ON THIS DAY: December 16, 2019

December 16th is

American Pie Day *

Boston Tea Party Day *

Chocolate Covered Anything Day

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MORE! Jane Austen, Zoltán Kodály and Grace Alele-Williams, click

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WORLD FESTIVALS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Argentina – Córdoba: Noche de
Mujeres en Blues (Blues Women Night)

Australia – Northbridge:
Ice Cream Factory Summer Festival

Bahrain – National Day
(begins at sundown, ends next day)

Bangladesh – Bijoy Dibosh (Victory Day)

Canada – Sherwood Park: Christmas Social

Egypt – Sharm EL-Sheikh:
World Youth Forum Egypt

France – Mont-de-Lans: Rise Festival

India – Vijay Diwas (Victory Day)

Italy – Ruvo di Puglia:
Ancient Winter Solstice Feast

Kazakhstan – Independence Day

Mexico – Las Posadas
(1st day of 9 day nativity celebration)

Netherlands – Koninkrijksdag
(Kingdom charter day)

Nigeria – Imo: Imo Carnival

Philippines – Simbang Gabi (1st of 9 Night
Masses, the last on Christmas Eve)

South Africa – Reconciliation Day

Thailand – National Sports Day

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On This Day in HISTORY

755 – General An Lushan revolts against Chancellor Yang Guozhong at Yanjing, initiating the An Lushan Rebellion during the Tang dynasty of China



1431 – Henry VI of England is crowned King of France at Notre Dame in Paris; Charles VII contests his right to the French throne

1485 – Catherine of Aragon born, Spanish princess who became Queen consort of England as Henry VIII’s first wife


Catherine of Aragon, painted by Lucas Horenbout

1497 – Vasco da Gama passes the mouth of the Great Fish River of the Eastern Cape of South Africa, where Bartolomeu Dias had previously turned back to Portugal



1630 – Mary Somerset, born as Mary Capell; Duchess of Beaufort, English gardener and botanist, whose collection of plant specimens and seeds numbered in the thousands; published a 12-volume herbarium


Mary Capell (later Duchess of Beaufort), by Sir Peter Lely

1653 – Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland

1689 – After the Convention Parliament is convened to form an interim government and transfer the crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland from James II to William III and  Mary II as co-regents, the Bill of Rights 1689 is enacted, limiting the powers of the monarch, and giving rights and powers to Parliament, as well as individual rights


William II, Prince of Orange, and his wife Mary Stuart by Gerard van Honthorst

1717 – Elizabeth Carter born, English poet, classicist, linguist and translator; a member of the Bluestocking Circle; she published her early work under the pen name ‘Eliza.’ She was the first to translate into English the extant works of Epictetus, the Greek stoic philosopher.  Carter was also known as a philanthropist who visited the poor, and contributed to the establishment and maintenance of several charities


Elizabeth Carter as Minerva, goddess of wisdom,
by John Fayram


1770 – Ludwig Van Beethoven born, famous and influential German composer

1773 – Boston Tea Party Day * – In the Massachusetts colony, members of the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawk Indians board three British teas ships, and dump 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor. They are protesting the British Parliament’s Tea Act of 1773, which gives a virtual monopoly on the American tea trade to the East India Company

1775 – Jane Austen born, influential English novelist; Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma are her best-known works



1775 – François-Adrien Boieldieu born, French opéra comique composer; Le calife de Bagdad, La dame blanche

1787 – Mary Russell Mitford born, English author, poet and dramatist; noted for her five-volume Our Village, a collection of short stories and sketches



1809 – By act of the French Senate, Napoleon Bonaparte divorces Josephine

1811 – The first of the powerful New Madrid earthquakes strikes the central Mississippi Valley

1843 – Josephine Shaw Lowell born, American charity worker and social reformer; first woman appointed to the New York State Board of Charities (1876-1889); founder of the New York Consumers League (1890) which advocated for better wages and working conditions for women, publishing a “White List” of retail stores which treated their women clerks well (which initially had few stores on it), and inspired chapters in other cities across the nation, becoming the National Consumers League, a powerful lobbying group



1850 – The first immigrant ships, Charlotte Jane and Randolph, arrive at Lyttleton, New Zealand

1863 – George Santayana born in Spain as Jorge Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás, American philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist



1867 – Amy W. Carmichael born, Irish Protestant missionary and author, founder of a mission and orphanage in the Tamil Nadu state in India, where she served for 55 years; her work with girls and young women saved many of them from forced prostitution;  Things as They Are: Mission Work in Southern India, and Gold Cord



1869 – Bertha Lamme Feicht born, American mechanical engineer with a specialty in electricity; in 1893, she was the first U.S. woman to earn an engineering degree other than in civil engineering, and the first woman graduate in engineering from Ohio State University; first woman engineer hired by Westinghouse; her daughter Florence became a physicist for the U.S. Bureau of Mines



1882 – Zoltán Kodály born, Hungarian composer



1893 – World premiere of Anton Dvorak’s New World Symphony at New York’s Carnegie Hall

1895 –Marie Hall Ets born, American illustrator and children’s author; won the 1960 Caldecott Medal for her illustrations in Nine Days to Christmas, which she co-authored



1899 – Sir Noel Coward born, British playwright, noted wit, song lyricist and actor



1900 – Lucile Lortel born, American theatrical producer/co-producer/artistic director  of nearly 500 plays, five of which were nominated for Tony Awards; noted for producing  Marc Blitzstein’s adaptation of the Bertolt Brecht-Kurt Weill Threepenny Opera, which ran Off Broadway for seven years, and the New York Times said “put Off Broadway on the map”



1901 – The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter, is published; it sets a new standard for children’s books, and is the first step for Potter toward independence



1901 – Margaret Mead born, American cultural anthropologist, best known for her studies of the indigenous people of Oceania, including the cooperation, competition and communication between them, together with the oceanic ethnology and comparative child psychology. She first began her research in the South Pacific at age 23, as a doctoral student. Throughout her life, she traveled in other countries doing research on various cultures, including the Arapesh, Mudugumor and Tchambuli of New Guinea. Her public lecture topics ranged widely from atomic politics to feminism. Author of Coming of Age in Samoa; and Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies



1905 – Sime Silverman publishes the first issue of the entertainment trade magazine Variety in New York



1907 – President Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘Great White Fleet’ a U.S. Navy battle fleet, begins its circumnavigation of the world

1912 – The first postage stamp with an airplane is issued, a 20-cent parcel-post stamp



1916 – Grigori Rasputin, a self-proclaimed holy man who wields great influence over Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra, is murdered by a group of Russian nobles

1916 – Ruth Johnson Colvin born, founder of the non-profit Literacy Volunteers of America (now ProLiterarcy Worldwide) who worked with literacy specialists to develop training materials for volunteer tutors, now considered authoritative sources for basic literacy and ESL tutor training courses; won the 1972 National Volunteer Award, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006, the same year she turned 100



1917 – Arthur C. Clarke born, influential British Science Fiction author


1927 – Peter Dickinson born in Northern Rhodesia, English author of children’s books and detective fiction; won Carnegie Medals for Tulku and City of Gold

1928 – Philip K. Dick born, American Science Fiction author, short story writer and philosopher; among his best-know works are: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,  The Man in the High Castle, and “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale”



1932 – Grace Alele-Williams born, first Nigerian woman to earn a doctorate degree and first woman to become a Nigerian university vice-chancellor, at the University of Benin. She is also a professor of mathematics education, and a consultant to UNESCO and the Institute of International Education Planning



1936 – Morris Dees born, Civil Rights attorney and activist; co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center



1938 – Liv Ullmann born, Norwegian actress and film director; her first directing project was Sofie in 1992, followed by Faithless (2000), which was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and in 2009, she directed Cate Blanchett in a stage production of A Streetcar Named Desire, which opened in Sydney Australia, then moved to the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. In 2014, her film adaptation of Miss Julie, starring Jessica Chastain, was released



1941 – Leslie Stahl born, American television journalist; she recounts that on the night of the 1972 Nixon-McGovern election, her on-air studio chair was labeled “Female” in masking tape, instead of with her name as her colleagues chairs were; noted for her coverage of Watergate, which earned her a promotion to CBS White House Correspondent; since 1991, she has reported for 60 Minutes; when Katie Couric was hired in 2006, CBS news asked Stahl to take a $500,000 cut in salary to accommodate Couric’s salary; author of the memoir, Reporting Live



1944 – WWII: The Battle of the Bulge begins as German troops launch a surprise counterattack against the Allied forces in Belgium

1946 – Thailand joins the United Nations

1947 – William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain build the first practical point-contact transistor

1949 – Dame Heather Hallett born, English judge; as a Bencher of the Inner Temple, she became the first woman to chair the Bar Counsel in 1998; appointed in 2005 as the fifth woman to sit in the Court of Appeal; since 2013, Vice-President of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal



1950 – U.S. President Truman proclaims a national state of emergency in order to fight “Communist imperialism” after Chinese troops arrive to support North Korea

1951 – Debut of Dragnet on NBC TV

1951 – Sally Emerson born, English novelist, poet, anthologist and travel writer; worked for the Illustrated London News, and as editor of Books and Bookmen (1978-1985). Her first novel, Second Sight, was published in 1980, and won the Yorkshire Post Best First Novel award. 1983’s Listeners was followed by the bestsellers Fire ChildSeparation, Heat and Broken Bodies. She also edited several anthologies of both prose and poetry, and has been a travel writer for the Sunday Times since 2003



1951 – Aykut Barka born, Turkish earth scientist, specializing in earthquakes; best known for his contributions to understanding the North Anatolian Fault Zone, one of the most dangerous active faults in the world



1955 – Carol Browner born, American lawyer and environmentalist; Director of the Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy (2009-2011), a position abolished by the Trump administration; Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA – 1993-2001)



1962 – The film Lawrence of Arabia, starring Peter O’Toole, is released in the U.S.

1965 – Melanie Sloan born, served as Minority Counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, working on criminal justice issues for Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI), and as Counsel for the Crime Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, drafting portions of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act; District of Columbia Assistant U.S. Attorney (1998-2003); co-founder in 2003, and first Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) which publishes a “Most Corrupt Members of Congress” list. In November 2017, Sloan publicly accused John Conyers of harassment and verbal abuse when she worked for the House Judiciary Committee, and several other woman also came forward; Conyers has denied all the allegations, but recently announced his resignation



1968 – Second Vatican Council officially revokes the 1492 Edict of Expulsion of Jews from Spain

1971 – American Pie Day * – Don McLean’s eight-minute-plus version of “American Pie” is released



1976 – Jen Golbeck born, America computer scientist, academic and author; Associate Professor at the College of Information Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, and director of the University of Maryland Human–Computer Interaction Lab (2011-2014); noted for her work on computational social network analysis; program co-chair of ACM RecSys 2015; contributor to the on-line magazine Slate; she started The Freedom of Science Network after the last presidential election to help government scientists to find new jobs if they were fired, then used the network to ask for help in finding housing and work for scientists who were stranded by the administration’s travel ban in 2017, and got 1,000 offers of help within 72 hours; her publications include Online Harassment (editor), and Trust on the World Wide Web: A Survey



1990 – Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a leftist priest, is elected president in Haiti’s first democratic elections

1991 – Kazakhstan declares independence from the Soviet Union

1993 – The United Nations General Assembly adopts a resolution calling for negotiations on a comprehensive test ban

1994 – The ‘Day of Reconciliation’ is inaugurated in South Africa

1995 – Many U.S. government functions are again closed as a temporary finance provision expires and the budget dispute between President Clinton and Republicans in Congress continues

1996 – Britain’s agriculture minister announces the slaughter of an additional 100,000 cows thought to be at risk of contracting BSE (‘mad cow disease’)

1998 – Eric Michelman files the earliest patent for a scroll wheel on a computer mouse

2000 – Researchers announce information from NASA’s Galileo spacecraft indicating that Ganymede appeared to have a liquid saltwater ocean beneath a surface of solid ice. Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter, is the solar system’s largest moon



2001 – Cuba receives the first commercial food shipment from the United States in nearly 40 years, was sent to help Cuba in the aftermath of Hurricane Michelle

2009 – Astronomers announce discovery of  GJ1214b, the first-known exoplanet on which water could exist



2012 – The gang rape and fatal torture of Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old Indian physiotherapy intern, on a private bus in Delhi sparks international outrage, and protests demanding tougher penalties for rape and sexual violence in India

2013 – Michelle Bachelet wins back the presidency of Chile in a runoff election. With 90 percent of the vote counted, she led her opponent by 62 percent to 38 percent. Bachelet, who promised to “be a president for everyone of Chile,” will be the first Chilean leader to serve two terms since General Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990)



2016 – Beijing issues a five-day red alert for air pollution; China’s ministry of environmental protection reports 21 other Chinese cities also declared red alerts, the highest level of warning, requiring the closing of preschool and primary schools, road work suspension and the halting or slowing of operations at heavily polluting industries



2018 – About 10,000 people marched on Hungary’s parliament in the largest protest yet against Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s efforts to tighten his far-right government’s grip on power. Protesters waved Hungarian and European Union flags and held up banners with such messages as, “All I want for Xmas is democracy.” Orbán’s ultranationalist Fidesz party had shut down most independent media and created new administrative courts directly controlled by the government. The intensifying protests
began when the government approved a new law allowing employers to ask staff to work up to 400 hours of overtime per year, with payments that could be delayed for up to three years. Critics called the measure the “slave law.” 

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About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 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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