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Almanac ~ Friday, 12/23/16

Happy Birthday Harry Shearer! (Catch "Le Show" Sundays at Noon here on KALW)

Today is Friday, the 23rd of December of 2016, is the 358th day of the year. There are 8 days remaining until the end of the year.

  • Sunrise: 7:23am
  • Sunset: 4:56pm

33% of the waning moon will be visible, rising at 2:12am
Tides at the Golden Gate

High: 7:22am/8:35pm

Low: 12:34am/2:04pm

Special international celebrations today include…

Feast of the Radishes – Oaxaca, Mexico

Queen's Birthday - Sweden

Suez Victory Day - Egypt

Tenno Tanjobi / Emperor's Birthday – Japan

St. Thorlak's Day – Iceland 

On this day in..

1675 - Charles II of England, issued a proclamation suppressing Coffee Houses. The public response was so negative that he revoked it on January 8, 1676.

1750 - Benjamin Franklin shocked himself while trying to electrocute a holiday turkey. Franklin believed electrocuting the turkey would make it more tender.

1783 - George Washington returned home to Mount Vernon, after the disbanding of his army following the Revolutionary War.

1788 - Maryland voted to cede a 100-square-mile area for the seat of the national government. About two-thirds of the area became the District of Columbia.

1823 - The poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement C. Moore was published.

1834 - English architect Joseph Hansom patented his 'safety cab', better known as the Hansom cab.

1852 - The Theatre of Celestial John opened on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, CA. It was the first Chinese theatre in the U.S.

1856 - Ralph Collier was issued a U.S. patent for the first rotary egg beater with rotating parts.

1880 - Thomas Edison incorporated the Edison Electric Light Company of Europe.

1888 - Following a quarrel with Paul Gauguin, Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh cut off part of his own earlobe.

1893 - The Engelbert Humperdinck opera "Hansel und Gretel" was first performed, in Weimar, Germany.

1913 - The Federal Reserve Bill was signed into law by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. The act established 12 Federal Reserve Banks.

1919 - The first ship designed to be used as an ambulance for the transport patients was launched. The hospital ship was named USS Relief and had 515 beds.

1922 - The British Broadcasting Corporation began daily news broadcasts.

1930 - Ruth Elizabeth Davis, an unknown actress, arrived in Hollywood, under contract to Universal Studios. Universal changed her name to Bette Davis for the movies.

1938 - "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch" was heard for the final time on the radio.

1941 - During World War II, American forces on Wake Island surrendered to the Japanese.

1942 - Bob Hope agreed to entertain U.S. airmen in Alaska. It was the first of the traditional Christmas shows.

1943 - "Hansel and Gretel," the opera, was televised on New York's WRBG. It was the first complete opera to be televised.

1947 - John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William Shockley invented the transistor.

1948 - Former Japanese premier Hideki Tojo and six other Japanese war leaders were executed in Tokyo. They had been found guilty of crimes against humanity.

1951 - A National Football League (NFL) championship game was televised nationally for the first time. The Los Angeles Rams beat the Cleveland Browns 24-17. The DuMont Network had paid $75,000 for the rights to the game.

1953 - Soviet secret police chief Lavrenti Beria and six of his associates were shot for treason following a secret trial.

1954 - The Walt Disney movie "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" was released.

1957 - Dan Blocker made his acting debut on television in the "Restless Gun."

1965 - A 70-mph speed limit was introduced in Britain.

1968 - The crew of the U.S. Navy ship, Pueblo, was released by North Korea. The Captain of the Pueblo, Commander Lloyd M. Bucher, and 82 of his crew were held for 11 months after the ship was seized by North Korea because of suspected spying by the Americans.

1970 - In New York, the topping out ceremony for original One World Trade Center (North Tower) took place. The South Tower's ceremony took place on July 19, 1971.

1972 - The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Oakland Raiders 13-7 in an NFL playoff game on a last-second play that was dubbed the "Immaculate Reception." Pittsburgh's Franco Harris caught a deflected pass and ran it in for the winning touchdown.

1981 - NASA approved a plan to continue the Voyager II spacecraft on a trajectory that would take it within 66,000 miles of Uranus on July 24, 1986.

1986 - The experimental airplane Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, completed the first non-stop, around-the-world flight without refueling as it landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

1987 - Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, serving a life sentence for the attempted assassination of U.S. President Ford in 1975, escaped from the Alderson Federal Prison for Women in West Virginia. She was recaptured two days later.

1989 - Ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were captured as they were attempting to flee their country.

1990 - Elections in Yugoslavia ended, leaving four of its six republics with non-Communist governments.

1995 - A fire in Dabwali, India, killed 540 people, including 170 children, during a year-end party being held near the children's school.

1995 - The bodies of 16 members of the Solar Temple religious sect were found in a clearing near Grenoble, France. 14 were presumed shot by two people who then committed suicide.

1997 - Terry Nichols was convicted by a Denver jury on charges of conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter in the 1995 federal building bombing in Oklahoma City. The bomb killed 168 people.

1998 - Guerrillas in south Lebanon fired dozens of rockets at northern Israel.

Today’s birthday celebrants include (or included)…

  • Richard Arkwright 1732
  • Alexander I (Russia) 1777
  • Joseph Smith 1805
  • Samuel Smiles 1812
  • Fredi Washington 1903
  • Don McNeill 1907
  • Yousuf Karsh 1908
  • Maurice Denham 1909
  • James Gregory 1911
  • Jose Greco 1918
  • Gerald O’Loughlin 1921
  • Ruth Roman 1923
  • Harry Guardino 1925
  • Robert Bly 1926
  • Dick Weber 1929
  • Akihito 1933
  • 'Little' Esther Phillips 1935
  • James Stacy 1936
  • Frederic Forrest 1936
  • Johnny Kidd (Johnny Kidd & The Pirates) 1939
  • Tim Hardin 1940
  • Eugene Record (Chi-Lites) 1940
  • Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna) 1940
  • Elizabeth Hartman 1943
  • Harry Shearer (Derek Smalls of Spinal Tap) 1943
  • Ron Bushy (Iron Butterfly) 1945
  • Susan Lucci 1946
  • Johnny Contardo 1951
  • Dave Murray (Iron Maiden) 1958
  • Eddie Vedder 1964 - Musician, singer (Pearl Jam)
  • Corey Haim 1971- Actor
  • Jamie Murphy (Space) 1975
  • Kat Perkins 1980- Singer
David Latulippe is host of On the Arts, KALW's weekly radio magazine of the performing arts, as well as for Explorations in Music, and the Berkeley Symphony broadcasts. He has also hosted and produced the radio series From the Conservatory, Music from Mills, and Music at Menlo, and is principal guest host for Revolutions Per Minute.