Sunday, August 31, 2014

2014 NFC East Preview

When I grew up, the NFC East was the best division in the league, for years and years! Dallas had come off a dynasty in the seventies, but Washington broke through in 1982 to win the Super Bowl, and returned to the big game the next year, only to get stomped on by the Raiders. The Giants broke through next in 1986, followed by Washington again in 1987. Then, from 1990 through to 1995, the NFC East produced five Super Bowl champions, including four in a row from '90 to '93! No other division in the league has even come close to enjoying that degree of success for such a sustained period. There were periods when the NFC East looked very tough since, and the Giants were able to win two titles in five seasons, in 2007, and again in 2011. But the NFC East now has looked relatively weak the last two seasons in particular. In both seasons, only one team, the division winner, managed to qualify for the playoffs, and in both cases, those division champs lost their very first game in the Wild Card round. And looking at the NFC East this season, I see teams that could compete, but I see only two of them, and that is if everything works out for them in terms of focus and health! I do not see them being able to keep up with other elite teams in the NFC in battling for home field, or anything, either.

So, how does the NFC East shape up? Let me take a shot at it:

1. New York Giants (projected first place) - Yes, I predict that the Giants will win the division this year, simply because they have retooled nicely. The defense looks better and more promising, and the new, more wide open offensive scheme could, and should, help Eli Manning to perform more efficiently. Also it helps that this division is not exactly the strongest in the league at the moment. The Eagles made some improvements and are a force to be reckoned with, true. But my suspicions are that Dallas is weak and vulnerable, and I believe that Washington is, too.  That helps. With that, I expect the Giants to return to form after two subpar years. They also had a pretty good preseason, although I know that does not count for anything once the season begins. The question is whether or not they can beat out Philadelphia for the division title, and maybe it's because I am a Giants fan, but I will go ahead and predict that they will. There are points of concern, particularly with all of the holes in the offensive line right now. But I expect that they will be able to address that in time, and be competitive. A division championship should be in order for the G-Men, at least. They weren't Super Bowl champions two years ago for nothing!

2. Philadelphia Eagles (projected second place) - Chip Kelly was like a breath of fresh air for the Eagles, and they took that through a bumpy ride all season, to eventually win the division title. They were not quite there to win a playoff contest, but the improvements speak volumes about how much better the Eagles are right now. And this season, I expect them to be better, since they have had time to gel. I predicted the Giants to win the division, but if New York slips, even a little, Philadelphia will step in in a big way and take this division again! Their defense improved a bit, but it was really with the offense that Philadelphia came alive last year! And they seemed to have found their man at quarterback, as Nick Foles came into his own, playing like a seasoned veteran. Teams have traditionally had a difficult time repeating as division champs in the NFC East specifically in recent years, but the Eagles have a real shot, and in any case, are a legitimate playoff contender, division title or not!

3. Washington (projected third place) - They just rely too heavily on RG3, and while that could work wonders for them if all works out great, as it did two seasons ago, it is also too easy seeing it backfire against them, if he gets injured. He plays a style where he is highly susceptible to injuries, and probably should use his throwing arm more, and run at least a little less. No denying the talent level there, but what good is he going to do for the team if he is sidelined? They obviously relied far too heavily on him offensively last year, and that was probably the reason that they were not as effective as in 2012. But more of a concern was the defense, which ranked quite near the bottom of the league last season. They allowed 30 points or more seven times in the sixteen game season, and allowed 40 or more three times! Those are numbers that simply have to improve if Washington wants to be a contender once again in 2014, and that is true regardless of whether RG3 stays healthy or not! Frankly, I just see too many question marks, and too many holes, for this team to seriously be competitive. But I think there will be improvements for them this season, and so that is why I have them in third, and not last place. 
4. Dallas Cowboys (projected last place) - Yes, last place. I know, they have been right in the hunt for the division title, and the playoffs, each of the last few years, only losing it right in the final game. And unlike many haters, I think Tony Romo is a good quarterback, and that many of the mistakes that people blame him for are not actually his fault. Dallas has talent, obviously. They have some offensive explosiveness, and you can bet that they are going to score points. But the defense was terrible last year, and I don't think that they look too good heading into this year, either. Also, this year more than others, it seems the Cowboys more or less stayed put, and did not make any major moves to try and improve in the offseason, like they have in years past. There is talent there, but I think other teams will catch on more this seasons than in the past. The 'Boys just have some tough teams on their schedule, too many for them to overcome, and I expect that this year, they sink surprisingly low, all the way to the bottom of the division. Which may be good in a way, if it triggers some moves in the offseason to build towards being a true contender, instead of the team that almost qualifies, but rarely has in recent seasons.


On This Day in History - August 31 Anniversary of Polish Government Signing Accord with Shipyard Workers & Jack the Ripper

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!

Aug 31, 1980: Polish government signs accord with Gdansk shipyard workers 

On this day in 1980, representatives of the communist government of Poland agree to the demands of striking shipyard workers in the city of Gdansk. Former electrician Lech Walesa led the striking workers, who went on to form Solidarity, the first independent labor union to develop in a Soviet bloc nation.  

In July 1980, facing economic crisis, Poland's government raised the price of food and other goods, while curbing the growth of wages. The price hikes made it difficult for many Poles to afford basic necessities, and a wave of strikes swept the country. Amid mounting tensions, a popular forklift operator named Anna Walentynowicz was fired from the Lenin Shipyard in the northern Polish city of Gdansk. In mid-August, some 17,000 of the shipyard's workers began a sit-down strike to campaign for her reinstatement, as well as for a modest increase in wages. They were led by the former shipyard electrician Lech Walesa, who had himself been fired for union activism four years earlier.  

Despite governmental censorship and attempts to keep news of the strike from getting out, similar protests broke out in industrial cities throughout Poland. On August 17, an Interfactory Strike Committee presented the Polish government with 21 ambitious demands, including the right to organize independent trade unions, the right to strike, the release of political prisoners and increased freedom of expression. Fearing the general strike would lead to a national revolt, the government sent a commission to Gdansk to negotiate with the rebellious workers. On August 31, Walesa and Deputy Premier Mieczyslaw Jagielski signed an agreement giving in to many of the workers' demands. Walesa signed the document with a giant ballpoint pen decorated with a picture of the newly elected Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla, the former archbishop of Krakow).  

In the wake of the Gdansk strike, leaders of the Interfactory Strike Committee voted to create a single national trade union known as Solidarnosc (Solidarity), which soon evolved into a mass social movement, with a membership of more than 10 million people. Solidarity attracted sympathy from Western leaders and hostility from Moscow, where the Kremlin considered a military invasion of Poland. In late 1981, under Soviet pressure, the government of General Wojciech Jaruzelski annulled the recognition of Solidarity and declared martial law in Poland. Some 6,000 Solidarity activists were arrested, including Walesa, who was detained for almost a year. The Solidarity movement moved underground, where it continued to enjoy support from international leaders such as U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who imposed sanctions on Poland. Walesa was awarded the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize, and after the fall of communism in 1989 he became the first president of Poland ever to be elected by popular vote.

Aug 31, 1888: Jack the Ripper claims first victim

Prostitute Mary Ann Nichols, the first victim of London serial killer "Jack the Ripper," is found murdered and mutilated in Whitechapel's Buck's Row. The East End of London saw four more victims of the murderer during the next few months, but no suspect was ever found.  

In Victorian England, London's East End was a teeming slum occupied by nearly a million of the city's poorest citizens. Many women were forced to resort to prostitution, and in 1888 there were estimated to be more than 1,000 prostitutes in Whitechapel. That summer, a serial killer began targeting these downtrodden women. On September 8, the killer claimed his second victim, Annie Chapman, and on September 30 two more prostitutes--Liz Stride and Kate Eddowes--were murdered and carved up on the same night. By then, London's police had determined the pattern of the killings. The murderer, offering to pay for sex, would lure his victims onto a secluded street or square and then slice their throats. As the women rapidly bled to death, he would then brutally mutilate them with the same six-inch knife.  

The police, who lacked modern forensic techniques such as fingerprinting and blood typing, were at a complete loss for suspects. Dozens of letters allegedly written by the murderer were sent to the police, and the vast majority of these were immediately deemed fraudulent. However, two letters--written by the same individual--alluded to crime facts known only to the police and the killer. These letters, signed "Jack the Ripper," gave rise to the serial killer's popular nickname.  

On November 7, after a month of silence, Jack took his fifth and last victim, Irish-born Mary Kelly, an occasional prostitute. Of all his victims' corpses, Kelly's was the most hideously mutilated. In 1892, with no leads found and no more murders recorded, the Jack the Ripper file was closed.

Here's a more detailed look at events that transpired on this date throughout history:

1056 - Byzantine Empress Theodora becomes ill, dying suddenly a few days later, without children to succeed the throne, ending the Macedonian dynasty.
1142 - With the aid of Hiawatha and Deganawidah, The Great Peacemaker, the Iroquois tribes establish the Confederation of the Haudenosaunee.
1230 - Utrecht bishop Willebrand grants Swells state justice
1310 - German king Heinrich VII makes his son Johan king of Bohemia
1422 - Henry VI, becomes King of England at the age of 9 months.
1535 - Pope Paul II deposed & excommunicated King Henry VIII
1745 - Bonnie Prince Charlie reaches Blair Castle Scotland
1751 - English troops under sir Robert Clive occupy Arcot India
1772 - Hurricane destroy ships off Dominica
1778 - British kill 17 Stockbridge indians in Bronx during Revolution
1829 - Opera "Guillaume Tell" is produced (Paris)
1836 - HMS Beagle anchors in Postage Praia, Cape Verde Islands
1842 - Micah Rugg patents a nuts & bolts machine
1842 - US Naval Observatory authorized by an act of Congress
1843 - Liberty Party nominates James Birneyas presidential candidate
1850 - California pioneers organized at Montgomery & Clay Streets
1864 - Atlanta Campaign: Battle of Jonesboro Georgia, 1900 casualties
1876 - Ottoman sultan Murat V is deposed and succeeded by his brother Abd-ul-Hamid II.
1881 - 1st US men's single tennis championships (Newport, RI)
1886 - 1st major earthquake recorded in eastern US, at Charleston SC, 110 die
1886 - Crocker-Woolworth National Bank organized
1887 - Thomas A Edison patents Kinetoscope, (produces moving pictures)
1889 - Start of Sherlock Holmes adventure "Cardboard Box" (BG)
1894 - Phillies Billy Hamilton steals 7 bases
1895 - 1st pro football game (QB John Brallier paid $10 & won 12-0)
1896 - Louis Napoleon Parker's "Rosemary," premieres in NYC
1897 - General Kitchener occupies Berber, North of Khartoum
Inventor Thomas EdisonInventor Thomas Edison 1897 - Thomas Edison patented his movie camera (Kinetograph)
1900 - British troops over run Johannesburg
1900 - Dodgers' Brickyard Kennedy walks 6 straight Phillies
1902 - Split skirt 1st worn by Mrs Adolph Landeburg (horse rider)
1903 - Joe McGinnity wins his 3rd doubleheader of month
1905 - 25th US Mens Tennis: Beals C Wright beats Holcombe Ward (62 61 119)
1905 - Mbunga-rebellion takes German Fort Mahenge East-Africa
1907 - Britain & Russia sign treaty with Afghanistan, Persia & Tibet
1907 - England, Russia & France form Triple Entente
1909 - A J Reach Co patents cork-centered baseball
1909 - Thure Johnstown wins Stockholm marathon (2:40:34.2)
1911 - Anthony Fokker's demonstrates aircraft "Snip"
1913 - Soccer club PSV forms in Eindhoven Netherlands
1914 - 24.8 cm rainfall at Bloomingdale, Michigan (state record)
1914 - General von Kluck decides not to attack Paris
1914 - German troops reconquer Soldau/Neidenburg East-Prussia
1914 - Germany defeats Russia (battle at Tannenberg/30,000 Russians die)
1914 - Ecuador becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.
1915 - Chicago White Sox Jimmy Lavender no-hits NY Giants, 2-0
1915 - Brazil becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.
1916 - Oscar Asche's musical "Chu Chin Chow," premieres in London
1918 - Boston Red Sox, win earliest AL pennent ever (season ended Sept 2)
1919 - John Reed forms American Communist Labor Party in Chicago
1919 - Petlyura's Ukrainian Army kills 35 members of a Jewish defense group
1919 - Ukranian (Petlyura) Army recaptures Kiev
1920 - Belgium starts paying old age pensions
1920 - Detroit radio station is 1st to broadcast a news program on the air
1923 - League of Nations gives Belgium mandate of Ruanda-Urundi (was German)
Italian Dictator Benito MussoliniItalian Dictator Benito Mussolini 1923 - Mussolini's troops occupy Korfu
1924 - Paavo Nurmi runs world record 10,000m (30:06.2)
1928 - Brecht & Weils "Dreigroschenoper" premieres
1934 - 1st NFL Chicago All-Star Game: Chi Bears 0, All-Stars 0 (79,432)
1935 - 1st national skeet championship (Indianapolis)
1935 - Chicago White Sox Vern Kennedy no-hits Cleve Indians, 5-0
1935 - FDR signs an act prohibiting export of US arms to belligerents
1935 - Russian Aleksei Stachanov digs 6 hours, 105 tons of cabbages
1935 - White Sox Vern Kennedy no-hits Indians 5-0
1937 - Det's rookie Rudy York sets record for HRs of 18 HRs in August
1938 - 5th NFL Chicago All-Star Game: All-Stars 28, Washington 16 (74,250)
1939 - Japanese invasion army driven out of Mongolia
1939 - Staged "Polish" assault on radio station in Gleiwitz
1940 - 1st edition pf illegal opposition newspaper Free Netherlands
1940 - 56 U-boats sunk this month (268,000 ton)
32nd US President Franklin D. Roosevelt32nd US President Franklin D. Roosevelt 1940 - Fighter Command loses 39/Luftwaffe 41 airplanes
1940 - German occupiers in Netherlands begin soap ration
1940 - US National Guard assembles
1941 - 23 U-boats sunk this month (80,000 ton)
1941 - Great Gildersleeve, a spin-off of Fibber McGee & Molly debuts on NBC
1942 - Battle at Alam Halfa: German & Italians assault
1942 - U boats sunk this month 108 ships (544,000 ton)
1943 - 1st battle of Essex/new Yorktown: US assault on Marcus Island
1943 - Japanse occupiers intern Jewish Congregation of Sorabajo
1944 - Allied offensive at "Gothen-linie," Italy
1944 - French provisional government moves from Algiers to Paris
1944 - French troops liberate Bordeaux
1944 - Russian-Romanian troops march into Bucharest
1945 - The Liberal Party of Australia is founded by Robert Menzies.
1947 - Hungarian communist party wins election
1947 - NY Giants set season record for HRs by a club 183 (en route to 221)
1948 - Queen Wilhelmina celebrates 50th jubilee
1950 - Dodger Gil Hodges hits 4 HRs & a single in a game vs Braves
1951 - 1st 33 1/3 album introduced in Dusseldorf
1953 - KRBC TV channel 9 in Abilene, TX (NBC) begins broadcasting
1953 - WKBG (now WLVI) TV channel 56 in Cambridge-Boston, MA (IND) begins
1954 - Census Bureau forms
1954 - Hurricane Carol (1st major named storm) hits New England, 70 die
1954 - Indians beat Yanks 6-1 for record tying 26 wins in August (1931 A's)
1954 - WMTW TV channel 8 in Portland-Poland Spring, ME (ABC) begins
1955 - 1st microwave TV station operated (Lufkin, Tx)
1955 - 1st sun-powered automobile demonstrated, Chicago, Ill
1955 - KTRE TV channel 9 in Lufkin, TX (ABC/NBC) begins broadcasting
1957 - Malaysia (formerly Malaya) gains independence from Britain

1959 - 48th Davis Cup: Australia beats USA in New York (3-2)
1959 - Betsy Rawls wins LPGA Waterloo Golf Open
1959 - Sandy Koufax breaks Dizzy Dean's NL mark of 18 strikeouts in a game
1960 - Agricultural Hall of Fame forms
1961 - Amsterdam National Ballet forms
1962 - Trinidad & Tobago gain independence from Britain (National Day)
1964 - Ground is broken for Anaheim Stadium, future home of Angels
1965 - House of Reps joins Senate establish Dept of Housing & Urban Develop
1965 - The Aero Spacelines Super Guppy Aircraft makes its first flight.
1966 - Referee Leo Horn whistles his last soccer match (Ajax-Bulgaria)
1968 - 12,000 die in 7.8 quake destroys 60,000 buildings in NE Iran
1968 - 68th US Golf Amateur Championship won by Bruce Fleisher
1968 - Private Eye magazine reports a John Lennon & Yoko Ono album will have a picture of them nude on cover
1968 - Roy Face ties W Johnson's record of 802 pitching appearances with club
1968 - Verne Gagne beats Dick Beyers (Dr X) in Minn, to become NWA champ
1968 - Garfield Sobers becomes the first cricketer to hit 6 sixes in one over.
1969 - 25,000 attend New Orleans Pop Festival
1970 - 59th Davis Cup: USA beats Germany in Cleveland (5-0)
1970 - Lonnie McLucas, a Black Panther activist, convicted
1970 - Molukkers occupy Indonesian ambassador's home in Wassenaar
Artist & Musician Yoko OnoArtist & Musician Yoko Ono 1970 - Peter Yarrow arrested for taking "immoral liberties" with girl, 14
1970 - WKMJ TV channel 68 in Louisville, KY (PBS) begins broadcasting
1971 - Adrienne Beames runs female world record marathon (2:46:30)
1972 - Lasse Viren runs Olympic/world record 10,000m (27:38.4)
1972 - Olga Korbut, USSR, wins olympic gold medal in gymnastics
1973 - 1st heavyweight championship fight in Japan (Foreman beats Roman)
1973 - PBA National Championship Won by Earl Anthony
1974 - Pirate Radio Veronica moves into Scheveningen harbor
1975 - Former Teamsters' president James Hoffa reported missing
1976 - George Harrison found guilty of plagurizing "My Sweet Lord"
1976 - Mexican peso devalued
1976 - Trinidad & Tobago adopts constitution
1976 - Waldemar Cierpinski wins 18th Olympics Marathon (2:09:55.0)
1977 - Aleksandr Fedotov sets aircraft alt rec of 38.26 km (125,524')
1977 - Spyros Kyprianou appointed president of Cyprus
1977 - Ian Smith, espousing racial segregation, wins Rhodesian general election with 80% of overwhelmingly white electorate's vote
1978 - Constitution adopted by Sri Lanka
1978 - Emily & William Harris plead guilty to 1974 kidnapping of Patty Hearst
1978 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1979 - 16 yr old Tracy Austin defeats 14 yr old Andrea Jaeger at US Open
1979 - Comet Howard-Koomur-Michels collides with Sun
1979 - Donald McHenry named to succeed Andrew Young as UN ambassador
1979 - Phillies replaces manager Danny Ozark with Dallas Green
1980 - "Oklahoma!" closes at Palace Theater NYC after 301 performances
1980 - 80th US Golf Amateur Championship won by Hal Sutton
1980 - Poland's Solidarity labor union forms
1980 - The Gdańsk Agreement is signed.
1981 - Dirk Wellham scores 103 on Test Cricket debut, v England at Lord's
1981 - Royals manager Jim Frey is fired & replaced by Dick Howser
1982 - USSR performs underground nuclear test
1983 - Edwin Moses of USA sets 400m hurdle record (47.02) in Koblenz
1984 - Pinklon Thomas beats Tim Witherspoon in 12 for heavyweight boxing title
1985 - "Prakas" sets trotting mile record of 1:53.4 at Du Quoin, Ill
1985 - Angel Cordero becomes 3rd jockey to ride horses earning over $100 M
1985 - Night Stalker suspect that terrorized S California captured in East LA
1986 - Aeromexico DC-9 & small plane collide in LA, killing 82
1986 - Russian cargo ship crashes into cruise ship Admiral Nakhimov; 398 die
1987 - Curtis Strange sets golf's earning for year record ($697,385)
1987 - Michael Jacskon's "Bad" video premieres on CBS TV
1987 - South Africa longest mine strike in history ends
1988 - 5-day power blackout of downtown Seattle begins
1988 - Arbitrator George Nicolau rules owners conspired against free agents
1988 - Bomb attack on office of South Africa Council of Churches
1989 - Aeromexico DC-9 collides over LA, 82 die (15 on the ground)
1989 - Arbitrator T Roberts orders owners to pay $105 million for collusion
1990 - Dennis Eckersley saves his 40th game of the season
1990 - East & West Germany sign a treaty to join legal & political systems
1990 - Ken Griffey Sr & Jr are 1st father & son to play on same team each goes 1 for 4 for Seattle Mariners
1991 - Houston QB David Klingler sets NCAA record with 6 touchdown passes in the 2nd quarter as the Cougars clobbered Louisiana Tech 73-3
1991 - Richard J Kerr, ends term as deputy director of CIA
1991 - Rockies bat out of order against Expos in 1st inning
1991 - William H Webster, ends term as 14th director of CIA
1992 - 44th Emmy Awards: Northern Exposure, Christopher Lloyd & Dana Delane
1992 - Dynamite explosion in Philipines mine; 500 die
1992 - Howard Stern Radio Show premieres in Cleveland OH on WNCX 98.5 FM
1993 - Minnesota Twins beat Cleve Indians 5-4 in 22 innings
1993 - Venezuela president Carlos Perez flees
1993 - HMS Mercury closes after 52 years in commission.
1994 - Last Russian soldiers leave Estonia & Latvia
1994 - Northern Ireland Sinn Fein proclaims ceases-fire
1994 - Pentium computer beats world chess champ Gari Kasparov
1994 - The Provisional Irish Republican Army declares a ceasefire.
1997 - "Gin Game," closes at Lyceum Theater NYC after 144 performances
1997 - Don Mattingly's #23 is retired by NY Yankees
1997 - Last episode of Rolanda airs
1997 - Pittsburgh Senior Golf Classic
1997 - Scott Hoch wins Greater Milwaukee Golf Open with a 268
1998 - North Korea reportedly launches Kwangmyongsong, its first satellite.
1999 - The first of a series of Russian Apartment Bombings in Moscow, killing one person and wounding 40 others.
1999 - A LAPA Boeing 737-200 crashes during takeoff from Jorge Newbury Airport in Buenos Aires, killing 65, including 2 on the ground.
2005 - A stampede on Al-Aaimmah bridge in Baghdad kills 1,199 people.
2006 - Stolen on August 22, 2004, Edvard Munch's famous painting The Scream was recovered from a raid by Norwegian police. The paintings were said to be in a better-than-expected condition.
2012 - Apple loses its patent dispute with Samsung in Tokyo, Japan

1823 - Ferdinand VII was restored to the throne of Spain when invited French forces entered Cadiz. The event is known as the Battle of Trocadero.   1852 - The first pre-stamped envelopes were created with legislation of the U.S. Congress.   1881 - The first tennis championships in the U.S. were played.   1887 - The kinetoscope was patented by Thomas Edison. The device was used to produce moving pictures.   1920 - The first news program to be broadcast on radio was aired. The station was 8MK in Detroit, MI.   1935 - The act of exporting U.S. arms to belligerents was prohibited by an act signed by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.   1940 - Lawrence Olivier and Vivian Leigh were married.   1941 - The radio program "The Great Gildersleeve" made its debut on NBC.   1946 - Superman returned to radio on the Mutual Broadcasting System after being dropped earlier in the year.   1950 - Gil Hodges of the Brooklyn Dodgers hit four home runs in a single game off of four different pitchers.   1959 - Sandy Koufax set a National League record by striking out 18 batters.   1962 - The Caribbean nations Tobago and Trinidad became independent within the British Commonwealth.   1964 - California officially became the most populated state in America.   1965 - The Department of Housing and Urban Development was created by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.   1980 - Poland's Solidarity labor movement was born with an agreement signed in Gdansk that ended a 17-day strike.   1981 - The 30-year contract between Milton Berle and NBC-TV expired.   1989 - Great Britain's Princess Anne and Mark Phillips announced that they were separating. The marriage was 16 years old.   1990 - U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar met with the Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz to try and negotiate a solution to the crisis in the Persian Gulf.   1990 - East and West Germany signed a treaty that meant the harmonizing of political and legal systems.   1991 - Uzbekistan and Kirghiziz declared their independence from the Soviet Union. They were the 9th and 10th republics to announce their plans to secede.   1991 - In a "Solidarity Day" protest hundreds of thousands of union members marched in Washington, DC.   1993 - Russia withdrew its last soldiers from Lithuania.   1994 - A cease-fire was declared by the Irish Republican Army after 25 years of bloodshed in Northern Ireland.   1994 - Russia officially ended its military presence in the former East Germany and the Baltics after a half-century.   1998 - A ballistic missile was fired over Japan by North Korea. The missile landed in stages in the waters around Japan. There was no known target.   1998 - "Titanic" became the first movie in North America to earn more than $600 million.

1887 Thomas Edison received a patent for his "Kinetoscope," and moving pictures were born. 1888 Mary Ann Nicholls, considered to be Jack the Ripper's first victim, was found murdered in London. 1962 Trinidad and Tobago gained independence from Great Britain. 1980 Poland's Solidarity labor movement had its beginnings when an agreement ending a 17-day strike was signed in Gdansk. 1994 Russia officially ended its military presence in the former East Germany and the Baltic states. 1997 Princess Diana and her companion Dodi al-Fayed were killed in a car accident in Paris. 2012 Armenia severed diplomatic relations with Hungary, after the pardoning of Ramil Safarov. In 2004, Safarov was convicted of killing an Armenian soldier. 

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

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Percé, Province de Québec

The Rocher Percé and Île-Bonaventure in the sea, with more pictures of this charming coastal village of Percé below.

Percé is a very pleasant village tremendously blessed with natural beauty. It not is comfortably nestled between the sea on one side and the mountains on the other, in the interior, but it has a very famous, huge rock very near the edge of the cliffs that mark the end of the mainland. That rock, the Rocher Percé (Perce rock in English) is completely surrounded by water at high tide, but you can walk there at low tide. We did not walk there this time around, but we did back in 1991, the first time we visited the region. 

Nearby, the mountains feel more like rolling hills. But here, they are actually very rugged (especially for the East Coast), and surely offer some great hiking. Had we not been so pressed with time, I would have loved to have gone on at least one or two hikes myself here. 

The contrast between the heights of these mountains and the sea nearby is truly striking! And the greenery of the region completes that feeling that this place has truly been blessed with unique beauty to be appreciated!

This is home to the Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé National Park. The Île-Bonaventure is an island within east view of Percé, although we did not get to see visit it this time around. But it is home to one of the largest colonies a unique species of birds - the Northern Gannet. 

All of that - the national park, the sea, the mountains, as well as the rich farmland and the lush greenery of the countryside in this region more generally, make this a very fascinating and memorable place to visit, full of history and beauty!

Here are some of the pictures that I took while there:

Mountains on one side, the cliffs next to the sea on the other, and some beautiful pastoral scenes in between.


Le Rocher Percé 

This mountain in the distance kind of reminded me of some of the pictures that I have seen of Table Mountain, which looms over Cape Town! It looked absolutely beautiful here in the distance, with rich, green grass and farmland closer by.

Just beautiful...