ON THIS DAY: January 16, 2020

January 16th is

Appreciate a Dragon Day *

Civil Service Day *

Hot and Spicy Food Day

National Religious Freedom Day *


MORE! Kiku Amino, Buckminster Fuller and Jill Tarter, click



Argentina – Parana: Festival
Nacional de Doma y Folclore (music)

Australia – Bulli: Illawarra Folk Festival

Austria – Vienna: Schubert Festival

Benin – Day of Remembrance

Canada – Montreal: Igloofest

Chile – Huara: Festival de Huara
Tropikal Sound En Vivo (music)

Germany – Stuttgart: Filmwinter
Festival for Expanded Media

India – Dhubri: Dhubri Music Festival

Mexico – Cancún: Playing in the Sand

Myanmar and Thailand – Teachers’ Day

Republic of the Congo – Laurent Kabila Memorial *

Russia – Moscow:
Kuzminki Russian Winter Exhibition

Singapore – Festival of Ideas: Gender Balance

South Africa – Cape Town: Opening Day of
International Summer Music Festival  

Spain – San Bartolomé de Pinares: Festival
de San Antonio (bonfires and luminarias)


On This Day in HISTORY

27 BC – The Roman Republic ends as Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus is granted the title Augustus by the Roman Senate, considered first Emperor of the Roman Empire

378 – General Siyai K’ak’(‘Fire is Born’), Mayan warlord, conquers Tikal, enlarging the domain of Atlati Cauac of  Teotihuacán (dubbed ‘King Spearthrower Owl’ by archaeologists because of the Mayan glyphs used for his name)

Warrior or priest dancing – from Teotihuacán

550 – During the Gothic War between the Byzantine Empire under Justinian I and the Ostrogothic Kings, King Totila’s troops conquer the city of Rome after a long siege by bribing the Isaurian garrison

929 –  Emir Abd-ar-Rahman III becomes Caliph of Córdoba (912–961)

972 – Chinese Emperor Shengzong of the Liao dynasty born; he succeeded his father 982, but was too young to rule, so his mother, Empress Dowager Xiao became regent. Emperor Taizong of the Northern Song dynasty  launched an invasion on the Liao dynasty’s southern capital (present-day Beijing) in the contentious Sixteen Prefectures in 986. Three large Song armies were sent to three different strategic locations on the approach to the southern capital, and were initially successful, But the young Emperor Shengzong, along with Empress Dowager Xiao, led an army of Liao cavalry to counter the enemy and defeated the Song forces at the Battle of the Qigou Pass in June. Empress Dowager Xiao appointed Yelü Xiuge as her senior general to continue attacks on the Song dynasty in retaliation until the following year. After the Liao carried out a large-scale invasion of Song territory in 1004, the Treaty of Shanyuan was signed, obligating the Song to pay an annual tribute of 200,000 bolts of silk and 100,000 taels of silver to the Liao in exchange for peace. Emperor Shengzong  institutionalized state examinations for officials and made feudal reforms, liberating many slaves, and actively patronized Buddhism. He ruled until his death in 1031

Liao dynasty sancai (three color) jar

1412 – The Medici family is appointed the official banker of the Papacy

1492 – The first grammar of the Spanish language is presented to Queen Isabella I

1547 –  Ivan IV, better known as Ivan the Terrible, becomes Czar of Russia

1556 – Philip II (‘the Prudent’) becomes King of Spain

Philip II of Spain – by Sofonisba Anguissola, his official court painter

1572 – Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk is tried for treason for his part in the Ridolfi plot to restore Catholicism in England, by assassinating Queen Elisabeth I and putting Mary Queen of Scots on the throne

1605 – The first edition of El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (Book One of Don Quixote) by Miguel de Cervantes is published in Madrid

1634 – Dorothe Engelbretsdotter born, Norway’s first recognized woman poet whose pen name was “Bergens Debora” considered a proto-feminist for her defense of female creative power; her first book, a collection of verses, hymns and devotional pieces, Siælens Sang-Offer, was her most successful

1707 – The Scottish Parliament ratifies the Act of Union, paving the way for the creation of Great Britain

1728 – Niccolò Piccinni born, Italian composer, very popular at the time for his Neapolitan operas buffa (comic operas with characters drawn from everyday life)

1786 – The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was signed January 16, 1786, and is commemorated each year on National Religious Freedom Day *. Thomas Jefferson’s landmark statute became the basis for Congressman Fisher Ames’ establishment clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

1837 – Ellen Russell Emerson born, American ethnologist, noted for her extensive examinations of Native American cultures, especially in comparison with other world cultures

1862 – John C. Frémont is appointed Governor of the new California Territory

1866 – Everet Barney patents the metal screw clamp skate

Barney skating – 1898

1868 – William Davis patents a refrigerated railway car, designed for shipping fish

1872 – Henri Büsser born, French composer

1874 – Robert W. Service born, English-Canadian poet

1882 – Margaret Wilson born, American novelist, short story writer, Presbyterian missionary in the Punjab region of India (1905-1910), and high school teacher; awarded the 1924 Pulitzer Prize for The Able McLaughlins. After her marriage to George Douglas Turner, a Scotsman she met in India, she moved to England. When he became warden of Dartmoor Prison, she wrote a non-fiction study on prison reform, The Crime of Punishment


1883 – Civil Service Day * – The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act becomes law, creating the U.S. Civil Service Commission to oversee and enforce regulation of competitive exams for non-appointed federal positions, and protection of workers from being fired or demoted for political reasons

1898 – Margaret Booth born, American film editor and executive producer, whose career stretched from editing silent films for D.W. Griffith beginning in 1915, to editing Greta Garbo pictures, including Camille, at MGM, to executive producer on The Slugger’s Wife in 1985 at age 87; received an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in Editing in 1978, and lived to be 104 years old

1900 – Kiku Amino born, Japanese author and translator of English and Russian literature; recipient of the 1947 Women’s Literature Prize for Kin no kan (A Golden Coffin), the 1967 Yomiuri Prize and the Japan Academy of the Arts prize for Ichigo ichie (Once in a Lifetime)

1901 – Laura Riding born as Laura Reichenthal, American poet, critic, novelist, essayist and short story writer. Her first poems were published in The Fugitive magazine (1922-1925). She published her first collection of poetry, The Close Chaplet, in 1926.

1905 – Ernesto Halffter born,  Spanish composer

1909 – Ernest Shackleton’s expedition finds the magnetic South Pole

1918 – Nel Benschop born, Dutch Christian poet and teacher who became the best-selling poet in the Netherlands, after her first volume of poetry, Gouddraad uit vlas (Gold thread from flax) was published in 1967

1919 – The U.S. ratifies the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, authorizing Prohibition in the United States one year after ratification

1920 – The League of Nations holds its first council meeting in Paris

1930 – Mary Ann McMorrow born, American lawyer and first woman elected to the Illinois Supreme Court (1992) and its first woman Chief Justice (2002-2006); became a judge on the Illinois Appellate Court in 1985, and the first woman chair of the Executive Committee of the Appellate Court. In 1976, she was elected as a Judge of the Circuit Court . After practicing law (1953-1970?), she was appointed as Assistant State’s Attorney of Cook County, assigned to the Criminal Division, and was the first woman to prosecute felony cases in Cook County

1932 – Dian Fossey born, American zoologist and primatologist, notable for her years of extensive study of mountain gorilla groups in Rwanda, in central Africa. In 1963, she met Louis and Mary Leakey, who encouraged her initial interest. With additional encouragement from Jane Goodall, she set up and directed (1967-1980) the Karisoke Research Center, Rwanda. Living a solitary life among the gorillas, she learned their habits, and gradually gained their acceptance. She wrote Gorillas in the Mist (1983) to to raise public awareness of the threats to the gorillas from poachers and loss of habitat. In 1985, Fossey’s mutilated body, hacked by machete, was found near the centre. Poachers, whose devastating attacks on the gorillas she had tried to stop, were suspected for her murder, though her murder remains unsolved.

1933 – Susan Sontag born, American author and essayist; Against Interpretation

1938 – Benny Goodman and his orchestra perform at NY’s Carnegie Hall

1938 – Marina Vaizey born, Lady Vaizey, Anglo-American art critic and author based in the UK; noted for biographies of painters

1944 – General Eisenhower takes command of the Allied invasion force in London

1944 – Jill Tarter born as Jill Cornell, American astronomer known for her work on the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence); former director of the Center for SETI Research

1945 –  Adolf Hitler moves into his underground bunker in Berlin, the so-called Führerbunker

1948 – Ruth Reichl born, American chef, food writer, television series host, and former editor of Gourmet magazine

1952 – Julie Anne Peters born, American author of young adult fiction, often featuring LGBT characters; Luna (2004) was the first mainstream release YA novel with a transgender character

1957 – Little Richard is the first to record the song “Lucille.” His version reaches #1 on the Billboard R&B chart, #21 on the U.S. pop chart, and #10 on the United Kingdom chart

1958 – Lena Ek born, Swedish lawyer and politician; Minister for the Environment (2011-2014); Member of the European Parliament (2004-2011), on the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. She was a Member of the Riksdag (Swedish parliament, 1998-2004). Ek is a member of the Centre Party, part of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

1959 – Lisa Milroy born, Canadian artist; won the 1989 John Moores Painting Prize

Frolicking Geishas by Lisa Milroy

1964 – Hello, Dolly! opens on Broadway, beginning a run of 2,844 performances

1968 – Rebecca Stead born, American author of childen’s and young adult fiction; winner of the 2010 Newbery Medal for When You Reach Me

1969 – Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 perform the first-ever docking of manned spacecraft in orbit, which is also a first in-space transfer of crew between space vehicles

1970 – Buckminster Fuller receives the Gold Medal award from the American Institute of Architects in recognition of a significant body of work of lasting influence

1979 – Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Iranian Shah flees the country with his family,  relocating to Egypt

1991 – Coalition Forces go to war with Iraq, beginning the Gulf War

1992 – El Salvador officials and rebel leaders sign the Chapultepec Peace Accords in  Mexico City, ending the 12-year Salvadoran Civil War that claimed at least 75,000 lives

1998 – Researchers announce an altered gene has helped defend against HIV

2001 – Laurent Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since he overthrew Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997, is assassinated by one of his bodyguards

2002 – UN Security Council unanimously institutes an arms embargo and freezes  assets of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and the remaining members of the Taliban

2004 – Appreciate a Dragon Day * is launched by retired schoolteacher Mrs. Paul, to celebrate dragons and dragon lore, so read your favorite dragon book or create some dragon art

2006 – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is sworn in as Liberia’s first woman president, and Africa’s first female elected head of state

2018 – During the four-day sentencing hearing of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, nearly 90 women are expected to testify about the sexual abuse to which he subjected them. Nassar pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault, but the judge in the case is allowing any of his more than 140 accusers speak if they ask. The first accuser to speak was not one of the dozens of gymnasts who have accused him of abuse, but a family friend who said Nassar molested her at his house, causing a family rift when her parents didn’t believe her. Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles said she, too, was one of Nassar’s victims. Her teammates McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, and Gabby Douglas had previously disclosed that they were sexually abused by Nassar. The incidents dated back as far as 1992, and several of his victims had reported his misconduct to USA Gymnastics, but the organization took no action against him until 2015. Nassar had previously pled guilty to child pornography charges, for which he was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison, and to seven counts of sexual assault in Michigan, where he was sentenced to 175 years in state prison

2016 U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team. left to right:
Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles, Madison Kocian and Laurie Hernandez
(McKayla Maroney was a member of the 2012 U.S. team)


custard the dragon

Ogden Nash’s Custard the Dragon

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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