Today is the 351st day of 2012 and the 86th day of autumn.
TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1773, patriots in Massachusetts held the infamous "Boston Tea Party."
In 1835, a huge fire destroyed nearly 700 buildings in New York City.
In 2000, President George W. Bush selected Colin Powell as the first African-American secretary of state.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), composer; Jane Austen (1775-1817), novelist; Noel Coward (1899-1973), playwright; Margaret Mead (1901-1978), anthropologist; Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008), writer; Philip K. Dick (1928-1982), writer; Lesley Stahl (1941- ), journalist; William "The Refrigerator" Perry (1962- ), football player; Benjamin Bratt (1963- ), actor; Krysten Ritter (1981- ), actress.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1973, O.J. Simpson, playing for the Buffalo Bills, became the first player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.
TODAY'S FACT: Margaret Mead was named "Mother of the World" by Time magazine in 1969.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible." -- Arthur C. Clarke
TODAY'S NUMBER: 1 -- opera written by Ludwig van Beethoven. It was called "Fidelio."
TODAY'S MOON: Between new moon (Dec. 13) and first quarter moon (Dec. 20).