History for April 26, 2016
April 26th, 2016

Quiz: What is Cher’s real name?

Yesterday’s question answered below: Who is considered the greatest Armenian composer?
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History for 4/26/2016
Birthdays: Marcus Aurelius, French Queen Marie De Medicis, Pasquale Paoli, John James Audubon, Frederick Law Olmstead, Eugene Delacroix, Syngman Rhee, Dr. Lee DeForrest, John Grierson founder of the National Film Board of Canada, Rudolf Hess, Bobby Rydell, Anita Loos, I. M. Pei, Carol Burnett is 83, Eyvind Earle, Giancarlo Esposito is 60, Kevin James, Amos Otis, Joan Chen is 54, Jimmy Giuffre, Rocker Duane Eddy- 76, Jet Li- born Li Lian jie is 53

1478-THE PAZZI CONSPIRACY- Pope Sixtus planed to take over Florence by arranging a hit on Duke Lorenzo de Medici "The Magnificent". Francesco Pazzi and Bernardo Bandini attacked the Duke in church just as the consecrated Host was being raised. Lorenzo escaped harm but his brother Giuliano was cut down.
Furious Florentines fell on the felons (repeat three times fast) and nailed their smoking hearts to the door of the cathedral. People blamed Archbishop Salviati for being part of the plot. The mob chased the archbishop up the bell tower, wrapped the bell chords around his neck and tossed him out to ring the bells for awhile. The people shouted "Long Live the Balls!" for the six gold balls that were the heraldic emblem of the Medici Family Bank. This emblem of three gold balls has come down to us as the universal sign for pawnbrokers.
Michelangelo created a beautiful tomb for murdered Giuliano de Medici. Duke Lorenzo ordered artists to paint the portraits of the murderers corpses. Giuliano’s illegitimate son became Pope Clement VII.

1607-THE ENGLISH LAND AT JAMESTOWN....The good ship Susan Constant and two small pinnaces land 150 men. These men were mostly professional adventurers and gentlemen. Capt. Martin and Capt. Archer served with Sir Francis Drake. Of the 150 only 12 men actually could do a trade other than fighting. Their actual purpose was to find Aztec Empires like the Spaniards found in Mexico and send gold back home. In a years time all but 50 of them would be dead from fever and cholera.
Oh yeah, there was that John Smith guy too. He wouldn’t meet Pocahontas until around Christmas.

1846- Since annexing Texas, the U.S. and Mexico quarreled over where the border was. Mexico said it was the Nueces River while the U.S. said it was the Rio Grande. President Polk had ordered an army into a disputed border area in the hope Mexico would attack them and then Washington could declare war with a clear conscience. This day outside Matamoros, Mexican General Arrista ordered his men fire on some Yankee woodcutters. General Zachary Taylor wrote to Washington " Hostilities have commenced" The War with Mexico was on.

1865- Near Bowling Green Virginia, President Abe Lincoln’s assassin John Wilkes Booth was cornered in the barn of Garretts tobacco farm. The troopers set fire to the barn, and as Booth emerged he was shot by Sgt. Boston Corbett. Booth died looking at his hands muttering "Useless, useless..."Corbett was a religious fanatic who had castrated himself with a bayonet to be free of sin. Years after killing Booth, Corbett committed suicide.

1877- The people of Minnesota held a state-wide day of prayer to ask the Almighty to deliver them from a plague of grasshoppers infesting their farmland. It must have worked because they were gone by the end of the summer.

1878- The Oxford dons who oversaw the Oxford University Press charged Scottish scholar James Murray with completing the first complete Oxford Dictionary of the English Language. This would be the first comprehensive dictionary of the King’s English since Dr Johnson’s in 1755. The project had been started by the son of the poet Samuel Coleridge but he died of consumption. James Murray was a self taught scholar who as a boy tried to teach his cows to respond to commands in Latin.

1926- The British General Strikes- Unions across Great Britain joins in sympathy with miners to paralyze the nation. Troops and tanks are stationed in WhiteHall for fear of a Bolshevik-style rising. The horrible poverty resulting from defeating the strikers accelerate the Depression already gripping postwar Europe.
When the Prince of Wales (future Edward VIII) was shown the medieval squalor the Midlands miners lived in he was deeply shocked, but eyewitnesses said after returning to Kensington Palace for a bath and a whiskey & soda, he had quite forgotten about it.

1928- Los Angeles City Hall dedicated.

1933 The Nazi government forms an internal police force called the Gehime Staatspolitzei- the Gestapo.

1937- GUERNICA- In Spain the Stuka bombers of the German Condor Legion, Nazi subcontractors for Franco, bombed an innocent basque village killing 5,000 and provoking an international outcry and a painting by Picasso. Attacking at the height of the market time for three hours the planes bombed and strafed the helpless civilians with no military target in sight. Combatants in WWI tried to avoid harming civilians, but this act and the simultaneous Japanese attacks in China signaled a new tactic, sowing terror by treating civilians as targets.

1941-An organ is played for the first time at a baseball game in Chicago.

1945- The War Department in their new headquarters in the Pentagon issued orders to General Eisenhower in Europe to begin Operation Paperclip- "to preserve from destruction and take under your control records, plans, documents files and other information and data belonging to German organizations engaged in military research." Included in the haul were dozens of German rocket scientists who regardless of their political sympathies were spirited away for the burgeoning US missile program.

1965- Fred Smith, a student at Yale, got his economics paper back with a "c'" and a note stating the idea he espoused was impractical. The idea was an overnight air-freight service which he founded six years later as Federal Express.

1969- PAUL IS DEAD. The height of a strange rumor that excited the rock & roll world that Paul McCartney of the Beatles had died and the news was being kept a secret. Evidence was presented in the cryptic lyrics of "I am the Walrus", songs played backwards and the record album photo where Paul is the only figure with his back to the camera.
A TV special hosted by attorney F. Lee Bailey, the Nancy Grace of his day, explored the controversy. Finally, this day Paul and Linda McCartney held a news conference and declared he was very much alive and what on Earth was everyone on about?

1977- In New York City, Studio 54, the mecca of 70’s Disco culture opened.

1982- Argentina gave in to Britain's demands ending the Falklands War. The military junta ruling in Buenos Aires fell a year later.

1986- CHERNOBYL- The Chernobyl nuclear reactor explodes. While the Soviet Government acknowledged 400 deaths, accounts put it as high as 9,000. 100,000 square miles of the Ukraine contaminated and tainted food shipped to 65 million people. Historian Igor Medvedev (who died from radiation induced cancer) reported on the bizarre fumbling at the beginning of the crisis.

When one engineer entered the reactor core, he saw the devastation of the explosion while absorbing the radiation equivalent of 23 Hiroshima atomic bombs. He went out and told his supervisor: "Reactor Number Three has exploded." His supervisor told him: "That’s impossible! Go back and look again." So he dutifully re-entered the reactor core, absorbing another 23 atomic bomb’s worth of radiation and came out and said:" Yes, it’s true, it’s really blown up." And he died shortly afterwards.

1986- Arnold Schwarzenegger aka Conan the Republican, married Maria Shriver, the niece of John F. Kennedy. They separated in 2011 when he revealed he was schtupping the maid.

1993- NBC announced former Simpsons and Saturday Night Live comedy writer Conan O’Brien would take David Letterman’s old Late Show spot.

2004- Michael Eisner of Disney named to Forbes list of the Worst CEO’s in America.
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Yesterday’s question: Who is considered the greatest Armenian composer?

Answer: Aram Khachaturian. He composed Sabre Dance and the ballet Spartacus. Discounting Cher of course.


History for April 25, 2016
April 25th, 2016

Quiz: Who is considered the greatest Armenian composer?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What does it mean to dress your kid like Little Lord Fauntleroy?
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History for 4/25/2016
Birthdays: Roman emperor Otho -32ad, English King Edward II-1284, Oliver Cromwell-1599, Guiseppi Marconi, Edward R. Murrow, Ella Fitzgerald, Al Pacino is 76, Jason Lee is 46, Meadowlark Lemon, Talia Shire, Paul Mazursky, Hank Azaria is 52, Rene Zellwellger is 47, Ron Clements is 63

TODAY is the feast of the Roman god ROBIGUS, god of Rust and Mildew.

It is also the part of the Festival of Venus for the male prostitutes of Rome to celebrate.

404BC- ATHENS SURRENDERED TO SPARTA- After the victory of Aegespotamoi, Spartan General Lysander had the Long Walls of Athens torn down to the sound of flutes. It ended the Peloponnesian War and the Athenian dominance of Greece. Lysander had delayed the surrender at one point to allow for the funeral procession of old Sophocles the playwright to move between the lines.

Spartan domination of Greece was short lived. They were defeated by a coalition led by Epaminondas of Thebes and in 323 Macedonian armies led by Alexander the Great’s father Phillip crushed all resistance to his uniting Greece under Macedonian rule.

799AD- Pope Leo III was attacked by a Roman mob. He was beaten up and he had to hide in a monastery until Frankish King Charlemagne came to rescue him.

It is also the FEAST OF ST. MARK- the evangelist whose mummy was smuggled by Venetians out of Egypt in a carton of pig fat in 981 A.D. Venetian clerics later made up a great story to justify the act. St. Mark was rowing a boat in the marshes where Venice would one day stand. Suddenly God appeared to him and said: "Pax Tibi Marce, Evangelista Meus- Tues Corpus Reposituam." "Peace be with you Mark, my Evangelist, here your bones will lay".(after the pig fat) You see this inscription on most Venetian stuff along with the saint’s symbol, a winged lion..
Italians returned his bones to Egypt in the 1970’s. So the gold sarcophagus people file past in the Basilica of San Marco today is empty.

1185- Battle of Dan-no--mura. Epic Japanese sea battle when legendary warlord Minamoto Yuritomo defeated the Taira Clan.

1684- The Thimble invented!

1719- The Life and Strange Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe first published.

1792-THE NATIONAL RAZOR- Highwayman and murderer Nicholas Pelletier becomes the first man guillotined. Dr. Guillotine’s invention was considered a more humane way to kill a person than breaking on the wheel, which was the way of execution in France of lowborn malefactors. Ironically in the memoirs of the court executioner Charles Samson it is alleged that no less than King Louis XVI himself suggested the distinctive angled blade in place of a semicircular one. The King would discover for himself it’s killing power the following January.

Contrary to myth Dr. Guillotine didn't die by his own device, he died in bed of old age. During World War II the Nazis added their own personal touch, turning the victim on his back so he could watch the blade come down. The last man guillotined was in 1977.

1792- A captain from Arras named Roget du Lilse writes a patriotic song for his Marseille regiment. LA MARSEILLAISE is sung for the first time in Strasbourg. It became the French National Anthem and one of the most stirring revolutionary hymns ever sung. In 1986 French first lady Mrs. Francois Mitterand tried to get the more bloodthirsty parts of the song re-written but failed. Aux Armes Citoyens!

1850- Paul Julius Baron de Reuter used 40 carrier pigeons to carry stock market prices between Paris and London. He went on to form Reuters, the first international news agency.

1859- First sand dug for the Suez Canal. It took ten years to finish. It’s been estimated that maybe as many as 100,000 Egyptian peasants died while digging. Egyptian sources said every family in the country wound up mourning a father, husband or a son. Ever since that time black became the traditional costume of women in Egypt.

1862- Union superior General William Henry Halleck rewarded Ulysses Grant for his victory at Shiloh by having him removed from command. Halleck was an administrator and intellectual who translated books on Napoleon’s tactics. He was nicknamed Old Brains. But in command of armies he was a loser. After the rebels made him look stupid at the siege of Corinth, Lincoln restored Grant to command.

1865- Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Grant left Joe Johnston commanding the second largest army of Southern troops, still facing Sherman in North Carolina. After several meetings and confused negotiations this day Confederate President Jefferson Davis ordered General Johnston to resume fighting and fall back towards Texas. Johnston, like Lee, felt any further bloodshed was now pointless. He chose to ignore his president and accept Sherman’s surrender terms.

1886- In the Gilded Age most American workers worked a 10-12 hour day, seven days a week. This day The New York Times attacked the outcry among American union workers for an 8-hour workday as: A Seditious, riotous notion that would collapse the American economy and lead to sloth, drunkenness and debauchery. It was probably the idea of foreign extremists."
The eight-hour day doesn’t become a norm in America until 1913 (in animation until 1941) and is still under attack today.

1898- THE US DECLARED WAR ON SPAIN America’s first war to announce itself a world power. Secretary of War John Hays (who was once Abe Lincoln's secretary) called it: "A splendid little War'. It was the first time men from all the states would come together since the Civil War. Eyewitnesses were amazed that all the old regional anger was gone.

1901- New York State became the first to require automobiles to show license plates.

1915- ANZAC DAY- GALLIPOLI - This was young First Sea Lord Winston Churchill's idea to knock Turkey out of World War I. A British-Anzac force amphibiously landed on the beaches south of Constantinople to capture the enemy capitol. It turned into one of the biggest British fiascos of the war and knocked Churchill into resignation. The army of Gen. Ian Hamilton did surprise the Turks but then they sat on the beaches for weeks while reinforcements were brought up by a dynamic young Turkish General named Mustapha Kemal Ataturk, who would later become President of Turkey.
The Australian and New Zealand regiments fighting at Gallipoli rose from their trenches and charged headlong into the massed Turkish guns to achieve death and glory and not much else. The Peter Weir movie Gallipoli staring a young Mel Gibson dramatized the event.

1926- Giacomo Puccini's last opera Turnadot premiered in Milan. Puccini died before it's completion so students had to finish the work based on the masters notes. Conductor Arturo Toscanini put down his baton at the beginning of the Third Act, turned to the audience and said:" Here is where the Maestro died." He then left the podium and let another finish. He was too upset to complete the performance.

1928- The German shepherd named Buddy became the first seeing-eye dog for the blind.

1945- U.S. Army advancing from Normandy and the Soviet Army advancing since Stalingrad finally meet each other at the Elbe River in Germany.

1953- Watson & Crick announced the DNA Molecular Construction Theory and the world sees for the first time the twisted ladder model. Another researcher named Rosalind Franklin may have done all the real research and Watson & Crick just took the credit. The facts are still in dispute. This day, Watson went down to his local pub and told the barkeep:" Set up a round of lager, for I just discovered the Secret of Life!"

1956- Elvis Presley’s song Heartbreak Hotel goes to #1 in the pop charts.

1970- Policeman Frank Serpico’s story of rampant corruption in the NYPD explodes on the pages of the New York Times. The practices of decades of graft are exposed by the Knapp Commission and the police commissioner and several captains resign in disgrace.
Serpico’s story was made into a film starring Al Pacino.

1972- Witty, urbane actor George Sanders (All About Eve, Samson & Delilah, Sher Khan in Jungle Book) had turned age 65. He complained he had been famous and rich and was not looking forward to old age and having a nurse wipe his bottom. So he committed suicide and left a witty, urbane note. "Dear World: I am leaving because I am bored. Adieu, I leave you with your worries in this sweet cesspool."

1981- Dixie, the worlds oldest living mouse died at age 6 1/2.

1982- In accordance with the Camp David Peace Accord, Israel completed its withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula, turning over to Egypt the resort port of Sharm El Sheik.

1996- "Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk" opened on Broadway.
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Yesterdays Question: What does it mean to dress your kid like Little Lord Fauntleroy?

Answer: Little Lord Fountleroy was a very popular book about a young boy being raised on the mean streets of NY City in the late 1800’s. It is discovered that he is actually the heir of a British aristocrat, which finds him and his widowed mother thrust into the upper class life of the English landed gentry. He is dressed in a velvet suit, short pants, lace shirt, floppy bow tie etc. In the book, he also has long, curly hair as well. That style became something of a fashion trend of the era. For instance Buster Brown, R. Outcault’s iconic comic strip character, wore a Fountleroy- suit.


History for April 24, 2016
April 24th, 2016

Quiz: What does it mean to dress your kid like Little Lord Fauntleroy?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: What is Occum’s Razor-?
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History for 4/24/2016
Birthdays: Daniel Defoe, William de Kooning, St. Vincent de Paul, Morgan Earp, Jack E. Leonard, Dame Ethel Smyth, Jill Ireland, Eric Bogosian, Sue Grafton, Robert Penn Warren, Barbera Streisand is 74, Cedric the Entertainer is 53, Shirley McLaine is 82

1184 B.C.(est.)- TROY FALLS TO THE GREEKS- Despite the warnings of seers Cassandra and Laocoon the Trojans pull Ulysses' great wooden horse into the city, and at night the Greeks climb out and open the city gates to destruction. The reason we have any estimated date was this was the day the Romans celebrated a festival commemorating this event. Conventional wisdom was always that Troy was a myth until Heinrich Schleimann discovered it in the 1800’s.

The Romans loved a myth of their own origin that they were descended from the Trojan refugees led to Italy by the hero Aeneas. This seemed way more cool than being a grubby little Latin tribe who got their act together ahead of their neighbors.
They loved this myth so much that in 218 B.C. when the legions of Publius Scipio Asiaticus marched into Turkey to make war on Antipater the king of Syria, they paused first to go to the plains of Illium (the field where Troy once stood).
There the writer Livy states" The grim warriors embraced and wept aloud like babes, for after countless generations, the children of Troy had come home at last."

1584- Japanese Shogun Hideyoshi Toyotomi ordered the Heii Shrine in Edo (Tokyo) to dedicate a new heraldic design - the red disc Asahi - Rising Sun flag is created.

1800- The U.S. Congress set up the Library of Congress. By 1814 it had three thousand volumes, but they were destroyed when a British Army burned Washington. Thomas Jefferson then donated his own private library to restart the collection. Today it numbers in the millions of volumes.

1833- The Soda Fountain is patented.

1861- The minister of the independent German city-state of Bremen, Johann Schlieben, offered his services to Abraham Lincoln to open shuttle diplomacy with the rebellious Confederate States. He carried a message or two between Washington and Richmond. Eventually Lincoln told him thanks but no thanks. Blood had been shed and the flag insulted; it was too late for negotiations...Similar offers of mediation by a delegation of Virginia moderates led by former President John Tyler were also refused.

1874- Jesse James married Miss Zerelda Mimms, who he called Z.

1901-The First American League baseball game. The Cleveland Blues vs. the Chicago White Stockings.

1913- The Woolworth Building was dedicated in lower New York. It’s cornices decorated like the campanile of Saint Marks in Venice. At the time it was the tallest skyscraper in the world. President Woodrow Wilson illuminated its electric lights by flipping a switch long distance in the White House.

1915- THE ARMENIAN MASSACRES- The Ottoman Turkish Empire had always been an amalgamation of ethnic peoples held together by force. As the Empire aged and became the 'Sick Man of Europe', one by one these subject peoples-Greeks, Serbs, Egyptians asserted their independence and broke away.

So when the Armenians also demanded autonomy, the Sultan Abdul Hamid IV came up with a bloodthirsty solution. After a botched Turkish offensive into Russia was defeated, this day the first 200 Armenian elders of a village were shot, signaling a general nationwide pogrom that would eventually kill over one million people. The first person to bring the massacre story to the world was a German doctor, Armen Wegner, on the scene for the Red Cross, who complained to the Kaiser.

ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO 1916- THE IRISH EASTER SUNDAY UPRISING -Patrick Pearse, Richard Connolly, Michael Collins, Eamon De Valera and followers seize the O'Connell Street post office in downtown Dublin and proclaim the Irish Republic. After furious streetbattles with British troops diverted from the World War I battlefields, the rebellion is put down. All the ringleaders were executed. Connolly was so badly wounded that they had to prop up his stretcher before the firing squad, and pinch his cheeks so he'd be awake for his own death. Eamon De Valera used his U.S. citizenship to avoid execution. Initially the Irish people hadn't wholly supported the futile rising, but the fierce police crackdown had the effect of arousing sympathy. It sparked the major IRA campaigns in the 1920's and eventual Independence.

1933- Ub Iwerk's "Fiddlesticks" the first Flip the Frog cartoon, done in a simple two-color process. Iwerks was the first designer and animator of Mickey Mouse, who had left Walt Disney to open his own studio.

1945- As the Russian Army approached the center of Berlin, Adolf Hitler gathered his remaining staff in his bunker deep under the Reichs Chancellery. He told his people that all was lost and that they should escape the city as best they could. Most decided to stay and began discussions on how to commit suicide. The Fuehrer himself lapsed into apathy. His secretary recalled seeing Hitler sitting quietly in a hallway, cradling a puppy in his lap, rocking back and forth, staring off, hollow-eyed.

1949- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) formed.

1948- The Chinese Communists under their leader Mao zse Tung and their generals Chu Teh and Lin Piao began their final push to unite all of China under their rule.

1954- Handsome English actor Peter Lawford married John F. Kennedy’s sister Patricia Kennedy. This union would give JFK his link to Hollywood, Frank Sinatra and the RatPack.

1961- First day of shooting on the film King of Kings, the Christ story starring Jeffrey Hunter. Called by one critic” I was a Teenage Jesus” In 1966 Jeffrey Hunter turned down a TV series after doing the pilot episode. His wife worried that he’d be typecast. The role of Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, went instead went to William Shatner.

1967- Soviet Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov became the first acknowledged fatality in the conquest of Space, when the parachute of his re-entering capsule got snarled and he fell four miles to Earth.

1980- After months of fruitless negotiations to get the U.S. hostages held in the American Embassy in Teheran freed, President Jimmy Carter tried force. A Delta Force of eight helicopters met at their staging area in the Iranian desert. Once there it was discovered three of the helicopters had mechanical problems and they had fallen badly behind schedule so the mission was scrapped. As they were leaving one of the helicopters crashed into a transport plane killing 8 soldiers. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance resigned in protest. No more military adventures were planned and the Iran Hostage Crisis dragged on throughout 1980. The hostages were released in January 1981.

1981- Small companies like Apple and Commodore had dominated the personal computer market while giants like IBM stuck with large business systems. Now IBM weighed in with The IBM PC –personal computer, with basic software language DOS provided by Microsoft. It soon came to dominate the market.

1983- THE HITLER DIARIES HOAX- Gerd Heideman, a top correspondent for Germany’s top magazine Die Stern was contacted by a mysterious Professor Fischer that he had in his possession the long lost personal diary of Adolph Hitler. Heidemann was an eccentric who collected fascist memorabilia like Herman Goerings yacht and a pair of Idi Amin’s underwear. Fischer sold him the Hitler diary manuscripts for $4 million.
After Heidemann got British Historian Sir Hugh Trevor Roper and several handwriting analysts to declare them genuine, the Hitler Diaries went public in Die Stern and Rupert Murdoch’s London Times. When Sir Hugh began to express doubts over the authenticity of the diary, Times mogul Rupert Murdoch reacted in typical fashion: ”F**k him. I’m in the entertainment business!”

This day a Bonn laboratory declared the diaries high quality but completely phony. Professor Fischer was actually an art forger named Konrad Kujau who knew suckers when he saw them. He had an expensive girlfriend and wife to keep so he was writing the diaries in his garage on 1940’s vintage paper and ink. Careers were ruined and everyone looked pretty stupid. Even when they were all in jail, Gerd Heidemann refused to believe the truth. Konrad Kujau sent him a letter in Hitler’s handwriting admitting he did the forgery.

1984- David Kennedy, the eldest son of Robert Kennedy, was found dead in his hotel room of a drug overdose. As a child he had watched his father assassinated on live television and had never gotten over it. He was a drug addict by 15 and dead at 28.

1990-The Hubble Space Telescope was carried into orbit by the Space Shuttle Challenger.
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Yesterday’s Question: What is Occum’s Razor-?

Answer: Occum’s Razor is a philosophical principle that says, when given a choice, the simplest solution is the best one. Though not strictly a scientific principle, it is often applied to scientific thinking as well. Invented by a Franciscan monk named William of Occum circa 1300.


History for 4.23.2016
April 23rd, 2016

Question: What is Occum’s Razor-?

Yesterday’s question answered below: What does it mean to be living the Life of Riley?
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History for 4/23/2016
Birthdays: William Shakespeare, James Buchanan, Sergei Prokoviev, J.M.W. Turner, Vladimir Nabokov, Senator Stephen Douglas the Little Giant, Shirley Temple, Roy Orbison, Halston, Sandra Dee, Valerie Bertinelli, Lee Majors is 75, Judy Davis, Simone Simon, Michael Sporn, Tony Esposito, Michael Moore is 62, Herve Villechaise

This was the ancient Roman Feast of the Vinalia, the feast of the first grapevine plantings.

301AD- This is the Feast of St. George.- George of Nicomedia was a native of Illyria (Croatia) and a member of the Praetorian Guards, who went up to the Emperor Diocletian’s palace and tore up his edict banning Christianity. Then Diocletian had George torn up. And what about St. George fighting the dragon? In the old tradition of borrowing from pagan myths, the Coptic Christian monks took from the Ancient Egyptian religion the famous battle between Horus and his evil uncle Seth, God of Sandstorms, often represented in temple art as a weird dragon-like animal.

1014- BATTLE OF CLONTARF- Irish High King Brian Boru defeated the Vikings and drove them from Ireland. Boru himself was too elderly to fight, so he was praying in a church when a renegade group of Danes surrounded the church and set it on fire.
Oh well, at least he won...

1348- The Order of the Garter created in England.

1374- The King of England grants the writer Geoffrey Chaucer a pension that included a pot of wine every day for the rest of his life. What more could a writer ask for !

1500- Explorer Pedro Cabral claimed Brazil for Portugal.

1538- Protestant theologian John Calvin was asked to leave his ministry in Geneva for being, uhh, well.. too Puritan. Geneva went party wild. Two years later the city fathers called Calvin back to clean up the town.

Four hundred years ago. 1616-After a night out partying with Ben Johnson, John Draydon and other old buddies from Ye Old Mermaid Tavern, William Shakespeare caught a fever and died on his fifty third birthday.

1746-THE GLASS HARMONICON- German composer Johann Christoph Witobald Gluck had premiered his first opera La Caduta de Giganti in London to weak box office . Today he hit it rich by playing an entire concerto on twenty-six drinking glasses with water raised to different levels to effect the pitch. He played it by rubbing his fingers along the rims. The crowd went wild. Another triumph of musical taste.

1784- Congress adopted Thomas Jefferson’s plan to extend government to territories west of the Appalachian Mountains, the Old Northwest. They reject his suggestion that ten states be organized with classical names like Metropotamia and Polypotamia. Some of his suggestions for Indian names like Michigania and Illinoia sounded better however.

1789- President-elect George Washington and Martha move in to their temporary U.S. capitol of New York City. Traveling from Virginia up to New York every town he passed through greeted him with huge parades and celebrations. When moving through Philadelphia the artist John Singleton Copley had designed a triumphal arch that as Washington moved under it sprang a strange mechanical device that plopped a gold laurel wreath on his head. Annoyed, the startled statesman tore it off.

Once set up as President, Washington realized that the first Presidential residence Franklin House had no furniture, and Congress was broke. He had to pay out of his own pocket for all the furnishings and dinnerware, large enough for state dinners of thirty or more. When he left office in 1796 he offered to John Adams to sell him his furniture. When the frugal New Englander balked at the price, Washington left the new President of the United States an empty mansion with a few candle sticks and one crystal punch bowl.

1809- Napoleons army captured Ratisbon ( Regensburg ) from the Austrians and Robert Browning did a nice poem about it.

1867- William Lincoln patents the zoetrope, an optical toy predating motion pictures..

1896-THE FIRST PROJECTED MOVIES IN THE U.S.- The first projection of Thomas Edison’s kinetoscope film by means of Thomas Armat’s Vitascope at Koster & Bials Music Hall on 28th street and Broadway in New York City. Edison had to be nagged into this by his engineer W.K.L. Dickson. Edison thought projecting movies like the Lumiere Brothers were doing in Europe would never catch on and the future of film was nickelodeon machines. The movie show featured the sultry Annabella the Dancer and a boxing match, but the real hit of the evening was footage of Waves Hitting the Rocks on Shore, which made people instinctively duck to keep from getting wet.

1900- A celebration held in Russian Georgia was addressed by a young revolutionary who had been expelled from the Tiflis Theological Seminary where he was studying to become a priest. Josef Dzugashvili was later encouraged by other revolutionaries to change his name so the Czar’s police wouldn’t pick up his family. He changed his name to Man of Steel- Josef Stalin.

1903- The first game of the New York Highlanders (later Yankees) baseball team. They defeated the Washington Senators, 7-2.

1914- Chicago’s Wrigley Field opened.

1942-The Baedecker Raids- In reprisal for an allied bombing raid on Lubeck the German Luftwaffe began bombing medieval English cities like Norwich and Canterbury based on their rating in the Baedecker Tourist guidebooks. If a place got three or more stars it became a target.

1945- As the Red Army was reaching the suburbs of Berlin, S.S. Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler quietly contacted Swedish diplomat Count Bernadotte and requests peace terms with the Allies. From his hiding place in Bavaria Hermann Goring was also trying to make peace as well. When Hitler found out from Martin Borman, he was furious and ordered both of them under house arrest.

1951- Comedian Lenny Bruce was arrested for a stunt where he dressed as a priest and solicited funds in a leper colony.

1971- Vietnam veterans protest the continued U.S. presence in the war by ceremoniously returning their medals, in some cases tossing them over the White House fence. One angry soldier who tossed his medals was future Democratic Senator John Kerry. Meanwhile Lt. George W. Bush was in the Texas Air Guard, tossing his cookies.

1985- Coca Cola introduces New Coke. They decided to make the basic formula slightly sweeter to appeal to younger people. Its reception by the public was so overwhelmingly bad that the company returned to the original formula 90 days later. The chairman of rival Pepsi Cola exulted: " We've been eye to eye for decades and I think the other guy's just blinked! New Coke became a symbol for large-scale executive incompetence,

1998- Microsoft chairman Bill Gates introduced Windows 98 to a 4,000 industry leaders. When he ceremonially opened the first window, the system crashed-.Doh!

2003- Boston area Catholic priests began to get busted for child molestation and the cover up by the Archdiocese was exposed by the Boston Globe. One priest, a Father Shayne, was a registered member of the Man-Boy Love Society (NAMBLA). Outraged parishioners demanded the eventual resignation of their Cardinal Bernard Law. Instead Cardinal Law was recalled to Rome were he was made pastor of the Church of Maria Maggiore.

2005- The first You-Tube video was uploaded- Me At the Zoo.
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Yesterday’s question answered below: What does it mean to be living the Life of Riley?

Answer: The Life of Riley was based on a popular Irish ballad from the 1880s about an Irish laborer who moved to America and was now living the Good Life. In the 1940s the name was given to a situation comedy on the radio about a working class family in Brooklyn. William Bendix was the star. In the 50s it moved to television for a long run.


April 22, 2016
April 22nd, 2016

Quiz: What does it mean to be living the Life of Riley?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Which nation did America NEVER go to war against? Germany, Italy, France, England, Spain, Romania, Mexico.
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History for 4/22/2016
Birthdays: Queen Isabella I of Castille, Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, Immanuel Kant, Madame De Stael, Alexander Kerensky, Aaron Spelling, Eddie Albert, Glen Cambell, Betty Page, Marilyn Chambers, Charlie Mingus, Peter Frampton, John Waters is 70, Jack Nicholson is 79

Happy Earth Day (see below- 1970)

753 B.C.-Founding of Rome by Romulus and Remus. The Romans counted time from this date. So 1AD to them was 754 AUC or Anno Urbis Conditae- from the "Founding of the City". So this year 2015 is 2,770 AUC.

1370-Beginning of construction on the castle/prison in Paris called La Bastille.

1567- Dutch protestant leader William of Orange was such a shrewd leader and diplomat his nickname was William the Silent. This day as the persecutions of Dutch Protestants by Catholic Spanish Inquisitors increased William resigned all his offices and fled to Germany to raise an army to fight for Dutch Independence. He was eventually assassinated but not before he had united the Dutch provinces under his leadership. His family still rules Holland today.

1621- FRANCIS BACON -Philosopher and writer Sir Francis Bacon had become the first judge and minister in the England through hard work and furious ass-kissing. He was so unscrupulous he prosecuted to death his first benefactor the Earl of Essex. But King James 1st trusted him to run England whenever he was away. Finally the pushy Parliament brought Bacon up on charges of bribery and corruption.

This day Bacon pled guilty to all charges and left his public offices. The King waived his fines and imprisonment. Francis Bacon on his estate free of his addiction to power could now focus on his true love, philosophy and science. He became one of the greatest minds in Western thought, to be ranked with Aristotle and Descartes. He published the Great Renewal and Res Atlantica, two works that revolutionized the study of philosophy and science.
Historian Will Durant called Francis Bacon the finest mind of his time after Shakespeare.

1741- Georg Frederich Handel dipped his quill into ink and began to write the Messiah.

1769- Madame DuBarry officially presented at the French Court. King Louis XV’s earlier mistresses like Madame La Pompadour were women of breeding and culture. But DuBarry was a saucy little trollop who had already schtupped most of the men of the court. When the Duc d’ Richelieu asked Louis what he saw in this vulgar new toy, His Majesty replied:" She makes me forget that I shall soon be sixty."

1778- THE CONWAY CABAL- During the American Revolution, a conspiracy (or cabal) of colonial officers led by a Major Conway, and former Washington aide Thomas Mifflin plotted behind George Washington's back to get Congress to replace him for incompetence. Their choice for command of the American army was General Gage, whose career was undistinguished other than the Battle of Saratoga. The plot was exposed and Conway made to resign. Washington stayed the symbol of the American war effort even though he lost more battles than won.

1793- THE UNITED STATES DECLARED IT'S NEUTRALITY IN THE NAPOLEONIC WARS. This decision caused the split in American opinion that formed our two party system and soured the last years of George Washington’s presidency. The France that helped us win the Revolution was Louis XVI's Royal France, but she had now become a people’s republic like ours, the only other in the world. The French Revolutionary Convention had a Stars and Stripes flag hanging proudly in it's hall. Americans danced in the streets when the Bastille fell and started calling each other "citizen".

Thomas Jefferson’s followers felt we owed it to France to support a fellow people’s republic against the European autocrats. The more conservative Federalists like Alexander Hamilton and John Adams were afraid of guillotines and anarchy and openly wanted Mother Britain to win. Jefferson called them Monocrats, they called his side Democrats. Europeans tried to push America into choosing a side: America almost declared war on France in 1797,1804 and 1808, and almost declared war on Britain in 1800 and finally did in 1812. Napoleon had hoped America would then send over her navy to ferry his army across the Channel to get at England. Small wonder George Washington’s advice upon retiring was "Avoid entangling foreign alliances."

1811- Last of the Parthenon Marbles pried off their walls in Greece and sent back to England on a British frigate. Lord Byron was on board and called Lord Elgin, the supervisor of this act, "The Spoiler". Today the Elgin marbles are still at the British Museum and the Greeks are still annoyed about it.

1836-GENERAL SANTA ANNA the Dictator of Mexico was captured after the Battle of San Jacinto and brought to Texas Gen. Sam Houston. Santa Anna was disguised in peasants clothes but when brought into the Anglo camp the Mexican prisoners gave him away by cheering El Presidente! Santa Anna was suffering from nervous exhaustion so Houston offered him some of his opium. Houston was an alcoholic nursing a shattered ankle.

As they sat under a tree Santa Anna said to Houston: " Great is the destiny of the man who can defeat the Napoleon of the West!" Everyone (including many Mexicans) wanted to kill the man who massacred the Alamo, but Houston used him as a hostage to draw off the remaining Mexican armies still in Texas. Not only did Santa Anna get released unhurt, but ten years later the U.S. Government even covertly helped him regain power in Mexico.

1876- Composer Peter Tchaikovsky completed his score for the ballet Swan Lake.

1889-At noon on the signal of a cannon shot The Great Oklahoma Land Rush began. The town of Oklahoma City was set up in one day-population 10,000. The settlers who slipped in early were nicknamed Sooners and Oklahoma became known as the Sooner State. This eats up the remaining land of the Cherokee Nation, who once owned all of Georgia, the Carolinas and Alabama. The Cherokee kept their land communally, which to U.S. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge was their downfall: "The Cherokee possess many fine attributes except Greed, which we all know is the basis for Civilization."

1898- Teddy Roosevelt formed the First US Volunteer Cavalry, called the Rough Riders. It was a curious mix of Teddys' personal tastes- Harvard bluebloods and polo champions mixed with rough western cowboys and rodeo stars.

1906- In earthquake-destroyed San Francisco, one day after the last of the fires were declared officially out, the Market Street cable car began running once more.

1915- Second Battle of Ypres- First use of poison gas WWI. German Jewish Dr. Fritz Hauber and friend of Albert Einstein, was convinced his experiments to create poison gas would win wars. He ran from battlefield to battlefield ensuring it was being used correctly. Einstein thought he was a fool. Hauber’s wife committed suicide. The chlorine clouds did cause a huge panic in the British ranks, that opened the way to Paris, but the German generals were too cautious to follow up their surprise and the Canadians fought fiercely to close the gap. Although they had no gas masks, a quick thinking Canadian doctor ordered his men to urinate into their own handkerchiefs, then tie them around their faces. Although exceedingly gross, the ammonia counteracted the gas enabling them to survive.

1922- Albert the Duke of York married Scottish socialite Lady Elizabeth Beaux-Lyons. Bertie was shy and had a speech impediment and it took him three proposals before she said yes. The Archbishop of Canterbury refused to allow a live radio broadcast of the marriage ceremony for fear it would be broadcast in pubs, where uncouth men would not doff their hats.
What Bertie and Elizabeth couldn’t know would be in 1936 Berties older brother Edward VIII would abdicate and they become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. After her husband died in 1952 and her daughter Elizabeth II ascended the throne, the Queen Mum lived on, dying at age 101 in 2002.

1934- In Little Bohemia Hunting Lodge in Wisconsin, Public Enemy No.1 John Dillinger shot his way out of a FBI ambush. The FBI not only failed to stop Dillinger, they shot an innocent bystander who got caught in the crossfire.

1940- Writer Ernest Hemingway cabled his editor Max Perkins from Havana about a new novel he was writing.-" Title is "For Whom the Bell Tolls" from passage John Donne Oxford Book of English bottom page seventy one STOP Please register immediately."

1945- While the Red Army was attacking the outskirts of Berlin, Adolph Hitler sent away to the south his personal belongings and files in a final Luftwaffe flight of ten planes. One plane was shot down carried some of his most private possessions. When Hitler heard the news, he called it a catastrophe. What was in that plane that he valued so much? The wreckage was never found. It’s a mystery to this day.

1952- The first nuclear bomb test shown on network TV -Tommy Turtle says duck and cover!

1954- THE ARMY–McCARTHY HEARINGS on live nationwide TV began. Senator Joe McCarthy’s Senate committee chasing communists finally bit off more than it could chew when it took on the U.S. Army. Sparked by the drafting of Private G. David Shine, a young crony of chief counsel Roy Cohn, a hearing was held to investigate charges that the Army Secretary and several other top Pentagon officers were Russian spies.

The hearing soon devolved from an indictment of the army into a probe of Senator McCarthy’s red baiting tactics. It lasted for three months and held the nation spellbound. At one point Senator McCarthy submitted a note that the television cameras be turned off for a minute so he could wipe his nose. After one heated session, Roy Cohn and Robert Kennedy had to be separated before a fistfight broke out. Finally under the withering condemnation of Joseph Walsh "Senator, have you no shred of decency?!" McCarthy’s power was broken.

1954- The U.S. Congress added the phrase "In God We Trust" on to US currency

1961- THE PARATROOP COUP- The decision of whether to give up Algeria, the colony they owned since 1832 agonized the nation. It was further complicated by a large population of Algerian-born French people, the "Pied-noirs". They felt they were being sold out to terrorist guerillas. The Foreign Legion's headquarters was at Sidde Abbes, and for generations their blood had spilled into the Sahara's sands to keep Algeria French. So on this night French paratroop generals and the Legion plotted to stop President Charles DeGaulle from granting Algerian independence. They planned a night parachute jump over downtown Paris to seize the government.
After the rebels grabbed the governor of Algeria and a few key posts, President Degaulle went on nationwide TV and exposed the plot, calling upon all Frenchmen to defend the nation. The conspirators lost their nerve and melted away. The Paris jump never occurred. The trials afterwards saw strange scenes like Croatian and Thai legionnaires falling before firing squads, shouting "Vive La France!!"

1970- The first Earth Day. The idea was started by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin "The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy," Senator Nelson said, "and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda."

1972- Magnavox announced the Magnavox Odyssey. Created by Ralph Baer in his spare time, it was the first home videogame console.

1978- Comic actors Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi debut two new characters on the Saturday Night Live TV show, Joliet Jake and Ellwood Blues. The Blues Brothers are born.

1996- Christopher Robin Milne dies at age 75. The young boy who’s fascination with a bear in the London Zoo called Winnie inspired his father A.A. Milne to write the Winne the Pooh stories. Christopher Robin wasn’t always appreciative of all the attention. He said of his father: "Someday I’ll write some verses about him and see how He likes it!"

2000- The estranged wife of Mr Juan Gonzales of Cuba had grabbed their son Elian and tried to escape by boat to the United States. The wife and her lover drowned in the attempt but little 6 year old Elian survived and became a cause–celebre of the Cuban exile community in Miami. But Mr. Gonzales had come from Havanna to get his son back. Back in Havana, Fidel Castro had a ball making political hay out of the Yankee Imperialistas stealing children from their parents. Finally, after months of media circus, Attorney General Janet Reno ordered federal marshals to forcibly grab Elian Gonzales from his uncles home and give him back to his father. His father pledged:" I want no one to ever stick a camera in my son’s face again!"

2004- Pat Tillman was a football star who was moved by the 9-11 attacks to sacrifice a multi-million dollar contract in the NFL to fight for his country. This day Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. He was 27 and left a wife and two children. The Pentagon played up his heroism, while lying to his grieving family and burning his diary and uniform. At the funeral, when presented with the casket’s flag, Tillman’s father snapped “ Keep your f*cking flag!” Pat Tillman was an atheist and it further annoyed his family to hear conservative politicians go on about him in Heaven among the warriors of Christ. After several hearings a general was reprimanded for his handling of the affair.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Which nation did America NEVER go to war against? Germany, Italy, France, England, Spain, Romania, Mexico.

Answer: America never went to war with France. The French & Indian War was when we were still part of Britain. We skirmished with French ships in 1804 & 1808, and again against Vichy forces in 1942, but never officially declared war. Romania was a German ally in WWI.


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