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Arts & Culture

Almanac - Friday 5/17/19


Happy Birthday to innovative composer Erik Satie (1866-1925)!

Today is Friday, May 17, 2019, the 137th day of the year, 228 days remaining and a mere 536 days until the next presidential election.      

  • Sunrise: 5:58am         
  • Sunset: 8:148pm

...giving us 14 hours and 14 minutes of daylight.  94% of the waxing moon visible, rising at 7:11pm.


Tides at the Golden Gate             

  • High: 11:52am/11:25pm       
  • Low: 5:10am/4:57pm

Special celebrations & commemorations today…

  • Constitution Day - Nauru, Norway
  • Dia das Letras Galegas - Spain
  • Endangered Species Day
  • International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
  • International Defense Transportation Day
  • International Virtual Assistants Day
  • NASCAR Day
  • O. Henry Pun-off Day
  • Same Sex Marriage Day
  • Syttende Mai
  • World Hypertension Day
  • World Telecommunications and Information Society Day
  • World Neurofibromatosis Day
  • National Cherry Cobbler Day
  • National Walnut Day
  • National Bike to Work Day
  • National Pizza Party Day
  • Feast of St. Pascal Baylon, patron of cooks

On this day in…


1540 - Afghan chief Sher Khan defeated Mongul Emperor Humayun at Kanauj.

1630 - Italian Jesuit Niccolo Zucchi saw the belts on Jupiter's surface.

1681 - Louis XIV sent an expedition to aid James II in Ireland. As a result, England declares war on France.

1756 - Britain declared war on France, beginning the French and Indian War.

1792 - The New York Stock Exchange was founded at 70 Wall Street by 24 brokers.

1814 - Denmark ceded Norway to Sweden. Norway's constitution, which provided a limited monarchy, was signed.

1875 - The first Kentucky Derby was run at Louisville, KY.

1877 - The first telephone switchboard burglar alarm was installed by Edwin T. Holmes.

1881 - Frederick Douglass was appointed recorder of deeds for Washington, DC.

1926 - The U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires was damaged by bombs that were believed set by sympathizers of Sacco and Vanzetti.

1932 - The U.S. Congress changed the name "Porto Rico" to "Puerto Rico."

1939 - The first fashion to be shown on television was broadcast in New York from the Ritz-Carleton Hotel.

1940 - Germany occupied Brussels, Belgium and began the invasion of France.

1946 - U.S. President Truman seized control of the nation's railroads, delaying a threatened strike by engineers and trainmen.

1948 - The Soviet Union recognized the new state of Israel.

1954 - The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled for school integration in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka. The ruling declared that racially segregated schools were inherently unequal.

1956 - The first synthetic mica (synthamica) was offered for sale in Caldwell Township, NJ.

1973 - The U.S. Senate Watergate Committee began its hearings.

1975 - NBC TV bought the rights to show "Gone With the Wind." The one time rights cost NBC $5,000,000.

1980 - Rioting erupted in Miami's Liberty City neighborhood after an all-white jury in Tampa acquitted four former Miami police officers of fatally beating black insurance executive Arthur McDuffie. Eight people were killed in the rioting.

1985 - Bobby Ewing died on the season finale of "Dallas" on CBS-TV. He returned the following season.

1987 - Eric ‘Sleepy’ Floyd of the Golden State Warriors set a playoff record for points in a single quarter with 29.

1987 - An Iraqi warplane attacked the U.S. Navy frigate Stark in the Persian Gulf, killing 37 American sailors. Iraq and the United States called the attack a mistake.

1990 - Kelsey Grammer was sentenced to 30 days in jail for DWI.

1996 - U.S. President Clinton signed a measure requiring neighborhood notification when sex offenders move in. Megan's Law was named for 7-year-old Megan Kanka, who was raped and killed in 1994.

1997 - Rebel leader Kabila declared himself president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire.

1997 - Sylvester Stallone and Jennifer Flavin were married in London.

1998 - New York Yankees pitcher David Wells became the 13th player in modern major league baseball history to throw a perfect game.

1999 - Eric Ford, a tabloid photographer, was sentenced to 6 months at a halfway house, 3 years probation and 150 hours of community service. The sentence stemmed from a charge that Ford had eavesdropped on a call between Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman and then sold a recording of the conversation.

1999 - Alex Trebek received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

2000 - Thomas E. Blanton Jr. and David Luker surrendered to police in Birmingham, AL. The two former Ku Klux Klan members were arrested on charges from the bombing of a church in 1963 that killed four young black girls.

2000 - Austria, the U.S. and six other countries agreed on the broad outline of a plan that would compensate Nazi-Era forced labor.

2000 - It was announced that Terra Networks SA and Lycos would be merging with the new name to be Terra Lycos. Terra made the deal happen with the purchase of $12.5 billion in stock.

2001 - The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp based on Charles M. Schulz's "Peanuts" comic strip.

2002 - Legoland Deutschland opened in Günzburg, Germany.

2006 - The U.S. aircraft carrier Oriskany was sunk about 24 miles off Pensacola Beach. It was the first vessel sunk under a Navy program to dispose of old warships by turning them into diving attractions. It was the largest man-made reef at the time of the sinking.

2007 - Trains crossed the border dividing North and South Korea for the first time since 1953.

2016 - The U.S. Senate approved legislation that would allow families of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to sue the government of Saudi Arabia.

Today’s birthday celebrants include (or included)...

  • Sandro Botticelli 1444
  • Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini 1900
  • Maureen O'Sullivan 1911
  • Archibald Cox 1912
  • Birgit Nilsson 1918
  • Dennis Hopper 1936 - Actor
  • Pervis Jackson 1938 - Musician (The Spinners)
  • Taj Mahal 1942 - Singer
  • Jesse Winchester 1944
  • Bill Bruford 1948 - Musician (Yes, King Crimson)
  • Kathleen Sullivan 1953 - Television personality
  • Bill Paxton 1955 - Actor
  • Bob Saget 1956 - Actor, comedian
  • Sugar Ray Leonard 1956 - Boxer
  • Enya 1961 - Musician
  • Craig Ferguson 1962 - Television host ("The Late Late Show")
  • Page McConnell 1963 - Musician (Phish)
  • Thom Filicia 1969 - Television personality ("Queer Eye For the Straight Guy")
  • Jordan Knight 1970 - Singer (New Kids on the Block)
  • Sendhil Ramamurthy 1974 - Actor ("Heroes")
  • Kandi Burruss 1976 - Musician (Xscape)