Sept 21, 2017
September 21st, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sept 20, 2017
September 20th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1984- The Cosby Show premiered.

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

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

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

Answer: They are all symphony orchestra conductors.


Sept 19, 2017
September 19th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1849-First commercial laundry set up in Oakland Cal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1970- The Mary Tyler Moore TV Show premiered.

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

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

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

1995- Orville Reddenbacher 'the Popcorn king' died.

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

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

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


Sept 18, 2017
September 18th, 2017

Question: Who was Gilgamesh?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Who was Faust, aka Dr. Faustus?
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History for 9/18/2017
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Marcus Ulpius Trajan 53AD, Dr Samuel Johnson, Frankie Avalon, Greta Garbo, Claudette Colbert, Leon Foucault (Foucault's Pendulum ), Jack Warden, Canadian PM John Diefenbaker, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Rossano Brazzi, Joe Kubert, Debbie Fields founder of Mrs. Field's Cookies, Jada Pinkett-Smith, James Gandolfini, June Foray would have been 100 today.

96 A.D. ROMAN EMPEROR DOMITIAN ASSASSINATED- Domitian was a crazy tyrant in the mold of Nero and Caligula. He once ordered all the fortunetellers, sorcerers, swamis and such driven out of Rome. Their guild got together and retaliated by doing a group prediction of Domitian's assassination: Sept. 18th on the eleventh hour.

Domitian pretended not to care but on the day spent all day locked indoors with a sword under his pillow. He didn't come out until his slaves and butlers assured him the eleventh hour had passed. Domitian came out and was promptly murdered by his slaves and butlers. They lied. It was the eleventh hour. -BUT WAIT! IT GETS WEIRDER... A Roman mob drags Domitian's body through the streets on a hook and chain. They tried to stuff him into the sewer but he was too fat, so they tore the body to pieces and threw the chunks into the Tiber.

-BUT WAIT! IT GETS EVEN WEIRDER!!-The Roman Senate told his wife the Empress Valeria no hard feelings, if she needed anything.... She requested to be allowed to keep one statue of her husband in the Forum. The Senate approved. Unbeknown to them fishermen had fished out the pieces of Domitian. Valeria took the fish-knawed chunks to an Egyptian doctor and had him sew them back into something resembling a human being. Then she told her artists to make a statue of what they saw.
This horrid statue she put in the forum to remind Roman's of 'their ingratitude'.

324 A.D.-Battle of Chalcedon-Constantine, Roman Emperor of the West,
defeated Licinius, Emperor of the East and takes over the whole Roman Empire.One result of this battle was he took the Christian religion, which he had earlier removed the ban on, and raised it to the official state religion of the Roman Empire.1572-the painter El Greco first appeared in history in a document paying his union dues to the Guild of St. Lawrence, the artists guild of Rome. His real name was Domenico Theotocopoulos. People just called him 'the Greek Guy" -El Greco. 1705- PIRATES TAKE OVER NEW YORK CITY and hold it a few days until the British Navy drove them away.

1793- At the building site of the new capitol city (Washington D.C.) the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol building was set in a ceremony presided over by President George Washington and a group of Freemason masters from GW's local lodge.
At one point Washington dismissed the crowd so the Freemason's could do their mystical rites in secret. No regular clergy was invited nor conventional Christian benedictions given. The US Capitol as we know would not be completed until 1863.

1804- Napoleon inspected Baron Gros new painting The Plague Victims of Jaffa and liked it. Nappy considered paintings part of propaganda and commissioned artists to project his image.

1811 A Portuguese 'Projectionist' (experimenter with Magic Lanterns) offers the Duke of Wellington to burn up Napoleon's army with a series of convex lenses and mirrors. Wellington says thanks, but no thanks...

1812- The Great Fire of Moscow finally out, Napoleon sent to Czar Alexander informing him of the tragedy and once more calling upon him to submit to peace talks. The Czar sent no reply but told his troops and court: “I will continue to fight so long as I have one soldier. Rather than surrender to the invaders I’d grow my beard to my waist, go to Siberia and live on potatoes!”

1851-First issue of the New York Daily Times, later just the New York Times.

1870-THE SIEGE OF PARIS BEGAN- The main French armies defeated and Emperor Napoleon III a prisoner, Paris alone refused to surrender to Prussia. As the great Krupp guns boom shells into the city, American General Phil Sheridan stood as a tourist in between Chancellor Bismarck and the Kaiser. Painter August Renoir would go outside the city walls to sketch and was once picked up and accused of espionage. Parisians starved in the siege and elegant restaurants were soon offering 'roast cat in orange sauce with a decorative garnish of mice'. Top fashion guru Worth of Paris declared it chic' to have some decorative ruins in your garden. After the siege the Paris city walls were demolished. They were approximately where the freeway "peripherique" around the city is today. The fiercest fighting was where the suburb of La Defense is (hence the name). Young Emile Cohl was inspired by the military wall posters he saw to become an artist. He later became the first true animation artist.

1873- THE GREAT PANIC AND DEPRESSION OF '73- Contrary to modern belief the Depressions of 1929 and 2008 weren't the only times the U.S. economy collapsed. This panic began when the huge Bank of Cooke & Sons closed. In those times you would say "to be rich as Jay Cooke' was like saying rich as a Rockefeller or Trump today. Cooke got the news of his ruin while having breakfast with President Grant and broke down and wept in front of the befuddled chief executive. The run on the collapsing market got so out of control that the New York Stock Exchange shut down for ten days. The Depression lasted ten years. 1907,1819,1893,1914, 1832, 1987 also saw financial panics.

1895- In Davenport Iowa, Daniel David Palmer performed the first chiropractic adjustment session. Crack!

1917-Writer Aldous Huxley got a job teaching at Eton. One of his students was Eric Blair, who would write under the name George Orwell.

1927-The Columbia Broadcasting System-CBS broadcast its first program, an opera called the King’s Henchman.

1931- THE MUKDEN INCIDENT- The Japanese army rig a supposed Chinese ambush at a small railway junction near Shenyang. This served as the pretext for a mass invasion of Manchuria. This is technically the first violence of World War II, since the Sino-Japanese conflict would continue until 1945.

1932-Frustrated movie actress Peggy Enwhistle jumped off the Hollywood Sign. In case you are curious she jumped off the “H”. She also didn’t hit the ground immediately but hit a cactus patch, dying slowly later in great pain. Ironically in her mail that day was a script and a job offer. The role was of a woman who commits suicide.

1939-LORD HAW-HAW. Shortly after World War II broke out in Europe, today Britons first heard an English voice reading propaganda news from Radio Berlin. English fascist William Joyce became the voice of Nazi Germany in English, making pro-axis commentary not unlike Tokyo Rose was doing in Asia. He was nicknamed Lord Haw-Haw because of his assumed upper-class British accent. He was actually of Irish ancestry and lived in Brooklyn New York for awhile, but he considered himself English. After Germany’s defeat Joyce was captured and executed for treason.

1947- The US Army Air Force is reformed as an independent department of the armed services. The US Air Force is born.

1961- United Nations General Secretary Dag Hammerskjold was killed in a plane crash in Africa. He left behind a book of philosophical musings called Markings that became a best seller. Today the central plaza in front of the United Nations Building is named for him.

1965- I Dream of Genie debuted on television. Network Standards & Practices said Barbara Eden could wear the harem outfit so long as her belly-button didn’t show. At first the reviews were not good. The Variety TV critic said: “The only thing that stands out in this show is Barbera Edens cleavage.”

1970- Jimmy Hendrix (27) was found dead of drug and alcohol abuse. He had passed out and choked on his own vomit. Janis Joplin's reaction was -"G-ddammit! He beat me to it !" Joplin herself died three weeks afterwards.

1981- France outlaws capitol punishment and the guillotine.

1987- Disney’s TV show Ducktales premiered.

1991- Comedian Redd Foxx was famous for doing bits like faking a heart attack. This day on the set of his new series the Royal Family while joking with Della Reese he clutched his chest and fell over dead. Everyone thought he was faking and laughed.

1994- Tennis star Vitus Gerulaitis was found in his home dead from carbon monoxide poisoning.

2001- ANTHRAX- While America was still in shock from the 9-11 attacks, government and media offices started getting envelopes in the mail containing weapons grade Anthrax powder. 22 people are sickened and 5 died. The Bush Administration immediately claimed it was the work of Al Qaeda and later Saddam Hussein, but the only culprit the FBI could pinpoint was a disgruntled chemist at the Army Biological Weapons Lab who committed suicide. Nothing was ever proven conclusively.

2003- In Scotland paleontologists discover the world’s oldest genitalia. From a dinosaur era insect ancestor of the preying mantis. Great Giant Mantis Balls!”
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Who was Faust, aka Dr. Faustus?

Answer: Dr. Faustus was originally a scientist-alchemist of German legend who made a contract with the Devil (Mephistopheles) for worldly power in exchange for his soul. His story was first delineated by Christopher Marlowe, and later by Goethe.


Sept 17, 2017
September 17th, 2017

Question: Who was Faust, aka Dr. Faustus?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Lately the favorite catchphrase of politicos is “ The Senator Double downed on his comment in Congress.” Okay, what does Double down mean?
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History for 9/17/2017
Birthdays: Hank Williams, Spiro Agnew, Ken Kesey, Jerry Colonna, Roddy MacDowell, George Blanda, Wendy Carlos Williams, Elvira- real name Cassandra Peterson, Anne Bancroft, Jeff MacNelly, John Ritter, Sir Frederick Ashton, Rita Rudner, Tim Walker, Baz Luhrmann is 55

1179- Feast of Saint Hildegard of Bingen, the medieval female composer.

1630- Happy Birthday Beantown! The Puritan colonists of New England decide to name their new settlement Boston, after a town in Lincolnshire. The site was an Algonquin village called Shawmut.

1632- BATTLE of BRIETENFELD- Biggest battle of the religious Thirty Years War. South Germans, Austrians, Italians, Spaniards on the Catholic side, Swedes, Danes, Hungarians and North Germans on the Protestant side. Catholic general Joachim Tchserclas Von Tilly lost, despite dedicating the battle to the Virgin Mary and having twelve cannon named for the Twelve Apostles. Protestant Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus sang morning prayers with his army from the saddle.
I wonder if their battle cry was:" Prince of Peace! CHAAAAARGE !!"

1787- The completed U.S. Constitution was signed by the representatives of 12 of the thirteen states. Rhode Island boycotted the convention. “The business is closed.” George Washington wrote in his diary. Alexander Hamilton signed as the only representative of New York since the others left in protest. Yet the US Constitution became the bedrock of the American system and is viewed with an almost religious dedication. When Ben Franklin emerged from the meeting, an old woman asked:’ Well, Dr Franklin, what have you given us now?” Franklin replied:” A Nation, mam, if you can keep it!”

1859- JOSHUA NORTON of San Francisco, a well known rice merchant, suffered a mental breakdown under the strain of work, bought a tricycle and a marching band uniform and declared himself Joshua Ist, By God's Grace Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico! Everybody went along with the gag including Abraham Lincoln, who Joshua would write to as "My Prime Minister" and Abe would answer "Your Majesty". When Joshua died in 1875, 35,000 San Franciscans turned out for a state funeral befitting royalty.

1862- BATTLE OF ANTIETAM or Sharpsburg. Abe Lincoln needed a Union victory before freeing the slaves so the act wouldn't look like the last desperate gamble of a losing side. Robert E. Lee had invaded Maryland but his secret orders wrapped around some cigars were discovered by Yankee trooper. "At last I've got him!' crowed Gen. George B. "Little Mac" McClellan, the Union commander who was a great organizer but a terrible battlefield commander. The two sides batter each other in one of the bloodiest days in U.S. history, double the U.S. casualties of D-Day in World War II. McClellan delayed sending in his reserves at a critical moment to break Lee's center, so the battle was a draw. Lee withdrew into Virginia -he was leaving Maryland anyway, so it was kind of, sort of, a Union success.
Yet despite Lincoln's pleading, McClellan refused to pursue. Lil' Mac was convinced Lee had 100,00 troops (he had barely 30,000.). Never one for modesty, McClellan wrote his wife: "Once again God has made me His instrument to be the Savior of my country."
Lincoln fired him, but published his Emancipation Proclamation anyway.

1880- The L.A. Athletic Club opened.

1915- During World War I, Australians seized the German colony of Papua New Guinea.

1921-SWASTIKA- New leader of the German National Socialist or Nazi Party Adolf
Hitler sent his first memo to party members. He had spent a lot of time researching graphic symbols in a Munich library with a Professor Pluskau, who specialized in Oriental cultures. Now Herr Hitler advised all party members to adopt as their emblem an ancient symbol of a crooked cross, called a Swastika, Sanskrit for good well being. This was to be worn as an armband and on party stationary topped with an eagle in imitation of imperial Rome. CBS news correspondent William Shirer noticed that at early rallies, Nazis actually sold brand merchandise to fund their movement.

1925- In Mexico City, a streetcar crashed into a schoolbus carrying 14 year old Frida Kahlo. It fractured her pelvis, when she had already been dealing with polio. The difficulty she suffered recovering had a great impact on her painting.

1932- Mickey Mouse short The Whoopee Party, premiered.

1939- Russian forces join German troops in the invasion of Poland and occupied the Balkan countries Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. These nations would not regain their independence until 1990.

1940- After the failure of the German Luftwaffe, Hitler postponed Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of the British Isles. The Battle of Britain was over, but air raids on London would continue. Hitler would resume bombing London with rocket weapons in 1943 in the period called 'The Blitz".

1941- As Stuka Bombers drop incendiary explosives over their heads, Dmitri Shostakovitch performs the first two movements of his Symphony #7 the "Leningrad" to a Leningrad audience. Shostakovitch wrote the symphony during the terrible 900 day siege by the Nazi's, often pausing to join the fire brigade in putting out fires.

1944- OPERATION MARKET GARDEN- British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery convinced Eisenhower that one way to shorten the war would be to drop the allied parachute divisions to seize key bridgehead crossings at Arnhem, Einhoven and Nijmegen in Holland and then send tank units racing up to secure their breakthrough. The area to be attacked was well behind the front lines and supposed to be undefended. But just before this attack two crack Nazi SS Panzer divisions had been withdrawn there to rest. The operation was one of the biggest Allied disasters of the war. The Allies dropped troops on one side of Arnhem and their supplies on the other side, with the Germans in between.
The assault was broken and the valiant British paratroops under General Urquhart & Col. Ross holding one side of Arnhem Bridge were forced to surrender. Of the 10,000 men of the British First Parachute Division only 2,000 were not killed, wounded or captured. An Arnhem eyewitness who would one day grow up to be a famous actress was a little Dutch refugee named Audrey Hepburn. General Patton, who was not fond of Montgomery, summed it all up unkindly: “Monty says he wants a dagger thrust into the heart of Germany. Knowing Monty, it would be more like a butter knife!” In 1967 shortly before his death, Montgomery stated:” I still feel Market Garden could have worked.”

1948- Count Bernadotte, the UN commissioner for Palestine was assassinated by Jewish terrorists while trying to arbitrate a ceasefire between Israel and the Arabs. A shocked Prime Minsiter Ben Gurion ordered the disbanding of all Jewish militias like the Irgun and Stern Gang operating independently of the Israeli central command. During World War Two Bernadotte had used his diplomatic immunity to save Jews from the Holocaust.

1951- Battle of the Yalu River. General MacArthurs UN army reached the edges of North Korea .

1965- If you ever wondered what could be funny about being held in a Nazi prison camp you could watch the TV sitcom HOGANS HEROES, which debuted this day. Nazi Commandant Colonel Klink was acted by Werner Klemperer, whose father was the famous orchestra conductor Otto Klemperer who had to flee Germany because they were Jewish. Sargent Schulz and the Frenchman LeBeau were also played by actors who survived the Holocaust- John Banner and Robert Clary.

1971- RCA gave up and pulled out of the retail computer market.

1972- Filmation's The Groovie Ghoulies" debuts.

1975- Psychotherapist Lucile Yaney opened one of LA’s most unusual restaurants- the Inn of the Seventh Ray in Topanga Canyon. Built on the site of a country house 1920’s evangelist Aimee Semple MacPherson brought her toyboy lovers. Premiere organic cuisine with berry wines, then you can browse the store for power crystals, I-Ching sticks and literature from Alastair Crowley and Edgar Cayce. Faaar- Out !

1978- After thirteen days of intense negotiations President Jimmy Carter announced the Camp David Peace Accords, the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab neighbor- Egypt. Prime Minister Menachem Begin shook hands with President Anwar El Sadat.

1980- Saddam Hussein’s Iraq attacked the Ayatollah Khomeni's Iran. An 8 year war resulted. Because at the time we hated the Ayatollah’s Iran more, the US actively supplied Saddam with arms, CIA intelligence on Iranian troop movements and a lot of those hand held rockets Iraqis shot at us later in 1991 and 2003.

1982- THE SABRAH and SHATILAH MASSCRES- The Israeli Army had invaded Lebanon and intervened in the Lebanese Civil War, which had been raging since 1975. Their original purpose was to destroy PLO bases with which the Palestinians used to attack northern Israel. The Israeli army went all the way to Beirut and surrounded two large Palestinian refugee camps, hoping to destroy the PLO command structure. After the Christian President of Lebanon Bashir Gemayel was assassinated, the Israeli Army let his Christian Lebanese militia fighters into the two camps to take out any remaining PLO fighters. Instead, the enraged militiamen went on a rampage of revenge. Hundreds were killed. When the press was finally allowed to inspect the camps, the images shocked the world.
The Lebanon Invasion polarized Israeli society, many Israeli army officers joined Peace-Now and refused to serve. Defense Minister Ariel Sharon “The Beast of Beirut” was made to resign because of his complicity in this tragedy. He became Prime Minister in 1998.

1991- The TV show Home Improvement debuted, making a star out of stand up comedian Tim Allen.

2008- the entire nation of Iceland declared bankruptcy.

2008- the first revelations that George W. Bush’s Department of the Interior officials were having sex with prostitutes and taking drugs with lobbyists for the Oil companies. One official admitted snorting meth off an office toaster oven. Meanwhile they winked at the oil companies forgetting to pay hundred of millions of dollars in environmental penalties and fees. Two years later, two oilrigs exploded and polluted the Gulf off Louisiana.

2011- THE 99% PROTESTS, average people gathered in parks by Wall Street in Manhattan to protest the terrible economy, while Wall Street mavens reaped big bonuses. Despite vilification by Right Wing Media, the protests grew to hundreds of thousands of protesters across America and went on for months. There was even Occupy Alaska, Occupy Honolulu, and Occupy the South Pole. Yet lack of organization and a clear message allowed them to eventually die away.
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Yesterday’s Question: Lately the favorite catchphrase of politicos is “ The Senator Double downed on his comment in Congress.” Okay, what does Double down mean?

Answer: in Blackjack, it means doubling your bet after only two cards are down, showing your bold confidence and determination.


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