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Aug 31, 2017
August 31st, 2017

Question: “The rumble of the drums, and the skirl of the….?”

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What do these composers have in common? Frederick Smetana, Anton Dvorak, Leos Janacek?
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History for 8/31/2017
Birthdays: Caligula 12AD*, Commodus 161AD**, Amilcare Ponchielli, Eldridge Cleaver, Buddy Hackett, James Coburn, Itshak Perleman is 72, Van Morrison, Arthur Godfrey, Richard Baseheart, Rocky Marciano. Alan J. Lerner, Hugh Harman,, Maria Montressori (of the Montressori Method of education), William Saroyan, Richard Gere is 68, Chris Tucker is 45.

• Caligula was a nickname. His real name was Gaius, but as a child in his dad's army camp the troops dressed him up in his own little uniform. An army issued boot was a Caligae, so they called him Caligula, or Little Army Bootie. As Emperor if you called him that to his face he'd have you killed.

** Commodus was yet another mad Roman Emperor . He'd have you killed if you reminded him that he had the same birthday as Caligula. Romans refused to believe such a loser as Commodus could be the son of the great philosopher Marcus Aurelius. The rumor was the empress coupled with a gladiator while Marcus was away in Germany. When Marcus found out he was …uh…philosophical.

1422- King Henry V of England had settled the Hundred Years War in England’s favor after the great victory of Agincourt. But this day he died of dysentery at age 35 before the peace could hold. Had he lived, the Hundred Years War would have been the 90 Years War.

1535- Pope Paul II excommunicated English King Henry VIII for this Protestant –Reformation thing he was doing.

1798- Haitian leader Touissaint L’Overture signed a secret peace treaty with British General Maitland. In it the British and Spanish resolved to stop trying to invade Haiti and in turn Touissaint promised to not spread his revolution to the slaves of British Jamaica.

1829- Giacomo’s Opera Guglielmo Tell debuted in Paris. The William Tell overture was heard for the first time- Hi Ho Silver!

1837- Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered his American Scholar speech in Cambridge Mass. “Our long apprenticeship to the learning of other lands is drawing to a close.” People called it an intellectual declaration of independence.

1879- THE RETREAT TO KANADAHAR- The British hold on Afghanistan and the Khyber Pass was difficult and dangerous. After a British force was wiped out by Ayub Khan at Maiwand, General Primrose reported he was surrounded at Khandahar. Lord Roberts, or “Lil’ Bobs” conducted his army on an epic march from Kabul to Khandahar fighting off heavy attacks on all sides from Afghan tribesmen. Once there he discovered to his annoyance that Primrose had overreacted and the Khandahar garrison wasn’t in any serious danger. Roberts proceeded to defeat the forces of Ayub Khan and later was also victorious in the Boer War.
He received the thanks of Parliament and was made Lord Roberts of Khandahar. Even his horse received a medal. Kipling wrote a poem in his honor “Our Bobs”. Roberts was five foot three, blind in one eye and liked to sip champagne while directing a battle.

1881- The first men’s singles competition in tennis was held in Newport Rhode Island. The winner was Richard Sears.

1887- Thomas Edison patented the plans for a Kinetoscope, his original version of Motion Pictures using George Eastmans new celluloid roll film. Most of the actual work was done by Canadian scientist W.K.L. Dickson. He drove himself sick designing, building and improving the device as well as the camera and studio, but Edison took all the credit. Edison wrote Edweard Muybridge at the time that he doubted the Kinetoscope would have much commercial value beyond the science lab.

1888-THE FIRST JACK THE RIPPER MURDER. Then called the Whitechapel Murders. The unique detail was that the Ripper killed his victim Mary Ann Nichols with a simple throat cut, then proceeded to remove her internal organs with the precision of a surgeon. Was the sadist murderer the syphilitic Duke of Clarence? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle suggested it was a woman, a psychotic midwife. An anti-Semitic issue appeared when a cryptic clue at the murder scene was interpreted by some to think the Ripper was Jewish. Then the message was thought to be a freemasons symbol.

After six ghastly killings the murders stopped as mysteriously as they had started. In 1891 an Australian-born abortionist named Dr. Thomas Neill Cream was hanged for poisoning a prostitute. As he dropped through the trapdoor and the rope snapped he shouted: "I AM JAC-...!"

1907- Russia and the British Empire sign an entente or alliance. Russia and England had not been allies since the Age of Napoleon. They had fought a war against each other in 1854, competed over Afghanistan and almost went to war again in 1877. When World War I started, the Russian diplomat Isvolsky proudly boasted: " This is MY War !!"

1909- A geologist named Walcott hiking in the Canadian Rockies discovered the Burgess Shale. The first fossilized proof of the period before the dinosaurs called the Cambrian Era.

1919- The American Communist Party founded in Chicago with John Reed and Carlos Tresca. This was distinct from Socialist Party tickets. Socialists had been active for years before and around 1912 Socialist Eugene Debs polled over a million votes in his run at the Presidency. Reed died in Russia and Tresca was murdered on a NYC street by agents of either Mussolini or Stalin. In 1945 the CP/USA was outlawed, but reinstated in the 1960s. Black militant professor Angela Davis once ran for president on the Communist ticket. She didn’t win.

1928- In Berlin the ThreePenny Opera premiered, music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Bertholdt Brecht with Lotte Lenya as Pirate Jenny. Mackie Messer or Mack the Knife was born.

1930 -Detroit radio station is 1st to broadcast a news program on the air.

1914- The Battle of Tannenberg ended. The Russian assault, called the great Russian Steamroller, was stymied in the forests of Prussia by an old General named Hindenberg who had been reactivated out of retirement.

1935- Disney cartoon Plutos’ Judgement Day.

1938- Walt Disney puts ten thousand dollars down to buy 51 acres on Buena Vista Street in Burbank. He would build his modern studio there.

1939- Adolph Hitler sent out "Wartime Order #1-Force White" calling for the attack on Poland to begin on schedule and war to commence without a formal declaration. It also told all German ships at sea to be on alert for the news of hostilities with Britain and France.

1939- In Saint Moritz, exiled King of Spain Alfonso XI doubted there was going to be a world war. Even if one did break out, he predicted, it will all be over within a year.

1941 –The Great Gildersleeve, a spin-off of Fibber McGee & Molly debuts on NBC radio. The voice of Gildersleeve later narrated the UPA cartoon Gerald McBoing Boing.

1946- Looney Toon short 'Walky Talky Hawky' the first Foghorn Leghorn. The character was based on a Fred Allen radio character Senator Beauregard Claghorn, that mocked bombastic Southern conservative congressmen.

1948- Disney's 'Melody Time' premiered.

1948- Movie star Robert Mitchum was busted for smoking pot with a blonde in the Hollywood Hills. This would have normally smoked his career but the new postwar outlaw, noir attitude was in vogue. So bad-boy Mitchum emerged from county jail more popular than ever. When asked what he thought of being in jail, he said it's not much different than being free....but you meet a better clientele of people IN jail.

1950- Heaviest North Korean attacks on the Pusan Perimeter, a last stand line of the South Koreans and Americans only 23 miles long and 200 miles deep. General Bulldog Walker told his men:” This will not be another Dunkirk or Bataan, There is no further retreat, it is a fight to the finish!” While Walker and his men held on at Pusan, Douglas MacArthur prepared the amphibious counterattack behind the Koreans at Inchon.

1955 - 1st microwave TV station operated in Lufkin, Texas.

1955-1st sun-powered automobile demonstrated, Chicago, Ill.

1954- Make a note of it, the US Census Bureau founded.

1957- Malaysia gained independence from Britain.

1964 - Ground is broken for Anaheim Stadium, future home of the California Angels.

1964- Young comedian Richard Pryor made his first appearance on TV. He did some of his standup on Rudy Vallee’s Broadway Tonight Show.

1969- Former Heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano died in a plane crash in Newton Iowa. He had been hurrying home to attend a birthday party in his honor. He was 45.

1972- Russian Olga Korbut won a gold medal in gymnastics at the Olympics. She was the first of the cutesy little 15 year old girl gymnasts with the bright smile to catch the world’s attention.

1997- PRINCESS DIANA OF WALES died in a high speed car crash in a Paris traffic tunnel. Her Mercedes had been trying to avoid paparrazzi hounding her and her current boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed, the son of the Egyptian tycoon owner of Harrods. The drivers body tested above normal for alcohol and drugs. Princess Di was 36. Britain reacted with an outpouring of grief not seen since the death of Nelson. The rapacious British press worked overtime to absolve themselves of hounding the woman to death. Press baron Rupert Murdoch personally flew to London to direct the spin campaign defending his papers.

2001- The NY Stock Exchange tries to avoid a Recession and bolster growth, by getting Michael Jackson and Jerry Lewis to ceremonially open trading sessions. Didn’t work.
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Yesterday’s Question: What do these composers have in common? Frederick Smetana, Anton Dvorak, Leos Janacek?

Answer: There were all Czechs.


Aug 30, 2017
August 30th, 2017

Question: What do these composers have in common? Frederick Smetana, Anton Dvorak, Leos Janacek?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: Why are people who listen in on a conversation called eavesdroppers?
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History for 8/30/2017
Birthdays: Mary Shelley, Jacques Louis David, Huey Long, Fred MacMurray, Raymond Massey, Ted Williams, John Blondell, Timothy Bottoms, Jean-Claude Killy, Shirley Booth, John Landis, Tug McGraw, R. Crumb is 74, Lewis Black is 69, Cameron Diaz is 45

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Fiacre, the Patron Saint of Gardeners.

30 BC- Cleopatra committed suicide at age 39. Some accounts have her allowing herself to be bitten by a poison asp concealed in a basket, another said she took poison concealed on a hairpin. It was said she killed herself to join her lover Marc Anthony, more likely it was because the victorious Augustus planned to have her dragged through the streets of Rome in a cage while the mob laughed and threw trash at her, then quietly strangled. The snakebite was thought by Egyptians to bestow immortality.
After Julius Caesar's murder, Marc Anthony and Augustus had divided up the Roman Empire east and west. Cleopatra fell in love with Anthony and governed with him from 41 to 31BC. Augustus defeated them in the naval battle of Actium. Octavian Augustus was only Julius Caesar's nephew. Cleopatra had borne Caesar a natural son, Caesarion. Augustus discovered the boy during this turmoil and had him quietly killed. Octavia, Anthony’s jilted wife, took Cleo’s two other children by Anthony and raised them as her own.

304 AD-Today is the feast of Saints Felix and Adauctus. Felix was sentenced to be beheaded when a voice in the crowd called out :"I too believe in what this man confesses! Take me too!" So the Romans beheaded both of them, but forgot first to get the other guy's name. Adauctus means "That other guy".
So it's Saint Felix and Saint Whats-His-Name.

1483- French King Louis XI, “the Spider King” died.

1721- The Treaty of Nystad ending the Great Northern War. The twenty year struggle ended Sweden’s status as a butt kicking world power and the coming of Russia as a major player. The aging Czar Peter returned to his new capitol Saint Petersburg to cries of Mir Mir!- Peace! He was being called Pyotr Vyelke- Peter the Great.

1784- The Empress of China, a fast sailing American clipper ship established trade between New England and China. Far East trade had been cut off by the British since the Revolution broke out.

1813- The Fort Mims Massacre- Red Eagle and his Creek warriors kill and scalp 500 whites. This was the pretext for the U.S. army driving the Creek Nation out of Alabama and Mississippi. Red Eagle eventually was defeated by Andy Jackson at Horseshoe Bend and changed his name to William Weatherford and became a Methodist.

1850- Honolulu became a city.

1861- Western explorer William Freemont was given the Civil War command of the department of the west. This included the embattled states of Missouri and Kansas. The Missouri Governor and most of the legislature were pro-Southern. Freemont declared that all slaves that fell into his hands would be set free and all citizens caught in arms against the United States would be executed. President Lincoln made him rescind these orders. He was not ready to free the slaves…just yet.

1873- The Royal Canadian Mounted Police- The Mounties formed.

1867- At the University of Göttingen, Albert Niemann isolated the chemical elements of the Columbian coca plant and named the powdery substance Cocaine.

1880- Diablo, chief of the Cibecue Apache, was killed fighting the White Mountain Apache.

1919- THE RED TERROR- Think of the famous assassins of history- Brutus, John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Fanny Kaplan…..Fanny Kaplan? Yep, on this day in Moscow Socialist Fanya Kaplan fired several bullets into Lenin. Several hours before this attack the head of the Saint Petersburg secret police Moishe Uritsky was assassinated. Uritsky was from an Orthodox Jewish family but joined the Communists like many Jews who hated the Anti-Semitic regime of the Czar.
Lenin survived, Fanny was executed and the Communist police terror destroyed all remaining critics of the Bolshevik Revolution. Founder of the Communist Secret police Felix Derzhinsky said: Our purpose is not to find justice, but to mete out retribution!”
In twenty months they jailed and executed more Russians than the Tsar’s police did in the entire Nineteenth Century. A defining moment in the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was when Russians pulled down the huge statue of Derzhinsky in front of KGB headquarters.

1935- “Top Hat” starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers premiered.

1936- First newspaper comic strip entirely devoted to Donald Duck.

1939- The last peacetime voyage of the HMS Queen Mary evacuated Americans fleeing the impending war in Europe. Among the crowd was a large contingent of Hollywood stars like Bob Hope and Jack Warner who planned to attend the first Cannes Film Festival (postponed until 1946). The Queen Mary kept radio silence across the ocean to hide from U-Boats. This was a wise, because her sister ship HMS Athenia was torpedoed.

1945- THE AMERICAN SHOGUN- Gen. Douglas MacArthur lands on mainland Japan as military governor.
After the ceasefire was announced, there still was a lot of distrust on both sides, and in the streets of Japan gangs of outraged youths and kamikaze pilots fought loyal troops trying to restart the war. Into this turmoil General MacArthur and his staff flew in alone ahead of any other allied occupying troops. He even ordered his staff to leave their pistols behind to show their fearlessness to the Japanese. He also wanted to get there before Admiral Nimitz and the Navy got there first and stole his spotlight.
In a sight that alarmed his staff as MacArthur drove to Yokohama the road was lined on both sides with 30,000 crack Japanese troops standing silent with fixed bayonets.
They were not threatening but saluting their new Shogun. They even faced backwards from the road not looking at MacArthur, a gesture of respect reserved only for the Emperor.
While the still new Truman administration concentrated on Europe, MacArthur was left with a free hand to reshape Japanese society as he saw fit. He used the power of unquestioning Japanese social discipline to give women the vote, form labor unions and rewrite their constitution, setting the basis of Japanese democracy.

1963- The HOT LINE is set up between the White House and the Kremlin.
It was never really a red telephone, more a coded teletype machine. It was to prevent misunderstandings like the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1986 they became a fax machine, and since 2008 a secure e-mail link.
We know now that in 1973 Nixon had put U.S. forces on red alert war footing to prevent the Soviets from intervening in the Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur War. In 1980 the Fail Safe system failed and reported 12,000 Soviet missiles were coming at us over the North Pole. Jimmy Carter had 5 minutes to decide whether it was a mistake or the dreaded first strike warranting our full retaliation. We're all still here, so I guess you know how Carter chose.

1968- The first 7-11 store opened in Palmdale California. Have a Slurpee !

1975- Ralph Bakshi's film "Coonskin". Bad boy Bakshi's portrayal of African-American urban violence was deemed so offensive that it caused the first riot ever at the Museum of Modern Art, and died at the boxoffice. The film was retitled on video "Streetfight".
When Ralph resurfaced he turned his attention to Sword & Fantasy films.

1979- President Jimmy Carter claimed that while boating on vacation in Georgia he was attacked by an enraged rabbit.

1980- Willie Nelson released his hit “On the Road Again.”

1983- Lt. Guion Bluford, the first African American in Space, went up on the Challenger spaceshuttle.

1993- The David Letterman Show premiered on CBS. Letterman was wooed away from NBC for $42 million bucks.

2012- At the Republican Presidential convention, venerable 80 year old filmmaker Clint Eastwood made a fool out of himself by improvising a rambling dialogue with an empty chair that he meant to be the absent Pres. Obama. Eastwood was supposed to introduce candidate Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech, but his bizarre performance upstaged anything Romney said. This followed the keynote speech by New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who talked only about himself for 16 minutes before he ever mentioned Romney. For this and many other reasons, Romney lost by a landslide.
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Yesterday’s Question: Why are people who listen in on a conversation called eavesdroppers?

Answer: An eave is the part of the thatched roof that overhangs the outside walls of a building. Listening at the eavesdrop, where rainwater drips from the roof, was a term used to describe someone who stood near a house, to listen, uninvited, to a conversation. It became popular when Henry VIII’s grand dining hall at Hampton Court was completed, sculptors put little statues of courtiers and court ladies high up in the rafters looking down. These figures were jokingly referred to as eaves droppers.


AUG 29, 2017
August 29th, 2017

Question: Why are people who listen in on a conversation called eavesdroppers?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: Who first called a timid person a milquetoast?
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History for 8/29/2017
Birthdays: King James II Stuart, John Locke, Oliver Wendel Holmes Sr., Jean Dominique Ingres, Charlie Parker, Preston Sturges, Ingrid Bergman, William Friedkin is 81, Dinah Washington, George Montgomery, Slobodan Milosevic, Robin Leach, Michael Jackson, Joel Schumacher, choreographer Mark Morris, Charles Kettering inventor of the automobile ignition, Joyce Clyde Hall the founder of Hallmark greeting cards, Richard Attenborough, Donald O’Connor, Elliot Gould is 78, Rebecca DeMornay, John McCain is 81.

29 AD- Estimated date of the beheading of John the Baptist.

1664- The name of the colony of Nieuw Amsterdaam is officially changed to New York by the occupying British forces. This was a birthday present to the King Charles’s brother James, the Duke of York.

1709- PORT ROYAL and the JANSENISTS- Cornelius Jansen was a Dutch Catholic who formulated an extreme reform movement inside Catholicism. He said the only way the Roman Church could re-unite Christianity would be to adopt disciplines that were in essence not too dissimilar to Protestant Calvinism. His ideas won great favor at the French Cistercian Convent of Port Royal and it became the stronghold of the movement under their charismatic Abbess Mere Angelique. Cardinal Richelieu ignored them as he ignored most spiritual issues, but later King Louis XIV and the Jesuits would not.

After almost a century of controversy this day the King closed the Abbey of Port Royal and outlawed Jansenism. King Louis XIV had such distaste for Jansenism that he held up the appointment of one judge because he thought he was a devotee. But upon being reassured that the man was merely a complete atheist, Louis then approved the appointment.

1756- THE SEVEN YEARS WAR began. This could arguably be called the real First World War. Britain, France, Prussia (Germany) and Russia, Austria, Poland, Sweden and Turkey went at each other all over the globe. Armies and fleets battled from Prague to Pennsylvania, Belgium to Madras, Quebec and Sri Lanka. In America it is called The French & Indian War. If you are a film buff consider this: Barry Lyndon and the Last of the Mohicans are happening at the same time as part of the same war.

1776- The Battle of Long Island ended. George Washington's army was badly beaten in battle by the British, and pinned against the East River. All night the fishermen of Marblehead Massachusetts ferried the remainder of his troops across to Manhattan while the British Navy sat strangely inactive anchored off Staten Island. If the warships had moved up to block the retreat, the Revolution would be over. Even the weather helped with a thick fog that shrouded all activity until 8:00AM in the morning.
A Brooklyn Loyalist named Mrs. Rapalie sent her slave to warn the British that the rebels were getting away. The man was stopped by some German Hessians who couldn’t understand anything he said in his thick Brooklyn-Colonial accent. So they arrested him as a spy.

1793- Commissioner of the French Revolutionary Republic, Leger Felicite’ Sonthonax proclaimed the abolition of slavery in San Dominique- now Haiti.

1831 - Michael Faraday demonstrated the 1st electric transformer.

1864 - William Huggins published a study of the chemical composition of nebulae.

1885 – The first heavyweight title fight with regulation 3-oz gloves & 3-minute
rounds fought between John L Sullivan & Dominick McCaffrey. Before this bareknuckle fights could go on for 75 rounds and only be stopped when one of the other opponent was too bloody to continue.

1889 - 1st American Intl pro lawn tennis contest -Newport RI.

1893- Whitcomb Judson & Gideon Sundback invented the ‘clasp-locker” aka the zipper.

1896- Chop Suey invented in New York City.

1897- The FIRST WORLD ZIONIST CONGRESS opened in Basel, Switzerland. Jews from all around the world met to agree on a strategy of returning to Palestine to build a Jewish homeland and getting a major world power to sanction their efforts. They also agreed to adopt the revived Hebrew language as the common mother tongue. Orthodox rabbis objected, because they felt Hebrew was a sacred tongue and should not be used for everyday profane speech. Hungarian Socialist Theodore Herzel, called the Father of Zionism, at one point almost split the movement with a scheme for all Jews to move to Uganda,. There was also another group who wanted Argentina to be the Jewish Homeland, but Palestine finally won out over all.

1908 - NY gives a parade to returning US Olympians from London. Wall Street brokers come up with the idea of throwing shredded stock ticker tape out the windows.
The first ticker tape parade.

1909 - World's 1st air race held in Rheims France. Glenn Curtiss (USA) wins.

1914- Mass march of women in black with muffled drums down New York’s Fifth Avenue to demand the U.S. stay out of World War I.

1916- Field Marshals Paul von Hindenberg & Eric Ludendorf were given overall command of the Germany’s armies, and in effect run Germany as well. This was the opposite of the great Clauswitz's rules that war should be subservient to diplomacy and never waged for it's own sake. The Kaiser, so belligerent at the beginning of the war was by this point was merely a figurehead. To contribute to the war effort he agreed to limit his meals to four courses and drink beer instead of champagne. War is Hell!

1925 - After a night on the town, Babe Ruth showed up late for batting practice. So Yankee manager Miller Huggins suspended Ruth & slapped a $5,000 fine on him. Whenever the Yankees were on the road and were safely winning a game Ruth would take himself out of the lineup early so he could scout out a good bar for the team to go to later.

1929- New York City was having competitions between builders for who could build the tallest office building. The Chrysler Building had recently surpassed the Bank of Manhattan Building. On this day William Ratzengauer and former Presidential candidate Al Smith announced they would build a monster building, much higher than any other. It would be on the site of the old Waldorf Astoria Hotel and they would call it the Empire State Building.

1949- Soviet Russia detonated it's first atomic bomb "First Lightning". The scientists won medals, automobiles and dachas. They knew that if it had not worked they all would have been shot. Yet Stalin made no public announcement until he could fill his larder with nukes. A CIA sniffer plane picked up the evidence of the bomb and dubbed it "Joe-1" after Joe Stalin. It was announced on Sept 23rd. The U.S. reacted to this news and the news of Mao's taking over China with shock. It fueled the great Red-scare of the 1950's.

1953- Warner's "Cat Tails for Two" introduced Speedy Gonzales.

1954- San Francisco International Airport (SFO) opened.

1955- Mamie Van Doren married Ray Anthony.

1958 - George Harrison joins the Quarrymen -Lennon-McCartney and Sutcliffe. The later rename themselves the Beatles.

1962- The Kennedy State Department sent poet laureate Robert Frost on a goodwill tour of Soviet Russia.

1966- Egyptian political writer Sayyid Qutb was executed for plotting against the government. Qutb is considered by many the philosopher of the new fundamentalist Islam in the world today. His pupil who took up his cause was Ayman Al Zuwahiri. He is the man in the horn rimmed glasses who took over from Osama bin Laden.

1967- Final Episode of the television series "The Fugitive". Dr. Richard Kimble catches the one-armed-man and clears his name.

1974- THE RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE- Prizefighter Mohammed Ali won back his heavyweight crown from George Foreman in a wild showbiz event set up in Kinshasa, Zaire. While the African government was trying to use the press attention to highlight the modern society they had developed, Ali was making jokes about witchdoctors, missionaries in stewpots and other clichés. "Tonight they'll be a thousand guys named Mohammed out there rooting for me, and another thousand guys named Ali rooting for me, but their won't be anybody else out there named George Foreman!" Foreman left boxing, became a minister, then returned in his 40’s to win the heavyweight crown and a fortune when most athletes are retired.

1976 - Anissa Jones, the child actress who played Buffy on the television show Family Affair), died of a drug overdose at age 18.

1989 -Hotel millionaire Leona Helmsley had said: "Only little people pay taxes". This day she was sentenced to four years in prison and fined two million dollars for 33 counts of income tax evasion. According to a London newspaper one butler under oath admitted he hated The Queen of Mean so much that whenever she asked for a Perrier, he would unzip his fly and use his rather unique stirrer for her drink. Leona died in 2007 and left the bulk of her estate to her dog.

2002- Peep-O-Rama, Times Square’s last remaining peep show, closed.

2005- HURRICANE KATRINA slammed into the cities of New Orleans, Gulfport Louisiana, and Biloxi, Mississippi. 165 mph winds, Tidal surges up to 30 feet collapsed levees, sending walls of water across the Big Easy. 1,800 died, 800,000 homeless and billions of dollars in damage. The tragedy proved that for all the fuss about government preparedness after 9-11, America was still woefully confused in a real crisis.

While people drowned in their attics and critical care patients were abandoned on the sidewalk to die, the government fumbled for almost a week. Long lines of relief trucks and ambulances were kept waiting outside the city with no permission to move in. A rescue caravan full of Canadian Mounties actually drove from Winnipeg to New Orleans quicker than the U.S. government did.

Meanwhile President Bush played air guitar at a Navy base in San Diego and compared himself to Franklin Roosevelt, then partied with John McCain on a golf course for his birthday. Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff attended a Bird Flu seminar and FEMA head David Brown sent e-mails to friends like “Did you see me on camera with my new tie? -Fabulous!” Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco (a Republican) said “ Our state response is the laughing stock of the nation.”

2008- CARIBOU BARBIE- Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain surprised the political world when he named Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his choice for running mate. It is still argued today whether this unconventional choice was good or bad. She energized the far right wing base of her party, but her obvious unpreparedness for high office offended Republican intelligentsia and scared off their few remaining independent voters.
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Yesterday’s Question: Who first called a timid person a milquetoast?

Answer: 1920’s cartoonist M.K. Webster created a series of cartoons in the Herald Tribune about a hapless everyman he named Casper Milquetoast. They became famous and by 1939 the term was in the dictionary.


Aug 28, 2017
August 28th, 2017

Question: Who first called a timid person a milquetoast?

Yesterday’s Answer Below: What did it mean to go Tilting the Quintain?
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History for 8/28/2017
Birthdays: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Leo Tolstoy, George Villiers the Duke of Buckingham- minister of James I, Sean O'Flagherty, Donald O'Connor, Charles Boyer, Karl Boehm, Bruno Bettleheim, Disney designer Ferdinand Horvath, Ben Gazzara, Janet Evans, Ron 'Louisiana Lightning' Guidry, Nancy Kulp, Daniel Stern, Shania Twain, anim historian Charles Solomon, Jack Black is 48, Rita Coolidge is 56.
Marvel cartoonist Jack "King" Kirby would have been 100 today.

In Hong Kong, today is the Festival is the Festival of Hungry Ghosts.

29BC- In ancient Rome, dedication of the altar to Victory.

79AD- POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM DESTROYED-The great volcano Versuvius erupted, burying the two Roman cities. The Emperor Titus rushed a fleet commanded by the natural scientist Pliny to rescue as many as he could. Pliny was overcome by the sulphurous fumes and died. His son, Pliny the Younger, eyewitnesses it all and wrote a moving account of the tragedy in his 'letters'. Scientists have been digging at the site of Pompeii since it's rediscovery in 1726, but estimates are there's as many as 30,000 skeletons still buried.

390AD-This was the Feast of Saint Augustine of Hippo. He was the Saint who tried every weird cult he could find before converting to Christianity, He drove his mother Saint Monica crazy but his experiences helped him develop an answer to every anti-Christian argument. His famous book was "the City of God". For a Saint he could have done stand-up. He was famous for one liners like when someone asked him "What did God do before he created the world?" Augustine answered: "He made a hell for people who ask stupid questions!" His other great motto was "Lord, Make me Chaste- but not just yet..."

476AD- The Last Roman Emperor of the West, the boy Romulus Augustulus, was deposed. It was done by his counselor and actual power behind the throne, the barbarian warlord named Odoacer. Odoacer sent the Imperial diadem and insignia to the Zeno the Emperor of the East in Constantinople and declared himself King of the Germans in Italy.

1296- The Ragman Roll- Scottish nobles in Parliament were called upon to pledge allegiance to King Edward I of England, or else. Edward Longshanks dropped his pretense of protection of the Scottish crown and instead moved for direct annexation to England. The only resistance came from peasant born leader William Wallace. The ceremony went on for so long such it coined a term for long inane formalities- Rigamarole.

1526- Battle of Mohacs. The Turkish Sultan Sulieman the Magnificent defeated the Hungarian army of Jan Hunyadi the "White Knight of Christendom", and pushes the borders of the Moslem World up to the gates of Vienna Austria.

1565 - Oldest city in the US, St Augustine Fla, established.

1609- Henry Hudson explored Delaware Bay.

1678- THE POPISH PLOT- A man named Titus Oates came before King Charles II and the Parliament and declared he had uncovered a plot by English Catholics, Jesuits, the Bishop of Armaugh, and the Pope to kill King Charles, enthrone his Catholic brother James, burn London and land an army of mercenaries to force the English people back into Roman Church by force! Odds Fish! King Charles laughed it off but the public took him seriously.

There may have been one or two forlorn Catholic schemes but nothing on the scale Oates described, yet England went crazy for the next several months executing anybody accused. Titus Oates became very rich, but he finally was caught in his lies and sent to prison. When a mob of anti-Catholic Londoners attacked the carriage of the kings mistress Nell Gywnn thinking it was one of Charles’ French tootsies, Nell poked her head out of the carriage and cried: ” Peace be with you Good Citizens! I am the PROTESTANT Whore!” the mob then cheered.

1776 – The day after George Washington’s Army was defeated by the British in Brooklyn this day heavy rain and fog canceled any actions. After the battle the British pushed the colonials up against the East River and could have brought their fleet up from Staten Island, captured Washington’s army, and destroyed the Revolution while the ink was still wet on the Declaration of Independence.
But they hesitated. Was it contrary winds in New York Harbor? Was it British memories of Bunker Hill preventing them from assaulting fixed colonial positions? Maybe it was because the English commanders Lord William Howe and his brother Admiral Richard 'Black Dick" Howe were Whigs in political opposition to the Tories in London. They saw a decisive military victory in America as a justification of the Lord North Government's policies.
So Howe hesitated finishing off the rebels and requested peace talks. If he could succeed in pacifying the colonies he would have the credit to run for Prime Minister. Washington stalled him and while they exchanged polite notes, the rebels slowly escaped by boat across the East River to fight on.

1830 - 1st locomotive in US, "Tom Thumb," runs from Baltimore to Ellicotts Mill.
.By 1835, the B &O was exclusively a steam affair.

1837 - Pharmacists John Leah & William Perrins invent Worcester Sauce. A gentleman returning from the Raj asked them to recreate a favorite Indian condiment from a recipe he gave them. The result proved inedible and disgusting. The bottles lay forgotten in their cellar for a few years. Upon rediscovery it proved to have matured into the wonderful comestible that we enjoy today.

1850- Lohengrin, the first opera written by Richard Wagner, premiered in Weimar. The Third Act chorus “Treulich Gefuhrt” became famous for weddings as “Here Comes the Bride, All Dressed in White”. Wagner asked his friend Franz Liszt to produce the opera because he was in exile for his political opinions. Wagner himself did not see Lohengrin performed until 1861.

1859-In Titusville Pennsylvania, the first U.S. oil well strikes oil. Before the industrial revolution crude oil or coal tar was considered a smelly nuisance. It was called Indian-Oil because Indians wore it as black warpaint, it was great for tarring and feathering rapscallions. Some entrepreneurs even tried to bottle it as health tonic. By this era it was refined into kerosene which was seen as a cheap plentiful substitute for whale-oil lamps. Unemployed railroad conductor Edwin Drake built the first oil well drilling apparatus out of components of a steam engine. By 1939 America exported 80% of the world’s crude oil.

1867- The U.S. Navy annexed Midway Island out in the Pacific.

1907- UPS small package delivery service started in Seattle.

1922- The first broadcast commercial on radio. It was for a real estate firm Queensboro Realty lasting ten minutes, and cost $100 dollars. The firm selling suburban homes in Queens NY immediately did $100,000 worth of business. The business world took note of this new method of advertising.

1934-Writer Upton Sinclair was nominated for Governor of California on the Democratic ticket by over half a million votes. This shocked the California power-elite because Sinclair was a radical whose grass roots organization EPIC (End Poverty in California) advocated socialist solutions to the Depression. Even FDR kept his distance from Sinclair.
Powerful forces enlisted Louis B. Mayer, Irving Thalberg and other Hollywood conservatives to ensure Sinclair's defeat by creating the first modern negative media campaign. This included phony newsreels of actors dressed as hobos saying how they're going to California to sponge off the taxpayers. Walt Disney's lawyer, Gunther Lessing, demanded Ward Kimball take the "Sinclair for Governor" sign off his car window.

Governor Frank Merriam who earlier that year had ordered troops to shoot down striking San Francisco longshoremen and their families won re-election.

1937- The Nazis began mass arrests of Jehovah's Witnesses.

1938- Northwestern University conferred an honorary degree upon the ventriloquist puppet Charlie McCarthy- Edgar Bergen’s famed dummy. The Dean of the School of Speech conferred a Master of Innuendo and Snappy Comeback upon the wooden celebrity.

1941- Rudolf Lichtenburg, pastor of St. Hedwig's Church the largest Lutheran congregation in Berlin, attacked the Nazi regime in an open letter to Dr. Leonardo Conti, Chief Reich Physician: "As a Human Being, As a Christian, a priest and a German I demand you answer for your crimes, which will call forth the Judgement of God upon the heads of the German People!" He was arrested by the Gestapo and died in Dachau.

1945- Chinese Communist Mao Tse Tung or Mao Zse Dong, conferred with Generalissimo Chiang Kai Chek over how to keep the Civil War from starting up again now that the War with Japan was over. The meeting was arranged by American Ambassador Patrick Hurley, an Oklahoma senator who greeted Mao and the Chiang with a loud Indian-style war whoop. We don’t know what Mao and Chiang thought of this curious form of welcome, but they couldn’t stand one another. Almost as soon as their conference was over the Chinese Civil War began again. Mao defeated Chiang and drove him to Taiwan in 1949.

1953- Between the Israeli War of Independence and the Suez War guerrilla violence raged in small border settlements with terrorism killing innocent civilians. The Israeli Army tried forming a secret commando team called Unit 101 to stop Arab attacks on Israeli settlers by committing their own acts of revenge “an-eye-for-an-eye”. After one raid this day Unit 101 went into action, shooting up a Palestinian refugee camp in Egyptian Gaza and killed a number of women and children. The attack was so cold-blooded that the unit was soon disbanded by an embarrassed government. The young officer in command of Unit 101 was future Prime Minister Arial Sharon.

1963- Dr. Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial at the climax of the first ' Poor People's March 'on Washington”. Organizer A. Phillip Randolph conceived a poor people’s march taking weeks not unlike the Bonus Marchers of 1929. The sympathetic John F. Kennedy administration prevailed upon them to keep it to one day to reduce the chance of violence and maximize media exposure. They had planned for 100,000 but they got 400,000. Movie stars like Sidney Poitier, Marlon Brando, James Garner, and Charlton Heston attended.

1968- THE CHICAGO DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION- While thousands of anti-war hippie and yippie protestors battled the Chicago Police in Grant Park, the Democrats nominated Hubert Horatio Humphrey, the "Happy Warrior" their candidate to replace the assassinated Bobby Kennedy. Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, the Yippie and SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) leaders tried to get a live 100 pound pig into the convention and get it nominated for President. The Chairman of the DNC decried Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's "Gestapo Tactics" from the rostrum. Ironically Boss Daley opposed the Vietnam War, but he would not tolerate kids making him look bad on national TV.
Newsman Dan Rather was gut-punched by a Chicago cop on camera on the convention floor. My friend writer John Culhane was clubbed down by police despite wearing all his press credentials and a baby blue army helmet with Newsweek painted on it. While the police and demonstrators battled poet Alan Ginsburg and Timothy Leary grabbed a loudspeaker and chanted the Buddhist "Ohhhmmmmm" to calm people down. The student leaders -the Chicago 7 in reality 8, were put on trial for incitement to riot but after a year long media circus all the charges were overturned. Republican Richard Nixon won the election. The Democrats wouldn't go near Chicago again for thirty years.

1990- Computer pioneer Sandy Lerner was fired from the company she founded- Cisco Systems.

1996- The Prince and Princess of Wales Charles & Diana got divorced. This was the first Royal divorce since Henry VIII annulled Anne of Cleves in the 1530's, not counting George IV's secret marriage to Mrs. Fitzherbert, which was hushed up, and his later cavorting with Lady Cunningham who was nicknamed "the Vice-Queen", and Edward VII's sleeping with every woman in Europe but his wife, etc.

2007- Conservative “Family Values” Senator Larry Craig of Idaho was arrested for soliciting gay sex in a men’s room in the Minneapolis Airport. Craig vigorously maintained that he had a wide stance in his stall, but older gay men said “toe-tapping” was a standard way then to signal a liaison. Larry Craig soon resigned from the Senate.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: What did it mean to go Tilting the Quintain?

Answer: Tilting was another word for jousting. A mounted knight, using a lance practiced charging a practice dummy. The dummy (quintain) held a shield as a target and swiveled on its base, so it might clop you in the head with its other arm as you rode by.


August 27, 2017
August 27th, 2017

Quiz: What did it mean to go Tilting the Quintain?

Question: People from New York are New Yorkers. People from Washington are Washingtonians. What are people from Phoenix called?
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HISTORY FOR 8/27/2017
Birthdays: Man Ray, Martha Ray, LBJ (Lyndon Baines Johnson), Hegel, C.S. Forester, Hannibal Hamlin- Abe Lincolns first term vice president, Barbara Bach, Theodore Dreiser, Lady Antonia Fraser, Tommy Sands, Tuesday Weld is 74, Mangesuthu Buthelezi, Paul Rubens-aka Pee Wee Herman is 65

1506- Pope Julius II attacks Perugia and Bologna for Holy Mother Church. After their conquest, Julius has Michelangelo cast a nine foot statue of him to remind the Perugians who kicked their butts. Michelangelo created his largest free-standing bronze caste, but we don't have it anymore. In 1512 Julius's enemies liberated Perugia, and the happy people melted down the statue and cast it into a cannon they nicknamed: "La Julia".

1660- Poet John Milton's books were publicly burned on Tyburn hill. It wasn't because of any great suppression of humanist ideas. Milton was an outspoken supporter of Oliver Cromwell and the Puritan regime that had governed England. But now the King was back on the throne and unimpressed with his writings.

1664- NIEUW AMSTERDAAM BECOMES NEW YORK. The English had disputed Holland's stake in America based on the early exploration of John Cabot. Now with the growth of the New England and Virginia colonies, and the English Civil War over, England sent a large battle fleet under Colonel Rollins to New Amsterdam to demand the surrender of the colony.

The Dutch governor was an old one-legged mercenary named Peter Stuyvesant. He wanted to make a fight of it and had even set up a battery of cannon on -where else? the Battery. However his city council were men of commerce, not soldiers. They told him if he wanted to fight he should do it himself because they were surrendering. Even his own son was against fighting. Stuyvesant in a rage shouted at the burghers:" Keep to your shovels and barrows!" The governor hobbled up to the cannon pointed at the British fleet and lit a match to fire the first shot. He paused and noticed the cold, silent stares of all those around him. The chaplain of the colony, Dominie Megapolensis, silently took Stuyvesant by the hand down from the fort. Stuyvesant signed the surrender.

He was allowed to keep his large farm, or in Dutch, his Bouwerie -the Bowery. Five years later the English named renamed the city after King Charles II's brother the Duke of York for his birthday. The Duke of York's protection kept Long Island from being made part of Connecticut. The first English colony planted after the conquest was named for the only part of Britain to remain loyal to King Charles during the Cromwell period, the Isle of Jersey (New Jersey). Charles main supporter was James Leslie, Baron Newark. (Newark N.J.) and his son the Duke of Monmouth. Still the old Dutch roots were deep and even in George Washington's time Dutch was the predominant language on New York's streets. In 1832 Martin Van Buren became our first knickerbocker President.

1667- The first record in English of a Hurricane, this one striking near Jamestown Virginia. Of course the Spanish in the Caribbean had been seeing hurricanes since Columbus’s third voyage in 1503.

1776- THE BATTLE OF LONG ISLAND, also called the Battle of Brooklyn Heights. British regiments destroy George Washington’s army in Brooklyn while he was still in Manhattan waiting for the main attack. Washington sent two generals to command, Generals Sullivan and William Alexander, who insisted everyone call him Lord Stirling in memory of some Scottish inheritance he claimed he was cheated out of.
The British General Henry Clinton marched down the Kings Highway to Jamaica then found a secret path behind Yankee lines, guarded by only 5 militiamen. Clinton had walked these paths when he was a young officer stationed in NY. His superior Lord William Howe at first refused the idea- he said it smacked of the German School of Tactics. He felt the Americans were too stupid to panic when they saw their flank was turned. But the Yankees did panic and Lord Howe won a great victory.
The British had gotten over their shock of the American’s Indian style of guerrilla fighting. They countered by using German jaeger battalions, professional hunters turned soldier who were accustomed to shooting from behind rocks and trees. Generals Sullivan and Lord Stirling were forced to surrender after furious fighting around the Cortelyou House. One redcoat officer wrote: “Multitudes of retreating Americans who attempted to escape across the Gowanus River were drowned or suffocated in the morasses- a proper punishment for Rebels!”
1789- The French Revolutionaries publish THE DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MAN. They wanted the American ambassador Thomas Jefferson to help them write it, but he worried it would compromise his diplomatic immunity. So he agreed to look over their shoulder during revisions. Most foreign ambassadors had fled Paris. But the French radicals considered America a fellow Republic.

1813- BATTLE OF DRESDEN. After the retreat from Moscow the previous year, Napoleon is attacked by Austria, Russia, Sweden, Prussia, and just about everybody else in Europe but the Spice Girls. In reorganizing his army Napoleon ordered a stripped down staff and no more dessert served at the dinner table. War is Hell.
Napoleon whupped the Allies in this first battle at Dresden, and a famous French turncoat general named Moreau was killed by a cannonball. Moreau had been counseling the Russians on how best to kill his countrymen. His death was seen as a sign of Divine Justice by both sides. During a temporary truce Napoleon was offered by the Allies the chance to negotiate a peace. World history would have been different, but he refused. When he asked Polish Prince Poniatowski what he would do, the Prince replied: 'I would make peace now, to wage war better later.' But Napoleon countered :"I'd rather make war now to win a better peace." He lost.

1814- President James Madison and the remains of the U.S. Government came out of hiding in the forests of Arlington and re-entered the burned out remains of Washington D.C.. It had been left by the British Army after being put to the torch. Looters scampered over the smoldering remains of the White House and Capitol Hill. Secretary of War Armstrong, who inadequately defended the capitol, resigned after blaming everyone but himself. Mayor Blakes’ biggest fear upon his return was of a rumored slave insurrection, so he armed every available white male for police duty. Meanwhile the exhausted inhabitants of Washington could hear the British cross the Potomac loot and burn the town of Alexandria, given up without a fight.

1814- As the British invaders roamed the Maryland countryside an elderly Scottish immigrant doctor named Beanes was dragged out of his house by Royal Marines and packed off to the flagship off shore. He was accused of mistreating captured British soldiers. Since he was born in Scotland he could face a charge of treason. When local residents petitions to have Dr Beanes released were refused, an appeal was made to a respected Georgetown attorney named Francis Scott Key to go try and win his release. Key showed up at the ship with written affidavits from the incarcerated British wounded affirming Dr. Beanes innocence. Admiral Cockburn agreed to release them both, but only after their big assault on Baltimore. This is why Key was on the British warship in time to watch the Rockets Red Glare, the Bombs Bursting in Air, etc.

1814- Meanwhile in England poet Percy Shelley eloped with Mary, the only daughter of John Godwin and Mary Wollenstonecraft. Godwin had objected to Shelley’s proposal for his daughters hand because he was an opium addict, a sexual libertine, an atheist and already married with a baby daughter! Yeah, but besides all that what’s your objection? They ran off followed by Mary’s stepsister Claire who started sleeping with Lord Byron. Mary of course was the author of Frankenstein. If I knew all this maybe I would have paid more attention in English Lit 101.

1910- The first radio message sent from an airplane.

1912- Edgar Rice Burroughs published Tarzan of the Apes.

1915- Italy declared war on Germany and Austria and entered World War I.

1917- Straight Shooting, the first film directed by John Ford released. Before that Ford did bit parts and stuntwork. He was a Klansman in Birth of a Nation. Not because he was racist but because it was a paying extras job. He said later he kept fussing with his white hood that kept slipping over his eyes while he was trying to ride his horse.

1927- Warner Bros began recording the soundtrack for Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer.

1930- Lon Chaney Sr. died of throat cancer. It was claimed then that during filming of a remake of The Unholy Three a wind machine blew an artificial gypsum snowflake into Chaney's mouth - it caused an irritation that became a tumor.

1941- Japan’s Prime Minister Prince Konoye requested a summit meeting with President Franklin Roosevelt to try and avoid war. Konoye was an anti-fascist and foresaw the coming holocaust but he couldn’t control Japans military. Ironically when the war ended in 1945 Prince Konoye was arrested by US authorities for war crimes. The anti-war statesman committed hari-kiri.

1942- Stalin called Marshal Zhukov, the hero of Leningrad, to go to Stalingrad and assume command there before the Nazis captured the city.

1955- The first Guinness Book of World Records published.

1950- NBC and General Foods abruptly canceled the hit television show “the Aldrich Family” when a pamphlet called Red Channels accused Jean Muir, one of the show’s stars, of being a communist.

1953- The film Roman Holiday introduced a new young actress from Holland named Audrey Hepburn.

1964- The movie version of Mary Poppins premiered.

1967- The Beatles first manager Brian Epstein overdosed on sleeping pills.

1979- Retired Lord Louis Mountbatten was killed by the IRA, from a bomb on board his yacht.

1968- Former master animator Bill Tytla's request to return to Disney was turned down. The artist who animated Grumpy the Dwarf, Dumbo and the Devil on Bald Mountain even offered to do a free "trial animation test" to show he still had it. Disney exec W.H. Anderson wrote him:" We really have only enough animation for our present staff."
Tytla died later that year.

1990- Guitar great Stevie Ray Vaughan was killed in a helicopter crash outside Alpine Valley Wisconsin, after an "All Stars of the Blues" show. Stevie Ray took the last remaining seat on the helicopter, after Eric Clapton got off, claiming he'd rather take a limo back to Chicago, which was about an hour away.

2008- Barack Obama nominated for President of the United States. The first African American candidate from a major party.
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Yesterday’s Question: People from New York are New Yorkers. People from Washington are Washingtonians. What are people from Phoenix called?

Answer: Phoenicians. ( no kidding!)


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