may 27, 2016
May 27th, 2016
Question: The song Zippity-Doo-Dah was written for what movie? (Hint: Disney)
Yesterday’s Question: What was the War of Three Henrys?
History for 5/27/2016
Birthdays: James 'Wild Bill' Hickock, Julia Ward Howe, Aemelia Jenks-Bloomer, Dashell Hammett, Vincent Price, Dr. Henry Kissinger is 93, Leopold Goldowsky (the inventor of Kodachrome film), Hubert H. Humphrey, Herman Wouk, Harlan Ellison, Christopher Lee, Joseph Feines, Richard Schiff is 61, Peri Gilpin, Paul Bettany is 45
595 a.d. Today is the Feast day of Saint Augustine of Canterbury, who saw children in the slave docket and when told 'Those are Angles"-The barbarian tribe that England is named for. Augustine replied: Non Sunt Anglicai, Sunt Angelis” -Those are not Angles, those are Angels" -please forgive my Latin grammar. Augustine of Canterbury should not be confused with the Saint Augustine of Hippo, who wrote the Confessions.
1647-The first witch execution in Salem Massachusetts. Contrary to popular perception, more witches were hanged, than burned at the stake.
1647- Peter Stuyversant inaugurated as Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam. The one legged old soldier was a staunch Calvinist who was sent by the Hague to “clean up the town”.
1703- Czar Peter the Great laid the cornerstones for his new capitol Saint Petersburg. The Baltic Port was called at one time Petrograd and Leningrad but was changed back to the original name in 1989. It was the capitol until Lenin moved it back to Moscow in 1917.
1831- Mountain man Jedediah Smith was killed fighting Commanches.
1874- Prostitution was outlawed in Los Angeles central business district.
1895 - British inventor Burt Acres patented a film camera/projector
1905- BATTLE OF THE TSUSHIMA STRAIGHTS- Grand Admiral Togo and the Japanese Navy destroy the Imperial Russian fleet in a battle that announced to the world Japan's had become an international power. It had been only 55 years since Admiral Perry forced the opening of its feudal society. Mahatma Ghandi said also the victory was a beacon to all colonialized peoples that the Europeans could be defeated at their own games. Of course the Japanese weren't fighting for altruistic motives but to see who would take over Manchuria and Korea. One-eyed Admiral Togo was trained as a samurai until their profession was abolished in 1877. When a midshipman cadet in England, had been nicknamed "Joe Chinaman" by the tars. After this battle he became one of the most respected naval strategists of the age. Ishoruku Yamamoto, the mastermind of Pearl Harbor, was his ensign at the time. 1930- HAPPY BIRTHDAY SCOTCH TAPE -Chemist Richard Drew of Saint Paul Minnesota invented cellophane tape, marketed by the 3M Company under the brand Scotch. It was called Scotch after the stereotype perception that Scots people are frugal with money, so it’s a good value. Three years later Drew invented Masking Tape as a way for car manufacturers to paint cars two tone.
1933- Disney’s cartoon“The Three Little Pigs” premiered, whose song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” became a national anthem of recovery from the Depression.
Director of the short Burt Gillette left Disney afterwards to run the Van Beuren Studio in New York.
1935- The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Franklin Roosevelt’s National Recovery Act (The NRA) program. Roosevelt responds by trying to stack the court with judges more to his liking. He referred to them as 'The Nine Old Men', a sobriquet Walt Disney would borrow in 1949 for his animators. 1937- San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge opens. 1941- The German battleship Bismarck finally sunk by massed Royal Navy ships and torpedo planes. The British sailors of the battleship HMS Prince of Wales helped the German sailors out of the water saying:”Now you, one day it may be us.” That December HMS Prince of Wales was sunk by the Japanese.
In 1981 I heard CBC radio interview with the last surviving flag-deck officer of the Bismarck, a Baron von Mullenheim-Rechburg, who had just published a memoir. The radio interviewer asked him:" When did you get the idea to write this book? He replied:" When I was floating around in the burning water..." The interviewer then asked incredulously" Then why did you wait forty years? He replied:" Well...you know, things come up..."
1942- Top Nazis in occupied Czechoslovakia Reynhard Heydrich was assassinated by the resistance, who threw a bomb into his car. Hitler angrily responded by ordering the SS to select a Czech village at random and destroy it. They picked Lidice; they leveled it and murdered all its innocent inhabitants.
1942- The aircraft carrier USS Yorktown limped into Pearl Harbor after being shot up in the Battle of the Coral Sea. The crew expected to be sent Stateside for weeks of major repairs, but the word came down from Admiral Nimitz that the Yorktown had to be ready for battle in just three days! Nimitz needed all his forces for an anticipated Japanese strike at Midway. 1,500 dockworkers labored around the clock patching her up. The Yorktown left on schedule to achieve victory and death at Midway Island on June 5th.
1943- In a secret meeting in German occupied Paris, young French resistance leader Jean Moulin got all the various separate underground movements to unite under Charles DeGaulle's Free French. Moulin was eventually captured by the Gestapo and tortured to death, but le Maquis- i.e. resistance, continued the fight until the liberation.
1948- Walt Disney feature Melody Time released, featuring Pecos Bill.
1949- Actress Rita Hayworth married Arab playboy Prince Aly Khan. Prince Aly Khan, 1911-1960, was born in Italy a son of dispossessed Pakistani royalty to the Aga Khan II. He lived his life as an international playboy, socialite and sportsman, making love to women from actress Rita Hayworth to Winston Churchill’s daughter-in-law Pamela Churchill-Harriman. Cole Porter wrote him into a song. He died when he crashed his sportscar in France
1961 – The first black light is sold
1969 – Construction on Walt Disney World Florida began.
1977-The Sex Pistols release their Punk hit God Save the Queen, the Fascist Regime, in time for the Queen’s Jubilee year. Her Majesty preferred the Beatles All You Need is Love.
1968- At this time 350 Americans a week were being killed in Vietnam, and in 12 days George W. Bush’s student deferment would be up! But never fear, his family was pulling strings. So even though the normal wait was a year, this day George W. Bush was accepted into the Texas Air National Guard on the same day he applied.
1991- The Milwaukee police question serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer after finding a distraught, bleeding young Laotian immigrant in the street. The boy was struggling to shake off the effect of date-rape drugs given him by Dahmer. After deducing that it was merely a quarrel between lovers, the police returned the boy to Dahmer, who killed and ate him later.
1994 – Nobel Prize winner and dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia after a twenty year exile.
1995- Actor Christopher Reeve was left paralyzed from the neck down after falling from his horse in an equestrian event in Charlottesville, Va. He became a spokesman for stem-cel research, but his effort in the US was frustrated by powerful religious lobbyists. Christopher Reeves died in 2004.
1997- President Bill Clinton liked to appease his critics by appointing conservative judges despite popular perception of him as a Liberal. This day this practice came back to bite him when the conservative Supreme Court of William Rheinquist unanimously rejected Clinton’s plea that a President should not be subject to a private law suit while in office. A woman named Paula Jones with heavy funding from the religious right wing of the Republican Party was suing him for sexual harassment.
Yesterday’s question: What was the War of Three Henrys?
Answer: French dynastic war 1588-1594 with heavy religious overtones. King Henry III de Valois fought Henry of Navarre leader of the Protestants, and Henry Duc de Guise, leader of the powerful Catholic League. Henry IV Navarre eventually one and established the Bourbon Dynasty.
May 26, 2016
May 26th, 2016
Question: What was the War of Three Henrys?
Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: Who’s foot was the measurement for The Foot, his knuckle for The Inch, and his arm extended for The Yard..?
History for 5/26/2016
Birthdays: the Duke of Marlborough, Pope Clement VII the Medici Fox-1478, Mary Wollenstonecraft Godwin 1759- early feminist writer and mother of Mary Shelley, Alexander Pushkin, Isadora Duncan, Norma Talmadge, Paul Lukas, John Wesley Hardin the shootist, John Wayne, Al Jolson, Jay Silverheels (Tonto), Peter Cushing, Robert Morley, Peggy Lee, Sally Ride, Pam Grier is 67, Helen Bonham Carter is 50, Bobcat Golthwaite is 56, Matt Stone the co creator of South Park
17AD- In Rome, the General Germanicus celebrated a triumph over the German barbarians, the Alemani. Germanicus was the father of Caligula.
1574- The Siege of Leyden begins- Through a series of confusing dynastic trades the Lowlands of Holland wound up owned by Catholic Spain. The Protestant provinces united under their leader William the Silent and fought tenaciously for their freedom. The Spanish army was the finest in the world but the Dutch had a pretty good navy, nicknamed "the Sea Beggars". So when the Spaniards attacked the city of Leyden the Dutch flooded their dykes behind the infantry and floated their ships in to fight them.
1805- Lewis and Clark first sight the Rocky Mountains.
1828- THE MYSTERY OF KASPAR HAUSER- On this day on a street in Nuremberg a judge came upon a filthy boy unable to read, write or even speak. As the boy's trauma eased and he could communicate he said he had been kept in a dungeon since he was three years old, never seeing another human soul. One day he was suddenly released. His name was Kaspar Hauser and his case became a cause celebre throughout Europe. Some thought he was the rightful prince of the German State of Baden. Then one day while walking in the park a man came up and stabbed Kaspar Hauser. He bled to death. The judge who first cared for him was poisoned. The murderers were never found and the mystery never solved.
1864- Montana territory created.
1865- General William Kirby-Smith surrendered the last organized body of Confederate troops to Yankee General Canby in New Orleans. Rather than surrender, rebel Gen. Joe Shelby took his cavalry over the border to Mexico where a Confederate exile community was forming under the French Emperor Maximillian.
1868- At Newgate prison Irish nationalist Michael Barrett was the last man in England to be publicly hanged. England switched to a system of execution behind prison walls. The hangman later sold Barrett’s clothes and noose for souvenirs. Meanwhile in the American West the spectacle of a public necktie party remained popular for years, the citizenry sometimes hauling out their shooting irons and popping away at the dangling body to give him a good send off. Yee-Hah!
1895 -Nicholas II crowned Czar-Autocrat of all the Russias. During the ceremony a reviewing stand collapsed and several hundred people were crushed. Not a good omen.
1896- Charles Dow started his stock index named the Dow Jones Index. The first Dow Jones closing is 40.94. Last weeks Dow was around 18,000.
1897- A novel by a softspoken London theatre manager named Abraham “Bram” Stoker appeared in bookstores. It was titled Dracula.
1913- Actors Equity formed.
1933- Jimmy Rogers "the Singing Brakeman", considered the father of modern country music, died of tuberculosis at age 31. Shortly before his death he recorded a song called "TB Blues".
1937- The Battle of Millers Overpass- Henry Fords hired thugs beat up Walter Reuther and four other UAW union men for handing out union literature.
1940-The Miracle of Dunkirk- When German panzers overrun France they surround the British army and pin them against the Normandy coastline. Instead of finishing them off Marshal Goering asks Hitler's permission to use the Luftwaffe (airforce) to administer the coup de grace. Britain mobilized all available ships and hundreds of small boat owners volunteer to cross the channel under dive bombing and strafing and in ten days evacuate 340,000 troops. 40,000 stayed behind and surrendered. The British force was decimated but not destroyed, and would live to fight again.
1942- The "Witches Cauldron"- Rommel the "Desert Fox" and his Afrika Corps defeat the British army in a whirling, confused, desert tank battle.
1949- Mao Tse Tung’s Red Army entered Shanghai, winning the Chinese Civil War.
1960- THE MOULIN ROUGE AGREEMENT- Las Vegas gambling casinos finally integrate. Before this stars like Sammy Davis Jr. and Ella Fitzgerald could headline in the clubs but had to exit via the kitchens and sleep across town in the colored section. Singer Nat King Cole was requested to keep his eyes on his piano keys for fear if he looked up he would seduce young white girls. Frank Sinatra played a big part in pressuring the Vegas wiseguys to change with the times. Marlene Dietrich grabbed Lena Horne by the arm and stormed into a casino bar defying any reaction. None came. The Moulin Rouge was the first completely integrated casino.
1960-UN ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge complained that the gift of a wood carving of the Great Seal of the United States given the US Embassy by Moscow had a concealed microphone in it.
1962- The Isley Brothers single “Twist & Shout” released.
1969- John Lennon and Yoko Ono have their "Bed-In for Peace" news conference in New York. One of the most acerbic exchanges was one Lennon had with Lil'Abner cartoonist and curmudgeon Al Capp.
1980- South Korean President Chun Do Hwan orders his army to fire on pro-democracy protestors in Kwang-Ju. 2,000 were killed.
1994- Singer Michael Jackson married Elvis’ daughter Lisa Marie Presley in the Dominican Republic. They keep the wedding a secret for six weeks, then divorced 18 months later.
1995- Looney Tunes director Friz Freleng died at age 89.
1995- In a memo to Microsoft, founder Bill Gates declared the Internet the “most important single development” since the personal computer.
2008- To commemorate Memorial Day, President Bush went on camera and asked all Americans to stop what they were doing at 3:00PM to remember the sacrifices of all our soldiers. He then went mountain biking.
Yesterday’s Quiz: Who’s foot was the measurement for The Foot, his knuckle for The Inch, and his arm extended for The Yard..?
May 25, 2016
May 25th, 2016
Quiz: Who’s foot was the measurement for The Foot, his knuckle for The Inch, and his arm extended for The Yard..?
Yesterday’s Quiz Answered Below: What is the origin of the phrase” To be Turned Down Flat?”
History for 5/25/2016
Birthdays: Miles Davis, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Josef Broz Tito, Igor Sikorsky, Pontormo, Bennett Cerf, Claude Akins, Leslie Uggams, Bill Bojangles Robinson, Frank Oz (Richard Frank Oznowicz), Beverly Sills, Robert Ludlum, Anne Heche, Irwin Winkler, Mike Myers is 53, Ray Stevenson is 52, Ian McKellen is 77
194BC- The Roman temple of Fortuna Virilis was dedicated on the Quirinal Hill.
1085- King Alfonso VI of Aragon took Toledo from the Moors.
1521- German Emperor Charles V declared Protestant reformer Martin Luther a heretic and an outlaw. The German states that rallied to Luther’s new teachings fought their emperor in the epic Schmalkalden Wars. Even Charles’ own sister became a Lutheran.
1660- RESTORATION DAY- After Oliver Cromwell executed King Charles I, he declared the British Monarchy abolished, and ruled England with a junta of generals as Lord Protector. When Cromwell died of natural causes in 1659 he tried to leave his son Richard Cromwell in his place. But the son is not the father. The rickety system didn’t work, and Richard got the nickname “Tumbledown-Dick”. The Puritan junta led by General Monck had no other remedy to avoid chaos other than recalling King Charles’ son Charles II from exile to be king of England. This day King Charles entered London. For many years Restoration Day was a holiday in the UK.
1720- John Copson became the first Insurance Agent in the New World.
1787- First meeting of delegates in Philadelphia to write the U.S. Constitution.
Interestingly enough, nobody really asked them to. They were only summoned by Congress to iron out some bugs in the Articles of Confederation. However James Madison of Virginia and Alexander Hamilton of New York hatched a plan to chuck the whole system and write a new document.
1810- When Napoleon had conquered Spain, the colonies of Latin America puzzled about where to send taxes to. The French occupation government in Madrid or the Spanish Royal family in exile in Naples? This day Argentina had a better idea. They declared Independence.
1865- Mary Lincoln and her son Tad move out of the White House where she had been holed up in seclusion since the night of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. She had been too traumatized to attend the funeral or accompany the body back to Illinois.
1878- Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore premiered at the Savoy in London. “So stick to your desk and never go to Sea, and you can be the Leader of the Queen’s Navy! ”
1895- Author and playwright Oscar Wilde sentenced to prison for sodomy.
The terrible conditions of his imprisonment in Redding Gaol will break his health and lead to his early death in exile in 1900. In a 1995 ceremony honoring him in Westminster Abbey it was revealed the laws that sentenced Wilde were still on the books in England.
The Victorian hypocrisy was compounded by the fact that so many great men of the British Empire privately acknowledged a preference for their own sex- Gordon of Khartoum, Sir Cecil Rhodes, Lawrence of Arabia, Nicholson the Tiger of the Punjab, and more. Queen Victoria once said after a meeting with Earl Kitchener of Omdurman:”I was told my lord does not prefer the company of women. Still, I found him to be a pleasant speaker.”
1906- Putting on the Ritz! Swiss hotelier Cesar Ritz opened London’s Ritz Hotel. The first hotel to feature unheard of luxuries like a telephone and an indoor private toilet in every suite!
1911-The beginnings of Mexican Revolution forced longtime dictator Gen. Jose Porfirio Diaz into exile. As a young man Diaz had fought the French under Juarez but later seized power for himself and ruled for thirty years. Under him Mexico industrialized and gained railroads, electric power, telephones and schools. He once said:" My poor Mexico. Too far from Heaven and too close to the United States."
1911- Thomas Mann visited Venice Italy. On the Lido Beach he was inspired to write A Death in Venice.
1915- Following up on the widespread massacres of Armenians, today the Ottoman Turkish government began mass deportations of their Armenian citizens.
1917-In World War I, Germany bombed London for the first time not with zeppelins but with new Gotha biplane bombers.
1923- Britain and France recognize the Hashemite Kingdom of TransJordan ruled by Abdallah Ibn Hussein.
1927- Ford had put America on wheels with the Model T, the most successful car model in history. Today they stop making the Model T after 15 million cars, costing on average $300 each, $26 dollars down with monthly payments.
1932- Flamboyant New York Mayor Jimmy Walker testifies before the Seabury Commission. The corruption scandals of his administration will force him to resign.
1932-Mickey’s Revue, the first Disney cartoon that featured the character that would eventually be called Goofy.
1935- Babe Ruth hits his final home runs. The Bambino was in his last year, working out his contract with the Boston Braves. This day in Pittsburgh the Babe showed his old form when he hit three home runs and a single. His record of 714 home runs held for over sixty years.
1942- First day shooting on the film “ Casablanca”.
1944- Yugoslav partisan leader Marshal Tito escaped a massive German Blitzkreig attack designed just to kill him.
1950- Brooklyn Battery Tunnel opened in NYC.
1957- Sid Caesar's Your Show of Show's canceled after nearly a decade. The show used future star writers like Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Woody Allen and Neil Simon. They pioneered the executive strategy of network programmer Pat Weaver to not let the show be owned by an entire sponsor but the network would produce the show and would sell the sponsor commercial time in 30 second chunks. Pat Weaver’s daughter is Sigorney Weaver. Your Show of Shows was finally bested in the ratings by The Lawrence Welk Show.
1961- THE SPACE RACE- The United States had been chafing about how far ahead the Soviet Union was in the exploration of space. In an address to Congress this day President John F. Kennedy pledged the wealth and resources of the U.S. to beating the Soviets to the Moon. "Our pledge is within the next ten years to send a man to the moon and return him safely to Earth… We choose to go to the Moon not because it will be easy but because it is hard!" The Moon landing was achieved in 1969. Today it is acknowledged that without the motivation of the Cold War the conquest of the Moon would have happened much more slowly.
1965- The Saint Louis Gateway Arch dedicated.
1968- The Rolling Stones release the song Jumping Jack Flash.
1969- John Schlesinger’s film Midnight Cowboy premiered. The first X-rated film to ever win the Oscar for Best Film.
1977- The Hollywood premiere of George Lucas’ movie Star Wars. The movie opened on the 28th.
1979- Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic Alien opened. It featured the exotic designs of Hungarian artist Giger, and John Hurt with a classic case of chest pains!
1980- Evangelist Oral Roberts claimed he saw a 900-foot Jesus over his bed.
1983- Return of the Jedi opened. It was originally Revenge of the Jedi, but George Lucas changed the name just a month before.
1986- Hands Across America stunt to help hunger has 7 million people at one time holding hands at noon.
1994- First International Conference on the World Wide Web. Tim Berners-Lee and CERN talked on how to implement and unify the new World Wide Web.
2000- It was revealed that in 1958 US scientists planned to explode an atomic bomb on the moon. There would be no mushroom cloud because that requires an atmosphere, and the flash would only be visible for a few seconds. What the purpose would be other than to scare the BeeJeezus out of the Russkies no one knew. This dumb-ass idea was soon scrapped.
Yesterday’s Quiz: What is the origin of the phrase” To be Turned Down Flat?”
Answer: In the Victorian Era, when a gentleman desired to court a lady, he would leave his card du’ visite [calling card] at her home. When he returned, if the card was upright on the mantle, then the lady in question desired to accept his courtship. But if she declined, he knew when he saw his card – turned down flat.
May 24, 2016
May 24th, 2016
Quiz: What is the origin of the phrase ”To be Turned Down Flat?”
Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: If you covered yourself in woad, how would you look?
History for 5/24/2016
Birthdays: Jean Paul Marat, Queen Victoria, Walt Whitman, Emmanuel Leutze, Gary Burghoff, Priscilla Presley, Patti LaBelle, Tommy Chong of Cheech & Chong, Peter Ellenshaw, Kristin Scott Thomas is 56, Alfred Molina is 63, Jim Broadbent is 67, John C. Reilly is 51, Bob Dylan is 75
1429- Near Champagne, Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians. The independent Duchy of Burgundy then was the area where Belgium and Lorraine are today. They sold her to the English, who put her on trial as a witch. The French king, Charles VI, whom Joan had re-conquered half of France for, did absolutely nothing to help or ransom her, as was the custom with noble prisoners. She was tortured and burned at the stake. While other kings are nicknamed Lion Heart or The Great, Charles VI nickname is Charles "The Well-Served."
1543- Astronomer Nicolas Copernicus died in Frombork, Poland. He made sure his book ‘Die Revolutionabus Orbium Coelestrum’, ‘On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies’, would be published after his death. Legend says that after thirty years of trying to get it published, on his deathbed his friends laid the first copy on his pillow. The old scientist smiled and died. In the book, he mathematically proved the Earth went around the Sun instead of visa-versa, and that the Earth rotated on its axis daily. The Pope, Martin Luther and John Calvin all agreed that Copernicus was crazy. In Scripture, hadn’t Joshua commanded the Sun to stand still? One question historians debate is whether Copernicus was a priest or not. He worked for the Archbishop of Gniezno as a lay-clergyman that didn’t have to take Holy orders. No record exists of his saying a Mass. He never married, but he lived with his housekeeper like man and wife.
1578- Dutch Calvinists stage a march through Amsterdam. They dismiss the pro-Catholic town council and take over the large Catholic Cathedrals in the city for use by the new reformed faith.
1590- In Rome, construction of the great Dome of Saint Peters Basilica completed.
1626- MANHATTAN BOUGHT FROM THE INDIANS- Dutchman Peter Minuit stopped several Indians he found on the island and negotiated a purchase of the land for $24 dollars in trade goods, which at the time was not a bad price. To the Indians the purchase and ownership of land was crazy ("Why not also buy the clouds?"-Chief Seattle), and besides, the Hackensack-Lanapii Indians weren’t even from that area, they were just there hunting. Manhattoes is old Algonguin meaning " island of little hills". The Lenapii were named Canarsie by Frenchman Jacques Cartier “duck people”(canard) because their village on the Jamaica Bay (just west of present day J.F. Kennedy Airport,) was surmounted by a totem topped with the image of a duck.
1647- With the English Civil War almost over, the various factions of the Parliamentary side start to bicker and pull apart. Presbyterians and Puritans squabble over the spiritual direction of the nation and, on this day, Parliament ordered Oliver Cromwell to disband his New Model Army. The Army refused to disarm and instead marched on London- Cromwell declared: "This army is no mere assemblage of mercenaries, but the true embodiment of the will of the English people!” King Charles I, currently a prisoner in Scotland passing the time by learning to play a new game called “Golfe” would be encouraged to restart the civil war. Cromwell's Army, not Parliament, soon became the only real power in English politics.
1667- The War of Devolution- French King Louis XIV sent his armies in to conquer the Spanish Netherlands- aka Belgium, after the Spanish kings heir died and the title “devolved” to Louis wife Anne of Austria.
1738- English clergyman John Wesley pursued a stricter way to God, but a German Moravian preacher told him he wouldn’t really know God until God came to him and touched him. According to Wesley’s own diary this day at a sermon he “saw the light” the Magna Dies- the Great Day- the first of many revelations that would lead him to found the Methodists.
1804- On their route up the Missouri River, Lewis and Clark came ashore at Boone’s Settlement Missouri, near what will one day be Kansas City. They bought butter and corn. Did Lewis and Clark meet old retired Daniel Boone? Meriwether Lewis’ diary pages for that day are lost.
1818- Gen. Andrew Jackson captured Pensacola, capitol of the Spanish colony of Florida. Hotheaded Jackson decided the only way to stop Seminole Indian raids into Georgia territory was to invade Spanish Florida and chuck the Spanish Governor out. From the capitol of Pensacola he sends a message to the shocked Monroe Administration: " Gimme another regiment and I'll be in Key West in a fortnight. Gimme a frigate and I'll be in Cuba in a month!" The Spanish were outraged, but their resources were already stretched to the limit fighting the armies of liberation in South America. They couldn’t fight the U.S. as well. What Jackson started violently, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams negotiates peacefully, the U.S. acquisition of Florida.
1830 –The poem "Mary Had A Little Lamb," was written.
1844- Samuel Morse sent the first telegraph message. From Washington to Baltimore it said: "What Hath God Wrought?" The message was from the Bible- Numbers 23:23.
Samuel Morse considered himself an artist first and did a little inventing to pay the bills. He heard a French inventor had speculated about the idea of telegraphy so he decided to build a working model and invented the Morse code system of representing letters with dots and dashes. Members of Congress and octogenarian former First Lady Dolley Madison were present at the ceremony. By the decade’s end, twenty thousand miles of telegraph wire crisscrossed the country.
1850- America’s first nationwide newspaper/magazine Harpers Weekly began.
1853- First cases reported of Yellow Fever Epidemic in New Orleans. The city had swelled with ethnic immigrant Irish and Germans who had been forced to live and work in the low-rent swamp districts. 2,000 people or 10% of New Orleans population died in just four months, at the rate of 200 a day. The disaster was later evoked by Anne Rice in her book “ Interview with the Vampire.”
1856- The Potawattomie Massacre. In pro-slavery vs. anti-slavery infighting in Kansas, abolitionist John Brown dragged James Doyle and five other slaveholders out of bed at night. Announcing he was the Avenging Arm of the Lord, Brown beheaded them with an antique broadsword. Later in New York, when John Brown was feted by high society like Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, Brown would omit this little detail about his life.
1861- The day after Virginia finalized its joining the Confederate States, US troops occupied Arlington and the Potomac riverbank opposite Washington DC. John Ellsworth was a personal friend of Abe and Mary Lincoln. When the Civil War broke out, Ellsworth raised a volunteer regiment of New York City firemen and dressed them in colorful Algerian costume. The roughneck 6th New York Fire Zouaves were shunned by Washington society at first until they proved their worth when they stopped a fire that would have destroyed a popular hotel.
This day, Col. Ellsworth and some men, crossed the Potomac River into Alexandria, Virginia to pull down a Confederate flag flying on top of a building that all Washington could see. As he was descending the stairs with the miscreant banner, the building’s caretaker pulled out a gun and shot Ellsworth dead. The Zouaves riddled him with bullets. All Washington turned out for a massive state funeral for the gallant Ellsworth, filled with Victorian pomp and maudlin sentiment. But the real Civil War had only just started. Few Americans understood that soon they would be mourning not one death, but tens of thousands.
1866 - Berkeley, California founded, named for George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne.
1866- The Battle of Tuyuti- The Waterloo of South America. Paraguayan strongman Francisco Solano Lopez fought a war of annihilation against the combined armies of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Lopez fell; Paraguay was defeated and dismembered. So many of its male population were dead by the war’s end it was factored out of the regional balance of power.
1881-Canadian Ferry Princess Victoria sinks near London, Ontario drowning 220.
1883-The Brooklyn Bridge Opened. After 14 years building it and 27 deaths, including the architect John Roebling, and the crippling of his son Washington Roebling, President Chester Allen Arthur and the Mayor of New York Franklin Edison walked out on to the span to be met at the middle by Seth Low the Mayor of Brooklyn. Washington Roebling’s wife Emily Roebling was the first person to cross the bridge. At this time the Brooklyn Bridge was the tallest structure in the world.
1899 - 1st auto repair shop and car garage opens: The Back Bay Cycle and Motor Company of Boston.
1929- The Marx Brothers first movie comedy” The Coconuts” premiered.
1935- The first Baseball night game- Reds vs. Phillies.
1941- The German Battleship Bismarck sunk the largest warship in the British Navy, HMS Hood, when a lucky shot exploded her internal ammunition stockpile. The news shocked a world accustomed to the invincibility of the British Navy.
1949- The city of Shanghai was captured from the Nationalists by the communist Peoples Liberation Army of Mao Tse Tung.
1950- Married movie star Ingrid Bergman shocked American morality by having an open love affair with neorealist film director Roberto Rosselini. This day they were finally married but the outcry of conservatives about this “Apostle of Degradation” was such that her image needed a makeover. So she played Saint Joan of Arc.
1954 - IBM announces vacuum tube "electronic" brain that could perform 10
million operations an hour.
1958 – United Press & International News Service merge into United Press International
1976 - 1st commercial SST Concorde flight to North America -London to Wash DC.
1989- In Los Angeles, a spectacular fire destroyed the Art-Deco-Moderne all-wood landmark, the Pan Pacific Auditorium.
1991- Tri-Star Pictures 75 million-dollar mega-flop "Hudson Hawk" opened.
Star Bruce Willis, whose own salary was $17 million, blamed the film’s costs on union filmworkers’ salaries. He would return to his car after a day’s shooting to find it covered with animal excrement. The film almost sank his career. Willis’ next two films, "Death Becomes Her" and 'Pulp Fiction", he did for scale. In 2000 he made a $100,000 dollar donation to the SAG/AFTRA strike fund.
1991- Ridley Scott’s Thelma & Louise opened.
2000- Prime Minister Ehud Barak withdrew Israeli troops from southern Lebanon after a military occupation of eighteen years. The mastermind of the 1982 Lebanon invasion, General Ariel Sharon, later took Barak’s job. Israel invaded Lebanon again in 2006.
Yesterday’s Quiz: If you covered yourself in woad, how would you look?
Answer: Blue. Woad was a blue paint the British Celtic barbarians painted themselves with when they went into battle. The Romans called them “Picts”, Painted People.
May 23, 2016
May 23rd, 2016
Quiz: If you covered yourself in woad, how would you look?
Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What does it mean in conversation when you offer a riposte?
History for 5/23/2016
Birthdays: Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Scatman Crowthers, Rosemary Clooney, Artie Shaw, Alicia de Larrocha, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Melissa McBride, Drew Carey is 58, Joan Collins is 83
Today in ancient Rome was the feast of Vulcan.
37AD- Herod the Great captured Jerusalem back from a Greek pretender named Antigonus with Roman help. He reigned 37 years under Roman dominance and rebuilt the great temple of Solomon.
1498- In Rome, mystic monk Savonarola was hanged and his body burned for defying the Borgia Pope Alexander VI. Savonarola dominated Florence for a time like a Christian Ayatollah. Artists Michelangelo Buonarrotti, Sandro Botticelli and Luigi Della Robbia were admirers of his. Among his reforms were to hold a large Bonfire of the Vanities.
1533- King Henry VIII of England has his first wife Catharine of Aragon's marriage to him annulled. Henry's interest in multiple marriages wasn't merely a case of being horny, his father had won the throne in a bloody civil war (The War of the Roses) and it could all happen again because he couldn't produce a male child fast. Despite his efforts his Tudor dynasty was remembered for his female offspring, Mary I and Elizabeth I.
1618- THE DEFENESTRATION OF PRAGUE- The Protestant officials of Bohemia let the Catholic German Emperor know what they thought of his ultimatums by throwing his emissaries out of a window. "De-fenestrate" or to toss out a window. It was a low second floor window and a dung pile broke their fall, so only pride was injured. Catholic writers said they were saved by angels.
This event started the THIRTY YEARS WAR, a European Civil War, when Catholic and Protestant nations who's pent up anger had been boiling for decades broke forth. They battled for years, until nobody could remember who started the whole damn thing to begin with. Germany lost one quarter of her population and would not see this kind of devastation again until World War II.
1633- By an edict of the King, France declared that only good Catholics would be allowed to settle in their colony of New France, already being called Canada. French Huguenots settled for the Anglo Dutch territories in Maryland, and New Amsterdam.
1701 Pirate Captain Kidd was hanged in London for piracy, robbery and killing a sailor with a bucket. His last letter was written to try to bribe the judge with his buried treasure. His body was coated with tar and left hanging in a cage suspended over Execution Wharf on the Thames for years afterward, as a warning to other would-be pirates.
1706- BATTLE OF RAMILIES- the Duke of Marlborough destroyed the main French army of Louis XIV under Marshal Villeroi. Carried away by the excitement, Marlborough personally led a cavalry charge sword in hand against the Maison Du Roi – the French elite Guards Cavalry. In the melee' he was knocked off his horse, trampled, and he had to run for his life. As he was climbing up on another horse, the aide holding the reins had his head struck off by a cannon ball. His enthusiasm for mano-a-mano combat cooled, Marlborough spent the rest of the day in the rear directing the victory like a good general should.
1785- Ben Franklin invented bifocal glasses.
1861- Virginia, the most populous state and home of many presidents announced it was leaving the United States and joining the new Confederate States.
1865- Over a month after Richmond’s fall and Lee’s surrender the last bloodshed of the Civil War happened. In Texas Confederate General Magruder defeated a small Yankee force near Galveston Bay.
1865- UNION VICTORY DAY-To celebrate the end of the American Civil War today was the Union Victory Parade in Washington D.C.- The massed Grand Armies of the Republic marched down Pennsylvania Ave. to celebrate their victory over the Confederacy. They passed President Andrew Johnson and Generals Grant and Sherman. Sherman refused to shake hands with Secretary of War Edwin Stanton because of Stanton's criticism of Sherman's surrender terms to the Confederate western armies.
27 year old Gen. Custer, showing off for the crowd, with his golden locks flowing, managed to pass the reviewing stand twice. He claimed his horse was skittish. Despite the fact that 180.000 African American men fought in the war no black regiments were allowed in the parade, to avoid controversy. Even the gallant 54th Mass who did the heroic attack on Fort Wagner was refused permission to march. The flags in the nation's capitol were returned to full mast for the first time since Lincoln's assassination. Union veterans later formed the first professional veterans aid association the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a forerunner of the VFW and the American Legion.
1873- The first Preakness horse race. The winner's name was Survivor.
1903- MOTHER JONES 'CHILDRENS CRUSADE- Seventy three year old activist and union organizer Mary "Mother Jones" Harris led a strike of 16,000 Philadelphia mill workers, all children under 12 years old, to demand a 55 hour workweek down from 60 hours a week. That July she led a march of thousands of working children from Philadelphia to President Teddy Roosevelt's home in Oyster Bay New York to demand the repeal of child labor.
1911- President Taft dedicated the central branch of the New York Public Library.
1931- In Max Fleischer's Silly Scandals, the girl character first seen in Dizzy Dishes is first called Betty Boop.
1934- BONNIE & CLYDE were blown away in a hail of machine gunfire as they drove down a road near Gisland, Louisiana. She was 24, he was 25. The ambush was set up by Texas Ranger Frank Hamer. An estimated 107 shots were fired in less than two minutes. Each body had about 28 bullets in them. Hamer smiled:" It’s a shame I had to bust the cap on a lady." Their bullet ridden car still pops up at auto shows from time to time. In 1948 Frank Hamer was called out of retirement to help investigate voter fraud involving the first senate race of a young congressman named Lyndon B. Johnson.
1941-Hollywood union boss George Brown and assistant Willard Bioff (also a Frank Nitti bagman) were indicted on federal racketeering charges. Brown had been a Chicago operative and it was said 'he could drink 100 bottles of beer in one day". Their main contact among the Hollywood studio heads was Nicholas Schenck, the chairman of Loews Theaters and a head of MGM. Willie Bioff had tried to help Louis B. Mayer defeat the screen actor's guild and hijack the Disney animator's union. After their jail time Bioff blew up in his car after turning government witness and Brown 'disappeared...' Schenck meanwhile was pardoned by President Truman.
1945- Reinhard Gehlen was the head of Nazi intelligence and kept numerous agents in Washington, London and Moscow. After hiding for a month after the fall of Berlin, on this day he surrendered himself to the Americans. Initially they wanted to put him on trial for war crimes, until he revealed his agents in Moscow were still on his payroll, which greatly interested General Wild Bill Donovan, who was reforming the O.S.S. for it's new cold war responsibilities. So Generalobherst Reinhard Gehlen came to the U.S. and began his second career as a founder of the CIA.
1945- SS leader Heinrich Himmler committed suicide by biting a cyanide capsule shortly after being captured by the British authorities. "The bastards’ beat us!" A British army guard growled, when he heard the news.
1951- China formally annexed Tibet, a nation they invaded the year before.
1960- Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann was one of the architects of the Final Solution. He had been hiding in Argentina since the war ended. In 1957 a German prosecutor tipped off Israeli intelligence of Eichman’s whereabouts. This day Mossad agents kidnapped him in Buenos Aires and brought him to Israel for a public trial.
1969- The Who released their rock opera Tommy.
2003- In US occupied Iraq, American occupational viceroy L. Paul Bremmer overruled CIA and Pentagon advice and disbanded the Iraqi Army, internal security, Presidential Guards and police forces, about 500,000. With this one decree, thousands of angry, humiliated career officers were unemployed, robbed of their pensions and benefits, but allowed to keep their side arms. The Anti-American guerrilla insurgency exploded soon after. Today, most of the top leadership of ISIS are these former Iraqi commanders. Paul Bremmers’ excuse was he was only following orders, while Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney claim they were surprised by the move.
Yesterdays Quiz: What does it mean in conversation when you offer a riposte?
Answer: In fencing, when you deflect a lunge from an opponent and counter with your own thrust, that is called a riposte. In conversation, that means to respond to someone’s charge.