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Saturday, January 30, 2016

January 31 - On This Day

I really have to get on with preparing my classes for tomorrow, so I've kept it simple, with a date meme. 

Things that happened on this day! 

I haven't been able to find any literary events on January 31, so here are some space-related ones:

1862 – American astronomer Graham Clark discovers the white dwarf star Sirius B, a companion of Sirius. He was also a telescope-maker and apparently made the discovery while texting out a new 18 1/2 inch telescope which, according to Wikipedia, is still being used, after 153 years! 

1961 – Project Mercury: Mercury-Redstone 2:  Ham the Chimp is shot into outer space. I vaguely recall Michael Collins mentioning this in his history of the space program. The poor little thing did not enjoy his space flight, but he did live till the 1980s and had a funeral complete with eulogy. And what they learned from his flight, where he had to perform tasks, helped with the flight of Alan Shepard in Freedom 7. 

1971 - Apollo 14 shoots off to the moon. I have a soft spot for this one because the leader was Alan Shepard, who had missed out after the Mercury program due to health issues. He had recovered and finally got to go to the moon. 

There are more space-related stories, but these will do for now. 

If you want to read a bit more about the space program, you might like to check out my children's book Starwalkers: Explorers Of The Unknown. Unfortunately it's out of print(sold out, by the way) but you might be able to get a copy on ABE Books.

I will just add that on this day, in 1949, the world's first soap opera, These Are My Children, was broadcast. Think of all the soapies which might never have happened if not for this!

Authors Born On This Day

1872: Zane Grey, the author of all those Westerns! He took a while to get going, having a lot of rejection slips, including for Riders Of The Purple Sage, which became his all-time bestseller, but once he did  get going, he became a millionaire(For Riders, he went over the head of the editor who had turned him down)

1893 - Freya Stark - travel writer and memoirist. 

1923 - Norman Mailer, Pulitzer Prizewinner

1934 - Gene De Weese, author of a lot of Star Trek novels. I can't recall if I've read any of his, but they were popular. 

1980 - Kevin Maynard, author of the TV series Dexter.

This is the feast day of St John Bosco, a nineteenth century priest who did great things for kids. I mention him because he's also a patron saint of editors and publishers. (Maybe it's the name John, because THE St John is also the patron saint of publishers.)

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