Aug 23, 2016
August 23rd, 2016
Quiz: Hannibal ad portas!
Yesterday’s Question answered below: The rough waterfront of Old San Francisco had been called The Barbary Coast. But who were the original Barbary Pirates?
History for 8/23/2016
Birthdays: French King Louis XVI, Gene Kelly, Keith Moon, Rick Springfield, Sonny Jurgensen, Alphonse Mucha, Vera Miles, River Phoenix, Queen Noor of Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Ed Benedict the designer of the Flintstones, Barbara Eden is 81, Shelley Long is 66, Nik Ranieri, Oscar Grillo
Roman Festival Volcanalia, to pray to Vulcan to prevent fires.
In Kyoto Japan this is the first day of the Fire Festival, when candles are placed at each statue in the Temple of the Eight Thousand Buddhas
In Swaziland, Happy Umhlanga Day!
408 AD- Roman Emperor Honorius had executed his last competent General, Stilicho. It was rumored that Stilicho had allowed a huge horde of barbarians cross the Rhine frontier last Christmas as part of a plot. But more likely Honorius was afraid Stilicho might try to overthrow him. The barbarians sacked Rome shortly after.
1305- In London the great Scottish rebel William Wallace was hanged, then cut down while still alive and drawn and quartered. His head was stuck on a spike on London Bridge and his pieces were sent to be displayed in various parts of Scotland. But the Scots instead of being cowed, got even angrier. In 1314 won independence under their King Robert the Bruce.
1499- Christopher Columbus was fired as Governor of the Indies and sent back to Spain in chains. He was a great visionary but a lousy governor.
1524- A large armada of warships from Spain, Portugal, Genoa and the Vatican were sent to Algiers to deal once and for all with the Barbary Corsairs. These Turkish-Moslem raiders terrorized the waters of the western Mediterranean under their bold captains like Kehir el Din "Barbarrossa", Dragut and a mysterious man known only as The Jew of Smyrna. But when the Christian fleet arrived in the Bay of Algiers a large storm battered their ships and threw them on the shore. The survivors were slain or enslaved as they staggered up on the beach. The Barbary Pirates would continue to be a headache for Christian Europe sea travel for another 300 years.
1572-THE ST. BARTHOLEMEW'S DAY MASSACRE- The reason there are no Protestants in France. Emotionally unstable King Charles IX and his domineering mother Catherine DeMedici had been trying to cope with the growing hatred between Catholics and Protestants, called Huguenots. After several civil wars and several treaties Catherine tried to cement a permanent peace by marrying the Kings sister Margot to the Prince of the Protestants Henry of Navarre. Catholic Paris was filled with Huguenots for the wedding.
Then the night before Catholic extremists murdered the Huguenot leader Gaspar Coligny. When faced with this event King Charles blurted out-”Then slay them all so none dare live to accuse me!” As the bells of Saint Margaret rang, a general massacre began throughout Paris. Protestants were put to the sword and the streets ran with blood. The massacre became so general that anybody who was mad at anybody declared them a Huguenot and they were promptly butchered. The Seine River flow turned red because it was choked up with corpses.
The Pope congratulated the French queen for ridding her land of heretics and ordered thanksgiving celebrations throughout Catholic Europe. In Spain, dour King Phillip II smiled for one of the few times in his life. Protestant countries were outraged and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth put her court in mourning. Even the Spanish Duke of Alba, who was burning dozens of Dutch Calvinists a day, thought this was “a base way to make war.” Protestant Prince Henry of Navarre under the Queens protection escaped and would eventually become king as Henry IV, first of the house of Bourbon.
Within a year Charles IX died slowly of tuberculosis, wracked with remorse:” What have I done? All that blood! I am damned!”
1617- The invention of the One Way Street (London)
1628- The Duke of Buckingham became a favorite of King James Ist when he was a pretty boy- ahem…draw your own conclusions. After James’s death the Duke continued to hold great influence over his son Charles Ist, but in a more traditional way. Many people blamed Buckingham for England’s problems and for reversing James’s peace policy and dragging England into the disastrous Thirty Years War then destroying Europe. Parliament loudly demanded the Duke’s imprisonment while Charles stood by his fathers old friend. This day a lunatic solved the problem by buying a kitchen knife, hiking sixty miles to London and plunging it into the Duke of Buckingham’s chest, killing him in front of his wife and family. It was one but not the only argument Charles would have with his parliament.
1634- Spain’s greatest playwright Lope De Vega wrote his last poem “El Siglo de Oro” – the Golden Age. He died the next day at age 73. A duelist and sailor on the Spanish Armada, Voltaire ranked him with Shakespeare and his work was so popular, the Holy Office of the Inquisition got angry when people sang a blasphemous doggerel that began “We believe in One Lope, the Poet Almighty…”
1750- 37 year old Swiss writer Jean Jacques Rousseau published his first mature work- Discourse on the Arts & Sciences. In it he breaks with the other French philosophers like Votlaire and Diderot and began his theory of the Noble Savage- that Civilization is the problem and we were all a lot happier when we were primitives. Voltaire laughed “the pamphlet made me want to get down on all fours and live among the bears of Canada!”
1775- KING GEORGE III ISSUED A PROCLAMATION DECLARING HIS AMERICAN COLONIES IN A STATE OF REBELLION. Many English politicians like Charles Fox and John Wilkes felt the American colonists had some legitimate grievances that could have been peacefully addressed. Lord Chatham (Pitt the Elder) had gone as far to say in the House of Lords "The Englishmen on the other side of the Atlantic are only fighting for what the Englishmen at home should be fighting for, namely their rights!" He suggested several seats in Parliament be set aside for British North America.
But King George rejected all further debate and refused the "Olive Branch Petition", a final plea to avert war brought by the loyalist Governor of Pennsylvania William Penn III. "They must decide now whether they are our subjects or our enemies." -The King stated flatly.
The King's proclamation was that now the only solution would be by force of arms. Pardons would be given to those Americans who returned to their loyalty to the Crown, but British generals were given a secret list of ringleaders to be brought to London for trial like John Adams and Ben Franklin. Up to this point many Americans, even George Washington, felt complete independence was going too far and compromise with the motherland was still possible. But after news of this Royal Proclamation reached America in October most then felt there was now no turning back..
1784- Frontiersmen west of the Alleghenies tried to found the independent state of Franklin. It later entered the union in 1796 as the state of Tennessee.
1864- Abe Lincoln was in despair. After four years of Civil War all the Northern armies were bogged down or defeated, the Confederacy showed no sign of collapse, and a popular General George McClellan announced he would run against Lincoln in the fall elections as a peace candidate. On this day Lincoln made all his cabinet sign a secret Presidential memo: " Seeing that it becoming more apparent that this Administration shall not continue in office, we pledge to work with the next President to save the Union between the election and the inauguration, because the next administration by it's very nature shall be unable to accomplish this." In several days Sherman's capture of Atlanta and Sheridan's victories in the Shenandoah Valley would reverse public opinion and Lincoln would win re-election.
1872- The first commercial ship ever sent from Japan arrived in San Francisco carrying tea.
1914- Japan declared war on Germany. World War I, not two. The Japanese wanted to attack and annex the German held Chinese province of TsingTao, where their big brewery was.
1922- Legendary leader of the Irish IRA Michael Collins was ambushed and killed by other Irish guerillas while driving through his home county of Cork.
1926- Screen idol Rudolph Valentino died in a New York hospital of an infection due to a burst appendix and bleeding ulcer. Today this condition could be controlled by anti-biotics, but they weren’t invented yet.. Women around the world went mad with grief. From L.A. to Budapest women committed suicide before his picture. In Japan two women jumped into a volcano shouting his name.
1937- At the urging of the Stanford Dean of engineering Fred Terman, graduate Bill Hewlett had his first meeting with David Packard. They called their company started out of their Palo Alto garage the Engineering Service Company. The Hewlett-Packard Company would one day be one of the biggest names in computers and their garage hailed as the birthplace of Silicon Valley.
1939-THE NAZIS-SOVIET PACT. Nazi minister Von Ribbentrop flew to Moscow and signed the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. This cleared the way for Hitler's attack on Poland. Many in the west saw this as Stalin's untrustworthiness, but the Russians said they were reacting to the lack of enthusiasm shown by the Western Democracies in stopping Fascism. This was evident in Ethiopia, Czechoslovakia and particularly evident in Spain, where the Soviets backed the anti-Fascists to the hilt, with no help at all from the democracies.
But Stalin was genuinely duped by Hitler; maybe through the political rhetoric Stalin imagined he saw a fellow opportunist demagogue. It was obvious to Uncle Joe that the strategy of the West was to try and push Germany and Russia into war, so why would Hitler be stupid enough to do it? Even two days before the Nazis Invasion of Russia Stalin refused to believe the reports of his spies that Hitler was going to betray him.
Josef Stalin’s action for temporary tactical advantage destroyed the intellectual justification for Russia’s leadership of Global Communism. All though the 1920’s and 30’s Communism seemed to some the best hope of the Left for stopping the Fascist dictators and winning Civil and Labor rights. But when Moscow ordered all good Communists to stop criticizing Hitler, they lost the sympathies of many progressives. Americans, Britons and Zionist Jews began to leave the party in droves.
1939-The Meeker St Bridge between Brooklyn and Queens completed. It was renamed the Koscsuiszko Bridge in honor of the Polish patriot who fought in the American Revolution. In George Washington’s time no one knew how to say his name either. They called him Colonel Koz.
1942-THE BATTLE OF STALINGRAD BEGAN. As clouds of Nazi planes bombed the city to flaming rubble, the tanks of the Nazi 16th Panzer Division reached the Volga River and began to fight their way into the northern suburbs of the City of Stalingrad. The 16th’s General was one-armed Hans Huber, whom his men nicknamed Die Mensch- The Man!
The Germans were met by elements of the Red Army mixed with marines and civilians driving new unpainted T-34 tanks fresh from their factory assembly line. An estimated 40,000 civilians died just in this first attack, as many as had died at Waterloo, and the battle just beginning. The German 6th Army attack stalled in the city center and the fighting went on until next February.
1942- Fascist Italian troops were aiding their Nazi allies in the invasion of Russia. At Izbushensky near the Don River a regiment of Savoy cavalry charged Soviet troops with sabers. It was called the last successful cavalry charge in history.
1944- Romania was declared liberated from the Nazis by the Red Army.
1947-President Truman’s daughter Margaret gave her first public singing concert. President Truman spent the following day personally telephoning music critics and threatening any who dared to give her harsh reviews.
1948- The World Council of Churches set up.
1953- David Mullany of Shelton Conn. invented the Whiffle Ball. He did it to help his son who was lousy at throwing a curve ball.
1964- Twist and Shout! The Beatles played the Hollywood Bowl.
1994- Jeffrey Katzenburg announced he was leaving Disney.
1996- An obscure terrorist group called Al Qaeda led by some guy named Osama Ben Laden had a press conference in Afghanistan where they actually declared holy war
(Jihad) on the United States.
Yesterday’s Question: The rough waterfront of Old San Francisco had been called The Barbary Coast. But who were the original Barbary Pirates?
Answer: Algerian and Tunisian pirates who attacked Christian ships in the Mediterranean. (See above 1524). They were a menace to European shipping until shut down by the larger British and French navies in the 1830s.
Aug 22, 2016
August 22nd, 2016
Question: The rough waterfront of Old San Francisco had been called The Barbary Coast. But who were the original Barbary Pirates?
Yesterdays Quiz: Blackbeard the Pirate named his ship Queen Anne’s Revenge. Who was Queen Anne?
History for 8/22/2016
Birthdays: George Herriman the creator of Krazy Kat, Dorothy Parker, Claude DeBussy, Johnny Lee Hooker, Denis Papin 1647 inventor of the Pressure Cooker, Leni Reifenstahl, General Stormin’Norman Schwarzkopf, Paul Molitor, Bill Parcells, Max Vilander, Carl “Big Yaz”Yazstremski, Dyanna Nyad, Deng Xiao Ping, Henry Cartier Bresson, Valerie Harper, Cindy Williams, Ray Bradbury, Kristen Wiig is 43
In Britain it is National Slacker Day: Stand Up for your Right to Sit Back Down!
565AD – St. Columba reported seeing a sea monster in Loch Ness.
1485-"A Horse! A Horse! My Kingdom for a Horse!!" Battle of Bosworth Field. Welsh prince Henry Tudor defeated and killed King Richard III and becomes King Henry VII, first of the Tudor Dynasty. Henry was married to Elizabeth Rivers, the daughter of Richards deceased brother King Edward IV, further strengthening his claim to the throne. Shakespeare made Richard out to be a hunchback usurper and child murderer, but couldn’t hide the fact that he died well. Whatever the truth he went down sword in hand, fighting like a true descendant of Richard Lionheart. Recently Richard’s skeleton was found, and he did indeed have a misshapen spine.
1558- When Antonio Carafa became Pope Paul IV he blamed the loss of half of Europe to Protestantism to the corruption in the Catholic Church. He attacked the dry rot with zeal. He started with a warning to all monks away from their monasteries without permission to return at once. This day he ordered the gates of Rome closed. All deadbeat monks still AWOL to be rounded up and sentenced to be galley slaves. He’s the Pope who ordered loincloths painted on Michelangelo’s nude Christ in the Last Judgment.
1572-Admiral Gaspar Coligny, was leader of the French Huguenots –Protestants and was one of the most powerful men in France. This night he was recovering from an earlier assassination attempt, when agents of the Duke du Guise rushed into his room and stabbed him repeatedly. They hurled his body out a window to smash on the pavement stones at the Dukes feet. When it was pointed out to the king that the French Protestants may not like this, the emotionally unstable King Charles IX shouted:" Then slay them all, so none shall remain to accuse me !" The Great Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre was the result.
1611- Galileo made a group of Venetian senators and noblemen climb to the top of Saint Marks Basilica in Venice to demonstrate to them new invention, the telescope.
1715 – Handel’s "Watermusic" premiered on the Thames River to mark celebrations of the Peace ending the War of Spanish Succession.
1776- The Long Island Campaign began. British General Lord Howe and his brother Admiral Richard, called “Black Dick”, commanded the largest invasion force ever sent by England. Today they began ferrying their army from loyalist Staten Island across the Straights of Verrazano for the march on the village of Breuklyn.-Brooklyn. Their Hessian mercenaries, to show off their discipline, stood at rigid attention as the flatboats bobbed in the choppy water. Now that the British fleet were anchored inside New York Harbor, George Washington agreed with other military strategists that New York City was as already lost. He contemplated burning the town to keep it from being used by the British as a base. But Congress couldn't let him give up America’s largest port without a fight.
1791-THE NIGHT OF FIRE- Haitian slaves, after decades of oppression were organized by a voodoo priest named Boumann. This night they set fire to plantations, crops and massacred 300 white settlers. This began the great Haitian Revolution which will rage until 1811 and make Haiti the second republic in the New World.
1806- elderly French painter Jean Fragonard died of a cerebral seizure after eating a large fruit ice on a hot day.
1848- Ulysses Grant married Julia Dent. One of the only things Grant did well other than win the Civil War was his long and happy marriage to his Julia.
1849-The first aerial bomb attack. Austrian General Von Wintzingerode was at a loss at how to get at the besieged Italian city of Venice. The Venetian lagoon was too deep to wade across but was too shallow for battleships. Finally a Swiss mercenary suggested filling hot air balloons with troops and flying them over the city to drop explosives. Those little round black bombs with lit fuses you see in cartoons. A dozen balloons filled with grenadiers were launched aloft, but before they could do anything a stiff breeze blew them all to Yugoslavia. Doh! The real first aerial bombing would be in 1912.
1851- The schooner America defeated the British yacht Aurora to win the trophy called the Hundred Guinea Cup that would in time be called the America's Cup. It was the first win for the US in an international sports competition. American yachts continued to win it for the next 150 years until Australia II took it in 1984.
1860- Italian nationalist leader Giusseppi Garabaldi with his 'redshirts' crossed the Straights of Messina from Sicily and invaded the boot of Italy.
1882- American showman P.T. Barnum bought the largest elephant in the London Zoo. He created a new name for the beast- he called it JUMBO. It was the highlight of his circus for years. After Jumbo was hit by a freight train and killed, PT Barnum had it’s bones bleached and charged people admission to come look at it’s skeleton.
1901-The Cadillac Automobile Company formed. Named for the French explorer who founded Detroit, William De La Mothe-Cadillac.
1902- Teddy Roosevelt became the first president to ride in an automobile.
1906 - 1st Victor Victrola manufactured, using Emile Berliners flat record turntable system. The Victrola was so cheap and easy to use it became standard in many homes and finished off any competition from Thomas Edison’s rival talking cylinder system.
1910- Despite a pledge after the Russo-Japanese War that they would bestow “complete freedom” on the Korean people, this day Japan’s military occupied Korea and annexed it to the Japanese Empire.
1914- The Angel of Mons. British forces stalled the German advance towards Paris with a fighting retreat, and in so doing helped the main French army to win at the Marne. A this time newspapers reported that soldiers claimed they saw ghosts aiding the British army. "those who could see said they saw 'a row of shining beings' between the two armies.”
Also the German field general was General Von Kluck, whose name rhymed with the Britons favorite expletive. As the marched through Belgian streets, they sang “We don’t give a F*CK about old Von KLUCK, an iz whole F*CKING ARMY!”
1922- After World War I, Lawrence of Arabia wrote home from Baghdad about the Postwar British occupation of Iraq:” The Public had been led into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with honor. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad comunique’s have been belated, insincere and incomplete. Things have been far worse here than we have been told.”
1927- 200,000 people protest in Hyde Park London and around the world for clemency for convicted Italian immigrants Nicolo Sacco and Bartolomeo Vancetti. They were socialists who were convicted of murdering a store clerk in Massachusetts and became a radical cause-celebre. Letters demanding mercy came in from George Bernard Shaw, Helen Keller, Picasso, the Pope and more. Woody Guthrie wrote folk songs in praise of Sacco & Vancetti. The next day the State of Massachusetts electrocuted them anyway.
1929- Walt Disney’s Silly Symphony The Skeleton Dance premiered. The tight dancing synch inspired a generation of animators.
1935- Father Charles Coughlin, “the Radio Priest” addressed ten thousand in Madison Square Gardens. At the height of his popularity almost one third the American public tuned into his weekly radio address. But as his influence waned after the 1936 presidential elections. He turned increasingly to racist Anti-Semitic hate mongering and eventually faded away.
1939- The first aerosol spray can.
1942- Brazil declared war on the Axis powers. She was the only Latin American country to send troops to Europe to fight in World War Two.
1942- Tex Avery’s first cartoon for MGM, the Blitz Wolf.
1945- This was the date Stalin scheduled for the Soviet invasion of Hokaido, in North Japan. The American invasion, in the event the atomic bombs didn't work, was not scheduled until November 1st. With all of the remaining Japanese army concentrated on the southern beaches awaiting the American landings, if the Russian invasion had come off as scheduled they would have been able to overrun Northern Japan quite easily. The world might have had to settle for a divided Japan resembling Korea. History however, turned out differently.
1953-The French government closed the Devil's Island prison colony.
1962- Rogue French army officers, angry at France’s yielding independence to Algeria, try to assassinate Pres. Charles DeGaulle. Near Orly Airport they opened up with machine guns on the presidential motorcade. They killed two police motorcyclists, but DeGaulle peppy Citroen DS sped away and escaped the assassins. For that, DeGaulle made sure Citroen would never go bankrupt. The incident was the basis for the novel The Day of the Jackal.
1976- The protest at the Seabrook Nuclear Plant in New Hampshire. The birth of the U.S. anti-nuclear movement.
1984 – The Last Volkswagen Rabbit produced.
Yesterday’s Quiz: Blackbeard the Pirate named his ship Queen Anne’s Revenge. Who was Queen Anne?
Answer: England’s Queen Anne was the only child of William III and Mary of Orange. When she died with no surviving children, her cousin George I of Hanover became King. Blackbeard got into piracy while first serving on a legal commissioned privateer, waging war on Spanish ships during part of the War of Spanish Succession (1702-1713), which was called in the Americas’ Queen Anne’s War. When the war ended, Blackbeard felt to reason to stop pirating, and named his ship that possibly as a weak attempt at respectability. No one knows for sure.
Aug 21, 2016
August 21st, 2016
Quiz: Blackbeard the Pirate named his ship Queen Anne’s Revenge. Who was Queen Anne?
Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: The Russian city of St. Petersburg was once called Leningrad. But it also had one other name change around 1914. What was it called?
History for 8/21/2016
Birthdays: Christopher Robin Milne-1920, King Phillip II Augustus of France- 1165, King William IV of England- 1765, Aubrey Beardsley, Count Basie*, Wilt (Wilt the Stilt) Chamberlain, Friz Freleng, Kenny Rogers, Princess Margaret, Matthew Broderick, Vance Gerry, Peter Weir is 72, Kim Catrall is 60, Carrie Anne Moss is 49
*Count Basie's first name was William. When working in a swing band he'd often get to work late. This would make the band's director ask “Where is that no-account Basie? “ which in his colloquial slang came out: "Where dat no'count Basie!?" Hence the nickname.
Consualia- Roman Festival of the first Harvest
1560 –Danish scientist Tycho Brahe wrote that he had become interested in astronomy.
1561- Queen Catherine de Medici attempts to solve the bitter wrangling over Protestants and Catholics dividing France by convening a grand Estates General at Fontainbleau. Huguenot leader Admiral Gaspar Coligny presented the Petition of the Huguenots. By then 20% of the French population were Protestant.(Huguenots). They declared loyalty to the crown while asking that all men be allowed to worship as they pleased. It didn’t work. Soon Catholics and Huguenots were killing each other in the streets. Coligny was murdered in the Great Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.
1810- After the Swedish Royal family, the Vasas, dies out, the Swedish Diet, with major arm twisting by Napoleon, voted to have French General Bernadotte, married to the daughter of one of Nappy's old girlfriends Desiree' Clary, become the new King and Queen. Napoleon saw this move as adding Sweden to his continental empire but Bernadotte later changed sides and gave Napoleon the shaft. At the end of the Napoleonic wars Bernadotte hoped the Tsar would reward him with the throne of France but he let him keep Norway to add to his kingdom. His descendants still rule Sweden today.
1820- After Argentina and Chile had been liberated from Spain, the army of Jose San Martin embarked from Valparaiso to invade Peru.
1858- The first Lincoln-Douglas debates. Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas squared off in a series of open air debates for a congressional seat for Illinois. But the main subject was the slavery issue. Douglas, the 'Little Giant" won the election but the debates brought national attention to Lincoln. Douglas had even courted Lincoln's wife Mary before they were married. After Lincoln was in the White House, Douglas was his strong supporter.
1863-THE LAWRENCE KANSAS MASSACRE – In the Western Border States the town of Lawrence Kansas was the center of pro-Union partisan Jayhawkers. Locals called it YankeeTown. Early in the morning this day Confederate guerrilla leader William Clark Quantrill led 450 hard-riding Missouri raiders flying black flags into town.
As the wild horsemen galloped up Massachusetts Avenue shooting and burning, Quantrill stood up in his saddle and shouted “Kill! Kill! Kill all the n-loving Yankees!” There was no regular army there. They murdered 200 civilians, mostly defenseless old men and boys. A guerrilla named Rev Larkin Skaggs tore down the Stars & Stripes and dragged it behind his horse in the dirt to the laughter of the troops. There were some regular Confederate officers present who were appalled at the carnage. They later showed their unfired weapons to survivors to witness that they did not take part in the crimes.
Rev. Skaggs was shot down by a Delaware Indian as he tried to ride out of town. The citizens dragged his scalped corpse up and down the main street shooting it and pelting it with stones. It was later tossed into a ravine for wild dogs to eat. Many people never recovered from the nightmare. In 1865 at the end of the Civil War, William Quantrill was brought down in a hail of bullets. Quantrill's Raiders included young pups like 17 year old Jesse James, Frank James and Cole Younger.
1878 - American Bar Association organizes at Sarasota, NY.
1887- Mighty (Dan) Casey struck out at his last at bat with the NY Giants. The poem was written many years later.
1888- William S. Burroughs of St Louis patented the first modern adding machine, not counting the abacus.
1897- Ransom Eli Olds opened the Olds Auto Works in Detroit. The produced a new horseless carriage he called the Oldsmobile.
1911- Café waiter Vincenzo Peruggia walked into the Louvre and stole the Mona Lisa. After trying to fence it for two years, he tried to ransom it back. He was arrested and the painting recovered.
1912- Arthur Eldred of Oceanside New York became the first Eagle scout.
1921- On his first birthday, Christopher Robin Milne was given a Farrell teddy bear from Harrods. His parents first called it Edward, but when he could speak Christopher Robin named it Winnie for his favorite bear he saw at the zoo. The child would also mention the name of a swan there he liked named Pooh. This gave his dad A.A. Milne a swell idea for a new book.
1922 – The Curly Lambeau & Green Bay Football Club formed in 1919 was granted an NFL franchise. Foreigners have pondered the Great American Mystery: Why are the Packers the only US football team not situated near a major American City? That is because at a time when professional football was in its infancy, a Green Bay meat packing company paid for the team’s uniforms.
1929-Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo marry.
1930- Pardon Us, the first feature length film starring Laurel & Hardy. In 1926, Hal Roach director Leo McCarey noticed the Briton Stan Laurel and Georgia born singer Oliver Hardy looked funny together, and put them in a series of shorts. Laurel & Hardy became one of the greatest comedy teams in film history.
1935- Big band leader Benny Goodman was having a tough time. His band lost its radio gig when the show Let’s Dance was canceled. So he and his musicians drove across the country in a small caravan of cars playing various venues on the road. They were told in small towns to stop playing that newfangled Swing music and stick to old standards. One manager in Denver told him:” Don’t you guys know any waltzes? ” By the time they arrived in Los Angeles this day they were thoroughly demoralized. But today when they set up in the Palomar Ballroom in Hollywood the crowd was immense! And these kids wanted to jitterbug to the new Swing music! So hit it, Jackson, Awl Reet, Awl Reet!
1941- Nazi forces cut off the supplies and began the 800 day Siege of Leningrad. A directive from Berlin announced “The Fuehrer has decided to have St. Petersburg wiped off the face of the earth.” The epic siege would earn Leningrad the title of Hero-City. Dmitri Shostakovitch wrote and debuted his Leningrad symphony (#7) even as the Nazi Stukas reigned bombs down from above. He would have to take periodic breaks from composing to serve in the city fire brigade. Leningrad’s stand probably saved Moscow because it tied down troops the Germans needed for the final drive on the Russian Capitol. After Communism’s fall in 1991 Leningrad regained its original name of St. Petersburg.
1944- Moviestar James Cagney, star of Yankee Doodle Dandy, was cleared of charges of Communism. The accusations probably had less to do with Cagney's politics and more to do with his actor’s union activism, and his fighting in court the restrictive personal contracts studios put their stars under.
1959- Hawaii became the 50th state.
1961- The British colonial authorities release Kenyan nationalist leader Njomo Kenyatta from prison.
1967 –New York Mets second baseman Ken Harrelson became the first free agent.
1968- RUSSIAN TANKS CRUSH THE "PRAGUE SPRING' -Soviet forces destroy Alexander Dubchek's experiment of "Socialism with a Human Face." 650.000 Warsaw Pact troops moved into the small country from all sides. Some of the Red Army soldiers marching into Prague were from Siberia and had never seen a western city before. Carlos Casteneda, who was there for a socialist progressive conference, recalled seeing a Soviet tank crash right through a department store glass window. The driver had never seen a glass window that large and didn't think anything was there. A Czech put a sign over the window frame : "NOTHING CAN STOP THE INVINCIBLE RED ARMY !"
1972 - Grace Slick was sprayed with mace by police after one of her band called the cops pigs.
1983- Benino Aquino, chief political opponent of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, is promised no reprisals if he returns from exile in Hawaii. Stepping off the plane in Manila an assassin shot him dead. His wife Cory Aquino took over and led the "people power" revolution that toppled Marcos.
1989- The Voyager II satellite spaceprobe flew by the planet Neptune. It was discovered Neptune had a faint ring like Saturn and rotated on it’s side- south-north instead of west to east. Scientists speculated the atmospheric pressure to be so great that it could actually rain diamonds.
1995- Bill Gates announced Microsoft Windows 95.
2003- A two week heatwave in Europe killed 17,000 in France. 13,000 people dead in Germany, Italy 12,000. Most were elderly people sitting in their locked apartments without air conditioning while their families went on their august holidays. It is probably the largest heat wave death in modern times, since it took place in only a few days.
2011- Anti Khaddafi rebels push into the Libyan capitol Tripoli.
2017 - Next total solar eclipse visible from North America.
Yesterday’s Quiz: The Russian city of St. Petersburg was once called Leningrad. But it also had one other name change around 1914. What was it called?
Answer: From 1914-1924 it was called Petrograd. Then Leningrad until the 1990s.
August 20, 2016
August 20th, 2016
Quiz: The Russian city of St. Petersburg was once called Leningrad. But it also had one other name change around 1914. What was it called?
Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What is the oldest American Service Medal? The Medal of Honor? The Distinguished Service Cross?
History for 8/20/2016
Birthdays: President Benjamin Harrison, Sukenoba Nishikawa, Bernardo O’Higgins, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, H.P. Lovecraft, Art Tatum, Issac Hayes, Connie Chung, Jacqueline Susanne, Rajiv Ghandi, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, Joan Allen is 60, Fred Durst, Alan Reed -the original voice of Fred Flintstone, Slobodan Milosovic’, Amy Adams is 42
Feast day of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
480 B.C. -THE THREE HUNDRED SPARTANS- When Persian King Xerxes invaded Greece the King of Sparta Leonidas decided the best place to try and stop him was in the narrow pass of Thermopylae. But the Spartan senate and other allied Greek states refused to send troops until they completed the Olympiad festival. It was forbidden for Greeks to wage war during the Games. So Leonidas went with the 300 Spartans of his bodyguard, and a thousand more allied troops, to try and stall ten times their number. After repulsing several attacks a traitor showed Xerxes a goat path around the Spartan position. Leonidas could still have retreated but he, his three hundred and some other Greek allies decided to stand and fight to the last man. They were wiped out, but they bought enough time for the Greeks eventual victory.
Later a monument was erected over their bones: O xein angellin Lakdaimoniois hoti tede keimetha tois keinon rhemasi peithomenoi- which means "Go Tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that True to their Command, Here We Lie."
636 A.D. Battle of Yarmuk- The armies of Islam led by Caliph Omar defeat the Byzantine Greeks and captured Palestine and Jerusalem. The Caliph Omar received the defeated Byzantine Emperor Romanus Diogenes with a cup of fruit flavored ice called Sherbat or sorbet. Omar was a very devout Moslem and spurned the vanity of a white charger, preferring to travel by donkey, as the Prophet Mohammed had done. The custom was for high-born prisoners like an emperor to be ransomed back. But the Byzantine court was so annoyed, they refused to pay for loser Romanus.
1191- At the siege of Acre, Richard Lionheart had 3,000 Arabs and their families slaughtered in front of Saladin just to piss him off.
1619- A Dutch ship anchored at the English colony at Jamestown Virginia and landed the first African slaves. Twenty people. By the American Revolution, three million African people had been forcibly brought to America to serve as slaves. There was white slavery as well in the form of indentured servitude, but that had mostly died out by the formation of the American Republic. In 1809 when an international treaty was signed to outlaw the overseas slave trade, even though despots like the Czar of Russia signed it, the only nation that refused was the United States.
1648- Battle of Lens, the last battle of the Thirty Years War. Archduke Leopold defeated somebody or other. The Thirty Years war went on so long that all those who started the war in 1618 had died and by 1648 nobody remembered how the whole damn mess got started in the first place.
1672- Jan DeWitt had governed the Netherlands as Grand Pensioner of the Republic for four terms but by now the Dutch hated him and his weak handling of a French invasion. They wanted the more resolute leadership of young William III of Orange. Jan deWitt resigned his offices and when his brother Cornelius was imprisoned Jan went to his aid. A mob broke into the jail and as unsympathetic guards looked on they beat Jan and Cornelius to death and hung their bodies from a lamp-post. The Dutch Republic ended and William became their Prince.
1741-VITUS BERRING DISCOVERED ALASKA and helps colonize California. Well, he didn't actually help, but for 200 years Spain had ignored it's Southwest colonies because there were no gold-sodden Inca empires there. But when Berring opened the Pacific coast to Russian colonization the King of Spain freaked and ordered towns and missions built up the California coast. Britain also rushed its’ claims to Washington State and British Columbia. This is why Juan DeCabrillo explored the California coast in 1542, but cities like L.A. and San Francisco weren't founded until 1776.
Berring was a reluctant explorer. The Dane had heard Czar Peter the Great was giving cushy salaries to skilled European sailors. But when Berring arrived in Russia the Czar ordered him to travel 3,700 miles to Siberia, build a fleet and explore the arctic because the Tsar had always wondered if America and Russia are connected. He went off and fooled around in the Arctic Sea for awhile, then went back and said it wasn't. The Czars scientists said that wasn't good enough, go back and do it again! Finally he discovered his Berring Straights, but died of scurvy in the Aleutians before he ever got paid.
1794- Napoleon Bonaparte was released from prison at Caps d’Antibe. He was arrested with the leading Jacobins when Robespierre was overthrown. Nappy was friends with Robespierre’s brother.
1862-SECOND BATTLE OF BULL RUN or MANASSAS. Robert E. Lee maneuvered the larger Union army of General George Pope back onto the old Bull Run battlefield and smashed it, sending thousands of bluecoats running back to Washington, -again. Pope considered himself a man of action and bragged "From now on my headquarters are in the saddle !" To which one wag wrote :"It's not the first time that a general had his Headquarters where his Hindquarters should be !' Confederate General James Longstreet was nursing a foot wound so he directed the decisive attack wearing bedroom slippers instead of boots.
After three spectacular Yankee defeats in just two months, the Confederate cause was looking pretty good. In London, Prime Minister Palmerston wrote Lord Liverpool the foreign secretary that Washington or Baltimore would soon fall into rebel hands and a special steamboat was kept waiting at the navy docks to rush President Lincoln and his cabinet to safety when the capitol fell. The time may have arrived for England to offer her mediation to negotiate a ceasefire. Emperor Napoleon III of France was also offering Paris as the site of an international peace conference to oversee the final separation of North and South.
1866- One year after the Civil War ended President Andrew Johnson declared the great insurrection officially over and rescinded all remaining wartime regulations and edicts, reinstating Habeas Corpus, etc.
1882 -Peter Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" premiered in Moscow. The composer said of all his works the two pieces he liked the least were the 1812 Overture and the Nutcracker Suite. Overture 1812 was Richard Nixon’s favorite classical piece.
1896 – The Dial telephone patented. It was nicknamed the Gravediggers Dial because it was invented by funeral director Almon Strowger. His inspiration to create the automated switching system was the local telephone operator was the wife of his competitor in the funeral business. She kept sending all inquiries for an undertaker to her husband. The rotary dial and Strowger switching system was the world standard until replaced by the touchtone button system in the 1980s. Even though the dial phone is a memory the words remain when we speak of dialing a number.
1913- The first successful parachute jump. French balloonists experimented with parachutes in the 1790's but this is the first practical one.
1940- In Mexico City exiled Russian leader Leon Trotsky was assassinated. While writing at his desk he was hacked in the neck with a mountain-climbers pick. His murderer Ramon Mercador- alias Jules Antoine, alias Jackson, was paid by Stalin's agents. He got into Trotsky's household by dating one of the maids. It was rumored that part of the Stalinist cell in Mexico was famed painter David Siqueiros. Trotsky was having an affair with famed painter Frida Kahlo. Leon Trotsky predicted Stalin would try to get him while the world's attention was distracted by the Hitler War in Europe. When Mercador was released from a Mexican prison, Stalin presented him with the Order of Lenin.
1940- In a radio speech Winston Churchill praised the efforts of the Royal Air Force in fighting Hitler's bombers-"Never have so Many, owed so Much, to so Few.'
1953- The Kinsey Report on Sexual Behavior in Women first published. Alfred & Clara Kinsey’s study proved to the conservative American public that 50% of women had premarital sex, liked sex for more than just procreation and 25% had an extramarital affair. This document following his 1948 report on sexual behavior of men revolutionized social attitudes towards sex and feminism.
1954- President Eisenhower’s intelligence chief Allan Foster Dulles presented a paper on Far East Policy in which he urged that the US support be given to the post colonial government of South Vietnam in opposition to communist Ho Chi Minh.
1971- THE ENEMIES LIST. FBI documents prove this day the Nixon White House began to covertly investigate journalist Daniel Schorr because of his anti-war editorials. President Richard Nixon kept an enemies list of people he imagined to be opponents to his administration.
1972- Star Hollywood directors Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich and William Freidkin announced a partnership in a new production company called "The Director's Company". Young punks Martin Scorcese, George Lucas and Steven Speilberg were also involved. The partnership lasted two years then collapsed.
1977- NASA launched the Voyager 1 probe towards the outer planets of our solar system. Among the things Voyager discovered was that Jupiter had many more moons than previously thought and had a ring like Saturn. Part of NASA's program was an explanatory simulation film done on computer by Jim Blinn in 1980 and 1982. The animation was so smooth and the graphics so breathtaking it expanded the use of the CGI medium and inspired a new generation of digital artists.
1982- Ralph Bakshi's film Hey Good Lookin'.
1982- President Reagan sent the Marines into civil war torn Beirut Lebanon.
1985- Israel shipped 96 American-made shoulder held missiles to the radical Ayatollahs of Iran. This was part of the Iran-Contra scheme. When Congress had forbidden the Ronald Reagan White House to send any money to Anti-Communist rebels in Nicaragua, Reagan’s people cooked up this scheme to sell the Iranians weapons for covert funds.
1989- George and Joy Adamson, the naturalists who inspired the book Born Free, were murdered by Somali poachers with machetes in Kampi Ya Simba, Africa.
1998- THE WAG THE DOG ATTACKS- After the Al Qaeda terrorist organization bombed US embassies in Africa, the Clinton Administration looked for an opportunity to hit back. This day the CIA got word that senior Al Qaeda leaders including Osama Ben Laden were gathered in a remote Afghan camp for a meeting. President Clinton ordered a spread of cruise missiles launched to kill them. The missiles hit their target, but Ben Laden got away.
In Washington the hostile Conservative media had a field day accusing the Clinton of making the strikes only to distract public attention from the Monica Lewinsky Sex Scandal. It alluded to a popular movie out at the time called Wag the Dog, where a scandal ridden president rigs a fake crisis to distract public attention. Bill Clinton was stymied in any further efforts, and Osama Ben Laden lived on to plan 9-11.
Yesterday’s Quiz: What is the oldest American Service Medal? The Medal of Honor? The Distinguished Service Cross?
Answer: The Purple Heart, created by order of George Washington in 1794.
Aug 19, 2016
August 19th, 2016
Quiz: What is the oldest American Service Medal? The Medal of Honor? The Distinguished Service Cross? The Purple Heart?
Yesterday’s Quiz Answered Below: Who painted the L’Dejuner sur l’Herbe? Manet, Monet, or Moet?
History for 8/19/2016
B-Days: Roman Emperor Probus (232AD) Orville Wright, Ring Lardner, Ogden Nash, Alfred Lunt, George Enesco, jockey Willie Shoemaker, Malcolm Forbes, Tipper Gore, Gene Roddenberry, Colleen Moore the It Girl, Jill St. John, Ginger Baker, Dawn Steel, John Stamos, Peter Gallagher is 60, Kyra Sedgwick is 51, Matthew Perry is 47, Jonathan Frakes is 64, Bill Clinton is 70
480 B.C. THERMOPYLAE- The Spartan King Leonidas had gone on ahead of other Greek allies to try and slow down the gigantic Persian invasion force of Xerxes. He chose to stop them at a narrow mountain pass in Thessaly called Thermopylae or Hot Gates. He had only 300 Spartans of his royal guard and 7000 other Greek allies to fight off 200,000 Persians.
After repulsing several attacks, this night spies told Leonidas a Greek traitor named Ephialtes had shown Xerxes a way behind his position. If he did not retreat he would be surrounded. Their priest Meistias saw in the sacrificial entrails nothing but death.
But Leonidas decided the best way to gain time, and create an example for all Greece to rally, was to stay and fight to the last man. He allowed his allies to withdraw, but 1500 warriors including his 300 Spartans stayed with him. Meistias sent away his only son to be saved, but he stayed to fight.
This night before the last battle the Spartans spent most of their time combing and oiling their hair and beards, for they did not want to enter the next world looking shabby. One Spartan warrior named Dieneces, was told when the Persian multitudes fire their arrows they black out the sun. Dieneces replied: “Good, then we can fight them in the shade.”
14 A.D.- Elderly Emperor Augustus died after ruling the Roman Empire for 44 years. The Empress Livia had ordered the imperial villa surrounded with troops so no one but her saw his end. She said his last words were:" Have I played my part well in this great comedy called life?" But the historian Tacitus suspected Livia might have aided his shuffling off this mortal coil before he had second thoughts about leaving the empire to his stepson Tiberius, He may have said something more like: " Honey, I don't feel so good. What did you put in these figs?"
1274- King Edward Ist Longshanks and his Queen Eleanor of Castile crowned at Westminster Abbey. Edward was called Long-Legs because he was over 6 foot, and his constant wars and blood conquest earned him nicknames like The Hammer of the Scots, the Great Plantagenet, and Big Baddass In-Your-Face Mofo King.
1399 - King Richard II of England surrendered his throne to his cousin Henry Bollingbroke, who became King Henry IV. Richard II is not remembered for much else but inventing the pocket-handkerchief.
1561 - Mary Queen of Scots arrives in Leith Scotland to assume her throne after spending 13 years in France. She was raised at the extremely Catholic court of Queen Catherine de Medici and had little in common with her increasingly Presbyterian Scots subjects.
1599- Spanish conquistadors capture Acoma pueblo in New Mexico, east of modern Albuquerque. The Indian village on the sheer tabletop mountain reminded the Spaniards of attacking castles back in Europe. After their victory they enslaved the population and burned the Indian chief at the stake as a heretic. As the chief was roasting the monk Diego Las Casas started to feel guilty, so he urged the chief at his last moments to accept baptism. The chief called out through the flames:" No thank you, because then I would go to the Christian Heaven and meet even MORE of you people!"
1692- Salem Mass, The pilgrims executed four people as witches. One was a senile old woman who just looked scary like a witch, and another was a Caribbean servant named Tituba who liked to tell children ghost stories. One Rev George Burroughs, was a distant ancestor of Walt Disney.
1745- THE GATHERING OF THE CLANS- At Glenfinnin in the Scottish Highlands, to the thunder of drums and the skirl of massed bagpipes, Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his banner of revolt and called all Scottish clans to rally to him. Many clans stayed aloof but Clan MacDonald and Cameron wholeheartedly swelled his ranks, as did his family clan the Stuarts. His men were paid in oatmeal.
1781- George Washington started his Continental army marching from Yonkers, New York to attack Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown Virginia. At Dobbs Ferry he started ferrying his troops across the Great Northern River, as the Hudson was known then. He was amazed that the British army only twenty miles away in New York City, yet they never stirred to attack him. Washington’s minutemen were so broke that the French general the Comte du Rocheambeau donated some of his own money to pay their wages.
1787 – British astronomer W. Herschel discovers Enceladus, a moon of Saturn. Herschel also discovered Uranus and other celestial bodies.
1812- OLD IRONSIDES- During the war of 1812 The USS Constitution pounded it out with the frigate HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia. The British captain complained his cannonballs bounced harmlessly off the Constitutions heavy New Hampshire oak hull as though it was made of iron. The nickname stuck and today Old Ironsides is the oldest commissioned ship in the US Navy. In 2012, the same Constitution was taken out for a spin around Boston Harbor.
Aug 19, 1814- THE ASSAULT ON WASHINGTON BEGAN. A huge British battle fleet of 14 Ships of the Line landed an invasion force at the town of Benedict on the Pautuxent River in Maryland. Admiral Cockburn’s intent was to march on Washington D.C., and “give the Americans a Good Drubbing!” The soldiers were all hardened British regulars, fresh from defeating Napoleon in Spain. The Duke of Wellington had turned the American expedition. He called it " Fruitless, and a waste of time".
Most of the American armies were on the frontier or north trying to invade Canada. To defend the American capitol were only some Maryland militia and a few Marines from two armed schooners hiding in the shallows of the Cheasapeake.
U.S. Secretary of War Armstrong was convinced the British were faking, and their real target was Baltimore. President James Madison sent contradicting orders to Armstrong and the field commanders. Secretary of State James Monroe, a veteran of the Revolution, personally galloped about alone under British fire bringing the only reliable scouting reports.
1848- The New York Herald published a story that President Polk confirmed that gold had indeed been discovered in California.
1886- Joseph Conrad got his British citizenship. The author of Nostromo, Heart of Darkness, and Lord Jim was born in Poland as Jozef Konrad Korzenieowski, but he went into exile when his nationalist father was arrested by the Czars police and sent to Siberia.
1891 - William Huggins described the astronomical application of the spectrum.
1909- The Brickyard is born. The first Indianapolis 500 autorace.
1929- the Amos and Andy show premiered on radio.
1942- The Dieppe Raid- Allied commanders were under pressure from Stalin to prove that they were doing something to open a second front in the west to take the pressure off Russia. So they sent a Canadian division in what amounted to the largest commando operation of World War II. These Canadians had to attack a large U-Boat base on the channel and ram a destroyer full of explosives into the dry docks. The Germans were waiting and it became a suicide mission. The Canadians suffered almost 60% casualties.
1945- Four days after the Japanese surrender, Ho Chi Minh seized power in French Indochina and declared the Republic of Vietnam. Uncle Ho had been supported by the CIA’s forerunner the OSS in his struggle against the Japanese. This day Ho ordered a reading aloud of his declaration, heavily borrowed from the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Even though FDR's personal representative Avriel Harriman advised that the U.S. recognize Ho's government, we decided to support the French and British in trying to keep their colonial empires. The British fly in French paratroops and the stage is set for the Vietnam wars of the next 30 years.
1953- Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mossadegh was overthrown and the Shah assumed absolute power. All with the blessing and cooperation of the American CIA. The popular Mossadegh was trying to steer Iran into a nonaligned status between the cold war superpowers and had nationalized the Iranian oil industry. So to Washington he was a threat. Eisenhower advisor Allen Foster Dulles considered Mossadegh a dangerous lunatic for not wanting American support. The Shah Reza Pahlevi II ruled for the next 25 years until overthrown by the Moslem fundamentalists under the Ayatollah Khomeni. The CIA did not admit their role in this until 2011.
1953- The Israeli Knesset voted to create a huge memorial to Jews killed in the Holocaust called Yad Vashem.
1955 - WINS radio, announces it will not play "copy" white cover versions of black R&B . DJs must play Fats Domino's "Ain't It A Shame," not Pat Boone's. In 1957 Little Richards “Tuttie-Fruitie” never got higher than 17th in the Billboard Charts while Pat Boones version, by his own admission awful, went to number one.
1957- The NY Giants baseball team voted to move to San Francisco.
1960- The Russians launched a Sputnik capsule into space with two dogs- Belka and Strelka, 2 rats and 40 mice. They recovered this orbiting zoo the next day. The first sending of life into space and returning them safely.
1973 - Kris Kristofferson wed Rita Coolidge.
1977- Groucho Marx, the last surviving Marx Brother, died at age 86. In his final years Groucho had rewrote his will in favor of his young personal secretary Erin Fleming. This spawned a furious legal battle between Fleming and the Marx family.
1988- The Iran-Iraq war ended after 8 bloody years.
1989- The Polish Communist regime resigned and turned over power to the Solidarity trade union movement. Poland is the first Communist Warsaw Pact government to collapse.
1991-THE AUGUST COUP. Communist hardliners in a final attempt to stop the fall of the Soviet Union, try to overthrow leader Mikhail Gorbachov. They try to do it the way they did it to Nikita Khruschev in 1964, arresting Gorbachov while he was at his vacation dacha or cottage. The coup failed several days later when Russian Republic President Boris Yeltsin climbed on top of a tank and called for a "people-power" style rising to support the democratic elements of the government.
2000- Scientists report water at the North Pole for the first time in 50 million years.
2004- Google stock first went public on the stock market.
2012- Director Tony Scott (Top Gun, Days of Thunder) jumped to his death off a bridge in Los Angeles. He was 68.
2335 – According to Star Trek the Next Generation, this is the birthday of William T Riker, in Valdez Alaska, first officer of the Enterprise.
Yesterday’s Quiz: Who painted the L’Dejuner sur l’Herbe? Manet, Monet, or Moet?
Answer: Edouard Manet.