Today is Monday, May 11, the 131st day of 2009 with 234 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Venus, Mars, Neptune, Uranus and Jupiter. The evening stars are Mercury and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include Ottmar Mergenthaler, inventor of the Linotype typesetting machine, in 1854; songwriter Irving Berlin in 1888; dancer/choreographer Martha Graham in 1893; Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali in 1904; comic actor Phil Silvers in 1911; comedian Winstead Sheffield "Doodles" Weaver, in 1911; actor Denver Pyle in 1920; actor Bernard Fox and satirist Mort Sahl, both in 1927 (age 82); Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam leader, in 1933 (age 76); artificial heart developer Dr. Robert Jarvik in 1946 (age 63); actor Doug McClure in 1935; and actress Natasha Richardson in 1963.
On this date in history:
In 1858, Minnesota, dubbed the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," joined the United States as the 32nd state.
In 1862, the Confederate navy destroyed its iron-clad vessel Merrimac to prevent it from falling into the hands of advancing Union forces.
In 1910, Glacier National Park in Montana was created by an act of Congress.
In 1928, the first regularly scheduled television programs were begun by station WGY in Schenectady, N.Y.
In 1969, in one of the more infamous and bloody battles of the Vietnam War, U.S. troops seized Dong Ap Bia mountain, commonly known as "Hamburger Hill."
In 1987, Emmanuel Vitria died in Marseilles in southern France at age 67, some 18 years after receiving a transplanted human heart. He was the longest-surviving heart transplant patient.
In 1994, Joseph Hazelwood, captain of the Exxon Valdez, told a federal court in Anchorage, Alaska, he'd had three vodka drinks just hours before the tanker ran aground, spilling 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound in 1989.
In 1996, a ValuJet airliner crashed in the Florida Everglades, killing 110 people.
In 1997, world chess champion Gerry Kasparov was defeated by a computer, IBM's Deep Blue, in a six-game match in New York.
In 1998, India conducted the first of five underground nuclear tests.
In 2000, five pharmaceutical companies offered to negotiate cuts in the price of AIDS drugs for Africa and other poor regions.
In 2003, The New York Times devoted four pages to a story documenting major inaccuracies and deceptions by one of its reporters, Jayson Blair, in a scandal that cost the paper's two top editors their jobs.
Also in 2003, more than 50 Democratic members of the Texas House of Representatives crossed over into Oklahoma to leave the House without a quorum and block action on a redistricting bill unfavorable to their party.
In 2004, a video showing the beheading of a U.S. civilian was posted on the Web site of an Islamic militant group believed to be linked to al-Qaida. The victim, Nick Berg of Philadelphia, had been repairing Iraq telecommunications infrastructure.
In 2005, about 50 Iraqis were reported killed and dozens wounded in a string of bombings that rocked several Iraqi regions.
In 2006, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told students in Indonesia that Israel was an "evil regime" that would soon be "annihilated."
In 2007, tourists and residents were evacuated from the historic resort town of Avalon on California's Santa Catalina Island where a massive brushfire destroyed homes and thousands of acres. Military hovercraft flew in fire engines to fight the blaze.
In 2008, a reported 23 people were killed when tornadoes swept across rural Missouri and Oklahoma.
Also in 2008, two weeks of anti-immigrant violence in South Africa that began on this date and aimed largely at Zimbabweans who had fled conditions in their own country, left an estimated 60 people dead.
A thought for the day: Anatole France said, "To imagine is everything, to know is nothing at all."