Sept 23, 2017
September 23rd, 2017

Quiz: Who was Vercingetorix?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: Who was Uriah Heep? ( hint: not the 70’s rock band)
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History for 9/23/2017
Birthdays: Euripides-484BC, Victoria Woodhull, Walter Lippmann, Ray Charles, John Coltrane, Mickey Rooney, Julio Inglesias, Walter Pidgeon, Louise Nevelson, Jason Alexander, Mary Kay Place, Harry Connick Jr, Bruce Springsteen is 68, William McGuffey*

*McGuffey was the educator and author of "the McGuffey Readers", a standard public 5school textbook so successful, that by 1860 the U.S. had an 80% literacy rate.

480BC- THE BATTLE OF SALAMIS- Themistocles and the Athenian fleet defeated the giant armada of Xerxes the Great King of Persia and threw back his invasion. Xerxes was so angry he had his top Phoenician captains beheaded. This battle assured the Golden Age of Greek culture would flourish uninterrupted with democratic Athens at its’ center. The playwright Aeschylus fought in the ranks and Sophocles led the chorus of nude boys dancing and singing in the victory celebrations. Themistocles laid the foundation for Athenian power by insisting she build a large navy rather than an army and concentrate on trade rather than territorial conquest. But Themistocles liked to make money too, and used his offices to pad his fortune, which eventually got him exiled. But not before in another moment of originality he set himself up histories first known foreign bank account as a private slush fund.

480BC- Greek Chronicles tell us that also on this same day Glycon of Syracuse defeated the huge Cathaginian host of Hamilcar and saved Sicily for Greece. Hamilcar spent the battle burning up animal sacrifices to the Gods for good omens. When he saw he was losing Hamilcar threw himself on the fire. Not a bad solution, because Carthage tradition was to crucify generals who lost battles.

1326- Queen Isabella the "She-Wolf of France" and her lover Edmund Mortimer invade England to overthrow her openly out husband, King Edward II. Sounds like a soap opera, doesn't it ?

1568- English merchantman John Hawkins and his 3 slave trading ship were blown by a hurricane into the harbor of San Juan de Ulua, the staging area for the fabulous treasure fleets that carry the gold of Peru to Spain. The Spanish and English worked out a temporary peace but on this day the Spanish Viceroy ordered his men to attack and kill the English heretics. Only two ships got away, and one carried a young clergyman's son from Devon who from then on nursed a lifelong grudge - Francis Drake.

1642- The first commencement ceremony at Harvard College.

1779- "I HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO FIGHT !" Captain John Paul Jones on the U.S.S. BonHomme Richard defeated the larger British H.M.S. Serapis in an epic sea duel off Cape Falmouth, England. The two ships grappled each other side by side, pounded away with heavy cannon and fought hand-to-hand. The ships were so close that men could jump through the gun portals from one ship to another. At one point Bonhomme Richard was burning from stem to stern, sinking and all her guns out of action. But John Paul Jones refused to give up. The American crew thought their pint-sized Scots captain had lost his mind. When gunnery Ensign Grubb tried to haul down the Stars & Stripes, Jones knocked him down with a pistol butt. English Captain Pearson overheard Jones arguing with his officers about surrender and called aloud "Sir, do you strike your colors, sir?" That’s when John Paul Jones shouted his famous retort: "I have not yet begun to fight!"

To make matters worse the other American ship in the area the USS Alliance was manned by a jealous captain named Launnay. He ordered a broadside fired into the Bonhomme Richard! Launnay hoped that by helping the Englishman kill Jones, he could then finish off the Briton and take all the credit for the victory. Jones personally ran over to a ten pounder cannon whose crew had been killed, loaded it and fired it himself, bringing down the Serapis’ mainmast.
Finally it was English Captain Pearson who gave up. The BonHomme was so shot to pieces it sank so the victors had to ride home on the Serapis. The point of the battle for Jones was trying to raid a British merchant convoy, and the convoy got away, but the symbolic victory to Americans and French was significant. John Paul Jones became a legend on the English Channel. In 2002 the wreck of the Bonhomme Richard was discovered 7 miles off the English coast and is being explored.

1780-"TREASON MOST FOUL !" General Benedict Arnold, fed up with being ignored for promotion by the American high command, planned to change sides by betraying West Point to the British. This was the huge American fortress that would give Britain control of the Hudson River and so split the rebellious colonies in half.
Major John Andre' of British intelligence had a meeting with Arnold and was passing back through the lines when he was apprehended by some Yankee militia. These rascals skulked between the armies robbing anyone who chanced their way but when they discovered incriminating documents in his boot, they turned Andre over to the authorities. This morning Benedict Arnold found out Andre had been arrested and the jig was up, just as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Lafayette were riding over for breakfast !
Arnold escaped to the warship HMS Vulture waiting down river while his wife Peggy stalled Gen. Washington’s party in their parlor. When Washington learned of Arnold's treason and freaked, Peggy feigned a fit of hysterics. Disheveled, with her baby at her breast, she shrieked at the horrified Washington :"They're putting hot irons in my Head! Hot irons in my Head!!". She was put to bed and later slipped away to safety. It wasn't known until 1930 when British Army Intelligence documents were made public that loyalist Peggy Arnold was not only deep in the scheme but had been the chief inspiration of Arnold's changing sides. Major Andre was hanged as a spy. When Peggy died in London of old age, a locket containing the picture of Major Andre was found around her neck..

1803- Battle of Assaye- The Maharatta Rajahs of the Deccan are defeated by a young British general named Arthur Wellesley who Napoleon would meet twelve years later as the Duke of Wellington at a place called Waterloo. Wellington in retirement said Assaye was still his toughest fight.

1806- LEWIS and CLARK RETURN to St. Louis, their starting off point, after two years exploring the West to the Pacific. In all that time they only lost one man to disease and almost never fired their guns in anger.

1845- After only six weeks of U.S. rule, angry Los Angeleanos attack Commodore Stockton's home. The War with Mexico hadn't broken out yet but American and Mexican paramilitary expeditions (called Filibusters) angled for power in California due to the loose and confused control from Mexico City. Mexican-Californian rancheros themselves frequently defied the government authorities, giving rise to the Zorro stories.

1846- The planet Neptune discovered by Johann Gottleib Gala.

1862- writer Leo Tolstoy married Sophie Behrs.

1862- Battle of Wood Lake- Minnesota militia put down the Great Santee Sioux Uprising led by Chief Little Crow. The Sioux had set up an ambush in the tall grass on either side of a road but the hungry Army troops steered their wagons right into the fields to look for left over potatoes. The Indians had to reveal their position and fire before they were run over.

1889- The Nintendo Company started in Kyoto, They began by making hand-painted playing cards. In 1956 they transitioned to electronics, and invented Donkey-Kong, Gameboys, Pokemon and The Legend of Zelda.

1908- Giants batter Fred Merkle hit the winning run in a pennant game with the Chicago Cubs. But in running the bases he neglected to touch second base so his run was disallowed and the game was declared a tie. They replayed the game the following day and the Cubs won the pennant. Thereafter Merkle's nickname became Bonehead Merkle.

1912- "Cohen Collects a Debt" Max Sennett's first film comedy featuring the Keystone Kops.

1915- The German submarine U-9 shows the world the power of submarines by sinking three big British battle cruisers all in one day. HMS Hogue, Aboukir and Monmouth were torpedoed and sent to the bottom.

1921- The Band-Aid self-adhesive bandage introduced. A scientist at Johnson &Johnson invented it for his wife who kept cutting herself in the kitchen. Supposedly the skin tone color, which never seemed to match anybody’s skin, was her skin coloring.

1923- A car accident in Chicago killed an elderly lady named Nancy Green. Born a slave, in 1890 she was hired by the Davis Milling Company to be the symbol of their new self-rising pancake flour. She adopted the name of a character in a popular minstrel song- Aunt Jemima. Green was a good storyteller and a good cook. Her demonstrations became so popular she was acclaimed “The Pancake Queen”. She was awarded a medal at the Chicago Exhibition of 1893. She was under lifetime contract to be the character.

1933- At a dedication ceremony Adolf Hitler broke ground for the construction of Germany’s Autobahn system- 1400 miles of modern freeway. One story says Hitler himself conceived the idea since he was a lifelong auto enthusiast. But that is untrue. German designers as early as 1913 were inventing the road features common to today’s motorists- the Blending Lane and Clover Leaf, Fast Lanes and meridian divided roads.

1939- At the World’s Fair in New York a time capsule was buried not to be opened until the year 6939. It contains a Bible, a mail order catalog and newsreels of President Franklin Roosevelt. I hope they include a description of what film was….

1939- Sigmund Freud died at age 83. Suffering from inoperable cancer of the jaw, he had his doctor euthanize him with a lethal shot of cocaine.

1942- Erwin Rommel the Desert Fox left his his Afrika Korps at El Alamein and flew home to Germany to be treated for acute diphtheria. He missed most of the battle, but returned when things were going badly.

1942-Dr. Robert Oppenheimer and General Leslie Grove start the "Manhattan Project", the building of a "cosmic-super bomb" (the A-Bomb). Hungarian Professor Leo Szilard had been pestering the U.S. government since 1938 to do something before the Hitler made one first. Finally the War Dept. gave the go ahead to collect the finest physicists in the free world to create a super bomb. Scientists like Richard Fenyman and Enrico Ferme would arrive for work at an office in downtown Santa Fe and be immediately whisked out the back in a sealed truck to the top secret lab complex at Los Alamos.

The project was so secret that they were warned if they breathed a word about it the government would make sure they "disappeared' for at least ten years ! Vice President Truman had no idea of the project until he was told the night Roosevelt died. Leo Szilard was never asked to join the team because the F.B.I. considered him 'politically suspect', yet we now know at least two scientists there were Soviet spies, Dr. Karl Fuchs and Ted Hall.

1952- The "CHECKERS" SPEECH- Young Senator Richard Nixon saved his career as Eisenhower's running mate by going on nationwide T.V. and explaining away allegations of accepting improper gifts while a congressman. Included is a dog "checkers" for his kids. "He’s a good dog, and we’re gonna keep him." "My wife doesn't own a mink coat, she has a good Republican cloth-coat." Eisenhower was close to dumping the embattled senator from the ticket but the popular outcry of support after this speech but Nixon back on top. In effect he four-walled Ike into keeping him on the ticket.

1962- H& B's show The Jetsons premiered. It was the first ABC show to be presented in color. Jane! Stop this Crazy Thing! Jane!

1964- Marc Chagalls’ paintings on the ceiling of the Paris Opera House unveiled.

1969- the film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" premiered. Written by William Goldman and directed by George Roy Hill. It made fortunes for stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford, who later started and independent film festival called Sundance.

1984- Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Frank Wells met the Disney Animation Dept. and are pitched storyboards for the film Basil of Baker Street, later called the Great Mouse Detective. Up to now their thinking had been to dismantle the animation department and earn income from the licensing of the existing library. Roy Disney was instrumental in insisting the animation division remain. Eisner dictates memos to start the television animation division.

1994- Quentin Tarentino’s film Pulp Fiction premiered.
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Yesterday’s Question: Who was Uriah Heep?

Answer: Clue. He was a character in Charles Dickens David Copperfield. The character is notable for his cloying humility, obsequiousness, making frequent references to his own "humbleness". An insincere sycophant.


Sept 22, 2017
September 22nd, 2017

Question: Who was Uriah Heep? ( hint: not the 70’s rock band)

Answer to yesterday’s question below: What is a cassis-belli? As in Trump has yet to make a convincing cassis belli over North Korea.
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History for 9/22/2017
Birthdays: Anne of Cleves 1515- Henry VIII’s fourth wife. Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins, Mafioso Joe Valachi, Michael Farraday, Meryl Streep is 67, John Houseman, Joanie Jett, Erich Von Stronheim, Tom Lasorda is 90, Paul Muni, Debbie Boone

480 BC. Themistocles and the Athenian fleet of 300 faced the 1,200 warships of Xerxes the Great King of Persia in the Bay of Salamis. This night at a war council the Greek admirals voted not to try to fight such mighty host, but run. Themistocles finding himself outvoted was so confident in their ability to win, that he took a risk that could have cost his life. He sent a spy to Xerxes to tell him the Greeks were planning to flee. So he should maneuver his fleet around them and cut off any hope of retreat. Xerxes fell for it and forced the engagement. The victory of Salamis assured the Golden Age of Athens.

287AD- THE THEBAN LEGION-One of the celebrated myths of the Middle Ages. A Roman general Maximian Herculius recruited an entire army unit from Christians in upper Egypt. In Gaul with the imperial army the Emperor Maximian orders sacrifices to the gods for victory. The Theban Legion refused to participate in the pagan ritual. The emperor had every tenth man executed (to "decimate") and still they refused. Soon all 1,500 were executed. So much time and money was invested by the state in the training of veteran soldiers that it is unlikely that the practical Romans would execute an entire legion, still, it's a good story.

1692- Seven more witches were hanged in Salem, Mass. When the daughter of the Royal Governor of the Massachusetts Colony was accused, the Governor finally stepped in and stopped the madness. He overturned the decisions of the Salem court and ordered its disbandment. These were the last witch executions in America.

1761- King George III’s coronation in London. Unlike his two George forebears who clung to their German Hanoverian roots, George III spoke English without an accent. All the great men of the day were there like Pitt the Elder, Edmund Burke and Dr. Samuel Johnson. In the crowd in front of Westminster Abbey, dazzled by all the pomp and circumstance, was a young colonist from America named John Hancock. Presented at court, he received from his sovereign’s hands a silver snuffbox. Ironically this was the very same Hancock whose bold signature would one day adorn the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

1776- Nathan Hale was hanged as a spy by the British in occupied New York City. The Connecticut schoolteacher had only been a spy for nine days until he was ratted out by Colonel Robert Rogers, the French & Indian War hero, who was now a Tory Loyalist. One account later by a English officer named Montrose was that Hale’s last words were a quote from Addison’s play Cato: ”I regret that I have but one life to give for my country….”

1777- General John Burgoyne was considering falling back with his British army to Canada after being stopped at Saratoga New York. But this day he changed his mind after getting a message from General Henry Clinton who said he was marching north from New York City to rescue. Clinton didn’t get much further than White Plains, and the delay proved fatal to “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne and his army.

1792- The French Revolutionaries declare the Kingdom of France a Republic.

1828- SHAKA ZULU, The "Black Napoleon" was assassinated. Shaka took the Zulu tribe from obscurity and created the largest centralized empire in sub-Saharan Africa. He created military units, tactics and societal structures that enabled the Zulu to take on the Boers and later the British Empire. In his old age Shaka's rule became increasingly harsh and arbitrary, so his brother Mbulazi killed him. Shaka's descendants run the Inkatha Freedom Party in South Africa today.

1910- 15 year old button sewer Bessie Abramowitz led the Great Chicago Garment Workers Strike.

1925- Lon Chaney’s horror classic film The Phantom of the Opera premiered.

1927- The Dempsey-Tunney championship fight. Tunney wins in the famous 'long count', meaning the referee delayed the count because Dempsey wouldn’t return to his neutral corner. The extra time allowed Tunney to recover his wits and continue the fight to victory. Jack Dempsey was world heavyweight champion for ten years but retired a year later.

1947- A C-54 Skymaster flies over the Atlantic using the first automatic pilot control.

1963- Davy Crockett at the Alamo with Fess Parker premiered on Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color TV show.

1964- The T.V. series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. premiered. “Open Channel D, Please..”

1964- Jerome Robbins’ “The Fiddler on the Roof “ opened on Broadway. Based on the story “Tevye and His Daughters” by Scholom Alecheim in 1894. In 1953 Jerome Robbins had named names to the HUAC committee to save his career. Now in Fiddler he had to use blacklisted actors like Zero Mostel and Beatrice Arthur who despised him.

1967- Farewell voyage of the Queen Mary, in service since 1936.

1975- A emotionally unstable FBI worker named Sarah Jane Moore tried to assassinate President Gerald Ford in front of the Saint Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Her gun arm was deflected at the last second by a man named Bill Sipple. In the subsequent media attention, Sipple was outed as a gay man and his career was damaged. “I can’t see what my sexual orientation had to do with saving the President’s life!”

1976- TV show Charlie’s Angels premiered. It made a star out of Farrah Fawcett.

1979- Hanna Barbera's Super Globetrotter's Show, featuring Multi-Man, Sphere Man, Gizmo-Man, Spaghetti-Man and Fluid-Man.

1980- Proctor & Gamble announced a recall of millions of tampons following several deaths from a rare infection called Toxic Shock Syndrome.

1984- Michael Eisner named CEO of the Walt Disney Corporation.

1994- Friends TV show premiered.

1996- Seymour Cray, genius engineer who designed the most powerful supercomputers for the Control Data Corporation and Cray Computers, was killed in a car accident. He was 71.

2011- Scientists at the CERN accelerator claimed to make a particle go faster than the speed of light, something Einstein said could not be done.
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Yesterday’s question: What is a cassis-belli? As in Trump has yet to make a convincing cassis belli over North Korea.

Answer: It means to make the case for war. In most civilized countries, you need a reason to go to war beyond “ I dare ya. I double dare ya….”


Sept 21, 2017
September 21st, 2017

Question: What is a cassis-belli? As in Trump has yet to make a convincing cassis belli over North Korea.

Question Answered below: What was the difference between the ancient gods Hermes and Mercury?
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History for 9/21/2017
Birthdays: Louis Joliet of the explorers Marquette & Joliet, Chuck Jones, Gustav Holst, H.G. Wells, Stephen King, Cecil Fielder, Rob Morrow, Larry Hagman, Ricky Lake, Fanny Flagg, Ethan Coen of the Coen Brothers is 60, Leonard Cohen- not one of the Coen Brothers, Faith Hill, Jerry Bruckheimer, Nicole Richie is 37, Bill Murray is 67

454 A.D.- Flavius Aetius, a Romanized Vandal who as commander of the decaying Roman Empire's legions had stopped Attila the Hun, was assassinated by his boss Emperor Valentinian III. Valentinian couldn't think of a way to catch Aetius alone, so he just bade him approach his throne, and as he leaned in, Valentinian stabbed him in the neck himself right in front of the horrified court. Later, when Valentinian boasted that he had done well in disposing of Aetius, his counsellor Sidonius Apollinaris reacted, "Whether well or not, I do not know. But I know that you have cut off your right hand with your left.” Aetius's family got their revenge and assassinated Valentinian later. Aetius has been called The Last Roman.

1327- English King Edward II was openly gay with his courtiers Piers Gaveston and later Hugh Despencer. In the Middle Ages, it was okay to be gay if you were a big, homicidal mo-fo like Richard Lionheart, but Edward lost battles to Scottish King Robert the Bruce. So he was overthrown by his own Queen Isabella the She-Wolf of France and her lover Roger Mortimer. This day King Edward was murdered in Berkeley Castle. They shoved a red hot spear up his rectum, so it would leave no outside marks.
Edwards only son, Edward III, later killed everyone involved.

1589- During the French Religious Wars, King Henry IV defeated a large Catholic League army at the castle of Arques. He wrote a friend later:” Go hang yourself my brave Creon, we were at Arques and you weren’t!”

1599- A Swiss tourist named Thomas Platter was visiting London and kept a diary of his trip. He wrote on this day he attended the play The Tragedie of Julius Caesar by Master William Shakespeare at the New Globe Theatre, and enjoyed it very much. This is the first written account of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar being performed, and Shakespeare was probably one of the actors.

1745- Battle of Prestonpans- Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Scots defeated the first small English force sent against him and returned to Edinburgh in triumph. The English in London were alarmed, but at this time a new patriotic song had been written for King George II, it was called GOD SAVE THE KING, the first true national anthem. 1769- MAYER ROTHSCHILD, a dealer in antique coins and furniture in the ghetto of Frankfurt, set up his first bank. He was soon managing the Elector of Hesse's income from selling his soldiers, the Hessians, to Britain to fight the American Revolution. Mayer and his sons built the Rothschild financial empire. Rothschild banks lent the British Empire the money to buy the Suez Canal project from the Khedive of Egypt, they built the first European railroads, and you all know the reputation of wines like Chateau Mouton Rothschild, named for the street Louis Rothschild's house was on, the Rue Mouton.
A Rothschild was the first Jewish person in the English House of Lords, and even German chancellor Otto Von Bismarck set a kosher dinner table while courting a Rothschild bank loan. Every baby in the family is born worth $62 million dollars, then it's uphill from there.

1776- A fire broke out in war devastated New York City, now occupied by British troops. The fire started near Whitehall Street and burned down most of the city, including the spire of Trinity Church at the foot of Wall St.
1779- The Spanish governor of New Spain, the Marquis de Galves began his military campaign to help George Washington’s Revolutionaries by taking Baton Rouge and Natchez from the British.
1793- The French Revolutionary Government throws out the calendar and makes a new one. So today was the FIRST DAY OF THE FIRST DECADE (week) OF THE FIRST MONTH OF YEAR II OF THE REPUBLIC ! If you didn't get it, you were guillotined.

1809- Two senior members of the British government, Whig leader Sir George Canning and Tory Foreign Secretary Viscount Castlereagh got so mad at each other that they fought a duel with pistols on Putney Heath (southwest suburb of London near Wimbledon). Sir George received 'a fine wound in the thigh' and Castlereagh got one of his buttons shot off.

1846- Irish drygoods dealer Alexander T. Stewart opened a store in New York City that was so large he put the various items in their own departments. the first U.S. Department Store. He called it his Marble Palace, and gave it the first large glass display windows, which one newspaper labeled “A useless extravagance.”

1855- Queen Victoria met nurse Florence Nightingale for the first time. Miss Nightingale never had an official title or rank in the British Government but used her influence and wealth to force major reforms in the way the military treated the sick. 1862- King William of Prussia makes a minor junker (nobleman) Otto Von Bismarck premier-president and as well as chief foreign minister. Bismarck goes on to make him first Kaiser of a unified Germany (1871) and that Germany a world power. Bismarck's conservative, militaristic style of politics swung Germany away from development of middleclass representative government and set the stage for the totalitarian regimes in the twentieth century.
Bismarck also founded the centralized cradle-to-grave welfare state for the average citizen that the rest of the world envies today. At this time Germany was a loose coupling of 38 countries, some so small they made those Victor Herbert operettas so charming. A parliament of German nationalists had tried to form a plan for unifying Germany by meeting in Frankfurt and drafting a declaration. But Bismarck told the Prussian Reichstag that Germany will not be built by parliaments and papers but by blood and iron!

1897- The famous column by Frank Church in Joseph Pulitzer's New York World first appeared with the answer to 8 year old Virginia O’Hanlon’s question : " ...and yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus..."

1904- Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce died of natural causes at 64 on a reservation in Washington State. Others say he died of a broken heart.

1915- The British archaeological treasure Stonehenge was sold at auction to a Mr Chubb, who promptly donated it to the British nation.1917-The Gulf Between, the first film shot in Technicolor.

1920- The Kimberly Clark Company introduces Kotex ladies napkins in a hospital-blue box. Before that women had to wear something like a linen diaper that they washed and re-used.

1938- This day the Long Island Express- A force 3 Hurricane slammed into New England killing 600. The Boston area was hit with 120 mile an hour winds and downtown Providence was flooded under 13 feet of water.

1942- The first Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber flew in a test flight in Seattle.1944- An internal FBI memo concludes "Communist infiltration of the Hollywood Guilds and unions and the only organization that could stop them was the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals" a conservative publicity group that included Walt Disney, John Wayne and Gary Cooper.

1945- Disney short "Hockey Homicide" the first Sport-Goofy directed by Jack Kinney.

1948- the first Texaco Star Theater television show featuring a minor nightclub comedian named Milton Berle. Berle’s antics make him a major star and with Arthur Godfrey’s show help grow television from a scientific curiosity to the entertainment every household had to have. For ten years the U.S. public never missed Uncle Miltie on TV.

1950- General MacArthur’s UN Army fought their way into North Korean occupied Seoul. On a hilltop the First Marines Div raised a US flag on a loose drainpipe found near a local school. This caused one regular Army commander to complain: “Ever since Iwo Jima, the Marines never pass up an opportunity to be photographed raising a flag over something!”

1954- The USS Nautilus, the first nuclear powered submarine, was launched in Groton Conn.

1957- General Rudolph Ivanovich Abel, the KGB's top spy in the U.S. for ten years, was arrested in New York. Abel was a master at devising ingenious ways to conceal microfilm, using secret spaces in rusty bolts, shaving brushes and fountain pens. Abel served four years in prison but in 1962 was exchanged for downed U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers.

1957- The Perry Mason TV show with Raymond Burr premiered.

1961- The Washington Senators baseball club played its last game before moving to Texas. They lost. The US capitol would not have a hometown team again until 2005.

1970-first ABC Monday Night Football - Cleveland Browns defeated the NY Jets led
by Broadway Joe Namath, 24-21. Announcers- Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell and retired Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dandy Don Meredith.

1970- 20 year old Bill Murray was arrested at O’Hare Airport for flying with ten pounds of marijuana. Dropped out of college, His older brother landed him a tryout at Chicago’s Second City Improv comedy club.

1981- President Ronald Reagan appointed Judge Sandra Day O’Connor to be the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court.

1985- “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straights hit #1 in the Billboard charts. Writer Mark Knopfler was inspired by a workman in an electronics store making fun of celebrities on MTV and wrote the conversation down. The CG animation done by London company Mainframe for the video was also groundbreaking.

1989- General Colin Powell became the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

1989- The Saudi government publicly beheaded 16 terrorists who tried to plant bombs in the Great Mosque in Mecca. The men were Kuwaitis trained in Iran.
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Question: What was the difference between the ancient gods Hermes and Mercury?

Answer: Nothing. Mercury was the Roman name for Hermes.


Sept 20, 2017
September 20th, 2017

Question: What was the difference between the ancient gods Hermes and Mercury?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What do these people all have in common” Leopold Damrosch, Gustavo Dudamel, Leopold Stokowski, Nadia Boulanger, Simone Young.
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History for 9/20/2017
Birthdays: Alexander the Great -357 BC, Upton Sinclair, Jelly Roll Morton, Red Auerbach, Guy Lafluer, Fernando Rey, Ann Meara, Rachel Roberts, Jonathan Hardy, Pia Lindstrom, Gary Cole, Fran Drescher, George R.R. Martin is 69, Nancy Beiman, Sophia Loren is 83

356BC- The Great Temple of Diana of Ephesus was destroyed by fire. It was said to be the work of a lunatic arsonist from Halicarnassus. The temple had been built as a gift to the goddess by King Croesus the Lydian who had so much wealth the phrase “To be as rich as Croesus “ is still in use. Why had the goddess would allow her house to be consumed so cruelly? The priests explained that she was probably too busy overseeing the birth of Alexander the Great to keep a watch on her own house.

The Ephesians rebuilt the huge temple and 400 year later Saint Paul was thrown out of it for preaching his weird new religion. The cult statue of Artemis or Diana had dozens of breasts, which some describe as bull testicles. They are symbols of fertility.

188AD- Feast of St. Eustachius. Eustachius Placidius was a general under Trajan, who after profession his Christianity, was locked in a bronze bull and roasted to death.

450AD-Battle of Chalons-Attila the Hun is decisively defeated by Theodoric the Visigoth and Aetius, the general of what remained of the dying Roman Empires’ legions. Attila's shaman's had predicted a great chief would die that day. Theodoric wound up being the one killed, even as his warriors were winning the battle.

1400- The Welsh under Owen Glendower revolt against English rule. Supposedly the fierce bowmen marched into battle to the sound of harps. Owen had captured English Prince Edwin Mortimer. He not only treated him well but he married Owens daughter creating the Tudor family of British monarchs.

1519- Fernand de Magellan sailed from Seville, Spain. His original mission from King Charles I was to seize the Moluccas from Portugal, now part of Indonesia. Instead his fleet was the first to sail around the world.

1670- English poet John Milton published his last works “Paradise Regained” and “Samson Agonistes”. He was blind but dictated to a secretary who wrote down his poems. When he felt the inspiration he would call him by saying:” Come. I need to be milked.”

1714- George Ist of Hanover entered his new capitol of London as King of England. The German George feared his new subjects as treacherous revolutionists who’d overthrown and executed their earlier kings. So he deliberately waited out the huge throngs lining the streets come to welcome him. He slipped into the city in the dead of night, after most had gone home to bed disappointed. George never bothered to learn English.” The English have asked me to rule them, not to speak to them!”

1746- Bonnie Prince Charlie escaped Scotland to France, the Highland Rebellion ended.

1777- No-Flint Grey- In the dead of night British troops surprise attack American colonial forces under Gen Mad Anthony Wayne asleep in their camp at Paoli Tavern. British Commander Charles Grey ordered his men not to waste time loading their muskets, but just go at them silently with the bayonet. To ensure his order was obeyed he collected their musket flints, for which he earned the nickname “No Flint Grey”. Paoli Tavern was called a massacre by the press because the perception was 500 men were stabbed as they slept Fact is only 150 casualties were reported, and George Washington had used the same kind of surprise attack on the Hessians at Trenton earlier that year.

1792-BATTLE OF VALMY- French revolutionaries (The Sans-cullottes, without breeches- aka rich people pants) mow down the Prussian army, the best soldiers in Europe, who were marching on Paris to suppress their revolution and rescue King Louis XVI. The cool, professional Prussian troops, used to the powdered bewigged, silk stockings type of soldier, had underestimated the passions unleashed by the enraged masses shouting "Aux Armes, Citoyen!"
Another problem the Germans had was an excess of diarrhea among the ranks from eating too many grapes in the Champagne region. The great German poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe was there as an adviser to his patron the Duke of Saxe-Weimar. Although Goethe did not fight, he stood cool under fire. Watching the spectacle Goethe predicted: “From today and from this place begins a new epoch in the History of the World”.

1803- Irish patriot Robert Emmett was executed for leading an abortive uprising against the British. His final words became famous: “ Let no man write my epitaph. When my country takes her place among the nations of the Earth, then, and not till then, Let my epitaph be written.”

1814- A new poem by Georgetown lawyer Francis Scott Key was first published in the Baltimore Patriot. First called the Defense of Fort McHenry. Keys brother in law Judge Nicholson suggested it sounded good sung to the tune To Anacreon in Heaven’. Soon everyone was singing it as the Star Spangled Banner.

1830-The first National Convention of African-Americans convened.

1839- The steamer British Queen first brought news of the invention of Photography and the Daguerreotype process to the U.S. Soon everyone is happily snapping away.

1853- Elisha Otis revolutionized building construction by demonstrating his elevator that didn’t fall when the cable was cut.

1863-BATTLE OF CHICKAMAGUA- Bloody Civil War battle in Eastern Tennessee. Union General Rosecrans moved some troops to fill an imagined gap in his line and opened up a real gap that Confederate General Bragg exploited to rout the Yankees. The Union army was only saved by the rearguard defense of Gen. George H. Thomas, who earned the name "Rock of Chickamagua". The fighting was unusually vicious, when soldiers ran out of bullets they threw rocks, clubbed and strangled each other.

Lincoln's opinion of the losing commander, Rosecrans:" Old Rosy's acts stunned, like a duck that's been struck on the head." Rosecrans was a devout Catholic and had the habit of crossing himself frequently and sitting with his head in his hands. He had verbally insulted most of the top officers of the U.S. Army, yet despite this his troops loved him

1870- The Italian Army captures Rome from the Papal guards and allied French troops and finished the unification of Italy. The city was under Napoleon III's protection until he was defeated and overthrown by the Germans in the Franco Prussian War. The status of the Pope in an Italian Rome remained ambiguous until 1927, when Mussolini signed the Concordat (Treaty) creating the Vatican City-state.

1918- Lawrence of Arabia and the Arab army enter Damascus. Lawrence had inspired Prince Faisal's Bedouins that they were fighting for their own all-Arab nation. But the British and the French had no intention of honoring that pledge and that knowledge gnawed at Lawrence. Arabia was divided into British and French protectorates (a civil servant named Speeckes created Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Palestine and Saudi Arabia with a stick in the sand) and Lawrence returned to England a spiritually broken, albeit famous, man.

1942- SUPERSNIPER- This day during the terrible Battle of Stalingrad a young shepherd boy from the Ural Mountains named Vassily Zaitsiev arrived to fight the Nazis. Zaistsiev turned out to be the deadliest sniper since Sgt. York. In ten days he shot forty Germans, mostly officers- one man, one bullet. The Germans got so upset they sent for a top marksman from Bavaria named Major Koenig.
For the next few weeks the two supersnipers waged a private duel in the ruins of the city Stalingrad. In mid-October, Zaitsiev finally got Koenig. Vassily Zaitsev survived the war and his rifle is lovingly preserved in the Volgograd Museum today. The duel was made into a movie called Enemy at the Gates with Jude Law.

1944- Now that the Pacific War was winding down martial law was lifted on the Hawaiian Islands. It had been imposed since Pearl Harbor. One tragic result for the servicemen was that the first thing the restored chief of Honolulu police did was shut down the busy brothels of Waikiki. The area known as Hotel Street was ringed with houses servicing servicemen. One sailor reminisced: I got stewed, screwed and tattooed, all in one night.” The quarters most famous hooker, Chicago-born Jean O’Hara said: “ I think I slept with the entire US Navy.”

1947- Tex Avery’s MGM cartoon Slap Happy Lion.

1952- CBS premiered the Jackie Gleason Show- The Honeymooners".

1955- The Phil Silvers Show, originally entitled You’ll Never Get Rich” debuted on CBS. Silvers played con-man soldier Sgt. Bilko.

1973- Musician Jim Croce (30) died in a charter plane crash near Natchitoches Louisiana.

1977- During the premiere episode of the 5th season of the show Happy Days, Henry Winkler’s Fonzi character water-skis in his trademark black leather jacket and jumps a ramp over a live shark. This caused writer Jon Hein to coin the term Jumping the Shark. It has come to mean pinpointing the moment a quality show or person descends into banal silliness.

1979- The Central African Empire of Boukassa Ist was overthrown with the aid of 700 French paratroops. Jean Bedel Boukassa was known for repression, and spending one quarter of the gross national income of his nation just on his coronation. He had a golden throne made based on Napoleon Bonaparte’s, but changed it when he saw it wasn’t opulent enough. The Central African Republic was declared.

1984- The Cosby Show premiered.

1989- A Los Angeles court found Richard Ramirez guilty of the Night Stalker crimes- 43 counts including 13 murders, rape, burglary and sodomy. He would draw a Satanic pentagram in the victim’s blood at the scene.

2001- In his first address to congress since the 9-11 attack, President George W. Bush declared a “War on Terror” that would be ongoing.

2001- Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away released in the US.
The first Japanese anime film to win an Oscar.
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Question: What do these people all have in common” Leopold Damrosch, Gustavo Dudamel, Leopold Stokowski, Nadia Boulanger, Simone Young.

Answer: They are all symphony orchestra conductors.


Sept 19, 2017
September 19th, 2017

Question: What do these people all have in common” Leopold Damrosch, Gustavo Dudamel, Leopold Stokowski, Nadia Boulanger, Simone Young.

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: Who was Gilgamesh?
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History for 9/19/2017
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, Saladin, Hungarian nationalist Leopold Kossuth, Brian Epstein, "Momma" Cass Elliot, Frank Tashlin, Dr. Ferry Porsche- inventor of the Porsche race car, Twiggy– real name Leslie Hornby, William Golding author of The Lord of the Flies, Paul Williams is 77, Adam West, Frances Farmer, David McCallum, Duke Snyder, Jeremy Irons is 69, Jimmy Fallon is 43.

1356-BATTLE OF POITIERS- In the Hundred Years War Edward the "Black Prince" destroyed the French army and captured the French King and Dauphin. French King John II "The Good" was held for ransom in the Tower of London. Once there he found he could have all the benefits of Kingship without any of the stress, so he partied hardy. Even when his son, the Dauphin Charles V got his freedom, and started to organize a heroic resistance to the English invasion, John the Good ignored his son’s pleas to escape. Some apologist historians say John sacrificed his freedom for the French Nation. Other historians like Henri Guizot and found his budgets spent on dwarves, feasts, mistresses, and hunting dogs, "disgraceful".

1493- Pope Alexander VI had never made it a secret that he had a growing family of children. He wanted to make his son Caesar Borgia a Cardinal at 26 and his daughter Lucretzia a duchess but first there was the problem that they were illegitimate. Well, that’s no problem for the Vicar of Christ! This day he declared them legitimate offspring, of his cousin. Everyone winked at the twisted logic and went along with it.

1580- The family of Miguel de Cervantes ransomed the writer from the Barbary Pirates. He wrote Don Quixote de la Mancha in 1604.

1692- One of the few men convicted in the Salem Witch Trials was executed. Pilgrim Rev. Giles Corey had a wooden board laid on top of him and his neighbors piled large stones on top until he was squished to death. At one point his tongue was sticking so grotesquely out of his head that the magistrate pushed it back into his mouth with the tip of his cane. His family descendent was Walt Disney.

1741- When the Austrian emperor died leaving only daughter Maria Theresa as heir, the surrounding powers like Prussia and France horned in to carve up her territory, the War of Austrian Succession began. Many lascivious cartoons were made of the symbolic ravishing of the young woman monarch. But Maria Theresa was made of tougher stuff. On this day, she went to her Hungarian parliament and in a dramatic piece of political theater, holds her infant son aloft and calls for the defense of the Homeland. The Hungarian noblemen go wild, and hundreds of drawn swords wave in the air. The people rise en-masse and drive out the invaders. Maria Theresa reigns as one of the strongest leaders of the XVIII century. 1777- First Battle of Saratoga, also called Freeman’s Farm- Gen. Johnny Burgoyne's British invasion down the Hudson was stopped. Burgoyne’s plan was to cut the rebel colonies in two with his thrust down from Canada being met from the South by Lord Howe coming up from New York City and another force east from Oswego. But Lord Howe disregarded the plan in favor of another shot at George Washington and Philadelphia. Back in London, Lord Charles Germain neglected to write out the necessary orders for Howe to support Burgoyne because he was late to go on his holiday vacation and couldn’t be bothered.

And the Oswego force was stopped by colonials using a lunatic hermit named Ute Schuyler who spooked the British-allied Indians into deserting. Algonquins thought the mentally ill were possessed by Hipi-Manitou spirits and so were bad luck. The net result was Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne's army was alone in the forest, far from supplies and surrounded by the Americans.1783- Jacques Montgolfier launches the first hot air balloon in Paris. The first aeronauts were a sheep, duck and rooster. Montgolfier made his fortune in paper. To this day if you get some high quality stationary with a balloon and French flag in the watermark that is Papier Canson et Montgolfier, his company.

1796- President George Washington’s farewell address was first published in Claypools American Daily Advertiser, then reprinted in other papers throughout the country. Washington warned to “avoid entangling foreign alliances and asked for national unity above partisan politics. He thought political parties were a big mistake. But party politics had firmly taken root. One opposition paper called Washington’s speech “the last loathings of a sick mind..”

1797-The Marquis de Lafayette was released from an Austrian prison after negotiations successfully conducted by Napoleon. Lafayette at first tried to channel the passions unleashed by the French Revolution to forge the kind of democracy he saw in America. But it almost got him guillotined and after he escaped across the French frontier the Austrians locked him up. He rotted in prison for five years. Napoleon hoped to use Lafayette as an ally in his grab for power, but Lafayette laid low during the period of Napoleon’s Empire.

1819- On a beautiful English autumn day poet John Keats was moved to write his Ode to Autumn.1827- Fight at the Vidalia Sandbar- Famous Mississippi gamblers brawl in which Jim Bowie uses his famous knife to carve up a gang of sore losers who shot him twice. The Bowie knife may not have been designed by Jim Bowie but by his brother Rezin Bowie, who wanted an intimidating blade to brandish after he almost died in an similar altercation.

1841- The first railroad tracks to cross an international border was completed. From Strasbourg France, to Basel Switzerland.

1849-First commercial laundry set up in Oakland Cal.

1864- Battle of Winchester- General Phil Sheridan's Yankees whup Jubal Early's Confederates. The feisty son of an Irish ditch digger, Abe Lincoln called Sheridan "A runty little man with a bullet shaped head and not enough neck to hang him." But he proved his value today. He rode fearlessly down the battle line shouting to his men:" Pour it into them boys! Knock every sonofabitch down before you !" One sonofabitch killed was Confederate General George S. Patton, the grandfather of the World War II general. Sheridan's army had no less than three future U.S. presidents on staff- Gen James Garfield, Gen. Rutherford Hayes and Major William McKinley.

1876- Melvin Bissell of Grand Rapids Michigan invented his carpet sweeper.

1881- PRESIDENT JAMES GARFIELD DIED- Garfield was shot in the back at Washington rail station by Charles Guiteau on July 2nd.The President lingered these many weeks in agony before finally dying. Garfield might have lived had it not been for all the doctors poking around in his wound without antiseptic conditions. Even inventor Alexander Graham Bell was invited to search for the bullet with a newly invented metal detector. James Garfield died of blood poisoning and infection. Interestingly enough, for the two and a half months the President was out of action and Congress was not called into session, yet the U.S.A. ran just fine.

1893- New Zealand becomes the first nation in the world to give women the vote.

1898- THE RACE TO FASHODA- It is difficult to imagine that World War I might have been Britain vs. France instead of Germany. Since 1832, France and Britain had been competing to see who could build a bigger colonial empire and grab up more of the Third World. This "scramble for Africa" reached it's climax with a race to a small mud fort in the center of Africa called Fashoda. It was critical to Britain owning to the whole Nile River and land lengthwise down from Egypt, as well as critical to France's claim widthwise from Atlantic Senegal to East coast Ethiopia.
On this day at Fashoda the race climaxed with the French commander Captain Marchand face to face with the British General Kitchener, exchanging champagne toasts while cordially threatening to annihilate the other. Both Paris and London threatened war. The French Army, exhausted by the Dreyfus scandal and lack of public support, backed down by November. The British offered a compromise to evacuate Egypt as soon as the political situation settled down. They left Egypt in 1956.
As for the Africans? No one much cared what they thought. The Dinka people of southern Sudan referred to this period as: "The time the world was spoilt."

1926- THE BIG ONE- Before Irma, this day Miami Florida was destroyed by a huge Hurricane. They didn’t have names then. The storm stopped a real estate boom in South Florida. SnowBirds from up north invested millions in land that turned out to be under water. The Marx Brothers poked fun at the craze in their 1929 film The Cocoanuts. As Groucho said:” Florida Folks. Sunshine, Sunshine, now let’s get the auction started before there is a tornado.”

1931- The Marx Brothers comedy “Monkey Business” premiered.

1934- Bruno Richard Hauptman was arrested and charged with the kidnap murder of the Lindbergh baby. He pleaded innocence up until he fried in the electric chair, but he was found with a significant part of the ransom money on him.

1936- Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald record “Indian Love Call”. When I’m Calling You, Oooh-ohhoohhh, Ohhhh-ohhh-oohhhhhhh”, etc.

1939- Geli Raubel, Adolf Hitler’s 23 year old niece was found dead with a gunshot in the head. Hitler had a passion for his niece that she did not return. It remains a mystery whether she killed herself or she was murdered, and made to look like a suicide. Even though Eva Braun worshipped him, years later Adolf admitted Geli was the only woman he ever really loved.

1942- 75 Years Ago. Chuck Jones cartoon The Dover Boys, released

1945- Little Shirley Temple, now all grown up, married actor John Agar, who she met on the set of John Ford's film Fort Apache. The RKO studio turned the marriage into a media circus by inviting 12,000 people. John Ford teased Agar mercilessly, calling him Mr. Temple. John and Shirley divorced five years later. Shirley Temple remarried and became a career diplomat, and John Agar went on to star in sci-fi flicks like 'Tarantula", The Brain from Planet Aurous". Eventually he built his own theme dinosaur park by an Arkansas freeway, "John Agar's House of Kong'.

1945- Klaus Fuchs, a spy in the British delegation member of the Los Alamos Atomic bomb program, delivered the plans of the plutonium 'Nagasaki" bomb to a courier for Soviet intelligence in Moscow.

1955- Juan Peron, the President of Argentina, was overthrown in a military coup.

1961- This is the night Betty and Barney Hill claimed they were picked up by a flying saucer and experimented on. It is one of the more famous abduction stories because it was one of the first, and it holds up under hypnosis. Hey, what are you planning to do with that anal probe?

1970- The Mary Tyler Moore TV Show premiered.

1985- Mexico City devastated by a large earthquake 8.1 on the Richter scale. The next day the city was rocked again by a 7.5 earthquake. 10,000 people died. Curiously enough 80% of the cities ancient landmarks were undamaged, only modern buildings collapsed. People camped out in Aztec ruins, figuring they’ve stood for centuries and would stand now.

1991- UTZI- Two German tourists hiking in the Austrian Alps discovered the remains of an Ice Age man, killed with an arrow over 5,000 years ago. The body, exposed from the ice by global warming, was in such an excellent state of preservation, that they thought it was a modern homicide. Called Utzi, or Frozen Fritz, he was 42. He had 50 tattoos, a copper axe, a full stomach and Lime Disease.

1994- The US invaded Haiti- again. We also invaded in 1919 and 1922.

1995- Orville Reddenbacher 'the Popcorn king' died.

1995- The NY Times and Washington Post printed the 35,000 word manifesto of the Unabomber. He promised to stop sending bombs to people if they printed his message. He accused technology of subverting American society and that the Democrats stoke the fears of the poor, and the Republicans believe in nothing but pure self-interest.

2004- Chinese leader Zhiang zsi Minh retired and handed over his offices to his successor Hu Zhin Tao. It marks the first peaceful regular transition of power in China since the Manchu emperors over a century ago.
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Yesterday’s Question: Question: Who was Gilgamesh?

Answer: Gilgamesh is the demigod hero of the Epic of Gilgamesh, written in Ur in 2,100 BC, and considered the earliest work of literature in human recorded history.


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