Tom's Book of Days
      June 1-10  

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June 1


norma jean baker

1843: Sojourner Truth leaves New York to begin her career as an antislavery activist.

1921: 21 whites and 60 blacks are killed in a race riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

1926: Norma Jean Baker is born.

1951: The International Cheese Treaty is signed.

1966, 1967, 1969: June first is a big day for Beatles: in 1966, George Harrison attends Ravi Shankar's concert in London; one year later, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is released; two years after that, at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, John Lennon and Yoko Ono record "Give Peace a Chance."


June 2


mandy smith


1953: Elizabeth II is crowned Queen of Great Britain in Westminster Abbey.

1987: Allan Greenspan succeeds Paul Volcker as head of the Federal Reserve Board.

1988: James Brown's wife Adrienne claims diplomatic immunity while fighting numerous traffic violations on the grounds that she is the wife of the Official Ambassador of Soul.

1988: Rolling Stone bassist Bill Wyman, 52, marries 19-year-old model Mandy Smith, the daughter of a woman Wyman's son was dating (they will divorce 2 years later).


June 3


William Morris

1895: William Morris publishes the Kelmscott Chaucer.

1906: Josephine Baker is born.

1924: Franz Kafka dies. He asks his friend Max Brod to destroy his unpublished manuscripts, which include The Trial, The Castle, and Amerika.

1964: T.S. Eliot writes to Groucho Marx: "The picture of you in the newspaper saying that, amongst other reasons, you have come to London to see me has greatly enhanced my credit line in the neighborhood, and particularly with the greengrocer across the street."



June 4


wm faulkner


1864: 60,000 Union soldiers die during the first month of General Ulysses S. Grant's command--more Americans than killed in the entire Vietnam War.

1919: US marines invade Costa Rica.

1962: William Faulkner's last novel, The Reivers, is published.

1989: 2,000 students and workers are killed in Beijing's Tianenmen Square (the Chinese government officially denies any deaths occurred).

June 5


alfred dreyfus

working girl

ST. BONIFACE'S DAY: St. Boniface is the patron saint of brewers.

1455: Francois Villon kills a priest in a street brawl and is banished from Paris.

1899: Alfred Dreyfus is acquitted.

1963: John Profumo, British Minister of War, resigns his post following revelations that he had sex with prostitute Christine Keeler (pictured in a famous photo by Lewis Morley) who had also plied her trade with a Soviet naval officer (remember not that long ago when its seemed the Brits had cornered the market on sex scandals?) The scandal will cost Prime Minister Harold Macmillan the election.

1967: The Six-Day War between Arab states and Israel begins.

1968: At a Los Angeles hotel at which he had been celebrating his Democratic presidential primary victory over President Johnson, Senator Robert Kennedy is assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan.

2004: Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan dies at 93. His death provokes an orgy of hagiography "journalism." For another perspective see Robert Parry's "Rating Reagan: A Bogus Legacy."

"The U.S. news media’s reaction to Ronald Reagan’s death is putting on display what has happened to American public debate in the years since Reagan’s political rise in the late 1970s: a near-total collapse of serious analytical thinking at the national level...."

In following days pandering politicians and media will fall over themselves lauding a mythical Reagan who bears little resemblance to the real Ronald. The real president Reagan:

  • illegally traded arms for hostages with Iran
  • armed Saddam Hussein
  • illegally supported Contra forces in Nicaragua
  • was the only world leader ever convicted of terrorism (for his actions in Nicaragua) by the World Court
  • supported death squads in Guatemala and El Salvador
  • prolonged the Cold War by rejecting the Nixon/Ford détente (that he is given credit for ending the Cold War is one of the great triumphs of Orwellian doubletalk)
  • supported apartheid in South Africa (he said South Africa “stood beside us in every war we've ever fought"; in fact, they were on the other side in WWII)
  • opposed affirmative action and rolled back civil rights progress
  • tripled the national debt and turned the U.S. into a debtor nation
  • produced massive unemployment and homelessness
  • never submitted a balanced budget
  • betrayed traditional Republic principles (on which he campaigned) of small government and civil liberties

2006: Kiev (Reuters): Lowering himself by a rope into a lion cage in the Kiev zoo, a man shouted, "God will save me, if he exists." Without hesitating, a lioness immediately severed his carotid artery.


June 6


golden temple

1780: Rioters (watched by an approving William Blake) set fire to Newgate Prison in London after releasing its prisoners. The uprisings are known as the Gordon Riots, after Lord George Gordon, a powerful protestant extremist (sort of a Falwell type), who objected to the Catholic Relief Act introduced in 1778 by Sir George Saville. That act had excempted Roman Catholics from taking the religious oath upon joining the army (thereby increasing the amount of available cannon fodder, necessary in view of war against America, France, and Spain). The mob took over London for a week, looting the homes of advocates of the legislation and attacking Catholic churches and homes. The riots left 290 people dead, 100 Roman Catholic buildings looted or burned. Twenty-five leaders were hanged--but not Lord Gordon, who was found not guilty of treason and received no punishment for exciting the mob.

1933: The first drive-in movie theatre opens, in Camden, New Jersey.

1944, D-Day: Allied land forces under General Dwight Eisenhower make successful landings on the Norman coast. Within a year the Reich will fall.

1962: George Martin of EMI Records listens to a Beatles audition. His verdict: "They're pretty awful."

1984: The Golden Temple at Amritsar is occupied by the Indian Army, and 300 Sikhs are slain.


June 7



1099: The First Crusade reaches the walls of Jerusalem.

1769: Daniel Boone passes through the Cumberland Gap with five companions.

1945: The fourth draft of Under the Volcano is destroyed when Malcolm Lowry's shack on a beach in British Columbia burns to the ground.

1946: Antonin Artaud is released from the Rodez mental institution.

1954: Alan Turing commits suicide by eating an apple containing cyanide, following his persecution for being gay.

1958: Prince Rogers Nelson (Prince, or TAFKAP: The Artist Formerly Known, etc.) is born in Minneapolis.


June 8


attila scourge of god

452: Attila invades Italy.

632: The prophet Mohammed dies.

1852: Chinese laborers working on the Parrott granite building demand a wage increase--the first known labor strike in San Francisco.

1969: Two-thirds of the graduating class at Brown University turn their backs on commencement speaker Henry Kissinger in protest of the war in Vietnam.

1988: Nippon Airways announces that painting eyeballs on jetliners has cut bird collisions by 20 percent.


June 9


Miguel Angel Asturias


1623: English negotiate treaty with Potomac River tribes; after a toast symbolizing eternal friendship, the Chiskiack chief and 200 followers drop dead from poisoned wine

1891: Cole Porter is born in Peru, Indiana..

1934: The first appearance of Donald Duck.

1974: Miguel Angel Asturias dies in Madrid, Spain.


June 10


you can call him al

323 BCE: Thirty-three-year-old Alexander the Great dies at of a sudden fever in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II. (Shown is a detail from Alexander mosaic from the House of the Faun, Pompeii, about 80 BCE, National Archaeologic Museum, Naples, Italy.)

1878: Debarking the Mavis, Joseph Conrad first sets foot on English soil. In his new (posthumous) book, Why Read the Classics? (1999), Italo Calvino calls Conrad British in his essence.

1898: U.S. marines land at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Spanish forces would surrender just five weeks later, on July 17. In the Treaty of Paris, the U.S. would gain Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines.

1910: Chester Arthur Burnett (Howlin' Wolf) is born.

1922: Frances Gumm (Judy Garland) is born.

1955: Pope Pius XII excommunicates Juan Perón.

continue to June 11


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