The following events took place on December 25 -- among many Earthlings, this is commonly referred to as Christmas.
336 -- In Rome, the first recorded celebration of Christmas took place. Even though the Catholic Church believed Jesus Christ was born in the spring, they chose December 25 as the official birthday (called Christ's Mass) in order to coincide with the winter solstice and compete with the Pagan practices of worshiping the Sun.
800 -- Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne as heir of the Roman emperors.
1066 -- William the Conqueror was crowned King of England.
1621 -- William Bradford, Governor of the new Plymouth Colony outlawed newcomers to America from playing cards. The new country across the ocean was intended to become the Land of the Free. But human nature often compels those in charge to curtail freedom in the name of security or purity.
1642 -- Isaac Newton, scientist, was born in England.
1776 -- General George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River for a surprise attack during the Revolutionary War. It was quite cold and the grunts did the rowing. "Government is a force -- like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." George Washington
1799 -- In France, Napoleon's new constitution went into effect, giving him powers to make laws, control finances and conduct relations with foreign powers. He stood 4' 10" and had an urge to conquer the world -- today, such folly is referred to as a Napoleonic Complex. "A Constitution should be short and obscure." Napoleon Bonaparte
1837 -- U.S. Forces defeated the Seminole Indians in the Battle of Okeechobee. On the positive side for the Indians, there would later be a college that would adopt "Seminoles" as the team mascot name.
1868 -- President Andrew Johnson granted an unconditional pardon to all Southerners who participated in the Civil War. "If I am shot at, I want no man to be in the way of the bullet." Andrew Johnson
1899 -- Actor Humphrey Bogart was born in New York City. "You're not a star until they can spell your name in Karachi." Humphrey Bogart
1925 -- Writer Carlos Castaneda was born in South America. "The only thing that is real is the being in you that is going to die." Carlos Castaneda
1926 -- Hirohito became Emperor of Japan.
1941 -- In Lithuania, some 400 Jewish women were killed by police.
1950 -- Scottish nationalists stole the Stone of Scone from the British coronation throne in Westminster Abbey. It was recovered four months later. Scottish people are a rebellious tribe of redheaded brawlers, whose hobbies include stomping on anything offensive, such as the Irish or the British.
1962 -- The Bay of Pigs captives were released (ransom) and vowed to return to topple Fidel Castro.
1977 -- Comedian Charlie Chaplin died in Switzerland. "A day without laughter is a day wasted." Charles Chaplin
1978 -- Vietnam invaded Cambodia, ending the mass genocide referred to as The Killing Fields.
1979 -- Soviet Airborne Forces landed in Afghanistan, joining ground forces in the Soviet War against Afghanistan. Of very little strategic value, Afghanistan is a desolate country with a scattered rural population of rednecks toting AK-47s. It's a bit like Alabama with Camels.
1991 -- Soviet President Mikhail announced his resignation as the leader of the USSR. He was ousted by Boris Yeltsin, who had an affinity for vodka and dancing like a drunken bear.
1993 -- A 59-year-old woman gave birth to twins in London, after being implanted with donated eggs.
1995 -- Singer Dean Martin died in Beverly Hills. "You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." Dean Martin
1997 -- Comedian Jerry Seinfeld announced plans to discontinue his NBC sitcom at the end of the season. "That's the true spirit of Christmas -- people being helped by people other than me." Jerry Seinfeld
2001 -- In Afghanistan, U.S. Forces celebrated Christmas with touch football and turkey dinners. I played touch football when I was in the U.S. Army in 1966-68. Macho dudes in combat boots generally "touch" with great vigor.
2004 -- President Bush urged Americans to help the neediest among them through volunteerism. "Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called 'walking.'" George Bush
2007 -- Russia's military successfully test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads, a weapon intended to replace older missiles.
2009 -- An attempted bombing on Northwest Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit by a Nigerian Man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (age 23) failed. The bomb was sewed into his underwear and his brain was made of saw dust.
2011 -- I got two apples and a lump of coal for Christmas -- it's the thought that counts.
Happy Holidays, Earthlings.
Quote for the Day -- "The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live." George Carlin
Bret Burquest is the author of 7 books, including THE REALITY OF THE ILLUSION OF REALITY and ORB OF WOUNDED SOULS (available on Amazon). He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee, and the Ghost of Christmas Future.