1.24.2017 Day in History

"Gaius Caesar Caligula" by Louis le Grand cc 3.0
“Gaius Caesar Caligula” by Louis le Grand cc 3.0

In a nod to acknowledging that some people suffer even the rarest sorts of medical disorders, today around the world marks Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day; among the denizens of Rome’s early empire, in a display of the innate savagery of the less than century old imperial protocols nineteen hundred and seventy six years ago, emperor Caligula’s most trusted watchers, the Praetorian Guard, viciously murdered the sadist whom they supposedly protected, placing his uncle Claudius on the throne instead; three hundred seven years ahead of this day’s dawning, meanwhile, in a congruent unfolding of imperial machinations, a Portuguese clergyman arrived from ‘investment’ by Catholicism in South Asia to oversee the Catholic Church’s ‘interests’ in Ethiopia; forty-six years onward, in 1670, the baby boy was born who would become the estimable poet and dramatist William Congreve; sixty-nine years later on the nose, in 1739, back in Catholic Portugal’s outposts of conquest in India, a Peshvar force and its legendary leader, Appa, drove Portuguese defenders from their fortress at Tarapur; just shy of two decades more in the direction of today’s unfolding, in 1758, a temporary development of the Seven Years War—in some ways a ‘first or second world war’—led to a conjoining of Prussian and Russian interests into a formal diplomatic and military arrangement; one hundred eighty-one years back, a violent and widespread slave uprising in Bahia, Brazil, set in motion reforms and countermoves to the clearly revolutionary upheaval that in another half century resulted incomplete emancipation; thirteen years and roughly four thousand miles North in Sierran California in 1848, prospectors who had long been following evidence of significant gold in these mountains revealed a ‘mother lode’ near Sutter’s Mill that set off a longstanding ‘rush’ for the precious metal; exactly nine years thereafter on the other side of the globe, in 1857, the University of Calcutta became India’s first ‘modern’ collegiate academy; half a decade beyond that opening, in 1862, a privileged girl child opened her eyes who would rise as the chronicler and critic of wealth and inequality, Edith Wharton; just seven hundred thirty days past that initial view, in 1864, over the wide Atlantic in France, another baby girl came along who would mature as the performer and reporter and human rights activist, Marguerite Durand; twenty-seven years subsequently, in 1891, a baby girl smiled at her first sights on the way to life as blueblood wild woman, expatriate publisher, and libertine inventor of the modern brassiere, whom we remember as Caresse Crosby; a century and nine years back, England’s Robert Baden-Powell organized the first Boy Scout troop as a bulwark of empire and enculturation; just two years more along the temporal arc, in 1910, back in North America, a baby female entered our midst who would for a long century advocate for social justice as the political activist Doris Haddock; six years still more proximate to the present pass, in 1916, America’s Supreme Court decided a case that accepted the Federal Income Tax as a Constitutional exercise of fiscal authority by the national government; in one of the apparently less momentous reforms of Bolshevism two years henceforth, in 1918, the Soviet Council of People’s Commissars mandated the use of the modern Gregorian calendar throughout the U.S.S.R.; an additional two years forward from there, to the West in Italy in 1920, the brilliant Amedeo Modigliani died tragically, only thirty-five, of complications of tuberculosis; eight years more on time’s relentless march, in 1928, the little baby boy bounced into the world who would grow up as the scientist and cultural critic, Desmond Morris; half a decade yet later on, in 1933, the U.S. Constitution’s 20th Amendment came into force, enforcing the beginning dates of electoral transition that Yankees still follow; a pair of years precisely past that momentous transition, in 1935, a lighter-hearted development evolved, as the Krueger brewing company issued its first runs of canned beer; four years subsequent to that juncture, in 1939, the boy baby pondered his surroundings for the first time who would engage listeners and viewers as the performer and singer-songwriter Ray Stevens; two years further along, in 1941, the male child cried out who would soon enough wow audiences as the singer-songwriter Neil guitar music art performanceDiamond; a mere year nearer to the here and now, in 1942, an allied bombardment of Bangkok, where Japanese activities were ascendant, led Thailand to declare war on the U.S. and the U.K.; another spin around the solar center, three hundred sixty-six days in the event, in 1943, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill ended their ministerial meeting in Casablanca, where they continued their discussions of how to orchestrate a postwar world that favored Anglo-American agendas; a thousand ninety-six days even closer to the current context, in 1946, the United Nations General Assembly showed its acceptance of the Modern Nuclear Project with an initial resolution to create an international Atomic Energy Commission; the very next year, in 1947, the baby boy became one of us en route to his maturation as the savant and lyricist and rocker, Warren Zevon; an extra seven hundred thirty-one days past that entry, in 1949, a very different male baby bawled out on his way to a life as the antic actor and screenwriter John Belushi; seven years to the day closer still to today, in 1956, LookMagazine published the ‘confession’ of the two men whom White Mississippi jurors had found innocent of torturing and murdering Emmett Till, for the crime of being young and Black; four years past that precisely, in 1960,European anti-colonial volunteers participated in a ‘Barricades Week’ insurrection in Algiers against local French authorities; another solar cycle en route to now, in 1961, a potentially cataclysmic B-52 midair disintegration over Eastern North Carolina resulted in the ejection of the bomber’s two hydrogen bombs, both of which could easily have detonated, the core of one of which remains missing to this day; exactly a decade past that chilling miracle, in 1971, a more pedestrian loss took place, with the death of the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, whom we know simply as Bill W.; in a much more bizarre passage on the same day a calendar year onward, in 1972, searchers discovered a Japanese noncommissioned officer who had been hiding in the jungles of Guam and awaiting his next orders from the Emperor since the mid-1940’s; five years hence, in 1977,the death throes of fascist Spain resulted in one of the final excrescences of that regimen, the Massacre of Atocha in Madrid that sought to murder a communist labor leader but settled for innocent bureaucrats instead; just three hundred sixty-five days farther down the pike, in 1978, another ‘minor incident’ of the insidious Modern Nuclear Project transpired when a Soviet satellite disintegrated as it reentered the Earth’s atmosphere, scattering all but the tiniest fraction of its nuclear reactor over Canada’s Northwest Territories as lethal radioactive debris; seven hundred thirty days past that hideous eventuality, in 1980, the United war afghanistanStates began arms sales to Red China that sought to further divide that nation from the Soviet Union and otherwise respond to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; three years in even greater proximity to the present point in space and time, in 1983, the renowned American Hollywood icon, director and producer George Cukor, oversaw his final scene; only one more year on time’s path, in 1984, Apple Computer inaugurated the reign of its Macintosh computer brand with its first sales of that iconic machine; another two year span on the road to today, in 1986, the mercurial and calculating writer and founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, drew a final breath;an additional thousand four hundred sixty-one days along time’s path, in 1990, Japan’s Hiten robotic lunar probe blasted off, the first case of a nation’s venturing to the moon that did not originate in the U.S. or the U.S.S.R.; three years still later, in 1993, the Supreme Court Justice and civil rights Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall filed his final brief, and more or less forty-five hundred miles Eastward, a car bomb in Ankara assassinated the hard-hitting Turkish investigative journalist, a stalwart for human rights and against fascism, Ugur Mumcu; a decade further onward in time and space, in 2003, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security started up its profiteering and police state operations that have made citizens less secure; eight more years on the dance toward today, in 2011, a terrorist attack at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport killed upwards of thirty-five innocents and injured hundreds of others; half a decade afterward, only a year before today, in 2016, the computer wizard and philosopher of technology and humanity, Marvin Minsky, lived out his last chapter.