Today gives an important city in Japan the opportunity to engage in a vivid celebration of Autumn, Nagasaki Kunchi; in the Levant five thousand seven hundred seventy-seven years ago, more or less, according to legend and a widely followed “reference date,” the current Hebrew Calendar became the norm; fifty two hundred thirty-eight years later, in 1477, Uppsala University obtained its corporate rights from the Pope and began instruction; six years shy of a century after that instant, in 1571, Italian and Spanish naval forces utterly destroyed the Turkish fleet at the Battle of Lepanto; three hundred twenty-five years prior to the present pass, Massachusetts Bay received its Royal Charter; King George III issued a Royal Proclamation seventy-two years subsequently, in 1763, that forbid European settlement North and West of the Allegheny Mountains, an acknowledgment of indigenous rights that contributed to colonial disaffection with the crown; one hundred sixty-seven years back, poet and scribe Edgar Allen Poe left the world, to return “never more;” a decade and a half later exactly, in 1864, a United States Naval Ship seized a Confederate raider in the neutral waters of Bahia, Brazil; four years thereafter, in 1868, Cornell University first opened its campus to students; two years hence, in 1870, the baby boy cried out on his way to becoming Uncle Dave Macon, the iconic singer-songwriter, banjo master, and comedian; nine years past that juncture, in 1879, the boy child who matured to become iconic song writer and labor activist Joe Hill came into the world; half a dozen years later, in 1885, the baby boy destined to become the Danish physicist and philosopher who created an important model of the atom Niels Bohr first opened his eyes; nine years subsequent to that point, in 1894, physician, poet, and writer Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. died; thirteen years hence, in 1907, the baby girl who became acclaimed mystery novelist Helen McGinnis was born; five years further onward, in 1912, the Helsinki Stock Exchange sold its first share; seven years still later, in 1919, the Dutch Airline KLM offered its first commercial flight, the oldest continuously operating airline in the world; two years even further down the pike, in 1922, the infant came bouncing into the world on his way to embracing his destiny as the American journalist and critic William Zinsser; five years more along the temporal path, in 1927, a male child first called out who would mature as R.D. Laing, the psychiatrist and fierce critic of SOP mental health paradigms; four years later on, in 1931, seven thousand miles South at the tip of Africa, the baby boy opened his eyes whose destiny was prominence and Nobel Peace Prize recognition as Desmond Tutu; seven hundred thirty-one days further along, in 1933, meanwhile, four companies joined together to form Air France; precisely three hundred sixty-five days nearer to now, in 1934, the infant child who lived for seventy-nine years as Amiri Baraka, the poet and civil rights activist, came into the world; five more years along time’s arc, in 1939, the baby boy who grew up to become author Clive James was born; just one year later, in 1940, a U.S. Naval Intelligence operative sent a memo to FDR, named after that seaman—the McCollum Memo—that recommended a course of action in the Pacific that would induce Japan to strike first and facilitate U.S. entry into WWII; another
seven hundred thirty days subsequent to that exact point, in 1942, the United Mineworkers of America withdrew from the Congress of Industrial Organizations; an additional year onward, in 1943, prominent poet and feminist and lesbian icon Radclyffe Hall lived out her final stanza; one more year after that, in 1944, across the Atlantic in Europe, Jewish inmates at the Birkenau Concentration Camp rose up and burned down the crematorium that was disposing of their corpses there; two years later precisely, in 1946, Hollywood competing unions engaged in a “Battle of the Mirrors,” shining reflected sunlight into cameras on a set, to see which one would win out in organizing production workers, and the infant girl who became feminist lawyer and thinker Catherine MacKinnon was born; two years still closer to today’s light and air, in 1948, the Ackermans witnessed the joyful arrival of their daughter, Diane, who grew up to be the celebrated poet, author, and academic, Diane; three hundred sixty-five days thereafter on this day in 1949, East Germany first existed; two years still further along time’s arc, in 1951, the talented singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor John Mellencamp spent his first day on Earth; and an additional year after that, in 1952, and clear across the Atlantic in Mother Russia, the baby boy destined to become the redoubtable politician and current president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, first
opened his eyes; one year subsequent to that, in 1955, Allen Ginsberg gave his first performance of his poem, Howl, and the baby boy was born who would rise as renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma; just four years subsequently in 1959, Soviet spacecraft sent back the first images from the moon’s hidden side; four further years beyond that moment, in 1963, JFK signed the ratification of the Partial Test Ban Treaty; a year later, in 1964, the male infant entered our midst who would become the well-loved and incisive sex-and-advice columnist, Dan Savage; three years yet closer to the current context, in 1967, British journalist and Nobel Laureate Norman Angell died; two decades further along the way, in 1987, Sikh nationalists declared the independence of Khalistan from India; twenty-six more proximate to the present pass, philosopher and critic Allan Bloom breathed his last; a year further onward, in 1993, a historic flood of the Mississippi finally receded after over a hundred days above flood stage; three years closer still to today, in 1996, Fox News broadcast its first show; five years later, in 2001, it had the chance to cover the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, and Herblock, the award-winning cartoonist who coined the name McCarthyism, breathed his last; two years after that, in 2003, California underwent its first recall election, which resulted in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rise to the State’s Chief Executive position, and a decade ahead of that moment in time, the celebrated journalist and activist Anna Politkovskaya, died.