The 18 Days of December

Hey, all.

Welcome to Countdown Day 18, and the beginning of our second full week, hanging out together.

My neighbor mentioned earlier today that the sun is scheduled to set at 4:28pm here in EST. (She was with her two young kids, so I had to refrain from simply saying, “That sucks,” but I know they were thinking that, too!) Taking a pick out of the great, late N.V. Peale’s book, though, we are fast approaching the half-way point of our journey.

To employ an additional trick I learned from a buddy of mine who ran track at Marquette, when it comes to distance, think about all the miles you’ve already covered vs. how many you’ve got left to go. Seems pretty basic, but it really does help.

In any event, for Day 18, let’s do some time traveling. Sure, we can jump across different centuries, different decades and years.

You guys up for it? (C’mon, you’ve heard of the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” right? We’ll just select 18 different days, all from long ago/recent Decembers, and we’ll see what we’ve got.)


And to make it easier to read, let’s build a table. (Yeah, always up for showcasing my software skills. LOL!)

  18 Days of December

1 Giuseppe Valentini, Italian violinist, poet, and composer, born in Florence, Italy Dec 14, 1681 Valentini’s actual birthplace was called Grand Duchy of Tuscany, a former Italian territory, established by the Medici family (1569 – 1860).
2 Russia’s Peter the Great introduces a new decree that divides the Russian court and the Orthodox Church. Dec 20, 1699 Until that point, Russia had observed a calendar that dated back to the birth of Adam. (The date believed to be his birth, which marked the beginning of the year in September vs. January.)
3 King Louis XV of France informs King Philip of Spain of his intent to restore the House of Stuart to the throne of The United Kingdom. Dec 10, 1743 Over time, King Louis became best known for contributing to the decline of royal authority that eventually led to the French Revolution of 1789.
4 George Washington dies in Mountain Vernon, Virginia (age 67). Dec 14, 1799 Washington died of a condition called Quinsy, a bacterial infection most commonly caused by poor dental health. (Quinsy was known to occur at any age, but the most common cases were recorded in teenagers and young adults.)
5 President Thomas Jefferson makes first annual message to Congress Dec 8, 1801 Jefferson recognizes Tripoli, Libya (then a Barbary state) as a great threat to peace.
6 The Texan Army, fighting Mexico for independence, takes the city of San Antonio. Dec 9, 1835 Texas was then part of Mexico
7 President James Polk triggers the Gold Rush (in the following year 1849) Dec 5, 1848 Polk’s staff confirms that gold had been discovered in California.
8 Famous artist (though completely unknown and uncelebrated at the time) Vincent van Gogh cuts off the lower part of his left ear. Dec 23, 1888 Upset over an argument he’d had with fellow artist and friend Paul Gauguin, van Gogh takes the severed ear to a nearby brothel and is later removed and taken to mental hospital at Arles, Holland.
9 James “Strom” Thurmond is born in Edgefield, South Carolina Dec 5, 1902 Thurmond went on to become the longest-serving Dean of the U.S. Senate.
10 The Battle of Verdun ends. Dec 18, 1916 Recognized as the longest battle of World War I, in all, the battle lasted more than ten months or 303 days.
11 The new Constitution of Ireland is ratified. December 29, 1937 Formerly known as “The Irish Free State,” the new land was renamed “Ireland” (or “Eire in Gaelic).
12 President Harry S. Truman dedicates Everglades National Park. December 6, 1947 Truman makes the dedication, proclaiming, “Here is land, tranquil in its quiet beauty.”
13 Citizens of London, England fall victim to “The Great Smog,” lasting a week and costing nearly 10,000 lives. December 5 – 9, 1952 The odd weather phenomenon was caused by a combination of industrial pollution and high-pressure weather conditions.
14 John Badham’s Saturday Night Fever debuts, propelling The English-born Bee Gees to worldwide musical superstardom. December 14, 1977 The film, featuring a 23-year-old John Travolta (Oscar nominee for Best Oscar), revitalized the disco era in America.
15 U. Nebraska running back Mike Rozier becomes the 49th Heisman Trophy winner.  December 5, 1983 Rozier won the award by more than 600 votes, with future NFL quarterback Steve Young a distant second. Rozier went on to play for nine seasons professionally, two in the United States Football League (USFL) and seven in the NFL. In off-the-field news, Rozier and family appeared on “The Family Feud,” October 2018.
16 Latrell Sprewell, small forward/shooting guard for The Golden State Warriors of the NBA assaults head coach P.J. Carlesimo. December 1, 1997


Initially, Sprewell was suspended for 82 games (the length of an entire NBA season), but the sentence was eventually reduced to 68 games.
17 An emergency helicopter, part of a Romanian rescue team crashes in Siutghiol near the Black Sea. December 15, 2014 The emergency rescue service in Romania is called SMURD (Serviciul Mobil de Urgență, Reanimare și Descarcerare), translated in English as Mobile Emergency Service for Resuscitation and Extrication.
18 Canadian-born actress Sandra OH is named one of the people of the year by People Magazine. December 31, 2021 Oh, the daughter of Korean immigrants, began studying dance at age four and her first acting role was in a school play, The Canada Goose.

*When we started our journey back on 21 November, I mentioned that we wouldn’t be discussing any politics. Word of honor that that’s true. Please think of the dates listed here as purely for historical reference. No political opinions of any kind should be inferred or are intended.

As always, if you feel like sharing any watershed events that interest you, please contact me.

Wishing you all a good night.


@Copyright 2023 by John L. Fischer

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