FYI August 24 & 25, 2020

On This Day

1185 – Sack of Thessalonica by the Normans.
The Sack of Thessalonica in 1185 by Normans of the Kingdom of Sicily was one of the worst disasters to befall the Byzantine Empire in the 12th century.

David Komnenos, the governor of the city had neglected to make sufficient preparations for the siege, and even forbade sallies by the defenders to disrupt the Norman siege works. The Byzantine relief armies failed to coordinate their efforts, and only two forces, under Theodore Choumnos and John Maurozomes, actually came to the city’s aid. In the event, the Normans undermined the city’s eastern wall, opening a breach through which they entered the city. The conquest degenerated quickly into a full-scale massacre of the city’s inhabitants, some 7,000 corpses being found afterwards. The siege is extensively chronicled by the city’s archbishop, Eustathius of Thessalonica, who was present in the city during and after the siege.

The Normans occupied Thessalonica until mid-November, when, following their defeat at the Battle of Demetritzes, they evacuated it. Coming on the heels of the usurper Andronikos Komnenos’s massacre of the Latins in Constantinople in 1182, the massacre of the Thessalonians by the Normans deepened the rift between the Latins and the East. It also directly led to the deposition and execution of the unpopular Andronikos I Komnenos by the Latins and the rise to the throne of Isaac II Angelos.

1537 – The Honourable Artillery Company, the oldest surviving regiment in the British Army, and the second most senior, is formed.

The Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) was incorporated by royal charter in 1537 by King Henry VIII and is considered the second-oldest military corps in the world.[2][3] Today, it is a registered charity whose purpose is to attend to the “better defence of the realm”. This purpose is primarily achieved by the support of the HAC Regiment and a detachment of City of London Special Constabulary. The word “artillery” in “Honourable Artillery Company” does not have the current meaning that is generally associated with it, but dates from a time when in the English language that word meant any projectile, including for example arrows shot from a bow. The equivalent form of words in modern English would be either “Honourable Infantry Company”[note 2] or “Honourable Military Company”.

In the 17th century, its members played a significant part in the formation of both the Royal Marines and the Grenadier Guards. More recently, regiments, battalions and batteries of the Company fought with distinction in both World Wars and its current Regiment, which forms part of the Army Reserve, is the oldest surviving regiment in the British Army, and the second most senior[5] in the Army Reserve.[note 3] Members of the Regiment and Specials are drawn, for the most part, from young men and women working in and around the City and Greater London. Those leaving the active units may become Veteran Members and remain within the fraternity of the Company.


Born On This Day

1888 – Valentine Baker, Welsh co-founder of the Martin-Baker Aircraft Company (d. 1942)
Captain Valentine Henry Baker MC AFC (24 August 1888 – 12 September 1942), nicknamed “Bake”,[1] served in all three of the British Armed Forces during the First World War. After the war he became a civilian flight instructor, and co-founder of the Martin-Baker Aircraft Company. He was the father of novelist Denys Val Baker.



1900 – Isobel Hogg Kerr Beattie, Scottish architect (d. 1970) [7]
Isobel Hogg Kerr Beattie (25 August 1900 – 13 July 1970) was possibly the first woman in Scotland to practice architecture on a regular basis.

Early life

Beattie was born in 1900 to Lewis Beattie and Alice Walker Kerr, who were farmers. She graduated from the Edinburgh College of Art (1921–1926).[1]

Beattie worked for a time in an office before practising independently from 1928 to 1929. She then returned to the College of Art where she obtained a further diploma. She was admitted as an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1931 while she was working in Edinburgh with the firm, Jamieson & Arnott.[2] She later moved to Dumfries, probably working there independently; she worked in a room in an architectural office in Castle Street, Dumfries.[3]

Death and legacy

She died in Applegarth in 1970 after an illness.[1] The National Monuments Record of Scotland has a collection of slides related to her work.[3]


Justin Townes Earle (January 4, 1982 – August 20, 2020) was an American singer-songwriter and musician. After his debut EP Yuma (2007) he released eight full-length albums. He was recognized with an Americana Music Award for Emerging Artist of the Year in 2009 and for Song of the Year in 2011 for “Harlem River Blues.” His father was alternative country artist Steve Earle.


By Jonathan Bernstein, Rolling Stone: Justin Townes Earle’s Perpetual Search for Forgiveness The songwriter, who died last week at 38, was preoccupied with repentance and absolution

Mountain View: Umoja Academy to bring after-school language, cultural education to Mountain View

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By MessyNessy, 13 Things I Found on the Internet Today (Vol. DXVII): There’s a pyramid hidden in the Scottish Highlands; Flower Hunting in Japan; You can now Explore Frida Kahlo’s Blue House Online and more ->

Gastro Obscura: Remembering the depression glass that came in oatmeal boxes and more ->
Atlas Obscura: How Black Americans changed Paris’s culture and more ->


By Organikmechanic: Big Cheap Glass Greenhouse Made From Old Windows
CrystaBy andrei.erdei: Glass Beads and LEDs – a Kind of Kaleidoscope
By Steve Moseley: Adjustable Width Tool Charging Station


By Caroline Stanko, Taste of Home: 10 Recipes Inspired by I Love Lucy
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By Momos75: Spicy Pulled Pork, Coleslaw, Gardenscape Focaccia
By DanPro: Garlic Scape Pesto / Chicken Panini
A Taste of Alaska: Chocolate Mug Cake and the Last Camping Trip

By Shauna Sever, The Kitchn: Here’s the Story Behind Bumpy Cake — The 100-Year-Old Recipe That’s Blowing Up the Internet