On This Day in History: May 12

On this day in 1937, George Denis Patrick Carlin was born in the Bronx. He was raised by his mother in Morningside Heights which he and his friends called “White Harlem” because it sounded tougher. He was raised Irish Catholic and educated in Catholic schools. He often ran away from home. After joining the Air Force while stationed in Louisiana, Carlin became a DJ in Shreveport starting on his long career in entertainment. Carlin rose to fame during the 60’s and 70’s, generating the most controversy with his famous “Seven Dirty Words”:

Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits. Those are the heavy seven. Those are the ones that’ll infect your soul, curve your spine and keep the country from winning the war.

His arrest and the subsequent FCC rulings ended up in the Supreme Court which upheld the right of the FCC to regulate the public airways. In the ruling it called the routine “indecent but not obscene”.

In 1961, Carlin was also present in the audience the night that Lenny Bruce was arrested in San Fransisco for obscenity. He was arrested, as well, after the police, who were questioning the audience, asked Carlin for ID. He said he didn’t have any because he didn’t believe in government-issued ID’s.

We all know the rest. His popularity as a comic and “commentarian” on politics, religion and social issues made him a popular guest on late night talk shows. His death in  June 22, 2008 saddened many. He left behind his second wife, Sally Wade, whom he married after his first wife Brenda died of liver cancer in 1997. He left a daughter by his first marriage, Kelly.

Happy Birthday, George, you are missed.

191 – Richard I of England marries Berengaria of Navarre who is crowned Queen consort of England the same day.

1264 – The Battle of Lewes, between King Henry III of England and the rebel Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, begins.

1328 – Antipope Nicholas V, a claimant to the papacy, is consecrated in Rome by the Bishop of Venice.

1588 – French Wars of Religion: Henry III of France flees Paris after Henry of Guise enters the city.

1668 – King William’s War: William III of England joins the League of Augsburg starting a war with France.

1743 – Maria Theresa of Austria is crowned King of Bohemia after defeating her rival, Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor.

1780American Revolutionary War: Charleston, South Carolina is taken by British forces.

1792 – Toilet that flushes itself at regular intervals is patented

1821 – The first big battle of the Greek War of Independence against the Turks occurs in Valtetsi.

1828Poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti is born.

1862 – U.S. federal troops occupy Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Raymond: two divisions of James B. McPherson’s XVII Corps (ACW) turn the left wing of Confederate General John C. Pemberton’s defensive line on Fourteen Mile Creek, opening up the interior of Mississippi to the Union Army during the Vicksburg Campaign.

1864American Civil War: the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House: thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers die in “the Bloody Angle”.

1865 – American Civil War: the Battle of Palmito Ranch: the first day of the last major land action to take place during the Civil War, resulting in a Confederate victory.

1870 – The Manitoba Act is given the Royal Assent, paving the way for Manitoba to become a province of Canada on July 15.

1885 – North-West Rebellion: the four-day Battle of Batoche, pitting rebel Métis against the Canadian government, comes to an end with a decisive rebel defeat.

1890 – The first-ever official County Championship match begins. Yorkshire beats Gloucestershire by eight wickets at Bristol. George Ulyett scores the first century in the competition.

1903Teddy Roosevelt’s trip to San Francisco is captured on film: President Theodore Roosevelt s trip to San Francisco is captured on moving-picture film, making him the first president to have an official activity recorded in that medium.

1907Katharine Hepburn is born.

1918Germany and Austria-Hungary sign pact to exploit Ukraine.

1932Ten weeks after his abduction, the infant son of Charles Lindbergh is fohttp://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/body-of-lindbergh-baby-foundund dead in Hopewell, New Jersey, just a few miles from the Lindberghs’ home.

1937 – George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon are crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

1941 – Konrad Zuse presents the Z3, the world’s first working programmable, fully automatic computer, in Berlin.

1941Hitler backs Rashid Ali in his fight against Britain: Adolf Hitler sends two bombers to Iraq to support Rashid Ali al-Gailani in his revolt against Britain, which is trying to enforce a previously agreed upon Anglo-Iraqi alliance.

1942 – World War II: Second Battle of Kharkov – in the eastern Ukraine, Red Army forces under Marshal Semyon Timoshenko launch a major offensive from the Izium bridgehead, only to be encircled and destroyed by the troops of Army Group South two weeks later.

1942 – Holocaust: 1,500 Jews are sent to gas chambers in Auschwitz.

1949The Soviet Union lifts its blockade of Berlin.

1949 – The western occupying powers approve the Basic Law for the new German state – the Federal Republic of Germany.

1955 – The last section of the IRT Third Avenue Elevated in Manhattan closes.

1957Race car driver A.J. Foyt gets first pro victory: Race car driver A.J. Foyt (1935- ) scores his first professional victory, in a U.S. Automobile Club (USAC) midget car race in Kansas City, Missouri.

1958 – A formal North American Aerospace Defense Command agreement is signed between the United States and Canada.

1961Lyndon B. Johnson visits South Vietnam

1962 – Douglas MacArthur delivers his famous “Duty, Honor, Country” valedictory speech at the United States Military Academy.

1965 – The Soviet spacecraft Luna 5 crashes on the Moon.

1965 – West Germany and Israel establish diplomatic relations.

1967 – At Queen Elizabeth Hall, England, Pink Floyd stages the first-ever quadraphonic rock concert.

1971Heavy fighting erupts in A Shau Valley

1975Mayaguez incident: the Cambodian navy seizes the American merchant ship SS Mayaguez in international waters.

1978 – In Zaïre, rebels occupy the city of Kolwezi, the mining center of the province of Shaba. The local government asks the U.S., France and Belgium to restore order.

1981 – Francis Hughes starves to death in the Maze Prison in a republican campaign for political status to be granted to Provisional IRA prisoners.

1982 – During a procession outside the shrine of the Virgin Mary in Fátima, Portugal, security guards overpower Juan Fernandez Krohn before he can attack Pope John Paul II with a bayonet. Krohn, an ultraconservative Spanish priest opposed to the Vatican II reforms, believed that the Pope had to be killed for being an “agent of Moscow”.

1999 – David Steel becomes the first Presiding Officer (speaker) of the modern Scottish Parliament.

2000Fourth-generation NASCAR driver Adam Petty dies in crash

2002 – Former US President Jimmy Carter arrives in Cuba for a five-day visit with Fidel Castro becoming first President of the United States, in or out of office, to visit the island since Castro’s 1959 revolution.

2003 – The Riyadh compound bombings, carried out by Al Qaeda, kill 26.

2003 – Fifty-nine Democratic lawmakers bring the Texas Legislature to a standstill by going into hiding in a dispute over a Republican congressional redistricting plan.


1936 – Frank Stella, American painter, 74

1937 – Susan Hampshire, British actress, 73

1938 – Millie Perkins, American film actress, 72

1948 – Steve Winwood, British musician (The Spencer Davis Group; Traffic), 62

1950 – Bruce Boxleitner, American actor. 60

1950 – Gabriel Byrne, Irish actor, 60

1950 – Billy Squier, American singer, 60

1958 – Eric Singer, American drummer, 52

1959 – Ving Rhames, American actor, 51

1961 – Paul Begala, American political commentator,49

1961 – Bruce McCulloch, Canadian actor, 49

1962 – Emilio Estevez, American actor, 48

1963 – Jerry Trimble, American actor, 47

1963 – Deborah Kara Unger, Canadian actress, 47

1963 – Vanessa A. Williams, American actress, 47

1966 – Stephen Baldwin, American actor, 44

1969 – Kim Fields, American actress, 41

1977 – Rebecca Herbst, American actress ( Elizabeth, “General Hospital”), 33

1978 – Aya Ishiguro, Japanese singer (Morning Musume), 32

1981 – Kentaro Sato, Japanese composer, 29


  1. Edger

    Your sketches came true.

    In a late-1990s interview with Art Bell, he remarked about his view of human life: “I think we’re already ‘circling the drain’ as a species, and I’d love to see the circles get a little faster and a little shorter.”

    In the same interview, he recounts his experience of a California earthquake in the early-1970s as: “…an amusement park ride. Really, I mean it’s such a wonderful thing to realize that you have absolutely no control… and to see the dresser move across the bedroom floor unassisted… is just exciting.” Later he summarizes: “I really think there’s great human drama in destruction and nature unleashed and I don’t get enough of it.”

    –from Cyrano’s Journal

  2. taoskier

    Traffic: “Dear Mr Fanatasy” w/ special guest.

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