Saturday, August 20, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 20


On this day in 1000, the foundation of the Hungarian state by Saint Stephen, first King of Hungary. Today celebrated as the National Day of Hungary by all my crazy Magyar friends! In fact, it was on this day in 83 years later, in 1083, that the Catholic Church canonized Saint Stephen and his son Saint Emeric.

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On this day in 1308, Pope Clement V pardons Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, absolving him of charges of heresy. A little late for that, ain't it, Clem?

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On this day in 1858, theologian Charles Darwin first publishes his theory of evolution through natural selection in The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, alongside Alfred Russel Wallace's same theory.

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On this day in 1890, the writer Howard Philips Lovecraft - father of the Modern literary genre of Cosmic Horror and creator of such dark fantasy staples as Cthulhu (see above) and the Necronomicon - is born to a syphilitic father and a certifiably insane mother. Both parents would die after years of institutionalization. Old H.P. was raised by two doting old aunts in a rickety mansion in Providence, Rhode Island. And if you aren't reading Alan Moore's current, ongoing comic series Providence, you're missing out on the best art and writing the comics field currently has to offer. Beyond all odds, Mr Lovecraft remains tragically relevant.

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On this day in 1913, contrary to the cowardly reputation of his fellow countrymen, Adolphe Pegoud - a Frenchman - becomes the first person dumb enough to test-drive a parachute. It opens, and Pegoud survived, but he hit the ground at something like thirty miles per hour. Ayoye, tabarnac!

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Undercover NKVD agent Ramón Mercader manages to gain entrance to Leon Trotsky's heavily-guarded Mexican safe house, where he pulls out an ice axe and buries it deep in the prolific communist intellectual-in-exile's skull. How he managed to penetrate Trotsky's thick and wiry nimbus of a hairdo, yer old pal Jerky has yet to figure out.

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On this day in 1975, NASA launches the Viking 1 planetary probe toward Mars.

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On this day in 1982, President Ronald Reagan orders 800 U.S. Marines to join a multinational force in Beirut to help oversee the Palestinian withdrawal from Lebanon, where a fierce civil war between Muslim and Christian militias had been raging for seven years. Seventeen months and 262 dead Marines later,Reagan decides to pull out and send our battle-weary soldiers on a working vacation in beautiful downtown Grenada! What a nice gesture!

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On this day in the year 1986, mailman Patrick Sherrill arrives for work at the Edmund, Oklahoma (pop. 35,000) Post Office, pulls out a gun and starts to pick off his co-workers one-by-one. Sherrill's rampage leaves 14 people dead, and forever cements the public perception of postal workers as being two rounds short of a full clip.

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On this day in 1988, a ceasefire is agreed after almost eight years of the Iran/Iraq war.

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On this day in 1989, those wacky Menendez brothers murder their parents. Media-fueled chaos ensues.

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