Jan 19, 2017
January 19th, 2017
Quiz: What is the origin of the phrase “piss-poor”…?
Answer to yesterday’s question below: Why is Los Angeles’ NBA team called the Lakers? What lake?
History for 1/19/2017
Birthdays: James Watt, Edgar Allen Poe, Robert E. Lee, Paul Cezanne', Janis Joplin, Tipi Hedren, Slobodan Milosovic’, radio star Ish Kabibble, Dolly Parton, Michael Crawford, Chic Young, Guy Madison, Richard Lester, John H. Johnson publisher of Ebony and Jet Magazines, Jean Stapleton, Fritz Weaver, Sean Wayans, Robin MacNeill, Paul Rodriquez, Antoine Fuqua, Drea Di Matteo is 45, and Bart the Bear-1977 Bear who starred in movies like Clan of the Cave Bear, The Bear, White Fang and Legends of the Fall.
Happy Feast of St. Wulfstan.
379 A.D. Valentinian I was a Roman emperor with strange mood swings. He outlawed the original Biblical birth control method called exposure; in other words leaving unwanted babies in the forest. Another time he had some stableboys crucified for letting the hounds go too early during a hunt.
When some Barbarians crossed the Rhine and sacked a few villages Valentinian got his legions together and burned down half of Germany. He only stopped for the winter and was preparing to continue in the spring when on this day a delegation of tribal chiefs came to ask for peace. They explained that it wasn't their idea to make war, just some of the younger hotheads in the tribe. They said that the Emperor was overreacting.
Valentinian got so enraged by these excuses that he raised his fists, turned purple and before he uttered a word fell over stone dead. His general Theodosius took over as emperor.
1405- Tartar conqueror Tamerlane fell ill and died in Samarkand. He roved the world conquering and murdering like Genghis Khan, but without Genghis’ skill at empire building. His empire fell apart soon after his death, inspiring Shelley to write a poem about transitory glory- Ozimandias.
1523- In Switzerland, Ulrich Zwingli publishes his 67 Articles attacking the authority of the Pope. This is the first manifesto of the Zurich Reformation.
1547-Grand Duke of Muscovy Ivan IV Vasilievich, called Ivan the Terrible, crowned Tsar or Czar- a Russian form for Caesar. His father Grand Duke Ivan III the Great assumed the title and power but it remained for his son to formalize the office. The Russian Princes call themselves the new inheritors of the Eastern Orthodox religion and Roman Empire after Constantinople, once called New Rome, fell to the Moslem Turks. Czars were crowned with the "Cap of Monomachus", a small skullcap reputedly worn by one of the Greek Byzantine Emperors, Constantine IV Monomachus“ single-combat”. This cap was covered with ermine trim and gold. The Czars boasted: "Two Romes have fallen. The Third Rome –Moscow- shall stand forever!"
1633- Thomas Morton was twice deported by the Pilgrims for holding “licentious Maypole celebrations” at his Indian trading post. This day he returned to England and tried to have the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s charter revoked. The King probably refused because that might make the whole crowd of buckle-shoed killjoys return home!
1729- British Restoration playwright William Congreve died. He willed all his property to Henrietta, the Duchess of Marlborough. But then the Duchess did something a bit odd. She had a death mask made of Congreve’s face and attached it to a life size mannequin. She ate and conversed with the dummy all day and slept with it at night. She insisted her servants wait upon the dummy and treat it when she felt it was ill. When she died she was buried with the dummy.
1829 Johann Von Goethe published Faust Part 1.
1840- Explorer Lt. Charles Wilkes claimed all of Antarctica for the United States. He was on a scientific expedition to chart the South Seas and Southern polar waters. Captain Wilkes was really good at exploring, but he was such a tyrannical disciplinarian he was court-martialed upon his return. Wilkes’ erratic behavior may have been a model for Herman Melville’s Captain Ahab in his novel Moby Dick.
1853- Giuseppe Verdi's Il Trovatore with the famous Anvil Chorus premiered in Rome.
1869- New York City controller of Central Park Andrew Green received a petition from 18 of the city’s wealthiest citizens. It called for the establishment of a Museum of Natural History. The famous building was built in 1874.
1915- Two German zeppelins cross the Channel and drop bombs on Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn causing two deaths. The first time England was bombed from the air.
1919- Famed dancer of the Ballet Russe Vaslav Nijinsky danced his last performance at a hotel in San Moritz Switzerland. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, he became an incarcerated mental patient for the next 30 years, and underwent numerous extreme shock therapies until his death in 1950.
1940- The Three Stooges do their impression of Hitler and the top Nazis in the Columbia Pictures short comedy “You Natzy Spy”. Moe Howard was still the best all time Hitler impersonator. “Hail-Hail-Hailstone of Moronica! Waahoo!”
1945- In Poland, the Nazis ordered the evacuation of the remaining concentration camps in advance of the advancing Red army. Tens of thousands were marched out of Auschwitz and Birkenau west in freezing snow and ice. Any who fell behind were shot.
1955- President Eisenhower held the first press conference that was shown on television. It was held in the treaty room of the State Department. Eisenhower was famous for his ability to speak at great length and never say anything of substance. “This day, My Fellow Americans, more than at any other time, ahead of us lies the Future!”
1961- The first episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show was filmed.
1966- Indira Gandhi, the daughter of Nehru, became prime minister of India.
1977- In one of his last acts as President, Gerald Ford pardoned Tokyo Rose. Iva Toguri D’Aquino was a Japanese American who did propaganda broadcasts for Radio Tokyo urging American GI’s to surrender. She explained she was stranded in Tokyo when the war broke out and was coerced into doing the broadcasts.
1979- Wendy O. Williams, mohawk-haired lead singer of the punk band the Plasmatics was arrested in Milwaukee for masturbating on stage with a sledgehammer.
1983- Klaus Barbie arrested in Bolivia and extradited to France. Barbie was the Nazi Gestapo chief in France and was called the Butcher of Lyon for his torture and execution of hundreds of French resistance and Jews. After the war Barbie avoided arrested and was briefly hired by the CIA as an anti-soviet spy. He went to South America and applied his skills for the dictators there until his extradition. While other former Nazis like Kurt Waldheim were disingenuously vague about their past, Barbie was loudly unrepentant. It was reported he continually embarrassed the Nazis trying to hide in South America by Sieg-Heil saluting them on the street and singing old stormtrooper songs over his steak fajitas.
1985- Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA peaked the pop charts at #9.
1989- President Ronald Reagan, in one of his last acts as president, pardoned Yankee Baseball club owner George Steinbrenner for making illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon.
1991-Eastern Airlines ceased operations and went out of business. Chairman and former astronaut Frank Borman was philosophical: “Business without bankruptcy is like Christianity without Hell.”
Yesterday’s Quiz: Why is Los Angeles’ NBA team called the Lakers? What lake?
Answer: The team was originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Land of a Thousand Lakes.
Jan 18, 2017
January 18th, 2017
Quiz: Why is Los Angeles’ NBA team called the Lakers? What lake?
Yesterday’s Question answered below: Who was Button Gwinett? ( hint: American history)
HISTORY FOR 1/18/2017
Birthdays: Daniel Webster, A.A. Milne, Joseph Glidden, Oliver Hardy, Cary Grant- born Archibald Leech, Danny Kaye, Emmanuel Chabrier, Bobby Goldsboro, Pierre Roget (Roget’s Thesaurus), Ray Dolby (Dolby sound), John Boorman, Kevin Costner is 62, Jason Segel is 37
1486- King Henry VII Tudor married Elizabeth of York, a daughter of the dowager queen in the just concluded War of the Roses. This further confirmed his legitimacy as king, ending a long period of dynastic instability.
1535- Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded the city of Lima Peru.
1630- The Great Conde’, French general and uncle of the king, is imprisoned by order of Cardinal Mazarin, the successor of Cardinal Richelieu. Conde’ escaped, and for the next thirty years would lead Spanish and German armies against France. Still, this was not seen as a bad thing because nobody had invented nationalism yet, so the king forgave him in 1660.
1701- For services rendered in stopping French King Louis XIV from invading the Rhineland, The Margrave/Elector Frederick of Brandenburg received permission to reorganize his realm as a kingdom, the new Kingdom of Prussia. From his capitol of Berlin the Prussians set out to become a world power. In 1870 they unified the German speaking nations into the nation we now called Germany. See below.
1777- San Jose California founded.
1778- Captain Cook landed at Waimea Bay in Kauai and "discovers" Hawaii. He named the place the Sandwich Islands after his boss John Montague the First Lord of the Admiralty the Earl of Sandwich. The King of Hawaii Kamehameha III didn't think this was the spirit of Aloha, and after numerous squabbles between the sailors and natives Captain Cook was killed. The ensign who rallied the shore party and got them safely home was the future Capt. Bligh.
1817- Jose San Martin led an army of Latin American rebels over the Andes Mountains in an epic march to free them from Spain.
1854- THE KINGDOM OF WALKER- Soldier of Fortune William Walker declared himself president of the Republic of Lower California-a new country formed out of the Mexican state of Sonora and Baja California. It didn’t stick and he had to run for it. A few years later Walker and a gang of U.S. mercenaries actually succeeded in overthrowing the government of Nicaragua and making himself a king. But soon after the Nicaraguans put him up before a firing squad.
1865- This was a target date John Wilkes Booth had to spring his plan to kidnap President Abraham Lincoln out of his box at Ford’s Theater and exchange him for thousands of Confederate POW’S to continue the South’s war effort. That the young actor naively planned to physically overcome and truss up the 6’5" president who although in ill health was an ex-wrestler, then sling him over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, jump 12 feet to the stage and carry him off in front of an audience, is a strange plan to say the least. Lincoln did attend the theater that night but Booth canceled the plan, because he had to prepare to do Romeo the day after tomorrow. His real job superseded his hobby as a conspirator.
1871-GERMAN UNIFICATION- Wilhelm of Prussia crowned first Kaiser of Germany in a ceremony in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. At one time Germans lived in 38 little princedoms that were great for operettas but lousy as a political entity. Germans formed a symbolic parliament in Frankfurt and formed nationalist societies called Tugenbund to dream of unification. But Prussian Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck said "unity would not be won by parliaments and papers, but by Blood and Iron!" Bismarck had first defeated Austria to ensure Germans would look to Berlin and not Vienna for leadership, then he picked a war with France to unite all the German peoples against their old enemy. So the crowning was two-fold the highpoint of victory over France and the symbol of unification. Sulky Wilhelm I didn’t want to be an emperor and was happy as king of Prussia, but Bismarck bullied him into it.
1903- President Teddy Roosevelt and King Edward VII exchanged the first wireless messages long distance between Washington and London. The system was invented by Gugielmo Marconi.
1908- Frederic Delius orchestral tone poem Brigg Fair premiered.
1910- The birth of the aircraft carriers. In San Francisco Bay, aviator Eugene Ely became the first to take off and land his plane on a ship. The first aircraft carrier, the USS Langley, was a converted coal tender.
1912- Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, "Scott of the Antarctic" reached the South Pole to discover the Norwegian flag of Pier Ammundsen, who got there first. –D’oh!
1919- American Society of Cinematographers formed (ASC).
1919- The Bentley Motorcar Company formed.
1943- The Red Army broke the 900 day Nazi siege of Leningrad.
1943- As part of the war effort the US government ordered the sale of sliced bread be stopped for the duration. The phrase “ the greatest thing since sliced bread” entered the slang vocabulary.
1945- After weeks of bitter street fighting, Nazi forces surrendered Budapest to the Red Army. Major Otto Skorzeny, the Nazi commando who rescued Mussolini and organized American speaking infiltrators for the Battle of the Bulge, now shifted his efforts to organizing the Nazi escape route pipeline to the sympathetic countries in South America.
1948- Mahatma Ghandi broke an121 hour fast that halted Hindu-Moslem rioting.
1949- Look Magazine published a photo essay called "Prizefighter". The photographer was a young kid from the Bronx named Stanley Kubrick. Mr Kubrick said he now wanted to try filmmaking.
1952-The Hollywood Animation Guild chartered. Originally the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Local 839, signatories included Disney legends Milt Kahl, Les Clark, John Hench and Ken Anderson.
1962- The US Army in Vietnam began an experiment with spraying the jungle with chemical defoliants to get at hidden Vietcong guerrillas. The chemical Agent Orange defoliated jungles but also infected thousands of American serviceman and Vietnamese civilians who continue to die from cancers decades after.
1962- THE FRENCH CONNECTION- NYPD cracked a drug ring smuggling heroin from South East Asia into New York via Marseilles. The French Connection bust nabbed $3.5 million in dope and made heroes out of the two detectives Eddie Egan and Sonny Grazzo. Egan joked to Grazzo:" I’ll betchya Paul Newman will play me and Ben Gazzarra you!" Actually Gene Hackman played Egan and Roy Scheider Grazzo in the Oscar winning 1971 film. Both cops retired from the force to make careers in show biz. Ironically while the film was being made the real heroin from the case disappeared from the NYPD evidence lockup and was replaced with bags of corn starch. It was never recovered.
1964- Plans are revealed for building New York City’s World Trade Center towers.
1977- The cult documentary PUMPING IRON premiered. Filmmakers George Butler and Rob Fiore maxed out his American Express card to the tune of $35,000 to bring this look at the little known world of professional bodybuilding to the screen. The film first brought to the public a charmingly confident Austrian body builder named Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said he wanted to try acting someday. Also Lou Ferrigno who would also star in movies and as the TV Hulk. Many years later as a Republican icon, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to buy the rights to the film so he could edit out the scenes of him smoking a joint.
1978- In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, rock star Frank Zappa described most rock journalism as " People who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk, for people who can’t read."
1987- National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition premiered.
1990- In a room at the Vista International Hotel in Washington DC Mayor Marion Barry was videotaped by the FBI toking on a crack pipe with his mistress Rasheeda. Doh! He served time in jail, but was re-elected mayor anyway.
1990- Rusty Hamer, who played Danny Thomas’ son in the TV show Make Room for Daddy, put a 357 Magnum to his head and pulled the trigger. He was 42.
1991- Saddam Hussein started firing Soviet SCUD missiles at Israel. By a prearranged agreement, even though they were under attack, Israel did not retaliate with their own air force, but left it to US & Coalition forces to neutralize the missiles.
1993- The CIA admitted that it paid Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega $300,000 to be an operative.
2004- The I HAVE A SCREAM SPEECH. Democratic presidential challenger Howard Dean gave an address after losing the New Hampshire primary. Known for his energy, at one point he got so carried away he let out a jubilant yelp above the cheering throng. The media picked this up and played it to death. Soon it would be impossible to think of Dean as a serious candidate. Republican White House strategist Karl Rove later admitted it would have been harder to defeat Howard Dean than John Kerry, but then there was that scream.
Yesterday’s Quiz: Who was Button Gwinett? (hint: American history)
Answer: Famous as the most obscure signer of the Declaration of Independence. A delegate from Georgia, he was later killed in a duel. Signature collectors say his signature is much more valued than Thomas Jefferson, who signed a lot of things.
Jan 17, 2017
January 17th, 2017
Quiz: Who was Button Gwinett? ( hint: American history)
Yesterdays Quiz answered below: What is a malapropism?
History for January 17, 2017
Birthdays: Benjamin Franklin, Max Sennett-1880, Al Capone, Ethan G. Hodell 1883- the inventor of the Tow-Truck, Constantin Stanislavsky, Moira Shearer, Shari Lewis, Vidal Sassoon, Claude Coats, Denny Doyle, Kevin Reynolds, Muhammad Ali, Jim Carrey is 55, Michelle Obama is 53, Zooey Deschanel is 37, James Earl Jones is 87, Betty White is 95!
50 BC- Julius Caesar¹s chief rival for power in Rome was Pompey Magnus. Pompey was as famous a general as Caesar and he controlled the Roman Senate. Pompey bragged that if Caesar started a civil war all he had to do would be to stamp his foot and soldiers would spring up everywhere to defend Rome.
But when Caesar invaded Italy, Pompey stamped his foot and nothing happened. Pompey¹s troops were in Spain and Greece. The only legions in the area were loyal to Caesar. This day Pompey and the Senate abandoned Rome and fled south to the heel of the Italian boot.
38BC- Augustus and Livia’s wedding anniversary!
395AD- Death of Theodosius Ist, the last Emperor to rule over the all the Roman Empire from Scotland to Iran. After his death the Roman Empire divided permanently between East and West. One son Honorius became Emperor of the West, and another Arcadius became Emperor in Constantinople.
1775-Sheridan's Restoration comedy The Rivals premiered at Covent Garden Theater, London.
1781- BATTLE OF HANNAH’S COWPENS- Dan Morgan "the old wagoneer" and his mountainmen shot up a pro-British American army in the Carolinas. The American Loyalists in the South were led by Col. Banastre Tarleton, a dragoon officer unusual for his ruthlessness. After one battle he made his men go over the field and bayonet any rebels who might still be alive. This atrocity filled Morgan¹s ranks with rage, because many were the mountain kinfolk of the slain. This night the cry in the Yankee camp was:" Heads up boys! Bennie's Coming!"
1794- SCANDAL!! ANDY JACKSON MARRIED RACHEL DONELSON FOR THE SECOND TIME. Mrs. Rachel D. Robards was married to an abusive older man, when she fell in love with the dashing young officer in the Tennessee wilderness. Separated from Mr. Robards, she and Jackson were in Natchez, Mississippi at her sister¹s, when they heard word that Robards had filed for a divorce back in Nashville.
Jackson and Rachael then married and lived together for a year but then discovered that the divorce report was false and worse, Mississippi where they were married was still Spanish territory that didn't recognize Protestant marriages as legal. Rachel finally got her divorce from Robards, and they married again. Still, the social stigma of 'living in sin' stuck.
Rachel became morose in later years when Jackson's political enemies used the charge of adultery to attack him. Jackson fought duels and killed men over his wife's honor. By the time Jackson was elected President, Rachel Jackson was too ill to go to Washington. She died just before the Inauguration. The widower President lived long, but never got over his love for his Rachel.
1800- Thomas Jefferson welcomed French businessman Etienne Irenee¹ Du Pont de Nemours to America. Monsieur Dupont had decided to move his business from revolution ravaged France and become an American. He founded the Dupont Chemical Corporation that today makes plastics and housepaints, but back then what was most important was he made gunpowder. During the American Revolution gunpowder was a precious commodity. Colonial women saved pigeon droppings and their own urine to concoct saltpeter. Almost all the high quality gunpowder had to be imported from Europe. The Dupont family continued to control America’s petrochemical destiny way into the twentieth century. And ladies could dispose of their urine in more sanitary ways.
1836- Texas General Sam Houston orders Jim Bowie to go to the Alamo and blow it up. Then bring the soldiers and the valuable cannon back to the main army to fight Santa Anna. But once there, Bowie was convinced by William Travis to disobey orders and defend the Alamo to the bitter end.
1884- The Battle of Abu Kleer. British forces attempting to save Gordon of Khartoum are furiously attacked by the Dervish army of El Mahdi. At one point the Dervishes broke up a British infantry square, something Napoleon had trouble doing at Waterloo. Kipling wrote a poem in praise of the bravery of the long haired black Sudannese tribemen called “Fuzzy-Wuzzy” ”Though we sloshed them with Martinis an it wasn¹t ‘ardly fair, with the odds against you Fuzzy-Wuzzy, you broke the British square.” A Martini-Henry was a rapid firing rifle used at the time.
1904- Chekov's The Cherry Orchard opened in St. Petersburg.
1908- Thousands of women march on Downing Street in London demanding women be given the vote. The broke windows and shouted “It will be bombs next time!” Among the suffragettes arrested and imprisoned was 23 year old Alice Paul from New Jersey. She was honored in 1996 by a US postage stamp.
1917- The U.S. bought the Virgin Islands from Denmark for $21 million.
1926- FATS WALLER KIDNAPPED-Harlem Jazz great Fats Waller was in Chicago for a gig. On the street several gunmen grabbed him and dragged him into their limo and sped off to the lair of mob boss Scarface Al Capone. When he arrived there the terrified Waller was reassured by Capone that as it was Big Al¹s birthday all he wanted was for Waller to perform at his party. The bash lasted three days and the joint was really jumpin! Waller left unharmed, and with a very fat paycheck as well, but resolved to stay in Harlem where it was safe.
1926- George Burns married Gracie Allen.
1929- First appearance of Popeye the Sailor in E.C. Seegar's comic strip the Thimble Theatre.
1935- In an address to Congress, Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed national unemployment insurance. It had been a issue demanded by workers since Coxey's Army in 1895.
1942- Right after the Pearl Harbor attack British Prime Minister Winston Churchill slipped across U-boat infested Atlantic waters and arrived in Washington for strategy planning meetings with President Roosevelt. Today he flew back to London without incident, although over London itself his plane was almost mistaken for the Luftwaffe and shot down.
1949- The first Volkswagen beetles arrive in North America.
1949- The Goldbergs, a radio comedy show about a Jewish family in the Bronx, moved to television and became the first true sitcom. The show ended when Mrs. Goldberg was accused by the House UnAmerican Activities Committee of being a Communist.
1950- THE BRINKS JOB- Several small time hoods wearing Halloween masks entered a Brinks Armored Car office in Boston and stole $1,2 million in cash and 1.5 in securities. By 1953 one crook broke down and confessed just eleven days before the statute of limitations would run out.
1957- The first non-stop jet flight around the world. Three U.S. B-52 bombers took off from Edwards Air force base in California and by flying at supersonic speed and refueling in mid air circumnavigated the globe in a little over 48 hours. The mission was not intended to set a record or for any scientific value as to demonstrate that the U.S. could now go anywhere on the earth and drop a nuke on you. They cemented this idea by dropping a dummy bomb after passing over Malaya.
1961- Frank Sinatra’s Ratpack had campaigned hard for their friend John F. Kennedy for president. Black entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. had worked particularly hard to help Kennedy win the African American vote. But Sammy had a preference for blond white actresses and had married one, May Britt in 1960. To fend off negative publicity this day JFK had his secretary Mrs. Lincoln telephone Sammy Davis and un-invite him to the President¹s Inaugural Ball. We’re Liberal, but not that liberal. And uhh..thanks for the help. Dean Martin was so angry at this insult to his friend that he canceled his appearance at the inaugural.
In 1968 Sammy Davis angered the black community when he embraced republican Richard Nixon.
1961- President Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell speech to the nation. He warned against the growing influence of the “Military Industrial Complex”.
1961- Patrice Lamumba, nationalist leader and the first democratically elected president of the Congo, was executed by firing squad. Lamumbas’ pan-African nationalism earned him the enmity of the US state dept. and many believe the CIA might have been involved in his death.
1964- The first Porsche Carrera sports car arrived in L.A..
1977- Convicted murderer Gary Gilmore was executed by firing squad in Utah for murdering an elderly couple. They pinned a paper on his chest with a heart drawn on it so marksmen could aim straight. Norman Mailor wrote the book “Executioners’ Song” about the event.
1989- A lunatic murdered 5 schoolchildren with an AK-47 assault rifle in Stockton California. Less than two months later Republican President George H. W. Bush Sr banned assault weapons and high capacity magazines by executive order. That ban was allowed to lapse by his son in 2004, and we’re still arguing and counting our dead today.
1994-The Great Northridge Earthquake rocked Los Angeles. 72 deaths and 20 billion dollars in damage. It was officially listed as 6.8 on the Richter Scale, although many persist that in some areas it was as high as 7.2. The epicenter was in the San Fernando Valley, so the valleys two major industries, animated cartoons and pornography, were temporarily disrupted.
1995- One year to the day after the Los Angeles earthquake, a massive earthquake struck Kobe Japan. The Japanese place great resources and time in earthquake preparedness, yet this 7.2 quake toppled whole freeways, killed 5,000 and left 1 1/2 million people homeless. It was the worse natural disaster in Japan since the 1923 Tokyo quake.
2000-A complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton was offered for sale on E-Bay.
Yesterday’s Question: What is a malapropism?
Answer: It is the deliberate or otherwise misuse of a word. Such as I’m an internal optometrist, or donate to the Salivating Army
Jan 16, 2017
January 16th, 2017
Question: What is a malapropism?
Yesterday’s question answered below: Who said “ Better to rule in Hell, than serve in Heaven.”…?
History for 1/16/2017
Birthdays: Yukon poet Robert Service, The inventor of the pneumatic tire Andre Michelin 1853, Ethel Merman, Dizzy Dean, Peter Ustinov, Henry Mancini, A.J. Foyt, Marilyn Horne, Sade, Michael Wilding, Eartha Kitt, Debbie Allen is 67, John Carpenter, Diane Fossey, Kate Moss is 43, Tsianina Joelson
1761- The British capture Pondicherry, the last French outpost in India.
1786- The Virginia Legislature passed the Ordinance of Religious Freedom, which stated that no man can be forced to join or support any church he didn’t want to. The Ordinance became the basis for the First Amendment to the Constitution.
1865- After resting his army in Savannah Georgia for Christmas, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman began to move his blue columns north towards South Carolina.
1883- Moved to act by the assassination of President James Garfield by a demented civil servant, Congress passed the Pendleton Act creating rigid merit standards for government jobs and creating the Civil Service Commission. Before this things ran as the "Spoils System"- after every election hundreds of government jobs were given by the President and his party to party hacks and amateurs as payment for favors, much uhh…as they run things today.
1891- Three weeks after the Wounded Knee massacre the last independent warrior bands of Sioux Indians came in and surrendered to the U.S. Cavalry at the Pine Ridge Reservation.
1917-THE ZIMMERMAN TELEGRAM- The reason other than the Lusitania that the U.S. entered World War I. The Kaiser's generals fretted that the unrestricted U-Boat sinkings were strangling Britain, but they may force America into joining the Allies. So they concocted a scheme to keep the Yankees occupied on their own side of the world.
On this day British intelligence handed President Woodrow Wilson an intercepted message from Baron Zimmerman the German charge d' affaire in New York to the German Ambassador in Mexico City. It relayed an offer from Berlin of an alliance, if Mexico would please invade Texas! The Kaiser promised President Huerta return of the entire U.S. southwest. The Mexican president wasn't exactly enamored with the U.S. lately, but he still declined the offer.
Instead of checking U.S. participation in the European Great War, the incident all but decided it. Wilson had run for re-election as an anti-war candidate, but after this he was convinced Germany had to be stopped.
1919- In Argentina it was the end of the Sanglante- the Bloody Week. The government crushed a general nationwide strike – 700 killed.
1920- THE VOLSTEAD ACT passed to give teeth to the new Prohibition Amendment outlawing all alcohol in the U.S.. The Roaring 20's really begin. Bootlegging and smuggling reach epidemic proportions.
1920- The League of Nations held it’s first meeting in Paris.
1935- Ma Barker’s gang has a furious shootout with the FBI at Ocklawaha, Florida. Legend has it they found Ma's body with the smoking tommygun still cradled in her lap. Others say she was only an ignorant hillbilly lady traveling with the gang as a cover.
Only one of Ma Barker's sons (Fred) was killed with her. Herman Barker committed suicide at Wichita, Kansas, August 29, 1927, after being blinded by police bullets in a gun battle in which he killed a policeman. Arthur "Doc" Barker was captured by the FBI in Chicago eight days before the shootout that killed Ma and Fred. He was killed attempting to escape from Alcatraz on January 13, 1939. Lloyd "Red" Barker was released from Leavenworth in 1939 after serving seventeen years of a 25-year sentence for mail robbery. He was murdered by his wife at their suburban-Denver home on March 18, 1949.
1936- the first racetrack photo-finish camera installed.
1936- Albert Fish, the Moon Maniac was executed at Sing Sing Prison. The 66 year old Fish had killed ten children and cannibalized their remains. He even went as far as to send a letter to the mother of his last victim describing how he had turned her daughter into a stew. The letter was traced back to him and he was arrested. He almost shorted out the electric chair because he kept his underpants filled with metal sewing needles. As he went to his death he told guards he was looking forward to the electric chair. "it is a thrill I never tried."
1938- Benny Goodman brought the new Swing Music to staid old Carnegie Hall. Count Basie and Harry James joined in to get the tuxedoed crowd dancing in the aisles, then afterwards they all went uptown to the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem to watch Count Basies band square off against the legendary Chick Webb. After this triumph Benny Goodmans’ band would never be the same- Lionel Hampton, Harry James and Gene Krupa all split off to form their own orchestras." That band I had the night I played Carnegie Hall was the best I think I ever had." Goodman said later.
1938- Nylon invented by the Dupont Company.
1939- Albert Einstein and Neils Bohr announce the successful fission of uranium and asked that it be used for peaceful purposes only. One of their colleagues Dr. Leo Szilard immediately warned the U.S. that they better start a nuclear bomb program because another friend of Bohr's, Dr. Rudolph Heisenberg, was building one for Hitler.
1940- Lee Francis, then Hollywood’s top madam, was busted for prostitution.
1942-Actress Carol Lombard and her mother died in a plane crash in the Sierra Mountains while returning from a war bond drive. Her husband movie king Clark Cable was so disconsolate that he joined an airforce combat squadron instead of doing USO work and took dangerous missions trying to get killed.
1942- Japanese armies attacked Burma.
1945- Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg disappeared. The diplomat had been covertly smuggling hundreds of Jews out of Nazi occupied Austria by giving them neutral Swedish passports. When the Soviets overran Vienna Wallenberg dropped out of sight. In 1991 The Russian government at last admitted that Wallenberg died in Leningrad’s Lubyanka Prison.
1954- THE WAR ON COMICS- Senator Estes Kevfauver chaired a U.S. Senate subcommittee to study juvenile delinquency. They conclude that one of the contributing factors to adolescent moral decay was four-color comic books. The media called comics “ The Ten Cent Plague”.
The probe was sparked by the publication of a book called The Seduction of the Innocent. It charged among other things that Batman & Robin were gay because when not fighting crime, Bruce Wayne & Dick Grayson lounged around all day in silk pajamas with no women! Despite testimony by Walt Kelly, Milt Caniff, Al Capp and Bill Gaines, 350 comic book companies including the EC "Tales from the Crypt" label were driven out of business. The strict comics-code was established. The comic book industry, which had been selling one million books a month, never regained that level of prosperity in the US again.
1962- Television pioneer Ernie Kovacs died when he plowed his Corvair into a tree at Beverly Glen and Santa Monica Blvds. Kovacs had a fondness for all night poker and vodka parties. Friend Jack Lemmon said Ernie was so fanatical for a good card game that once when over a friend's house no table large enough could be procured for a game, Kovacs ordered the front door taken off it's hinges and a tablecloth thrown over it so they could all play.
1962-First day of shooting on the film Dr No with a young actor named Sean Connery in the role of James Bond. Ian Fleming thought the casting of Connery would be a disaster, he wanted Cary Grant or David Niven.
1970- Col. Mohammar Khaddafyi became premier of Libya, a job he held until 2011.
1974- Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws first published.
1979- The Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlevi, fled Teheran in the face of the Ayatollah’s fundamentalist revolution.
1980-The silver market collapses, making the Hunt Brothers from two of the richest men in America to two of the poorest.
1991- GULF WAR I -U.S. French, British and Arab airforces began attacking Iraqi-held Kuwait. Sadam, Wild Weazels, Gen Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf, Republican Guards, Scuds, Smart Bombs and CNN's Peter Arnett hanging a mike out the window of his Baghdad office as the bombs rained down.
1995- The UPN Network (Universal-Paramount Network) began telecasting.
Yesterday’s Quiz: Who said: Who said “ Better to rule in Hell, than serve in Heaven.”…?
Answer: Satan said it in John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost.
January 15, 2017
January 15th, 2017
Quiz: Who said “ Better to rule in Hell, than serve in Heaven.”…?
Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: A famous sexploitation film of the 60s was named Ilse, She Wolf of the SS. Was she based on a real person?
History for 1/15/2017
Birthdays: Dr. Martin Luther King, Moliere, Gamal Abdel Nasser, outlaw Cole Younger, Charro, Matthew Brady, drummer Gene Krupa, Lloyd Bridges, Mario Van Peebles, Josef Broyer the mentor of Sigmund Freud, Margaret O’Brien, Aristotle Onassis, Captain Beefheart, Dr. Edward Teller, Former Disney animator Dave Pruiksma
Happy Druid New Year
Feast of St. Paul the Hermit
1208-THE ALBIGENSIAN CRUSADE- Count Raymond of Tolouse, son in law of King Pedro the Lecher of Aragon, was thought to be sympathetic to a heretical Christian cult called Cathars, from the French region of Albi (so Albigensians). They believed in a Zoroastrian dualism in direct conflict with the Church. When a papal representative named Peter De Castellan was sent from Rome to tell Count Raymond to knuckle under, he was assaulted. The Pope had previously sent St. Dominic to re-convert the Cathars but after ten years of preaching and fasting St. Dominic’s final conclusion was :”Someone should take a stick to those people!”
So a crusade was declared not against Moslems in the Middle East, or the Moors of Spain, but against other Christians in the heart of Europe. The holocaust was terrible, for the first time the answer of how to tell the guilty from the innocent was:”Kill them all and God will recognize his own.”
The Holy Office of the Inquisition was then invented to finish things off. The Cathar religion disappeared except for cult fans like Alastair Crowley and the Dan Brown of the DaVinci Code.
1520- Pope Leo X tells little monk Martin Luther he has sixty days to knock off all this Reformation stuff and stop complaining, or he's going to excommunicate his butt !
1559- Queen Elizabeth Ist was crowned at Westminster Abbey. The daughter of Anne Boylen and Henry VIII was 25 and reigned 42 years. Only QueenVictoria and the current Queen Elizabeth II reigned longer.
1793- The Convention of the French Revolution condemned their King Louis XVI (now called simply “citizen Capet”) to death by guillotine. Voters for the death penalty included the artist Jean Jacques David, American Thomas Paine and Louis’ own younger brother the Duc D’Orleans, now ridiculously renamed Philippe Egalite’. When Philippe arrived home that night, his family shunned him. He cried aloud:” What else could I do?
Philipe later was guillotined also.
1811- In a secret session, the US Congress approved a plan to get Florida away from Spain.
1829- The first of two commercial working railroad locomotives arrived in the U.S. from England. Named the Pride of Newscastle back home, it was renamed the America. The Stourbridge Lion followed in May. These two trains began the U.S. Railroad system.
Historian Stephen Ambrose noted that until this time all of society moved a the speed of a walking horse. That George Washington and Thomas Jefferson could travel no faster than Jesus or Socrates did in their day. A Viennese doctor at the time said that the human body was not meant to travel faster than 35 mph. Railroads changed all that.
1861- The Abe Lincoln-hating Mayor of New York City Fernando Wood passed a non-binding resolution of secession from the United States. The pro-Southern sentiment went underground in the public outrage over the rebels firing on Fort Sumter.
1895- The Electric Strike- Brooklyn's 5,000 trolley car workers go out and hit the bricks. New York's 7th Regiment had to run the system.
1919- After World War I toppled the Kaiser, anarchy reigned in Berlin streets. Today as the Spartacist revolt was put down in Berlin, German Socialist leaders Red Rosa Luxembrug and Karl Leibknecht were dragged out of the Eden Hotel, beaten with rifle butts, then shot. Their bodies were then dumped in a dry canal.
1922- Irish troops led by IRA leader Michael Collins officially took over Dublin Castle and the Irish capitol’s administration from the British. The British commander at first upbraided Collins for being late for the ceremony. Collins said in response:” You’ve been here seven centuries and you can’t wait another seven minutes?” When the Lord Lieutenant Governor shook Collins hand and said,“I’m so happy to meet you!” Collins smiled,” The hell y’are.”
1927- The Dumbarton Bridge carried the first auto traffic across San Francisco Bay.
1929- Most of the nations of the world sign the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which states that War is a bad thing. Ten years later World War II breaks out.
1935-The Tsuni Conference- Chinese Communists confirm Mao Tse Tung (or MaoZseDong) as their overall leader.
1936-THE DGA- Several top Hollywood directors including Lewis Milestone, Ruben Mamoulian and William Wellman met at King Vidor’s house and pledged $100 dollars each to form the Screen Director’s Guild, later the Director’s Guild of America. It was a risky thing to do, previous attempts to form a directors union were broken up with threats by the producers of a perpetual blacklisting. Final recognition and contracts were signed by President Frank Capra in 1940. One provision insisted on in the contract was that the director’s credit be the final name in the opening titles before the movie began. And so it remains.
1943- The Pentagon completed. First conceived as a medical research facility, it grew to become the headquarters of the massive US Military Industrial Complex, the largest office building in the world. The supervisor of construction was General Leslie Grove, who was also head of the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos.
1945- As the Nazi war effort was caving in on all sides Adolph Hitler relocated his headquarters from East Prussia to the Reichchancellory building in Berlin. One SS major cracked up der Fuhrer by joking that “now we can take a street car from the Western Front to the Eastern Front.”
1947-”THE BLACK DAHLIA”- One of the most lurid murder cases in Los Angeles history. A little girl playing in a vacant lot discovered the remains of high priced prostitute Elisabeth Short, 22, who used to work the Biltmore Hotel. She was named the Black Dahlia because of the black pullover sweaters and black lingerie she favored. Her body had been sawed in half and completely drained of blood, and the initials 'BD' carved on her thigh. Her body showed signs of torture. The murderer was never found. The incident was the basis for a movie called “True Confessions” with Robert DeNiro and Robert Duval. The last detective on the case died in 2003.
1949- Chinese Communist armies captured the city of Tientsin after an all day battle with Nationalist forces.
1960- Walt Disney Presents Leslie Neilsen as Revolutionary War guerrilla Francis Marion in the adventure series Swamp Fox.
1967- THE FIRST SUPER BOWL- After a decade of professional football conference title games, the AFL and NFL combined to make a single championship game- Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.
1968- Jeanette Rankin, the 87year old Congresswoman who voted against US participation in World War I and World War II, today led a protest against the Vietnam War.
1974- The first episode of Happy Days premiered with Ron Howard as Richie Cunningham and Henry Winkler as Da Fonz.
1983- Meyer Lansky, the elderly retired Mafia boss denied the right to move to Israel, died of a terminal nosebleed.
1998- Investigators from special counsel Kenneth Starr’s office have their first meeting with President Bill Clinton’s tootsie Monica Lewinsky in the lobby of the Watergate Hotel. They tried to pressure the 25 year old to admit her affair. They verbally denigrated her when she asked that her lawyer or her mother be present. But the Bimbo from Beverly Hills High was smart. She held out for 8 months to get the immunity deal she wanted before speaking about Bill and those well-placed cigars.
Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: A famous sexploitation film of the 60s was named Ilse, She Wolf of the SS. Was she based on a real person?
Answer: ILSE, THE SHE-WOLF OF THE SS. Ilse Koch was the wife of the commandant of Buchenwald Concentration Camp and every bit as sadistic as her husband. She participated in experiments on inmates to turn them into soap, and their skin into lampshades. On Jan 15, 1951, in her second war crimes trial she was sentenced to life imprisonment. Sixteen years later in 1967 she committed suicide in prison. In the 70’s Roger Corman revived interest in her by creating a sexploitation film about her life. The director of the film said of the screenplay, “ That was the sickest piece of crap I ever read.”