Monday, June 15, 2009

15 June: Magna Carta Signed; Otherwise, It's Just "The Tasteless Dough of Existence."

By The Associated Press Today is Monday, June 15, the 166th day of 2009. There are 199 days left in the year. [See what's going on there? — Ed.] See from the AP. A/V. The UPI Almanac. Today's Highlight in History: On June 15, 1215, England's King John put his seal to the Magna Carta ("the Great Charter") at Runnymede. ["Put his seal?" Illiterate? Sheesh. And, one for the Bigods, two of whom were signatories, & one of whom is an ancestor of the schmuck typing this. How the mighty have fallen. — Ed.] On this date: In 1752, Benjamin Franklin, in a dangerous experiment, demonstrated the relationship between lightning and electricity by flying a kite during a storm in Philadelphia. An iron key suspended from the string attracted a lightning bolt. In 1775, the Second Continental Congress voted unanimously to appoint George Washington head of the Continental Army. In 1785, two Frenchmen attempting to cross the English Channel in a hot-air balloon were killed when their balloon caught fire and crashed. It was the first fatal aviation accident. In 1836, Arkansas became the 25th state. In 1844, Charles Goodyear received a patent for his process to vulcanize rubber. In 1846, the U.S.-Canadian border was established. [Blah blah, fences yada good neighbors etc., argle-bargle. — Ed.] In 1849, James Polk, the 11th president of the United States, died in Nashville, Tenn., aged 53. In 1864, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton signed an order establishing a military burial ground, which became Arlington National Cemetery. In 1877, Henry Ossian Flipper, born a slave in Thomasville, Ga., became the first African-American cadet to graduate from West Point. In 1904, more than 1,000 people died when fire erupted aboard the steamboat General Slocum in New York's East River. In 1923, Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig made his major league debut with the New York Yankees.In 1944, American forces began their successful invasion of Saipan during World War II. B-29 Superfortresses made their first raids on Japan. In 1978, King Hussein of Jordan married 26-year-old American Lisa Halaby, who became Queen Noor. In 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle erroneously instructed a Trenton, N.J., elementary school student to spell potato as "potatoe" during a spelling bee. In 1994, Israel and the Vatican established full diplomatic relations. In 1995, during his murder trial, O.J. Simpson struggled to don a pair of gloves that prosecutors said were worn by the killer of Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. Ten years ago: Thousands of ethnic Albanian refugees flooded back into Kosovo while thousands of Serbs fled. Vessels from North Korea and South Korea clashed on the Yellow Sea; about 30 North Korean sailors are believed to have died. A magnitude 7 earthquake in central Mexico killed at least 17 people. Five years ago: The Southern Baptist Convention quit a global federation of Baptist denominations as SBC leaders denounced the Baptist World Alliance and other groups for accepting liberal theology. Tim Berners-Lee received the $1.2 million Millennium Technology Prize in Helsinki for creating the World Wide Web. The Detroit Pistons beat the Los Angeles Lakers 100-87 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals for their first championship in 14 years. One year ago: President George W. Bush went for a bike ride and attended church in Paris, then he and his wife, Laura, traveled to London for meetings with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, as well as Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife, Sarah. The NBC News program "Meet the Press" paid tribute to its host, Tim Russert, who had unexpectedly died two days earlier. Now Dead People Born on This Date -- In 1330, Prince Edward of England, son of Edward III and known as the "Black Prince," Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg in 1843, orchestra leader David Rose in 1910, artist Saul Steinberg in 1914, pianist Erroll Garner in 1921, U.S. Rep. Morris Udall, D-Ariz., in 1922, country singer Waylon Jennings in 1937, singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson in 1941, and actor Jim "Earnest" Varney in 1949. Today's Birthdays: Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo is 77. Actor Aron Kincaid is 69. Rock musician Lee Dorman (Iron Butterfly) is 67. Rock singer-actor Johnny Hallyday is 66. [He's the "French Elvis," y'know. — Ed.] Singer Russell Hitchcock (Air Supply) is 60. Rock singer Steve Walsh (Kansas) is 58. Comedian-actor Jim Belushi is 55. Country singer Terri Gibbs is 55. Actress Julie Hagerty is 54. Rock musician Brad Gillis (Night Ranger) is 52. Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs is 51. Actress Eileen Davidson is 50. Bluegrass musician Terry Smith is 49. Actress Helen Hunt is 46.Rock musician Scott Rockenfield (Queensryche) is 46. Actress Courteney Cox is 45. Contemporary Christian musician Rob Mitchell is 43. Rock musician Jimmy McD is 41. Actor-rapper Ice Cube is 40. Actress Leah Remini is 39. Actor Jake Busey is 38. Bluegrass singer-musician Jamie Johnson is 37. Rock musician T-Bone Willy (Save Ferris) is 37. Actor Neil Patrick Harris is 36. Actor Greg Vaughan is 36. Actress Elizabeth Reaser is 34. Rock singer Dryden Mitchell (Alien Ant Farm) is 33. Rock musician Billy Martin (Good Charlotte) is 28. Cleveland Browns quarterback Derek Anderson is 26. San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum is 25. Today In Entertainment History -- On June 15th, 1963, "Sukiyaki" became a hit on the American pop chart. It was the first Japanese song ever to go to number one in the US. [If only the Sadistic Mika Band had hit the big time too. Alas, "Sukiyaki" remains the only Japanese song to go to numero uno here in the U. S. of A. — Ed.] In 1964, Peter and Gordon arrived for their first US tour. In 1965, Bob Dylan recorded the song "Like A Rolling Stone" at Columbia Records' studios in New York. In 1966, The Beatles released "Yesterday and Today" with its controversial "butcher" sleeve: a photo of The Beatles surrounded by bloody baby doll parts. The cover was changed to a more conventional photo, and the butcher version became a collector's item. In 1967, guitarist Peter Green left John Mayall's Bluesbreakers to form Fleetwood Mac. Green abruptly left the band in 1970. In 1969, the variety show "Hee Haw," a fast-paced mixture of country music and comedy skits, premiered on CBS-TV. In 1982, bassist Pete Farndon quit The Pretenders, one day before guitarist James Honeyman-Scott died. In 1989, actor Victor French died of lung cancer at a hospital in Sherman Oaks, California. His TV credits included "Little House On The Prairie" and "Highway To Heaven." [Michael Landon must have been contagious. — Ed.] In 1992, Bruce Springsteen kicked off a summer tour in Stockholm. It was his first tour without the E Street Band. In 1995, Jewish leaders demanded an apology from Michael Jackson over his song "They Don't Care About Us," which contained anti-semitic slang words. In 1996, jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald died at her home in Beverly Hills, California. She was 78. Last year, at the Tony Awards, "In the Heights" was named best musical, "August: Osage County," best play. Thought for Today: "Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence." — O. Henry (William Sydney Porter), American author (1862-1910).

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