When you get right down to it, many things in history happened on any given date on the calendar. But today I’m going to discuss just a few of the many important (and unimportant) things that happened on various June 13ths throughout history. Without further ado, on this date in:
1633: The charter for Maryland is given to Lord Cecil Baltimore after whom, of course, the city of Silver Springs, Maryland is named.
1731: Future First First Lady Martha Washington was born. She was a wealthy widow by the time she married George Washington.
1786: Winfield Scott, U.S. Army General famous for victories in the War of 1812 and the War with Mexico, was born. There are many who believe he is the “Scott” in the expression “Great Scott!”
1831: James Clerk Maxwell, Scottish physicist, was born. His work proved that electrical, magnetic and optical phenomena were all united in a single universal force, Electromagnetism, and formulated electromagnetic theory. You’re reading this now because of him.
1865: William Butler Yeats, Irish poet and playwright, was born. He was famous for “The Second Coming” which featured the line, “The centre cannot hold.” This was a line often repeated by the army commander of the facility in Stephen King’s “The Stand” from which the virus that wiped out most humans on Earth escaped. This happened in the story on a June 13th. There’s a connection.
1892: Basil Rathbone, actor famous for playing Sherlock Holmes, was born. Rathbone was also famous for getting drunk at parties and walking around naked except for his pipe and deerstalker cap.
1953: Tim Allen was born. Famous to me for playing Jason Nesmith, who played Cmdr. Peter Quincy Taggart on the fictional TV series, Galaxy Quest, one of the best Star Trek parodies ever made.
1960: I was born. (This would be one of the unimportant things that happened on this date.)
1966: The Supreme Court of the United States enters the realm of police television drama writing when they hand down their famous Miranda v. Arizona decision reminding you that, when arrested, you have the right to remain silent, that anything you say can be used as evidence against you, that you have a right to have an attorney present during questioning, that if you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to you, and that, perhaps most importantly, if you want to wear white after Labor Day, it’s constitutionally permissible.
1967: President Lyndon Johnson nominated Solicitor-General Thurgood Marshall to the United States Supreme Court. Upon his retirement, he was replaced by the completely unqualified Justice Clarence “Who Put This Pube On My Coke?” Thomas, apparently on the sole basis that he was black, like Justice Marshall.
1968: Johnny Cash records his famous “At Folsom Prison” album live at Alcatraz.
1970: The Beatles’ “Let It Be” album goes to Number 1 on the charts and stays there for four weeks. It was their penultimate album recorded, but the last one released. It was also the basis for one of my album parodies, “Enemy“. I hope you enjoy it.
1983: After it crosses the orbit of Neptune, Pioneer 10, launched in 1972, becomes the first human-built space craft to leave the solar system. It has not yet been determined how many non-human-built space craft have made the journey previously. The first close-up pictures we had of Jupiter were taken by Pioneer 10, which proved to be a much more successful satellite than its predecessors Pioneer 8, Pioneer Vista, Pioneer XP, and the disastrous Pioneer 98. They’re still not sure why they built that one.
1986: Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen (Michelle on Full House) were born. I would have to wait until I was 44 before even thinking about dating them.
1990: Testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary of State James A. Baker III urges the Israelis to accept a US plan for peace talks. He gives out the number to the White House switch board (202-456-1414) and says, “When you’re serious about this, call us.” I’ve called that number before. It was usually to talk to the White House Communications Agency Duty Officer (WHCADO, or “whocka-do”) about a problem with one of several methods President Reagan had to talk to people on the ground while flying in Air Force One (which I used to watch being parked in its hangar outside my dorm window.)
1996: A new report on Nature proposed that guinea pigs are on a distant branch form rodents and deserve a class of their own. Having once worked on a street named Guinea Road, I can certainly understand the profound implications of this report, which came out 20 years ago, and of which I was completely unaware until I started researching this post. Still, it’s deeply moving.
2005: In the “Better Late Than Never, But Not Really”-Department, the US Senate apologizes for blocking anti-lynching legislation in the early 20th century, when mob violence against blacks was commonplace. They followed this up four years later by vowing to block any legislation put forth by the nation’s first black president, just in case anybody thought we were actually making progress on addressing this nation’s deep-seated racist history. And while I certainly feel lucky to have been born in this country, it’s things like its ongoing racism that make me hesitant to same I’m “proud.” Do people who say they are proud ever think about things like this? Since they continue to happen, I’d say not.
Anyway, enjoy your June 13ths, today and in the future. It’s not all that bad a day after all.