Today is Friday, March 18, the 77th day of 2005 with 288 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. The evening stars are Mercury and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include John C. Calhoun, the first U.S. vice president to resign that office, in 1782; Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th president of the United States, in 1837; Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1844; German engineer Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the engine that bears his name, in 1858; British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1869; clairvoyant and therapist Edgar Cayce in 1877; actor Edward Everett Horton in 1886; racecar driver Andy Granatelli in 1923 (age 82); actor Peter Graves in 1926 (age 79); authors George Plimpton in 1927 (age 78) and John Updike in 1932 (age 73); former South African President F.W. de Klerk in 1936 (age 69); country singer Charley Pride in 1938 (age 67) and singer/songwriter Wilson Pickett in 1941 (age 64); singer Irene Cara in 1959 (age 46); actress/singer Vanessa Williams in 1963 (age 44); Olympic skater Bonnie Blair in 1964 (age 41); and rapper/actress Queen Latifah in 1970 (age 35).
On this date in history:
In 1922, Mahatma Gandhi was sentenced to six years in prison for civil disobedience against the British rulers of India.
In 1926, the worst tornado in U.S. history roared through eastern Missouri, southern Illinois, and southern Indiana, killing 695 people, injuring some 13,000 people, and causing $17 million in property damage.
In 1931, the first electric razor was marketed by Schick, Inc.
In 1937, a natural gas explosion at a public school in New London, Texas, killed 410 people, most of them children.
In 1962, France and Algeria signed a cease-fire agreement ending a seven-year civil war and bringing independence to the North African country.
In 1965, Soviet cosmonaut Alexi Leonov became the first person to "walk in space."
In 1989, the shuttle Discovery completed a five-day mission, landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
In 1992, hotel queen and convicted tax cheat Leona Helmsley was sentenced to four years in prison.
In 1993, Contra rebels freed five hostages they held at the Nicaraguan Embassy in Costa Rica after the two sides agreed to begin talks to end the 10-day siege.
Also in 1993, an investigation by psychiatrists and child abuse experts on Woody Allen's relationship with his 7-year-old adopted daughter ended with Allen claiming exoneration.
In 1995, Michael Jordan announced he was returning to professional basketball and the Chicago Bulls after a 17-month break, during which he had tried a baseball career.
In 1996, John Salvi was convicted of murder in the killing of two abortion clinic receptionists. He later committed suicide.
In 2000, opposition candidate Chen Shui-bain was elected president of Taiwan, ending more than 50 years of Nationalist Party rule.
In 2003, on the eve of war with Iraq, the U.S. State Department listed 30 countries as members of a "coalition of the willing" supporting military intervention but only three -- the United States, Britain and Australia -- were known to be providing troops.
Also in 2003, a Texas jury found the Bayet Corp. not liable in a $500 million lawsuit over a cholestrerol drug.
And. James Kopp, an anti-abortion activist, was convicted of murdering Dr. Barnett Slepian, whom he said he sought only to wound to keep the doctor from performing abortions.
In 2004, a top U.S. scientist told lawmakers that all bovines slated for consumption should be tested for mad cow disease which he called "the greatest threat to the safety of the human food supply in modern times."
A thought for the day: "Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or doing it better." John Updike said that.