ON THIS DAY: April 20, 2019

April 20th is

UN Chinese Language Day *

International Cli-Fi Day *

Cheddar Fries Day

Pot Smokers (420) Day

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day

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MORE! Dinah Craik, Daniel Varoujan and Sarantuya, click

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WORLD FESTIVALS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Christianity: Holy Saturday
Judaism: first day of Passover

Germany – Leipzig:
Impericon Music Festival

Mexico – Aguascalientes:
Feria Nacional de San Marcos (fair)

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On This Day in HISTORY

1303 – Sapienza, Università di Roma is instituted by Pope Boniface VIII, who is noted for declaring that both spiritual and temporal power are under the pope’s jurisdiction, so kings are subordinate to the pontiff; he also feuded with Dante Alighieri, who placed him in the Eighth Circle of Hell in his Divine Comedy



1494 – Johann Agricola born, German Lutheran reformer; helped bring Lutheranism to Frankfurt, but opposed Luther on the issue of the binding obligation of the Law and the Prophets on Christians

1534 – Jacques Cartier begins his first voyage to what is today the east coast of Canada, now Newfoundland and Labrador

1535 – The sun dog phenomenon observed over Stockholm and depicted in the famous painting Vädersolstavlan


Vädersolstavlan, 17th century copy


1633 – Go-Kōmyō born, 110th Emperor of Japan. His reign (1643-1654) will begin when he is 11 years old, and he will die at age 21, possibly from small pox

1653 – Oliver Cromwell dissolves the Rump Parliament, those who remained after the Long Parliament had been purged of all who opposed trying King Charles I for treason

1657 – Freedom of religion is granted to the Jews of New Amsterdam (now NYC)

1752 – The Konbaung-Hanthawaddy War begins (1752-1757) between the Konbaung Dynasty of the Burmese Empire and the Restored Hanthawaddy King of Burma (The Hanthawaddy had ruled Lower Burma from 1287 t0 1539)

1775 – The British Siege of Boston begins, following battles at Lexington and Concord



1810 – The Governor of Caracas, Venezuela declares independence from Spain, and the Venezuelan war of independence begins

1826 – Dinah M. Craik born, English novelist and poet, who often wrote as Mrs. Craik; noted for The Ogilivies; John Halifax, Gentleman; and A Life for a Life

1840 – Odilon Redon born, French painter, lithographer and etcher


Self-Portrait by Odilon Redon

1850 – Daniel Chester French born, American sculptor; best known for the monumental  Lincoln statue at the Lincoln Memorial



1860 – Charles G. Curtis born, American inventor; worked on steam turbines

1884 – Daniel Varoujan born, Armenian poet; in 1914 he founded the Mehean literary group and magazine, with four other Armenian writers, aiming to start an Armenian literary revival. In 1915, he and four other Armenians, including Dr. Roupen Sevag, were arrested and jailed, then told they were being moved to another place. On the way, a Turkish official and his assistant, accompanied by five heavily armed men, stopped the convoy. Witnesses in hiding reported that after robbing the prisoners, the official told the armed men to take the prisoners into the woods, where they were stripped of the clothes, tied to trees and cut slowly with knives to bleed to death. Varoujan’s unfinished poetry collection, The Song of the Bread, was confiscated, but was reportedly saved by bribing Turkish officials, and published posthumously in 1921



1889 – Adolf Hitler born, Nazi dictator of Germany, leading the country into WWII and responsible for the deaths of 12 million Jews and another 12-13 million other civilians

1893 – Joan Miró born, Spanish Abstract and Surrealist artist



1902 – Scientists Marie and Pierre Curie isolated the radioactive element radium.

1907 – William Dollar born, one of the first American danseurs nobles, choreographer (The Duel), and ballet master


William Dollar, with Daphne Vane and
Lew Christiensen, in Orpheus at the NYC Ballet


1908 – In Denmark, women win the right to vote in municipal elections, but can’t vote in national elections until June 1915

1915 – Joseph Wolpe born, South African psychiatrist and pioneering behavioral therapist; as a medical officer in the South African army, he discovered that the prevailing treatment for “war neurosis” (now called post traumatic distress disorder), which involved giving the patient a type of “truth serum” to get him to talk about his experiences, was not improving the condition of the patients. Wolpe, who had been a dedicated follower of Freud, was forced by failure to search for other treatment options. Building on the theories of Mary Cover Jones, he developed reciprocal inhibition techniques, especially systematic desensitization, or graduated exposure therapy, now used to overcome phobias and anxiety disorders



1920 – Frances R. Ames born, South African neurologist, psychiatrist and human rights activist; the first woman to receive a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Cape Town in 1964; studied the effects of cannabis, and became a proponent of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, particularly for people with multiple sclerosis (MS); most notable for leading a medical ethics inquiry into the 1977 death of Steven Biko, who was severely beaten in police custody, but the doctor who examined him said there was no evidence of injury. After examination by two other doctors, he was transported 740 miles (1190 km) to Pretoria’s prison hospital, unattended by medical personnel, and died there of a massive brain hemorrhage. The official investigations afterwards resulted in no charges against neither the police officers or the doctors involved, so Ames, helped by five others, raised funds to fight what became an eight-year battle against the medical establishment, risking her career and personal safety, all the way to the South African Supreme Court, where she finally won the case in 1985



1923 – Irene Lieblich born in Poland, Jewish painter, poet and illustrator for the books of Isaac Bashevis Singer; Holocaust survivor


1931 – Louis Armstrong records “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South”

1935 – Jin Xiang born, Chinese composer and conductor, whose career was seriously disrupted by the Cultural Revolution, but he was able to return to music, leading the Beijing Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1984, when he came to the U.S. as composer-in-residence at the Washington National Opera; Art Director of the China Performing Administration Centre of the Ministry of Culture 1994-1995, founder-president of the East-West Music Exchange in 1996


1939 – Billie Holiday records the Civil Rights song “Strange Fruit”  withwords from a poem written by Abel Meeropol exposing racism and lynching of black Americans



1939 – Peter S. Beagle born, American fantasy author and screenwriter; best known for The Last Unicorn and A Fine and Private Place. He was named Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2018



1940 – RCA has a public demonstration of its new electron microscope

1947 – Rita Dionne-Marsolais born, French Canadian economist and Parti Québécois politician; Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for Rosemont (1994-2008)



1952 – Louka Katseli born, Greek economist and KOISY (Social Agreement Party) politician and president of her party since 2012; Minister for Labour and Social Security (2010-2011); Minister for the Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping (2009-2010); in 2015, she was president of the Greek Banks Union



1956 – Beatrice Ask born, Swedish Moderate Party politician; Alderman of the House since 2018; Member of the Swedish Riksdag (Parliament) for Stockholm Municipality since 1988; Minister for Justice (2006-2014); Minister for Schools (1991-1994)



1959 – Dolly Parton’s first single, “Puppy Love,” is released

1959 – Cheryl Carolus born, South African political activist and civil servant; active member of the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO), and one of the founding members of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in 1983. Carolus served as the General Secretary of the Federation of South African Women (Fedsaw) from 1987. She was arrested several times and often harassed for her political beliefs. In 1990, she played a crucial role during the Groote Schuur negotiations, as a member of the African National Congress (ANC) delegation that met with the Apartheid government. In 1991, she was elected to the ANC’s Executive Committee. She became South Africa’s High Comissioner in London in 1998. She was the chief executive officer of South Africa Tourism (2001-2004). Currently a member of the Executive Committee of the International Crisis Group, and Executive Chair of Peotrona Group Holdings



1963 – Rachel Whiteread born, English artist primarily known for her sculptures; in 1993, she became the first woman to win the Turner Prize. She also won the K Foundation Award for Worst Artist. She was one of the Young British Artists exhibited at the Royal Academy’s 1997 Sensation exhibition


House, by Rachel Whiteread

1965 – The People’s Republic China offers North Vietnam military aid

1970 – Sarantuya born, known professionally as Saraa, Mongolian mezzo-soprano, recognized as the queen of Mongolian pop music, and the highest-selling Mongolian singer; she began her career singing with the band Mungun Harandaa (Silver Pencil)



1971 – U.S. Supreme Court upholds use of busing to end racial segregation in schools

1972 – NASA’s manned lunar module from Apollo 16 lands on the moon



1980 – The first Cubans of the massive Mariel boatlift arrive in the U.S.



1999 – Columbine: two male students storm their suburban high school in Littleton, Colorado, at lunch time with guns and explosives, killing 13 and wounding dozens more in what was at the time the nation’s deadliest school massacre

2010 – An explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil platform kills eleven workers and spews 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico for nearly three months

2010 – UN Chinese Language Day * is proclaimed by UNESCO to celebrate one of the six official working languages of the United Nations



2013 – NPR does a five-minute segment about “clifi” which launches International Cli-Fi Day * – a term coined by Dan Bloom of the Cli-Fi Report to describe ‘climate fiction’ books and movies

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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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