Nov 19, 2019
November 19th, 2019

Question: The most famous ocean liner (that did not sink) was The Queen Mary. Who is it named for?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Conspiracy fans talk about the Illuminati behind bad things. Just who are the Illuminati?
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History for 11/19/2019
Birthdays: King Charles I of England, President James Garfield, Ferdinand de Lesseps, Roy Campanella, Tommy Dorsey, Ted Turner, Calvin Klein, Indira Ghandi, Dick Cavett, Larry King, Kathleen Quinlan, Alan Young -Mr. Ed’s friend, Ahmad Rashad, Allison Janey is 60, Meg Ryan is 58, Jodie Foster is 57, Terry Farrell

1493- On his second voyage to the New World, this day Christopher Columbus discovered the island of Puerto Rico.

1581- Czar Ivan the Terrible got so mad at his eldest son he beat him to death with a mace. Young Ivan tried to stop his dad from beating his pregnant wife, who he thought was wearing immodest garb. In this one act of blind rage Ivan extinguished his family dynasty. Clearly Ivan had some anger management issues.

1619- A young French student named Renes Descartes had enlisted in the army of Elector Maximillian of Bavaria to fight the Thirty Years War. Outside of Neuberg one evening he climbed into a stove to keep warm. There he had the first revelation to invent analytical geometry and the mathematical applications of religion. “ Cogito, Ergo Sum.” I think, therefore I am.” Gee. That happens to me every time I climb into a stove, too

1703- The "Man in the Iron Mask" died in Pignerole prison. Louis XIV had him locked up for forty years. He was first mentioned in Voltaire's History of the Age of Louis XIV as having a velvet mask, which writer Alexandre Dumas changed to iron for dramatic effect. No one ever discovered who he was or why his face was covered. Speculation was that he was everyone from an Italian diplomat, to the son of Oliver Cromwell, to a twin brother of King Louis XIV himself. It made for great literature, but he remains a mystery.

1828- Composer Franz Schubert died of complications of venereal gonorrhea at age 31.

1863- THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS-At the dedication of the soldiers cemetery on the Gettysburg battlefield, the crowd watched Rev. Edward Everett, a famous abolitionist, deliver a fiery two-hour speech. Then President Abraham Lincoln stood up and in just two minutes delivered the most famous speech in U.S. History. "Forescore and Seven years ago Our Forefathers set Forth....And Government Of the People, By the People and For the People Shall Not Perish from the Earth. "
The crowd was polite but indifferent. The Times of London correspondent thought it "vague and uninspiring". Lincoln himself told his aide: "Lehman, that speech won't scowl !" meaning a plow blade that's too dull to cut. But Rev Everett was inspired “Mr. President, you said in two minutes much more than I did in two hours.” Contrary to legend Lincoln didn’t write it quickly on the back of an envelope, he worked long on his speeches and was seen doing corrections up to the last minute. There are three pencil copies of the speech still in existence. The photographer at the scene was still setting up his equipment when the brief speech ended and Lincoln started to sit down. He opened his shutter in time to get a blurry view of Lincoln's head in the crowd.

1903- Suffragette Carrie Nation tried to address the US Senate to plead for women’s voting rights and alcohol prohibition. She was barred admittance.

1915- I DREAMED I SAW JOE HILL LAST NIGHT.... Joe Hill executed in Utah- Swedish Immigrant Josef Hilstrom was a nationally known charismatic poet and union organizer. Large Utah copper mining companies that found Hill's folk song singing activism a nuisance had him convicted on trumped up murder charges. He was shot by firing squad despite pleas for clemency from President Wilson, Helen Keller and the Pope. Crowds of 10,000 marched in London and Sydney Australia for mercy for Joe Hill.
Hill's last words were:"I die as I have lived, a rebel. Don't mourn, Organize!" He stipulated in his will that his body be transported over the state line and buried in Colorado because: "I DON'T WANNA BE CAUGHT DEAD IN UTAH!" His body was cremated and the ashes sent in little envelopes to union offices across the nation.

1937- Japanese armies captured the Chinese city of Shouchow and pillage it with great slaughter.

1942-“ THE IVANS ARE COMING!” OPERATION URANUS- The big Russian counter-attack in the Battle of Stalingrad begins. The Battle for the city named for Stalin had stalemated into house to house fighting in cellars and factory rooms the Germans called Rattskrieg- Rats War. Meanwhile Marshal Gyorgi Zhukov had been massing forces on either end of the German 6th Army where weak Axis units of Romanian and Italian troops were holding the line. Luftwaffe commander Freiherr Von Richtofen reported the troop concentrations to army commanders but HQ remained strangely apathetic.
Today to the sound of thousands of Katyushka rocket launchers, nicknamed Stalin’s Pipe Organs, Marshal Zhukov launched two massive pincer assaults that blew through the German front, and joined up in the rear trapping 100,000 Nazis.

1942- GUERILLA MICE. A curious incident during the Battle of Stalingrad. While house to house battles raged in the inner city the main German tank forces sat quiet in fields outside since August. When the Russian attack began the tanks were started up. But soon their engines began to overheat and stall. In the long weeks of waiting field mice had crawled into the motors and ate away radiator hoses and electrical insulation. 68 of 100 tanks broke down thanks to enemy mousekis.

1942- In a concentration camp in Poland author-artist Bruno Schulz was executed. The author of “Street of Crocodiles” last act was being forced by a Gestapo officer to paint images from Brothers Grimm fairytales on his son’s bedroom wall before he was executed.

1945- Trying to complete the plan of social services created by Franklin Roosevelt, President Harry Truman called for National Health Insurance. It was defeated in Congress after intense lobbying by the powerful insurance and pharmaceutical companies. It would also be blocked when reintroduced later by Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Clinton. Until Pres. Obama created the ACA, the U.S. was the only nation in the front rank of developed nations to have no form of national health insurance.

60 Years Ago 1959- Jay Ward's television show 'Rocky and his Friends' debuts.

1961- Michael Rockefeller, the son of tycoon Nelson Rockefeller, disappeared in the jungles of New Guinea. It’s assumed he was killed by aboriginal people.

1969- The great soccer champion Pele scored his 1,000 goal.

1998- Film Director Alan J. Pakula was one of the Hollywood community who preferred living in New York City. This day he was driving on the Long Island Expressway when he was killed in a freak accident. A large truck kicked up in its tires a discarded piece of steel pipe. It flipped it through Pakula’s windshield, killing him instantly.

2002- HOMELAND SECURITY. Reacting to the 9-11 attack Congress approved President Bush’s plan for a cabinet level position called the Department of Homeland Security. This branch would concentrate the activities of US Customs & Immigration, FEMA, The Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies.
Despite insisting this new organization was all that stood between us and future 9-11 attacks, the Bush White House stubbornly refused to sign any bill that did not first bar it’s employees from joining the Gov’t Employees Service Union like the rest of Washington D.C.
By 2006 Homeland Security botched up the Hurricane Katrina disaster, and it’s fourth ranking executive was arrested by Polk County Fla police for soliciting sex from a 14 year old girl with leukemia.

2007- Disney film Enchanted premiered.

2013- Disney film Frozen premiered. Let it Go! Let it Go!
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Yesterday’s Question: Conspiracy fans talk about the Illuminati behind bad things. Just who are the Illuminati?

Answer: During the Age of Enlightenment, a number of supranational associations arose attempting to provide moral and intellectual alternative to the Church and religious superstition. The most famous being Freemasonry. In 1776 a radical group formed in Ingolstadt called the Bavarian Illuminati. The advocated an end to all religion and established monarchy. They were accused of occult practices soon suppressed, but to the present-day modern Church groups claim the Illuminati are still out there somewhere, trying to overthrow both Church and State.


Nov 18, 2019
November 18th, 2019

Question: Conspiracy fans talk about the Illuminati being behind bad things. Just who are the Illuminati?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What are you doing when you prevaricate?
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History for 11/18/2019
Birthdays: Armelita Galli-Curci, Karl Maria Von Weber, W.S. Gilbert, Johnny Mercer,
Astronaut Alan Shepard, Louis Daguerre, Brenda Vaccarro, Eugene Ormandy, George Gallup, Warren Moon, Pam Dawber, Rocket Ishmail, Delroy Lindo, Kevin Nealon, Owen Wilson is 52, Chloe Servigny is 46

500 A.D.- Today is the Feast day of the Irish Saint Mawes, who was born in a barrel floating in the sea.

It’s hand drawn animation day! See below- 1928.

1421- In Holland a dyke holding back the Zuyder Zee River gave way and the ensuing flood killed 10,000.

1602- In Transylvania, 22 year old English soldier of fortune John Smith killed three Turkish warriors in single combat. Such single bouts were normal before large armies clashed. The Duke of Transylvania, Sigmund Bathory, granted the commoner Smith his own coat of arms, three Turkish heads. This is the same John Smith who will go to Virginia and meet Pocahontas in 1607.

1718- Francois Voltaire’s first play Oedipe, premiered in Paris.

1812- Battle of Krasnoe-Napoleon's frozen army retreating from Moscow, fights it's way out of three encircling Russian armies trying to trap it. One of the armies was commanded by an admiral Tchitchagoff who's 20th century descendant would be the artist Erte'. Another general was the grandfather of writer Leo Tolstoy. General Tolstoy was an eccentric, who rode into battle in a chauffeured carriage with a trained bear sitting next to him he'd taught to drink champagne.

1863- Abraham Lincoln boarded a train to Gettysburg to deliver “a few appropriate remarks” to dedicate the new national cemetery there.

1865 Mark Twain's first story "The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County' published.

1883- THE DAY WITH TWO NOONS. Congress adopted William Allen’s plan to divide the United States into standardized time zones, corresponding to timetables set by the transcontinental railroads. At noon in New York City, the bells of Saint Paul’s Church tolled. Ten minutes later, several blocks away, the bells of Trinity Church on Wall St. tolled noon Eastern Standard Time, 11:00AM Central Time, 10:00AM Mountain Time and 9:00AM Pacific Time. And so it has been ever since.

1902- THE TEDDY BEAR BORN-The Washington Evening Star published a story of how President Teddy Roosevelt while hunting couldn't bring himself to shoot a grizzly bear cub. Cartoonist Cliff Berryman illustrated the incident with one of his signature “dingbat” bear cubs in a gesture of “oh no!” Brooklyn toymaker Morris Mitchcom sewed a doll from the illustration in the newspaper and sent the first one to the White House.

1903- The Hay-Buneau-Varilla Treaty signed, giving the U.S. permission to dig a canal in Panama. When Nicaragua wanted too much money for the canal zone, President Roosevelt backed a revolution that created the nation of Panama. Such a deal!

1914- SABOTAGE - A secret message was sent out by Imperial German Naval Command to all diplomatic embassies to begin sabotage operations of war material being readied in America and Canada for shipment to England.
Bombs exploding in cargo ships and warehouses in New York, Boston and Baltimore became common. One incident called the “Black Tom” pier explosion detonated two million pounds of explosive on a Jersey City wharf. The blast cracked windows on Wall St. and damaged the arm of the Statue of Liberty.
The success of German spies in the U.S. before America's entry into World War I sparked the buildup of a little known government office called the F.B.I. and the strict domestic counterintelligence work done in World War II.

1928- HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICKEY MOUSE- At Universal’s Colony Theater in New York, Walt Disney’s cartoon "Steamboat Willie" debuted before a movie called Gang War. The first major sound cartoon success and the official birth of Mickey Mouse. Two earlier silent Mickey's were being completed, but when Walt saw Al Jolson speak in the Jazz Singer, he held those two shorts back so the sound experiment could go ahead. At this time Walt Disney had just 11 employees.

1942-The KEYES RAID- The British army in North Africa had had enough of their German adversary Rommel the Desert Fox, so they sent a suicide commando mission to the Afrika Korps HQ just to kill him. Desert warfare was so porous the front lines were virtually non-existent. Unfortunately, Rommel was far away in Rome the night 50 British and Australian commandos shot up his office.

1953- Singer Frank Sinatra had been having trouble with his sputtering career and his crumbling marriage to screen sex goddess Ava Gardner. This day songwriter Jimmy Van Heusen found Old Blue Eyes on his bathroom floor with his wrists slashed. Heusen bound his wounds then called his agent rather than the police. Sinatra recovered and soon his career revived and he had a new marriage.

1963-The first push button telephones go into service. By 1980 they pretty much replaced the rotary dial phones.

1964- In a public statement to the press, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover called Dr. Martin Luther King “The most notorious liar in the country!” This in response to the criticism Dr. King made that the FBI wasn’t trying hard enough to track down the murderers of civil rights workers. Hoover always believed Dr. King and the whole NAACP were dangerous communists.

1970- At the Lakeside School in Seattle, a young kid named Bill Gates was first shown computer programming.

1978- JONESTOWN- After visiting U.S. congressman Leo Ryan and his party were murdered, 912 American members of the Rev. Jim Jones cult in Jonestown Guiana commit suicide, many drinking from tubs of Kool Aid, spiked with cyanide.

1985- Bill Watterson’s comic strip Calvin & Hobbs debuted.

1988- Disney’s Oliver & Company released.
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Question: What are you doing when you prevaricate?

Answer: One who evades telling the truth by dissembling or changing the subject.


Nov 17, 2019
November 17th, 2019

Question: What are you doing when you prevaricate?

Question: What famous gateway was inscribed with the words- “Abandon All Hope, All Ye Who Enter..”?
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History for 11/17/2019
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Vespasian 9 A.D, Il Bronzino, August Ferdinand Moebius-1790 the inventor of the Moebius Strip. General Bernard Montgomery, Rock Hudson- real name Roy Sherer, Peter Cook, Lorne Michaels, Isamu Noguchi, Lauren Hutton, Tom Seaver, Gordon Lightfoot, Les Clark, Lee Strassberg, Shelby Foote, Sophie Marceau, Martin Scorcese is 77, Danny deVito is 75

395- Death of the Roman Emperor Valentinian.

1796- Russian Czarina Catherine the Great died at 67 years old of a stroke on the toilet, not crushed by trying to have sex with a horse, as some scandalous rumors alleged.

1800- Following President Adams from their cozy homes in Philadelphia, Congress sulkily convenes for the first time in the half-finished Congress in the new Federal City. It was already being called Washington City D.C. It was still mostly a damp muddy Virginia swamp. Wooden pegs in the mud showed where streets would be one day. The only buildings up in operation were Congress, the Presidents Mansion and Conrads Tavern.
Many complained that city planners Pierre L’Enfant and Benjamin Banocker had made the main avenues too big, that there will never be enough carriages and wagons to fill these roads. This first Congressional session couldn’t accomplish much, because there were not enough members present to make a quorum.

1839- Oberto premiered, an opera written by a new composer named Guisseppi Verdi. ( Joe Green). The great composer would go on to write Rigoletto, Aida and La Traviata.

1853- San Francisco passed a law to put up street signs at the intersections of major streets.

1858- A Pennsylvania businessman named William Larimer founded a new town at the foot of the Rockies called Denver.

1869- The Suez Canal opened. The opera "Aida" was commissioned to be premiered for this occasion but Verdi missed his deadline by ten years.

1875- Russian psychic Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott found the American Theosophical Society.

1876- Peter Tchaikovsky’s musical rhapsody the Marche Slav premiered.

1882- The Chinese Exclusion Treaty signed in Peking between the United States and the Chinese Empress Zhaou Zhi. This was the first of a series of pacts attempting to limit Asian immigration to the U.S. In cities on the Pacific coast during the depression of the 1870’s violence against Chinese workers was sadly common. So many died building the Southern Pacific Railroad that the term “You Don’t Have a Chinaman’s Chance” was coined to mean the odds were against you. San Francisco writer Ambrose Bierce acerbically observed: A Chinese woman was recently found murdered on a street in San Francisco. She had done no crime but was merely the victim of Galloping Christianity. Barbaric acts like these mar the fine American tradition of Religious Intolerance.”

1891- Polish pianist Ignaz Paderewski made his American debut at Carnegie Hall. Paderewski created the cliché image of the temperamental classical musician with long flowing hair combed straight back. Classical music became known as longhair music.

1926- The Chicago Black Hawks played their first game,
beating the Toronto St. Pats 4-1.

1933- The Marx Bros classic Duck Soup premiered.

1934- LBJ marries LadyBird. For you born after the 60's, President Lyndon Baines Johnson married Claudia Alta Taylor whom he nicknamed LadyBird Johnson. Their daughters were LucyBird and LindaBird, so everyone in the family had the initials LBJ.

1941- Ernst Udet was a top World War I flying ace who was convinced by Herman Goring to help build the Nazis Luftwaffe. He was responsible for developing the Stuka dive bomber and it’s screaming vertical attack. But his conscience was troubled. One of the WWI Knights of the Air, he became depressed by the terror bombing of civilians and genocide his inventions were being used for. Sinking into drink and drugs, he finally shot himself. His last dinner that night he spoke of his adventures as a young ace with Von Richtofen the Red Baron, interspersing it with “Ahh, but we were decent men then…”

1941- US ambassador to Tokyo Joseph Grew cabled Washington DC that he had heard disturbing rumors that the Japanese military was planning to attack Pearl Harbor.

1959- The DeBeers mining company of South Africa announced the invention of synthetic diamonds.

1965- Battle of Ia Drang ends. The first large battle fought between North Vietnamese regulars and U.S. combat troops. The first battle fought with helicopters. Although the Vietnamese forces were defeated, it told their generals that their system was working of moving down the Ho Chi Minh trail through neutral Laos and Cambodia then crossing into South Vietnam.

1968- THE HEIDI GAME- NBC was broadcasting a football game between the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders. The game was running late and would interfere with the broadcast of the movie "Heidi". The network heads felt with the Jets leading 32-29 with 65 seconds left, why disappoint the kiddies? So they pre-empted the rest of the game to start the movie. Oakland won 43-32 in a miracle comeback scoring the final touchdown in the final nine seconds. The embarrassed programmers had to answer nationwide firestorm of complaints from outraged football fans. So to this day on television, no matter how dull a football game is, it is seen to its very end.

1973- In a televised press conference about the expanding Watergate Scandal held at Walt Disney World, President Richard Nixon uttered the famous phrase:” People want to know if their president is a crook, well, I am not a crook!”

1978- This night, our world was rocked by a disturbance in The Force more powerful than the destruction of Alderon, It was "The Star Wars Holiday Special", a two-hour comedy variety show on CBS, with Harrison Ford, Beatrice Arthur and Nelvana’s animated cartoon.

1988- Benazir Bhutto elected Prime Minister of Pakistan.

1989- Don Bluth's animated film All Dogs Go to Heaven premiered.

1993- US Congress voted for the free trade, bill called NAFTA.

1994- The Sony Corporation posted a $2.7 billion dollar loss from it’s first year owning a Hollywood movie studio. Yet despite a lot of industry jokes ( “What’s the difference between Sony Pictures and the Titanic?-answer: The Titanic had entertainment.”) By 1996 the studio was on top with blockbusters like “Men in Black”

2002- Premiere of Disney’s Treasure Planet.
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Question: What famous gateway was inscribed with the words- “Abandon All Hope, All Ye Who Enter..”?

Answer: According to Dante’s Inferno, it is written over the gateway to Hell.


Nov 16, 2019
November 16th, 2019

Question: What famous gateway was inscribed with the words- “Abandon All Hope, All Ye Who Enter..”?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: What does it mean to say someone has a picaresque sense of humor?
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History for 11/16/2019
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Tiberius 42BC, Paul Hindemith, George S. Kaufmann, W.C. Handy, Burgess Meredith, Daws Butler, Bob Watson, Zina Garrison, Dwight Gooden, Maggie Gylenhall is 42

HAPPY SADIE HAWKINS DAY! Fictional hillbilly footrace race made famous by Al Kapp in his comic strip Lil’ Abner.

1532- THE MASSACRE OF CAJAMARCA- with promises of peace talks, Francisco Pizzarro tricked the Inca Emperor Athahualpa and his court into a narrow corral apart from their massive army. The monk Fra Francisco Valverde gave a bible to the Great Inca, declaring 'this is the voice of the Living God!" Athahualpa, who had never seen a book of European writing before, examined it a minute. "It says nothing to me" he said, and dropped it in the dust. Fra Valverde signaled, and the Spaniards rushed out from all sides, slaughtering 9,000. Atahualpa was captured and later executed by garrote. Fra Valverde became Archbishop of Lima, supervised the destruction of much of Inca culture, until he was finally eaten by cannibals.

1632- BATTLE OF LUTZEN- Largest battle of the Thirty Years War, the great conflict where Protestant and Catholic countries chose up sides and battled for the dominance of Europe. The Catholic German-Spanish army of Archduke Wallenstein and the Protestant German-Swedes and of King Gustavus Adolphus pound each other all day. Gustavus had been shot out of his saddle while leading an attack and surrounded by Croat cavalry. Recognizing a leader, they said:" Who are you?” Gustavus answered:" I am the King of Sweden, who do seal the religion and freedom of all Germany with my blood!"

Thereupon the Croats stabbed him to death. Duke Bernard of Saxe-Weimar assumed command and the revengeful Swedes swept all from their path. After the battle ,Wallenstein continued to lead the German Emperor's armies until his boss the Emperor assassinated him. The Thirty Years War continued until Catholic France joined the Protestant side, the Protestant Germans fought the Protestant Swedes, and everyone who started it died. Finally nobody could remember what it was all about to begin with.

1776- THE FIRST SALUTE -The U.S.N. Andrea Doria - not the famous Italian ocean liner but a US brig of war- entered the harbor of Saint Eustachius in the Dutch West Indies. It was a trading center that today we would call an international arms market. When the Andea Doria fired the customary salvo saluting her host's flag the Governor Johannes DeGraff returned the salute to the Stars and Stripes. So in effect Holland became the first nation to recognize the United States of America as an independent country.

1776- FORT WASHINGTON- In August, when George Washington’s minuteman army was driven out of New York City, a rearguard force volunteered to stay behind and try to stall the British advance. They fortified themselves in Fort Washington, a little stronghold in the wild country of North Manhattan approximately where the George Washington Bridge now is. When called upon to surrender, Colonel Magaw refused, saying that Americans had "joined to fight in the most glorious cause mankind has ever known!"
After three months of holding off superior British forces, this day Fort Washington fell. 3,000 Yankees surrendered to Hessian General Knyphausen. General Washington was criticized for indecisiveness over whether to evacuate the forts defenders until it was too late.
Today for some strange reason the park where the fort stood is named Fort Tryon Park, after the Tory governor of New York who was so hated by the populace he had to administer his colony from a British warship anchored in New York Harbor.

1788- KING GEORGE III COLLAPSES IN CONVULSIONS, the first signs of mental illness that would make him a blind shut-in for the last years of his reign. His condition is now known as a rare blood disorder called Porpheria, but then it had no known cure. Bleeding and ice water dowsing was the standard 18th century medical treatments. He recovered for a time, but the last ten years of his reign are called Regency Period, because even though he still was king his son the Prince of Wales ruled for him. George III's aides sensed something was not right with the King when while riding in his carriage in Hyde Park, George leapt out and greeted a large oak tree as the King of Prussia. He embraced the tree and shouted in French: "Aah, Le Roi du Prusse!"

1801- The first issue of the New York Post. Alexander Hamilton and his Federalists wanted a paper to print their views. Editor James Coleman once had to kill a man in a duel that morning and get back to the office to get the afternoon edition out.

1821-William Becknell reached Santa Fe New Mexico from Independence Missouri, proving it was a faster and easier land route than traveling from Mexico City. His route became a primary path for wagon trains and stagecoaches- the Santa Fe Trail.

1863- THE MARCH TO THE SEA- After burning the City of Atlanta to the ground, General William Tecumseh Sherman turned his 50,000 Yankee army eastward for his epic March to the Sea. His men cut a wide swath through the rich farm country of Georgia, burning homes, crops, looting, killing livestock and freeing thousands of slaves. He was mostly unopposed, Confederate forces off in Virginia and Tennessee could only watch helplessly.
It was the first time since the Thirty Years War, two hundred years earlier, that an army made war solely on civilians. Sherman spared civilian lives but destroyed everything else. The discovery of starving Yankee prisoners escaped from Andersonville Prison only increased the rage of the men to commit acts of destruction. The psychological effects of the march left deep scars on Southerners for decades to come.

1906- Opera star Enrico Caruso was charged for pinching a ladies bottom while visiting the Bronx Zoo. Caruso claimed a monkey did it.

1907- Oklahoma and Indian territories became a state.

1915-BIRTH OF THE COKE BOTTLE- The owners of Coca Cola were concerned that the success of their soft drink was being subverted by all the various cheap imitations. They decided if they had a distinctive bottle people would recognize genuine Coca Cola. This day the first Coca-Cola appeared in their distinctive curved little green bottles, created by the Ross Glass Co. of Indiana.

1922- In the Crimea after Trotsky’s Red Army breached his defenses on the Turkish Wall, Baron Wrangel evacuated 150,000 anti-communist Russian soldiers and their dependents by sea to exile in Turkey. The end of the four-year Russian Civil War.

1924- THE MURDER OF THOMAS INCE- Thomas Ince was a film director and early Hollywood studio owner whose property later became the site of MGM. This day he boarded William Randolph Hearst’s yacht Oneida for a birthday party in his honor. On the boat among the guests was Charlie Chaplin and Hearst’s mistress Marion Davies. When the boat docked Ince was dead and everyone very upset. The official cause of death was a heart attack but there was no autopsy or investigation and the Hearst press quickly hushed things up. The legend goes Hearst discovered Chaplin and Davies in flagrante-delicto and in a jealous rage shot Ince when he came between them. We’ll never know for sure.

1932- VAUDEVILLE DIED- Vaudeville was the generic name for one admission to a showcase of short theatrical acts- singers, comics, jugglers, trained animals, etc. Vaudeville gave their first opportunities to many great twentieth century performers like Chaplin, Jolson, the Marx Brothers, Mae West, Gypsy Rose Lee and W.C. Fields. But it was slowly supplanted by more modern forms of entertainment like Movies and Radio. If you asked experts to pinpoint a date for the official end of the popular venue, many would say it was this date, when the New York Palace Theater on Broadway, a premiere palace for Vaudeville, switched from live acts to purely Movies.

1943- Six British agents were dropped into Nazi occupied France near Angers. Three were arrested by the Gestapo before they reached Paris. The remaining three established contact with the French resistance and organized the "Vic" pipeline to smuggle shot down airmen and other allied POWs out to England. One of the resistance contacts was Francois Mitterand, who in 1981 became President of France.

1946- The Television Academy of Arts and Sciences founded. Fred Allen once said: "We call television a Medium, because nothing on it is Rare, or Well Done."

1952- The first time in a Peanuts comic strip where Lucy pulls away the football as Charlie Brown was attempting to kick it. It became one of Schulz’s best recurring jokes.

1960- CLARK GABLE DIED- The 59 year old star had just completed the film the Misfits, a film in which director John Huston demanded a great deal of physical exertion. He had told his agent that the unprofessional antics of his moody co-star Marilyn Monroe had driven him so nuts they were going to give him a heart attack. Gable had one after shooting, ten days later while convalescing in Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, Clark was sitting up in bed, joking with the nurse and reading a magazine. Suddenly he closed his eyes, leaned his head back against the pillow, and died. He was 59.
He wrote his own epitaph, but it was never used- " Oh Well, Back to Silents."

1977- Steven Spielberg’s film Close Encounters of the Third Kind opened in theaters.

1981- Actor William Holden died. The handsome star of such classics as Sunset Blvd, Stalag 17 and Network, was told as a young actor to take a few drinks to calm the pre-camera jitters. But by now he was a hopeless alcoholic. This night at home alone and drunk, he fell and cracked his head on a table edge. Too inebriated to call for help, he dabbed his forehead with bunches of Kleenex tissues until he bled to death. He was 63.

1990- Disney’s feature film the Rescuers Down Under premiered. The first traditionally animated film to be painted digitally on computer instead of acetate cels and paints.

1996- Warner Bros Space Jam, where Bugs Bunny met NBA star Michael Jordan.

2001- The film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone premiered to great fanfare and massive box office. Harry Potter’s creator J.K. Rowling had been so poor she at one time had been on the dole, now she was one of the richest women in the world. In England second only to Madonna and the Queen.

2002-The mysterious flu like disease SAARS first reported in Kwantung China. The epidemic spread around the world killing hundreds but was contained by the following summer.
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Yesterday’s Question: What does it mean to say someone has a picaresque sense of humor?

Answer: Someone who has a roguish, acerbic but charming sense of humor. A rapscallion.


Nov 15, 2019
November 15th, 2019

Question: What does it mean to say someone has a picaresque sense of humor?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Why is the skull and crossbones pirate flag called a Jolly Roger?
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History for 11/15/2019
B-Days: Georgia O'Keefe, Bill Melendez, Irvin Rommel the "Desert Fox", Avrial Harriman, Daniel Barenboim, George Bolet, William Pitt the Elder, Veronica Lake, Beverly D'Angelo is 68, Mantovanni, Ed Asner is 90, Sam Waterson is 79, Otis Armstrong, Petula Clark is 87

64 AD- THE ROMAN EMPIRE OUTLAWED CHRISTIANITY- It is hard to believe today, but the Roman Empire was proud of its religious toleration. There was a harmony to the pagan world, A Goth knew his god Odin or Wotan was called Jove in Rome and Zeus in Athens and Mithra in Persia. So, the Judeo-Christian concept of One God just didn't quite fit in.
The only other religion persecuted as vigorously as Christianity was the Druids, but that was because the Druids preached rebellion to Roman rule. The Romans dispersed the Jews as a nation, but Julius Caesar left strict laws about never violating Jewish dietary or Sabbath Laws.
Anti-Semites claim Messalina, the wife of Nero, was a Jewish convert and convinced her husband to ban the Christian cult, but the answer goes deeper than that. Secrecy and fear of its alien practices bred suspicion that would last 300 years.

1532- After marching his Spanish conquistadors for six months through steaming jungles and over tall mountains Francisco Pizarro reached the border of the mysterious Inca Empire. At the little border town of Cajamarca his 200 men suddenly found themselves face to face with 40,000 Inca warriors. The Imperial Inca Army was outfitted in gold armor, and “they shined like the sun!”

1754- First use of the modern trombone. It was played at a child's funeral.

1777- The ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION passed by Congress. An early attempt at a U.S. Constitution that gave all real power to the individual states, similar to the provincial system in Canada. It required a majority vote of 9 out of 13 states to get anything done and had no president. With rules like that, indeed nothing did get done. There were no laws regulating national commerce so goods travelling state to state paid tariffs like they were going through foreign countries!
By 1787 the Articles were junked for the more centralized U.S. Constitution but States Rights supporters would resurrect it later for their Southern Cause, hence the Confederacy.

1828- Author Victor Hugo signed a contract with Gosselin's Publishing House to write a story about the cathedral of Notre Dame du Paris. He was paid 4,000 francs in advance, The HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME was the result.

1849- In Rome, Vatican lay government minister Count Pelligrino Rossi was stabbed and as he walked through a crowd of Italian nationalists. Italians desiring the unification of Rome to the newly forming State of Italy rioted and looted the Popes Palace. Pope Pius IX,” Pio Nono” had to flee disguised as a plain priest. He returned a year later with a French army to reinstate the Papal States. Rome was annexed into Italy in 1870.
Pius IX came to power professing liberal reforms but soon went back on his word and threatened excommunication against “Treasonous Democracy”. In Italy another name for liar was a Pio Nono.

1860- Shortly after Abraham Lincoln’s election as president a large meteor was seen in the skies over the Eastern U.S. Most took this as a bad omen of troubles to come.

1864- SHERMAN BURNED ATLANTA- Atlanta was the economic center of the South, an enormous industrial depot far from the front with railroad tracks linking all the coastal ports. William Tecumseh Sherman drove out the civilian population of the city at bayonet point and torched it. He claimed his men were only destroying military stores, but he didn’t stop them burning everything.
When his Confederate opponent complained what he was doing was barbaric, Sherman replied" You might as well protest to a thunderstorm, and against these terrible hardships of war. War is all cruelty. and the crueler it is, the sooner it will be over."
Sherman had an army band serenade him beneath his window, playing the "Miserere'" from Verdi's "Il Trovatore", while he watched the city burning, impatiently chewing on an unlit cigar.

1881- The American Federation of Labor AF of L formed under the leadership of former cigar-maker Samuel Gompers. In 1951 they merged with the CIO.

1889- Emperor Pedro II abdicated, the Republic of Brazil is declared.

1907- The comic strip A. Mutt by Harry “Bud” Fisher debuted in the San Francisco Chronicle. The name was later changed to Mutt & Jeff. It was the first 6 day consecutive daily newspaper strip. The strip was so popular that its creator Harry “Bud “ Fisher became a celebrity, and negotiated the first large backend deal.

1920- The League of Nations held its first meeting in Geneva.

1926- FIRST NETWORK BROADCAST- NBC hooks up 20 cities across America and Canada for a radio program "The Steinway Hour" with Arthur Rubinstein. It came from the Steinway building penthouse on 57th St. in Manhattan.

1934- Animator Bill Tytla started work at Walt Disney's on a trial basis for $150 a week. He would create Grumpy the Dwarf, The Devil in Fantasia and Dumbo.

1937- The U.S. Congress gets air-conditioning.

1941- Nazi SS chief Heinrich Himmler ordering the arrest and deportation to concentration camps of all homosexuals and gypsies.

1957- Patriarch Ignatius Yacoub III established the Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in the U.S. and Canada.

1958- Movie star Tyrone Power was filming a sword duel with George Sanders on the film Solomon and Sheba. He paused and told the director “ I have to stop, I don’t feel well”. He then dropped dead of a heart attack. He was 44. His father Tyrone Power Sr. had also died on a Hollywood movie set in 1931 of a heart attack,

1965- Walt Disney announced he planned to build a second Disneyland, this time in Orlando Florida.

1977- The BeeGees soundtrack for the film Saturday Night Fever came out.

1979- ABC news announced they would broadcast a daily update of the Iranian Hostage Crisis. The late night show became Nightline.

1989- Walt Disney's The Little Mermaid opened.

1990- It was revealed that the Grammy winning pop group Milli Vanilli didn’t sing on their own album but lip synced to the music.

1995- According to the Starr report, President Clinton had his first sexual tryst with intern Monica Lewinsky. At one point he was on the phone to a member of Congress while getting serviced by the chubby chick from Beverly Hills High.

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Yesterday’s Question Why is the skull and crossbones pirate flag called a Jolly Roger?

Answer: In the 1750s a French pirate who wore all red, flew that skull and crossbones flag. People called him Le Jolie Rouge, which English speakers corrupted into the Jolly Roger.


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