5.31.2017 Day in History

Anathema to some small farmers, a few aggregations of capital, and aficionados of nicotine, this date marks World No Tobacco Day; meanwhile, marking ‘great’ advances along the Nile in Egypt three thousand two hundred ninety-six years ago, a second Ramesses ascended the throne to become a pharaoh of all his people in the Nineteenth Dynasty of the long Egyptian imperial sway; seventeen hundred thirty-three years subsequently, in the current era’s year 455, a very different royal fate befell Petronius Maximus when a mob of angry ‘subjects’ stoned him to death as he sought to flee Rome; seven hundred ninety-four years prior to the present, Mongol interlopers defeated forces of the Ukrainian seat of the Russian nation near Kiev, at the Battle of the Kalka River; just past thirty-seven decades later, in 1594, the masterful artist and teacher, Tintoretto, drew a final breath; exactly three quarters of a century forward in time, in 1669, the estimable diarist Samuel Pepys ceased to record his thoughts because of blindness; fourteen years subsequent to that, in 1683, a little baby boy was born who would grow up as Jean Pierre Christin, inventor of the Celsius temperature scale; two hundred forty-two years back, across the wide Atlantic, leaders of the province of North Carolina adopted the Mecklenburg Resolves that called for practical independence from the English crown; a decade and a half onward in space and time, in 1790, the United States enacted its initial copyright legislation which had a term of 14 years that a still-surviving holder could extend for one period of an additional fourteen years; five years hence, in 1795, back across the Atlantic, this time in France, leaders of the Revolution suppressed the Revolutionary Tribunals and their concomitant Terror; two dozen years farther in the direction of  today, in 1819,the male child opened his eyes who would rise as the estimable thinker and poet, Walt Whitman; eighteen years after that, in 1837, the Englishman Joseph Grimaldi, who had first manifested the performance of a ‘clown,’ lived out his final scene; another fifteen years yet later on, in 1852, the male infant took a first look at the world who would become the scientist Julius Richard Petri, whose dish remains a staple of experimentation to this day; thirty-five years thereafter, in 1887, over the wide Atlantic in France, an infant boy entered our midst en route to a long life as the poet and thinker and diplomat and Nobel Literary Laureate, Saint-John Perse; seven hundred thirty-one days beyond that conjunction, in 1889, back in the United States, a dam at a Carnegie-Frick resort property burst and inundated Johnstown Pennsylvania, killing thousands and ruining countless properties of the lesser mortals who found no recourse at law against those whose pleasure had caused them such devastation; nine years precisely past that moment, in 1898, a male infant was born who would mature as the master of ‘positive thinking’ and boosterism, Norman Vincent Peale; a thousand ninety-five days yet nearer to now, in 1902, the British acceded to a treaty that ended the Second Boer War and left them with control of cape town, south africa, city,all of South Africa; seven more years along the temporal road, in 1909, a group of prominent intellectuals and practical readers formed the National Negro Committee, which soon enough became the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; two additional years onward from that, in 1911, Porfirio Diaz fled for Spain from the Mexico that he had off and on led, with the support of the United States, for more than three decades; a further decade down the pike, in 1921, local Whites attacked Black people and homes for two days, resulting in dozens of deaths and incalculable destruction of property, a ‘defense’ of White Supremacy and discrimination and segregations, and in subtly different depredations further North, the trial for murder of Nicolo Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti opened in Massachusetts; three years henceforth, in 1924, six thousand miles Eastward over the ocean and across most of Europe, the young Soviet Union agreed to a treaty with China which foreswore all Soviet claims to Outer Mongolia; three years further along, in 1927, the final Model-T Ford came off company assembly lines; two more years toward the here and now, in 1929, the initial Mickey Mouse talking cartoon premiered, “Karnival Kid;” not quite a decade still later, in 1938, one baby boy came along in standard fashion who would grow into the ‘country outlaw,’ Johnny Paycheck, while another infant male shouted out on his way to life as the folk singer and lyricist Peter Yarrow; three years past that exact instant, in 1941, British forces reestablished their rule over Iraq, which had been in the thrall of a pro-German coup for a bit over a month; seven hundred thirty days afterward, in 1943, through the Mediterranean and across the Atlantic, 25,000 autoworkers went on a wildcat strike to protest black employees’ gaining access to line jobs that had theretofore been lily white;two years subsequently, in 1945, back in the Eurasian landmass, a male child bounced into the world in the traditional way who would rise up as the filmmaker and screenwriter and social critic, Rainer Werner Fassbinder; three more years even closer to the current context, East in war torn Georgia, in 1948, a baby girl first reached out on her way to life as the thinker and journalist and lyrical prose aficionado Svetlana Alexievich, who would go on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature; twenty-three years still more proximate to the present pass, in 1971, Americans followed the time obsession of the Uniform Mondays Holiday Act to celebrate Memorial Day for the first time on the last Monday in May rather than on May 30; half a dozen years hence, in 1977, workers completed the monumental carbon delivery system that we call the Trans-Alaska Pipeline; a thousand four hundred sixty-one days more in proximity to today’s dawn, in 1981, halfway round the world in Sri Lanka, ethnic violence resulted in the complete drug drugs banner acid cocaine speed lsd ecstasy mind consciousness psychedelicsdestruction of the Jaffna Library and its nearly 100,000 volumes and manuscripts; ten years onward from that horror, in 1991, some amelioration of civil strife occurred in Angola, after decades of war and anti-colonial rebellion and counterrevolution, with the adoption of the Bicesse Accords that inaugurated something akin to multi-party democracy in the nation; four years thereafter, in 1995, the masterful prose craftsman and social commentator Stanley Elkin breathed his last; three hundred sixty-six days past that point, in 1996, the master of psychedelia, Timothy Leary, took his last trip; just one year forward from that, in 1997, Rose Will Monroe gave up the ghost after a life that included her work during World War Two as Rosie-the-Riveter; eight years additional along the path to today, in 2005, former Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Mark Felt acknowledged in a Vanity Fair article that he had been the “Deep Throat” source of leaks to the media about Watergate, which had played some significant role in bringing down the Nixon Administration three decades prior to that revelation at age 92.