June 27, 2016
June 27th, 2016

Quiz: What is circular reasoning?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: We understand the metaphor of when someone is undermined. But where did the phrase originate?
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History for 6/27/2016
Birthdays: Swedish King Charles XII "the Madman of the North", Helen Keller, Norma Kamali, Charles Stuart Parnell, Bob" Captain Kangaroo" Keeshan, Emma Goldman, Marine General Chesty Puller, Walter Johnson, Ross Perot, Isabella Adjani is 61, Lauren Hill, Alice McDermott, J.J. Abrams is 50, Tony Leung ChuWai is 54, Toby McGuire is 41. Katherine Beaumont the voice of Alice in Alice in Wonderland and Wendy in Peter Pan is 78.

1542- Juan Cabrillo set sail from Mexico to explore the unknown California Coast. He was told he might find the magic kingdom of Queen Califa, an island east of Asia, next to the Earthly Paradise, populated with brown amazons with golden swords. He got the idea from a popular novel of the time.

1652 - New Amsterdam passed the 1st speed limit law in the New World.

1693 – The first woman's magazine "Ladies' Mercury" published in London.

1743- The English under George II defeat the French at Dettingen, and composer Georg Frederich Handel wrote in celebration the Dettingen TeDeum.

1787- English historian Edward Gibbon completed his most famous work-"The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire". The massive history ran thousands of pages and took twenty years to write. When he presented the first volume, bound in gold, to mad King George III, the King said: -" What's this? Another damn big, black book, eh Mr. Gibbon? Scribble, Scribble!! "

1788- The Battle of the Liman. Catherine the Great's fleet defeated the Turkish navy in the Black Sea near the Moldavan coast. What is memorable about this was one of the Russian admirals was Pavel Ivanovich Jones, or John Paul Jones from the US Navy. During the night Jones got in a little boat manned by one Cossack named Ivak and had himself rowed out into the middle of the Turkish Navy to inspect it. The Cossack spoke good Turkish and learned the fleet's passwords but it was still incredibly dangerous.. Jones suffered no discovery and even paused to write graffiti on the stern end of a Turkish battleship to prove he was there. He wrote in chalk the French: "This ship to be burned- Paul Jones". Next day it was.

1804-The Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr challenged former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton (the guy on the ten-dollar bill) had slandered Burr in the press and on previous occasions he had also challenged James Monroe and General Charles Lee (a critic of George Washington’s). Between this challenge and the duel on July 11th, Aaron Burr fought another one with his cousin. The two men still had to sit side by side at an Independence Day banquet on July 4th.

1829- James Smithson died. The English scientist had amassed a huge fortune from patents yet was snubbed by polite London society because of his illegitimate birth. So he turned his back on his mother country and willed all his money to the United States, specifically asking a museum be set up in his name. The Smithsonian Institute was the result.

1844- Mormon leader Joseph Smith and his brother Hyram were killed by a mob in Illinois. After being shot down Smith’s body was propped up and used for target practice. A man drew his Bowie knife to decapitate the body but Mormon folklore says his hand was stopped by a thunderbolt.

1847- New York and Boston linked by regular telegraph service.

1862. Battle of Gaines Mill. For the first time, the army launched two large observation balloons to observe enemy troop movements. The Washington and the Intrepid. The rebels launched their own balloon, called the Gazelle. Young George Armstrong Custer went for a ride in one.

1863- George Gordon Meade named commander of the Union Army of the Potomac. The quiet Pennsylvanian was awoken out of his sleep at three a.m. by a courier sent by special train from Washington. At first he thought he was under arrest. General Meade would have command for just one week before he would have to fight the greatest battle in U.S. history- Gettysburg.

1864- Battle of Kennesaw Mountain. General Sherman's Yankees are thrown back by Joe Johnston's Confederates near Atlanta.

1876- Major Gibbon's column discovered the remains of Custer and the Seventh Cavalry at the Little Big Horn. It was near one hundred degrees Fahrenheit in the dry sun. At first from a distance they thought the naked bloated bodies were skinned buffaloes. Custer’s men had all been paid their monthly wages before riding out of Fort Lincoln. The Indians were uninterested in paper greenbacks, so among the carcasses little piles of money were blowing through the greasy grass. Because hostile Indians were still in the vicinity.
Gibbon's men hastily buried the soldiers where they fell. A few years later when a proper burial detail arrived to re-inter the bodies and remove Custer's remains to West Point they had trouble telling just who was who. So they shoveled a few bones and some yellow hair into a box and called it Custer. As late as 1991 Gen. George A. Custer III has refused to have the West Point tomb opened for DNA testing.

1905- Big Bill Haywood banged a board on the table to call to order the First Meeting of the I.W.W.-the International Workers of the World. Mother Jones, Dorothea Parsons, Eugene Debs, Emma Goldman and Fighting Bob LaFollette were also present. The I.W.W. nicknamed the Wobblies, was a labor movement that sought to unite all working people into one big international organization. Their romantic message of labor brotherhood, carried by poor folksingers like Joe Hill, was popular among miners and farmworkers. But their radical politics terrified big business. When they came out against U.S. participation in World War I the government violently suppressed them.

1922 - Newberry Medal 1st presented for kids literature, the first winner was Hendrik Van Loon.

1949 - "Captain Video & His Video Rangers," debut on DUMONT-TV.

1950- Seoul fell to North Korean troops. President Truman ordered U.S. troops to Korea without asking Congress for a declaration of war. He calls it a "police action." The Marines wrote on their tanks" Truman’s Police". Truman later told his aide Dean Acheson "Dean, I’ve spent the last five years trying to avoid a decision like the one I just had to make." The U.N. Security Council voted for a force to be sent to Korea without the Soviet Union's ambassador being present. Nations like Turkey, Holland, Britain, France, and Australia pledge to send troops for the force.

1954- Rebels organized by the CIA overthrow the elected government of Guatemala.

1962- Daryl F. Zanuck showed up at the quarterly meeting of the exec board of 20th Century Fox, and in a celebrated corporate showdown, he wrested back control of the company he founded in 1935, but had lost control of.

1966- TV soap opera Dark Shadows premiered. Barnabas Collins was the first vampire to have issues with his job, and so became the ancestor of the modern romantic vampires of True Blood and Twilight.

1973- Senior White House Counsel John Dean testified to the Watergate committee that President Richard Nixon maintained an Enemies List. The list ran from Senator Ted Kennedy and journalist Daniel Shore, to June Foray and Bill Scott, who did the cartoon voices of Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Bullwinkle the Moose.

1984- Hollywood introduced the PG-13 rating to indicate graphic violence, invented for the film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

1995- Boyishly proper British actor Hugh Grant is busted for soliciting sex from a Sunset Blvd. street hooker named Divine Brown. Grant had just released a film called “ The Englishman Who went up a Hill and Came down a Mountain". Pundits had fun changing the title to "The Englishman who went to L.A. a Hugh, and Came Back a John."

2007- British Prime Minister Tony Blair stepped down after ten years. His security police nickname in office was Bambi.

2008- Pixar’s WALL-E opened in theaters.

2011- The Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team franchise filed for bankruptcy. The team owners, Mr & Mrs Frank McCourt wrecked the teams finances fighting over their personal divorce proceedings.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: We understand the metaphor of when someone is undermined. But where did the phrase originate?

Answer: In the Middle Ages, one of the methods to attack a castle was to dig a tunnel under a section of wall, causing the wall to collapse. Today it’s a metaphor for subverting the basis or proof of an argument.


June 26, 2016
June 26th, 2016

Quiz: We understand the metaphor of when someone is undermined. But where did the phrase originate?

Yesterday’s question answered below: Some people describe the UK Brexit vote as Jingoism. What is Jingoism?
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History for 6/26/2016
Birthdays: Peter Lorre- born Laszlo Lowenstein, Pearl Buck, Abner Doubleday, Babe Deidrickson-Zacharias, Willy Messerschmidt, Claudio Abbado, Woolie Reitherman, Gregg LeMond, Vittorio Storaro, Colonel Tom Parker, Pat Morita, Chris Isaak, Derek Jeter, Chris O’Donnell, Sean Hayes is 46

4AD- The Roman Emperor Augustus officially adopted his stepson Tiberius, as his official heir and successor.

363 AD- Julian the Apostate slain in battle. Julian was the Roman Emperor who decided his stepdad Constantine had made a mistake making the world Christian and we should go back to Zeus, Venus, Hercules and the lot. This is why he is called "Apostate". During his invasion of Persia his camp was surprised by the Grand Surenna, the Persian Prime Minister. Once the battle he was struck in the chest by the enemy spear. Dying, he supposedly looked heavenward and said:" You have won, Galilean." The Roman legions elected Christian General Jovian as emperor, and The Western World never looked back.

1483- Duke Richard of Gloucester, having locked up his two nephew princes in the Tower of London "for protection", has them declared illegitimate, so he could become King Richard III. Even after Richard was killed in battle and the Tudor Dynasty in place the two little princes seemed to have disappeared.
In 1903 their two little skeletons were discovered buried under a staircase in the Tower. Some historians maintain Richard III didn’t kill the princes but Henry VII Tudor did after he took the crown from Richard. Then his granddaughter’s favorite playwright Will Shakespeare wrote a play pinning the dirty deed squarely on Richard.

1496-Michelangelo Buonarotti arrived in Rome to look for work. Coming from the city of Florence he was treated as the citizen of a foreign country.

1522-The armies of the Grand Turk attack the island of Rhodes. The Knights of St. John had fallen back to Rhodes after losing the Crusades. They will lose this base too, but make their final stand on Malta.

1541- Francisco Pizzarro, the conqueror of Peru, was eating dinner in Lima when his enemies rushed in and stabbed him to death.

1797 - Charles Newbold patents 1st cast-iron plow. He can't sell it to farmers, though; they fear the effects of iron on their soil.

1815- After Waterloo, Napoleon requested as a condition of his abdication be that he be allowed to go to the United States. He started to study books on America and the provisional French government prepared two frigates at Rochefort to take him across the Atlantic. Napoleon said his goal was now to be a scientist and study flora and fauna but he also said to another "Come, let us go to Texas and found a new Empire in the Desert!" But the allies would not allow this dream to manifest. The British took him instead to a lonely prison island off the coast of Africa, Saint Helena.

1830- Ascension of King William IV of Great Britain after the death of his brother George IV. While still Duke of Clarence, William kept a certain Mrs. Jordan as a mistress, by whom he sired ten illegitimate children. One day he told his mentally tottering father, George III, that he paid her 1000 pounds annually for this service. Reportedly, the king was much agitated by this revelation and replied: "A thousand, a thousand--too much! Too much! Five hundred quite enough! Quite enough!" Some time later, following the collapse of his relationship with Mrs. Jordan, and reflecting on his father's words, William demanded repayment of a portion of her "allowance." She responded by sending him the announcement for a play that read, "Positively no money refunded after the curtain has risen."

1858- The U.S. Army marched into Salt Lake City Utah. This was considered the end of the Mormon Rebellion. The city was deserted as Mormon leader Brigham Young had ordered the population to flee into the mountains. The US commander Col. Albert Sidney Johnston would later die at Shiloh leading Confederate forces. In the soldiers’ gambling tents, nicknamed FrogTown, was a teamster and card-shark named William Clark Quantrill, who would one day lead his rebel guerrillas in Missouri-Quantrills Raiders. When Abe Lincoln was inaugurated, he was asked” What do you propose to do about the Mormons?” He replied” I propose to leave them alone.”

1870- Atlantic City inaugurated its ocean side boardwalk; the first of it's kind in the US.

1888- Scots writer Robert Louis Stevenson embarked from San Francisco to wander the South Pacific and finally settle in Samoa.

1900 - Dr Walter Reed began the research that conquered Yellow Fever.

1906- The first Grand Prix automobile race was held at Le Mans, France. The winner was Hungarian Ferenic Szisz with a top speed of 63 miles an hour! Szisz also was sporting those newfangled rubber tires on rims, which change faster than regular wood wheels.

1916- The Cleveland Indians baseball team started the custom of wearing numbers on their uniforms.

1922- Montgomery’s Country House opened in the Los Feliz Area of LA. In the 1930s it was the nearest bar to Walt Disney’s Hyperion Studio, so artists nicknamed it “ the commissary”. Today it is called the Tam O’ Shanter, and is still in business.

1924- At the Democratic Party nominating convention young politician Franklin D. Roosevelt stood up on crutches and painfully walked the 30 feet to the podium to nominate candidate Al Smith for president. Al Smith lost, but the big news was FDR was not washed up due to his polio, but was back in the national political scene. He received a standing ovation.

1924 - The Ziegfeld Follies opened on Broadway.

1925- Charlie Chaplin has a lavish Hollywood premiere for his new film the Gold Rush.
He had edited the film in secret in an upstairs hotel room in Salt Lake City to keep away from the public and his wife’s bill collectors.

1926- From his London flat, John Logie Baird invented television. The Boob Tube has no one single Tom Edison-like inventor but many claimants. The Englishman joined the ranks of others who claimed to have invented TV first, including Richard Farnsworth, Vladimir Zworkin, Dr. Lee DeForrest and Deutsches Kino.

1927- The Cyclone Rollercoaster ride debuted at Coney Island Amusement Park. It was built on the site of the Switchback Railway, the oldest rollercoaster.

1940- Turkey announced that unlike World War I it would sit this one out thank you. It declared itself neutral in World War II.

1945- The United Nations is born when 50 nations sign the U.N. Charter in War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco. John F. Kennedy was there, trying his hand as a journalist.

1950- Two days after their invasion began Communist North Korean troops reach the outskirts of Seoul, the capitol of South Korea.

1959- Queen Elizabeth and President Dwight Eisenhower dedicated the Saint Lawrence Seaway- a system of locks and canals connecting the Atlantic Ocean and Saint Lawrence River to the Great Lakes in the interior of the North American Continent.

1959- Disney short Donald in Mathmagic Land premiered with the film Darbie O’Gill and the Little People.

1961- John F. Kennedy makes his "Ich Bin Ein Berliner" speech at the Berlin Wall. He electrifies and inspires all Europe despite " ein berliner" also meaning a local brand of little jelly donut. The proper way to say I am a Berliner is "Ich bin Berliner”. The crowd smiled but was polite. Today in Berlin tourist shops, you can buy a plastic donut with JFK’s speech coming from a hidden computer chip.

1964 - Beatles release "A Hard Day's Night" album.

1965-"Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man " by the Byrds hits number one on the US pop charts. Bob Dylan wrote the lyrics. William Shatners version became the most well known.

1968- Pope Paul VI announced excavations in the ancient Roman cemetery located in the sub-sub basement of Saint Peters Basilica had discovered the bones of Saint Peter himself. There were a few red faces when it was also found out that a Vatican librarian had removed the crucial piece of stone with the inscription "Here is Peter" and had kept it in his personal collection.

1977 - Elvis Presley does his last public performance, in Indianapolis.

1984- Campy singer Tiny Tim married Miss Vicky on the Johnny Carson show during a live broadcast.

1990- The IRA detonated a bomb in the elite conservative hangout in London called the Carleton Club that almost killed Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The exclusive club's rules are so strict that Thatcher had to be named an "Honorary Man" before she could enter.

1992- Secretary of the Navy William Garnett resigned over the Tailhook Scandal, when Navy pilots went wild partying at a convention and sexually assaulted 26 female officers. Female officers testified of having to run a gauntlet of drunken pilots pawing and tearing at their clothes.
The initial inquiry was led by Rear Admiral Duvall M. Williams. He was replaced after he told people he thought female Navy Pilots were all “hookers and go-go dancers.” The chief whistleblower that testified against the high command, Lt. Paula Coughlin, was made a pariah, and hounded out of the service.

2000- THE GENOME- Scientists announce they had cracked the human gene code and now had a rough sketch of how our DNA is assembled. Custom drugs could now e developed matching the DNA of an individual patient. It is called the biological equivalent of the landing on the moon.

2003 - Lenin said the Workers Must Control the Means of Production. Today a group of strippers bought their San Francisco bar The Lusty Lady.

2015- In the case Obergefell vs. Hodges, the Supreme Court ruled LGBT Americans had the right to marry. Legalizing same-sex marriage.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Some people describe the UK Brexit vote as Jingoism. What is Jingoism?

Answer: Jingoism is a form of fervent patriotism that favors a narrow, nativist world view. It comes from a British Empire music hall song “ We don’t want a war, but by Jingo if they do, we got the ships, we got the men, we got the money too…”


June 25, 2016
June 25th, 2016

Quiz: Some people describe the UK Brexit vote as Jingoism. What is Jingoism?

Yesterday’s Quiz Answered Below: The Ghostbuster movies created the idea of “being slimed”. It comes from an arcane Victorian belief in ectoplasm. What was ectoplasm?
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History for 6/25/2016
Birthday: George Orwell, Marc Charpentier, Lord Louis Mountbatten, General Hap Arnold, Cajun musician Clifton Chenier, Sidney Lumet, Walter Brennan, Willis Reed, George Abbott, Carly Simon, June Lockhart, Alex Toth, Peyo (the creator of the Smurfs), Jimmy Dyne-o-Mite Walker, George Michaels, Mike Myers is 53, Ricky Gervais is 55.

841- Charlemagne had made all Europe from Spain to Hungary the Frankish Empire. But the grandchildren of Charlemagne divided the empire according to their custom. Instead of the eldest son inheriting everything (primogeniture), all the sons got an equal share. This ensured civil wars to reunite and consolidate power. After knocking off their brother Lothar, Charles the Bald & Louis the German fixed the borders for a final division of the nations, that would become France and Germany.

1630 – The Fork was introduced to American dining by Plymouth Gov Winthrop.

1673- The Dutch open their dykes and flood the land around Amsterdam to stop an invading French army.

1744- The first Methodist conference convened, in London.

1789- This day representatives from the Revolutionary National Assembly went to Paris city hall and told King Louis’ Royal administrators to get lost. They would now run Paris.

1815- After Napoleons defeat at Waterloo, now it that it was safe, King Louis XVIII returned to France. He was the younger brother of the Louis XVI guillotined in the Revolution. The slow, rotund Louis XVIII, called Dix-Huit -Deez-Hweet in French, was nicknamed "Louis Biscuit" by the British because he came to Paris with the supply wagons of Wellington’s Army. The French called him Louis Dix-Huitres meaning Louis Ten Oysters. One British officer called him "A French Falstaff, a Fat Disgrace."

1835- Antoine Baron Gros was a celebrated painter under Napoleon and a friend of David and Ingres. But politics and tastes change. In a royalist postwar France dominated by Delacroix and Gericault, Baron Gros lived on forgotten and melancholy. This day the 64 year old artist drowned himself in the Seine.

1857- Writer Gustav Flaubert went on trial for pornography for his first novel Madame Bovary. He escaped conviction, and went on to write his next book Salammbo the Carthaginian princess who strangled herself with her own hair. Don’t try this at home girls!

1863- During the Civil War siege of Vicksburg, Yankee engineers dug a tunnel under the rebel lines and fill it with gunpowder. The huge explosion accomplished little, but blew a black cook named Abraham up through the air and over into Union lines. The man was badly frightened by his strange flight to freedom, but miraculously unhurt . Soldiers of an Iowa regiment immediately put him in a tent and charged people five cents to come look at him.

1867 - 1st barbed wire patented by Lucien B Smith of Ohio. It was considered the perfect tool to protect crops from free-range cattle and other marauders. During the Boer War in 1898 South Africa the White Afrikaner Boers got the novel idea of stringing the stuff in front of the attacking Gordon Highlander regiments. It’s been used as a tool to herd people ever since,

1876- CUSTER'S LAST STAND called by the Sioux the Battle of the Greasy Grass- George Armstrong Custer and 300 of his 7th Cavalry are wiped out by Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and the combined Sioux, Cheyenne nations (approximately 1,700 warriors).

There had been defeats of the whites like this before: Fetterman's Massacre, The Little Rosebud Battle, but nothing captures the imagination like the Little Big Horn. And for Native-Americans it marks the last coming together of the tribes and the last great victory .The Ogalala Sioux, Hunkpapa, Miniconjou, Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne all united to resist the violation of their sacred Black Hills. No U.S. Army commander ever expected so many different tribes could unite and field thousands of warriors at once.

Custer trusted in his audacity. "Custer's Luck". The boy general –just 23 years old in the Civil War, he was always at the head of his men in costly, reckless attacks yet personally suffered nothing more severe than the flu. Now at age 36 his luck ran out.

Accounts by natives were sketchy and no one is sure just how Custer died. The last white soldier who saw him alive was a courier sent away with a message " Benteen, come up quick. Big Village. Bring packs". The courier was an Italian immigrant named Giusepppi Martini who couldn’t speak English. The famous image of Custer standing to the last with Old Glory in hand was made up by an artist named Paxton for an Anheuser-Busch beer advertisement in 1877. One Crow Indian scout who escaped said Custer was the first casualty and that his being shot down panicked the troopers. Others say the last they saw of Custer he was crawling on all fours with blood trickling down his mouth. He was found in a pile of bodies with a bullet wound in the left side and one in the temple. The Indians didn’t even know they had killed Yellow Hair until told days later.

The tribes afterwards dispersed and headed for Canada. The only 7th Cavalry survivor was Commanche, Capt. Mile’s Keough's horse. He was treated with honor by the army and fed a bucket of beer every payday for the rest of his life. Custer was hallowed with martyrdom. Ulysses Grant was quiet about the affair but privately thought it a badly botched operation. Sitting Bull was more blunt- "The soldiers were fools, they rode to their deaths."

Mrs. Libby Custer lived until 1933 and met FDR. The last living eyewitness of the battle, Mrs. Kate Bighead of the Cheyenne who was taken on the battlefield by her mother as a young girl, died in 1959.

1870- Toi Yo ta Hoooo! Richard Wagner's opera Die Walkure premiered in Munich.

1906- Famed New York architect Stanford White was having dinner at Madison Square Garden (back when it was still a garden, on Madison Ave. and still square) when he was shot to death by millionaire Harry Thaw, the husband of his mistress Evelyn Nesbitt. The eccentric Thaw was obsessed by White, hiring detectives to follow the artist, and report his amorous pursuits. He would only date women who had dated White first. Thaw’s defense attorney’s got him acquitted of murder by reason of temporary insanity.

So instead of the electric chair Harry Thaw spent a few years in a mental home living on squab and champagne. The crowd cheered him when he was freed. The key defense witness was 22 year old Mrs. Evelyn Nesbitt-Thaw, one of the beautiful "Gibson Girls’. She gave juicy details of her kinky relationship with White, like the red velvet swing she would ride in the nude over the admiring architect’s head. After Thaw was released they divorced. Before Evelyn Nesbitt died of old age in 1967, she admitted Stanford White was the only man she ever really loved. The incident was the basis for I.L. Doctorow's novel and movie "Ragtime".

1910- First performance of Stravinsky's ballet "Firebird" by Diagheilev and his Ballet Russe. Stravinsky used to refer to the dancers as "A bunch of knock-kneed Lolitas".

1910- Congress passed the Mann Act sometimes called the White Slave Trafficking Act. It stated you couldn’t coerce a woman across state borders for immoral purposes. Penalties are doubled for legal minors but the law says nothing about boys.

1934- Young artist Milt Kahl's first day at Walt Disney Studios. It was said he was the first artist to ever show Walt a real portfolio of drawings to get hired.

1940- Young actor, and liberal labor activist Ronald Reagan married his first wife, actress Jane Wyman.

1942- A staff officer named Dwight Eisenhower was named by General George Marshall to overall command of all US forces in Europe. Picked over 400 other officers Eisenhower was chosen for his organizational skills, although up until then he had never actually led troops in combat.

1944- Three weeks after the D-Day landings with 650,000 Allied troops now in France, German Western Front army commander Von Rundstedt still believed the main allied invasion hadn’t arrived yet.

1945- President Truman wrote in his diary about how to end the war with Japan” Should I invade or bomb and blockade? This is the hardest decision I ever had to make..” Truman knew about the atomic bomb, but didn’t know if it would work until July 16th.

1951- After losing a power struggle to Dory Schary, Louis B. Mayer announced he was stepping down as head of MGM. Mayer in his time was the most powerful man in Hollywood. He kept an all white office modeled after Mussolini’s in Rome.

1951 - 1st color TV broadcast-CBS' Arthur Godfrey from NYC to 4 cities.

1956- The last Packard automobile was produced.

1967- The "Our World" Beatles concert, the first television event to try a worldwide satellite linkup. They sing and record "All You Need is Love" live in front of an audience of 400.

1968- Pierre Elliot Trudeau elected Prime Minister of Canada. For the next twenty five years he and his flower-child wife Margaret will be one of Canada’s most colorful leaders.

1973- White House counsel John Dean testifies to the Congressional Watergate Committee "There is a Cancer on the Presidency." For the first time one of President Nixon's closest advisers hinted publicly that the President himself was personally involved in the Watergate scandal.

1981- Bill Gates and Paul Allen file papers to incorporate their company Microsoft.

1982- Ridley Scott’s sci-fi film Blade Runner opened.

1991-The Fifth Balkan War- also called the Yugoslav Civil Wars began. After the death of aged Communist dictator Josef Tito, the union of South Slavs called Yugoslavia started to come apart. This day Slovenia & Croatia declared their independence. Serbia had allocated to itself the bulk of the armaments of the former Yugoslav army and attacked them with it.
During these wars it was almost impossible to tell Serbs, Bosnian-Moslems or Croats apart. At times they killed each other based on what their automobile license plate read.

1980- Disney’s film Herbie Goes Bananas, premiered.

1997- Disney's animated film Hercules released.

2009- Michael Jackson, called the King of Pop, died after his personal physician Dr. Conrad Murray administered a powerful sedative named Propofol to help him sleep and stopped his heart instead. He was 50 and been performing on stage since the age of 5.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: The Ghostbuster movies created the idea of “being slimed”. It comes from an arcane Victorian belief in ectoplasm. What was ectoplasm?

Answer: Edwardian society had a fascination with spiritualism, that we could communicate with the dead. They believed psychic ectoplasm was a strange sticky substance that ghosts were made of. That a good psychic medium could excrete this stuff from their minds during a trance.


June 24, 2016
June 24th, 2016

Quiz: The Ghostbuster movies created the idea of “being slimed”. It comes from an arcane Victorian belief in ectoplasm. What was ectoplasm?

Yesterday’s Quiz Answered Below: In the cult film and show The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the creator and author is in the cast. Which character is he?
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History for 6/24/2016
Birthdays: Earl Kitchener, the Sirdar of Omdurman, Roy O. Disney, E.I.Dupont, Ambrose Bierce, Jack Dempsey, John Ciardi, Mick Fleetwood, Phil Harris- singer and voice of Baloo in Disney’s Jungle Book, Billy Casper, Michelle Lee, Claude Chabrol, Chief Dan George, Pete Hamill, Peter Weller, Sherry Springfield

Happy St. John the Baptist or St. Jean Baptiste’s Day.

1203- The armies and fleets of the Fourth Crusade arrive before the Walls of Constantinople. The knights of Europe had signed on to fight Moslems for the Holy City of Jerusalem but Venetian Doge Enrico Dandolo convinced them to help him destroy the Byzantine Greeks first. This was a purely economic act because the Byzantine Greeks were Venice’s chief competition for Mediterranean trade.

1219- Pope Innocent III set today as the deadline for deadbeat knights who volunteered to go on Crusade to get off their ironclad butts and get going. Knights had an economic incentive to taking the Crusading vow: no one could collect a bad debt from you and you couldn't be imprisoned. So some knights would take the vow to Crusade for the perks, but then stalled on making the dangerous trip to the Middle East, where two out of three never returned.

1324- THE BATTLE OF BANNOCKBURN- Scottish King Robert the Bruce defeated the invading army of King Edward II of England and secured the crown of Scotland for the next 300 years. The Bruce fought in the midst of his troops, hacking down Sir Hugh de Bohun in single combat with his battle-axe. Edward’s father, Edwards Longshanks, had developed winning tactics of using Welsh archers to shoot up an enemy before the mounted knights charged. But Edward II’s bad generalship bungled the system. Knights and footmen scrabbled to get at the Scots not allowing the bowmen a clear target.

1374- In the French town of Aix la Chapelle was the first recorded outbreak of Ergot Madness or St. John’s Dance. Groups of people frothing at the mouth danced madly around uncontrollably until they fell over dead from exhaustion.

1441- Eton College created by King Henry VI of England.

1488-The PIED PIPER OF HAMLIN-The story is a romantic fairy tale but on this day one version of the story has the real man doing something more like Jeffrey Dahmer. Because the town fathers refused to pay his salary he spirited a hundred children out of Hamelin and they all disappeared. People later found young body parts. These fairy tales, like Red Riding Hood and others were for peasants more warnings of peril than amusements.

1497-English explorer John Cabot discovered Canada -Eh!

1534- The great medical pioneer Paracelsus led a mass burning of medical textbooks at Basel University. The eccentric scholar took frequent sips of laudanum (a heavy opiate he developed) from a container in the hollow handle of his sword. He pioneered the use of minerals in medicine and invented the term Tartar for teeth.

He also practiced Astrology and would never give an enema during the full moon. With this book-burning stunt Paracelsus claimed that all medical text before him was quackery and mumbo-jumbo. Burning in St. John’s Fire was the least it deserved. Truth be told he was right. His middle name Bombast became a synonym for bragging.

1535- The Anabaptists, a radical religious sect, had driven out the Bishop of the German city of Munster and established a commune like city-state they called the New Jerusalem. This day after a long siege, a spy opened a gate to the German Imperial soldiers and the city was captured with a horrible massacre.

The Anabaptist leader John of Leyden, who had lived like an Old Testament King with a harem of wives, was tied to a stake and clawed with red-hot pincers. His tongue was torn out with pliers. Finally, when they couldn’t think of any more ways to torture him a dagger was pounded into his heart and his body burned. The Anabaptist sect was suppressed in Cologne, Trier, Amsterdam and Leyden.

1675- King Phillips War began. The Massachusetts Pilgrims repay the hospitality of the Wampanoag Indians with whom they spent the first Thanksgiving by wiping them out. King Phillip was the Christian name of the chief who was the son of Massacoit, the Wampanoag who welcomed the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock.

1668- Margaret Brent entered the legislature of the colony of Maryland and demanded the right to vote. She was chased out of the building.

1812- NAPOLEON INVADES RUSSIA with the largest army yet assembled.
Around 600,000. By December, barely 30,000 came out alive. This day while inspecting the troops Napoleon’s horse stepped in a rabbit hole and threw him on his butt. This was taken as an ill omen.

1853- Joaquin Murrietta was an outlaw who ranged up and down the California midlands. Called the Terror of the Stanislaus. He and his friend Three-Fingered Jack were finally hunted down and killed in a shootout by Marshal Harry Love. This day Murietta’s head and Jack’s three-fingered hand in a jar of spirits went on display in front of the Stockton Cal jailhouse.

1876- CUSTER APPROACHES THE LITTLE BIG HORN- General Custer's scouts reported a large Indian camp at the Little Big Horn River. Custer decides to attack tomorrow without waiting for the other armies to catch up. Through his interpreter Mitch Boyer, he tells his Indian scouts that after he has destroyed the Sioux, he will go back east and become the Great White Father. The Republican presidential nominating convention was next month.

The Crow and Mandan scouts were troubled by the signs and began their death-songs. Embedded N.Y. Herald reporter Mark Kellogg made a final entry in his diary: "I go to ride with Custer and will be there at the death...” In the dawn's light a survivor from Major Reno’s command overheard Custer's chief scout Bloody Knife tell Custer: " You and I are going Home today -but by a different path."

1889- The Bank of Telluride Colorado was robbed by a lapsed Mormon miner named Robert Parker, who now called himself Butch Cassidy.

1901- The first exhibit in a Paris salon on the Rue Lafitte of a Spanish artist named Pablo Picasso.

1924- As the Zionist Jews labored to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine, disagreements arose between Ultra-Orthodox and more secular Jews. The orthodox objected to the founding of a Jewish State before the coming of the Mossiach or Messiah, they objected to the everyday use of Hebrew, which they considered a sacred tongue.

This day an Ultra Orthodox leader named Rabbi Israel Dehar was assassinated by the Hagannah, the Israeli underground. Rabbi Dehar had just had meetings with the Sheik of Trans-Jordan and had announced he was going to go to London to demand the British authorities create a separate protectorate for Orthodox Jews that would not be under the rule of the mainstream Jewish community.

Even though many Zionist leaders like Abba Eban felt the killing of a fellow Jew was wrong, they could not endure such a fracturing of the Jewish position. So Rabbi Dehar had to be stopped.

1930- The first test of radar to detect an airplane, this test over Anacostia flats near Washington DC.

1939- Pan-Am airlines began regular transatlantic passenger flights from New York to London.

1944- Three Jews escape Auschwitz, travel via Switzerland and bring evidence of the Holocaust to London and Washington. American and British Jewish leaders demand bombing the rail links to the concentration camps. A shocked Winston Churchill wrote RAF Air Marshal Tedder: "Get anything out of the airforce you can." Strangely nothing ever happened. The plans always stalled in lower echelons.

Three times U.S. Assistant Secretary of War John McCloy wrote, "Kill this plan.” While massed Allied bombers were reducing German cities to ruins there was never one single air attack on a concentration camp. The gas chambers and crematoriums worked uninterrupted until they were finally overrun by the land armies. It's one of the war's more shameful mysteries.

1945- The Russian Victory Parade over the German Third Reich. Moscow rejoiced as thousands of Red Army troops marched in Red Square and tossed captured Nazi flags at the foot of Lenin’s tomb. This in imitation of their ancestors who tossed Napoleon’s battle flags in a heap on the steps of Saint Basil’s Cathedral. There next to Stalin stood future President Dwight Eisenhower representing the United States.

Top military genius Marshal Gyorgi Zhukov, the victor of Stalingrad and Berlin, was allowed to review the troops on a prancing white horse. This display aroused jealousy in Stalin who was suspicious of rivals and not anxious to share the credit. Within a year of the victory, Stalin had Zhukov disgraced and sent to Mongolia, and the heads of the Soviet Navy and Airforce demoted and tortured. Stalin then awarded all the top war medals to himself.

1945- Meet the Press debuted on radio. Two years later it moved to television and it remains t.v.’s longest running program.

1947-The Berlin Airlift- Soviet dictator Josef Stalin was furious when the western powers decided to unify their sections of defeated Germany back into an independent country and top Nazis supporters like industrialist Gottfried Krupp were being let out of jail and put back into positions of power. He decided to strike back at isolated Berlin.

When Stalin orders all land routes to West Berlin sealed off hoping to starve the city into submission, U.S. President Truman orders the city supplied by round the clock air flights. The planes brought 4 thousand tons of supplies a day. A plane landed every three minutes. The Germans called them "candy-bombers" because they dropped candy on the children from above.

1947- THE FIRST MODERN UFO SIGHTING. A commercial airline pilot flying out of Seattle notices 6 silver disc shaped objects hovering over Mt. Reynier near Seattle. They then shot off at terrific speed. They are never identified nor explained. The pilot, Kenneth Arnold had impeccable credentials as an ex-combat Marine pilot and chamber of commerce member. The government response was to hit him with an IRS audit. The "flying-saucer" craze, with allegorical overtones to postwar atomic paranoia, sweeps the American imagination throughout the 1950’s.

1949 - "Hopalong Cassidy" becomes the1st network western on television-NBC.

1950- THE KOREAN WAR BEGAN- June 25th in some records because of the International Date Line- 30 North Korea divisions armed with heavy Soviet tanks and artillery crossed the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea. The attack was a complete surprise and most South Korean officers were at a party dedicating a new Officer’s Club. The US had deliberately kept the Korean Army lightly armed to diffuse Cold War tension. Mao and Stalin were equally surprised by North Korean Kim Il Sung’s attack.

The previous January Secretary of State Acheson had said during a conference that the US "was not interested in the Korean Peninsula." But when President Harry Truman was informed of the invasion he responded in typical Truman fashion:" We gotta stop those Sons of Bitches!" At this time there were only 500 US troops in Korea called KMAG, for Korean Military Advisory Group, which one Yank changed to Kiss My Ass Goodbye! This is considered the first war fought by the United Nations, since Truman pushed through a resolution sending troops under the UN banner. The Russians were boycotting the Security Council over its refusal to seat Red China, so they were unable to veto the move.

1963 - 1st demonstration of a home video recorder, at BBC Studios, London

1970 – The movie "Catch 22" opened in movie theaters.

1973- Eamon de Valera resigned as President of the Irish Republic at age ninety. The American-born Irish patriot had been a guerrilla in the 1916 Easter Sunday Uprising and was president since 1932.

1997 - Brian Keith, actor (Family Affair, Dirty Dingus McGee), shot himself at 75. He was suffering from incurable cancer and tired of the pain fighting the disease.

2004- On the Senate floor during a routine Congressional group photo, the Vice President of the United States, Richard Cheney, told the Democratic Senate Minority leader, Patrick Leahy, “Go F**k Yourself!” Republican Majority Leader, Senator Tom Delay, said the Vice President “was having a hard day”. The Vice President never apologized for this vulgar breach of etiquette, like he has never really apologized for anything.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: In the cult film and show The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the creator and author is in the cast. Which character is he?

Answer: Playwright Richard O’Brien played Riff Raff, the Butler.


June 23, 2016
June 23rd, 2016

Quiz: In the cult film The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the author was in the cast. Which character was he?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: In one more week Hollywood actress Olivia DeHaviland will be 100 years old. Her sister was also a screen siren. What was her name?
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History for 6/23/2016
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Augustus, Josephine Bonaparte, Alan Turing, Bob Fosse, James Levine, Dan Ogilvy of Ogilvy & Meyers, Joss Whedon, Dr Alfred Kinsey the sex researcher, Edward VIII, aka the Duke of Windsor, Selma Blair, Justice Clarence Thomas, Frances MacDormand is 59

1565- Siege of Malta -the fortress of St. Elmo fell to furious Turkish assaults. Sultan Sulieman the Magnificent was shocked at how many fine troops he lost to reduce the smaller of two forts defending Valetta, the capital of Malta. He could imagine the cost to take the larger fort, St. George. So Sulieman gave up the siege. The victorious Knights of St. John Hospitaller, looking for a home since the Crusades, would now be the Knights of Malta. Their emblem, the Maltese Cross, is four barbed arrowheads forming a cross.

1611- In Hudson’s Bay, Canada, Henry Hudson's crew mutinied and set him and his son adrift in a rowboat. They were never seen again. When back in Holland the mutineers were never charged because they claimed to have discovered the Northwest Passage to the Indies, which luckily for them they never had to prove.

1683- William Penn signed a treaty with the Lenni-Lenapi Indians at Shackamaxon under the Treaty Elm to start his new Quaker colony called Pennsylvania. Penn wrote of the Indians: "Their language is narrow, yet lofty like the Hebrew…one word suffices in place of three."

1757- Battle of Plassey- Sir Robert Clive with 900 English and 1300 Indians defeated an army of 50,000 under Siraj-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Bengal who perpetrated the infamous Black Hole of Calcutta. Daula was killed and the victory assured the British domination of India.

1789- Since June 20th, when the French Estates General had adjourned to a Tennis Court and declared itself the National Assembly, everyone wondered what King Louis XVI would do. This day the King held a mass meeting called a Royal Levee with the legislators and court to announce his decision.

From a golden throne Louis said that while he agreed to most of their political reforms, the idea that a regularly sitting Parliament of common people could overrule royal authority he declared was "illegal and void". He would stay an absolute monarch answerable only to God, thank you.

After the King ended the meeting, the Royal Herald called upon the legislators to go home. They refused. The orator Mirabeau said" We shall not leave this hall except by the power of the bayonet!" When told this the King sighed" Oh... the Devil with them. Let them stay." The stand off persisted until July 14th when the attack on the Bastille started the French Revolution.

1793- During the French Revolution, Josephine De Beauharnais is condemned to be guillotined. In a prison filled with nobles and intellectuals she found her first husband Alexandre the Vicomte du Beauharnais. They had been estranged for years and she had become quite a scandalous woman. When the jailer read out the names to go to the blade that day he read: "DeBeauharnais!" without specifying which DeBeaharnais was to go. The husband stepped forward and said: "Madame, just this once allow me to go first." When the Reign of Terror was overthrown she was released and she became the love of Napoleon.

1810- The Pacific Fur Company was set up by John Jacob Astor, a German immigrant merchant. His ambition was to set up a string of fur trading posts along the route traveled by Lewis & Clark. It is the beginning of the great Astor fortune.

1815 –A week after his defeat at Waterloo. Napoleon abdicated for good. He abdicated to his son 4-year-old Napoleon II then being held in Austria, but everyone ignored that wish.

1859- Battle of Solferino- Garabaldi and Napoleon III defeated the Austrian army. This victory and the next battle of Magenta freed Milan and the Po Valley. All Italy is united for the first time since the Roman Empire. The completion of the unification process Italians called The Irredenta. In return, Italy gave France the city of Nice.

After the carnage of the battle the suffering of the wounded was so pitiable that a Swiss volunteer doctor named Dr. Henry Dunant was inspired to found the International Society of the Red Cross. He was soon bankrupt and forgotten but his organization was taken up at the first Geneva Convention in 1864 and made international law.

1865- The U.S. Secret Service set up.

1865- Two months after Lee surrendered to Grant, at Fort Towson in Indian Territory, General Stand Watiee, aka De-Ga-Ta-Ga, surrendered his Cherokees. This is the last Confederate force in the Civil War. Confederate Jo Shelby rather than give up rode his Iron Legion of rebel cavalry across the Rio Grande into Mexico. After two years exile he returned and accepted the Yankee amnesty.

1868- Christopher Latham Scholes patents the typewriter. In 1873 he sold his patent to the Remington Company. In 1874 Mark Twain secretly admitted to a friend that he enjoyed writing on the newfangled technology.

1940- HITLER THE TOURIST. After the defeat of France, Adolph Hitler takes his one vacation out of Germany. A plane flies him to Paris in the early morning and he is driven around to see the sites. While his Mercedes is waiting at a traffic light a newsboy, not realizing who he was, thrust a morning newspaper under his nose yelling "le Matin! Le Matin!” Hitler was back in Berlin that evening.

1944- Franklin Roosevelt's last fireside chat on the radio.

1971- Three Soyuz 11 cosmonauts were found dead in their space capsule upon landing. The capsule must have had a pressure leak upon re-entry. Soviet accidents in space were kept secret until after the fall of communism in 1990.

1972- Title IX passed by the US Government. It called for women’s collegiate sports to be funded equally as the men’s sports.

1976- Toronto’s CN Tower opened. Called the world’s tallest free-standing structure.

1979- The Knack released the single My Sharona.

1989- Tim Burton’s film " Batman" opened.

1992- Head of the New York Mafia John Gotti was sentenced to life in prison for murder and racketeering. It had been so hard to pin anything on Gotti that he was nicknamed the Teflon Don. Finally, city prosecutor Rudy Giuliani secured the testimony of the Dons top henchman Sammy ‘the Bull’ Gravano. For turning informant, Sammy dodged any penalties himself, despite admitting killing 32 people, including his own brother in law, whose body parts he buried in his backyard. John Gotti died in prison in 2002.

1993- Lorena Bobbit had tired of her abusive husband John Wayne Bobbit. So this night while he was drunk, she severed his penis and drove off, casually tossing it into a nearby field. Doctors recovered the free willy and reattached it, starting a media sensation. They divorced and John Bobbitt for a while became a porn star.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: In one more week Hollywood actress Olivia DeHaviland will be 100 years old. Her sister was also a screen siren. What was her name?

Answer: Joan Fontaine.


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