Today is Saturday, June 19, the 171st day of 2004 with 195 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Venus, Uranus and Neptune. The evening stars are Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and Pluto.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Gemini. They include James VI of Scotland, later James I of England, in 1566; French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal in 1623; the Duchess of Windsor, born Bessie Wallis Warfield, in 1896; Moe Howard, one of the "Three Stooges," in 1897; bandleader Guy Lombardo in 1902; baseball player Lou Gehrig in 1903; former Sen. Alan Cranston, D-Calif., in 1914; film critic Pauline Kael in 1919; actresses Nancy Marchand in 1928 and Gena Rowlands in 1936 (age 68); actor Malcolm McDowell in 1943 (age 61); author Salman Rushdie in 1947 (age 57); actress Phylicia Rashad in 1948 (age 56); singer Ann Wilson of Heart in 1951 (age 53); actress Kathleen Turner in 1954 (age 50); and singer Paula Abdul in 1962 (age 42).
On this date in history:
In A.D. 325, the early Christian church opened the general council of Nicaea, which settled on rules for computing the date of Easter.
In 1787, the U.S. Constitutional Convention voted to strike down the Articles of Confederation and form a new government.
In 1846, two amateur baseball teams played under new rules at Hoboken, N.J., planting the first seeds of organized baseball. The New York Nine beat the Knickerbockers, 23-1.
In 1856, the first Republican national convention ended in Philadelphia with the nomination of explorer John Charles Fremont of California for president.
In 1867, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, installed as emperor of Mexico by French Emperor Napoleon III in 1864, was executed on the orders of Benito Juarez, the president of the Mexican Republic.
Also in 1867, the first running of the Belmont Stakes took place at Jerome Park, N.Y.
In 1905, Pittsburgh showman Harry Davis opened the world's first nickelodeon, showing a silent film called The Great Train Robbery. The storefront theater boasted 96 seats and charged only 5 cents and prompted the advent of movie houses across the nation.
In 1943, World War II's Battle of the Philippine Sea began, as Japan tried unsuccessfully to prevent further Allied advancement in the South Pacific.
In 1945, one of the most famous -- and funniest -- of all comedy sketches, Abbott and Costello's "Who's on first?" routine, made its movie debut in "The Naughty Nineties."
In 1953, convicted spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed.
In 1977, Elvis Presley made his final live concert recordings, at a series of concerts in Nebraska. He died two months later.
In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the 1981 Louisiana law that required schools to teach the creationist theory of human origin espoused by fundamentalist Christians.
In 1991, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a plan to prohibit the export of military supplies to Iraq.
In 1992, Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels youth anti-crime patrols, was shot and wounded by two men who lay in wait in a taxi near his Manhattan home.
In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prayers led by students at public high school football games are not permitted under the constitutional separation of church and state.
In 2003, Attorney General John Ashcroft said an Ohio truck driver, Iyman Faris, had pleaded guilty to taking part in a terrorist plot to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge.
A thought for the day: Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote of cheerfulness, "the more it is spent, the more of it remains."