Today is Monday, Dec. 23, the 357th day of 2013 with eight to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Jupiter, Mars, Mercury and Saturn. The evening stars are Neptune, Uranus and Venus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include Egyptologist Jean Francois Champollion, who deciphered the Rosetta Stone, in 1790; Mormon church founder Joseph Smith in 1805; poet Harriet Monroe, founder of Poetry magazine, in 1860; New York restaurateur Vincent Sardi Sr. in 1885; actor James Gregory in 1911; former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt in 1918 (age 95); basketball Hall of Fame member Bob Kurland in 1924; actor Harry Guardino in 1925; bowling Hall of Fame member Dick Weber in 1929; Japanese Emperor Akihito in 1933 (age 80); football Hall of Fame member Paul Hornung in 1935 (age 78); Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Jorma Kaukonen in 1940 (age 73); singer-songwriter Tim Hardin in 1941; entrepreneur John Peterman in 1942 (age 71); actor/comedian Harry Shearer in 1943 (age 70); marathon runner Bill Rodgers in 1947 (age 66); football Hall of Fame member Jack Ham in 1948 (age 65); political commentator William Kristol in 1952 (age 61); actors Susan Lucci in 1946 (age 67) and Corey Haim in 1971; rock musician Eddie Vedder in 1964 (age 49).
On this date in history:
In 1620, construction began on the first permanent European settlement in New England. It was one week after the Mayflower arrived at Plymouth Harbor in present-day Massachusetts.
In 1783, Gen. George Washington resigned his commission with the U.S. Army and retired to Mount Vernon, Va. (He became the new nation's first president in 1789.)
In 1913, the U.S. Federal Reserve System was established.
In 1928, the National Broadcasting Co. established a permanent U.S. coast-to-coast radio hookup.
In 1947, the transistor was invented, leading to a revolution in communications and electronics.
In 1948, former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and six other Japanese war leaders were hanged in Tokyo under sentence of the Allied War Crimes Commission.
In 1973, the shah of Iran announced that the petroleum-exporting states of the Persian Gulf would double the price of their crude oil.
In 1995, more than 500 people were killed in Mandi Dabwali, India, when fire engulfed a tent set up for a school ceremony.
In 2003, the first case of mad cow disease was reported in the United States when a Holstein in Washington state tested positive for the ailment.
In 2004, China reported its Bohai Bay Basin in the north may contain 20.5 billion tons of offshore oil reserves.
In 2008, officials in Guinea's army announced the country's government had been dissolved and the constitution suspended after the death of President Lansana Conte, who had ruled the African nation for 24 years.
In 2009, Mexico City voters approved a sweeping gay rights measure allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.
In 2012, Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's eldest son, Tagg, said his father "wanted to be president less than anyone I've met in my life," the Boston Globe reported.
A thought for the day: "I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years unless we spread into space." -- Stephen Hawking