April 16, 2014
April 16th, 2014

Quiz: Was Gustav Mahler Jewish?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: When World War I began in 1914, it was the nations called the Allies vs. the nations comprising the Grand Entente. Who were the Allies?
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History for 4/16/2014
birthdays: King John II “The good” of France (1319), Elisabeth Vignee-Lebrun, Wilbur Wright, Charlie Chaplin, J.P. Morgan, Kingsley Amis, Anatole France, Henry Mancini, Peter Ustinov, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bobby Vinton, Spike Milligan, John Halas, Edie Adams, Hans Sloane*, Disney artist Victor Haboush, Martin Lawrence is 49, John Cryer is 49, Ellen Barkin is 60, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is 87.

*Sir Hans Sloane was the chemist to Queen Anne of England circa 1700. He pioneered pharmacy, left his artifact collection to be the basis of the British Museum and produced an early recipe for milk chocolate. Sloane Square in London was named for him. The British name for Yuppies was Sloane Rangers, not for Sloane himself but for all the chic shops on Sloane Square.

1260- Chartres Cathedral completed. Art history teachers rejoice!

1632- Battle of the Lech River- in the Thirty Years War the Protestant army under Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus defeated the Catholics under Johan Von Tilly. The 74 year old mercenary general Tilly, his hip smashed by a cannon ball, died soon after.

1746- BATTLE OF CULLODEN- The last pitched battle fought on British soil. British armies under the Duke of Cumberland crushed the Scottish Highlanders raised by Prince Charles Stuart. It is considered the last gasp of Scottish independence although “Bonnie” Prince Charlie’s goal was not an independent Scotland but recapturing the English throne for his deposed family.

Historians harp on what a forlorn hope it was to conquer the mighty British Empire but truth be told the Highland Army got pretty far pretty easy, down into England as far as Derby before falling back into Scotland. With the majority of the British army running around North America, Gibraltar and India there were fewer than 15,000 redcoats to defend the homeland. But the initial surprise was lost as most of the Highland Chieftains spent most of the time arguing and paid their troops with Oatmeal.

Bonnie Prince Charlie made a daring escape across the moors and fens that has been much romanticized, truth was he was a depressed wife beating alcoholic who got soused soon after the battle. He was staying at the house of a fence-sitting Scottish laird when they could hear the tromp of pursuing English cavalry in the courtyard below. The Laird had to pry the wine bowl from Charlie’s fingers to get him to leave. In Edinburgh Castle today you can see the bowl on display, with two chipped pieces where the prince’s thumbs were holding the bowl as it was yanked away. The vengeful British banned for a time the clan system, tartans, bagpipes and the Gaelic language for decades.

1787- What some consider the first professionally produced American play- Royall Tyler’s the Contrast- debuted at New York City’s John Street Theater. It was a comedy that poked fun at aristocracy. Gen. George Washington was in the audience. At this time the Broadway theater district and Times Square was a quiet forest clearing.

1828- Spanish artist Francisco Goya died at 82 in Bordeaux, France. Years later when his remains were moved to Madrid it was discovered Goya wasn't alone in his grave. His friend Martin Goesochea's remains were in with him. Maybe there was a two-for-one sale..

1862- Union Admiral David Dixon Porter's fleet of ironclad warships run past the batteries of Vicksburg ferrying Grant and his army to the town of Hard Times. One of the cannon thundering at Porter was the famous Rebel 18 pounder "Whistlin' Dick". It was so named because the rifling of it's barrel gave it's shells an erratic spin and recognizable whistle.

1865- Confederate leader Robert E. Lee had surrendered his army to Grant and had returned as a private citizen to his Richmond brownstone. This day a scout from Mosby’s Raiders slipped into his home and asked Lee if they should keep fighting guerrilla style. Lee told him. “Tell General Mosby and his command to be good boys and go on home”

1874- AMERICA'S CANNIBAL, Gold prospector Albert Packer went up into the Colorado Rockies with several friends to look for gold. They were stranded by blizzard conditions and reduced to eating their moccasins for food.

On this day Packer, the only survivor, came down to civilization and admitted under examination that he and his friends resorted to cannibalism to survive. Upon further questioning Packer admitted he didn't always wait for his friends to die, he'd hatchet them in the head as they slept then fricassee them. Packer became the only American ever convicted of cannibalism and the University of Colorado Student Grill is named in his honor.

1905- Andrew Carnegie established the Carnegie Foundation to distribute his philanthropy. The former Scottish orphan coal miner Carnegie renounced his robber baron career and dedicated himself to donating the bulk of his fortune to building libraries and hospitals. He claimed: “A man who dies rich dies disgraced!” Mark Twain wrote him satirical letters “To Saint Andrew from Saint Mark”

1912- Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly the English Channel.

1926- The Book-Of-The-Month-Club distributed it’s first selection-Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner.

1935- Fibber McGee and Molly debut on radio.

1943- BICYCLE DAY-In Basil Switzerland chemist Dr. Albert Hoffman discovered the hallucinogenic properties of LSD. He had become very interested in the relationship between ergot (wheat rust), and had done a great deal of research about the Oracle at Delphi. He had synthesized LSD in 1938 but couldn't figure out what to do with it. However, when he made up the drug the second time, he probably inhaled enough from it to start hallucinating. Since he had already tried mescaline, he had a pretty good idea of what was happening to him, so he closed up his lab, got on his bicycle and pedaled home to Binnigen, a suburb on the southern edge of Baselstadt, a trip of four or five miles, hallucinating all the way.

The next day he went back to the lab and made up a dose of LSD the size of a reasonable dose of mescaline, without realizing that that amounted to a tenfold overdose of LSD. Twenty minutes later he said 'Oh oh,' got on his bike and pedaled back to Binnigen. A scientist reader to this site added this: I believe the first hope for LSD was that it would produce an 'experimental psychosis,' which would allow scientists to study schizophrenia in otherwise 'normal' patients or subjects.

1940- On Baseball Season’s opening day President Franklin D. Roosevelt's ceremonial first pitch smashed a Washington Post camera. The Chief Executive was not charged with a wild pitch. Red Sox hurler Lefty Grove blanked the Washington Senators, 1-0.

1946-The Brothers Chevrolet- Louis and Arthur Chevrolet were Louisiana race car drivers at the beginning of the 20th Century who were invited by General Motors to design a line of high performance vehicles. But their business skills were never as good as their engineering abilities. After a number of bad deals, cheated opportunities and hard luck Louis died a common mechanic on his own Chevrolet assembly line. This day Arthur Chevrolet broke and alone, committed suicide.

1947- The Zoom Lens patented.

1952- THE NUNIVAK INCIDENT AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMPUTER – American coastal air defenses had been neglected since the end of WWII. But by 1952 the Cold War raised tensions, and we knew the Soviets had nuclear bombers capable of reaching the US mainland. This night, a radar station at Nunivak Alaska and another at Presque Isle Maine both reported flights of unidentified aircraft headed towards the U.S.. They turned out to be false alarms, but the reports of the planes took four hours to reach Washington! The resultant scandal in Strategic Air Command resulted in the rapid building up of a new early warning system. This fostered the birth of the SAGE computer systems, inventing the computer screen, keyboard and stylus.

1953-PORK CHOP HILL- In the Korean War, today marked the heaviest Red Chinese assaults to retake Hill 255, because of its shape called Pork Chop Hill. This hill had very little strategic value, but the Chinese and UN forces placed great symbolic meaning to it as a test of strength. Pork Chop Hill was battled over from June 1952 practically until the Peace Treaty of Panmunjom in mid 1953.

1959- John McCarthy of MIT invented the computer language LISP.

1962- Walter Cronkite took over the job of anchor at the CBS Evening News, building a reputation for journalistic integrity almost equaled to Edward R. Murrow. Nicknamed the Most Trusted Man in America, many credit Cronkite for breaking the news to middle America that the U.S. was not going to win the Vietnam War. President Lyndon Johnson said: If I lost Cronkite then I’ve lost middle America.” When Cronkite retired, the redoubtable CBS News Division descent into tabloid stupidity and irrelevance began.

1983- Disney Channel debuted.
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Yesterday’s Question answered below: When World War I began in 1914, it was the nations called the Allies vs. the nations comprising the Grand Entente. Who were the Allies?

Answer: Here’s the weird detail about WWI, In 1914 the Allies were Germany, Austria, Hungary, Turkey. The Entente Powers were Britain, France, Russia and Japan. Italy started close to Germany but switched to the Entente in 1915. Today historians don't use the title Allies and calls them The Central Powers, to avoid confusion.


April 15, 2014 tues.
April 15th, 2014

Quiz: When World War I began in 1914, it was the nations called the Allies vs. the nations comprising the Grand Entente. Who were the Allies?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What is a Pentathelete?
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History for 4/15/2014
Birthdays: Leonardo DaVinci, composer Domenico Gabrieli, Nanak Ist the Guru of the Sikh religion 1469, Charles Wilson Peale, Theodore Rousseau, Henry James, Bessie Smith, Heinrich Klee, Kim Il Sung, Claudia Cardinale is 76, Roy Clark, Emma Thompson is 55, Olympic runner Evelyn Ashford, Alice Braga is 30, Seth Rogen is 32 Emma Watson is 24, Animation art director Lou Romano

Fordicidia-Ancient Roman Festival where 31 pregnant cows are sacrificed in honor of Tellus, the Earth-Mother.

Happy St. Matthews Day, the patron saint of tax-collectors.

1632- Battle of the Lech River. round one of Protestant Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus vs. Catholic Imperial Duke Albrecht Wallenstein in the Thirty Years War.

1729- The Saint Matthew’s Passion oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach was first sung at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig.

1738-The Bottle Opener invented.

1755- Dr. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language first published. Dr. Johnson first created the system of listing a word’s phonetic pronunciation, ancient roots and how to use the word in a sentence. The excellence of Dr. Johnson’s dictionary made him the virtual dictator of English writing in his time.

Dr. Johnson allowed a bit of personal pique into his lexicographical prima non pares. He was annoyed that Lord Chesterfield pledged to finance his effort, but only sent a check for a measly ten pounds. When the book was a success his lordship claimed credit as Johnson’s benefactor. Dr. Johnson defined the word “Patron”- One who contributes Indolence, and pays in Flattery.”

1797-The Great Spithead Mutiney- Never mind the Bounty, here the whole blinking British Fleet mutinied against harsh conditions like flogging, press gangs and having to say “Arr-Mateys”in a silly voice whenever appropriate. Flogging was never officially prohibited in the British Navy, it just died out in the 1870's.

1822- The Captain Henry Expedition set off. Andrew Henry got together a team of mountain men including Jedediah Smith and Jim Bridger and went off in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark to the source of the Missouri River 2500 miles into Montana. They tried to drag a small ship on wheels along with them but wound up abandoning it. The story was dramatized in the 1970’s Richard Harris film” Man in the Wilderness”.

1839- Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg are betrothed to be married. Actually it was Victoria who proposed to Albert, it was unseemly to speak to a queen otherwise. Victoria and Albert had been intended by political arrangement since they were 13, but they fell in love, which was considered quite unusual.

1850- The townships of Yerba Buena- Good Herbs, incorporated as the City of San Francisco.

1861- LINCOLN’S EDICT- In reaction to the attack by Confederate rebels on Fort Sumter President Lincoln declares the ten southern states in an open state of rebellion and calls for troops. Legally the Constitution did allow for the Southern States to secede and Lincoln couldn't get a declaration of war from a half empty Congress, so he found an obscure 1792 law that allowed the President to call up state militias without requiring a declaration of war. He enlists 75,000 men.

Many regular army lieutenants and captains resigned from the national service so they could become generals and colonels in the militia. Even poor drunks like Ulysses Grant could get a captain's job from his local Ohio regiment. Frontier states were emptied of regular army men, forts like Tejon California abandoned because of lack of troops.

1865-LINCOLN DIED- After being shot at Ford's theater Abraham Lincoln finally expired at 7:08 am during a rainstorm. He had lingered all night without ever regaining consciousness. Mary Lincoln went into hysterics and had to be dragged from the room. She never entered the White House again. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton had the White House sealed up under guard for two months until Vice President Andrew Johnson got up enough nerve to move in.

In North Carolina General Sherman was putting the finishing touches on the surrender negotiations for the army of Joe Johnston, the largest remaining Confederate army in the field after Robert E. Lee's. When Sherman received the news of the murder he passed the telegram to Johnston, who grew pale. They both agreed to suppress the news from their armies for several days so vengeance fighting wouldn't break out . In far away Los Angeles the Los Angeles Star newspaper reported U.S. troops had to stop the locals from celebrating the news of the assassination. Many were Southerners who had fled west when it looked like the Confederacy would lose the war.

1871- Wild Bill Hickok became sheriff of Abilene Kansas, then a wild boom town filled with drunk cowboys and yahoos.

1874- The first Paris show of Impressionist Painting.

1912- The Titanic sank by 2:20AM. At 4:30 AM, The S.S Carpathia finally reached the Titanic disaster site to rescue 705 survivors in the bobbing lifeboats. The Titanic death toll is now estimated at around 1,522 out of 2200. Early reports of the disaster mentioned that the Titanic had struck an iceberg but that all was well. This day's Wall Street Journal noted the incident "proved a triumph of modern technology!"

1924- The Rand McNally Company published the first automobile road atlas or North America.

1925- Ford introduced the first Model-T Pickup truck. Up to now farmers had cut the backs off cars and welded boxes on to make a light-load vehicle. There was also an earlier pickup truck called the International, but it had limited distribution.

1927- First Hollywood star's footprints in cement ceremony at Grauman's Chinese theater. Called Hollywood's most enduring publicity stunt. Norma Talmadge, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Sid Grauman himself are the first to leave their prints. Grauman also invented the classic Hollywood premiere with spotlights, red carpet runways and chauffered limousines.

1934- Chief of production Darryl Zanuck quit Warner Bros. over an argument about employee salary cuts to take over a struggling little movie studio called Twentieth Century Fox, which he turns into a giant.

1935-Kodachrome film developed. First as motion picture film, later for home photography.

1940- Franklin Roosevelt covertly gave permission for American volunteer pilots to join General Claire Chennault in fighting the Japanese invasion of China as part of a foreign corps serving in the Chinese air force. The Flying Tigers are born.

1945- Eva Braun left the comparative safety of Munich and traveled to Berlin to be with Hitler in his bunker. She told a friend. ”A Germany without Adolf Hitler would not be fit to live in.”

1947- Jackie Robinson takes the field with the Brooklyn Dodgers. First black player to join the Major Leagues. Up until then the Brooklyn Dodgers in their history had never won more than 2 pennants. After Robinson and Campanella and other Negro league players were added they won 6 in 7 years and a World Series. At one game after a particularly nasty barrage of boos and catcalls from the crowd Dodger stars Duke Snyder and Pee Wee Reese went over and publicly put their arms around Robinson in front of the crowd..

1951- General MacArthur prepared to leave Japan after being sacked by President Truman. The Japanese adored their American Shogun who helped reform their society from postwar chaos. Even though he left his offices in the Daiichi Building for his plane at 6:00AM, the crowds to see him off were already ten deep. One unintentional bit of fun for the Americans was a large misspelled banner from a Japanese well wisher about MacArthur’s potential presidential run: “GOOD LUCK FOR YOUR UPCOMING ERECTION.” ( William Manchester American Caesar, Chapter 10)

1952- The Franklin Savings Bank issued the first credit card in the U.S.

1953- Famed illustrator Charles R. Knight died peacefully in a Manhattan hospital. The man who inspired the lush look of such films as 1933 King Kong, his last words were to his daughter Lucy, “Don’t let anything happen to my drawings.”

1955- The First McDonald's Restaurant franchise opens in Des Plains, Ill. Ray Kroc, a travelling milkshake machine salesman, buys into a franchise restaurant idea cooked up in 1948 by two brothers named McDonald from Santa Bernadino. He urged the brothers to go national with their pre-prepared food system but the brothers wanted to stay local. So he offered them 1 million bucks for their idea and name (would you go to" Kroc's?") and the rest is history. The oldest surviving McDonald’s from 1953 in Downey California was recently destroyed despite the efforts of historians, and replaced with a plastic plaque.

1961- 48 hours before the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Fidel Castro told the world his Cuban Revolution was Communist and he asked the Soviet Union and Red China for aid. He also ordered the arrest of 20,000 enemies of his regime.

Since taking power in 1959 Castro had been cagey about the nature of his politics, but he used hatred of the Yankee Imperialistas as a strong national unifier. When he visited the US for the opening of the United Nations he was snubbed by most of the State Department except a 20 minute meeting with Vice President Nixon. Still, he tried to stay non-aligned until he knew the CIA was readying a coup against him. Fidel aka “The Beard” has since stayed in the Communist camp and outlasted ten US presidents.

1962-AUNTIE EM, AUNTIE EM! actress Clara Blandick, 80, the Auntie Em of the Wizard of Oz, took an overdose of sleeping pills and tied a plastic bag around her head. She left out on a table her resume and press clippings so the newspapers would get her obituary right.

1974- A surveillance camera picks up Heiress Patricia Hearst , now called Tanya, robbing a San Francisco bank with other members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, the group that kidnapped her.

1983- Tokyo Disneyland opens.

1989- Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yao Bang died. His funeral gathered mass rallies of pro-democracy students and workers that culminated in the Tien ah Mehn Square Movement.

1990- Kennan Ivory Wayans comedy show In Living Color premiered on FOX TV. The show made stars of Marlon Wayans, Damon Wayans, Jamie Fox, Jim Carrey and Fly-Girls Jennifer Lopez and Rosie Perez.

1994- English ice skater John Curry who created the concept of Ice Dancing, died of HIV/AIDS at 44.

2013- Two Cheychen brothers Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev exploded two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing 3 and injuring 120.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: What is a Pentathelete?

Answer: An athlete who participates in a pentathlon, which is an series of five track and field events. The modern Olympic pentathlon consists of running, swimming, equestrian, fencing and shooting events.


April 14, 2014 Mon
April 14th, 2014

Quiz: What is a Pentathelete?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: The city of Marseilles in France, was not founded by the French, or the Gauls, or even the Romans. Who founded it?
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History for 4/14/2014
Birthdays: King Phillip III of Spain, Christian Huygens, Arnold Toynbee, Sir John Gielgud, Menachem Schneerson- the Grand Rabbi of Chabad, Papa Doc Duvalier- Haitian dictator 1907, Robert Doisneau, Rod Steiger, Loretta Lynn, Morton Sobotnick, Frank Serpico, Pete Rose, Julie Christie, Kenneth Mars, Anthony Michael Hall, Steve Martin is 64, Sarah Michelle Geller is 37, Adrien Brody is 41.

69AD- Battle of Bedriacum- After the death of Nero, several Roman generals turned their legions around and marched to Rome to try their luck. In this battle Otho was offed by the Gaulsh Legions of Aulus Vitellius. He would soon be aced by Vespasian and Titus.

73-A.D. MASADA- After the great Jewish revolt against Rome was crushed by Titus and Jerusalem destroyed, two legions remained behind to do mopping up of guerrillas. A group of zealots, Essene rabbis and their families held out in a mountaintop stronghold for two years in an epic siege.
The night before the Zealots realized the Roman siege engines were about to breach the walls. They resolved to not be taken alive. This day soldiers of the Tenth Legion Felix broke into the quiet works. They found 960 corpses. The zealots had preferred mass suicide to slavery.
Contrary to modern sensibilities the Romans were not horrified by the ghastly scene, Greco-Roman ethics considered suicide a rational way out of a bad situation, it’s what the Romans would have done in similar circumstances. They expressed grudging admiration of their Jewish foes. The fortress was rediscovered in 1947.

1471- Battle of Barnet- battle in the English War of the Roses in which power player Warwick the Kingmaker was killed by King Edward IV.

1543- Explorer Bartolomeo Ferrelo returned to Spain with news of a big new harbor he discovered on the Pacific coast of California that he named for his patron Saint Francis- San Francisco Bay.

1777- During the American Revolution, British loyalist counterfeiters with a printing press on board the HMS Phoenix stationed in New York Harbor, began to make phony Continental money to undermine the Yankee economy. The Continental became so worthless that “Not worth a Continental” was a favorite phrase.

1828- The first edition of Noah Webster’s Dictionary published. In the 70.000 entries Webster made it a point to separate American English from the King’s English, and substituted Spanish roots for words in the place of Norman French roots. This is when “Colour” became “Color”, Theatre became Theater, and Checque became Check.

1865- ABRAHAM LINCOLN ASSASSINATED-Actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth shot the President in the back of the head as he watched the play "Our American Cousin". Lincoln had seen the play several times and knew most of the lines by heart. Booth leapt onto the stage and shouting something. It may have been” Sic Semper Tyrannus-And thus with Tyrants” the motto of the State of Virginia, or “The South is Avenged”. No one is sure.

That same night Booths accomplice Lewis Paine, stabbed Secretary of State William Seward in his bed. When Seward’s son tried to stop him Paine broke his skull and ran out into the street shouting "I am Mad!" Another man named George Atzenrodt was supposed to kill the Vice President but he lost his nerve and did nothing.

In the box with the Lincolns were a Major Henry Rathbone and his fiance' Miss Clara Harris. Lincoln had asked General & Mrs. Grant to join them at first but the Grant's declined. Nellie Grant didn’t like Mary Lincoln. Anyhow, to Clara Harris this was a pretty lousy first date, watching the president get a bullet in the brain, her dress splattered with Major Rathbone's blood from being slashed by Booth and seeing Mrs. Lincoln go insane, but she married Rathbone anyway. Rathbone was never the same man. Ten years later while living as ambassador to the German city of Hanover, Rathbone murdered Clara, and was confined in an asylum for the criminally insane.

1871- Canada set it’s currency in dollars, cents and mills.

1883- Leopold Delibes’ opera Lakme premiered in Paris.

1906- The Azusa Street Church opened. Rev William Seymour began the first Pentacostal-Charismatic Church, a movement that spread around the world.

1912-RMS TITANIC SINKS- At 11:40PM The unsinkable luxury liner going too fast and 14 miles off course strikes an iceberg and goes down, taking millionaires and immigrants alike. As the stricken liner sank, the cruiser SS Californian watched a short distance away. They could have saved more people but their radio man had gone to bed and they thought the emergency flares lighting up the night sky were party skyrockets. No one was saved until the SS Carpathia arrived on the scene at dawn.

A strange fact is in 1898 a writer named Morgan Robertson wrote a novel called Futility, in which an 880 ft luxury liner sank on her maiden voyage in the month of April. The fictitious ship was named the Titan.

1914-At a baseball game in Washington William Howard Taft becomes the first President to throw out the season's first ball.

1925- WGN broadcasts its first regular season baseball game. Quinn Ryan behind the mike as Grover Cleveland Alexander and the Cubs defeated the Pirates on Opening Day, 8-2.

1927- The first Volvo automobile rolled off the assembly line in Goteborg Sweden.

1930- Russian poet Vladimir Mayakowsky shot himself. This was convenient for Stalin because Mayakowsky had grown disillusioned with the Soviet regime. Stalin made a great public spectacle of his funeral.

1931- In Spain Socialists and Anarchists unite to drive out the King Alphonso XIII and the monarchy and proclaim the Second Spanish Republic. Salud Republica!

1935- THE DUST BOWL - The drought conditions and over farming in the plains states had been building for years but this storm climaxed the decade long event. On this day a big dust storm struck Cimmarron County Oklahoma. It blacked out the sun over five states. Cattle choked, calves and children disappeared in the drifts. Not even weeds would grow in it. The dust got through cracks in houses and when you awoke in the morning the only clean spot on your pillow was where your head lay.

After this storm the migration of farmers rose until the estimate was 40% of the populations of the drought stricken areas. People from Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Texas and Missouri piled their worldly goods onto their jalopies and got on Route 66 West to California. They were nicknamed 'the Oakies, and their plight was dramatized in the songs of Woody Guthrie and John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath.

1956- In Redwood City, Cal. Charles Ginsburg, Ray Dolby and Charles Anderson demonstrate the first videotape recording machine. They were going then for a mere $75,000 each.

1960- The musical Bye Bye Birdie opened on Broadway.

1962- Bob Dylan recorded “Blowing in the Wind”.

1963- Beatle George Harrison was impressed by an unsigned rock band he just heard called the Rolling Stones.

1969- The first regular season baseball game played outside the United States. The Montreal Expos play their first home game, treating 29,184 fans at Jarry Park to an 8-7 win over the St Louis Cardinals. Speaking about Expo fans, Cub announcer Harry Carrey noted: "They discovered 'boo' is pronounced the same in French as it is English.”

1986- President Reagan ordered U.S. military places bomb Libya in retaliation for a terrorist bombing in a nightclub in West Germany. 15 civilians were killed including a son of Libyan President Mohammar Kaddafi. .

2005- Baseball returned to Washington D.C..34 years after the Washington Senators left to Texas, the Washington Nationals played their first game.

2008- Ollie Johnston, the last animator of Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men , passed away at age 96.
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Yesterday’s Question: The city of Marseilles in France, was not founded by the French, or the Gauls, or even the Romans. Who founded it?

Answer: The Greek city state of Corinth established it as a trading post.


I'll be speaking and signing books at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

At the USC Campus Bookstore, 3rd Floor. at 1:00PM Sunday


April 13,, 2014 Sun
April 13th, 2014

Question: The city of Marseilles in France, was not founded by the French, or the Gauls, or even the Romans. Who founded it?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Igmar Bergman’s most famous movie, where the knight played chess with Death, was called the Seventh Seal. What is that name mean?
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History for 4/13/2014
Birthdays: St. Thomas Becket, Thomas Jefferson*, Frederick Lord North, Samuel Beckett, Dame Eudora Welty, Al Green, Jack Cassidy, Butch Cassidy, Franklin W. Woolworth, Howard Keel, Don Adams, Ricky Schroeder, Peabo Bryson, Ron Perleman, Stanley Donen, Alfred Butts the inventor of Scrabble, Glen Keane is 60

* For many years in the early American republic Jefferson's birthday was a holiday.

1387- A party of 29 English pilgrims assemble to travel to the shrine of Canterbury. The trip was immortalized by Geoffrey Chaucer in the Canterbury Tales.

1598- King Henry IV of France tried to end the religious strife tearing his country apart by publishing the Edict of Nantes- granting freedom of worship to all. At this time the Edict of Nantes shocked Pope Clement VIII. He cried:" Every man with freedom of conscience? What can be worse than that?!"

1612- Famous duel on an island between Japanese samurai’s Musashi Miyamoto and Sasaki Kohjiro. Musashi defeated Kojiro with a wooden sword.

1775- British Prime Minister Lord North had placed rebellious Massachusetts colony under an act called the Restraining Act. It declared that the New Englanders were not allowed to do business with any other nation but Britain. This day Lord North extended the act to cover the other colonies of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the Carolinas. He inadvertently gave the widely separated crown colonies in North America even more reason to work together, like they were an independent nation.

1829- THE CATHOLIC EMANCIPATION BILL PASSED IN ENGLAND. The previous June Irish orator Daniel O'Connell had successfully run for Parliament but was denied his seat because he was a Catholic. The old Duke of Wellington, now Prime minister of a Tory Government, believed the only way to keep his birthplace Ireland from collapsing into chaos and open rebellion was sweep away these outdated bans on the Roman Catholic religion, kept since the days of Henry VIII and the Reformation.

To pass this bill he had to convince the radicals, Whigs, Ultras, Tories of his own party, the reluctant King and even fight a duel. It was his biggest fight since Waterloo. But the bill passed and was considered the crowning achievement of his government. It probably kept Ireland under English rule for another generation.

1830-At Jefferson birthday party toasts were made by various Southern congressman that the South wouldn't tolerate the Federal government telling them what to do about slavery and would secede if pushed too far. Then Tennessean President Andrew Jackson rose up, raised his glass, coldly looked his pro slavery vice president John Calhoun right in the eye and declared:" The Union Must and Will be Preserved!" .

First time the issue of slavery vs. national survival was given national status. During the Civil War when the North captured the port of New Orleans Yankee General Ben "The Beast" Butler had these words inscribed on Jackson's statue in the center of town just to piss off the natives. They responded by selling chamber pots with Butler's face engraved on the bottom.

1843- Chang and Eng Bunker, the original Siamese Twins, were married to two women in a double ceremony. The must have coordinated times for connubial privacy, for they produced 21 children.

1846- After the first Yanqui garrison was expelled by a rising of the native Mexican Californios population, U.S. Commander Stockton and General Freemont and their army return to recapture Los Angeles.

1865-After the surrender to Grant, Confederate General Robert E. Lee, now a private citizen, left his last army camp to ride back to a rented house in war destroyed Richmond. Along the road he dismissed the Yankee guards accompanying him for protection." I am in my own country now among my own people. I wish to be no further bother to you."

The commander of thousands of troops now was alone on his white warhorse Traveller with two blanket covered wagons, one with a sick friend in it. On the road he met a group of rebel soldiers walking home and gave them road directions using one of his 8 foot long military maps drawn by Stonewall Jackson. He told rebels who wanted to keep fighting" As you have been model soldiers, go home now and be loyal American citizens."

1865- In Goldsboro North Carolina, Confederate President Jefferson Davis completed his last cabinet meeting. Even after Lee’s surrender and the loss of Richmond, the Confederacy still had 175,000 troops and three armies in the field, so Jefferson Davis wanted to keep fighting. But the other cabinet members and the generals argued that the war was lost and those numbers were on paper only. The starving dispirited troops were deserting daily, the country was overrun with half a million Yankees. At last Gen. Joe Johnston wrung out of Davis permission to surrender to Sherman’s army.

1865- In Washington DC citizens held a Grande Illumination to celebrate victory. Throughout the city torch bearing revelers serenaded Lincoln and the Union. Expecting Lincoln to make a stirring speech from his balcony, Lincoln instead talked soberly about Reconstruction and amnesties. His one light moment was to order the band to play "Dixie", seeing how it was now once again the legal property of the United States".

1870- New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art opens.

1902- J.C. Penny opened his first store in Kemmerer Wyoming.

1919-At the Golden Temple at Amritsar British troops opened fire on Sikh's peacefully demonstrating for independence. 379 killed. Their commander was given a stern reprimand. Queen Elizabeth II apologized to India in 1997.

1928 - THE MULHOLLAND "TRIAL" ENDS – William Mulholland, the genius engineer who created the great aqueducts that brings water down to Los Angeles was on trial for the St. Francis Dam Disaster. When a dam near Newhall burst sending a 30 foot wall of water careening down on sleeping suburbanites. 400 perished. On this day, the jurors of the Los Angeles County Coroner's inquest into the disaster emerged from their two weeks of deliberations. They named William Mulholland responsible, although innocent of criminal negligence. Deputy D.A. Asa Keyes trumped the ruling a "victory for the people", despite his earlier promise to have Mulholland convicted of manslaughter.

He was free of jail, but Mullholland was a broken man. He had his chauffeur drive him aimlessly around the city he helped create. He became a shut in for the last seven years of his life. D.A. Keyes later went to jail himself for misappropriation of funds.

1939- The film Wuthering Heights starring Lawrence Olivier and Merle Oberon premiered. Sam Goldwyn was disgusted by the headaches to bring this Charlotte Bronte novel to the Hollywood Screen. When asked if he planned to adapt more 19th Century novels for film he replied: "Don’t bring me no more scripts by guys who write with feathers!"

1943- Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated the Jefferson Memorial at the Washington D.C. Mall.

1949- Lead character designer and story artist Joe Grant resigned from Disney Studios, not to return until 1989.

1953- A British ex-intelligence officer turned newspaperman named Ian Fleming was bored with his life. He resolved to write a novel about his ideal of the ultimate spy. Looking for a suitably bland name, his favorite book on birdwatching was written by someone named James Bond. Great name! His wife thought the story was too vulgar. This day, the first Bond novel, Casino Royale, came out and was an instant hit.

1962-The New York Mets (metropolitans) Baseball Club formed. They played at the old Giants park, the Polo Grounds, until Shea Stadium was built in 1964 next to the Worlds Fair grounds. The team adopted the Blue and Orange logo colors of the Fair as their own. Blue and Orange were also the colors of the moved away Brooklyn Dodgers and NY Giants.
The 62’ Mets were famous for their awful record, the cry was Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game? Players like Marvelous Marv Throneberry became famous for their mediocre play. Manager Casey Stengel titled his memoirs "I Managed Good, but Boy, Did They Play Terrible !" In 1969 The Amazin’ Mets won their first World Series.

1964- Sidney Poitier became the first African American to win an Oscar for Best Actor for the film Lilies of the Field. The first Oscar for any black actor or actress went to Hattie McDaniel as Best Supporting Actress for Gone With the Wind in 1939. Best actress was not won until Halle Berry in 2002.

1967- Columbia Picture’s bizarre version of Casino Royale premiered. Several directors, Orson Welles, Ursula Andress, Peter Sellers, Woody Allen and David Niven, Richard Williams titles, and Dusty Springfield ‘s song The Look of Love.

1970-"Houston, we have a problem here.." An explosion of an oxygen tank disabled the Apollo XIII moon mission. For the next several days the world held it's breath as the spacecraft ricocheted itself around the moon and got back to Earth, the slightest miscalculation of trajectory meant a cold airless death for the three astronauts.

1975- During most of the wars in the Middle East, Lebanon remained an oasis of tranquility. Today the Lebanese Civil War began. Christian Phalangist militias, Iranian backed Shiites, Hezbollah, and Al Fatah Palestinians. Israel, Syria and the U.S. intervened. Lebanon became a war-wracked hell on earth, and terrible massacres of civilians occurred at the Shatila refugee camps.

1987- Colorado Senator Gary Hart announced his intention to run for president. During the election Hart decried the media's obsession with scandal and openly challenged the press to try and dig something up on him. They did. In short order they turned up proof of his adulterous affair with beautiful model Donna Rice complete with naughty photos taken on board a yacht named the Monkey-Business. Hart's political career sank like a stone and Ms. Rice became a lobbyist against porn on the Internet.

1997- 21 year old golf phenomenon Tiger Woods won his first Masters Tournament by a record 12 strokes.
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Yesterday’s question: Ingmar Bergman’s famous movie was called the Seventh Seal. What is that named for?

Answer: In the last book of the New Testament, called the Book of Revelations, St John wrote of his vision of the Apocalypse. Rev 8: ..”And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour…” Then Seven Trumpeters played to herald events leading to the Final Judgement.


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