Dr. Hurlbutt's Highly Peculiar Online Calendar

January 2011

(National Gourmet Coffee Month)

January 1: New Year's Day. Traditionally it is an occasion for making bold resolutions for self-improvement, such as, "This year I will buy more fine cards from Archelaus!"

January 2: Berchtold's Day, a Swiss holiday commemorating Duke Berchtold V, who founded the Swiss capital of Berne in the 12th century. According to legend, Berchtold went on a hunt, promising to name the town after the first creature he slew, which turned out to be a bear. This animal is accordingly the symbol of the city, proudly displayed on its coat of arms. The city has also kept live bears as public mascots for centuries. Regarding the Swiss capital, the Italian author Luciano De Crescenzo once observed devastatingly: "Berne is twice the size of the Vienna cemetery, but one enjoys Berne only half as much."

January 3: In 1521, Leo X issued a papal bull excommunicating the religious dissident Martin Luther from the Roman Catholic Church.

If you're not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don't want to go there. - Martin Luther.

January 5: In 1968 the reform-minded Alexander Dubček replaced the old-line Stalinist AntonÍn Novotný as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. He ushered in the "Prague Spring," a heady period of political liberalization ultimately crushed by Soviet tanks in August.

January 6: The character "Porky Pig" made his debut in 1936 in the Warner Brothers cartoon Gold Diggers of '49.

January 8: Overriding a presidential veto in 1867, Congress granted all adult male citizens of the District of Columbia the right to vote, thereby extending suffrage to African Americans for the first time in U.S. history. The right for citizens of the District to vote in presidential elections, however, had to wait until 1964, following passage of the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution in 1961.

January 10: The London Underground, the first system of its kind in the world, opened to the public in 1863.

January 11: In 1964, Surgeon General Luther Terry, issued the first U.S. government report concluding that smoking caused cardiovascular disease, emphysema, and lung cancer and recommending remedial action. Beginning in 1966, packages of cigarettes sold in the United States were required to carry warning labels.

January 12: Zanzibar Revolution Day. This public holiday in the east African country of Tanzania commemorates the violent overthrow of the government of the exotic island of Zanzibar in 1964, a month after the departure of the British colonial administration. In April, Zanzibar and mainland Tanganyika combined to form Tanzania.

January 15: Twenty-one people were killed and 150 more were injured in 1919, when a 2.3 million-gallon storage tank of molasses burst in Boston, Massachusetts, filling the streets with a veritable tidal wave of the viscous liquid.

January 16: Actor William Shatner, best known for playing "Captain Kirk" on the 1960s television series Star Trek, sold a kidney stone to an online casino for $25,000 in 2006 to raise money for charity.

January 17: Martin Luther King Day. This U.S. federal holiday commemorating the slain civil rights leader has been observed since 1986. Falling on the third Monday of January, it commemorates King's birth on January 15, 1929.

January 18: The first 736 British convicts arrived at Australia's Botany Bay in 1788. Among the odd creatures inhabiting the new land was the platypus.

There are times when truth hardly seems probable. - Nicolas Boileau (1636-1711).

January 20: On this date in 1999, at least six people were killed in the Afghan province of Khost in a clash between the Gurbuz tribe and officials of the fundamentalist Taliban regime, after youths refused to stop playing a traditional "egg fighting" game that the Taliban deemed un-Islamic. On this same date two years later, the Taliban's religious police in the Afghan capital of Kabul began rounding up hairdressers accused of giving young men haircuts modeled after that of film star Leonardo DiCaprio in the blockbuster movie Titanic. According to the Taliban, the style was offensive, since it let hair overhang the forehead in a manner that might interfere with prayer.

January 21: The first American novel, The Power of Sympathy, Or the Triumph of Nature Founded in Truth, was published anonymously in Massachusetts in 1789. A later edition credited Sarah Wentworth Apthorp Morton as the author, but this attribution is not universally accepted by scholars.

January 23: Elizabeth Blackwell received her M.D. in 1849, the first American woman to do so.

January 25: At Japanese behest, Thailand declared war on the Western Allies in 1942.

January 26: Following the defeat of the Ottomans by coalition forces under Prince Eugene of Savoy, the Peace of Karlowitz in 1699 required the former to relinquish many of their eastern European holdings, including much of present-day Hungary, Romania, Croatia, and Greece, as well as part of what is now Ukraine.

January 27: The first Tarzan film was released in 1918.

January 29: In 1998 the Inspector General of the Central Intelligence Agency released the first volume of a little-noticed but damning report on the CIA's complicity in widespread drug trafficking by the Nicaraguan "Contra" rebels during the Reagan Administration.

January 30: The deposed King Charles I of England, Scotland, and Ireland was executed by Parliament for high treason in 1649 during the English Civil War. There is uncertainty as to who performed the execution, since the headsman wore a mask to conceal his identity, but it is widely held, at least among the Irish, that an Irishman named Gunning did so. The King's Head pub in Galway certainly trades on this notion, although its website is honest enough to admit that the attribution is probably false.

January 31: Germany informed the United States in 1917 that it was implementing a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, a move that served only to draw the U.S. into World War I in April.

January | February | March | April | May | June
July | August | September | October | November | December

While Archelaus reasonably believes the contents of this calendar to be accurate, it disclaims
all liability for the consequences of any action undertaken in reliance upon said contents.