Today is the 299th day of 2015 and the 34th day of autumn.
TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1774, the first Continental Congress adjourned in Philadelphia.
In 1881, the legendary shootout between lawmen and outlaw cowboys near the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, left three men dead.
In 2001, President George W. Bush signed the anti-terrorism USA Patriot Act into law.
In 2002, Russian special forces raided a theater in Moscow where Chechen separatists had held hundreds of patrons hostage for nearly three days. More than 130 hostages and all 40 militants were killed.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Mahalia Jackson (1911-1972), singer; Bob Hoskins (1942-2014), actor; Pat Conroy (1945- ), novelist; Pat Sajak (1946- ), TV personality; Hillary Clinton (1947- ), politician; Dylan McDermott (1961- ), actor; Cary Elwes (1962- ), actor; Natalie Merchant (1963- ), singer; Keith Urban (1967- ), singer-songwriter; Seth MacFarlane (1973- ), actor/writer/TV producer; Jon Heder (1977- ), actor; Sasha Cohen (1984- ), figure skater.
TODAY'S FACT: Florida is the flattest state in the United States. Its highest elevation is only 345 feet above sea level.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1997, the Florida Marlins became the youngest Major League Baseball franchise ever to win a World Series, earning the championship in its fifth year of existence. The 4-year-old Arizona Diamondbacks surpassed the Marlins' mark with a World Series win in 2001.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "Here is all I ask of a book -- give me everything. Everything, and don't leave out a single word." -- Pat Conroy, "My Reading Life"
TODAY'S NUMBER: $50 -- advertised monthly pay for Pony Express riders and station keepers. The horseback delivery service, which relayed mail from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, officially ceased operations on this day in 1861.
TODAY'S MOON: Between first quarter moon (Oct. 20) and full moon (Oct. 27).