ON THIS DAY: August 16, 2017

August 16th is

National Airborne Day *

National Bratwurst Day

National Rum Day

Roller Coaster Day *

Tell a Joke Day

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MORE! Auguste Rodin, Georgette Heyer and Spike Lee, click

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WORLD FESTIVALS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Australia – Brisbane: Royal Queensland Show

Dominican Republic – Restoration Day

Gabon – Féte de l’Indépendance

India – De Jure Transfer Day *

Italy – Siena, Tuscany:
Il Palio (bareback horse race)

Tunisia – Tunis: (thru August 19)
Carthage International Festival

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On This Day in HISTORY

1 BC – The day after Emperor Ai of the Han Dynasty dies without an heir, Wang Mang seizes power and is declared marshal of state. The Han Dynasty is restored when he is overthrown in 23 AD

1384 – Hongwu Emperor Dong of the Ming Dynasty hears a couple’s case who tore paper money bills fighting over them (equal to destroying stamped government documents, in Chinese law punished by one hundred floggings), but he pardons them



1513 – Battle of the Spurs: English and Holy Roman Empire troops under Henry VIII and Maximilian I surprise and rout the French cavalry at Enguinegatte in France, and Henry VIII continues his siege of Thérouanne

1637 – Emilie Juliane, Countess of Barby-Mühlingen born, most prolific German hymn female writer, with approximately 600 hymns attributed to her

1743 – Bare-knuckle boxer Jack Broughton codifies first boxing rules in England

1792 – Maximilien de Robespierre presents the petition of the Commune of Paris to the Legislative Assembly, which demands the formation of a revolutionary tribunal

1795 – Heinrich August Marschner born, German opera composer; Der Vampyr



1813 – Sarah Porter born, American educator, founder of Miss Porter’s School, a private girl’s college preparatory school; she acquired her education through private tutoring by Yale professors, and her school offers an expansive curriculum, including the sciences

1832 – Helen Knowlton born, American artist and author, principal biographer of William Morris Hunt


Portrait of William Morris Hunt by Helen Knowlton, 1880


1836 –  Virginia Thrall Smith born, American social and charity worker, City Missionary Society member, established Connecticut’s first free kindergarten; elected to the Connecticut State Board of Charities, started the Connecticut Children’s Aid Society, founder of a children’s home that became the Newington Children’s Hospital

1842 – U.S. government took over mail delivery in NYC from the city dispatch post.

1858 – Queen Victoria sends telegram to President Buchanan via trans-Atlantic cable

1860 – Jules Laforgue born in Uruguay, French Symbolist poet, noted for his lyrical irony; one of the early developers of vers libre

1863 – The Dominican Restoration War begins when Gregorio Luperón raises the Dominican flag in Santo Domingo after Spain recolonizes the country

1863 – Gabriel Pierné born, French Romantic composer, conductor and organist



1870 – Fred Goldsmith demonstrates the curve ball isn’t an optical illusion, in an experiment devised by Henry Chadwick

1880 – Auguste Rodin commissioned to sculpt a large doorway for Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Inspired by Dante, he worked on the ‘Gates of Hell’ for the next 37 years


detail of upper portion, Gates of Hell, by Auguste Rodin


1885 – LaMarcus Adna Thompson patented a wooden roller coaster *, but “Russian Mountains” had been built since the 17th century, beginning near Saint Petersburg, out of ice with wooden supports which were 70 to 80 feet high with a 50◦ drop.

1888 – T.E. Lawrence born, British archaeologist, military officer, and writer, better known as “Lawrence of Arabia”



1894 – George Meany born, American labor leader; president of the AFL-CIO (1955-79)

1896 – George Carmack, Skookum Jim Mason and Dawson Charlie discover gold in the Alaskan Klondike

1902 – Georgette Heyer born, British novelist, detective fiction and historical romance, often set in the Regency period. Her description of Battle of Waterloo in An Infamous Army was so definitive, military history instructors at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst have used it in their classes



1902 – Wallace Henry Thurman born, African-American editor, novelist and playwright, part of the Harlem Renaissance;  The Blacker the Berry: A Novel of Negro Life(1929)

1904 – Construction begins on New York’s Grand Central Station



1904 – Wendell Stanley born, American biochemist, 1946 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (much of his research was later shown to be incorrect, but led to other discoveries)

1907 – Alexander Uriah Boskovich born in Hungary, Israeli composer and conductor



1908 – The ‘Young Turks’ Ottoman Empire Commission of Union and Progress announces universal reforms respecting rights of all, regardless of race or religion

1911 – E. F. Schumacher born in Germany, British economist; Chief Economic Advisor to the British National Coal Board (1950-1970); author of  Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered



1913 – Tōhoku Imperial University of Japan becomes the first university in Japan to admit female students

1913 – Menachem Begin born in Belarus, prime minister of Israel (1977-1983); shared 1978 Nobel Peace Prize with President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt

1916 – The Migratory Bird Treaty between Canada and the United States is signed

1923 – Carnegie Steel employees get the eight-hour workday

1923 – The UK gives the name “Ross Dependency” to part of its claimed Antarctic territory, and New Zealand’s Governor-General becomes its administrator

1930 –First color sound cartoon, Flip the Frog: Fiddlesticks, is made by Ub Iwerks



1930 – First British Empire Games, now British Commonwealth Games, held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada



1934 – Diana Wynne Jones born, British author of fantasy novels

1937 – Harvard University adds traffic engineering and administration graduate courses.

1940 – The first official U.S. Army parachute jump (see also 2001)

1944 – First flight of the Junkers Ju 287

1945 – Suzanne Farrell born as Roberta Sue Ficker, American lyric ballerina, founder of Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the Kennedy Center



1954 – First issue of Sports Illustrated is published



1960 – Cyprus is granted independence from Britain

1962 – De Jure Transfer Day * – French-controlled sectors of India agitated to become part of the independent Republic of India. In 1956, a treaty of cession was signed, but it was not ratified by the French parliament until 1962. On August 16, 1962, India and France exchanged instruments of ratification giving India full sovereignty over the former French territories

1966 – The Monkees first single “Last Train to Clarksville” is released



1966 – The House Un-American Activities Committee begins investigations of Americans who have aided the Viet Cong, intending to introduce legislation making these activities illegal. Anti-war demonstrators disrupt the meeting and 50 people are arrested

1977 – Elvis Presley dies in Memphis TN

1984 – U.S. Jaycees vote to admit women as full members

1987 – Bon Jovi releases their album Slippery When Wet



1989 – A solar flare from the Sun creates a geomagnetic storm that affects micro chips, leading to a halt of all trading on Toronto’s stock market

1995 – Bermuda voters reject independence from Great Britain

1999 – Vladimir Putin confirmed as Russian prime minister

2001 – President George W Bush designated August 16 as National Airborne Day to honor the nation’s airborne forces. In 2009, the U.S. Senate recognized August 16th as National Airborne Day in Senate Resolution 235

2002 – The Africa Women’s Peace Train leaves Kampala, Uganda, to run through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana and finally to  Johannesburg, South Africa, for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). Their goal is the end of the civil wars, corruption and genocide which are making their families unsafe


Nigerian woman and child


2010 – China eclipses Japan as the world’s second largest economy

2012 – The Ecuadorian Embassy in London grants political asylum to Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, after his appeal to the British supreme court against extradition to Sweden to respond to accusations of sexual assault and rape was denied days earlier.

2016 – Spike Lee’s documentary about Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans, When the Levees Broke, premieres in New Orleans LA


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About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 45 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 and a bewildered Border Collie.
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16 Responses to ON THIS DAY: August 16, 2017

  1. Malisha says:

    Today I have read all the entries about this day in history without what my grandfather would have called “geschmak”: “taste.” It is not that I am uninterested or that they are uninteresting, no, on the contrary. I have just found myself realizing, while I try to force myself to do a job I dislike (some paperwork, not very terrible at that) that the history of the world is a piece of what I can learn about myself in this place (where I am) in this minute (while I live) in these circumstances (which I can celebrate, mourn, even understand but never control). I feel adrift in a huge wave of information that still does not say, even softly, “all sight, sound, feeling, taste and smell can be used to do something absolutely essential and un-undo-able.”
    Haiku Charlottesville:
    Flags with swastikas:
    Wind comes, blowing them about
    just like the green leaves.

    • wordcloud9 says:

      I am heartsick at what is happening to our country. The thing about history is that it’s “the long view.” It shows us how democracies and republics fail, but also what people have done in the past to combat it, most especially what has NOT worked – violent overthrow, in which the overthrowers in turn become the despots to hold on to their precarious control.

    • Terry Welshans says:

      Our Kentucky Governor, Matt Bevin, is from the same damaged mold that produced Trump. He is saying today that taking down the Confederate statues is an attempt to revise history. He is comparing it to ISIS destroying Moslem artifacts in Iraq to eradicate the culture there. He may have a point.

      History is the record of events in the past and destroying artifacts or statues will not change history. What needs to be changed is the attitudes of those who see and interpret those artifacts. When an artifact stirs anger, it is because the events associated with the artifact were hurtful to some. History is necessary for any culture to recall its past, but rubbing the noses of those hurt by a distasteful event accomplishes nothing.

      John C. Breckinridge is an example of the problem. He was a Kentucky state representative before serving in the U.S. Congress from 1851-1855, was elected the 14th vice president of the United States in 1857 under President Buchannon, and mounted an unsuccessful presidential bid in 1860.

      He was also a Confederate General that fought at the Battles of Stones River and Chickamauga before taking command of Confederate forces in the Shenandoah Valley in 1864. He would later play an important role at the Battles of New Market and Cold Harbor before serving as the final Confederate secretary of war in 1865. After the Civil War Breckinridge fled abroad before returning to Kentucky in 1869. His name adorns several landmarks and highways in Louisville. If his statues are taken down to remove him from history, do we also need to rename Breckinridge lane?

      • Malisha says:

        I don’t think taking down statues is modifying history or even trying to. These statues were erected to honor certain men. History is change. We have changed from a culture where those in power wanted to honor these men to a culture where the MAJORITY of people empowered by democratic processes in certain places (such as Albermarle County VA) do NOT want to honor them. Taking down the statues confirms, not changes, history. It says, “We are very different from the people who, a mere hundred years ago, honored the memory of the man named Robert E. Lee.”
        If there were a statue of Jesus, Joseph and Mary in front of a courthouse in a city somewhere in our country, erected when all the inhabitants of that place were devout Christians, and that statue was taken down now, would we insist that someone was trying to erase the history of the First Century Middle East?

        • wordcloud9 says:

          Robert E Lee felt after the war that there shouldn’t be ANY statues erected:
          “I think it wiser,” he wrote about a proposed Gettysburg memorial in 1869, “…not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.”

          Many of the statues and memorials these Neo-Nazis are up in arms about were NOT put up in the years following the Civil War, but were added as a protest against the Civil Rights Movement and Desegregation during the 1960s and 70s – they are not about preserving “Southern Heritage,” they are a 20th century display of racism and resistance to change, just as flying the Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag is.

          Do we truly want a statue of the heinous Alexander Stevens to continue to be displayed in Statuary Hall of the U.S.Capitol?

          March 21, 1861 – Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens gives the ‘Cornerstone’ Address, at the Athenaeum in Savannah, Georgia, to explain fundamental differences between the constitutions of the Confederacy and the U.S., laying out the Confederacy’s causes for declaring secession, “. . . our peculiar institutions—African slavery as it exists among us—the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.” He defends slavery: “Our new government is founded upon exactly [this] idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

          If anyone ever tries to tell you that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, refer them to this speech.

          He was a U.S. Senator before he was V.P. of the Confederacy, and took the Senate’s oath of office to support the Constitution of the United States.

          (The Oath Act of June 1, 1789, was the first legislation passed by the Senate and the first law signed by President George Washington.)

          Should we have statues of Benedict Arnold, and streets and buildings named after him?

          • Terry Welshans says:

            I agree, they should not have been erected in the first place. The problem is that the force that built them is still there and under this President has become emboldened. Taking them down now will result in a serious problem, equal to that created when FBI Director Comey was fired. The statues should have been taken down long ago when the cultural climate was favorable to doing so, Today, it is like picking a scab off. Only way to do it today would be suddenly at night, all at once. Mayor of Chicago did that a few years ago with the City’s waterfront airport – he had a crew go in at night to destroy the runway. Lots of friction, but it was done and over with in one day.

        • Terry Welshans says:

          What if the statues were taken down by non-christians? Nothing to do with First Century Middle East, more like King James. Should we re-write history books as well? Perhaps burn them instead? By the way, Robert E. Lee was a famous US General before joining the confederacy, as was Jefferson Davis, Braxton Bragg, Joseph Johnston and many more. Today they are thought of as traitors as they chose to serve the south. Should their accomplishments serving the US government before joining the south be forgotten as well?

          • wordcloud9 says:

            I absolutely believe that History books should tell the WHOLE story, but a statue doesn’t do that – it is a frozen visual representation, often completely inaccurate, sometimes with a few words of explanation on the bottom, but just as often with only the name of those depicted carved on its base.

            What History do these statues actually tell us? What do they say about the “Culture” behind the image they show?

            In my opinion, the greatest war memorial ever put up is the Vietnam Memorial – just a long wall with the names of the dead, the true cost of the war. The statues of prettied-up warriors on horseback brandishing swords don’t tell us the truth about the past, they romanticize and glorify War.

          • Terry Welshans says:

            Baltimore solved the problem last night by removing all of the Confederate statues:

          • Malisha says:

            It wouldn’t matter if Christians or non-Christians took down the statues. In a government that is organized by a document that separates church from state, the statues of church cannot grace the steps of the state house. Now, if taking them down allows for or even organizes a permitted ritual in which Christians who wish to honor their deity get to say a prayer and to accept the statues to transport them reverently to their own property, even be it tax-free church property, I would go along with that. And I wouldn’t think that any particular wrongness or evil need be attributed to the statue or to those who revered it; just GET IT OFF THE GOVERNMENT TURF.
            Would that change either history OR the right of Christians to worship Christ? No it would not. And if taking down any statue of someone who chose to fight on the side of the Confederacy in the American war of secession/civil war/slaveholder insurgency makes people feel their history is being obliterated, let them set up their own organization or institution to renew the teaching of the history of their chosen heroes’ golden past as slavers, slave-rapists, slave-murderers, slave-exploiters, slave-vilifiers, slaver-defenders and even benevolent masters, and yes, the First Amendment would allow them to teach an inaccurate or an accurate history of those bygone (or perhaps not so very bygone) times. They could name the Institute “Robert E. Lee Institute of Higher Learning” and erect the statue of their choice on the lawn. But no federal money.

  2. Terry Welshans says:

    The Junkers Ju 287 was a horrible abomination of an airplane. By 1944 the Germans were getting desperate and this was one solution to the problem of rebuilding their air force into a modern jet powered fleet. It was constructed out of bits and pieces of other airplanes, including the fuselage of an He 177 A-5, the tail of a Ju 388, main undercarriage from a Ju 352 and the nose wheel of a crashed Allied B-24 bomber. It used an experimental longer than normal bomb bay than other German bombers. It had forward swept wings that were to give it more lift at lower speeds for take off and landing. It was powered by four BMW 003 jet engines that were slow to accelerate, and eventually the engines were replaced with four Junkers Jumo 004B-1 turbojets. Only two Ju 287s were built.

    The forward swept wings were unusual in that the wing tips were forward of the root, opposite of most other swept wing designs. This of course presented new problems when testing as the wing tips tended to to warp upwards during high speed flight, increasing the danger of stalling, and the loss of lift and control, which was the purpose of being jet powered in the first place. A revolutionary design that was less than successful far too late in the war to amount to much. The forward swept wing was never successful until the American Grumman X-29 design flew in 1984.

    • wordcloud9 says:

      The Nazi decisions on what aircraft and weapons to produce certainly contributed to their loss of the war – THANK GOODNESS!

      • Terry Welshans says:

        There was a British plan to assassinate Hitler, but it was shelved after considering what damage he was doing to the German war effort.

        • SOE snipers were in place and ready to take Hitler out while at his “Wolf’s Lair” mountaintop retreat. They got the signal to stand down after British high command experts concluded he might be replaced by somebody competent.

    • We can thank goodness they did not focus on getting the Horten H.XVIII into production. What if the Germans had devoted the effort and resources used for V-1 and V-2 into Horten’s designs instead?

      Radar tests were done a few years ago on a full scale mockup of the Horten Ho 229. It compared favorably with modern stealth aircraft. Now imagine that kind of stealth technology versus 1944 radar.

      Had the large Horton H.XVIII gone into full scale production, they could have bombed the east coast with near impunity. England would have fared worse.

      From Wiki: “In recent years, software modelling has suggested that the stealth and speed of the Hortens’ flying wing jet designs would have made interception, prior to bombing, difficult and unlikely. For instance, modelling suggested that hypothetical Ho-229 raids on England may have been undetectable by radar, until such a bomber was within eight minutes or 80 miles (129 km) of its target.”

      • Terry Welshans says:

        Yep. Lots of Luft ’49 thoughts on what could have happened. Problem for Germany was that the Allies could outproduce them in everything. They had little raw materials and were in deep trouble trying to make anything in volume. Allies were outbuilding them with more aircraft, tank, artillery, shells, bombs, fuel and manpower in a month than they could produce in a year. Making a couple of innovative aircraft of per model won’t do if you factory and entire city gets leveled or burnt to the ground. After June 1944 they were desperate, but unable to do much. How about a huge tank, so large it could not go cross country, cross any bridge or drive through any town? It was slow, too. Line up a squadron of tank killing fighter/bombers and let them take turns at it.

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