Oct 1, 2017
October 18th, 2017

Question: What does it mean to be vestigial? Like my vestigial tail?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: Coming soon is the Hollywood movie Thor: Ragnarok. What does Ragnarok mean?
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History for 10/18/2017
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 26, Jean Claude Van Damme, the Muscles from Brussels- is 57.

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, Michelangelo, 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. Overzealous French Protestants hung placards on doors in Paris and Orleans denouncing Catholics as "wolves and vermin". Francis awoke to find a placard hung his own bedroom door, with the implied a personal threat to kill 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 Protestant 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 City tavern 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 sailed off to Martinique. Today the cannons went silent. A lone British drummer boy climbed up 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 was 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 Guadalcanal.

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 were 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.

50th Anniversary 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 a 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!"
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Yesterday’s Question: Coming soon is the Hollywood movie Thor: Ragnarok. What does Ragnarok mean?

Answer: Ragnarok is the Norse version of the Apocalypse, the end of the Gods, the world and everything. Odin, Thor and everyone goes down fighting. Wagner wrote an opera about it called Gotterdammerung.


Oct 16, 2017
October 16th, 2017

Question: What does this mean- “Soylent Green is People!”....?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: Why do forks always have four points?
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History for 10/16/2017
Birthdays: Lord Cardigan, Eugene O'Neill, Noah Webster, Dave DeBusschere, David Ben-Gurion, Angela Lansbury is 91, Gunter Grass, Linda Darnell, Charles Colson, Susanne Somers is 71, David Zucker, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tim Robbins is 59.

Happy National Bosses Day (begun in 1958)

Today is the Feast of Saint Hedwig, who was married to a German Duke at 12 years old. They had six children and when they were grown, she went to a cloister, and her husband took a vow to never shave or bathe again. He was called Henry the Bearded.

1689- Seventeen year old Peter the Great entered Moscow to assume supreme power in Russia. Czar Peter had to push aside two rivals, his older half-brother Ivan who was mentally ill and his half-sister Sophia who was angry that as a woman she couldn’t hold power. Ivan stepped aside for Peter and Sophia was shipped off to a convent at the Arctic Circle. From then until 1725, Peter reformed Russian society and made it a world power. He even made Russian society liberal enough to accept female rulers like Catherine the Great.

1746-Peace of Aix la Chapelle- Ended the War of Austrian Succession. Part of the treaty stated France would stop supporting the exiled Stuart Dynasty trying to get back the English throne and Bonnie Prince Charlie would have to leave Paris. To celebrate the peace Georg Frederich Handel wrote the Royal Fireworks Music. When performed in Green Park London, the fireworks set fire to a pavilion and caused a panic.

1793- French Queen Marie Antoinette guillotined. She followed her husband King Louis XVI who was beheaded the previous January. The crowd in the Paris streets didn't have much sympathy for the foreign born queen. They called her "'la Chienne d'Autriche' '-the Austrian Bitch. Her last words were as she ascended the scaffold, she stepped on the toe of the executioner. 'Excuse me." she said.

1813- BATTLE OF THE NATIONS- First day of Leipzig- Napoleon's army is overwhelmed by the combined armies of Russia, Austria, Prussia, Sweden, German states. There were British and Swiss advisors and Napoleons French army had Poles, Dutch and Italian contingents as well. United Europe, in a way. At the height of the furious house to house fighting in the burning city Napoleon was seen walking the streets calming whistling to himself Malbrouk s'en-va-t-en Guerre ("For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow") a popular song of the day.

1817- Giovanni Belzoni discovered the great tomb of Pharaoh Seti Ist in the Valley of the Kings. He discovered 8 more ancient royal tombs in the valley as well as the inner chambers of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, making the world aware of the Valley of the Kings.

1829- The Tremont Hotel opened in Boston. Called the first modern hotel in America, it had luxurious 170 rooms and 4 meals a day. All for an extravagant $2 a night.

1834- The British House of Parliament caught fire and burnt to the ground in a horrific conflagration. Luckily artists William Turner and John Constable were around watching the blaze from the south bank of the Thames, so at least we got a few neat paintings out of it...

1846- At Massachusetts General Hospital Dr. John Warren performed the first operation on a patient under anesthesia. A Georgia doctor named Morton extracted a tooth using ether two years earlier and there was a fracas as to who invented it first. But the new was groundbreaking. Until then surgeons were considered social inferiors to doctors because all surgeons really needed in their work was strong arms to hold people down while sawing on them.

1847- Jane Eyre, an Autobiography first published. Writer Charlotte Bronte’ did it under the pen-name Currier Bell.

1859-HARPERS FERRY- Kansas abolitionist John Brown led a group of followers and slaves to seize the large U.S. arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. They planned to use the weapons to begin a general slave uprising throughout the South. Brown had declared: "the Sins of this Nation are so great that they cannot be expunged but by a great effusion of blood!" Harriet Tubman wanted to be present but for an illness. Brown and his men were surrounded by the army and forced to surrender after a gunbattle in which two of Brown's sons were killed.
The slaves did not rise in revolt. Present at the army operation were U.S. army officers Robert E. Lee and a Virginia National guard reservist, actor John Wilkes Booth. Brown was later hanged. Northerners considered John Brown a hero and martyr, Southerners thought him a dangerous lunatic who would murder them in their beds. Frederic Douglas thought Brown’s action reckless but his final praise was unstinting: "I have lived my life for my people. But John Brown died for my people. " One surviving son of John Brown who was at the battle changed his name and moved the family to Pasadena California, dying an old man in 1893.

1901- One of the first acts of new President Teddy Roosevelt was to invite Dr. Booker T. Washington of the Tuskegee Institute to an official dinner. It was the first time a black American was ever invited to dine with the President. The conservative South roared in loud protest. Teddy roared back:” In my veins flow the blood of both North and South, and such nonsense must end!” But he never openly invited another black leader again.

1916- THE FIRST BIRTH CONTROL CLINIC opens in the U.S. It was set up on 46 Amboy St in Brooklyn, by feminist Margaret Sanger. Police closed it down 9 days later and imprisoned Ms. Sanger for 30 days. She spent her time in jail lecturing women convicts about family planning. Margaret Sanger also hired bootleggers to smuggle French diaphragms into the U.S. disguised as innocent cases of illegal booze. Mrs. Sanger later married the owner of the Three-In-One Oil company, and smuggled spermicide into the U.S. in oil cans. In the 1930’s Margaret Sanger was invited on CBS radio. When CBS chief Bill Paley worried if Sanger would say something controversial he was reassured "don’t worry, she says she’s just going to read nursery rhymes". She began "There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. She Had So Many Children, Because She Didn’t Know What to Do!" CBS cut off her microphone.

1918- As the defeat in World War I loomed, young Emperor Michael of the Austrian Hungarian Empire struggled to keep his tottering empire together. This day he asked for a cease-fire from the allies and declared Austria-Hungary would become a federation of independent peoples. This was all too late as the Yugoslavs, Czechs, Poles and even Austrians were already declaring themselves independent without his permission.

1923- Walt Disney Studios Born. 22 year old Walt and his older brother Roy signed a deal with M.J. Winkler for six "Alice in Cartoonland" short cartoons. Budget-$1,500 each.

1929- New York City skyscraper the Chrysler Building completed. It won a race with the Bank of Manhattan Company to become the world’s tallest building but it only held the title for a few months because the Empire State Building was going up.

1929- The frosted light bulb patented.

1933- In Tampa Florida, a man named Victor Licata took an axe and murdered his family. He was declared criminally insane, but what the Federal government picked up on was he had a habit of smoking marijuana. Turns out he was always psychotic, but the Feds played up his pot smoking to push the idea of marijuana as a “Demon-Weed”, the basis for criminalizing it.

1940- The Nazi occupying forces order Jews around Warsaw to move into a small quarter of the town and it is bricked up by a high wall. The Warsaw Ghetto.

1940- Despite being technically neutral, the U.S. began a draft of young men into the army.

1941- General Hideki Tojo becomes Japanese Prime Minister. While we have this image of Tojo as the paramount war leader like Churchill, Stalin or Hitler, he was only Prime Minister from 1941-1943. The Japanese government went through several administrations, however the military general staff remained constant and manipulated politics from behind the scenes, vetoing measures in the Diet and assassinating critics of it's policy of military expansion. By 1937 all outspoken peace advocates like Prince Konoye and Premier Inokai had been murdered.

1941-Nazi panzer tanks closed in around Moscow. Even though his staff were all waiting in a private armored train Russian leader Josef Stalin changed his mind about evacuating the Kremlin and fleeing east. He resolved to stay in the city.

1943- Chicago Mayor Ed Kelly dedicated the new subway system.

1945-World War II over, Dr. Robert Oppenheimer bade farewell to the Los Alamos nuclear facility to work for Cal Tech University. After laudatory speeches and plaques Oppy warned his fellow scientists : " If nuclear weapons become a regular part of the arsenals of other countries then the time may come when the people of the world will curse the name of Hiroshima and Los Alamos."

1946- After the embarrassment of Herman Goring committing suicide under Allied noses the night before, the remaining Nazis war criminals tried at Nuremberg- Keitel, Jodl, Ribbentrop, Streicher, Kalternbrunner, and Franck were hanged. Executioner US Army Master Sergeant John C. Wood said some like von Ribbentrop had lost so much weight in prison he had to jump on the swinging body adding his weight to theirs and break their necks. Afterwards their bodies are driven in secret to Dachau concentration camp crematorium and burned in the same ovens they used on Jews in the Holocaust. Then the ashes are scattered in secret so no Nazi shrine could ever be erected.

1952- Charlie Chaplin’s film "Limelight" premiered in London. Chaplin had shot the film in Hollywood but released it in Europe because he had been driven into exile by McCarthyite Red Baiters.

1955- Ann Landers published her first column.

1964- Red China exploded it's first nuclear bomb.

1968- During the Mexico City Olympics- African American gold and silver track medalists Tom Smith and John Carlos shocked the world by giving the Black Power raised fist salute during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. Despite being the fastest men on earth, their medals were taken away and they were kicked off the US Olympic Team.

1969- The Miracle Mets. The New York Mets, then possessing some of the worst records in baseball history, defied all 100-1 odds and won the World Series, defeating the Baltimore Orioles in 5 games. Tom Seaver, Cleon Jones, Nolan Ryan. Rusty Staub. Thousands of fans at Shea went crazy and danced and partied on the field with the players. My brother recalled in the parking lot cars were covered with turf because the fans had stolen the bases and ripped up the sod for souvenirs.

1973- President Anwar El Sadat of Egypt asked the Soviet Union to call a meeting of the United Nations to call a ceasefire to end the Yom Kippur War.

1976- Disco Duck by Rick Dees became #1 on the pop charts.

1978- Polish cardinal Karol Woytila elected as Pope John Paul II. First non-Italian pope in 400 years, since Dutchman Adrian IV in 1513. Dying in 2005 JPII had the longest reign of any pope in the twentieth century and had created more saints than any other pope.

1992- The Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson filed a $1.4 million dollar lawsuit against a French tabloid for publishing photos of her topless and her boyfriend Texas millionaire John Bryan sucking her toes.

1995- The Million Man March - One million African-American men converge on Washington D.C. to protest black on black violence and family values.

1997- According to the writers of the 1965 television show 'Lost in Space', this was the date the Jupiter-2 with Will, Penny, Dr. Smith and the Robot took off to colonize deep space. "Danger! Danger! Spare me your insolence, you mechanical ninny..."
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Yesterday’s Question: Why do forks always have four points?

Answer: When forks were first introduced from Byzantium in the Renaissance, they had only two points (called tines). Users discovered with two you had a good chance of stabbing yourself in your tongue or mouth while trying to eat. By mass production in the late 19th Century, silverware makers learned that four tines was the least number that kept you from stabbing yourself.


Oct 15, 2017
October 15th, 2017

Question: : Why do forks always have four points?

Quiz: Mata Hari was a famous spy. Who did she spy for?
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History for 10/15/2017
Birthdays: Quintus Virgilius-Virgil 70 BC, Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great 1542, Oscar Wilde, Fredrich Nietszche, Mikail Lermontov, John L. Sullivan, Burt Gillett, John Kenneth Galbraith, Robert Trout, Klaus Barbie the Butcher of Lyon, P.G. Wodehouse, Penny Marshall, Mario Puzo, Sarah Ferguson-Fergie' the former Duchess of York, Chef Emeril LeGasse, Chuck Berry
Ancient Roman Festival of the Ides, a chariot race where the winning team of horses was then sacrificed to Mars the Avenger.

1564- Great doctor and medical scholar Andreas Vesalius died of exposure after his ship was wrecked off the coast of Zante, Greece. Vesalius specialty was anatomy, he described the lobes of the liver, the bones of the jaw and finally got modern medicine to stop following the conclusions of the Roman doctor Galen on faith, and go experiment for themselves. Vesalius was so passionate about anatomical dissection that he would sneak out to the hangmans’s tree outside town and pull the bodies down for study. 1582- THE GREGORIAN CALENDAR took effect- Julius Caesar’s 366 day calendar was losing 11 minutes every year since 45 BC. Medieval scientists like Dennis Exiguus ( the man responsible for B.C.-A.D. counting) and Roger Bacon in the 1200’s noticed something was wrong. By 1582 the calendar was 11 days off the solar year. Pope Gregory XI had scientist Dionysius Ingratius revise the calendar of Julius Caesar by using a 400 year cycle of 365 days with a leap day every four years and no leap year when it occurred every fourth century. So 2000 was a leap year while 1900,1800 and 1700 were not.

On this day people had gone to sleep on Oct. 5th and woke up on Oct.15th !
The calendar at first wasn't accepted universally. At first only Italy, Spain, Portugal and Poland changed over. France and the Protestant countries took 70-100 years to change and England not until 1752! China adopted the western calendar in 1949. Because a lot of history happened during the interim, sloppy historians can confuse the 11day difference in the calendars (so if you disagree with any of my dates, That's My Excuse, Hah Harr!!) For instance we celebrate Columbus Day on the 12th of October when Columbus himself thought he had landed on the 22nd Old Style.
1757- Prussian King Frederick the Great took time out from fighting wars with most of Europe to try and convince German poet Johann Gottsched to stop trying to write poetry in German. “So many guttural explosions, so many consonants- Klop, Knap, Krotz, Krok! How could you make melody in such a language?.” Frederick spoke French exclusively and switched to German only to address servants and soldiers. Ironically, the fame of his court sparked a renaissance of music, poetry and philosophy- all in German. 1764- While wandering through the ruins of ancient Rome, British writer Edward Gibbon is inspired to write "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire".

1781- Climactic actions of the Siege of Yorktown when Franco-American assault teams in the dead of night stormed three important British strong points. This allowed Washington and Rochambeau’s heavy guns to be brought close enough to bombard the center of Yorktown and hastened Lord Cornwallis’ surrender.

The American assault teams were personally led by Marquis de Lafayette and Alexander Hamilton, who threw a childish temper tantrum when at first Washington refused to risk a good staff officer in such a dangerous assignment. The attack troops were not allowed to waste time loading and firing, they just had to run in the dark and win using the cold bayonet. In the troop on the French side was a young captain Berthier, who would one day be Napoleon’s chief of staff.

1794-The First silver dollars minted by the U.S. Government. Before that individual states printed money. British pounds, wampum, old colonial script called Continental Eagles, Spanish pieces of Eight and whiskey all had circulated as currency.

1796- Napoleon wins a battle at the bridge of Arcola, grabbing a flag and leading the final charge himself. In twenty years of constant war he was only hurt once, a slight graze in the foot. At Arcola he was even temporarily immobilized when he got stuck in mud under heavy fire but still no one could hit him.

1806 -German philosopher Hegel met Napoleon on the street. Hegel was going to his publisher to publish his "Phremonology", Napoleon was on his way to take Berlin. Hegel later referred to Napoleon as “The Universal Soul.”

1843- Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens opened to the public. One of the oldest amusement parks in the world and an inspiration to Walt Disney for Disneyland.

1858- The last Lincoln- Douglas debate. Lincoln scored major moral points on the slavery issue but Douglas "the Little Giant" won the election to Congress anyway. After the Civil War began although Douglas was a Democrat he was a very strong Lincoln supporter and pro-union man. Douglas had also once dated Mary Lincoln before she married old Abe.

1880-Victorio, a leader of the Chiracua Apaches as famous as Geronimo, was finally hunted down and killed south of El Paso by a combined force of US and Mexican Army troops.

1905- First Little Nemo comic strip by Winsor McCay premiered in the NY Herald. McCay modeled the child on his own son Robert, and name Nemo came from a Latin root meaning no one.

1905- Premiere of Claude Debussy’s tone poem La Mer- the Sea.

1917- MATA HARI- 41 year old beautiful erotic dancer and German spy H21, was shot by firing squad. Her real name was Gertrude Zelle from Holland, she made up a new identity as an Indian princess with the name Mata Hari- The Light of Day in Malay. She would use her sexual charms to seduce top enemy officers and pass information on to German High Command. But she was finally caught, tried and shot at the Chateau Vincennes outside Paris. She refused to wear a blindfold and blew a kiss at the French firing squad. She still elicited enough sympathy, that out of a 12 soldier squad only four bullets were found in her body.

1927- Iraq strikes it's first gusher of oil. The gusher was so large it took 8 days to bring under control.

1929- The Canadian Parliament passed a resolution declaring women to be people, too.

1930- Duke Ellington first recorded Mood Indigo.

1927- THE LONG MARCH- During the Chinese civil war, Mao Tse Tung’s Communist forces broke out of a ring of encircling Kuomintang (Nationalist) armies and began an epic 6,000 mile march to the safety of Shenxi and Yenan in Northwest China. 100,000 people fought battles, internal divisions, starved and marched until in October 1935 only 8,000 survivors reached their destination. Mao’s two children and younger brother died but he emerged as the overall leader of the Chinese Communists. Their example inspired thousands of young men to enlist in their cause. In 1993 Premier Ly Pung succeeded Deng Zhao Ping, one of the last surviving veterans of the Long March.

1940- Charlie Chaplin’s film The Great Dictator premiered.

1942- The Nazi-dominated Vichy Government of France declared a ban on the importation of all American and British movies. 1946- HERMANN GORING CHEATED THE HANGMAN On the day before he was to hang for war crimes, Nazi Reichmarshall Herman Goring bit on a glass potassium-cyanide capsule. Goring was convinced that the Allies would need him to control postwar Germany. So he was surprised and indignant at the death sentence. The condemned prisoners were closely watched by guards so suicides couldn't happen. Even the furniture in their cells were made rickety so you couldn't stand upon it to hang yourself and guards looked in on you through a peephole every hour.

1946 Walt Disney’s film Make Mine Music premiered.

1950- THE WAKE ISLAND CONFERENCE- President Harry Truman flew to Wake Island to confer with General Douglas MacArthur about the Korean War. There was a story that MacArthur kept Truman waiting at the airport. This is incorrect, but he was disrespectful to his commander in chief in other ways, like neglecting to salute him and brushing off the President’s invitation to lunch.

When Truman asked MacArthur if there was any chance of the Red Chinese joining in the war, MacArthur assured him there was no possibility. This same day in Beijing Mao zse Tung was ordering General Lin Piao to move 300,000 troops to Korea. At one point Truman and MacArthur joked about Dwight Eisenhower thinking he could run for president. Truman said Ike didn’t know anything about politics and his administration would be more corrupt than Ulysses Grants’. Eisenhower did win election and his two terms were well run and scandal free.

1951- THE FIRST I LOVE LUCY SHOW- The most successful family sitcom in history began its pilot episode this night. CBS and Phillip Morris had wanted Lucille Ball to transfer her popular radio show-“My Favorite Husband” to television. The story of the family life of Ricky Ricardo, a Cuban immigrant nightclub bandleader, his daffy wife Lucy and their landlord friends Fred and Ethel Murtz became an overnight sensation.
The show was shot on film instead of live TV and it was produced in Los Angeles instead of New York City because Lucy and Dezi Arnez refused to relocate back east. The show also pioneered the three camera shooting system still used to day. When Lucille Ball was off being pregnant, the show proved re-runs could be just as popular as first time showings. The January 1953 episode of little Ricky’s birth drew more viewers than the inauguration of President Eisenhower.

1959- 20th Century Fox signed Elizabeth Taylor to star in their new movie Cleopatra. The first time an actor was paid a million dollars for one role.

1965- The first large scale peace protests over U.S. involvement in Vietnam began in Oakland California. David Miller is the first young man to burn his draft card, followed by many others. Chants of “One, Two, Three, Four, We don’t want your F**king War! Uncle Sam, Drop the Bomb! We Don’t Wanna Go to Nam!”

1969- THE MORATORIUM- 250,000 people gather in Washington to protest the War in Vietnam. Richard Nixon had run as a peace candidate but once in office escalated the Vietnam conflict to include Cambodia and Laos. President Nixon came to regard the young student protestors as the chief nemesis of his administration. In Chicago young student John Belushi was hit in the chest with a tear gas shell and had to be dragged to safety.
He appealed to the Silent Majority, staged stunts like the Hard Hat Luncheon-an event thrown for conservative construction workers. According to John Dean by 1971 Nixon had a bunker built under the executive offices where aide John Ehrlichman monitored protests from a battery of television monitors. Nixon stalwart G. Gordon Liddy pitched preposterous schemes like infiltrating the students with mercenaries who would at a signal beat up people, and strategic commando style kidnapping of protest leaders. These schemes were never implemented.

1970- Height of the Canadian October Crisis. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau sent in army troops into Quebec to quell separatist riots and arrest terrorists of the FLQ.

1976-What’s Love got to do with it?- Ike and Tina Turner break up.

1989- Wayne Gretsky surpassed Gordie Howe’s all time record of scored points in hockey-1,850. The Great One went on to set a new record of 2,837 points before his retirement.

1991- CLARENCE THOMAS- After weeks of bitter hearings Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court to take the seat of Civil Rights pioneer Thurgood Marshall. The Anti-Affirmative Action Black Republican’s appointment was challenged by allegations that he sexually harassed one of his female staff, a Professor named Anita Hill.

2003- On the anniversary of the Long March, Wang Lee Wei became the first Chinese astronaut to go into space.
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Yesterday’s question: Mata Hari was a famous spy. Who did she spy for?

Answer: She was Dutch, but spied for Germany. See above, 1917.


Oct 14, 2016
October 14th, 2017

Quiz: Mata Hari was a famous spy. Who did she spy for?

Yesterday’s Answer below: Who wrote Lady Windemere’s Fan?
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History for 10/14/2017
B-Days: William Penn-1644, King James II Stuart, Joseph Plateau, Sword master Masoaka Shiki 1867, Dwight Eisenhower, Lillian Gish, Ralph Lauren, Eamon De Valera, e.e. cummings, Mobutu Sese Seko, C. Everet Koop, John Dean III, Cliff Richards, Jack Arnold the director of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Ralph Lauren- real name Ralph Lifshitz, Roger Moore.

Feast of St Theresa of Avila

Happy National Desert Day.

1066-WHEN WILLIAM ROSE AND HAROLD FELL- BATTLE OF HASTINGS- The Norman army of William the Bastard defeats and kills King Harold Godwinson of the Anglo-Saxons. The occupation and settlement of Norman French into England had a dramatic effect on the language ensuring the language you are now speaking would become English, instead of something between Dutch and Danish. The Normans also introduced the English to the concept of surnames- Wulf the Tailor yielding to Robert Beauceant and William Longchamps. Duke William, who was never fond of the title 'Bastard", became instead King William the Conqueror.

1318- When Scottish King Robert the Bruce won Scots independence, he sent his younger brother Edward to Ireland to organize their resistance. After 4 years of fighting , Edward de Brus was killed by the English at the Battle of Faughart. It is generally accepted that he left Ireland in worse shape then as he found it.

1492- Columbus and his men left San Salvador to continue west and look for Cipango- their name for Japan.

1529- WESTERN EUROPE DISCOVERS COFFEE- The first Turkish Siege of Vienna ends. Despite the oath of Sultan Sulieman the Magnificent, who told his troops that if they didn't win, he would fill the Danube with their genitals, the Turkish army lifted the siege and retreated back into Hungary. As the Viennese went through the Turkish camp they found large quantities of black beans that tasted awful. A Polish mercenary named Adam Kolschitsky had lived in Turkey and knew what to do with the bitter beans. He opened the first Viennese coffeehouse, the KolschitskyDom. He is also credited with inventing the coffee filter, which made the strong Turkish java palatable to Europeans. The Viennese commemorated their victory with a pastry shaped like the Turkish battle ensign, the crescent, or the Croissant.

1670-At a performance before King Louis XIV the Sun King at the Chateau of Chambord, Moliere’s satire “Le Bourgeouis Gentilhomme” premiered. Lully wrote the music.

1806- BATTLE OF JENA- Napoleon's army destroyed the Prussian (German) army and occupies Berlin in only six weeks. The Prussian army had been considered the finest in the world but by this time the legendary regiments of Frederick the Great were led by old men and a timid king. The average age of the sergeants was 50 and the generals 75! The night before the battle the Prussians gave up the strategic high ground to the French because it was too chilly for most of the old men to sleep in the open. Also they had built their camp facing in the opposite direction from the enemy to be out of the wind. Shortly before they were hit from the fire of three hundred cannons Prince Hohenlohe was telling his outposts to get some more sleep as there probably would be no battle that day. One other psychological tactic Napoleon used was he lined up 250 regimental bands so their combined musical power would augment the cannon in blowing the Germans out of their beds. A contemporary German analyst said; "The Prussian Army had to be very clever to lose that badly, for it had all the advantages." The embarrassing campaign caused major reform in the army and for the remainder of the 1800's Europe would fear French Militarism, not German.

1873- MY NAME IS MUYBRIDGE. One night a carriage drove up from San Francisco to the Yellow Jacket Mine near Calistoga in the north Napa Valley. A man asked for the foreman Major Harry Larkyns. When Larkyns answered the door the man quietly said to him:”Good Evening, Major. My name is Muybridge. Here is the answer to the message you sent my wife earlier. “ He drew a pistol and shot Larkyns through the heart, killing him instantly. He then dropped the weapon and waited for the sheriff.
The killer was the famous Photographer and Motion Picture Pioneer Edweard Muybridge. Muybridges’ young wife Flora had been having an affair while he was working on his Motion Studies Series in Palo Alto. Muybridge discovered the son she bore him was not his. They were even calling him Little Harry behind his back.
The jury that convened in Napa did not hang the artist-inventor. In the Code of the Old West, proven adultery was considered a justifiable homicide. Plus Governor Leyland Stanford was sponsoring Muybridge’s experiments. So he was acquitted. Flora Muybridge divorced him in 1875 and after her early death two years later, Muybridge gave Little Harry to a San Francisco Orphans Asylum and refused to pay for his upkeep.

1908- The Chicago Cubs defeated the Detroit Lions for their first, and so far only, World Series championship. The next time they got to the series was 1945.

1912- While going to give a political speech in Milwaukee, a lunatic named William Shrenck shot Teddy Roosevelt in the chest. The bullet was slowed down tearing through his clothes, speech notes and tin eyeglasses case, and missed any important organs. Bleeding from his side Teddy spat in his hand to see if there was blood in his spittle, which would mean internal damage. Seeing there was none, he went ahead and gave his 90 minute speech before going to a hospital. -Bully!

1926- A.A. Milne’s first book of Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet and Christopher Robin debuted this day.

1934- The Lux Radio Theater premiered.

1943- The Sobibor Uprising. At the Sobibor Concentration Camp the Jewish inmates launched a surprise attack on their guards. They were led by several Jews who were Red Army veterans and understood the use of weapons. After killing 16 SS guards, 365 inmates escaped into the countryside. Most were hunted down and killed but 47 survived.


1944- Field Marshal Ervin Rommel, the "Desert Fox", was forced by the Nazis to take poison. He had been a leader in the July Generals Plot to assassinate Hitler, take over Germany and stop the war. At first Rommel demanded a public trial, but reluctantly accepted the quiet way in exchange for the Nazi's promise not to hurt his family. This way Berlin could claim Germany's greatest soldier succumbed to his war wounds instead of trying to revolt. Winston Churchill paid an unusual tribute in the House of Commons to the Nazi general for trying to overthrow Hitler-" In the somber wars of modern democracy, there is little room for Chivalry."

1944- British Paratroops liberated the city of Athens from the Nazis. 1947- Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier and achieved Mach I in the Bell XS-1 Glamorous Glennis.

1950- The LAPD raided a house party of gay men, which was illegal back then. One of the men arrested was future movie star Tab Hunter. This was kept secret until in 1955 an angry agent Hunter dumped leaked the story to Confidential Magazine. “ Tab Hunter Busted at Limp-Wristed Pajama Party!” It soon blew over and Tab Hunter went on to have a full movie career.

1954- First day of shooting on Cecil B. DeMille’s remake of the Ten Commandments staring Charlton Heston out in the Egyptian desert. It was so brutally hot that Anne Baxter joked to Vincent Price “ Vin, who do I have to sleep with to get OFF this movie?”

1959- Errol Flynn died of a heart attack in Vancouver. Exhausted by overindulgence in his favorite vices, doctors said the 50 year old movie star had the body of a 70 year old. A descendant of one of the Bounty mutineers, the Tasmanian born actor's last film was ' Cuban Rebel Girls'.

1962- THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS BEGAN- President John F. Kennedy was first shown top secret U-2 photos of Russian nuclear missile pads being constructed 90 miles away in Cuba. This meant instead of a 30 minute warning time a Soviet H-Bomb could hit New York or Washington in 7-10 minutes. Attorney General Robert Kennedy asked CIA operative Richard Helms: “Dick, is it true there are Russian missiles in Cuba?” When Helms replied there were, the erudite RFK reacted: “ OH, SH*T!!” For the next 14 days the world came close to nuclear armageddon. We’re all alive right now to read this, so you know how it came out.

1964- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr won the Nobel Peace Prize.

1964-IT’S FUN TO PLAY AT THE Y-M-C-A! Just three weeks before the presidential election Lyndon Baines Johnson’s re-election was almost derailed by a gay sex scandal. One of LBJ’s closest friends Walter Jenkins, whom LBJ called My Vice President of Almost Everything, was busted by DC police for having gay sex with a Turkish diplomat in the YMCA locker room! He had been arrested for the same thing five years before.

This day Walter Jenkins announced his resignation from the Johnson White House and was sent to a mental hospital, Lyndon Johnson distanced himself from Jenkins and the press was strong-armed to bury the story until after the election. Republican challenger Barry Goldwater was warned by the FBI that if he tried to use this story, they had plenty of info on the Arizona senator patronizing prostitutes. The story never effected the election. Goldwater remarked:” Communists and c*cksuckers, what a way to win an election!”

1968- French Canadians who wanted independence from English Canada form a political party called the Parti-Quebecois.

1972- Joe Cocker and his backup band were busted in Australia for drug possession.

1973- The Yom Kippur War between Arabs and Israelis almost drag the superpowers in as well. Russia had been supplying Egypt and Syria with their latest weapons. When Israeli tanks approached Damascus the Soviets warned Israel that if they attacked the Syrian capitol they would intervene with two Red Army airborne divisions. Israeli diplomat Yigail Allon said “From the way the Russians reacted you’d think they were protecting Stalingrad rather than Damascus!”
Prior to this time Israel would buy weapons on the international market, paying cash, but now the US refitted the Israeli military directly. This day President Nixon warned Moscow that any attempt to intervene in the Middle East would be matched by American ground forces. Both sides cooled off and the superpower confrontation was kept a secret until the 1990s. Ironically the early founders of Israel were Socialists.

1978- Lover Scott Thorsten “outs” pianist Liberace by filing a palimony suit.

1979- Wayne Gretsky scored his first goal.
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Yesterday’s Question: Who wrote Lady Windemere’s Fan?

Answer: Oscar Wilde


Oct 13, 2017
October 13th, 2017

Question: Who wrote Lady Windemere’s Fan?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Has there ever been an English King named Albert?
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History for 10/13/2017
Birthdays: Revolutionary War heroine Mary Ludwig nicknamed Molly Pitcher, Lily Langtry-the Jersey Lilly, Lenny Bruce, Larraine Day, Nipsy Russell, Cornel Wilde, Margaret Thatcher, Herblock, Yves Montand, Nancy Kerrigan, Sammy Hagar, Marie Osmond, Kelly Preston, Chris Carter, Paul Simon is 77, Sascha Baron-Cohen is 46

539BC- The Persian armies of Cyrus the Great captured the city of Babylon, beginning the great Persian Empire, which would last for a thousand years. Cyrus also permitted the Israelites to return home, ending their Babylonian Captivity.

54AD- Elderly Roman Emperor Claudius died from eating poisoned mushrooms served to him by his wife Agrippina. Another account has him vomiting the mushrooms but Agrippina administered to him an herbal enema which she also poisoned. This way she ensured her boy Nero would be emperor before Claudius could come to his senses about making that fat little maniac his heir. Later as emperor Nero had his mom killed.

Robert Graves wrote that Claudius feigned simple-mindedness but many Romans felt it wasn’t an act. It was the custom when a Roman emperor died to deify him, make him a god. The writer Seneca thought it would be embarrassing for the gods to have an idiot like Claudius in their company. He wrote an epic poem on the subject called the 'Pumpkinification of Claudius".

1269-Henry III's rebuilding of Westminster Abbey completed and the bones of St. Edward the Confessor re-interred.

1307- MASSACRE of the TEMPLARS- The Knights Templar were a holy order of warrior monks named for their Crusader base at he site of the Temple of Herod in Jerusalem. After the Crusades while the Knights of St John continued to fight Moslems in Greece and Malta the Templars settled back in Europe and went into banking. They amassed great wealth all tax-free because it was Church property. This annoyed kings like Brtiain’s Edward Ist and France’s Phillip the Fair.

So this day Phillip bribed the Pope to declare the entire Templar Order heretics and burned at the stake. Myths abound about the Templars having bizarre rituals and the secrets like the location of the Holy Grail, but most of it was made up by the Inquisitors to frame them. But one neat idea they brought back from the Middle East was the personal check. This way a Templar Knight could cross international borders without carrying heavy bags of gold, then go to the nearest Templar castle and redeem a note with his signet on it for money. I wonder if their notes had pretty sunsets painted on them...

1590- Chief Powhatan, head of a confederation of Algonguian tribes in the Cheasapeake Bay area, wiped out a Spanish Jesuit colony attempting to set up on his beach. He had heard from the Seminoles in Florida what these metal clad palefaces were capable of. Nineteen years later in 1607 another annoying bunch of English palefaces landed on his beach, but this time Powhatan was curious about these ones, especially when one started dating his daughter Pocahontas.

1670- The Virginia Colony passed a law that Negroes brought from Africa who proved to be Christians could not be kept as slaves. The law was repealed just a few years later.

1685- In 1610, King Henry IV of France had ended a long period of religious wars by granting total freedom of worship with his Edict of Nantes. King Louis XIV later decided Henry was a knucklehead and all Frenchmen should be Catholic, so he revoked the Edict of Nantes and drove the French Protestants (Huguenots) to Canada, England, and America.

1768- THE BIRTH OF YANKEE DOODLE- The first written evidence of the song being played, this day by a British army band at a harvest festival in the Hudson Valley. The song means Yankee Doodle -Stupid American... “ stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni" A macaroni was English slang then for someone dressed in the latest Italian fashions, hence a dandy. That just because the stupid Yankee sticks a feather in his hat he thinks he is a gentleman.
Later in the Revolution the song meant to lampoon Americans was adopted by the rebels and played to the British while they were laying down their arms at Yorktown and Saratoga.

1792- Cornerstone of the White House set. First called the President’s Palace, later the Executive Mansion, it was modeled by James Hoban after the Irish estate house of the Duke of Leinster. Instead of a chaplain President George Washington had Masters of the Masonic Rite sanctify the building with their secret rituals. The mansion took 8 years to build. Constant problems halted construction like when the workers went on strike when the government closed down their on-site bordello. A compromise was made to move it off site.
When President John Adams moved in in 1800 it still wasn't finished, plus Washington took all the furniture with him. Abigail Adams hung her wash in the East Room because of the nice breeze. It wasn't until after the British torched the place in 1814 did it receive it's first coat of whitewash. The Oval Office wasn't built until Truman's time in 1947.

1813- Battle of Queenstown Heights. It costs the life of the brilliant young British General Issac Brock, but he defeats the enemy and saves Canada from the clutches of the invading United States.

1815- Joachim Murat shot by firing squad. Marshal Murat was France's bravest cavalry leader. A wild bon-vivant, he would "ride to the sound of the guns" dressed in peacock feathers and gaudy uniforms but amazingly was never harmed. Even in Russia he walked out in front of Russian cannons but wasn't even scratched. Trying to regain the throne Napoleon gave him in Naples, his luck finally gave out when the Neapolitans put him up against the wall. His last words were:" AIM FOR THE HEART! DON'T TOUCH MY FACE!!"

1843- Bnai’ Brith, the oldest Jewish benevolent organization, was founded in New York by Henry Jones. It means “Sons of the Covenant”. 1845- Texans vote to accept annexation into the United States.

1857- Wall Street has yet another financial panic and crash.

1903- Victor Herbert’s operetta Babes in Toyland premiered.

1904- Sigmund Freud's book 'The Interpretation of Dreams" first published.

1918- BATTLE OF THE COTES DU CHATILLON- At the height of the American effort to break the German lines in World War I. The Cotes Du Chatillon was a hillside studded with impregnable German fortifications, machine gun nests and barbed wire fields up to 25 feet wide. General Pershing called his cocky young “Boy Colonel” Douglas MacArthur and said “MacArthur! Take the Cotes Du Chatillon or hand me a list of 5,000 casualties!” MacArthur answered:” I’ll take the hill or my name shall top the list!”
The next day MacArthur personally led his Rainbow Division over the top without a gun or helmet, just a riding crop and his West Point varsity sweater. His doughboys captured the hill, but at such a frightful cost that MacArthur for years could not speak of it without tears. In his campaigns in World War II he became skillful at outmaneuvering enemy strong points to avoid high casualties.

1938- RKO Pictures was having a salary dispute with their singing cowboy Gene Autry. So they cast around for another handsome cowpoke. Today they signed a would-be dentist from a vocal group called the Sons of the Pioneers named Leonard Slye. He became a star with the film “Under Western Skies” under his new name- Roy Rogers.

1947- Kukla, Fran & Ollie debuted on television. Burt Tillstrom was the creator and puppeteer and Fran was his wife.

1964- Mary Pinchot Mayer was a Washington DC socialite, artist, and the sister-in-law to Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. On this day she was shot and killed while strolling a Georgetown footpath at noon. A black vagrant was accused of the murder but later acquitted. Her sister took her diary to the CIA office of counter-intelligence. It was said her diary admitted a long hot & heavy affair with President John Kennedy and claimed that on two occasions she and JFK smoked marijuana in the White House.
At this time Robert Kennedy was still Attorney General. The diary was never seen again. Was it an FBI, CIA hit? Many women claimed President Kennedy as a lover. Judith Cambell-Exner claimed to be schtupping the Prez and the head of the Chicago Mafia at the same time, yet she lived to a ripe old age. Mary Pinchot Mayer’s killer has never been found.

1970- Black activist Angela Davis was arrested on suspicion she smuggled guns to a Black Panther group so they could stage a shootout with California police. The evidence was thin and it was more about the Berkeley professor’s radical political philosophy that got her arrested. But you need more than suspicion to lock somebody up in the Good Old US of A so Angela Davis was acquitted after a long very public trial.

1973- During the Yom Kippur War between Israel and Egypt, this day saw the last mass tank battle, the largest since World War II. While Egyptian SAM anti-aircraft missiles kept away the Israeli air force, two thousand tanks, more than was at the Battle of the Bulge, twisted, turned, and blasted each other in the Sinai Desert. They didn’t have to aim, they could look out their gun barrel and see their adversary as close as 100 yards apart. Today, urban warfare and improved shoulder-held rockets have made tanks mostly irrelevant.

1978- Mickey Mouse gets his star on Hollywood Blvd Walk of Fame.

1982- The computer spreadsheet program Lotus 1-2-3 introduced.

1988- Scientists declare the Shroud of Turin a high quality medieval forgery. Even the Vatican was curious whether the thing was real or not. In 2010 another study also concluded it was a forgery. But many persist in the belief that the piece of cloth is the real burial cloth of Jesus, with an imprint of his body created by the heat of the Resurrection.

2016 – Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
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Yesterday’s Question: Has there ever been an English King named Albert?

Answer: No. Victoria’s husband was an Albert, but he was not a king, but a Prince-Consort. After his death, Queen Victoria declared that no future king should ever be named Albert, to not eclipse her husband. Edward VII and George VI were born Alberts, but changed their names as king.


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