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Blog Posts from October 2008:

October 31st, 2008 Halloween
October 31st, 2008

Question: Why are conservatives in England called Tories?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: In 1993, when U.S. special forces were trapped in Mogadishu, the Black Hawk Down Raid, what nation’s forces helped rescue them?
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History for 10/31/2008 Halloween
Birthdays: Jan Vermeer, John Keats, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek, John Candy, Dale Evans, Jane Pauley, David Ogden Stiers, Dan Rather , Lee Grant, Ethel Waters, Juliet Low-founder of the American Girl Scouts, Rob Schneider, Vanilla Ice, Stephen Rea, Rob Schneider, Peter Jackson, Ollie Johnston

HAPPY ALL HALLOWS EVE- The night before the Feast of All Souls, beginning the Christian season of Advent, was confused in Medieval custom with one of the four Druid fire festivals, All Hallows. In Ireland it was called Samhein and in Scotland at this time all hearth fires in the land are extinguished then re-lit from the fire at the sacred grove. Add to this the early Church's attempt to eradicate the pagan custom of giving food to departed spirits -Greek Anthesterion in Feb., Roman Feralia and Lemuria in May- by moving the date to honor the dead to the Feast of All Souls on November 1st. Many cultures have customs of putting food offerings on doorsteps so invisible spirits would give you good luck. So today's the last night for the devil and other ghosties to romp before the Holiday Season (Advent) begins.

1517- THE REFORMATION BEGINS- Augustine monk and theology professor Martin Luther had had enough of the growing corruption of the Church. Pope Leo X the party-animal Pope who had succeeded Pope Julius II the Warrior Pope, who succeeded Pope Alexander VI Borgia the “totally-out-of-control” pope, ordered a new sale of Indulgences throughout Europe to pay off a loan on St. Peter's construction to the Augsberg banker Jacob Fugger . An indulgence was sort of " after-life insurance" absolving you of sin. When Wilhelm Tetzel, the local Bishop selling indulgences showed up in his area Luther blew his cork. On a wagon Tetzel had a big barrel that had written on it: "For every Coin tinkles in my Well, another Soul is spared from Hell."
Luther nailed 95 theses or arguments against Roman primacy in religion to the door of the Palace Church, in effect challenging Tetzel to debate, the customary university challenge. He picked today to do it because he knew tomorrow being the Feast of All Saints there would be a large crowd to read it. That Martin Luther wasn't tortured and made toast like Jan Hus or Wycliff in an earlier era was he was protected by German princes like Frederick the Wise of Saxony who were tired of sending as much as a third of their GNP to Italy. This is the official start date for the Protestant Reformation.

1663- THE GREAT PLAGUE OF LONDON- English writer Samuel Pepys noted in his famous diary: “The plague is much in Amsterdam and we in fears of it here”. The plague took another year to reach London but when it did it decimated the population for most of 1665 and 1666 until burned out by the Great Fire of London.

1820- PAPA HAYDN’S HEAD. Famous composer Franz Josef Haydn had died in 1809. The powerful Ezterhazy Family, who were great patrons of classical music, built a beautiful new tomb for him in 1820. There was only one problem. When they exhumed Haydn’s coffin it was found that his head was missing! It seems the Ezterhazy attorney Rosenbaum was a fan of Phrenology, studying the human mind through measuring bumps on the skull. He ordered Haydn’s head secretly removed three days after the burial for study. When Austrian police questioned Rosenbaum he hid Haydn’s skull under his wifes’ skirts. ( Darling, would you please do me a favor..?) The head bounced around several Viennese musical societies until it was Re-Capitated, returned to Papa Haydn’s tomb in 1939.

1846-THE DONNER PARTY MAKES CAMP- A wagon train of families, pinned down by an early autumn blizzard in the High Sierra Donner Pass made camp at Lake Truckee only 150 miles from help. They took this route because it was advertised back east by a charlatan named Lansford Hastings as a short cut. All their oxen were dead and their food almost gone and it was the worst winter for a generation. The hapless pioneers weren't rescued until the following April! In the meantime they starved, ate tree bark and dogs and finally resorted to cannibalism of their dead. Interestingly enough their Indian guides were the only ones who refused to join in the cannibalistic feast, they ran off. The Donner men caught up with the Indians, killed them and ate them too. So much for calling them savages. Of 86 pioneers, 41 died.....Oh, and the guy who sold them the map was eventually shot by one of the pioneer’s angry relatives.

1864- Nevada statehood. Abe Lincoln had rushed the application of Nevada territory into the union because he needed the new states extra votes to guarantee passage of his anti-slavery and civil rights amendments into the Constitution.

1887- Charles Goodyear takes out the first patent for a rubber tire.

1914- In World War One during the First Battle of Ypres a British counterattack mauled the Second Bavarian Reserve division, then holding a small French chateau. Less than a third of the Bavarians made it out alive, but one of the survivors was private Adolph Hitler. It’s one of those interesting“what if’s “ of history, if Hitler had been killed.

1916- Charles Taze Russell , founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses, died of a heart attack on a train in Texas. He had predicted the Second Coming of Christ would happen in 1874 but no one would be aware of it and the world would end October 2,1914. He had asked to be buried in a Roman toga so his followers wrapped him in his Pullman car sheets.

1922- Communist leader Lenin was getting sicker from his many strokes and would not last long Russians who wondered who would rule Russia next. Then people began to notice something curious. Everyone party undersecretary Josef Stalin didn’t like, seemed to wind up dead. Felix Frunze, a top Bolshevik party functionary close to Lenin, went in for surgery of an ulcer. He had a strong constitution and felt healthy but Comrade Stalin insisted he take precautions and have surgery to cure it once and for all. And wouldn’t ya know! While in surgery a doctor overdid Frunze’s chloroform and he died of kidney failure. Hmph, accidents will happen.

1926 –The great magician Harry Houdini died. His real name was Eric Weiss but he had seen a French magician named Houdin who had inspired him. Some college boys in Detroit asked the great magician if it was true he could withstand any punch. When he said yes while reading his mail a large student unexpectedly started punching him in the abdomen, rupturing his already aggrieved appendix. Perintoritis set in and he died on this day. He was buried in a coffin he had used for his escape acts. He promised his wife if there was an Afterlife he would contact her. She held a seance on every Halloween hoping for a message but none ever came. She gave up after ten years.

1931- First day of shooting on the MGM film Tarzan the Ape Man, with Olympic gold medal swimmer Johnny Weissmuller in the title role. Contrary to popular myth no one ever said “Me Tarzan, You Jane” in the film. MGM liked the films so much they never let Weissmuller star in any other type of film other than as Tarzan.

1936- NASA scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena call today Nativity Day, because it commemorates the first firing of a liquid fuel rocket under the Galcit program ( Guggenheim Aeronautics Laboratory California Institute of Technology ) later renamed the Jet Propulsion Lab in 1944.

1938- In a speech President Franklin D. Roosevelt warned of big corporate tycoons who try to influence American politics. “ Organized Money is as great a threat to American democracy as organized mobs!”

1941-the sculpture group of U.S. Presidents on Mount Rushmore completed. Instead of just their heads artist–designer Judson Borglum wanted the sculpture to go down to the figures waists but he died in early 1941 and with war on the horizon his son and chief engineer rushed to complete the heads as is.

1945- The "War of Hollywood" Ends. The CSU union strike, the film business's longest and ugliest, falls apart and many of the former members drift into IATSE locals.

1956- Brooklyn ended all trolleycar service.

1964- Barbera Streisand single “People, People who need People..” goes to number one.

1964- Today in a taped phone conversation FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover gave President Lyndon Johnson tips on how to spot a closet homosexual: “It’s a thing you just can’t tell sometimes…There are some people who walk kinda funny. That you might think are a little bit off or kinda queer..” FBI director Hoover was gay himself.

1984- India's Prime Minister Indira Ghandi was assassinated by her own Sikh bodyguards in revenge for her ordering the military storming of the Golden Temple of Amritsar earlier that year. While she lay dying her staff argued over who had the right to donate blood first.

1993- Rising young movie star River Phoenix overdosed and died on the street in front of the Viper Room night club in L.A after partying with Johnny Depp and Alicia Silverstone. The club is owned by movie star Depp and was once the Melody Room owned by Mobster Bugsy Seigel. Ironically as Phoenix was thrashing spasmodically people walked by unconcerned because it’s a common occurrence on the Sunset Strip.

2000- The first working crew blasted off from Kazakhstan to occupy the International Space Station. A NASA spokesman said ‘If all goes well today will mark the first day of Mans permanent colonization of Space. Yesterday was the last day that the cosmos would be completely devoid of human beings.”

2001- The acting Governor of Massachusetts officially overturned the convictions of the last six people executed in the Salem Witch Trials 300 years ago in 1692.
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Yesterday’s Question: In 1993, when U.S. special forces were trapped in Mogadishu, the Black Hawk Down Raid, what nation’s forces helped rescue them?

Answer: The 5th Pakistan Mountain Division.


October 30th, 2008 thurs
October 30th, 2008

Question: In 1993, when U.S. special forces were trapped in Mogadishu, the Black Hawk Down Raid, what nation’s forces helped rescue them?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Why is an old person called Methuselah?
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History for 10/30/2008
Birthdays: John Adams, Christopher Columbus, English playwright Richard Sheridan, Ezra Pound, Emily Post, Louis Malle, Henry Winkler, Charles Atlas, Ruth Gordon, Claude LeLouch, Dick Gautier, Louis Malle, Ted Williams, Grace Slick, Diego Maradona

1501-THE BALLET OF THE CHESTNUTS, or His Holiness throws an Orgy.
One of the most notorious examples of depravity in PreReformation Rome. Pope Alexander VI Borgia, with his children Cesare and Lucretia Borgia throw a party of parties at the Vatican. The wild revelry was highlighted by a race of nude prostitutes on hands and knees through an obstacle course of silver candlesticks gobbling up chestnuts. The pope later gave gifts to the courtiers and ladies who demonstrated the greatest sexual stamina.
On another occasion His Holiness closed off St. Peter's Square to worshipers to stage a bullfight. This was the kind of holy hedonism that drove the Protestant reformers nuts and caused the eventual rift in the Christian world. One participant in these revelries was the chef of the French ambassador, who was intrigued to see the guests getting their own plates of food from large tubs set in a row. He though this was a neat way to serve food. His name was Pierre Buffet.

1811- Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility published.

1938-"THE NIGHT THAT PANICKED AMERICA- 27 year old Orson Wells broadcast a radio update of H.G. Well’s story "The War of the Worlds". Despite periodic station announcements that it was only a fictional re-enactment, people across the U.S. go bonkers that an actual Martian invasion had landed in Grover’s Mill New Jersey. In Hollywood famed actor John Barrymore, drunk as usual, went over to his kennel of prize winning racing greyhounds and open their cage doors, saying: "Fend for yourselves!"

1941-The REUBEN JAMES INCIDENT-Five weeks before the Pearl Harbor attack the neutral U.S. destroyer Reuben James was torpedoed by a German U-boat, drowning dozens of American sailors. Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill thought this would be the incident to anger Americans enough into getting into World War Two like the Lusitania did a generation earlier. Woody Guthrie sang: "Oh tell me what were their names, tell me what were their names? Did you have a friend on the good old Reuben James?" However Adolf Hitler apologized and offered immediate monetary reparations. Popular anger cooled Roosevelt told his cabinet:" I think I can keep us out of this war for one more year unless Germany or Japan does something stupid."

1947- Bertholt Brecht, the playwright of Mother Courage and the Threepenny Opera, testified to the McCarthy HUAC committee. He smoked a large cigar through the whole session. Next day, as he had once fled Hitler’s Germany, he fled the U.S. and settled in East Germany.

1961- Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev has his old boss Stalin’s body removed from it’s place pickled next to Lenin, and has it buried in the back.

1963- The first Lamborghini 350GTV went on sale.

1966- An inventory done at the National Archives revealed that medical evidence of John F. Kennedy's assassination autopsy, including his brain, were missing. They have since never been found. Kennedy’s brother Robert was still attorney general at the time and some historians claim he hid evidence of conspiracy to hide his brothers mob connections and preserve the purity of the Camelot myth. We may never know.

1973- The Carlin Case- Radical radio station WBAI in New York broadcast hippy comedian George Carlin’s routine about the “Seven Deadly Words” the naughty words you can’t say on the air. I can’t write them because children read this column but you all know what they are anyway. The FCC slapped a heavy fine and WBAI sued for free speech and the case made it to the Supreme Court. Today the High Court found for the FCC and those 7 deadly words remain banned from airwaves today. Aw, Sh*t!

1975- King Juan Carlos assumed the throne in the restored monarchy of Spain.

1991- Middle East Peace Conference began in Madrid Spain. These first days about the only thing the Arabs and Israeli’s could agree upon was to politely refuse the lunch the Spaniards had set out for them- smoked ham sandwiches.

1992- QUANTRRILL’S FUNERAL- The remains of William Clark Quantrill were buried in a cemetery in his birthplace of Dover Ohio. Quantrill’s Border Raiders were infamous during the Civil War for their guerrilla depredations in Kansas and Missouri. After being shot dead in 1865 an admirer dug up his bones and kept them. After passing through several hands the bones were put up for sale, displayed in a glass case and even used by Ohio State fraternities for their initiation rituals. Billy Quantrill’s head was discovered in a refrigerator behind the tuna sandwiches and Coca Cola in the Dover Historical Society.

2002- Rap star of Run-DMC Jam Master Jay was shot dead in the lounge of his recording studio in Queens NY. The killer was never found.
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Yesterday’s Question: Why is an old person called Methuselah?

Answer: Methuselah lived 900 years.
Methuselah lived 900 years.
But who calls that livin'
When no gal will give in
To no man what is 900 years.

(George Gershwin by way of Genesis 5:27)


October 29th,2008 weds
October 29th, 2008



The new Clint Eastwood, Angelina Jolie movie the Changeling, was written by J. Michael Straszynski. Jim was the creator of Babylon V, and before that was a part time animation writer, who used to work with us at Filmation on SheRa among other shows.

Congrats to Jim on such a great film!

Hmm..Angelina- She-Ra...She-Ra- Angelina...?


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Question: Why is an old person called Methuselah?

Yesterday’s Question answered below:Speaking of Wall St.Collapses,in the 1929 Crash, which person made out okay? 1-Greta Garbo movie star, 2- General Blackjack Pershing WW1 Hero, 3-Republican President Herbert Hoover,4-Eddie Cantor, Broadway star.
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History for 10/29/2008
Birthdays: James Boswell, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Keats, Sir Edmund Halley, Louis Blanc, Fanny Brice, Joseph Goebbels, Richard Dreyfus, Zoot Sims, Winona Ryder, Jesse Barfield, Kate Jackson, Bill Maudlin, Akim Tamiroff, Ralph Bakshi, Denis Potvin Neal Hefti-composer of the theme song for TV shows like Batman and the Odd Couple.

1618- Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded on his birthday. Raleigh was once Queen Elizabeth’s favorite, but by now he was getting on King James nerves, by opposing the Kings peace overtures to Spain. Also Raleigh was implicated in a plot to keep James from attaining the throne. The king had him dangling on a commuted death sentence for treason for 15 years. Finally when Raleigh attacked Spanish settlements in Brazil against his direct orders that was enough. Off with his head! On the scaffold Raleigh thumbed the axeman’s blade. He joked:" This is sharp medicine, but it cures all ills." The man credited with introducing tobacco to Northern Europe, he puffed his pipe for one last time before putting his head on the block. His wife kept the severed head in a cabinet for the rest of her life.

1764-The Hartford Current debuts. The U.S.'s oldest continuously running newspaper.

1776- During the American retreat from the British across New Jersey, General George Washington is accidentally handed a letter from one of his officers to another. He read it and it accused him of incompetence: "The only thing worse than a Blundering Commander is an Indecisive one!" Up till then Washington had thought that the writer, Thomas Mifflin, was a friend he could count on. Washington passed on the note without any comment other than an apology for having opened it.

1787- Wolfgang Amadeus’s opera DON GIOVANNI premiered in Prague. Mozart had partied the night before and after midnight sat down and wrote the overture. As the musicians were sitting down he ran from stand to stand handing out the music. Goethe and Schiller loved it . Giacomo Rossini called it “the Greatest of All Operas”. After Don Giovanni his lyricist Lorenzo da Ponte left Europe for America and settled down in New Jersey. His niece had an affair with the son of Francis Scott Key and married a general who was wounded at Gettysburg.

1795- NAPOLEON MET JOSEPHINE- After quelling anti-government riots in Paris Napoleon ordered the citizens to turn in all weapons. Beautiful socialite Josephine de Beauharnais came this day to thank the young General for allowing her son to keep his slain fathers sword. Napoleon was at once twitterpated and their love became a legend. He would write her letters from the battlefield like “Don’t send your kisses, they burn my blood!” And “ I shall be home in a week, please don’t bathe until then, I want to smell you!”

1796- The SS Otter out of Boston under Captain Ebeneezer Dorr entered Monterey Bay, the first American visitor to Spanish Alta-California.

1836- The young nephew of Napoleon, Louis Napoleon, tries again to overthrow the French Government the way his famous uncle did. Instead of cheering, people chased him through the streets of Strasbourg yelling :"Shut Up you Blockhead!" He will eventually become Emperor Napoleon III.

1904--Mayor MacClellan opens the New York City Subway System. For 5 cents you could go 722 miles of tunnel under 30 square miles, the largest system in the world. The Mayor was given a solid silver ceremonial throttle, took controls of the first train and drove it around himself. When asked to hand the controls back he refused “Go away, I’m running this train now.”He went full throttle from Bleecker St to 146th. Later that day after the VIP’s concluded the party the subway was opened for the first commuters.

1923- The musical Running Wild opened on Broadway, introducing the dance craze the Charleston.

1929-BLACK TUESDAY-THE STOCK MARKET CRASH AND THE GREAT DEPRESSION BEGINS. The falling stock crisis which had been gaining momentum since early September finally culminates in the greatest one day collapse of the U.S. Economy. Millions of people who weren't ruined by last Thursday’s crash were ruined today. One third of all U. S. banks failed- 2,500. Eyewitnesses to that day all remember the strange low roar echoing through the glass canyons of Wall street, it was the continuous moans of thousands of investors being simultaneously ruined. Businessmen jumped to their deaths from windows. Two executives held hands as they jumped because they had a joint account. The chairman of General Motors William Durant finished his life managing a bowling alley in Chicago.
The Union Club wallpapered it's bar with worthless stock certificates. Venerable firms like Morgan and Leahman Brothers allowed 'apple-breaks' for their brokers to go out on the street and supplement their incomes by selling apples. By years end all U.S. industry was working at 17% of capacity and unemployment would soon soar to 55% in many major cities. The newly built Empire State Building was nicknamed the "Empty State Building".
The Hoover Administration, which espoused the traditional Republican hands-off attitude towards Wall Street, watched in horror as every trick known to financial wizards like Rockefeller and Lamont failed to stop the slide. People questioned whether capitalism itself was now a failure. Hoover's Vice President Charles Curtis, (for whom the nickname "Goodtime Charlie" was invented) continued to party while things collapsed. He responded to hungry, unemployed people protesting during his speech that they were all "Too damn dumb" to understand economics. His sister socialite Dolly Curtis said that she felt that the Depression, such as it was, maybe was already ending . This prompted one newspaper to run the headline:' DOLLY CALLS IT OFF!"

1957- Louis B. Mayer dies. His last words were: "Nothing Matters..." The head of MGM Studios lorded over Hollywood like a monarch, made and broke moviestars, ordered Judy Garland fed a steady stream of narcotics and had his office redesigned all white to resemble Mussolini’s , whom he admired. Humphrey Bogart was at his funeral. When asked if he was close to Mayer, Bogie replied: Nah,I'm just here to make sure he's dead !

1975- Years of bad management had brought New York City close to bankruptcy. This day President Gerald Ford announced that the United States Treasury would not help New York City out of it’s fiscal problems with any special loans. Although he reversed his position soon afterwards New Yorkers remembered his attitude. The New York DAILY NEWS paper’s headline “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD!” remained in people’s minds as they voted overwhelmingly for Jimmy Carter.

1994- An emotionally disturbed Colorado upholsterer named Francisco Duran fired a Chinese AK-47 machine gun at the White House. He told authorities a multi-colored Alien told him to kill President Clinton in order to disperse a cosmic mist that had been over the White House for a thousand years. Pretty amazing mist, since the White House is only 200 years old. Bill Clinton –The First Bubba, was watching football on TV.
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Yesterday’s Question: Speaking of Wall St. Collapses, in the 1929 Crash, which person made out okay? 1-Greta Garbo movie star, 2- General Blackjack Pershing WW1 Hero, 3-Republican President Herbert Hoover, 4-Eddie Cantor, Broadway star.

Answer: 3- Republican President Herbert Hoover. Shortly after reassuring the American people that “ The Economy is Fundamentally Sound”, Hoover quietly contacted his broker and had him sell all his stock in the market. So he personally was unaffected by the crash. In 1932 Hoover ran against Franklin Roosevelt as the more experienced candidate, and that Roosevelt was a tax and spend liberal. He lost.


Many folks have asked me " If you are an artist, how come your site doesn't have art work in it?" I put some drawings up, but lately it seems part of looking for work is letting folks check out your portfolio samples online on your website.

So okay, alright already! I beefed up my site with a lot more of my artwork. It's in the portfolio part of my gallery section. I added some anecdotal details about some of the pictures I worked on. Check it out.

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Question: Speaking of Wall St. Collapses, in the 1929 Crash, which person made out okay? 1-Greta Garbo movie star, 2- General Blackjack Pershing WW1 Hero, 3-Republican President Herbert Hoover, 4-Eddie Cantor, Broadway star.

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What is salamagundi, or salmagundi?
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History for 10/28/2008
Birthdays: Elsa Lanchester, Cleo Lane, Charlie Daniels, Evelyn Waugh, Jonas Salk, Bruce Jenner, Joan Plowright, Bill Gates, Chef August Escolfiere the great French Chef who created Peche Melba and moved French cuisine to the front rank of world cooking , Charles Grovesnor the founder of National Geographic magazine, Joaquin Phoenix is 35

FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON ZEALOT & ST. JUDE- In the Middle Ages people mixed up St. Simon with St. Simeon the " Hobgoblin Saint" , and St. Jude ( The patron saint of Lost Causes) with Judas Iscariot- I guess they felt God made him a saint as a consolation prize. So today was considered a good day for conjurers, sorcerers, necromacists and other practitioners of the Black Arts. One 17th century sorcerer, Bruno of Prague, claimed he could summon up St. Jude this day to grant you a wish. But if you showed any sign of fear or hesitation, St. Jude would box your ears and disappear. That's one touchy saint!

312AD BATTLE OF THE MULVIAN BRIDGE-The day before his showdown with his enemy emperor Maxentius at the gates of Rome, Roman Caesar Constantine had a vision: a fiery Cross appeared in the sky with the device "IN HOC SIGNO VINCE" -By This Sign shalt thou Conquer". He decided this must be Christianity calling, so when Constantine won the battle, he lifted Nero's 300 year ban on the outlaw religion and later made it the official religion of the Empire.


Supposedly he also created the Labarum, the Catholic symbol of the P with the crossed X on it's stem. This was because his hardened Roman soldiers refused to fight under the sign of a cross, which they considered a torture instrument like a hangman's noose. the P came from the Greek spelling of Jesus's name.
Yet despite his efforts in the cause of this new religion and his mother Saint Helena being a devoted Christian, Constantine himself worshipped Sol Invictus, the Invincible Sun most of his life. He caused the Christian sabbath to be moved from the Hebrew Saturday to Sun's day. Constantine himself wasn't baptized until on his deathbed 35 years later

1147- Battle of Iconium- Saracens-1, Crusaders-0

1492- Christopher Columbus reached the island of Cuba. Here the Indians showed him how to smoke tobacco, which they called cochiba.

1575- THE PACIFICATION OF GHENT- The 17 provinces of the upper and lower Netherlands agreed to unite under the leadership of William of Orange. They also call for complete religious freedom and cut all ties with the Spanish Hapsburg Empire.

1726-Johnathan Swift published "Gulliver's Travels"-"To Vex the World rather than Divert it."

1872- EVANGELIST SEX SCANDAL !- After the Civil War the minister Henry Ward Beecher of Brooklyn's Plymouth Church was the most famous clergyman in America- another Billy Graham. He was a great abolitionist, friend of Presidents and brother of writer Harriet Beecher Stowe. On this day feminist Victoria Woodhull revealed Beecher's habit of seducing the ladies of his congregation. Woodhull was a radical socialist who believed in Spiritualism and Free Love, and she admitted she herself had slept with the good reverend and even participated in a Menage a' Trois with Beecher and publisher Charlene Tilton ! Beecher's friends locked up Woodhull for slander and tried every lawsuit possible and his sister Harriet wrote lampoons of Mrs. Woodhull calling her Aurelia Dangereyes. But the famous reverend fell from grace in American eyes. In later years Rev Beecher preached a sermon that Hell didn’t exist. Critics said it was because he was afraid that was his eventual destination.

1916- Oswald Boelcke, German air ace and tutor of Baron von Richtofen the Red Baron, dies during a dogfight when he accidentally collided mid-air with one of his own wing man. Boelcke was a jolly fellow who if he heard one of the Allied pilots he shot down was captured,he would appear at his bedside with chocolate, schnapps and tobacco and party with him.

1918- The first signs begin that the Kaiser's government was crumbling under the strain of the Great War. Germanys closest ally Austria Hungary asked the Allies for an armistice. On this date at Kiel the entire Imperial German High Seas Fleet mutinied and refused to set sail to attack the British Navy one more time. When soldiers were brought in to shoot the sailors they joined them instead. Factory worker uprisings broke out in Hamburg and in Munich. The willingness to carry on the war and obey the Kaiser was breaking down all over Germany. In 1940 Newspaperman William Shirer noticed how pampered and well treated the sailors of the Third Reich’s navy were. Herr Hitler never forgot that revolution in Russia and Germany started in the Navy.

1918- The Czechs, Bohemians, Sudetens, Moravians and Slovaks form themselves into the Republic of Czechoslovakia. In 1991 the Slovakians split off from the Czech Republic.

1919- Congress overrides the veto of President Woodrow Wilson and passed the Volstead Act. The act gives enforcement powers to the Prohibition (XIX) Amendment forbidding the sale and consumption of alcohol. The Volstead Act gave government the power to seize and destroy alcohol and distilleries and shut down bars. This set the stage for the Roaring Twenties.

1928- Mussolini and his Fascists complete the March on Rome. Mussolini had started his political career as a socialist labor leader but soon decided there were more opportunities on the other side. He was Italy's youngest Prime Minister before forming his right wing extremists into a party and seizing power. He actually already had control of the government, he had just promised his men a dramatic march and didn’t want to let them down. Pope Pius XI said:” Mussolini is a man sent by Divine Providence.” The word "Fascist" comes from their symbol "fasces" the bundle of sticks with an axe sticking out of them you sometimes see on gov't buildings. It was an allusion to the symbols of Roman power he wished to revive. In the previous generation Guisseppi Garabaldi's men were nicknamed the Red Shirts, so Mussolini dressed his men in Blackshirts, which led Hitler to make his stormtroopers Brownshirts. The Fashionwise say:"Hey, we're fascists! Let's make a statement! Let's clash!"

1929- Composer Irving Berlin scolded George Gershwin for his lack of patriotism that he unloaded his stocks and bonds. The Stock Market crashed the following day ruining Berlin but leaving Gershwin unscathed. Stick to Tin Pan Alley, Irv...

1948- Swiss chemist Paul Mueller received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. It was for inventing DDT. After the world war whole populations and jungles were sprayed with DDT to kill bugs and parasites. It wasn’t until 1970 that someone finally noticed it also caused cancer.

1949- A top secret meeting of the Special Advisory Committee met at the Atomic Energy Commission to discuss whether to respond to the Russian atomic bomb by building a Super or Hydrogen Bomb. The Special Committee included father of the A-Bomb Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Ferme, two Nobel Prize winners and the President of Harvard. The scientists unanimously conclude that the H-Bomb “would not be a weapon of war but a weapon of Mass Genocide and so a Moral Evil.” They advised against it. The US government ignored them and built one anyway.

1962- THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS ENDED- Soviet Chairman Nikita Khruschev withdrew his nuclear missiles from Cuba in exchange for a promise from Kennedy not to invade Cuba and to withdraw missiles from Turkey -they were obsolete and had been planned for de-activation anyway. Kennedy told the U.S.public there was no deal made. Generals on both sides were furious. Gen. Curtis LeMay called it America's greatest defeat. But the world breathed a sigh of relief. And Fidel Castro? Well, nobody bothered to tell him. He came out of his bunker after he found out the news on the Voice of America broadcast that evening.

1963- First day of demolition of New York’s City Pennsylvania Station, a massive Beaux Artes Temple that signaled the triumph of the automobile over the train. It took three years to demolish and today it is considered a great cultural crime. The remade Pennsylvania station was an all underground facility. One writer said:” We used to enter New York like gods, now we come in like rats.” The anger over the destruction fostered the creation of the New York Landmarks Commission.

1965- Pope Paul VI published an encyclical Nostra Aetate, that officially absolved the Jewish people for any guilt in the death of Jesus Christ.

1976- Top Nixon White House aide John Ehrlichman began serving his jail sentence for the Watergate scandal at Swift Trail minimum security prison in Arizona.
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Yesterday’s Question: What is salamagundi, or salmagundi?

Answer: Salmagundi is sort of a Pirate Stew. There are many recipes, but it’s basically
A gumbo of meat, calves feet, anchovies, eggs and onions. Some sources call it a salad, but it was basically similar to Brunswick Stew. It is whatever pirates could catch and throw in the pot. Famed buccaneer Bartholomew Roberts was enjoying a bowl of turtle soup salamagundi just before the British navy started firing broadsides into his ship.

There was a nursery rhyme called Solomon Grundy, but that was written later in 1842, and named for the dish.
Solomon Grundy, born on a Monday, christened on Tuesday, married on
Wednesday, took ill on Thursday, worse on Friday, died on Saturday, buried
on Sunday, that is the end of Solomon Grundy.


Karl Cohen had told me of two big events coming to San Francisco-

AN EVENING WITH ANIMATION LEGEND RICHARD WILLIAMS



WINNER OF THREE OSCARS AUTHOR OF THE ANIMATOR'S SURVIVAL KIT ANIMATION DIRECTOR OF WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 7:00 PM BALBOA THEATRE, 3630 Balboa (at 37th Ave in SF), $9. (seniors/kis $6.50)

A BENEFIT FOR ASIFA-SF, the Bay Area's Animation Association

FOR ADVANCED TICKET SALES VISIT http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/47295

If you've never seen Dick speak, you're missing something special. He is a better adrenaline shot to your creative psyche than a sixpack of Red Bull.

IN Addition,
OSCAR WINNING DIRECTOR GENE DEITCH ON ADAPTING FAMOUS CHILDREN'S BOOKS INTO AWARD-WINNING ANIMATED FILMS



Including unheard examples of soundtracks changed under authors' pressure and for weird reasons, which he will reveal. Thursday, November 20, 8:00 PM

San Francisco State University, Fine Arts Building's Coppola Theater (room 101), free, public invited. See ASIFA/ San Francisco's website for more details.

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Question: What is salamagundi, or salmagundi?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: Why is dark rye bread called pumpernickel?
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HISTORY FOR 10/27/2008
B-Days: Captain James Cook, Theodore Roosevelt, Dylan Thomas, Nicolo Paganinni, Sylvia Plath, Roy Lichtenstein, John Cleese is 69, Freddy De Cordova, Jerry-Curly Howard of the Three Stooges- nyuck, nyuck!, Bernie Wrightson the creator of Swamp Thing, Roberto Benigni is 56

1553- In Geneva after a trial prosecuted by the great religious reformer John Calvin, the Protestants burned at the stake theologian Michael Servetus. His doctrines about Christ were too radical even for them. Servetus argued that Christ may have been just a powerful prophet but not God and the Greek text speaking of Mary could have mistranslated Young Woman to Virgin. Sevretus was refused a quick death and with his books chained to his chest he was slow burned, taking a half an hour of agony to die.

1560- Beserk conquistador and Amazon explorer Aguirre who called himself the Emperor of El Dorado and we know from a movie as Aguirre the Wrath of God, was killed in Venezuela by Spanish loyalists.

1788-THE FEDERALIST PAPERS- While the new American republic was still trying to decide what kind of government it wanted this day the first in a series of editorial letters appeared in American newspapers. The 85 essays argued the case for a strong federal government and judiciary, superceding the authority of individual states. Under the pseudonym "Publius".the essays were written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. Today they are called collectively the Federalist Papers.

1864-"BLOODY BILL" ANDERSON BUSHWHACKED-Among the Missouri bandits who called themselves Confederate guerillas like Quantrill and Jesse James, Bill Anderson was one of the worst. A complete psychopath, he had union soldier' scalps hanging from his horses bridle and to avenge his sister’s death he made a knot in a silk cord every time he killed a Yankee. He rode into battle tearfully shouting her name. By the time the Yankees finally killed him and stuck his head on a telegraph pole, the silk cord had 54 knots in it.

1886-THE STATUE OF LIBERTY DEDICATED- Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was originally asked by Ferndinand deLasseps to create a huge statue of a woman to welcome Europeans sailing into the Suez Canal at Port Said. After that deal didn’t work out Bartholdi revamped the design for the Americas. The face looks like a classic Greek beauty but some insist it’s an image of the artist’s mother. This day Bartholdi’s masterpiece held up by Gustav Eiffel's superstructure was supposed to be unveiled at the American Centennial celebrations in 1876, but was a little over deadline, about ten years. President Cleveland had started giving his opening remarks when the curtain revealing the statue was dropped early and he was drowned out by cheers, boat whistles, cannon salutes and fireworks. Women Suffragettes rented a boat and floated alongside the parade bearing a large banner "She's beautiful but she can not Vote!"

1886-Musical fantasy "Night on Bald Mountain" premiered in Russia. Composer Modest Mussogorsky worked as a florist during the day and wrote music at night. He was convinced he couldn’t make a living otherwise.

1916- The entertainment trade magazine Variety has the blurb: "Chicago has added recently to it’s number of so-called Jazz bands." Now jazz was around in black neighborhoods for years before, but the form was labeled Ragtime or Syncopation. This is the earliest known use in print of the word Jazz.

1919- New Orleans Louisiana was unique because it governed itself using French law. This day saw the last execution of a criminal by axeman in the Big Easy, twenty years after most of America had gone from hanging to the electric chair..

1941- The Chicago Tribune announced in an editorial that there was no chance that the US would go to war with Japan.

1947- The "You Bet Your Life" quiz show premiered on radio. "Say the Secret Word and Win Fifty Dollars". Comedian Groucho Marx had struggled after his brothers act the Marx Brothers broke up. In a live radio program with Bob Hope at one point Hope dropped his script. Before he could pick it up Groucho stepped on the pages, threw his own away and the two improvised their conversation. The result was much funnier that anything anybody had heard. The producer of the show was so impressed he hired Groucho and built a quiz show around him.

1962-BLACK SATURDAY- THE DAY THE WORLD ALMOST ENDED- Darkest day of the Cuban Missile Crisis, The US and Russia had enough nuclear weapons to destroy all life on planet Earth 22 times over, and this day they came closest to doing just that.
Soviet and American battle fleets were faced off in the ocean, at the Berlin Wall tanks were muzzle to muzzle, some with nuclear artillery shells. All B-52's were in the air waiting for the order to enter Russian air space, Russian subs off the U.S. coast with nuclear missiles trained on American cities, all code Red, DEF CON-2- TOTAL WAR status. At a signal from The White House, the U.S. was poised to drop 7,000 nuclear weapons capable of killing 100 million people in an instant. Recently the Russians revealed that 64 hydrogen bombs were already operational in Cuba mounted on missiles that could hit Washington and New York in five minutes. Also 9 tactical nukes were under the direct control of two Soviet generals in Cuba, the only time that permission has ever been given. Then suddenly a Cuban anti-aircraft missile shot down an American U-2 spy plane, killing the pilot. John Kennedy complained to his staff:" Khruschev doesn't think I have the guts to push the button !" Attorney General Robert Kennedy almost in tears from the strain cried to Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin: " Things are moving beyond all human control!"


The Kremlin got a secret telegram from Fidel Castro in his underground bunker begging them to fire the nukes immediately, saying Cuba is proud to sacrifice itself on the ramparts of Socialism ( Fidel sent it from an underground bunker ). KGB director Yuri Andropov passed Castro's note on to Khruschev after he has red penciled question marks and exclamation marks all over it.( !!!??!?!? ) Khruschev decided to accept Kennedy's offer of a deal, before the unthinkable happened. Khruschev also later mentioned that he received an appeal from philosopher Bertrand Russell that he credited with helping him make up his mind. After the crisis passed the Hot Line was set up between Washington and the Kremlin to try and ensure such misunderstandings wouldn’t happen again. Kennedy sent Khruschev a copy of Barbara Tuchman’s book the Guns of August, about how the world fell into World War One, when nobody really wanted to go to war.

1964- Sonny & Cher married. I got you babe!

1966- Bill Melendez's Peanuts TV special "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown'. This film was the last film score of jazz musician Vince Guaraldi, who created the unique sound of Charlie Brown cartoons.

1967- the worlds fair in Montreal called Expo 67 closed.

1967- Anti-Vietnam War protestors in Baltimore break into the Selective Service offices and pour human blood on files and records.

1981- Former UN ambassador and presidential aide Andrew Young was elected Mayor of Atlanta Georgia.

1986- The NY Mets defeated the Boston Red Sox to win the baseball World Series.

1989 - World Series play resumes between Oakland and San Francisco after a ten day delay from the 1989- Bay Area Earthquake.

2004- After not winning it for half the history of baseball, since 1918, the Boston Red Sox swept the Saint Louis Cardinals to win the World Series.
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Yesterday’s Question: Why is dark rye bread called pumpernickel?

Answer: When Napoleon marched into Berlin as it’s conqueror, his horse for the occasion was named Nicole. At one point he tried some local dark whole wheat bread and exclaimed:" Echh! Give this to my Horse!" Or "Mon Dieu! C’est Pain-pour-Nicole!" And so he named the dark bread Pumpernickel and so it remains.

A more likely definition is that the origin is a combination 'Pumpern' (to break wind) in dialectal German + 'Nickel' (Goblin), so it translates to : 'Goblin fart' bread.


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