ON THIS DAY: January 31, 2017

January 31st is


Backward Day

Gorilla Suit Day *


Hot Chocolate Day

Social Security Appreciation Day *

MORE! John Marshall, Alva Myrdal and Jackie Robinson, click



Lunar New Year continuing: China, Christmas Island, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Vietnam

Eve of Imbolc aka Brigid’s Day – Gaelic traditional spring festival, now observed by Celtic neopagans and Wiccans; Christianized as Saint Brigid’s Day

Nauru – Independence Dayinternational Flags

Scotland – Lerwick: Up Helly Aa
(Viking heritage festival)

South Africa – Capetown:
International Summer Music Festival

United States – Los Angeles:
Latin American & Iberian Film Festival

On This Day in HISTORY

1504 – France cedes Naples to Spain after losing the Battle of Garigliano

1606 – Guy Fawkes, sentenced to be ‘hanged, drawn and quartered’ for treason because of his participation in the “Gunpowder Plot”  jumps from the gallows, breaking his own neck


1675 – Cornelia Olfaarts found not guilty of witchcraft in Salem witch trials

1747 – London Dock Hospital opens the first clinic to treat venereal diseases

1759 – François Devienne born, French flutist and composer

1797 – Franz Schubert born, Austrian pianist and composer

1801 – John Marshall takes office as the fourth U.S. Chief Justice


1849 – The British Corn Laws are abolished, ending restrictions and steep tariffs on imported grain (“corn” included any grain that required grinding, including wheat); over time, this forced nearly 100,000 agricultural workers to seek industrial jobs for much lower wages in miserable, crowded urban conditions, while British dependence on imported grain rose to 45% by the 1880s

1858 – The Great Eastern, a five-funneled steamship designed by Brunel, is launched


1862 – Alvan Graham Clark discovers the first known white dwarf star, Sirius B

1865 – The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, abolishing slavery in America, is passed by the House of Representatives, and sent to the states for ratification

1872 – Zane Grey born, popular Western genre novelist

1876 – All American Indians are ordered to move unto reservations

1881 – Anna Pavlova born, Russian prima ballerina, choreographer

1893 – The Coca-Cola trademark is recorded

1894 – Isham Jones born, American bandleader, saxophonist, and songwriter

1896 – Sofya Yanovskaya born, Russian mathematician and historian, restored mathematical logic research, and influenced studies of non-standard analysis

1902 – Alva Myrdal born, Swedish sociologist, politician, 1982 Nobel Peace Prize; Swedish delegate to UN disarmament conference in Geneva; helped create the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute


1905 – John O’Hara born, American novelist


1915 – Thomas Merton born, American Trappist monk, author and mystic


1915 – Germany fires 18,000 xylyl bromide gas shells, the first large-scale use of poison gas in warfare, against Russia, at the Battle of Bolimów in Poland, but icy temperatures freeze the gas before it causes much damage

1917 – Germany announces its will engage in unrestricted submarine warfare

1919 – After other trades successfully negotiate a 47-hour workweek, 60,000 Scottish workers, angry over their 53-hour workweek in a time of rising unemployment, strike for a 40-hour workweek in Glasgow; they clash with Glasgow police trying to force them to disperse; while strike leaders are meeting with the Lord Provost of Glasgow inside the city chambers, the clashes become a full-scale riot; when the strike leaders come out to try to calm the workers, they are arrested by the police for inciting the riot; the fighting continues throughout the night and expands into other parts of Glasgow; David Lloyd George, hearing the riots described as a “Bolshevist uprising” authorizes the Secretary of State for War, Winston Churchill, to dispatch 10,000 soldiers armed with machine guns, a howitzer and armored tanks to the city; no local troops are used, fearing they would sympathize with the strikers. Although many are injured, including some women and children, no one is killed, and the overwhelming military presence does quell the fighting; the strike leaders are sent to prison, but the workers are guaranteed a 47 hour workweek. In 1922, Scotland elected 29 Labour MPs, including two of the strike leaders who had gone to prison

1919 – Jackie Robinson born, first African American player to break the “color line” in Major League Baseball


1929 – Leon Trotsky is exiled by the USSR, and gets asylum in Mexico


1930 – Scotch tape, developed by Richard Drew of the 3M Company, goes on the market

1935 – Kenzaburō Ōe born, Japanese novelist, 1994 Nobel Prize in Literature, The Silent Cry, An Echo of Heaven

1936 – The Green Hornet debuts on the radio

1937 – Philip Glass born, American minimalist composer

1940 – The first Social Security check * is issued by the U.S. Government

1941 – Gerald McDermott born, children’s book author-illustrator, Arrow to the Sun

1945 – Private Eddie Slovik becomes the only American soldier executed for desertion since U.S. Civil War

1946 – Yugoslavia’s new constitution, modeled after the Soviet Union’s, establishes six constituent republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia

1946 – The Democratic Republic of Vietnam introduces the đồng to replace the French Indochinese piastre at par

1950 – U.S. President Truman announces a program to develop the hydrogen bomb

1951 – “K.C.” Casey born, American singer-songwriter, K.C. and the Sunshine Band

1958 – Explorer 1, first successful American satellite detects the Van Allen radiation belt

1961 – Project Mercury’s Redstone 2 takes Ham the Chimp into outer space

1963 – Don Martin creates Gorilla Suit Day * for a Mad Magazine comic strip

1966 – The Soviet Union launches the unmanned Luna 9 spacecraft

1968 – Nauru gains independence from Australia

1971 – NASA’s Apollo 14 mission, with Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa, and Edgar Mitchell aboard a Saturn V, lifts off for the Fra Mauro Highlands on the Moon

1980 – Due to record high sugar prices, Coca Cola substitutes high fructose corn syrup for half of the sugar in Coke, changing its taste

1990 – The first McDonald’s restaurant in Moscow, Russia opens

2001 – Germany announces plans to destroy 400k cattle due to Mad Cow Disease

2010 – Avatar becomes the first film to gross over $2 billion worldwide

2011 – Myanmar opens its first parliament in more than two decades


  • Man in gorilla suit
  • Social Security advocates outside the White House
  • International flags
  • Guy Fawkes execution
  • John Marshall – province of justice quote
  • The Great Eastern steamship
  • Alva Myrdal – illusion of victory quote
  • John O’Hara – George Gershwin quote
  • Thomas Merton – idea of God quote
  • Jackie Robinson – respect quote
  • Leon Trotsky – war is interested quote

About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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4 Responses to ON THIS DAY: January 31, 2017

  1. Russell says:

    I suppose for the next 206 weeks every day in the US and those we affect are going to go through National Backwards Day.

    The changes to Medicare are regressive.

    I am all for celebrating Chinese New Year all year long.

    Trotsky was way ahead of his time, thankfully he was not sent to the Siberian Gulags.

    Robinson was a man to be proud of, he was abused physically and verbally. He with stood the abuse and was my all time favorite.

    • wordcloud9 says:

      Hey Russell –

      I know what you mean about Backwards Day going 365, I’ve been a feminist since before I even knew there was a word for it, and seeing the progress we had to fight so hard for just disappearing with the stroke of a pen, along with progress on all the other fronts, is so disheartening.

      Sadly, Trotsky was assassinated in August, 1940, after Lenin died. He was still very popular in Russia, and the first thing Stalin did was get rid of all his potential rivals.

      “Trotsky was fatally wounded by an ice-ax-wielding assassin at his compound outside Mexico City. The killer–Ramón Mercader–was a Spanish communist and probable agent of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Trotsky died from his wounds the next day. ” – Wikipedia

      (I don’t think there was any ‘probable’ about it – Stalin’s answer to any threat was always savage.)

      Trotsky was the only one of the three who had a sense of humor, so I think he would have been better for the USSR than either Lenin or Stalin.

      Jackie Robinson was so much bigger than his athletic accomplishments – the grace and moral courage of the man remains breathtaking.

      • Russell says:

        Soon you can add Sally Yates to the list. Taking a cue right out of her nomination hearing. Sessions asked her basically if she had the moral courage to stand up to the administration if she felt that a request or an action by the president was illegal or unsound. Her answer of course was yes.

        I admire someone who stands up to adversity with courage.

        • wordcloud9 says:

          She just became the “Face” of the Resistance in my book – the rest of the Dems are still acting like these are normal times, and the usual political posturing and maneuvering are going to work. They’re afraid to go “all-in” on the fight to stop a Trump appointment for Supreme Court Justice, as if they have any political capital left to hoard for something “more important.”

          If the Supreme Court becomes 5-4 right-wing, then all three branches of the federal government are in Trump’s pocket. What else can be more important than that? I know the fight to save Social Security is coming up and they want to “save” the filibuster for that, but all that will do is delay things – the Supreme Court is the last bastion of the Rule of Law –
          a 50-year-old-Trump-appointee can stay on the bench for the next 30 or 40 years, until they die, or become incapacitated, and nothing could be done to get them off.. And what if one or more of the liberal justices dies in the next few years? Trump could put 30-year-olds on the bench, and that’s 50 years or more before we get them off. Even if Trump goes down in flames, and the People prevail, we’d still be dealing with the Supremes making Hobby Lobby decisions for DECADES.

          I know most Americans don’t get this stuff, but you’d think the Senate Democrats would.

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