January 28th is
Blueberry Pancake Day
National Kazoo Day *
International Data Protection Day *
MORE! Colette, Jackson Pollock and Titian, click
WORLD FESTIVALS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS
Armenia – National Army Day
Canada – Saint John’s NL:
SPARKS Literary Festival
United States – Kaunakakai HI:
Ka Molokaʻi Makahiki Cultural Festival
On This Day in HISTORY
661 – Ali ibn Abi Talib, the last Sunni Rashidun caliph, is assassinated by a Kharijite insurrectionist during Ramadan at the Great Mosque of Kufa, in present-day Iraq. Ali, died two days after the assassin struck his head with a poison-coated sword. He was the third successive caliph, after Umar and Uthman, to be assassinated
814 – Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor, dies of pleurisy in Aachen
1077 – German King Henry IV treks from Speyer to Canossa Castle in Emilia-Romagna to obtain the revocation of the excommunication imposed on him by Pope Gregory VII over the issue of whether kings or popes had the right of investiture of bishops, then has to humiliate himself on his knees waiting for three days and three nights before the entrance gate of the castle, while a blizzard rages
1393 – King Charles VI of France, aged 25, (called “Charles the Mad” after an illness with a high fever caused convulsions, and set off increasing bouts of violent insanity – he would come to believe he was made of glass among other delusions) is nearly killed when some dancers’ costumes catch fire at a masquerade ball
1547 – Henry VIII dies at age 55 in the Palace of Whitehall, on the 90th anniversary of his father’s birth, his last words are supposedly “Monks! Monks! Monks!”
1573 – Articles of the Warsaw Confederation are signed, extending religious tolerance to nobility and free persons within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
1608 – Giovanni Alfonso Borelli born, Italian Renaissance physiologist, physicist and mathematician, who followed Galileo’s practice of testing hypotheses against observation, noted for extensive studies the mechanics of animal locomotion
1624 –Sir Thomas Warner founds Britain’s first Caribbean colony on Saint Kitts Island
1701 – Chinese and Tibetan armies fight for control of Dartsedo, a strategic border town and trade center
1724 – The Russian Academy of Sciences is founded in St. Petersburg by Peter the Great, called the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences until 1917
1807 – London’s Pall Mall becomes the first street lit by gaslight
1813 – Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is published anonymously in Britain
1820 –Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Petrovich Lazarev lead a Russian expedition which discovers the Antarctic continent
1851 – Northwestern University becomes the first chartered university in Illinois
1853 – Cuban revolutionary Jose Marti is born in Havana
1855 – A Panama Canal Railway locomotive runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean for the first time
1862 – Hannah Bachman Einstein born, pioneering American social worker and activist; contributed to establishment of first child welfare boards
1873 – Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette born, pen name Colette, French novelist and journalist, author of Gigi
1878 – Yale Daily News becomes the first daily college newspaper in the U.S.
1884 – Auguste Piccard born in Switzerland, Belgian physicist-balloonist-deep sea diver
1887 – Arthur Rubinstein born, Polish-American virtuoso pianist
1896 – Walter Arnold of East Peckham, Kent becomes the world’s first motorist to get a speeding ticket after being chased 5 miles by a constable on a bicycle, and is fined one shilling, plus costs, for speeding at 8 mph (13 km/h), exceeding the speed limit at the time of 2 mph (3.2 km/h), and failing to have a flag-bearer walking in front of his vehicle waving a red flag as a warning. The speed limit is later raised to 14 mph
1900 – Alice Neel born, American expressionistic painter, known for portraits
Mother and Child, by Alice Neel (1967)
1902 – The Carnegie Institution of Washington is founded in Washington, D.C. with a $10 million gift from Andrew Carnegie
1903 –Kathleen Lonsdale born, Irish scientist, crystallographer, first woman president of both the International Union of Crystallography and the British Association for the Advancement of Science
1904 – Two months after his debut at NY’s Metropolitan Opera, Enrico Caruso signs his first record deal, with Victor Records
1908 – Julia Ward Howe is the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters
1909 – The last U.S. troops from the Spanish-American War leave Cuba, except for the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, leased by the U.S. since 1903, but protested since 1959 by Cuba’s communist government
1912 – Jackson Pollock born, American abstract painter
The She Wolf, by Jackson Pollock – 1943
1915 – An act of the U.S. Congress creates the U.S. Coast Guard
1916 – Woodrow Wilson appoints Louis D. Brandeis to the Supreme Court, the court’s first Jewish member
1920 – The Spanish Legion is founded, Spain’s equivalent of the French Foreign Legion
1922 – Anna Gordy Gaye born, American R&B composer, songwriter and record producer; founder of the Anna Label
1927 – Vera B. Williams, American children’s author-illustrator; noted for A Chair for My Mother, and It’s a Gingerbread House; awarded 2009 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature
1929 – Edith Marie Flanigen born, American chemist, noted for work on synthesis of emeralds, and zeolites for molecular sieves; 2014 recipient of the National Medal of Technology
1932 – After Japanese military instigation of ‘anti-Japanese incidents’, Japan attacks Shanghai, claiming it needs to protect its trade concession and Japanese citizens
1933 – Choudhry Rahmat Ali Khan coins the name Pakistan, adopted by Muslims seeking independence from India
1935 – Iceland becomes the first Western country to legalize therapeutic abortion
1938 – The World Land Speed Record on a public road is broken by Rudolf Caracciola in the Mercedes-Benz W195, reaching 432.7 kilometres per hour (268.9 mph)
1940 – Beat the Band makes its debut on NBC radio
1944 – John Tavener born, British composer
1944 – Rosalia Mera born, Spanish entrepreneur, co-founder of Zara, the world’s largest fashion retailer; at the time of her death, listed as the world’s richest self-made woman
1947 – Jeanne Shaheen born, American Democratic politician, first woman U.S. senator from New Hampshire (2009 to present), and first woman governor of New Hampshire (1997-2003)
1950 – Nalia Kabeer born in India, Bangladeshi social economist and author; current president of the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE) through 2019; expert on South and South East Asian gender, poverty, and labor markets; The quest for national identity: Women, Islam and the state in Bangladesh (1989)
1956 – Elvis Presley makes his first American TV appearance on The Dorsey Brothers
1958 – The Lego company patents Lego bricks, still compatible with today’s bricks
1965 – The current design of the national flag of Canada is chosen by an act of Parliament
1969 – Linda Sánchez born, American Democratic politician; U.S. Representative from California (2013 to present), currently serving on the House Ways and Means Committee, and a ranking member on the Ethics Committee; previous Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, current Vice Chair of the House Democratic Conference fifth-ranking position in House Democratic leadership, the first Hispanic and first woman of color elected to this level of leadership in the House
1980 – Six U.S. diplomats, after avoiding being taken hostage at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, fly out of Iran under false identities
1981 – Ronald Reagan lifts remaining U.S. domestic petroleum price and allocation controls to end the 1979 energy crisis. The 1980s oil glut starts shortly after
1981 – The Council of Europe opens for signature the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, In 2007, they launch the first International Data Protection Day *
1983 – The first National Kazoo Day * is launched by Willard Rahn of the Joyful Noise Kazoo Band
1985 – Supergroup USA for Africa (United Support of Artists for Africa) records the hit single We Are the World, to raise funds for Ethiopian famine relief
1986 – NASA’s Space Shuttle Challenger explodes, killing all 7 astronauts on board.
2003 – George W. Bush claims in his State of the Union address that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein sought uranium from Africa, later disputed by former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who was asked by the CIA to investigate
2009 –President Barack Obama’s $819 billion stimulus bill is promptly approved by the Democratic-controlled House
2011 – A Madonna and Child by Titian sets a new auction record for the artist, selling for $16.9 million at Sotheby’s in New York
I remember the run-up to the Challenger destruction. I was very uncomfortable, NOT because I had any knowledge of the possible flaws in the vehicle, but because the teacher who was chosen to fly with the crew was the mother of small children. For personal reasons I had been doing a lot of research into the issues of maternal bonding and loss, and it seemed to me that the risks to any person taking a space flight were greatly increased — in fact, insurmountably increased — by the risks to that person’s children if they were under 18. To me, it was unconscionable to “take on” a risk that was someone else’s consequence and I would have said so out loud and often if I had any standing or credentials.
Her little daughter was interviewed by some foolish and callous journalist who asked her, on camera, how she felt about her mother going into space. She answered, firmly, that she did not LIKE it and that she wanted her mommy to stay ON THE GROUND. So the foolish journalist made some dismissive gesture and turned elsewhere. I will never forget how that interview horrified me, even then, before the explosion.
What about the rest of the Challenger crew? There were six other people who died with Christa McAuliffe.
STS-51-L crew: Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, and Judith Resnik.
They all had families too.
If the child who told the reporter she wanted her parent to stay on the ground had been the daughter of one of the male astronauts, would you have had the same reaction?
Frankly, I wouldn’t have for two reasons:
1. They were astronauts. They had chosen their path long before this flight, and their lives and their families were designed around the fact that they were astronauts. I had no real opinion about the pros and cons of choosing a field like that, having a family while doing so, etc. Christy McAuliffe was NOT an astronaut so I found it (a) a special feature that was reported on extensively; and (b) a special case.
2. I did not see any interviews with the children of the other astronauts.
One afternoon driving home from work, I remember Paul Harvey telling “The Rest of the Story” about Oprah Winfrey. She started out her TV career like most, by working at a local TV station. She was assigned to news interviews, especially reaction statements from people at wrecks and other bad events. She could not handle asking victims the insensitive questions the news director wanted her to ask. She was fired for having empathy.
I wrote about the Challenger explosion in the story I did about my daughter, Mary Beth. Her science teacher was a real rocket scientist who had worked on John Glenn’s Mercury mission and was at the Cape working in mission control when Glenn launched. I had worked on the Titan II missile project, so we had many enjoyable conversations about old times.
He applied for the teacher in space program, and was one of the runner up finalists. I think he may have been passed over due to age and gender. He was about 50 at the time, and I suspect they also wanted a female because of the “optics” of that choice. The entire school stopped everything to watch the launch on TV. Mary Beth said everyone cried…a lot.