Tuesday, January 31, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 31


On this day in 1696, the creepiest protest ever takes place when Amsterdam's undertakers take to the streets to demonstrate against proposed funeral reforms.

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On this day in 1928, 3-M Company begins marketing Scotch Tape. Yer old pal Jerky's still waiting for Sour Mash Bourbon Tape.

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On this day in 1945, draftee Eddie Slovik becomes the first American to be executed for desertion since the Civil War. Nowadays, desertion gets you... ummm... well... into the White House, apparently

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Also on this day, in 1964, a government report publicly confirms the rumors that had been swirling around the water coolers for years... that smoking cigarettes(i.e. taking a paper tube full of crushed tobacco plant leaves, lighting said tube on fire and inhaling the resultant aromatic smoke deeply into your lungs as a means of delivering minute payloads of deadly nicotine poison into your bloodstream) might not be quite so beneficial to one's health as we were originally led to believe.

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Ding dong, it's the Viet Cong! Ho Chi Mihn's revolutionary army launches the Tet Offensive on this day in 1968. Chaos ensues.

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On this day in 1990, McDonald's opens their first restaurant in post-Soviet Russia. Mindful of the local palette, this franchise features such unique fare as McStroganoff, McBorscht and Chicken McKiev.
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On this day in 1969, hippy-freak rock-and-roll band The Beatles perform their final live concert together. And who can forget the stirring image of John, Paul,George and Ringo playing that historic 42-minute set to a rapt audience from the roof of their Apple Records headquarters? Certainly not Ewe Too, those fuckin' copycats!

Monday, January 30, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 30


The first ever jazz record – Dark Town Strutter's Ball – is recorded on this day in 1917. Reefer madness and wanton miscegenation ensue.

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This day in 1922 was the first ever World Law Day. Hooray for laws!

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German President von Hindenburg appoints Adolf Hitler chancellor on this day in 1933. The mustachio'd madman quickly sets about expending political capital in the service of his mandate.

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On this day in 1935, "genius" poet Ezra Pound meets with Italian Fascist dictator Benito "Benji" Mussolini. During their meeting, Pound reads a selection from his epic, convoluted poem-cycle, Cantos. For those of you who haven't read Pound, but have read The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, know this: the Vorlons had nothing on this guy.

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You thought the Titanic was a disaster? On this day in 1945, the German cruise liner Wilhelm Gustloff is torpedoed by a Soviet sub. It was headed westward at the time, in order to escape the surging Soviet advance, and was thus jam-packed with over ten thousand people - men, women and children - non-combatant refugees of war. An incredible nine thousand three hundred and forty three people died in the freezing Baltic that night, making this the single worst catastrophe at sea in the history of maritime travel. And, if you're anything like the twenty-odd random people I've asked today, this is probably the first time you've ever heard about it. Pretty freaky, huh?

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On this day in 1948, Indian spiritual and political leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is assassinated by a Hindu fanatic who objects to the Mahatma's tolerance of Muslims. Thank you, Vishnu! And, finally, also on this day - only in the year 1956 this time - some pillars of the community drive out to Ghandi-fan Martin Luther King Jr's home... and fire-bomb it. Thank you, J. Edgar Hoover!

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On this day in 1972, a sunny Sunday in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, thirteen unarmed Catholic civil rights demonstrators are massacred by British Army paratroopers in an event that becomes known as Bloody Sunday, or Sunday, Bloody Sunday to fans of peat-eating bog-rockers Ewe Too. Since 1969, sectarian conflicts in Northern Ireland have claimed more than 3,000 lives. Thank you, Jeebus!

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On this day in 1976, soon-to-be-vice-president George Herbert Walker"Poppy" Bush is appointed by then-president Gerald Ford to head up the CIA. Despite evidence that he had been a CIA agent since before the Bay of Pigs fiasco, Bush has claimed he never worked for the agency prior to this appointment. Yeah... Right.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 29


On this day in 904, Sergius III comes out of retirement to take over the papacy from the deposed antipope Christopher.

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On this day in 1845, "The Raven" is published in the New York Evening Mirror, the first publication with the name of the author, Edgar Allan Poe.

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On this day in 1886, the first ever gasoline-driven car is patented by Karl Benz, in Germany. Fly rides ensue.

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On this day in 1891, Liliuokalani is proclaimed Queen of Hawaii, its last monarch.

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On this day in 1959, Cuba's highly corrupt and unpopular Batista regime crumbles. Dictator Fulgencio Batista flees the country, and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro steps up, immediately earning the undying enmity of his neighbors to the direct northwest. Through decades of naval blockades, trade embargoes, CIA assassination attempts and other assorted fuckery, Castro endured, outlasting nine Presidents and communism's worldwide collapse, ending up as one of the superstars whose deaths made 2016 one of the darkest in living memory. Hard not to respect the guy, considering all that!

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On this day in 1967, the proclaimed "ultimate high" of the hippie era, the Mantra-Rock Dance, takes place in San Francisco and features Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead, and Allen Ginsberg.

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On this day in 1976, the world-famous Zeiss Planetarium in the Netherlands is burned to the ground after a Laser Floyd show gets out of hand.

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 On this day in 1987, CIA director William J. Casey steps down after six years spent managing Black Ops, Wet Ops and Psy Ops for the Bush/Reagan regime. Lucky break for Bush the Elder that Casey should die just two days before he was scheduled to testify in the Iran/Contra hearings.

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On this day in 1996, President Jacques Chirac announces a "definitive end" to French nuclear weapons testing.

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On this day in the year 1998, pro-life terrorists score one for Jesus in Birmingham, Alabama, when they bomb an abortion clinic, killing a police officer and severely mutilating and blinding a receptionist.

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On this day in 2002, In his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush describes "regimes that sponsor terror" as an Axis of evil, in which he includes Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 28


On this day in 1099, the first wave of Christian Crusaders begin their siege of Hosn-el-Akrad, in Syria. It's rough going in the early days, but everything works out fine in the end.

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On this day in 1495, after asking himself "WWJD?", the Pope hands over his son -- Cesare Borgia -- to the French, as a hostage. That was back in the day when Popes were allowed to fuck. Faith Based Family Values in action!

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On this day in 1547, Edward VI becomes King of England at a mere 9 years of age. Refusing to be outdone by a bunch of turnip-munchers, the Swedish promptly drown their own King in a septic pit. Adhering to the strictures of primogenital succession, that meant the crown passed on to the dead King's eldest son, who was still weeks away from being born at the time. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes during the coronation ceremony, when the Queen dies of massive internal bleeding.

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 On this day in 1915, President Woodrow Wilson refuses to prohibit the immigration of illiterates. The ongoing consequences of Woody's short-sightedness were brought into sharp relief during the presidential election of 2004.

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On this day in 1953, a chimp by the name of J Fred Muggs joins the on-air staff of NBC's Today Show. That was back in the days when journalistic standards actually meant something. Nowadays, they pretty much let any idiot appear on the telly. See Bill O'Reilly, Joe Scarborough and Sean Hannity for proof of that.
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On this day in 1981, President Ronald Reagan appoints William J. Casey as the 13th director of the CIA. He serves with distinction until 1987, when he dies of a brain tumor two days before his scheduled testimony before the Senate in regards to the Iran/Contraaffair. Unlucky 13 strikes again!

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 On this day in 1986, at 11:38 a.m., the space shuttle Challenger launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida, rising towards the frozen void on a column of solid flame. Hitching a ride on board is high school teacher Christa McAuliffe, the first civilian to ever go into outer space. Seventy-three seconds after ignition, an O-ring fails to expand sufficiently, precipitating a chain reaction that leads to the total destruction of the multibillion-dollar vehicle and its crew of seven. Video footage of the "major malfunction" served as the most impressive widescreen, real-life special-effects tragedy since the Kennedy assassination twenty-three years earlier. Such video gravitas was not felt again until 9-11-2001, which swallowed the memory of Columbia whole, in its awesome and growing shadow.

Friday, January 27, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 27



On this day in 98, Trajan succeeded his adoptive father Nerva as Roman emperor; under his rule the Roman Empire would reach its maximum extent.

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On this day in 1593, the Vatican opens the seven-year trial of scholar Giordano Bruno.

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On this day in 1606, the trial of Guy Fawkes and other conspirators begins, ending with their execution on January 31.

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On this day in 1825, the U.S. Congress approves Indian Territory (in what is present-day Oklahoma), clearing the way for forced relocation of the Eastern Indians on the "Trail of Tears".

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On this day in 1945, the Red Army liberates the remained inmates of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp built by the Nazi Germans on the territory of Poland.

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On this day in 1967, on the same day that the UK, USA and USSR sign the Outer Space Treaty in Washington DC banning deployment of nuclear weapons in space, astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee are killed in a fire during a test of their Apollo 1 spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

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On this day in 1973, the Paris Peace Accords officially end the Vietnam War. Colonel William Nolde is killed in action becoming the conflict's last recorded American combat casualty.

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On this day in 1980, through cooperation between the U.S. and Canadian governments, six American diplomats secretly escape hostilities in Iran in the culmination of the Canadian Caper. This event is the basis of the film Argo.

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On this day in 1984, pop singer Michael Jackson suffers second degree burns to his scalp during the filming of a Pepsi commercial in the Shrine Auditorium.

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On this day in 1993, American-born sumo wrestler Akebono Tarō becomes the first foreigner to be promoted to the sport's highest rank of yokozuna.

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On this day in 1996, Germany first observes International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

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On this day in 2002, an explosion at a military storage facility in Lagos, Nigeria, kills at least 1,100 people and displaces over 20,000 others.

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On this day in 2013, 242 people die in a nightclub fire in the city of Santa Maria, Brazil.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 26


On this day in 1531, Lisbon, Portugal is hit by an earthquake. Thousands die.

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On this day in 1841, the United Kingdom formally occupies Hong Kong, which China later formally cedes.

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On this day in 1934, the Apollo Theater reopens in Harlem, New York City.

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On this day in 1961, John F. Kennedy appoints Janet G. Travell to be his physician. This is the first time a woman holds the appointment of Physician to the President.

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On this day in 1980, Israel and Egypt establish diplomatic relations.

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On this day in 1992, Boris Yeltsin announces that Russia will stop targeting United States cities with nuclear weapons.

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On this day in 1998, U.S. President Bill Clinton goes on TV and denies having had "sexual relations" with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

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On this day in 2004, President Hamid Karzai signs the new constitution of Afghanistan.

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On this day in 2004, a whale explodes in the town of Tainan, Taiwan. A build-up of gas in the decomposing sperm whale is suspected of causing the explosion.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 25


On this day in 1881, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell form the Oriental Telephone Company.

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On this day in 1890, Nellie Bly completes her round-the-world journey in 72 days.

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On this day in 1919 the League of Nations is founded.

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On this day in 1924, the 1924 Winter Olympics opens in Chamonix, in the French Alps, inaugurating the first ever Winter Olympic Games.

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On this day in 1947, Thomas Goldsmith Jr. files a patent for a "Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device", the first ever electronic game.

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On this day in 1971, Charles Manson and three female "Family" members are found guilty of the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders.

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On this day in 1971, Idi Amin leads a coup deposing Milton Obote and becomes Uganda's president.

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On this day in 1981, Jiang Qing, the widow of Mao Zedong, is sentenced to death.

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On this day in 1993, five people are shot outside the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Two are killed and three wounded.

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On this day in 1995, Russia almost launches a nuclear attack after it mistakes Black Brant XII, a Norwegian research rocket, for a US Trident missile.

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On this day in 1996, Billy Bailey becomes the last person to be hanged in the USA.

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On this day in 1998, during a historic visit to Cuba, Pope John Paul II demands political reforms and the release of political prisoners while condemning US attempts to isolate the country. Meanwhile, in the States, everybody loses their goddamn minds over a blowjob.

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On this day in 2005, a stampede at the Mandhradevi temple in Maharashtra, India kills at least 258.

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On this day in 2011, the first wave of the Egyptian revolution begins in Egypt, with a series of street demonstrations, marches, rallies, acts of civil disobedience, riots, labour strikes, and violent clashes in Cairo, Alexandria, and throughout other cities in Egypt.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 24


On this day in 41 AD, Roman Emperor Caligula, known for his eccentricity and sadistic despotism, is assassinated by his disgruntled Praetorian Guards. The Guard then proclaims Caligula's uncle Claudius as Emperor

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On this day in 661, Caliph Ali, son-in-law of Muhammad, is assassinated and his followers (Shiites) brake from the majority Muslim group.

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On this day in 1908, the first Boy Scout troop is organized in England by Robert Baden-Powell.

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On this day in 1916, in Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad, the Supreme Court of the United States declares the federal income tax constitutional.

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On this day in 1939, the deadliest earthquake in Chilean history strikes Chillán, killing approximately 28,000 people.

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On this day in 1961, a bomber carrying two H-bombs breaks up in mid-air over North Carolina. The uranium core of one weapon remains lost.

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On this day in 1972, Japanese Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi is found hiding in a Guam jungle, where he had been since the end of World War II.

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On this day in 1978, the Soviet satellite Cosmos 954, with a nuclear reactor on board, burns up in Earth's atmosphere, scattering radioactive debris over Canada's Northwest Territories. Only 1% is recovered.

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On this day in 1990, Japan launches Hiten, the country's first lunar probe, the first robotic lunar probe since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 in 1976, and the first lunar probe launched by a country other than Soviet Union or the United States.

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On this day in 2003, the United States Department of Homeland Security officially begins operation.

Monday, January 23, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 23


On this day in 971, in China, the war elephant corps of the Southern Han are soundly defeated at Shao by crossbow fire from Song Dynasty troops.

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On this day in 1368, in a coronation ceremony, Zhu Yuanzhang ascends the throne of China as the Hongwu Emperor, initiating Ming Dynasty rule over China that would last for three centuries.

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On this day in 1546, having published nothing for eleven years, François Rabelais publishes the Tiers Livre, his sequel to Gargantua and Pantagruel.

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On this day in 1556, the deadliest earthquake in history, the Shaanxi earthquake, hits Shaanxi province, China. The death toll may have been as high as 830,000.
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On this day in 1570, James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, regent for the infant King James VI of Scotland, is assassinated by firearm, the first recorded instance of such.

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On this day in 1719, the Principality of Liechtenstein is created within the Holy Roman Empire.

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On this day in 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell is awarded her M.D. by the Geneva Medical College of Geneva, New York, becoming the United States' first female doctor.

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On this day in 1855, the first bridge over the Mississippi River opens in what is now Minneapolis, Minnesota, a crossing made today by the Hennepin Avenue Bridge.

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On this day in 1870, in Montana, U.S. cavalrymen kill 173 Native Americans, mostly women and children, in what becomes known as the Marias Massacre.

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On this day in 1897, Elva Zona Heaster is found dead in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. The resulting murder trial of her husband is perhaps the only case in United States history where the alleged testimony of a ghost helped secure a conviction.

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On this day in 1937, in Moscow, 17 leading Communists go on trial accused of participating in a plot led by Leon Trotsky to overthrow Joseph Stalin's regime and assassinate its leaders.

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On this day in 1941, Charles Lindbergh testifies before the U.S. Congress and recommends that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Adolf Hitler.

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On this day in 1943, Duke Ellington plays at Carnegie Hall in New York City for the first time.

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On this day in 1957, American inventor Walter Frederick Morrison sells the rights to his flying disc to the Wham-O toy company, which later renames it the "Frisbee".

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On this day in 1968, North Korea seizes the USS Pueblo, claiming the ship had violated its territorial waters while spying.

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On this day in 1986, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts its first members: Little Richard, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.

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On this day in 1997, Madeleine Albright becomes the first woman to serve as United States Secretary of State.

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On this day in 2002, "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh returns to the United States in FBI custody.

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On this day in 2003, Earth receives its final communication from the Pioneer 10 probe.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 22



On this day in 1506, the first contingent of 150 Swiss Guards arrives at the Vatican.

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On this day in 1521, Emperor Charles V opens the Diet of Worms. Ew…

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On this day in 1555, the Ava Kingdom falls to the Taungoo Dynasty in what is now present-day Burma.

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On this day in 1824, the Ashantis defeat British forces in the Gold Coast.

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On this day in 1879, during Anglo-Zulu War, two major battles take place. First, the Battle of Isandlwana, in which Zulu troops decisively defeat British troops. In the Battle of Rorke's Drift, however, 139 British soldiers successfully defend their garrison against an onslaught by three to four thousand Zulu warriors.

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On this day in 1901, Edward VII is proclaimed King after the death of his mother, Queen Victoria, thus ushering in the Edwardian Age.

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On this day in 1915, over 600 people are killed in Guadalajara, Mexico, when a train plunges off the tracks into a deep canyon.

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On this day in 1924, Ramsay MacDonald becomes the first Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

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On this day in 1946, the Central Intelligence Group – an offshoot of OSS and forerunner of the CIA – is inaugurated.

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On this day in 1957, the New York City "Mad Bomber", George P. Metesky, is arrested in Waterbury, Connecticut and is charged with planting more than 30 bombs.

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On this day in 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States delivers its decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, legalizing elective abortion in all fifty states.

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On this day in 1984, the Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to popularize the computer mouse and the graphical user interface, is introduced during Super Bowl XVIII with its famous "1984" television commercial.

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On this day in 1987, Pennsylvania politician R. Budd Dwyer shoots and kills himself during a televised press conference, leading to debates on boundaries in journalism.

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On this day in 1999, Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons are burned alive by radical Hindus while sleeping in their car in Eastern India.

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On this day in 2002, Kmart becomes the largest retailer in United States history to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

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On this day in 2006, Evo Morales is inaugurated as President of Bolivia, becoming the country's first indigenous president.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 21



On this day in 1789, the first American novel, The Power of Sympathy or the Triumph of Nature Founded in Truth, is printed in Boston, Massachusetts.

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On this day in 1793, after being found guilty of treason by the French Convention, Louis XVI of France is executed by guillotine.

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On this day in 1908, New York City passes the Sullivan Ordinance, making it illegal for women to smoke in public, only to have the measure vetoed by the mayor.

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On this day in 1915, Kiwanis International is founded in Detroit, Michigan.

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On this day in 1948, the Flag of Quebec is adopted and flown for the first time over the National Assembly of Quebec. The day is marked annually as Quebec Flag Day.

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On this day in 1950, American lawyer and government official Alger Hiss is convicted of perjury.

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On this day in 1961, 435 workers are buried alive when a mine in Coalbrook, Free State collapses.

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On this day in 1968, the Battle of Khe Sanh - one of the most publicized and controversial battles of the war – begins.

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On this day in 1968, a B-52 bomber crashes near Thule Air Base, contaminating the area after its nuclear payload ruptures. One of the four bombs remains unaccounted for after the cleanup operation is complete.

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On this day in 1976, commercial service of Concorde begins with the London-Bahrain and Paris-Rio routes.

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On this day in 1977, President Jimmy Carter pardons nearly all American Vietnam War draft evaders, some of whom had emigrated to Canada.

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On this day in 1981, production of the iconic DeLorean DMC-12 sports car begins in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland.

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On this day in 1997, the U.S. House of Representatives votes 395–28 to reprimand Newt Gingrich for ethics violations, making him the first Speaker of the House to be so disciplined.

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On this day in 1999, one of the largest drug busts in American history takes place when the Coast Guard intercepts a ship with over nearly FIVE TONS of cocaine on board. Any connection with the DeLorean story above is purely coincidental.

Friday, January 20, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 20


On this day in 250, Roman Emperor Decius begins a widespread persecution of Christians. Pope Fabian is martyred.

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On this day in 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union is founded.

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On this day in 1921, one of the greatest "downsizings" in history happens when the nation of Turkey is cobbled together from the smashed fragments and still-smouldering embers of the Ottoman Empire.

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On this day in 1954, the National Negro Network is established with 40 charter member radio stations. Needless to say, they played ALL the best records.

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On this day in 1961, renowned poet Robert Frost recites his poem "The Gift Outright" at John F. Kennedy's inauguration. Afterwards, JFK takes Frost back to the Oval Office and fucks his brains out. Or not.

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On this day in 1971, former Beatle John Lennon meets Yoko Ono's parents in Japan. Badly garbled babbling ensues.

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On this day in 1977, having laid the groundwork for the evil to come, George Herbert "Poppy" Walker Bush ends his term as CIA director.

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On this day in 1981, during the very instant that Ronald Reagan is being sworn in as President of the United States, 52 American hostages are freed after being held hostage for 444 days in Iran. Does this incredible coincidence lend credence to the proposition that Reagan/Bush and their "Secret Team" CIA cronies brokered a deal with the hostage-takers, getting them to agree NOT to release the hostages before the election, therefore reducing Carter's chance of scoring an "October Surprise" release, increasing voter dissatisfaction with Carter and increasing the chances that they would vote for the foreign policy hardliner Republicans? You be the judge.

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On this day in 1989, Ronald Reagan becomes the first President elected in a "0" year since 1840 to leave office alive. For reals, yo.

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On this day in 1991, the media informs the American public that Patriot missiles have successfully begun shooting down Iraqi "Scud" missiles. Ten years later, investigations would expose the lie. During the entire Gulf War, the Patriot didn't bring down a single Scud.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 19



On this day in 1915, Georges Claude patents the neon discharge tube for use in advertising.

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On this day in 1915, German zeppelins bomb the towns of Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn in the United Kingdom killing more than 20, in the first major aerial bombardment of a civilian target.

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On this day in 1953, 71.7% of all television sets in the United States are tuned into I Love Lucy to watch Lucy give birth.

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On this day in 1955, Scrabble - a game in which players accumulate points by spelling words with randomly distributed letter tiles - first hits department store shelves. When playing this game, yer old pal Jerky likes to challenge himself by only using words you're not allowed to say on television.

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On this day in the year 1971, the Beatles' Helter Skelter is played in the courtroom where the case against Charles Manson is being heard. During one of their bloody midnight massacres, Manson's brood had scrawled the words "helter sketer" (sic) on a mirror, in their victims' blood. You know, if the same thing happened today, the Tate and LaBianca families probably would have filed a class action lawsuit against John, Paul, George and Ringo, claiming they were partly responsible for the deaths of their loved ones, and should be made to pay accordingly. Anyway, after prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi plays the record, the jury are unanimous in their decision that it's got a good beat, and that they can dance to it. They give it a "9", Dick.

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On this day in 1981, United States and Iranian officials sign an agreement to release 52 American hostages after 14 months of captivity.

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On this day in 1983, Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie is arrested in Bolivia.

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On this day in 1983, the Apple Lisa, the first commercial personal computer from Apple Inc. to have a graphical user interface and a computer mouse, is announced.

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On this day in 1986, the first IBM PC computer virus is released into the wild. A boot sector virus dubbed (c)Brain, it was created by the Farooq Alvi Brothers in Lahore, Pakistan, reportedly to deter piracy of the software they had written.

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On this day in 2006, the New Horizons probe is launched by NASA on the first mission to Pluto, or Yuggoth, as it's known to those of us in the deep, dark know.

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On this day in 2012, Kim DotCom's Hong Kong-based file-sharing website Megaupload is shut down by the FBI. Quite the story, that...

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 18


America's first recorded UFO sighting happens on this day in 1644, when a bunch of Boston Pilgrims report seeing a strange glowing object in the night sky. Later that same night, they burn a few witches, just to be on the safe side.

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On this day in 1788, the First Fleet arrives at Botany Bay in Australia from England, carrying 736 convicts... the rough common soil from which all future generations of Ozzies would sprout.

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On this day in 1911, pilot Eugene B. Ely lands on the deck of the USS Pennsylvania stationed in San Francisco Bay, the first time an aircraft landed on a ship.

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The American military begins spraying Agent Orange on the Vietnamese jungle on this day in 1962, in a failed attempt to reveal the Viet Cong guerrillas who'd been using the dense foliage as cover. Flipper-babies ensue.

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On this day in 1967, Boston Strangler Albert DeSalvo is convicted of numerous crimes and is sentenced to life imprisonment.

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On this day in 1974 The Six Million Dollar Man premiered on ABC TV. One year later, All in the Family spin-off The Jeffersons makes its debut on CBS. Still another year after that, the two shows would combine creative teams to film a pilot for a whole new concept in action/comedy TV: The Six Million Dollar Black Man. It failed miserably... because racism.

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After being embraced by the gay community, the AIDS charity song That's What Friends Are For reaches the top of the charts on this day in 1986. Gays didn't care much for the record's now forgotten b-side - That's What Friends AREN'T For - featuring a Ronald Reagan sound-a-like imploring "you people" to "abstain from unprotected anal sex", over a military band's instrumental rendition of America the Beautiful.

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On this day in 1990, Washington DC mayor Marion Barry is arrested during a joint sting operation by the FBI and DC police. After being arrested, he is charged with drug possession and the use of crack cocaine. After trial, he was sentenced to six months in prison for possession. By 1994, Barry was back as mayor for an unprecedented fourth term. He remained mayor until 1999, when he retired and moved to the countryside where he lives to this day in a house made entirely out of crack.

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On this day in 1991, the United States government acknowledges the CIA had forked out over three hundred thousand dollars to Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega for a variety of services rendered. The American people momentarily wonder "Who?" - then shrug and go back to watching Dynasty or whatever the fuck mind-destroying crap was on TV back then.

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On this day in the year 1996, Scientology priestess and daughter of the King of Rock, Lisa Marie Presley files for divorce from Underoo-snorting King of Pop, Michael Jackson. You know, if two sweet kids like this can't make a go of it in this hard-boiled, workaday world, then what chance do any of us have?!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 17


On this day in 1562, France recognizes the Protestant "Huguenots" by the Edict of Saint-Germain. No, not that Saint-Germain.

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On this day in 1873, a group of Modoc warriors defeats the United States Army in the First Battle of the Stronghold, part of the Modoc War. Holy crap... there was a Modoc War?! How come nobody told me?!

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On this day in 1893, a bunch of sugar plantation owners led by Sanford "Pineapple" Dole hire some mercenaries to overthrow Hawaii's Queen Liliuokalani, establishing a new "provincial" government with Dole as president. This coup had the indirect approval of the American government at the time, and 300 Marines based at Pearl Harbor took part. Later that same year, Congress refused to bring Hawaii in as an official protectorate, and president Grover Cleveland tried to restore Queen Liliuokalani to the throne. But Dole refused to step aside, proclaiming himself ruler of the Independent Republic of Hawaii. As long as it didn't affect the flow of sugar, Cleveland didn't give a fuck, so it was left to his successor, William McKinley, to negotiate a treaty after the base at Pearl Harbor proved to be so valuable during the Spanish American War. So now you know about Hawaii!

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On this day in 1929, Popeye the Sailor Man, a cartoon character created by Elzie Segar, first appears in the Thimble Theatre comic strip.

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On this day in 1945, Swedish diplomat and Jewish hero Raoul Wallenberg is taken into Soviet custody while in Hungary; he is never publicly seen again.

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On this day in 1961, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers a televised farewell address to the nation three days before leaving office, in which he warns against the accumulation of power by the military-industrial complex. You can watch his speech right now. If you haven't yet, you should. Meanwhile, over in the Congo, on this same day, former Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba is murdered in circumstances suggesting the support and complicity of the governments of Belgium and the CIA.


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On this day in 1977, convicted murderer Gary Gilmore is executed by a firing squad in Utah, ending a ten-year moratorium on capital punishment in the United States.

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On this day in 1984, the United States Supreme Court rules in the groundbreaking Sony versus Universal case. Sony wins by a 5-4 squeaker, and from that point on, you and I have been free to videotape programs off the television without fear of being arrested for copyright infringement. Just for the record, our current Supreme Court Chief Justice - ultraconservative Republican appointee William Rehnquist - voted against a citizen's right to videotape television programs.

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On this day in 1989, Patrick Purdy opens fire with an assault rifle at the Cleveland Elementary School playground in Stockton, California, killing five children and wounding 29 others and one teacher before taking his own life.

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On this day in 1991, Operation Desert Storm begins early in the morning. Iraq fires 8 Scud missiles into Israel in an unsuccessful bid to provoke Israeli retaliation.

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"We so solly!" On this day in 1992, during a visit to South Korea, Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa apologizes for forcing Korean women into sexual slavery during World War II.

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On this day in 1998, snivelling, closeted, pseudo-journalist and egg fetishist Matt Drudge "breaks" the story of the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair on his website The Drudge Report. And by "breaks the story", we mean he was fed the story by a very real, very active Vast Right Wing Conspiracy to bring down the Clinton Presidency by any means necessary. Watch the second chapter of the great Adam Curtis documentary The Power of Nightmares HERE to find out what REALLY happened.

Monday, January 16, 2017

MEANWHILE, COULD THE CONSPIRACY COMMUNITY TURN ON THEIR HERO?


I'm starting to see signs that this may be the case. Unfortunately, Trump's online Redhat machine is both 'yuge' and sophisticated. Check back here and at our sister blog, the Daily Dirt Diaspora, for more on this topic in the coming weeks and months!

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 16


On this day in 1412, the Medici family is appointed official banker of the Vatican and the Papacy.

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On this day in 1581, the English Parliament outlaws Roman Catholicism.

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The Color Note Organ is patented on this day in 1877, roughly 90 years before the psychedelic revolution of the 1960's would make such a thing marketable.

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On this day in 1909, explorer Ernest Shackleton's expedition finds the magnetic South Pole.

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On this day in 1919, the United States ratifies the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, authorizing Prohibition in the United States one year after ratification.

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On this day in 1920, prohibition becomes the law of the land, thus beginning America's thirteen year run as a "dry" country. Just like the War On Drugs, the War On Booze didn't (and doesn't) fucking work.

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On this day in 1945, Nazi Man-God Adolf Hitler moves into his underground bunker, the so-called Führerbunker.

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On this day in 1969, Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 perform the first-ever docking of manned spacecraft in orbit, the first-ever transfer of crew from one space vehicle to another, and the only time such a transfer was accomplished with a space walk.

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On this day in 1970, genius inventor Buckminster Fuller receives the Gold Medal award from the American Institute of Architects.

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On this day in 1973, a young girl named Anna Christian Waters disappears from her backyard. She has yet to be found. See above.

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On this day in 1976, Peter Frampton releases Frampton Comes Alive, which is still the biggest selling live album of all time. I mean come on, people!

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On this day in 1979, Shah Reza Pahlevi - installed as a convenient figurehead for the puppet regime installed by the CIA after they deposed the democratically-elected Mohammed Mossadegh for trying to nationalize his nation's petroleum industry - is chased out of Iran in the wake of a massive nationalist/fundamentalist uprising led by Ayatollah Khomeni. Oopsy-daisy!

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After finally getting over that whole excommunicating the king thing, England re-establishes full diplomatic relations with the Vatican on this day in 1982. Way to hold a grudge, guys!

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On this day, in 1988, Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder is fired from ABC Sports when he goes on the air and attempts to explain black dominance in football. "During the slave period," he bloviated, "the slave owner would breed his big black with his big woman so that he would have a big black kid - that's where it all started." The statement, it turns out, was both politically and scientifically incorrect. Scientists have since figured out that what really gives blacks the edge in sports... is watermelons!

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On this day in 1991, Operation Desert Storm debuts on TV screens around the world. The ratings are killer.

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On this day in 2003, Space Shuttle Columbia takes off for mission STS-107 which would be its final one. Columbia disintegrates on re-entry 16 days later, spreading its debris over a wide terrain which includes part of Preznit Dubya's Texas ranch. What are the freaking odds?

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On this day in 2006, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is sworn in as Liberia's new president. She becomes Africa's first female elected head of state.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 15


On this day in 1559, Elizabeth I is crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey, London, England.

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On this day in 1777, the people of New Connecticut (now known as Vermont) declare their independence from England. If you know any Vermonters, feel free to tease them about the New Connecticut thing.

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Otis patents the "steam elevator" on this day in 1861, allowing passengers to climb the tallest buildings without breaking a sweat, while simultaneously sweating up a storm by filling the compartment with steamy, humid heat. People with heart conditions were urged to use the stairs.

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On this day in 1870, a political cartoon for the first time symbolizes the Democratic Party with a donkey ("A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion" by Thomas Nast for Harper's Weekly).

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On this day in 1889, the Coca-Cola Company, then known as the Pemberton Medicine Company, is incorporated in Atlanta, Georgia.

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On this day in 1892, Canadian James Naismith publishes the rules of basketball.

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On this day in 1919, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, two of the most prominent socialists in Germany, are tortured and murdered by the Freikorps at the end of the Spartacist uprising.
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On this day in 1919, twenty-one Bostonians drown in a molasses tsunami when 2 million gallons of the stuff explodes out the bottom of a huge, sixty-foot-high metal tank.

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On this day in 1943, the world's largest office building, the Pentagon, is dedicated in Arlington, Virginia.

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On this day in 1951, Ilse Koch, "The Witch of Buchenwald", wife of the commandant of the Buchenwald concentration camp and inspiration for B-movie character Ilsa She-Wolf of the SS, is sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in West Germany.

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On this day in 1970, Moammar Gadhafi is proclaimed premier of Libya.

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The Watergate Burglars plead guilty to all charges in federal court on this day in 1973, which also happens to be the day that President Nixon suspends all American offensive actions in North Vietnam. Coinkeedink? Prolly not.

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On this day in 1974, Dennis Rader aka the BTK Killer kills his first victims by binding, torturing and murdering Joseph, Joseph II, Josephine and Julie Otero in their home.

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On this day in 1992, Bulgaria recognizes Macedonia. Unfortunately, in an awkward turn of events, Macedonia mistakes Bulgaria for Croatia.

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On this day in 2001, Wikipedia, a free Wiki content encyclopedia, goes online.

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On this day in 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 makes an emergency landing in the Hudson River shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in New York, New York. All passengers and crew members survive.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 14

On this day in 1639, the state of Connecticut adopts Rodger Ludlow's constitution, which he entitles the Fundamental Orders. One of these orders is that the peoples who inhabit "the River of Connectecotte and the lands thereunto adjoining" be given the right to "liberty of speech." Unfortunately, the document also give the Governor and various state representatives the right "to silence unseasonable and disorderly speakings." Unseasonable speakings? What the fuck does that mean? No talking about snowshoes in July?

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On this day in 1794, Dr. Jessee Bennet of Edom, Virginia, performs the first ever successful Cesarean Section operation on his own wife. Afterwards, he chops up the placenta, throws it into a bowl with some Romaine lettuce, bread crumbs, egg-whites and anchovies, thereby creating the world's first Cesarean Salad.

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On this day in 1896, Italian immigrant Carlo Ponzi arrives in America and begins the world's first pyramid scheme, inspiring a generation of Multi-Level-Marketing "businesses" like Herbalife and Amway, wherein selling products isn't really the point. Rather, you sell other people the right to sell other people the right to sell other people the products... eventually, somewhere down the line. When the scam fizzled out - as all such scams must eventually do, by simple rules of mathematics - Ponzi was deported back to Italy in 1934, where Benito Mussolini gave him a high position in the government's financial sector, where he promptly embezzled a fortune and escaped to Brazil, where he died in 1949.

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On this day in 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes the first President of the United States to travel by airplane while in office when he travels from Miami to Morocco to meet with Winston Churchill.

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On this day in the year 1938, a gang of morbid, misanthropic goofs get together in New York and decide to form the National Society for the Legalization of Euthanasia. Their stated goals? 1) To make sure a quick and painless death is available to anyone who wants or needs it. 2) To increase awareness and acceptance of the practice of "mercy killing" as has long been practiced in secret by physicians and caregivers the world over. 3) Freak out their parents and neighbors, by any means necessary.

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On this day in 1939, after every other country in the world takes a pass, Norway claims a territory - "Queen Maud Land" - on the frozen continent of Antarctica.

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On this day in 1967, the Human Be-In, takes place in San Francisco, California's Golden Gate Park, launching the Summer of Love.

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On this day in 1973, Elvis Presley's concert Aloha from Hawaii is broadcast live via satellite, and sets the record as the most watched broadcast by an individual entertainer in television history.

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On this day in 1975, teenage heiress Lesley Whittle is kidnapped by Donald Neilson, aka "the Black Panther". The details of Whittle's confinement and ultimately, her murder, are absolutely chilling.

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On this day in 1990, The Simpsons premieres on FOX.

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On this day in 2004, the national flag of the Republic of Georgia, the so-called "five cross flag", is restored to official use after a hiatus of some 500 years.

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On this day in 2005, the Huygens probe - launched from the Cassini orbiter two weeks earlier - lands on Saturn's moon Titan, giving us an astonishing video and audio record to marvel at. If only for this, I am glad Youtube exists. And yes, I know we ran this same video two weeks ago in commemoration of the orbiter launch, but who cares? If you missed it then, watch it now. If not... watch it again! It's that good.


Friday, January 13, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 13


On this day in 1695, Gulliver's Travels author Jonathan Swift is ordained as an Anglican priest in Ireland. Thirty-four years later, he would write the greatest satire of all time; an essay suggesting the British government urge the Irish to kill, cook and eat their young. He remains one of yer old pal Jerky's very favorite people.

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On this day in 1842, Dr. William Brydon, an assistant surgeon in the British East India Company Army during the First Anglo-Afghan War, becomes famous for being the sole survivor of an army of 4,500 men and 12,000 camp followers when he reaches the safety of a garrison in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

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On this day in 1863, plumber Thomas Crapper pioneers the one-piece pedestal flushing toilet. You probably think this is an urban myth, but apparently, it's truer than anything Colin Powell ever said about Iraq's WMD.

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On this day in 1874, US troops land in Honolulu to protect the King. Within a couple decades, it was ALL OURS, baby! Our own little slice o' pineapple producing paradise! Sun, surf, sand and sweet Polynesian honeys… now that's an imperialistic land-grab yer old pal Jerky can get down with!

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 On this day in 1888, the National Geographic Society is founded. Interracial masturbation ensues.

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On this day in 1898, Frenchman Emile Zola publishes the most important and influential op-ed piece of all time… “J’Accuse!”, exposing the details of the Dreyfus Affair.

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On this day in 1953, an article appears in Pravda accusing some of the most prestigious and prominent doctors, mostly Jews, in the Soviet Union of taking part in a vast plot to poison members of the top Soviet political and military leadership.

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On this day in 1957, the Wham-O Company produces the first Frisbee. Dogs, hippies and sandal-wearing European exchange students rejoice.

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On this day in 1968, country music pioneer Johnny Cash performs live at Folsom State Prison in a concert that immediately cements Cash's legend forever thereafter. Meanwhile, in Vietnam, the Tet Offensive begins.

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On this day in 2012, the passenger cruise ship Costa Concordia sinks off the coast of Italy. There are 31 confirmed deaths with one still missing, Russel Rebello, amongst the 4232 passengers and crew.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 12


The influential television variety show Arthur Godfrey & His Friends premieres on CBS on this day in 1949, but it was all a lie. Arthur Godfrey had no friends.

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On this day in 1959, the Caves of Nerja are rediscovered in Spain. See above.

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On this day in 1961, the United Nations "genocide pact" goes into effect, and we all lived happily ever after.

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On this day in 1967, Dr. James Bedford becomes the first person to be cryonically preserved with intent of future resuscitation. Brrr!

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On this day in 1971, for the first time ever, the sound of a flushing toilet is broadcast over television airwaves. It was during the first episode of CBS's All in the Family. Archie Bunker, of course, was the one taking a dump.

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On this day in 1991, an act of the U.S. Congress authorizes the use of military force to drive Iraq out of Kuwait.

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On this day in 1994, the daughter of Malcolm X is arrested for plotting to murder Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Police actually found out about the plot a week earlier, but it took them a while to decide whether to arrest her or assist her.

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On this day in 1995, gridiron legend OJ Simpson's murder trial gets under way in Los Angeles. Idiocy ensues.

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On this day in 1997, figure skater Oksana Baiul knocks back a few drinks and decides to see if she can't replicate some of her more complicated skating moves on the icy streets of New York… with her car. Turns out she can't!

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On this day in 1998, 19 European nations agree to forbid human cloning.

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On this day in 2005, the "Deep Impact" asteroid probe is launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta II rocket. On July 4, the probe's "impactor" successfully collides with comet 9P, aka Tempel 1.

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On this day in 2006, a stampede during the "Stoning of the Devil" ritual on the last day at the Hajj in Mina, Saudi Arabia, kills at least 362 Muslim pilgrims.

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On this day in 2010, an earthquake occurs in Haiti, killing an estimated 316,000 people - that's THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN THOUSAND GODDAMN FUCKING PEOPLE WIPED OUT - and destroying the majority of the capital city of Port-au-Prince. It is the biggest loss of life due to a natural calamity to occur in living memory, edging out 2004's Indian Ocean Tsunami by roughly eighty thousand souls. Or was it? Some people are now claiming the numbers have been greatly inflated - pretty much doubled, in fact - in order to make sure that foreign aid money didn't dry up. As if 158,000 deaths was something to sneeze at.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 11


On this day in 1569, the first ever recorded lottery takes place in England.
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On this day in 1879, the Anglo-Zulu War begins. It will rage in South Africa until nearly the end of the 19th century.


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On this day in 1908, after a whole lot of digging, the Grand Canyon National Monument is created. They did a pretty good job, don't you think?
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On this day in 1919, Romania annexes Transylvania, thus cornering the global market on pitchfork-wielding peasant mobs.
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On this day in 1922, insulin is first used to successfully treat diabetes, thus further thwarting the natural selection process, thus further polluting the gene pool, thus further weakening the human species. It's called the Law of Unintended Consequences, people!
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On this day in 1927, MGM head Louis B. Mayer announces the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at a banquet in Los Angeles, California. And thank Cthulhu for them! Without the Academy, how would we all know that The English Patient was a world-class flick?
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On this day in 1949, snow falls for the first time ever in human memory in Los Angeles, California.
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On this day in 1960, celebrity serial killer Henry Lee Lucas commits his first known murder. For a while, people thought Lucas might be responsible for up to 3000 deaths. Turns out it may actually be his only two or three, and all of his confessions were made in an attempt to get better living quarters and stronger coffee. He also loved the attention. In any case, the fact stands that Henry Lee Lucas's death penalty is the only one to be commuted to life by Preznit Dubya during his time as Texas Governor. Makes you wonder, don't it?
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On this day in 1964, US Surgeon General Dr. Luther Terry publishes the landmark report "Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States" in which he says that smoking may be hazardous to one's health, sparking national and worldwide anti-smoking efforts.
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On this day in 1972, East Pakistan renames itself Bangladesh. Yep, that's right. There was a time when Pakistan was broken into two distinct pieces separated by a thousand miles or so of Indian territory.
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On this day in 1992, midget songsmith Paul Simon begins the first leg of a South African concert tour/hunt for more musical ideas to rip off.
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On this day in 1994, the Irish government ends its 20-year broadcasting ban on the Irish Republican Army. Ratings soar.
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On this day in 2002, the first twenty captives - most of whom were innocent men kidnapped by Afghan militia for the substantial US bounty money being offered - arrive at Camp X-Ray on the island of Cuba. Some are still there.
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On this day in 2003, Illinois Governor George Ryan commutes the death sentences of 167 prisoners on Illinois' death row based on the Jon Burge scandal and other fairness issues. It was a wonderful, human gesture... one for which Governor Ryan was forced to pay dearly, becoming the third of four Illinois governors to be found guilty of white collar crime since 1968.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 10


On this day in 49 BC, Roman general Julius Caesar metaphorically crosses the proverbial Rubicon by literally crossing the Rubicon.

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On this day in 1776, early American pamphleteer (that's kind of like a prehistoric blogger) Thomas Paine publishes his masterpiece: Common Sense, which you can read in its entirety here.

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On this day in 1870, industrial magnate and conspiracy theory magnet John D. Rockefeller incorporates Standard Oil. Of the hundreds (if not thousands) of wild theories that have sprung up around the Rockefeller family over the years, some are credible, others not so much, and still more have been proven true beyond the slightest shadow of a doubt. You're going to have to decide for yourself which of these theories is which.

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On this day in 1927, German director Fritz Lang's futuristic sf masterpiece Metropolis is released.

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On this day in 1929, The Adventures of Tintin, one of the most popular European comic books, is first published in Belgium.

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On this day in 1946, the US Army Signal Corps successfully conducts Project Diana, bouncing radio waves off the moon and receiving the reflected signals.

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On this day in 1984, aging bit-player Clara Peller first asks "Where's the Beef?" in an advertising campaign for the Wendy's burger chain. Alas, Clara's glorious, rocket-like rise to fame and fortune were cut short when a fickle public turned their attention to some other old broad who had fallen and could not get up. Meanwhile, in Washington, the USA and the Vatican re-establish full diplomatic relations after almost 117 years of... um... not having full diplomatic relations, I guess.

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On this day in 1985, Sandinista Daniel Ortega becomes president of Nicaragua and vows to continue the transformation to socialism and alliance with the Soviet Union and Cuba. American policy continues to support the vile and murderous Contras in their revolt against the Nicaraguan government.

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On this day in 1990, Time Inc. and Warner Communications merge, resulting in the creation of media conglomerate multinational Time Warner.

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And now, a not-so-successful attempt at humor by Yours Truly...

On this day in 1920, in the wake of the horrors of World War 1, the "Covenant of the League of Nations" is ratified by 42 nations, and the League of Nations formally comes into being. After failing to prevent Imperial Japan's invasion of China, Fascist Italy's invasion of Ethiopia, and Nazi Germany's descent into genocidal madness, the League was officially dissolved.

On this day in 1946, in the wake of the horrors of World War II, the "General Assembly of the United Nations" first convenes at Westminster Central Hall in London, England, and the United Nations is born. After failing to prevent the United States from launching an unnecessary neoconservative businessman's war of first resort to forcibly remake the Middle East as a center of Western-style, loan-taking liberal capitalist democracy in the early 21st century, the UN lost pretty much all credibility, and today is on the fast track towards being dissolved.

On this day in 2087, in the wake of the horrors of World War IX, the Objectivist Psychotrust will be selected by a planet-wide brainwave poll, and the Council for Rational Arbitration will formally come into being. After failing to prevent #640123018923 from conducting research into sub-atomic femtobot dimorphism, the planet will dissolve into a shimmering soupy ball of rainbow-colored quantum goo... or something.

Monday, January 9, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 9


On this day in 1349, an angry mob rounds up all the adult Jews in Basel, Switzerland, traps them in an abandoned building on an island in the Rhine, then puts it to the torch. Over 600 people are incinerated. And why? Because the Black Death was raging across the land, and a rumor sprang up that the city's Jews - who weren't dying in quite such heavy numbers as the rest of the city's population - were somehow responsible. Jewish orphans are forcibly converted to Christianity and Jews were forbidden from entering Basel for 200 years.

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On this day in 1493, explorer Christopher Columbus and his crew are the first Europeans to lay eyes upon manatees, or "sea cows." At first, they don't know whether to eat or fuck the lazy beasts. So they do both.

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On this day in 1768, Englishman Philip Astley launches a billion childhood nightmares when he gathers quasi-suicidal acrobatics, dangerous wild animals and (shudder) clowns under the same tent for the world's first ever modern circus.

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On this day in 1839, the French Academy of Sciences announces the Daguerreotype photography process. See the top of today's posting for the earliest reliably dated photo­graph of a person, taken in the Spring of 1838 by inventor Louis Daguerre. Though it shows Paris' busy Boul­e­vard du Temple, the 12 minute exposure time  meant that moving traffic can't be seen. However, the two men at lower left - one apparently having his boots polished by the other - remained still long enough to be dist­inctly visible. Pretty cool!

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On this day in 1858, doctor and businessman Anson Jones, the fourth and final President of the Republic of Texas prior to that state's annexation, commits suicide over the perceived political sleight when he wasn't chosen to represent Texas in the United States Senate. Talk about a sore loser.

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On this day in 1918, the Battle of Bear Valley - the last battle of the American Indian Wars - takes place in Arizona. Kind of amazing this kind of thing was happening concurrently with the First World War over in Europe, isn't it?

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On this day in 1927, during a screening of the Stan Laurel silent comedy Get'em Young, a fire breaks out at the Laurier Palace movie theatre in Montreal, Quebec, killing 78 people, all but one of whom was under the age of 16.

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On this day in 1947, Elizabeth "Betty" Short, soon to be known the world over as the Black Dahlia, is last seen alive. See the NSFW image at the bottom of today's posting to see how she ended up. This as-yet unsolved murder case has haunted and vexed countless sleuths, both professional and amateur, for the better part of a century now, and for some reason, it continues to fascinate.

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On this day in 2007, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveils the first iPhone, putting the once floundering Apple back on the map in a big, big way. Yer old pal Jerky still maintains a great degree of pride over the fact that I haven't given that company one red cent of my business. Don't ask me why. I just do.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 8


On this day in 1297, François Grimaldi, disguised as a monk, leads his men to capture the fortress protecting the Rock of Monaco, establishing his family as the rulers of Monaco.

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On this day in 1697, the last execution for blasphemy takes place in Britain, of Thomas Aikenhead, student, at Edinburgh. Jesus Christ!

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On this day in 1790, George Washington delivers the first State of the Union address in New York, New York.

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On this day in 1835, the United States national debt is ZERO for the first and only time.

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On this day in 1877, Crazy Horse and his warriors fight their last battle against the United States Cavalry at Wolf Mountain, Montana Territory.

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American media tycoon William Randolph Hearst, the Rupert Murdoch of his time, forbids his many newspapers from running ads for Orson Welles' controversial new film, Citizen Kane, on this day in 1941. This probably had nothing at all to do with Welles' film being a thinly-veiled caricature of Hearst, down to using the nickname Hearst was rumored to have given his girlfriend's pussy - "Rosebud" - as the flick's mysterious McGuffin.

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On this day in 1981, a local farmer reports a UFO sighting in Trans-en-Provence, France, claimed to be "perhaps the most completely and carefully documented sighting of all time".

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On this day in the year 1992, US President George Herbert Walker "Poppy" Bush turns green, doubles over, and vomits up a steaming, frothy gut-full of raw fish into the crotch of Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa. Diplomacy at its finest!

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On this day in 2011, the attempted assassination of Democratic Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords and subsequent shooting in Casas Adobes, Arizona at a Safeway grocery store - for which Glenn Beck look-alike Jared Lee Loughner is subsequently arrested - results in six deaths and 13 injuries, including Giffords.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 7


On this day in the year 1622, the nations of Germany and Transylvania ratify the Peace of Nikolsburg agreement. Contrary to some people's assumptions, this document was signed by neither Hitler nor Dracula.
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Four year after their victory against the USA, Vietnam turned its military attentions to Cambodia, where they captured the capital of Phnom Penh on this day in 1979. In doing so, they toppled the short-lived but incredibly brutal Khmer Rouge revolutionary regime led by the psychotic Saloth Sar, better known by the pseudonym Pol Pot.

Born into wealth, Pot was educated in France, but spent most of his time reading communist manifestos rather than studying his chosen field of radio electronics. He flunked out and returned home, where he hooked up with Cambodia's home-grown commies. Rising through the revolutionary ranks, he eventually became enough of a pain-in-the-ass that the American-backed Sihanouk royal family chased him into the mountains. There, he drew inspiration from the local tribesmen, whom he considered to be the modern equivalent of Cambodia's original Khmer civilization.

In 1970, President Richard Nixon withdrew support for Sihanouk, installing the right-wing military dictatorship of General Lon Nol. Nol's troops fought both the Vietnamese troops who used Cambodia as a refuge from American forces, and Pot's Khmer army. Around the same time, Nixon illegally ordered a secret, massive bombing campaign against Cambodia, killing hundreds of thousands and driving the nation towards starvation and madness.

As Cambodia burned, Pol Pot's anti-Western vision started looking good to a lot of people. When the U.S. withdrew from Southeast Asia, the Khmer Rouge - aided by thousands of true-believing Vietnamese troops who now had nothing better to do - rushed in to fill the void. Depending on your political point of view, decades spent in the mountains under constant attack had either driven Pot insane or sharpened his revolutionary resolve. Determined that his new Kampuchean People's Republic would be a purely agrarian, self-sufficient society, free from capitalism, Pot shut down all schools and factories, abolished currency, forbid the use of technology, and eliminated property rights.

To prevent ideological pollution from complicating (and thus corrupting) his movement, Pot targeted intellectuals - which meant everyone from university professors to people who could speak a foreign language - and the cities, which Pot and his jungle-dwelling army despised above all else. A mass evacuation of all cities immediately ordered. Between 1975 and 1978, more than two million people died in what has come to be known as the Killing Fields, where Cambodia's despised city-dwellers were either murdered for fun or forced to work until they dropped dead. Millions more toiled for years until the neighboring Vietnamese regime learned of the insanity going on and invaded, sending Pot and his Khmer Rouge army running back to the hills.

Much to the relief of surviving Cambodians, the Vietnamese established a moderate communist government and provided protection from the Khmer Rouge, who were now waging a low-intensity guerrilla war against the communist forces with whom they had once been aligned. It was at this point that the American government finally began supporting Pol Pot and his plucky band of anti-communist mountain rebels.