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Friday December 19, 2014

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  • Look For An Evergreen Day
  • National Oatmeal Muffin Day
  • National Hard Candy Day

  • Las Posadas-Mexico
  • Sveti Nikola-Serbia
  • Saturnalia (through 12/23)
  • On This Day
  • 1732 --- Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia first published Poor Richard's Almanack. The book, filled with proverbs preaching industry and prudence, was published continuously for 25 years and became one of the most popular publications in colonial America, selling an average of 10,000 copies a year.
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  • 1776 --- Thomas Paine published his first "American Crisis" essay, writing: "These are the times that try men's souls; the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
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  • 1777 --- With the onset of the bitter winter cold, the Continental Army under General George Washington, still in the field, enters its winter camp at Valley Forge, 22 miles from British-occupied Philadelphia. Washington chose a site on the west bank of the Schuylkill River that could be effectively defended in the event of a British attack. During 1777, Patriot forces under General Washington suffered major defeats against the British at the battles of Brandywine and Germantown; Philadelphia, the capital of the United States, fell into British hands. The particularly severe winter of 1777-1778 proved to be a great trial for the American army, and of the 11,000 soldiers stationed at Valley Forge, hundreds died from disease. However, the suffering troops were held together by loyalty to the Patriot cause and to General Washington, who stayed with his men. As the winter stretched on, Prussian military adviser Frederick von Steuben kept the soldiers busy with drills and training in modern military strategy.
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  • 1903 --- The Williamsburg Bridge between Brooklyn and Manhattan opened in New York.  Originally open to horse-drawn carriages, bicycles, and pedestrians, the Williamsburg Bridge soon became a vital transportation route for trolleys and elevated subway trains, spurring the growth of Brooklyn's working-class neighborhoods.
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  • 1907 --- A coal mine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania, kills 239 workers. Joseph Mapleton, who was near a side entryway to the mine when the explosion occurred, was the sole survivor of the disaster. The victims died from a variety of causes: Some were crushed to death from the collapse of the mine, others suffocated and the remainder was killed in the blast itself. The precise cause of the explosion was never determined, but most coal-mine blasts are set off when a pocket of gas is accidentally ignited. Prior to the disaster, there was much talk among the miners about the prevalence of gas pockets in the Darr mine.
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  • 1909 --- The 'New' Palace Hotel opened in San Francisco. It replaced the original Palace Hotel that was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire.
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  • 1917 --- The first games of the new National Hockey League (NHL) were played. Five teams made up the league: Toronto Arenas, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Bulldogs, the Montreal Canadiens and the Montreal Wanderers. 
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  • 1918 --- Robert Ripley began his "Believe It or Not" column in "The New York Globe".
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  • 1957 --- Meredith Willson’s The Music Man opened at the Majestic Theatre in New York City. The Broadway show starred Robert Preston and had a run of 1,375 shows.
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  • 1972 --- The Apollo lunar-landing program ends when the last three astronauts to travel to the moon splash down safely in the Pacific Ocean. Apollo 17 had lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, 10 days before. Although Apollo 17 was the last lunar landing, the last official Apollo mission was conducted in July 1975, when an Apollo spacecraft successfully rendezvoused and docked with the Soviet Soyuz 19 spacecraft in orbit around the Earth.
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  • 1984 --- In the Hall of the People in Beijing, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang sign an agreement committing Britain to return Hong Kong to China in 1997 in return for terms guaranteeing a 50-year extension of its capitalist system.
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  • 1986 --- Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev releases Andrei Sakharov and his wife, Elena Bonner, from their internal exile in Gorky, a major city on the Volga River that was then closed to foreigners. The move was hailed as evidence of Gorbachev's commitment to lessening political repression inside the Soviet Union.
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  • 1986 --- Michael Sergio, who parachuted into Game Six of the 1986 World Series at New York’s Shea Stadium, is fined $500 and sentenced to 100 hours of community service. Sergio, a 37-year-old actor and Mets fan, landed on the infield with a "Let’s Go Mets" banner in the first inning of the sixth game between the Mets and the Boston Red Sox. Over 55,000 stadium spectators witnessed the sky diver’s arrival and cheered him on. Sergio, who was quickly removed from the field by police, claimed he was an experienced parachutist who made the jump to show support for the Mets. Prosecutors in Queens, New York, home of Shea Stadium, claimed that Sergio’s actions could have injured fans and players and interrupted air traffic from nearby LaGuardia Airport. They charged him with reckless endangerment and criminal trespassing. Sergio spent a night in jail and was released without bail. On October 27, the Mets came from behind to win the World Series. On December 10 of that year, Sergio, who claimed that several Mets players helped him get a lawyer, pled guilty to a criminal trespass charge in exchange for prosecutors dropping a more serious charge of reckless endangerment. On December 19, he was sentenced to community service and fined. However, Sergio was later held in contempt of court for refusing to reveal the name of the pilot who flew the plane from which he jumped. As a result, in May 1987, he was sentenced to six months in federal jail.
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  • 1996 --- The school board of Oakland, CA, voted to recognize Black English, also known as "ebonics." The board later reversed its stance. 
  • 1997 --- James Cameron's epic drama Titanic, the story of the real-life luxury ocean liner that struck an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage in 1912, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,500 passengers and crew, opens in theaters; it will go on to become the highest-grossing movie in history. Titanic catapulted its young stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet to international fame and won 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Music (for the song "My Heart Will Go On," sung by Celine Dion).
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  • 1998 --- President Bill Clinton was impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice by a divided House of Representatives, which recommended virtually along party lines that the Senate remove the nation's 42d President from office.
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  • 2000 --- A volcano outside Mexico City spewed a fiery fountain of ash and rock in its most spectacular eruption in more than a millennium. It left towns around the mountain’s base deserted as frightened residents fled. The eruption of the 17,886-foot mountain was its biggest show in 1,200 years, as the mountain, known locally as ‘Popo’, filled nearby valleys with lava.
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  • 2005 --- The first known pronouncement by a public figure regarding the potential of popular music to act as a socially destabilizing force comes from the first century B.C., when none other than the great philosopher Plato wrote, "When the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake." Many similar pronouncements have followed in the 2000 years since, with defenders of the status quo labeling musicians as diverse as Igor Stravinsky, Elvis Presley and Ice-T as dangers to society. On this day in 2005, in one fell swoop, newly elected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad put that label on those musicians and many more when he announced a total ban on Western music on state-run television and radio in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
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  • Birthdays
  • Leonid Brezhnev
  • Edwin Stanton
  • Edith Piaf
  • David Susskind
  • Cicely Tyson
  • Al Kaline
  • Phil Ochs
  • Maurice White
  • Stan Smith
  • Jennifer Beals
  • Alyssa Milano
  • Jake Gyllenhall

  • 353rd Day of 2014 / 12 Remaining
  • Winter Begins in 2 Days

  • Sunrise:7:20
  • Sunset:4:53
  • 9 Hours 33 Minutes

  • Moon Rise:4:42am
  • Moon Set: 3:19pm
  • Moon Phase:6%
  • Full Moon January 4 @ 8:54pm
  • Wolf Moon
  • Old Moon
  • Moon After Yule

Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. Thus, the name for January’s full Moon. Sometimes it was also referred to as the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule. Some called it the Full Snow Moon, but most tribes applied that name to the next Moon.

  • Tides:
  • High Tide:8:01am/9:54pm
  • Low Tide:1:52am/3:04pm

  • Rainfall
  • This Year to Date:13.16
  • Last Year:2.09
  • Avg YTD:7.23
  • Annual Avg:23.80