The Almanac

By United Press International  |  May 14, 2004 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Friday, May 14, the 135th day of 2004 with 231 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include Prussian physicist Gabriel Fahrenheit, who introduced the mercury thermometer, in 1686; English portrait painter Thomas Gainsborough in 1727; Scottish reformer Robert Owen in 1771; opera singer Patrice Munsel in 1925 (age 77); singer Bobby Darin in 1936; actress Meg Foster in 1948 (age 74); filmmakers George Lucas in 1944 (age 60) and Robert Zemeckis in 1952 (age 52); and actor Tim Roth in 1961 (age 43).

On this date in history:

In 1643, King Louis XIV, who would be known as "The Sun King," became ruler of France.

In 1796, Dr. Edwards Jennings, a rural England physician, tested his smallpox vaccine on a healthy 8-year-old boy. It worked.

In 1804, one year after the United States doubled its territory with the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark expedition left St. Louis on a mission to explore the Northwest from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean.

In 1904, the Olympic Games were held in the United States for the first time, in St. Louis.

In 1942, Congress established the WAACs, the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps, for World War II duty.

In 1948, Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the State of Israel, establishing the first Jewish state in 2,000 years.

In 1973, the United States launched Skylab, its first manned orbiting laboratory.

Also in 1973, six members of the Ned Alday family were shot to death when they interrupted a gang of fugitives ransacking a mobile home in rural Southwest Georgia.

In 1988, a church bus hit a pickup truck going the wrong way near Carrollton, Ky., killing 27 bus passengers, mostly teenagers.

In 1990, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev ruled illegal Estonia's and Latvia's declarations of transition toward independence. He made no distinction between their documents and Lithuania's declaration of immediate independence.

In 1991, President Bush nominated Robert M. Gates for director of the CIA, a position he was denied four years earlier due to the Iran-Contra investigation.

In 1992, Lyle Alzado, L.A. Raiders lineman-turned-actor/businessman, died of brain cancer, which he had blamed on steroid use.

In 1997, Russia and the NATO nations agreed on a treaty that cleared the way for NATO expansion to the east.

In 1998, Frank Sinatra died after suffering a heart attack. He was 82.

Also in 1998, a federal judge dismissed involuntary manslaughter charges against a former FBI agent in connection with the 1992 deadly shooting at the cabin of white separatist Randy Weaver in Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

In 2000, hundreds of thousands of mothers and other gun control advocates marched in Washington and several other cities, demanding "sensible" gun laws and mourning the loss of children to gun violence. It was known as the "Million Mom March."

In 2002, three gunmen killed 34 in Jammu, capital of India's disputed state of Kashmir. A Pakistan-based militant group was blamed.

In 2003, Sheriff's deputies in Victoria, Texas, found as many as 100 people stuffed into a truck operated by smugglers of illegal aliens. Nineteen had died of the heat.

Also in 2003, the second bombing in two days in Chechnya killed 16.

A thought for the day: William Hazlitt said, "Spleen can subsist on any kind of food."

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