May 22, 2015
May 22nd, 2015

Quiz: Why is Memorial Day in the US celebrated at the end of May, while England and Canada celebrate it in November?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What is the difference between Stanley Holloway and Stirling Holloway?
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History for 5/22/2015
Birthdays: Sir Lawrence Olivier, Mary Cassatt, Richard Wagner, Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, T. Bone Pickens, Judith Christ, Irene Pappas, Paul Winfield, Richard Benjamin, Susan Strassberg, George Baker, Paul Winchell, Tommy John, Naomi Cambell, Dr. Robert Moog –inventor of the first Music Synthesizer, Ginnifer Goodwin is 37

In Kodiak Alaska, today is the Kodiak Crab Festival.

Happy National Bartender's Day

337AD- Emperor Constantine the Great, who raised Christianity from an illegal cult to the official religion of the Roman Empire, died after a ruling for 37 years. For some reason he himself didn't accept baptism until on his deathbed. His coins had Christ on one side and Sol Invictus, the Imperial Sun god on the other. To maintain order in the Empire until his son Constantius could be contacted and safely installed as leader in Constantinople, the embalmed corpse of Constantine continued to receive ambassadors and preside over meetings until that winter.

1276- Today is the feast day of Saint Humility of Faenza, a nun who insisted she be bricked up into her cell with only a hole cut for food, water and to hear Mass and slept on her knees. After twelve years of this she was talked out of her cell to become an abbess.

1455- Battle of St. Albans- First battle of the WAR OF THE ROSES. The conflict wasn't about differing views on horticulture but a dynastic struggle between two powerful branches of the royal family of England. It seems a hundred years earlier King Edward III had a lot of lusty sons. His two eldest and lustiest were Edward the Black Prince and John of Gaunt. Edward lusted after Joan the fair Maid of Kent and John lusted after the throne. The Black Prince should have become The Black king but he died young. Even then John couldn't be king because the rules said the throne went to the eldest Black Princeling, Richard II. So John of Gaunt had some lusty sons himself and they became the Lancaster branch of the family -after John's title as Earl of Lancaster- represented by the Red Rose; and The Black Prince's progeny were the York family represented by the White Rose. So they warred and conspired and murdered and had a lusty old time until they wiped each other out and were replaced by a third family, the Tudors.

1761-The first life insurance policy issued in the U.S.

1782- In a letter to one of his officers, George Washington rejected the calls to declare him King of the United States. " It pains me to hear such ideas are circulating within the army. I regard such ideas with horror and condemn it severely. It seems pregnant with the greatest misfortunes that could ever befall our country."

1800- The US Congress disbanded the US Army as being unnecessary and expensive. We would make do with militia to deal with Indians and a coast guard.

1809- Battle of Aspern-Essling. Napoleons army was crossing the Danube when the rivers flood washed out two bridges cutting his army in two. Austrian general Archduke Charles jumped on the opportunity and attacked, driving back Nappys troops against the river. Marshal Lannes, one of Napoleon’s top combat officers, was killed.

1843- Wagons Ho! The Great Emigration- One of the largest wagon trains ever formed set out from Independence Missouri to the new Oregon Territory. Thousands of settlers driving a thousand head of cattle set off along the Oregon Trail.

1854- The NEBRASKA COMPROMISE-One of many stop-gap legislative measures to try to stall the Civil War a few more years. In an attempt to keep the balance between slave states and free states entering the Union Whig Congressmen strike a deal where Kansas and Nebraska could decide for themselves whether they wanted to enter the union as free or slave states. Nobody was pleased with this deal. Guerrilla war broke out in Kansas and the Whig party disintegrated from dissent. The dissident Whig politicians like Freemont and Lincoln soon formed a new political party. At first called the Anti-Nebraska Men, they later became the Black-Republicans or simply Republicans.

1856- San Francisco City supervisor James Casey was hanged by San Francisco City Vigilance Committee for murder. Casey had sought out the editor of the Evening Bulletin James King and shot him down on the street for insulting him in print. The vigilantes of the Barbary Coast then went into action.

1868- The Reno Gang rob an Indiana express train and get $96,000.

1915-The San Fernando Valley voted to become part of Los Angeles.

1920- THE DEARBORN INDEPENDENT- Henry Ford was a brilliant inventor with strange opinions. He overpaid assembly line workers, gave equal raises and promotions to black and Latino workers, but he hated Jews. He had purchased the newspaper the Dearborn Independent in 1918 and ran editorials in it with no advertising, totally his own opinions. This day the Independents Anti-Semitic campaign began with the headline -"The International Jew: The World’s Problem." 119 leading prominent Christian leaders including President Woodrow Wilson signed a petition demanding the slanderous publications be stopped, but Ford just ignored them. In 1934 when American journalist for CBS, William Shirer, interviewed Chancellor Adolf Hitler in Berlin, he noticed Hitler kept translations of the Dearborn Independent on his desk.

1922-The U.S. Supreme Court rules Baseball is not a monopoly but a sport. This is the Achilles heel issue everyone jumps on when arguments about baseball owners use of salary fixes and other group actions reach crescendo.

1925- First day of shooting on Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis.

1942- In a dark basement room in Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy Cryptographic Unit spent weeks at primitive computers breaking the Japanese radio codes. Cmdr Joe Rochefort paced the small room in his red smoking jacket, downing pots of coffee, and coming up with answers to riddles.

This day Joe Rochefort solved the most important riddle of his career. He deduced from intercepted radio messages that on June 4th Japan was going to feint a strike at the Aleutian Islands then launch it’s main battle fleet at Midway Island. When Admiral Nimitz received this report he had to decide whether it was a trick or the real thing before committing his own battered aircraft carriers. If Nimitz was wrong and the fleet outmaneuvered Hawaii, Australia and even the California coast could come under Japanese attack. Nimitz chose to fight at Midway and Rochefort proved to be exactly right. The Battle of Midway June 4th would be the victory to turn the tide of the Pacific War.
In the month following the victory, the Chicago Tribune published the headline "Navy Breaks Jap Code" which cause Tokyo to change all their codes, so the work had to start all over again.

1949- Admiral James Forrestal was a top strategist during World War Two and was serving as President Truman’s Secretary of Defense. But the pressures of command in first the World War, then the Cold War may have been too much for him. Several days after President Truman awarded a medal to Forrestal he was admitted to the Bethesda Naval Hospital for nervous exhaustion. This day he leapt out a window with his bathrobe cord knotted around his neck. It was ruled a suicide.

1954- Bob Dylan’s Bar Mitzvah. Maseltov!

1955-The Golden Age of Radio ends when after 22 years the Jack Benny show was canceled. Once the top broadcast show in the nation, Benny went on to television.

1957- A U.S. B-36 bomber accidentally drops a Hydrogen Bomb on Albuquerque, New Mexico. The bombardier, Lt. Robert Carp lost his balance in the bomb bay area and grabbed for a handle that released the nuke. He ran back to the cockpit yelling: "I didn't touch anything! I didn't touch anything!" The bomb blew up a mesa and killed a cow but miraculously the thermonuclear triggering mechanism didn't kick in. This was a classified secret until the late 1980's.

1964- In a speech at Ann Arbor, President Lyndon Johnson called for the Great Society. Johnson is remembered as the Vietnam War president but many of his Great Society social programs like Medicare and Medicaid are still in effect today.

1966- Bill Cosby became the first African-American to win an Emmy Award for starring in a television series- I-Spy.

1967- T.V. children's show Mr. Roger's Neighborhood debuted.

1969- PEOPLE’S PARK- The escalating tension between anti-war counter-culture and "the Establishment" picked an unusual item to fight over. A group of activists in Berkeley took over a 2 acre plot of land scheduled for development by the college. They planted grass and flowers and called it a "people’s park". Conservative Governor Ronald Reagan wasn’t going to tolerate any more tomfoolery and after officers and a chain link fence failed to keep out the squatters he sent in the National Guard. This day the confrontation between the bayonet wielding troops and hippies broke out into violence. One man was killed and another was blinded by riot gas. The college decided to yield the land for the park and it stays so today.

1972- The land of Ceylon declared itself the Republic of Sri Lanka.

1973- Scientist Bob Metcalfe of Xerox PARC patented the Ethernet.

1981- Peter Sutcliffe was convicted in the Yorkshire Ripper trial of murdering 13 women.

1985- Top Disney animation director Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman who directed the Jungle Book among other films, died in a car crash following lunch at the Smoke House in Burbank.

1992- The film Encino Man premiered, with Brendan Frazier and Pauly Shore.

2001- Ted Turners divorce from actress Jane Fonda became official.

2002-The Ayatollahs of Iran outlaw Barbie dolls. They denounce Barbie as "agents of subversive Zionist Western propaganda."

2004- The heir to the Spanish throne Prince Felipe of Asturias married a TV news anchorwoman. The first commoner in the Spanish Royal family.

2004- Manmohar Singh was sworn in as Prime Minister of India. The first Sikh ever to hold this office. His Congress party had been led Sonya Ghandi, but she declined the job. Let me see, if my husband P.M Rajiv Ghandi was blown up by a suicide bomber, and my mother-in-law Indira was machined gunned by her own body guards, and my great uncle the Mahatma was shot, maybe this job isn't a good career move for me?

2012- SpaceX, the world’s first privately owned spacecraft, blasted off to bring supplies to the International Space Station.
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Yesterday’s Question: What is the difference between Stanley Holloway and Stirling Holloway?

Answer: Stanley Holloway was the British actor who sang “I’m getting married in the morning” in My Fair Lady, and Stirling Holloway was the American actor who voiced Winnie the Pooh and Kaa among other Disney character.


May 21, 2015
May 21st, 2015

Quiz: What is the difference between Stanley Holloway and Stirling Holloway?

Yesterday’s Question: To what country are the Balearic Islands part of?
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history for 5/21/2015
Birthdays: Plato, Fats Waller, Albrecht Durer, Andre Sakharov, Armand Hammer, Raymond Burr, John Hubley, Dennis Day, Sen. Al Franken is 64, Harold Robbins, Judge Reinhold, Larry Terro called Mr. T. is 63

1420- After the great victory of Agincourt King Henry V of England and King Charles VI the Mad of France conclude a peace treaty at Troyes. Harry of England would marry the French king's daughter and become heir. But Henry's early death from dysentery at 35 canceled these plans. That would have been an early end to the Hundred Years War, making it the 75 Years War.

1471- King Henry VI of Lancaster had been captured in the battle of Tewkesbury when he was defeated in the War of the Roses. On this day the prisoner-king was slain in the Tower of London while at prayers. Many say he was done in by King Edward IV hunchbacked brother Richard of Gloucester (later Richard III). To this day the spot where the king was murdered is covered with flowers every May 21st.

1506-Christopher Columbus died. Bitter, forgotten, watching other people take credit for his discoveries.

1540- Hernand DeSoto discovered the Mississippi River, the "Father of the Waters."

1542- Hernand DeSoto's yellow fever ridden body is dumped in the Mississippi to keep it from being violated by outraged Indians.

1661- BLIMEY! TEA COMES TO ENGLAND- King Charles II of England the Merry Monarch, married Catherine of Braganza, the Princess of Portugal. Her dowry included Tangiers and Bombay India. Poor Catherine never gave Charles any children, and she had to endure his constant philandering with a steady stream of mistresses. But she did introduce Britain to a new custom. She preferred drinking tea to the more traditional English Ale. Soon everyone had to have some.

1674- COSSACKS AND BAGELS- Hetman of the Ukraine Jan III Sobieski crowned king of Poland. He replaced King Michael Wisnoiecki, of whom it was said ' He could speak nine languages, but had nothing intelligent to say in any of them!'. Jan Sobieski became a warrior king, some speculate that the Bagel was invented to celebrate his victories over the Turks. It's supposedly shaped like his stirrup. Others say baloney, the hole is in the bagel so you can stack them on a stick and sell them on the street.

1780- On the coast of Connecticut, General George Washington conferred with his allies Admiral DeGrasse and the Comte Du Rochambeau aboard DeGrasse’s flagship. Washington wanted to attack the British in occupied New York, but Rocheambeau had a better idea: to pretend to assault New York, then their troops and ships would rendezvous down in Virginia and trap British General Cornwallis in Virginia at a little place called Yorktown.

Around this time a French officer wrote home about the curious American custom of whittling. “Whenever the American generals need to ponder great strategies, invariably they take out a knife and carve fruitlessly upon a small stick!”

1800- Napoleon crossed the Alps into Italy at the Great Saint Bernard Pass. Napoleon waited for his last troops to complete the crossing, then thanked the monks who aided his men and crossed himself. Artist David portrayed Napoleon as crossing on a fierce white charger. In actuality he did the crossing on a donkey and at one point tucked his big gray overcoat between his legs and slid down a snowy mountain slope on his butt.

1863- ARMY CHOW... The standard ration for soldiers in the Civil War was a baked flour biscuit called HardTack. Soldiers loved complaining about how awful it tasted and how hard it was to eat. ( Examples of hardtack 135 years old are still edible ). When Ulysses Grant marched his men around the back of the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg Mississippi he cut himself off from his supply lines and let him men live off the local farms for food. His men feasted three weeks straight on roast turkey and goose, smoked hams, bacon, buttermilk and sweet potatoes. This relentlessly rich diet sparked an unusual protest on this day. As Grant was riding past his troops digging trenches they started yelling out loud: "Hardtack! Give us Hard Tack! A man can't work with this heavy food !" Soon thousands of men were chanting in unison "HARD-TACK! HARD-TACK!!' General Grant was forced to stop and pledge on the spot to restrict their diet back to the bland old biscuit.

1881- Clara Barton convened the first meeting of the American Red Cross as a branch of the International Red Cross.

1885- The pieces of the Statue of Liberty leave for the U.S. I wonder if the crates said "Some Assembly Required"? .The sculptor, Felix Bartholdi was requested to do something so that “Liberty does not leave France”, so he a made a smaller copy of the lady that is placed on the Seine facing westward. She and the Liberty in New York are facing one other.

1878- Mr. D.A. Buck of Waterbury Conn. received a patent for a low cost mass produced watch. Within a few years he was selling half a million Waterbury Watches a year at $3.50 each.

1892- Leoncavallo's opera "I Pagliacci" debuts at La Scala.

1906 - Louis H Perlman patents a de-mountable tire-carrying rim for cars.

1908 - 1st horror movie “Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde” premiered in Chicago.

1914 - Greyhound Bus Co begins in Minnesota.

1916 - Britain begins "Summer Time" Daylight Savings Time. The US adopted the system in the 1930s.

1921- LEOPOLD & LOEB- Two preppie millionaire's sons who were pumped up on Nietzches theory of the superman decided to commit the perfect murder. They lured Loeb's 15 year old cousin into their car, bludgeoned him to death with a chisel then had lunch. Despite their confidence in their superior intellects they were quickly identified and tried for murder. The rich families hired famed social-progressive lawyer Clarence Darrow for the defense. Darrow made no attempt to prove their innocence but got them off on a life sentence. In 1936 Loeb was cut up with a razor while trying to rape another prisoner, Leopold was paroled in 1958 and died in 1971. The pointless cold bloodedness of the murder today would seem like just another Jerry Springer show, but it horrified 1920's America. F.Scott Fitzgerald said the Jazz Age lost some of it's innocent fun after Leopold & Loeb.

1921- The Soviet Army re-conquered Chechnya. They had been conquered in Czarist times but after the Revolution tried to break free. The Red Army came back, executed their Imam Godzhink and reasserted the rule of Moscow. The Chechens rose again in 1991 and were put down after a bloody war.

1922- On the Road to Moscow, the first political cartoon to win a Pulitzer prize. The cartoonist Rollin Kirby, was passionate about Prohibition. He had a regular character to extol temperance named Mr. Dry. When Prohibition was repealed in 1933 Kirby killed off Mr. Dry in print.

1927-LINDBERGH- Charles Lindbergh-Lucky Lindy, The Lone Eagle, etc. reaches a field outside Paris called Le Bourget after flying nonstop across the Atlantic. There was no such thing as an auto-pilot yet, so he had to stay awake and alert for 33 hours straight. His fatigue would have let him crash, if the gremlin ghoulies he was hallucinating hadn’t kept him company. As soon as he was sighted over Paris, huge searchlights were beamed on his plane. The light temporarily blinded him so that he almost crashed. As he landed people swarmed around the whirring propeller, narrowly missing another tragedy. But Lindy was safe and history made. He said he had never been to Europe and had wanted to see the sights, but almost immediately he was whisked by battleship back to the U.S. for tumultuous ovations and parades.

1933- Woolie Reitherman’s first day at Walt Disney Studio.

1945- BOGEY LOVES BABY-Humphrey Bogart married Lauren Bacall on a friend’s farm in Ohio. He was 48 and she was 21. Her real name was Betty Persky, but she passed for WASP. So when the publicity photographers came, they were under strict instructions from Jack Warner to frame out of the shots Bacall’s more Jewish-looking relatives.

1945- The remaining barracks of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp were destroyed with U.S. Army flamethrowers.

1952- Actor John Garfield died. Some say he died in the midst of wild fornications; in truth he died alone of alcohol abuse at 40. The matinee idol of “The Postman Rings Twice” and “Kid Galahad” was too politically left for the conservative postwar age. When a young stage actor he had run guns to the IRA, later he supported progressive union movements, anti-fascism and desegregation. His outspoken politics got him blacklisted in Hollywood, his friends deserted him and he was ruined.

1952- Famed writer Lillian Hellman testified before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee HUAC but refused to name names. “I cannot cut my conscience to fit the fashions of the day.” She escaped a contempt of Congress wrap but she was blacklisted and at one point was working in a department store.

1966 - Heavyweight Cassius Clay KOs Henry Cooper in London

1968- Future President George W. Bush graduated Yale with a C average.

1972- A Hungarian lunatic shouting I am Jesus Christ, attacked Michelangelo’s statue La Pieta with a hammer. He is the reason why today we can only enjoy this beautiful sculpture from behind 3 inch thick bulletproof glass.

1979 - Elton John becomes 1st western rocker to perform live in USSR.

1980 – Star Wars “The Empire Strikes Back" premiered.

1983 - David Bowie's "Let's "Dance," single goes #1. The tracks featured a then little known guitarist named Stevie-Ray Vaughn.

1991- Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi was blown up by a suicide bomber girl carrying a bomb in a bunch of flowers. She was believed to be one of the Tamil Tiger separatists.

1992- Tonight Show host Johnny Carson did his last show “I bid you a very heartfelt goodnight.” Johnny spent his remaining years in privacy, even ignoring an invitation to appear at the NBC 75th anniversary spectacular.

2011- An 89 year old California reverend named Harold Camping caused a sensation in the U.S. when he declared today would be the Rapture, the Christian version of the End of the World. It didn’t happen.
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Yesterday’s Question: To what country are the Balearic Islands part of?

Answer: Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza. They are part of Spain. A short flight from Barcelona.


May 20, 2015
May 20th, 2015

Question: To what country are the Balearic Islands part of?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: On ancient Roman calendars, why was the province of Lower Germany north of Upper Germany?
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History for 5/20/2015
Birthdays: Honore Balzac, Jimmy Stewart, Leon Schlesinger, William Fargo of Wells Fargo, Moshe Dayan, Henri Rousseau, Dave Thomas, Ted Bessell (Donald to Marlo Thomas’ “That Girl”), Japanese baseball great Sadaharu Oh, Antony Zerbe, Bronson Pichot, Joe Cocker, Cher is 69, Busta Rhymes

1347- Cola di Rienzi became the “tribune” or leader of the city of Rome. The Pope was a prisoner in Avignon so the Eternal City was in chaos. Rienzi tried to bring about reforms and restore infrastructure but like Mussolini he eventually got too arrogant and overplayed his hand. A mob slaughtered him and danced with his corpse.

1520- A violent young Spanish mercenary soldier named Ignacio was hit by a cannonball but miraculously lived. When he recovered he underwent a spiritual conversion and became St. Ignatius Loyola. Loyola founded a religious order called the Society of Jesus or Jesuits. Instead of acting like monks the Jesuits were organized on military discipline. Their leader is not called an abbot but the Secretary General. He is nicknamed “the Black Pope”.

1520- Hernando Cortez had not only to fight the entire Aztec Empire with just 391 troops, he also had the Spanish Governor of Cuba out to get him! This day Cortez surprised attacked the troop of Spaniards sent to arrest him. After a short battle he defeated the Governor’s force, and invited the survivors to join him.
1609- Shakespeare’s sonnets first published.
1621- The Sack of Magdeburg-During the Thirty Years War Catholic armies captured this Protestant German city. They cut down the surrendering Dutch commander Dietrich Von Falkenberg, and committed horrible atrocities on the population. The medieval cry "Cria Havoc!" was the signal for the pent up soldiers to run amuck. According to the rules of war they have the right to rape, and pillage for three days before discipline is restored.
But at Magdeburg they burned the city down and for 14 days the victors dumped the bodies of the innocent in the Elbe River. The army’s commander Johan Tserclas von Tilly explained: “ The soldier must get something for his toil and trouble.” The incident galvanized Protestant resistance. Ironically a lot of the troops in the Catholic army were protestant mercenaries who figured the religious questions were for kings to worry about, they just thought the catholic side had better benefits.

1690- The English Parliament passed the Act of Grace, giving pardon to all who had supported the deposed Stuart king James II.

1756- Battle of Minorca or Port Mahon- French Admiral the Marquis de Galissioniere defeated a British fleet led by Admiral of the Blue Sir John Byng, allowing the French to conquer the isle of Minorca. Byng was such a stickler for regulations he actually directed the battle while reading from an open copy of the Naval Rules of Engagement manual. The British admiralty was so incensed by Byng’s incompetence they recalled him to London, had him courts martialed and shot by firing squad on the deck of his own flagship.
1830 - D Hyde patented the fountain pen, replacing the goose quill .
1862-Congress passed the Homestead Act. 250 million acres of Free Land to all families who move west and build a home. Of course nobody told the Indians about this plan…

1873- Mr. Levi Strauss of San Francisco patents Jacob Davis’ process of riveted blue jeans. One alteration he made was to remove a rivet that was at the base of a cowboys crotch. It seems when they squatted around the campfire that rivet got red hot and caused much whoopin’ an a’ dancin’.

1887- In Russia a young man named Alexander Ulyanov was hanged by the police for plotting to assassinate the Tsar with a bomb hidden in a dictionary. His baby brother Vladimir watched him hang and was deeply affected. He took up his brother’s revolutionary cause, and to protect his family changed his name to Lenin.

1891- Thomas Edison demonstrated an early prototype of kinetoscope- a motion picture machine- to his wife's friends at a party. The footage was of engineer W.K.L. Dickson and his associates dancing. That night Edison wrote a letter about his movie machine to photographer Edweard Muybridge: " I doubt it will ever have any commercial value.." 1892- J.P. Morgan created the General Electric Company.

1892 - George Sampson patents the electric clothes dryer.

1902- US military occupation of Cuba after the Spanish American War ended.

1916- Polar Explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton set off in 1914 to cross the continent of Antartica. No one had heard from his party for two years and everyone assumed he was dead like Scott of the Antarctic 4 years before. This day Shackleton and two survivors reached a Norwegian Whaling Station on South Georgia Island ahead of the rest of his party. Sir Ernest asked about the Great War in Europe and assumed that by now the war was probably over. “Who won that war?” he asked. He was told: “It is still going on. Europe has gone mad. The World has Gone Mad.”

1916- Artist Norman Rockwell sold his first painting for a Saturday Evening Post cover.
1926 - Thomas Edison says Americans prefer silent movies over talking pictures. He also thought the flat record disc could never replace the cylinder.
1927- Charles Lindbergh took off for France in his little plane The Spirit of Saint Louis. The day before two pilots died when their plane failed to clear some power lines. Weighed down with extra fuel, Lindbergh barely cleared them himself. By attempting the trip alone it meant he would have to stay awake for 33 1/2 hours with no company but a Felix the Cat doll.

1932- Amelia Earhart landed in Londonerry, Northern Ireland, completing the first solo flight by a woman across the Atlantic Ocean. Since Lindbergh, five aviators had died trying to recreate the feat, until Earhart did it. 1937-The Cinema Editor's Guild started.

1937- Bob Clampett promoted to director at Leon Schlesinger’s Looney Tunes Studio. Clampett, whose mother hand sewed the first Mickey Mouse dolls for Walt Disney. After leaving Looney Tunes Clampett created the Beany & Cecil Show for early television.
1939- Pan Am establishes "Yankee Clipper"" flying boat passenger service across the Atlantic. From Long Island New York to Lisbon Portugal in 22 hours. For awhile it was thought flying boats would be the future of civilian aviation because they land in water so save land for airports and runways. Also safer because if there was any kind of engine trouble they could just put down in water and bob around until help arrived. 1942- Nazi parachutists capture Crete. One of the paratroopers was Max Schmelling, who boxed Joe Louis for the heavyweight title. The Germans casualty rate was so high the Germans abandoned all future parachute assaults. 1943- Admiral Yamamoto shot down and killed in transit by American pursuit squadron tipped off by the broken Japanese code. Ironically the mastermind of Pearl Harbor was against the war with America and predicted: " If I can knock out the American fleet early I can raise hell in the Pacific for two years. If you don't negotiate after that we will eventually lose."

I recently read a theory of one historian who said that right around this time Prime Minister Hideki Tojo's government had fallen over the conduct of the war and Yamamoto, as Japan’s most popular soldier, could have been the next Prime Minister. In which case he would have opened peace talks as early as 1943, long before Okinawa, Iwo Jima and Hiroshima ! It’s a stretch, but one of the intriguing “what if’s” of history.

1948- A tornado touched down on a commercial airport in Tinker Oklahoma. What made this episode special was two air force meteorologists named Miller and Forbush just happened to present studying tornado weather patterns when the twister showed up as if on cue. The result was the invention of the first serious tornado warning systems.

1969- The Battle of Hamburger Hill ended- U.S.101st Airborne took the summit of Hill 937 from North Vietnamese regulars after nine days of incurring grievous losses. The hill was abandoned shortly afterwards.

1970-THE HARD HAT PARADE- In a response to the anti-war demonstrations convulsing US colleges and cities, several thousand people marched in downtown New York in support of President Nixon’s Vietnam policies. The so-called Hard Hat Parade was made up of union construction workers and middle aged veterans. Conservatives made a lot of this event, but the fact is this was a one time anomaly in the face of hundreds of thousands marching nationwide against the unpopular war.

1975- In a small warehouse in Van Nuys California, George Lucas assembled an effects crew to create the film Star Wars. It is the birth of Industrial Light & Magic, or ILM.

1979- The last Saturday Night Live show done by the original cast. Many of them had their 5 year contracts up and wanted to do something else. Plus producer Lorne Michaels was feuding with NBC chairman Fred Silverman and wanted to leave. So goodbye Lorne Michaels, Gilda Radner, Lorraine Newman, Garret Morris, Bill Murray and Al Franken, Hello Jean Doumainian and Joe Piscopo! Lorne Michaels came back to the show a few years later and has produced it ever since.

1984- Hanna Barbera’s “The Smurfic Games”.

1993 - Max Klein, the inventor of Paint by Numbers sets, died at 77. President Eisenhower once passed out paint-by-numbers sets to his senior cabinet so their paintings could adorn the West Wing offices. Imagine seeing on your wall an original artwork by Richard Nixon or Curtis LeMay!

1994- Walt Disney released Aladdin II, the Return of Jaffar. Done overseas at ¼ the budget of the original, it’s nevertheless success spawned the industry of Disney direct-to-video sequels, called “cheapquels” by some animators.

2003- In 1977, when Walt Disney's the Rescuers was being completed, the artists for a joke added a Playboy picture into a pan shot. Going by at 1/24th a second, they were confident nobody would ever spot it. Later in the 1990s, when Rescuers went to VHS video, they edited out the controversial frame. But when it was time in 2003 to rerelease on DVD, the Studio apparatchniks went back to the original 1977 negative, without ever bothering to consult any of us artists. We could have warned them. but no. So on May 20, 2003, nine million copies of the Rescuers DVD hit the stores, with the ensuing out cry, firestorm, and embarrassed apologies you can imagine.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: On ancient Roman calendars, why was the province of Lower Germany north of Upper Germany?

Answer: At this time no one had invented a compass yet, so people guessed. To the Romans, the further you were away from Rome, the lower you were.


May 9, 2015
May 19th, 2015

Question: On ancient Roman calendars, why was the province of Lower Germany north of Upper Germany?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: In early Christianity, St. Timothy looms large. But he was never an apostle or an evangelist or wrote a Gospel. So who was he?
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History for 5/19/2014
Birthdays: Malcolm X- born Malcolm Little, Ho Chi Minh- born Ngyun Tat Tanth- Ho Chi Minh means the Enlightener, Giovanni Della Robbia, John Hopkins, Lord Waldorf Astor, Dame Nelly Melba, Frank Capra, Wilson Mizner, Elena Poniatowska, Jim Lehrer, Nora Ephron, Grace Jones, Peter Mahew, Nancy Kwan, Pete Townshend, Joey Ramone, Jimmy Hoffa Jr, Polly Walker, and Tom Sito, aka me, your author.

988- Today is the Feast of Saint Dunstan, who pulled the Devil’s nose with hot tongs.

1535- Explorer Jacques Cartier sails from France for the New World.

1536- Anne Boleyn-King Henry VIII's second queen, was beheaded not by axe but by a French swordsman with a sort of golf-swing. The king was playing tennis at Hampton Court. He had a relay signal of cannons fired from the Tower of London so he would know the minute he was a bachelor again.

1571- Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Lagazpi founded the city of Manila.

1586- Fleeing her rebellious nobles, Mary Queen of Scots crossed the border into England and threw herself upon the mercy of Queen Elizabeth, who promptly locked her up.

1635- Cardinal Richelieu muddles the religious nature of the Thirty Years War by putting Catholic France on the Protestant side. His eminence the Cardinal didn’t care a figgy about religious issues, he just wanted to break the power of Hapsburg Spain.

1643- The separate Anglo-American colonies of Plymouth, Connecticut, New Harbor and Massachusetts Bay form an association called New England.

1649- Oliver Cromwell’s victorious Puritan Parliament declared the British Monarchy extinct. England was to be a Commonwealth. They also stipulated that all nobles who had been for the King in the just-completed Civil Wars would be taxed assessed to one-half the value of their properties, no matter how much income they made that year.
This tax drove many cash poor noble families to America -The Washingtons, Lees, Randolphs, Livingstons and Madisons.
In the US Civil War many southerners flattered themselves as being the descendents of the Cavaliers and the Yankees of New England the heirs of the Puritan Roundheads.

1652- An English fleet led by Blake attacked the Dutch under Admiral Van Tromp- The First Anglo-Dutch War began.

1749- King George II chartered the Ohio Company to explore the territories west of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. This act would bring English settlers into direct conflict with French settlers moving down from Canada and help bring on the French & Indian or the Seven Years War.

1780- In New England the sky turned to total darkness at noon. No explanation.

1798- Napoleon embarks to invade Egypt, trying to thereby cut off England's easy access to India and if possible conquering his way across Turkey and Persia to join forces with Tippoo Sahib, the Indian Sultan fighting against British rule.

1804- Napoleon designates 14 of his top generals MARSHALS of the EMPIRE. King Louis XVI had a rule that no one could become an officer in the Royal French Army without first proving nobility of birth going back at least four generations. In the British army it was perfectly natural to buy your officer commissions until the World Wars. The French Revolution changed all that. Napoleon's army functioned on the radical new principle of promoting people on merit instead of noble birth or connections. A slogan in the French army was "every drummer boy carries a marshal’s baton in his knapsack."

1812-U.S. declared War on Britain, the War of 1812- The U.S. government tired of having it's shipping harassed by the British and having ambitions of conquering Canada sent off a declaration of war. Two weeks later a Royal Navy vessel landed in Baltimore with concessions to most U.S. demands. Doh!
Napoleon, retreating from Moscow when he received the news, calculated that because the American Navy had had success against the British Navy during their Revolution they were the perfect ones to ferry his army across the Channel so he could get at England! He didn't know that after the Revolution most of the American Navy was scrapped and the Yankees weren't that thrilled with him anyway.

1857 -William Francis Channing & Moses G Farmer patents electric fire alarm.

1859- Sir John Franklin led a British Navy expedition to find the sea route across the top of Canada, the NorthWest Passage. Not only didn't he make it, but the National Geographic Society is still thawing out his sailors today. The route that sailors looked for since Sir Francis Drake was not achieved until a Canadian icecutter did it in 1958.

1864- The Cherry Creek Flood- wipes out what there is of a little boomtown in silver mining country called Denver.

1864- President Abe Lincoln wrote that the widows and orphans of black union soldiers should get the same death benefits that white soldiers got.

1884 - Ringling Brothers circus premiered.

1886- First performance of Camille Saint Saen's Organ Symphony #3. Saint Saen's had actually written 6 such works but hated them all but three. He liked the third symphony so much he never wrote another. Composer Charles Gounod heard the symphony and exclaimed:" There is now a French Beethoven!"

1891- Rice University founded.

1892 - Charles Brady King invented the pneumatic jackhammer- sleeping city dwellers rejoice.

1895- Patriot leader Jose Martin killed fighting for Cuban independence.

1897- Writer Oscar Wilde was released from prison after doing two years of hard labor. The experience broke his health and he never completely recovered. He did use his experiences to write his last work The Ballad of Reading Gaol in 1898.

1898 - Post Office authorizes the use of postcards.

1900- The British Empire annexed the islands of Tonga- once called the Cannibal Isles. The King of Tonga realized the fruitlessness of trying to resist the Europeans so he mailed his war club as a symbol of authority to Queen Victoria.

1919- Harlem bandleader James Europe had toured Europe while in uniform for World War I and had made the Old World wild for the new jazz music. Europe was doing a triumphal tour of America with his doughboy band when his career was tragically cut short. In Boston he argued with one hotheaded musician who stabbed him in the neck and he bled to death. Had he lived, James Europe might have been as famous as Louis Armstrong or Duke Ellington.

1921- The U.S. Congress ends the system of unchecked immigration and sets up a quota system based on nationalities (even today the system heavily favors European countries)

1927- Sid Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood opened. Ushers and doorman were dressed in imported Mandarin silk robes and wall hangings were painted by young artist/actor Key Luke. Sid Grauman was the showman who also invented the Hollywood premiere with spotlights and limo's pulling up to red carpets, etc.

1929 - General Feng Yu-Xiang, last of the great Chinese warlords, declared war on Chiang Kai-Shek’s Kuomintang Nationalist government. After the Manchu Empire collapsed in 1912, China broke up into small states run by generals with private armies, European protectorates and Communist guerrillas. The Nationalists under Chiang slowly reunified China piece by piece until the Japanese Invasion in 1937.

1934- Mickey Mouse short cartoon Gulliver Mickey.

1935- The National Football League adopts the college draft system.

1935- T.E. Lawrence "Lawrence of Arabia" died of injuries after a high-speed motorcycle crash. The motorcycle was a gift from George Bernard Shaw.

1941- Battle of Amba Alagi. Britain defeated Fascist Italy in Abyssinia.

1945- The U-boat U-232 surfaced in the harbor of Portsmouth, New Hampshire eleven days after the official end of WWII in Europe. Just before the fall of Berlin, they had been sent on a long-distance trip to Japan carrying military secrets, a disassembled jet fighter and a store of fission quality uranium. In the mid-Atlantic, the crew got the radio news of Hitler’s death and Germany’s surrender. An argument broke out between the crew, officers and two Japanese liaison officers about what to do.
Their final decision was to go to the first American harbor and surrender.
When in port, it was discovered the two Japanese officers were missing.
The crew said “ they decided to walk home".

1956- Cecil B. de Milles film " The Ten Commandments" premiered. Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter and Edward G, Robinson.

1956- The Disney film Pollyana debuted, making a star of Haley Mills.

1960 - DJ Alan Freed is accused of bribery in the radio payola scandal, the first scandal to hit the new world of Rock & Roll.

1962- Giant birthday party and rally held for President John F. Kennedy in New York's Madison Square Garden -his birthday was actually the following week. What made it memorable was Marilyn Monroe in a dress so tight she had to be sewn into it, singing her sexy version of the Happy Birthday song. 'Haapie (exhale) Burth- Day, Mister - Prezz- a -dent (sigh), Happy, etc. "

1967- US B-52’s bomb Hanoi for the first time.

1970- Al Gore married Tipper Gore.

1987- Charles Fleming got a patent for plans for a device that can keep a severed human head alive.

1990-Amy Fisher 16,the "Long Island Lolita" shot the wife of her lover, muffler salesman Joseph Buttafuco. Mary Jo Buttafuco survived the attack and Amy went to jail. This case titillates the sensationalist media of New York City for the next three years, to the amazement of the rest of the U.S.

1991- Willy T. Ribbs became the first African American racecar driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.

1997- Matthew Broderick married Sarah Jessica Parker.

1998- George Lucas much anticipated film Star Wars Episode One the Phantom Menace premiered, the first Star Wars sequel in 20 years. It was the first major film premiere to be projected digitally, two theaters in New York and two in Hollywood. It featured Jarr Jarr Binks, a character so annoying that web sites like www. I Want Jarr-Jarr to Die-Die.Com soon racked up tens of thousands of hits.

2000- Walt Disney film Dinosaur opened.

2005- Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith premiered.

2006- Dreamworks animated film ‘Over the Hedge’ premiered.
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Yesterday’s question: In early Christianity, St. Timothy looms large. But he was never an apostle or an evangelist or wrote a Gospel. So who was he?

Answer: Timothy was the right hand man of Saint Paul, and probably had a hand in ghost-writing some of his New Testament letters like Corinthians and such. He was also the first major Christian martyr to die. His death at the hands of a pagan mob was described in Acts .


May 18, 2015 mon
May 18th, 2015

QUIZ: In early Christianity, St. Timothy looms large. But he was never an apostle or an evangelist or wrote a Gospel. So who was he?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: The Terry Gilliam movie The Fisher King is based on what book?
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History for 5/18/2015
Birthdays: Pope John Paul II, Grover Cleveland, Ezio Pinza, Tsar Nicholas II, Omar Khayam, Walter Gropius, Reggie Jackson, Margot Fonteyn, Robert Morse, Perry Como, Dwayne Hickman aka Dobie Gillis, Big Joe Turner, Richard Brooks, Miriam Margolyes, Chow Yung Fat is 60, Tina Fey is 45, Robert Morse is 84

The ancient Greek festival of Pan.

331 B.C. ALEXANDER THE GREAT DIES IN BABYLON. By age 31 he had conquered most of the known world and was planning a campaign to Arabia and western Europe when he fell ill. When asked "To whom do you leave your empire? He replied- "Hoti to Kratisto- To the Strongest". Some historians speculate he actually meant: "Hoti to Kratero" to Craterus, one of his trusted companions, but the generals in the room had their own ideas and didn't want to hear that.

They carved up his Empire into their own kingdoms-Ptolemey became Pharoah of Egypt, Seleucus king of Syria and Antigonus One-Eye & Cassander divided up Greece. They started fighting with each other almost immediately. Alexander grimly joked: "There will be great games at my funeral". The Successor kings even fought over his corpse, carrying it around with the army in a huge rolling shrine, until Ptolomey brought it to Alexandria and embalmed it in a solid block of honey. Caesar and Marc Anthony were able to gaze upon Alexander’s face three hundred years later.(imagine today being able to look at the undecayed face of George Washington! )The final fate of the honey-pickled corpse is unknown.

323BC- Diogenes the Cynic philosopher died his 90s. He once met Alexander the Great. Alexander came up to him seated upon the ground, stood over him and said "I am Alexander the King of Macedon". Diogenes countered:" And I am Diogenes the Dog". Alexander said:" If there is anything in the world you desire of me, just ask and I shall do it!" Diogenes replied:" yes, you’re blocking my sunlight."

257AD.- Today is the Feast of Saint Venantius. Little is known of him except his endurance record for being martyred. His persecutors flogged him, burned him with torches, hanged him upside down over a fire, knocked his teeth out, broke his jaw, and threw him to the lions, who merely licked his feet. Then they threw him off a cliff, and finally cut his head off.

1291- The Last Christian stronghold in Middle East, St. Jean D'Acre fell to the Mamelukes under Al Khalil. The official end of the Crusades.

1512- IRON HAND- German knight Gotz von Berlichingen spent his 81 years fighting and raiding throughout Germany. When his hand was blown off by a cannonball he had a mechanical one built for him out of metal. This day Gotz and one legged Hans von Selbitz raided 55 Nuremburg merchants and carried off their gold. Goethe and other German writers made Gotz into a Robin Hood type folk hero.

In answering a challenge to personal combat, Iron Hand was credited with uttering the famous epithet "Er aber sag seinem Herren, er kann mich im Arsche lecken!" Go tell your master he can kiss my ass!"

1565- THE SIEGE OF MALTA BEGINS. Turkish Sultan Suleimann the Magnificent attacked the island stronghold of the Knights of St.John. The knights had formed in Jerusalem during the Crusades and ran a hospital when not chopping people, so they were called Hospitalers. Later after their victory they became the Knights of Malta. Their symbol, four barbed arrowheads forming a cross is called the Maltese Cross. Today they still run a medical service called St. John's Ambulance.

1642- Huron village of Hochelaga was rededicated as the city of Montreal.

1778-THE MESCHIANZA- Before the British Army evacuated the rebel capitol of Philadelphia they threw a grand farewell ball. Beautiful American loyalist girls and dashing young redcoat officers danced the night away under a spectacle of fireworks. There was a waterborne parade, medieval tournament and a huge dinner.

Nothing this lavish had ever been staged in the American Colonies. One of the belles was Peggy Shippen, who would marry General Benedict Arnold and turn him from the American patriot cause. That night her dance partner was Major John Andre’, who art directed and designed the event. He even designed Peggy’s costume. The men had costumes as Knights and the women as Turkish damsels, symbolizing the civilizing influence of art on barbaric peoples.

The next day the British began their withdrawal to New York and abandoning Philadelphia to Washington’s army camped at Valley Forge. Two years later Major Andre hanged by George Washington as a spy.

1781- The last fighting king of the Inca, TUPU AMARU II was executed by the Spanish conquistadors. They tried to tear him apart with horses, but he was too pliable so they cut him up. Inca resistance to the Spaniards didn't end when Pizzarro left. They abandoned Cuzco and fled deeper into the Andes and continued to struggle for another 150 years.

The Inca believed the world periodically is overthrown and another takes it's place, so the European invasion was seen as a part of this cycle. The Inca word for earthquake also means revolution. In the 1980s the rebels fighting the Peruvian government forces called themselves the Tupu-Amaru Liberation front.

1795- Col. Robert Rogers died in poverty in London. During the French and Indian War Rogers’ colonial militia called Roger’s Rangers was the most daring unit fighting for England. But by the American Revolution George Washington didn’t trust his loyalty, especially after he ratted out Nathan Hale. He formed a Tory unit but it was undistinguished. Despite the obscurity of his death, Rogers wrote down a manual of his tactics that are considered the basis of all Special Ops -Move Fast, Hit Hard.

1804- French senate votes Napoleon the title of Emperor of the French. This act disappointed many European liberals like Beethoven who had seen Napoleon as the strong wind of reform blowing through the dusty corridors of Monarchy. Sometimes you may see the word "parvenu" in a story. The term was coined during this time to mean brand new synthetic royalty instead of ancient noble families.

1832-CLIMAX OF THE MAY DAYS- The closest England ever came to a full French style working class Revolution. The Whig party under Lord John Russell and Lord Grey ( Earl Grey Tea ) had introduced three bills in Parliament asking for voting rights to be extended to the middle classes and parliamentary allocations reformed to better represent the large city populations like Manchester and Birmingham. This would forever shatter the tight hold on power possessed by the gentry and peers. Naturally the conservatives like King William IV (Victoria's uncle) fought it tooth and nail. Every time the bill passed in the House of Commons it was defeated in the House of Lords. The Commons in retaliation refused to let the Tories form a government.

Starting with the bills third defeat on May 7th England was convulsed by rioting, looting, general strikes and boycotts . The King was hit in the face with a stone, the Horse Guards were called out and the elderly Prime Minister the Duke of Wellington had so many rocks thrown at his house in Hyde Park he had steel shutters installed on the ground floor. On this day Lord Grey told the King if he didn't sign the reform act and create a dozen new liberal peers to the Lords, anarchy and revolution would result ! Lord Lionel Rothschild reported the economy was at the point of collapse.

The king backed down, reform went through and real two party voting resulted, although the working classes would have to wait 86 more years until they could vote. King William IV has come down to us called William the Reformer, although it sounds like a title he would have liked to do without....

1896- The US Supreme Court in the decision Plessy Vs Ferguson upheld the concept of Separate-But-Equal facilities and laws. This racial separation called Segregation or Jim Crow, was not reversed until the 1950’s.

1904- In Paris 12 nations sign an international agreement for the Suppression of the White Slave Trade. The United States did not sign.

1905- MORROCCAN CRISIS OF 1905- A Moroccan desert sherif, El Raisuli, kidnapped a small Greek-American businessman named George Pedicaris. He did this for ransom, and because he wanted someone new to play chess with. Pedicaris was ransomed, but not before the incident became a major international showdown between with Germany, Britain, France and the U.S.. The incident was romanticized in the John Milius film "The Wind and the Lion", with Raisuli played by Sean Connery and Pedicaris turned into the beautiful Candice Bergen.

1911- Composer Gustav Mahler died of heart disease shortly before his 51st birthday. He had completed his Ninth Symphony with dread, because he knew Beethoven, Schubert and Bruckner had never lived beyond their nine symphonies.
On his table were preliminary sketches for his tenth.

1926- L.A. evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson was the Billy Graham of her time. This day she shocked the nation when she mysteriously disappeared on a beach near Venice Cal. After an exhaustive search involving ships and planes she turned up a month later with a lame story of being kidnapped. Truth was she ran off with then boyfriend Kenneth Ormiston to party in Monterrey. Haleileiuyah!

1931- Japanese pilot Seiji Yoshihara attempted to be the first pilot to fly alone across the Pacific Ocean. But he crashed and was rescued by a passing ship.

1933- President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Tennessee Valley Authority. The TVA created massive public works bringing electric power to much of the Appalachians and deep South.

1943- Battle of Monte Cassino. A Ninth Century mountaintop abbey filled with German troops held back the allied armies advancing up from Naples. In order to capture the fortress the allies had to heavily bomb it from the air, destroying many priceless paintings by Piero della Francesca and Giotto. Today the monastery was finally taken by Polish troops attached to the British Army.

1944- Stalin's revenge- millions of Crimean Tartar people are herded up and sent into exile in Central Asia because Stalin felt they collaborated with the Nazis. In the 1990s some were allowed to return to their ancestral homeland. But this is the reason when Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea back into Russia in 2014, the majority of the population was ethnic Russians.

1976- The filming of Francis Ford Coppolla's Apocalypse Now was disrupted when the Philippines was hit by a major typhoon. Francis rides out the storm cooking pasta, smoking pot and listening to records of La Boheme.

1980- Mt. St. Helens explodes in Washington State. The volcano was always thought to be safely extinct but Mother Nature had other plans. I was in Toronto thousands of miles away and noticed volcanic ash floating in Lake Ontario. The eruption and earthquake killed 57 people and destroyed 24 square miles around the mountain. A lone eccentric named Harry Truman refused to be evacuated and stayed in his home. He was interviewed by Sixty Minutes and other programs. After the explosion Truman disappeared and is assumed killed.

2001- Dreamworks animated SHREK opened. The voice of Shrek was originally planned to be Chris Farley but the obese comedian died of a drug overdose and was replaced by Mike Myers. I’m serving Waffles!

2003 Pixar’s Finding Nemo opened.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: The Terry Gilliam movie The Fisher King is based on what book?

Answer: The medieval Story of Parzival by Chretien du Troyes, later by rewritten by Wolfram by Esenbach in 1378.


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