Saturday, January 20, 2018

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 20


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

***

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

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

Friday, January 19, 2018

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 19



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

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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

***

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

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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...

Thursday, January 18, 2018

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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?!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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.

***

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?!

***

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!

***

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

***

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.

***

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.


***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

"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.

***

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.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 16


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

***

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

***

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.

***

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

***

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.

***

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.

***

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

***

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.

***

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

***

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

***

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!

***

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!

***

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!

***

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!

***

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

***

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?

***

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.

Monday, January 15, 2018

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 15


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

***

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.

***

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.

***

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).

***

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

***

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

***

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.
***

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.

***

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

***

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.

***

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

***

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.

***

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.

***

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

***

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

***

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.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

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?

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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

***

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.

***

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.

***

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

***

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.

***

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.


Saturday, January 13, 2018

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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!

***

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

***

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.

***

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.

***

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

***

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.

***

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.

Friday, January 12, 2018

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.

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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.

***

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

***

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.

***

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

***

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!

***

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

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 11


On this day in 1569, the first ever recorded lottery takes place in England.
***

On this day in 1879, the Anglo-Zulu War begins. It will rage in South Africa until nearly the end of the 19th century.


***

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?
***

On this day in 1919, Romania annexes Transylvania, thus cornering the global market on pitchfork-wielding peasant mobs.
***

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!
***

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?
***

On this day in 1949, snow falls for the first time ever in human memory in Los Angeles, California.
***

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?
***

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.
***

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.
***

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.
***

On this day in 1994, the Irish government ends its 20-year broadcasting ban on the Irish Republican Army. Ratings soar.
***

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.
***

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.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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

***

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

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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

***
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.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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!

***

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.

***

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?

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

Monday, January 8, 2018

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.

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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.

***

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".

***

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!

***

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.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

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.
***

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.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 6

On this day in 1994, one of the most ridiculous scandals in modern history is sparked when a crowbar-wielding attacker strikes figure skater Nancy Kerrigan on the knee as she exits the ice after a day's practice. Unfortunately, the aftermath of the attack was caught on video, and images of Kerrigan sitting on the floor, hugging her wounded leg, howling "Why meee?! Why anyone?!?" virtually guaranteed that the media would milk this story dry. And when it turned out that the attacker was linked to Tonya Harding - Kerrigan's main rival for Olympic gold - all bets were off. It was just too perfect... Nancy the Ice Wasp versus White Trash Tonya.

In the post-September 11th world, it's easy to forget that there was a year-long period when you literally couldn't escape the Kerrigan/Harding saga. Unless you were lucky enough to be in a coma at the time, all those stupid details are permanently seared into your brain. Remember Harding's sleaze-ball hubby, Jeff Gillooly? His tub-o-lard henchman, Shawn Echkardt? The vaudevillian amateur thugs, Derrick Smith and Shane Stant, who were paid six grand to "eliminate" Kerrigan from the Olympic picture? Their nearly instantaneous surrenders and confessions? Tonya's changing stories about her knowledge of and involvement with the plot? The Lillehammer Showdown? Harding's Achilles skate-lace-snap and the ensuing drama? Kerrigan's silver medal? Harding's 8th place humiliation? Of course you do.

And who can forget Gillooly's Revenge? After Harding dropped him like a handful of fish guts, he sold their XXX-rated honeymoon videos to Penthouse, singlehandedly kick-starting America's now-insatiable appetite to watch famous people - who, unlike porn stars, were not famous for fucking - fuck.

For her part, after hosting the fifth worst episode ever of Saturday Night Live, Nancy Kerrigan faded into obscurity. For Harding, leaving the limelight would not prove so easy. In 2000, she went on a drunken rampage, beating up her new boyfriend with a hubcap. She was also charged with DUI.

In 2002, Harding redeemed herself somewhat by pummelling the shit out of that lying cunt Paula Jones on Fox TV's Celebrity Boxing.

***

On this day in 1492Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic Monarchs enter Granada, completing the Reconquista of Spain from the Moors (Muslims).

***

On this day in 1540King Henry VIII of England marries Anne of Cleves. A particularly annoying Rick Wakeman tune ensues.

***

On this day in 1721, the Committee of Inquiry on the South Sea Bubble publishes its findings.

***

On this day in 1912, German geophysicist Alfred Wegener first presents his theory of continental drift. Betcha didn't know that theory was so young, didja?

***

On this day in 1929Mother Teresa arrives in Calcutta, India, where she begins her long crusade of NOT bringing nourishing food, healing medicine, or any kind of real, actual, measurable relief to India's poorest and sickest people. In other words, this sacred cow did less than nothing.

***

On this day in 1931Thomas Edison submits his final patent application. I think it was an auto-fellatio machine or something. In any case, it didn't catch on.

***

On this day in the year 1941, the 20th century's greatest president – Franklin Delano Roosevelt - said the following:

"In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression - everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings that will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants - everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor - anywhere in the world. That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called New Order of tyranny that the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb." 

We've come a long way, baby.

***

On this day in 1995, a chemical fire in an apartment complex in Manila, Philippines, leads to the discovery of plans for Project Bojinka, a mass-terrorist attack.

***

On this day in 2009, in response to continual bombardment of civilian population centers by Palestinian militants, Israel conducts an assault on Gaza. Operation Cast Lead. And they all lived happily ever after.

Friday, January 5, 2018

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 5


On this day in 1527, Felix Manz, a leader of the Anabaptist congregation in Zurich, Switzerland, is executed by drowning.

***

On this day in 1757, King Louis XV of France survives an assassination attempt by Robert-François Damiens, the last person to be executed in France by drawing and quartering, the traditional and gruesome form of capital punishment used for regicides.

***

On this day in 1895, the Dreyfus affair: French army officer Alfred Dreyfus is stripped of his rank and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil's Island.

***

On this day in 1914, the Ford Motor Company announces an eight-hour workday and a minimum wage of $5 for a day's labor.

***

On this day in 1919, the German Workers' Party, which would become the Nazi Party, is founded.

***

On this day in 1933, construction of the Golden Gate Bridge begins in San Francisco Bay.

***

On this day in 1940, FM radio is demonstrated to the Federal Communications Commission for the first time.

***

On this day in 1957, citing the "increased danger from International Communism" in the region, president Eisenhower proposes a new doctrine that will eventually transform the entire Middle East into a proxy Cold War battlefield. Within the year, American troops were crunching sand in Lebanon, and we all lived happily ever after.

***

On this day in 1968, Alexander Dubček comes to power and the "Prague Spring" begins in Czechoslovakia.

***

Also on this day in 1971, after winning an incredible 2,495 games in a row, the Harlem Globetrotters finally lose to the New Jersey Reds, in a game that ends in a 99-100 squeaker.

***

On this day in 1972, US President Richard Nixon orders the development of a Space Shuttle program.

***

On this day in 1974, the warmest reliably measured temperature in Antarctica of +59 °F (+15 °C) recorded at Vanda Station

***

On this day in the year 1998, Republican Congressman Sonny Bono skis into a tree, killing himself, and giving the wretched Cher yet another excuse to inflict herself and her weepy, hypocritical theatrics on us all. How does yer old pal Jerky know that Cher's public crying was fake, you ask? Simple! Because she had her tear ducts surgically removed back in the early 80's, after being told they contribute to the creation of wrinkles!

***

On this day in 2005, Eris, the largest known dwarf planet in the Solar System, is discovered by the team of Michael E. Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David L. Rabinowitz using images originally taken on October 21, 2003, at the Palomar Observatory.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 4


On this day in 1863, the New Apostolic Church, a Christian and chiliastic church, is established in Hamburg, Germany.

***

On this day in 1884, the Fabian Society is founded in London, England, United Kingdom. Lots of conspiracy theories have arisen around this society, especially from right-wingers who fear their fierce, left-wing intellectualism. But, truth be told, not all of their ideas are so terrible... especially considering the alternatives.

***

On this day in 1889, the Oklahoma Land Run opens 2 million acres of unused Oklahoma Territory to first serve first come settlers on April 22.

***

On this day in 1903, Topsy, an elephant, is electrocuted by Thomas Edison during the War of Currents campaign.


***

On this day in 1912, the Boy Scout Association is incorporated throughout the British Commonwealth by Royal charter.

***

On this day in 1958, Sputnik 1 falls to Earth from orbit. One year later, on this day in 1959, Luna 1 becomes the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon.

***

On this day in 1965, US President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaims his "Great Society" during his State of the Union address.

***

On this day in 1974, US President Richard Nixon refuses to hand over materials subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.

***

On this day in 1980, President Jimmy Carter announces that the United States will not be participating at the Moscow Olympics. End result? The Soviets kick much ass and take home all the gold. Four years later, in 1984, the Soviets return the favor by snubbing the Los Angeles Olympics. End result? The United States kick much ass and take home all the gold. If your kids ever ask you what it felt like to live through the Cold War, just tell them this story, and they'll know what it felt like... it felt kind of like that Twilight Zone episode where giant children rule the world, while everyday people scramble in terror and do their best to stay out from under the petulantly-hurled subway cars and tenement blocks.

***

The "euro" debuts as a trading currency on this day in 1999. The average European doesn't get to handle euros until three years later, however, when the actual bills and coins make their public debut, on this day in 2002. I don't know about you guys, but yer old pal Jerky really misses those Irish pound notes.

***

On this day in 1999, former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura is sworn in as governor of Minnesota.

***

On this day in 2006, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel suffers a second, apparently more serious stroke. His authority is transferred to acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. He lingered, living on in a kind of vegetative half-life, until 2014. Some people believed that, when he died, the Apocalyptic shit was going to hit the fan. It didn't.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 3


On this day in 1521, rabble-rousing religious reformer Martin Luther is excommunicated from the Catholic Church, thus sparking the rise of the Protestant Heresy and putting into motion an inexorable chain of spiritual, political and intellectual cataclysms that would lead to the election of George Dubya Bush and, ultimately, the Apocalypse.

***

On this day in 1870, construction of the Brooklyn Bridge begins.

***

Despite the fact that the passageway leading to it was clearly labeled "Death Shall Come on Swift Wings To Him Who Disturbs the Peace of the King," on this day in 1924, British Egyptologist Howard Carter was the first modern man to lay eyes upon - then open - the sarcophagus of young King Tutankhamun. By 1929, eleven people connected with the discovery of the Tomb had died young, and of unnatural causes. [Cue Twilight Zone music here! - Jerky]

***

Happy Fascism Day! It was on this day in 1925 that Benito Mussolini announced he was taking dictatorial powers over Italy.

***

On this day in 1932, martial law is declared in Honduras to stop a revolt by banana workers fired by the United Fruit Company.

***

On this day in 1938, the March of Dimes is established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

***

On this day in 1959, the great state of Alaska is welcomed into the union. After sulking for a few years, those testy Texans eventually recover from the humiliation of no longer being citizens of the biggest state on the block, salving their bruised egos with that old stand-by "size don't matter none." Which, of course, is a lie.

***

On this day in 1961, the United States severs diplomatic relations with Cuba. One year later, on this day in 1962, Pope John XXIII excommunicates Fidel Castro.

***

On this day in 1977, Apple Computer is incorporated. Now everybody's taking a bite.

***

On this day in 1990, former leader of Panama Manuel Noriega surrenders to American forces.

***

On this day in 1994, more than seven million people from the former Apartheid Homelands receive South African citizenship. And they all lived happily ever after.

***

On this day in 2000, the last original weekday Peanuts comic strip is published roughly two and a half decades after the last original weekday Peanuts comic strip SHOULD have been published. Aw, don't mind me. I'm just grumpy that MY comic strips didn't reach the empyrean heights of Charlie Brown and the gang.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 2


On this day in 366, the Alemanni (an early Germanic tribe) cross the frozen Rhine River in large numbers, invading the Roman Empire.

***

On this day in 533, Mercurius becomes Pope John II, the first pope to adopt a new name upon elevation to the papacy.

***

On this day in 1492, the Christian "reconquista" succeeds in conquering Granada, the final Moorish stronghold in Spain. This brings to an end nearly eight hundred years of Muslim presence - and four hundred years of Muslim dominance - in the region. And some people say the Spaniards are soft on terror!

***

On this day in 1860, the discovery of the planet Vulcan is announced at a meeting of the French Academy of Sciences in Paris, France. Vulcan's existence (between the Sun and Mercury) has since been mostly disproven. Mostly. Some still believe it exists, however.

***

On this day in 1920, in excess of six thousand people are arrested in the mostly-forgotten Palmer Raids. They joined nearly fifteen thousand more who had been previously rounded up in one of the most shameful episodes in all of American jurisprudence. Social activists, union members and progressives were arrested without warrant despite committing no crime, denied access to their families and legal counsel, detained without trail for prolonged periods, and even deported to the Soviet Union. The Bush II Era's Ashcroft Raids share a startling number of similarities with this seminal example of 20th century police-state excess. It was a lucky thing for the then-Witchfinder General that his targets are easier to pick out of a crowd than the commies ever were, brown shoes or no.

***

On this day in 1955, Panamanian president José Antonio Remón Cantera is assassinated. His assailants were never apprehended, but American authorities seem to think American gangster non pareil - and Operation Underworld figurehead - Lucky Luciano may have been behind it!

***

On this day in 1967, Hollywood actor and cigarette pitchman Ronald Reagan is sworn in as Governor of California.

***

On this day in 1974, US President Richard Nixon signs a bill lowering the maximum U.S. speed limit to 55 MPH in order to conserve gasoline during an OPEC embargo.

Monday, January 1, 2018

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 1


New Year's Day is celebrated for the first time in history as the Julian calendar takes effect on this day in 45 BC. Yer old pal Jerky is still trying to figure out how they knew to start counting backwards until Jesus was born.

***

On this day in 404, an infuriated Roman mob tears Telemachus, a Christian monk, to pieces for trying to stop a gladiators' fight in the public arena held in Rome.

***

On this day in 1801, the dwarf planet Ceres is discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi.

***

On this day in 1804, after the first and to date only successful slave revolution, French rule ends in Haiti, which becomes the first black republic and second independent country in North America after the United States.

***

On this day in 1808, the importation of slaves into the United States is made illegal, thus forcing slave-holding families to start "growing their own" by breeding new slaves from existing stock. A peculiar institution, indeed.

***

On this day in 1934, Nazi Germany passes the "Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring", thus paving the way for the establishment of death camps.

***

On this day in 1945, in one of the worst American war crimes of World War II, enraged U.S. troops massacre 30 Nazi SS prisoners at Chenogne in retaliation for the Malmedy massacre.

***

On this day in 1947, the Canadian Citizenship Act 1946 comes into effect, converting British subjects into Canadian citizens. Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King becomes the first Canadian citizen.

***

On this day in 1959, Fulgencio Batista, dictator of Cuba, is overthrown by Fidel Castro's forces during the Cuban Revolution.

***

On this day in 1971, cigarette advertisements are banned on American television.

***

On this day in 1983, ARPANET officially changes to using the Internet Protocol, creating the Internet. Two years later, on this day in 1985, the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS) is created.

***

On this day in 1989, the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer comes into force. The effect these protocols have on ozone depletion is, you might be pleasantly surprised to find out, immensely beneficial.

***

On this day in 1994, NAFTA - the North American Free Trade Agreement - goes into effect.

***

On this day in 1995, the Draupner Wave in the North Sea in Norway is detected, confirming the existence of freak waves.

***

On this day in the year 2000, an awful lot of people feel pretty fuckin' silly while contemplating all those bags or rice, cans of sliced peaches and ten gallon bottles of water they bought to prepare for the global meltdown that was supposed to befall us at the stroke of midnight on Y2K