Day By Day

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This Day In History

Today is "Occult Day" so go out there and spend the day getting in touch with your paranormal side. Dabble in Theosophy or Ariosophy or Astrology; hold a seance, complete with spirit rapping; seek out Madonna and ask her to explain the Kabbalah; or answer an ad for the Rosicrucian Brotherhood. Your life will never be the same. To get you in the mood, here's a link to the collected works of H. P. Lovecraft.

On this day in 1307 William Tell supposedly was forced by a local tyrant to shoot an apple of the head of his son in Uri, Switzerland. Nobody knows if the story is true, and there is some doubt as to whether Tell ever existed, but the tale of Tell's defiance helped to spark a rebellion that eventually led to the formation of the Swiss Confederation.

And on this day in 1803 Haitian rebels defeated French troops in the Battle of Vertieres. This battle secured the independence of Haiti and the successful revolt convinced the French government that it would be impractical to attempt to refound their North American empire in Louisiana. They began to look around for someone to take it off their hands and offered to sell the vast territory at a bargain price to the United States. Fortunately, President Thomas Jefferson did not take constitutional principles very seriously. He made funds available and Louisiana was purchased, mostly to keep it out of British or Spanish hands.

On this day in 1928 Mickey Mouse made his screen debut in Steamboat Willie.

This was also Minnie Mouse's first screen appearance, although Mickey got all the credits.

And on this day in 1981 Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt won his second consecutive NL MVP award.

"Happy Birthday" to Louis Daguerre [1789], inventor of the daguerrotype; to Eugene Ormandy [1899], conductor of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra; to George Horatio Gallup [1901] the pollmeister; and to Alan Shepard [1923], first American astronaut in space.

Leaving the House: Chester A. Arthur [1886]; Niels Bohr [1962]; and Joseph P. Kennedy [1969].