Today is Thursday, Aug. 19, the 232nd day of 2004 with 134 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Venus, Uranus and Saturn. The evening stars are Mercury, Jupiter, Neptune, Mars and Pluto. Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include English poet John Dryden in 1631; Connecticut clockmaker Seth Thomas in 1785; statesman Bernard Baruch in 1870; aviation pioneer Orville Wright in 1871; French fashion designer Coco Chanel in 1883; actor Alfred Lunt in 1892; humorist Ogden Nash in 1902; pioneer television engineer Philo Farnsworth in 1906; singing Mills Brother Harry Mills in 1913; publisher Malcolm Forbes in 1919; "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry in 1921; jockey Willie Shoemaker in 1931 (age 73); actresses Diane Muldaur in 1938 (age 66) and Jill St. John in 1940 (age 64); Bill Clinton, 42nd president of the United States, in 1946 (age 58); and actors Gerald McRaney in 1948 (age 56), Adam Arkin in 1956 (age 48), John Stamos in 1963 (age 41), and Matthew Perry in 1969 (age 35).
On this date in history:
During the War of 1812, on this date, the U.S. Navy frigate Constitution defeated the British frigate Guerrière in a furious engagement off the coast of Nova Scotia and earned its nickname of "Old Ironsides." Witnesses said the British shot seemed to bounce off its sides.
In 1915, two Americans were killed when a German U-boat torpedoed the British liner Lusitania in the Atlantic Ocean, an incident that helped bring the United States into World War I.
In 1955, floods hit the northeastern United States, killing 200 people.
In 1960, U-2 spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers was convicted in a Moscow court and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released 18 months later and exchanged for Soviet spy Rudolf Abel.
In 1977, one of the most powerful earthquakes in recorded history hit the eastern Indian Ocean between Australia and Indonesia, rattling buildings in Perth, Australia, 1,000 miles to the south.
In 1987, gun enthusiast Michael Ryan went on a shooting rampage in Hungerford, England, killing 16 people.
In 1991, Soviet President Gorbachev was detained at his vacation dacha as military and KGB hardliners staged a coup that ultimately failed.
In 1992, delegates to the Republican National Convention nominated President Bush and Vice President Quayle for re-election. They were defeated in November by Democrats Bill Clinton and Al Gore.
Also in 1992, professional basketball star Larry Bird announced his retirement because of a back injury after 13 years with the Boston Celtics.
In 1993, former contra rebels in Nicaragua took a government delegation hostage. In retaliation, ex-Sandinistra soldiers seized political leaders in Managua, the capital. All hostages were released by both groups by Aug. 25.
In 1994, President Clinton announced he was ending the 28-year U.S. policy of letting Cuban refugees take up U.S. residency if they reached the country.
In 1995, three U.S. negotiators, including U.S Deputy Asst. Secretary of State Robert Frasure, were killed when their vehicle plunged from a mountain road near Sarajevo, Bosnia.
In 1996, former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker was sentenced to four years probation and Susan McDougal sentenced to two years in prison on Whitewater charges.
Also in 1996, the Green Party nominated Ralph Nader as its presidential candidate.
In 1998, the Teamsters Union and UPS reached an agreement that ended a 15-day strike by 185,000 workers.
In 2003, the United Nations' representative to Iraq was among the 22 people killed when a cement mixer truck loaded with 1,500 pounds of explosives blew up at the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad. A former U.N. chief of protocol, who died the next day, was among about 100 others who were injured.
Also in 2003, a suicide bomber exploded a device aboard a Jerusalem bus killing and injuring more than 100 people.
And, California Gov. Gray Davis, facing a recall vote, charged the recall was part of a Republican plot to steal elections.
A thought for the day: Walter C Hagen said, "You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry. Don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way."