August 28, 2015
August 28th, 2015
Question: Donald Trump has been called a classic demagogue. What is a demagogue?
Yesterday’s Answer Below: When they Greek goddess Athena was born, she burst fully formed from where?
History for 8/28/2015
Birthdays: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Leo Tolstoy, George Villiers the Duke of Buckingham- minister of James I, O'Flagherty, Donald O'Connor, Charles Boyer, Karl Boehm, Bruno Bettleheim, Ferdinand Horvath, Ben Gazzara, Jack "King" Kirby, Janet Evans, Ron 'Louisiana Lightning' Guidry, Nancy Kulp, Daniel Stern, Shania Twain, Charles Solomon, Jack Black is 46, Rita Coolidge is 54.
In Hong Kong, today is the Festival is the Festival of Hungry Ghosts.
29BC- In ancient Rome, dedication of the altar of Victory.
79AD.- POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM DESTROYED-The great volcano Versuvius erupted, burying the two Roman cities. The Emperor Titus rushed a fleet commanded by the natural scientist Pliny to rescue as many as he could. Pliny was overcome by the sulphurous fumes and died. His son, Pliny the Younger, eyewitnesses it all and wrote a moving account of the tragedy in his 'letters'. Scientists have been digging at the site of Pompeii since it's rediscovery in 1726, but estimates are there's as many as 30,000 skeletons still buried.
390AD-This was the Feast of Saint Augustine of Hippo. He was the Saint who tried every weird cult he could find before converting to Christianity, He drove his mother Saint Monica crazy but his experiences helped him develop an answer to every anti-Christian argument. His famous book was "the City of God". For a Saint he could have done stand-up. He was famous for one liners like when someone asked him "What did God do before he created the world?" Augustine answered: "He made a hell for people who ask stupid questions !" His other great motto was "Lord, Make me Chaste- but not just yet..."
476AD- The Last Roman Emperor of the West, the boy Romulus Augustulus, is deposed. It was done by his counselor and actual power behind the throne, a the barbarian warlord named Odoacer. Odoacer sent the Imperial diadem and insignia to the Zeno the Emperor of the East in Constantinople and declared himself King of the Germans in Italy.
1296- The Ragman Roll- Scottish nobles in Parliament were called upon to pledge allegiance to King Edward Ist of England. Edward Longshanks dropped his pretense of protection of the Scottish crown and instead moved for direct annexation to England. The only resistance came from peasant born leader William Wallace. The ceremony went on for so long such it coined a term for long inane formalities- Rigamarole.
1526- Battle of Mohacs. The Turkish Sultan Sulieman the Magnificent defeated the Hungarian army of Jan Hunyadi the "White Knight of Christendom", and pushes the borders of the Moslem World up to the gates of Vienna Austria.
1565 - Oldest city in the US, St Augustine Fla, established.
1609- Henry Hudson explored Delaware Bay.
1678- THE POPISH PLOT- A man named Titus Oates came before King Charles II and the Parliament and declared he had uncovered a plot by English Catholics, Jesuits , the Bishop of Armaugh and the Pope to kill King Charles, enthrone his Catholic brother James, burn London and land an army of mercenaries to force the English people back into Roman Church by force! Odds Fish! King Charles at first laughed it off but the public took him seriously.
There may have been one or two forlorn Catholic schemes but nothing on the scale Oates proclaimed, yet England went crazy for the next several months arresting and executing anybody accused. Titus Oates became very rich and famous but he finally was caught in his lies and sent to prison. When a mob of anti-Catholic Londoners attacked the carriage of the kings mistress Nell Gywnn thinking it was one of Charles’ French tootsies. Nell poked her head out of the carriage and cried: ” Peace be with you Good Citizens! I am the PROTESTANT Whore!” the crowd cheered.
1776 – The day after George Washington’s Army was defeated by the British in Brooklyn this day heavy rain and fog canceled any actions. After the battle the British pushed the colonials up against the East River and could have brought their fleet up from Staten Island, captured Washington’s army, and destroyed the Revolution while the ink was still wet on the Declaration of Independence.
But they hesitated. Was it contrary winds in New York Harbor? Was it British memories of Bunker Hill preventing them from assaulting fixed colonial positions? Maybe it was because the English commanders Lord William Howe and his brother Admiral Richard 'Black Dick" Howe were Whigs in political opposition to the Tories in London. They saw a decisive military victory in America as a justification of the Lord North Government's policies.
So Howe hesitated finishing off the rebels and requested peace talks. If he could succeed in pacifying the colonies he would have the credit to run for Prime Minister. Washington stalled him and while they exchanged polite notes, the rebels slowly escaped by boat across the East River to fight on.
1830 - 1st locomotive in US, "Tom Thumb," runs from Baltimore to Ellicotts Mill.
.By 1835, the B &O was exclusively a steam affair.
1837 - Pharmacists John Leah & William Perrins invent Worcester Sauce.
1850- Lohengrin, the first opera written by Richard Wagner, premiered in Weimar. The Third Act chorus “Treulich Gefuhrt” became famous for weddings as “Here Comes the Bride, All Dressed in White”. Wagner asked his friend Franz Liszt to produce the opera because he was in exile for his political activities. Wagner did not see Lohengrin performed until 1861.
1859-In Titusville Pennsylvania the first U.S. oil well strikes oil. Before the industrial revolution crude oil or coal tar was considered a smelly nuisance. It was called Indian-Oil because Indians wore it as black warpaint, it was great for tarring and feathering rapscallions. Some entrepreneurs even tried to bottle it as health tonic. By this era it was refined into kerosene which was seen as a cheap plentiful substitute for whale-oil lamps. Unemployed railroad conductor Edwin Drake built the first oil well drilling apparatus out of components of a steam engine. By 1939 America exported 80% of the world’s crude oil.
1867- The U.S. Navy annexed Midway Island out in the Pacific.
1907- UPS small package delivery service started in Seattle.
1922- The first broadcast commercial on radio. It was for a real estate firm Queensboro Realty lasting ten minutes and cost $100 dollars. The firm selling suburban homes in Queens NY immediately did $100,000 worth of business. The business world took note of this new method of advertising.
1934-Writer Upton Sinclair was nominated for Governor of California on the Democratic ticket by over half a million votes. This shocked the California power-elite because Sinclair was a radical whose grass roots organization EPIC (End Poverty in California) advocated socialist solutions to the Depression. Even FDR kept his distance from Sinclair.
Powerful forces enlisted Louis B. Mayer, Irving Thalberg and other Hollywood conservatives to ensure Sinclair's defeat by creating the first modern negative media campaign. This included phony newsreels of actors dressed as hobos saying how they're going to California to sponge off the taxpayers. Walt Disney's lawyer, Gunther Lessing, demanded Ward Kimball take the "Sinclair for Governor" sign off his car window.
Governor Frank Merriam who earlier that year had ordered troops to shoot down striking San Francisco longshoremen and their families won re-election.
1937- The Nazis began mass arrests of Jehovah's Witnesses.
1938- Northwestern University conferred an honorary degree upon the ventriloquist puppet Charlie McCarthy- Edgar Bergen’s famed dummy. The Dean of the School of Speech conferred a Master of Innuendo and Snappy Comeback upon the wooden celebrity.
1941- Rudolf Lichtenburg, pastor of St. Hedwig's Church the largest Lutheran congregation in Berlin, attacked the Nazi regime in an open letter to Dr. Leonardo Conti, Chief Reich Physician: "As a Human Being, As a Christian, a priest and a German I demand you answer for your crimes, which will call forth the Judgement of God upon the heads of the German People!" He was arrested by the Gestapo and died in Dachau.
1945- Chinese Communist Mao Tse Tung or Mao Zse Dong, conferred with Generalissimo Chiang Kai Chek over how to keep the Civil War from starting up again now that the War with Japan was over. The meeting was arranged by American Ambassador Patrick Hurley, an Oklahoma senator who greeted Mao and the Chiang with a loud Indian-style war whoop. We don’t know what Mao and Chiang thought of this curious form of welcome, but they couldn’t stand one another. Almost as soon as their conference was over the Chinese Civil War began again. Mao defeated Chiang and drove him to exile in Taiwan in 1949.
1953-Between the Israeli War of Independence and the Suez War guerrilla violence raged in small border settlements with terrorism killing innocent civilians. The Israeli Army tried forming a secret commando team called Unit 101 to stop Arab attacks on Israeli settlers by committing their own acts of revenge “an-eye-for-an-eye”. After one raid this day Unit 101 went into action, shooting up a Palestinian refugee camp in Egyptian Gaza and killed a number of women and children. The attack was so cold-blooded that the unit was soon disbanded by an embarrassed government. The young officer in command of Unit 101 was future Prime Minister Arial Sharon.
1963- Dr. Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial at the climax of the first ' Poor People's March 'on Washington”. Organizer A. Phillip Randolph conceived a poor people’s march taking weeks not unlike the Bonus Marchers of 1929. The sympathetic John F. Kennedy administration prevailed upon them to keep it to one day to reduce the chance of violence and maximize media exposure. They had planned for 100,000 but they got 400,000. Movie stars like Sidney Poitier, Marlon Brando, James Garner, and Charlton Heston attended.
1968- THE CHICAGO DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION- While thousands of anti-war hippie and yippie protestors battled the Chicago Police in Grant Park the Democrats nominated Hubert Horatio Humphrey, the "Happy Warrior" their candidate to replace the assassinated Bobby Kennedy. Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, the Yippie and SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) leaders tried to get a live 100 pound pig into the convention and get it nominated for President. The Chairman of the DNC decried Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's "Gestapo Tactics" from the rostrum. Ironically Boss Daley opposed the Vietnam War, but he would not tolerate kids making him look bad on national TV.
Newsman Dan Rather was gut-punched by a Chicago cop on camera on the convention floor. My friend writer John Culhane was clubbed down by police despite wearing all his press credentials and a baby blue army helmet with Newsweek painted on it. While the police and demonstrators battled poet Alan Ginsburg and Timothy Leary grabbed a loudspeaker and chanted the Buddhist "Ohhhmmmmm" to calm people down. The student leaders -the Chicago 7 in reality 8, were put on trial for incitement to riot but after a year long media circus all the charges were overturned. Republican Richard Nixon won the election. The Democrats wouldn't go near Chicago again for thirty years.
1990- Computer pioneer Sandy Lerner was fired from the company she founded- Cisco Systems.
1996- The Prince and Princess of Wales Charles & Diana got divorced. This was the first Royal divorce since Henry VIII annulled Anne of Cleves in the 1530's, not counting George IV's secret marriage to Mrs. Fitzherbert which was hushed up and his later cavorting with Lady Cunningham who was nicknamed "the Vice-Queen" and Edward VII's sleeping with every woman in Europe but his wife, etc.
2007- Conservative “Family Values” Senator Larry Craig of Idaho was arrested for soliciting gay sex in a men’s room in the Minneapolis Airport. Craig vigorously maintained that he merely had a wide stance in his stall, but older gay men said “toe-tapping” was a standard way to cruise a sex-partner. Larry Craig soon resigned from the Senate.
Yesterday’s Quiz: When they Greek goddess Athena was born, she burst fully formed from where?
Answer: She burst fully armored from the forehead of Zeus.
Aug 26, 2015
August 26th, 2015
Question: What does Haagen Daz mean and why did the original pints of ice cream have a map of the Baltic on them?
Yesterday’s Quiz Answered Below: We can guess many Renaissance artists were gay or bi-sexual. Which one of these men do we know was straight? Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Fra Fillipo-Lippi, Donatello, Raphael?
History for 8/26/2015
Birthdays: Sir Robert Walpole the first British Prime Minister, Mother Theresa, Albert the Prince Consort, John Wilkes Booth, Guilliame Appollinaire who coined the term Surrealism, General Maxwell Taylor, Christopher Isherwood, McCauley Culkin is 34, Geraldine Ferrarro, Dr. Lee DeForrest, Ben Bradlee, Barbet Schroeder, Branford Marsalis, Chris Pine is 35, Melissa McCarthy is 45
480 BC- The Persian Army of Xerxes the Great King marched into Athens. They found an empty city. Athenian leader Themistocles had ordered the population to evacuate to the small island of Salamis. Themistocles defeated Xerxes later in an epic sea battle.
55 B.C.- JULIUS CAESAR LANDED IN ENGLAND- Caesar paused from his conquest of Gaul to check out the British Isles. He didn't stay long because Channel storms were playing havoc with his supply ships. Just long enough to fight some Celts under their chief Cassilvelaunus, collect some tribute and add a chapter to his memoirs.
The Romans returned in A.D. 61 under instructions from Claudius to conquer and colonize. London, Colchester and York were originally Roman army camps. The Romans never considered Britain a good investment though, for the two legions that had to be stationed there year round to protect colonists from the Scottish Picts ( the Painted People), for that the Romans got was some tin, slaves and a bigger road map.
580AD- An ancient Chinese inventory of the household of a nobleman made the first recorded reference to toilet paper. The ancient Romans used a sponge tied to a small stick. You were expected to rinse it out afterwards for use by the next person.
217AD- Today is the Feast of St. Zephyrinus, who didn't die violently but he is still counted as a Martyr because he had a lot of stress. (?) He was supposedly so charitable, that Saint Hippolytus found him annoying.
1346-Battle of Crecy – The English beat the French in the Hundred Years War., The Welsh longbows rained powerful armor piercing arrows on the French knights from long range. The King of Frances’ friend King John of Bohemia rode into the thick of the battle, despite his being elderly and completely blind. His horse’s reins were held by retainers galloping alongside him. When Edward the Black Prince of Wales discovered the king's dead body after the battle, he plucked three white plumes from his helmet and assumed his motto "Ich Dein" or "How's dat, ye blind old bugger !" They became the symbols of the Prince of Wales. Also appearing at this battle for the first time were the big rock throwing fire pipes they called Bombardons, but we call cannon.
1498- Michelangelo gets a job. The big Florentine stonecutter was commissioned by Pope Alexander VI Borgia to carve the Pieta, Mary lamenting over the body of Jesus.
1572- In Paris four days after the Great Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, someone noticed the hawthorns were flowering out of season in the little cemetery of the Holy Innocents. The Bishop of Paris thought this was a divine sign and ordered the church bells to ring. But when the dumbass people heard the bells they thought it was a signal to resume the massacre, so everyone ran out and started killing each other again.
1576- Great artist Titian died at age 99. He outlived all the artists of the Renaissance, worked every day of his life and might have gone on, had he not caught the plague.
1648- French peasant uprising known as La Fronde. The Fronde was a reaction to the king's government being controlled by scheming cardinals like Richelieu and his protege, Cardinal Mazarin. Had the movement more legal structure to their demands, France might have developed an English style representative government. The English were in the middle of their Civil War over the same issues at the same time. But the Fronde was more about blind class rage, and after it was crushed it left a deep impression on the mind of child King Louis XIV. He concluded that giving the common people any voice or power was a bad idea.
1790- THE KINGDOM OF YAZOO- Before the Louisiana Purchase the area around Spanish Mississippi territory and American Tennessee was a no man’s land of swamps Creek Indians. An Irish adventurer named O’Fanlon with a group of leathershirts and yahoos tried to declare themselves an independent nation -named for the Yazoo River.
1814- After completing their work of burning Washington D.C. to the ground , the British redcoats under Admiral Cockburn marched away in good order back to their ships. One old grandfather yelled at the British:" If General Washington had been alive you would not have gotten off so easily!" Admiral Cockburn reigned in his horse and replied -"Sir, if General Washington had still been President, we should never have thought of coming here."
1838- American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson met English writer Thomas Carlyle.
1846- W.A. Bartlet became first American mayor of Yerba Buena, in 1850 renamed San Francisco.
1868- First practical typewriter patented by Christopher Scholes. The Remington Company who were famous for making firearms took up the typewriter and mass produced it. In 1874 Mark Twain admitted to a friend that he preferred writing on it.
1914- During World War I, the German artillery bombarded the Belgian city of Louvain, destroying it’s 600 year old medieval library. It was considered the first great cultural crime of the 20th Century, but alas, not the last.
1918- 17 year old Walt Disney dropped out of high school and faked his parents signature in order to enlist to fight in World War I. Assigned to the ambulance corps, he arrived in Europe as the war was ending.
1939- In preparation for the impending war with Germany, the Tower of London was closed to tourists and the English Crown Jewels smuggled out and hidden.
1944- Charles DeGaulle walked in triumph down the Champs Elysee among thousands as Parisians celebrates their liberation after four years of Nazi occupation.
1946 - George Orwell published "Animal Farm". Orwell said he conceived the idea for the novel while watching out his window a small boy driving a huge draft horse. The horse could have easily crushed the boy had it the free will but instead patiently endured the boys taunts and flicks with a small switch.
1946- First day of shooting on Jean Cocteau’s film Belle et le Bete, Beauty & the Beast.
1958- First day of shooting on the Alfred Hitchcock film North By Northwest. Conceived as a story that ended in a chase across the stone faces of Mt. Rushmore. The original title of Ernst Lehman’s script was The Man Who Hung From Lincoln’s Nose.
1961- The Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto dedicated.
1964- The Tokyo subway system opens.
1967 – The Beatles, Mick Jagger & Marianne Faithful met the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
1970- Tens of thousands of women across North America march in The Women’s Strike for Equality. It was led by Betty Friedan of NOW, the National Organization for Women.
1971- The New York Giants announced they would move from Yankee Stadium to a new complex being built in the Meadowlands of Rutherford, New Jersey.
1980- Director Tex Avery died after collapsing in the parking lot of Hanna-Barbera. Two weeks before he was asked by a friend why he was working in Hanna & Barbera.
Tex laughed:" Hey, Don’t you know? this is where all the elephants come to die!"
1985- The first Yugo economy car arrived in the US. From Yugoslavia.
1997- Special effects house Boss Studios, closed.
Yesterday’s Quiz: We can guess many Renaissance artists were gay or bi-sexual. Which one of these men do we know was straight? Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Fra Fillipo-Lippi, Donatello, Raphael?
Answer: Fra Filippo-Lippi. Italian artist Giorgio Vasari, who in 1550 wrote a famous kiss & tell about his colleagues The Lives of the Artists, wrote about Lippi” For a Carmelite monk, he possessed an intemperate lust for women. When he saw one that caught his fancy, there was nothing he wouldn’t do or give to have his way with her. If he was ultimately rejected in his advances, he would paint her portrait and talk himself out of it. Legend has it he was poisoned by the family of a girl he seduced.
Aug 25, 2015
August 25th, 2015
Quiz: We can guess many Renaissance artists were gay or bi-sexual. Which one of these men do we know was straight? Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Fra Fillipo-Lippi, Donatello, Raphael?
Yesterday’s Quiz Answered Below: Did you know the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty, sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall” was based on a real incident? What was it?
History for 8/25/2015
Birthdays: King Ludwig II the Mad of Bavaria, Leonard Bernstein, Walt Kelly, Bret Hart, Lola Montez (flamenco dancing mistress of Ludwig I, King of Bavaria), Alan Pinkerton, Elvis Costello is 61, Clara Bow, Ruby Keeler, Monty Hall, Van Johnson, Willis Reed, Frederick Forsythe, Wayne Shorter, Billy Ray Cyrus, Dr. Bruno Bettleheim, Rolly Fingers, Gene Simmons, Anne Archer, Tim Burton is 57, Sean Connery is 85, Claudia Schiffer is 44
Opiconsiva- Ancient Roman festival of the first harvest.
1127- Princess Matilda, granddaughter of William the Conqueror, married Geoffrey of Anjou, a powerful noble family in central France. After the Conqueror’s sons died England went through a confusing period of dynastic struggle that only ended when Matilda and Geoffrey's son Henry becomes King Henry II of England. Geoff D’Anjou was a zitty little nonentity, who, other than producing the great English royal line of Richard the LionHeart and Henry V was also known for putting a little flower in his hat. In Latin a planta-genesta. His family name was called Plantagenet.
1718- The FIRST BOATLOAD OF FRENCH COLONISTS LAND IN LOUISIANA- Sieur de la Moyne- Bienville established a fort and trading post on some low ground between the Mississippi and Lake Ponchartrain. He named the place for Phillip of Orleans, then ruler of France in the name of the child King Louis XV. The French and Dutch always had a problem with their American colonies, in that nobody wanted to leave home to live there. One solution the French thought up involved sweeping the streets of all the hookers, cutthroats and riffraff and shipping them all to America. Though it wasn't exactly "Pilgrim's Progress", this influx of cardsharks and sportin' ladies helped New Orleans quickly establish it's rep as one of the wildest towns of the New World.
1814- The British Army occupying Washington D.C. continued their work of burning the city- The State Department, War Office, Library of Congress, The Treasury Building and more were torched. British Admiral Cockburn made a point of destroying the offices of the National Intelligencer, a newspaper run by an English immigrant named Joseph Gales who loved writing insulting editorials about him. An early morning summer thunderstorm doused some fires but added to the misery of Washingtonians cowering in the forests of Arlington.
President James Madison spent most of the night in the saddle looking for his wife Dolly, and trying to rally his scattered government. He was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Dolly Madison with a carriage full of the furniture from the White House tried to enter an inn called Wileys Tavern. But the owners wife threw the First Lady out: “You can leave Mrs Madison! Thanks to your husband, mine is out fighting in the war! Damn You!”
1829- The Mexican Government refused US President Andrew Jackson’s offer to purchase Texas. Jackson then explored other means. Sam Houston, first President of Texas and it’s first governor under the US flag was a protégé of Jackson.
1830- Brabant Rebellion, Belgium separates from Holland.
1830- This is the day of the legendary race between the locomotive the Tom Thumb and a horse and buggy outside of Baltimore. The Tom Thumb weighing in at about a ton and developing a whopping one-horse power. The boiler driven fan broke down near the end, so the horse won. Still, the train’s performance was so impressive that the first U.S. railroad, the Baltimore & Ohio, shifted from horse drawn to steam railroad.
1835- The New York Sun newspaper ran the story that British astronomer Sir William Herschel, the discoverer of Neptune, had observed little men living on the surface of the Moon! The story proved false, but it boosted the sales of the paper.
1875- Matthew Webb became the first person to successfully swim the English Channel.
1893- Colored People’s Day at the Columbia Exhibition in Chicago. How thoughtful!
1896- The Journal Examiner's Yellow-Fellow Transcontinental Bicycle Relay race.
1900- Is God dead? No, just Frederich Neitszche, this day
1912- In Shanghai, Dr. Sun Yat Sen formed the Kuomintang or Chinese Nationalist Party. (KMT)
1916- President Woodrow Wilson created the National Parks Service out of 35 separate departments.
1928- Commander Byrd set off to explore the Antarctic.
1944- PARIS LIBERATED. Adolf Hitler had ordered the Germans to dynamite all the major landmarks: Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame etc, But when the time came, the German commander Gen. Deitrich von Choltitz refused to do it. There was street fighting but the heavier German tank units had voluntarily evacuated the city. Free French General LeClerc led the allied columns into the City of Lights.
Ernest Hemingway and a few paratroops liberated the Ritz Hotel's wine cellar and Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas were discovered by CBS correspondent Eric Severaid living unharmed outside of town.
1945- In an incident in postwar China, U.S. troops scuffle with Communist Chinese soldiers and a Capt. John Birch was killed. In the growing Cold War hysteria, Capt. Birch was lauded as the first martyr in the Crusade against Communism, and a society in his name was formed. The John Birch Society became a powerful force for Conservative politics in the 1950's and 60's. One of their founders was Fred Koch, the father of the modern Koch Bros, who use their money to influence political power in the U.S.
1967 – In Mississippi George Lincoln Rockwell, leader of American Nazi Party, was blown off the speaker’s platform by a shotgun. Although not as significant as the Martin Luther King or the Kennedy’s assassinations, it was another incident in the violent 1960’s. George Lincoln Rockwell was also a distant cousin of Norman Rockwell, although the famed artist was embarrassed to admit it.
1970- A young British singer named Elton John did his first US tour, opening at the Troubadour in LA.
1980- The premiere of the Broadway musical version of the classic movie 42nd Street. In a moment of Broadway melodrama producer David Merrick came out on stage and startled the cast and audience by announcing that the director of the play Gower Champion had died that very day. 42nd Street went on to be a smash hit. The play itself is about a Broadway director who works himself to death creating a hit musical.
1989- Congressman Barney Frank confirmed that he had paid for the services of a gay male prostitute named Stephan Gobie. The unrepentant and refreshingly frank-Frank continued to serve in Congress another twenty five years.
1989- The Voyager 2 probe left Neptune and shot off into deep space after completing it reconnaissance of the outer planets of our solar system. It discovered the rings of Jupiter and Neptune, the additional moons of these planets, and the volcanoes of the Jovian moon Io, and the ice of Europa. Today you have ten times more computing power in your laptop than in the Voyager spacecraft, yet all these years later it continues to transmit signals back to Earth. Voyager is currently in the Heliosheath, outer border of our solar system.
1991- At the Emmy ceremony, comic Gilbert Gottfried (AFLACK duck) upset the audience by a flood of masturbation jokes about Pee Wee Herman. Fox Network apologized the next day.
2001-Beautiful 22 year old R&B singer Alleiya was killed, when her overloaded charter plane crashed on the island of Abaco in the Bahamas.
Yesterday’s Quiz: Did you know the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty, sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall” was based on a real incident? What was it?
Answer: During the terrible English Civil War (1642-1649), Parliamentary forces were attacking the Royalist stronghold of Colchester. Part of the city’s defenses was a huge mortar (cannon) nicknamed Humpty Dumpty. During one attack, enemy artillery fire destroyed part of the city wall beneath the huge gun, causing it to have a great fall. Royalist troops tried unsuccessfully to remount the cannon using horse-drawn winches and tackle. But all the Kings Horses and All the Kings Men….The nursery rhyme was first printed in 1810.
Aug 24, 2015
August 24th, 2015
Quiz: Did you know the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty, sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall” was based on a real incident? What was it?
Yesterday’s Question answered below: What is the oldest motion picture studio in Hollywood that is still in business?
History for 8/24/2015
Birthdays: Jorge Luis Borges, William Wilberforce, Marlee Matlin, Yasir Arafat, Max Beerbom, Cal Ripken Jr, Joshua Lionel Cowan the inventor of Lionel toy electric trains, Kenny Baker-C3PO in Star Wars, Stephen Fry is 58, Durward Kirby- 1960s T.V. announcer, Duke Kahanamoku-1890- Olympic medalist who popularized the Hawaiian sport of Surfing. Kirk Wise, Dave Chappelle is 42, Steve Guttenberg is 57
410 A.D. ROME FALLS TO THE BARBARIANS- Alaric the Visigoth marched a horde of Goths, Vandals and Huns to the gates of Rome. At midnight, escaped Goth slaves opened the Salarian Gate to them. Romans awoke next morning to the sound of barbarian horns. The Goths plundered the capitol of the Roman Empire for three days. Roman Emperor Honorius had moved his Imperial Court to Milan and there was an Eastern Emperor in Constantinople.
The Roman Senate continued to meet until 578 AD. But the symbolic significance of the Roman Empire losing Rome was devastating. Even though the Empire staggered along for a few more years, this event marks the end of the Ancient World and the beginning of the Dark Ages. St. Jerome wrote:” It is the end of the world, I cannot write for the tears.”
1215 – After getting a hefty “donation” from English King John Lackland, Pope Innocent III declared the Magna Carta invalid. Luckily for future democracies, the English lords ignored him.
1217-THE BATTLE OF SANDWICH: FIRST VICTORY OF THE BRITISH NAVY- King John Lackland was a pretty lousy king, but he did understand that an island nation needs a badass navy. So he ordered land be purchased at Plymouth and Portsmouth and Greenwich for royal dockyards. This legacy didn't bear fruit until shortly after his death. A large French invasion fleet was defeated in the Channel by English ships lead by Sir Hugh de Bourg. The French didn't really have a navy yet either, these ships were hired freelancers led by a mad pirate named Eustace the Monk.
After the battle the victorious English found Eustace hiding in the bilge of his flagship. They sailed home merrily with his severed head decorating the top of their mainmast. This victory of Sandwich forced the French king to make peace and withdraw his occupying troops from London.
1227- GENGHIS KHAN DIED. A man called Temujin united a few small nomadic tribes into one of the greatest empires in history. He was named the Prince of Conquerors or the Genghis Khan. How he died is a mystery. The Mongols kept almost no records and all accounts are second and third hand. One said the old conqueror, now over sixty, had died of a fever, another in battle, my favorite is a captive Queen of the Tanguts concealed a piece of metal in her sexual organ and he lacerated his willy when ...you know... and he bled to death.
Part of Genghis’ funeral cortege was a riderless horse with boots reversed, a symbol of a fallen leader handed down to the funerals of Lincoln, JFK and Ronald Reagan.
1632- Battle of Alte Feste (the other castle). Archduke Wallenstein and his Catholic army stymies Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus and his Protestants outside Nuremburg.
1662 - Act of Uniformity requires all English subjects to accept Book of Common Prayer.
1800- Alexander Hamilton ruined President John Adams chances of re-election by today publishing a pamphlet accusing Adams of incompetence “On the Presidency of John Adams, Esq.” Hamilton wasn’t a fan of Tom Jefferson either but he hated Adams even more. In the final vote tabulation The President ran a distant fourth.
1814- BRITISH TROOPS BURN WASHINGTON D.C.- A large British task force filled with veteran redcoats fresh from defeating Napoleon, came up from Chesapeake Bay. With most of the US Army trying to invade Canada or on the Western frontier the only defense of America’s capitol was some scanty Maryland militia and a few beached Marines.
Generals, the Secretary of War, President Madison and Secretary of State James Monroe all galloped about in confusion barking orders. At noon at Bladensburg Maryland, the American force exchanged some gunfire with the British, then ran away. The U.S. Army and government ran so fast that the incident was nicknamed "The Bladensburg Races". President James Madison had to leave in such a hurry that his evening dinner was still on the table. British Admiral Cockburn said he: "mightily enjoyed Master Jimmy 's sherry."
First Lady Dolly Madison fled the White House but saved Gilbert Stuart's painting of George Washington, cut out of its frame with a penknife by her butler French John –Jean Pierre Sioussat. The Declaration of Independence was hidden under a front porch in Baltimore and the US Treasury hidden in a wagon at a solitary Maryland farm.
At 9:00PM Admiral George Cockburn, sat in the speakers chair in Congress and said to his laughing troops:" Well lads, what shall we do with this vile nest of Yankee democracy ?" "Burn it!" they cried. The redcoats set fire to Congress, the Presidents Mansion, the Navy Yard and marched 6 abreast in good order down Pennsylvania Ave. Around 11:30 PM Cockburn and his staff entered Mrs Sutters Boarding House on 15th & Pennsylvania Ave. for a late supper. Cockburn blew out the candles on the dinner table, leaving the room illuminated by the bright glow of the burning city. He joked” THIS, is the light by which I prefer to eat.”
The humiliation unified American anger not unlike Pearl Harbor centuries later. It was no longer "Mr. Madison's War." On a Hudson riverboat author Washington Irving punched a man he saw laughing over the President's flight." The National Honor must be Avenged!" After the British troops withdrew the President's burned out mansion was hastily covered over with the paint that was most in supply, white. The White House it was known thereafter.
1832- In a little London flat in the dead of night top Tory party leaders led by the old Duke of Wellington executed a strange task. They huddled around a coal stove burning love letters. What made it unusual was they were the love letters of King George IV to his secret Irish-Catholic wife Mrs. Fitzherbert. The King while Prince Regent had secretly married her in 1788 but it was quickly hushed up, leaving him officially free to marry Princess Caroline of Brunswick.
Sir Charles Fox had declared on the floor of Parliament that the rumors were false and the Prince was not married. Mrs. Fitzherbert was paid to be quiet even after George IV had died. By this late date old Wellington wanted to be sure before she died that her secret would never come out.
1847 - Charlotte Bronte finished the manuscript of her novel "Jane Eyre".
1853 – Saratoga Springs hotel resort chef George Crum invented Potato Chips, or crisps.
1887- The US set up a weather station in Greenland.
1913- Congress okayed the creation of the Parcel Post system- UPS.
1939- Mr. Leslie Mitchell became the first British Television announcer.
1940- In Milan the first successful jet flight- the Italian Camponi CC-2.
1942- Walt Disney’s film Saludos Amigos received its world premiere in Rio De Janiero.
1944-The French Resistance in Paris with most of the police Gendarmes rise up to seize key points in the city as the Allied armies drew near. Gen. DeGaulle convinced General Eisenhower that Free-French units should be first to enter the city.
1951- Akira Kurosawa’s film Rashomon premiered at the Venice International Film Festival. The film won the Grand Prize and first showed the world that Japanese Cinema was a new force in the film world.
1958- The United States threatened to drop atomic bombs on China over two dinky islands called Quemoy and Matsu. Some of Chiang Kai Shek’s Nationalist armies had taken refuge there after being defeated by Mao. The islands were close enough to the mainland to be shelled by Red Chinese artillery. This caused Pres. Eisenhower to threaten them with the A-Bomb if they didn’t knock it off.
1973- One month after Bruce Lee’s death his last film Enter The Dragon opened in the US to wild acclaim. It renewed interest in the late star and helped spawn the Chinese Martial Arts craze in the US.
1992- HURRICANE ANDREW tore through southern Florida. One a scale of one to five Andrew was a force 5 hurricane. One meteorologist watched his wind velocity measuring device rip off his roof and dance down the street.
1993- LAPD announced an investigation of pop star Michael Jackson for possible child molestation. The investigation never led to any indictments but the publicity tarnished his image. Equally damaging to his public image were revelations of his eccentric lifestyle, like his keeping chimps and mannequins around the house to talk to, and all the tap water and showers of his mansion spouting Evian water. Jackson was tried and acquitted of all charges in 2005
1995- Microsoft's Windows 95 introduced.
1997- According to the 1984 James Cameron film The Terminator this was the day the Skynet computer system became self aware, and began the War of the Day of Judgement.
2011- Washington D.C. and much of the east coast was shaken by an earthquake. The first in 121 years. Californians were told not to snicker too much.
2011- Steve Jobs announced he was resigning his positions at Apple, Pixar and Disney due to his failing health.
Yesterday’s Quiz: What is the oldest motion picture studio in Hollywood that is still in business?
Answer: Paramount Pictures, originally Famous Players Lasky, begun in 1912.
Aug 23, 2015
August 23rd, 2015
Quiz: What is the oldest motion picture studio in Hollywood that is still in business?
Yesterday’s Question answered below: Where is Hells Kitchen?
History for 8/23/2015
Birthdays: French King Louis XVI, Gene Kelly, Keith Moon, Rick Springfield, Sonny Jurgensen, Alphonse Mucha, Vera Miles, River Phoenix, Queen Noor of Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Ed Benedict the designer of the Flintstones, Barbara Eden is 80, Shelley Long is 65, Nik Ranieri, Oscar Grillo
Roman Festival Volcanalia, to pray to Vulcan to prevent fires.
In Kyoto Japan this is the first day of the Fire Festival, when candles are placed at each statue in the Temple of the Eight Thousand Buddhas
In Swaziland, Happy Umhlanga Day!
408 AD- Roman Emperor Honorius had executed his last competent General, Stilicho. It was rumored that Stilicho had allowed a huge horde of barbarians cross the Rhine frontier last Christmas as part of a plot. But more likely Honorius was afraid Stilicho might try to overthrow him. The barbarians sacked Rome shortly after.
1305- In London the great Scottish rebel William Wallace was hanged, then cut down while still alive and drawn and quartered. His head was stuck on a spike on London Bridge and his pieces were sent to be displayed in various parts of Scotland. But the Scots instead of being cowed, got even angrier. In 1314 won independence under their King Robert the Bruce.
1499- Christopher Columbus was fired as Governor of the Indies and sent back to Spain in chains. He was a great visionary but a lousy governor.
1524- A large armada of warships from Spain, Portugal, Genoa and the Vatican were sent to Algiers to deal once and for all with the Barbary Corsairs. These Turkish-Moslem raiders terrorized the waters of the western Mediterranean under their bold captains like Kehir el Din "Barbarrossa", Dragut and a mysterious man known only as The Jew of Smyrna. But when the Christian fleet arrived in the Bay of Algiers a large storm battered their ships and threw them on the shore. The survivors were slain or enslaved as they staggered up on the beach. The Barbary Pirates would continue to be a headache for Christian Europe sea travel for another 300 years.
1572-THE ST. BARTHOLEMEW'S DAY MASSACRE- The reason there are no Protestants in France. Emotionally unstable King Charles IX and his domineering mother Catherine DeMedici had been trying to cope with the growing hatred between Catholics and Protestants, called Huguenots. After several civil wars and several treaties Catherine tried to cement a permanent peace by marrying the Kings sister Margot to the Prince of the Protestants Henry of Navarre. Catholic Paris was filled with Huguenots for the wedding.
Then the night before Catholic extremists murdered the Huguenot leader Gaspar Coligny. When faced with this event King Charles blurted out-”Then slay them all so none dare live to accuse me!” As the bells of Saint Margaret rang, a general massacre began throughout Paris. Protestants were put to the sword and the streets ran with blood. The massacre became so general that anybody who was mad at anybody declared them a Huguenot and they were promptly butchered. The Seine River flow turned red because it was choked up with corpses.
The Pope congratulated the French queen for ridding her land of heretics and ordered thanksgiving celebrations throughout Catholic Europe. In Spain, dour King Phillip II smiled for one of the few times in his life. Protestant countries were outraged and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth put her court in mourning. Even the Spanish Duke of Alba, who was burning dozens of Dutch Calvinists a day, thought this was “a base way to make war.” Protestant Prince Henry of Navarre under the Queens protection escaped and would eventually become king as Henry IV, first of the house of Bourbon.
Within a year Charles IX died slowly of tuberculosis, wracked with remorse:” What have I done? All that blood! I am damned!”
1617- The invention of the One Way Street (London)
1628- The Duke of Buckingham became a favorite of King James Ist when he was a pretty boy- ahem…draw your own conclusions. After James’s death the Duke continued to hold great influence over his son Charles Ist, but in a more traditional way. Many people blamed Buckingham for England’s problems and for reversing James’s peace policy and dragging England into the disastrous Thirty Years War then destroying Europe. Parliament loudly demanded the Duke’s imprisonment while Charles stood by his fathers old friend. This day a lunatic solved the problem by buying a kitchen knife, hiking sixty miles to London and plunging it into the Duke of Buckingham’s chest, killing him in front of his wife and family. It was one but not the only argument Charles would have with his parliament.
1634- Spain’s greatest playwright Lope De Vega wrote his last poem “El Siglo de Oro” – the Golden Age. He died the next day at age 73. A duelist and sailor on the Spanish Armada, Voltaire ranked him with Shakespeare and his work was so popular, the Holy Office of the Inquisition got angry when people sang a blasphemous doggerel that began “We believe in One Lope, the Poet Almighty…”
1750- 37 year old Swiss writer Jean Jacques Rousseau published his first mature work- Discourse on the Arts & Sciences. In it he breaks with the other French philosophers like Votlaire and Diderot and began his theory of the Noble Savage- that Civilization is the problem and we were all a lot happier when we were primitives. Voltaire laughed “the pamphlet made me want to get down on all fours and live among the bears of Canada!”
1775- KING GEORGE III ISSUED A PROCLAMATION DECLARING HIS AMERICAN COLONIES IN A STATE OF REBELLION. Many English politicians like Charles Fox and John Wilkes felt the American colonists had some legitimate grievances that could have been peacefully addressed. Lord Chatham (Pitt the Elder) had gone as far to say in the House of Lords "The Englishmen on the other side of the Atlantic are only fighting for what the Englishmen at home should be fighting for, namely their rights!" He suggested several seats in Parliament be set aside for British North America.
But King George rejected all further debate and refused the "Olive Branch Petition", a final plea to avert war brought by the loyalist Governor of Pennsylvania William Penn III. "They must decide now whether they are our subjects or our enemies." -The King stated flatly.
The King's proclamation was that now the only solution would be by force of arms. Pardons would be given to those Americans who returned to their loyalty to the Crown, but British generals were given a secret list of ringleaders to be brought to London for trial like John Adams and Ben Franklin. Up to this point many Americans, even George Washington, felt complete independence was going too far and compromise with the motherland was still possible. But after news of this Royal Proclamation reached America in October most then felt there was now no turning back..
1784- Frontiersmen west of the Alleghenies tried to found the independent state of Franklin. It later entered the union in 1796 as the state of Tennessee.
1864- Abe Lincoln was in despair. After four years of Civil War all the Northern armies were bogged down or defeated, the Confederacy showed no sign of collapse, and a popular General George McClellan announced he would run against Lincoln in the fall elections as a peace candidate. On this day Lincoln made all his cabinet sign a secret Presidential memo: " Seeing that it becoming more apparent that this Administration shall not continue in office we pledge to work with the next President to save the Union between the election and the inauguration, because the next administration by it's very nature shall be unable to accomplish this." In several days Sherman's capture of Atlanta and Sheridan's victories in the Shenandoah Valley would reverse public opinion and Lincoln would win re-election.
1872- The first commercial ship ever sent from Japan arrived in San Francisco carrying tea.
1914- Japan declared war on Germany. World War I, not two. The Japanese wanted to attack and annex the German held Chinese province of TsingTao, where their big brewery was.
1922- Legendary leader of the Irish IRA Michael Collins was ambushed and killed by other Irish guerillas while driving through his home county of Cork.
1926- Screen idol Rudolph Valentino died in a New York hospital of an infection due to a burst appendix and bleeding ulcer. Today this condition could be controlled by anti-biotics, but they weren’t invented yet.. Women around the world went mad with grief. From L.A. to Budapest women committed suicide before his picture. In Japan two women jumped into a volcano shouting his name.
1937- At the urging of the Stanford Dean of engineering Fred Terman, graduate Bill Hewlett had his first meeting with David Packard. They called their company started out of their Palo Alto garage the Engineering Service Company. The Hewlett-Packard Company would one day be one of the biggest names in computers and their garage hailed as the birthplace of Silicon Valley.
1939-THE NAZIS-SOVIET PACT. Nazi minister Von Ribbentrop flew to Moscow and signed the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. This cleared the way for Hitler's attack on Poland. Many in the west saw this as Stalin's untrustworthiness, but the Russians said they were reacting to the lack of enthusiasm shown by the Western Democracies in stopping Fascism. This was evident in Ethiopia, Czechoslovakia and particularly evident in Spain, where the Soviets backed the anti-Fascists to the hilt, with no help at all from the democracies.
But Stalin was genuinely duped by Hitler; maybe through the political rhetoric Stalin imagined he saw a fellow opportunist demagogue. It was obvious to Uncle Joe that the strategy of the West was to try and push Germany and Russia into war, so why would Hitler be stupid enough to do it? Even two days before the Nazis Invasion of Russia Stalin refused to believe the reports of his spies that Hitler was going to betray him.
Josef Stalin’s action for temporary tactical advantage destroyed the intellectual justification for Russia’s leadership of Global Communism. All though the 1920’s and 30’s Communism seemed to some the best hope of the Left for stopping the Fascist dictators and winning Civil and Labor rights. But when Moscow ordered all good Communists to stop criticizing Hitler, they lost the sympathies of many progressives. Americans, Britons and Zionist Jews began to leave the party in droves.
1939-The Meeker St Bridge between Brooklyn and Queens completed. It was renamed the Koscsuiszko Bridge in honor of the Polish patriot who fought in the American Revolution. In George Washington’s time no one knew how to say his name either. They called him Colonel Koz.
1942-THE BATTLE OF STALINGRAD BEGAN. As clouds of Nazi planes bombed the city to flaming rubble, the tanks of the Nazi 16th Panzer Division reached the Volga River and began to fight their way into the northern suburbs of the City of Stalingrad. The 16th’s General was one-armed Hans Huber, whom his men nicknamed Die Mensch- The Man!
The Germans were met by elements of the Red Army mixed with marines and civilians driving new unpainted T-34 tanks fresh from their factory assembly line. An estimated 40,000 civilians died just in this first attack, as many as had died at Waterloo, and the battle just beginning. The German 6th Army attack stalled in the city center and the fighting went on until next February.
1942- Fascist Italian troops were aiding their Nazi allies in the invasion of Russia. At Izbushensky near the Don River a regiment of Savoy cavalry charged Soviet troops with sabers. It was the last successful cavalry charge in history.
1944- Romania was declared liberated from the Nazis by the Red Army.
1947-President Truman’s daughter Margaret gave her first public singing concert. President Truman spent the following day personally telephoning music critics and threatening any who dared to give her harsh reviews.
1948- The World Council of Churches set up.
1953- David Mullany of Shelton Conn. invented the Whiffle Ball. He did it to help his son who was lousy at throwing a curve ball.
1964- Twist and Shout! The Beatles played the Hollywood Bowl.
1994- Jeffrey Katzenburg announced he was leaving Disney.
1996- An obscure terrorist group called Al Qaeda led by some guy named Osama Ben Laden had a press conference in Afghanistan where they actually declared holy war on the United States.
Yesterday’s Question: Where is Hells Kitchen?
Answer: Manhattan, west of Times Square to the Hudson River. It was a pretty rough neighborhood until recent times. In the 1890s, when a cop was transferred from the equally rough Five Points region, he said “ That area was hell. “ His sergeant said “ Well, then this area is Hell’s kitchen.” And so it was known.