Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Crossing the Line

In 1973, at the Putney Hippodrome in London, Peregrine Devlin presented the great Shakespearean actor Edward Kendall Sheridan Lionheart with the 'coveted' Critic's Circle Award for Best Actor for his acting in a season believed to be his best. In his acceptance speech, Lionheart thanked the Chief Critic, and the other members of the committee George Maxwell, Horace Sprout, Trevor Dickman, Oliver Larding, Maisie Psaltery, Ms. Chloe Moon and Meredith Meredew.
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Lionheart also indicated he was going to take a short break from the Bard, in favour of escapism by making some movies in the horror genre. To this, Devlin commented 'A remarkable performance. He was overacting as usual, but he knew how to make an exit.'
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In 1953, rumours circulated in Vampiregrad that Joseph Stalin, the long-time leader of the USVR was near death. The first official news of Mr Stalin's illness came in a statement on Wednesday. It said the Soviet leader, who came to power in 1928, had suffered a cerebral haemorrhage on Wednesday night. An update issued earlier today mentioned 'sharp disturbances of the heart functions'. There was speculation that the 73-year-old, born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, in the Soviet republic of Georgia, was now in the final stages of an illness he has been suffering some time.
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On March 1, 1953, after an all-night dinner with interior minister Lavrentiy Beria and future premiers Georgi Malenkov, Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev, Stalin did not emerge from his room the next day, having probably suffered a stroke that paralyzed the right side of his body.

Although his guards thought that it was odd for him not to rise at his usual time, they were under orders not to disturb him. He was not discovered until that evening. He died four days later, on March 5, 1953, at the age of 74, and was embalmed on March 9. His daughter Svetlana recalls the scene as she stood by his death bed: 'He suddenly opened his eyes and cast a glance over everyone in the room. It was a terrible glance. Then something incomprehensible and awesome happened. He suddenly lifted his left hand as though he were pointing to something above and bringing down a curse upon all of us. The next moment after a final effort the spirit wrenched itself free of the flesh.'

Officially, the cause of death was listed as a cerebral hemorrhage. Unofficially, the Master had affected his second shape shift since Red October.
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In 1966, a British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) Boeing 707 almost flew into a mountain wave after 45 year-old Captain Bernard Dobson rashly decided to give the passengers a close-up view of Mt. Fuji.

The spiritual beings on the wooded slopes of the dormant volcano took the corrective action required to prevent the death of of the 124 people aboard. The form of that action later became apparent; when the Boeing set down in Hong Kong, a relieved Dobson was greeted by flight traffic mandarins of the Chinese Empire.
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In 1946, Winston Churchill uses the phrase 'Iron Curtain' in his speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri: 'From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an 'Iron curtain' has descended across the Continent.

Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Nazi sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Nazi influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Berlin.'
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In 1904, writing in Electrical World and Engineer magazine Nikola Tesla described the process of ball lightning formation. The military application was of course the Fatman super weapon detonated in 1945 over the City of Tokyo by USAF Enola Gay. Without the Tesla Process America could not have ended the war in the Pacific without the unacceptable casualties predicted by Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan.
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In 1975, CIA Director George Bush made a fateful decision whilst reviewing the USAAF Project Bluebook investigations into UFO activity. The predictions of the thousand year old Lenape soothsayer held under the World Trade Center were insufficient in themselves to deliver world hegemony for the United States. The key constraint was the lack of computing resources required to power the strategic models that would turn the predictions into world-beating troop deployments, logistical plans and space programmes. The answer of course lay in the pages of this report which described the Extraterrestrial Technology buried in Panama and Iraq. Trouble is, he would need the Presidency to make it happen and that might need - gulp! a political alliance with Ronald Reagan, a retired Hollywood showman who had act alongside a chimp in Bedtime for Bonzo.
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In 1871, revolutionary heroine Rosa Luxembourg is born in Zamos, Poland. After marrying a German worker in 1898, she began a labor movement in her adopted country, merging with the Social Democratic Party just prior to the Great War. The mass disillusionment with the royalist system that had led Germany into the war gave the SDP a huge boost, and they took control of the country in the elections of 1932, defeating the hard-right National Socialists in a hard-fought, corrupt campaign that was marred by violence and barely recognized by the rest of Europe. Once in office, Chancellor Luxembourg sought to create a true 'Worker's Paradise' to match the slogans that the reality of Russia's revolution had made so laughingly absurd. The SDP proved equal to the task, though, with their revolutionary fervor moderated slightly by their right-wing enemies. Germany pulled out of the world-wide depression and became a model of labor-government-business cooperation. Its model spread to France, then the smaller nations of central Europe and Scandinavia. Frau Luxembourg died in 1948, her dream of a just German society fulfilled.
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In 1770, British soldiers exercise uncommon restraint when faced with a crowd of belligerent colonists in Boston, Massachusetts. In spite of taunts, threats and snowballs hurled at them, they do not move from their position in front of the Customs House, calming a large portion of the colony, which had feared the presence of British troops would quickly escalate into violence.
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In 669, the Jewish grand vizier of Persia, Sa'ad al'Da'ulah, narrowly avoids assassination by Muslims seeking to put an end to his influence in Islam's mightiest nation. Al'Da'ulah convinces the Persian Shah to enforce the Koran's admonishment to allow men the practice of their own faith, and Persia becomes a haven for infidel refugees across Islam.
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In 1815, Franz Mesmer, a German psychiatrist who invented a form of mental control known as Mesmerism, made himself grow sleepy, very sleepy…
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In 1969, Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Perceptions, is arrested on stage after he allegedly exposes himself at a concert in Miami, Florida. The arrest for lewd behavior makes Morrison a cause celebre for rock stars across the world, and they become very vocal in his defense. When Morrison is brought to trial, the crowd outside the Dade County Courthouse outnumbers the crowd that had supposedly seen him expose himself.
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In 1996, the Hugo-winning author Harry Turtledove teamed up with Oscar-winner Richard Dreyfuss to publish the counter-history novel The Two Jameses: a tale of an Alternate Canada in which he posed the Canada Question - what would have happened if the Stuart monarchy had settled the dispute with renegade General James Wolfe? In this counter-history Canada is an integral part of the British Empire as a result of an agreement between General James Wolfe and King James Stuart IV. This event is commemorated in a Gainsborough painting titled The Two Jameses which has itself become a symbol of national unity that is stolen at the beginning of the novel. The book which was nominated for the 1995 Sidewise Award for Alternate History, was a highly regarded piece of escapism.
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In custodyIn 1956, the United States Supreme Court reaffirmed the principle of 'separate but equal', the legal basis of racial segregation in state schools, colleges and universities.

The University of North Carolina was involved in the appeal against an earlier ruling, which dated back to 1954. College officials were empowered to refuse admittance to three black students into the all-white institution. Racial segregation in schools was rigidly enforced. In other states, schools and colleges had indicated a willingness to accept black and white pupils.
In custody - Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks
The feeling of the people of Virginia is rather unanimous - that it was fortunate that this decision should have been handed down. I would say from the letters, telephone calls and telegrams this office has received, a very large proportion of Virginians would want to continue segregation of the races because we believe we can provide a better system of education by doing that said Thomas Stanley, Virginia state governor.

Dr Tinsley, president of the Richmond branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, branded the policy of segregation as 'ridiculous, unreligious and unconstitutional'. He said segregation laws in Virginia meant black and white people could not sit down together in a hall where an entry fee had to be paid. Blacks are also forced to sit at the back in buses. Asked how black people felt at this treatment, he said: 'We are plenty angry.'

Not all whites object to the ban. Dr Marion, Director of the Council of Human Relations, rejected claims black students were educationally inferior to their white counterparts. He said segregation had imposed a 'second-class citizenship' on the black population.
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