April 14, 2014 Mon
April 14th, 2014

Quiz: What is a Pentathelete?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: The city of Marseilles in France, was not founded by the French, or the Gauls, or even the Romans. Who founded it?
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History for 4/14/2014
Birthdays: King Phillip III of Spain, Christian Huygens, Arnold Toynbee, Sir John Gielgud, Menachem Schneerson- the Grand Rabbi of Chabad, Papa Doc Duvalier- Haitian dictator 1907, Robert Doisneau, Rod Steiger, Loretta Lynn, Morton Sobotnick, Frank Serpico, Pete Rose, Julie Christie, Kenneth Mars, Anthony Michael Hall, Steve Martin is 64, Sarah Michelle Geller is 37, Adrien Brody is 41.

69AD- Battle of Bedriacum- After the death of Nero, several Roman generals turned their legions around and marched to Rome to try their luck. In this battle Otho was offed by the Gaulsh Legions of Aulus Vitellius. He would soon be aced by Vespasian and Titus.

73-A.D. MASADA- After the great Jewish revolt against Rome was crushed by Titus and Jerusalem destroyed, two legions remained behind to do mopping up of guerrillas. A group of zealots, Essene rabbis and their families held out in a mountaintop stronghold for two years in an epic siege.
The night before the Zealots realized the Roman siege engines were about to breach the walls. They resolved to not be taken alive. This day soldiers of the Tenth Legion Felix broke into the quiet works. They found 960 corpses. The zealots had preferred mass suicide to slavery.
Contrary to modern sensibilities the Romans were not horrified by the ghastly scene, Greco-Roman ethics considered suicide a rational way out of a bad situation, it’s what the Romans would have done in similar circumstances. They expressed grudging admiration of their Jewish foes. The fortress was rediscovered in 1947.

1471- Battle of Barnet- battle in the English War of the Roses in which power player Warwick the Kingmaker was killed by King Edward IV.

1543- Explorer Bartolomeo Ferrelo returned to Spain with news of a big new harbor he discovered on the Pacific coast of California that he named for his patron Saint Francis- San Francisco Bay.

1777- During the American Revolution, British loyalist counterfeiters with a printing press on board the HMS Phoenix stationed in New York Harbor, began to make phony Continental money to undermine the Yankee economy. The Continental became so worthless that “Not worth a Continental” was a favorite phrase.

1828- The first edition of Noah Webster’s Dictionary published. In the 70.000 entries Webster made it a point to separate American English from the King’s English, and substituted Spanish roots for words in the place of Norman French roots. This is when “Colour” became “Color”, Theatre became Theater, and Checque became Check.

1865- ABRAHAM LINCOLN ASSASSINATED-Actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth shot the President in the back of the head as he watched the play "Our American Cousin". Lincoln had seen the play several times and knew most of the lines by heart. Booth leapt onto the stage and shouting something. It may have been” Sic Semper Tyrannus-And thus with Tyrants” the motto of the State of Virginia, or “The South is Avenged”. No one is sure.

That same night Booths accomplice Lewis Paine, stabbed Secretary of State William Seward in his bed. When Seward’s son tried to stop him Paine broke his skull and ran out into the street shouting "I am Mad!" Another man named George Atzenrodt was supposed to kill the Vice President but he lost his nerve and did nothing.

In the box with the Lincolns were a Major Henry Rathbone and his fiance' Miss Clara Harris. Lincoln had asked General & Mrs. Grant to join them at first but the Grant's declined. Nellie Grant didn’t like Mary Lincoln. Anyhow, to Clara Harris this was a pretty lousy first date, watching the president get a bullet in the brain, her dress splattered with Major Rathbone's blood from being slashed by Booth and seeing Mrs. Lincoln go insane, but she married Rathbone anyway. Rathbone was never the same man. Ten years later while living as ambassador to the German city of Hanover, Rathbone murdered Clara, and was confined in an asylum for the criminally insane.

1871- Canada set it’s currency in dollars, cents and mills.

1883- Leopold Delibes’ opera Lakme premiered in Paris.

1906- The Azusa Street Church opened. Rev William Seymour began the first Pentacostal-Charismatic Church, a movement that spread around the world.

1912-RMS TITANIC SINKS- At 11:40PM The unsinkable luxury liner going too fast and 14 miles off course strikes an iceberg and goes down, taking millionaires and immigrants alike. As the stricken liner sank, the cruiser SS Californian watched a short distance away. They could have saved more people but their radio man had gone to bed and they thought the emergency flares lighting up the night sky were party skyrockets. No one was saved until the SS Carpathia arrived on the scene at dawn.

A strange fact is in 1898 a writer named Morgan Robertson wrote a novel called Futility, in which an 880 ft luxury liner sank on her maiden voyage in the month of April. The fictitious ship was named the Titan.

1914-At a baseball game in Washington William Howard Taft becomes the first President to throw out the season's first ball.

1925- WGN broadcasts its first regular season baseball game. Quinn Ryan behind the mike as Grover Cleveland Alexander and the Cubs defeated the Pirates on Opening Day, 8-2.

1927- The first Volvo automobile rolled off the assembly line in Goteborg Sweden.

1930- Russian poet Vladimir Mayakowsky shot himself. This was convenient for Stalin because Mayakowsky had grown disillusioned with the Soviet regime. Stalin made a great public spectacle of his funeral.

1931- In Spain Socialists and Anarchists unite to drive out the King Alphonso XIII and the monarchy and proclaim the Second Spanish Republic. Salud Republica!

1935- THE DUST BOWL - The drought conditions and over farming in the plains states had been building for years but this storm climaxed the decade long event. On this day a big dust storm struck Cimmarron County Oklahoma. It blacked out the sun over five states. Cattle choked, calves and children disappeared in the drifts. Not even weeds would grow in it. The dust got through cracks in houses and when you awoke in the morning the only clean spot on your pillow was where your head lay.

After this storm the migration of farmers rose until the estimate was 40% of the populations of the drought stricken areas. People from Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Texas and Missouri piled their worldly goods onto their jalopies and got on Route 66 West to California. They were nicknamed 'the Oakies, and their plight was dramatized in the songs of Woody Guthrie and John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath.

1956- In Redwood City, Cal. Charles Ginsburg, Ray Dolby and Charles Anderson demonstrate the first videotape recording machine. They were going then for a mere $75,000 each.

1960- The musical Bye Bye Birdie opened on Broadway.

1962- Bob Dylan recorded “Blowing in the Wind”.

1963- Beatle George Harrison was impressed by an unsigned rock band he just heard called the Rolling Stones.

1969- The first regular season baseball game played outside the United States. The Montreal Expos play their first home game, treating 29,184 fans at Jarry Park to an 8-7 win over the St Louis Cardinals. Speaking about Expo fans, Cub announcer Harry Carrey noted: "They discovered 'boo' is pronounced the same in French as it is English.”

1986- President Reagan ordered U.S. military places bomb Libya in retaliation for a terrorist bombing in a nightclub in West Germany. 15 civilians were killed including a son of Libyan President Mohammar Kaddafi. .

2005- Baseball returned to Washington D.C..34 years after the Washington Senators left to Texas, the Washington Nationals played their first game.

2008- Ollie Johnston, the last animator of Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men , passed away at age 96.
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Yesterday’s Question: The city of Marseilles in France, was not founded by the French, or the Gauls, or even the Romans. Who founded it?

Answer: The Greek city state of Corinth established it as a trading post.


I'll be speaking and signing books at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

At the USC Campus Bookstore, 3rd Floor. at 1:00PM Sunday


April 13,, 2014 Sun
April 13th, 2014

Question: The city of Marseilles in France, was not founded by the French, or the Gauls, or even the Romans. Who founded it?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Igmar Bergman’s most famous movie, where the knight played chess with Death, was called the Seventh Seal. What is that name mean?
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History for 4/13/2014
Birthdays: St. Thomas Becket, Thomas Jefferson*, Frederick Lord North, Samuel Beckett, Dame Eudora Welty, Al Green, Jack Cassidy, Butch Cassidy, Franklin W. Woolworth, Howard Keel, Don Adams, Ricky Schroeder, Peabo Bryson, Ron Perleman, Stanley Donen, Alfred Butts the inventor of Scrabble, Glen Keane is 60

* For many years in the early American republic Jefferson's birthday was a holiday.

1387- A party of 29 English pilgrims assemble to travel to the shrine of Canterbury. The trip was immortalized by Geoffrey Chaucer in the Canterbury Tales.

1598- King Henry IV of France tried to end the religious strife tearing his country apart by publishing the Edict of Nantes- granting freedom of worship to all. At this time the Edict of Nantes shocked Pope Clement VIII. He cried:" Every man with freedom of conscience? What can be worse than that?!"

1612- Famous duel on an island between Japanese samurai’s Musashi Miyamoto and Sasaki Kohjiro. Musashi defeated Kojiro with a wooden sword.

1775- British Prime Minister Lord North had placed rebellious Massachusetts colony under an act called the Restraining Act. It declared that the New Englanders were not allowed to do business with any other nation but Britain. This day Lord North extended the act to cover the other colonies of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the Carolinas. He inadvertently gave the widely separated crown colonies in North America even more reason to work together, like they were an independent nation.

1829- THE CATHOLIC EMANCIPATION BILL PASSED IN ENGLAND. The previous June Irish orator Daniel O'Connell had successfully run for Parliament but was denied his seat because he was a Catholic. The old Duke of Wellington, now Prime minister of a Tory Government, believed the only way to keep his birthplace Ireland from collapsing into chaos and open rebellion was sweep away these outdated bans on the Roman Catholic religion, kept since the days of Henry VIII and the Reformation.

To pass this bill he had to convince the radicals, Whigs, Ultras, Tories of his own party, the reluctant King and even fight a duel. It was his biggest fight since Waterloo. But the bill passed and was considered the crowning achievement of his government. It probably kept Ireland under English rule for another generation.

1830-At Jefferson birthday party toasts were made by various Southern congressman that the South wouldn't tolerate the Federal government telling them what to do about slavery and would secede if pushed too far. Then Tennessean President Andrew Jackson rose up, raised his glass, coldly looked his pro slavery vice president John Calhoun right in the eye and declared:" The Union Must and Will be Preserved!" .

First time the issue of slavery vs. national survival was given national status. During the Civil War when the North captured the port of New Orleans Yankee General Ben "The Beast" Butler had these words inscribed on Jackson's statue in the center of town just to piss off the natives. They responded by selling chamber pots with Butler's face engraved on the bottom.

1843- Chang and Eng Bunker, the original Siamese Twins, were married to two women in a double ceremony. The must have coordinated times for connubial privacy, for they produced 21 children.

1846- After the first Yanqui garrison was expelled by a rising of the native Mexican Californios population, U.S. Commander Stockton and General Freemont and their army return to recapture Los Angeles.

1865-After the surrender to Grant, Confederate General Robert E. Lee, now a private citizen, left his last army camp to ride back to a rented house in war destroyed Richmond. Along the road he dismissed the Yankee guards accompanying him for protection." I am in my own country now among my own people. I wish to be no further bother to you."

The commander of thousands of troops now was alone on his white warhorse Traveller with two blanket covered wagons, one with a sick friend in it. On the road he met a group of rebel soldiers walking home and gave them road directions using one of his 8 foot long military maps drawn by Stonewall Jackson. He told rebels who wanted to keep fighting" As you have been model soldiers, go home now and be loyal American citizens."

1865- In Goldsboro North Carolina, Confederate President Jefferson Davis completed his last cabinet meeting. Even after Lee’s surrender and the loss of Richmond, the Confederacy still had 175,000 troops and three armies in the field, so Jefferson Davis wanted to keep fighting. But the other cabinet members and the generals argued that the war was lost and those numbers were on paper only. The starving dispirited troops were deserting daily, the country was overrun with half a million Yankees. At last Gen. Joe Johnston wrung out of Davis permission to surrender to Sherman’s army.

1865- In Washington DC citizens held a Grande Illumination to celebrate victory. Throughout the city torch bearing revelers serenaded Lincoln and the Union. Expecting Lincoln to make a stirring speech from his balcony, Lincoln instead talked soberly about Reconstruction and amnesties. His one light moment was to order the band to play "Dixie", seeing how it was now once again the legal property of the United States".

1870- New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art opens.

1902- J.C. Penny opened his first store in Kemmerer Wyoming.

1919-At the Golden Temple at Amritsar British troops opened fire on Sikh's peacefully demonstrating for independence. 379 killed. Their commander was given a stern reprimand. Queen Elizabeth II apologized to India in 1997.

1928 - THE MULHOLLAND "TRIAL" ENDS – William Mulholland, the genius engineer who created the great aqueducts that brings water down to Los Angeles was on trial for the St. Francis Dam Disaster. When a dam near Newhall burst sending a 30 foot wall of water careening down on sleeping suburbanites. 400 perished. On this day, the jurors of the Los Angeles County Coroner's inquest into the disaster emerged from their two weeks of deliberations. They named William Mulholland responsible, although innocent of criminal negligence. Deputy D.A. Asa Keyes trumped the ruling a "victory for the people", despite his earlier promise to have Mulholland convicted of manslaughter.

He was free of jail, but Mullholland was a broken man. He had his chauffeur drive him aimlessly around the city he helped create. He became a shut in for the last seven years of his life. D.A. Keyes later went to jail himself for misappropriation of funds.

1939- The film Wuthering Heights starring Lawrence Olivier and Merle Oberon premiered. Sam Goldwyn was disgusted by the headaches to bring this Charlotte Bronte novel to the Hollywood Screen. When asked if he planned to adapt more 19th Century novels for film he replied: "Don’t bring me no more scripts by guys who write with feathers!"

1943- Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated the Jefferson Memorial at the Washington D.C. Mall.

1949- Lead character designer and story artist Joe Grant resigned from Disney Studios, not to return until 1989.

1953- A British ex-intelligence officer turned newspaperman named Ian Fleming was bored with his life. He resolved to write a novel about his ideal of the ultimate spy. Looking for a suitably bland name, his favorite book on birdwatching was written by someone named James Bond. Great name! His wife thought the story was too vulgar. This day, the first Bond novel, Casino Royale, came out and was an instant hit.

1962-The New York Mets (metropolitans) Baseball Club formed. They played at the old Giants park, the Polo Grounds, until Shea Stadium was built in 1964 next to the Worlds Fair grounds. The team adopted the Blue and Orange logo colors of the Fair as their own. Blue and Orange were also the colors of the moved away Brooklyn Dodgers and NY Giants.
The 62’ Mets were famous for their awful record, the cry was Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game? Players like Marvelous Marv Throneberry became famous for their mediocre play. Manager Casey Stengel titled his memoirs "I Managed Good, but Boy, Did They Play Terrible !" In 1969 The Amazin’ Mets won their first World Series.

1964- Sidney Poitier became the first African American to win an Oscar for Best Actor for the film Lilies of the Field. The first Oscar for any black actor or actress went to Hattie McDaniel as Best Supporting Actress for Gone With the Wind in 1939. Best actress was not won until Halle Berry in 2002.

1967- Columbia Picture’s bizarre version of Casino Royale premiered. Several directors, Orson Welles, Ursula Andress, Peter Sellers, Woody Allen and David Niven, Richard Williams titles, and Dusty Springfield ‘s song The Look of Love.

1970-"Houston, we have a problem here.." An explosion of an oxygen tank disabled the Apollo XIII moon mission. For the next several days the world held it's breath as the spacecraft ricocheted itself around the moon and got back to Earth, the slightest miscalculation of trajectory meant a cold airless death for the three astronauts.

1975- During most of the wars in the Middle East, Lebanon remained an oasis of tranquility. Today the Lebanese Civil War began. Christian Phalangist militias, Iranian backed Shiites, Hezbollah, and Al Fatah Palestinians. Israel, Syria and the U.S. intervened. Lebanon became a war-wracked hell on earth, and terrible massacres of civilians occurred at the Shatila refugee camps.

1987- Colorado Senator Gary Hart announced his intention to run for president. During the election Hart decried the media's obsession with scandal and openly challenged the press to try and dig something up on him. They did. In short order they turned up proof of his adulterous affair with beautiful model Donna Rice complete with naughty photos taken on board a yacht named the Monkey-Business. Hart's political career sank like a stone and Ms. Rice became a lobbyist against porn on the Internet.

1997- 21 year old golf phenomenon Tiger Woods won his first Masters Tournament by a record 12 strokes.
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Yesterday’s question: Ingmar Bergman’s famous movie was called the Seventh Seal. What is that named for?

Answer: In the last book of the New Testament, called the Book of Revelations, St John wrote of his vision of the Apocalypse. Rev 8: ..”And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour…” Then Seven Trumpeters played to herald events leading to the Final Judgement.


April 12, 2014 Sat.
April 12th, 2014

Question: Igmar Bergman’s most famous movie, where the knight played chess with Death, was called the Seventh Seal. What is that name mean?

Yesterday’s question answered below: If you went out on the street in a diaphanous gown, how would people react to you?

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History for 4/12/2014
Birthdays: Henry Clay, Lily Pons, Lionel Hampton, Herbie Hancock, Monserrat Caballe', Ann Miller, Tiny Tim, Shannon Dougherty, Andy Garcia is 58, Claire Danes is 35, David Letterman-67

65AD. SENECA DIED- The Roman philosopher Seneca committed suicide after his old pupil the Emperor Nero ordered him to. The poet Lucan was also forced to kill himself. When Caesar sent you an indictment for treason, you knew the verdict would be guilty already. So Romans had the option of avoiding the public trial and painful execution by committing suicide in the comfort of their own home. This also ensured your wealth would go to your family and not be confiscated by the state. Seneca had previously been condemned by Emperors Caligula and Claudius as well but always managed to wiggle out of it. But now his luck ran out. While Nero's Praetorian guards waited the old man opened his veins, but his circulation was so bad that it was taking him forever. The soldiers patience finally exasperated, they took him in to his steam bath and suffocated him.

1606- The Union Jack adopted as the official flag of Great Britain. It showed the union of Scotland's cross of St. Andrew (white diagonal cross on blue background) with England's cross of St. George (red perpendicular cross on white background).

1633- GALILEO FACED THE INQUISITION- Galileo was forced to publicly recant the theories of Copernicus before the court of the Holy Inquisition. The argument of hot irons and thumbscrews outweighed his mathematical proof that the earth went around the sun.
Copernicus had shrewdly avoided this problem by publishing his theory on his deathbed.

The Catholic Church kept Galileo under house arrest for the rest of his life, and even Protestant reformers like Martin Luther and John Calvin considered him a dangerous lunatic. His conviction was overturned in 1827 and the Holy See admitted he might have been right in 1989. When he heard of Galileo’s censure Frenchman Rene Descartes was intimidated enough to stop writing Le Monde, a book summing up his major philosophical and scientific conclusions. Supposedly as Galileo was leaving the courtroom he whispered to a friend " eppi si muove !" but it does move!.

1709- In London the first issue of the Tattler published. “All accounts of gallantry, pleasure, poetry, foreign and domestick news you will have from Saint James Coffeehouse.”

1796- George and Martha Washington sit for painter Gilbert Stuart. Washington had little patience for painters so it was an event to get him to sit still. Stuart noted that the General was a singularly uncooperative model. He tried small talk about his famous battles but that made GW even more annoyed. Washington much preferred a discussion on how to raise snap beans to reliving his military career. The likeness Stuart painted became the basis for many other paintings and prints. Today it is on the U.S. one dollar bill. Gilbert Stuart at one point moved to England because the only commissions he ever got were people wanting copies of his Washington portraits.

1843- A charter to sell Life Insurance is granted to the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, beginning the American insurance industry.

1861 -THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR BEGAN-For the previous twenty years Southerners and Northerners debated slavery and the right of a state to leave the American union. Guerilla violence had already been raging in border states like Missouri and Kansas when in response to Abraham Lincoln’s election 11 states announced the formation of a new country- The Confederate States of America.

In the tense months after the Southern States declared independence a question arose. Who now owned U.S. Army bases and their property on Southern soil ? Fort Leavenworth & Fort Fisher gave up without a struggle. The one other obvious place was Fort Sumter, sitting out in the middle of Charleston Bay, South Carolina. U.S. Col. Robert Anderson would defend the flag even as he was surrounded by hostile batteries, commanded by his former West Point pupil Gen. Pierre Beauregard.

In the wee hours of April 12th secessionist journalist Edmund Ruffin was allowed to fire the first shot at the fort. After a five hour cannon duel the fort surrendered. Ironically the only fatality was when a soldier was killed by a ruptured cannon while firing a final salute to the lowering Stars & Stripes. This was the almost bloodless beginning to the bloodiest war in U.S. history.

When the war was over Edmund Ruffin wrapped himself in a Confederate flag and shot himself, preferring death to "living in a universe populated by the vile Yankee race!"

1864-THE FORT PILLOW MASSACRE-Confederate cavalry under Nathan Bedford Forrest overran a small Yankee post manned by black troops and pro-union Tennesseans. The Rebels shot down 300 of the garrison, many just because they were black. Forrest later claimed it was because they refused to surrender and kept fighting after the flag was pulled down, but that is disputed.

Some say his action was to prove black solders would not fight. If so he miscalculated – thousands of free black men rushed to enlist, dropping on one knee to take an oath to avenge Fort Pillow. After the Civil War Forrest was the first Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. He resigned when they became too violent even for him. His reputation dogged him the rest of his life.

1865- The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia lays down its arms in a field outside Appomattox Courthouse surrounded by massed union troops. Lee and Grant both were not present. Grant left specific instructions that no union soldiers were to publicly celebrate: ”Those people are no longer our enemies, they are our fellow Americans. We will not exult in their downfall.”

General John Gordon led the ragged procession with the 250 surviving members of the Stonewall Brigade, who began the war as 4,500. Yankee Medal of Honor winner Joshua Chamberlain demonstrated the warriors ability to forgive by commanding his men to salute the Confederates, who snapped to attention and returned salute.

In North Carolina when a hard riding dispatch rider with the news reached the front of Sherman’s western army, one soldier greeted him: “ You’re the sonofabitch I’ve been waiting four years for !”

1911- Cartoonist Winsor McCay opened his vaudeville act with his "Little Nemo" animated short.

1912- A slightly built London theater manager and failed author named Abraham “Bram Stoker died. His seven books and several plays made little money in his time. But a decade later one of his novels entitled Dracula made him world famous.

1941-The Nazis captured Belgrade, Yugoslavia. The Croats and Serbs paused in their own fratricidal strife to take up sides, the Croats joining the Nazis’ and the Serbs the Soviets. In World War II more Yugoslavs were killed by other Yugoslavs than by the Germans.

1945- PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT DIED. The government knew since 1944 that FDR's health was failing and he would probably die in office. Roosevelt was at his Warm Springs Georgia retreat in the company of an old flame, Lucy Mercer whom he had promised Eleanor never to see again. The assignation was arranged by their daughter Alice, who promised not to tell her mom. Mom found out anyway. FDR’s last words were to his portrait painter Madame Schoumatoff” I have a splitting headache..” then had a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 63.

The nation was shocked. In his Berlin bunker with the Red Army knocking on the door Adolf Hitler was jubilant because he felt this was an astrological omen of final Nazi victory. Gen. MacArthur was still bitter about FDR's broken promises to the Philippines. His first reaction was:" He never used the truth where a good lie would do."

Vice President Harry Truman was enjoying one of his whiskey & poker parties with House Speaker Sam Rayburn when he got the phone call. "Jeezus Christ and General Jackson !!"-was his response. He was rushed to the White House while the staff went crazy looking for a Bible to swear him in -confirming the suspicions of many about FDR's attitude towards religion. Finally a Gideon turned up in a guest room drawer and the 33rd President was sworn in. Truman told Eleanor:" I'll pray for you." Eleanor replied: "No Harry. We'll pray for YOU."

1945- Generals Eisenhower, Bradley and Patton toured a Nazi concentration camp and saw for themselves the horrors of the Holocaust. Eisenhower ordered the press to film everything, because as he said:” Someday some people might say this was exaggerated and never happened. Let them see for themselves” As he was leaving the camp Ike turned to a US Army guard and said:” Still need a reason to hate them ? I never thought I’d be ashamed to be German. ” Eisenhower’s ancestors emigrated from the Rhineland and settled in Kansas in the 1800’s.

1954- "ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK' recorded by Bill Haley and the Comets- arguably the first true Rock & Roll hit.

1955- the Salk vaccine for Polio made available to the public.

1961-THE FIRST MAN INTO SPACE- It was Soviet Major Yuri Gargarin aboard Vostok 1.

1981- The first space shuttle Columbia took off. After 26 flawless missions, in 2003 the Columbia disintegrated upon reentry, killing all aboard.

1983- Harold Washington elected first black Mayor of Chicago.

1992- Euro-Disney, now called Disneyland Paris, opened. It attracted only 50.000 visitors the first year, about ten times less than what was expected. The first Disneyland in California drew 100,00 on opening day alone . But it has since crawled back to solvency- it finally paid for itself in 1997.

1995- To celebrate David Letterman’s 49th birthday, actress Drew Barrymore climbed up on his desk and flashed her breasts. For once, the bucktoothed talkshow host was speechless.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: If you went out on the street in a diaphanous gown, how would people react to you?

Answer: You’d probably be arrested. Diaphanous means thin to the point of transparent.


April 11, 2014 fri.
April 11th, 2014

Quiz: If you went out on the street in a diaphanous gown, how would people react to you?

Yesterday’s question answered below: In New York, when you ask for a Sicilian Slice, what do you get?
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History for 4/11/2014
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, Frederick the Warlike of Saxony-1370, Ethel Kennedy, Joel Grey, Louise Lasser, Mason Reese, Oleg Cassini, Cameron Mitchell. Famed Canadian animator and first ASIFA President Norman McClaren would be 100, Bill Irwin, John Milius, Jennifer Esposito

1034- The Byzantine Emperor Romanus III Argyrus was poisoned by his wife.

1241- Battle of Sajoria- Mongol hordes of Subotai destroy the Hungarian army of King Bela and burn Buda. Pest was across the river.

1506- Pope Julius II laid the corner stone for the new Saint Peter’s Basilica. It was completed in 1626.

1512-BATTLE OF RAVENNA -The first battle decided by artillery. The armies of Pope Julius II and his Spanish allies are defeated by Duke Alfonso D'Este of Ferrara and his French allies. The D'Este' family were patrons of Leonardo daVinci but this Duke was an artillery buff. For his birthday friends gave him cannons. In true Renaissance fashion during the battle the Duke pulled his guns to the side of the battlefield where he could fire on both sides at once. When someone explained he would be firing on his friends as well the Duke answered:" Well, they'll probably be enemies tomorrow!" Despite this curious strategy, he won anyway.

1713 - FIRST TREATY OF UTRECHT- Ending the War of Spanish Succession. George Frederich Handel premiered the Royal Fireworks Music in celebration. France yields to England the eastern coastal provinces of Canada. When the French speaking inhabitants of Arcadia refuse to swear allegiance to the English King they are driven out of their homes at bayonet point. Scottish colonists are brought in who rename the island Nova Scotia -New Scotland. The French exiles migrate to Louisiana and settle in the swampy bayous. They call themselves Arcadians, which slurs to A'cajun or Cajun.

1854- Depressed by his go-no-where career and drinking heavily, Captain Ulysses Grant resigned from the US Army.

1861-In the dark night outside Fort Sumter in rebel held Charleston Bay, Confederate commissioners call on Major Robert Anderson to lower Old Glory and surrender the fort. The Kentucky born major said he would surrender if after three days he received no food resupply. (a stalling tactic) The Confederates had sighted an approaching Union rescue fleet and knew this answer meant they would have to fire on the fort. Anderson knew it too, for as he said goodbye to the commissioners he added: " And if we don't meet again in this life, I'm sure we'll meet again in the next."...

1865-Abe Lincoln sends his aide Lehman on an errand to occupied Richmond. This meant Lincoln's only bodyguard could not be at his side at Ford's Theater on the 14th. Lehman had long flowing hair and maintained a belt full of guns, a Bowie knife and brass knuckles to guard the president. He also occasionally produced his banjo and played for the President his favorite song, “Jimmy Crack Corn”.

1865- That night a crowd of well-wishers stood under Lincoln’s window at the White House to celebrate the end of Civil War. In the crowd was assassin John Wilkes Booth and 23 year old Charles Leale, an army doctor seeing Lincoln for the first time. Lincoln made a short speech calling for the first time for African-Americans to be given the right to vote. Booth came away from the crowd in a fury and said to a friend:” That means N*gger Citizenship. By God, that’s the last speech he will ever give!” . Dr Leale would want to see Lincoln again. He bought a ticket to Ford’s Theater the night Lincoln was shot. Leale was the first doctor to reach the stricken president and administer CPR.

1873- General Canby and several army commissioners were slain by Modoc Indian chief Cap'n Jack while in a tent talking peace. Canby becomes the only U.S. general killed in the Indian Wars. Remember Custer was a brevet major general (i.e. honorary general) in the downsized post-Civil War army, but he was doing the job of a colonel. Cap'n Jack got a really cool general's jacket to wear until he was captured and hanged. The Modoc Indian Wars were in the Northern California lava beds.

The Modocs themselves were peaceful until a mining company wanted their land. So they threw them a picnic and laced the food with rat poison. Cannons were hidden in the bushes to finish off the survivors. The remainder of the tribe went on the warpath and the U.S. Army came in to conquer them. A war correspondent photographer travelling with the army was future cinema pioneer Edweard Muybridge.

1876- Benevolent Order of Elks Lodge founded.

1890- In England John Merrick, who was known as the Elephant Man, died.

1906- Albert Einstein published his Theory of Relativity.

1907-Baseball N.Y. Giant's Roger Bresnahan becomes the first catcher to wear a mask and shin guards. He had the mask built based on a sword fencing mask.

1914- George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion premiered at the Haymarket in London.

1926- Horticulturist Luther Burbank died. His last words;" I don't feel good."

1931- Dorothy Parker resigned her job as drama critic for the New Yorker Magazine. Mrs Parker was known for her witty but caustic reviews like “Her performance ran the gamut from A to B.” She married an actor named Cambell and moved to Hollywood to become a screenwriter. While on her honeymoon the magazine bugged her for some more fixes on an article. She sent a telegram from Paris:” Don’t bother me. F*cking busy. And visa-versa. “

1933- the Bauhaus directed by Mies Van Der Rohe was closed down by the Nazis.

1941- Henry Ford had vowed he would never sign a union contract. His dreaded security goons, called the Service Department, prowled the plants firing union men and even patroled the toilets listening for loose talk. Ford kept machine guns on his homes roof and encouraged his executives to wear sidearms. But after a wildcat strike at River Rouge Ford he reluctantly signed the first union contract in it’s history.

1945-Concentration camp at Buchenwald liberated. The Nazi guards had already fled and an inmate answered the phone when the Gestapo called. They ordered the camp blown up and the remaining inmates killed. The inmate answered not to worry, that they were already doing that. Then he went out to welcome the American tanks. Among the survivors was Nobel Laureate Ei Weisel, Simon Weisenthal and future leader of Communist East Germany Eric Hoehnegger.

1950- First day filming on the movie All About Eve. As Bette Davis said “Fasten your seatbelts, its going to be a bumpy night.”

1951- When President Truman fired General Douglas MacArthur from his command in Korea a firestorm of protest erupted in Congress. Several leading senators called for the Presidents Impeachment! One California senator stood up and said he was for censure but was against impeachment. His name was Senator Richard M. Nixon.

1955- WABD in New York and KTLA in Los Angeles began running pre-1948 Warner Bros cartoon shorts in a half hour format, introducing the baby boomer generation to the world of Bugs, Daffy and Porky.

1957-Poet Pablo Neruda was arrested by authorities in Buenos Aires.

1961- As part of the Bay of Pigs Invasion the US Airforce bombed and destroyed most of Fidel Castro’s Cuban airforce on the ground.

1968- After the Vietnamese Tet Offensive and President Lyndon Johnson’s announcement that he would not run for another term, Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford announced the US would send no additional ground troops to Vietnam. Even with 450,000 there already the generals wanted an additional 200,000. Congress threatened to cut off funding. The US government began to talk of de-escalation and disengagement, but it took another 5 years to do it.

1970-Apollo 13 blasts off for the moon. Halfway there an explosion will force it to return.

1974- Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and defense minister Moshe Dayan resigned under heavy criticism for their handling of the Yom Kippur War. Ytschak Rabin became PM, the first Sabrah, or native born Israeli to lead his country.

1979- Ugandan dictator Idi Amin-Dada driven out of power by a Tanzanian invasion. During his reign the mad dictator titled himself "Conqueror of the British Empire" and passed the time trying to wrestle crocodiles, rehearse mock invasions of Israel (a geographic impossibility ) and played drums in his own rock band.

1981- Valerie Bertinelli married rocker Eddie Van Halen.

1983- At that year’s Academy Awards the winner for Best Animated Short was Polish artist Zybigniew Rybcyzinski for his film Tango. During the ceremony he stepped outside for a smoke. When Security guards refused to let him re-enter he became combative, shouting the only English he knew:”I Have Oscar!”. He wound up in jail for assault and his Oscar wound up in the bushes.

2006- Italian police captured the capo-de-capo of the Sicilian Mafia, Salvatore Provenzano near the town of Corleone, the birthplace of Mario Puzo’s fictional Godfather. Don Provenzano had been hiding out for 43 years.
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Yesterday’s question: In New York, when you ask for a Sicilian Slice, what do you get?

Answer: A square slice of pizza is called a Sicilian.


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