The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Oct. 21, 2003 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Tuesday, Oct. 21, the 294th day of 2003 with 71 to follow.

The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn. The evening stars are Mars, Venus, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

Those born this date are under the sign of Libra. They include English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1772; Swedish chemist and industrialist Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite and founder of the Nobel Prize, in 1833; dancer/choreographer Ted Shawn in 1891; conductor Sir Georg Solti in 1912; jazz trumpeter John "Dizzy" Gillespie, in 1917; former pitcher Whitey Ford in 1928 (age 75); author Ursula K. LeGuin in 1929 (age 74); and actress-author Carrie Fisher in 1956 (age 47).

On this date in history:

In 1805, in one of history's greatest naval battles, the British fleet under Adm. Horatio Nelson defeated the combined French-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar off the coast of Spain.

In 1879, after 14 months of experiments, Thomas Edison invented the first practical electric incandescent lamp.

In 1908, The Saturday Evening Post magazine carried an ad for a brand new product: a two-sided phonograph record.

In 1950, Chinese troops occupied Tibet.

In 1959, the brilliant rocket designer Wernher von Braun and his team were transferred from the Army to the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration, to be known simply as NASA.

In 1987, the Senate rejected Judge Robert Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court by the biggest margin in history, 58-42.

In 1990, gunmen stormed the home of a key supporter of Lebanese Christian military leader Michel Aoun, killing him, his wife and their two sons.

In 1991, Beirut University College professor Jesse Turner, a hostage since January 1987, was released by his captors in Lebanon.

In 1992, former New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, whose investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy became the subject of the movie "JFK," died at 71.

Also in 1992, New York protesters upset with Sinead O'Connor for ripping up a photo of Pope John Paul II on "Saturday Night Live" used a steamroller to crush dozens of the Irish singer's CDs, records and tapes.

In 1994, former Democratic Gov. L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia endorsed his long-time rival, Sen. Charles Robb, who was seeking re-election in a tight race with Oliver North.

Also in 1994, Rosario Ames, wife of confessed spy Aldrich Ames, was sentenced to 63 months in prison for her role in collaborating with her husband.

In 1996, the Dow Jones Index of 30 major stocks topped the 6,000 mark for the first time.

In 1998, the New York Yankees completed a four-game sweep of the San Diego Padres to win the World Series.

In 2001, in the midst of the anthrax scare, legislative business went on as usual in the House and Senate though Senate office buildings remained closed while the investigation continued into discoveries in the office of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and other areas.

A thought for the day: Italian goldsmith and sculptor Benvenuto Cellini wrote in his autobiography, "One can pass on responsibility, but not the discretion that goes with it."

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