Faraaz Damji | 21 May 06:26 2008

[Wikipedia] May 21: Elderly Instruments

  Elderly Instruments is a musical instrument retailer in Lansing,
  Michigan, with a national reputation as a seller, repair shop, and
  locus for folk music.  It specializes in fretted instruments, including
  acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitars, banjos, mandolins, and
  ukuleles, and maintains a selection of odd or rare instruments of many
  types.  Elderly is best known as a premier repair shop for fretted
  instruments, as one of the larger vintage instrument dealers in the
  United States, and as a large dealer of Martin guitars in particular.
  Industry publications, particularly music retail trade and bluegrass
  music journals, frequently feature articles about the Elderly repair
  staff.  The company also provides consignment services for rare and
  vintage instruments.  Elderly has undergone two major expansions: into
  mail order in 1975 and then into Internet sales in the 1990s.  Today it
  is recognized internationally for its services and products; its mail
  order and Internet business account for 65–70 percent of its total
  revenue.  Elderly grossed $12 million in 1999.  In addition to retail
  and repair services, Elderly Instruments is frequently noted as a
  center of local music culture, particularly for bluegrass and "twang"
  music.  Elderly Instruments operates a wholesale record distribution
  business, Sidestreet Distributing, in the lower level of its complex,
  servicing more than 300 small retail businesses.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  French and Indian War: Ten-year-old Mary Campbell was taken captive
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Faraaz Damji | 24 May 07:56 2008

[Wikipedia] May 24: Lion

   The lion is a member of the family Felidae and one of four big cats in
   the genus Panthera.  With exceptionally large males exceeding
   250 kg (550 lb) in weight, it is the second-largest living
   cat after the tiger.  Wild lions currently exist in sub-Saharan Africa
   and in Asia with a critically endangered remnant population in
   northwest India, having disappeared from North Africa, the Middle
   East, and western Asia in historic times.  Until the late Pleistocene
   (about 10,000 years ago), the lion was the most widespread large land
   mammal beside humans.  They were found in most of Africa, much of
   Eurasia from western Europe to India, and the Bering land bridge and,
   in the Americas, from the Yukon to Peru.  Lions live for approximately
   10–14 years in the wild, while in captivity they can live over
   20 years.  They typically inhabit savanna and grassland, although they
   may take to bush and forest.  Lions are unusually social compared to
   other cats.  A pride of lions consists of related females and offspring
   and a small number of adult males.  Groups of female lions typically
   hunt together, preying mostly on large ungulates.  The lion is an apex
   and keystone predator, although they will resort to scavenging if the
   opportunity arises.  The lion is a vulnerable species, having seen a
   possibly irreversible population decline of 30 to 50% over the past
   two decades in its African range.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

   Director-General of New Netherland Peter Minuit bought Manhattan
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Faraaz Damji | 22 May 06:19 2008

[Wikipedia] May 22: Edward Low

  Edward Low was a notorious pirate during the latter days of the Golden
  Age of Piracy, in the early 18th century.  He was born around 1690 into
  poverty in Westminster, London, and was a thief and a scoundrel from a
  young age.  Low moved to Boston, Massachusetts as a young man.  
  Following the death of his wife during childbirth in late 1719, he
  became a pirate two years later, operating off the coasts of New
  England, the Azores, and in the Caribbean.  He captained a number of
  ships, usually maintaining a small fleet of three or four.  Low and his
  pirate crews captured at least a hundred ships during his short
  career, burning most of them.  Although he was only active for three
  years, Low remains notorious as one of the most vicious pirates of the
  age, with a reputation for violently torturing his victims before
  killing them.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle described Low as "savage and
  desperate", and a man of "amazing and grotesque brutality".  The New
  York Times called him a torturer, whose methods would have "done
  credit to the ingenuity of the Spanish Inquisition in its darkest
  days".  The circumstances of Low's death, which took place around 1724,
  have been the subject of much speculation.  

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  Forces led by Richard, Duke of York and Richard, Earl of Warwick
  captured Lancastrian King Henry VI of England, beginning the Wars of
  the Roses with a Yorkist victory in the First Battle of St Albans.  
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Faraaz Damji | 26 May 05:22 2008

[Wikipedia] May 26: Nguyen Ngoc Tho

   Nguyen Ngoc Tho was the first Prime Minister of South Vietnam, serving
   from November 1963 to late January 1964.  Tho was appointed to head a
   civilian cabinet by General Duong Van Minh's military junta, which
   came to power after overthrowing and assassinating Ngo Dinh Diem, the
   nation's first president.  Tho's rule was marked by a period of
   confusion and weak government, as the Military Revolutionary Council
   and the civilian cabinet vied for power.  Tho oversaw South Vietnam's
   failed land reform policy, and was accused of lacking vigour in
   implementing the program because he was a large landowner.  He was
   noted for his faithful support of Diem during the Buddhist crisis that
   ended the rule of the Ngo family.  Despite being a Buddhist, Tho
   staunchly defended the regime's pro-Catholic policies and its violent
   actions against the Buddhist majority.  Tho lost his job and retired
   from politics when Minh's junta was deposed in a January 1964 coup by
   General Nguyen Khanh.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

   Kaspar Hauser, a foundling with suspected ties to the Royal House of
   Baden, first appeared in the streets of Nuremberg, Germany.

   The Dow Jones Industrial Average, representing twelve stocks from
   various American industries, was first published by journalist Charles
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Faraaz Damji | 28 May 06:07 2008

[Wikipedia] May 28: Troy McClure

   Troy McClure is a recurring fictional character in the animated
   television series The Simpsons.  He was voiced by Phil Hartman, and
   first appeared in the episode "Homer vs.  Lisa and the 8th
   Commandment".  McClure was based on B-movie actors Troy Donahue and
   Doug McClure, as well as Hartman himself.  After Phil Hartman's murder
   in 1998, the character was retired, making his final appearance in the
   tenth-season episode "Bart the Mother".  He is one of the show's most
   popular recurring characters and, had Hartman not died, might have
   been the subject of a live-action film.  McClure is a washed-up actor,
   frequently shown presenting infomercials and educational videos.  He is
   vain and self-centered, marrying Selma Bouvier to aid his failing
   career and quash rumors about his personal life.  McClure appears as
   the central character only in the episode "A Fish Called Selma", but
   he hosts the episodes "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" and
   "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase".

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Today's selected anniversaries:

   Anglo-Spanish War: The Spanish Armada (a galleass pictured), with
   130 ships and over 30,000 men, set sail from Lisbon for the English
   Channel to engage English naval forces.

   English Civil War: Royalist troops allegedly slaughtered up to 1,600
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Faraaz Damji | 30 May 08:31 2008

[Wikipedia] May 30: D. B. Cooper

   D.  B.  Cooper is the name commonly used to refer to a hijacker who, on
   November 24 1971, after receiving a ransom payout of US$200,000,
   jumped from the back of a Boeing 727 as it was flying over the Pacific
   Northwest of the United States possibly over Woodland, Washington.
   Despite hundreds of suspects through the years, no conclusive evidence
   has surfaced regarding Cooper's identity or whereabouts.  The FBI
   believes he did not survive the jump.  Several theories offer competing
   explanations of what happened after his famed jump.  The nature of
   Cooper's escape and the uncertainty of his fate continue to intrigue
   people.  The Cooper case remains an unsolved mystery.  It has baffled
   both government and private investigators for decades, with countless
   leads turning into dead ends.  In March 2008, the FBI thought it might
   have had one of the biggest breakthroughs in the case when children
   unearthed a parachute within the bounds of Cooper's probable jump site
   near the town of Amboy, Washington.  Experts later revealed that it did
   not belong to the hijacker.  Still, despite the case's infamy for its
   enduring lack of evidence, a few significant clues have arisen.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

   Hundred Years' War: Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen,
   France after being convicted of heresy in a politically motivated

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