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Saturday, November 26, 2016

November 26: On This Day!

1476: A battle is won by Vlad the Impaler, better known to us as the real Dracula, making him ruler of Wallachia for the third time. 

1789: Thanksgiving becomes a national holiday in the U.S., under George Washington. Apparently, before that there was just a harvest festival at the time.

1922: Howard Carter and his sponsor Lord Carnarvon enter the tomb of King Tut. Imagine, Tutankhamon wasn't even a major Pharaoh and his tomb was crammed with amazing riches. Of course, if he'd been buried in a pyramid, the tomb would have been robbed and cleared out long ago. In any case, it inspired a lot of terrible horror movies and fiction. By the way, some years ago at my school, we had a student whose great grandfather had been with Howard Carter at that tomb, a chemist, I think. He said the family had been trying to get back a photo of great grandad and Carter from the museum in Cairo. Meanwhile, he kept hunting through our books and on line for any possible photos of his ancestor - and found one, at last, in a children's book about the discovery. 

This day has some author birthdays I simply have to celebrate, and here they are: 

1909: Eugene Ionesco, author of some truly over-the-top absurdist  plays. Two of the best-known were Rhinoceros, in which everyone in town is turning into a rhinocerosI believe that was a comment on Nazism - and The Bald Soprano(I had to read that in high school French as La Cantatrice Chauve.

1919: Frederik Pohl. Famous science fiction writer. If you've never heard of him, you just aren't a fan! He lived well into the days of the Internet and I believe he did a fanzine, which made him eligible for the best fan writer category of the Hugos. 

1922: The wonderful cartoonist  Charles Schulz, without whose genius we would never have had Peanuts, no Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Schroeder or Snoopy! And the world would be a much poorer place. 

And, for the kids, on this day in 1972 was born James Dashner, author of the Maze Runner series and The Eye Of Minds(forget which series that is, but it was a nice bit of fiction about being in a virtual reality world). Teenagers just love it all. Boys and girls alike borrow his books from my library. 

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