Saturday, February 11, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR FEBRUARY 11


This day in 660 BC is traditionally regarded as the foundation date of Japan, led at the time by Emperor Jimmu.

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On this day in 1531, England's King Henry VIII is officially recognized as supreme "head" of the Church in England, which is kind of ironic when you consider the fate that befell most of his wives… not to mention their heads.

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On this day in 1626, Emperor Susenyos I of Ethiopia and Patriarch Afonso Mendes declare the primacy of the Roman See over the Ethiopian Church, and Roman Catholicism the state religion of Ethiopia.

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On this day in 1752, Pennsylvania Hospital, the first hospital in the United States, is opened by Benjamin Franklin.

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On this day in 1916, trouble-maker extraordinaire Emma Goldman is arrested for lecturing on birth control.

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On this day in 1929, Fascist Italy and the Vatican sign the Lateran Treaty, which is still in effect to this very day.

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On this day in 1937, a sit-down strike ends when General Motors recognizes the United Auto Workers.

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On this day in 1938, BBC Television produces the world's first ever science fiction television program, an adaptation of a section of the Karel ńĆapek play R.U.R., that coined the term "robot". The show was aired live, and only a few stills from the production survive (see above).

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On this day in 1942, Archie and his gang make their comic book debut. In their first adventure, Betty and Veronica vie for Archie's affections, Jughead eats a lot, and Reggie hatches an unsuccessful scheme. In other words, the publishers of Archie Comics have been reprinting the exact same story over and over again for over half a century.

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On this day in 1953, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower refuses a clemency appeal for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. They would soon fry for passing on nuclear secrets to the Ruskies.

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On this day in 1978, China lifts a ban on works by Aristotle, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.

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On this day in 1979, ABC airs Elvis! The wildly successful telefilm starred Kurt Russell as the King of Rock and Roll, and was directed, oddly enough, by horror movie master John Carpenter, better known for such gruesome fare as Halloween, The Thing and They Live. 43 million people watch the premiere airing of Elvis!, making it one of the most popular films of the seventies, despite the fact that it was never shown in theaters. Meanwhile, in Iran, an Islamic theocracy under the leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

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On this day in 1990, after spending 27 years behind bars for his efforts to end South African apartheid, freedom fighter Nelson Mandela is freed from prison, finally allowing Bono, Peter Gabriel and Sting to move on with their lives.

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Also on this day in 1990, mere days after the death of his mother (to whom he dedicated the fight), Buster Douglas becomes the heavyweight champion of the world when he beats the supposedly-unbeatable cannibal/rapist Iron Mike Tyson with a stunning knock-out combination in the tenth. This totally unexpected defeat leads to a complete breakdown for the former champ, culminating exactly two years later (to the day), when Iron Mike is convicted of raping beauty queen Desiree Washington. Yer old pal Jerky doesn't care what anybody says, that was one of the greatest heavyweight fights of all time.

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On this day in 2011, the first wave of the Egyptian revolution culminates in the resignation of Hosni Mubarak and the transfer of power to the Supreme Military Council after 18 days of protests. Things don't get much better, sadly. Let's hope we can work things out at some point.

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