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March 31st, 2011 thurs
March 31st, 2011

Question: Why is tomorrow called April Fools Day?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: Harriet Lane was one of the first women to be called First Lady of the United States, but she was not married to any President. Who was she?
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History for 3/31/2011
Birthdays: Rene' Descartes, Franz Josef Haydn, Serge Diagheliev, Richard Chamberlain, Cesar Chavez, Herb Alpert, Gordie Howe, Liz Claiborne, Gabe Kaplan, Rhea Perlman, Shirley Jones, Richard Kiley, Volker Schlondorf, William Daniels, Lucille Bliss the voice of Crusader Rabbitt, Christopher Walken is 68, Colin Farrell is 35, Ewan McGregor is 39, Al Gore is 63

250AD Roman general Constantius 1st born. He was called Constantius Chlorus or the Pale. He was the most powerful general and virtual ruler of Northwestern Europe at the end of Diocletian’s rule. His son Constantine became Roman Emperor in 312.

1146- St. Bernard preaches the Holy Crusade at Vezalay, King Louis VII of France and Emperor Conrad of Germany declare the SECOND CRUSADE. After all the ready-made pilgrim cross emblems were distributed Saint Bernard tore his own cloak to pieces for cross making material. Folks don't remember much about the Second Crusade because it was pretty much a non-event.

Conrad took the land route through the Balkans to the Holy Land and by the time he got to Jerusalem his army was about 5 guys. The French king’s army arrived intact but he was more of a tourist than a conqueror, after visiting the holy places and gathering some medieval tourist trinkets ( 'My folks went on Crusade and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt!") he went home.

They wasted most of their time in an unprovoked attack on the Emir of Damascus, who at the time was one of the Christians’ only Moslem allies. The most memorable person on the voyage was the French Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, who had an affair with a Saracen Prince, and legend has it inspired the troops by riding barebreasted to Damascus. Later she would leave Louis and marry Henry Plantagenet of England and give birth to Richard Lionheart.

1796- Touissaint L’Ouverture named Lieutenant Governor of the island of Saint Dominique, now called Haiti.

1814- PARIS FALLS- Since his Retreat from Moscow, Napoleon seemed to be fighting all of Europe. Today the allied armies of Austria, Sweden, Prussia and Russia captured Paris despite a spirited defense in the suburbs of Montmartre by Marshals Moncey and Marmont. Moncey had reformed the municipal police and is considered the father of the Paris Gendarmerie. But now German army tents went up in the Bois Du Bolongne and Cossacks watered their steppe ponies in the Seine.

In the South, Wellington and his Anglo-Portuguese army moved down from the Pyrenees to take Toulouse. Napoleon was at Fountainbleau with the tatters of his little army. He tried to make the best of it. Saying that now that he was free of covering the capitol he could maneuver in the enemies rear, but everyone but him had had just about enough.

1824- The British Parliament declared that any ships they caught transporting slaves would be treated as pirates and punished accordingly. They tried to get the United States to agree to make it an international law but the U.S. refused.

1836- Charles Dickens first work published "The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club."

1840- Congress lowers the minimum workday for federal workers from 11.4 hours a day to 10 hours a day. At this time in mines and factories people worked an average 12-16 hour day. The 8 hour day wasn’t achieved until 1913, not until 1941 in Hollywood and it’s still a dream in most digital effects studios and dot-com companies today.

1889- The Eiffel Tower opened to the public to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution. Twice as tall as the Saint Peter's in Rome or the Great Pyramid of Giza. The Wizard of Iron Gustave Eiffel also designed the armature holding up the Statue of Liberty. Eiffel’s original deal with the French government called for the tower to only stay up for twenty years, then pulled down if no further use can found for it. Eiffel agonized about what to do as the deadline approached but fortunately by 1909 Wireless radio transmissions became important and the Eiffel Tower was a great broadcast antenna.

1905- The Tangiers Incident. Germany tries to provoke an incident with France by sending the Kaiser to Morocco, then a target of French colonial expansion. Kaiser Wilhelm rode around on a temperamental white Arabian stallion and spent the ceremony looking nervously at the welcoming crowd for Spanish anarchist assassins. He gave the Moroccan Sultan a gift of his own personal machine gun that the delighted boy liked to fire at his running courtiers. The whole thing looked silly but it scared the hell out of diplomats in Paris and London.

1905- THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle brought back his famous sleuth in a new series of adventures. Conan Doyle had created Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson in 1887 but by 1893 he had tired of the characters, he wanted to write more serious fiction like his novel The White Company. So he killed him off. Holmes fell to his doom fighting Prof. Moriarity at the Reichenbeck Falls. The reaction of the public was astonished outrage. It seemed whenever Conan Doyle went out inevitably someone would stop him and say "You Blackguard! How Could You ?!" Finally Conan-Doyle bowed to public pressure and resumed the career of the inhabitants of #221B Baker Street.

1918- The Battle of Ykaterinadar- Anti-Communist White Russian armies invaded the Kuban region of southern Russia to fight a battle that was considered so unnecessary that one officer said it was “ A march to Hell to collect bluebirds.”Although the Kuban and Don Cossacks were anti Bolshevik the workers and peasants of the town were pro-Red and outnumbered them heavily.

So when the White commander General Kornilov ordered an attack his aristocratic second General Markov dryly joked “Better wear your clean underwear if you have any left gentlemen, because whether or not we take Ykaterinadar, we are all going to be killed!”But fate intervened. Before the attack could commence a lucky Red artillery shell dropped right on top of their commander General Kornilov and blew him to bits. Breathing a sigh of relief, his army immediately turned around and went home.

1930 -Reacting to charges that the movies had become too naughty, Hollywood producers accept the MOTION PICTURE CODE. It was regulated by Will Hays, former Republican Party Chairman. The regulation wouldn't really start to have strength until 1935-36 when pressure groups like the Catholic League of Decency went after Mae West and the Tarzan pictures.

The Hays Code forbade open sex and obscenity:
- twin beds only in a bedroom, nightclothes buttoned to the neck.
-if a couple were seated together on a bed they must have at least one foot touching the floor,
-"kisses with a duration of no longer than 3 seconds, parting with lips closed."
Lots of jokes were spawned like: "Give him the bird!" "If the Hays Commission would let me, I'd give him the bird!" One other little known clause was the forbidding of members of different races from kissing on camera. So Anna Mae Wong, the greatest Chinese actress of her time, could not play a Chinese heroine if her co-star was a Caucasian made up to look asian.

1931- ITT transmits the first message by microwave, from Dover to Calais.

1932 Ford introduces the V-8 Engine.

1943- Rodger & Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!" debuts. Despite the opinion of producer Mike Todd -"No legs, No Laughs, No Chance", the musical becomes one of the great hits of American musical Theater.

1950- Thor Heyderthal's book of his exploits Kon Tiki published. This was an account of his 4200 mile voyage which proved ancient mariners could have traveled from Peru to Polynesia on boats made from tied reeds.

1959- The Dalai Lama fled the Communist Chinese invasion of Tibet and began his long exile.

1962- The Los Angeles County Museum of Art opened on Wilshire Blvd. No, it didn’t display customized surf boards or the ideal tuna melt with sprouts, but an exhibit of paintings by Bonnard.

1967- In a small London nightclub rising young rock & roller Jimmy Hendrix burned his guitar for the first time. British rock luminaries like Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Pete Townsend sat in the audience stunned at the technical brilliance of this unknown former paratrooper who played left handed. The pieces of his guitar were purchased by Microsoft chairman Paul Allen and today are in his Seattle Rock Museum.

1968- Depressed over Vietnam War, the strong primary surge of Sen. Eugene McCarthy and the challenge of his old enemy Bobby Kennedy, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced he would not run for re-election. Borrowing the words of General Sherman in 1884 he says: "If Nominated Ah will not Run, If elected Ah will not serve.." In retirement Johnson resumed cigarette smoking and neglected his health. He was dead in four years.

1973- Comic strip hero Smilin' Jack gets married, the strip concludes next day.

1991- Former child star Danny Bonaduce arrested for a fist fight with a transvestite prostitute.

1995- In Corpus Christy Texas famed Tejana singer Selena Perez was shot and killed by an obsessed fan. The woman Yolanda Saldivar was president of the Selena Fan Club. “the gun just went off, I didn’t mean to shoot anybody.” Uh-huhh.
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Yesterday’s Answer: Harriet Lane was one of the first women to be called First Lady of the United States, but she was not married to any President. Who was she?

Answer: 1860- Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper refers to Harriet Lane, President James Buchanan's niece as "FIRST LADY of the Land". Buchanan was a bachelor and may have been gay, So Ms. Lane performed the duties of the White House hostess. Earlier in 1840 President Zachary Taylor eulogized Dolly Madison as First Lady, before that Martha Washington and Abigail Adams were referred to as Lady Washington and Lady Adams. But this is the first official use of the term First Lady for the President’s consort.


March 30th, 2011 Weds
March 29th, 2011

Question: Harriet Lane was one of the first women to be called First Lady of the United States, but she was not married to any President. Who was she?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: In Hockey, what is a hat-trick?
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history for 3/30/2011
Birthdays: Maimonides- Moses Ben Maimon, Anna Sewell (the author of Black Beauty), Vincent Van Gogh, Francisco Goya, John Astin, Peter Marshall, Warren Beatty is 73, Eric Clapton is 64, Disney animator Marc Davis, Arthur Lee Harrington the designer of the first Jeep, Tracey Chapman, Robby Coltrane, Paul Reiser, Celine Dion, Nora Jones is 33

3,201BC- According to translated Sumerian records from Feb.17th in the month of Hilu to the month of Eshil-March 30th occurred the GREAT FLOOD, that the story of the flood of Noah in the Bible was based on.

To the Romans this was the Festival of Salus, the God of Public Works and Public Safety.

1282- THE BIRTHDAY OF THE MAFIA- The Sicilian Vespers. Because of the strategic location of the Isle of Sicily her people were never allowed their own government. Sicilians were constantly being conquered by Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Crusaders. So when in 1282 they were under the harsh rule of French-Norman knights, they formed secret societies.

This night at the ringing of the evening vesper bells as a signal, they all ran out and cut up every Frenchman they saw. This was the first "hit". Later at the turn of the century Mafia families like "Il Mano Negro (The Black Hand) and La Cosa Nostra ( our way) brought their clan structure to the U.S., supplanting the earlier Anglo-Jewish-Irish gangsters.

No one is really sure just what the word Mafia means; "Morte Alla Francia Irredenta Arreghana", the Arab response “Ma Fi”- Don’t Ask Me…or some woman who’s daughter was raped by a French knight called out MaFilia!- My Daughter! Italian comic Pat Cooper said Mafia meant “the Mothers and Fathers Italian Association”.

1492-THE JEWS EXPELLED FROM SPAIN- Shortly after conquering the last Moorish strongholds in Spain their Most Catholic Majesties Ferdinand & Isabella issue an edict giving all Jews three months to convert or leave the country. Jewish people had held exalted positions in the Moorish Emirates of Granada and Cadiz like the philosopher Maimonides, some even became Vezirs or Prime Ministers. Ferdinand & Isabellas own doctor Abraham Senior was Jewish.

Some Jews tried to flee to Portugal but most went to Moslem countries like Turkey and Morocco where the persecution of the children of Issac was less fierce among the children of Ishmael. Many Jews who live in Bosnia and Kossovo speak Old Spanish- Ladino instead of Yiddish or Hebrew. The Inquisition made it a any Jewish practice a crime, even people who changed their sheets on a Friday or turned to the wall to die were accused of Jewish Heresy. Whenever there is a call in Spain to make Queen Isabella of Castile a saint, this little issue pops back up.

1534- The English Parliament passed the Act of Succession declaring King Henry VIII’s divorce from Catharine of Aragon and marriage to Anne Boleyn legal and any criticism of it to be treason. All Englishmen and women were required to take an oath of loyalty to ensure their agreement. This oath was what got Sir Thomas Moore and Bishop Fisher beheaded.

1788- The great French philosopher Francois Voltaire had been exiled to estate at Fernay away from court for decades because of his criticism of the Catholic Church. Now at age 84 and the most famous writer in the world, he returned to Paris to see his last play Irene debut, but in reality to die. This night his passage to the theater became a triumphant procession as his coach was mobbed by cheering people shouting Vive Voltaire! After the play he was too frail to take a bow so a bust of him was placed center stage and adorned with garlands and flowers.

1789- Father of the U.S. Navy John Paul Jones is accused in Russia of having sex with a minor. He later proved the girl was over 16 but Catherine the Great told him to leave anyway. Jones had turned mercenary and organized Catherine's Black Sea fleet. He retired to Paris ill and exhausted- Thomas Carlyle said he looked “like an empty wine skin.” Abigail Adams said “ He was so small I could have wrapped him in wool and kept him in my pocket…”

1809- First Lady Dolly Madison began the tradition of regular White House receptions in the Drawing Room. Her husband James Madison despite being the writer of the Bill of Rights was a timid person and was not good in crowds and a poor speaker. But the vivacious Dolly dominated these soirees and accomplished more politicking than many of her male counterparts.

1822- FLORIDA ACQUIRED BY THE U.S.. During the War of 1812 Spain allowed Britain to use Florida as a base for raiding the U.S.. They also provided safe haven for the hostile Seminole Indians. This annoyed American politicians who wanted to have Florida anyway. General Andy Jackson concluded the First Seminole War by invading Florida and throwing the Spanish Governor out of Pensacola in 1818. What Jackson had started roughly, John Quincy Adams concluded diplomatically, with the Adams-Otis Treaty, buying Florida from Spain for $5 million.

1842- Dr. Crawford Long of Georgia uses Ether as an anesthetic in an operation. Before that surgeons had to have good biceps to hold down their patients while sawing on them. Surgery was actually less painful in ancient times because the patient was invited to chew an opium bulb “The Food of the Gods” before operating. In 1846 another doctor named W.T.G. Morton did a public demonstration of the Ether anesthesia process and tried to hog the glory of the invention, refusing to share any prizes with Dr. Long.

1853- The pencil eraser patented.

1856- Tsar Alexander II emancipates the Russian serfs. He's later blown up by terrorists.

1867- Seward’s Folly. Secretary of State William Seward negotiated the deal with Czarist Russia to buy Alaska for $7.2 million or two cents an acre.

1918- Thomas Edison sold his studio and gets out of the movie business. He had earlier fired W.K.L. Dickson inventor of the movie studio set, Edwin Porter the inventor of the narrative film and closeup, and J. Stuart Blackton the inventor of cartoon animation for annoying him too much about filmmaking. Edison was more interested in finding a way to extract iron ore from rocks using magnets.

1968- In New York’s Bowery district two children find the body of a homeless drug addict. The John Doe is later identified as Bobby Driscoll, 31, Walt Disney child star and the voice of Peter Pan.

1981- PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN SHOT. After only few weeks in office President Ronald Reagan is shot by lunatic John Hinckley. Hinckley was trying to impress actress Jodie Foster. Reagan recovers. Jodie Foster was unimpressed. John Hinckley was a Republican.

In a bit of bizarre theater during the confusion Presidential Security advisor General Alexander Haig went to the media and announced he was in control: “ I am minding the store.” This is in direct conflict with the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which states plainly the line of succession goes from the President to the Vice President the Speaker of the House to the Senate Leader Pro-Tem. Fortunately, no one took Haig seriously.

Presidential press secretary James Brady was shot in the head, which left him permanently brain damaged. He and his family later sponsored the Brady Handgun Bill, which was passed by President Clinton, but not renewed by Pres. George W. Bush.

Ironically, one of the reason Ronald Reagan’s life was saved was because Secret Service agents rushed him to the nearest emergency room, which was a Washington DC ghetto hospital with much too much experience with gunshot wounds. Reagan quipped to the doctors working on his collapsed lung- ”Hey, you guys aren’t Democrats, are you?”

2000- Dreamworks animated feature the Road to El Dorado premiered.
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Yesterday’s Question: In Hockey, what is a hat-trick?

Answer: Three goals scored by a single player in a single game.


March 29th, 2011 Tues.
March 28th, 2011

Quiz: In Hockey, what is a hat-trick?

Yesterday’s Question: What is meant by three square meals a day.
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HISTORY FOR 3/29/2011
Birthdays: President John Tyler, Sir William Walton, Eric Idle is 68, former English P.M. John Major, Bud Cort, LaToya Jackson, Eugene McCarthy, Jennifer Capriati, M.C. Hammer, Walt "Clyde" Frazier, Cy Young, Christopher Lambert is 54, Disney animator Jack Kinney, Brendan Gleeson is 56, Lucy Lawless, Elle MacPherson, Amy Sedaris is 50

327 AD St. Jonah was squished to death in a wine press.

1461- Battle of Towdon. Edward IV Yorkist army defeated the last organized Lancastrian forces, ending the War of the Roses.

1519- Pope Leo X sent uppity monk Martin Luther an invitation to come to Rome and explain his curious opinions. Luther quickly understood his chances- once in the Vaticans’ hands, at best he would be sent to some obscure Italian monastery to live out his days in a vow of silence. At worst he would burn at the stake on a slow fire with a nail hammered through his tongue like earlier papal critics Jan Hus and Savonarola. Martin Luther decided to tell Rome thanks but no thanks, he’d stay in Germany where it was safe.

1638- The first Swedish colonists arrive in Delaware. Remember at this time Sweden was just as big a kickass power in Europe as England or France. The built a settlement they call Fort Christina. Twenty years later the fort was captured by the Dutch under Peter Stuyversant. Despite their short stay the Swedes left a lasting impression on the New World. They brought with them plans for steam baths and invented the Log Cabin.

1697-FRONTIER LIFE- French allied Abanaki Indians raided the cabins of Haverhill Massachusetts. The Indians carried off Mrs. Hannah Dustin and her maid. When Mrs. Dustins baby began to cry the Indians killed it, then being Catholic converts they paused to say a Rosary. But the frontier mother was not in a forgiving mood.

This night when the warriors who guarded them slept, Mrs. Dustin and her maid quietly rose, grabbed tomahawks and murdered all the Abnakis. Then being aware of the Massachusetts bounty on Indian scalps she paused before fleeing to scalp all the bodies. She made it back home and earned 25 English pounds in prize money.

Rev. Cotton Mather included her story in his 1697 book Humiliations Follow’d with Deliverances, an early American best seller.

1814- As Russian, Swedish, Austrian and Prussian armies closed in around Paris Napoleons court led by Empress Marie Louise fled the city. Napoleon himself was at Troyes with his army. He rushed but arrived too late to save the city.

1886-COCA-COLA Invented. Atlanta Pharmacist and liver pill salesman John Pemberton developed the carbonated drink originally with some Cocaine and his bookkeeper Francis Robinson penned the famous script logo still in use today. Advertising for the drink claimed it cured everything from hysteria, cholic and the common cold.

1903-THE BIRTH OF THE DRIVE IN RESTAURANT? New York tycoon CKG Billings wanted to celebrate his new racing stables in Washington Park. So he invited 50 of the top New York financial society to a formal black tie dinner at Sherry’s Restaurant, except the entire dinner would be eaten on horseback. The horses were kept in a circle and a canvas painting of the English countryside provided the backdrop to the room. The moguls ate from solid silver trays and sipped champagne from straws in their saddlebags. The Horseback Dinner was one of the more outrageous examples of Gilded Age wealth and excess .

1936-Republic Pictures formed.

1939- Moviestars Clark Gable and Carole Lombard marry. They had a happy marriage until Lombard was killed in a plane crash in 1942. It’s been said the first California King Size mattress, slightly larger than normal king size, was ordered custom made for Gable and Lombard for their rather exuberant assignations at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

1951- 'The King and I' debuts on Broadway with Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner, who shaved his head for the first time for the role.

1952-President Harry Truman announced he would not seek reelection.

1962-THE BILLY SOL ESTES AFFAIR- Estes was the "fertilizer king" and considered an insider in the Kennedy White House. His arrest by the F.B. I. for selling $30 million dollars in fraudulent fertilizer tanks implicated several heads of the agriculture department. It became the only major scandal of John F. Kennedy’s administration.

1971- First day of shooting on the film the Godfather. Francis Coppola wanted young actor Al Pacino for the Michael Corleone role, but Pacino had signed with Fox to do a different film- The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight. Producer Robert Evans begged and pleaded with Fox exec James Aubrey "The Smiling Barracuda" to get Pacino released from his contract. Finally Aubrey replaced him with Jerry Ohrbach. He called Evans and said:" All right, you can have the midget."

1973- Last U.S. combat Troops leave Vietnam. President Nixon that night announced "Peace with Honor". Communists conquer South Vietnam in 1975.

1974- Mariner 10 was the first satellite to reach the planet Mercury.

1975- The Communist North Vietnamese capture DaNang, South Vietnam’s second largest city, signaling the beginning of the final drive to Saigon to end the Vietnam War.

1979- The House Committee Investigation into Assassinations, published their conclusions. They concluded that "President John F. Kennedy was in all probability killed by a conspiracy " but just who and why and what to do about it, they didn’t know.

1989- As part of one of the silliest Oscar telecasts in history, actor Rob Lowe (The West Wing) had to dance and sing 'Proud Mary" with a Las Vegas showgirl dressed as Disney’s Snow White. Lowe had just been embarrassed by the publication of a videotape shot in a hotel room of him having sex with two teenagers. The Disney Company immediately threatened a lawsuit and the Academy apologized and replaced director Alan Carr with Gilbert Cates.

1992- Presidential candidate Bill Clinton uttered the legendary American phrase:" I smoked pot- but I didn’t inhale!"
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Yesterday’s Quiz: What is meant by three square meals a day.

Answer: During the Age of Sail, on a ship in the British Navy sailors were served meals on square wooden plates, square because they stacked away better. So a job with the His Majesties Navy promised you “three square meals a day”.


March 28th, 2011 mon
March 28th, 2011

Quiz: What is meant by three square meals a day.

Yesterdays Question answered below: What is the origin of the term Below the Line..?
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History for 3/28/2011
Birthdays: Paul Whiteman, Pearl Bailey, Freddy Bartholemew, Dirk Bogarde,
Confederate Gen. Wade Hampton, pianist Rudolph Serkin, Swifty Lazar, Marlin Perkins, Diane Weist is 63, Reba McEntire, Vince Vaughn is 41, Julia Stiles is 30, Lady Gaga is 25

193 A.D. -THE DAY THE WORLD WAS AUCTIONED- The Roman Emperor Pertinax had just been slaughtered by his Guards and the Praetorian Prefect Marius Maximus wisely turned down the promotion- bad retirement benefits, you know. The men realized they can't be Imperial Guards without an Imperial type person to guard. They might even get sent back to the frontier! So they posted an announcement that "who ever wanted to be Emperor of the Known World" should come to the Praetorian camp that night and submit a bid.

Several senators competed. The winner was Didius Julianus, with a winning bid of 15,000 silver pieces per man in the 1,500 man Guards. Almost none of the Roman generals went along with this dippy solution to the succession to the throne of the Caesars. Julianus was soon bumped off in a violent civil war that eventually saw Septimius Severus the winner.

1456- Today is the feast of St. John Capistrano. The Saint of the Swallows of California was born in Italy and was a preacher, was married, fought the Turks in Hungary, and in later life after becoming a monk was put in charge of the Holy Inquisition in Central Europe. He burned Protestant reformers and ordered all Jews to wear yellow badges so as not to seduce good Christians. He was so hated, that a century after his death from plague the Calvinists desecrated his grave and threw his bones down a well.

The Mission St. John Capistrano in California was named so by monk Fra Junipero Serra even though the Saint never visited the Golden State.

1776- Happy Birthday San Francisco! Don Juan Bautista De Anza brought 247 colonists to the tip of a rocky promontory in a huge foggy natural harbor and built a Presidio, or fort. When a monk came six months later to built a mission he called it San Francisco de Asiacutes. The nearby village was called Yerba Buena for all the good herbs growing in the area. Juan de Anza explored and mapped most of the route from Old Mexico through Northern California but is not as well known to Americans as the Anglo explorers John Freemont, Kit Carson and Jim Bridger.

1778 -GEORGE WASHINGTON ANNOUNCED MAJOR GENERAL BARON VON STEUBEN, LATELY OF KING FREDERICK THE GREAT'S SERVICE, WOULD TRAIN THE AMERICAN ARMY.- It turned out later Von Steuben was not a real Baron, never met the Great Frederick and never rose higher than Major. One British source claimed his medals were fakes purchased at a London theatrical costume shop.

But America was the land where if you want to be called Baron, you could be a baron. Von Steuben did an excellent job training the farmers and shopkeeps in modern warfare. He wrote: “ In Germany I order a soldier to do something and they do it. In America when I order a soldier to do something I must then explain WHY I want him to do it and WHY it is important!” The minutemen enjoyed watching him scream in a language they didn't understand, and at night around the campfire his big pet greyhound Azor howled along to the music.

Proof of his methods success was at the Battle of Monmouth, Lord Cornwallis groused: ” Hmpf! Damned rebels formed up well.”

1862- SIBLEY'S RAID. THE BATTLE OF LA GLORIETA PASS-The Gettysburg of the Far West. Confederate Henry Hastings Sibley pitched the idea to the High Command in Richmond that since most of the US Army was now back East fighting the Civil War there was no one to stop them from expanding the Confederacy from Texas to the gold fields of California and the Pacific Coast! Richmond let him equip a brigade of Texas Volunteers and they quickly overran Santa Fe, Alberquerque and won a skirmish at Valverde. Plans were made for the Confederate conquest of Colorado, Utah and set up a new rebel state in Arizona. Fighting got as far west as some Pima villages that one day would be Phoenix.

But what Richmond didn’t appreciate was the regional rivalry – As soon as Colorado and New Mexico men heard they were being invaded by Texans, they rushed to fight them. And Sibley turned out to be a bad leader- because of his drinking habits his men called him a Walking Whiskey Barrel.

This day a pitched battle was fought outside of Tuscon in Glorieta or Apache Pass. The Confederates won the battle but during the confusion a Yankee captain named Chivington sneaked behind the Rebel lines and burned Sibley’s supply train. This proved decisive since you can’t march armies in the Western deserts without supplies and water. Sibley had to fall back to Texas, he riding in a remaining wagon drunk with officers wives while his men marched with no water. On the Yankee side there were several leaders including a Colonel Slough who the Colorado men hated so much they planned to shoot him during the battle, frontier scout Kit Carson and many Hispanics led by Andres Pico, who once led Mexican troops against Yankees in the Mexican War. I guess he felt one change of flag in a lifetime was enough.

1870- THE ROCK OF CHICKAMAGUA KILLED BY A NEWSPAPER.- Gen. George H. Thomas, retired Union war hero has a heart attack in a St. Louis Hotel after reading an editorial saying all in all he wasn't that great a general. Survivor of shot and shell, they found him in his room clutching a written rebuttal to his chest.

1881- P.T. Barnum formed a partnership with his chief competitor James Bailey to create Barnum & Bailey’s Circus. He proclaimed it the Greatest Show on Earth!

1920- Silent film stars Douglas Fairbanks & Mary Pickford married.

1928- Via radio broadcast the public heard the voice of Charlie Chaplin for the first time.

1930- The name of the City of Constantinople was officially changed to Istanbul, Turkish for “The City”. Angora was renamed Ankara.

1935- Leni Reifenstahl’s hypnotic movie paean to Nazism- Triumph of the Will, premiered.

1941- English writer Virginia Woolf filled her pockets with stones and drowned herself in he River Ouse in Sussex. Her body was never found.

1942- Albert Hurter, brilliant designer for Walt Disney's "Snow White' and 'Pinnochio" died of rheumatic fever.

1953- Senator Joseph McCarthy, the grandstanding Commie chaser, held a news conference where he decried that European countries that were receiving US aid from the Marshall Plan were also trading with Communist countries. He announced he had received a pledge from a Greek shipping concern not to trade with Communist states in the future.

This speech elicited a storm of protest, under Secretary of State Symington accused the Wisconsin senator of conducting his own foreign policy. Yet the new Eisenhower administration stayed silent and did nothing, which encouraged McCarthy to grow bolder.

1979- THREE MILE ISLAND- Partial Meltdown of the Pennsylvania reactor panicked the nation. Despite the official attempts to belittle the danger Governor Richard Thornburg in Harrisburg moved his office underground to a bunker and Cardinal Krol of Philadelphia gave the entire county of Lancaster and Harrisburg a blanket unction (Last Rites). just in case.... The accident spawned the largest civilian protests since the Vietnam War and nuclear energy business has never recovered.

1999- Matt Groening’s cartoon series Futurama debuted.
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Yesterday’s Question: What is the origin of the term Below the Line..?

Answer: It was a term used by the British Navy. Their major battleships fought in a line, and were called ships of the line. Ships not as big or strong were classified Below the Line, and faster scout ships Above the Line


March 27th, 2011 sun
March 27th, 2011

Quiz: What is the origin of the term Below the Line..?

Yesterdays’ question answered below: For the sake of all the young people confused by Boomer cultural references, what is The Cone of Silence.?
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History for 3/27/2011
Birthdays: French King Louis XVII –the boy during the Revolution who died in prison after his Royal parents were guillotined, Patty Smith Hill- 1868- The composer of the song Happy Birthday to You, Edward Steichen, Gloria Swanson, Sarah Vaughn, Maria Schneider, Mies Van der Rohe, Snooky Lanson, Wilhelm Roentgen the discoverer of X-Rays, Nathaniel Currier of Currier & Ives, cellist Mtisislav Rostropovich, Michael York is 68, Quentin Tarantino is 47, Mariah Carey is 40

The ancient Romans called today Washing Day, the origin of our concept of Spring Cleaning.

33AD- Ecce Homo- Behold the man, Traditional date for when Roman Governor Pontius Pilate condemned Jesus to death.

715 a.d.- Saint Rupert was a Frank who did missionary work around Austria and Bavaria. When he arrived at the abandoned Roman town of Juvenum he revived the areas salt works and named it The Salt-Fortress, or Salzburg.

922- Persian mystic Al Hallij Mansur was beheaded at age 64 by order of the Caliph.

1513- Juan Ponce De Leon sighted the coastline of Florida. He claimed it for His Most Catholic Majesty the King of Spain. For years Spanish maps called all of North America- Las Floridas. Alabama was known as Western Florida until 1819.

1536- Swiss Cantons sign the First Helvetic Confession, declaring their common support of the Protestant religion.

1599- Queen Elizabeth Ist appointed her toyboy the Earl of Essex to be Governor General of Ireland. In his 6 months there he was ordered to put down the rebels under Earl Tyrone of O’Neill, which he couldn’t; not to make any peace treaties without consulting London, which he did; and not to leave Ireland without permission, which he left. Eventually Essex thought he could handle the Queen. He lost his head instead.

1625- King Charles Ist ascended the throne of England. The king who lost his head in the English Civil War. Dutch painter Jan Van Dyck had a premonition about him. When doing his portrait he said the English monarch had” The saddest face he’d ever done.”

1790- The invention of modern shoelaces!

1802-The Peace of Amiens- A rare three years of peace breaks out in Europe. This interrupted the constant warfare that had been raging since 1792 and would resume 1805 -1815. Around this time Napoleon was being annoyed by a queer American inventor named Robert Fulton who had some strange plans for a ship with no sails powered only by steam paddles. He even proposed another ship that could travel underwater! Robert Fulton had tried the British Admiralty first, but got no where. Napoleon kept him cooling his heels in his waiting room until he gave up and returned to America.

1814- THE BATTLE OF HORSESHOE BEND-The last great Indian battle in the American South. The War of 1812 coincided with Shawnee chief Tecumseh's called for all Indians regardless of tribe to unite to drive back the white man. Chief Red Eagle and the Creek Nation tried to fight Gen. Andrew Jackson and his volunteer army of frontiersmen down in the Alabama territory. Jackson's army included Davey Crockett, Sam Houston and future Senator Thomas Hart Benton.

Jackson (Indians named him "Sharp Knife") destroyed the Creeks in one huge battle. In a switch on Hollywood image, in this battle the Indians fought from inside a wooden walled fort and the whites charged around it. After the carnage Jackson ordered his men to cut off the dead brave's noses so he could make an accurate count. Andy Jackson became a national hero and carried a lead bullet around in his shoulder for the rest of his life, Sam Houston got shot in the groin which may have caused his marriage to a Cherokee woman to break up, and Chief Red Eagle put on a suit and tie and changed his name to William Weatherford.

1836- The first Mormon temple is set up in Kirkland Ohio. Mormon ladies broke up their fine china to mix into the plaster so the walls had a sparkling effect.

1836-GOLIAD- After wiping out the Texas rebels at the Alamo, Mexican Gen. Santa Anna surrounded the next little fort at Goliad. Their commander, Colonel Daniel Fanin, seeing the result that resistance brought the men of the Alamo, tried the other tack and surrendered. Santa Anna, who was infuriated by the losses he suffered at the Alamo, wanted to make an example of the Yanqui Texans. He had Fanin and his whole command executed by firing squads. But instead of being intimidated, Texans just got madder.

1855- Abraham Gesner patented Kerosene.

1865-The City Point Conference. Lincoln, Grant and Sherman confer on the steamboat River Queen about how to finish off Robert E.Lee and end the Civil War. Lincoln stressed that after the war the South should be treated mildly, no mass treason trials, hangings or reparations.” Let’s let ‘em up easy..” It's the last time Grant and Sherman would ever see Lincoln alive.

1866- Andrew Rankin received the first patent for the upright porcelain urinal.

1884-The first long distance telephone call-New York to Boston.

1886- GERONIMO ! After a whirlwind campaign across Arizona being chased by three U.S. armies, Geronimo and his Chiracuha Apaches surrendered. With only 32 braves and their families, Geronimo evaded 5,000 troops. The Apaches nicknamed their pursuing enemy General George Crook "General Day-After-Tomorrow" for his inability to keep up with them. Finally they were cornered and forced to give up. Geronimo and the Chiracua were shipped off to a Florida swamp for ten years before being allowed to return to their homelands. Many White Mountain Apaches who hated Geronimo acted as scouts for the army. Afterwards they were rewarded by being shipped off as well.

1908- Bud Fisher's comic strip Mutt & Jeff born.

1912- Washington DC received it’s famous cherry trees, 3,020 in number, a gift from the Japanese government.

1914- In Belgium the first successful blood transfusion was performed.

1939- Madrid fell to Franco.

1940- “Rebecca,” the first American movie by Alfred Hitchcock opened.

1941- After democratic Yugoslavs overthrow the pro-Nazi regime of Prince Paul, Hitler ordered an invasion.

1943- Companies in Los Angeles doing war work are forbidden to discriminate by race.

1945- Nazis fire the last V-2 rockets at London before the Allied armies overrun their launchpads. The last rockets hit Stepney and Kent. Chief scientist Dr. Werner Von Braun and his scientists started taking English lessons.

1945- The Battle of Iwo Jima finally ended, after raging since Feb 19th..

1945- Argentina declared war on Nazi Germany. This is seen as a bit of political theater since President Juan Peron openly admired Hitler and Mussolini and Argentina gave safe haven to many top Nazis after the war.

1952-U.P.A.’s cartoon “Rooty-Toot-Toot” premiered. It’s music score was by jazzman Phil Monroe, the first African American to receive a screen credit for scoring a movie.

1952- “Singing in the Rain” starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor premiered.

1957- California Reverend Robert Schuller opened the first Drive-In Church.

1958- Nikita Khruschev became Soviet Premier in addition to First Secretary of the Communist Party.

1964-THE ANCHORAGE,ALASKA EARTHQUAKE- The largest in the western hemisphere in the Twentieth Century..9.2 on the Richter Scale. It created a tsunami tidal wave that hit the coastlines of Alaska, British Columbia and Hawaii with a 100 foot wall of water. 164 people died.

1973- In one of the more celebrated stunts in Hollywood history, when Marlon Brando won an Oscar for his role in The Godfather, he sent a buckskin clad model named Sashin Littlefeather to refuse the award, and deliver a protest about treatment of Native Americans.

1974- Mariner 10 visited the Planet Mercury.

1977- In the largest aviation disaster in history. A KLM 747 jumbo jet taking off crashed into another PanAm 747 jumbo landing at Tenerife Canary Islands. 582 people were killed.

1978- The first draft script of the film Norma Rae completed. The film dramatized the life of Christa Lee Jordan, a mill worker who was blackballed by the J.P. Stevens millworks for wanting a union.

1996- Fearful of mad cow disease, The European Community banned the export of beef from Britain for one year.
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Yesterday’s Question: For the sake of all the young people confused by Boomer cultural references, what is The Cone of Silence.?

Answer: In the old 1960s TV comedy Get Smart, When Smart and The Chief needed to speak privately, they had a large plastic dome lowered on them that never seemed to work properly. It was called the Cone of Silence, invented by Prof. Cone. The Cone of Silence became a catch-phrase for political pundits meaning futile government attempts to keep secrets.


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