Today's Holidays for December 23
The holiday for the rest of us. As seen on the TV show Seinfeld, is celebrated with an undecorated aluminum "Festivus Pole," "Feats of Strength," "Airing of Grievances," and attributing ordinary events to "Festivus Miracles." "I've got a lot of problems with you people!"
Today's History Trivia for December 23
The Night Before Christmas
Clement Clarke Moore's famous Christmas poem is first published. Originally titled "A Visit from St. Nicholas," it started with the now famous lines,
1986 First nonstop around-the-world flight without refueling is completed, by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager flying the aircraft Voyager. They began on the 14th.
1985 Judas Priest Suicide Case Two men (ages 18 and 20) attempt suicide after spending the afternoon doing drugs, alcohol, and listening to Judas Priest music. One died and the other was severely disfigured. The parents later sued the band, claiming their music contained subliminal messages urging them to commit suicide.
1970 The World Trade Center is topped out. At 1,350 feet and 110 stories, it was the world's tallest building.
1962 The Cuban government begins releasing prisoners captured during the Bay of Pigs invasion in exchange for $50,000,000 in food and medical supplies.
1952 Atlantic Crossing Frenchman, Alain Bombard, completes his solo voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in a 15-foot long boat with almost no provisions. He survived by eating raw fish and plankton, although he still lost 55 pounds. He began his journey on October 19. He just wanted to prove that it could be done.
1913 Federal Reserve System is established by the Federal Reserve Act. It serves as the nation's central bank.
1801 First programmable loom capable of weaving figured patterns is patented by French inventor Joseph Marie Jacquard.
1783 George Washington resigns as commander in chief of the Continental Army.
Today's Birthdays for December 23
1867 Madam C. J. Walker d. 1919 (Sarah Breedlove), American businesswoman, the first self-made American woman millionaire. A black lady, orphaned at the age of seven, she made her fortune selling her own line of hair products (1905) using a team a door-to-door sales agents.
1952 William "Bill" Kristol American neoconservative, chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle. As a political commentator for FOX News, he caused a controversy by praising Pres. Bush's inaugural speech (2005) without disclosing that he helped write it. Quote: "And on this issue of the Shia in Iraq, I think there's been a certain amount of, frankly, Terry, a kind of pop sociology in America that, you know, somehow the Shia can't get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There's almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq's always been very secular." (2003)
1946 Susan Lucci American actress. TV: All My Children (Erica Kane).
1943 Harry Shearer American actor. Film: This Is Spinal Tap (1984). TV: The Simpsons (voice of Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Otto the bus driver, among others) and Saturday Night Live.
1929 Dick Weber d. 2005 American bowler, 4-time All-Star Tournament winner (1962-63, 65-66), 3-time Bowler of the Year (1961, 63, 65).
1923 Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale d. 2005 American naval officer. He led the first bombing strike on North Vietnam (1965) and flew 201 missions before he was shot down and held prisoner for 7½ years - four of which were in solitary confinement. He was the highest-ranking Naval POW of Vietnam. He was Ross Perot's 1992 vice-presidential running mate.
1921 Gerald S. O'Loughlin d. 2015 American actor. TV: The Rookies (Lt. Eddie Ryker) and Our House (Joe Kaplan).
1911 James Gregory d. 2002 American actor. TV: Barney Miller (Inspector Luger).
1893 Roy Brown d. 1944 Canadian World War I flying ace. Credited with shooting down the Red Baron (1918), although this is doubted by some.
1856 James Buchanan Duke d. 1925 American tobacco magnate. He founded the American Tobacco Co. (1890) and Duke University (1925).
1812 Samuel Smiles d. 1904 Scottish author. Writings: Thrift (1875), containing the adage "A place for everything, and everything in its place."
1805 Joseph Smith d. 1844 American Mormon prophet. He claims to have received a set of golden plates from an Angel (1827). Using a pair of magic glasses he translated these into the Book of Mormon. While running for office, he and his brother were killed by a mob, making him the first U.S. presidential candidate to be assassinated. Source: An Almanac of the Christian Church
Deaths for December 23
2013 Mikhail Kalashnikov b. 1919 Russian firearms designer, inventor of the AK-47 assault rifle.
2000 Victor Borge b. 1909 (Borge Rosenbaum), Danish pianist, satirist, entertainer. Quote: "Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."
1982 Jack Webb b. 1920 (John Randolph Webb), American actor. TV: Dragnet. (Sgt. Joe Friday - He carries a badge).
1973 Gerald Peter Kuiper b. 1905 Netherlands-born American astronomer. "Father of Modern Planetary Science." Discovered Miranda (1948) one of Uranus' moons and Neptune's satellite Nereid (1949). He correctly predicted the rings of Saturn are composed of particles of ice and that the Moon's surface would be like walking on "crunchy snow." He is for whom the Kuiper Belt is named.
1965 Dr. Ivan Joseph Martin Osiier b. 1888 Danish fencer. He tied the record for longest span of Olympic competition (1908-48). His wife Ellen was the first female fencing champion (1924). Source: Guinness Book of World Records
1948 Tojo Hideki b. 1884 Japanese prime minister (1941-44) during World War II. He and six others were hanged together as war criminals.
1944 Charles Dana Gibson b. 1867 American illustrator, creator of the "Gibson Girl," which idealized the true American girl.