Saturday, June 10, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JUNE 10



On this day in 323 BC, after conquering almost the entirety of the known world and leaving scores of cities re-named in his honor, Macedonian legend-king Alexander the Great passes away at the ripe old age of 33.

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On this day in the year 1692, a woman named Bridget Bishop becomes the first person to be hanged for witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. In all, 20 people have their lives cut short by their former friends and neighbors before somebody points out how fucking retarded it is to hang people for no good reason. Who says small town country living is safe?

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On this day in 1886, New Zealand’s Mount Tarawera erupts, killing 153 people and destroying the famous Pink and White Terraces, considered by many of those who were lucky enough to see them to be a strong contender for the Eighth Wonder of the Natural World. Wish I could have frolicked in them.

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On this day in 1977, James Earl Ray – the man who may or may not have assassinated Martin Luther King Jr – escapes from Brushy Mountain State Prison in Petros, Tennessee, only to be captured three days later.

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On this day in 1985, French agents restore a sense of pride to the nation's much maligned military by blowing up the un-armed Greenpeace boat Rainbow Warrior. A photographer drowns when he tries to retrieve his equipment from the rapidly sinking ship.

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On this day in 1991, an 11-year-old girl named Jaycee Lee Dugard is kidnapped by Phillip Craig Garrido and his wife, Nancy, in South Lake Tahoe, California. Dugard would remain missing for more than 18 years, during which time she would be held against her will in a secure area on Garrido’s property and forced to father two daughters by her captor and tormentor.

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On this day in 2002, the first “direct electronic communication experiment between the nervous systems of two humans” is carried out by the intensely creepy post-humanist pseudo-philosopher cum scientism evangelist Kevin Warwick in the United Kingdom. Trust me, folks… when it comes to individuals whose hubris and massive blind spots could potentially wreak untold havoc on the entire planetary ecosphere, this guy is on the short list.

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Also on this day in 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft takes to the airwaves to announce the arrest of US citizen Abdullah al-Mujahir - a.k.a. Jose Padilla - allegedly over his being part of an al-Qaeda plot to detonate a radioactive “dirty bomb” in a US city. Padilla was held as an “enemy combatant” for over a year, and subjected to so-called enhanced interrogation techniques (a euphemism for torture) before the major charges against him were dropped for lack of merit, and he was tried for other transgressions in civilian court in 2007. Of particular note is the fact that authorities kept him strapped into a "sensory deprivation rig" whenever he was being transported from place to place, so he would never know whether his family (who were not allowed to meet with him) were there to support him. A nice, petty, Bush-era touch of malignant hubris.


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