Category Archives: On This Day

On This Day…5 October

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The Ryder Cup has come back to Europe, and on the morning after the night before, I wish Colin Montgomery’s team of twelve good men and true a happy hangover.

In all fairness the tournament could have gone either way. Tiger Woods showed why he is still the number one golfer in the world; 21-year-old rookie, Ricky Fowler’s last gasp half against Eduardo Molinari put pressure on reigning US Open Champion, Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, needing a win in the last match against Hunter Mahan to regain the trophy Europe lost to the United States in 2008. And win he did. Europe beat the U.S. by 14.5 points to 13.5.

Sorry…this is supposed to be an On This Day post. Pardon my exuberance, my friends. GO TEAM EUROPE!

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s begin with events on this day in…

1143 – The king Alfonso VII of Leon recognises Portugal as a Kingdom. The Portuguese think it’s about bloody time he found his glasses.

1789 – French Revolution: Women of Paris march to Versailles to confront Louis XVI about his refusal to promulgate the decrees on the abolition of feudalism, demand bread, and have the King and his court moved to Paris.

1864 – The Indian city of Calcutta is almost totally destroyed by a cyclone; 60,000 die.

Rather him than me. (Image: wright-brothers.org)

1903 – Sir Samuel Griffith is appointed the first Chief Justice of Australia and Sir Edmund Barton and Richard O’Connor are appointed as foundation justices.

1905 – Wilbur Wright pilots Wright Flyer III in a flight of 24 miles in 39 minutes, a world record that stood until 1908.

1945 – Hollywood Black Friday: A six month strike by Hollywood set decorators turns into a bloody riot at the gates of Warner Brothers’ studios.

1962 – Dr. No, the first in the James Bond film series, was released.

And now for something completely different...

1968 – Police baton civil rights demonstrators in Derry, Northern Ireland – considered to mark the beginning of The Troubles. It is called the Battle of the Bogside.

1969 – The first episode of the famous comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus aired on BBC.

1974 – Guildford pub bombings: bombs planted by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) kill four British soldiers and one civilian.

2000 – Mass demonstrations in Belgrade lead to resignation of Serbian strongman Slobodan Milošević. These demonstrations are often called the Bulldozer Revolution.

Happy birthday to:

Steve Miller, of the Steve Miller Band, is 67.

(Sir) Bob Geldof, former Boomtown Rat and Live Aid organizer, is 59.

The gorgeous Kate Winslet (Image: enjoyfrance.com)

Guy Pearce, former Neighbours actor who also starred in LA Confidential and Memento, is 43.

Kate Winslet, Oscar-winning actress for The Reader and star of Titanic, is 35.

Paris Hilton, the heiress of uselessness, is 27. That’s probably her IQ, as well…but don’t quote me.

Nicola Roberts, English singer with Girls Aloud, is 25. (She’s the ginger one on the far right.)

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On This Day…4 October

Monday, 4 October 2010

The 2010 Ryder Cup has gone into a fourth day for the first time in its 83 year history. The inclement weather (i.e. the rain came down in elephant-sized buckets) called a halt to yesterday morning’s play. The organizers have decided to play all twelve singles matches today, starting at 9am GMT. This bit of information will be important for future posts of On This Day.

You see? That’s what I call thinking forward – history is made every day.

So what did happen on this day in other years? Let’s find out and start with…

1537 – The first complete English-language Bible (the Matthew Bible) is printed, with translations by William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale.

1582 – Pope Gregory XIII implements the Gregorian Calendar. In Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain, October 4 of this year is followed directly by October 15. So if your birthday fell between October 5 and 14, hard luck.

Image: hbcho.com

1830 – Creation of the state of Belgium after separation from The Netherlands. This makes Hercules Poirot and Tintin very happy indeed.

1883 – First run of the Orient Express. Getting tickets for this journey proved to be murder.

1910 – Declaration of the Portuguese Republic. King Manuel II flees to the United Kingdom…and lands a part in TV reality show, The X-Monarch Factor.

1965 – Becoming the first Pope to ever visit the United States of America and the Western hemisphere, Pope Paul VI arrives in New York.

1997 – The second largest cash robbery in U.S. history occurs at the Charlotte, North Carolina office of Loomis, Fargo and Company. An FBI investigation eventually results in 24 convictions and the recovery of approximately 95% of the $17.3 million in cash which had been taken.

Birthdays today include:

For the gentlemen: the beautiful Susan Sarandon (Image: time.com)

Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon is 61. (Sorry, Tim, she’s mine now!)

Alicia (Clueless) Silverstone is 31 – and the less said about Batman and Robin, the better.

Chris Lowe, one half of electro-pop duo Pet Shop Boys, is 52.

Janis Joplin died today in 1970. She was just 27-years-old.

On This Day…3 October

Sunday, 3 October 2010

You know, Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest; a day when we take stock of the week just done, and prepare for the week ahead.

I’m working today – so bugger that for a lark!

But before I head out to earn a crust let me regale you with historical tit-bits, starting with events on this day in…

1283 – Dafydd ap Gruffydd (try saying that with a mouthful of mothballs), prince of Gwynedd in Wales, becomes the first person executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered. See? I told you I was in a good mood today.

For the ladies: Liam Neeson as Rob Roy MacGregor

1712 – The Duke of Montrose issues a warrant for the arrest of Rob Roy MacGregor. Liam Neeson lookalikes hide out for the duration.

1849 – American author Edgar Allan Poe is found delirious in a gutter in Baltimore, Maryland under mysterious circumstances; it is the last time he is seen in public before his death. Nevermore!

1863 – The last Thursday in November is declared as Thanksgiving Day by President Abraham Lincoln, as are Thursdays, November 30, 1865 and November 29, 1866.

1951 – The “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”, one of the greatest moments in Major League Baseball history, occurs when the New York Giants’ Bobby Thomson hits a game winning home run in the bottom of the ninth inning off of the Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca, to win the National League pennant after being down 14 games.

1981 – The Hunger Strike by Provisional Irish Republican Army and Irish National Liberation Army prisoners at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland ends after seven months and ten deaths.

1990 – Re-unification of Germany. The German Democratic Republic ceases to exist and its territory becomes part of the Federal Republic of Germany. East German citizens became part of the European Community, which later became the European Union. Now celebrated as German Unity Day.

1995 – O J Simpson acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. We all know what happened to O J a decade or so later.

Birthdays today include:

Another one for the ladies: birthday boy Clive Owen

Chubby Checker, American singer-songwriter, is 69.

Lindsey Buckingham, American guitarist and singer  with Fleetwood Mac, is 61.

Clive Owen, British actor, is 46.

Neve Campbell, Canadian actress and star of the Scream series of movies, is 37.

Today marks the passing of an English comic legend. Ronnie Barker, one half of The Two Ronnies, died today in 2005. This sketch is my absolute favourite. The smaller of the two is his partner in crime, Ronnie Corbett.

On This Day…2 October

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Hello and welcome to another journey through history. Take notes, people, I’ll be asking questions later.

Are you ready? Okay, let’s start today with events On This Day in…

1535 – Jacques Cartier discovers Montreal, Quebec. Then he decided to make some really expensive watches. Give me a Timex any day of the week.

1835 – The Texas Revolution begins with the Battle of Gonzales: Mexican soldiers attempt to disarm the people of Gonzales, Texas, but encounter stiff resistance from a hastily assembled militia. (Sigh…I live Texas. I am so going back there next year.)

John Logie Baird and friend. (Image: britannica.com)

1919 – US President Woodrow Wilson suffers a massive stroke, leaving him partially paralyzed. (91 years later, the US economy leaves Obama totally paralyzed)

1925 – John Logie Baird performs the first test of a working television system. He was then fined by the courts for not having an up-to-date TV licence.

1928 – The “Prelature of the Holy Cross and the Work of God”, commonly known as Opus Dei, is founded by Saint Josemaría Escrivá. Dan Brown thinks of an idea for a novel – in italics.

1950 – Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz is first published.

1959 – The anthology series The Twilight Zone premieres on CBS television.

1990 – A Chinese airline Boeing 737-247 is hijacked; after landing at Guangzhou, it crashes into two airliners on the ground, killing 132 people.

2002 – The Beltway sniper attacks begin, extending over three weeks.

2009 – The Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland is approved at the second attempt, permitting the state to ratify the European Union’s Treaty of Lisbon. This proves the old saying true: If at first you don’t mess it up, try, try again.

Celebrity birthdays today include:

Don McClean, American folk singer, famous for his classic American Pie, is 65.

Donna Karan, the fashion designer, is 62.

And my favourite tantric Policeman, Sting (born Gordon Sumner in 1951), is a fragile 59.

On This Day…1 October

Friday, 1 October 2010

I welcome you to today’s installment of On This Day, the first one in the merry month of October. I know it should be the “merry, merry month of May,” but we do things differently in Ireland. Like bailing out banks to the tune of 29 billion euro. Yes, Anglo Irish Bank, I’m looking at you!

*Fumes*

Anyway, before I have a total canary, I’ll go straight to events on this day in…

959 – Edgar the Peaceable becomes king of all England. He succeeded Gerald the Bloodthirsty Warmonger.

1795 – Belgium is conquered by France, despite going 1-0 in the first half.

University of Capetown

1811 – The first steamboat to sail the Mississippi River arrives in New Orléans, Louisiana.

1829 – South African College is founded in Cape Town, South Africa; it will later separate into the University of Cape Town and the South African College Schools.

1880 – First electric lamp factory opened by Thomas Edison. What a bright spark he was!

The George Washington Bridge. (Image: paulscharffphotography.com)

1903 – Baseball: The Boston Americans play the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first game of the modern World Series.

1931 – The George Washington Bridge linking New Jersey and New York opens.

1946 – Mensa International is founded in the United Kingdom. I’m still waiting to see if they’ve accepted my membership.

1957 – First appearance of “In God We Trust” on U.S. paper currency. Just as well God isn’t a banker!

1971 – Walt Disney World opens near Orlando, Florida, United States.

1975 – Thrilla in Manila: Muhammad Ali defeats Joe Frazier in a boxing match in Manila, Philippines.

1989 – Denmark: World’s first legal modern same-sex civil union called “registered partnership.”

Birthday wishes go to:

Jimmy Carter, former American president and world-famous peanut farmer, is a dry roasted 86-years-old today.

Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music star Julie Andrews is 75.

Randy Quaid is 60.

And Irish pop singer and actor Keith (Boyzone) Duffy is 26.

On This Day…30 September

Thursday, 30 September

Say goodbye to September, people. It takes its annual holiday from today and won’t be with us again for another 11 months.

Get prepared for October, back from its own 11 month sabbatical. I’d love a break like that. I need one.

Anyway, on with the show – and today we start with events on this day in…

1399 – Henry IV is proclaimed King of England. Nice one, Hal. It’s a nice job if you can keep hold of it.

1791 – The Magic Flute, the last opera composed by Mozart, receives its premiere performance at Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna, Austria.

1888 – Jack the Ripper kills his third and fourth victims, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes.

Hubert Cecil Booth, the inventor of the vacuum cleaner1901 – Hubert Cecil Booth patents the vacuum cleaner. Hoover wasn’t happy that Booth got there before he did.

1935 – The Hoover (oh, a connection at last) Dam, astride the border between the U.S. states of Arizona and Nevada, is dedicated.

1947 – The World Series, featuring the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, is televised for the first time.

1955 – Film icon James Dean dies in a road accident aged 24.

That's a lot of calamari.

1967 – BBC Radio 1 is launched and Tony Blackburn presents its first show; the BBC’s other national radio stations also adopt numeric names.

1982 – Cyanide-laced Tylenol kills six people in the Chicago area. Seven are killed in all.

2004 – The first images of a live giant squid in its natural habitat are taken 600 miles south of Tokyo.

Birthday greetings to:

When A Child is Born singer Johnny Mathis is 75.

Ray Burke, disgraced Irish minister and convicted tax cheat, is 67. The rest of the criminals in the Dail should have gone in with him.

Ex-minister Ray Burke. Boo! Hiss!

On another Irish political note, ex-minister for finance, Charlie McCreevy is 62.

Fran Drescher, American actress and the owner of one of the most annoying voices in entertainment, is 53.

Martina Hingis, Swiss tennis player and former World No. 1, is 30.

Cecelia Ahern, author of PS: I Love You, is 29.

In honour of James Dean, who died today in 1955 (as mentioned above), here’s a scene from his celebrated role in Rebel Without A Cause.

On This Day…29 September

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Good morning and thank you for coming over to today’s On This Day. I hope your day is filled with cookies, chocolate, chips – and chocolate chip cookies. That’s all the major food groups covered.

Let’s move on directly and start with events on this day in…

61 BC – Pompey the Great celebrates his third triumph for victories over the pirates and the end of the Mithridatic Wars on his 45th birthday. That’s what happens when someone buys you an X-Box as a gift.

1650 – Henry Robinson opens his Office of Addresses and Encounters – the first historically documented dating service – in Threadneedle Street, London. Now that I’m newly single, maybe I’ll check it out.

Bobbys on the beat. (Image: historic-uk.com)

1717 – An earthquake strikes Antigua Guatemala, destroying much of the city’s architecture and making authorities consider moving the capital to a different city.

1829 – The Metropolitan Police of London, later also known as the Met, is founded.

1916 – John D. Rockefeller becomes the first billionaire. Buddy, can you spare a dime?

1949 – The Communist Party of China writes the Common Programme for the future People’s Republic of China.

1964 – The Argentine comic strip Mafalda is published for the first time.

Mafalda comics. (Image: andrewferguson.net)

1979 – Pope John Paul II becomes the first pope to set foot on Irish soil with his pastoral visit to the Republic of Ireland.

2008 – Following the bankruptcies of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual, The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls 777.68 points, the largest single-day point loss in its history.

Birthday wishes today go to:

We had Brigitte yesterday; today it’s the turn of Anita Ekberg, Swedish sex symbol of the Fifties, who is 79.

Jerry Lee Lewis, American rock ‘n’ roller, is 75. Goodness gracious, great balls of fire!

Silvia Berlusconi, the controversial Italian prime minister, is a Mafia-endorsed 74. (Don’t quote me!)

And finally, on a really silly level, twins Matt and Luke Goss, of Eighties pop band Bros, are 42. They were famous – for a while.