ON THIS DAY: February 18, 2020

February 18th is

(U.S.) Presidents Day

Crab Stuffed Flounder Day

Battery Day *

National Drink Wine Day

Pluto Day *


MORE! Toni Morrison, Ray Charles and Audre Lorde, click



Australia – Stanhope Gardens:
Blacktown Seniors Day Festival

Bermuda – Bermuda Festival
of the Performing Arts

Canada – Vancouver:
Talking Stick Festival

Egypt – Al Haram:
Abu Simbel Sun Festival

Jamaica –Oracabessa:
Jamaica Fat Tyre Festival

Japan – Amami Islands: Dialect Day

Gambia – Independence Day

Iceland – Konudagur
(Wife’s Day)

India – New Delhi:
Delhi Flower Show

Iraqi Kurdistan – Kurdish
Students Union Day

Italy – Milan: Milan Fashion Week

Mexico – Playa del Carmen:
Zouk Retreat (dance and yoga)

Nepal – National Democracy Day

Singapore – Aviation Festival

South Africa – Johannesburg:
School Literary & Set Works Festival

Spain – Sitges: Siges Carnival


On This Day in HISTORY

259 BC – Qin Shi Huang born, founder of the Qin dynasty, and the first in China to use the title of Emperor

1201 – Nasīr al-Dīn Tusī born, Persian polymath, architect, philosopher, physician, scientist, and a Twelver Shia Muslim theologian; a pioneer in trigonometry

1229 – Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, had married Yolande of Jerusalem, daughter of John of Brienne, nominal ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1225, giving him a claim to the truncated kingdom; the ‘Sixth Crusade’ is a diplomatic mission, and on this date he signs a 10-year truce with al-Kamil, regaining Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem  without either military engagements or support from the papacy

1332 – Amda Syon I, Emperor of Ethiopia, begins his campaign against Sultan ad-Din I, of the neighboring Islamic Sultanate of Ifat, and King Haydara of Dawaro, who were allies in a war against the Christian Abyssinians

1478 – George, Duke of Clarence, convicted of treason against his older brother Edward IV of England, is executed in private at the Tower of London

1516 – Mary Tudor born, who will be Queen Mary I of England and Ireland (1553–1558), aka“Bloody” Mary because of her attempt to return Britain to being to a Catholic state


1632 – Giovanni Battista Vitali born, Italian violinist and composer

1685 – Robert Cavelier, sieur de LaSalle, establishes Fort St. Louis at Matagorda Bay, which forms the basis for France’s claim to Texas

1688 – In Pennsylvania, a protest against slavery is organized by Germantown Quakers at their monthly meeting

1745 – Battery Day * – Alessandro Volta born, Italian physicist and battery inventor

1791 – Congress passes a law admitting the state of Vermont to the Union, effective March 4, 1791; Vermont was a de facto independent but unrecognized state for 14 years

1830 – Pluto Day * Clyde W. Tombaugh discovers photographic evidence of Pluto at Lowell Observatory, in Flagstaff AZ

1848 – Louis Comfort Tiffany born, Tiffany & Co, American craftsman- designer; made significant advancements in the art of glassmaking

Tiffany stained glass – ‘Wisteria’

1851 – Ida Husted Harper born, American author, educator, journalist and suffragist

1857 – Max Klinger born, German symbolist painter, sculptor, and writer; Paraphrase on the Finding of a Glove

1861 – Jefferson Davis was sworn in as president of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Alabama

1861 – With Italian unification almost complete, Victor Emmanuel II of Piedmont,  Savoy and Sardinia assumes the title of King of Italy (1861-1878)

1865 – The Confederates abandon Charleston, South Carolina; among the first Union troops to enter the city are the 21st U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment, and two companies of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers, one of the first black units in the Union Army

1867 – Hedwig Courths-Mahler born, German novelist who, under various pen names, wrote romance fiction so popular that many of her books are still in print. By the time of her death in 1950, an estimated 80 million copies of her books had been sold, making her the most popular German woman author by number of sold copies

1871 – Harry Brearley born, English metallurgist who invented stainless steel (1912)

1883 – Nikos Kazantzakis born, major Greek author and playwright; best known outside Greece for his novels Zorba the Greek, and The Last Temptation of Christ

1885 – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is published

1892 – Wendell Willkie born, American Republican presidential candidate

1898 – Enzo Ferrari born, Italian automobile manufacturer- designer- race-car driver

1900 – Second Anglo-Boer War, Battle of Paardeberg: The Boer army, led by General Piet Cronjé, outnumbered 2-to-1, loses the battle to the combined Britsh Empire forces from the UK and Canada, but both sides suffer substantial causalities. This first day of the battle is labeled “Bloody Sunday” because of number of dead and wounded

1901 – Hubert Cecil Booth patents the vacuum cleaner, but it is so large, he has to mount the machine on a horse-drawn carriage, with a long hose to reach inside a house

1909 – Wallace Stegner born, American author, historian, environmentalist; “Dean of Western Writers” won the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Angle of Repose;  1977  National Book Award for Fiction, The Spectator Bird

1911 – The first official flight with airmail occurs when Henri Pequet, a 23-year-old pilot, delivers 6,500 letters to Naini, a little over 6 miles (10 kilometres) from Allahabad, United Provinces, in British India (now in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh)

1918 – Jane Loevinger born, American psychologist, pioneer in ego development theory and women’s psychological issues

1921 – Mary Amdur born, American toxicologist and public health researcher who worked primarily on the effects of smog, beginning with the air inversion in the mill town of Donora PA, which killed 20 people and sickened 7,000 others; her findings led to her being threatened, the loss of her funding, and losing her job at the Harvard School of Public Health in 1953; she carried on her research in a different role at Harvard, and later at MIT and New York University; she was vindicated when her studies became the basis for the first standards in air pollution monitoring, leading to the 1970 Clean Air Act

Pittsburgh air pollution in the 1940s – inset: Dr. Mary Amdur

1922 – Helen Gurley Brown born, American author, publisher and businesswoman, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine

1929 – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces the winners of the first Academy Awards; Oscars to Best Actress: Janet Gaynor, Best Actor: Emil Jannings, and Best Film: Wings

1930 – Pluto Day * The planet Pluto is discovered by Clyde Tombaugh, at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff Arizona, and then named by Venetia Burney, who was 11-year-old at the time. In 2006, a controversial vote at the International Astronomical Union downgrades Pluto to a dwarf planet, which means it’s still a planet

1931 – Toni Morrison born, American author, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Nobel Prize in Literature, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

1934 – Audre Lorde born, American poet, author, feminist and civil rights activist

1936 – Jean Auel born, American author of the best-selling Earth’s Children novels, set in prehistoric Europe

1940 – Prue Leith born in South Africa, British chef, journalist, TV presenter, cookery writer and restaurateur; her Notting Hill restaurant, Leith’s, had a Michelin star (1969-1995); she founded Leith’s School of Food and Wine (1975-1993), and the Prue Leith Chef’s Academy in South Africa; food columnist for the Daily Mail, The Guardian and the Daily Mirror, and author of 12 cook books

Prue Leith photo by David Venni

1941 – Irma Thomas born, American singer-songwriter, noted as “The Soul Queen of New Orleans”

1950 – Nana Amba Eyiaba I born, appointed in 1982 as one of the Ghanaian queen mothers,  for Effutu 16 of the Effutu Municipal District, a traditional position responsible for maintaining local cultural traditions and providing care for women and children in her area. In 2001, after a national women’s conference held by the University of Ghana, she was a key leader in a group of queen mothers who developed the national Council of Women Traditional Leaders (CWTL), which eventually grew to include women  leaders who were not queen mothers.  Eyiaba served on the CWTL executive Council from 2001 to 2016, advocating for more participation of women leaders in national politics. In 2013, the national Minister of Chieftaincy opened their regional and national meetings of Houses of Chiefs to queen mothers, but they were excluded from voting rights. CWTL began the fight for queen mothers’ full representation in 2016. Eyiaba worked for the Ghana Education Service of the Ministry of Education from 1997 until 2009, rising to become Director of Education for the Central Region before her retirement. Member of the Electoral Commission of Ghana from 2004 to 2010

1952 – Greece and Turkey become members of NATO

1955 – Lisa See born, American writer and novelist, noted for On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family; Snow Flower and the Secret Fan; Peony in Love; and The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

1959 – Ray Charles records “What’d I Say”

1964 – “Any Wednesday” opens at NYC’s Music Box Theatre

1970 – Five of the Chicago Seven defendants found guilty of intent to incite a riot at 1968’s Democratic national convention; their convictions are later overturned

1972 – The California Supreme Court strikes down the state’s death penalty in People v. Anderson; overruled by Proposition 17 in the same year

1974 – Carrie Ann Baade born, American contemporary surrealist painter and associate professor in Florida State University’s Department of Art. In 2007 she was among a group of three artists who became the first Americans ever to exhibit at the Ningbo Museum, one of the largest provincial museums in China, located outside of Shanghai. The Ningbo Museum director called them “the Mayflowers” for their contributions as cultural ambassadors. She is also a co-author of Cute and Creepy 

Allegory of Bad Government – by Carrie Ann Baade

1974 – Ruby Dhalla born, Canadian Liberal politician; Member of Parliament for Brampton-Springdale (2004-2011); she and British Columbia Conservative MP Nina Grewal became the first Sikh women to serve in the Canadian House of Commons

1974 – Julia “Butterfly” Hill born, American environmental activist; she lived in a 1500-year-old California redwood tree for 738 days (1997-1999) to prevent Pacific Lumber Company loggers from cutting it down; author of The Legacy of Luna, and co-author of One Makes a Difference

1974 – Leilani Münte born, stock car racing driver (2010-2018) and environmental activist; became an Ambassador for the National Wildlife Federation in 2008, and has been an advocate for solar and wind power; she’s been a volunteer for Save Japan Dolphins, protesting against the annual slaughter of the Taiji dolphins, since 2010

1976 – Bernadette Sembrano-Aguinaldo born, Filipina newscaster, investigative reporter and television host; known for her investigative work on The Correspondents, and as co-anchor of the weekday evening news for ABS-CBN news. In 2011, she was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, and continues to undergo therapy

1977 – The space shuttle Enterprise makes its maiden “flight” atop a Boeing 747

1987 – Girl Scout executives change the scout uniform color from the traditional Girl Scout green to the newer Girl Scout blue

Note the white gloves and heels on the older girl scouts –
were they being to trained to be airline stewardesses?

1988 – Anthony M. Kennedy is sworn in as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

1998 – In Russia, money shortages result in the shutting down of three plants that produced nuclear weapons

2000 – The U.S. Commerce Department reports a deficit in trade goods and services of $271.3 billion for 1999, the largest calendar-year trade gap in U.S. history.

2001 – FBI agent Robert Philip Hanssen is arrested, accused of spying for Russia for over 15 years; later pleads guilty and sentenced to life in prison without parole

2006 – A Hamas-dominated Palestinian parliament is sworn in

2010 – Bibliothèque nationale de France buys Giacomo Casanova’s memoirs for 7,000,000 Euros (about $10,085,000 in U.S. dollars)

2012 – 75% of voters vote “no” in Latvia, rejecting a proposed change to the Latvian constitution that would have made Russian a second official language of the country

2018 – Students who survived the shooting rampage that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, announced plans for a march in Washington DC and other cities to call for tighter gun control. “People are saying that it’s not time to talk about gun control. And we can respect that,” 11th-grader Cameron Kasky told ABC’s This Week. “Here’s a time: March 24 in every single city. We are going to be marching together as students begging for our lives.” Other groups also plan protests, including a 17-minute March 14 Teacher Walkout called for by Women’s March organizers


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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