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Today's quotation...
"Getting people to like you is merely the other side of liking them."
-- Norman Vincent Peale

Feast of Santa Lucia

    The Feast of Santa Lucia, or Saint Lucy, an early Christian virgin and martyr, is an occasion for festivities in Italy and Scandinavia and those parts of the United States in which Swedish immigrants settled. Saint Lucy was martyred December 13, 304. Legends abound about her life. One says that she was eagerly sought in marriage by a nobleman who claimed he was haunted night and day by the beauty of her eyes. Such was her devotion to the religious life that she cut out her eyes and sent them to him on a plate and begged him henceforth to leave her alone. Her name is derived from the Latin lux or "light." She is honored as the patron saint of street lamp lighters and those who suffer eye disease or imminent blindness. In medieval art, Lucy is depicted holding a torch or lamp or a plate on which lie two eyeballs.

 Happy Birthday ......
    In 1636, birthday of U.S. National Guard.
    In 1784, Samuel Johnson, English writer and lexicographer, died; regarded as one of the outstanding figures of English 18th century life and letters.
    In 1816, German inventor Ernst Werner von Siemens born. He and his three brothers founded the giant Siemens electrical firm.
    In 1835, Phillips Brooks, clergyman, composer (O Little Town of Bethlehem).
    In 1920, Interferometer used to measure first stellar diameter (Betelgeuse). Former Secretary of State George Shultz born; he helped chart a dramatic new era in U.S.-Soviet relations as the second longest-serving secretary of state since World War Two.
    In 1925, to entertainer Dick van Dyke. Van Dyke began his career as a television emcee and stepped into the spotlight with his own weekly series, “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” As a result of working with such consummate professionals as Mary Tyler Moore and writer, Carl Reiner, Van Dyke’s self-titled program went on for 157 episodes. After his small screen success, Van Dyke brought his Tony Award-Winning role of Albert from “Bye, Bye Birdie” to the silver screen. Finding his niche in features, Van Dyke delighted children as chimney sweep, Bert, in Mary Poppins (1964) and in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). Some of his other credits include The Comic (1969), Cold Turkey (1971), The Morning After (1974) and Dick Tracy in 1990. From 1993-2001, Van Dyke starred in the mystery series “Diagnosis Murder.”
    In 1929, Christopher Plummer, a Canadian actor who is most recognized for playing the Captain in the classic musical film, The Sound of Music. Plummer began his career on the stage and earned rave reviews for starring in Broadway productions of “Royal Hunt of the Sun” and “The Good Doctor.” Staying true to his love for the theatre, Plummer’s first few roles on the small screen were adaptations of Ibsen’s A Doll House and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Plummer’s first memorable role on the silver screen was as the patriarch of the Von Trapp family in the beloved feature, The Sound of Music (1965). The overwhelming success of the film helped Plummer secure parts in The Man Who Would Be King (1975), International Velvet (1978), Somewhere in Time (1980), Dreamscape (1984), 12 Monkeys (1995), Beautiful Mind (2001), Arafat (2002), and Cold Creek Manor in 2003. Plummer can currently be seen in theaters in National Treasure (2004), and Alexander (2004).
    In 1934, Movie producer Richard Zanuck.
    In 1937, Prince Karim Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the world's 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims and one of the world's richest men, born.
    In 1950, Wendie Malick, actress who played supermodel-turned-fashion editor, Nina Van Horn, on the sitcom “Just Shoot Me.” Malick began her career as a model and took to the catwalk in New York, Paris and Madrid. After a brief stint working for then-Congressman Jack Kemp, Malick appeared in theatre productions of “Guys and Dolls,” “Mame” and “North Shore Fish.” Making the move to the small screen in the 80s, Malick was featured in the television movies “Paper Dolls” and “Dynasty: The Miniseries,” and made guest appearances on “Kate & Allie,” “NYPD Blue,” “Trauma Center,” “The X-Files” and “Seinfeld.” Before garnering an Emmy nod for her work on “Just Shoot Me,” Malick won four Cable ACE Awards for playing a socialite on “Dream On.” In addition to her sitcom success, Malick earned the praise of the critics for portraying both Abigail Van Buren and Ann Landers in the film “Take My Advice: The Ann and Abby Story” (1999).
    In 1967, Jamie Foxx, actor and comedian who began his career as a stand-up comic and became a leading man of the silver screen. Foxx began working the comedy club circuit in 1989, and within a few short years he was performing in such famed venues as The Improv and the Apollo. A hit with audiences, Foxx won the Oakland Comedy Competition and was asked to join the cast of the variety show, “In Living Color,” in 1991. After showing off his impecable comedic timing on “In Living Color," Foxx made the leap to the big screen. Some of his film credits include Toys (1992), The Truth About Cats and Dogs (1996), Booty Call (1997), Any Given Sunday (1999), Bait (2000) and Ali in 2001. He also starred in, wrote, produced and directed his own self-titled "The Jamie Foxx Show" sitcom in 1996. More recently, Foxx starred in Breakin' All the Rules (2004), Collateral (2004), and Ray in 2004.
For his 38th birthday, Jamie Foxx said he wanted California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to spare the life of Stanley Tookie Williams, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee sentenced to death for murder. Williams was executed on Dec. 13, 2005, Foxx's birthday.
11:26 12/13/2008
 On this day...
    In 1577, Francis Drake began a voyage from Plymouth, England, in the "Golden Hind" that was to take him around the world.
    In 1642, Dutch navigator Abel Tasman sighted present-day New Zealand.
    In 1789, Austrian Netherlands declares independence as Belgium.
    In 1862, [Civil War] General Robert E. Lee with 80,000 Confederates repulsed General Burnside with his 150,000 Federals at the Battle of Fredericksburg. After hard fighting along the Massaponax River, Burnside lost almost 14,000 troops.
    In 1878, first electric street lighting in London inaugurated. Holborn viaduct first to get lit.
    In 1884, the first coin-operated weighing machine was patented by Percy Everitt.
    In 1913, "Mona Lisa" found unharmed in Florence after being stolen from Louvre August 21, 1911.
The Sunday New York World printed a puzzle called a "word-cross." The puzzle was a success and became a weekly feature. The name eventually evolved into "crossword."
    In 1918, Wilson becomes first to make a foreign visit while President.
    In 1927, Yehudi Menuhin, a ten-year-old child violinist made his very successful New York debut at a concert in Carnegie Hall. After the triumphant recital he was asked what he would like next. He said, "Some ice cream."
    In 1928, George Gershwin's An American in Paris had its premiere performance by the New York Philharmonic.
    In 1937, Japanese forces took the Chinese city of Nanking (Nanjing). Over the following six weeks, in one of the worst atrocities of World War II, they killed an estimated 200,000 Chinese in what became known as the "Rape of Nanking."
World At War
    World War II, which had begun in Europe on September 1, 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, ended six years later to the day, September 1, 1945. The final concluding ceremony came the following day, September 2, 1945, with the signing of surrender papers by representatives of Japan, Nazi Germany's Axis partner in the Far East.

Nine Notable Veterans of World War II

    In 1942, Headline: Goebbels complains of Italians’ treatment of Jews
     Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels records in his journal his contempt for the Italians’ treatment of Jews in Italian-occupied territories. “The Italians are extremely lax in their treatment of Jews. They protect Italian Jews both in Tunis and in occupied France and won’t permit their being drafted for work or compelled to wear the Star of David.”
     Joseph Goebbels had made the persecution, and ultimately the extermination, of Jews a personal priority from the earliest days of the war, often recording in his diary such statements as: “They are no longer people but beasts.” “Their destruction will go hand in hand with the destruction of our enemies.” “[T]he Jews… are now being evacuated eastward. The procedure is pretty barbaric and is not to be described here more definitely. Not much will remain of the Jews.” It was on his recommendation that all Jews in occupied Paris be forced to wear a yellow star on the left side of their coats or jackets in order to identify and humiliate them.
     His vituperative anti-Semitism, which included blaming the war itself on the Jews in a screed published in the German magazine Das Reich, could not be contained within the boundaries of Germany. He expected the same of his allies. But, truth be told, in the earliest days of fascism, Mussolini had denied any truth to the idea of a “pure” race and had counted Jews among his close colleagues-and was even a Zionist!
     But with Italy’s failing fortunes militarily, Mussolini needed to stress the Italians’ “superiority” in some sense, and so began to mimic many of the racial and anti-Jewish legislation of the Nazis. Nevertheless, Mussolini never had the stomach—or the conviction—for the extremes of Goebbels, Goering, and Hitler. And certainly the majority of the Italian people never subscribed to the growing anti-Semitic rhetoric of the regime. In fact, the Italians refused to deport Jews from Italy-or from Italian-occupied Croatia or France-to Auschwitz.
     The majority of Italians’ courage to reject the worst of fascist ideology—its anti-Semitism—remains one bright spot in Italy’s otherwise appalling World War II record.
    In 1943, in December 1943, the first P-51 fighter planes were used to escort B-17 bombers on missions deep inside German lines. [Check out my B-17 page..GO!] Throughout the summer and early fall, the 8th Air Force had been dealt devastating blows by German fighter planes that attacked its B-17s. The problem was that no fighter plane had been developed with the range needed to escort the bombers throughout their whole missions. The newly developed P-51s were equipped with extra fuel tanks to extend their range radius to 850 miles. Often called "little friends" by the crews of the lumbering B-17s, the single-seat fighters were equipped with 1,520-horsepower Rolls Royce Merlin engines and had a maximum speed of 437 miles per hour. [Check out my P-51 page..GO!] With the arrival of the heavy long-range fighters in England, the Luftwaffe suffered serious setbacks, and German industrial plants once again became the targets of the 8th Air Force's daylight bombing missions.
    [National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution]
    In 1944, the U.S. cruiser Nashville was badly damaged in a Japanese kamikaze attack that claimed more than 130 lives.
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    In 1961, Anna Mary Robertson Moses, "Grandma Moses," passed away at the age of 101. Moses was famed for rustic painting started in her early 90s.
     No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit: "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," The Tokens.
    In 1967, King Constantine of Greece and his family fled the country after a counter-coup failed to topple the military-backed government.
    In 1973 No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit: "The Most Beautiful Girl," Charlie Rich.
    In 1974, Maltese Republic Day is declared.
    In 1978, Susan B. Anthony dollar, first US coin to honor a woman issued. The coin began circulation the following July.
Successful launch of two Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) II satellites puts full four-satellite constellation at users disposal for first time.
    In 1981, Solidarity Day, in Poland.
    In 1987, U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz told reporters in Copenhagen, Denmark, that the Reagan administration would begin making funding requests for the proposed Star Wars defense system.
    In 1989, South African President F.W. de Klerk met for the first time with imprisoned African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, at de Klerk's office in Cape Town.
    In 1991, North and South Korea signed a non-aggression accord intended to open a new chapter in their often fratricidal relations.
Five Central Asian republics of the Soviet Union agreed to join the new Commonwealth of Independent States.
    In 1993, Jon Topper, East Berlin, Pa., joined the Colonel's BBS.
     The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people must receive a hearing before property linked to illegal drug sales can be seized.
    In 1994, an American Eagle commuter plane carrying 20 people crashed short of Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina, killing 15.
    In 1995, Richard Prenger and Jason Cary, Hanover, Pa., joined the Colonel's Bulletin Board System (BBS). Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng, a 1995 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, was imprisoned for 14 years for subversive acts.
    In 1997, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in Los Angeles for the $1 billion Getty Center, one of the largest arts centers in the U.S.
    In 1998, with a grave impeachment threat looming, President Clinton told a news conference in Jerusalem he would not resign, and insisted he did not commit perjury. Voters in Puerto Rico rejected U.S. statehood.
    In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court in the 2000 U.S. Presidential election was unconstitutional. U.S. Vice President Al Gore conceded the election to Texas Gov. George W. Bush the next day.
     Seven convicts, the "Texas 7," escaped from Connally Unit in Kenedy, TX, southeast of San Antonio, by overpowering civilian workers and prison employees. They fled with stolen clothing, pickup truck and 16 guns and ammunition.
    In 2001, Peter B. Teets is sworn in as under secretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office. The Dual tasking was a Space Commission recommendation, as was making Teets the Air Force acquisition executive for space. The Air Force was named DOD executive agent for space in May 2001.
     U.S. President George W. Bush served formal notice to Russia that the United States was withdrawing from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
     Five suspected terrorists, practitioners of that "religion of peace", killed nine people in an attack on India's parliament before being killed themselves.
     The Pentagon publicly released a captured videotape of Osama bin Laden in which the al-Qaida leader said the deaths and destruction achieved by the Sept. 11 attacks exceeded his "most optimistic" expectations.
    In 2002, Cardinal Bernard Law resigned as Boston archbishop because of the priest sex abuse scandal.
    In 2003, Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces while hiding in a hole under a farmhouse in Adwar, Iraq, near his hometown of Tikrit.
    In 2005, Crips gang co-founder Stanley Tookie Williams was executed in California for killing four people in robberies.
     Iraqis living abroad began voting in the country's parliamentary elections.
    In 2010, President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul hit its first major legal roadblock as a federal judge in Richmond, Virginia., declared that the law's central requirement that nearly all Americans carry insurance as unconstitutional.
    In 2011, in Liege, Belgium, six people were killed when a 33-year-old man threw grenades and fired on a crowd of people in the city's main square before committing suicide.
    In 2016, Full Cold Moon
Will the Moon-Earth relationship ever change?
When the Moon formed 4.5 billion years ago, it was only about 14,000 miles from Earth; it's now more than 280,000 miles out. Currently, the Moon moves away from us by about 1.5 inches each year because of Earth's slowing rotation. But don't worry, it's not going away. Within several billion years, if the aging Sun doesn't get into the picture, the Moon's orbit and Earth's rotation will have stabilized. Earth will have slowed its spin and matched the time it takes for the Moon to orbit it.
Info from The Old Farmer's Almanac, 2016

 Thought for the day...

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