Sunday, August 14, 2011

The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here!

August 14, 1945 -
Steve Martin, actor, comedian, writer, playwright, producer and banjo player was born on this date.

... Into the mud, Scum Queen!

August 14, 410 -
Barbarians at the Gate, indeed. Visigoths under King Alaric sack Rome after slave co-conspirators open the city gates for them.

Looting lasts for six days.

Now that must have been some party.

August 14, 1900 -
111 years ago today the western powers quelled the Boxer Rebellion in China. In the clearing stood the Boxers, fighters by their trade, and they carried the reminders of every glove that laid them down or cut them til they cried out, in their anger and their pain, they were leaving, they were leaving, but the fighter still remained.

Unless that was Simon and Garfunkel, in which case the Boxers were bitter, out-of-work Chinese boxers who didn't think the western powers should be allowed to control China's ports, despite the fact that everyone knew China was a poor backward country without any modern conveniences.

Emboldened by the belief that their magical boxing powers made them invulnerable to bullets, they demanded that westerners get out of China or die.

Westerners refused to get out. They crushed the rebellion, and boxing remains a neglected sport in China to this day.

August 14, 1904 -
The cattle-herding Hereros, a tribe of Southwest Africa (later Namibia), became the first genocide victims of the 20th century. Gimpy armed Kaiser Wilhelm II had sent General Lothar von Trotha to put down a Herero uprising along with the groups of rebellious Khoikhoi. Trotha drove the Hereros into the desert and then issued a formal "extermination order" (Schrecklichkeit) authorizing the slaughter of all who refused to surrender.

Out of some 80,000 Hereros, 60,000 died in the desert. Of the 15,000 who surrendered, half of those died in prison camps. Some 9,000 escaped to neighboring countries.

Oh those wacky German.

August 14, 1945 -
Over the radio, Emperor Hirohito announces his unconditional surrender to Allied forces, thus bringing an end to World War II. The Allied forces were so concerned that the emperor would kill himself before the broadcast that they had him pre-record his message.

This broadcast is the first chance the Japanese people have had to hear their god-emperor's speaking voice. Because of the Japanese anathema to surrender and the formal, somewhat archaic Japanese used by the old Imperial Court the emperor spoke, most Japanese didn't realize that they had actually surrendered until about a day later.

August 14, 1951 -
...As it must to all men, death came to Charles Foster Kane.

10 years after the fictionalized version of his life premiered, Newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst dies at home in Beverly Hills, California.

August 14, 1965 -

Salvatore Bono and Cherilyn Sarkisian La Pierre capture #1 on the American pop charts with their song I Got You Babe,

launching the careers of Sonny & Cher.

August 14, 1995 -
Shannon Faulkner officially became the first female cadet in the history of The Citadel, South Carolina's state military college.

She quit the school less than a week later, citing the stress of her court fight, and her isolation among the male cadets .

August 14, 2126 -
The next scheduled perihelion for the "Doomsday Rock," also known as the Swift-Tuttle Comet. The six-mile-diameter mass is thought to be roughly the same size as the asteroid which wiped out the dinosaurs and will probably come within 15 million miles of planet Earth.

No need to worry, according to the Mayan calendar, we will have already all died back in 2012.

Have a good day.

And so it goes.

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