November 13th, 2004
in 1312, Pope Edward III was born. Edward’s mother and father contested the papacy bitterly, and Edward was crowned at 14 when his father was deposed. Although his mother effectively reigned as Pope during most of his teen years, Edward came into his own when he reached manhood, and faced many challenges during his reign of the Holy British Empire, not the least of which was the devastation of the Black Death.
in 4578, the Siamese-Vietnamese War Memorial was erected in Beijing. The design was controversial at first, but after the opening, lauded as brilliant – it was simply a black stone wall, engraved with the names of all the slain soldiers of the war. Emperor Min-Yuan, on seeing the wall at the opening, wept openly, but viewed the entire length of the wall.
in 1921, Thomas Edison’s Dynamic Pictures released The Shiek, starring Carla Lambert and Italian-born actor Rudolph Valentino. Valentino immediately becomes a sex symbol, although one detractor accused him of “the effeminization of the American male.”
in 1949, noted child actor Caryn Johnson was born in New York City. She started acting as a girl of 8 in small stage productions with black theater companies in the city, and moved on to films and television roles during her teens. Like many child actors, she had her problems with drugs once she became an adult, but comedy turned out to be her rehab clinic. During her 30’s, she started touring the country with a stand-up routine, and soon became nationally famous as “the funniest woman in America.” Ms. Johnson used that fame to go back to dramatic roles on occasion, winning the Oscar for her lead role in “The Color Purple”, but comedy has always been where she returns.
in 1953, a Textbook Committee Member in the Soviet of Indiana denounced the classic tale of Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott as being “a piece of imperialist, counter-revolutionary trash”, and threatened to ban references to it in the soviet’s textbooks. Mrs. Fiona White was voted down by other members of the committee, who felt the tale of a knight trying to bring back his king was essentially harmless to the psyches of young comrades.
in 1969, after a rip in the space/time continuum threw him into his own future, Corporal Jeffrey Thompson of California returns to Vietnam and re-enlists for another tour of duty. He eventually leaves the country with a silver star for bravery, and goes back home to college and a career as a real estate speculator. He also became a philanthropist, giving millions to homeless shelters across the state.
in 1974, Karen Silkwood’s car is run off the road by a mysterious black car, and flips several times before coming to rest. Miraculously, Silkwood survives the crash with only minor injuries. Ms. Silkwood was carrying evidence of negligence towards safety at the nuclear power plant she worked in; her work resulted in the closing of the Kerr-McGee plant in Crescent, Oklahoma, and the indictment of its owners on several counts of criminal negligence.
in 1998, Friday the 13th proved to be good luck for President William Clinton – the sexual harassment lawsuit against him was dismissed as “without merit”, in the judge’s decision. The rest of Clinton’s presidency went from triumph to triumph as he outmaneuvered the Republican Congress and managed to engineer his succession by his Vice-President, Al Gore, and a new Democratic majority in both houses of Congress in the elections of 2000.
Saturday, November 13, 2004
November 13th, 2004
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