Friday, May 31, 2013

Super Bowl L rewarded to San Francisco Following Another Glitzy Stadium Deal

For the first time in thirteen years, the Super Bowl will be played in the West Coast, and the San Francisco area will be host to it's first Super Bowl in 31 years.

The stadium presently under construction for the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, California, has been rewarded the big game, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl. There was a chance that it would return to the original city (Los Angeles) that hosted the first ever Super Bowl, and even the same stadium was entertained, for a while. But this at least is in the same state.

Also, it is the first Super Bowl since Super Bowl XXXVII (Tampa Bay defeated Oakland, 48-21) where we have a good chance at seeing the West Coast sunshine.

Now, I am not one of those people who fantasize about the warmth and sun of California, or enjoy the image of it's glory, with celebrities and the wealthy (particularly in southern California's Orange County). In fact, it seems so superficial as to be a major turnoff. I have known people for whom this was appealing, and even known some people who packed up everything and moved to the West Coast. Some of them were really, really fascinated by that whole image. In a couple of cases, a couple of friends dreamed that they might themselves "make it big" and join that elite, glamorous lifestyle. But for me, it was always a turn off.

That said, I always found West Coast Super Bowls appealing. There is just something about seeing that warm West Coast sunshine in the middle of an East Coast winter. Somehow, that did feel glorious (for sports), but in the right way. It seemed like a big deal. I remember when my New York Giants finally made it to their first ever Super Bowl. It was in Pasadena, and the sunshine was absolutely brilliant. Indeed, it felt like they were being rewarded for such an unbelievable season, well before even the kickoff officially started the game.

When the Giants took the field, I was excited, and that sunshine really seemed to enhance the experience. It was something just to think that they were going to be playing on the same field that the dynasty Steelers had won their last Super Bowl in not very much longer before that day, or the same field that the Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins won their first in. It just felt right, somehow.

Now, I have nothing against Florida, but man, they have had a hell of a lot of Super Bowls played there. One of the problems (to me) is that, while those games usually are on natural grass, which is still easily the best because it is the most natural, aesthetically appealing, and honors tradition, it also tends to be night games. There is just something nice about seeing a bit of daylight.

I am not saying that every single Super Bowl should be played out West. Not by a long shot. But not every Super Bowl should be played either in southern Florida, or in some dome. I do not have anything against Florida, but I admit to having a problem with games played in a dome. They sound different, and they look different. Let me be more specific: they look boring. The weather never changes, everything is always under control. And, frankly, I just think that football was a game meant to be played outdoors. It is shocking to me that this upcoming Super Bowl will be the first one played in a cold weather region, given that the entire sport originated as a cold weather sport, with championship games time and again in places like Green Bay, Chicago, New York, and Cleveland. Hardly glamorous places, right? But those are the roots.

There should be more variety in locations. I am very glad that the New York/New Jersey area will host the Super Bowl, but I wonder why not some other places? Why not Boston, for example? Why not Chicago? Why not Seattle, or Denver, or Green Bay (yes, I'm serious about this)? And no, I am not advocating building a dome in any of those places. I'm advocating playing those games right out in the elements, and honoring how the game has been played throughout it's history. If it rains, it rains. if it pours, so be it. If it snows, then that's just part of the package, mack. If one team is from a cold weather area, and the other is from some warm place, or plays in a dome, does that make it an unfair advantage? Well, that's part of the game, too. When the season wraps up, it's wintertime. More often than not, the championship games for both conferences seem to wind up being played in places like New England, Denver, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Philadelphia, New York, Green Bay, Washington, and other cold weather areas. Most of the Super Bowls have been played by cold weather teams, as well. So, why not Super Bowls outright played in cold weather areas? Makes sense to me.

Now, it's cold, of course. But there are other major events played in cold weather, and nobody tries to change the location because of this, but rather understand it's part of the game, part of the event. When the NHL holds an outdoor "Winter Classic" game. Or the Winter Olympics. These events draw a hell of a lot of people, in both attendance and television viewership. Are you going to tell me that people will not go to the Super Bowl, or will not watch it, if it is in a cold weather area?

Now, as far as this new stadium is concerned, it presents an opportunity to discuss something that has been bothering me for some time no, because one thing that I find alarming is the seeming race for the new "Number One" stadium. The Super Dome in New Orleans used to be considered the "eight wonder in the world". Eventually, Houston built something that outdid it. Then, I remember Arizona's new stadium being the technological wonder of it's age, just a few years later. Not to be outdone,  Dallas built their beloved Cowboys a new stadium, a state of the at facility meant to be the envy of the league. Then, the New York area got a new, glittering Stadium that became the centerpiece of the league.

Other new stadiums offered some glitz, and had their turn in the spotlight with showcase stadiums, some of which even hosted the Super Bowl themselves. There was the new stadium in Tampa, complete with a pirate ship. Indianapolis got a new stadium, and hosted a recent Super Bowl there. Gillette Stadium in New England, and Lincoln Field in Philadelphia. Washington got a new stadium, and both Soldier Field and Lambeau Field were modernized, in a noble effort to at least keep the original stadiums (and traditions) alive. In fact, the vast majority of teams have new stadiums, complete with the all-important luxury boxes and suites that seem to be the flavor of the moment now, catering to the wealthiest clientele. Very few teams do not have either a new stadium, or some kind of deal in the works for a new stadium. The 49ers and Vikings are getting their new stadiums. That leaves a handful of teams with supposedly old, outdated and antiquated stadiums that will be viewed as unserviceable (meaning, stadiums that were around before the 1990's). The Buffalo Bills. The Kansas City Chiefs. The San Diego Chargers. The New Orleans Saints. Four teams out of 32 in the NFL, and that's just the NFL. Quite a few other teams have gotten shiny new stadium or arena deals in the other sports, too.

Hell, the Falcons are apparently getting a new stadium, and their dome is only a little over twenty years old. That seems recent to me. There was one basketball arena for the Charlotte Hornets that lasted all of fourteen years!

Now, San Francisco is having it's turn.

Who's next? Maybe Atlanta, where the glittering new dome they built for the Falcons in the early nineties is already apparently a completely outdated piece of crap, and a new stadium is desperately needed. At least, that is, if you believe that kind of thing.

There used to be a race for skyscrapers to dominate the landscape, and every city wanted the new, tallest structure in the world. The Chrysler Building overtook the Eiffel Tower, and was itself overtaken by the Empire State Building. Not only was it not the tallest structure in the world anymore, it was not even the tallest within the same city.Then, it was the Sears Tower, the Twin Towers, the CN Tower, and now, the Dubai Tower, although other towers are still being built in other cities (mostly, in the Far East, or the Middle East, although New York just welcomed the new Freedom Tower).

Yes, it used to be skyscrapers. Before that, it used to be palaces, castles, and cathedrals.

No more. Now, it is housing our sports franchises, no matter the cost. There are millions of homeless and impoverished throughout the land, but we are more willing to sacrifice for that glittering new stadium to be home for our favorite teams. Now, in a modified version of "keeping up with the Joneses", we have communities competing for the best, most sophisticated and high tech, most luxurious new glitzy stadium to be the envy of the sports world - at least until some other stadium takes it's place a few years later.

In any case, this stadium is already being built, and I will say that I am actually glad to see the Super Bowl back on the West Coast, in the open air (not in the domed ceiling in Arizona, in a stadium where, even when the roof is open, there is limited sunshine, something that seems a bit counterintuitive to me, considering that it is sunny and spacious southern Arizona). It should be nice to see the game back in the beautiful San Francisco area, although I sure hope that the local football team there won't be one of the participants (or if they have to be there, hopefully they will lose).

Also, I will give credit where it is due: the stadium was designed to be the most environmentally friendly stadium in the land. you can read about it in Martha Mendoza's article (see below, or the link below that). Given that this is the free spirited San Francisco area, I think that it is in keeping with the region's traditional progressive politics. It seems fitting, and very positive, although I am still not a big fan of this popular trend to scrap old, historic stadiums for newer ones. I am a Giants fan, and liked the old Giants Stadium. Nothing wrong with it, and it seemed perfectly serviceable to me for another few decades at least. I only saw Candlestick from the outside, but like that it was in downtown San Francisco, and although I'm not a fan of the 49ers, it was nonetheless the place that saw some truly magic moments, such as "The Catch".  I felt that was with some other sports arenas, such as the Maple Leaf Gardens, the Forum, the Boston Garden, the old Yankee Stadium (although I am not a fan of the Yankees, either), Shea Stadium (the Beatles played the first outdoor rock concert there, for God's sake!), the old Brendan Byrne Arena (presently the Izod Center, although it has had numerous corporate name changes), Veteran's Stadium, RFK Stadium, Texas Stadium, the Orange Bowl, Three Rivers Stadium, Mile High Stadium, Riverfront Stadium, Sun Devil Stadium, and perhaps some others that are not immediately coming to mind.

I am not opposed to new stadiums, per se. But it seems that the taxpayer is always stuck with a large portion of the bill, and that, more often than not, these are a product of greed, more than anything else. It is not unheard of that sports franchises will effectively threaten to leave their host city for greener pastures, unless they get their way with a new stadium deal. That is how the Minnesota Vikings recently got a deal for their soon to be built, glimmering new stadium. Perhaps soon, it will host a Super Bowl for the league to showcase the benefits of new stadium construction. Would it be all that surprising?

Plus, the whole corporate bidding for naming rights is reaching preposterous levels. It all just seems reflective of what sports have become - instead of modest, functional stadiums (with some picturesque exceptions, such as Chicago's Soldier Field), we have these elaborate and very expensive stadiums that serve as status symbols, and cater to the wealthy, and have names to promote corporate culture. Given that sports itself has lost touch with it's roots and that the focus all around is money, money, money and raking in profits, it seems fitting.

Maybe it's just a passing trend, but we shall see.

In any case, hopefully, this stadium in San Francisco is going to be the environmentally friendly gem that it is being billed to be. I just feel bad for 49ers fans that now will have to travel that long distance (something that is most certainly not environmentally friendly) and surely will have to pay exorbitant prices just to see their favorite team. Maybe I'm the only one (and keep in mind, in fairness, that i have never actually been in the stadium), but I will miss old Candlestick Park, much like I miss the old Giants Stadium.

I also miss when sports used to just be fun.

Super Bowl 50 will be in smartest stadium in NFL 

By MARTHA MENDOZA (AP National Writer) | The Associated Press – Tue, May 28, 2013 8:15 PM EDT

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- Goodbye cold, grungy Candlestick Park. Hello high tech, shiny new Levi's Stadium.

Fifty-four years after $32 million Candlestick Park opened, the 49ers are building a new, $1.2 billion showcase of a stadium which is almost twice as big, wired to the hilt, and opening its doors just in time to host Super Bowl 50 in the heart of the Silicon Valley.

Arriving just five years after Cowboys Stadium, Jerry Jones' $1 billion showcase for his club, the 49ers are aiming to redefine state of the art, as team officials made clear on a recent tour. 

''If you're a fan and you go to Candlestick, then you will really appreciate this new stadium,'' said project executive Jack Hill, standing on the building's 200-foot-high roof, gazing out at the south tip of the San Francisco Bay. ''It's going to be the crowning glory of the NFL.'' 

The airy, open stadium had an intimate feel; with the largest lower bowl in the league, the 68,500 fans are close to the action. And that closeness is mutual. When players burst through the blowing smoke and blasting music on game day, they'll be able to make eye contact with every seat, even the corner nosebleeds who are dwarfed beneath some of the largest high definition jumbotrons in the league. 

''This stadium is tremendous for the team. It helps strengthen the brand, because the one negative thing about the 49ers has always been Candlestick Park,'' said University of Southern California professor Jeff Fellenzer, who teaches sports, business and media.

The steep construction bills are being paid by $800 million in seat and luxury box sales, along with a 20-year, $220 million naming rights agreement with Levi Strauss and Co. announced May 8, clinching a partnership with the company that added copper rivets to denim pants 150 years ago to create the first blue jeans for California's rugged gold miners, the so-called 49ers. A few weeks later, the NFL chose the stadium for the 2016 Super Bowl. 

While they're in the black now, funding for the stadium has come with its share of rancor. 

''Our city has long deferred more important projects,'' wrote resident Bill Bailey on the anti-stadium organization's Santa Clara Plays Fair website. Bailey heads the coalition of Santa Clara residents concerned that accommodating the 49ers draws funds away from critical needs like public libraries. ''We believe that Santa Clara should not tax its citizens, increase its debt, or allocate land or any other valuable assets to build a stadium.'' 

The 49ers and the city of Santa Clara initially partnered to build the stadium, with voters approving a $30 million public investment of redevelopment funds. Those funds were unexpectedly yanked by county officials last summer, after Gov. Jerry Brown eliminated all redevelopment agencies in the state. 

The 49ers sued after county officials said the $30 million needed to go to public schools and other agencies, and a court-approved deal was struck: the public agencies received half of the money they wanted, and the 49ers agreed to collect the $30 million over a longer period. 

Team officials still are happier with their new home than the old one. 

Notoriously blustery, with fog and wind blowing off the adjacent bay, Candlestick Park, or ''The 'Stick,'' took another hit in 2011 when a pair of blackouts left fans in the dark for more than 20 minutes. It's value is nil: weeks after the last 49ers game next season, the owners plan to blow it up. 

EJ Narcise, a principal at Team Services, LLC, a naming rights sports marketing sales and consulting firm in Rockville, Md., said the new stadium should bring new revenue to a team that is been in the bottom third of the NFL in that category. 

''Look, they're a great team, but they have missed the revenues generated from the luxury seats, the premiums suites, the concession upgrades and the entertainment,'' he said. 

The 49ers, meanwhile, are trying to make their building the most environmentally friendly stadium in the league. Solar panels will gather enough power so that even on Super Bowl Sunday they won't need to pull electricity from the grid. The grass field and toilets use recycled water, the turf is geothermic, a bicycle valet and racks will welcome cyclists who can pedal in bike paths from miles around, even from the airport. 

Today, the 50-yard line is loaded with shipping containers, trucks and port-a-potties to support the 1,100 construction workers buzzing around the site. But the grass is already growing on a turf farm about 90 minutes away, and should be rolled out next March. 

A few blocks from the stadium, at the 49ers showcase and sales office, fans on Friday took a virtual stadium walk through at a nine-foot digital touch wall, and sat in a mock-up suite before pulling out their credit cards one after another to buy the rights to eventually buy tickets. Before they did, they had a chance to see a 3-D version of what their view of the stadium would be. 

''We're pretty excited. This stadium looks amazing, and it's so close to our home,'' said Jojo Daquigan, a postal worker in San Jose, who with his wife Cristina, a nurse, had just paid $5,000 in one-time fees for midlevel corner seats. 

In keeping with its Silicon Valley base of support, the 49ers' assumption is that fans will be carrying smartphones, so the place will be entirely cash free and ticketless. Software engineers are already building apps for cellphones that will allow fans to order food, watch instant replays, listen to play by play and check bathroom lines from their seats. 

And about those bathroom lines? Here, Levi's Stadium offers a definite upgrade: 1,135 toilets, up from Candlestick's 885.

On This Day in History - May 31 Big Ben begins, and a big day in Southern African history

Once again, it should be reiterated, that this does not pretend to be a very extensive history of what happened on this day (nor is it the most original - the links can be found down below). If you know something that I am missing, by all means, shoot me an email or leave a comment, and let me know!

This day in history was particularly important in southern Africa. The HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin inside of it, anchored by the Cape of Good Hope. The doomed Conference of Bloemfontein was on this day, and a year later, the British occupied Johannesburg on this date. The Boer War ended on this date, and South Africa  The Union of South Africa was proclaimed, and the Cape of Good Hope became part of South Africa. Much later in the century, South Africa signed an agricultural treaty with the Netherlands. Later still, it became a republic, and withdrew from the British Commonwealth on this date. Zimbabwe declared it's independence. The civil war in Angola ended. A busy day in history for southern Africa indeed.

Other interesting things that happened on this date: Rameses II became Pharaoh of Egypt. Rome captured walls of Jerusalem. Massachusetts annexed Maine. Big Ben went into operation in London. There was a treaty between Hawaii and the United States. American troops entered China to help put down the Boxer Rebellion. The Titanic was launched. Babe Ruth had a disappointing last at bat. British Prime Minister Churchill flew to France to meet with Petain and, two decades later, American President John F. Kennedy went to France to meet with Charles de Gaulle. Eichmann's sentence of hanging was executed in Israel. An earthquake in Peru killed over 50,000 people. Guatemala approved a new constitution.

May 31, 1859: Big Ben goes into operation in London

The famous tower clock known as Big Ben, located at the top of the 320-foot-high St. Stephen's Tower, rings out over the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, for the first time on this day in 1859.

After a fire destroyed much of the Palace of Westminster--the headquarters of the British Parliament--in October 1834, a standout feature of the design for the new palace was a large clock atop a tower. The royal astronomer, Sir George Airy, wanted the clock to have pinpoint accuracy, including twice-a-day checks with the Royal Greenwich Observatory. While many clockmakers dismissed this goal as impossible, Airy counted on the help of Edmund Beckett Denison, a formidable barrister known for his expertise in horology, or the science of measuring time.

Denison's design, built by the company E.J. Dent & Co., was completed in 1854; five years later, St. Stephen's Tower itself was finished. Weighing in at more than 13 tons, its massive bell was dragged to the tower through the streets of London by a team of 16 horses, to the cheers of onlookers. Once it was installed, Big Ben struck its first chimes on May 31, 1859. Just two months later, however, the heavy striker designed by Denison cracked the bell. Three more years passed before a lighter hammer was added and the clock went into service again. The bell was rotated so that the hammer would strike another surface, but the crack was never repaired.

The name "Big Ben" originally just applied to the bell but later came to refer to the clock itself. Two main stories exist about how Big Ben got its name. Many claim it was named after the famously long-winded Sir Benjamin Hall, the London commissioner of works at the time it was built. Another famous story argues that the bell was named for the popular heavyweight boxer Benjamin Caunt, because it was the largest of its kind.

Even after an incendiary bomb destroyed the chamber of the House of Commons during the Second World War, St. Stephen's Tower survived, and Big Ben continued to function. Its famously accurate timekeeping is regulated by a stack of coins placed on the clock's huge pendulum, ensuring a steady movement of the clock hands at all times. At night, all four of the clock’s faces, each one 23 feet across, are illuminated. A light above Big Ben is also lit to let the public know when Parliament is in session.

1279 BC - Rameses II (The Great) (19th dynasty) becomes pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.

70 - Rome captures 1st wall of the city of Jerusalem

1223 - Mongol invasion of the Cumans: Battle of the Kalka River - Mongol armies of Genghis Khan lead by Subutai defeat Kievan Rus and Cumans.

1417 - Jacoba van Bavarian becomes countess of Holland/Zealand/Henegouwen

1433 - Sigismund was crowned Holy Roman Emperor (Germany)

1495 - Emperor Maximilian, Pope Alexander VI, Milan, King Ferdinand, Isabella and Venice sign anti-French Saint League

1531 - "Women's Revolt" in Amsterdam: wool house in churchyard aborted

1564 - Battle on Gotland: Lubeck and Denmark beat Sweden

1578 - Martin Frobisher sails from Harwich, England to Frobisher Bay, Canada, eventually to mine fool's gold, used to pave streets in London.

1621 - Sir Francis Bacon thrown into Tower of London for 1 night

1634 - US colony Massachusetts Bay annexes Maine colony

1659 - Netherlands, England and France sign Treaty of The Hague

1665 - Jerusalem's rabbi Sjabtai Tswi proclaims himself Messiah

1669 - Citing poor eyesight, Samuel Pepys records the last event in his diary.

1696 - John Salomonsz elected chief of Saint-Eustatius

1727 - France, England and Netherlands sign accord of Paris

1744 - French troops conquer Kortrijk

1759 - The Province of Pennsylvania bans all theater productions.

1790 - The first U.S. Copyright Law was enacted, protecting books, maps, and other original materials.

1790 - Alferez Manuel Quimper explores the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

1813 - In Australia, Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth, reached Mount Blaxland, effectively marking the end of a route across the Blue Mountains.

1821 - Cathedral of Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary, first US Catholic cathedral, is dedicated in Baltimore

1836 - HMS Beagle anchors in Simons Bay, Cape of Good Hope

1837 - Astor Hotel opens in NYC, it later becomes the Waldorf-Astoria

1847 - Rotterdam-Hague Railway opens

1849 - Last edition of Orange sheet "Journal de La Haye"

1853 - Elisha Kane's Arctic expedition leaves NY aboard Advance

1854 - The Kansas-Nebraska Act passed by the U.S. Congress.

1859 - The Philadelphia Athletics were formally organized to play the game of "Town Ball", which would eventually become baseball some twenty years down the line..

1859 - In London, Big Ben went into operation. The name Big Ben initially referred to the bell inside the tower but later came to refer to the tower.

1861 - Gen Beauregard is given command of Confederate Alexandria Line

1861 - Mint at New Orleans closes

1862 - Battle of Seven Pines VA (Fair Oaks)

1864 - Raid at Morgan's Kentucky

1868 - First Memorial Day parade held in Ironton, Ohio

1868 - Dr James Moore (UK) wins 1st recorded bicycle race, (2k) velocipede race at Parc fde St Cloud, Paris

1870 - Congress passes 1st Enforcement Act (rights of blacks)

1870 - E.J. DeSemdt patented asphalt.  

1875 - Reciprocity Treaty between US and Hawaii ratified

1878 - German battleship Grosser Kurfurst sinks, 284 killed

1878 - US Congress accept decrease in dollar circulation

1879 - 1st electric railway opens at Berlin Trades Exposition

1879 - New York's Madison Square Garden opened.

1880 - The first U.S. national bicycle society was formed in Newport, RI. It was known as the League of American Wheelman.

1883 - French fleet under Pierre begins siege of Tamatave, Madagascar

1884 - Dr John Harvey Kellogg patented "flaked cereal"

1889 - Johnstown Flood: 2,209 die in Penn after heavy rains caused the South Fork Dam to collapse, sending 20 million tons of water into Johnstown, Pa. The town was nearly destroyed.

1891 - Work on trans-Siberian railway begins

1893 - Whitcomb Judson, Chicago, patents a hookless fastening (zipper)

1899 - -June 5] Conference of Bloemfontein fails

1899 - Bronx acquires Keltch Memorial Park

1900 - British troops under Lord Roberts occupy Johannesburg

1900 - U.S. troops arrived in Peking to help put down the Boxer Rebellion.  

1900 - Piet de Law captures Lt-Col Spragges Irish Yeomanry

1900 - Tom Hayward scores 1,000th cricket run of season (sets record 1074)

1902 - Australia Cricket all out 36 v England, Edgbaston, their lowest ever

1902 - The Boer War ended between the Boers of South Africa and Great Britain with the Treaty of Vereeniging. The Treaty of Unity signed, Britain annexes Transvaal

1905 - Emperor Wilhelm II lands in Tanger

1906 - Attack on King Alfonso XIII & Victoria von Battenberg in Madrid

1907 - The first taxis arrived in New York City. They were the first in the United States.

1908 - Miss Pottelsberghe de la Pottery is 1st airplane passenger (Belgium)

1909 - The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) held its first conference (United Charities Building, NYC)

1910 - The Union of South Africa was founded. Cape of Good Hope becomes part of Union of South Africa

1910 - Glenn Curtiss flies from Albany to NYC

1910 - Union of South Africa declares independence from UK

1911 The hull of the R.M.S. Titanic was launched in Belfast. At the ceremony, a White Star Line employee claimed, “Not even God himself could sink this ship.”

1912 - US marines land on Cuba

1913 - Alexis Ahlgren runs world record maraton (2:36:06.6)

1913 - The 17th Amendment went into effect. It provided for popular election of U.S. senators.

1914 - Chic White Sox Joe Benz no-hits Cleve Indians, 6-1

1915 - A German LZ-38 Zeppelin makes an air raid on London

1916 - Battle of Skagerrak: Brit-German sea battle at Jutland (10,000 dead)

1916 - British battle cruiser Invincible explodes, killing all but 6

1917 - 1st jazz record released (Dark Town Strutters Ball)

1919 - NC-4 aircraft commanded by AC Read completes 1st crossing of Atlantic

1921 - Suffy McInnis (1st base) begins an errorless string of 1,700

1923 - China and USSR exchange diplomats

1926 - Portuguese president Bernardino Machedo resigns after coup

1926 - Sesquicentennial Exposition opens in Philadelphia

1927 - Ford Motor Company produced the last "Tin Lizzie" in order to begin production of the Model A.

1927 - Tiger 1st baseman Johnny Neun makes an unassisted triple play

1928 - 1st aerial cross of Pacific takes off from Oakland

1928 - Charlie Hallows scores his 1,000th run of Cricket season

1929 - Atlantic City Convention Center opens

1929 - In Beverly, MA, the first U.S. born reindeer were born.

1930 - Bradman gets his 1,000th run of the English Cricket season

1930 - Building begins on Albert Canal in Belgium

1930 - Comet 73P/1930 (Schwassmann-Wachmann 3) approaches 0.0617 AUs of Earth

1931 - 7.1 magnitude Earthquake destroys Quetta in modern-day Pakistan: 40,000 dead.

1935 - Babe Ruth grounds out in his final at bat

1935 - Quake kills 50,000 in Quetta Pakistan

1937 - 1st quadruplets to finish college (Baylor University)

1937 - Bkln Dodgers snap NY Giant Carl Hubbell's 24-game winning streak

1937 - German battleships bomb Almeria Spain

1938 - Bill Edrich scores his 1,000th run of cricket season, all at Lord's

1940 - Gen-major Bernard Montgomery leaves Duinkerken

1940 - Premier Winston Churchill flies to Paris to meet with Marshal August Pétain who announces he is willing to make a separate peace with Germany

1941 - -June 1) 32.0 cm rain falls on Burlington Kansas (state record)

1941 - The first issue of "Parade: The Weekly Picture Newspaper" went on sale.

1941 - 41 U boats sunk this month (325,000 ton)

1941 - British troops vacate Kreta

1941 - German occupiers forbids Jews access to beach and swimming pools

1941 - A Luftwaffe air raid in Dublin, Ireland claims 38 lives.

1942 - Luftwaffe bombs Canterbury

1943 - "Archie" (best known for comic strip) was aired on the Mutual Broadcasting System for the first time.

1943 - Cards Mort Cooper pitches 1st of back-to-back one-hitters

1944 - Allied breakthrough in Italy

1947 - 79th Belmont: Ruperto Donoso aboard Phalanx wins in 2:29.6

1947 - Communists seized control of Hungary.

1947 - Eastern DC-4 crashes between Ft Deposit & Perryville Md, kills 53

1947 - Italian government of Gasperi forms

1948 - Tommy Lasorda strikes out 25 Amsterdam Rugmakers (in 15 innings)

1949 - Charley Lupica begins stay on 4 foot square platform atop a 60' pole, vowing to stay until Indians clinch pennant. (They don't, and stays 117 days)

1950 - Due to rain, Indy 500 shortened to 345 miles, Johnny Parson wins

1950 - Laker takes 14-12-2-8 in Test Cricket trial

1951 - Neth and; South Africa sign cultural accord

1953 - Lebanese president Camille Shamun disbands government

1953 - WSUN TV channel 38 in St Petersburg-Tampa, FL (IND) 1st broadcast

1955 - Construction begins on Soviet cosmodrome launch facilities

1955 - Great Britain proclaims emergency crisis due to railroad strike

1955 - The U.S. Supreme Court ordered that all states must end racial segregation "with all deliberate speed."  

1956 - Mickey Mantle HR just misses clearing Yankee Stadium's roof

1957 - Great Britain performs nuclear test at Christmas Island (atmospheric)

1958 - Dick Dale invents "surf music" with "Let's Go Trippin"

1958 - US performs nuclear test at Bikini Island (atmospheric tests)

1961 - Benfica wins 6th Europe Cup 1 at Bern

1961 - Chuck Berry's amusement park, Berryland in St Louis, opens

1961 - JFK visits Charles de Gaulle in Paris

1961 - Judge Irving Kaufman orders Board of Ed of New Rochelle, to integrate

1961 - Union of South Africa becomes a republic, leaves Commonwealth

1962 - Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel. Eichmann had been a Gestapo official and was executed for his actions in the Nazi Holocaust.

1962 - "Tell It To Groucho" last airs on CBS-TV

1962 - The West Indies Federation dissolves.

1964 - Charles Schmid kills first Pied Piper victim

1964 - SF Giants beat NY Mets, 8-6, in 23 innings (2nd game) (7 hrs 32 mins)

1965 - Jim Clark becomes 1st foreigner in 49 years to win Indy

1967 - Bayern Munchen wins 7th Europe Cup II at Neurenberg

1969 - "Dear World" closes at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC after 132 perfs

1969 - "Gitarzan" by Ray Stevens peaks at #8

1969 - John Lennon and Yoko Ono record "Give Peace a Chance"

1969 - Stevie Wonder releases "My Cherie Amore"

1970 - An earthquake in Peru left more than 50,000 dead. At 03:23 PM, Yungay Peru levelled by 7.75 earthquake (50-70,000 die)

1970 - KDUB TV channel 40 in Dubuque, IA (ABC) begins broadcasting

1971 - WDXR (now WKPD) TV channel 29 in Paducah, KY (PBS) begins broadcasting

1972 - Ajax wins Europe Cup 1 in Rotterdam

1973 - Glenn Turner scores his 1,000th cricket run of English season

1974 - Israel and Syria sign an agreement concerning Golan Heights

1974 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1975 - "Goodtime Charley" closes at Palace Theater NYC after 104 performances

1975 - Fred Newman makes 12,874 baskets in a one-day exhibition

1976 - Loudest PA (76 KW) for Who's Quadrophenia in London

1977 - "Beatlemania" opens at Winter Garden Theater NYC for 920 performances

1977 - Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani becomes heir apparent to throne of Qatar

1977 - The trans-Alaska oil pipeline was finished after 3 years of construction.

1979 - "I Remember Mama" opens at Majestic Theater NYC for 108 performances

1979 - Radio City Music Hall (NYC) reopens

1979 - Zimbabwe proclaims independence

1980 - "Love Stinks" by J Geils Band peaks at #38

1980 - Police and youthful rebels battle in Zurich

1982 - "Best Little Whorehouse in Tx" opens at Eugene O'Neill NYC for 63 perf

1983 - 37th NBA Championship: Phila 76ers sweep LA Lakers in 4 games

1984 - 57th National Spelling Bee: Daniel Greenblatt wins spelling luge

1984 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1984 - Viv Richards hits 189* (170 balls) v England, ODI cricket record

1985 - 41 tornadoes hit Northeast US, killing 88

1985 - Guatemala adopts constitution

1985 - New Orleans Saints are sold for $70,204,000

1985 - Tornados in Penn, Ohio, NY and Canada kill 88 and injured more than 1,000

1985 - 1985 United States-Canadian tornado outbreak: Forty-one tornadoes hit Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario, leaving 76 dead.

1985 - Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) became a Schedule I drug in the United States.

1987 - Cindy Rarick wins LPGA Corning Golf Classic

1987 - Saul Ballesteros drives 3 golf balls off Mt McKinley, Alaska

1987 - Stanley Cup: Edmonton Oilers beat Phila Flyers, 4 games to 3

1989 - "Rambling with Gambling" 20,000th radio program on WOR-AM (NYC)

1989 - First International Rock Awards

1989 - First presentation of rock n roll Elvis awards

1989 - Speaker of House Jim Wright resigns

1990 - 63rd National Spelling Bee: Amy Marie Dimak wins spelling fibranne

1990 - BPAA US Women's Bowling Open won by Dana Miller-Mackie

1990 - NYC's Zodiac killer shoots 3rd victim, Joseph Ponce

1990 - Seinfeld starring Jerry Seinfeld, debuts on NBC as Seinfeld Chronicles

1991 - Sides in Angola sign a treaty ending 16 year civil war

1992 - 46th Tony Awards: Dancing at Lughnasa & Crazy For You win

1992 - 5th Children's Miracle Network Telethon raises $1,060,000

1993 - President Dobrica Cosic of little Yugoslavia flees

1994 - Padres scores 13 in 2nd vs Pirates

1994 - The U.S. announced it was no longer aiming long-range nuclear missiles at targets in the former Soviet Union.

1995 - Bob Dole singled out Time Warner for "the marketing of evil" in movies and music. Dole later admitted that he had not seen or heard much of what he had been criticizing.

1996 - Mark Van Thillo and Abigail Alling, former biospherian win $100,000 lawsuit against Biospheric Development for Space Biospheres Ventures

1997 - "Once Upon a Matress," closes at Broadhurst Theater NYC after 187 perf 1997 - Donovan Bailey beats Michael Johnson in 150m race

1997 - The Confederation Bridge opens, linking Prince Edward Island with mainland New Brunswick.

2002 - The New Jersey Nets defeat the Boston Celtics 96-88 in Game 6 of the NBA's Eastern Conference Championship, winning the series 4 games to 2 to advance to their first NBA Finals appearance.

2003 - In North Carolina, Eric Robert Rudolph was captured. He had been on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list for five years for several bombings including the 1996 Olympic bombing.

2004 - Alberta Martin, 97, one of the last widows of a U.S. Civil War veteran, died. She had married Confederate veteran William Martin in 1927 when she was 21 and he was 81.

2008 - Usain Bolt breaks the world record in the 100m sprint, with a wind-legal (+1.7m/s) 9.72 seconds.

2010 - Nine people are dead after an Israeli navy commando attacks a flotilla of cargo ships and passenger boats on their way to Gaza to provide aid and supplies for the area.  Shayetet 13 soldiers tried to stop the flotilla that wanted to break the blockade on Gaza Strip. During the boarding on the MV Mavi Marmara ship, a violent confrontation had started. It caused the death of 9 activists who were on board, and several more injured activists. Moreover, several israeli soldiers were injured.

2012 - Egypt formally ends its 31 year state of emergency

The following links are to web sites that were used to complete this blog entry:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

This Day in History - May 30 Joan of Arc Becomes a Martyr

Once again, it should be reiterated, that this does not pretend to be a very extensive history of what happened on this day (nor is it the most original - the links can be found down below). If you know something that I am missing, by all means, shoot me an email or leave a comment, and let me know!

May 30, 1431: Joan of Arc martyred

At Rouen in English-controlled Normandy, Joan of Arc, the peasant girl who became the savior of France, is burned at the stake for heresy.  

Joan was born in 1412, the daughter of a tenant farmer at Domremy, on the borders of the duchies of Bar and Lorraine. In 1415, the Hundred Years War between England and France entered a crucial phase when the young King Henry V of England invaded France and won a series of decisive victories against the forces of King Charles VI. By the time of Henry's death in August 1422, the English and their French-Burgundian allies controlled Aquitaine and most of northern France, including Paris. Charles VI, long incapacitated, died one month later, and his son, Charles, regent from 1418, prepared to take the throne. However, Reims, the traditional city of French coronation, was held by the Anglo-Burgundians, and the Dauphin (heir apparent to the French throne) remained uncrowned. Meanwhile, King Henry VI of England, the infant son of Henry V and Catherine of Valois, the daughter of Charles VI, was proclaimed king of France by the English.  

Joan's village of Domremy lay on the frontier between the France of the Dauphin and that of the Anglo-Burgundians. In the midst of this unstable environment, Joan began hearing "voices" of three Christian saints—St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret. When she was about 16, these voices exhorted her to aid the Dauphin in capturing Reims and therefore the French throne. In May 1428, she traveled to Vaucouleurs, a stronghold of the Dauphin, and told the captain of the garrison of her visions. Disbelieving the young peasant girl, he sent her home. In January 1429, she returned, and the captain, impressed by her piety and determination, agreed to allow her passage to the Dauphin at Chinon.

Dressed in men's clothes and accompanied by six soldiers, she reached the Dauphin's castle at Chinon in February 1429 and was granted an audience. Charles hid himself among his courtiers, but Joan immediately picked him out and informed him of her divine mission. For several weeks, Charles had Joan questioned by theologians at Poitiers, who concluded that, given his desperate straits, the Dauphin would be well-advised to make use of this strange and charismatic girl.  

Charles furnished her with a small army, and on April 27, 1429, she set out for Orleans, besieged by the English since October 1428. On April 29, as a French sortie distracted the English troops on the west side of Orleans, Joan entered unopposed by its eastern gate. She brought greatly needed supplies and reinforcements and inspired the French to a passionate resistance. She personally led the charge in several battles and on May 7 was struck by an arrow. After quickly dressing her wound, she returned to the fight, and the French won the day. On May 8, the English retreated from Orleans.  

During the next five weeks, Joan and the French commanders led the French into a string of stunning victories over the English. On July 16, the royal army reached Reims, which opened its gates to Joan and the Dauphin. The next day, Charles VII was crowned king of France, with Joan standing nearby holding up her standard: an image of Christ in judgment. After the ceremony, she knelt before Charles, joyously calling him king for the first time.  

On September 8, the king and Joan attacked Paris. During the battle, Joan carried her standard up to the earthworks and called on the Parisians to surrender the city to the king of France. She was wounded but continued to rally the king's troops until Charles ordered an end to the unsuccessful siege. That year, she led several more small campaigns, capturing the town of Saint-Pierre-le-Moitier. In December, Charles ennobled Joan, her parents, and her brothers.  

In May 1430, the Burgundians laid siege to Compiegne, and Joan stole into the town under the cover of darkness to aid in its defense. On May 23, while leading a sortie against the Burgundians, she was captured. The Burgundians sold her to the English, and in March 1431 she went on trial before ecclesiastical authorities in Rouen on charges of heresy. Her most serious crime, according to the tribunal, was her rejection of church authority in favor of direct inspiration from God. After refusing to submit to the church, her sentence was read on May 24: She was to be turned over to secular authorities and executed. Reacting with horror to the pronouncement, Joan agreed to recant and was condemned instead to perpetual imprisonment.  

Ordered to put on women's clothes, she obeyed, but a few days later the judges went to her cell and found her dressed again in male attire. Questioned, she told them that St. Catherine and St. Margaret had reproached her for giving in to the church against their will. She was found to be a relapsed heretic and on May 29 ordered handed over to secular officials. On May 30, Joan, 19 years old, was burned at the stake at the Place du Vieux-Marche in Rouen. Before the pyre was lit, she instructed a priest to hold high a crucifix for her to see and to shout out prayers loud enough to be heard above the roar of the flames.  

As a source of military inspiration, Joan of Arc helped turn the Hundred Years War firmly in France's favor. By 1453, Charles VII had reconquered all of France except for Calais, which the English relinquished in 1558. In 1920, Joan of Arc, one of the great heroes of French history, was recognized as a Christian saint by the Roman Catholic Church. Her feast day is May 30.

1035 - Boudouin V van Rijsel becomes earl of Flanders

1087 - German emperor Henry IV crowns his son Koenraad

1100 - Burchard becomes bishop of Utrecht

1381 - English boer uprising begins in Essex

1416 - Jerome of Prague, burned at the stake for heresy by church Council of Constance

1431 - Hundred Years' War: In Rouen, France, 19-year-old Joan of Arc is burned at the stake as a heretic by an English-dominated tribunal.

1434 - Battle at Lipany

1498 - Columbus departs with 6 ships for 3rd trip to America

1522 - French troops driven out of Genoa

1527 - University of Marburg is founded in Germany

1536 - King Henry VIII of England married his 3rd wife, Jane Seymour, 11 days after he had his 2nd wife, Anne Boleyn executed.

1539 - Hernando de Soto, the Spanish explorer, landed in Florida with 600 soldiers to search for gold.

1574 - Henry III follows brother Charles IX as king of France

1574 - Sea battle at Lillo Belgium (Adolf Van Haemstede vs Louis de Boisot)

1584 - Earl Adolf van Nieuwenaar/Meurs becomes viceroy of Gelderland

1631 - France/Maximilian van Bavarian signs Accord of Fontainebleau

1635 - Emperor Ferdinand II and Saksen sign Peace of Prague

1642 - From this date all honours granted by Charles I are retrospectively annulled by Parliament

1646 - Spain and Netherlands signs temporary cease fire

1783 - The first daily newspaper was published in the U.S. by Benjamin Towner called "The Pennsylvania Evening Post"  

1793 - Georges Couthon chosen member of French Committee the Salut Public

1806 - Andrew Jackson kills Charles Dickinson in a duel after Dickinson had accused Jackson's wife of bigamy.

1808 - Napoleon annexes Tuscany & gave it seats in French Senate

1814 - Napoleonic Wars: War of the Sixth Coalition - The First Treaty of Paris was declared, which returned France to its 1792 borders.

1821 - James Boyd patents Rubber Fire Hose

1822 - House slave betrays Denmark Vesey conspiracy (37 blacks hanged)

1832 - Evariste Galois give his theory on free assembly (dies in duel May 31)

1832 - The Rideau Canal in eastern Ontario is opened.

1842 - John Francis attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria

1848 - Second battle at Gioto: Sardinia-Piemonte beats Austrians

1848 - W.G. Young patented the ice cream freezer.

1848 - Mexico ratifies treaty giving US; New Mexico, California & parts of Nevada, Utah, Arizona & Colorado in return for $15 million

1854 - Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed Missouri Compromise opens north slavery

1854 - 1854 - The U.S. territories of Nebraska and Kansas were established.

1858 - Hudson's Bay Co rights to Vancouver Island revoked

1862 - Battle of Booneville MS - captured Gen Beauregard evacuates Corinth

1864 - Cavalry fight at Battle of Bethesda Church/Totopotomoy Creek Virginia during US Civil War

1866 - Opera "Die Verkaufte Braut" premieres (Prague)

1868 - Memorial Day first observed when 2 women in Columbus Mississippi placed flowers on both Confederate & Union graves      

1876 - Ottoman sultan Abd-ul-Aziz is deposed and succeeded by his nephew Murat V.

1879 - William Vanderbilt renamed New York City's Gilmore’s Garden to Madison Square Garden.

1879 - An F4 tornado strikes Irving, Kansas, killing 18 and injuring 60.

1883 - Twelve people were trampled to death in New York City in a stampede when a rumor that the Brooklyn Bridge was in danger of collapsing occurred.

1889 - The brassiere was invented.

1890 - First Dodger home run (Dave Foutz)

1894 - Bobby Lowe is first to hit 4 HRs in 1 baseball game

1895 - W G Grace scores his 1,000th Cricket run of the season after 22 days

1896 - First car accident occurs, Henry Wells hit a bicyclist (NYC)

1899 - 24th Preakness: R Clawson aboard Half Time wins in 1:47

1901 - Hall of Fame for Great American on NYU campus dedicated

1901 - Memorial Day is first observed in US

1903 - 28th Preakness: W Gannon aboard Flocarline wins in 1:44.8

1903 - In Riverdale, NY, the first American motorcycle hill climb was held.

1904 - Frank Chance gets hit by pitch 5 times in a doubleheader

1906 - 40th Belmont: Lucien Lyne aboard Burgomaster wins in 2:20

1907 - 41st Belmont: G Mountain aboard Peter Pan wins

1908 - First federal workmen's compensation law approved

1908 - 42nd Belmont: Joe Notter aboard Colin win

1908 - Aldrich Vineland Currency Act forerunner to Federal Reserve System

1908 - Paris advocate E Archdeacon is 1st passenger in a airplane

1908 - US Assay Office in Salt Lake City, Utah authorized

1909 - National Conference on the Negro is held

1909 - Reuben Siegel laid cornerstone of 1st home in Tel-Aviv

1910 - 44th Belmont: James Butwell aboard Sweep wins in 2:22

1911 - 1st Indianapolis 500 car race, Ray Harroun wins at 74.59 MPH (120 KPH)

1911 - Ray Harroun won the first Indianapolis Sweepstakes. The 500-mile auto race later became known as the Indianapolis 500. Harroun's average speed was 74.59 miles per hour (120KPH)

1912 - The U.S. Marines were sent to Nicaragua to protect American interests.

1913 - First Balkan War ends, Treaty of London

1913 - New country of Albania formed

1913 - John McGraw joins Fred Clarke, Cap Anson, Frank Selee, & Connie Mack

1913 - as managers who have won 1,000 games

1914 - The new and then largest Cunard ocean liner RMS Aquitania, 45,647 tons, sets sails on her maiden voyage from Liverpool, England to New York City.

1917 - Alexander I becomes king of Greece.

1921 - Lord Dunsany's "If," premieres in London

1921 - Memorial to Capt Eddie Grant, killed in WW I, unveiled at Polo Grounds

1921 - Salzburg, Austria, votes to join Germany

1921 - The U.S. Navy transferred the Teapot Dome oil reserves to the Department of the Interior.

1922 - The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, was dedicated by Chief Justice William Howard Taft.

1922 - Latvia and Vatican sign accord

1922 - Cubs swap Max Flack for Cards Cliff Heathcote during middle of doubleheader. Both play for both teams that day

1923 - Howard Hanson's 1st Symphony "Nordic," premieres

1924 - Socialist Matteotti falls in Italian parliament by fascists 1925 - British mariners shoot on demonstrators

1925 - Peter DePaolo became 1st man to average over 100 mph at Indy

1925 - Rogers Hornsby replaces Branch Rickey as manager of Cardinals

1925 - In China protests erupt against the Great Powers infringing on Chinese sovereignty.

 1927 - Walter Johnson records 113th and last shutout of his career

1930 - Bill Arnold wins Indianapolis 500 car race (161.6 kph)

1931 - Phillies Chuck Klein homers off Ben Cantwell (Braves) in both ends DH

1933 - Patent on invisible glass installation

1933 - Sally Rand introduced her exotic and erotic fan dance to audiences at Chicago’s Century of Progress Exposition.

1935 - Babe Ruth's final game, goes hitless for Braves against Phillies

1937 - Memorial Day Massacre - Chicago police shoot on union marchers, 10 die

1937 - Pitcher Carl Hubbell's 24th consecutive victory

1937 - Police kill 10 strikers at Republic Steel Plant in Chicago

1937 - 61,756, 2nd-largest crowd in Polo Grounds history, sees Dodgers ends Carl Hubbell's consecutive-game winning streak at 24

1941 - First anti semitic measures in Serbia

1941 - English Army enters Baghdad, chasing pro-German coup government

1941 - German capture Kreta

1942 - 1,047 bombers bomb Cologne in RAF's raid of WW II

1942 - Reichsfuhrer Himmler arrived in Prague

1942 - Satchel Paige pitches 5 innings to defeat Dizzy Dean All-Stars 8-1

1942 - US aircraft carrier Yorktown leaves Pearl Harbor

1943 - French general De Gaulle arrives in Algiers

1943 - American forces secured the Aleutian island of Attu from the Japanese during World War II.

1944 - Transport nr 75 departs with French Jews to Nazi Germany

1946 - Braves Bernard Malamud HR shatters Bulova clock in Ebbets Field

1946 - United flight 521 crashes on takeoff at LaGuardia Airport (NY) 42 die

1948 - Schenectady Blue Jays Tom Lasorda strikes out 25 in 15-inning game

1948 - A dike along the flooding Columbia River breaks, obliterating Vanport, Oregon within minutes. Fifteen people die and tens of thousands are left homeless.

1949 - East German constitution approved

1949 - NPS/VHP win 1st general election in Suriname

1949 - WRTV TV channel 6 in Indianapolis, IN (ABC) begins broadcasting

1951 - Ezzard Charles beats Joey Maxim in 15 for heavyweight boxing title

1952 - Charlie Grimm succeeds Tommy Holmes as manager of Boston Braves

1952 - Darius Milhaud's "West Point Suite," premieres

1953 - First major league network baseball game-Cleveland 7, Chicago 2

1953 - 23rd French Mens Tennis: Ken Rosewall beats V Seixas (63 64 16 62)

1953 - 23rd French Womens Tennis: Maureen Connolly beats Doris Hart (62 64)

1954 - Dutch bishops forbid membership to non-catholic sporting clubs

1954 - Emile Zatopek runs world record 5K (13:57.2)

1954 - Hector Villa-Lobos' "Odisseia de Uma Raca," premieres

1955 - KMVT TV channel 11 in Twin Falls, ID (CBS/NBC/ABC) begins broadcasting

1955 - Said el-Mufti forms Jordan government

1955 - Tunisia begins domestic self governing

1956 - Bus boycott begins in Tallahassee Florida

1956 - Mickey Mantle misses by 18" hitting 1st HR out of Yankee Stadium

1956 - US performs nuclear test at Enwetak (atmospheric tests)

1957 - Real Madrid wins 2nd Europe Cup 1 in Madrid

1957 - Test Cricket debut for Rohan Kanhai v England at Edgbaston

1958 - US performs nuclear test at Enwetak (atmospheric tests)

1958 - Unidentified soldiers killed in World War II and the Korean conflicts were buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

1959 - "First Impressions" closes at Alvin Theater NYC after 84 performances

1959 - "Nervous Set" closes at Henry Miller's Theater NYC after 23 perfs

1959 - Iraq terminates milt assistance pact with US due to neutrality

1959 - Pres Somoza ends emergency crisis in Nicaragua

1959 - Pres Stroessner disbands Paraguay's parliament

1959 - World's 1st hovercraft (SR-N1) tested at Cowes England

1959 - The Auckland Harbour Bridge is officially opened today in Auckland, New Zealand.

1961 - Dutch DC-8 crashes after takeoff at Lisbon, 62 die

1961 - Maris hits his 10th & 11th of 61 HRs

1961 - Long time Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo is assassinated in Santo Domingo,Dominican Republic.

1962 - 69 killed in bus crash (Ahmedabad India)

1962 - Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem," premieres

1964 - "Beyond the Fringe" closes at John Golden Theater NYC after 673 perfs

1964 - Beatles 1961 record of "Cry for a Shadow" is #1 in Australia

1964 - Beatles' "Love Me Do," single goes #1

1964 - Giants sweep Mets 5-3 & 8-6 in 23 inn, records include elapsed time of 9:50, 47 strikeouts, 7:22 for 2nd game & NY's 22 K's in 2nd games

1965 - France performs nuclear test at Ecker Algeria (Underground)

1965 - Viet Cong offensive against US base Da Nang, begins

1965 - Vivian Malone, is 1st black to graduate from University of Alabama

1966 - 300 US airplanes bomb North Vietnam

1966 - Graham Hill wins Indianapolis 500 car race (232.2 kph)

1966 - US launches Surveyor 1 to Moon \

1967 - The state of Biafra seceded from Nigeria and Civil war erupted.

1967 - Daredevil Evel Knievel jumped 16 automobiles in a row in a motorcycle stunt at Ascot Speedway in Gardena, CA.  

1967 - King Hussein of Jordan visits Cairo

1967 - Robert "Evel" Knievel's motorcycle jumps 16 automobiles

1967 - Yankee Whitey Ford, nearing 41, announces his retirement from baseball

1968 - Beatles begin work on their only double album "Beatles"

1968 - President De Gaulle disbands French parliament

1968 - University church in Leipzig German DR, blown up

1968 - West German Parliament accepts emergency crisis law

1969 - Derek Clayton runs world record marathon (2:08:33.6) at Antwerp

1969 - Gibraltar adopts constitution

1969 - People revolt in Willemstad, Curacao

1969 - Riots on the Caribbean island of Curaçao

1970 - "Minnie's Boys" closes at Imperial Theater NYC after 80 performances

1970 - Baseball All-Star voting is returned to fans

1971 - 36 hospitalized during Grateful Dead concert; drunk LSD apple juice

1971 - Train crash at Duivendrecht Neth, 5 die

1971 - Mariner 9, the American deep space probe blasted off on a journey to Mars.

1971 - Willie Mays hits his 638th HR, sets NL record of 1,950 runs scored

1972 - 3 Jap PFL terrorists kills 24, wound 72 at Tel Aviv's Lod Intl airport

1972 - The Angry Brigade goes on trial over a series of 25 bombings throughout Britain.

1973 - Ajax wins 3rd Europe Cup

1975 - European Space Agency (ESA) forms

1975 - Wings release "Venus & Mars" album

1976 - Bobby Unser sets world record for fastest pit stop (4 seconds)

1977 - Cleveland Indian Dennis Eckersley no-hits California Angels, 2-0

1979 - Nottingham Forrest wins 24th Europe Cup 1 at Munich

1979 - Pat Underwood makes his pitching debut for Detroit beats brother Tom

1979 - Percom Data Company Inc release Microdos for Radio Shack's TRS-80

1979 - Ted Coombs begins a 5,193 mile roller skate from LA to NYC

1980 - First papal visit to France since 1814

1980 - Tiger reliever John Hiller, 37, (who had a 1971 heart attack), retires

1980 - Turner's painting "Juliet & Her Nurse" sells for $6.4 million

1980 - Twins Ken Landreaux ends his hitting streak after 31 games

1981 - "Nightline" extends from 4 nights to 5 nights a week (Friday)

1981 - Bangladesh Pres Ziaur Rahman is shot by group of rebel officers

1981 - LA Dodgers are quickest to get 1,000,000 attendence (22 games)

1981 - In Chittagong, Bangladesh, President Ziaur Rahman was assassinated by rebel officers,

1982 - Spain became the 16th NATO member. Spain was the first country to enter the Western alliance since West Germany in 1955.

1982 - "Do Black Patent Leather Shoes..." closes at Alvin NYC after 5 perf

1982 - Closest Indy 500, Gordon Johncock beats Rick Mears by 0.16 seconds

1983 - Surrey all out for 14 vs Essex, their lowest score ever

1983 - AL Pres Lee MacPhail suspends Yankees owner George Steinbrenner for one week, for his public criticism of umpires

1983 - Peru's President Fernando Belaunde Terry declared a state of emergency and suspended civil rights after bombings by leftist rebels.  

1984 - Bomb explodes in rebel leader Eden Pastora headquarters in Nicaragua

1984 - Liverpool wins 29th Europe Cup 1 in Rome

1984 - NL suspends Mario Soto 5 days for Reds-Cubs fight on May 27th

1985 - Stanley Cup: Edmonton Oilers beat Philadelphia Flyers, 4 games to 1

1986 - Ariane-2 (ESA) launched

1986 - Bobby Rahal is 1st to avg over 170 mph in Indianapolis 500

1986 - France performs nuclear test

1987 - Mike Tyson TKOs Pinklon Thomas in 6 for heavyweight boxing title

1987 - North American Philips Company unveils compact disc video

1987 - Tony Tucker TKOs Buster Douglas in 10 for heavyweight boxing title

1987 - West German Mathias Rust lands airplane on Red Square

1989 - The "Goddess of Democracy" statue (33 feet height) was erected in Tiananmen Square by student demonstrators.

1989 - Margaret Ray pleads guilty to breaking into David Letterman's house

1990 - 135 die in a (6.4) earthquake in Peru

1990 - Dow Jones avg hits a record 2,878.56

1990 - Earthquake hit Peru, killing 135

1991 - 64th National Spelling Bee: Joanne Lagatta wins spelling antipyretic

1991 - Arturo Barrios runs world record one-hour distance (21,096 km)

1991 - Supreme Court rules prosecutors can be sued for legal advice they give police & can be held accountable

1992 - Minnesota Twin Bert Blyleven is 2nd to win as teenager & 40 year old

1992 - NY Lotto pays $30 million to one winner (#s are 12-15-30-33-40-48)

1992 - NY Yankee Scott Sanderson becomes 9th to beat all 26 teams

1992 - UN votes for sanctions against Serb-led Yugoslavia to halt fighting

1996 - 69th National Spelling Bee: Wendy Guey wins spelling vivisepulture

1996 - John Tesh's final day as host of "Entertainment Tonight"

1996 - Albert Belle uses a forearm to break up a double play & nearly breaks Brewer 2nd baseman Fernando Vina's nose, Belle gets 2 game suspension

1996 - Britain's Prince Andrew and the former Sarah Ferguson were granted an uncontested decree ending their 10-year marriage.

1997 - Jesse K. Timmendequas was convicted in Trenton, NJ, of raping and strangling a 7-year-old neighbor, Megan Kanka. The 1994 murder inspired "Megan's Law," requiring that communities be notified when sex offenders move in.

1997 - Betty Shabazz, widow of Malcolm X, set afire by 12 year old grandson

1997 - Ken Dryden becomes president of NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs

1998 - A magnitude 6.6 earthquake in Northern Afghanistan (and subsequent aftershocks) killed an estimated 5,000 and injured at least 1,500. A quake on Feb. 4 in the same area had killed about 2,300.

2012 - A number of nations including Germany, Turkey and Canada, expel Syrian diplomats following the Houla massacre

2012 - Vishwanathan Anand wins his fifth World Chess Championship

The following links are to web sites that were used to complete this blog entry:

Movie Rental Review - Disgrace

This was a phenomenal novel that I really very much enjoyed some years back. As a makeshift student of South Africa, this novel really gives a strong outlook on post-apartheid South Africa.

So, when I heard that they had made a movie out of it, my curiosity was piqued. Last night, I finally got the opportunity to watch it.

I had been urging it with my girlfriend for a while now. Every time we discussed the possibility of watching a movie at night, that one came up. Yet, it never happened.

Then, when I suggested it last night, she finally nodded her head. 


"Yeah." she said, nonchalantly.

Now, she really has one odd trait about her in regards to movies: there are some that it seems that everyone else has seen, that she has not seen. I introduced her to Forrest Gump and Shawshank Redemption. She was really impressed with those two movies.

Not so much this one, though. The thing is, it is an odd movie, and is very specific in many respects to the circumstances unique to South Africa. If you do not follow the history and the current political climate, you really might miss the significance and symbolism, much like another movie about South Africa that is very different in it's own way - District 9. If you do not get the symbolism in the movie, than it might seem like pointless violence, and like a strangely depressing movie.

She asked me to turn it off about three quarters of an hour into it, because of violence to animals. I do not want to go into it more than that, if you choose to watch the movie. But be warned: there is deliberate violence against animals in this one, so prepare yourself. There is also violence on different levels to people, as well.

Of course, I honored her request and shut it off. I was a little disappointed, but not really surprised. This movie is disturbing, and if you are not aware of what the larger points are, it is going to seem...well, really creepy. No wonder she could feel no hesitation simply to turn it off, although it was different for me. After all, my curiosity about the movie was stronger, simply because of my having read the novel (which really is phenomenal, by the way - and even at the risk of sounding cliche, much better than the movie). 

So, I finished watching it yesterday, when alone in the apartment for some time. 

Let me say this straight out: this may feel like a strange movie. It is a subtle movie on some levels, yet explosive in it's own way. There are episodes of extreme and disturbing, graphic violence within it, although this is probably necessary for an accurate representation of modern day South Africa. This is not a feel good movie, and it is not one that you should approach with a light heart. So don't cook up the popcorn and tasty beverages and expect a nice movie night. 

This film is meant to be thought provoking, and it definitely achieves this (again, if you're paying attention to subtleties, and particularly if you have a good working knowledge of South African history. It is also very complicated, juggling a lot of themes all at once.

Now, let me say this: it probably does get as close to the novel as it would be possible to do. But that said, this is a very difficult novel to interpret by film. There is a lot of psychology, a lot of suspicions and fears. the movie went quite a ways, actually, towards being accurate to the book.

Still, I would recommend the book, if you have time, and appreciate the thinking behind it.

***Spoiler Alert***

This story is representative of the history of South Africa itself, on so many levels. You have the older white gentleman, Professor Lurie, a respected professor of poetry at a Cape Town university. He lives a comfortable life, and enjoys many of the finer things. All that he loves represents white culture, and he looks towards Europe in his taste in music, arts, and lifestyle.

Ultimately, he takes advantage of a young girl, probably younger than his own daughter, Lucie. This girl is what would be considered in South Africa "coloured" (this does not have the same meaning in South Africa as it does in the United States, meaning simply mixed race).

Lurie is guilty, and held up before a panel of inquiry that judges him harshly, yet he seems not to understand what he is guilty of. he admits that he has done what they say, but seems completely untroubled by it, seeming to shrug it off with ease, much to the alarm of the other staff members. Ultimately, he loses his position.

Seemingly down and out, and feeling a bit threatened by the short tempered boyfriend of the girl he has taken advantage of, he needs an escape, and finds one by visiting his daughter in a very rural part of South Africa. He is nervous for her, since she is a single woman living alone in a dangerous country. They have disagreements about it, but she seems determined to continue living her life in the same manner. She does not want to live in fear, but acceptance.

The now ex-professor needs something to do with his time, so he volunteers at the local vet, taking care particularly of the dogs. Many of the dogs are guard dogs, and he feels a certain level of protection (and perhaps tradition?) in their presence. Yet, these dogs are being euthanized regularly, which also seems highly symbolic.

At some point, he and his daughter are talking and approaching their home by foot, when they find three teenage black boys waiting for them. It seems strange, and before long, it is clear that they have set something up. They gang rape Lucie, and beat Lurie unconscious. He is almost killed in a vicious way, reminiscent of the "necklacing" that horrified much of the world in the eighties.

It turns out that one of those who attacked her is related to her former servant, who is slowly but surely taking over the farm and building for himself and his family a life on the property. Both father and daughter worry that she might have obtained a disease from the incident.

Lurie now is adamant that Lucie needs more protection. He urges her away from this farm, or at least to get guns and a higher gate (although this is not entirely the answer). There is tremendous friction between them, and Lurie ultimately decides that he needs to leave, so he goes back to Cape Town.

But once back there, he quickly understands that his old life is no longer available to him there. His past crimes have prevented the possibility that he will return to teaching at the university, and there are few other options for him. He does go to the family of the girl that he took advantage of to ask forgiveness, but this turns out disastrously. The family itself seem to be religious freaks, and the father seems to believe that Lurie needs to accept God before he can truly be forgiven.

He leaves Cape Town, and goes back to the small village where Lucie lives. He finds the same situation, which is absolutely unacceptable, and then finds out another horrifying truth: his daughter, while apparently not infected by any STD's, nonetheless is pregnant. Moreover, she is having the child, and continues to live life unaltered from before the horrific day of the rape.

Lucie is upset, because the friction that had gone away in her father's absence returns immediately along with her father. So Lurie needs to leave, and he decides to stay in the village, but to get his own place, and build a new life in the new South Africa.

The acting is solid all around, although the pace is slow. You have to have patience and, again, an understanding of history, to really get all that you are supposed to get out of this movie. I cannot stress enough that this is not a feel good movie.

Again, this is a powerful story, but the novel is better than the movie (not surprisingly). That said, although the movie itself is hardly pretty (in fact, it's downright ugly), it is a revealing and troubling look at the new South Africa and the problems that it faces in the post-apartheid period. With that understanding in mind, I would recommend this movie, although don't say I didn't warn you that it is disturbing!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book Review: Cell 8

 Note: I thought I had published this a long, long, long time ago. Then, I just happened to notice it on my "Draft" folder, never apparently published, and thought, "Wow! Really?"  So, without further ado, and without any editing or changes (since it has been so long since I read it, and my memory probably would not justify alterations), here is the book review of a truly terrific, thought provoking book:  
Cell 8 was a very good read. 
Recommended to me by my mom, who had read it before, it is more than a simple thriller, or some work of fiction. It also delves into many important topics, and explores the different attitudes between Sweden, and perhaps the European Union nations overall, versus the United States on jails, punishment, and particularly capital punishment. That is to say, of course, the death penalty. But it also asks important and piercing, critical questions about the overall attitudes and different approaches towards crime and punishment in the United States and Sweden. 
We all know that prisons are growing in the United States, that there are more and more prisons, and that means, of course, more and more prisoners. Also, of course, the death sentence, which used to be illegal in the United States, and which still is illegal in European Union countries, such as Sweden, was reinstated some decades ago, and remains a soar and divisive topic for many. Like much else, people hold strong opinions about these things, and the different approaches are argued equally vehemently on both sides of the debate. 
It was noted, and judged harshly by many on this side of the Atlantic, that in another Scandinavian country, Norway, the police took a long time to respond to a massive shooting on an island some distance from Oslo, which took place on the same day as a bombing in the capital, in what was a two-part attack by a native Norwegian hoping to make a political statement. Indeed, the response time raised eyebrows, but in defense of Norway, it is a quiet country, and not at all used to that kind of thing. In fact, many Norwegians seemed to suggest that that kind of incident you expect in the United States, but not in quiet Norway. Which, perhaps, is more than a veiled criticism of the United States, and the high rate of crime and inexplicable, violent episodes and shootings. 
What also received a lot of publicity and raised eyebrows was that the perpetrator, Anders Behring Breivik, could only receive the maximum sentence of a few decades, as opposed to a life sentence, much less the death penalty, like the United States likely would have pursued (at least in some states, anyway).
Although they do not really talk about this particular shooting incident, they do engage in a kind of ongoing debate throughout the book about the merits, or the lack thereof, on both sides – the Swedish and the American models of legal punishment. They address the overcrowded prisons and the sense of security that Americans get out of their system, as well as the huge costs of maintaining such a massive, and growing, prison system. They also in particular talk about the death penalty and Europe's opposition to it, in theory as well as in fact. 
But Cell 8 is not just about the questions, moral or legal, surrounding the death penalty. Far from it. It also takes an honest look at intellectually dishonest politics, about "legalese" speak, if you will. Although Sweden and the United States may speak different languages, the BS underneath much of the language of the law, which we have all seen before, becomes magnificently in evidence and is used to very strong effect as you read this book. 
For that matter, another interesting point that is addressed is the apparent need of an abusive state to subjugate people at times to the will of the state; to humiliate them. The prisoner in question is at some point made to feel dehumanized once he is under the control of certain authorities, and the systematic message of making sure it is understood to one and all that they state can, and will, do whatever the hell it wants to one of it's own, is indeed troubling. That these are men and women who go to and from work everyday and otherwise lead normal lives, but who's very job description seems to entail a disturbing psychosis, is itself troubling. 
After all, it is, in theory, the state that is supposed to contain people who's violent tendencies do harm to others, but what happens when it is the state itself, an allegedly civilized nation, that exhibits violent tendencies? 
There are many layers to this book, including how regular people, powerless to really throw a monkey wrench into the machinery or effect change on a massive scale, can cope with the reality of these horrors. The authors make a compelling argument about the radically different ideas and notions of crime and punishment between the United States and Sweden in particular, and perhaps more of the European Union in general. It also exposes the weakness, the chink in the armor if you will, of the theory that the death penalty serves as a strong deterrent, versus the actual facts and statistics that seem to illustrate a different story, and that perhaps Americans are believing in a fallacy, in a myth, when they make this claim to justify their continued support of capital punishment. Though this is a work of fiction, the authors certainly do not shy away from seriously debating a topic that is all too real. . 
With these debates clearly underlying the story throughout, the authors go on about a fictional character on death row in Ohio, who managed to escape, ultimately, and then is discovered in Sweden after being taken in for a violent incident. The story itself is intriguing, as are the details about how this fictional escape took place. The fictional diplomatic crisis that the potential extradition of this American back to the States, where he would surely face the death penalty again to a revenge minded voting base back home, echoes some real political realities in the present day, and serves as the backdrop for further rich debate and arguments that the authors engage in. Cell 8 itself is written by the Swedish writing duo of Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom. The duo also wrote “Three Seconds”, and have been compared to Stieg Larsson, the author of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”. 
Cell 8 is an exciting read, and keeps you wanting to read more and more, on many levels, and find out whether the fictional government of Sweden in the book will actually yield the American and bow down to political pressures, thus in effect sentencing this man to death, or whether it will safeguard the American, who's major crimes, after all, took place on foreign shores. It also makes you wonder about the resolve in reality on both sides of the Atlantic regarding this all-important topic. Recommended reading!

On This Day in History - May 29 The End of the Byzantine Empire

Once again, it should be reiterated, that this does not pretend to be a very extensive history of what happened on this day (nor is it the most original - the links can be found down below). If you know something that I am missing, by all means, shoot me an email or leave a comment, and let me know!

Well, here's a biggie: on this day in history, Constantinople fell, not for the first time. But what made this time different was that it marked the end of the Byzantine Empire. It was the beginning of what would become the Ottoman Empire, if memory from my Byzantine history course at Rutgers serves correctly.

Also on this date, South Carolina became an official colony and, quite a few years later, Rhode Island would become the last of the original thirteen states to ratify the Constitution. In between those two dates, Patrick Henry delivered a famous speech on this date, railing against the tyranny of the British and the Stamp Act. Some years later, in 1848, Wisconsin became an official state. A year later, Lincoln would coin that famous phrase that a future President would completely butcher, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, or all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all the people all of the time." Sojourner Truth addressed a conference for all-black women. Emperor Maximillian arrived in Mexico in 1864. The first running of the Indianapolis 55 took place. The US invaded the Dominican Republic, and would stay for the better part of a decade. The flag of the President on the United States was officially adopted and, not much later, a future President, John F. Kennedy, was born in Brookline, MA. Einstein's light-bending theory was confirmed on this day. Ecuador became an independent nation. World War I veterans marched in Washington for benefits payments that would not arrive for another thirteen years. Bing Crosby would record his famous, and hugely popular, "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" on this day in history

(really? In late May?)

Charles de Gaulle formed a new government in France. The United Nations came to an agreement on sanctions to be imposed on Rhodesia (what is Zimbabwe in the present day), which was then ruled by a white-minority government. A little over a decade later, Bishop Abel Muzorewa would become the first black prime minister of that same country (by then known as Zimbabwe). In the meantime, President Nixon had released 1,200 pages for the Watergate investigation. Colonel Oliver North admitted that profits from weapons sold to Iran went to illegally fund the Contras in Nicaragua. President Reagan visited Moscow. Chinese students protesting in Beijing built a statue ("The Goddess of Democracy") that was highly influenced by the Statue of Liberty - a small replica of it still stands in Arlington, Virginia. A year later, Boris Yeltsin was elected President of Russia. Olusegun Obasanjo became the first Nigerian civilian president in over a decade in a half. There was a massacre in Saudi Arabia and, a year later, in an election that I personally would take part in, French voters rejected the European Constitution.

May 29, 1953: Hillary and Tenzing reach Everest summit

At 11:30 a.m. on May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa of Nepal, become the first explorers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which at 29,035 feet above sea level is the highest point on earth. The two, part of a British expedition, made their final assault on the summit after spending a fitful night at 27,900 feet. News of their achievement broke around the world on June 2, the day of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, and Britons hailed it as a good omen for their country's future.  

Mount Everest sits on the crest of the Great Himalayas in Asia, lying on the border between Nepal and Tibet. Called Chomo-Lungma, or "Mother Goddess of the Land," by the Tibetans, the English named the mountain after Sir George Everest, a 19th-century British surveyor of South Asia. The summit of Everest reaches two-thirds of the way through the air of the earth's atmosphere--at about the cruising altitude of jet airliners--and oxygen levels there are very low, temperatures are extremely cold, and weather is unpredictable and dangerous.  

The first recorded attempt to climb Everest was made in 1921 by a British expedition that trekked 400 difficult miles across the Tibetan plateau to the foot of the great mountain. A raging storm forced them to abort their ascent, but the mountaineers, among them George Leigh Mallory, had seen what appeared to be a feasible route up the peak. It was Mallory who quipped when later asked by a journalist why he wanted to climb Everest, "Because it's there."  

A second British expedition, featuring Mallory, returned in 1922, and climbers George Finch and Geoffrey Bruce reached an impressive height of more than 27,000 feet. In another attempt made by Mallory that year, seven Sherpa porters were killed in an avalanche. (The Sherpas, native to the Khumbu region, have long played an essential support role in Himalayan climbs and treks because of their strength and ability to endure the high altitudes.) In 1924, a third Everest expedition was launched by the British, and climber Edward Norton reached an elevation of 28,128 feet, 900 vertical feet short of the summit, without using artificial oxygen. Four days later, Mallory and Andrew Irvine launched a summit assault and were never seen alive again. In 1999, Mallory's largely preserved body was found high on Everest--he had suffered numerous broken bones in a fall. Whether or not he or Irvine reached the summit remains a mystery.  

Several more unsuccessful summit attempts were made via Tibet's Northeast Ridge route, and after World War II Tibet was closed to foreigners. In 1949, Nepal opened its door to the outside world, and in 1950 and 1951 British expeditions made exploratory climbs up the Southeast Ridge route. In 1952, a Swiss expedition navigated the treacherous Khumbu Icefall in the first real summit attempt. Two climbers, Raymond Lambert and Tenzing Norgay, reached 28,210 feet, just below the South Summit, but had to turn back for want of supplies.  

Shocked by the near-success of the Swiss expedition, a large British expedition was organized for 1953 under the command of Colonel John Hunt. In addition to the best British climbers and such highly experienced Sherpas as Tenzing Norgay, the expedition enlisted talent from the British Commonwealth, such as New Zealanders George Lowe and Edmund Hillary, the latter of whom worked as a beekeeper when not climbing mountains. Members of the expedition were equipped with specially insulated boots and clothing, portable radio equipment, and open- and closed-circuit oxygen systems.  

Setting up a series of camps, the expedition pushed its way up the mountain in April and May 1953. A new passage was forged through the Khumbu Icefall, and the climbers made their way up the Western Cwm, across the Lhotse Face, and to the South Col, at about 26,000 feet. On May 26, Charles Evans and Tom Bourdillon launched the first assault on the summit and came within 300 feet of the top of Everest before having to turn back because one of their oxygen sets was malfunctioning.  

On May 28, Tenzing and Hillary set out, setting up high camp at 27,900 feet. After a freezing, sleepless night, the pair plodded on, reaching the South Summit by 9 a.m. and a steep rocky step, some 40 feet high, about an hour later. Wedging himself in a crack in the face, Hillary inched himself up what was thereafter known as the Hillary Step. Hillary threw down a rope, and Norgay followed. At about 11:30 a.m., the climbers arrived at the top of the world.  

News of the success was rushed by runner from the expedition's base camp to the radio post at Namche Bazar, and then sent by coded message to London, where Queen Elizabeth II learned of the achievement on June 1, the eve of her coronation. The next day, the news broke around the world. Later that year, Hillary and Hunt were knighted by the queen. Norgay, because he was not a citizen of a Commonwealth nation, received the lesser British Empire Medal.  

In 1960, a Chinese expedition was the first to conquer the mountain from the Tibetan side, and in 1963 James Whittaker became the first American to top Everest. In 1975, Tabei Junko of Japan became the first woman to reach the summit. Three years later, Reinhold Messner of Italy and Peter Habeler of Austria achieved what had been previously thought impossible: climbing to the Everest summit without oxygen. Nearly two hundred climbers have died attempting to summit the mountain. A major tragedy occurred in 1996 when eight climbers from various nations died after being caught in a blizzard high on the slopes.

363 - Roman Emperor Julian defeats the Sassanid army in the Battle of Ctesiphon, under the walls of the Sassanid capital, but is unable to take the city.

757 - St Paul I begins his reign as Catholic Pope

1138 - Anti-Pope Victor IV (Gregorio) overthrows self for Innocentius II

1167 - Battle of Monte Porzio - A Roman army supporting Pope Alexander III is defeated by Christian of Buch and Rainald of Dassel

1176 - Battle at Legnano: Lombard League beats Frederick Barbarossa and the Holy Roman Empire

1414 - Council of Constance deposed Pope John XXIII

1453 - Constantinople fell to Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II (Turks), thus ending the Byzantine Empire.

1453 - French banker Jacques Coeurs possessions confiscated

1576 - Spanish army under Mondragon conquerors Zierik sea

1592 - At the Battle of Sacheon, the Korean navy led by Admiral Yi Sun Shin, repels a Japanese army that outnumbers it nearly 3 to 1.

1630 - Gov John Winthrop begins "History of New England"

1652 - English Admiral Robert Blake drives out Dutch fleet under lt-adm Tromp

1660 - Charles II was restored to the English throne after Puritan Commonwealth

1677 - Treaty of Middle Plantation establishes peace between the Virginia colonists and the local Indians.

1692 - Battle at La Hogue: English and Dutch fleet defeat France

1692 - Royal Hospital Founders Day first celebrated

1721 - South Carolina was formally incorporated as a royal colony

1727 - Peter II (11) becomes Tsar of Russia

1733 - The right of Canadians to keep Indian slaves is upheld at Quebec City.

1753 - Joseph Haydns "Krumme Teufel," premieres

1765 - Patrick Henry historic speech against the Stamp Act, answering a cry of "Treason!" with, "If this be treason, make the most of it!" He denounced the Stamp Act before Virginia's House of Burgesses.

1780 - Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton massacres Colonel Abraham Buford's continentals allegedly after the continentals surrender. 113 Americans are killed.

1787 - "Virginia Plan" proposed

1790 - Rhode Island becomes last of original 13 colonies ratifying Constitution

1827 - The first nautical school opened in Nantucket, MA, under the name Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin’s Lancasterian School.

1848 - Wisconsin became the 30th state to join the United States.

1848 - Battle at Curtazone: Austrians beat Sardinia-Piemonte

1849 - Lincoln says "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."

1849 - A patent for lifting vessels was granted to Abraham Lincoln.

1851 - Sojourner Truth addresses first Black Women's Rights Convention (Akron)

1861 - Dorothea Dix offers help in setting up hospitals for Union Army

1864 - Mexican Emperor Maximilian arrives at Vera Cruz

1868 - The assassination of Michael Obrenovich III, Prince of Serbia, in Belgrade.

1874 - Present constitution of Switzerland takes effect

1884 - First steam cable trams start in highgate

1889 - August Strindberg's "Hemsoborna," premieres in Copenhagen

1897 - 31st Belmont: J Scherrer aboard Scottish Cheiftain wins in 2:23.25

1900 - 25th Preakness: H Spencer aboard Hindus wins in 1:48.4

1900 - Trademark "Escalator" registered by Otis Elevator Co

1902 - Dutch State Mine law forms

1903 - May coup d'etat: Alexander Obrenovich, King of Serbia, and Queen Draga, are assassinated in Belgrade by the Black Hand (Crna Ruka) organization.

1905 - Pogrom against Jewish community in Brisk Lithuania

1909 - Frank "Home Run" Baker's 1st career home run.

1910 - Pope's encyclical on Editae Saepe, against church reformers

1910 - An airplane raced a train from Albany, NY, to New York City. The airplane pilot Glenn Curtiss won the $10,000 prize.

1911 - The first running of the Indianapolis 500 took place.

1912 - Fifteen women were dismissed from their jobs at the Curtis Publishing Company in Philadelphia, PA, for dancing the "Turkey Trot" while on the job.

1913 - Igor Stravinsky's ballet score The Rite of Spring is premiered in Paris, provoking a riot.

1914 - Ship rams Canadian ship Empress of Ireland on St Lawrence R; 1024 die

1916 - NY Giants win 17th consecutive road game

1916 - The official flag of the president of the United States was adopted.

1916 - U.S. forces invaded Dominican Republic and remained until 1924.

1917 - John F. Kennedy was born in Brookline, Mass.

1919 - Charles Strite files patent for the pop-up toaster

1919 - Einstein's light-bending prediction confirmed by Arthur Eddington

1919 - The Republic of Prekmurje founded

1922 - Ecuador became independent.

1922 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that organized baseball was a sport, and thus not subject to antitrust laws.

1924 - AEK Athens FC is established on the anniversary of the siege of Constantinople by the Turks.

1928 - Fritz von Opel reaches 200 kph in experimental rocket car

1932 - World War I veterans began arriving in Washington, DC. to demand cash bonuses they were not scheduled to receive for another 13 years.

1935 - Hague local museum opens

1940 - Adolf Kiefer swims world record 100 yards backstroke (58.8 sec)

1940 - Arthur Seyss-Inquart installed as Reich commissar of Hague Netherlands.

1940 - In World War II, Germans capture Ostend and Ypres in Belgium & Lille in France

1942 - Bing Crosby records "White Christmas". It became the greatest selling record to date, as it would go on to sell over 30 million copies.

1943 - Confederacy of Algiers (Churchill-Marshall-Eisenhower)

1943 - Meat and cheese rationed in US

1944 - British troops occupy Aprilia Italy

1945 - US First Marine division conquerors Shuri-castle Okinawa

1946 - KVP wins Provincial National election in Netherlands

1949 - Candid Camera, TV comedy Variety, moves to NBC

1951 - C.F. Blair became the first man to fly over the North Pole in single engine plane.  

1952 - 2nd Round Conference between Dutch Antilles & Suriname ends

1953 - Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became first men to reach the top of Mount Everest.

1954 - Pope Pius X issues holy declaration

1954 - First of the annual Bilderberg conferences.

1955 - Jordan government of Tewfik Abdul Huda resigns

1956 - Arnold Schoenberg's "Modern Psalm," premieres

1956 - WESH TV channel 2 in Daytona Beach-Orlando, FL (NBC) 1st broadcast

1957 - Algerian rebels kill 336 collaborators

1957 - Laos government of prince Suvanna Phuma resigns

1957 - NYC Mayor Robert Wagner says he plans to confer with the Giants & Dodgers about the proposed move to the west coast

1958 - Real Madrid wins 3rd Europe Cup 1 in Brussels

1959 - Charles de Gaulle formed French government

1960 - Everly Brothers "Cathy's Clown" hits #1

1962 - Barbra Streisand appears on "Garry Moore Show"

1962 - Buck (John) O’Neil became the first black coach in major league baseball when he accepted the job with the Chicago Cubs.

1965 - Ralph Boston set a world record in the broad jump at 27-feet, 4-3/4 inches, at a meet held in Modesto, CA.

1965 - Phillies Dick Allen hits 529' HR out of Connie Mack Stadium

1967 - Australian Paul McManus water skis barefoot for 1:30:19

1967 - Pope Paul VI names 27 new cardinals, including Karol Wojtyla, archbishop of Krakow, who later became Pope John Paul II

1968 - Manchester United wins 13rd Europe Cup 1 in London

1968 - Truth in Lending Act signed into law

1968 - UN resolved sanctions on white-minority-ruled Rhodesia

1969 - Britain's Trans-Arctic expedition makes first crossing of Arctic Sea ice

1969 - General strike in Cordoba, Argentina, leading to the Cordobazo civil unrest.

1970 - USSR performs nuclear test (underground)

1971 - Court Room by Clarence Carter hits #61

1973 - Columbia Records fires president Clive Davis for misappropriating $100,000 in funds, Davis will start Arista records

1973 - Tom Bradley was elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles.

1974 - U.S. President Nixon agreed to turn over 1,200 pages of edited Watergate transcripts.

1974 - Northern Ireland is brought under direct rule from Westminster

1976 - "One Piece At A Time" by Johnny Cash hits #29

1976 - Only HR of Joe Niekro's 22-year career, comes off brother Phil

1977 - A J Foyt wins Indianapolis 500 for a record 4th time

1977 - NBC News and Information Service (24 hr news) ends on radio

1977 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1977 - Janet Guthrie becomes 1st woman to drive in Indy 500

1978 - First class postage now 15 cents (13 cents for 3 years)

1978 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1979 - Bishop Abel Muzorewa is sworn in as Zimbabwe's first black PM

1979 - Radio's 1st rock network "Source" premieres

1980 - "Billy Bishop Goes to War" opens at Morosco Theater NYC for 12 perfs

1980 - 53rd National Spelling Bee: Jacques Bailly wins spelling elucubrate

1980 - Attempted assassination on Vernon Jordan Jr National Urban League pres

1980 - J Turners "Juliet & Her Nurse" sold for $6,400,000 in NYC

1980 - Larry Bird beats out Magic Johnson for NBA rookie of year

1981 - US performed nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1982 - "I Know What Boys Like," by The Waitresses hits #62

1982 - First papal visit to Britain since 1531

1982 - Pentagon plans first strategy to fight a nuclear war

1983 - Yuri Dumchev of USSR throws discus a record 71.86 m

1984 - Boston Red Sox retires #9 (Ted Williams) & #4 (Joe Cronin)

1985 - Juventus wins 30th Europe Cup 1 in Brussels, 39 die in riot

1985 - Amputee Steve Fonyo completes cross-Canada marathon at Victoria, British Columbia, after 14 months.

1985 - Juventus wins 30th Europe Cup 1 in Brussels, Belgium - 39 die in riot.

1986 - Colonel Oliver North told National Security Advisor William McFarlane that profits from weapons sold to Iran were being diverted to the Contras.

1987 - "Twilight Zone" director John Landis found innocent in death of actor

1987 - Michael Jackson attempts to buy Elephant Man's remains

1988 - Graeme Hick scores his 1,000th run of 1st-class cricket season

1988 - President Zia ul-Haq fires government/disbands parliament in Pakistan

1988 - U.S. President Reagan began his first visit to the Soviet Union in Moscow.

1988 - NBC aired "To Heal A Nation," the story of Jan Scruggs' effort to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  

1989 - Student protesters in China construct a replica of Statue of Liberty

1990 - An earthquake hit Peru, killing 56

1990 - Boris Yeltsin was elected president of the Russian republic by the Russian parliament.

1990 - Dow Jones avg hits a record 2,870.49

1990 - Rickey Henderson steals record 893rd base, breaking Ty Cobb's record

1991 - "Les Miserables," opens at ACTEA Theatre, Auckland NZ

1991 - Crevena Zvezda wins 36th Europe Cup I

1992 - White Sox Tim Raines swipes his 700th career base

1993 - Nazi's kill 5 Turkish women in Solingen Germany

1993 - Texas Ranger Jose Canseco pitches 8th inning in 15-1 loss to Red Sox, he gives up 3 runs on 2 hits & 3 walks, he damages his arm

1994 - "Joseph & the Amazing" closes at Minskoff Theater NYC after 223 perfs

1994 - "Picnic" closes at Criterion Theater NYC after 45 performances

1994 - Al Unser Jr wins 78th Indianapolis 500 in 3:06:29.006 (255.89 kph)

1994 - Great comet-iceball seen above North Sea

1994 - Hungary's Socialist Party wins parliamentary election

1996 - Space Shuttle STS 77 Endeavour 11), lands

1997 - 70th National Spelling Bee: Rebecca Sealfon wins spelling euonym

1997 - Jesse Timmedequas, found guilty of rape/murder of Megan Kanka, 7

1997 - Span scientists announce new human species in 780,000 year old fossil

1997 - The ruling party in Indonesia, Golkar, won the Parliament election by a record margin. There was a boycott movement and rioting that killed 200 people.

1999 - Space shuttle Discovery completed the first docking with the International Space Station.

1999 - Olusegun Obasanjo takes office as President of Nigeria, the first elected and civilian head of state in Nigeria after 16 years of military rule.

2000 - Fiji's military took control of the nation and declared martial law following a coup attempt by indigenous Fijians in mid-May.

2001 - In New York, four followers of Osama bin Laden were convicted of a global conspiracy to murder Americans. The crimes included the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 224 people.

2001 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that disabled golfer Casey Martin could use a cart to ride in tournaments.

2001 - International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers inaugurated.

2004 - The World War II Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C.

2004 - The Al-Khobar massacres in Saudi Arabia kill 22.

2005 - France resoundingly rejected the European Constitution.

2012 - Thousands march in protest in Johannesburg against Brett Murray's controversial painting The Spear

2012 - Facebook's problematic public listing could cost those involved $115 million from technical glitches

2012 - A 5.9 magnitude earthquake kills 24 people near Bologna, northern Italy

2012 - Indonesian police make the biggest drug bust in ten years after seizing over a million ecstasy pills valued at $45 million

The following links are to web sites that were used to complete this blog entry: