9.06.2016 Day in History

Today in the United States, in line with fetishizing commodities willy nilly, marks National Coffee Ice Cream Day, while much of Northern North America also commemorates, understandably, despite reactionary likelihood in so doing, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day; in a non standard interpretation of a, by our standards, ancient practice, this date marks the instant when, five thousand one hundred and thirty years ago, the Mayan Long Count Calendar began to operate; three thousand five hundred and eight years after that possible sidereal passage, in 394 current era, an increasingly typical Eurasian internecine fury in the Roman empire unfolded, as that epic and brutal ‘mastery of mankind’ peaked and declined, when Emperor Theodosius ousted his would-be killers and replacements, whose military muscle originated in no small part among Frankish militia, provincial plotters against the center; just two years shy of eleven centuries in greater proximity to the present, in 1492, the navigator and explorer and plundering profiteer, Christopher Columbus, directed his crews from their Canary Island berths, the last outpost at that time of the ‘known world’ by European lights; thirty years hence, in 1522, the Victoria, the only surviving craft from Ferdinand Magellan’s little armada, returned to its Spanish harbor, the first vessel successfully to circumnavigate our round little planetary orb; again just a pair of years short of a century mark later, in the modern style of dating things anyway in 1620, Pilgrims departed Plymouth boat ship mayflowerHarbor in the Mayflower on their journey into fate and history across the Atlantic; twenty-two years farther onward from that, in 1642, Puritan comrades of those who now had a toehold in New England issued an Ordinance that outlawed all dramatic, staged performances in theaters; exactly two hundred sixteen years back, a little girl was born into a prominent family of thinkers and preachers and writers and lawyers, who would grow up as the educational activist Catharine Beecher, whose calling was to advocate for opportunities for girls to study in ways that she was not able to; across the wide Atlantic only three years along time’s arc, in 1803, the English chemist John Dalton first began to refer to elements by symbolic names that corresponded to an initial periodic table of atomic forms; forty-four years down the pike from there, back in North America in 1847, Henry David Thoreau departed his rustic cabin on Walden Pond and moved into lodgings with Ralph Waldo Emerson and his family; another thirteen years toward today, in 1860,a female infant opened her eyes who would rise as Jane Addams, the powerful voice for ‘social work’ and winner of a Nobel Peace Prize for her work among the poor; just short of a decade after that, in 1869, a horrific anthracite coal mine fire at the Avondale Mine, near Scranton, Pennsylvania, claimed the lives of well over a hundred miners who lived and worked and died to profit colliery owners; three hundred sixty-five days more on time’s inexorable march, in 1870, a female voter in Laramie, Wyoming became possibly the first woman in the country to cast a legal electoral ballot since the very early part of the century; forty-seven years afterward, in 1907, the first Nobel literary laureate, Sully Prudhomme, lived out his final chapter; eight years subsequently, in 1915, the industrialization and mechanization of organized death matches took a giant step

"Gas mask MUA IMGP0157" by Nikodem Nijaki
“Gas mask MUA IMGP0157” by Nikodem Nijaki

forward when the first Rolls Royce battle tank rolled out of its production facility for the journey to the trenches in France; a single three hundred sixty-six days additional spin round the sun, in 1916, innovators in U.S. commerce opened the first self-serve grocery and dry goods store, a Piggly Wiggly; a dozen years yet nearer to today, in 1928, a baby male entered our midst in standard fashion who would mature as the thinker and writer and storyteller and ethicist, Robert Pirsig, a ‘Zen’ event indeed; two years past that juncture, thousands of miles South in 1930, a popular Argentinean President lost his seat when coup plotters ousted him from his democratic perch in Buenos Aries; fourteen years yet later on, in 1944, a girl child came along in the regular way who would become Donna Haraway, an estimable thinker and writer and theorist of our brave new virtual world; seven hundred thirty days even closer to the current context, in 1946, the United States Secretary of State, James Byrnes, announced that the U.S. would pursue a plan of economic reconstruction of its former enemy, Germany; just three years past that strategic passage, in 1949, the former Allied powers restored seized Nazi assets to German control; thirteen years henceforth on the dot, in 1962, a British archaeologist unearthed the first of the Blackfriars ships that proved how relatively advanced boat designs and operational capacity was in place in the early or even pre Roman British Isles nearly two thousand years ago, while across the wide Atlantic, civilian and military officials—just weeks away from the beginning of the nearly ecocidal Cuban Missile Crisis—carried out Exercise Spade Fork and related drills to simulate the aftermath of a catastrophic nuclear attack in which half or more of the U.S. population was dead or dying on the first day of engagement; a thousand ninety-six days subsequent to that dire practice, in 1965, the Indian Army counterattacked U.S. supplied Pakistani forces that had carried out a surprise attack in Kashmir by opening up a Punjabi front, a maneuver that virtually stalemated this conflict between the two regions that had less than two decades prior been one political entity; a year yet more proximate to the present pass, in 1966, roughly four thousand miles West in South Africa, the newly elected Prime Minister, an ‘architect’ of Apartheid and virulent White supremacist and opponent of the African National Congress, Hendrik Verwoerd, died at the hands of a mixed race assassin with a knife; half a dozen years further down the pike, in 1972, helicopter war vietnamPalestinian militants terrorized the Olympics by kidnapping and killing Israeli athletes in Munich, Germany, while around the world in Vietnam, where a newly ‘independent’ regime of U.S. puppets was trying to ‘fight communism’ in favor of ‘democracy,’ the nation’s President declared that no upcoming elections would take place and that all such exercises were off until further notice; half a world away a year later still, in 1973, former United Mineworkers of America President Tony Boyle faced charges of ordering the contract killing of the man who replaced him, Joseph Yablonski, along with his wife; a decade farther down time’s path on the nose, in 1983, the Soviet Union formally acknowledged that its fighters had shot down a Korean Airliners Flight that had accidentally entered its airspace during a fierce storm; eight years past that, in 1991, as the Soviet Union was about to transmogrify into the Russian Federation, it recognized as independent entities the three Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia; a year in even greater proximity to the present point, in 1992, the notable dramatist and screenwriter, Henry Ephron, whose four daughters also all became significant literary lights, lived out his final scene; half a dozen years more toward today, in 1998, a film auteur and script writer from Japan, the renowned Akira Kurosawa, drew his final breath; nine years thereafter, in 2007, the Middle East’s only nuclear-armed state, Israel, preemptively attacked, with U.S. permission and support, a ‘production reactor’ in Syria, utterly destroying it, and the staunch opponent of organized butchery, and masterful creator of fantastical worlds, Madeleine L’Engle, went through her final day on Earth; a year exactly forward from that, in 2008, the first Turkish leader in over eighty years visited neighboring Armenia for a ‘futbol’ match; three years hence, in 2011, the founder of Project Gutenberg, Michael Hart, cast his last gaze about him before his final exit; just two more years along time’s beat, in 2013, the popular adapter of science fiction yarns from mass media, Sara Crispin, succumbed to cancer after wishing her readers a final farewell.