Oct. 24, 2014 fri.
October 24th, 2014

Quiz: People discussing U.S. Gov’t policy sometimes refer to the Federalist Papers.
What were the Federalist Papers?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: What modern group still uses the ancient Egyptian calendar used by the pharaohs?
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History for 10/24/2014
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Domitian, Bob Kane the creator of Batman, Moss Hart, Jiles Perry Richardson better known as the Big Bopper, F. Murray Abrahams is 73, Enkwase Mfume, Y.A. Tittle, Sara Josepha Hale 1788- who wrote the poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb", animator Preston Blair, Kevin Kline is 66

439- The barbarian horde called the Vandals went into Africa and captured the Roman colony of Carthage, built on the ruins of Hannibal’s old city. When the Romans had destroyed Carthage in 146BC they put a curse on the land, but the cities natural harbor proved too useful, so a colony was soon set up. Ironically or perhaps the curse in effect, in 455 Geneseric the Vandal launched an attack from Carthage that sacked Rome.

1648 –THE TREATY OF WESTPHALIA- After four years of negotiations Europe ends it’s last great religious war, the Thirty Years War. The good thing was nobody disputed Dutch or Swiss independence or the right to be a Protestant anymore, the bad part was Germany was ravaged and divided. It wouldn't really get it's act together again until 1870. Germany lost almost half her population. France replaced Spain as the dominant power on the continent. And because the Pope refused any peace signed with heretics, the exhausted European kings simply ignored him.

1781- British General Sir Henry Clinton arrived at Yorktown Virginia with a rescue force to learn that Lord Cornwallis had already surrendered to George Washington a week ago.

1800- Just before a presidential election, Alexander Hamilton published ON THE PRESIDENCY OF JOHN ADAMS ESQ, a 58 page attack on the incumbent Presidents’ character and record. Though they were of the same party, the two men loathed one another. Hamilton had almost challenged the President to a duel. Finally Hamilton decided he would rather see the opposition win than Adams re-elected. His persuasive pamphlet not only ruined any chance John Adams had of re-election, it was a grenade lobbed into the midst of his own Federalist Party. President Adams placed fourth in the election, but Alexander Hamilton’s party disloyalty lost him most of his political influence.

1812- BATTLE OF MALOYAROSLAVETS (say that three times fast). Contrary to traditional perception, Napoleon wasn't dumb enough to think he could retreat from Moscow through Russia in the dead of winter. His first move was to retreat south to the Ukraine and Crimea where it was warmer, the food abundant and the people anti-Russian. The Russian general Kutusov guessed this and moved his troops south to cut him off at a junction called Maloyaroslavets. There was a bloody battle and Napoleon was successfully blocked and forced to retreat north along the ravaged Smolensk Road whence he came.

1836- Mr. Alonzo D. Phillips of Springfield, Mass. received a patent for the first book of matches in the U.S. However the laboratory of the English scientist Robert Farraday had invented matches in 1829.

1861-The Last Pony Express ride. The idea was romantic, but a financial dud and only operated about two years before being replaced by stage, rail and telegraph.

1901- Anne Taylor becomes the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and live to talk about it. She attempted the stunt for a cash prize she used to get a loan to buy a ranch in Texas.

1902- Author Arthur Conan-Doyle was knighted by King Edward VII. He received the award not for his literary accomplishments but for his volunteer services during the just concluded Boer War. It was also said the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was one of the few books King Edward ever managed to read from cover to cover.

1907- President Teddy Roosevelt called for a grand conference of government and business leaders to discuss a strategy for the conservation of America’s natural resources. For the first time, Conservation was made an issue of national policy. “ I have seen the last fluttering of bird species that once blackened the skies...”

1917-THE BATTLE OF CAPORETTO - The crumbling Austrian army was bolstered by some big German battalions defeated the Italian army, pushing them from the Alps practically down to Milan, erasing all the territorial gains the Italian army had made the last three years. Italian Commander General Cadorna was taken completely by surprise. Up to then he had been spending most of his energies replacing officers who didn’t agree with him.
Ironically the defeat was seen by scholars as being more beneficial to the future of Italy than a victory. This was because the insult and sacrifice welded Italian regional opinion into a national unity to defend their motherland, a spirit never seen during this unpopular war. The event was immortalized in Ernest Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms".

1918- As the German front crumbled, the Kaiser’s government requested preliminary talks for a cease fire to end the Great War. This day hotheaded General Eric Ludendorf tried to derail the peace initiative by publishing a manifesto in German newspapers. Last week he was urging the Kaiser to negotiate, but he suddenly changed his mind. He denounced American President Wilson’s Fourteen Points peace proposal and declared the German Army would fight on. He had no authority to publish such a rash statement and it got him fired.

1918- Battle of the Victorio Veneto. This day Italy launched one final attack across the Piave and reached Austrian territory.

1929- BLACK THURSDAY- THE PRELUDE TO THE GREAT CRASH- The Bear Stock Market that had seen prices dropping steadily since September 5th turned into a panic as dependable stocks prices like General Motors dropped through the floor. $11.5 billion dollars was lost in one day. Vacationing Winston Churchill picked that day to visit the Stock Exchange and later saw a banker jump to his death past his Waldorf Astoria window.

Basically what happened was people had bought stock on Margin, which meant you could buy ten thousand dollars worth of stock with just one thousand dollars. As the collapse occurred your broker would call you and demand the other nine thousand bux immediately or he would sell off everything you had. So in minutes you were broke.
It took every major banker and financier on Wall Street together dumping millions of dollars of emergency funds to stop the slide.

It was the worst day in American financial history, but it turned out to be just a mild prelude to Black Tuesday coming the following week. Ironically that night in a Broadway show the new song "Happy Days are Here Again' had it's debut. When the stage manager thought it inappropriate, the show's director snapped: "Play it for the Corpses !".

1937- At Piping Springs NY, composer Cole Porter suffered an accident while horseback riding that broke both his legs. Even after 26 operations he never regained their full use and one leg was amputated in 1958.

1938- The Fair Labor Standards Act established the 40 hour workweek as the law of the land. The 40 hour week that thing few of us see nowadays.

1945 the United Nations Charter ratified.

1945- Vikdun Quisling was shot by firing squad. Quisling was a Nazi sympathizer who governed occupied Norway. His name was synonymous with traitor or Benedict Arnold.

1947- Walt Disney testified to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC) as a friendly witness. He accused members of the Cartoonists Guild and the League of Women Voters –which he mistakenly called the League of Women Shoppers as being infiltrated by Communists "Seeking to subvert the Spirit of Mickey Mouse'.

1948- Bernard Baruch while testifying to Congress about the worsening relations between the US and Russia coined the term "cold war". "Although the war is over we are in the midst of a cold war, and it is getting hotter."

1960- At the Baykonur space center in Russia an R-16 ballistic missile exploded on the launch pad. The blast incinerated 165 people. This was all kept secret until the 1990s. Included among the dead is Field Marshall Mitrofan Nedelin, whose death was covered up as having occurred in a plane crash.

1962- During the Cuban Missile Crisis the U.S. Naval blockade closed around Cuba to prevent any more Russian missiles coming in. For one of the few times in it's history Strategic Air Command went from Defensive Condition Three to Def Con -2, a full war footing.
An American destroyer dropped depth charges on a Soviet submarine armed with nuclear tipped torpedoes. The enraged captain ordered a torpedo loaded into its tube and had to be talked out of firing it.

1969- Godfather Producer Robert Evans married young actress Ali McGraw.

1970- Chile elected Salvador Allende president. The US State Department went nuts because Allende was a lefty and began plans to have him overthrown.

1973- Dr. Henry Kissinger shuttle diplomacy negotiated an end to the Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur War.

1975- The Musical play A Chorus Line opened.

1994- Disney TV series Gargoyles premiered.
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Yesterday’s Question: What modern group still uses the ancient Egyptian calendar used by the pharaohs?

Answer: The Coptic Church. Some of their hymns are repurposed melodies from the age of the pharaohs.


Oct. 23, 2014 thurs
October 23rd, 2014

Quiz: What modern group still uses the ancient Egyptian calendar used by the pharaohs?

Yesterday’s Quiz Answered Below: Why is skipping school called playing hookie?
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History for 10/23/2012
Birthdays; Johnny Carson, Adlai Stevenson, Pele, Zioniev, Weird Al Yankovic, Dwight Yoakham, Doug Flutie, Michael Crichton, Chi-Chi Rodriquez, Sam Raimi, Phillip Kaufman, porn star Jasmine St. Claire, Gummo Marx, Ang Lee is 60, Ryan Reynolds is 38, Sam Raimi is 55

42 BC- Battle of Phillipi- The forces of Marc Anthony and Octavian defeated the legions of Brutus and Cassius in Greece. Both assassins of Julius Caesar, Marcus Brutus and Cassius Longinus, died.

12AD- Tiberius celebrated triumphs over the Pannonians and Dalmatians.

524 AD- BOETHIUS- After the Fall of the Roman Empire in 476 for awhile the Roman Senate answered to Theodoric the King of the Goths in Italy, the way they once answered to the emperor. The Christian Senator Boethius had risen to be a counselor to Theodoric. But the old barbarian became increasing suspicious of plots around him.

Boethius was falsely accused of plotting against the kings life and this day Theodoric had him executed. Goths tied a rope around his temples and twisted it until his eyes burst from their sockets, then he was beaten to death with clubs.

As soon as Boethius was dead Theodoric felt sorry and wept for his friend. The reason we remember this story was while Boethius was in prison awaiting death he wrote one of the great works of western philosophy- THE CONSOLATION OF PHILOSOSPHY. It was one of the first great works of Christian thinking since the Gospels and bridged the transition of philosophy from Greco-Pagan themes to Christian meditation.

1642- EDGEHILL- First battle of the English Civil War, King Charle's Cavaliers-1, Roundheads-0. Even though the Parliamentary forces were defeated the King hesitated when his impulsive cavalry general Prince Rupert wanted to pursue the enemy to London. It was the best chance Charles ever had to crush the rebellion at one grand blow, Oliver Cromwell was as yet an obscure m.p. from Cambridge who led a small troop. Yet Charles hesitated and let the opportunity slip away. The Parliamentary Army was under the command of the Earl of Essex, who traveled around with a coffin and burial shroud among his personal baggage. I wonder if that inspired confidence in his leadership...

1661- King Charles II, the Merry Monarch, crowned at Westminster Abbey. The current English Crown Jewels date from this time, since Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan Parliament had the ancient crown jewels of Anglo-Norman times destroyed.

1812- THE MALET PLOT-While Napoleon was retreating from Moscow thousands of miles away all France waited anxiously for news of his fate. This day a civil servant named Malet convinced Paris that Napoleon was dead and his army destroyed. In the ensuing panic Malet actually succeeded in taking over the French Government!

After a few days the confusion was eventually straightened out and Malet imprisoned. But it was terribly discouraging to Napoleon; he had hoped to build a dynasty to last generations. But it took only one nut with a rumor to show how shallow was the support for his regime was.

1917- In a secret meeting in Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg) all the various left wing Russian political parties: Mensheviks, Anarchists, Utopian Socialists and Narodniks agreed to unite under Lenin’s Bolshevik Party and adopt their plan to violently seize power. After taking control Lenin had them all suppressed. The assassin who shot and wounded him in 1921 was a Socialist.

1923- The German postwar economy collapses. Raging inflation makes it 6 billion Deutsch-Marks to one U.S. dollar. The few workers who had jobs are paid every other day and it takes a wheelbarrow full of money to buy a loaf of bread. The major industrial region of the Ruhr was under foreign occupation. These conditions made the rise of Adolf Hitler possible. The creeping depression afflicting the war-ruined European economies would help collapse the American banking system in 1929.

1928- A financial consortium led by banker-bootlegger Joseph Kennedy Sr. buys the Keith Albee theater circuit and merged it with the Radio Company and the Orpheum theaters to form Radio-Keith-Orpheum or RKO pictures. After Joe Kennedy met with the other Hollywood moguls he told a friend :”They’re all a bunch of Austrian Pants Pressers! I can take their businesses away from them!” Kennedy made a quick killing then got out of the picture business in 1930, just before the Depression dropped his studios stock value. RKO made films like King Kong, Fort Apache and Citizen Kane before merging into Desilu in 1957.

1930- The first Miniature Golf tournament held in Chattanooga Tenn.

1931- Chicago gangster Al Capone sentenced to 11 years in Alcatraz for federal income tax evasion.

1935- New York gangster Dutch Schultz was rubbed out. The erratic Schultz (real name Arthur Fleigenheimer ) had announced to the other mob bosses that Federal prosecutor Thomas Dewey was getting too close so he would kill him. To the syndicate killing such a high profile fed was going too far and would bring the wrath of Washington down on them, so Lucky Luciano decided it was easier to take care of the Dutchman. Schultz was having dinner at the Bob Treat Porkchop House in Newark with his crooked accountant "Abadaba" ( a corruption of Abracadabra ) when he excused himself to go to the mens room. Hitmen followed him in and pumped 6 slugs into him while at the urinal. Gee, I hope he zipped up.....

1940- HITLER MET FRANCO- Hitler and Mussolini spent large sums of men and material to help Franco win the Spanish Civil War. Now they wanted payback in form of an alliance. However they could not strike a bargain and Franco declared neutrality in the World War. Hitler later said of his negotiations with Franco:" I'd rather have 3 or 4 teeth extracted than go through that again!"

1940- Shooting on the film Citizen Kane wrapped.

1941- Walt Disney’s Dumbo premiered.

1942-EL ALAMEIN- Montgomery's British 8th Army threw 2500 new American made Sherman and Grant Tanks against Rommel's Afrika Korps threatening Egypt and the Suez Canal. Rommel the Desert Fox was on sick leave in Germany with diptheria and Rommels' replacement, General Stumme, dropped dead of a heart attack in the middle of the battle. Rommel flew back to try and stop the British attack, but by Nov.4th he had to accept defeat and abandon his Egyptian positions. Hitler had made Rommel a field marshal “ I wish he had given me another Panzer division instead” was his reply.

1955-Vietnamese Emperor Bao Dai abdicated to a South Vietnamese Republic set up outside of and ignoring Ho Chi Minhs Viet Minh communists.

1956- The great Hungarian Rising of Inver Nagy. Inspired by the seeming liberalism Nikita Khruschev was bringing to Moscow, thousands march to the statue of the poet Petofi to read his poem "Arise, Hungarians!" and burn newspaper torches. It turned out Khruschev wasn't as liberal as they thought, a month later hundreds of Soviet tanks crush them.

1968-THE FIRST OCTOBER SURPRISE- Pres. Johnson was pushing secret peace talks to wrap up the Vietnam War before he left office. Secret messages from South Vietnamese ambassador Bo Dhiem to the Saigon government confirmed that the Republican Party leaders were assuring the South Vietnamese that if they didn’t make peace before the American elections, Nixon could win and would support them. On Nov 2nd, President Nyguyen Van Thieu withdrew from the peace table without explanation and talks collapsed. Nixon won election and the war went on 4 more years.

1971-Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida opened.

1973- President Nixon ordered a world wide red alert of our strategic nuclear forces to warn the Soviets not to take advantage of U.S. domestic turmoil over Watergate. Soviet ambassador Dobrynin wrote in his memoirs that Secretary of State Henry Kissinger later telephoned and apologized to him for the alert. He said that it was done to distract U.S. opinion from the Watergate scandal.

1983- Jessica Savitch was one of the first women journalists to break the barrier for women getting the top anchor jobs in network news broadcasting. This day she died in a car accident.

1983- President Ronald Reagan had sent U.S. Marines into civil war torn Beirut to achieve peace. This day a suicide bomber drove a truck full of dynamite into the Marines barracks, killing 241 men in their sleep. Reagan then withdrew the remaining Marines. When Congress tried to enforce the War Powers Act limiting the President's power as commander in chief to send troops in harm's way, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger testified to Congress that Act didn't apply because the Beirut situation was not a war. "What was it then?" The incredulous senators asked. Cap Weinberger replied-"it is a state of Organized Violence." (----uh huh-?--)

1987- Judge Robert Bork was defeated in his bid for a seat on the Supreme Court. Besides offending Liberals by being a longtime Conservative stalwart, he offended Conservatives by admitting under oath he smoked marijuana. Right now he is an adviser to Mitt Romney.

2001- Apple Computers launched the i-pod.

2007- massive brush fires north of San Diego California. It displaced one million people, one of the largest numbers of U.S. refugees since the Civil War.
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Yesterday’s Question: Why is staying away from school called playing hooky?

Answer: Play hooky is probably derived from the Dutch term hoekje 'hide-and-seek'. The Dutch word hoek means 'corner'-- the boys in 17th-century New Amsterdam played around the corners of the street.It wasn't until the 19th century that schoolchildren began using play hooky to mean 'skip school.' It's also been suggested that play hooky comes from the verb hook, euphemistically meaning 'to steal', or from the phrase hook it, meaning 'to escape, run away, make off'.


Oct. 22, 2014 weds
October 22nd, 2014

Question: Why is skipping school called playing hookie?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Which US President was tainted by the Teapot Dome Scandal?
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History for 10/22/2014
Birthdays: Sarah Bernhardt, Timothy Leary, Franz Liszt is 203, Doris Lessing, Joan Fontaine, Derek Jacobi, Christopher Lloyd is 76, Annette Funicello, Brian Boitano, Curly Howard of the Three Stooges, Catherine Deneuve is 71, Spike Jonze is 45.

1641- The Irish rise in revolt yet again against England, this time hoping that the Brits would be too wrapped up in their own Civil War to deal with them. By 1649 Oliver Cromwell came over and dealt with them so harshly his fury is still remembered today.

1660- Edward Hyde the Earl of Clarendon was a staunch supporter and adviser to King Charles II. This day, upon learning that his daughter Anne had been seduced and made pregnant by James the Duke of York, The earl humbly petitioned the King to please cut off his daughters head. Boy, when daddy gets angry! King Charles II dismissed the whole affair as much ado about nothing.

1746- The Royal College of New Jersey chartered- it was later renamed Princeton.

1797- Frenchman Jean Garnerin does the first successful parachute jump. He conceived the idea while imprisoned in a Hungarian Castle during the French Revolution. He first took his dog and threw him out of a balloon, then he jumped himself at 2300 feet in the air and sprained his ankle. Garnarin died in a balloon accident in 1823 and his experiments forgotten. The practical modern parachute was not invented until 1910.

1805-After the naval Battle of Trafalgar, the shot-up English and French fleets were scattered by an ocean storm. Admiral Nelson's dead body had been sealed in an upright barrel of brandy for the trip back to London. After four days his body released some pent up gasses that suddenly popped the lid off the barrel. Must have scared the hell out of the guard on duty.

1843- THE GREAT DISSAPPOINTMENT- American preacher William Miller working with the books of Daniel and Revelations in the Bible calculated the exact date of the Messiah’s return and the End of the World to be Oct. 22nd 1843. A highly publicized newspaper and lecture campaign got the American public so worked up that many didn’t bother to plant crops. Banks noticed businessmen returning monies they swindled from former partners. On the appointed day Miller and thousands of followers withdrew to pitched tents outside Rochester New York to await the Rapture. They waited all day and all night. By dawn most went home disappointed and feeling a bit foolish.

1883- First performance at the New York Metropolitan Opera House. It was Gounod’s Faust with soprano Christine Nillson and tenor Italo Campanini.

1892-The SWAHILI WAR began. African ivory merchants Tippu Tip and Sefu began a revolution to drive the hated Belgian colonizers out of the Congo. This war has been forgotten in Europe in the light of how Belgium suffered under German occupations in the World Wars. But the Belgians proved they could be just as brutal in annihilating these native peoples as other European nations with more warlike reputations.

1900-Two bicycle repairmen from Ohio named Orville and Wilbur Wright build a large glider and fly it. They choose the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk North Carolina to test their glider because the winds were strong and they would crash in something soft. The airplane was still three years in the future but this was their first test of their prototype double winged plane design.

1903- Tom Horn, considered the Last of the Western Outlaws, was hanged in Wyoming for the murder of Willie Nickel. The era of the gunslinger ends with him.

1923- THE TEAPOT DOME SCANDAL hearings began. By World War I the U.S. Navy had refitted it's battleships from coal to diesel fuel engines, so maintaining a strategic petroleum reserve became as serious as nuclear stockpiles are today. The Secretary of the Interior Albert Ball arranged for some reserved oil rich areas of Teapot Dome Oklahoma and California transferred from the Navy Department's jurisdiction to his department of the Interior, so he could 'lease them' to oil magnates James Doheny of Doheny Drive fame, and Harry Sinclair. They in turn gave him a fortune in stock and other monetary kickbacks.

Albert Ball became the first senior cabinet officer to go to jail. It took years for the scandal to wind through the courts and blackened the last days of President Warren Harding's administration.

1934- Bank Robber James" Pretty Boy" Floyd killed in a furious gun battle with the F.B.I. He had told his father months before:" Pa, when ah go, I’m gonna go down in lead!" Floyd was considered a "dust bowl robin hood" for leaving food and money on doorsteps of destitute farmers. One story had him steal a pie cooling on a windowsill but replacing it with a $50 bill. In Woody Guthrie's "Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd" He says:" You may call me an outlaw, but one thing that I have known. I've never seen an outlaw drive a family from their home."

1938-THE BIRTHDAY OF THE XEROX COPY- Chester Carlson working with an amateur chemistry set behind a beauty parlor in Astoria Queens created the first xerox copy. He took his invention to Edison, G.E., RCA and IBM who all rejected it. Finally a little firm that produced photographic paper for Kodak called the Haloid Company bought it. They later changed their named to Xerox.

1939-The first televised football game-The Brooklyn Dodger's 23 Philadelphia Eagles 14.

1962- Twentieth Century Fox chief Daryl Zanuck fired long suffering director Joe Mankiewicz off of the editing of the spectacle Cleopatra. Mankiewicz had shot a 6 hour movie he wanted shown as two films. Zanuck wanted one big movie at half that size. After a lot of embarrassing feuding in the press, Zanuck rehired Mankiewicz and he recut Cleopatra, When Elizabeth Taylor saw the finished film, she threw up.
Cleopatra became one of the biggest disasters in Hollywood History.

1962- After it looked like a news leak would make the news public anyway, President John Kennedy goes on national television and tells the American public about the CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS. 54 B-52 bombers with 4 Hydrogen bombs each took off to fly within two hours of their Soviet targets. 134 Titan nuclear missiles were armed.
Both sides wrestled with the temptation to do a 'First-Strike', meaning the side that hit first without warning just might knock out enough of the enemies nukes to limit the damage and “megadeaths” to his own side. Secretary of State Dean Rusk recalled: "I'd wake up in the morning and the first thing I'd think was, I'm alive, Khruschev didn't do it today." In Moscow Khruschev grimly joked:" With the time difference Kennedy works while I sleep and I work while he sleeps, hmph, maybe soon we'll both be sleeping..."

1962- At the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis a stand up comic named Vaughn Meador recorded a comedy album called The First Family. It made lighthearted fun of John F. Kennedy and his White House. The record became the fastest selling hit of the pre-Beatles era, 7.5 million copies. Jackie called Meador a rat, but JFK thought it was funny and gave out copies as Christmas presents. He said Meador’s impersonation sounded more like his brother Teddy than him.

1967- In Oakland black militants Eldridge Cleaver, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and H.Rap Brown formed the Black Panther Party of Self Defense.
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Yesterday’s Question: Which US President was tainted by the Teapot Dome Scandal?

Answer: Warren G. Harding- See above, 1923.


Oct 21, 2014 tues.
October 21st, 2014

Question: Which US President was effected by the Teapot Dome Scandal?

Yesterday’s question answered below: What is a spoonerism?
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History for 10/21/2014
Birthdays: Katushika Hokusai, Dizzy Gillespie, Whitey Ford, Alfred Nobel, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Blair, Carrie Fisher is 58, Patty Davis (Reagan's daughter), Benjamin Netanyahu, Sir Malcolm Arnold, Manfred Mann, Sir Georg Solti, Angus McFadyen, Ken Watanabe is 55, Kim Kardasian is 34.

Today is the FEAST OF SAINT URSULA AND THE ELEVEN THOUSAND VIRGINS, one of the sillier medieval legends. Supposedly on the way back from a pilgrimage to Rome the saintly daughter of a Mercian (English) king had spurned the attentions of the King of the Huns. So he had her and all eleven thousand of her handmaids executed. Earliest accounts said she had only eleven servants and no one was killed..

1492- San Salvador. Christopher Columbus writes on this day in his diary about the new land he is exploring: " We must have found Eden. I think men shall never see this place again as we have seen it." Within 50 years of Columbus's discovery, the Indian tribe that welcomed him on the beach, the Taino, were all but extinct.

1520- Fernand de Magellan sails into the Straights named for him to the Pacific.

1600- BATTLE OF SEKIGEHARA The final battle of Japan's feudal civil wars- Warlord Ieyasu Tokugawa defeats the Toyotomi faction and becomes paramount leader under the Emperor, called the Shogun. Ieyasu later died from eating too much tempura, but the Tokugawa family closed off Japan from all contact with foreigners and missionaries and ruled as Shoguns until 1868.

1639- Battle of the Downs- Dutch Admiral Van Tromp destroyed a new Spanish Armada forming in the English Channel. The Dutch fleet sank or captured 70 out of 77 ships.

1797- The 44 gun frigate USS Constitution launched. Nicknamed Old Ironsides, it is the oldest commissioned warship in the US Navy. It saw active service until 1861, remained a training vessel and is still entertaining tourists in Boston Harbor today. Last week it took a spin around the harbor to show it still had what it takes.

1805- TRAFALGAR- Admiral Nelson destroyed Napoleon's naval power in one huge battle off the southwestern coast of Spain. Trafalgar is a vulgarization of the Arabic " Al-Taraff Al-Agharr" or " The Fair Point.” Nelson began the day raising the signal flags "England expects every man to do his duty." One of Nelson's toughest captains, Sir John Collingwood said: "What the devil is Nelson about ? We already know that!"

In the heat of the battle the one-eyed, one armed Lord Nelson strode up and down his poop deck in his full dress uniform to inspire his men. He loved medals, he even had one that spun around. He not only inspired the English Tars but also the French sharpshooters who targeted him. Nelson was felled by a shot through his spine. He received the news of the victory as he lay dying and said:" The day is ours, kiss me Hardy." Hardy was captain of the flagship HMS Victory. Another version said he actually said “kismet.”

French admiral Villeneuve, whom Napoleon goaded into fighting by threatening to courts-martial him as a 'Coward, Idiot and Traitor" left the service and later committed suicide. When they took Nelson's body back to England they bent it into a brandy barrel for preservation, which has been incorrectly called a rum barrel. Which is why today rum is known as "Nelson's Blood".

1837- The Second Seminole War ends. The US government conducted three long wars to remove the Seminole Indian Nation from their Florida homelands. The most famous Seminole leader was Osceola, who ran a guerrilla campaign for 7 years in the Florida swamps that frustrated American leaders like Andrew Jackson, Winfield Scott and Zachary Taylor. Finally treachery was used to bring him down. General Jessup asked Osceola to come to a conference under a white flag of truce and when the chief appeared he had him arrested and imprisoned. Despite good treatment Osceola was dead by January, it was said he “willed” himself to death. Seminole resistance continued under his allied chiefs Alligator and Billy Bowlegs until 1842.

1861- Battle of Balls Bluff. The only thing remembered about this Civil War skirmish was the death of President Lincoln's family friend Edward Baker. Another man wounded was a young lieutenant who would one day become a great writer and father of a Supreme Court Justice- Oliver Wendell Holmes. Holmes later wrote- 'sitting under a tree with two bullet wounds pouring out blood I decided to pass the time while waiting for the ambulance by beginning a debate in my mind about the existence or non-existence of the Afterlife. My final decision was -Damned if I Know !" In later years Holmes called war an “ Organized Bore.”

1879- Thomas Edison announced the invention of the Light Bulb. After experimenting with dozens of different type filaments in a vacuum Thomas Edison perfected the light bulb with carbonized cotton. He and his crew stared at the glowing bulb for 40 hours to make sure it was really worked.

1932- The film Red Dust premiered. It made stars out of Clark Gable and Jean Harlow.

1937- A cough medicine called Elixir Sulfanilamide sold in stores poisoned hundreds and killed 200 in 15 states including children. It was found to have the same ingredients as antifreeze. The drug and the deaths led to the passage of the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which increased FDA's authority to regulate drugs.


1939- Turkey enraged Hitler and Mussolini, when contrary to their participation in World War I they opted to break with the Axis and remain neutral in World War II.

1944- BLOODY AACHEN- Aachen didn’t have much strategic value, but it was the first major German city to come under allied ground attack. It was the ancient home of Charlemagne and the First German emperors. The US First Army quickly surrounded the city, but the Germans dug in and held. For 39 days the US First Division the Big Red One did the bulk of the awful fighting- house-to-house, room by room. Finally today German Commander Gerhard von Wilke surrendered, even though he had been warned by Hitler that the Gestapo would shoot his wife and children if he did.

1959- Six months after the death of Frank Lloyd Wright his last creation the Guggenheim Museum in New York City opened.

1967- THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON- 100,000 anti-Vietnam War protestors surrounded the Pentagon in Washington and tried to do an “exorcism “ and levitate the building. This was the day of the famous images of Hippies putting flowers in the gun barrels of the National Guard troops.

1969- Beat Generation author of On the Road- Jacques Kerouac died of alcoholism and stomach bleeding, a pencil and pad on his lap. He grew bitter about how his call for youth rebellion had been reinterpreted by the 60's generation as hippies and flower power. When he came upon a gathering of kids at an anti-war rally distributing American flags to burn, Kerouac collected them all and folded them neatly.

1972- Curtis Mayfield’s soundtrack theme to the movie “Superfly” debuted at Number #1 in the Billboard charts.

1975- The Cincinnati-Boston World Series-Carleton Fisk's 12th inning homer keeps the Boston Red Sox hopes alive against Johnny Bench and the 'Big Red Machine".

1985- San Francisco Mayor George Mosconi and openly gay City Supervisor Harvey Milk were shot dead by embittered city councilman Dan White. Councilwoman Diane Feinstein discovered their bodies and took over as mayor. Dan White was acquitted on an insanity plea using the "Twinkie Defense", that junk food raised his blood sugar to such an extent that he went nuts. He served 5 years in prison, moved to Orange County and committed suicide.

2003- The Great California Brush Fires. Hot dry wind and a lost hunter ignited the worst brush fires in California history. Ten fires from Ventura County north of Los Angeles to Tijuana Mexico burned hundreds of thousands of acres for two weeks, destroyed 3000 homes and killed 20. The smoke clouds were visible from space.

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Yesterday’s Question: What is a spoonerism?

Answer: Spoonerisms are an error in speech or deliberately rearranged words for comedic effect. So Pouring Rain becomes Roaring with Pain, Washington’s Birthday became Birthington’s Washday, and so on. It was named for a Rev Spooner, the Dean of Oxford in the Edwardian era, who made these comic slips accidentally. Or maybe it was Drain Bamage.


Oct. 20, 2014 mon.
October 20th, 2014

Question: What is a spoonerism?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: Movie studio heads are called moguls, but who were the original moguls?
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History for 10/20/2014
Birthdays: Sir Christopher Wren, Bela Lugosi (born Bela Blasgow from Lugosz), Charles Ives, Arthur Rimbaud, Daniel Sickles, Black Panther Bobby Seale, Juan Marichal, Tom Petty, Art Buchwald, Arlene Francis, Grandpa Jones, Mickey Mantle, Frank Churchill, Thomas Newman, Jerry Ohrbach, Rex Ingram, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Michael Dunn, Snoop Dogg (born Calvin Broadus Jr) is 43, Viggo Mortensen is 56

1740- The Austrian Emperor Charles VI died. He leaves his daughter Maria Theresa sole heir. Maria was such a tough monarch that even when giving birth to Marie Antoinette ( one of eighteen children ) she refused to go into confinement, but sat propped up in an easy chair writing orders between contractions.

1805- NELSON'S LAST DISPATCH- Once Admiral Horatio Nelson learned that Napoleon’s Franco-Spanish Fleet had come out of Cadiz harbor he headed them off at Cape Trafalgar. Knowing the big battle would be fought on the morrow, he wrote his last log entries and letters. In one of them he begs the Admiralty to 'take care of My Poor Emma', meaning Lady Hamilton, his beautiful mistress. He wrote nothing about his wife. Nelson was killed in the battle and lionized as the hero of the nation, but Lady Hamilton was shunned as a homebreaker, and died a fat old souse in Calais.

1813- An incident during Napoleons retreat from Germany after his defeat at Leipzig. The retreating Neuchatel regiment were being harassed by pursuing Russian Cossack cavalry. Seeing a women camp follower or vivandiere, straggling behind the column a Cossack charged her, lance in hand. It was not sure whether he wanted to kill, rob or rape her in full view of the army. The vivandiere who’s name was Rosalie, calmly put down her bundle, pulled out a brace of pistols and shot the man out of his saddle. She then proceeded to steal his horse, and galloped back to the column to the cheers of the troops.

1818- America and Britain fix the western border between the US and Canada at the 49th parallel latitude.

1827- Battle of Navarino- France, England and Russia sent huge fleets to the Bay of Navarino to arbitrate the dispute between Turkey and the Greek revolutionaries. Not that anyone asked them to, but they were terribly moved by Byron's and Shelley's poems and after all, that's what Imperialist powers DID in those days. The Admiral of the British fleet was Admiral Collingwood, who was with Nelson at Trafalgar. The Allied fleet were under strict orders not to fire unless attacked, so when a Turkish gunner shot at a messenger under a white flag, BOOM, BOOM! Greek Independence.

1862- While the Civil War raged back east, Col. Patrick Connor and two regiments of US Cavalry ( The California Blues) were sent to occupy Salt Lake City. His ostensible mission was to protect the overland stage and wagon trail routes through Utah, but also he was to keep an eye on Brigham Young and his Mormon Community. Connor was not the most diplomatic choice. He called Mormons “traitors and whores” and set up his camp overlooking the town with large cannon pointed down on them. He named his army camp Fort Douglas after the late Senator Stephen Douglas who had referred to Mormonism as a “disgusting cancer”.

Brigham Young had to use all his diplomatic tact and patience to deal with this hotheaded soldier. The Mormons formed a volunteer unit called the Navoo Legion to work with the army fighting hostile Shoshone and Paiute bands. Eventually everyone got along, although Connor and other federal authorities encouraged non-Mormon settlements in Utah hoping to overwhelm their community. Connor not only reconciled with his Mormon neighbors, he lived the rest of his life in Salt Lake City, dying in the 1890s.

1890-Retired explorer Sir Richard Burton died at 69. Burton was the first Christian to enter Mecca, he went up the Nile and the Amazon, fought Indians with Kit Carson and did the first modern translation of the Arabian Nights, introducing the western world to Aladdin, Scheherazade and Sinbad the Sailor. Wherever he went in his world travels he collected pornography and erotic poems, documenting of the sexual habits of various cultures. After his death his wife burned all this anthropological material in their backyard. She feared for his soul. It is considered one of the great literary crimes of the century.

1912- The First Balkan War.

1921- Rudolf Valentino starred in The Sheik, which premiered today.

1939- Frank Capra’s film “Mr Smith Goes to Washington” opened.

1940-:” Fuehrer, we are on the march!” Mussolini told Hitler as Italy invaded Greece from Italian occupied Albania. The Greeks not only defeated his armies and drove them away, they even invaded Albania forcing Hitler to send German reinforcements. Hitler was angry at Il Duce’s move because it pulled on reinforcements he intended for the North African drive on the Middle Eastern oilfields.

1944- In Cleveland, liquid natural gas from storage tanks leaks into storm sewers and the streets, then explodes. The explosion and fire leveled 30 blocks of the city, killing 130.

1945- Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon form the Arab League.

1947- 'ARE YOU NOW OR HAVE YOU EVER BEEN...' Judge J. Parnell Thomas banged the gavel opening the House Committee on UnAmerican Activites investigation into Communist infiltration into the Motion Picture Business. HUAC was set up in 1938 as the Dies Committee to keep an eye on pro-Nazis groups operating in German and Italian immigrant organizations, but by 1944 it's emphasis had switched to Communist espionage. Investigations of the army or top civil servants like Dean Acheson was dull stuff, New Deal hating conservatives knew investigating Hollywood would yield the big headlines and jazz up public interest.
Jack Warner, Louis B. Mayer, Ronald Reagan and Walt Disney were the first in line to name names. Lucille Ball, Sterling Hayden, Zero Mostel, Ginger Rogers and Lloyd Bridges admitted they had once held communist party memberships. The anti-commie hysteria turned Hollywood inside out and the bitter feelings remained for the rest of their lives.

1955- Harry Belafonte recorded the Banana Boat Song, that made him a star- Day-o!

1955- J.R.R. Tolkein’s last book of the Lord of the Rings published. The Return of the King.

1968- Former First Lady Jackie Bouvier Kennedy shocked American society when a few months after Bobby Kennedy’s assassination she married Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis on his private island of Skorpios. “They’ll knock you off your pedestal” Truman Capote warned her. But she was determined to get her children away from the violence engulfing the U.S. in the 60’s. Onassis’ employees nicknamed her “Supertanker” because they felt he spent the equivalent price of one of those ships to win her.

1973- The Six Million Dollar Man with Lee Majors premiered.

1973-THE SATURDAY NIGHT MASSACRE- when special prosecutor Archibald Cox got too close to implicating President Richard Nixon in the Watergate scandal Nixon fired him without comment or explanation. Attorney General Elliot Richardson, rather than execute the order to fire Cox, himself resigned. Then deputy Attorney Gen. Donald Ruckleshaus was told to, he resigned as well. They eventually found someone in the Justice Dept. willing to fire Cox. It was Robert Bork. Nixon sent FBI agents to immediately secure their files and records. Because of this overt act of presidential arrogance the first calls for impeachment of the President were heard, even from members of his own Republican party. Recently Bork was attached to the Mitt Romney campaign.

1973- Sidney Australia’s Opera House was dedicated by Queen Elizabeth II.

1977- Lynyrd Skynyrd band members Ronnie Van Zandt and Steve Gaines died when their plane crashed into a swamp while en route to a concert at Louisiana University.

1991- The Oakland California Firestorm. Drought and Diablo wind conditions fanned a blaze in the East Bay hills that destroyed 3,000 buildings and killed 25 people.

1994- President Clinton opened up the first Presidential web site and set up an office of Director of Electronic Mail. To e-mail the President you use President@whitehouse.gov or First.Lady@whitehouse.gov This may be poetic justice, but if you just use www.whitehouse.com you will get a porn site. One of the first acts of incoming President George W. Bush was to close the site down, but President Obama restored it.

2011- Libyan rebel fighters killed their dictator Col Mohammar Khaddafi. The man who had ruled Libya since 1967 was found hiding in a storm drain. He was dragged out, beaten bloody, had a broomstick rammed up his butt and shot in the head six times.

2013- Saving Mr. Banks with Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, premiered.
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Yesterday’s Question: Movie studio heads are called moguls, but who were the original moguls?

Answer: Mogul comes from the word Mughal, the Indian name for the Mongol conquerors of Northern India. These Mughals ruled with an iron hand, and lived in a lavish opulent lifestyle that Hollywood insiders joked was much like their studio heads.


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