Tuesday, May 29, 2012


On this day in 1431, in Rouen, France, shortly after being captured by Burgundian troops in the English-occupied French region then known as Compiègne, the virgin-warrior "Maid of Orleans", Joan of Arc, is burned at the stake as a heretic. She was only 19 years old, but in the two years that she'd led a devoted army of rugged warriors to numerous impressive victories in the name of the Charles Dauphin (whom she lived to see crowned King of France), she had managed to transform the Hundred Years War into a religious war, terrifying superstitious English soldiers and inspiring French warriors to the point of fanaticism... which made her brutal execution all the more devastating to her many devoted admirers. Twenty-five years after her execution, an Inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, pronounced her innocent and declared her a martyr. Joan was beatified in 1909, and canonized in 1920... Saint Joan, Patron Saint of France. Some modern historians think Joan fell prey to a plot by the very King Charles she'd helped to crown, because he wanted to make a deal with the Burgundians while she favored destroying them, militarily. It's impossible to know for sure at this point, but it does make for one hell of a story, that's for sure.

On this day in 1778, renowned French philosopher and author François-Marie Arouet - better known as Voltaire - passes away at the tender age of 84. He is still widely read today, and his works still have the power to amuse, inspire, and offend, in equal measure. I recommend Candide, in which he rails hilariously against the naive philosophical optimism of Jean Jacques Rousseau and Leibniz.

On this day in 1972, in Tel Aviv, Israel, members of the Japanese Red Army carry out the Lod Airport Massacre, killing 24 people and injuring 78 others, leaving everybody scratching their heads, wondering what in the high holy FUCK kind of gripe those Japanese goofs could possibly have against the Jews, anyway?!


POLITICAL INCORRECTNESS ALERT! On this day in 1733, the right of Canadians to keep slaves is upheld in a Quebec City legislative assembly. 100 years later, in 1833, slavery would be abolished throughout Canada. In fact, it is a well kept secret that the only Canadian population to ever enthusiastically practice slavery... were the natives. The Haida were particularly vicious enslavers and slave-traders, venturing as far south as California on kidnapping raids. As for the European side of things, historian Marcel Trudel has documented precisely 4,092 recorded slaves throughout Canadian history, of which 2,692 were native peoples owned by the French, and 1,400 blacks owned by the British, together owned by approximately 1,400 masters. There can be no accurate accounting of native enslavement of other natives, but it surely totals in the millions, over a much longer time span.

Happy Birthday to para-political heavy-weight philosopher Oswald Spengler, who was born in Germany on this day in 1880! Spengler's hugely influential book, The Decline of the West, put forth his fascinating Civilizations Model, which posits that every epoch goes through a cycle of seasons, from Spring to Winter, after which comes an ultimate and unavoidable collapse. Cheerful stuff.

On this day in 1913, the Paris premiere performance of composer Igor Stravinsky and choreographer Vaslav Nijinski's ballet The Rite of Spring: Pictures from Pagan Russia provokes a riot when detractors and supporters of the gloriously asynchronous, poly-rhythmic music and primal, violent dancing begin fighting each other in the aisles. Despite the ruckus, which spilled out into the street, the 33-minute ballet was performed in its entirety. Stravinsky's score remains one of the most important and impressive pieces of Modernist music ever composed - an "it's all there" key to understanding where serious composition was headed in the 20th century - and, as a well-rounded human being, you really do owe it to yourself to take the time and give this horizon-expanding, mind-blowing, eardrum-pounding creation an uninterrupted listen with your complete and undivided attention. "Farewell la Belle Epoch, welcome the New Age."

In another defining moment of the Modern Age, it was on this day in 1919 that scientists Arthur Eddington and Andrew Crommelin conducted the first-ever real-world test of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity. They set up camp on the island of Príncipe, near Africa, and prepared to watch a solar eclipse. According to general relativity, stars with light rays that passed near the Sun would appear to shift due to their light curving through the Sun's gravitational field - an effect only noticeable during eclipses, since otherwise the Sun's brightness would obscure the affected stars. They discovered that Newtonian physics could only account for half the shift that they recorded - a shift that was accurately predicted by Einstein's theory. All of a sudden, the Universe seemed like a whole lot stranger place, indeed... especially to those elite few with minds capable of grasping the physics of it all.

On this day in 1954, at the Hotel de Bilderberg near Arnhem in the Netherlands, the first ever Bilderberg conference is held. The whole ball of wax got rolling when several people, including Polish politicians Józef Retinger and Andrew Nielsen, became concerned about the growth of anti-Americanism in Western Europe. They proposed an international conference at which leaders from European countries and the United States could come together and promote a better understanding between the cultures of the United States and Western Europe and foster cooperation on political, economic, and defense issues. That's the official line. For a more accurate take on the goals, activities and origins of every conspiracy theorist's favorite honest-to-gosh actual global conspiracy, check out SourceWatch's excellent Bilderberg dossier. You'll be glad you did. Or not...


Monday, May 28, 2012


On this day in 585 BC, while Alyattes is fighting Cyaxares at the Battle of Halys, a solar eclipse occurs, just as predicted by Greek philosopher Thales. This is one of the so-called "cardinal dates" from which the dates of other occurrences in Ancient history can be accurately calculated.

On this day in 1503, a Treaty of Everlasting Peace between Scotland and England is signed to commemorate the wedding of James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor. This peace lasts all of ten long years.

On this day in 1936, philosopher Alan Turing submits his thesis, On Computable Numbers, for publication. It's a pretty mind-blowing piece of work, not meant for the layman.

On this day in 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization, more popularly known as the PLO, is formed in Palestine/Israel.  It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed observer status at the UN since 1974. The PLO was considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel until the Madrid Conference in 1991, when they recognized Israel's right to exist in peace in 1993 and rejected violence and terrorism. In response, Israel officially recognized their legitimacy.

On this day in 1998, beloved actor, comedian and artist Phil Hartman is killed in his sleep by his wife Brynn Omdahl, who then turns the gun on herself. Their two children were alone in the house with them at the time. Anti-depressant medication was implicated.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Are you fucking shitting me?!
On this day in 1919, the Curtiss NC-4 "flying boat" aircraft arrives in Lisbon, Portugal, completing the first-ever transatlantic flight. It took 19 days, including time for numerous repairs and for crewmen's rest, with stops along the way in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and the Azores Islands. This accomplishment was unfortunately eclipsed in minds of the public by the first nonstop transatlantic flight, made by British Royal Air Force pilots John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown, two weeks later.

On this day in 1930, the Chrysler Building opens its doors in New York City. At the time, it was the tallest man-made structure on Earth, and it remains one of the most symbolically potent. So, hey, why not build your own?

On this day in 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaims an unlimited national emergency in response to Nazi Germany's threats of total global domination.

On this day in 1962, an out-of-control garbage dump incineration sets an abandoned coal mine ablaze beneath the town of Centralia, Pennsylvania. That fire still burns, to this very day.


On this day in 1647, in Hartford, Connecticut, Alse Young becomes the first person to be executed as a witch in the British American colonies. She had a daughter, Alice Young Beamon, who would, herself, be accused of witchcraft in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts, 30 years later. Fortunately, she would not suffer her mother's fate. As was often the case, Alse Young was a woman without a son when the accusation of witchcraft was lodged, which implied that she would be eligible to inherit her husband's estate upon his death. Young's execution took place a full half-century before the far more infamous "witchcraft panic" at Salem, Massachusetts.

On this day in 1805, everybody's favorite world-beater Napoléon Bonaparte assumes the title of "King of Italy" and is crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy in Milan's gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral. The crown (see above) is said to have been forged from a nail taken from the True Cross. Personally, I think it's god-awful looking.

On this day in 1908, At Masjed Soleyman in southwest Persia (in modern-day Iran), the first major commercial oil strike in the Middle East is made. The rights to the resource are quickly swept up by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, which, in 1935, would be re-named the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which, in 1954, would be re-named British Petroleum. This nomenclatural erasure of one side of the "partnership" could well serve as a telling short-hand for the long, sad story of the West's petro-political dealings with Iran. Oil and its commercial exploitation are, without a doubt, key linchpins to developing a holistic understanding of the parapolitical 20th century (and beyond).

On this day in 1930, America's Supreme Court rules that purchasing booze does not violate the Constitution. Kindly insert your own anti-marijuana-prohibition comment here.

On this day in 1938, the House Un-American Activities Committee or HUAAC begins its first session, to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and those organizations suspected of having communist or fascist ties. Soon, they were grilling members of the Federal Theater Project over the political ties and activities of the various writers, directors, actors, dancers and artisans who helped put together those shows. The hearings went on for months. Meanwhile, the committee decided against opening investigations into the Ku Klux Klan, because, as committee member John E. Rankin (D-MS) remarked: "the KKK is an old American institution." How right he was.

On this day in 1986, the European Community adopts the European flag (see below).

Exact measurements and element orientation... picky, picky!

Friday, May 25, 2012


It was on this day in 240 BC that ancient astronomers first recorded the perihelion passage of the celestial body that would eventually come to be known as Halley's Comet. Clear records of its appearances had been made by Chinese, Babylonian, and medieval European chroniclers over time, but it wasn't until 1705 that Edmond Halley realized it was the same object making return trips to our Solar System once every 75 years or so. Halley's Comet's last fly-by took place in 1986, and it won't be back until 2061.

On this day in 1521, rogue cleric Martin Luther is declared an outlaw by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who ends the Diet of Worms by declaring the Edict of Worms: "For this reason we forbid anyone from this time forward to dare, either by words or by deeds, to receive, defend, sustain, or favour the said Martin Luther. On the contrary, we want him to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic, as he deserves, to be brought personally before us, or to be securely guarded until those who have captured him inform us, where upon we will order the appropriate manner of proceeding against the said Luther. Those who will help in his capture will be rewarded generously for their good work." To protect him, Prince Frederick of Saxony had Martin Luther kidnapped and hidden away in Wartburg Castle. Jeez... warts, worms... this story is making me nauseous. Let's move on, shall we?

On this day in 1895, playwright, poet, and novelist Oscar Wilde is convicted of "committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons" and sentenced to serve two years in prison. While at Reading Gaol, he writes De Profundis, essentially one of the best-written break-up letters of all time.

On this day in 1926, Jewish anarchist Sholom Schwartzbard assassinates Symon Petliura, the head of the Paris-based government-in-exile of the Ukrainian People's Republic, ostensibly in retaliation for the latter's failure to prevent anti-Semitic pogroms in his former homeland during his two-year reign (1918-20).

On this day in 1953, the United States military conducts their first - and final - nuclear artillery test, at the Nevada Test Site. Fired as part of Operation Upshot-Knothole and codenamed Shot GRABLE, a 280 mm shell with a gun-type fission warhead was fired 6.2 miles and detonated 525 feet above the ground with an estimated yield of 15 kilotons. The shell was 4.5 feet long and weighed 805 lbs. It was fired from a special, very large, artillery piece, nicknamed Atomic Annie (see above). About 3,200 soldiers and civilians were present to witness the impressive fireworks display (see below).

On this day in 1961, President John F. Kennedy announces before a special joint session of the Congress his goal to initiate a project to put a "man on the Moon" before the end of the decade. Some people believe we made it, but a growing number beg to differ. Personally, whether we got to leave our footprints on the Moon or not, I think the whole thing was just a feel-good cover story for pouring billions into the development of Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles... but what do I know?

On this day in 1986, a massive public event featuring a boatload of creepy participants taking part in an activity that is more than a little reminiscent of a massive occult ritual takes place. I refer, of course, to Hands Across America. I shudder to think what would have happened if the opposite ends of such a tremendous human circle had come together, Ouroboros-style. Perhaps...

Thursday, May 24, 2012


On this day in 1943, Nazi "Angel of Death" Josef Mengele becomes chief medical officer of the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he performed atrocious medical experiments on inmates, especially children and twins. After the end of the war, despite being one of the most hunted human beings in history, he manages to evade arrest, moving from Europe to South America under assumed identities, and some allege he continued his experiments, going so far as to create a "town of twins" in Brazil.

On this day in 1970, drilling of the Kola Superdeep Borehole begins in the Soviet Union. Workers soon put down their tools and run off, however, when a microphone dropped down the miles-long shaft reveals the screams of the damned being tormented in Hell... or did it?

On this day in 1991, Israel conducts Operation Solomon, evacuating thousands of Black Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

On this day in 1994, four men convicted of bombing the World Trade Center in New York in 1993 are each sentenced to 240 years in prison, making the WTC's Twin Towers totally safe for one and all, forever after.

On this day in 2001, the floor of the third floor of the Versailles wedding hall in Jerusalem, Israel, falls away, killing 23 and injuring over 200. It is the worst civil disaster in Israel's history.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


On this day in 1498, friar, preacher, reformer, prophet and heretic Girolamo Savonarola is burned at the stake in Florence, Italy, on the orders of Pope Alexander VI.

On this day in 1618, four Catholics are thrown out a window in Bohemia, and even though they survive - it was a third floor window and they landed in a pile of horse-shit - it still kicks off the Thirty Years' War. This odd event is referred to as the Second Defenestration of Prague... which means there was a first. Which is weird.

On this day in 1734, Austrian hypnotist and all-around weirdo Franz Anton Mesmer is born. One of his secrets? Inducing orgasm in female "patients".

On this day in 1934, American bank robbers-cum-folk heroes Bonnie and Clyde are ambushed by police and killed in Black Lake, Louisiana.

On this day in 1945, one day after being arrested by British forces, Heinrich Himmler, the closest thing to a High Priest of the Nazi Party and the leader-for-life of the elite S.S. "Schutzstaffel" storm-troopers - commits suicide before he can be questioned.

On this day in 1958, communist dictator Mao Zedong launches China's Great Leap Forward, trying to use China's vast population to rapidly transform the country from an agrarian economy into a modern communist society through the process of rapid industrialization and collectivization. The experiment ended in catastrophe, with an estimated death toll ranging from 18 million to 45 million, although some scholars question these numbers. Regardless, the failure led to Mao being criticized in party conferences, which led him to initiate the Cultural Revolution in 1966, with a whole new slew of fresh terrors being inflicted upon that particularly masochistic population.

On this day in 1961, the Ford Motor Company puts the finishing touches on a specially modified Lincoln Continental convertible sedan for use by the President of the USA. The jet-black Lincoln, with swing-back suicide doors, is dubbed the SS-100-X. Two and a half years later, John F. Kennedy is shot and killed in that very car, making it perhaps the single most widely-seen automobile in history. 

On this day in 1992, Italy's most prominent anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone, his wife and three body guards are killed by the Corleonesi clan with a half-ton bomb near Capaci, Sicily. His friend and colleague Paolo Borsellino will be assassinated less than 2 months later, making 1992 a turning point in the history of Italian Mafia prosecutions.

On this day in 1995, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the remains of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building are imploded to make way for new construction and a memorial to the Oklahoma City bombing by right-wing extremist Timothy McVeigh.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


On this day in 1176, a group of hired killers from Rashideddin Sinan's "Masyaf" branch of the Ismaili Hashshashin sect - also known as the Assassins - make their second attempt to murder Saladin, a world-historic figure who founded the Ayyubid dynasty, ruling Egypt, Syria and beyond. They come close, but fail.

On this day in 1844, the Báb announces to the world the coming of "He whom God shall make manifest", thus founding the religion of Bábism, a new religious movement that represented a break with traditional Islam, and which was brutally suppressed in Persia. However, since he is considered the forerunner of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, and seeing as Baha'i still revere the teachings of the Báb, it wasn't a total waste of time.

On this day in 1856, South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks sneaks up on, then beats the high holy hell out of Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner with a wooden cane because the latter insulted the former's state - as well as his uncle's "honor" - in an anti-slavery speech. It was the first act of physical violence to take place in the Congress, and is considered an important precursor to the Civil War

On this day in 1906, the Wright brothers are granted U.S. patent number 821,393 for their "Flying-Machine."
On this day in 1954, Robert Zimmerman - that’s Bob Dylan to you, me, and Jesus - officially becomes a man when he’s Bar Mitzvahed! Mazeltov!

On this day in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson announces social reforms to bring an "end to poverty and racial injustice in America", calling it the Great Society. Today, the only thing that remains of these reforms is the neo-conservative reaction to them.

On this day in 1968, the Skipjack-class nuclear-powered submarine the USS Scorpion sinks with 99 men aboard 400 miles southwest of the Azores. The Navy still isn't sure what happened.

On this day in 2002, the remains of Chandra Levy, an intern at the Federal Bureau of Prisons, are found in Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. She'd been banging Congressman Gary Condit (D-California) at the time of her disappearance in early 2001, and for a while he was a suspect... in the media, if not officially. Eventually, the September 11 terrorist attacks knocked Levy off the front page and police pinned the murder on illegal Salvadoran immigrant Ingmar Guandique. Case closed.

Celebrating a parapolitical birthday today are anti-Semitic epic-monger Richard Wagner (1813), Hidden Persuaders author Vance Packard (1914), cosmiconsciousness-raising space-jazz pioneer Sun Ra (1914), and creepy American billionaire T. Boone Pickens (1928).

Monday, May 21, 2012


Leopold, Darrow and Loeb

On this day in 1863, the Seventh Day Adventist Church - an offshoot of the Apocalyptic creed of Millerite Protestantism - is organized in Battle Creek, Michigan. Today, there are over seventeen million "Sevvies" around the world, and they are one of the most ethnically diverse branches of the Christian faith. Seventh Day Adventists celebrate the Sabbath day on Saturday, in the Old Testament style of the Jews, and they place a strong emphasis on healthy eating and living. Probably the most lasting impact that they've had on popular culture is the introduction of ready-to-eat breakfast cereals to the North American diet.

On this day in 1871, French troops invade the Paris Commune and engage its residents in street fighting. By the close of "Bloody Week" some 20,000 anarchist and Marxist "communards" will have been killed and 38,000 arrested. Thus ended a historic, two-month experiment in self-rule by the people of Paris.

On this day in 1924, two young, well-to-do homosexuals named Leopold and Loeb murder 14 year-old Bobby Franks. At the time, this murder was considered one of the vilest and most sensational crimes in U.S. history, because the killers did it just for kicks. Defending the young murderers in court, legendary lawyer Clarence Darrow claims that the boys would never have become killers if they hadn't read the works of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, whose theory of the Ubermensch - a highly evolved idealization of humanity who exists above and beyond the mundane conceptions of "good" and "evil" - he claims twisted their minds.

On this day in 1946, physicist Louis Slotin is blasted with a fatal dose of radiation in a criticality incident during an experiment with the aptly-named Demon Core - a 6.2 kilogram subcritical mass of plutonium - at Los Alamos National Laboratory. It was the second time that such an incident resulted in the acute radiation poisoning and subsequent death of a scientist. After these incidents, the core was used in an atomic bomb test in 1946, and proved in practice to have a slightly increased yield over similar cores which had not been subjected to criticality excursions. Here's a dramatization of the Slotin incident from the movie Fat Man and Little Boy.

On this day in 1969, Palestinian immigrant Sirhan Sirhan is sentenced to death for killing Robert Kennedy in a restaurant kitchen. The sentence is never carried out, as California got rid of the death penalty.

On this day in 1979, the White Night Riots take place in San Francisco following the manslaughter conviction of Dan "Twinkie Defense" White for the assassinations of mayor George Moscone and openly gay city councilman Harvey Milk.

On this day in 1981, the Italian government releases the membership list of Propaganda Due, also known as the P2 Lodge, a Masonic lodge operating under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of Italy from 1945 to 1976 (when its charter was withdrawn), and a pseudo-Masonic or "black" or "covert" lodge operating illegally (in contravention of Italian constitution banning secret lodges and membership of government officials in secret membership organizations) from 1976 to 1981. During the years that the lodge was headed by Licio Gelli, P2 was implicated in numerous Italian crimes and mysteries, including the collapse of the Vatican-affiliated Banco Ambrosiano, the murders of journalist Mino Pecorelli and banker Roberto Calvi, and corruption cases within the nationwide bribe scandal Tangentopoli. P2 came to light through the investigations into the collapse of Michele Sindona's financial empire. It has also been connected to the CIA-connected European right-wing black-ops org known as Gladio.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


This is an excellent, level-headed documentary on such subjects as sacred geometry, Secret Society symbolism in architecture and civic planning, and hidden (or occult) references to the Mystery Schools in the fine arts throughout the ages, all delivered in a sober, thoughtful, non-sensationalistic way. I highly recommend both the film and the website. - YOPJ

From the site:
Secrets In Plain Sight is an awe inspiring exploration of great art, architecture, and urban design which skillfully unveils an unlikely intersection of geometry, politics, numerical philosophy, religious mysticism, new physics, music, astronomy, and world history.
Exploring key monuments and their positions in Egypt, Stonehenge, Jerusalem, Rome, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Washington DC, New York, and San Francisco brings to light a secret obsession shared by pharaohs, philosophers and kings; templars and freemasons; great artists and architects; popes and presidents, spanning the whole of recorded history up to the present time.
As the series of videos reveals how profound ancient knowledge inherited from Egypt has been encoded in units of measurement, in famous works of art, in the design of major buildings, in the layout of city streets and public spaces, and in the precise placement of obelisks and other important monuments upon the Earth, the viewer is led to perceive an elegant harmonic system linking the human body with the architectural, urban, planetary, solar, and galactic scales.


On this day in 325, the first Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church is held in the city of Nicea, located in modern day Turkey. Today, this Council is commonly referred to as the First Council of Nicea. Among the many decisions made during this meeting were the settlement of the issue of the nature of Jesus and his relationship to God, settling the date for Easter, and issuing a decree forbidding dudes from cutting off their own dicks. I shit you not

On this day in 1908, Congress ignores the constitutionally mandated tradition of keeping church and state separate by enacting legislation declaring that the motto "in God we trust" should be included on most legal tender.

On this day in 1875, the Metre Convention is signed by 17 nations, leading to the establishment of the "International System of Units". Today, the only industrialized country that does not use the metric system as its official system of measurement is the USA, with the UK also lagging in the adoption of some elements.

On this day in 1980, the people of the French Canadian province of Quebec head to the ballot box to vote on a proposal to begin the work of loosening the bonds of unity with the rest of Canada. The referendum measure receives a 60% NO vote.

On this day in 1983, the journal Science first publishes researcher Luc Montagnier's theory that the HIV virus causes AIDS. Okay, sure, fine, but what is it, exactly, that caused the HIV virus? That isn't as settled a question as most people would like to think. And anyway, if it turns out that HIV wasn't man-made, that doesn't mean the AIDS epidemic wasn't.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


New England's Dark Day
On this day in 1536Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, is beheaded for adultery, treason, and incest.

On this day in the year 1780, in the middle of the afternoon, New England is plunged into almost total darkness. On the day in question, Connecticut State Council wanted to adjourn so members could go home and prepare for Judgement Day, but councilor Abraham Davenport said: "I am against an adjournment. The day of judgment is either approaching, or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause of an adjournment: if it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish therefore that candles may be brought!" To this day, nobody knows what happened... although I gotta figure it probably had something to do with witches.

On this day in 1943, Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler declares the city of Berlin to be Judenrien, or completely empty of Jewish people. At first, the dictator is proud of his sinister achievement, but when he finds that he can't get a decent smoked meat sandwich to save his life anymore... he begins to secretly harbor regrets.

On this day in 1953, the Pentagon sets off a nuclear explosion on a remote Nevada proving ground, but unexpectedly strong winds carry fall-out all the way to the town of Saint George, Utah. Today, when looking back at the ecological catastrophe, the plucky people of Saint George say: "No sweat!" It's not that they don't mind that their government's lax safety controls led to their town getting bathed in radiation. It's just that they were born without sweat glands, and literally can't produce sweat.

On this day in 1962, a birthday salute to President John F. Kennedy takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The highlight is Marilyn Monroe's rendition of Happy Birthday, making the whole presidential extramarital liaison thing just a little too obvious for some folks' liking.

Friday, May 18, 2012


On this day in 1152King Henry II of England marries Eleanor of Aquitaine, an incredibly fascinating world-historic person in her own right.

On this day in 1804Napoleon Bonaparte is proclaimed Emperor of the French by the French Senate, which kind of flies in the face of the ideals behind the entire Revolutionary Project, but whatever.

On this day in 1896, a mass panic on Khodynka Field in Moscow during the festivities of the coronation of Russian Tsar Nicholas II on the day of his 28th birthday results in the deaths of... hold on, can this be right? 1,389 people?! Sheez, that must have been some serious-ass panicking!

On this day in 1910, the Earth passes through the tail of Halley's Comet. Despite many contemporaneous prophecies to the contrary, life as we know it does not cease to exist right then and there.

On this day in 1927, 45 second-to-sixth graders are killed and 58 more are wounded when a huge cache of explosives planted by anti-tax activist Andrew Kehoe explodes beneath a school in Bath, Michigan. It took Kehoe a year to plan his atrocity, and months to pack the school full of explosives which he then detonated remotely, herding his victims for maximum carnage, before blowing up his own shrapnel-packed car with himself inside it. He even issued a number of vague threats before doing the dirty deed, but nobody caught on. 

On this day in 1944, the Soviet Union exiles more than 200,000 Tartars from Crimea because they were collaborating with the Nazis. And to think… the only thing the USA did with their Nazi collaborators - Preznit Dubya's grand-daddy being chief among them - was give them a slap on the wrist and hand their descendents the keys to the White House. It's kind of funny, in an utterly fucking disgusting kind of way.  

On this day in 1974, India becomes the sixth nation in world history to explode an atomic bomb... not counting Atlantis.

On this day in 1980, Mount Saint Helens erupts, gushing forth billions of gallons of volcanic ash, killing between 57 and 65 people (depending who you ask) and blasting away a huge chunk of the mountainside. 

On this day in 1995, a crystal-meth-addicted, half-psychotic, authority-hating Army vet named Shawn Nelson steals an M60 Patton Tank from a National Guard base in San Diego and goes on a rampage, destroying cars, fire hydrants and other property before being gunned down by police after getting stuck on a median.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


On this day in 1642, French explorer Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve founds the city of Montréal. Today, Montreal is the second most populous city in Canada after Toronto, and the fifteenth largest in North America. It contains the largest metropolitan French-speaking population outside of France and remains a vibrant cultural hub.

On this day in 1792, the New York Stock Exchange is formed when the "Buttonwood Agreement" is signed by 24 stockbrokers outside of 68 Wall Street in New York, under a buttonwood tree.

On this day in 1804, the historic duo of Lewis & Clark begin exploring the land acquired from Napoleon by Thomas Jefferson, in a sweetheart deal known as the Louisiana Purchase

On this day in 1902, Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais discovers the Antikythera mechanism, a fascinating ancient mechanical analog computer designed to calculate the positions of the planets and certain stars. The construction has been dated to the early 1st century BCE, and - according to establishment-approved historical record - technological artifacts of similar complexity did not reappear until the 14th century, when similar astronomical clocks were built in Europe.

On this day in 1933Vidkun Quisling and Johan Bernhard Hjort form Nasjonal Samling, the Nazi party of Norway. Hence the origins of "quisling" as an insult-word denoting an enthusiastic collaboration with evil.

On this day in 1974, police in Los Angeles, California, raid the headquarters of the self-styled left-wing urban militant "revolutionary vanguard" terrorist group, the Symbionese Liberation Army, killing six members, including leader (and most likely CIA mind-control test subjectDonald "Cinque" DeFreeze and Camilla Hall, who was shot in the head while trying to give herself up to police. The raid remains one of the most vicious firefights in LAPD history... and that's saying something. 

On this day in 1978Charlie Chaplin's coffin is discovered ten miles from the Swiss cemetary where the infamous director had recently been buried. An officer at the scene drops dead of a heart-attack when, upon opening the coffin to verify that Chaplin's remains were still present, a giant boxing glove shoots out and pops him a good one right in the chops. I'm kidding of course. Moving right along... 

On this day in 2004, Massachusetts becomes the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


On this day in 1918, the United States Congress passes the Sedition Act, which extended the Espionage Act of 1917 to cover a broader range of offenses, notably speech and the expression of opinion that cast the government or the war effort in a negative light, or interfered with the sale of government bonds. Basically, these laws made criticism of the American government an offense punishable by hefty fines and/or incarceration. The Espionage Act (an umbrella law that covered the later Sedition Act) was repealed by Congress in December of 1920. Democrat Woodrow Wilson was President during both enactment and repeal.

On this day in 1943, after 28 days of bloody fighting, armed resistance by Jews in the Warsaw ghetto comes to an end as Nazi soldiers overwhelm the area.

On this day in 1991, Queen Elizabeth II becomes the first British monarch to ever address the United States Congress. She spends most of the speech congratulating President George Herbert "Poppy" Walker Bush on his magnificent handling of the Gulf War in Iraq.

And, in what has to be one of the most striking coincidence/synchronicities yer old pal Jerky has come across in the last 24 hours, today also happens to be Mass Graves Day in the war-ravaged pseudo-nation of Iraq! Mazel Tov, y'all!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


On this day in 1648, the first documents of the Treaty of Westphalia are signed in Osnabrück and Münster, setting in motion the machinations that would bring about the Peace of Westphalia. At the time, this was as huge as huge could be, ending the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the independence of the Dutch Republic. Everybody was involved in this. The Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand III, of the House of Habsburg, the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of France, the Swedish Empire, the Dutch Republic, the Princes of the Holy Roman Empire, and sovereigns of the free imperial cities. This was truly a world-historic development, and, for the most part, a good one.

On this day in 1817, the first private mental health hospital opens its doors in the United States. It is called the Asylum for the Relief of Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason. Such a great name.

On this day in 1829John the Baptist materializes somewhere in the American mid-west and anoints one Mister Joseph Smith, ordaining him to start the Church of Mormon. Of course, this is all according to Joe, himself, so you may want to take it with a grain of salt.

Mickey Mouse made his first appearance on this day in 1928, in a cartoon entitled Plane Crazy... and the character still isn't in the public domain. Most people haven't got a problem with this. Should they? I don't know. All I know is, when you work at Disney, nobody fucks with the mouse.

On this day in 1940McDonald's opens its first restaurant in San Bernardino, California. Today, the Golden Arches are as recognizable as the Nazi Swastika, and the role played by Mickey Dee's in the implementation of a population-controling Genocide Diet cannot be under-estimated or over-stressed.

On this day in 1972, In Laurel, Maryland, Arthur Bremer shoots and paralyzes Alabama Governor George Wallace - called "the most influential loser in American politics" by some - while the latter was campaigning to become the Democratic candidate for President on a segregationist platform. Wallace, after receiving great treatment and loving care form a succession of black nurses, would go on to renounce his racist views before dying in 1998. Bremer served 35 years in jail for his crime, and was released in 2007.

On this day in 1991, while former CIA chief/then-President George Herbert "Poppy" Walker Bush escorts the Queen of England to a Baltimore Orioles game (I kid you not), the Defense Department releases documents showing that Central American dictator Manuel Noriega was, at one time: "The CIA's man in Panama."

On this day in 1988, after more than eight years of fighting, the legendarily hard-ass Soviet Red Army begins its withdrawal from Afghanistan, defeated by a rag-tag assembly of heroic, CIA-funded Mujahideen! ...or, at least, that's what the neo-conservatives used to say is what happened. They don't like to talk about it so much now, after one of those heroic heroes masterminded the September 11 terror attacks. See Adam Curtis' documentary The Power of Nightmares for clarification. Here's Part One to get you started. Seriously, if you haven't already watched this, what the fuck are you waiting for?!

Monday, May 14, 2012


On this day in 1607, the English colony of Jamestown, in the state of Virginia, is first settled. It was the first permanent English settlement in the New World, coming on the heels of some epic failures - like the Lost Colony of Roanoke - and would serve as capital of the colony for 83 years. 

On this day in 1643, Louis XIV becomes King of France upon the death of his father, Louis XIII. The Bourbon royal, popularly referred to as the Sun King, was only 4 years old at the time, enabling him to eventually become Europe's longest-reigning monarch, ruling France and Navarre for 72 years and 110 days.

On this day in 1796, medical researcher Edward Jenner administers the first ever smallpox vaccination. Just imagine how thick that dull the syringes must have been back then... Ugh.

On this day in 1948, in the city of Tel Aviv, Jewish Agency chairman David Ben-Gurion declares: "We hereby proclaim the establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine, to be called Israel." Within hours, Israel is repelling military attacks from pretty much all of its neighbors.

On this day in 1955, the nations of Bulgaria, Hungary, East Germany, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia sign a mutual defense treaty. They call themselves the Warsaw Pact.

On this day in 1970, the Red Army Faction, or RAF, is established in Germany by Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Horst Mahler, and Ulrike Meinhof. The RAF described itself as a communist and anti-imperialist "urban guerrilla" group engaged in armed resistance against what they deemed to be a fascist state. Their terrorist activities mostly consisted of attempts to free jailed members of their gang using violent means. They eventually hook up with the Socialist Patient's Collective, or SPK, a real bunch of nutters who believed that "illness as the protest against capitalism and considering illness the anticipation of the human species that does not yet exist but that should be created through illness." As such, they took a hard-line stance against capitalism... and doctors. I'm not kidding. In their own documents - some of which were co-written by respected French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre! - they proclaimed themselves to be staunchly "pro-illness." You couldn't make up this crap if you tried.

On this day in 1984,  Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is born. That's right... the fucker ain't even 30 years old yet. How's that Mac'N'Cheese taste, amigo?

On this day in 1995, the Dalai Lama proclaims 6-year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima to be the eleventh reincarnation of Panchen Lama, thereby proving that, contrary to popular supposition, Tibetan Buddhism isn't any more enlightened than any other world religion.

Oh, and today is also World Naked Gardening Day. Just thought you'd want to know.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Okay, this one is a little confusing, so try to stay focused.

In the 1970s, a group of far-right-wing Turks formed an anti-Soviet/anti-American terror group called the Gray Wolves. The Wolves were responsible for hundreds of murders. One of their members was Mehmet Ali Agca.

In 1979, Agca was arrested for killing a liberal newspaper editor, but escaped from prison while awaiting trial. He left behind a note declaring his intent to kill Pope John Paul II if the Pontiff didn't cancel his long-planned good-will trip to Turkey. Security was tightened, and the Pope survived his visit to the Muslim nation. So far, so good.

On May 13, 1981, Agca snuck into Italy, walked into St. Peter's Square during the weekly Papal audience and shot the Pope four times with a 9mm Browning automatic. Agca was wrestled to the ground and the Pope was rushed to hospital where he underwent five hours of emergency surgery.

Four days later, the Pope forgave Agca. Three weeks later, JPII left the hospital after making a full recovery. In July of that same year, Agca was sentenced to life in prison.

In 1982, Agca claimed that he was merely a patsy in a KGB plot, arranged through the Bulgarian intelligence service, to assassinate JPII for his strident anti-communist rhetoric.

In 1983, JPII visited Agca in the Italian prison where he was serving out his sentence. Soon after, Italian military police interrogated the would-be assassin to learn more about his conspiracy theory. This lead to the arrest of three Bulgarians and three Turks.

In 1985, these six men went on trial for plotting to assassinate the Pope. Just as the trial was getting underway, Agca stood up and declared himself to be the second coming of Jesus Christ, and predicted the imminent end of the world. He further declared that the KGB plot story was created by "Western intelligence agents" as an excuse to smear the USSR in strongly Catholic South America, where communism was gaining popularity. 

Furthermore, Agca claimed that God had told him to shoot JPII, as was foretold in the (still secret at that time) Third Prophecy of Fatima.

Needless to say, charges were dropped and the trial was called off.

However, there remain a few intriguing coincidences… or should we say synchronicities?

First of all, it is true that Acga’s attempt on JPII’s life occurred on the 64th anniversary of the first Marian apparition in Fatima, Portugal, where the Virgin Mary allegedly gave three prophecies to some simple country girls in 1917. This was something that not many commentators remarked upon before Acga, himself, brought it up.

And then there’s the issue of JPII’s visit to Fatima, 19 years after Agca's assassination attempt… a visit that was built up as being a public revelation of the long-held secret of the Third Prophecy of Fatima.

Here’s a rundown for the uninitiated. The first prophecy allegedly foretold World War II. The second predicted the rise and fall of communism. The third prophecy, which had been kept secret by the Vatican since the day it was issued, had long been thought to be a horrifying prediction of nuclear Armageddon. And now, here it is, 83 years later, and the Pope is promising to spill the beans!

So… what was it, exactly, that the Blessed Virgin Mary had revealed to those three humble shepherd girls all those years ago?

Hold on to your hats, dear reader, because according to the Pope, it turns out Agca was right! The Third Prophecy was a vision of "an attempted assassination of a Pope!" Move along now! No need to worry anymore! There's nothing to see here!

Of course, Catholics the world over tried in vain to hide their disappointment. All those years of secrecy and intrigue, all that dark speculation, and for what? The anticlimax of it all seemed like kind of a rip-off… or maybe a cover-up?

Because, interestingly enough, this "revelation" by the Vatican forces believers to accept one of two equally disturbing scenarios. Either the Vatican reverse engineered a cover story about the Third Prophecy in order to help hide something (say, a failure of prophecy, or something too horrible to reveal), or Agca really is the second coming of Christ, thereby explaining how he knew the contents of the closely guarded Third Prophecy of Fatima!

In any case, Agca was pardoned by Italy in 2000, and was sent to Turkey to serve out the remainder of his sentence for killing that newspaper editor. In 2008 Agca sent a letter to Pope Benedict warning him to stay away from Turkey if he knew what was good for him. Ratz went ahead with his Turkish trip, and it went off without a hitch.

Turkish authorities released Agca from prison in 2010, and he has so far managed to keep a lid on the voices in his head. Only time will tell, however, if he's done providing us with fodder for our collective parapolitical mills.
*** **** ***

Also on this day, in 1985, Philadelphia police and federal lawmen launch a full-scale military assault on the rowhouse occupied by the black, left-wing religious cult called MOVE. They use tear gas, shotguns, Uzis, M-60 machine guns, a 20mm anti-tank gun, and a .50-caliber machine gun, firing over 10,000 rounds at the house knowing there are women and children inside. When these measures don’t succeed in driving MOVE from the building, a state police helicopter drops a bomb on the roof. This starts a fire that officials allow to burn, eventually destroying the entire block of 60 homes. Eleven people perish in the conflagration. Although a 1986 report denounced the actions of the city government, stating that "Dropping a bomb on an occupied row house was unconscionable", no one from the city government was charged criminally for the actions taken by police that day.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


On this day in 1938, while researching drugs to improve blood circulation and prevent geriatric disorders, chemist Albert Hoffman first manufactures LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) for Sandoz Labs in Switzerland. It will be five years before he accidentally ingests any of the wonderstuff, himself, after which he will write: "Last Friday, I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed, I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away." Cue the sitar music and turn on the lava lamps! Here are some other people's trip stories.

On this day in 1932, ten weeks after his abduction and following one of the most torturous and multiply-botched criminal investigations in legal history, Charles Junior, the infant son of aviation pioneer and avid Nazi-supporter Charles Lindbergh, is found dead in Hopewell, New Jersey, a few miles from the Lindbergh home.

On this day in 2002, former US President Jimmy Carter arrives in Cuba for a 5-day visit with Fidel Castro.   He was allowed to address the Cuban public uncensored on national television and radio with a speech that he wrote and presented in Spanish. In the speech, he called on the US to end "an ineffective 43-year-old economic embargo" and on Castro to hold free elections, improve human rights, and allow greater civil liberties. From a parapolitical perspective, it would have been supremely interesting to hear what these two had to say to each other during their private conversation.

On this day in 2008, an earthquake measuring around 8.0 magnitude shook China's Sichuan region to bits, killing over 69,000 people... and you probably don't even remember, considering the accelerated rate at which feces are colliding with propeller on every conceivable level these days.

Friday, May 11, 2012


On this day in 1310, 54 members of the Knights Templar are burned at the stake as heretics in France. However, the 23rd and final "official" Grand Master of the Templars - Jacques DeMolay - survives nearly four more years before ultimately meeting a similar fiery fate on March 13, 1314.

On this day in 1812, Prime Minister Spencer Perceval is assassinated by John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons, London. He is the first, and so far only, British Prime Minister to be assassinated while serving. Historian Andro Linklater's latest tome is controversially titled Why Spencer Perceval Had to Die, painting a not-so-likable portrait of the doomed PM, whereas this Telegraph UK editorial claims he deserves to be remembered for more than just being assassinated.

On this day in 1916, after nearly a year spent re-working some of the mathematics involved, renowned theoretical physicist and "world's smartest man" Albert Einstein presents his Theory of General Relativity to his peers. Basically, Einstein's conception of relativity is a geometric theory of gravitation, and it remains the current description of gravitation in modern physics. According to Wikipedia: "General relativity generalizes special relativity and Newton's law of universal gravitation, providing a unified description of gravity as a geometric property of space and time, or space-time. In particular, the curvature of spacetime is directly related to the energy and momentum of whatever matter and radiation are present. The relation is specified by the Einstein field equations, a system of partial differential equations." Simple, no? Of course, there are quite a few people who believe the whole thing is just a bunch of high quackery, and they opened a web forum to air alternative views.

On this day in 1927, showbiz pioneer Louis B Mayer forms the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, without which we would have had no idea that The English Patient, Titanic and Shakespeare in Love were all actually very good movies, despite all evidence to the contrary.

On this day in 1949, the freshly-minted nation of Israel joins the United Nations. Eleven years later, on this day in 1960, four Israeli Mossad agents capture fugitive Nazi technocrat Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the "Final Solution to the Jewish Problem". Eichmann had been living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, under the alias: Ricardo Klement. There is no way in Hell he was the only high-ranking Nazi to escape Europe in this way, as future posts here at the Useless Eater Blog will hopefully prove to you, beyond any reasonable factor of doubt. 

On this day in 1997, IBM's chess-playing supercomputer Deep Blue defeats Russian chess champ Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format. After SkyNet takes over the world, this will probably be declared an official "Robot Holiday" or something. You just know those shiny metal bastards are going to relish rubbing our noses in it.
On this day in 1981, Jamaican music pioneer and Rastafarian prophet/saint Bob Marley dies of cancer at the age of 36... or does he?! 

On this day in 1988, British spy Kim Philby dies in Moscow, where he "retired" after being sniffed out as a communist double-agent for the Soviet Union. His life story, at the provided link, is damn fascinating. The Rooskies even gave him a postage stamp! Check it out!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


On this day in 1774, Louis XVI becomes King of France, with Marie Antoinette as his Queen. And they both lived happily ever after.

On this day in 1801, the Barbary pirates of Tripoli declare war on the United States of America, thereby kicking off the First Barbary War. It was the first war waged by the United States beyond it's national boundary-lines. Now you know where they get those lyrics: "From the Halls of Montezuma / To the shores of Trip-oh-leeee!" in the Marines 'hymn'.

On this day in the year 1924, J Edgar Hoover is appointed head of the first head of the FBI, a title he would retain for the rest of his very, very long life. In his 48 years as head of the nation's most powerful law enforcement office, he would break every law imaginable and prove himself to be as shameless as he was without conscience. One of the touchstone figures of American History, and a truly evil man.

On this day in 1941, Hitler's second-in-command Rudolf Hess parachutes into Scotland in order to try and negotiate a peace deal between the United Kingdom and Nazi Germany. He was arrested, put on trial and then held for decades at Spandau Prison, until he was 93 years old, at which point he hung himself in his cell... or so the official story goes. Many unanswered questions surround this oddest of lose ends from World War II.

On this day in 1954, Bill Haley & His Comets release Rock Around the Clock, which goes on to become the first rock and roll record to reach number one on the Billboard charts, beginning a trend that wouldn't die until... oh... I'd say the mid-to-late 90's or so.

On this day in 1994, Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as South Africa's first black president. And they all lived happily ever after.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


On this day in 1874, British archaeologist Howard Carter is born. In 1922, he would discover the tomb of  14th century BC Boy Pharaoh, King Tutankhamen, thus sparking a worldwide frenzy of "Egyptomania" in the years between the First and Second World Wars. 

On this day in 1950, pulp magazine writer L.Ron Hubbard's book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health hits store shelves for the first time. Today, May 9th is regarded as an important Church of Scientology holiday: the "Anniversary of Dianetics." 

On this day in 1960, the FDA announces it will approve birth control as an additional indication for Searle's Enovid - otherwise known as "the pill" - making it the world's first government approved oral contraceptive. Depending on who you ask, it is also another giant step down the slippery slope of NWO-sponsored eugenic population control... but I'm not quite ready to buy into that argument yet, myself.

On this day in 1974, the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee opens formal and public impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon. Tricky Dick resigns in the face of overwhelming evidence of his guilt in the Watergate affair (among other, far worse things), therefore robbing the committee of their chance to make history.

On this day in 1989, Vice-President Dan Quayle delivers a speech to the United Negro College Fund board of governors. In it, he mangles that institution's motto - "A mind is a terrible thing to waste" - by declaring: "What a waste it is to lose one's mind, or not to have a mind is being very wasteful." You know, after experiencing Preznit Dubya' suspiciously familiar verbal locutions, it kinda clears up some of the mysteries surrounding his Poppy's choice of running mates way back in 1988... Potatoe-head Dan reminded Herbert Walker of his own first-born son!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Hard Hat Riot of 1970
On this day in 1886, pharmacist John Styth Pemberton first sells a carbonated beverage named Coca-Cola as a patent medicine in his store. Ninety-nine years later, on this day in 1985, the Coca-Cola Company introduces New Coke in one of the most unsuccessful marketing moves of all time... or was it? To this day, rumors persist that the introduction of "New Coke" was nothing more than a diversionary ploy, giving the company a chance to switch out the cane sugar in the classic Coca-Cola recipe for the much cheaper alternative, high fructose corn syrup... which means the classic recipe really did die a sorry death almost 30 years ago. Oh well, at least we "originalists" still have Mexican Coke!

On this day in 1891, Russian-born author, mystic and spear-point of the Theosophical movement Helena Petrovna Blavatsky passes away at the tender age of sixty. In her own time, few would have hazarded a guess as to the tremendous impact her life and work would have on the century to come.

Born on this day in 1911, blues-man Robert Johnson. At some point during his early twenties, Johnson allegedly sold his soul to Satan in exchange for musical virtuosity. With a grand total of twenty-nine songs recorded during a grand total of two sessions, this Mississippi native became the progenitor - via the young working class white men of England who so loved his stuff - of the Blues.  

Thomas Pynchon, one of America's greatest post-war novelists and one of the handful of world-class writers with bona-fide parapolitical credibility, was born in Long Island on this day in 1937. Of his major works, V. is an impressive arrival, The Crying of Lot 49 is a stone hoot, Gravity's Rainbow is an encyclopaedic, mind-bending masterpiece, Vineland is a hippy's delight, Mason & Dixon defies categorization, Against the Day remains mostly unread and Inherent Vice is like The Big Lebowski meets... well... Thomas Pynchon! He remains the only person to ever have a Pulitzer Prize revoked after The Powers That Be decided their panel of judges should never have rewarded such an "unreadable" and "obscene" work of literature. This, of course, was the highest possible compliment those decrepit old fools could have paid it.

On this day in 1970, one of the strangest confrontations in American post-war history takes place in Lower Manhattan when roughly 200 construction workers, allegedly acting on orders from the AFL-CIO, attack a thousand demonstrators protesting the Kent State shootings, the invasion of Cambodia and the Vietnam War. Seventy people are injured and six arrested in the fracas, which was dubbed the Hard Hat Riot by the media of the day. The incident served as a stark underline to the deep, essentially unbridgeable divisions between the Old Left, which was mostly labor-oriented, and the New Left, which focused more intensely on identity politics. This also happens to be one of the main themes in the aforementioned Thomas Pynchon novel Vineland.

On this day in 1980, the World Health Organization announces that the deadly disease of smallpox has been wiped off the face of the Earth… except for a few large boxes of the stuff stored at various bio-weapon labs in the USA and elsewhere, of course.