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Good InfoGood News in History, April 24

Good News in History, April 24

Happy 90th Birthday to Shirley MacLaine, the esteemed dancer, actress, writer, and spiritual seeker. A 6-time Academy Award nominee, MacLaine received a nomination for Best Documentary Feature for A China Memoir, and Best Actress nominations for Some Came Running (Frank Sinatra, 1958), The Apartment and Irma la Douce (with Jack Lemmon 1960-63), and The Turning Point (1977), before winning Best Actress for Terms of Endearment in 1983. She’s also won and Emmy, seven Golden Globe awards, the AFI and Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Awards, and has written 15 best-selling books. Her latest release, “Out on a Leash: How Terry’s Death Gave Me New Life,” focuses on her relationship with one of her beloved rescue dogs. READ more… (1934)

Publicity Photo Released for The Last Word, 2017

In recent years, she’s appeared in (among others) The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Downton Abbey, and The Last Word, a 2017 film about a powerful, but unloved, senior who sets out to rewrite her inevitable obituary. MacLaine treasures her relationship with actor Warren Beatty, her famous younger brother who grew up with her in Virginia.

Still taking on acting jobs and regularly flying to see shows in New York, she described her life in the New Mexico mountains with her dogs as very full. “It’s the best I’ve ever been.” (Keep up with her activities at shirleymaclaine.com)

WATCH Meryl Streep presenting her the AFI Life Achievement Award—and Shirley’s acceptance speech—a tribute to the women in her life, and her male co-stars. (Also, check out her amazing dance sequence with Gene Kelly (and those long legs) in the campy film, What a Way To Go!, which also co-starred Paul Newman, Robert Mitchum, Dean Martin, and Dick Van Dyke. (1934)


MORE Good News on this Day:

  • The first newspaper in the USA, the New-Letter, was published in Boston, Massachusetts (1704)
  • The first reporter (William Price from the Washington Star) was assigned to cover the White House (1897)
  • Happy Birthday to Barbra Streisand, who turns 79—watch her ‘Carpool Karaoke’ with James Corden from two years ago (1942)
  • Winston Churchill was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II (1953)
  • A television signal was bounced off a satellite for the first time at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1962)
  • Ray Charles’ 1960 version of the Hoagy Carmichael song Georgia On My Mind was proclaimed the state song, 19 years after the Georgia native recorded it on his album The Genius Hits the Road (1979)
  • Bill Shoemaker won his 8,000th horse race—2,000 more than any other jockey (1981)

On this day 491 years ago, the founding father of the Netherlands, William from the House of Nassau, known commonly as William of Orange, was born. A wealthy nobleman, William nevertheless risked it all to break the Spanish Habsburg’s concentration of power in the Low Countries, launching the 80 Years War that led to the formation of the Netherlands in the 17th century, one of the best places to live at any point in history, anywhere.

Tomb of William of Orange CC BY-SA 4.0 – Alexander Williams

William of Orange was a Catholic, but nevertheless came from a nation of Protestants, Calvinists, Anabaptists, and Mennonites, all of whom were furious at the Spanish Catholic Habsburg monarchy for persecuting their forms of worship. William latched onto this when, in 1564, he gave a speech to the Council of State, saying that he could not agree that monarchs should rule over the souls of their subjects and take from them their freedom of belief and religion.

Following an event of religious unrest known as the Beeldenstorm, the Spanish sent a general known as the “Iron Duke” to quell the unrest. The military leader created a military tribunal, which summoned William and 10,000 others to appear before it. William did not, and had all his property outside his native Nassau confiscated.

With the considerable wealth he still commanded, he financed armed resistance, bands of corsairs that would harry the Spanish from the sea, an army of German mercenaries to fight the Duke on land. William’s brother Louis won a battle against the Spanish, and lost a second one—collectively agreed to be the start of the 80 Years War.

After several years of difficulty, the corsairs managed to capture a city, which led to the surrender of several others. Concurrently, rebel armies captured cities throughout the entire country, giving William the upper hand. While never ruling over a united Netherlands, he was given the title “Count of Holland and Zeeland” making him the first Dutch monarch of an independent (self-declared) Dutch Republic. Shortly after he was assassinated, but his successors carried on the fight with the Spanish until they won.

The newly-freed kingdom in the Low Countries entered a golden age in which they dominated trade, produced a generation of the finest painters in history, explored the world, and advanced the arts and sciences of everything from astronomy to tapestry embroidery. (1533)

129 years ago today, Joshua Slocum set sail in The Spray from Boston, Massachusetts, and would return three years later as the first man to solo-sail the globe’s circumference. His book, Sailing Alone Around the World, became an international best-seller, and a cornerstone of travel literature. Slocum was a sailing man through and through, running away from home on Nova Scotia 4 times in order to work on boats, before finally getting a job as a cabin boy on a schooner bound for Liverpool. In his working years he sailed out of San Francisco for 13 years transporting cargo from China, the Spice Islands, and Japan, visiting Jakarta, the Maluku Islands, Manila, Hong Kong, Saigon, and Singapore.

The boat Slocum did it in, The Spray.

The words he penned on his movement of departure are so exciting, and it’s perhaps no surprise that in his review of it, Sir Edwin Arnold, the English poet and journalist wrote, “I do not hesitate to call it the most extraordinary book ever published.”

I had resolved on a voyage around the world, and as the wind on the morning of April 24, 1895 was fair, at noon I weighed anchor, set sail, and filled away from Boston, where the Spray had been moored snugly all winter. The twelve o’clock whistles were blowing just as the sloop shot ahead under full sail. A short board was made up the harbor on the port tack, then coming about she stood to seaward, with her boom well off to port, and swung past the ferries with lively heels. A photographer on the outer pier of East Boston got a picture of her as she swept by, her flag at the peak throwing her folds clear. A thrilling pulse beat high in me. My step was light on deck in the crisp air. I felt there could be no turning back, and that I was engaging in an adventure the meaning of which I thoroughly understood. (1895)

29 years ago today, the Palestine Liberation Organization voted to revoke its pledge that called for an armed struggle to destroy Israel.

Members of the Palestinian National Council voted 504-54 with 14 abstentions to eliminate all such references from its 1964 charter. The vote was pushed through by PLO president Yasser Arafat, who hoped it would pave the way for a partial Israeli troop withdrawal from the rest of the West Bank, reported CNN.

“This is not only a success for our democracy, it is a success for the peace process,” Arafat said. “I am very happy that I fulfilled my commitment, and we hope that our partners, the Israelis, will do the same.” (1996)

The Great Hall, Library of Congress

224 years ago today, the Library of Congress was established by the US Congress in Washington, DC, which provided $5,000 for the purchase of books and maps. Interestingly, after most of the original collection was destroyed by the British in the War of 1812, Thomas Jefferson restored its shelves, selling to the Library his entire personal collection of 6,487 books. (1800)

hubble photo of nebula

On this day 34 years ago, the famed Hubble Space Telescope was launched into low Earth orbit by the Space Shuttle Discovery. Built by NASA with help from the European Space Agency, Hubble is still in operation today, as one of the largest and most versatile of its kind.

The only space telescope designed to be maintained in space by astronauts, Hubble’s orbit is outside the distortion of Earth’s atmosphere which allows it to capture extremely high-resolution images with substantially lower background light than ground-based telescopes.

A vital research tool that opens a deep view into space, many of Hubble’s observations have led to breakthroughs in astrophysics, such as determining the age of the universe. What else have we learned from Hubble? WATCH a 30th-anniversary video… (1990)


LOOK: The Hubble Telescope’s 12 Best Photos – Glimpse of God?


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