Today is Wednesday, Dec. 21, the 356th day of 2016 with 10 to follow.
This is the first day of winter.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Jupiter and Saturn. The evening stars are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Neptune, and Uranus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket in 1118; British theologian and American settler Roger Williams in 1603; American patriot Paul Revere in 1734; British dog breeder John "Jack" Russell in 1795; British statesman Benjamin Disraeli in 1804; golf Hall of Fame member Walter Hagen in 1892; baseball Hall of Fame member Josh Gibson in 1911; former Austrian President and U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim in 1918; ventriloquist Paul Winchell in 1922; former Penn State football Coach Joe Paterno in 1926; former talk show host Phil Donahue in 1935 (age 81); actor Jane Fonda in 1937 (age 79); Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Frank Zappa in 1940 and Carl Wilson (Beach Boys) in 1946; former Chinese President Hu Jintao in 1942 (age 74); British guitarist Albert Lee in 1943 (age 73); actor Samuel L. Jackson in 1948 (age 68); film executive Jeffrey Katzenberg in 1950 (age 66); tennis Hall of fame member Chris Evert in 1954 (age 62); comedian Ray Romano in 1957 (age 59); Olympic gold medal-winning athlete Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1959; actors Jane Kaczmarek in 1955 (age 61); Andy Dick in 1965 (age 51) and Kiefer Sutherland in 1966 (age 50); and former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in 1967 (age 49).
On this date in history:
In 1620, the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth, Mass., following a 63-day voyage from England aboard the Mayflower.
In 1864, Union Gen. William T. Sherman completed his Civil War "march to the sea" across the South and arrived in Savannah, Ga.
In 1913, the first crossword puzzle in an American newspaper appeared in The New York Sunday World.
In 1937, Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," the first full-length animated feature film, opened in Los Angeles.
In 1958, three months after a new French Constitution was approved, Charles de Gaulle was elected the first president of the Fifth Republic by a sweeping majority of voters.
In 1968, Apollo 8, the first manned voyage to orbit the moon, was launched. Apollo 11 was the first mission to put astronauts on the moon's surface.
In 1975, the notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal led a raid on a meeting of OPEC oil ministers in Vienna. German and Arab terrorists stormed in with machine guns, killed three people and took 63 others hostage, including 11 oil ministers. The hostages were later freed.
In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 exploded and crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland, killing everyone aboard and 11 people on the ground for a total death toll of 270.
In 1990, a boat carrying about 100 U.S. sailors involved in Operation Desert Shield capsized off the Israeli coast. Twenty-one people died.
In 1991, 11 former Soviet republics declared an end to the Soviet Union and forged a commonwealth that guaranteed independence.
In 1992, 54 people were killed when a chartered jetliner carrying 340 people on a holiday to southern Portugal crashed in bad weather.
In 1993, Hungary's Parliament endorsed the nomination of Peter Boross as president, succeeding Jozsef Antall, who died in office Dec. 12.
In 1998, the shaky coalition of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu collapsed when Israel's Parliament voted 81-30 to dissolve the government.
In 2009, the U.S. government set a 3-hour limit on the time airlines can keep passengers waiting on a plane without giving them food or letting them off the aircraft.
In 2012, U.S. distributors said armored children's backpacks costing hundreds of dollars each were big sellers in the week since an elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn.
A thought for the day: Benjamin Disraeli defined a bore as a person "who has the power of speech but not the capacity for conversation."