Friday, August 23, 2019

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 23


On this day in the year 79 AD, the European continent's only active volcano, Vesuvius, blows its top. Thousands die, asphyxiated by clouds of hot, poison gas, and the vibrant Roman cities of Pompeii and, less famously, Herculaneum, are buried under a thick layer of steaming mud and ash. The dead cities lay undisturbed and preserved for millennia until, in the eighteenth century, archaeological excavations began. They continue to this very day. Priceless art treasures and great, formative works of philosophy, literature and science were discovered, fueling the Enlightenment. Today, Vesuvius is still active, and scientists claim it's only a matter of time before she pops off again. Nearly a million people live in her "kill zone." Who knows? Maybe in another two thousand years they'll be digging up empty Brio bottles and copies of L'Espresso magazine and marveling at the wonder of it all.
***

On this day in 1305, Sir William Wallace - better known today as Braveheart - is executed for high treason at Smithfield in London.

***

On this day in 1572, the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre takes place in France when King Charles IX - acting on the wishes of his mother, Catherine de Medici - orders the assassination of French Protestant leaders, known as Hugenots, who were attending the marriage of their leader, Navarre, to the King's sister, in Paris. Once word got out the the King's men were killing Protestant leaders, Frenchmen across the nation went bonkers, massacring any Protestant they could get their hands on. Despite a royal proclamation to cease and desist, the killings went on into October, by which time nearly seventy thousand French Protestants had been slaughtered. Meanwhile, up in heaven, Jesus and God looked at each other and shook their heads in utter disbelief.

***

On this day in 1784, Western North Carolina (now eastern Tennessee) declares itself an independent state under the name of Franklin; it is not accepted into the United States, and only lasts for four years.

***

On this day in 1863, a Confederate-sympathizing, slavery-supporting reprobate by the name of William C. Quantrill leads 450 guerrila-style "raiders" in a violent attack on the city of Lawrence, Kansas. The rampaging army - which included the infamous James and Younger crime gangs - burned down most major buildings in the city, and killed over 200 men and boys.

***

On this day in 1927, Italian Anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti are executed after a lengthy, controversial trial.

***

On this day in 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression treaty, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. In a secret addition to the pact, the Baltic states, Finland, Romania, and Poland are divided between the two nations. Meanwhile, three years later to the day, on this day in 1942, the Battle of Stalingrad begins after Hitler stupidly chooses to invade the USSR.

***

On this day in 1966, Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photograph of Earth from orbit around the Moon.

***

On this day in 1968, drummer Ringo Starr quits The Beatles over a minor disagreement. He soon comes to the terrifying realization that he's RINGO STARR, for fuck's sake, and promptly returns, tail tucked tightly between his legs, acting as though nothing had happened. Taking pity on him, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison let it slide.

***

On this day in 1973 a bank robbery gone wrong in Stockholm, Sweden, turns into a hostage crisis; over the next five days the hostages begin to sympathize with their captors, leading to the term "Stockholm syndrome".

***

On this day in 1990, a computer genius named Tim Berners-Lee opens the WWW - World Wide Web to new users.

***

On this day in 1990, Armenia declares its independence from the Soviet Union.

***

On this day in 1993, the Galileo spacecraft discovers a moon, later named Dactyl, around 243 Ida, the first known asteroid moon.

***

On this day in 1996, Saudi-born terrorist Osama bin Laden issues message entitled "A declaration of war against the Americans occupying the land of the two holy places." At the time, Republicans scoff at President Clinton's attempts to take this threat seriously.

***

Five years ago on this day, yours truly predicted that on this day in the year 2013, the alphabet would go the way of the Morse Code, as all human beings who manage to survive the devastating "Common Cold Plague" have their brains implanted with tiny microchips that allow all twelve of them to be in constant telepathic communication with each other, using Bluetooth technology. Too bad it didn't come to pass. 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 22


On this day in 564, Saint Columba reports seeing a monster in Loch Ness, Scotland.

***

On this day in 1485, the Battle of Bosworth Field, the death of Richard III and the end of the House of Plantagenet.

***

On this day in 1642, Charles I calls the English Parliament traitors. The English Civil War begins.

***

On this day in 1654, a man by the name of Jacob Barsimson arrives in New Amsterdam. He is the first known Jewish immigrant to America.

***

On this day in 1791, the Haitian Slave Revolution in Saint-Domingue begins. It is the first and only successful Spartacist revolution in history. Pretty awesome.

***

On this day in 1831, Nat Turner's slave rebellion commences just after midnight in Southampton County, Virginia, leading to the deaths of more than 50 whites and several hundred African Americans who are killed in retaliation for the uprising.

***

On this day in 1864, 12 nations sign the First Geneva Convention. The Red Cross is formed.

***

On this day in 1902, Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first President of the United States to ride in an automobile.

***

On this day in 1922, Michael Collins, Commander-in-chief of the Irish Free State Army, is shot dead during an Anti-Treaty ambush at Béal na Bláth, County Cork, during the Irish Civil War.

***

On this day in 1992, the second day of the stand-off, federal law enforcement officers close in on Randy Weaver's deep-woods hideaway at Ruby Ridge. At one point, as the Weavers try to bury their 14 year old son - who was shot and killed by a federal officer after he shot and killed a federal officer for shooting his dog - sharpshooters open fire, killing Weaver's wife while she held their baby daughter in her arms. Meanwhile, around the nation, for the first time in their lives, big dumb white guys begin to worry about police brutality. By the way, contrary to popular right-wing mythology, the President of the USA at the time was George Herbert Walker Bush, and NOT Bill Clinton.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 21



On this dark night in the year 31,430 BC, the last living Neanderthal hides in a cave while a Cro-magnon hunting party waits outside, screaming and hurling rocks, gathering up their courage to go in after him. The Neanderthal, who's just watched these same blood-thirsty killers butcher his entire family, realizes his situation is hopeless. Alone in the cold, damp darkness, he tilts back his head and howls one last time at a moon he will never see again.

***

On this day in 1770, James Cook formally claims eastern Australia for Great Britain, naming it New South Wales.

***

On this day in 1831, Nat Turner leads black slaves and free blacks in a rebellion.

***

On this day in 1863, Lawrence, Kansas is destroyed by Confederate guerrillas Quantrill's Raiders in the Lawrence Massacre.

***

On this day in 1888, the first successful adding machine in the United States is patented by William Seward Burroughs, the grandfather of writer William S Burroughs of Naked Lunch infamy.

***

On this day in 1911, some crazy Italian by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia strolls into Paris' Louvre museum, walks up to Leonardo Davinci's masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, takes it down from the wall, slips it under his coat, then brazenly walks right out the door with it. Two and a half years later, Peruggia is apprehended after trying to sell the priceless treasure to an Italian art dealer. This a fine, illustrative example of the old physiological dictum stating that testicular volume one carries around in one's pants is usually inversely proportionate to the amount of grey matter one has in one's skull.

***

On this day in 1945, physicist Harry K. Daghlian, Jr. is fatally irradiated in a criticality accident during an experiment with the Demon core at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

***

On this day in 1961, Motown releases what would be its first #1 hit, "Please Mr. Postman" by The Marvelettes.

***

On this day in 1986, carbon dioxide gas erupts from volcanic Lake Nyos in Cameroon, killing up to 1,800 people within a 20-kilometer range.

***

On this day in 1992, the Ruby Ridge Standoff in Idaho commences

***

It will be on this day in 2017 that the next total solar eclipse will be visible from North America. Chaos will probably already have ensued by then.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

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.

***

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?

***

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.

***

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.

***

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!

***

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.

***

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

***

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!

***

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.

***

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

***

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

Monday, August 19, 2019

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 19


On this day in 295 BC the first temple to Venus, the Roman goddess of love, beauty and fertility, is dedicated by Quintus Fabius Maximus Gurges during the Third Samnite War

***

On this day in 43 BC, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, later known as Augustus, compels the Roman Senate to elect him Consul.

***

On this day in 1612, the "Samlesbury witches", three women from the Lancashire village of Samlesbury, England, are put on trial, accused of practicing witchcraft, one of the most famous witch trials in British history.

***

On this day in 1692, Salem witch trials: in Salem, Province of Massachusetts Bay, five people, one woman and four men, including a clergyman, are executed after being convicted of witchcraft.

***

On this day in 1839, the French government announces that Louis Daguerre's photographic process is a gift "free to the world".

***

On this day in 1934, by dint of a national plebecite, the German people hand over sole executive power to Adolph Hitler. The vote was thirty-eight million for Hitler to four million, two hundred and fifty thousand against... which means he had an approval rating of 88%.

***

On this day in 1953, the CIA and MI6 help to overthrow the government of Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran and reinstate the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

***

On this day in 1960 in Moscow, Russia, Soviet Union, downed American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers is sentenced to ten years imprisonment by the Soviet Union for espionage.

***

On this day in 1960, the Soviet Union launches the satellite with the dogs Belka and Strelka, 40 mice, 2 rats and a variety of plants.

***

On this day in the year 1972, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that a drunken, bare-naked George Dubya Bush snorted a line of cocaine off a stripper's belly in a Tijuana tavern while his buddies beat the bartender's blind old hound dog to death with their fat fucking wallets.

***

On this day in 1987, in the United Kingdom, Michael Ryan kills sixteen people with a semi-automatic rifle and then commits suicide.

***

On this day in 1991, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev is placed under house arrest while on holiday in the town of Foros, Ukraine.

***

On this day in 1991, Black groups target Hasidic Jews on the streets of Crown Heights in New York, New York for three days, after two black children were hit by a car driven by a Hasidic man.

***

On this day in 2003, a car-bomb attack on United Nations headquarters in Iraq kills the agency's top envoy Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 other employees.

***

On this day in 2010, Operation Iraqi Freedom comes to an end, with the last of the United States brigade combat teams crossing the border into Kuwait.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 18


On this day in 1227, the merciless Genghis Khan - who, beginning as a juvenile delinquent gang-leader in his early teens, led one of the most expansive and successful world conquests in history, laying the foundations for a family dynasty that lasted centuries - dies after a long illness. Near the Xi Xia region of China at the time of his death, Khan's soldiers march their beloved leader's corpse back to Mongolia, killing every living thing that crosses their path along the way. How fuckin' cool is that?!

***

On this day in 1634, a priest named Urbain Grandier is accused and convicted of sorcery, only to be burned alive in Loudun, France. Aldous Huxley wrote about this in his historical novel The Devils of Loudun, and Ken Russell made a controversial film about it, called The Devils, in the early 1970s.

***

On this day in 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, guaranteeing women's suffrage (a.k.a. the vote).

***

On this day in 1950, Julien Lahaut, the chairman of the Communist Party of Belgium is assassinated by far-right elements.

***

On this day in 1958, novelist Vladimir Nabokov's controversial novel Lolita is published in the United States.

***

On this day in 1977, South African freedom fighter Steve Biko is arrested at a police roadblock under the Terrorism Act No 83 of 1967 in King William's Town, South Africa. He would later die of the injuries sustained during this arrest bringing attention to South Africa's apartheid policies.

***

On this day in 1686, astronomer Cassini reports seeing a satellite orbiting Venus. Last year, nearly half a millennium later, the Cassini deep space probe discovered two new moons around Saturn. That's almost too fucking cool.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 17



On this day in 1862, the Dakota War of 1862 begins in Minnesota as Lakota warriors attack white settlements along the Minnesota River.

***

On this day in 1908, the first animated cartoon, Fantasmagorie, created by Émile Cohl, is shown in Paris, France.


***

On this day in 1915, a man by the name of Leo Frank is lynched for the alleged murder of a 13-year-old girl in Marietta, Georgia, United States. Chaos ensues.

***

On this day in 1947, the Radcliffe Line, the border between Dominion of India and Dominion of Pakistan is revealed.

***

On this day in 1950, American POWs are massacred by the North Korean Army in an event christened the Hill 303 Massacre.

***

On this day in 1953, Narcotics Anonymous meets for the first time in Southern California.

***

On this day in 1959, Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, the much acclaimed and highly influential best selling jazz recording of all time, is released.

***

On this day in 1962, East German border guards kill 18-year-old Peter Fechter as he attempts to cross the Berlin Wall into West Berlin becoming one of the first victims of the wall. Meanwhile, in England, the Beatles replace drummer Pete Best with Ringo Starr.

***

On this day in 1970, Venera 7 is launched. It will later become the first spacecraft to successfully transmit data from the surface of another planet (Venus).

***

On this day in 1980, Azaria Chamberlain disappears, probably taken by a dingo, leading to what was then the most publicized trial in Australian history. "A dingo ate my baby!"

***

On this day in 1988, President of Pakistan Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and U.S. Ambassador Arnold Raphel are killed in a plane crash. Why any politicians ever ride in small planes is a mystery to me.

***

On this day in 1998, US President Bill Clinton admits in taped testimony that he had an "improper physical relationship" with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. On the same day he admits before the nation that he "misled people" about the relationship.

Friday, August 16, 2019

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 16


On this day in 1869, a Paraguayan battalion made up of children is massacred by the Brazilian Army during the Paraguayan War.

***

On this day in 1896, three prospectors named Skookum Jim Mason, George Carmack and Dawson Charlie discover gold in a tributary of the Klondike River in Canada, setting off the Klondike Gold Rush.

***

Carl Panzram, one of the most unapologetically evil fuckers ever to roam the planet, is arrested for the last time in his miserable, misbegotten life on this day in 1928. Born to a couple of Minnesota dirt farmers, Carl got off to a rolling start when he was incarcerated for public drunkenness at the ripe old age of eight years old. From that point on, his life would be half-spent in Christian correctional schools, county lockups and state penitentiaries. The other half of his life was devoted to theft, arson, forced buggery, child rape, serial thrill-killing... you name the evil deed, and Panzram was an authority. During the course of his long career as an almost elemental force for evil, he plied his Satanic trade on four continents, murdering untold numbers of victims, including six men in one day, whom he killed during a crocodile hunt in Africa. Truly, Carl Panzram was too evil to live.

***

On this day in 1966, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) begins investigations of Americans who have aided the Viet Cong. The committee intends to introduce legislation making these activities illegal. Anti-war demonstrators disrupt the meeting and 50 people are arrested.

***

On this day in 1974, Punk Rock pioneers The Ramones play their first show in a local New York club named CBGB.

***

On this day in the year 1977, Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, dies on his throne when his heart explodes from overstraining while trying to squeeze out a grey, cement-like loaf of hardened, compacted shit from his colon. I've always thought that it would have been fitting to bury the parasitic Doctor Nick and the Colonel with Elvis, much like in Ancient Egypt, where the most loyal servants of Pharoah used be be buried alive with their masters.

***

On this day in 1989, a solar flare from the Sun creates a geomagnetic storm that affects micro chips, leading to a halt of all trading on Toronto's stock market.

***

On this day in 2010, China Overtakes Japan as World's Second-Biggest Economy

***

On this day in 2012, in one of the worst anti-labor atrocities of contemporary times, South African police fatally shoot 34 miners and wound 78 more during an industrial dispute near Rustenburg. This happened just one year ago, folks, not in the 1890's.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 15


On this day in 778, the much-sung-about character or Roland is killed in the Battle of Roncevaux Pass.

***

On this day in 1057, King Macbeth is killed at the Battle of Lumphanan by the forces of Máel Coluim mac Donnchada.

***

On this day in 1281, the Mongolian fleet of Kublai Khan is destroyed by a "divine wind" for the second time in the Battle of Kōan.

***

On this day in 1534, Saint Ignatius of Loyola and six classmates take initial vows, leading to the creation of the Society of Jesus – or the Jesuits – in September 1540.

***

On this day in 1914, a male servant of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright sets fire to the living quarters of the architect's Wisconsin home, Taliesin, murders seven people and burns the living quarters to the ground.

***

On this day in 1914, the Panama Canal opens to traffic with the transit of the cargo ship SS Ancon.

***

On this day in 1939, the film version of The Wizard of Oz premiers at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, California. Its images and motifs eventually become an intrinsic part of Monarch mind control technology.

***

On this day in 1947, India gains Independence from the British Indian Empire and joins the Commonwealth of Nations.

***

On this day in 1962, an American soldier named James Joseph Dresnok defects to North Korea after running across the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Dresnok still resides in the capital, Pyongyang. Here is part one of a six-party Youtube BBC documentary on the man and his actions.

***

On this day in 1969, the three-day music festival known as Woodstock opens its doors.

***

On this day in 1971, President Richard Nixon completes the break from the gold standard by ending convertibility of the United States dollar into gold by foreign investors.

***

On this day in 1974Yuk Young-soo, First Lady of South Korea, is killed during an apparent assassination attempt upon President of South Korea, Park Chung-hee.

***

On this day in 1977, the Big Ear, a radio telescope operated by Ohio State University as part of the SETI project, receives a radio signal from deep space; the event is named the "Wow! signal" from the notation made by a volunteer on the project.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 14


On this day in 1888, an audio recording of English composer Arthur Sullivan's "The Lost Chord", one of the first recordings of music ever made, is played during a press conference introducing Thomas Edison's phonograph in London, England.

***

On this day in 1893, France becomes the first country to introduce motor vehicle registration.

***

VJ DAY! On this day in 1945, reeling from a thermonuclear one-two punch, the nation of Japan surrenders unconditionally to the United States of America, thus ending World War II... except, of course, for the few die-hards who toughed it out on deserted jungle islands for lonely decades out of devotion to Emperor-God Hirohito, who sold them out to save his own ass.

***

On this day in 1969, in a pasture rented from Max Yasgur in rural Sullivan County, New York, hundreds of thousands of people* come together for the opening day of the now legendary Woodstock Music and Art Fair. All the greatest musical acts of the day were in attendance, and a truly groovy time was had by all... except those poor souls unfortunate enough to have taken the brown acid before word got out that it was bad shit, man. Afterwards, according to bloviating curmudgeons who really had no clue, it took a decade to clean up the filthy mess left behind by those darn hippies, and the cloying stench of patchouli still lingers at the site. Thirty years later, in 1999, the much-hyped Woodstock III - brought to you by Pepsico - turned into a celebration of arson, rape and assorted mayhem.

***

On this day in 1974, the second Turkish invasion of Cyprus begins; 140,000 to 200,000 Greek Cypriots become refugees. 6,000 are massacred and another 1,619 go missing.

***

On this day in 2003, a wide-scale power blackout blankets the northeast United States and Canada in darkness. Some people don't see the power go back up again until three days later.

***

On this day in 2007, the Kahtaniya bombings kills at least 796 people in Iraq... the deadliest terrorist attack in that country, ever.

***

On this day in 2010, the first-ever Youth Olympic Games are held in Singapore. Nobody gives a crap.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 13


On this day in 1831, an atmospheric disturbance causes the sun to appear blue-green, which mystical-minded slave Nat Turner takes to be a most prodigious portent. This causes him to organize a slave uprising in the state of Virginia. The revolt was so bloody, many historians refer to it as the First War, with the Civil War being the Second War. On the road to Jerusalem, VA, Nat and his growing army of slaves killed fifty-five white folks, who then turn around and killed a hundred-plus black folks, many of whom had nothing to do with the uprising. Ahhh... the good old days!

***

On this day in 1913, an acrobat by the name of Otto Witte is purportedly crowned King of Albania.

***

On this day in 1928, New Jersey radio station WRNY becomes the first to broadcast a television image: a woman's face on a video "canvas" about 1.5 inches square, which was maintained for ten minutes. Which means there was about the same amount of quality programming on the air back then as there is now.

***

On this day in 1942, Major General Eugene Reybold of the US Army Corps of Engineers authorizes the construction of facilities that would house the "Development of Substitute Materials" project, better known as... the freaking Manhattan Project.

***

On this day in 1964, Peter Allen and Gwynne Evans are hanged for the Murder of John Alan West, thus becoming the last people to be executed in the United Kingdom.

***

On this day in 2001, Flight 175 hijackers Marwan Alshehhi, Fayez Ahmed Banihammad, and Hamza Alghamdi buy knives and multi-tools. Alshehhi buys a Cliphanger Viper and an Imperial Tradesman Dual Edge, both short-bladed knives. Banihammad buys a Stanley two-piece snap knife set, and Alghamdi buys a Leatherman Wave multi-tool. All purchases are made in the same city, though the 9/11 Commission does not specify as to which city that might be.

***

Happy birthday to Donny Osmond-throttling, transvestite prostitute-punching, Patridge Family alumnus, Danny Bonaduce! Also born on this day, trailblazing televangelist scam-artist Rex Humbard (1919), Cuban revolutionary dictator Fidel Castro Ruz (1927), and Hawaiian ukulele-slinger Don Ho (1930)!

Monday, August 12, 2019

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 12



On this day in 30 BC, the infamous Cleopatra VII Philopator, last ruler of the Egyptian Ptolemaic dynasty, commits suicide, allegedly by means of an asp bite.

***

On this day in 1950, the Bloody Gulch Massacre takes place during the Korean Conflict. North Korean soldiers gun down dozens of American Prisoners of War.

***

On this day in 1952, 13 prominent Jewish intellectuals are murdered in Moscow, Russia, in a wave of anti-Semitic violence known as The Night of the Murdered Poets.

***

On this day in 1953, the Soviet Union test-detonates their so-called Layer Cake Bomb - a 400-kiloton device fueled by layers of uranium and lithium deuteride - in Kazakhstan. In response, the Pentagon cranks things up a notch by creating both a Bundt Cake Bomb and an Apple Brown Betty Bomb, both of which are devastatingly powerful... and irresistibly scrumptious!

***

On this day in 1964, South Africa is banned from the Olympic Games due to the country's racist policies.

***

On this day in 1981, the IBM Personal Computer (PC) is released.

***

On this day in 1992, Canada, Mexico and the United States announce completion of negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement, more popularly known as NAFTA.

***

On this day in 2000, The Oscar class submarine K-141 Kursk of the Russian Navy explodes and sinks in the bottom of the Barents Sea during a mysterious military exercise. The cause of the sinking remains unknown.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 11



On this day in 3114 BC, the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, used by several pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations, notably the Mayans, begins.

***

On this day in 2492 BC, traditional date of the defeat of the tyrant Bel by tribal leader Hayk, progenitor and founder of the Armenian nation.

***

On this day in 1919, the constitution of the Weimar Republic is adopted. Good musical theater, nice furniture, great (deviant) art and a really "gay" metropolitan nightlife ensue.

***

On this day in 1965, race riots flare up in the Watts area of Los Angeles, California. The great novelist Thomas Pynchon wrote this interesting essay about it.

***

On this day in 1972, the mayor officially decrees it to be Cheech and Chong Day in the city of San Antonio, Texas. Twenty years later, the federal government passes an Omnibus bill which includes vaguely-worded laws that make it illegal to sell "bongs" but not "water pipes." Twelve years after that,Tommy Chong is sentenced to nine months in jail for marketing a line of water pipes called Chong's Bongs. What the fuck happened between then and now?

***

On this day in 1984, Olympian Carl Lewis duplicates Jesse Owens' 1936 feat, winning 4 Olympic track gold medals. On the same day, during preparations for a radio broadcast, president Ronald Reagan picks up a microphone and says: "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today, that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." Unfortunately, Ronnie had failed to notice that the mic was already on, and that his little "joke" was being heard by thousands of pants-shitting Americans, who'd already been rendered beat-dog flinchy by the hyperbolic rhetoric of the Cold War's dying days.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 10


On this day in 1755, under the orders of Charles Lawrence, the British Army begins to forcibly deport the Acadians from Nova Scotia to the Thirteen Colonies.

***

On this day in the year 1866, the Transatlantic Telegraph Cable - one of mankind's greatest technological triumphs - is finally completed. Once he's announced this milestone to the American people, President James Buchanan proceeds to spend the rest of the day masturbating furiously while engaging in "morse-code-sex" with Queen Victoria.

***

On this day in 1948, the TV show Candid Camera makes its television debut after being on radio for a year as Candid Microphone. Hardly seems possible, does it?

***

On this day in 1977, in Yonkers, New York, 24-year-old postal employee David Berkowitz – better known as the Son of Sam – is arrested for a series of killings in the New York City area over the period of one year.

***

On this day in 1981, the severed head of six-year-old Adam Walsh is found by two fishermen in a Florida canal. The rest of Adam’s body was never recovered. Adam’s kidnapping and murder - possibly by serial killer Otis Toole - inspired the creation of the television series America's Most Wanted, which was hosted by Adam’s father, John Walsh, for over two decades.

***

On this day in 1987, the Dow Jones Industrial Average breaks through the elusive 2,600 point ceiling for the first time ever. Of course, what goes up must eventually come down, and if shit keeps hitting fan, we may well live to see 2,600 again. My advice for riding out the coming storm? Sink all your capital in ammunition, gas generators and out-of-the-way real estate.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 9


On this day in 1173, construction of the campanile of the cathedral of Pisa – now known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa – begins. It will take two centuries to complete, and yet STILL they fuck the damn thing up!

***

On this day in 1483, the Sistine Chapel opens for public viewing in Rome with the celebration of a Mass.

***

On this day in 1854, American philosopher-writer Henry David Thoreau publishes his masterpiece, Walden.

***

On this day in 1930, the sexiest little cartoon character of all time, Betty Boop, makes her debut in Dizzy Dishes.

***

On this day in 1936, American Olympian Jesse Owens throws a wrench into Adolf Hitler's plans to use the Berlin Olympics as a showcase for the superiority of Aryan Nazi Supermen when he wins his fourth gold medal of the games. The first person to run over and congratulate Jesse, in full view of a flustered Fuhrer, was the giant, smiling Nazi Luz Long, about whom Jesse Owens would later write: "You could melt down all the medals and cups I have, and they wouldn't be a plating on the 24-carat friendship I felt for Luz Long."

***

On this day in 1942, Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi is arrested in Bombay by British forces, launching the Quit India Movement.

***

On this day in 1944, the United States Forest Service and the Wartime Advertising Council release posters featuring Smokey Bear for the first time.

***

On this day in 1945, the second part of the atom bomb one-two punch landed by the USA against Japan takes place when the city of Nagasaki is devastated by an atomic bomb called Fat Man.  39,000 people are killed instantly in this incredible international horror.

***

On this day in 1965, the island/city of Singapore becomes the first (and so far only) nation in history to gain independence (from Malaysia) against its will.

***

On this day in 1969, members of Charles Manson's "family" butcher Sharon Tate and four of her friends in Beverly Hills. The next day,Manson - upset with his underlings for their lack of murderous panache - orders his crew out on another raid "to show you how it's done." Charlie had forgotten one thing, however: his all-consuming cowardice. The trash-talking, acid-gobbling midget freak had to leave the room before his brain-fried followers slaughtered the victims that Charlie, himself, had hand-picked... the LaBianca family. If you're at all interested in the background and different theories about what really went down back then in those crazy, acid-hazy days, then you should most definitely read Adam Gorightly's incredible book, The Shadow Over Santa Suzana: Black Magic, Mind Control and the Manson Family Mythos.

***

On this day in 1974, as a direct result of the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon becomes the first President of the United States to resign from office. His Vice President, Gerald Ford, becomes president.

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 8

On this day in 1955, a conference is held in Geneva to discuss potential "peaceful uses" for the atomic bomb. My own personal favorite suggestion? Use a few thousand to carve the moon into a continent-sized bust of Ludwig von Beethoven!

***

On this day in 1969, at a street crossing in London, photographer Iain Macmillan takes the photo that becomes the cover of the Beatles album Abbey Road, one of the most famous album covers in recording history. Check out this link for information about all the super-secret messages contained in this image (and other Beatles images).

***

On this day in 1973, South Korean activist and politician Kim Dae-jung is kidnapped by agents of that nation's quasi-fascist ruling regime. Nick-named "the Asian Mandela", he would be set free and eventually become South Korea's eighth President, winning a Nobel Peace Prize in the process.

***

On this day in 1974, while Tricky Dick Nixon was being flown back to the neo-fascist cradle-forge of Orange County with his forked tail tucked between his waxy, sallow legs, newly sworn-in President Gerald Ford goes on television and declares: "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.

***

On this day in 1989, Space Shuttle Columbia takes off on a "secret" 5-day military mission.

***

On this day in 1991, the Warsaw radio mast, at one time the tallest construction ever built, collapses. It takes a long damn time for the freaking thing to fall all the way down.

***

On this day in 2000, the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley is raised to the surface after 136 years on the ocean floor and 30 years after its discovery by undersea explorer E. Lee Spence and 5 years after being filmed by a dive team funded by novelist Clive Cussler.


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 7


On this day in 1933, the Iraqi government slaughters over 3,000 Assyrians in the village of Simele. The day becomes known as Assyrian Martyrs Day.

***

On this day in 1965, the infamous first Reyes party between Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters and motorcycle gang the Hell's Angels takes place at Kesey's estate in La Honda, California introducing psychedelics to the gang world and forever linking hippies and bikers in the public imagination.

***

On this day in 1970, California judge Harold Haley is taken hostage in his courtroom and killed during in a failed effort to free Black Panther leader and "Soledad Brother" George Jackson from police custody. Just over one year later, Jackson would be shot and killed by prison guards during an escape attempt.

***

On this day in 1974, some crazy Frenchman by the name of Philippe Petit performs a high wire act between the twin towers of the World Trade Center 1,368 feet in the air, without safety harness or a net.

***

On this day in 1978, US President Jimmy Carter declares a federal emergency at Love Canal due to toxic waste that had been negligently disposed of.

***


On this day in 1998, a massive truck bomb explodes outside the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Minutes later, another bomb goes off outside the embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Two hundred and twenty four people, including 12 Americans, die in the attacks. 4,500 more are wounded. At the time, all signs pointed towards disgruntled Saudi construction scion Osama bin Laden.

Thirteen days later, on August 20, President Bill Clinton orders cruise missiles launched against bin Laden's terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, and against a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, where bin Laden was allegedly making or distributing chemical weapons.

Reaction from traitorous, seditious Republicans is swift. Clinton, they claimed, was "wagging the dog" - borrowing the title of a movie that was actually based on former President Ronald Reagan's ass-covering farce of an invasion in Grenada, which was hastily thrown together to deflect criticism of the disastrous Beirut barracks bombing in which 242 Marines were killed - to deflect attention from the blooming Monica Lewinsky scandal. Because, of course, in the minds of such ethical luminaries as Trent Lott and Bob Barr and Jesse Helms and Dan Burton and on and on, ad infinitum, Clinton's actions couldn't possibly have been to avenge the murders of a couple hundred darkies on the least important continent on the planet! Such a move, for these racist, scum-sucking GOP jackasses, could ONLY be either a diversionary tactic, or a waste of good missiles.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 6


On this day in 1890, at Auburn Prison in New York, murderer William Kemmler becomes the first person to be executed by electric chair.

***

On this day in 1930, Judge Joseph Force Crater steps into a taxi in New York and disappears never to be seen again. This unsolved mystery earns Crater the sobriquet: "Missingest Man in New York".

***

At 8:15 A.M., on this day in the year 1945, with a blinding flash and a deafening roar, a single bomb turns the thriving city of Hiroshima into a twisted, smoldering, radioactive tableau of death and ruin. Nearly all people and buildings within a two-kilometer radius of the drop point were obliterated. An incredible one hundred and forty thousand people were killed by a single bomb... nearly half the city's population. This brief, horrific moment in time still stands as quite possibly the most significant turning point in the history of our doomed and damned species.

***

On this day in 1964, in the American state of Nevada, a bristlecone pine by the name of Prometheus – at somewhere close to five thousand years old, the world's most ancient living tree – is chopped down by a graduate student trying to figure out exactly how old it really is. The freaking idiot.

***

On this day in 1991, a brilliant fellow by the name of Tim Berners-Lee releases files describing his idea for the World Wide Web. Chaos ensues.

***

On this day in 1996, NASA announces that the ALH 84001 meteorite, thought to originate from Mars, contains evidence of primitive life-forms. After that, they fall suspiciously silent... Meanwhile, six years later, on this day in 2012, NASA's Curiosity rover lands on the surface of Mars. Coincidence? You be the judge!

***

On this day in 2001, after only seven months in office, Preznit Dubya begins a month-long vacation at the Crawford "ranch" he purchased as a photo-op backdrop in 1999. He wouldn't spend another night in the White House until after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 - the ones he'd been warned about again and again and again - were safely over and done with. The same cannot be said of Dubya's dad, President Poppy, however. Turns out the old man spent the final night of the pre-September 11th era... in the White House. This, of course, raises all kinds of spooky questions.

Monday, August 5, 2019

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 5


On this day in 1570, a group of Spanish Jesuits led by Fray Batista Segura arrives in the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia in order to convert the native "savages" there to Christianity. Six months later, the entire group was slaughtered by the very Indians they had come to evangelize. BURN!

***

On this day in 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert establishes the first English colony in North America at what is now St. John's, Newfoundland.

***

On this day in 1735, New York Weekly Journal writer John Peter Zenger is acquitted of “seditious libel” against the royal governor of New York because what he had published was, in fact, true.

***

On this day in 1861, in order to help pay for the Civil War, the United States government levies the first ever income tax as part of the Revenue Act of 1861. Back then, you had to give the US government 3% of all incomes over and above $800.

***

On this day in 1861, the United States Army abolishes flogging. Chaos ensues.

***

On this day in 1882, Standard Oil of New Jersey is established. It is more widely known across the globe as Exxon and or Esso, one of the most evil, conspiracy-encrusted corporations in history, run by one of the most evil, conspiracy-encrusted families in history... the Rockefellers.

***

On this day in 1944, the Nazis begin a week-long massacre of anywhere between 40,000 and 100,000 civilians and prisoners of war in Wola, Poland.

***

On this day in 1957, American Bandstand debuts on the ABC television network. The show is dedicated to teenage baby-boomers, playing the songs and showing popular dances of the time. The show’s Dorian Grey-like host, Dick Clark, didn’t age a day during the show’s half-century run.

***

Goodbye, Norma Jean. The once and future Marilyn Monroe blows out her own candle with a fistful of barbiturates on this day in 1962, thus selflessly sparing us, the public, from having to witness her long, sad decline into decrepitude. Meanwhile, half a world away, in South Africa, freedom fighter Nelson Mandela is thrown in jail. He would not emerge from captivity until 28 years later, in 1990.

***

On this day in 1981, US President Ronald Reagan fires 11,359 striking air-traffic controllers who ignored his presidential declaration that they had to return to work, or else.

***

On this day in 2012, some asshole by the name of Wade Michael Page walks into a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and opens fire, killing six people. Eventually, he shoots himself in the head after being wounded by police during the post-massacre standoff.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 4


On this day in the year 70 AD, Jerusalem’s Second Temple, located on the Temple Mount (aka Mount Zion) is destroyed by Roman occupiers. The Second Temple had been built 586 years earlier to replace King Solomon's Temple, which was destroyed by neo-Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II upon his siege of Jerusalem and subsequent enslavement of the Jewish people in 587 BC. Jewish eschatology holds that, before the Messiah can appear on Earth, a Third Temple must be built. Various messianic groups have attempted to get this project started up, but that particular piece of real estate is one of the most hotly contested spots on the face of the Earth... if not MOST hotly contested

***

On this day in 1693, a Frenchman by the name of Dom Perignon allegedly invents the sparkling wine commonly referred to as Champagne. This is a traditional belief, however, for which there is no evidence or proof.

***

On this day in 1892, the father and stepmother of Lizzie Borden are found murdered in their Fall River, Massachusetts home. Borden’s subsequent trial and acquittal gave rise to the popular rhyme: “Lizzie Borden took an axe. Gave her father forty whacks. When she saw what she had done… Gave her mother forty-one!”

***

On this day in 1944, a tip from a Dutch informer leads the Gestapo to a sealed-off area in an Amsterdam warehouse, where they find and arrest Jewish diarist Anne Frank, her family, and four others.

***

On this day in 1964, civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney are found dead in Mississippi after disappearing on June 21. The film Mississippi Burning is based on these events.

***

On this day in 1964, the destroyers USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy report coming under attack in the Gulf of Tonkin, near Vietnam. This led to an escalation of American intervention in the region – and the number of deaths on all sides – despite the fact that the events most likely never took place.It was, in many ways, the lie that launched America's war against Vietnam.

***

On this day in 1987, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rescinds the Fairness Doctrine, which had required radio and television stations to present controversial issues fairly, giving equal time to both sides of an issue. Rush Limbaugh ensues.