The World Almanac E-Newsletter

Volume 05, Number 08 — August 2005

What's in this issue?

August Events
August Holidays — National and International
This Day In History — August
August Birthdays
Travel: Bern, Switzerland
Obituaries - July 2005
Special Feature: Revolution in Poland Remembered
Chronology - Events of July 2005
Science in the News: Raising a Glass to the Ancient Egyptians
Offbeat News Stories
From The World Almanac — Historical Anniversaries - 50 Years Ago
Links of the Month
Quote of the Month
How to reach us

August Events

August 2 - National Night Out
August 3-7 - Canadian Open Fiddle Championship (Shelburne, Ontario)
August 3-7 - Maine Lobster Festival (Rockland, ME)
August 3-13 - Aberdeen International Youth Festival (Scotland)
August 4-6 - Ribfest (Kalamazoo, MI)
August 5-6 - Great Arkansas Pig-Out (Morrilton, AR)
August 5-7 - Twins Days Festival (Twinsburg, OH)
August 5-14 - Musikfest (Bethlehem, PA)
August 6 - Amherst’s Teddy Bear Rally (MA)
August 7 - Joust of the Quintana (Ascoli/Piceno, Italy)
August 8-16 - Elvis Week (Memphis, TN)
August 9-13 - Perseid Meteor Showers
August 11-14 - PGA Championship
August 12-14 - Kool-Aid Days (Hastings, NE)
August 13-15 - Yukon River Bathtub Race (Whitehorse, YT, Canada)
August 13-29 - Edinburgh International Book Festival (Scotland)
August 15-19 - Weird Contest Week (Ocean City, NJ)
August 18-28 - Fringe Theatre Festival (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
August 19-28 - Little League World Series (Williamsport, PA)
August 20 - Sandcastle & Sculpture Day (Nantucket, MA)
August 24-September 3 - Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration (Shelbyville, TN)
August 26-28 - Morden Corn and Apple Festival (Manitoba, Canada)
August 28 - Pony Express Festival (Hanover, KS)
August 29-September 11 - U.S. Open tennis tournament (Flushing, NY)
August 31 - La Tomatina (Buñol, Spain)

August Holidays — National and International

August 1 - Picnic Day (Australia)
August 4 - Coast Guard Day
August 6 - Peace Festival (Japan)
August 11 - Double Seven Festival (China)
August 12 - UN International Youth Day
August 15 - Assumption
August 19 - National Aviation Day
August 26 - Women’s Equality Day
August 30 - St. Rose of Lima (Peru)


In Great Britain, police officers are called "bobbies" after Sir Robert Peel, the statesman who organized the London police force in 1850.

This Day In History — August

Day Year Event
Day Year Event
01 1944 Anne Frank makes the last entry in her diary; she and her family are discovered in their hiding place 3 days later and taken to concentration camps.
02 1945 The Potsdam Conference ends, with the leaders of the United States, the Soviet Union, and Britain agreeing on the disarmament of Germany, occupation zones, and war crimes trials.
03 1492 Christopher Columbus sets sail from Spain aboard the Santa Maria.
04 1977 Pres. Jimmy Carter signs an act creating a new cabinet-level Energy Dept.
05 1861 Pres. Abraham Lincoln signs a measure creating the first federal income tax, as an emergency wartime measure.
06 1945 The U.S. bomber Enola Gay drops the first atomic bomb, on the Japanese port of Hiroshima; some 75,000 people are killed.
07 1947 Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl completes a 101-day journey across more than 4,000 miles of the Pacific on a balsa raft, the Kon-Tiki.
08 1900 The first Davis Cup tennis tournament begins; the United States defeats Britain after the 2-day match.
09 1945 The 2d atomic bomb is dropped on Nagasaki, killing some 40,000 people.
10 1993 Ruth Bader Ginsburg is sworn in as the 2d female Supreme Court justice.
11 2003 Liberian Pres. Charles Taylor goes into exile in Nigeria.
12 1985 In the worst single-plane disaster ever, a Japanese airliner crashes into Mount Ogura, killing 520.
13 1961 The East and West sectors of Berlin are divided by a barbed wire fence (the Berlin Wall), which is soon replaced by an actual concrete wall.
14 1945 Japan agrees to surrender, ending World War II.
15 1914 The Panama Canal opens.
16 1896 Gold is discovered in the Yukon's Klondike region, sparking a famous gold rush.
17 1987 The last surviving Nazi convicted at Nuremberg, Rudolf Hess, commits suicide in a Berlin prison.
18 1963 James Meredith graduates from the Univ. of Mississippi, becoming the first black to do so.
19 1934 In a plebiscite, almost 90% of Germans vote to give Adolf Hitler the title of president in addition to chancellor, placing him in supreme command of the country.
20 1968 Czechoslovakia is invaded and occupied by Warsaw Pact troops.
21 1831 Nat Turner, a Virginia slave, begins leading a local slave rebellion.
22 1911 Authorities announce in Paris that Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa has been stolen; it is recovered 2 years later in Italy.
23 1999 For the first time since World War II, Berlin becomes the capital of a unified Germany.
24 1875 Matthew Webb of Britain becomes the first person to swim the English Channel.
25 1981 The Voyager 2 spacecraft, launched in August 1977, encounters the planet Saturn.
26 1883 Krakatau (Krakatoa) erupts in Indonesia, causing huge tidal waves and killing some 36,000 people.
27 1859 The first commercially productive oil well is drilled near Titusville, PA.
28 1990 Iraq declares Kuwait, which it invaded weeks earlier, its 19th province.
29 1889 The first U.S. professional tennis match is played, in Newport, RI.
30 1893 Frances Folsom Cleveland, wife of Pres. Grover Cleveland, becomes the first first lady to give birth in the White House, when daughter Esther is born.
31 1895 The first official professional football game is played, with the Jeanette Athletic Club defeating the Latrobe YMCA by a 12-0 score.

August Birthdays

Day Year  
Day Year  
01 1978 Edgerrin James, football player (Immokalee, FL)
02 1942 Isabel Allende, writer (Lima, Peru)
03 1941 Martha Stewart, homemaking adviser/entrepreneur/TV personality (Nutley, NJ)
04 1955 Alberto Gonzales, current U.S. attorney general (San Antonio, TX)
05 1930 Neil Armstrong, astronaut and first man to walk on the Moon (Wapakoneta, OH)
06 1970 M. Night Shyamalan, film director (Pondicherry, India)
07 1942 Garrison Keillor, humorist/writer/radio personality (Anoka, MN)
08 1923 Esther Williams, swimmer and actress (Los Angeles, CA)
09 1968 Eric Bana, actor (Melbourne, Australia)
10 1911 Jane Wyatt, actress (Campgaw, NJ)
11 1925 Mike Douglas, TV personality/singer (Chicago, IL)
12 1930 George Soros, financier/philanthropist (Budapest, Hungary)
13 1948 Kathleen Battle, opera singer (Portsmouth, OH)
14 1945 Steve Martin, comedian/actor/writer (Waco, TX)
15 1925 Mike Connors, actor (Fresno, CA)
16 1945 Suzanne Farrell, ballerina (Cincinnati, OH)
17 1913 W. Mark Felt, former FBI official revealed as "Deep Throat" Watergate informant (Twin Falls, Idaho)
18 1927 Rosalynn Carter, former first lady of the United States (Plains, GA)
19 1946 Bill Clinton, 42d president of the United States (Hope, AR) & Tipper Gore, wife of former Vice Pres. Al Gore (Washington, DC)
20 1956 Joan Allen, actress (Rochelle, IL)
21 1975 Alicia Witt, actress (Worcester, MA)
22 1935 E. Annie Proulx, novelist/short-story writer (Norwich, CT)
23 1943 Nelson DeMille, writer (New York, NY)
24 1936 A. S. Byatt, writer (Sheffield, England)
25 1916 Van Johnson, actor (Newport, RI)
26 1935 Geraldine Ferraro, former NY representative and vice presidential nominee (Newburgh, NY)
27 1929 Ira Levin, novelist/playwright (New York, NY)
28 1965 Shania Twain, country singer (Windsor, Ontario, Canada)
29 1940 James Brady, press secretary to Pres. Reagan; gun control advocate (Centralia, IL)
30 1972 Cameron Diaz, actress (San Diego, CA)
31 1945 Van Morrison, singer/songwriter (Belfast, Northern Ireland)

Travel: Bern, Switzerland

Switzerland's capital may be a less common destination for travelers than Geneva and Zürich. With a population of more than 125,000, it is certainly smaller than those internationally known cities. But Bern richly deserves a visit. Centered on a promontory rimmed by a crook of the Aare River, it offers beautiful alpine vistas, numerous structures dating from the 14th-18th centuries, and many interesting museums, not to mention an abundance of shopping opportunities in the town's charming sidewalk arcades and other merchandising venues. In 2005 the town is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein's annus mirabilis ("miraculous year") - the year he spent in Bern during which he had an unprecedented burst of scientific creativity, publishing a series of papers on relativity and other subjects that revolutionized physics. In addition, mid-2005 saw the opening of two major new attractions: a museum devoted to another distinguished former area resident, artist Paul Klee, and a new state-of-the-art stadium.

Bern's Old Town was largely revamped in a somewhat baroque spirit in the 18th century, but it retains a medieval visage, spiced with 15th-century arcades and 16th-century fountains, that ranks among the most celebrated in Europe - which is why the Old Town was designated a world heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization in 1983. Among the more striking landmarks in the heart of the city are the Gothic cathedral (Münster) and the Clock Tower (Zeitglockenturm, or Zytglogge). The Münster dates back to 1421-1611. Particularly notable is the representation of the Last Supper over the main entrance, which boasts over 200 relief figures. The cathedral’s tower, added near the end of the 19th century, is some 330 ft (100 m) tall, making it the highest in Switzerland. The top of the tower offers extraordinary views of both the Bern cityscape and the mountain landscape beyond.

The Zeitglockenturm originated as the city's western gate in the 11th century - the structure was reworked in the 16th century, when today's astronomical calendar clock was added. The tower is famed for its multicolored mechanical figures, which perform a charming show starting four minutes before every hour. Right nearby is the colorful Ogre Fountain (Kindlifresserbrunnen), the most eye-catching of Bern's fountains with its portrayal of an ogre in the act of eating an infant.

Also not far from the Zeitglockenturm is the Einstein House, containing the second-floor apartment that was the scientist's home in 1903-05. Visitors can see the original furnishings amid which Einstein lived and thought, as well as copies of key documents.

A few blocks away, near the train station, lies Bern's Museum of Fine Arts (Kunstmuseum). Its extensive collections stretch across eight centuries, but the 20th-century holdings are especially notable, featuring works by Braque, Kandinsky, Matisse, and Picasso, among others. From mid-June to mid-October 2005 the museum is premiering the exhibition "Mahjong-Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection," a wide-ranging sampling of works from the period since the 1970s that were collected by a former Swiss ambassador to Beijing, acquisitions that have been characterized by co-curator Ai Weiwei as "the most complete and detailed collection of Chinese art in the world."

The city’s famous Bear Pits (Bärengraben) can be found across the Aare. According to legend, Bern, which was founded in the late 12th century by Count Berchtold V of Zähringen, took its name from the first animal killed by the count while hunting. (German Bären means "bears.") A bear has appeared in the city's coat of arms since at least the 13th century, and Bern has kept bears on display since the 16th. The animals are no longer housed in a simple pit but in a specially designed setting with a climbing tree, plants, water, rocks, and caves.

Just a bit further from the heart of the Old Town are 2005’s major additions to Bern's arsenal of attractions: the Paul Klee Center (Zentrum Paul Klee), which opened on June 20 in eastern Bern, and the Stade de Suisse, whose opening was set for the end of July. The Klee complex, by Italian architect Renzo Piano (codesigner of the Pompidou Center in Paris, France), is a glass-and-steel structure resembling three waves and envisioned as an interdisciplinary cultural center. It houses about two-fifths of Klee's entire output of some 10,000 paintings, watercolors, drawings, puppets, and so on, along with numerous archival and biographical items. The holdings reputedly constitute the biggest collection in the world of the works of a major artist. Klee was also a musician, and the complex includes performance space. In addition there are seminar and meeting rooms and a children's museum.

The Stade de Suisse, which replaces the old Wankdorf soccer stadium (demolished in 2001), is a multifunctional complex. In addition to a modern arena with 32,000 covered seats capable of accommodating a variety of events besides soccer matches, it includes a shopping center, hotel, and restaurants. A huge solar power plant on the stadium's roof is designed to provide power not only for the complex but nearby homes.

Einstein House in Bern


Richard Axel and Linda B. Buck received a Nobel prize in 2004 for their research on how humans recognize and remember some 10,000 different smells.

Obituaries in July 2005

Benson, Obie, 69, charter member of the Four Tops, one of Motown’s most successful singing groups; Detroit, MI, July 1, 2005.

Doohan, James M., 85, Canadian-born actor who portrayed starship Enterprise chief engineer Montgomery Scott on the original Star Trek TV series (1966-69) and in later films; Redmond, WA, July 20, 2005.

Duisenberg, Wim, 70, Dutch banker who, as the first Central European Bank chief (1998-2003), was instrumental in the creation of the euro; Faucon, France, July 31, 2005.

Fitzgerald, Geraldine, 91, Irish-born stage and screen actress who was also a theater director and who late in life blossomed as a cabaret singer; New York, NY, July 17, 2005.

Fletcher, Arthur A., 80, black civil rights leader who held high-ranking posts in several Republican administrations and came to be regarded as the father of affirmative action; Washington, DC, July 12, 2005.

Gray 3rd, L. Patrick, 88, acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 11 stormy months after the death of FBI founding director J. Edgar Hoover; a casualty of the Watergate scandal, he resigned in April 1973; Atlantic Beach, FL, July 6, 2005.

Haver, June, 79, star of 1940s Hollywood musicals who made her last film in 1953, then nearly became a nun before marrying actor Fred MacMurray in 1954 and remaining married to him until his 1991 death; Brentwood, CA, July 4, 2005.

Heath, Sir Edward, 89, British prime minister, 1970-74, and the leading Tory advocate of European unity, which pitted him against "Euroskeptic" Margaret Thatcher, both before and after she became prime minister in 1979; Salisbury, England, July 17, 2005.

Hildegarde (Hildegarde Loretta Sell), 99, durable cabaret artist whom Eleanor Roosevelt once called the "First Lady of the Supper Clubs"; New York, NY, July 29, 2005.

Hunter, Evan, 78, author of The Blackboard Jungle (1954) and other novels and, as Ed McBain (his best-known though not his only pseudonym), of many pioneering police procedural novels, starting with Cop Hater (1956); he legally changed his name to Hunter from Salvatore Lambino; Weston, CT, July 6, 2005.

Lambert, Gavin, 80, British-born film critic, screenwriter and novelist who observed and wrote about Hollywood from a distinctly gay perspective; Los Angeles, CA, July 17, 2005.

Langford, Frances, 92, singer and actress who toured widely with comedian Bob Hope during World War II and acted in roughly 30 films, the last of which as The Glenn Miller Story (1954), in which she played herself; Jensen Beach, FL, July 11, 2005.

Lehman, Ernest, 89, prolific Hollywood screenwriter responsible for the script of Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller North by Northwest (1959) and the first screenwriter (2001) to receive an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement; Los Angeles, CA, July 2, 2005.

Nelson, Gaylord, 89, Wisconsin Democratic governor (1959-63) and senator (1963-81) who was a leading environmentalist and conceived the idea of Earth Day, first celebrated in 1970; Kensington, MD, July 3, 2005.

Saunders, Dame Cicely, 87, British nurse and social worker who became a physician at age 39 and launched the modern system of hospice care in 1967 by opening St. Christopher’s Hospice in London; London, England, July 14, 2005.

Simon, Claude, 91, Nobel Prize-winning French author (1985) who was among the pioneers of the "nouveau roman" (new novel), which rejected the conventions of plot and character development; Paris, France, July 6, 2005.

Stockdale, James B., 81, retired admiral who was billionaire Ross Perot’s running mate during Perot’s 1992 U.S. presidential campaign; during the Vietnam War, he was a prisoner of war for more than seven years; Coronado, CA, July 5, 2005.

Stram, Hank, 82, highly successful coach of the Kansas City Chiefs football team who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003; after his coaching career ended, he was a football analyst on radio and TV; Covington, LA, July 4, 2005.

Vandross, Luther, 54, rhythm-and-blues singer known for his mastery of romantic ballads who sold more than 25 million records and won eight Grammy Awards; Edison, NJ, July 1, 2005,

Westmoreland, William C., 91, U.S. Army general who commanded all U.S. forces in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968, when the Vietnam War escalated into what was to become the longest armed conflict in U.S. history; in the 1980s, he was embroiled in a lawsuit with the CBS network over a Vietnam War documentary that he claimed had libeled him; Charleston, SC, July 18, 2005.

Special Feature: Revolution in Poland Remembered

by Joseph Gustaitis

To say that there was a labor strike 25 years ago doesn’t sound like anything terribly important. But this was a strike that changed the course of history. On August 14, 1980, 17,000 workers at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland went on strike and took over the shipyard. The next day, Gdansk bus drivers walked off their jobs and brought municipal transportation to a halt. The day after that, workers in nearby Gdynia and Sopot joined the strike. Soon 80,000 workers were out, and by August 22 a strikers' committee representing 120,000 workers from northern Poland presented the government with a list of demands, including an increase in pay, improvements in working conditions, and a call for something unheard-of in the Communist world--political reform. This was more than a strike, it was a revolution. A little more than a decade after the events in Gdansk, the Soviet Union ceased to exist, and Communism had largely fallen across eastern Europe.

Polish Opposition Begins

A decade of turmoil had preceded the Gdansk uprising. As the 1970s began, Poland was in an economic crisis. Polish industry had fallen short of planning goals, and bad weather had resulted in poor harvests and necessitated the costly measure of importing grain. Meanwhile, the prices of coal, food, and clothing were soaring. In December 1970, workers in several cities staged demonstrations that led to riots, arson, and looting. A week-long state of emergency was declared, and the protests were forcibly suppressed.

In June 1976, the government announced a steep increase in food prices, made necessary, in part, by further meager harvests. According to the plan, the cost of meat would have risen by 69%, butter by 50%, and sugar by 100%. This prompted more protests, which forced the regime to cancel the price increases and to institute expensive subsidies. The continued importation of food helped swell Poland's foreign debt to dangerously high levels. The arrests and brutal treatment of protestors fomented the strife, and led to the formation of a group known as the Committee for the Defense of Workers (KOR), which was later, renamed the Committee for Social Self-Defense "KOR" (KSS "KOR"). The founding of this group marked the beginning of an organized Polish opposition.

Eventually, another round of price hikes on food--this time in July 1980--led to scattered small strikes around the country and then to the explosion in Gdansk. The protestors swiftly acquired a commanding ally. On August 20, the Polish-born Pope John Paul II made his first public remarks on the situation, telling a large crowd in St. Peter's Square, "We in Rome are united with our countrymen in Poland."

Four days after the pope’s remarks, the Polish Communist Party underwent a transformation, as Premier Edward Babiuch was ousted and replaced by Josef Pinkowski. (In September, Polish Communist Party leader Edward Gierek was replaced by Stanislaw Kania.) By now, more than 300,000 workers were involved in the strikes, and, in a major concession, the government agreed to negotiate directly with the strikers' representatives. Observers in the West were beginning to know the name of the chairman of the strikers’ committee, Lech Walesa, who was quoted as saying, "We have won one victory. Now we have to prepare for a further battle." He also added, "We'll go on striking." Meanwhile, portentous rumblings were coming from the Soviet Union, where officials grumbled that "antisocialist forces" were trying to subvert Poland's socialist system.

Walesa, an electrician in the Gdansk shipyard, had been a thorn in the government’s side for some time. He had taken part in a strike in 1970 and six years later had been fired for organizing new protests. After that, he was employed intermittently, but still maintained his status as a labor leader.

Founding of Solidarity

With Poland in what was being called a "labor crisis," on August 30 the government agreed to "independent, self-governing trade unions," along with most of the other demands, and the next day the Gdansk Agreement was formally signed. That same day Walesa urged the strikers to return to work and to remain united. Labor trouble sporadically continued, but the workers stayed unified, and on September 24 the country's new, independent trade unions registered in a Warsaw court as a single nationwide organization called "Solidarity," a name that won worldwide fame as people everywhere speedily began sporting T-shirts bearing the organization’s Polish name, "Solidarnosc," in artistically designed red letters. As if to verify its strength, a little over a week later, Solidarity staged a one-hour coordinated strike that involved hundreds of thousands of workers throughout Poland. The strike had been called to protest against the government’s delay in implementing promised wage increases.

Martial Law Begins

By the end of 1981, the delicate truce between the government and the workers had collapsed. On December 12, Solidarity made the audacious move of calling for a nationwide referendum on whether to keep the communist system of government, and the very next day the government declared a state of emergency; issued a decree of martial law curtailing civil rights; suspended Solidarity’s operations; and took almost all of Solidarity’s leaders, including Walesa, into custody.

The United States, in support of Solidarity, imposed sanctions on Poland, but Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, the Communist Party premier and head of the ruling military council, reviled the sanctions and averred that martial law was vital to avoid a ruinous civil war. When the government took the step of requiring workers to sign loyalty oaths renouncing their membership in Solidarity, the Roman Catholic Church stepped into the fray, as Poland’s Roman Catholic primate, Archbishop Jozef Glemp of Warsaw, called such loyalty oaths "invalid." Indeed, the strong support of the Catholic Church for the workers was one of the key factors underlying their eventual success; it also brought Pope John Paul II into world-historical prominence as one of the major players in the downfall of Communism.

The strong religious dimension of the Polish revolution became evident on August 6, 1982 when some 50,000 Poles set out on foot on a pilgrimage from Warsaw to Czestochowa, site of Poland's holiest shrine. The pilgrimage was in honor of the 600th anniversary of the arrival in Poland of a painting of Mary, mother of Jesus, titled the Black Madonna. It was said to have prevented invasions by Czechs, Swedes, and Russians, and had become known as a symbol of Polish resistance.

A week later, Glemp spoke to more than 120,000 pilgrims in Czestochowa and declared that the right to organize was "a natural right." By August 26, the crowd at Czestochowa had swelled to more than 300,000 and Glemp was calling for the release of Walesa and all other internees, restoration of the trade unions, and an amnesty for those held or convicted for martial law violations.

On October 8, 1982, the Polish parliament passed a law banning all existing labor organizations, including Solidarity, and thousands of shipyard workers in Gdansk walked off the job in protest. The ban essentially marked the acme of government oppression. As fall turned into winter, conditions eased considerably. Walesa was released in November, Solidarity called off a series of demonstrations, and at 12:00 a.m. on December 31, martial law was suspended, though it did not formally end until July 1983. In the face of opposition from communist hardliners, Jaruzelski was gambling that a program of limited economic and political reforms would quell the conflict while preserving the government. In October 1983, Walesa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for using nonviolent means to gain the right for Polish workers to organize freely.

The economic recession that plagued Poland in 1982 began to lessen the following year, but the government’s economic-reform plans were largely frustrated by Solidarity’s refusal to cooperate and by bureaucratic resistance. Solidarity, though still illegal, continued to function; underground radio stations, newspapers, and magazines flourished; and the Catholic Church served as an organizational hub. Budget deficits mounted and although wages rose, prices rose even faster. The government seemed trapped between liberalization and repression. Choosing neither, it sealed its doom.

Communism Falls

By 1988, economic conditions were appalling. On February 1, the government increased the prices of goods and services by an average of 27%. The cost of basic foods rose by 40%, bus and tram fares by 50%, and diesel fuel by 60%. When the government increased prices again on April 1, the cost of gas and electricity doubled and the cost of coal quadrupled. The workers once again staged a mammoth strike. The first stoppage began on April 25 in Bydgoszcz; then 8,000 workers walked off the job at Poland’s largest steel works, the Lenin Steel Mill, and some 2,500 workers, led by Walesa, seized the Gdansk shipyard. The strikers’ main demand was for the legalization of Solidarity. Although that strike was unsuccessful, an additional strike in August led the government to appeal to Walesa to restore order. As part of the agreement, Jaruzelski agreed to a reform of the constitution, a new bicameral legislature, legalization of Solidarity, and free elections.

In the elections of June 1989, Solidarity won control of the senate and became a powerful minority in the legislature. The following month, Jaruzelski was elected president with the agreement of Solidarity, but the Communists' choice for prime minister was unable to form a cabinet. Jaruzelski then asked a Walesa aide, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, to form a coalition in which the Communists would control key ministries.


George Bush Presidential Library

President Bush meets with Solidarity Leader Lech Walesa in the Residence of the White House, Washington, DC.

Mazowiecki ran in the November-December 1990 presidential elections, but Walesa triumphed overwhelmingly. The one-time electrician was now president of Poland, Communism had failed, and Poland was on the way to becoming a market economy. The chances that the Soviet Union, which had once forcefully crushed similar liberalization efforts in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, would intervene at any point during this process had grown slimmer with each passing year, as its own reform process had begun with the ascendancy of Mikhail Gorbachev in March 1985.

Walesa, although a bona fide hero, proved a better agitator than president. His confrontational, blunt style repelled voters, he was a poor consensus builder, and his popular support began to drop. In 1995 he narrowly lost a bid for a second five-year term. The victor, 41-year-old Aleksander Kwasniewski, was a telegenic campaigner in the Western mold who appealed more to young, forward-looking voters.

Poland Today

In 1999, Poland became a member of NATO, and in the following year Kwasniewski was elected to a second term. Walesa ran in that election but received just 1.1% of the vote. Walesa, however, was not forgotten. In 2000 he returned to Gdansk for a 20th-anniversary commemoration of Solidarity’s founding. During Europe’s blistering heat wave of 2002, he briefly made news by shaving off his trademark mustache, but realized that the impulsive deed was a faux pas and expeditiously grew it back!

In 2004, the Gdansk-Tricity International Airport was officially renamed Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport. In that same year, Poland, along with seven other formerly communist countries, joined the European Union. The Polish revolution, whose liberating fire had been sparked by an electrician in a shipyard, had burned across eastern Europe and was now complete.


Australian Frank Moody, 101, became the world's first centenarian skydiver in 2004 when he jumped in tandem from an airplane from 9,900 feet.

Chronology — Events of July 2005


     Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Retires - Sandra Day O’Connor, 75,the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, announced July 1 that she would retire, effective when her replacement was confirmed. O’Connor, who was nominated to the high court in 1981 by Pres. Ronald Reagan and confirmed 99-0 by the Senate, was generally described as a moderate conservative. She often cast the deciding vote in 5-4 rulings. Her resignation created the first Supreme Court vacancy in 11 years, a nearly unprecedented span of time. A court spokesperson said July 1 that she wished to spend more time with her husband, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.
     O’Connor was in the 5-4 majority that halted a recount in 2000 in Florida, effectively leaving George W. Bush as elected. In another 5-4 decision, she sided with the majority in ruling out the death penalty for juveniles under age 16. She coauthored a 1992 decision that favored abortion rights while imposing restrictions. In federal-state disputes, O’Connor generally came down on the side of upholding state laws.
     Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who was being treated for thyroid cancer, denied July 14 that he had any plans to retire.

     Reporter Jailed in CIA "Leak" Case - Judith Miller, a reporter for the New York Times, went to jail July 6 for refusing to reveal confidential sources of information to a special prosecutor. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan, in Washington, DC, had found her in civil contempt for refusing to cooperate with an investigation. For the past 18 months, Patrick Fitzgerald, a Justice Dept. appointee, had been trying to determine who had leaked the name of a CIA agent, Valerie Plame Wilson, to members of the press, and whether that leak constituted a crime.
     Miller had conducted interviews for a story about the leak that was never published. Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper also faced contempt charges (both he and Miller had lost an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court), but on July 6 he stated that his source had released him from a pledge of confidentiality, allowing him to testify before a grand jury. Time, meanwhile, had agreed to hand over his notes and other documents.
     By early July it became known that Karl Rove, deputy White House chief of staff, had spoken to reporters, but what he exactly said was unclear. . Former Amb. Joseph Wilson claimed that the Bush administration, by "outing" his wife, had sought revenge against him for countering the administration charge that Iraqi Pres. Saddam Hussein was trying to obtain materials in Africa to build atomic weapons. Bush said July 18 that he would fire any member of his staff who "committed a crime."

     Bush Nominates Roberts for Court - Pres. Bush July 19 nominated Judge John G. Roberts of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for the Supreme Court seat being vacated by O’Connor. Bush had nominated Roberts for that the appeals court in 2003, and the Senate had approved him unanimously.
     Roberts, 50, a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, had been a law clerk for then-Assoc. Justice William Rehnquist. As deputy solicitor general during Pres. George H.W. Bush’s tenure, Roberts argued 39 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Confirmation hearings were expected to take place in September.

     Major Unions Pull Out of AFL-CIO - The U.S. labor movement split apart at the AFL-CIO national convention in Chicago on July 25 when 2 major unions, the Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), declared they were pulling out of the federation. The latter union, with 1.8 mil members, had been the biggest component of the AFL-CIO. A 3rd union, the United Food and Commercial Workers, with 1.3 mil members, announced July 29 that it was seceding The seceding unions said they would form their own coalition and do more to reverse the long decline in union membership.

     Congress Clears Transportation and Energy Bills, Trade Pact; Senate OKs Gun Bill - Before recessing for a month, the House (voting 402-8) and Senate (voting 91-4) gave final approval July 29 to a $286.4 bil highway bill, criticized by some on both sides of the aisle for a high price tag and many giveaways. The Senate, the same day, also voted, 65-32, to approve a measure shielding gun manufacturers and dealers from liability in lawsuits brought by victims of shootings (the House had not acted on such a measure in the current Congress).
     Earlier, the House (voting 275-156 July 28) and Senate (voting 74-26 July 29) gave final approval to a long pending energy bill. It provided incentives for development of new technologies, alternative fuels, and nuclear energy, mostly in the form of tax breaks, subsidies, and loan guarantees to the energy industry. The final measure did not include a controversial provision to open the Arctic Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling. The Bush administration hailed passage of the energy bill, though conceding that it would not have any short-term impact on rising gas prices. Critics said the energy bill was too timid in regard to curbing consumption and was a giveaway to the energy industry.
     On July 29 the House, voting 217-215, narrowly passed the Central American Free Trade Agreement, eliminating most trade barriers between the U.S, and Central American countries. The Senate had approved it 54-45 on June 30. Most Democrats opposed the measure, partly because they contended it would cost American jobs; most Republicans supported it, arguing it would promote exports.


     G-8 Nations Meet - Prime Min. Tony Blair was host July 6-8 for a summit meeting of Group of 8 leaders, held in Gleneagles, Scotland. Those present represented the 7 major industrialized nations and Russia. Meanwhile, 200,000 demonstrators turned out in Edinburgh, Scotland, to support African aid and protest international trade and other policies.
     Blair pushed for action on 2 major issues - aid to impoverished African nations and measures to alleviate global warming. He asked G-8 nations to triple their annual development aid to Africa, to $75 bil; the leaders agreed only to an increase to $50 bil by 2010. The global warming issue found the U.S. at odds with other members who, unlike the U.S., had ratified the 1997 Kyoto Treaty, calling for specific sharp reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases. On July 3, G-8 negotiators found language that all 8 countries could accept when the U.S. agreed that humans were at least partly responsible for global warming. In return, the G-8 communiqué issued July 8 omitted a call for specific targets.

     Suicide Bombers Kill 52 Others in London; Second Attack Misfires - Coordinating their attacks, terrorists struck London’s transportation system on the morning of July 7. While riding as passengers on 3 subway cars and a bus, 4 alleged suicide bombers ignited blasts that killed 52 other people and injured 700. The city had not experienced such violence since World War II. More attempted bombings occurred July 21, but no one was killed.
     In a July 7 claim on the Internet that could not be confirmed, a group saying it was affiliated with al-Qaeda took responsibility. Britain’s Muslim Council condemned the attacks and promised to help with the investigation. Britain’s population of 59 million includes about 1.6 million Muslims.
     Prime Min. Blair returned briefly from the G-8 summit in to oversee the investigation. Except for damaged sites, the London transportation system resumed service on July 8. Police determined that the bombs had weighed less than 10 pounds each and that the underground explosions occurred within 50 sec of each other at 8:50 AM. The bomb on the bus exploded at 9:47 AM. Police July 12 said they had identified the 4 bombers, all Muslims. Three were of Pakistani descent but were born in Britain; the 4th was a native of Jamaica. Closed circuit TV images showed the 4 wearing backpacks at the King’s Cross station 20 minutes before the first explosions.
     During a botched bombing, 4 more bombs in backpacks - once again 3 on subway cars and 1 on a bus - were detonated July 21, but none exploded, and the would-be bombers fled. The next day, police released photos of the 4 suspects taken by security cameras. British police July 22 shot dead a man on a subway car who reportedly failed to heed warnings to halt and was thought to be carrying explosives; the next day, British authorities admitted that the man, who in fact was unarmed, apparently had no link to the bombings. Over the following days, British authorities raided homes in London, Leeds, Birmingham, and Bristol in search of suspects and information. On July 29 police arrested 3 men in London and 1 in Rome who were said to be the 4 suspects in the failed July 21 bombing. By July 31 a total of 19 people were in custody in connection with the July 21 bombing.

     Al-Qaeda Kills Egyptian Envoy to Iraq; Bombings Continue - The terror organization al-Qaeda claimed July 7 that it had killed Egypt’s ambassador-designate to Iraq, Ihab al-Sharif, who was abducted in Baghdad July 2. On July 5 a diplomat from Bahrain was shot in the hand, and shots were fired at the motorcade of the Pakistani ambassador.
     Suicide bombers killed 40 people in Iraq July 10, including 25 at an army recruiting center in Baghdad, and on July 13 a car bomber in Baghdad killed 28, including many children and a U.S. soldier. Eight suicide bombings in Baghdad July 15 killed 22 and wounded scores, including 6 U.S. soldiers. In Musayyib, south of Baghdad, a bomber wearing explosives detonated them July 16 next to a gasoline tanker, killing more than 70 and wounding 156. A truck bomber killed 22 outside a police station in Baghdad July 24. Separate bombings in Baghdad and Samarra July 27 killed 3 U.S. soldiers. Insurgents launched coordinated attacks against Iraqi army checkpoints north of Baghdad July 28 killing 6 Iraqi soldiers; 2 U.S. soldiers were killed the same day by roadside bombs. On July 29 suicide bombers killed as many as 26 people at an army recruitment center in a N Iraqi town near the Syrian border. The next day 5 U.S. soldiers were killed by 2 separate bombs that exploded in Baghdad.
     The process of drafting a constitution continued. On July 5, the committee writing the document added 15 Sunni Arabs to create more balance. On July 19 one of the Sunnis on the committee and a Sunni consultant to the committee were shot dead. Other Sunnis on the committee withdrew, fearing for their safety, but 12 returned to the committee July 25.

     Rivals for Power in Sudan Sign Constitution - The crisis in Sudan eased July 9 when Pres. Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his rival John Garang signed a constitution approved by parliament July 6. Garang, who had led the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army. was then sworn in as vice president. Under the new constitution Garang would control an autonomous region in southern Sudan, and oil revenues were to be shared between the north and south. The southern region was to hold a referendum on independence in 2011. Although the civil war had basically ended in 2002, the death toll related to it, now put at 2 million, continued to rise. Disease and famine were rampant. In separate negotiations in the western Darfur region, the government, July 5 reached agreement in principle with 2 rebel groups.
     Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice came to Sudan July 21 to meet with Bashir. The occasion was marred, however, when Sudanese security guards manhandled a U.S. reporter, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, and members of the U.S. delegation.

     Senate Gets Report on Guantanamo Prison - The Senate Armed Forces Committee July 13 received a report from Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt on interrogation methods at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility. The investigation concluded that methods were "safe, secure, and humane" and did not constitute torture, although they were abusive and degrading. The investigation also examined 26 complaints about mistreatment of detainees and determined that the methods used had been approved by the chain of command and were permissible.

     China to Stop Tying Its Currency to Dollar - China announced July 21 that it would no longer tie the value of its currency, the yuan, to the U.S. dollar, a move that some other countries regarded as long overdue. By pegging the value of the yuan to the dollar, China had given its exporters an advantage over those from other countries. China said that the yuan would be allowed to fluctuate in a narrow range against a group of other currencies.

     84 Killed in Bombings at Egyptian Resort - Three bombs, including 2 in cars, exploded within 5 minutes of each other in Sharm el-Sheik, an Egyptian resort, July 23, killing at least 84 people and wounding 240. Many international tourists were present at the Ghazala Gardens Hotel, where a suicide bomber drove a truck through a glass window into the lobby. Other bombs exploded near a market and a café. Two groups quickly claimed responsibility.

     IRA Announces Disarmament - The Irish Republican Army, in a statement released July 28, renounced violence as a political tactic and said that all of its units were ordered to disarm and cease all terrorist activities, including armed robbery and money laundering Prime Min. Tony Blair praised the move, calling it "a step of unparalleled magnitude in the recent history of Northern. Ireland." Irish Prime Min. Bertie Ahern urged caution, saying IRAs deeds needed to match their words. The IRA’s 36-year campaign of violence against Britain has claimed more than 3,600 lives.


     Williams, Federer Each Win 3rd Wimbledon - On July 2, Venus Williams, the women’s singles champion at Wimbledon in 2000 and 2001, reclaimed the title in 2005 by defeating Lindsay Davenport of the U.S., 4-6, 7-6, 9-7, in the longest (2 hours, 45 minutes) women’s final ever at Wimbledon. The next day Roger Federer of Switzerland won his 3rd consecutive men’s singles tennis championship at Wimbledon. He defeated Andy Roddick of the U.S., 6-2, 7-6, 6-4. Venus had lost 2 finals to her sister, Serena, in 2002 and 2003; her latest victory was a surprise—she had been seeded 14th.

     U.S. Spacecraft Hits Comet, as Planned - An "impactor" module from the U.S. Deep Impact probe hit its target, Comet Tempel 1, on July 4. NASA had planned the collision in order to study the composition of the comet, whose inner core may hold material and compounds present in the early solar system. The probe was launched Jan.12 and traveled 83 million miles to its rendezvous with Tempel 1.

     London Chosen for 2012 Olympics -In a close vote July 6 in Singapore, the International Olympic Committee chose London as the site of the 2012 Olympic Summer Games. Three of the other contenders - Moscow, New York, and Madrid - were eliminated on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd ballots, respectively. New York’s chances were hurt when the city failed to get approval to spend $300 mil in public funds for a stadium on Manhattan’s West Side. In the final round of Olympic voting, London edged Paris, 54-50.

     Early Hurricanes Claim Lives - Hurricane Dennis hit Haiti and Jamaica July 7 and Cuba July 7-8, killing a total of 57 people. After disrupting oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, Dennis entered the U.S. east of Pensacola, FL, July 10. The storm killed at least 3 more people and causing widespread damage and power outages. The next hurricane, Emily, claimed 5 lives in Jamaica July 17, then hit Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula July 18, indirectly causing 3 deaths and leaving millions without water or power.

     Tiger Woods Wins 10th Major - Tiger Woods won the British Open for the 2nd time July 17, posting a 14-under-par 274 on the historic St. Andrews golf course in Scotland. He finished 5 strokes ahead of Colin Montgomerie of Scotland. Jack Nicklaus, who had won a record 18 majors, had announced that he would retire after competing in this tournament; his career ended when he failed to make the cut.

     Armstrong Wins 7th Tour de France, Retires - Lance Armstrong, who had announced in advance that he would retire, won his 7th straight Tour de France on July 24. Wet weather brought the race to a premature end, when officials declared it over as the lead cyclists entered Paris. Armstrong had fought off cancer years ago, to win 2 more annual "tours" than any other competitor in the sport.

     Discovery Returns to Space - The space shuttle Discovery and its 7-person crew blasted off from Cape Canaveral at 10:23 AM EST July 26 ending a 2 1/2 –year shutdown of the shuttle program following the 2003 Columbia disaster. Its mission is to test safety improvements to the craft and bring supplies to the International Space Station. NASA engineers used over 100 cameras and 2 chase planes to monitor the launch. Though Discovery achieved successful orbit, analysis of footage taken from a camera on the giant liquid fuel tank showed that a piece of insulating foam had ripped off and barely missed hitting the orbiter craft. The Columbia disaster had apparently been caused by a piece of foam ripping off the fuel tank and damaging some of the shuttle’s heat-shield tiles. On July 28, Discovery performed an in-space "backflip" as it approached the International Space Station, so that crew members at the station could inspect the heat shield; the shuttle then successfully docked with the station. Soon after, NASA announced it was suspending all future shuttle missions until the problem with the foam and heat shield could be resolved.

     Monsoon floods hit India - Heavy rains hit Mumbai (Bombay), India, and surrounding areas, reaching 37 inches in some areas, July 26-27, leading to severe flooding that by the end of the month had been found to cause close to 1,000 deaths according to authorities.

     Astronomers Claim New Solar System Planet - Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology's Palomar Observatory reported July 29 that an object they had discovered in 2003, three times as far away as Pluto, should be classified as the 10th solar system planet, based on recent determinations of its size and motion. The exact size of the object could not be determined, but it was now said to be larger than Pluto. Some astronomers have disputed whether Pluto itself, smallest of the known solar system planets, should be called a planet, but it remains officially classified as such by the International Astronomical Union.

Science in the News — Raising a Glass to the Ancient Egyptians

In the Late Bronze Age, when political figures wanted to reinforce an alliance, they gave a gift of glass. Archeologists have long known the role of glass as a high-status item in Egypt and the ancient Near East. For over a century, however, they have debated where this glass was produced.

Until recently, most researchers believed that ancient glass was made by Mesopotamians, who then shipped it to Egyptian workshops where it was fashioned into artistic objects. But a discovery at an Egyptian site called Qantir-Piramesses has overturned this view: it appears that the Egyptians made raw glass themselves, and most likely exported it throughout the Mediterranean. In addition to challenging the existing notions regarding glass production, this find increases our understanding of ancient Near Eastern trade and politics. The archeologists who discovered the glass factory, Thilo Rehren of University College London and Edgar B. Pusch of Pelizaeus-Museum in Hildesheim, Germany, published their research in the June 17, 2005 issue of Science.

According to Caroline M. Jackson of the University of Sheffield, in the United Kingdom, whose commentary accompanied the article, glass had a particularly important function in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean area. The Late Bronze Age (approximately 1500-1200 BCE), Jackson says, was a time when "elite groups...chose to express allegiances through competitive gift exchange of prestigious artifacts. Glass—being difficult to work with, complicated to produce, and available in vivid, symbolically significant colors—was favored for use in such artifacts." Any political entity that controlled the production of glass would therefore have held a prominent role in the ancient world.

Prior to Rehren and Pusch’s discovery, evidence seemed to suggest that Mesopotamia was that nation. The oldest known glass remains, which were produced roughly 3,500 years ago, were found in a Mesopotamian site. Furthermore, archeologists had previously uncovered several other sites which they believed were the workshops where artisans used the glass to make decorative objects. But although it’s clear Mesopotamians could fashion glass, a factory capable of producing glass from raw materials has not yet been found in the region.

At Qantir-Piramesses, however, Rehren and Pusch discovered just such a site. The two unearthed pieces of hundreds of pottery vessels dating back to 1250 B.C. Many of the vessels, which are thought to be recycled beer containers, were filled with partially fused glass. They also discovered waste products that resulted from glass manufacture.

By examining the archeological evidence, Rehren and Pusch were able to determine just how the glass was made. First, the Egyptians melted crushed quartz pebbles mixed with alkali-rich plant ash at a temperature of about 900 degrees Celsius, forming a crude solid. They then ground the material, colored it with a metal oxide such as copper, and melted it again at 1,000 degrees Celsius or more in a cylindrical mold. Once cooled, the resulting piece of glass—known as an "ingot"—could be shipped to destinations throughout the Middle East. Although Qantir-Piramesses is the only site where raw materials are known to have been made into glass, ceramic vessels which may have acted as ingot molds have also been found in the ancient Egyptian city of Amarna.

The discoveries at Qantir-Piramesses do not prove that the Mesopotamians did not have a means of glass production. They do show, however, that the Egyptians were masters of the technique themselves, and exported rather than imported glass in the Late Bronze Age. According to Jackson, this evidence indicates that "there was an Egyptian monopoly not just on the exchange of luxury glass but also on the diplomatic currency that the control of such technologies offered the elite." So raise a glass to the ancient Egyptians: to their panoply of accomplishments, we can now add mastery of the production of a substance that was once a rare luxury, and is now an inescapable feature of everyday life.


Both Germany and Japan produced more passenger cars than the United States in 2003.

Offbeat News Stories

Santas of the World, Unite

As all good little boys and girls know, Santa Claus comes but once a year. So does the World Santa Claus Congress, which meets annually six months before Christmas in Copenhagen, Denmark. In July 2005, more than 100 Santas from ten countries came together to compete in Santa-skills contests - including chimney-climbing and a race up a snow mound to deliver a present and to draft proposals to improve their working conditions. They called for standardizing chimney widths in the European Union - and holding Christmas twice a year to ease the burden of delivering so many presents in one night. Each St. Nick in attendance claimed to be the real thing, but one American from Marysville, WA, offered his passport as proof that he was, in fact, named Santa Claus. The Santas are held to a few conditions - they must be white-bearded, red-suited, and refrain from smoking tobacco in their red suits or drinking alcohol before attending to official duties.

The One that Got Away

A family adopting a pet fish isn’t too unusual, especially if the pet roster already includes dogs, cats, and a goat. But Clarence Reid, a South Carolina man, made the news when he adopted a 52-pound flathead catfish reeled in on a family fishing trip. He had planned to keep the fish, nicknamed "Big Fin" in a large, waterfall-adorned decorative pond in his yard and feed it a satisfying diet of dog food. Unfortunately, Big Fin couldn’t get used to easy-living and died several days later. Reid said a family funeral had been held for the pet, which would be sorely missed.

From The World Almanac — Historical Anniversaries - 50 Years Ago

Congress grants Pres. Dwight Eisenhower authority to used armed force to defend Formosa (Taiwan) in case of any attack by mainland (Communist) China.

Winston Churchill, age 80, resigns as prime minister of Britain.

After buying the idea from Richard and Maurice "Mac" McDonald, Ray Kroc opens the first McDonald's restaurant, Apr. 15 in Des Plaines, IL.

West Germany is recognized by most nations as a sovereign state May 5, ending its postwar status as an occupied country, and joins NATO four days later.

The Soviet Union and 7 other Eastern European countries, May 14, sign the Warsaw Pact, a mutual defense treaty intended to counterbalance NATO.

On May 31, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that public schools must be integrated "with all deliberate speed," implementing its 1954 milestone decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

Disneyland opens its gates July 17 in Anaheim, CA, attracting nearly 30,000 visitors its first day.

Leaders of the U.S., Britain, France, and the Soviet Union hold a summit in Geneva, Switzerland, July 18-25, seeking to ease Cold War tensions.

Up to 200 people die in Atlantic coastal flooding stretching from South Carolina to Massachusetts Aug. 20 as a result of Hurricane Diane.

After a bloody military rebellion, Juan Perón is forced to resign the presidency of Argentina Sept. 19.

Pres. Dwight Eisenhower suffers a heart attack, Sept. 24, while on vacation in Denver.

Rosa Parks is arrested in Montgomery, AL, Dec. 1 for refusing to give up her seat on a city bus. A successful boycott of the Montgomery city bus system, led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., begins on Dec. 5, and gives momentum to the civil rights movement.

The 2 largest U.S. labor organizations, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), merge Dec. 5, creating the AFL-CIO.

Art Willem de Kooning's Easter Monday; Jackson Pollock's Search; Andy Warhol's 'Shoe' paintings.

Literature Mackinlay Kantor's Andersonville; Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita; Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories; J.R.R. Tolkien's The Return of the King; Sloan Wilson's The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. Allen Ginsberg reads his poem "Howl" at a San Francisco gallery. Wallace Stevens dies Aug. 2; Thomas Mann dies Aug. 12.

Movies Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier (compiled from 1954 TV miniseries), starring Fess Parker; Marty starring Ernest Borgnine; Mister Roberts starring Henry Fonda, James Cagney, and Jack Lemmon; Rebel Without a Cause starring James Dean, Natalie Wood, and Sal Mineo; The Seven Year Itch starring Marilyn Monroe. On the Waterfront wins best film at Oscar ceremonies for 1954 films, with Marlon Brando winning as Best Actor. James Dean dies in car crash at age 24.

Music Darius Milhaud's Symphony No. 6; Walter Piston's Symphony No. 5; Igor Stravinsky's Canticum Sacrum.

Nonfiction James Baldwin's Notes of a Native Son; Jim Bishop's The Day Lincoln Was Shot; Walter Lippmann's Essays in the Public Philosophy.

Popular Songs Pat Boone, "Ain't That a Shame"; McGuire Sisters, "Mr. Sandman"; Bill Haley and His Comets, "Rock Around the Clock"; Les Baxter, "Unchained Melody."

Science and Technology Albert Einstein dies at 76 on Apr. 18. The longest total solar eclipse of the 20th century (7 min. 8 sec.) is visible from Southeast Asia June 20.

Sports Rocky Marciano knocks out Archie Moore in the 9th round to retain his world heavyweight championship Sept. 21; Brooklyn Dodgers win the World Series over the New York Yankees in 7 games; Detroit Red Wings take the Stanley Cup after 7 games against the Montreal Canadiens. Denton T. "Cy" Young dies Nov. 4.

Theatre Bus Stop by William Inge with Kim Stanley, Anthony Ross, and Elaine Stritch; Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof starring Barbara Bel Geddes and Burl Ives; Damn Yankees with Gwen Verdon and Stephen Douglass; Cole Porter's Silk Stockings starring Don Ameche.

TV Captain Kangaroo and The Mickey Mouse Club debut on TV Oct. 3.

Miscellaneous The New York state legislature bans the sale of comic books containing explicit crime and horror to anyone under 18.

Links of the Month — Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief


Franklin D. Roosevelt Library

Eleanor Roosevelt

My Aunt Eleanor has a birthday at the end of the month, so we're honoring Eleanor for August. Well known for her 1928 film The Crowd, Eleanor Boardman (1898-1991) made just 40 films in her career, and didn't succeed in the transition from silent to sound films. To learn more about Boardman visit Inheriting Aquitaine, the largest kingdom in France, Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204), became one of the most important rulers of medieval Europe. She was the queen of France when married to Louis VII, and later the Queen of England when she married Henry II. To learn more about Eleanor visit One of the most influential First Ladies in U.S. history, Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was the niece of one president (Theodore Roosevelt), besides being the wife of another (Franklin D. Roosevelt). As First Lady she traveled the world as the presidents "eyes and ears," wrote a daily column, fought discrimination, and was a powerful representative for women. To learn more about Roosevelt visit And could we talk about Eleanor's without mentioning Eleanor Rigby, who picked up the rice in a church where a wedding had been? For a musicological analysis of The Beatles song "Eleanor Rigby" visit

On August 6, Hiroshima, Japan, will be the site of a Peace Festival, which will take place on the 60th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of that city. It is believed that as many as 80.000 people died immediately as a result of the bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (on August 9), and that twice as many perished over time, as a result of radiation poisoning. Started in 1946, the surviving residents of the city prayed for the peace of the souls of the A-bomb victims and pledged themselves to the restoration of world peace. To learn more about Hiroshima and the Peace Memorial in that city, visit The Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) has a website which summarizes the atomic age, and the resulting efforts for peace at

I'm going on vacation in September, and I found a very useful website which will make seat selection a great deal easier. At, they evaluate the various seats on any given airplane type. It will explain what a good seat is (perhaps with extra leg room), and also which are bad seats (such as the last row where the seat may not fully recline), or potentially troublesome seats (could be the proximity to a bathroom). This is a great tool for any wary traveler.

So, how well do you know the U.S. penny? Check out to find out.

A useful website from my co-worker Chuck this month: YouSendIt is a free website which allows you to share large files, up to 1000MB (don't try this with dial-up). Your file is uploaded to the YouSendIt servers, and an e-mail link to the file is sent to the people that you select. This gets around the size limitation that many e-mail systems impose.


Alexandra Soltow

Graffiti in Prague

One of our E-Newsletter readers lives in Malta, a small Southern European nation in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Malta was ruled by Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, the Knights of Malta, France, and Britain (since 1814). With its narrow cobblestoned streets, and its Norman cathedrals, Malta is a great place to see structures from the medieval period. To learn more about Malta visit

Members of the chorus I sing with recently returned from a trip to the Czech Republic, and one of the choristers took many photographs of graffiti. Some consider graffiti a crime, while others regard it as an art form. In any case, it is not a 20th century invention, as some people may think. Graffiti can be found in ancient Greek and Roman cities, and in many other places and time periods. To view photographs of graffiti from around the world, visit

The subject is summer. One thing I like about summer is that we have a Farmer's market that comes to town on Sundays, and I get lots of fresh vegetables, and the ingredients of my favorite type of salad -- tabbouleh -- at a low cost and with great quality. It's taken me a couple of years to perfect the taste of my tabbouleh, but I think I'm finally there. Here's a good recipe for tabbouleh (keep in mind that you should use the green part of scallions for the onions) Summertime also means that I can head to the beach for some sand and surf. In 2003 Forbes offered an article on the world's best beaches. To see which ones they thought were the best visit As for me, well, I'm a Jersey shore kind of guy, having spent many summers at Long Beach Island (NJ). I still get the warm and fuzzies when I visit LBI. To learn more about the island visit

Goofy website of the month: The Cursor Thief

Quote of the Month

"Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now - always."

- Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965), German theologian, philosopher, musicologist, medical missionary, and Nobel laureate.

© World Almanac Education Group

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

Newsletter Contributors:
Louise Bloomfield, Jane Hogan, Sarah Janssen, Walter Kronenberg, and Vincent Spadafora.

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