Tom's Book of Days
      March 1-10  

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March 1


Gabriele D'Annunzio

1872: Yellowstone becomes the world's first national park.

1914: Novelist Ralph Ellison is born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

1938: Italian poet, dramatist, and novelist Gabriele D'Annunzio (pictured) dies, 11 days short of his 75th birthday.

1954: Five US Congressmen are shot on the floor of the House by four Puerto Rican Nationalists who fire at random from the spectator's gallery.

1971: The Weather Underground claims responsibility for a bomb that explodes in a men's room in the U.S. Capital.
   Supposedly these guys actually thought they could bring about a U.S. revolution. At present Geo. W. Bush is president, and it's hard to imagine anyone worse. But it can be done! Imagine if the Weather Underground had actually taken control, what a mess they would have made of things.

1999: Bamboo Masterworks: Japanese Baskets from the Lloyd Cotsen Collection opens at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.


March 2



1492: King Ferdinand expels all Jews from Spain.

1797: Horace Walpole dies.

1836: Texas declares itself an independent republic. Mexico, too distracted with other problems to deal effectively with the revolt, will continue to regard it as a renegade province. The US takes a different view, confusing and complicating relations between the two countries, and helping to bring on The US-Mexican War.

1930: D. H. Lawrence dies in Venice of tuberculosis at age 45.

1944: Fumes from a locomotive stalled in a tunnel suffocate 521 people in Italy.

1978: Chalin Chaplin's coffin is stolen by would-be ransomers. See December 25.

2007: 170 lost Swiss soldiers accidentally invade Liechtenstein. Upon realizing their mistake they turn around and march back out. Could this be the start of a campaign for worldwide domination by Helvetica?


March 3


HINA MATSURI: The Japanese "Doll's Festival," honoring girls and their dolls, is also known as Peach Blossom Day, since (as everyone knows) the peach blossom epitomizes the qualities of young girls.

1855: Congress appropriates $30,000 to introduce camels into the Southwest.

1926: James Merrill is born. We would publish his Recitative at North Point Press.

1931: "The Star-Spangled Banner," a British drinking song with new lyrics by Francis Scott Key on the theme of resisting the Brits, becomes the national anthem of the United States.

2005: Martha Stewart is released from Camp Cupcake (boring item, but I like the name Camp Cupcake).


March 4




1193: Death of Saladin, sultan of Egypt.

1793: French troops conquer Geertruidenberg in the Netherlands. Don't you wish your town was named Geertruidenberg?

1841: William Henry Harrison catches a cold.

1849: Zachary Taylor, that officious prig, "Old Rough and Ready" himself, the Mexican War hero, refuses to be sworn in as president of the U.S. on a Sunday. As a result the office of president is vacant for that day. It is said that the entire country operates flawlessly the entire day.

1966: John Lennon says the Beatles are more popular than Jesus. Whatever.


March 5


1880 stpler from  the Early Office Museum

1616: Cardinal Robert Bellarmine declares the Copernican theory "false and erroneous." His decree states that no one can either teach or believe the theory that the earth revolves around the sun. The decree would result in Galileo spending the final eight years of his life under house arrest.

1842: The Florida legislature (even today a distinguished body) passes a resolution urging rewards for Indian scalps.

1868: The stapler is patented in Birmingham, England, by C.H. Gould.

1937: The United States officially apologizes to Nazi Germany for New York Mayor LaGuardia's reference to Adolf Hitler as a "brown-shirted fanatic."

1948: Leslie Marmon Silko is born.

1963: As her song I Fall to Pieces climbs the charts, Patsy Cline’s is killed in an airplane crash.

2003: France, Russia and Germany release a joint declaration stating that they will not allow a resolution authorising military action against Iraq to pass the UN security council.


March 6


not officer material

1475: Michelangelo Buonarroti is born at an hour when Mercury and Venus are in the house of Jupiter, foretelling, he would assert according to Ascanio Condivi in The Life of Michelangelo, “success in the arts which delight the senses, such as painting, sculpture and architecture.”

1887: Customs authorities in Toronto seize and destroy, as immoral and obscene, 100 copies of novels by Emile Zola.

1828: Gabriel García Márquez is born.

1831: Edgar Allen Poe is expelled from West Point.

1970: Crazy times: three Weathermen (Diana Oughton, Cathlyn Wilkerson, Kathy Boudin) blow themselves up in Greenwich Village.

1998: The Big Lebowski opens.


March 7


Maurice Ravel

1870: Thomas Hardy meets Emma Lavinia Gifford, who will be his first wife. Following her death in 1912, Hardy will leave his desk calendar open to this day until his own death in 1928.

1875: Maurice Ravel is born.

1974: California governor Ronald Reagan comments on the Sybionese Liberation Army's Patty Hearst ransom demand of free food for the poor: "It's just too bad we can't have an epidemic of botulism."

1988: Harris Glenn Milstead (Divine) dies at age 43.

2006: Tom Christensen (moi-meme) launches (a little prematurely) Tom's Garden, which now takes its place alongside The Typehead Chronicles and Maya World and his other crackpot grandious schemes (like this one, Tom's Book of Days).


March 8


silver tongue?

1917: The Russian Revolution begins in St. Petersburg.

1941: Sherwood Anderson swallows a toothpick along with an hors d'oeuvre at a cocktail party and dies at 64 in Colon, Panama.

1983: US President Reagan delivers to a national convention of evangelicals what historian Henry Steele Commager calls "the worst presidential speech in American history, and I've read them all." The main thrust of the speach was that the Soviet Union is "the focus of evil in the modern world ... an evil empire."


March 9


mircea eiiade in inda

1454: Amerigo Vespucci is born. A good recent book on Vespucci, the discovery of America, and the mapping of the world is The Fourth Part of the World by Toby Lester

1841: Captured slaves who mutinied and took over the Spanish slave ship Amistad are declared free men by the Supreme Court. Following the verdict, the slave leader, Joseph Cinque (inspiration for Symbionese Liberation Army Field Marshall Cinque) will return to Africa to become a slaver trader.

1907: Mircea Eliade is born.

1982: The Washington Post reveals $19 million in illegal CIA covert aid given to Nicaraguan Contras.

2005: Sharper than a hound's tooth: That describes prosecutors in Bentonville. Arkansas, who subpoen Murphy Smith to testify in the murder trial of Albert K. Smith after Albert wrote Murphy a letter from prison. When Murphy appears as called, a deputy refuses to let the shih tzu into the court, citing a "no dogs" policy. Prosecutor Robin Green says,"The dog was friendly enough and probably would have been a very cooperative witness."


March 10



1739: Horace Walpole and Thomas Gray depart together for the Grand Tour.

1858: Henry Watson Fowler (Modern English Usage) is born, 1858.

1948: Zelda Fitzgerald, trapped in a fire on the third story of a sanitarium, dies along with eight other women. Zelda had wanted to develop her dancing and writing, but her husband Scott considered her ambitions delusions and had her institutionalized.

2003: John Brown, a U.S. diplomat with the State Department (serving in London, Prague, Krakow, Kiev, Belgrade and Moscow) since 1981, resigns, saying that the Bush administation's Iraq policy was promoting an anti-U.S. backlash around the world. The text of his resignation letter:

To: Secretary of State Colin Powell
March 10, 2003
Dear Mr. Secretary:
    I am joining my colleague John Brady Kiesling in submitting my resignation from the Foreign Service (effective immediately) because I cannot in good conscience support President Bush's war plans against Iraq.
    The president has failed:
        * To explain clearly why our brave men and women in uniform should be ready to sacrifice their lives in a war on Iraq at this time;
        * To lay out the full ramifications of this war, including the extent of innocent civilian casualties;
        * To specify the economic costs of the war for ordinary Americans;
        * To clarify how the war would help rid the world of terror;
        * To take international public opinion against the war into serious consideration.
     Throughout the globe the United States is becoming associated with the unjustified use of force. The president's disregard for views in other nations, borne out by his neglect of public diplomacy, is giving birth to an anti-American century.
    I joined the Foreign Service because I love our country. Respectfully, Mr. Secretary, I am now bringing this calling to a close, with a heavy heart but for the same reason that I embraced it.
John H. Brown
Foreign Service Officer

Subsequent events would prove his concerns to have been warranted.

continue to March 11


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