Happy Sunday, suckers! We shall be suitably somber for a second, silent and sober.  Then the coffee should be ready and we can return to normal.

First we will have the morning tweets (really from yesterday, but who's counting?):

And now, on to the history lesson!

On This Day

In 1763, the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island was dedicated, becoming the first synagogue in what became the United States.

In 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of France at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. I never understood (though I admit I have not tried too hard) why the French were ready to welcome an Emperor not too long after overthrowing their monarchy. Short memories?

In 1845, President James K. Polk told Congress that the United States needed to aggressively expand into the West, present occupants be damned.

In 1939, New York City's La Guardia Airport opened.

In 1942 , as part of the Manhatten Project, a team led by Enrico Fermi initiated the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.

In 1954, the Senate voted 65 to 22 to condemn Joseph McCarthy for "conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute".

In 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency began operations.

In 1988, Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islam-dominated state.

In 2001, Enron filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Born on This Day

1859 – Georges Seurat, French painter (d. 1891)

Georges Seurat: Grandcamp, Evening (1885)

1863 – Charles Ringling, American circus owner (d. 1926)

1891 – Otto Dix, German painter and graphic artist (d. 1969)

Otto Dix, Die Familie des Künstlers (The artist's family)

1894 – Warren William, American Broadway and film actor (d. 1948)

Warren William and Marian Marsh

1914 – Ray Walston, American actor (d. 2001)


1923 – Maria Callas, Greek soprano (d. 1977)

Maria Callas. Photo credit: Sharon Mollerus‏.

1924 – Alexander Haig, American Soldier & Civil servant, 7th Supreme Allied Commander Europe, 5th White House Chief of Staff and 59th United States Secretary of State (d. 2010)

1924 - Jonathan Frid, actor (Barnabas Collins-Dark Shadows) (d. 2012)


1925 - Julie Harris, American actress (Bell Jar, East of Eden)

Member of the Wedding-Julie Harris

1931 – Wynton Kelly, American jazz pianist (d. 1971)

1931 – Edwin Meese, American jurist and 75th United States Attorney General (about whom it was often said, “I hate Meeses to pieces.”)

1939 – Harry Reid, American politician

1952 – Carol Shea-Porter, American congresswoman

1968 – Lucy Liu, American actress

1968 – Nate Mendel, American bassist (Foo Fighters)

1973 – Monica Seles, Yugoslavian-born tennis player

1978 – Chris Wolstenholme, British bassist (Muse)

1981 – Britney Spears, American tabloid fodder

Died on This Day

1547 – Hernán Cortés, Spanish explorer and conqueror (b. 1485)

1665 – Catherine de Vivonne, marquise de Rambouillet, French socialite (b. 1588)

1694 – Pierre Paul Puget, French artist (b. 1622)


1814 – Marquis de Sade, French writer (b. 1740)

1918 – Edmond Rostand, French poet and dramatist (b. 1868)

1982 – Marty Feldman, British comedian, writer and actor (b. 1933)

1983 – Fifi D'Orsay, Canadian actress (b. 1904)

Fifi D'Orsay - c.1929

1990 – Robert Cummings, American actor (b. 1908)

1995 – Roxie Roker, American actress (b. 1929)


2000 – Gail Fisher, American actress (b. 1935)


2006 – Mariska Veres, Dutch singer (Shocking Blue) (b. 1947)

2008 – Odetta, American singer (b. 1930)

2009 – Eric Woolfson, Scottish singer and producer (The Alan Parsons Project) (b. 1945)

Today is

National Fritters Day
Special Education Day
Safety Razor Day
Coats for Kids Day
Science Fiction Day
Abolition of Slavery Day



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