ON THIS DAY: June 24, 2020

June 24th is

Celebration of the Senses Day *

Cat World Domination Day

Pralines Day

Swim a Lap Day

International Fairy Day

Stonewall National Monument Day *


MORE! Anita Desai, Lawrence Block and Vicky Phelan, click



Christianity – Feast of St. John the Baptist

Brazil – Day of the Caboclo
(people of mixed ancestry)

Canada –
Quebec: St. Jean Baptiste Day
 (patron saint of the city)
Newfoundland and Labrador:

›  Discovery Day

Estonia – St. John’s Day

Latvia – Jani (St. John’s Day)

Lithuania – Day of Dew
(St. John’s Day)

Peru – Farmer Day/Inti Raymi
(Incan Sun Day)

Philippines – Wattah Wattah
(Saint John the Baptist Day)

Scotland – Bannockburn Day

Venezuela – Carabobo Battle Day


On This Day in HISTORY

1312 BC – Muršili II, King of the Hittite Empire, launches an attack on Hayasa-Azzi, a confederation of two kingdoms in the uplands near Mount Ararat

217 BC – Second Punic War: Four Roman legions under Gaius Flaminius Nepos are ambushed and defeated by Hannibal’s army at the Battle of Lake Trasimene

109 – Emperor Trajan inaugurates the Aqua Traiana, an aqueduct that channels water from Lake Bracciano, 25 miles (40 kilometres) north-west of Rome

637 – The Battle of Moira is fought between the High King of Ireland and the Kings of Ulster and Dál Riata, a contender for the largest battle in the history of Ireland

972 – The Battle of  Cedynia, the first documented victory of Polish forces

1128 – Forces led by Teresa of León, Countess of Portugal, and Fernando Pérez de Traba are defeated by Alfonso I, Teresa’s son, at the Battle of São Mamede

1314 – Robert the Bruce leads Scottish forces to victory over Edward II of England at Bannockburn

1314 (? year uncertain) – Philippa of Hainault born in France, became Queen of England as the wife of Edward III; acted as regent in 1346 when her husband went to war in France. She is credited with persuading Edward to spare the Burghers of Calais when the besieged city was forced by starvation to surrender; Edward said he would spare the people if six of the city’s leaders would give themselves up to him, demanding they walk out wearing nooses around their necks, and carrying the keys to the city. Philippa asked Edward to be merciful, saying their deaths would be a bad omen for her unborn child, Thomas of Windsor (who only lived a year, in spite of Edward’s mercy)

1322 – Joanna, Duchess of Brabant, born; ruler of Brabant (1355-1406). Her first husband, William IV, Count of Holland, died in battle, after 11 years of marriage, and their only son also died young. Her second marriage was to Wenceslaus of Luxembourg. The marriage negotiations resulted in a document in 1356 called the Blijde Inkomst (“Joyful Entry”) which became the rule of law in Brabant. It assured Joanna and her consort peaceable entry into their capital and settled the inheritance of the Duchy of Branbant on Johanna’s sisters, her “natural heirs,” who were more acceptable to the burghers of Brabant than rule by the House of Luxenbourg. However, this caused problems when Louis II of Flanders almost immediately made a military incursion into Brabant, claiming he was Duke of Brabant by right of his wife, Joanna’s younger sister. With Branbant overrun by forces from Flanders, Joanna and Wenceslaus had little choice but to sign the humiliating Treaty of Ath, ceding Malines and Antwerp to Louis. They called on the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV for support by force of arms, but instead he met at Maastrict with the parties concerned, including representatives of all the towns, and nullified certain terms of the Blijde Inkomst, to satisfy the Luxembourg  dynasty. The duchy continued to deteriorate with Wencelaus’s defeat and capture at the battle of Baesweiler with the Duke of Jülich in 1371 after mercenaries robbed Brabantine merchants in Jülich territory and the Duke protected the mercenaries. Joanna did manage to keep Louis III from succeeding her. At her death, the Duchy passed to her great-nephew Antoine, the second son of her niece, Margaret III, Countess of Flanders

1374 – One of the first major outbreaks of St. John’s Dance or St. Vitus’s Dance, a possible mass psychogenic illness, overtakes Aachen, Germany, causing hallucinations, jumping and twitching until people collapse from exhaustion

Victims of Saint Vitus Dance Go on Pilgrimage, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

1509 – Henry VIII is crowned king of England

1519 – Théodore Bèza born, French Protestant theologian, author, translator and teacher, a disciple of John Calvin, influential figure in the Reformation

1532 – Robert Dudley, first Earl of Leicester born, English courtier, statesman, favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, financial backer of Francis Drake, patron of the arts, especially theatre

1535 – Juana of Austria born, Princess of Portugal by marriage to Prince John Manuel (1552-1554). As a widow, she ably served as regent of Spain for her brother Philip II of Spain during his sojourn in England while he was married Queen Mary I of England (1554-1558). She was a great supporter of a new religious order, the Society of Jesus (better known as the Jesuits), founded by Ignatius of Loyola, and she founded the Convent of Nuestra Señora de la Consolación (Our Lady of Consolation) in 1557 for nuns of the order of Poor Clares

Juana of Austria, Princess of Portugal – by Alonso Sánchez Coello

1591 – Mustafa I born, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1617-1618 and 1622-1623). The custom of Sultans before Mustafa’s older brother ascended the throne was to have all his brothers executed (Mustafa’s father, Mehmed III, had executed 19 of his brothers.) But when Ahmed I was enthroned in 1603 at the age of 13, he spared the life of Mustafa, aged 12.  In 1617, Ahmed died, causing a crisis. Both Ahmed’s first-born son Osman, and his brother Mustafa, had claims to the throne.  Şeyhülislam Esad Efendi and Sofu Mehmed Pasha headed the faction that said Osman was too young, and championed Mustafa, who was 26 years old. Others objected because of Mustafa’s mental problems, but they were overruled.  It was the first time an Ottoman Sultan was succeeded by his brother instead of his son, and created a new succession principle of seniority that would last until the end of the Empire. Mustafa’s mother Halime Sultan became the Valide Sultan as well as a regent and wielded great power. Due to Mustafa’s mental conditions, she acted as a regent and exercised power more directly. Mustafa behavior was rumoured to be odd: he pulled off the turbans of his viziers and yanked their beards, and some claimed to have seen him throwing coins to birds and fish. Whatever his mental condition, he was batted back and forth by the Topkapi Palace court cliques. In 1618, a different palace faction deposed him in favor his 14-year-old nephew, who became Osman II (1618-1622), but Osman angered the Janissaries (the Sultan’s household guards), and they strangled him to death during an uprising, so Mustafa was once again placed on the throne. He began his second reign by executing everyone who had any share in the murder of his nephew. Rumors of his mental instability increased, and his mother continued to hold most of the real power. A conflict between the Janissaries and the sipahis (Ottoman cavalry) increased the political instability, and Mustafa was deposed a second time. Murad IV, the 11-year-old son of Ahmed I, was enthroned in 1623. Mustafa was spared execution by the pleadings of his mother, and lived in the Eski (Old) Palace until his death in 1639, at age 47

1604 – Samuel de Champlain reaches the mouth of the Saint John River

1717 – The Premier Grand Lodge, the first Masonic (Freemasons) Grand Lodge, is founded in London

1813 – Henry Ward Beecher born, American Congregational minister, abolitionist, author and social reformer, involved in a major scandal over alleged adulterous affairs

1831 – Rebecca Harding Davis born, American author and journalist; advocate for marginalized groups in society including blacks, Native Americans, women, immigrants and the working class; author of novella, Life in the Iron Mills

1842 – Ambrose Bierce born, American author, journalist and wit, served as a lieutenant in the Union Army during in the Civil War; noted for The Devil’s Dictionary

1844 – Charles Goodyear is granted a U.S. patent for vulcanized rubber

1854 – Eleanor Norcross born, American painter of portraits, still lifes and interiors who lived and worked in Paris for most of her adult life; Norcross was an art collector and very systematic in documenting her collection, which became part of her bequest to found the Fitchburg Art Museum in Massachusetts

Eleanor Norcross Two Ladies at the Piano

1867 – Ruth Randall Edström born, American women’s rights and peace activist; she moved to Europe after marrying Sigfrid Edström, a Swedish engineer, and they lived in first in Switzerland, and then in Sweden.  She was one of the organizers of the third peace conference in The Hague, and participated in the International Women’s Congress of 1915

1880 – Agnes Nestor born, American labor leader, politician, suffragist and social reformer, known for her roles in the International Glove Workers Union and the Women’s Trade Union League

1883 – Victor Franz Hess born in Austria-Hungary, American physicist; 1936 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on atmospheric radiation, “cosmic rays”

1901 – First exhibition by Pablo Picasso, aged 19, opens in Paris

Self-portrait, by Pablo Picasso

1912 –Mary Wesley born, English novelist and children’s author; she worked for MI5 during the war and noted in her official biography, published after her death, that she would “hunt in pairs” with her friend Betty, who, like her, favoured men in RAF uniform. Years later, when her husband died she was left impoverished, and tried writing children’s books, but they brought in little money. Her first adult novel, Jumping the Queue, was published when she was 71 years old, but it was followed by ten other novels in the next fourteen years, all of them bestsellers. Her most successful book, The Camomile Lawn, was made into a popular television series in the UK. Some younger readers were shocked that an “elderly woman” author would use such salty language and put septuagenarian sexual scenes in her books, but she delighted a large number of readers who were her contemporaries

1914 – Pearl Witherington born, British secret agent, fought in occupied France as a Special Operations Executive member, leading a guerrilla band of French resistance fighters; recommended for the Military Cross, but was denied it because she was a woman.

1915 – Norman Cousins born, American essayist; editor of The Saturday Review

1916 – Saloua Raouda Choucair born, Lebanese painter and sculptor; considered the first abstract artist in Lebanon. In 1943, she went to Egypt, and was affected by the Islamic art she discovered in the mosques in Cairo. A combination of architectural and traditional Islamic elements became central to her work. After her return to Lebanon, some of her drawings were published in the Art Gazette of the American University of Beirut’s Art Club. In 1947, she exhibited some of her geometrical gouache work at the Arab Cultural Gallery, the first recorded abstract painting exhibition in the Arab World. 1947 was also the year she went to Paris, and became part of the city’s art scene. She spent the majority of the rest of her life there, over time concentrating more on sculpture than painting, and winning a commission for a stone sculpture as public art in Beirut. She lived to age 100

Self-Portrait 1943 – Poem, sculpture – Saloua Raouda Choucair

1916 – John Ciardi born, American poet, etymologist and translator, notably for Dante’s Divine Comedy; columnist and editor at The Saturday Review

1916 – Mary Pickford becomes the first woman film star to sign a million dollar contract

1917 – Joan Clarke born, British linguist, cryptanalyst and numismatist; one of the WWII code breakers at Bletchley Park working on the Enigma project. When Clarke first arrived at Bletchley Park in June, 1940, she was placed with “The Girls,”  a group women that mainly did routine clerical work. At this time, cryptology was not considered a job for a woman. According to Clarke, she only knew of one other female cryptologist that worked at Bletchley Park. Gordon Welchman, her former academic advisor, who had recruited her, was able to get her transferred to Hut 8. She was the only woman  practitioner of Banburismus, a cryptanalytic process developed by Alan Turing which reduced the need for bombes —electromechanical devices as used by Welchman and Turing to decipher German encrypted messages. Although Clarke had the same position as her male coworkers, she was being paid less due to her gender. Clarke’s first work promotion was to Linguist Grade, although she didn’t speak other languages, a ploy so she could be paid more money, because of her workload and contributions to the team. Clarke became deputy head of Hut 8 in 1944, but that was her last promotion, and she continued to be paid less than her male counterparts. She and Alan Turing became close friends and worked well together. In 1941, Turing proposed, and they were engaged, but he privately admitted to her that he was a homosexual, which she said she had already suspected. Turing decided he could not go through with the marriage, and broke off the engagement. He and Clarke remained close friends until his death in 1954.  After the war, Clarke went to work for Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), where she met and married John Murray, a retired army officer who had served in India. From 1952 to 1962, she and her husband were retired as he suffered from ill health. She returned to GCHQ in 1972, and worked there until her retirement in 1977

1917 – Lucy Jarvis born, American television producer. She was a food editor at McCall’s magazine who left to raise her two children; then as a volunteer for the Organization for Rehabilitation through Training (ORT), she produced the documentary, Passport to Freedom, and began working for radio and television organizations, including Pathé News. Worked on a public affairs radio program with Martha Rountree in 1957. In 1959, became associate producer on NBC’s The Nation’s Future, and its producer in 1961. Jarvis produced documentaries, including The Kremlin (1963 – in Moscow during the Cuban Missile Crisis), The Louvre: A Golden Prison (1964) which won a Peabody Award, and six Emmys, and What Price Health (1973), which won a Hillman Prize. She left NBC in 1976 to produce several Barbara Walters specials for ABC, then launched her own production company, and produced shows on Broadway, including Sophisticated Ladies (1988)

1918 – Mildred Ladner Thompson, American journalist, one of the first women reporters at The Wall Street Journal

1923 – Margaret Olley born, Australian painter, known for still-life paintings, recipient of the Mosman Art Prize. She donated over 130 artworks to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, with an estimated value of $7 million AUD

Eucharist Lilies, by Margaret Olley – 1963

1929 – Carolyn Shoemaker born, American astronomer; she was a 51-year-old “empty-nester” when she started her career, as a field assistant to her husband Gene; she discovered 32 comets, over 800 asteroids, and was co-discoverer of the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9

1937 – Anita Desai born in the Garhwal Kingdom, Indian novelist and Emerita Professor of Humanities at MIT; won the 1978 Sahitya Akademi Award and the Holtby Memorial Prize for Fire on the Mountain, and the 1983 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize for Village by the Sea. Clear Light of Day, In Custody and Feasting, Fasting were shortlisted for the Booker Prize

1938 – Lawrence Block born, American crime fiction writer; named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of American in 1994

1940 – The WWII Vichy French government signs an armistice with Italy

1941 – Julia Kristeva born in Bulgaria, French author, psychoanalyst, sociologist, philosopher, feminist and human rights activist; noted for development of the concept of abjection, process of separating one’s self from another, such as a child developing a separate identify from a protective parent, or an abused woman separating her sense of self from her abuser; founder of the Simone de Beauvoir Prize

1943 – Birgit Grodal born, Danish economist and academic, who worked on micro-economic theory, mathematical economics and general equilibrium theory; elected as president of the European Economic Association, but died before she took office; author noted for A Second Remark on the Core of an Atomless Economy (1972), and Existence of Approximate Cores with Incomplete Preferences (1976)

1944 – Kathryn Lasky born, American author of children’s fiction, including historical novels in the Dear America series; also writes adult fiction, sometimes under the pen name E.L. Swann

1947 – Mick Fleetwood born, British rock musician, drummer and co-founder with John McVie of Fleetwood Mac

1947 – Clarissa Dickson Wright born, English chef, author, and one of the Two Fat Ladies, with Jennifer Paterson, on the popular BBC2 cooking programme. She is also an accredited cricket umpire, and one of only two women to become a Guild Butcher

Two Fat Ladies: Jennifer Paterson, left, and Clarissa Dickson Wright, right

1949 – Hopalong Cassidy debuts as network TV’s first western series on NBC

1950 – Mercedes Lackey born, American fantasy novelist; many of her books are set on the world of Velgarth, with interlinked stories

1952 – Dianna Melrose born in Zimbabwe, British diplomat; British High Commissioner to Tanzania (2013-2016); British Ambassador to Cuba (2008-2012); in the Department for International Development (2002-2006) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2000-2002 and 2006-2008)

1957 – In Roth v United States, and its companion case, Miller v. California, U.S. Supreme Court in a 6-3 ruling, redefines the Constitutional test for determining what constitutes obscene material not protected by the First Amendment: Material whose “dominant theme taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest” to the “average person, applying contemporary community standards.” Only material meeting this test could be banned as “obscene.” The convictions for publishing and sending obscene material through the mail in both companion cases are upheld

1960 –Dame Elish Angiolini born, Scottish lawyer; Lord Advocate of Scotland (2006-2011); Solicitor General (2001-2006); was the first woman, first Procurator Fiscal (public prosecutor) and first solicitor to hold either post. Currently Principal of St Hugh’s College, Oxford, and Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland

1964 – The Federal Trade Commission rules that health warnings must appear on all cigarette packages

1964 – Kate Parminter born, Baroness Parminter of Godalming; British Liberal Democrat Life Peer in the House of Lords since 2010; Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords since 2015; Liberal Democrats Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Spokesperson (2015-2017); Chief Executive of the Campaign to Project Rural England (1998-2004)

1966 – Adrienne Shelly born as Adrienne Levine; American actress, film director and screenplay writer. She wrote, directed and co-starred in 1999’s I’ll Take You There, and Waitress, released in 2007, after Shelly’s death. In November 2006, Shelly was found dead, hanging in the shower of the apartment she used as an office. Originally the police considered her death a suicide, even though the front door was unlocked and money was missing, but a closer examination of the bathroom revealed a male footprint that wasn’t a match to her husband, Andy Ostoy. Police arrested a construction worker, who confessed to the murder and then making it look like a suicide. Ostoy established the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, which awards scholarships, production grants, finishing funds and living stipends to filmmakers. The Women Film Critics Circle gives an annual Adrienne Shelly Award to the film it finds “most passionately opposes violence against women.”

1967 – Women vote for the first time in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) as voters approve a new constitution

1974 – The Beach Boys release their greatest hits album Endless Summer

1979 – Mindy Kaling born as Vera Mindy Chokalingam, American comedian, writer, producer, actress and director

1997 – The U.S. Air Force releases a report on the so-called “Roswell Incident,” suggesting alien bodies witnesses saw in 1947 were actually life-sized dummies

1998 – AT&T strikes a $31.7 billion deal to buy cable TV giant Tele-Communications

2004 – Federal investigators question President George W. Bush for over hour about the news leak of a CIA operative’s name

2009 – South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, missing for seven days, admits that he had secretly flown to Argentina to visit his mistress

2010 – Julia Gillard is the first Australian woman to become her country’s Prime Minister (2010-2013); she was also the first woman to become Deputy Prime Minister, and the first woman leader of a major party in Australia

2011 – Celebration of the Senses Day * is launched

2011 – New York State legalizes same-sex marriage

2013 – Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is sentenced to seven years in prison for abusing his power and having sex with an underage prostitute

2016 – Stonewall National Monument Day * celebrates the designation of the Stonewall Inn and Christopher Park in Greenwich Village as the Stonewall National Monument, commemorating the LGBT Uprising which began June 28, 1969, the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ civil rights movement

2016 – British Prime Minister David Cameron announces his resignation after the British people vote in an historic referendum to leave the European Union

2017 – A black St. Louis police officer was shot by a colleague while off duty. The wounded officer’s lawyer says race was a factor because “a black man is automatically feared.” The off-duty officer was at home when he heard commotion outside and took his police-issued firearm to investigate. When two cops pursuing a suspect saw him, they “ordered him to the ground.” He complied, then was recognized by his coworkers, who told him “to stand up and walk toward them.” At that point, a fourth officer arrived and immediately shot the off-duty cop in the arm. 

2019 – Vicky Phelan, who was told in January 2018 that she had less than a year to live, exposes a medical scandal in Ireland: hundreds of smear tests for cervical cancer that gave false negatives after the Health Service Executive (HSE) outsourced screening the tests to unapproved laboratories in the UK and U.S., compounded by an “inadequate” system for responding to screening errors. The Irish government has approved payments of €20,000 each to at least 120 women who were not told their smear tests were audited for errors after they developed cancer. Phelan’s 2011 smear test failed to detect abnormalities. By 2014, worried by bleeding between periods, she went for another test. It detected cancer. She began treatment within weeks. An internal HSE review discovered the mistake made three years earlier, when treatment might have averted the disease. No one told Phelan until 2017. Then she learned the cancer was incurable. Phelan sued. In April 2018 she received a settlement of €2.5 million, without admission of liability from Clinical Pathology Laboratories, a Texas-based company sub-contracted to assess her test. Her case against the HSE was struck out. She resisted a gag order and went public with her story. Inaccurate smear test results had been given to at least 208 women who were later diagnosed with cervical cancer. Most were not told about the revised results, and now 20 of these women were dead. After Phelan received the devastating diagnosis, first she cried, but then, she got angry. “I’ve always been bullheaded and stubborn,” she said. “I thought: I’m not taking this. I’ve got two small kids. You can’t honestly tell me to go home and die. I was so fucking angry.” A formidable researcher and campaigner, she successfully fought for access to pembrolizumab, an immunotherapy drug, which has shrunk her tumor and extended her life. The Irish state now offers the drug to other women with cervical cancer. Irish people were belatedly learning to stand up for themselves, she said, first challenging the Catholic church and now the medical establishment. “I have people who come up and say: ‘Oh Vicky, you’d be so proud, I asked my doctor a question today.’ I love that.” She is funding a pilot project to give those diagnosed with terminal cancer a professional advocate, an expert who can advise on options including experimental treatments. “It’s to give people a little bit of hope that there might be something out there. There isn’t always, I know that. But you can’t just send people home to die without a little bit of hope.”


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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