Friday, December 17, 2010

POPnews - December 17th

[That the Simpsons have evolved over their record-breaking run is evident in this image of them from their earliest appearances.]

920 CE - Romanos I was crowned co-emperor alongside the underage Emperor Constantine VII; he then married his daughter Helena Lekapene to the pre-teen monarch over the objections of the boy's mother, Zoe, who was so formidable she went from the concubine of Leo VI to Empress and thence to being the regent of the Byzantine Empire on her son's behalf.

942 CE - Normandy's Duke William I was assassinated by supporters of Arnulf I, Count of Flanders.

1538 - Pope Paul III excommunicated England's King Henry VIII.

1586 - Go-Yozei became Emperor of Japan following the abdication of his grandfather Emperor Ōgimachi.

1600 - France's King Henry IV married Marie de' Medici following the annulment of his marriage to Marguerite de Valois.

1807 - Napoleon issued the Milan Decree in order to enforce the Berlin Decree, which had initiated the Continental System, whereby the French Emperor hoped to ruin England's economy by forcing the rest of Europe to undertake a trade embargo against them. The entire thing backfired, not only hurting Europe but strengthening the British Empire into the bargain.

1819 - Simón Bolívar declared the independence of the Republic of Gran Colombia in Angostura - now the Venezuelan city of Ciudad Bolívar.

1862 - Union General Ulysses S. Grant issued General Order No. 11, expelling all Jews from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky; although he issued the order to stop the smuggling of cotton - which he blamed on the Jews - he later disowned it, claiming it had been drafted by an underling and that he had signed it without reading it.

1865 - The first performance of Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 8 (best known as his Unfinished Symphony) was given in Vienna, under the direction of Johann Herbeck - 37 years after its composer's death.

1918 - During the the so-called Darwin Rebellion as many as 1000 members of the Australian Workers' Union, led by Harold Nelson, marched on Government House in the capital of Australia's Northern Territory, Darwin; once there they burnt an effigy of John Gilruth, demanding his resignation from the post of Administrator of the Northern Territory. Gilruth later fled the town onboard HMAS Encounter.

1935 - The Douglas DC-3 airplane - engineered by a team led by Arthur E. Raymond - made its maiden flight; the DC-3 would revolutionize cross-country commercial aviation in America, reducing the east-west flight from more than 32 hours in 1934 to under 15 by 1936, as well as providing sleeping berths and an onboard kitchen.

- Australia's Prime Minister Harold Holt went for a swim near Portsea, Victoria - and never came back; while there are numerous theories as to what happened to him, for a satirical take on the tragic event, only Shaun Micallef's The Micallef Program will do.

1969 - The US Air Force closed its investigation of UFOs, called Project Blue Book, after 17 years of study found no credibility in thousands of sightings.

1973 - 30 passengers were killed in an attack at Rome's Leonardo da Vinci Airport when Palestinian terrorists threw phosphorous bombs onto Pan-Am's Flight 110; the plane had been destined for Beirut.

1978 - The Workers Party of Jamaica was founded by Trevor Munroe; the anniversary is only pertinent because the party is now defunct, its founder has since renounced Marxism, and I felt like gloating over a failed Marxist movement because that's what I'm like.

1981 - US Brigadier-General James L. Dozier was kidnapped by Italy's left-wing Red Brigade in Verona; he was rescued during a raid on an apartment in Padua 42 days later.

1983 - Harrods was bombed by the IRA, killing six and injuring 90.

1989 - Originally a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show (beginning in April 1987) The Simpsons characters were given their own show on Fox; that show's first episode, Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire, debuted on this day. Currently in its twentieth season, it is both the longest-running animated series in American prime-time, as well as the longest-running sitcom in American history.

1999 - The United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 54/134 designating November 25th thereafter as the annual International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women.
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