ON THIS DAY: December 23, 2018

December 23rd is

Bake Day

Festivus *

HumanLight Day *

National Roots Day

Pfeffernüsse Day


MORE! Yohl Ik’nal, Vincent Van Gogh and Marie Bell, click



Egypt – Suez Victory Day 

Japan – Tenno Tanjobi
(Emperor’s birthday)

Mexico – Oaxaca: Noche de los Rábanos
(night of the radishes – carved radish competition)

Sweden – Queen Silvia’s Birthday *


On This Day in HISTORY

484 – Gunthamund succeeds his uncle Huneric as king of the Vandals; during his reign, the persecution of Roman Catholics eased, stabilizing the kingdom’s economy

562 – Hagia Sophia in Constantinople reopens with a rebuilt dome after a series of earthquakes caused the original to collapse

583 – Yohl Ik’nal is crowned as the first recorded female ruler of the Mayan city-state of Palenque, one of only a few women to have the full royal title

Lady Yohl Ik’nal, and the Palenque ruins

968 – Emperor Zhenzong born, the Chinese Song dynasty ruler from 997 to 1022

1572 – Theologian Johann Sylvan is executed in Heidelberg for his heretical
Antitrinitarian beliefs, as expounded in his manifesto, True Christian Confession of the Ancient Faith of the One True God and of Messiah Jesus of the True Christ, against the Three-Person Idol and the Two-Natured False Deity of the Antichrist

1648 –Robert Barclay born in Scotland, eminent American Quaker writer and leader; Treatise on Universal Love (1677)

1682 – James Gibbs born, influential Scottish architect who trained in Rome, and practiced mainly in England; his work spanned the transition from late Baroque to the Georgian period; designed St Martin-in-the-Fields, in London, and the cylindrical, domed Radcliffe Camera at Oxford University

Interior of St Martin-in-the-Fields

1745 – John Jay born, first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court

1783 – George Washington returns home to Mount Vernon, after the disbanding of his army following the Revolutionary War

1788 – Maryland votes to cede a 100-square-mile area for the seat of the national government. About two-thirds of the area became the District of Columbia

1790 – Jean-Francois Champollion born, French philologist and pioneer in the field of Egyptology; deciphered the Rosetta Stone, a major breakthrough in understanding ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs

1815 – The novel Emma by Jane Austen is first published

1823 – The poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement C. Moore (‘Twas the night before Christmas…) is published

1834 – English architect Joseph Hansom patents his ‘safety cab’, the Hansom cab

1850 – Oscar S. Straus born in Bavaria, the first Jewish U.S. Cabinet member, as Secretary of Commerce and Labor under Theodore Roosevelt (1906-1909); U.S. Envoy (1887-1889), then U.S. Minister (1898-1899) and finally U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire (1909-1910)

1852 – The Theatre of Celestial John opens on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco CA, the first Chinese theatre in the U.S.

1856 – Ralph Collier patents the first rotary egg beater with rotating parts

1858 – Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko born, Russian theatre administrator, producer, director, and playwright; co-founder in 1898 with Konstantin Stanislavski of the Moscow Art Theatre

1860 – Harriet Monroe born, American editor, scholar, literary critic and poet, founding publisher and editor of Poetry magazine

1867 – ‘Madame Walker,’ Sarah Breedlove Walker born, American businesswoman and philanthropist; considered the first black woman millionaire

1876 – The Constantinople Conference of the Great Powers (Austria-Hungary, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia) opens, and continues until January 20, 1877. An agreement is reached on a project of political reforms in Bosnia and in the Ottoman territories with a majority Bulgarian population. The conference is a response to the Herzegovinian Uprising led by ethnic Serbs against the Ottoman Empire in 1875, and the 1876 April Uprising organized by Bulgarians under Ottoman rule

1888 – After a quarrel with Paul Gauguin, Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh cuts off part of his own earlobe

Self-Portrait with Bandages, by Vincent Van Gogh

1893 – First performance of the Engelbert Humperdinck opera Hansel und Gretel in Weimar, Germany

1900 – Marie Bell born as Marie-Jeanne Bellon, French classical tragedian, comic actor and stage director. She was the director of the Théâtre du Gymnase in Paris from 1962 until her death in 1985, and this theatre now bears her name. During the German Occupation of France (1940–1944), she participated in the French resistance as one of nine directors of the Front national du théâtre

1902 – Norman Maclean born, American author and scholar; noted for A River Runs Through It, and Young Men and Fire

1912 – Anna J. Harrison born, American organic chemist, first woman president of the American Chemical Society; active supporter of women in science; during WWII, conducted secret research on toxic smoke which led to the creation of smoke-detecting field kits for the U.S. Army; her post-war research focused on organic compounds and their interaction with light; served on the National Board of Science (1972-1978) and as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1983

1913 – The Federal Reserve Bill is signed into law by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, establishing 12 Federal Reserve Banks

1919 – The USS Reliefand, first hospital transport ship is launched, carrying 515 beds

1919 – By Act of British Parliament and Royal Assent, the Sex Disqualification Removal Act 1919 amends the laws disqualifying a person on account of sex or marriage from public function or vocation, lifting the bans on women from civil service, higher education and serving on juries

1922 – The British Broadcasting Corporation begins daily news broadcasts

1939 – Nancy Graves born, American sculptor, painter and printmaker; elected to the National Academy of Design (1992); died of ovarian cancer in 1995

 Enfolded Order (1989), by Nancy Graves

1942 – Bob Hope entertains U.S. airmen in Alaska, the first of many Christmas shows

1943 – Queen Silvia * of Sweden born, in 2011, she became the longest-serving queen in Swedish history; noted for establishing Mentor International in 1994 in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the fields of international youth development and prevention of substance abuse, as co-founder of the World Childhood Foundation in 1999, inspired by her work as Patron of the first World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children held in Stockholm. She has also been involved in the Global Child Forum, and founded Stiftelsen Silviahemmet in 1996 was part of her efforts to help dementia sufferers. Silviahemmet offers nurses training and entire unit training certification, combined with broad-based training in practical dementia care for different categories of staff involved with providing care

1947 – Bell Laboratories demonstrates their transistor

1954 – Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea premieres, starring James Mason, Kirk Douglas and Paul Lukas

1954 – First successful kidney transplant is performed by J. Hartwell Harrison and Joseph Murray

1955 – Carol Ann Duffy born, Scottish poet and playwright, the first woman, first Scot and first openly LGBT person appointed as Britain’s Poet Laureate (May 2009)

1956 – Egypt liberates Port Said, ending the Suez Crisis

1959 – The Drifters record “This Magic Moment”

1963 – Donna Tartt born, American novelist; won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Goldfinch

1966 – The first U.S. celebration of Festivus * but it is brought into popularity by an episode of the Jerry Seinfeld Show which first airs on December 18, 1997

1981 – NASA approves a plan to continue the Voyager II spacecraft on a trajectory that would take it within 66,000 miles of Uranus by July 1986

1986 – The experimental airplane Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, completes its first non-stop, around-the-world flight without refueling as it landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base CA

1989 – Liis Koger born, Estonian painter and poet; she had her first major solo exhibition of her paintings in 2012 at Camponeschi in Rome, Italy

To Thine Own Self Be True – Liis Koger

1990 – In a referendum, 88.5% of Slovenia’s overall electorate vote for independence from Yugoslavia

2001 – HumanLight Day * founded by the New Jersey Humanist Network as a secular humanist celebration of the Winter Solstice

2007 – An agreement is reached to abolish the Kingdom of Nepal and the country to become a federal republic with the Prime Minister becoming head of state

2014 – A three-judge panel of the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a North Carolina abortion law is unconstitutional. The 2011 law required all women seeking abortion to first undergo ultrasounds, with the fetal image displayed and described to them in detail by a doctor. In the 37-page opinion, the panel wrote, “The First Amendment not only protects against prohibitions of speech, but also against regulations that compel speech.”  The law “forces physicians to say things they otherwise would not say. Moreover, the statement compelled here is ideological; it conveys a particular opinion. The state freely admits that the purpose … is to convince women seeking abortions to change their minds or reassess their decisions.”

2016 – The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 2334 condemning “Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories occupied since 1967”

West Bank dividing wall 


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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