank Zappa and other musicians testify at U.S. Congressional hearings on obscenity in rock music.

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On this day in 1991, Ötzi the Iceman is discovered by German tourists.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 18


On this day in 1502, Christopher Columbus lands at Honduras on his fourth, and final voyage.

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On this day in 1793, the first cornerstone of the Capitol building is laid by George Washington.

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On this day in 1830, a horse beats the first American-made steam locomotive in a race near Baltimore, Maryland. In a number of alternate universes, this single event puts an ignominious end to the Industrial Revolution, after which we all return to the wild, eating poison mushrooms and berries, mating with whomever we can overpower, and living to a ripe old age of about thirty or so before being eaten alive by wolves. I know, I know… the grass is always greener!

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 On this day in 1850, the U.S. Congress passes the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. It's pretty gross.

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On this day in 1851, the New York Times publishes its first edition. Unfortunately, yer old pal Jerky picked up this piece of information from the New York Times, so he can't really vouch for its veracity.

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On this day in 1870, Old Faithful Geyser is observed and named by Henry D. Washburn during the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition to Yellowstone.

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On this day in 1885, riots break out in Montreal to protest against compulsory smallpox vaccination.

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On this day in 1895, Daniel David Palmer gives the first chiropractic adjustment.

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On this day in 1919, Fritz Pollard becomes the first African-American to play professional football for a major team, the Akron Pros.

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On this day in 1927, the Columbia Broadcasting System – or CBS – goes on the air.

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On this day in 1934, the USSR is admitted to League of Nations.

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On this day in 1939, the Nazi propaganda broadcaster known as Lord Haw-Haw begins transmitting.

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On this day in 1947, the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency were established in the United States under the National Security Act. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CIA!

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On this day in 1948, Margaret Chase Smith of Maine becomes the first woman elected to the US Senate without completing another senator's term, when she defeats Democratic opponent Adrian Scolten.

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On this day in 1961, UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld dies in a plane crash while attempting to negotiate peace in the war-torn Katanga region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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On this day in 1974, over five thousand people die in Honduras as Hurricane Fifi comes ashore. That's right... you read right: five thousand Hondurans were killed by something called Fifi. Never look at poodles the same way again.

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On this day in 1975, mind-control victim Patty Hearst is arrested after a year on the FBI Most Wanted List.

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On this day in 1998, ICANN is formed. Believe it or not, this is some pretty important stuff.

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On this day in 2001, first mailing of anthrax letters from Trenton, New Jersey in the 2001 anthrax attacks.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 17


On this day in 1630, the city of Boston, Massachusetts is founded.

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On this day in 1683, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek writes a letter to the Royal Society describing "animalcules": the first known description of protozoa. Little animals. Cute, no?

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On this day in 1776, the Presidio of San Francisco is founded in New Spain. Some dark stuff goes down there over the years.

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On this day in 1787, the United States Constitution is signed in Philadelphia.

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On this day in 1859, Joshua A. Norton declares himself Emperor Norton I of the United States. A great many people go along with his gag, up until the day he dies.

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On this day in 1862, America suffered the single bloodiest day in her history. It was during the Civil War, at Antietam. When the fighting was over, three thousand, six hundred and fifty four men lay dead on the battlefield. And adding insult to injury... the damn thing was a DRAW! All that death and gore, and there wasn't even a winner. Can you imagine how let down they all must have felt?

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On this day in 1908, the Wright Flyer flown by Orville Wright, with Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge as passenger, crashes killing Selfridge. He becomes the first airplane fatality.

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On this day in 1916, Manfred von Richthofen - "The Red Baron" - a flying ace of the German Luftstreitkräfte, wins his first aerial combat near Cambrai, France.

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On this day in 1928, the Okeechobee hurricane strikes southeastern Florida, killing upwards of 2,500 people. It is the third deadliest natural disaster in United States history, behind the Galveston hurricane of 1900 and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

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On this day in the year 1953, for the first time ever in medical history, Siamese twins are successfully separated by surgeons. Sure, they were joined at the ankle, but a first is a first!

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On this day in 1976 the first Space Shuttle, Enterprise, is unveiled by NASA.

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On this day in 1983, Vanessa Williams becomes the first black Miss America. It doesn't last long before scandal strikes and she loses her crown.

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On this day in 1987, Pope John Paul II embraces an AIDS-infected boy while visiting San Francisco.

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On this day in 1991, both Koreas - North and South - are admitted into the United Nations on a date chosen to coincide with the 19th anniversary of the Korean war-based television series M*A*S*H, which premiered on this day in 1972.

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On this day in 2001, the New York Stock Exchange reopens for trading after the September 11 attacks, the longest closure since the Great Depression.

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On this day in 2007, AOL, once the largest ISP in the U.S., officially announces plans to refocus the company as an advertising business and to relocate its corporate headquarters from Dulles, Virginia to New York City

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On this day in 2011, Occupy Wall Street movement begins in Zuccotti Park, New York City, accomplishing not a whole hell of a lot.

Friday, September 16, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 16


On this day in 1498, the most successful Inquisitor General in the long and sordid history of the Catholic Church - Tomas de Torquemada - passes away quietly in his sleep. His 11,500+ victims - Jews and others who were systematically burned, bludgeoned, drowned, flayed, hanged, vivisected and otherwise torn asunder - met far more unquiet fates.

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On this day in 1620, the Mayflower starts her voyage to North America

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On this day in 1919, the American Legion is incorporated.

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On this day in 1920, the Wall Street bombing takes place when a bomb in a horse wagon explodes in front of the J. P. Morgan building in New York City – 38 are killed and 400 injured.

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On this day in 1941, during World War II, concerned that Reza Pahlavi the Shah of Persia is about to ally his petroleum-rich empire with Nazi Germany, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union invade Iran in late August and force the Shah to abdicate in favor of his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. So the Anglo world has been messing with Iran since even before the Mossadegh coup!

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On this day in 1959, the first successful photocopier, the Xerox 914, is introduced in a demonstration on live television from New York City. This is a vitally important moment in the history of samizdat and underground publishing.

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On this day in 1982, the Sabra and Shatila massacre takes place in Lebanon.

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On this day in the year 1983, Austrian immigrant Arnold Schwarzenthingy becomes a citizen of the United States of America. Now all we have to do is figure out a way to send him back.

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On this day in 2001, a satellite company beaming live footage from a special Papal mass in celebration of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (phew!) fucked up big-time, crossing video from the mass with audio from a hardcore porn movie which the company was carrying on a supposedly separate channel. So while the millions of Catholics who tuned into the ceremony could see the assembled cardinals praying and waving those smoking ball-and-chain thingies in the air, all they could hear were the guttural moanings and squishy sex-sounds of copulating couples! But if you think the Catholics were confused, just imagine the poor porn dogs who tuned in to check out some flesh-flicks only to find a soundtrack of prayers and Latin chanting playing over all that filthy, sinful fucking! Talk about cognitive dissonance!

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On this day in 2007, mercenaries working for Blackwater Worldwide allegedly shoot and kill 17 Iraqis in Nisour Square, Baghdad; all criminal charges against them are later dismissed, sparking outrage in the Arab world.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 15


On this day in 1440, one of the earliest known serial killers, Gilles de Rais, is taken into custody upon an accusation brought against him by the Bishop of Nantes. Was this one time ally of Joan of Arc really guilty of murdering hundreds of children, as so many claimed? Some still wonder .

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On this day in 1835, the HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin aboard, reaches the Galápagos Islands. The ship lands at Chatham or San Cristobal, the easternmost of the archipelago.

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On this day in 1916, during World War I, tanks are used for the first time in battle, at the Battle of the Somme.

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On this day in 1935, Nazi Germany adopts a new national flag with the swastika.

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On this day in 1959Nikita Khrushchev becomes the first Soviet leader to visit the United States.

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On this day in 1963, the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing: Four children killed at an African-American church in Birmingham, Alabama, United States

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On this day in 1966, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, responding to Charles Whitman's sniper attack at the University of Texas at Austin, writes a letter to Congress urging the enactment of gun control legislation.

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On this day in 1981, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approves Sandra Day O'Connor to become the first female justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

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On this day in 2008, Lehman Brothers files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 14


On this day in 1741, George Frideric Handel completes his oratorio Messiah. It's magnificent.


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On this day in 1752, the British Empire adopts the Gregorian calendar, skipping eleven days (the previous day was September 2).

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On this day in 1763, Seneca warriors defeat British forces at the Battle of Devil's Hole during Pontiac's War.

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On this day in 1814, the poem Defence of Fort McHenry is written by Francis Scott Key. The poem is later used as the lyrics of The Star-Spangled Banner.

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On this day in 1901, President of the United States William McKinley dies after an assassination attempt on September 6, and is succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt.

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On this day in 1959 the Soviet probe Luna 2 crashes onto the Moon, becoming the first man-made object to reach it.

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On this day in 1960, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries - OPEC - is founded.

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On this day in 1984, the first ever MTV Music Video Awards hit the airwaves. In a bold move, the still-wet-behind-the-ears music video channel hires two edgy young up-and-comers to host the show: Bette Midler and Dan Aykroyd! I shit you not.

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On this day in 1987, the Toronto Blue Jays set a record for the most home runs in a single game, hitting 10 of them.

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On this day in 1994, the Major League Baseball season is canceled because of a strike.

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On this day in 1995, the half-artistic, half-scientific Body Worlds exhibit opens in Tokyo, Japan, showcasing real corpses in various degrees of discombobulation and positioning. It’s pretty gross, and hugely popular during its round-the-world tour.

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On this day, two fabulously wealthy and popular ladies die in two utterly spectacular automobile accidents. Firstly, in 1927, dancer Isadora Duncan's scarf gets caught in her car wheel, breaking her neck and nearly decapitating her. Second, in 1982, Princess Grace Kelly drives off a cliff in Monaco. And yet, despite all this carnage, America's love-affair with the horseless carriage continues unabated.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 13


On this day in 1501, Michelangelo begins work on his statue of David.

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On this day in 1743, Great Britain, Austria and the Kingdom of Sardinia sign the Treaty of Worms. Ewww…

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On this day in 1759, England's General James Wolfe advances on French General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm-Gozon's defensive position on Quebec's Plains of Abraham in a battle that would claim both officers' lives. Gravely wounded during the battle, Montcalm asks his battlefield doctor how long he can expect to live. "Scant hours, my lord," replied the physician. "Good," Montcalm replies, "at least I won't live to see the English take Quebec."

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On this day in 1848, Vermont railroad worker Phineas Gage survives a 3-foot-plus iron rod being driven through his head; the reported effects on his behavior and personality stimulate thinking about the nature of the brain and its functions.

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On this day in 1899, Henry Bliss is the first person in the United States to be killed in an automobile accident.

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On this day in 1942, German forces attack the Russian city of Stalingrad. The operation turns out to be a little bit tougher than the Nazis had anticipated. By the time the siege is over seventeen months later, more than 147,000 Germans and over half a million Russians will have died.

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On this day in 1956, The IBM 305 RAMAC is introduced, the first commercial computer to use disk storage.

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On this day in 1971, State police and National Guardsmen storm New York's Attica Prison to end a prison revolt. It doesn't go so well.

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On this day in 1971, Chairman Mao Zedong's second in command and successor Marshal Lin Biao flees China via plane after the failure of alleged coup against Mao. The plane crashes in Mongolia, killing all aboard.

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On this day in 1977, for the first time ever, a major television network advises viewer discretion before airing a program. The program in question was the broadly satirical and somewhat controversial sitcom Soap, starring Billy Crystal as a homosexual. Hence, the warning.

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On this day in 1987, a radioactive object is stolen from an abandoned hospital in Goiânia, Brazil, contaminating many people in the following weeks and causing some to die from radiation poisoning.

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On this day in 1993, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shakes hands with PLO chairman Yasser Arafat at the White House after signing the Oslo Accords granting limited Palestinian autonomy.

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On this day in 2001, civilian aircraft traffic resumes in the United States after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Unless you were a member of the Saudi royal family or the bin Laden family, in which case civilian aircraft traffic never came to any kind of stop at all.

Monday, September 12, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 12


This day in 490 BC is the conventionally accepted date for the Battle of Marathon. The Athenians and their Plataean allies, defeat the first Persian invasion force of Greece.

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On this day in 1919, Adolf Hitler joins the German Workers Party as a spy, to report on its activities to the German army.

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On this day in 1943, Benito Mussolini, dictator of Italy, is rescued from house arrest on the Gran Sasso in Abruzzi, by German commando forces led by Otto Skorzeny.

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On this day in 1952, strange occurrences, including a monster sighting, take place in Flatwoods, West Virginia.

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On this day in 1953, U.S. Representative John Fitzgerald Kennedy marries Jacqueline Lee Bouvier at St. Mary's Church in Newport, Rhode Island.

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It took almost two hundred years, but America's sizable Catholic minority didn't dwell on that fact on this day in 1975, when Pope John XXIII canonized Elizabeth Ann Seton, making her the first ever American Saint.

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On this day in 1977, South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko is killed in police custody.

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On this day in 1994 Frank Eugene Corder crashes a single-engine Cessna 150 into the White House's south lawn, striking the West wing and killing himself.

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On this day in 2003, the United Nations lifts sanctions against Libya after that country agreed to accept responsibility and recompense the families of victims in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

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On this day in 2003, in Fallujah, US forces mistakenly shoot and kill eight Iraqi police officers.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 11


On this day in 1541, Santiago, Chile, is destroyed by indigenous warriors, led by Michimalonco.

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On this day in 1609, Henry Hudson discovers Manhattan Island and the indigenous people living there.

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On this day in 1789, Alexander Hamilton is appointed the first United States Secretary of the Treasury.

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On this day in 1792, the Hope Diamond is stolen along with other French crown jewels when six men break into the house where they are stored.

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On this day in 1830, the Anti-Masonic Party convention takes place. It is one of the first American political party conventions.

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On this day in 1857, the Mountain Meadows massacre takes place when Mormon settlers and Paiutes massacre 120 pioneers at Mountain Meadows, Utah.

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On this day in 1893, the Parliament of the World's Religions opened in Chicago, where Swami Vivekananda delivers his speech on fanaticism, tolerance and the truth inherent in all religions.

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On this day in 1919, U.S. Marines invade Honduras.

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On this day in 1961, the World Wildlife Fund is founded.

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On this day in 1973, a coup in Chile headed by General Augusto Pinochet topples the democratically elected president Salvador Allende. Pinochet exercises dictatorial power until ousted in a referendum in 1988, staying in power until 1990.

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On this day in 1976, a group of Croatian nationalists plant a bomb in a coin locker at Grand Central Terminal. After stating political demands, they reveal the location and provide instructions for disarming the bomb. The disarming operation was not executed properly, killing one NYPD bomb squad specialist.

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On this day in 1978, Janet Parker is the last person to die of smallpox, in a laboratory-associated outbreak.

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On this day in 1982, the international forces that were guaranteeing the safety of Palestinian refugees following Israel's 1982 Invasion of Lebanon leave Beirut. Five days later, several thousand refugees are massacred in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

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On this day in 1997, NASA's Mars Global Surveyor reaches Mars.

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On this day in 2001, two hijacked aircraft crash into the World Trade Center in New York City, while a third smashes into The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a fourth into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in a series of coordinated suicide attacks by members of Al Qaeda. Altogether, 2,996 people are killed. Or, at least, that's what we're SUPPOSED to believe...

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On this day in 2003, Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh is assassinated.

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On this day in 2007, Russia tests the largest conventional weapon ever, the Father of All Bombs.

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On this day in 2012, a total of 315 people are killed in two garment factory fires in Pakistan. Also on this day in 2012, the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya is attacked, resulting in four deaths, including that of J. Christopher Stevens, the United States Ambassador to Libya.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 10


On this day in 1509, an earthquake known as "The Lesser Judgment Day" hits Constantinople.

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On this day in 1570, Spanish Jesuit missionaries land in present-day Virginia to establish the short-lived Ajacán Mission.

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On this day in 1608, John Smith is elected council president of Jamestown, Virginia.

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On this day in 1823, Simón Bolívar is named President of Peru.

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On this day in 1897, a sheriff's posse kills 20 unarmed immigrant miners in Pennsylvania, in what will come to be known as the Lattimer Massacre.

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On this day in 1946, while riding a train to Darjeeling, Sister Teresa Bojaxhiu of the Loreto Sisters' Convent claimed to have heard the call of God, directing her "to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them". She would become known as Mother Teresa, friend to tyrants and dictators the world over in her hypocritical lifetime.

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On this day in 1960, Ethiopian athlete Abebe Bikila wins the Olympic marathon in Rome. His victory is of particular note because the lunatic ran the entire race without the benefit of footwear! Understandably, his success did not result in a lucrative sneaker endorsement deal.

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 On this day in 1961, during the Italian Grand Prix, a crash causes the death of German Formula One driver Wolfgang von Trips and 13 spectators who are hit by his flying Ferrari.

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On this day in 1963, 20 African-American students enter public schools in Alabama. Chaos ensues... for a while.

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On this day in 1967, the people of the protectorate of Gibraltar in Spain vote 12,138 to 44 to retain their British identity.

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On this day in 1977, Hamida Djandoubi, convicted of torture and murder, is the last person to be executed by guillotine in France.

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On this day in 1990, the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire, the largest church in Africa – it’s ridiculously huge, actually – is consecrated by Pope John Paul II.
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On this day in 1999Battlefield Earth star and jet-plane pilot John Travolta makes an emergency landing at a Boston airfield when his private 707 loses an engine. Travolta and his entourage had been en route to Bangor, Maine at the time of the forced landing, where the prominent $cientologist maintains a home, and where the locals have come to hate and fear his hot-dogging aerial exploits.

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On this day in 2001, Charles Ingram cheats his way into winning one million pounds on a British version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Also on  this day in 2001, the mayor of Campinas, Brazil, Antonio da Costa Santos, is assassinated. These news stories are pushed off the front pages pretty quick, however, because of you-know-what.

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On this day in 2002, Switzerland, traditionally a neutral country, joins the United Nations.
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On this day in 2003, Anna Lindh, foreign minister of Sweden, is fatally stabbed while shopping, and dies the following day.

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On this day in 2008, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, described as the biggest scientific experiment in history, is powered up in Geneva, Switzerland. Chaos fails to ensue.

Friday, September 9, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR SEPTEMBER 9


The stupidification of the American TV-watcher began on this day in 1950, when The Hank McClune Show became the first TV show ever to use an artificial "laugh-track" to inform viewers of the presence of comedy.

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On this day in 1956, Elvis "the pelvis" Presley made his first nationwide TV appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, where he kicked up a helluva fuss, just a-screechin' and a-swingin' his hips around like he was a big ol' crazy gurl or sumthin. I swear it put me off muh FOOD! Didja see it? A real travesty. Thank JehovaH that rock-and-roll racket was just a passing fad.

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1971, John Lennon's album Imagine goes on sale. Meanwhile, one thousand National Guardsmen, State Troopers and local police storm New York State's Attica Prison after a breakdown in negotiations between officials and the prisoners who took 32 guards as hostages. Governor Rockefeller orders an all-out attack, resulting in the deaths of 32 inmates and 9 of their hostages.

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On this day in 1999, a Seattle transsexual climbed atop an electrical tower beside a freeway bridge during rush hour and gave commuters a show they won't ever forget. Wearing nothing but a pair of short pants, Ara Tripp danced, wagged her tits around, and spit vodka-fueled flames in the air. In an effort to keep this freak from frying, cops cut off power to the tower, blacking out 5000 homes for almost an hour. After her arrest for indecent exposure and trespassing, Tripp admitted to cops that he/she/it pulled the stunt because he/she/it wanted to get on the talk show circuit. By that measure, he/she/it failed miserably... but still, you have to admire his/her/its showmanship!