The World Almanac E-Newsletter

Volume 1, Number 9 - September 2001



What's in this issue?

September Events
Holidays -- National and International
This Day in History - September
September Birthdays
Featured Location of the Month: Seattle, WA
Obituaries -- August 2001
Science in the News
Astronomical Events
Special Feature: Alzheimer's Update
Chronology -- Events of August 2001
Offbeat News Stories
100 Years Ago in the World Almanac: The "Death Roll" for 1900
Links of the Month
How to Reach Us

September Events

August 27-September 9 -- U.S. Open tennis tournament
August 29-September 9 -- Goodwill Games, Queensland, Australia
September 1 -- Charleston (WV) Distance Run (15-mile race)
September 1-3 -- Frankfort (IL) Fall Festival
September 2 -- Flanders Festival, Belgium
September 3 -- Great Bathtub Race, Nome, AK
September 6-9 -- Carry Nation Festival, Holly, MI
September 6-23 -- Los Angeles County Fair
September 8-30 -- Gardenfest at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA
September 9 -- NFL regular season begins
September 13-16 -- Newport International Boat Show, Newport, RI
September 15-16 -- Covered Bridge Festival, Washington and Greene County, PA
September 16-30 -- Prague Autumn International Music Festival, Czech Republic
September 21-23 -- Monterey (CA) Jazz Festival; Pioneer Days, Fort Worth, TX
September 22 -- 1st day of Autumn (in the northern hemisphere)
September 27-30 -- Fall Bluegrass Festival, Live Oak, FL
September 28-30 -- 34th Ryder Cup golf matches, The Belfry, Sutton Coldfield, England

National Holidays

September 3 -- Labor Day
September 8 -- Federal Lands Cleanup Day
September 9 -- National Grandparents Day
September 10 -- National Boss/Employee Exchange Day
September 15 -- National POW/MIA Recognition Day
September 15-October 15 -- National Hispanic Heritage Month
September 16-22 -- National Farm Safety and Health Week
September 17 -- Citizenship Day
September 18 -- 1st day of Rosh Hashanah
September 22 -- National Centenarians Day
September 23-29 -- National Dog Week
September 27 -- Yom Kippur

International Holidays

September 3 -- Labor Day, Canada
September 7 -- Independence Day, Brazil
September 9-15 -- International Children's Week
September 15 -- Independence Day, El Salvador, Guatemala
September 16 -- Independence Day, Mexico
September 19 -- St. Gennaro, Italy

This Day in History - September

01 1939 World War II begins when Germany invades Poland.
02 1666 The Great Fire of London begins in a baker's wooden house; by the time it ends on Sept. 5, 13,000 houses and most of the city are destroyed.
03 1783 The Treaty of Paris, ending the Revolutionary War, is signed by the United States and Britain.
04 1886 Apache leader Geronimo surrenders in his long fight against settlers in the Southwest.
05 1975 Pres. Gerald Ford is unharmed when a Secret Service agent grabs a pistol aimed at him by Lynette (Squeaky) Fromme, a follower of Charles Manson, in Sacramento, CA.
06 1972 Nine Israelis taken hostage from the Olympic Village at the Munich Olympics, and 5 Arab terrorists, die in a shootout with police at the Munich airport.
07 1892 In the first modern boxing match played under Marquis of Queensbury rules, James J. Corbett defeats John L. Sullivan.
08 1974 Pres. Gerald Ford issues a pardon to ex-Pres. Richard Nixon for any federal crimes he committed while president.
09 1976 Chinese leader Mao Zedong dies in Beijing.
10 1846 Elias Howe receives a patent for his first sewing machine.
11 1297 William Wallace leads the Scots to victory over the English at Sterling Bridge.
12 1974 Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie is overthrown by the military.
13 1788 Congress picks New York City to be the capital of the new federal government.
14 1901 Pres. William McKinley dies 8 days after he was shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz; Theodore Roosevelt is sworn in, becoming the youngest president in U.S. history.
15 1963 A Baptist church in Birmingham, AL, is bombed, killing 4 black girls.
16 1620 The Pilgrims set sail from Plymouth, England, on the Mayflower.
17 1920 The American Professional Football Association, later renamed the National Football League, is formed in Canton, OH.
18 1793 Pres. George Washington lays the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol.
19 1899 French Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, the victim of an anti-Semitic plot, is pardoned of treason by the French government.
20 1998 Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles takes himself out of the lineup, thus ending his record streak of consecutive games played at 2,632.
21 1981 The Senate votes, 99-0, to confirm Sandra Day O'Connor as the first woman on the Supreme Court.
22 1776 Nathan Hale is executed as a spy by the British, proclaiming, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
23 1952 Vice presidential candidate Richard Nixon delivers the nationally televised "Checkers speech."
24 1957 Pres. Dwight Eisenhower sends federal troops to enforce a court order on desegregating Little Rock, AR, schools.
25 1965 Satchel Paige, at age 59, becomes the oldest man to play major league baseball, pitching 3 scoreless innings for the Kansas City Athletics.
26 1969 Abbey Road, the Beatles' 13th album is released; it will be their last album together.
27 1964 The Warren Commission releases its report concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the 1963 assassination of Pres. John F. Kennedy.
28 1542 Portuguese navigator Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovers California, reaching San Diego Bay.
29 1978 Pope John Paul I dies after having served only 34 days.
30 1630 One of the first Pilgrims to land in America, John Billington, is hanged for murder--the first criminal execution carried out in the colonies.

September Birthdays

01   1908   Estee Lauder, founder of cosmetics/fragrance company (New York, NY)
02   1952   Jimmy Connors, tennis champion (East St. Louis, IL)
03   1915   Kitty Carlisle Hart, actress/TV personality (New Orleans, LA)
04   1968   Mike Piazza, baseball player (Norristown, PA)
05   1940   Raquel Welch, actress (Chicago, IL)
06   1964   Rosie Perez, actress (Brooklyn, NY)
07   1908   Michael DeBakey, heart surgeon (Lake Charles, LA)
08   1981   Jonathan Taylor Thomas, actor (Bethlehem, PA)
09   1966   Adam Sandler, actor/comedian (Brooklyn, NY)
10   1945   Jose Feliciano, singer/guitarist (Lares, Puerto Rico)
11   1940   Brian DePalma, filmmaker (Newark, NJ)
12   1943   Maria Muldaur, singer (New York, NY)
13   1938   Judith Martin, author and etiquette expert as "Miss Manners" (Washington, DC)
14   1940   Larry Brown, basketball coach (Brooklyn, NY)
15   1984   Prince Harry, prince of England (London, England)
16   1956   David Copperfield, magician (Metuchen, NJ)
17   1944   James Brady, gun control advocate and former presidential press secretary (Grand Rapids, MI)
18   1939   Frankie Avalon, singer/actor (Philadelphia, PA)
19   1964   Trisha Yearwood, country singer (Monticello, GA)
20   1928   Joyce Brothers, psychologist/author (New York, NY)
21   1947   Stephen King, horror novelist (Portland, ME)
22   1960   Joan Jett, singer/guitarist (Philadelphia, PA)
23   1930   Ray Charles, singer/songwriter (Albany, GA)
24   1958   Kevin Sorbo, actor (Mound, MN)
25   1969   Catherine Zeta-Jones, actress (Swansea, Wales)
26   1949   Jane Smiley, novelist (Los Angeles, CA)
27   1947   Meat Loaf (Marvin Lee Aday), singer/musician (Dallas, TX)
28   1977   Se Ri Pak, golfer (South Korea)
29   1943   Lech Walesa, Polish labor leader and founder of Solidarity (Popowo, Poland)
30   1931   Angie Dickinson, actress (Kulm, ND)

Featured Location of the Month: Seattle, Washington

Location: seat of King County, W central Washington, between Puget Sound and Lake Washington; incorporated as a city 1869

Population (Census 2000): 563,374

Mayor: Paul Schell

September Temperatures: Normal high of 69.3 degrees; Normal low of 51.9 degrees

Colleges & Universities: City University, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle University, University of Washington, The Art Institute of Seattle, Cornish College of the Arts, North Seattle Community College, Seattle Central Community College, Shoreline Community College, South Seattle Community College

Museums/Zoos: the Museum of History and Industry; the Henry Art Gallery; the art museum of the University of Washington; the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, which features exhibits on the Indians of the region; the Seattle Art Museum, with superb collections of African and Northwest Native American art; the Seattle Asian Art Museum; Woodland Park Zoo

Events: Pioneer Square Art And Heritage Celebration Tour (Sept. 6); Scrapbook Expo (Sept. 7-8); Great Tomato Taste-Off (Sept. 8); Haller Lake Mystery Tour (Sept. 9); Seattle Peace Concert at Sand Point Magnuson Park (Sept. 9); United Way of King County "Day Of Caring" (Sept. 14); Cirque de Broadway Street Festival (Sept. 15-16); The Starlight Walk (Sept. 16); Sea Sounds-Jazz Night at The Aquarium (Sept. 20); "Move for Mental Health 2001" Run/Walk (Sept. 30)

Sports Teams: Seattle Mariners (baseball), Seattle SuperSonics (basketball), Seattle Seahawks (football)

Places to visit: the Seattle Center, located on the site of the Century 21 Exposition, a world's fair of 1962; the Pacific Science Center; the 607-ft- (185-m-) high Space Needle, with a revolving restaurant and observation deck providing panoramic views of the area; the Experience Music Project, a rock museum located at the base of the Space Needle; Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, commemorating the period in the 1890s when Seattle was a gold-rush supply center; the restored Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square, both shopping areas; Gasworks Park, a converted gasworks; SAFECO Field, ballpark of the Seattle Mariners, featuring a one-of-a-kind retractable roof; the Fremont Troll sculpture; Mt. Rainier is nearby

Tallest Building: Bank of America Center (76 stories)

History: Such Indians as the Snohomish and the Suquamish lived in the area before Seattle was founded. In 1852 a non-Indian settlement, established the previous year at Alki Point, was moved to the present-day site of downtown Seattle; the city was named for Suquamish leader Chief Seattle (1790?-1866). A sawmill was constructed here in 1853, and exploitation of the rich local timber resources began. The settlement grew slowly at first, but after the arrival of a transcontinental railroad in 1884, the city experienced a population boom. A fire leveled the old downtown in 1889, but the area was reconstructed, and Pioneer Square still contains many buildings from this period. Seattle served as a gateway to, and a supply center for, the Yukon and Alaska gold rushes of the 1890s, and its population swelled from 37,000 in 1889 to 237,000 in 1910. Four transcontinental railroads served the city by 1910, and trade was further stimulated by the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 and the Lake Washington Ship Canal a few years later. By this time Seattle had a diverse population. A large Scandinavian community was centered in the fisheries-oriented Ballard area; many persons of Japanese and Chinese descent worked in the agricultural lands of the Duwamish and Green river valleys. World War I stimulated the growth of port activities; following World War II the region's economy was dominated by the aerospace industry. After a peak in population in the 1950s at about 575,000, Seattle's population declined as people moved to the suburbs. Since the 1980s the city's population has rebounded, in part because of the explosive growth of the computer software industry, other high-technology enterprises, and Pacific Rim trade. During the early 1990s, Seattle emerged as a national trendsetter, known for its "grunge" scene and its specialty coffee franchises. The city received some unwanted attention when thousands of protesters disrupted a conference in late 1999. Seattle experienced substantial property damage when an earthquake registering 6.8 on the Richter scale jolted the city on Feb. 28, 2001.

Birthplace of: Josie Bisset (1969); Carol Channing (1923); Judy Collins (1939); Constance Cummings (1910); Kenny G (1956); Bill Gates (1955); June Havoc (1916); Steven Hill (1922); Richard Karn (1956); Kevin McCarthy (1914); Ann Reinking (1950); Martha Wright (1926)


Obituaries in August 2001

Aaliyah, 22, hip-hop and rhythm & blues singer who had burst upon the U.S. music scene at age 15 and was becoming prominent as a movie actress as well; killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas, Aug. 25, 2001.

Adler, Larry, 87, U.S.-born harmonica virtuoso who elevated his instrument to concert status, performing works written for him by a number of prominent composers; London, England, Aug. 6, 2001.

Amado, Jorge, 88, Brazil's best-known and most widely translated writer, whose novels captured the vitality of his native state of Bahia, the heartland of Afro-Brazilian culture; Salvador, Brazil, Aug. 6, 2001.

Anthony, Earl, 63, professional bowler who in the early 1980s became bowling's first million-dollar winner; New Berlin, Wis., Aug. 14, 2001.

Boudreau, Lou, 84, baseball Hall of Famer who led the Cleveland Indians to their last World Series title to date, in 1948, as the team's shortstop and manager; Olympia Fields, IL, Aug. 10, 2001.

Hoyle, Sir Fred, 86, British astronomer who helped explain how chemical elements formed in stars and who coined the term "big bang" for the now-prevailing theory of the origin of the universe, although he himself favored a rival theory, the "steady state" theory; Bournemouth, England, Aug. 20, 2001.

Maas, Peter, 72, U.S. author who wrote about crime and corruption in such best-selling works of nonfiction as The Valachi Papers (1969) and Serpico (1972); New York, NY, Aug. 23, 2001.

Reagan, Maureen, 60, politically active daughter of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan who in recent years had been an advocate for victims of Alzheimer's disease; Granite Bay, CA, Aug. 8, 2001.

Spence, Floyd, 73, long-term member of South Carolina's Republican congressional delegation known for his support of the military; Jackson, MS, Aug. 16, 2001.

Stanley, Kim, 76, U.S. actress acclaimed for her work on Broadway in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly in William Inge's plays Bus Stop (1953) and Picnic (1955); Santa Fe, NM, Aug. 20, 2001.

Woods, Donald, 67, South African journalist and antiapartheid activist who in 1977 exposed the events surrounding the death while in police custody of black leader Steve Biko; Sutton, England, Aug. 19, 2001.


By Peter Falcier

An international team of astrophysicists from the University of New South Wales in Australia, Cambridge University in England, Pennsylvania State University, the Carnegie Observatories and the University of California at San Diego published a discovery in the August 27, 2001 Physical Review Letters that may be a dramatic breakthrough in our understanding of the physical universe. The team claims that a fundamental constant crucial in quantum physics, the science describing the atomic and subatomic nature of matter, may be changing in value over time--something constants are obviously never supposed to do. The so-called Fine Structure Constant, also known by the Greek letter symbol alpha (α), relates how atoms exist only at specific energy levels as opposed to a broad spectrum of energies. The quantity is defined by three other constants: the charge of the electron, the speed of light and Planck's constant, which relates the energy of light particles to their motion. Since a seems to be changing, the new research suggests that at least one of its three component values must also be changing (most probably the charge of the electron). But that would require a whole re-working of the laws of physics. Some theorists working on a novel "theory of everything" called superstring theory applaud this finding, pointing to it as proof that their ideas--evolving physical constants, in particular--are rooted in reality, not just mathematics. The Standard Model of physics, which is the current theory of space, time, and matter, has long been unable to join the theories of gravity and quantum mechanics. The discovery of a changing Fine Structure Constant, if it's confirmed, may provide crucial clues to that missing link in physics. Nobel laureate physicist Sheldon Glashow of Boston University told the New York Times that the potential importance of this a discovery ranks "10 on a scale of 1 to 10."

In August 2001, researchers from Lawrence Berkeley (California) National Laboratory were forced to recant the 1999 discovery of two new elements, Ununoctium (118) and Ununhexium (116). Two years ago, the lab announced the formation of element 118 after researchers collided beams of high-energy, charged krypton (Kr) atoms with lead (Pb) targets. Element 116 reportedly formed just an instant later as a decay product of the reaction. As with all scientific claims, however, no result is deemed valid until other researchers can successfully recreate an experiment. In the case of elements 118 and 116, neither the GSI laboratory in Germany nor the RIKEN lab in Japan had any such luck. Nor, for that matter, did Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (A separate group of experiments by Livermore National Lab and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, appear to have created element 116 directly, according to Berkeley's research leader Ken Gregorich.) The Berkeley Lab attributes the gaffe to a misconstrued set of data points that looked like statistical evidence of new atom formation. The blunder was not without its lessons, though. Oak Ridge National Laboratory investigator and physicist Witold Nazarewicz told the San Francisco Chronicle, "Even though it's painful [to admit mistakes], it's also healthy. This is the way scientists should behave. So, at the end of the day, there is a mechanism for self-correction."

Astronomical Events

The weak Alpha Aurigid meteor shower reaches maximum on September 1st, providing a source of swift, Perseid-like meteors for several days around this date. In 1935 and 1986, the Alpha Aurigids showed remarkable outbursts, with reported rates approaching 30 per hour.

Saturn will appear to slip behind the last-quarter Moon the morning of September 10th. For East Coast observers both the disappearance and reappearance of Saturn will occur in a daylit sky. Viewing the ringed planet against the daytime sky will be difficult but not impossible with a telescope. Because the Moon is close to 90 degrees from the Sun on September 10, a polarizing filter in the eyepiece will increase contrast considerably by darkening the sky. Observers farther west will have better opportunities. As seen from Honolulu, Hawaii, Saturn disappears at the bright limb of the Moon close to 1:05 a.m. (11:05 Universal Time), only to reappear at the dark limb some 44 minutes later. The entire event will be observable under dark skies against the backdrop of the constellation Taurus. Meanwhile, a large swath of the West Coast south of Oregon will view the planet's disappearance in a dark or twilight sky, with reappearance taking place in twilight or after sunrise. Observers in Southern California, for example, will see the start of the occultation in darkness close to 4:51 a.m. (11:51 UT) with emersion in strong twilight more than an hour later.

On Wednesday night, September 26/27, observers in eastern North America and all of South America can witness the first eclipse of Callisto by Jupiter's shadow since late 1998. It is a brief one, lasting from 2:37 to 3:24 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on the 27th.

Special Feature: Alzheimer's Update

By David Faris

September 21, 2001, will be the eighth annual observance of World Alzheimer's Day. The occasion, launched in 1994 by Alzheimer's Disease International (, was conceived to promote awareness of and support research into the debilitating and ultimately fatal neurological disorder known as Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's Disease is named for Alois Alzheimer (1864-1915), who in 1906 became the first person to propose the idea that a specific disease was behind the mental deterioration known as senile dementia. Some 12 million people worldwide have Alzheimer's, and that figure is expected to more than double within 25 years.

Alzheimer's Disease is one of the most heart-wrenching diseases known to humanity, bringing untold hardship not only to its sufferers, but also to those who must watch and care for loved ones as they gradually lose control over their minds and bodies. Over time, Alzheimer's patients suffer memory loss, inability to learn new information, disorientation of time and space, difficulty with abstract thinking, prolonged loss of initiative, and changes in mood or behavior that culminate in wholesale disintegration of the personality. They have tremendous difficulty with everyday tasks such as cooking and dressing, use inappropriate words, put objects in the wrong places, and display decreased judgment skills. In November of 1994, former U.S. Pres. Ronald Reagan announced that he had Alzheimer's. His openness was intended to increase awareness of the disease and its devastating effects, and in fact the Reagan family's struggle with the disease raised the public profile for Alzheimer's enormously.

Diagnosing Alzheimer's is extraordinarily problematic; the only 100% accurate ways through autopsy and brain biopsy. Physicians have to rely on a complex series of cognitive and medical tests, inferring the disease's presence through its effects. The patient's brain and nerve cells gradually die and are not replaced. Tangled nerve and protein deposits, known as plaques, accumulate around living cells and inhibit brain function. Life expectancy at diagnosis currently averages 8 years, though with advances in treatment and care, patients can live up to 15 years or possibly more.

Drugs are available that can slow the rate of deterioration and preserve short-term memory in some patients. There is no preventive against Alzheimer's, though according to some theories, avoiding stress and keeping physically and mentally active may help. Research also suggests that a small percentage of Alzheimer's cases may be inherited, notably those that strike earlier in life. Some researchers investigating potential paths to a cure for Alzheimer's have reason to believe that dead nerve cells can be regenerated by stem cells. Stem cells are cells that have not yet formed into specialized cells for specific organs or parts of bodies. Cells can come from adult donors, however, the bulk of them come from unwanted human embryos or aborted fetuses. In August 2001, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush approved limited federal funding of stem-cell research in utilizing existing embryonic stem-cell lines. Privately funded research is unencumbered by the restriction.

For the latest news on Alzheimer's, the National Institute on Aging publishes a Progress Report at

Chronology -- Events of August 2001


   The U.S. House of Representatives, Aug. 2, passed a "Patients' Rights Bill," 226-203. The bill differed from the bill passed earlier by the Senate, in that it places a lower cap on damages in lawsuits against HMOs. Both bills allow patients access to the nearest emergency room, as well as the ability to choose any pediatrician, gynecologist, or obstetrician without a referral.

   Pres. George W. Bush, Aug. 9, approved limited federal funding of stem-cell research in utilizing existing embryonic stem-cell lines, only. Researchers have predicted that the use of embryo cells could eventually help those suffering from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes, and other diseases. Bush's compromise appealed to many, but it drew criticism from many in the scientific community as too restrictive and for many pro-lifers as opening the door to misuse.

   The Federal Reserve Board, Aug. 21, cut a key interest rate for the 7th time in 2001 in an effort to head off an economic recession. The board lowered the rate on overnight loans among banks by another quarter percent, to 3.5%, as well as the discount rate on loans to banks to 3.0%.

   U.S. Rep. Gary Condit (D, CA), under scrutiny with reference to the missing intern Chandra Levy, faced political and possibly legal woes, after his interview with ABC News correspondent Connie Chung on Aug. 23. Ending months of public silence, Condit denied involvement in the intern's disappearance; however, many found his answers evasive. On Aug. 27, a lawyer for flight attendant Anne Marie Smith, threatened legal action charging that Condit coerced Smith into denying that they had had an affair.

   The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Aug. 28, projected that Social Security revenues will need to be tapped for $9 billion in fiscal year 2001, in order to balance the budget. Pres. George W. Bush's tax cut and the nation's economic downturn, have reportedly left no budget surplus outside Social Security. Politicians on both sides of the aisle had pledged not to use Social Security surpluses for this purpose.


   Radislav Krstic, a former Bosnian Serb general, was found guilty Aug. 2 of genocide in connection with the massacre of 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in July 1995. The tribunal, which could not impose the death penalty, sentenced him to 46 years in prison.

   Thailand's highest judicial body, Aug. 3, found Thai Premier Thaksin Shinawatra, not guilty of charges that he had concealed millions of dollars in assets in 1997 while serving as deputy premier.

   Kim Jong II, the leader of North Korea, visited Moscow Aug. 4 and 5, and met with Pres. Vladimir Putin of Russia. In a joint statement issued Aug. 4, Kim reaffirmed that North Korea would suspend ballistic missile tests for 2 years.

   A Palestinian ignited a bomb in a crowded Jerusalem restaurant, Aug. 9, killing 16 people, including himself and wounding 130. Islamic Jihad, a militant Palestinian group, claimed responsibility. Retaliatory strikes between Israel and the Palestinians continued throughout the month, with the Palestinians killing 3 soldiers in the Gaza Strip Aug. 25, and a senior radical Palestinian leader being killed Aug. 27 in an Israeli attack.

   The failure of the Catholic Provisional Irish Republican Army to turn in its weapons, caused John Reid, the British secretary of Northern Ireland, to order a temporary suspension of the government for 24 hours on Aug. 12, to prevent a complete collapse of peace talks.

   A British member of the NATO peacekeeping force, in Macedonia, was killed Aug. 27, hours before arms collection points were to be opened in an effort to collect guerrillas' weapons, thereby disbanding rebel forces. The alliance planned to destroy 3,300 arms under a precarious peace pact.

   Carla Del Ponte, the chief prosecutor of the United Nations tribunal, Aug. 30, said that the charges against Slobodan Milosevic would be expanded to include genocide in the massacres in Bosnia, and accusations of war crimes in Croatia. Milosevic, previously charged with Kosovo war crime charges, made another brief court appearance in which he continued to demonstrate a defiant demeanor.


   Federal officials, working with McDonald's, announced Aug. 21, that they had broken up a criminal ring that fixed the winners of $1 million and other Big Money prizes, of the popular McDonald's "Monopoly" games. Jerome Jacobsen, a 58 year old security guard at Simon Marketing Inc., the marketing firm that represented McDonald's, was arrested with seven others, on suspicion of planning to steal more than $13 million in McDonald's game prizes.

   Robert Tools, a 58 year old former telephone company employee, who is the first person to have a self contained artificial heart, made his first public appearance Aug. 21 at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, KY, 50 days after surgery. Appearing gaunt, and speaking in a whisper, he said that he was thankful to be alive, and that he was getting used to the whirring sound of the unit, in place of a normal heartbeat.

   Toshiba Corp., announced Aug. 27, that it was cutting 19,000 jobs globally, about 10% of its work force, as a result of a global downturn demand for electronics. This followed news Aug. 21, that Fujutsu Ltd. a leading manufacturer of personal computers is trimming 16,400 job, 9% of its work force, mostly overseas.

   The Astrological Institute, a Phoenix, AZ school where students will learn to write horoscopes and give advice about the future, won accreditation, Aug. 27, from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology, a federally recognized body, in what was believed to be a first for a school of astrology. The school reportedly demonstrated that its teachers are qualified and that its graduates can be placed in jobs.

   The last original episode of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood," aired Aug. 31, ending a run of over 30 years. Fred Rogers, 73, will continue to work on a number of projects targeting the young. The show will continue to be broadcast as reruns for many years to come.


   South Korea's Se Ri Pak won the final major tournament of the LPGA season, Aug. 5, taking the Women's British Open by 2 strokes over countrywoman Mi Hyun Kim.

   Winston Cup points leader Jeff Gordon rallied from 27th place to win NASCAR's Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Aug. 5, a day after his 30th birthday. It was Gordon's 3d victory in the 8-year history of the event.

   Golfer David Toms won his first major, defeating Phil Mickleson by a stroke at the PGA Championship, Aug. 19, in Duluth, GA. Toms finished with a 72-hole total of 265, a new record for a major tournament. Defending champion Tiger Woods finished 14 strokes back, tied for 30th.

   In the inaugural WUSA championship game, Aug. 25, in Boston's Foxboro Stadium, the Bay Area CyberRays defeated the Atlanta Beat on penalty kicks (4-2). Julie Murray, who scored a goal in regulation and the deciding kick in the shootout for the CyberRays, was named the game's MVP.

   With 2 runs in the last inning, Japan rallied to defeat Apopka, FL, in the Little League World Series, Aug. 26, in Williamsport, PA, before a crowd of 44,800 that included former Little Leaguer, President George W. Bush.

Offbeat News Stories

By Kevin Seabrooke

The staff of Scotland's Blair Drummond Safari Park was plagued by a heavy-breathing prankster who phoned them dozens of times, at all hours, for three straight nights in July. The park manager was set to call the police when the mystery was solved-with a loud shriek. A search of the chimpanzee enclosure turned up a cell phone in the straw bedding of 11-year-old "Chippy." His keeper, Gary Gilmour did notice that his phone was missing but never guessed it was Chippy who had picked his pocket. Chippy somehow accessed numbers stored in the phone and used the redial button. "Chimps are very intelligent and Chippy is certainly one of the smartest ones I've worked with," Gilmour said. "I don't know if he has seen visitors using the phones or if he just happened to push the buttons in the right order." Chippy was a little depressed when they took the phone away, but seems to be enjoying his newfound celebrity as visitors have flocked to the park to see the talented chimp.

During the long, hot days of summer enterprising kids have been known to make a few bucks peddling lemonade at a corner stand-but how about setting up a toll road and charging cars 50-cents to go through? That's what Sean Jordan, his siblings, Brandon and Emily, and their cousin Devon Johnson decided to do when road construction caused a huge traffic jam near their house. The young entrepreneurs cleared an old railroad line that runs parallel to the main road and straight through the Jordan's property, made detour signs for the drivers and started collecting. Though their money was stolen the first night (and their signs trashed), and some cars did speed by without paying, they made $270 in an 11-day period.

100 Years Ago in the WORLD ALMANAC

Here are some of the famous (and not as well known to us in 2001), who appeared in the "Death Roll of 1900." (Includes cause of death when listed):

Boyd, Belle (57) "woman Spy" in the Civil Ware, Kilbournce, Wis., June 12.

Church, Frederick E. (74), landscape painter, New York City, April 7.

Crane, Stephen (30), author, Badenweiler, Germany, consumption, June 5.

Humbert, King of Italy, Monza, Italy, assassinated, July 30.

Joinville de, Prince Francois Ferdinand Louis Marie d'Orleans (82), last surviving son of King Louis Philippe, Paris, France, pneumonia, June 17.

"Rice, Dan" (Daniel McLaren), (77), circus clown, Long Branch, N.J., Feb. 22.

Ruskin, John (81), art critic, author, England, Jan. 20.

Sherman, John (77), statesman, Secretary of the Treasury under President Hayes, Secretary of State under President McKinley, Washington, D.C., debility, Oct. 22.

Sullivan, Sir Arthur (58), composer of comic opera, music, London, England, heart disease, Nov. 22.

Villard, Henry (65), capitalist, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., apoplexy, Nov. 12.

Wilde, Oscar (46), author, Paris, France, meningitis, Nov. 30.

Links of the Month

Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief

Quick, what famous literary work starts with this line? "All children, except one, grow up?" Have you recalled it yet? If you selected Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, then you are correct. If you want to test your literary knowledge, with the first lines of other works as your clues, pay a visit to First Lines at Okay, want to try one more? "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again." Do you remember? It's Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

The International Space Station will be the largest international scientific project in history. Led by the United States and drawing on the technological resources of sixteen countries, the space station will be 356 feet across and 290 feet long, with a mass of about 1,040,000 pounds, orbiting at an altitude of 250 statute miles. A visit to will offer daily updates on the space station, as well as live video feeds. The NASA site also covers information about all of the United States' space programs and offers an extraordinary gallery of photographs.

I know I'm not the only person who purchases tickets for those big lottery drawings and then never checks the tickets. Right now I could be sitting on a few gazillion dollars and stimulating the economy in a big way, but I often forget to look in the newspaper. Well, there is an easier way. A visit to will allow you to look up a years worth of numbers for all of the state and multi-state lotteries. Okay, I checked, and guess what? I won $1.00!

The United States Postal Services recently released a stamp of the late great Lucille Ball on what would have been her 90th birthday. I've never stopped loving Lucy. The "I Love Lucy" shows continue to run on television, nearly 50 years after they were filmed, and they are as funny today, as when I was a child (in reruns!). We Love Lucy at is a site devoted to life and career of Lucile Ball. At Sitcoms On Line you can download the "I Love Lucy Theme Song," or a video file of the opening of the show, and have access to many other Lucy websites.

At various times of my life I have met people, who in the course of a conversation revealed something of their background, at which time we realized that we had something in common; THE BRONX! Although technically born in Manhattan, I spent my formative years in the Bronx (New York), and my interest in this borough of New York City is never ending. The Bronx Board is described as a place for displaced, misplaced and nostalgic ex-Bronxites. Pay a visit at and you might be able to locate long, lost friends, see photographs of former classmates, and even read about the neighborhood you grew up in.

Several weeks ago, Zeppelin Luftschiff-technik, the company that produced airships in the heyday of dirigible travel (from the turn of the century through the 1930s), resumed regular commercial flights, 64 years after the fateful flight of the Hindenberg. To learn more about the company, and its history, visit Additional information about the great airships can be found at

World Almanac Education Group

World Almanac E-Newsletter
Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief
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