Oct. 22, 2014 weds
October 22nd, 2014

Question: Why is skipping school called playing hookie?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Which US President was tainted by the Teapot Dome Scandal?
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History for 10/22/2014
Birthdays: Sarah Bernhardt, Timothy Leary, Franz Liszt is 203, Doris Lessing, Joan Fontaine, Derek Jacobi, Christopher Lloyd is 76, Annette Funicello, Brian Boitano, Curly Howard of the Three Stooges, Catherine Deneuve is 71, Spike Jonze is 45.

1641- The Irish rise in revolt yet again against England, this time hoping that the Brits would be too wrapped up in their own Civil War to deal with them. By 1649 Oliver Cromwell came over and dealt with them so harshly his fury is still remembered today.

1660- Edward Hyde the Earl of Clarendon was a staunch supporter and adviser to King Charles II. This day, upon learning that his daughter Anne had been seduced and made pregnant by James the Duke of York, The earl humbly petitioned the King to please cut off his daughters head. Boy, when daddy gets angry! King Charles II dismissed the whole affair as much ado about nothing.

1746- The Royal College of New Jersey chartered- it was later renamed Princeton.

1797- Frenchman Jean Garnerin does the first successful parachute jump. He conceived the idea while imprisoned in a Hungarian Castle during the French Revolution. He first took his dog and threw him out of a balloon, then he jumped himself at 2300 feet in the air and sprained his ankle. Garnarin died in a balloon accident in 1823 and his experiments forgotten. The practical modern parachute was not invented until 1910.

1805-After the naval Battle of Trafalgar, the shot-up English and French fleets were scattered by an ocean storm. Admiral Nelson's dead body had been sealed in an upright barrel of brandy for the trip back to London. After four days his body released some pent up gasses that suddenly popped the lid off the barrel. Must have scared the hell out of the guard on duty.

1843- THE GREAT DISSAPPOINTMENT- American preacher William Miller working with the books of Daniel and Revelations in the Bible calculated the exact date of the Messiah’s return and the End of the World to be Oct. 22nd 1843. A highly publicized newspaper and lecture campaign got the American public so worked up that many didn’t bother to plant crops. Banks noticed businessmen returning monies they swindled from former partners. On the appointed day Miller and thousands of followers withdrew to pitched tents outside Rochester New York to await the Rapture. They waited all day and all night. By dawn most went home disappointed and feeling a bit foolish.

1883- First performance at the New York Metropolitan Opera House. It was Gounod’s Faust with soprano Christine Nillson and tenor Italo Campanini.

1892-The SWAHILI WAR began. African ivory merchants Tippu Tip and Sefu began a revolution to drive the hated Belgian colonizers out of the Congo. This war has been forgotten in Europe in the light of how Belgium suffered under German occupations in the World Wars. But the Belgians proved they could be just as brutal in annihilating these native peoples as other European nations with more warlike reputations.

1900-Two bicycle repairmen from Ohio named Orville and Wilbur Wright build a large glider and fly it. They choose the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk North Carolina to test their glider because the winds were strong and they would crash in something soft. The airplane was still three years in the future but this was their first test of their prototype double winged plane design.

1903- Tom Horn, considered the Last of the Western Outlaws, was hanged in Wyoming for the murder of Willie Nickel. The era of the gunslinger ends with him.

1923- THE TEAPOT DOME SCANDAL hearings began. By World War I the U.S. Navy had refitted it's battleships from coal to diesel fuel engines, so maintaining a strategic petroleum reserve became as serious as nuclear stockpiles are today. The Secretary of the Interior Albert Ball arranged for some reserved oil rich areas of Teapot Dome Oklahoma and California transferred from the Navy Department's jurisdiction to his department of the Interior, so he could 'lease them' to oil magnates James Doheny of Doheny Drive fame, and Harry Sinclair. They in turn gave him a fortune in stock and other monetary kickbacks.

Albert Ball became the first senior cabinet officer to go to jail. It took years for the scandal to wind through the courts and blackened the last days of President Warren Harding's administration.

1934- Bank Robber James" Pretty Boy" Floyd killed in a furious gun battle with the F.B.I. He had told his father months before:" Pa, when ah go, I’m gonna go down in lead!" Floyd was considered a "dust bowl robin hood" for leaving food and money on doorsteps of destitute farmers. One story had him steal a pie cooling on a windowsill but replacing it with a $50 bill. In Woody Guthrie's "Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd" He says:" You may call me an outlaw, but one thing that I have known. I've never seen an outlaw drive a family from their home."

1938-THE BIRTHDAY OF THE XEROX COPY- Chester Carlson working with an amateur chemistry set behind a beauty parlor in Astoria Queens created the first xerox copy. He took his invention to Edison, G.E., RCA and IBM who all rejected it. Finally a little firm that produced photographic paper for Kodak called the Haloid Company bought it. They later changed their named to Xerox.

1939-The first televised football game-The Brooklyn Dodger's 23 Philadelphia Eagles 14.

1962- Twentieth Century Fox chief Daryl Zanuck fired long suffering director Joe Mankiewicz off of the editing of the spectacle Cleopatra. Mankiewicz had shot a 6 hour movie he wanted shown as two films. Zanuck wanted one big movie at half that size. After a lot of embarrassing feuding in the press, Zanuck rehired Mankiewicz and he recut Cleopatra, When Elizabeth Taylor saw the finished film, she threw up.
Cleopatra became one of the biggest disasters in Hollywood History.

1962- After it looked like a news leak would make the news public anyway, President John Kennedy goes on national television and tells the American public about the CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS. 54 B-52 bombers with 4 Hydrogen bombs each took off to fly within two hours of their Soviet targets. 134 Titan nuclear missiles were armed.
Both sides wrestled with the temptation to do a 'First-Strike', meaning the side that hit first without warning just might knock out enough of the enemies nukes to limit the damage and “megadeaths” to his own side. Secretary of State Dean Rusk recalled: "I'd wake up in the morning and the first thing I'd think was, I'm alive, Khruschev didn't do it today." In Moscow Khruschev grimly joked:" With the time difference Kennedy works while I sleep and I work while he sleeps, hmph, maybe soon we'll both be sleeping..."

1962- At the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis a stand up comic named Vaughn Meador recorded a comedy album called The First Family. It made lighthearted fun of John F. Kennedy and his White House. The record became the fastest selling hit of the pre-Beatles era, 7.5 million copies. Jackie called Meador a rat, but JFK thought it was funny and gave out copies as Christmas presents. He said Meador’s impersonation sounded more like his brother Teddy than him.

1967- In Oakland black militants Eldridge Cleaver, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and H.Rap Brown formed the Black Panther Party of Self Defense.
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Yesterday’s Question: Which US President was tainted by the Teapot Dome Scandal?

Answer: Warren G. Harding- See above, 1923.


Oct 21, 2014 tues.
October 21st, 2014

Question: Which US President was effected by the Teapot Dome Scandal?

Yesterday’s question answered below: What is a spoonerism?
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History for 10/21/2014
Birthdays: Katushika Hokusai, Dizzy Gillespie, Whitey Ford, Alfred Nobel, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Blair, Carrie Fisher is 58, Patty Davis (Reagan's daughter), Benjamin Netanyahu, Sir Malcolm Arnold, Manfred Mann, Sir Georg Solti, Angus McFadyen, Ken Watanabe is 55, Kim Kardasian is 34.

Today is the FEAST OF SAINT URSULA AND THE ELEVEN THOUSAND VIRGINS, one of the sillier medieval legends. Supposedly on the way back from a pilgrimage to Rome the saintly daughter of a Mercian (English) king had spurned the attentions of the King of the Huns. So he had her and all eleven thousand of her handmaids executed. Earliest accounts said she had only eleven servants and no one was killed..

1492- San Salvador. Christopher Columbus writes on this day in his diary about the new land he is exploring: " We must have found Eden. I think men shall never see this place again as we have seen it." Within 50 years of Columbus's discovery, the Indian tribe that welcomed him on the beach, the Taino, were all but extinct.

1520- Fernand de Magellan sails into the Straights named for him to the Pacific.

1600- BATTLE OF SEKIGEHARA The final battle of Japan's feudal civil wars- Warlord Ieyasu Tokugawa defeats the Toyotomi faction and becomes paramount leader under the Emperor, called the Shogun. Ieyasu later died from eating too much tempura, but the Tokugawa family closed off Japan from all contact with foreigners and missionaries and ruled as Shoguns until 1868.

1639- Battle of the Downs- Dutch Admiral Van Tromp destroyed a new Spanish Armada forming in the English Channel. The Dutch fleet sank or captured 70 out of 77 ships.

1797- The 44 gun frigate USS Constitution launched. Nicknamed Old Ironsides, it is the oldest commissioned warship in the US Navy. It saw active service until 1861, remained a training vessel and is still entertaining tourists in Boston Harbor today. Last week it took a spin around the harbor to show it still had what it takes.

1805- TRAFALGAR- Admiral Nelson destroyed Napoleon's naval power in one huge battle off the southwestern coast of Spain. Trafalgar is a vulgarization of the Arabic " Al-Taraff Al-Agharr" or " The Fair Point.” Nelson began the day raising the signal flags "England expects every man to do his duty." One of Nelson's toughest captains, Sir John Collingwood said: "What the devil is Nelson about ? We already know that!"

In the heat of the battle the one-eyed, one armed Lord Nelson strode up and down his poop deck in his full dress uniform to inspire his men. He loved medals, he even had one that spun around. He not only inspired the English Tars but also the French sharpshooters who targeted him. Nelson was felled by a shot through his spine. He received the news of the victory as he lay dying and said:" The day is ours, kiss me Hardy." Hardy was captain of the flagship HMS Victory. Another version said he actually said “kismet.”

French admiral Villeneuve, whom Napoleon goaded into fighting by threatening to courts-martial him as a 'Coward, Idiot and Traitor" left the service and later committed suicide. When they took Nelson's body back to England they bent it into a brandy barrel for preservation, which has been incorrectly called a rum barrel. Which is why today rum is known as "Nelson's Blood".

1837- The Second Seminole War ends. The US government conducted three long wars to remove the Seminole Indian Nation from their Florida homelands. The most famous Seminole leader was Osceola, who ran a guerrilla campaign for 7 years in the Florida swamps that frustrated American leaders like Andrew Jackson, Winfield Scott and Zachary Taylor. Finally treachery was used to bring him down. General Jessup asked Osceola to come to a conference under a white flag of truce and when the chief appeared he had him arrested and imprisoned. Despite good treatment Osceola was dead by January, it was said he “willed” himself to death. Seminole resistance continued under his allied chiefs Alligator and Billy Bowlegs until 1842.

1861- Battle of Balls Bluff. The only thing remembered about this Civil War skirmish was the death of President Lincoln's family friend Edward Baker. Another man wounded was a young lieutenant who would one day become a great writer and father of a Supreme Court Justice- Oliver Wendell Holmes. Holmes later wrote- 'sitting under a tree with two bullet wounds pouring out blood I decided to pass the time while waiting for the ambulance by beginning a debate in my mind about the existence or non-existence of the Afterlife. My final decision was -Damned if I Know !" In later years Holmes called war an “ Organized Bore.”

1879- Thomas Edison announced the invention of the Light Bulb. After experimenting with dozens of different type filaments in a vacuum Thomas Edison perfected the light bulb with carbonized cotton. He and his crew stared at the glowing bulb for 40 hours to make sure it was really worked.

1932- The film Red Dust premiered. It made stars out of Clark Gable and Jean Harlow.

1937- A cough medicine called Elixir Sulfanilamide sold in stores poisoned hundreds and killed 200 in 15 states including children. It was found to have the same ingredients as antifreeze. The drug and the deaths led to the passage of the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which increased FDA's authority to regulate drugs.


1939- Turkey enraged Hitler and Mussolini, when contrary to their participation in World War I they opted to break with the Axis and remain neutral in World War II.

1944- BLOODY AACHEN- Aachen didn’t have much strategic value, but it was the first major German city to come under allied ground attack. It was the ancient home of Charlemagne and the First German emperors. The US First Army quickly surrounded the city, but the Germans dug in and held. For 39 days the US First Division the Big Red One did the bulk of the awful fighting- house-to-house, room by room. Finally today German Commander Gerhard von Wilke surrendered, even though he had been warned by Hitler that the Gestapo would shoot his wife and children if he did.

1959- Six months after the death of Frank Lloyd Wright his last creation the Guggenheim Museum in New York City opened.

1967- THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON- 100,000 anti-Vietnam War protestors surrounded the Pentagon in Washington and tried to do an “exorcism “ and levitate the building. This was the day of the famous images of Hippies putting flowers in the gun barrels of the National Guard troops.

1969- Beat Generation author of On the Road- Jacques Kerouac died of alcoholism and stomach bleeding, a pencil and pad on his lap. He grew bitter about how his call for youth rebellion had been reinterpreted by the 60's generation as hippies and flower power. When he came upon a gathering of kids at an anti-war rally distributing American flags to burn, Kerouac collected them all and folded them neatly.

1972- Curtis Mayfield’s soundtrack theme to the movie “Superfly” debuted at Number #1 in the Billboard charts.

1975- The Cincinnati-Boston World Series-Carleton Fisk's 12th inning homer keeps the Boston Red Sox hopes alive against Johnny Bench and the 'Big Red Machine".

1985- San Francisco Mayor George Mosconi and openly gay City Supervisor Harvey Milk were shot dead by embittered city councilman Dan White. Councilwoman Diane Feinstein discovered their bodies and took over as mayor. Dan White was acquitted on an insanity plea using the "Twinkie Defense", that junk food raised his blood sugar to such an extent that he went nuts. He served 5 years in prison, moved to Orange County and committed suicide.

2003- The Great California Brush Fires. Hot dry wind and a lost hunter ignited the worst brush fires in California history. Ten fires from Ventura County north of Los Angeles to Tijuana Mexico burned hundreds of thousands of acres for two weeks, destroyed 3000 homes and killed 20. The smoke clouds were visible from space.

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Yesterday’s Question: What is a spoonerism?

Answer: Spoonerisms are an error in speech or deliberately rearranged words for comedic effect. So Pouring Rain becomes Roaring with Pain, Washington’s Birthday became Birthington’s Washday, and so on. It was named for a Rev Spooner, the Dean of Oxford in the Edwardian era, who made these comic slips accidentally. Or maybe it was Drain Bamage.


Oct. 20, 2014 mon.
October 20th, 2014

Question: What is a spoonerism?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: Movie studio heads are called moguls, but who were the original moguls?
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History for 10/20/2014
Birthdays: Sir Christopher Wren, Bela Lugosi (born Bela Blasgow from Lugosz), Charles Ives, Arthur Rimbaud, Daniel Sickles, Black Panther Bobby Seale, Juan Marichal, Tom Petty, Art Buchwald, Arlene Francis, Grandpa Jones, Mickey Mantle, Frank Churchill, Thomas Newman, Jerry Ohrbach, Rex Ingram, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Michael Dunn, Snoop Dogg (born Calvin Broadus Jr) is 43, Viggo Mortensen is 56

1740- The Austrian Emperor Charles VI died. He leaves his daughter Maria Theresa sole heir. Maria was such a tough monarch that even when giving birth to Marie Antoinette ( one of eighteen children ) she refused to go into confinement, but sat propped up in an easy chair writing orders between contractions.

1805- NELSON'S LAST DISPATCH- Once Admiral Horatio Nelson learned that Napoleon’s Franco-Spanish Fleet had come out of Cadiz harbor he headed them off at Cape Trafalgar. Knowing the big battle would be fought on the morrow, he wrote his last log entries and letters. In one of them he begs the Admiralty to 'take care of My Poor Emma', meaning Lady Hamilton, his beautiful mistress. He wrote nothing about his wife. Nelson was killed in the battle and lionized as the hero of the nation, but Lady Hamilton was shunned as a homebreaker, and died a fat old souse in Calais.

1813- An incident during Napoleons retreat from Germany after his defeat at Leipzig. The retreating Neuchatel regiment were being harassed by pursuing Russian Cossack cavalry. Seeing a women camp follower or vivandiere, straggling behind the column a Cossack charged her, lance in hand. It was not sure whether he wanted to kill, rob or rape her in full view of the army. The vivandiere who’s name was Rosalie, calmly put down her bundle, pulled out a brace of pistols and shot the man out of his saddle. She then proceeded to steal his horse, and galloped back to the column to the cheers of the troops.

1818- America and Britain fix the western border between the US and Canada at the 49th parallel latitude.

1827- Battle of Navarino- France, England and Russia sent huge fleets to the Bay of Navarino to arbitrate the dispute between Turkey and the Greek revolutionaries. Not that anyone asked them to, but they were terribly moved by Byron's and Shelley's poems and after all, that's what Imperialist powers DID in those days. The Admiral of the British fleet was Admiral Collingwood, who was with Nelson at Trafalgar. The Allied fleet were under strict orders not to fire unless attacked, so when a Turkish gunner shot at a messenger under a white flag, BOOM, BOOM! Greek Independence.

1862- While the Civil War raged back east, Col. Patrick Connor and two regiments of US Cavalry ( The California Blues) were sent to occupy Salt Lake City. His ostensible mission was to protect the overland stage and wagon trail routes through Utah, but also he was to keep an eye on Brigham Young and his Mormon Community. Connor was not the most diplomatic choice. He called Mormons “traitors and whores” and set up his camp overlooking the town with large cannon pointed down on them. He named his army camp Fort Douglas after the late Senator Stephen Douglas who had referred to Mormonism as a “disgusting cancer”.

Brigham Young had to use all his diplomatic tact and patience to deal with this hotheaded soldier. The Mormons formed a volunteer unit called the Navoo Legion to work with the army fighting hostile Shoshone and Paiute bands. Eventually everyone got along, although Connor and other federal authorities encouraged non-Mormon settlements in Utah hoping to overwhelm their community. Connor not only reconciled with his Mormon neighbors, he lived the rest of his life in Salt Lake City, dying in the 1890s.

1890-Retired explorer Sir Richard Burton died at 69. Burton was the first Christian to enter Mecca, he went up the Nile and the Amazon, fought Indians with Kit Carson and did the first modern translation of the Arabian Nights, introducing the western world to Aladdin, Scheherazade and Sinbad the Sailor. Wherever he went in his world travels he collected pornography and erotic poems, documenting of the sexual habits of various cultures. After his death his wife burned all this anthropological material in their backyard. She feared for his soul. It is considered one of the great literary crimes of the century.

1912- The First Balkan War.

1921- Rudolf Valentino starred in The Sheik, which premiered today.

1939- Frank Capra’s film “Mr Smith Goes to Washington” opened.

1940-:” Fuehrer, we are on the march!” Mussolini told Hitler as Italy invaded Greece from Italian occupied Albania. The Greeks not only defeated his armies and drove them away, they even invaded Albania forcing Hitler to send German reinforcements. Hitler was angry at Il Duce’s move because it pulled on reinforcements he intended for the North African drive on the Middle Eastern oilfields.

1944- In Cleveland, liquid natural gas from storage tanks leaks into storm sewers and the streets, then explodes. The explosion and fire leveled 30 blocks of the city, killing 130.

1945- Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon form the Arab League.

1947- 'ARE YOU NOW OR HAVE YOU EVER BEEN...' Judge J. Parnell Thomas banged the gavel opening the House Committee on UnAmerican Activites investigation into Communist infiltration into the Motion Picture Business. HUAC was set up in 1938 as the Dies Committee to keep an eye on pro-Nazis groups operating in German and Italian immigrant organizations, but by 1944 it's emphasis had switched to Communist espionage. Investigations of the army or top civil servants like Dean Acheson was dull stuff, New Deal hating conservatives knew investigating Hollywood would yield the big headlines and jazz up public interest.
Jack Warner, Louis B. Mayer, Ronald Reagan and Walt Disney were the first in line to name names. Lucille Ball, Sterling Hayden, Zero Mostel, Ginger Rogers and Lloyd Bridges admitted they had once held communist party memberships. The anti-commie hysteria turned Hollywood inside out and the bitter feelings remained for the rest of their lives.

1955- Harry Belafonte recorded the Banana Boat Song, that made him a star- Day-o!

1955- J.R.R. Tolkein’s last book of the Lord of the Rings published. The Return of the King.

1968- Former First Lady Jackie Bouvier Kennedy shocked American society when a few months after Bobby Kennedy’s assassination she married Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis on his private island of Skorpios. “They’ll knock you off your pedestal” Truman Capote warned her. But she was determined to get her children away from the violence engulfing the U.S. in the 60’s. Onassis’ employees nicknamed her “Supertanker” because they felt he spent the equivalent price of one of those ships to win her.

1973- The Six Million Dollar Man with Lee Majors premiered.

1973-THE SATURDAY NIGHT MASSACRE- when special prosecutor Archibald Cox got too close to implicating President Richard Nixon in the Watergate scandal Nixon fired him without comment or explanation. Attorney General Elliot Richardson, rather than execute the order to fire Cox, himself resigned. Then deputy Attorney Gen. Donald Ruckleshaus was told to, he resigned as well. They eventually found someone in the Justice Dept. willing to fire Cox. It was Robert Bork. Nixon sent FBI agents to immediately secure their files and records. Because of this overt act of presidential arrogance the first calls for impeachment of the President were heard, even from members of his own Republican party. Recently Bork was attached to the Mitt Romney campaign.

1973- Sidney Australia’s Opera House was dedicated by Queen Elizabeth II.

1977- Lynyrd Skynyrd band members Ronnie Van Zandt and Steve Gaines died when their plane crashed into a swamp while en route to a concert at Louisiana University.

1991- The Oakland California Firestorm. Drought and Diablo wind conditions fanned a blaze in the East Bay hills that destroyed 3,000 buildings and killed 25 people.

1994- President Clinton opened up the first Presidential web site and set up an office of Director of Electronic Mail. To e-mail the President you use President@whitehouse.gov or First.Lady@whitehouse.gov This may be poetic justice, but if you just use www.whitehouse.com you will get a porn site. One of the first acts of incoming President George W. Bush was to close the site down, but President Obama restored it.

2011- Libyan rebel fighters killed their dictator Col Mohammar Khaddafi. The man who had ruled Libya since 1967 was found hiding in a storm drain. He was dragged out, beaten bloody, had a broomstick rammed up his butt and shot in the head six times.

2013- Saving Mr. Banks with Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, premiered.
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Yesterday’s Question: Movie studio heads are called moguls, but who were the original moguls?

Answer: Mogul comes from the word Mughal, the Indian name for the Mongol conquerors of Northern India. These Mughals ruled with an iron hand, and lived in a lavish opulent lifestyle that Hollywood insiders joked was much like their studio heads.


Oct. 19, 2014
October 19th, 2014

Question: Movie studio heads are called moguls, but who were the original moguls?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: Who was Wendell Wilkie? Besides a punch line in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
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History for 10/19/2014
Birthdays: Martha "Patsy" Jefferson, Auguste Lumiere, John Le Carre', Peter Tosh, Amy Carter, Jack Anderson, Peter Max, John Lithgow is 69, Robert Reed of the Brady Bunch, Evander Holyfield, Patricia Ireland, Michael Gambon is 74, Trey Parker of South Park is 44

Roman festival Armilustrum, blessing of the shields of the Roman Legions.
Official end of campaigning season. Ancient nations didn't wage war from Oct. to Feb. because the winter cold would cost more lives than battle. It's no wonder that the first month that's warm enough to go out and kill people is named for Mars (March).

202BC.-BATTLE OF ZAMA - Hannibal's great defeat at the hands of Publius Cornelius Scipio, who was honored by Rome with the surname "Africanis". It was said Scipio thwarted Hannibal’s dreaded elephants by frightening them away with a herd of wild pigs

Despite saving Rome and defeating the greatest military genius since Alexander, after the Punic war Scipio Africanis was the target of a senate investigation into defense budget overdrafts. He tore up his expense records in front of the Senate and went into exile, not before scolding the Senators: "If Hannibal stood here instead of me, you would not be worrying about this."

43BC- Octavian, Julius Caesars 20 year old nephew, marched four legions into Rome and seized the government. He drove out the supporters of Brutus & Cassius as well as the supporters of his erstwhile ally Mark Anthony. He had Brutus & Cassius declared Enemies of the State. Octavian would eventually defeat them all and rule Rome as the Augustus, the first Emperor of Rome.

1216- King John Lackland died, legend has it from an evil monk who pours poison from a venomous toad into his ear as he slept. There's no such thing as a poisonous toad in England, he actually died from eating too many ripe peaches and brandywine.

1453- Britain and France sign a peace treaty finally ending the Hundred Years War. The on again, off again conflict had started in 1336.

1739- England declared war on Spain. The war was called the War of Jenkins Ear because a sea captain appeared in Parliament with his ear floating in a bottle of spirits and swore a Spanish captain had done it to him on the high seas. Some thought he was a fraud but England was hot for war, and a man named James Thompson had introduced his stirring new song "Rule Britannia! Britannia Rules the Waves! Britons Never, Never, Never Shall be Slaves!

1739-The Holy Inquisition in Portugal has it’s great dramatist Antonio da Silva burned at the stake for "practicing secret Judaism". On the same day one of his plays was playing to packed houses in Lisbon.

1781- YORKTOWN- The decisive stroke that won the American Revolution. Lord Cornwallis's army was trapped in the Virginia seaport of Yorktown and forced to surrender to George Washington and the French under the Comte du Rocheambeau. At 2:00PM the redcoats marched out to lay down their arms their bands played "The World Turned Upside Down."
"...If ponies rode men, and grass ate the cows
And cats should be chased into holes by the mouse...
If Summer were Spring, and the other way 'round,
Then all the World would be Upside Down."

As the disciplined troops marched between rows of Americans and Frenchmen, British sergeants ordered :"Eyes Right!" so the men would ignore the Yankees and look at the French, for whom this was just one more chapter in their ancient rivalry. Lafayette recognized the insult and ordered the colonial band to play Yankee Doodle real loud, and the Americans started giving happy Indian war whoops. One French officer wondered if the French: "would have to save our fellow Europeans from being scalped."

Back in London when Lord North received the news he "reacted like he had taken a ball in the breast. "Good God!' he shouted:" It's all over!" His government fell as a result. The government selected to sign the humiliating peace fell also.

As a final insult of fate, Lord Cornwallis on the boat home to England got captured by a French pirate ship and forced to pay ransom! The pirate was an Arcadian (Cajun) dandy, who would always dress in red. He was nicknamed " Le Joli Rouge " ( the Handsome Red One )... The nickname is the origin of the " Jolly Rogers " the skull and cross bones of the pirates' flag.

1790- HAMAR’S DEFEAT- The new US Government of President Washington had sent its first army expedition under Brigadier General Josiah Hamar to the Ohio Country to chastise the Indians raiding settlements with British help. This day near the Miami Indian village called Kekionga which would one day be Fort Wayne Indiana, Hamars force was met by a Miami-Eel chief named Meshekinoquah or Little Turtle. Despite the innocent sounding name Little Turtle was a 6 foot tall 44 year old tough warrior and a brilliant strategist. He skillfully maneuvered Hamars force into an ambush and wiped out 3/4 of their number with minimal losses of his own. Militiamen screamed "For God’s sake run, there is Indians enough to eat you all up!"

1812- Napoleon and his army quit Moscow, the Great Retreat began.

1845- Richard Wagners’ opera Tannhauser premiered.

1864- 'And there was Sheridan, Twenty miles Away.." Battle of Cedar Creek. In Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley Confederate Jubal Early surprise attacked the Union camp and send the Yankees running. Little General Phil Sheridan, coming from a breakfast meeting in Washington, jumped on his horse Reinzi and rode to the sound of battle. As his men saw him ride by they cheered. He yelled back:" Don't just cheer me, g--damn you! Turn around and Fight!" They counterattacked and won the day. Sheridans Ride was later made into a famous poem.

1899- U.S. rocket pioneer Dr. Robert Goddard mentioned today in his memoirs as the first time he started to think seriously about how man could achieve space travel.

1901- Brazilian Santos Dumont flew a small dirigible around the Eiffel Tower in Paris. This proved that a balloon could be maneuvered by a propeller motor. This was four years before the Wright Brothers. A crowd of 100,000 cheered including Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.

1907- 'GENTLEMEN, YOU HAVE FIFTEEN MINTUES TO RAISE TWENTY FIVE MILLION DOLLARS'- THE STOCK MARKET PANIC OF 1907- The unregulated Trust bank system goes into a tailspin, pulling Wall Street down with it. The Chairman of Knickerbocker Trust, William Barney, put a pistol to his head as mobs of his clients beat down the barricaded doors to withdraw their savings. The system was saved singlehandedly by the Emperor of Wall Street, J.P. Morgan. Like a general at a battle he pumped reinforcing capitol into the system and made the above statement to the assembled bank presidents.

They raised the money in ten minutes and got it to the Stock Exchange in time to save 30 brokerage houses. He personally lent New York City $20 million to save it from default. At the close of trading J.P. Morgan got a public ovation from the stock traders assembled under his office window. Citizens were relieved, but instead of being grateful to Morgan they were not a little horrified that one man should have so much power over the U.S. economy. This realization caused the movement in Washington to create the U.S. Federal Reserve Banking System in 1913.

1917- The Silent Raid, London was bombed by 21 German Zeppelins.

1926- King George VI of England was known to have a bad stutter that embarrassed him in public speaking. This day, George had his first appointment with his Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue at his Harley St. office. The event was dramatized in the film- The King’s Speech.

1945- N.C. Wyeth, artist and father of Andrew Wyeth was struck and killed by a train.

1953 – Arthur Godfrey had one of the more popular TV variety shows at the time. One of his headliners was the singer Julius LaRosa. But Godfrey was seen to act more and more erratically and imperiously with his cast and crew. This day after a song, Godfrey put his arm around LaRosa and said gently. "Julie lacks humility, So, Julie, to teach you a lesson, you’re fired!" La Rosa and the audience first thought he was kidding but he wasn’t. He had fired LaRosa live nationwide on the air.

1957- Montreal Hockey great Maurice Rocket Richard became the first player to score 500 goals.

1960- Rev Martin Luther King was arrested and jailed for holding a sit-in in Atlanta. Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy ignored his advisers and the silence of Republican Richard Nixon, by openly contacting Dr King in jail to see if he was all right.

1964- Doo Wah Diddy Diddy hit the pop charts.

1968- RUPERT MURDOCH INVADED ENGLAND. Never mind the Vikings or William the Conqueror, on this day the little Australian landed at Heathrow to begin a takeover war for his first English newspaper, the News of the World. Until now the Fleet Street press barons were a closed club of rich old gentlemen. Murdoch used Sir Robert Caro as his cover to get in and defeat a hostile takeover bid from Robert Maxwell. He then demoted Caro out of his leadership of the paper. He soon bought the London Times. Rupert Murdoch later became a U.S. citizen so he could build the Fox movie and cable TV empires.

1985- Take on Me by Aha hit number one on the pop charts.

1987- Black Monday, The STOCK MARKET CRASH OF '87. The Dow falls 508 points. It was partly blamed on the Arbitrage high speed automated stock trading system going bananas and turning a downswing . Venerable old firms like E.F. Hutton sank beneath the waves -having their chairman Bob Froman plead guilty to 22 million dollars worth of bank and mail fraud didn't help either. However in six months most of the losses were regained, some traders saying the recovery was spurred by a bronze statue of bulls placed at the foot of Wall Street. A system of emergency circuit breakers were installed to prevent arbitrage from flipping out again. In Sept 2008, the Dow fell 750 points.

1990- Kevin Costner’s film Dances With Wolves premiered.
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Yesterday’s Question: Who was Wendell Wilkie? Besides a punch line in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Answer: Wilkie was a Liberal Republican who ran against Franklin Roosevelt in 1940.


Oct. 18, 2014 Sat
October 18th, 2014

Question: Who was Wendell Wilkie? Besides a punch line in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: What does it mean to call something Byzantine, as an adjective?
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History for 10/18/2014
Birthdays: Cannaletto, Lotte Lenya, Wynton Marsalis, George C. Scott, Pierre Trudeau, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mike Dytka, Peter Boyle, Inger Stevens, Violetta Chamorro, Wendy Wasserstein, Wynton Marsalis, Martina Navratilova, Zack Efron is 23, Jean Claude Van Damme, the Muscles from Brussels- is 54.

FEAST OF ST. LUKE. According to ancient sources Luke was actually a physician, but Medieval tradition made him the protector of artists. In Rome during the Renaissance Titian, Rubens and El Greco were members of the Guild of St. Luke.

31AD Praetorian Prefect Lucius Sejanus, a onetime favorite of the Emperor Tiberius, fell from power and was executed for treason.

1016-A large force of Vikings defeated the Anglo-Saxon English at Ashingdon.

1534- French King Francis I like his counterpart in England Henry VIII considered himself a Renaissance Prince who espoused toleration. He gave safe haven to Protestants fleeing Germany and was encouraged by the calls for reform of the Church. But this night an event happened to spoil it all. Zealous French Protestants hung placards on doors in Paris and Orleans denouncing Catholicism as " wolves and vermin". Francis awoke to find a placard hung his bedroom door, with the implied threat to him and his family.

Francis angrily ordered the arrests and the burning of heretics. At a solemn Mass in Notre Dame, the King swore he would behead any of his children who wanted to turn Protestant. This Affair of the Placards ruined any chance that the Reformation could grow in France peacefully.

1648-The First official union in the U.S. started, the Shoemakers Guild of Boston.

1776- A New York pub decorated with birds opened, customers ordered a drink they nicknamed a "Cocks Tail". The origin of the name.

1767- The Mason-Dixon line settled the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland. In a later generation it became the symbol of the divide between North and South.

1781- For several days British positions at Yorktown Virginia were heavily bombarded by the heavy siege guns of George Washington and his ally the Comte du Rocheambeau. No area of the town was safe from bombardment. Thomas Nelson Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence, gave permission to fire on his own house. The British Navy had given up on a rescue, and had sailed off to Martinique. Today the cannons went silent. A lone British drummer boy appeared on the high earthwork parapet beating the call to parley.

1793- Napoleon gets his first job. Sub-lieutenant Napoleon Bonaparte promoted to major of artillery and posted to Toulon. He is 24. At 25 he will be a General, at 31 a dictator at 35, an Emperor, at 46 unemployed, and dead at 52.
Hmmm, sounds like a career in Hollywood.

1797- THE X,Y,Z AFFAIR- Throughout the wars between Napoleonic France and England each country tried to push the neutral United States into taking a side. This pressure came from harassing merchant trade and establishing heavy trade tariffs. This day war almost resulted between America and France when the American ambassadors in Paris were approached by three French diplomats, forever called X,Y and Z. This men said for a $250,000 cash bribe they would lift sanctions on trade. The American government was enraged, but war was averted. America finally went to war with Britain in 1812.

1813- FINAL DAY OF THE BATTLE OF THE NATIONS- Napoleon’s army at Liepzig was overwhelmed by the combined armies of Russia, Austria, Prussia and Sweden.
The French had to retreat through a burning city, then cross a deep river with only one bridge over it and the enemy shooting down on them. A nervous engineer blew up the bridge prematurely leaving a third of the army still on the wrong side.

The heroes of this terrible panic were Marshal Jacques MacDonald, son of an exiled Scotsman who fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie, and the son of the last king of Poland, Prince Josef Poniatowski, who, shot several times, drowned in the river. His remains were identified when fishermen discovered silver snuffboxes in his pockets. This battle forced Napoleon to abandoned most of his conquered territory in Central Europe fall back to the national borders of France.

1861- Poet and suffragette Julia Ward Howe was staying at the Willard Hotel down the block from the White House. She awoke in the middle of the night inspired to write new words to a popular soldiers tune she heard that day "John Brown's Body". She wrote "Mine Eyes have seen the Glory of the Coming of the Lord...." She called it "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"." Glory-Glory Halleluiah, His Truth is Marching On…"

1896- Joseph Pulitzer's N.Y. Journal American created the first Sunday Color Comics supplement.

1912- The First Balkan War- Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro attack Turkey in her remaining European territories.

1922- The British Broadcast Corp or BBC formed.

1924- College football star Red Grange scored four long yardage touchdowns in one game.

1926- In Hollywood Sid Grauman's Egyptian Theater opens.

1931- Thomas Edison died peacefully at age 84. His last words were-
"It's beautiful over there..."

1942- Admiral Nimitz appointed Admiral Bull Halsey to take command of the fleet locked in battle with the Japanese off the Solomon Islands.

1946- Walt Disney premiered The Story of Menstruation.

1950- In a heated and emotional showdown in the Directors Guild all motions by C.B. DeMille and Frank Capra to extend the Hollywood anti-Communist blacklist to include expulsion from the Director's Guild are defeated. Billy Wilder, John Huston, John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy supported President Joe Mankiewicz who blocked the Blacklist Motions, and they also prevented a recall vote on Mankiewicz' s presidency.

1954- Hi & Lois comic strip debuted.

1967- Walt Disney's last cartoon done under his supervision "the Jungle Book." premiered. Disney had died the previous December. If you remember the film the end sequence Mowgli meets four vultures who talk like the Beatles but sing barbershop quartet. That’s because the characters were supposed to sing a Beatles parody song but Walt felt the group would soon be forgotten so he didn't want to date the film.

1974- Tobe Hooper's low budget cult film Texas Chainsaw Massacre first opened. Despite one film critic calling it " a bunch of sick crap" it became a huge hit.

1977- New York Yankee batter Reggie Jackson earned the name Mr. October by slugging three home runs in one World Series Game against the LA Dodgers.

1982- President Reagan said during a radio address:" My Fellow Americans, the economy is in a helluva mess....this microphone isn't on, is it?.."

1984- Handsome young television star John Eric Hexum died after shooting himself with a prop pistol loaded with blanks. The concussion of compressed air shattered his skull at close range. He was playing at mock- Russian Roulette. His last words were "Lets see if I can do myself in this time!"

Yesterday’s Question: What does it mean to call something Byzantine, as an adjective?

Answer: it means ornate, overly complicated, administratively dense, often with a context of clandestine, secretive behavior. This was the reputation of the bureaucracy of the Byzantine Empire.


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