OK …. let’s get this over and done with. It’s unpleasant, and I know that it will cause you some anguish and pain, and even cause you to close all the curtains and lie down with either a cake, a bar of chocolate or a stiff drink …. or maybe all three if the first one doesn’t work … so we’ll just do it and get it over with, OK?
Get ready. Sit up straight and gird your loins.
We know that this may be dangerous or difficult for your brain to compute, but we’re going to do it because we is ADULTS!
Deep breath in ….. let it out slowly as if you are blowing down a straw ….
…. …. …. there are … … … … nine days till Christmas (not counting today or the day itself).
I know… I know. Some of you will find that a thoroughly unpleasant thought. But we have to face it at some point. No good skirting around it or believing that, if no one mentions it then it’s not really that close. Your advent calendar should be telling you the truth! Look on me as your unpaid for, not stolen, loving, living, breathing, caring, Advent Calendar.
So anyhoo … we’ve got that over and done with so shall we get on with some edumacation? Good. Let’s get on with it then . . .
On This Day in History
1791 – The United States Bill of Rights becomes law when ratified by the Virginia legislature.
1863 – Romania used for the first time a mountain railway (from Anina to Oravita). A mountain railway is a railway that ascends and descends a mountain slope that has a steep grade. Such railways can use a number of different technologies to overcome the steepness of the grade. Mountain railways commonly have a narrow gauge to allow for tight curves in the track and reduce tunnel size and structure gauge, and hence construction cost and effort.
1891 – James Naismith introduces the first version of basketball, with thirteen rules, a peach basket nailed to either end of his school’s gymnasium, and two teams of nine players.
1905 – The Pushkin House is established in St. Petersburg to preserve the cultural heritage of Alexander Pushkin. Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin (June 6 1799 – February 10 1837) was a Russian Romantic author who is considered to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. Pushkin pioneered the use of vernacular speech in his poems and plays, creating a style of storytelling – mixing drama, romance, and satire – associated with Russian literature ever since and greatly influencing later Russian writers.
Born in Moscow, Pushkin published his first poem at the age of fifteen, and was widely recognized by the literary establishment by the time of his graduation from the Imperial Lyceum in Tsarskoe Selo. Pushkin gradually became committed to social reform and emerged as a spokesman for literary radicals; in the early 1820s he clashed with the government, which sent him into exile in southern Russia. While under the strict surveillance of government censors and unable to travel or publish at will, he wrote his most famous play, the drama Boris Godunov, but could not publish it until years later. His novel in verse, Eugene Onegin, was published serially from 1825 to 1832.
Pushkin and his wife Natalya Goncharova, whom he married in 1831, later became regulars of court society. In 1837, while falling into greater and greater debt amidst rumors that his wife had started conducting a scandalous affair, Pushkin challenged her alleged lover, Georges d’Anthe’s, to a duel. Pushkin was mortally wounded and died two days later.
Because of his liberal political views and influence on generations of Russian rebels, Pushkin was portrayed by Bolsheviks as an opponent to bourgeois literature and culture and a predecessor of Soviet literature and poetry. In 1937, the town of Tsarskoe Selo was renamed Pushkin in his honor.
1914 – Gas explosion at Mitsubishi Hojyo coal mine Japan, 687 killed. This accident is the worst coal mine disaster in Japanese history.
1939 – Gone with the Wind premiered at Loew’s Grand Theater in Atlanta, GA, USA. Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American dramatic-romantic-war film adapted from Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel of the same name and directed by Victor Fleming (Fleming replaced George Cukor). The epic film, set in the American South in and around the time of the Civil War, stars Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Leslie Howard, and Olivia de Havilland, and tells a story of the Civil War and its aftermath from a white Southern viewpoint.
It received ten Academy Awards, a record that stood for twenty years. In the American Film Institute’s inaugural Top 100 American Films of All Time list of 1998, it was ranked number four, although in the 2007 10th Anniversary edition of that list, it was dropped two places, to number six. In June 2008, AFI revealed its 10 top 10 the best ten films in ten American film genres after polling over 1,500 persons from the creative community. Gone with the Wind was acknowledged as the fourth best film in the Epic genre. It has sold more tickets in the U.S. than any other film in history, and is considered a prototype of a Hollywood blockbuster. Today, it is considered one of the greatest and most popular films of all time and one of the most enduring symbols of the golden age of Hollywood. (I haven’t ever managed to watch this film all the way through. I’ve seen bits of it, but never seen the film from start to finish, in full).
1960 – Richard Paul Pavlick is arrested for attempting to blow up and assassinate the U.S. President-Elect, John F. Kennedy only four days earlier. Richard Paul Pavlick (February 13, 1887 ¨C November 11, 1975) was a retired postal worker from New Hampshire who stalked and then attempted to assassinate U.S. President-Elect John F. Kennedy on Sunday, December 11, 1960 in Palm Beach, Florida. He failed, but 3 years later in Dallas, Texas, Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald.
Richard Paul Pavlick
Pavlick, 73 years old at the time of the assassination attempt, had previously lived in the small town of Belmont, New Hampshire with no family. He became known at local public meetings for his angry political rants, which included complaints that the American flag was not being displayed appropriately, and also criticized the government and disparaged Catholics, focusing much of his anger on the Kennedy family and their wealth. On one occasion, Pavlick’s anger erupted when he met the supervisor of the local water company at his home with a gun, which was then confiscated.
Pavlick’s enmity toward John F. Kennedy boiled over after the close 1960 U.S. Presidential election, in which Kennedy had defeated Republican Richard Nixon by 118,000 votes. Turning over his run-down property to a local youth camp, Pavlick disappeared after loading his meager possessions into his 1950 Buick.
After Pavlick left town, Thomas M. Murphy, the 34-year-old U.S. Postmaster of the town of Belmont, New Hampshire began receiving bizarre postcards from Pavlick that stated the town would hear from him soon “in a big way.” Murphy soon noticed that the postmarked dates coincided with visits by John F. Kennedy to the communities and he then called the local police. The local police, in turn, contacted the Secret Service, who interviewed locals and learned of his previous outbursts. In the midst of these conversations, they also found out that Pavlick had purchased dynamite.
During his travels, Pavlick had visited the Kennedy compound at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, photographing the Kennedy home while also checking out the compound’s security.
Shortly before 10 a.m. on Sunday, December 11, as John F. Kennedy was preparing to leave for Mass at St. Edward Church in Palm Beach, Pavlick waited in his dynamite-laden car hoping to crash his car into Kennedy’s vehicle to cause a fatal explosion. However, Pavlick changed his mind after seeing John F. Kennedy with his wife, Jacqueline, and the couple’s two small children.
While waiting for another opportunity over the next few days, Pavlick visited the church to learn its interior, but the Secret Service had informed local Palm Beach police to look for Pavlick’s automobile.
Four days after the attempt, on Thursday, December 15, Palm Beach, police officer, Lester Free, spotted Pavlick’s vehicle as he entered the city via the Flagler Memorial Bridge into Royal Poinciana Way. Police immediately surrounded the car (which still contained 10 sticks of dynamite) and arrested him. After his arrest, Pavlick said, “Kennedy money bought the White House and the presidency. I had the crazy idea I wanted to stop Kennedy from being President.”
On January 27, 1961, Pavlick was committed to the United States Public Health Service mental hospital in Springfield, Missouri, then was indicted for threatening Kennedy’s life seven weeks later.
In a tragically ironic twist, charges against Pavlick were dropped on December 2, 1963, ten days after Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas. Judge Emmet C. Choate ruled that Pavlick was unable to distinguish between right and wrong in his actions, but kept him in the mental hospital. The federal government also dropped charges in August 1964, and Pavlick was eventually released from the New Hampshire State Mental Hospital on December 13, 1966.
Pavlick died at the age of 88 on November 11, 1975 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Manchester, New Hampshire-eleven days short of the 12th anniversary of Kennedy assassination.
1973 – John Paul Getty III, grandson of J. Paul Getty, American billionaire is found alive near Naples, Italy, after being kidnapped by an Italian gang on July 10, 1973.
1993 – History of Northern Ireland: The Downing Street Declaration is issued by British Prime Minister John Major and Irish Taoiseach Albert Reynolds. The Downing Street Declaration was a joint declaration issued on December 15, 1993 by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, John Major and Albert Reynolds, the Taoiseach of Ireland. It affirmed the right of the people of Northern Ireland to self-determination, and that the province would be transferred to the Republic of Ireland from the United Kingdom if and only if a majority of its population was in favour of such a move. It included for the first time in the history of Anglo-Irish relationships, as part of the prospective of the so-called Irish dimension, the principle that the people of the island of Ireland, North and South had the exclusive right to solve the issues between North and South by mutual consent. The latter statement was key to produce a positive change of attitude by the Republicans towards a negotiated settlement.
The joint declaration also pledged the governments to seek a peaceful constitutional settlement, and promised that parties linked with paramilitaries (such as Sinn Fein) could take part in the talks, so long as they abandoned violence.
The declaration, after it was ‘clarified’ by the Northern Ireland Office, was considered sufficient by the Provisional Irish Republican Army to announce a ceasefire on August 31, 1994 which was then followed on October 13, by an announcement of a ceasefire from the Combined Loyalist Military Command.
2001 – The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after 11 years and $27,000,000 to fortify it, without fixing its famous lean. The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italian: Torre pendente di Pisa) or simply The Tower of Pisa (La Torre di Pisa) is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa. It is situated behind the cathedral and is the third oldest structure in Pisa’s Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) after the cathedral and the baptistry.
Although intended to stand vertically, the tower began leaning to the southeast soon after the onset of construction in 1173 due to a poorly laid foundation and loose substrate that has allowed the foundation to shift direction. The tower presently leans to the southwest.
The height of the tower is 55.86 m (183.27 ft) from the ground on the lowest side and 56.70 m (186.02 ft) on the highest side. The width of the walls at the base is 4.09 m (13.42 ft) and at the top 2.48 m (8.14 ft). Its weight is estimated at 14,500 metric tons (16,000 short tons). The tower has 296 or 294 steps; the seventh floor has two fewer steps on the north-facing staircase. The tower leans at an angle of 3.97 degrees. This means that the top of the tower is 3.9 metres (12 ft 10 in) from where it would stand if the tower were perfectly vertical. BBC News on the Day – The Leaning Tower of Pisa
2005 – The 2005 Atlantic Power Outage began. The Atlantic Power Outage of 2005 caused hundreds of thousands of people along the Atlantic coast of the United States to suffer power outages. Winter ice storms caused power cuts starting on December 15, 2005.
Electricity was not restored in many places until December 20, 2005, by which time one death was blamed on the outage.
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Born on This Day
1892 – J. Paul Getty, American oil tycoon (d. 1976)
1939 – Cindy Birdsong, American singer (The Supremes)
1942 – Dave Clark, English musician (The Dave Clark Five)
1948 – Cassandra Harris, Australian actress (d. 1991) – Born Sandra Colleen Waites in Sydney, Australia, Harris was a student of NIDA acting school from 1960 to 1963 and performed in the successful Sydney stage production of Boeing Boeing from 1964 to 1965. She appeared in The Greek Tycoon (1978), Rough Cut (1980), and the James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only as the Countess Lisl von Schlaf, the ill-fated mistress of Milos Colombo (played by Israeli actor Topol). While she was filming this movie, her third husband, Pierce Brosnan, met James Bond series producer Albert R. Broccoli, which eventually led to his casting as the new James Bond with starring roles in four James Bond films. Harris had allegedly always wanted to see her husband portray James Bond, but her death occurred prior to his selection for the role in “Golden Eye.”
1949 – Don Johnson, American actor
1955 – Paul Simonon, English bassist (The Clash)
1963 – Andrew Luster, Max Factor heir
1970 – Frankie Dettori, Italian jockey
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Died on this Day and Remembered here
1944 – Glenn Miller, American musician (later declared dead on this date, exact date of death unknown) (b. 1904)
1962 – Charles Laughton, English actor (b. 1899)
1966 – Walt Disney, American animator (b. 1901)
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Thought for the Day
Every book starts with just one word.
Every great idea is sparked by a single thought.
Every morning sees a new sunrise.
And every journey begins with a single step.
So now, knowing all of this, why are you waiting for whatever you’re waiting for?
If you don’t begin, you can’t win!
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And finally . . .
I think it’s time, since it’s only NINE DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS DAY, to break out the old joke book and give you a few smiles to take out into your day, and annoy other people with. Obviously, given the time of year, it’s going to be Christmas Jokes, so whine all you like, I shall simply end up asking you if you’d like a little cheese with that whine.
What does Santa suffer from if he gets stuck in a chimney?
What do you call an elf who sings?
Why does Santa have three gardens?
So he can ‘ho ho ho’!
Why does Santa Claus go down the chimney on Christmas Eve?
Because it soot’s him
Why did Santa go to the doctor?
Because of his bad “elf”!
Why are Christmas trees so fond of the past?
Because the present’s beneath them.
What kind of motorbike does Santa ride?
A Holly Davidson!
What do you call a cat in the desert?
And that, indeed, is ‘all folks’!
Thank you so much for coming and having a coffee moment with me. I so love it when we all get together around the table and have a few giggles and laughs over a coffee, and a bit of an Ooooh and Aaaah, over the history of the day.
May your Friday be wonderful. I hope the day gently does what Fridays normally do – get to the end and give you a sigh. May you find some fun in the day, and see that the mood you’re in was a choice. When you realise this, you can then decide to make a better choice. Choose your mood wisely. Who knows what might be dependant upon what mood you’re in.
Sending you my warmest wishes during this cold December that most of us are experiencing. Stay warm, dress right for the weather, and come home safely.
Have a truly blessed day, my fabulous friends ~