Saturday, February 19, 2011
Birthday wishes go out today to Dave Wakeling, who as a member of The Beat* was at the forefront of the ska revival that came between the punk of the late 1970s and the synth-pop of the early 1980s. Wakeling later had a modicum of success as one half (with Ranking Roger) of General Public.
Mirror in the Bathroom originally appeared on the band's 1980 debut album, I Just Can't Stop It; the video - one of the earliest - shows the band in action as well as scenes of stupendous ordinariness from Thatcher's Britain.
*Known everywhere but in the UK as The English Beat.
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[Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood is the longest-running series in the history of American public television; originally aired on National Educational Television, it transferred to PBS in 1970. Produced until August 2001, PBS removed it from its official programming schedule in September 2008, although some renegade stations continue to air the goings-on in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, where the despotic rule of King Friday XIII still teaches the children of liberals to recognize actual tyranny when they see it - unlike the lessons they might glean from Fox News.]
197 CE - Roman Emperor Septimius Severus defeated the usurper Clodius Albinus at the Battle of Lugdunum (near modern-day Lyon); it was the bloodiest battle ever fought between Roman armies, but the Emperor's victory over his foe - who was killed in battle - assured him an uncontested throne.
1594 - Having already inherited the throne of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth through his mother Catherine Jagellonica, Sigismund III of the House of Vasa was crowned King of Sweden, succeeding his father John III.
1600 - The Peruvian stratovolcano Huaynaputina exploded in the most violent eruption in the recorded history of South America.
1674 - England and the Netherlands signed the Peace of Westminster, ending the Third Anglo-Dutch War; one provision of note in the agreement transferred control of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam to England, at which time it was renamed New York.
1807 - Former US Vice President Aaron Burr was arrested for treason in Alabama and confined to Fort Stoddert for his part in the Burr Conspiracy.
1819 - British explorer William Smith discovered the South Shetland Islands, claiming them in the name of King George III.
1846 - Following its annexation by the United States, the Republic of Texas formally transferred power, and the State of Texas was born.
1847 - The Donner Party was rescued.
1864 - The Knights of Pythias were founded in Washington, DC, by Justus H. Rathbone.
1878 - Thomas Edison patented the phonograph.
1913 - For the first time prizes were included in boxes of Cracker Jack.
1937 - During a public ceremony at the Viceregal Palace (the former Imperial Residence) in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, two Eritrean nationalists named Abraha Deboch and Mogus Asgedom attempted to kill viceroy Rodolfo Graziani with a number of grenades; following the failure of the plot to kill Graziani he became known as 'the Butcher of Ethiopia'.
1942 - US President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive order 9066, allowing the US military to relocate Japanese-Americans to internment camps.
1963 - The publication of Betty Friedan's book The Feminine Mystique launched the reawakening of the Feminist Movement in the United States as women's organizations and consciousness-raising groups began to spread.
1968 - Mister Rogers' Neighborhood made its television debut; in all, 895 episodes were made before the show went off the air in 2001. An earlier incarnation, called simply Mister Rogers, began airing on the CBC in 1962; one of the puppeteers on that show was Ernie Coombs, better known (at least among Canadians) as Mr. Dressup.
1985 - The British soap EastEnders made its television debut in the UK as part of a rebranding effort by BBC1; it was an instant success.
1986 - The Soviet Union launched the Mir space station; it remained aloft until March 2001, at which point it de-orbited.
2001 - A museum dedicated to its bombing opened at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City; a national monument was opened on the site of the 1995 attack in October 1997.
2006 - The Rolling Stones gave a free concert on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro for an estimated 1.3 million people.
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