Today is Friday, Oct. 31, the 304th day of 2014 with 61 to follow.
This is Halloween.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Jupiter and Mercury. The evening stars are Mars, Neptune, Saturn Uranus and Venus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Scorpio. They include Dutch painter Jan Vermeer in 1632; English poet John Keats in 1795; Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low in 1860; Gen. Chiang Kai-shek, the first leader of Nationalist China, in 1887; actor/singer Ethel Waters in 1896; actors Dale Evans in 1912, Barbara Bel Geddes in 1922 and Lee Grant in 1927 (age 87); British jockey and writer Dick Francis in 1920; astronaut Michael Collins in 1930 (age 84); former TV news anchorman Dan Rather in 1931 (age 83); actor/director Michael Landon in 1936; folk singer/songwriter Tom Paxton in 1937 (age 77); actors David Ogden Stiers in 1942 (age 72), Brian Doyle-Murray in 1945 (age 69), Stephen Rea in 1946 (age 68), Deidre Hall in 1947 (age 67) and John Candy in 1950; Belgian politician and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Olympic gold medal marathon runner Frank Shorter, both in 1947 (age 67); broadcaster Jane Pauley in 1950 (age 64); actors Ken Wahl in 1954 (age 60), Brian Stokes Mitchell in 1957 (age 57) and Rob Schneider in 1963 (age 51); New Zealand director and producer Peter Jackson in 1961 (age 53); and rapper Vanilla Ice, born Robert Matthew Van Winkle, in 1967 (age 47).
On this date in history:
In 1517, Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation by nailing a proclamation to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany.
In 1864, Nevada was admitted to the United States as the 36th state.
In 1926, magician, illusionist and escape artist Harry Houdini died of peritonitis in a Detroit hospital following a blow to the abdomen.
In 1931, with the Great Depression in full swing, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that 827 banks had failed during the previous two months.
In 1941, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota -- consisting of the sculpted heads of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt -- was completed.
In 1968, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson announced a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam.
In 1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by Sikh guards. Her son, Rajiv, succeeded her.
In 1985, salvage divers located the remains of the booty-laden pirate ship Whydah, which sank Feb. 17, 1717, off Cape Cod, Mass.
In 2004, Iranian lawmakers chanted, "Death to America!" after a unanimous vote to allow their government to resume uranium enrichment activities.
In 2005, Samuel Alito, a 55-year-old conservative federal appeals judge, was nominated by U.S. President George W. Bush to the U.S. Supreme Court to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor.
In 2008, U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus took over as head of the Central Command, in charge of military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iran and other countries.
In 2010, Brazilians elected Dilma Rousseff as their first woman president. The former energy minister and choice of outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva defeated Jose Serra in a runoff with 56 percent of the vote. (Rousseff won a second term Oct. 26, 2014.)
In 2012, the Syrian Network for Human Rights in London said 421 people, including 39 children, died during a four-day United Nations-backed truce in Syria. In 2013, the U.S. Federal Aviaion Administration announced airlines could soon allow passengers to use laptops, tablets, music players, e-readers, etc., on flights, with certain restrictions, and that cellphones and other devices must be kept in "airplane mode," disabling their wireless features.
A thought for the day: "Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip." -- Winston Churchill