Today is Dec. 16.
This is the anniversary of the colonial guerrilla action that became known as the Boston Tea Party. On this date in 1773, some 50 American patriots, protesting the British tax on tea, dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston harbor. The British were not amused.
The Battle of the Bulge began on this date in 1944. Taking advantage of foggy, rainy weather, Germany launched a great counter-offensive against the Allies in the French Ardennes Forest --- knowing the lousy conditions would minimize an aerial counterattack. The Nazis were able to penetrate 65 miles through Allied lines before being stopped.
It was on this date in 1998 that U.S. and British jetfighters began a four-night campaign of air attacks on more than 100 Iraqi military targets. The action -- long threatened -- came after the allies concluded Iraq would not cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors.
A series of earthquakes shook the Midwest during the winter of 1811-1812. One of history's strongest recorded temblors struck near New Madrid, Mo., on this date in 1811. The quake toppled chimneys 400 miles away in Cincinnati.
On this date in 1835, a fire swept New York City, razing 600 buildings and causing $20 million damage.
A Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was elected president of Haiti on this date in 1990. It was the Caribbean island nation's first fully free vote since the 1986 fall of the "Baby Doc" Duvalier regime. Aristide would be toppled by a military coup within a year. That military government stepped down in 1994 upon threat of a U.S. military invasion. Aristide was re-elected president in 2000.
A major stumbling block in achieving peace in the Middle East was removed on this date in 1991, when the U.N. General Assembly repealed a resolution equating Zionism with racism. The vote was 111-25, with many of the "yes" votes coming from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
On this date in 1997, more than 700 children in Japan were hospitalized after an episode of the "Pokemon" TV show triggered a condition called "light epilepsy" or "Nintendo epilepsy," which is caused by intense flashes of light viewed from close to the source.
Also in 1997, the highest wind speed ever measured -- 236 mph -- was recorded at Anderson Air Force Base in Guam as Typhoon Paka slammed into the Pacific island.
And Anton Dvorak's "New World Symphony" premiered at New York's newly built Carnegie Hall on this date in 1893. The symphony contains snatches from black spirituals and American folk music, Dvorak, a Bohemian, had been in the United States for only a year when he composed it as a greeting to his friends in Europe.
We now return you to the present, already in progress.