Oct. 19, 2014
October 19th, 2014
Question: Movie studio heads are called moguls, but who were the original moguls?
Yesterday’s Question Answered below: Who was Wendell Wilkie? Besides a punch line in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
History for 10/19/2014
Birthdays: Martha "Patsy" Jefferson, Auguste Lumiere, John Le Carre', Peter Tosh, Amy Carter, Jack Anderson, Peter Max, John Lithgow is 69, Robert Reed of the Brady Bunch, Evander Holyfield, Patricia Ireland, Michael Gambon is 74, Trey Parker of South Park is 44
Roman festival Armilustrum, blessing of the shields of the Roman Legions.
Official end of campaigning season. Ancient nations didn't wage war from Oct. to Feb. because the winter cold would cost more lives than battle. It's no wonder that the first month that's warm enough to go out and kill people is named for Mars (March).
202BC.-BATTLE OF ZAMA - Hannibal's great defeat at the hands of Publius Cornelius Scipio, who was honored by Rome with the surname "Africanis". It was said Scipio thwarted Hannibal’s dreaded elephants by frightening them away with a herd of wild pigs
Despite saving Rome and defeating the greatest military genius since Alexander, after the Punic war Scipio Africanis was the target of a senate investigation into defense budget overdrafts. He tore up his expense records in front of the Senate and went into exile, not before scolding the Senators: "If Hannibal stood here instead of me, you would not be worrying about this."
43BC- Octavian, Julius Caesars 20 year old nephew, marched four legions into Rome and seized the government. He drove out the supporters of Brutus & Cassius as well as the supporters of his erstwhile ally Mark Anthony. He had Brutus & Cassius declared Enemies of the State. Octavian would eventually defeat them all and rule Rome as the Augustus, the first Emperor of Rome.
1216- King John Lackland died, legend has it from an evil monk who pours poison from a venomous toad into his ear as he slept. There's no such thing as a poisonous toad in England, he actually died from eating too many ripe peaches and brandywine.
1453- Britain and France sign a peace treaty finally ending the Hundred Years War. The on again, off again conflict had started in 1336.
1739- England declared war on Spain. The war was called the War of Jenkins Ear because a sea captain appeared in Parliament with his ear floating in a bottle of spirits and swore a Spanish captain had done it to him on the high seas. Some thought he was a fraud but England was hot for war, and a man named James Thompson had introduced his stirring new song "Rule Britannia! Britannia Rules the Waves! Britons Never, Never, Never Shall be Slaves!
1739-The Holy Inquisition in Portugal has it’s great dramatist Antonio da Silva burned at the stake for "practicing secret Judaism". On the same day one of his plays was playing to packed houses in Lisbon.
1781- YORKTOWN- The decisive stroke that won the American Revolution. Lord Cornwallis's army was trapped in the Virginia seaport of Yorktown and forced to surrender to George Washington and the French under the Comte du Rocheambeau. At 2:00PM the redcoats marched out to lay down their arms their bands played "The World Turned Upside Down."
"...If ponies rode men, and grass ate the cows
And cats should be chased into holes by the mouse...
If Summer were Spring, and the other way 'round,
Then all the World would be Upside Down."
As the disciplined troops marched between rows of Americans and Frenchmen, British sergeants ordered :"Eyes Right!" so the men would ignore the Yankees and look at the French, for whom this was just one more chapter in their ancient rivalry. Lafayette recognized the insult and ordered the colonial band to play Yankee Doodle real loud, and the Americans started giving happy Indian war whoops. One French officer wondered if the French: "would have to save our fellow Europeans from being scalped."
Back in London when Lord North received the news he "reacted like he had taken a ball in the breast. "Good God!' he shouted:" It's all over!" His government fell as a result. The government selected to sign the humiliating peace fell also.
As a final insult of fate, Lord Cornwallis on the boat home to England got captured by a French pirate ship and forced to pay ransom! The pirate was an Arcadian (Cajun) dandy, who would always dress in red. He was nicknamed " Le Joli Rouge " ( the Handsome Red One )... The nickname is the origin of the " Jolly Rogers " the skull and cross bones of the pirates' flag.
1790- HAMAR’S DEFEAT- The new US Government of President Washington had sent its first army expedition under Brigadier General Josiah Hamar to the Ohio Country to chastise the Indians raiding settlements with British help. This day near the Miami Indian village called Kekionga which would one day be Fort Wayne Indiana, Hamars force was met by a Miami-Eel chief named Meshekinoquah or Little Turtle. Despite the innocent sounding name Little Turtle was a 6 foot tall 44 year old tough warrior and a brilliant strategist. He skillfully maneuvered Hamars force into an ambush and wiped out 3/4 of their number with minimal losses of his own. Militiamen screamed "For God’s sake run, there is Indians enough to eat you all up!"
1812- Napoleon and his army quit Moscow, the Great Retreat began.
1845- Richard Wagners’ opera Tannhauser premiered.
1864- 'And there was Sheridan, Twenty miles Away.." Battle of Cedar Creek. In Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley Confederate Jubal Early surprise attacked the Union camp and send the Yankees running. Little General Phil Sheridan, coming from a breakfast meeting in Washington, jumped on his horse Reinzi and rode to the sound of battle. As his men saw him ride by they cheered. He yelled back:" Don't just cheer me, g--damn you! Turn around and Fight!" They counterattacked and won the day. Sheridans Ride was later made into a famous poem.
1899- U.S. rocket pioneer Dr. Robert Goddard mentioned today in his memoirs as the first time he started to think seriously about how man could achieve space travel.
1901- Brazilian Santos Dumont flew a small dirigible around the Eiffel Tower in Paris. This proved that a balloon could be maneuvered by a propeller motor. This was four years before the Wright Brothers. A crowd of 100,000 cheered including Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.
1907- 'GENTLEMEN, YOU HAVE FIFTEEN MINTUES TO RAISE TWENTY FIVE MILLION DOLLARS'- THE STOCK MARKET PANIC OF 1907- The unregulated Trust bank system goes into a tailspin, pulling Wall Street down with it. The Chairman of Knickerbocker Trust, William Barney, put a pistol to his head as mobs of his clients beat down the barricaded doors to withdraw their savings. The system was saved singlehandedly by the Emperor of Wall Street, J.P. Morgan. Like a general at a battle he pumped reinforcing capitol into the system and made the above statement to the assembled bank presidents.
They raised the money in ten minutes and got it to the Stock Exchange in time to save 30 brokerage houses. He personally lent New York City $20 million to save it from default. At the close of trading J.P. Morgan got a public ovation from the stock traders assembled under his office window. Citizens were relieved, but instead of being grateful to Morgan they were not a little horrified that one man should have so much power over the U.S. economy. This realization caused the movement in Washington to create the U.S. Federal Reserve Banking System in 1913.
1917- The Silent Raid, London was bombed by 21 German Zeppelins.
1926- King George VI of England was known to have a bad stutter that embarrassed him in public speaking. This day, George had his first appointment with his Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue at his Harley St. office. The event was dramatized in the film- The King’s Speech.
1945- N.C. Wyeth, artist and father of Andrew Wyeth was struck and killed by a train.
1953 – Arthur Godfrey had one of the more popular TV variety shows at the time. One of his headliners was the singer Julius LaRosa. But Godfrey was seen to act more and more erratically and imperiously with his cast and crew. This day after a song, Godfrey put his arm around LaRosa and said gently. "Julie lacks humility, So, Julie, to teach you a lesson, you’re fired!" La Rosa and the audience first thought he was kidding but he wasn’t. He had fired LaRosa live nationwide on the air.
1957- Montreal Hockey great Maurice Rocket Richard became the first player to score 500 goals.
1960- Rev Martin Luther King was arrested and jailed for holding a sit-in in Atlanta. Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy ignored his advisers and the silence of Republican Richard Nixon, by openly contacting Dr King in jail to see if he was all right.
1964- Doo Wah Diddy Diddy hit the pop charts.
1968- RUPERT MURDOCH INVADED ENGLAND. Never mind the Vikings or William the Conqueror, on this day the little Australian landed at Heathrow to begin a takeover war for his first English newspaper, the News of the World. Until now the Fleet Street press barons were a closed club of rich old gentlemen. Murdoch used Sir Robert Caro as his cover to get in and defeat a hostile takeover bid from Robert Maxwell. He then demoted Caro out of his leadership of the paper. He soon bought the London Times. Rupert Murdoch later became a U.S. citizen so he could build the Fox movie and cable TV empires.
1985- Take on Me by Aha hit number one on the pop charts.
1987- Black Monday, The STOCK MARKET CRASH OF '87. The Dow falls 508 points. It was partly blamed on the Arbitrage high speed automated stock trading system going bananas and turning a downswing . Venerable old firms like E.F. Hutton sank beneath the waves -having their chairman Bob Froman plead guilty to 22 million dollars worth of bank and mail fraud didn't help either. However in six months most of the losses were regained, some traders saying the recovery was spurred by a bronze statue of bulls placed at the foot of Wall Street. A system of emergency circuit breakers were installed to prevent arbitrage from flipping out again. In Sept 2008, the Dow fell 750 points.
1990- Kevin Costner’s film Dances With Wolves premiered.
Yesterday’s Question: Who was Wendell Wilkie? Besides a punch line in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
Answer: Wilkie was a Liberal Republican who ran against Franklin Roosevelt in 1940.
Oct. 18, 2014 Sat
October 18th, 2014
Question: Who was Wendell Wilkie? Besides a punch line in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
Yesterday’s Question Answered below: What does it mean to call something Byzantine, as an adjective?
History for 10/18/2014
Birthdays: Cannaletto, Lotte Lenya, Wynton Marsalis, George C. Scott, Pierre Trudeau, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mike Dytka, Peter Boyle, Inger Stevens, Violetta Chamorro, Wendy Wasserstein, Wynton Marsalis, Martina Navratilova, Zack Efron is 23, Jean Claude Van Damme, the Muscles from Brussels- is 54.
FEAST OF ST. LUKE. According to ancient sources Luke was actually a physician, but Medieval tradition made him the protector of artists. In Rome during the Renaissance Titian, Rubens and El Greco were members of the Guild of St. Luke.
31AD Praetorian Prefect Lucius Sejanus, a onetime favorite of the Emperor Tiberius, fell from power and was executed for treason.
1016-A large force of Vikings defeated the Anglo-Saxon English at Ashingdon.
1534- French King Francis I like his counterpart in England Henry VIII considered himself a Renaissance Prince who espoused toleration. He gave safe haven to Protestants fleeing Germany and was encouraged by the calls for reform of the Church. But this night an event happened to spoil it all. Zealous French Protestants hung placards on doors in Paris and Orleans denouncing Catholicism as " wolves and vermin". Francis awoke to find a placard hung his bedroom door, with the implied threat to him and his family.
Francis angrily ordered the arrests and the burning of heretics. At a solemn Mass in Notre Dame, the King swore he would behead any of his children who wanted to turn Protestant. This Affair of the Placards ruined any chance that the Reformation could grow in France peacefully.
1648-The First official union in the U.S. started, the Shoemakers Guild of Boston.
1776- A New York pub decorated with birds opened, customers ordered a drink they nicknamed a "Cocks Tail". The origin of the name.
1767- The Mason-Dixon line settled the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland. In a later generation it became the symbol of the divide between North and South.
1781- For several days British positions at Yorktown Virginia were heavily bombarded by the heavy siege guns of George Washington and his ally the Comte du Rocheambeau. No area of the town was safe from bombardment. Thomas Nelson Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence, gave permission to fire on his own house. The British Navy had given up on a rescue, and had sailed off to Martinique. Today the cannons went silent. A lone British drummer boy appeared on the high earthwork parapet beating the call to parley.
1793- Napoleon gets his first job. Sub-lieutenant Napoleon Bonaparte promoted to major of artillery and posted to Toulon. He is 24. At 25 he will be a General, at 31 a dictator at 35, an Emperor, at 46 unemployed, and dead at 52.
Hmmm, sounds like a career in Hollywood.
1797- THE X,Y,Z AFFAIR- Throughout the wars between Napoleonic France and England each country tried to push the neutral United States into taking a side. This pressure came from harassing merchant trade and establishing heavy trade tariffs. This day war almost resulted between America and France when the American ambassadors in Paris were approached by three French diplomats, forever called X,Y and Z. This men said for a $250,000 cash bribe they would lift sanctions on trade. The American government was enraged, but war was averted. America finally went to war with Britain in 1812.
1813- FINAL DAY OF THE BATTLE OF THE NATIONS- Napoleon’s army at Liepzig was overwhelmed by the combined armies of Russia, Austria, Prussia and Sweden.
The French had to retreat through a burning city, then cross a deep river with only one bridge over it and the enemy shooting down on them. A nervous engineer blew up the bridge prematurely leaving a third of the army still on the wrong side.
The heroes of this terrible panic were Marshal Jacques MacDonald, son of an exiled Scotsman who fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie, and the son of the last king of Poland, Prince Josef Poniatowski, who, shot several times, drowned in the river. His remains were identified when fishermen discovered silver snuffboxes in his pockets. This battle forced Napoleon to abandoned most of his conquered territory in Central Europe fall back to the national borders of France.
1861- Poet and suffragette Julia Ward Howe was staying at the Willard Hotel down the block from the White House. She awoke in the middle of the night inspired to write new words to a popular soldiers tune she heard that day "John Brown's Body". She wrote "Mine Eyes have seen the Glory of the Coming of the Lord...." She called it "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"." Glory-Glory Halleluiah, His Truth is Marching On…"
1896- Joseph Pulitzer's N.Y. Journal American created the first Sunday Color Comics supplement.
1912- The First Balkan War- Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro attack Turkey in her remaining European territories.
1922- The British Broadcast Corp or BBC formed.
1924- College football star Red Grange scored four long yardage touchdowns in one game.
1926- In Hollywood Sid Grauman's Egyptian Theater opens.
1931- Thomas Edison died peacefully at age 84. His last words were-
"It's beautiful over there..."
1942- Admiral Nimitz appointed Admiral Bull Halsey to take command of the fleet locked in battle with the Japanese off the Solomon Islands.
1946- Walt Disney premiered The Story of Menstruation.
1950- In a heated and emotional showdown in the Directors Guild all motions by C.B. DeMille and Frank Capra to extend the Hollywood anti-Communist blacklist to include expulsion from the Director's Guild are defeated. Billy Wilder, John Huston, John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy supported President Joe Mankiewicz who blocked the Blacklist Motions, and they also prevented a recall vote on Mankiewicz' s presidency.
1954- Hi & Lois comic strip debuted.
1967- Walt Disney's last cartoon done under his supervision "the Jungle Book." premiered. Disney had died the previous December. If you remember the film the end sequence Mowgli meets four vultures who talk like the Beatles but sing barbershop quartet. That’s because the characters were supposed to sing a Beatles parody song but Walt felt the group would soon be forgotten so he didn't want to date the film.
1974- Tobe Hooper's low budget cult film Texas Chainsaw Massacre first opened. Despite one film critic calling it " a bunch of sick crap" it became a huge hit.
1977- New York Yankee batter Reggie Jackson earned the name Mr. October by slugging three home runs in one World Series Game against the LA Dodgers.
1982- President Reagan said during a radio address:" My Fellow Americans, the economy is in a helluva mess....this microphone isn't on, is it?.."
1984- Handsome young television star John Eric Hexum died after shooting himself with a prop pistol loaded with blanks. The concussion of compressed air shattered his skull at close range. He was playing at mock- Russian Roulette. His last words were "Lets see if I can do myself in this time!"
Yesterday’s Question: What does it mean to call something Byzantine, as an adjective?
Answer: it means ornate, overly complicated, administratively dense, often with a context of clandestine, secretive behavior. This was the reputation of the bureaucracy of the Byzantine Empire.
Oct. 17, 2014
October 17th, 2014
Question: What does it mean to call something Byzantine, as an adjective?
Yesterday’s Question Answered below: What U.S. President was born Leslie King?
History for 10/17/2014
Birthdays: Arthur Miller, Rita Hayworth, Jean Arthur, Montgomery Clift, Jimmy Breslin, Tom Poston, Gary Puckett, Margot Kidder, Evil Knievel, Jerry Seigel (Superman co-creator), Virgil 'Vip' Partch, Charles Kraft the sliced cheese king, Beverly Garland- star of Attack of the Alligator People, George Wendt, Mike Judge is 52, Eminem
641 A.D.- ALEXANDRIA, the "Paris of the Ancient World" fell to the advancing armies of Islam. The Byzantine Greek emperors had been persecuting the native Coptic Christians as a heresy, so the Egyptians bloodlessly opened their gates to the Arab invaders.
1777- SARATOGA- 'Gentleman Johnny' Burgoyne, and his British Army are surrounded in upper New York State and forced to surrender. This is seen as the turning point of the Revolution, because the victory gave the American rebels credibility in the eyes of England's traditional European rivals- France, Holland and Spain.
When Burgoyne left England that spring he had wagered politician Charles Fox 50 guineas he would conquer America singlehanded and return by Christmas. Well, he did get home by Christmas...
1787- The US Constitution accepted and signed into law, U.S. Constitutional Convention adjourns.
1805- THE BATTLE OF ULM- Napoleon maneuvers his regiments around an entire Austrian army and captured it while it sat around waiting for their Russian allies. Nobody in the Austrian command realized that the Russian's Julian calendar date for their link up was two weeks different then the Western Calendar. The last they heard Napoleon's army was at the English Channel trying to figure out how to get across.
Napoleon sent his army in five columns racing across Europe to suddenly appear in Austria. When the Austrian defeat seemed certain the honorary commander of the army the Emperor’s brother Archduke Ferdinand ran for the hills and left the actual commander General Mack to take the consequences. When Mack was brought before Napoleon to surrender he exclaimed: "Behold the Unfortunate Mack !" Before the war Mack taught strategy and tactics. Not only did the Austrian Emperor order Mack court-martialed and sacked but a lot of students must have dropped his class.
1814- In London a large beer vat burst and drowned nine people.
1815- Napoleon is landed on his final island of exile, St.Helena, off the coast of sub equatorial Africa. The humid climate was considered by the British so unhealthy that they rotated the garrison every year. Napoleon spent the voyage learning English and became such good friends with his assigned physician Dr. O'Meara (who was Irish) that the doctor was reprimanded. Napoleon loved to poke fun at doctors, he first addressed O'Meara- "So you are a doctor ? Well I am a general. How many men have you killed? I wager more than me ! "
1904- In San Francisco, Amadeo & Giovanni Giannini opened the New Bank of Italy, which in 1930 became the Bank of America. Among the 40 or so independent banks in California Gianinni’s bank grew because they encouraged immigrants to put their money in, when others refused to deal with foreigners. After the great San Francisco earthquake they buried the total assets in a strongbox in their garden until their building could be rebuilt. The Bank of America grew from that garden to become the largest bank in the U.S. and a major Hollywood financier.
1928- Duke Ellington recorded The Mouche.
1943- The Burma Railway was completed by Japanese forces using prisoners of war as laborers, the infamous Bridge on the River Kwai. Contrary to the David Lean movie, the bridge was never blown up, and is still in use today.
1967- The Hippy musical “Hair” opened at the Anspacher Theatre on Broadway.
1973- THE OIL WEAPON- Arab nations of OPEC declare a crude oil embargo on any nation supporting Israel. Oil went from $12 a barrel to $79. Gas rationing and long lines appeared at gas stations in the US and England.
1989- In the late afternoon the BAY AREA EARTHQUAKE- called the Loma Prieta Quake, shook San Francisco and vicinity. For the first time since 1906 fires were seen in the Mission District. The epicenter was a little town called Watsonville. 67 people were killed. California was planning to relieve traffic pressure by building upper levels onto existing freeways systems. When one of these new doubledeckers, the Cypress Freeway, collapsed in this quake crushing motorists in a grisly concrete sandwich, all such plans were abandoned.
There was a World Series baseball game under way in Candlestick Park, but miraculously no one was hurt. National TV audiences amazed that local fans laughed at the danger. They chanted to the TV cameras: "Welcome to California!".
1990- IMDB.com, the Internet Movie Data Base started up.
2005- The Colbert Report with Steven Colbert premiered on Comedy Central.
Yesterday’s Questions: What U.S. President was born Leslie King Jr?
Answer: President Gerald Ford. His father left when he was very young, and his mother remarried a man named Gerald Ford Sr. who raised him.
Oct. 16, 2014 thurs
October 16th, 2014
Question: What U.S. President was born Leslie King?
Yesterday’s Question Answered below: Who was known as The Grand Turk?
History for 10/16/2014
Birthdays: Lord Cardigan, Eugene O'Neill, Noah Webster, Dave DeBusschere, David Ben-Gurion, Angela Lansbury is 88, Gunter Grass, Linda Darnell, Charles Colson, Susanne Somers is 68, David Zucker, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tim Robbins is 56.
Today is the Feast of Saint Hedwig, who was married to a German Duke at 12 years old. They had six children and when they were grown, she went to a cloister, and her husband took a vow to never shave or bathe again. He was called Henry the Bearded.
1689- Seventeen year old Peter the Great entered Moscow to assume supreme power in Russia. Czar Peter had to push aside two rivals, his older half-brother Ivan who was mentally ill and his halfsister Sophia who was angry that as a woman she couldn’t hold power. Ivan stepped aside for Peter and Sophia was shipped off to a convent at the Arctic Circle. From then until 1725, Peter reformed Russian society and made it a world power. He even made Russian society liberal enough to accept female rulers like Catherine the Great.
1746-Peace of Aix la Chapelle- Ended the War of Austrian Succession. Part of the treaty stated France would stop supporting the exiled Stuart Dynasty trying to get back the English throne and Bonnie Prince Charlie would have to leave Paris. To celebrate the peace Georg Frederich Handel wrote the Royal Fireworks Music. When performed in Green Park London, the fireworks set fire to a pavilion and caused a panic.
1793- French Queen Marie Antoinette guillotined. She followed her husband King Louis XVI who was beheaded the previous January. The crowd in the Paris streets didn't have much sympathy for the foreign born wife Marie. They called her "'la Chienne d'Autriche' '-the Austrian Bitch. Her last words were as she ascended the scaffold, she stepped on the toe of the executioner. 'Excuse me." she said.
1813- BATTLE OF THE NATIONS- First day of Leipzig- Napoleon's army is overwhelmed by the combined armies of Russia, Austria, Prussia, Sweden, German states. There were British and Swiss advisors and Napoleons army had Poles, Dutch and Italian contingents as well. United Europe, in a way. At the height of the furious house to house fighting in the burning city Napoleon was seen walking the streets calming whistling to himself Malbrouk s'en-va-t-en Guerre ("For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow") a popular song of the day.
1817- Giovanni Belzoni discovered the great tomb of Pharaoh Seti Ist in the Valley of the Kings. He discovered 8 more ancient royal tombs in the valley as well as the inner chambers of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, making the world aware of the Valley of the Kings.
1829- The Tremont Hotel opened in Boston. Called the first modern hotel in America, it had a luxurious 170 rooms and 4 meals a day. All for an extravagant $2 a night.
1834- The British House of Parliament caught fire and burnt to the ground in a horrific conflagration. Luckily artists William Turner and John Constable were around watching the blaze from the south bank of the Thames, so at least we got a few neat paintings out of it...
1846- At Massachusetts General Hospital Dr. John Warren performed the first operation on a patient under anesthesia. A Georgia doctor named Morton extracted a tooth using ether two years earlier and there was a fracas as to who invented it first. But the new was groundbreaking. Until then surgeons were considered social inferiors to doctors because all surgeons really needed in their work was strong arms to hold people down while sawing on them.
1847- Jane Eyre, an Autobiography first published. Writer Charlotte Bronte’ did it under the pen-name Currier Bell.
1859-HARPERS FERRY- Kansas abolitionist John Brown led a group of followers and slaves to seize the large U.S. arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. They planned to use the weapons to begin a general slave uprising throughout the South. Brown had declared: "the Sins of this Nation are so great that they cannot be expunged but by a great effusion of blood!" Harriet Tubman wanted to be present but for an illness. Brown and his men were surrounded by the army and forced to surrender after a gunbattle in which two of Brown's sons were killed.
The slaves did not rise in revolt. Present at the army operation were U.S. army officers Robert E. Lee and a Virginia National guard reservist, actor John Wilkes Booth. Brown was later hanged. Northerners considered John Brown a hero and martyr, Southerners thought him a dangerous lunatic who would murder them in their beds. Frederic Douglas thought Brown’s action reckless but his final praise was unstinting: "I have lived my life for my people. But John Brown died for my people. " One surviving son of John Brown who was at the battle changed his name and moved the family to Pasadena California, dying an old man in 1893.
1901- One of the first acts of new President Teddy Roosevelt was to invite Dr. Booker T. Washington of the Tuskegee Institute to an official dinner. It was the first time a black American was ever invited to dine with the President. The conservative South roared in loud protest. Teddy roared back:” In my veins flow the blood of both North and South, and such nonsense must end!” But he never openly invited another black man again.
1916- THE FIRST BIRTH CONTROL CLINIC opens in the U.S. It was set up on 46 Amboy St in Brooklyn by feminist-progressive Margaret Sanger. Police closed it down 9 days later and imprisoned Ms. Sanger for 30 days. She spent her time in jail lecturing women convicts about family planning. Margaret Sanger also hired bootleggers to smuggle French diaphragms into the U.S. disguised as innocent cases of illegal booze. Mrs. Sanger later married the owner of the Three-In-One Oil company, and smuggled spermicide into the U.S. in oil cans. In the 1930’s Margaret Sanger was invited on CBS radio. When CBS chief Bill Paley worried if Sanger would say something controversial he was reassured "don’t worry, she says she’s just going to read nursery rhymes". She began "There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. She Had So Many Children Because She Didn’t Know What to Do!" CBS cut off her microphone.
1918- As the defeat in World War I loomed, young Emperor Michael of the Austrian Hungarian Empire struggled to keep his tottering empire together. This day he asked for a cease-fire from the allies and declared Austria-Hungary would become a federation of independent peoples. This was all too late as the Yugoslavs, Czechs, Poles and even Austrians were already declaring themselves independent countries without his permission.
1923- Walt Disney Studios Born. 22 year old Walt and his older brother Roy signed a deal with M.J. Winkler for six "Alice in Cartoonland" short cartoons. Budget-$1,500 each.
1929- New York City skyscraper the Chrysler Building completed. It won a race with the Bank of Manhattan Company to become the world’s tallest building but it only held the title for a few months because the Empire State Building was going up.
1929- The frosted light bulb patented.
1940- The Nazi occupying forces order Jews around Warsaw to move into a small quarter of the town and it is bricked up by a high wall. The Warsaw Ghetto.
1940- Despite being technically neutral, the U.S. began a draft of young men into the army.
1941- General Hideki Tojo becomes Japanese Prime Minister. While we have this image of Tojo as the paramount war leader like Churchill, Stalin or Hitler, he was only Prime Minister from 1941-1943. The Japanese government went through several administrations, however the military general staff remained constant and manipulated politics from behind the scenes, vetoing measures in the Diet and assassinating critics of it's policy of military expansion. By 1937 all outspoken peace advocates like Prince Konoye and Premier Inokai had been murdered.
1941-Nazi panzer tanks closed in around Moscow. Even though his staff were all waiting in a private armored train Russian leader Josef Stalin changed his mind about evacuating the Kremlin and fleeing east. He resolved to stay in the city.
1943- Chicago Mayor Ed Kelly dedicated the new subway system.
1945-World War II over, Dr. Robert Oppenheimer bade farewell to the Los Alamos nuclear facility to work for Cal Tech university. After laudatory speeches and plaques Oppy warned his fellow scientists : " If nuclear weapons become a regular part of the arsenals of other countries then the time may come when the people of the world will curse the name of Hiroshima and Los Alamos."
1946- After the embarrassment of Herman Goring committing suicide under Allied noses the night before, the remaining Nazis war criminals tried at Nuremberg- Keitel, Jodl, Ribbentrop, Streicher, Kalternbrunner, and Franck were hanged. Executioner US Army Master Sergeant John C. Wood said some like von Ribbentrop had lost so much weight in prison he had to jump on the swinging body adding his weight to theirs and break their neck. Afterwards their bodies are driven in secret to Dachau concentration camp crematorium and burned in the same ovens they used on Jews in the Holocaust. Then the ashes are scattered in secret so no Nazi shrine could ever be erected.
1952- Charlie Chaplin’s film "Limelight" premiered in London. Chaplin had shot the film in Hollywood but released it in Europe because he had been driven into exile by McCarthyite Red Baiters.
1955- Ann Landers published her first column.
1964- Red China exploded it's first nuclear bomb.
1968- During the Mexico City Olympics- African American gold and silver track medalists Tom Smith and John Carlos shocked the world by giving the Black Power raised fist salute during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. Despite being the fastest men on earth their medals were taken away and they were kicked off the US Olympic Team.
1969- The Miracle Mets. The New York Mets, then possessing some of the worst records in baseball history, defied all 100-1 odds and won the World Series, defeating the Baltimore Orioles in 5 games. Tom Seaver, Cleon Jones, Nolan Ryan. Rusty Staub. Thousands of fans at Shea went crazy and danced and partied on the field with the players. My brother recalled in the parking lot cars were covered with turf because the fans had stolen the bases and ripped up the sod for souvenirs.
1973- President Anwar El Sadat of Egypt asked the Soviet Union to call a meeting of the United Nations to call a ceasefire to end the Yom Kippur War.
1976- Disco Duck by Rick Dees became #1 on the pop charts.
1978- Polish cardinal Karol Woytila elected as Pope John Paul II. First non-Italian pope in 400 years, since Dutchman Adrian IV in 1513. Dying in 2005 JPII had the longest reign of any pope in the twentieth century and had created more saints than any other pope.
1992- The Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson filed a $1.4 million dollar lawsuit against a French tabloid for publishing photos of her topless and her boyfriend Texas millionaire John Bryan sucking her toes.
1995- The Million Man March - One million African-American men converge on Washington D.C. to protest black on black violence and family values.
1997- According to the writers of the 1965 television show 'Lost in Space', this was the date the Jupiter-2 with Will, Penny, Dr. Smith and the Robot took off to colonize deep space. "Danger! Danger! Spare me your insolence, you mechanical ninny..."
Yesterday’s Question: Who was known as The Grand Turk?
Answer: That is the way Renaissance Europeans referred to the Ottoman Sultan of Turkey, starting with Sulieman the Magnificient.
Oct. 15, 2014 weds.
October 15th, 2014
Question: Who was known as “ The Grand Turk”?
Quiz: Who is John Galt?
History for 10/15/2014
Birthdays: Quintus Virgilius-Virgil 70 BC, Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great 1542, Oscar Wilde, Fredrich Nietszche, Mikail Lermontov, John L. Sullivan, Burt Gillett, John Kenneth Galbraith, Robert Trout, Klaus Barbie the Nazi Butcher of Lyon, P.G. Wodehouse, Penny Marshall, Mario Puzo, Sarah Ferguson-Fergie' the former Duchess of York is 54, Chef Emeril LeGasse, Chuck Berry is 88
Ancient Roman Festival of the Ides, a chariot race where the winning team of horses was sacrificed to Mars the Avenger.
1564- Great doctor and medical scholar Andreas Vesalius died of exposure after his ship was wrecked off the coast of Zante Greece. Vesalius specialty was anatomy, he described the lobes of the liver, the bones of the jaw and finally got modern medicine to stop following the conclusions of the Roman doctor Galen on faith, and go experiment for themselves. Vesalius was so passionate about anatomical dissection that he would sneak out to the hangmans’s tree outside town and pull the bodies down for study.
1582- THE GREGORIAN CALENDAR took effect- Julius Caesar’s 366 day calendar was losing 11 minutes every year since 45 BC. Medieval scientists like Dennis Exiguus ( the man responsible for B.C.-A.D. counting) and Roger Bacon in the 1200’s noticed something was wrong. By 1582 the calendar was 11 days off the solar year. Pope Gregory XI had scientist Dionysius Ingratius revise the calendar of Julius Caesar by using a 400 year cycle of 365 days with a leap day every four years and no leap year when it occurred every fourth century. So 2000 was a leap year while 1900,1800 and 1700 were not.
On this day people had gone to sleep on Oct. 5th and woke up on Oct.15th !
The calendar at first wasn't accepted universally. At first only Italy, Spain, Portugal and Poland changed over. France and the Protestant countries took 70-100 years to change and England not until 1752! China adopted the western calendar in 1949. Because a lot of history happened during the interim, sloppy historians can confuse the 11 day difference in the calendars (so if you disagree with any of my dates, That's My Excuse, Hah Harr!!) For instance we celebrate Columbus Day on the 12th of October when Columbus himself thought he had landed on the 22nd Old Style.
1757- Prussian King Frederick the Great took time out from fighting wars with most of Europe to try and convince German poet Johann Gottsched to stop trying to write poetry in German. “So many guttural explosions, so many consonants- Klop, Knap, Krotz, Krok! How could you make melody in such a language?.” Frederick spoke French exclusively and switched to German only to address servants and soldiers. Ironically, the fame of his court sparked a renaissance of music, poetry and philosophy- all in German.
1764- While wandering through the ruins of ancient Rome, British writer Edward Gibbon is inspired to write "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire". After 20 years labor and thousands of pages he finished. When he gave the first copy bound in gold to mad King George III, the king said to him: " What's this? Another big damned black book, eh, Mr. Gibbon? Scribble, scribble!"
1781- Climactic actions of the Siege of Yorktown when Franco-American assault teams in the dead of night stormed three important British strong points. This allowed Washington and Rochambeau’s heavy guns to be brought close enough to bombard the center of Yorktown and hastened Lord Cornwallis’ surrender.
The American assault teams were personally led by Marquis de Lafayette and Alexander Hamilton, who threw a childish temper tantrum when at first Washington refused to risk a good staff officer in such a dangerous assignment. The attack troops were not allowed to waste time loading and firing, they just had to run in the dark and win using the cold bayonet. In the troop on the French side was a young captain Berthier, who would one day be Napoleon’s chief of staff.
1794-The First silver dollars minted by the U.S. Government. Before that individual states printed money. British pounds, wampum, old colonial script called Continental Eagles, Spanish pieces of Eight and whiskey all had circulated as currency. 1796- Napoleon wins a battle at the bridge of Arcola, grabbing a flag and leading the final charge himself. In twenty years of constant war he was only hurt once, a slight graze in the foot. At Arcola he was even temporarily immobilized when he got stuck in mud under heavy fire but still no one could hit him. 1806 -German philosopher Hegel met Napoleon on the street. Hegel was going to his publisher to publish his "Phremonology", Napoleon was on his way to take Berlin. Hegel later referred to Napoleon as “The Universal Soul.”
1843- Copenhagen’s Tivoli Garden’s opened to the public. One of the oldest amusement parks in the world and an inspiration to Walt Disney for Disneyland.
1858- The last Lincoln- Douglas debate. Lincoln scored major moral points on the slavery issue but Douglas "the Little Giant" won the election to Congress anyway. After the Civil War began although Douglas was a Democrat he was a very strong Lincoln supporter and pro-union man. Douglas had also once dated Mary Lincoln before she married old Abe.
1880-Victorio, a leader of the Chiracua Apaches as famous as Geronimo, was finally hunted down and killed south of El Paso by a combined force of US and Mexican Army troops. 1905- First Little Nemo comic strip by Winsor McCay premiered in the NY Herald. McCay modeled the child on his own son Robert, and name Nemo came from a Latin root meaning no one.
1905- Premiere of Claude Debussy’s tone poem La Mer- the Sea.
1917- MATA HARI- 41 year old beautiful erotic dancer and German spy H21, was shot by firing squad. Her real name was Gertrude Zelle from Holland, she made up a new identity as an Indian princess with the name Mata Hari- The Light of Day in Malay. She would use her sexual charms to seduce top enemy officers and pass information on to German High Command. But she was finally caught, tried and shot at the Chateau Vincennes outside Paris. She refused to wear a blindfold and blew a kiss at the French firing squad. She still elicited enough sympathy, that out of a 12 soldier squad only four bullets were found in her body.
1927- Iraq strikes it's first gusher of oil. The gusher was so large it took 8 days to bring under control.
1929- The Canadian Parliament passed a resolution declaring women to be people, too.
1930- Duke Ellington first recorded Mood Indigo.
1934- THE LONG MARCH- During the Chinese civil war Mao Tse Tung’s Communist forces broke out of a ring of encircling Kuomintang (Nationalist) armies and began an epic 6,000 mile march to the safety of Shenxi and Yenan in Northwest China. 100,000 people fought battles, internal divisions, starved and marched until in October 1935 only 8,000 survivors reached their destination. Mao’s two children and younger brother died but he emerged as the overall leader of the Chinese Communists. Their example inspired thousands of young men to enlist in their cause. In 1993 Premier Ly Pung succeeded Deng Zhao Ping, one of the last surviving veterans of the Long March.
1940- Charlie Chaplin’s film The Great Dictator premiered.
1942- The Nazi-dominated Vichy Government of France declared a ban on the importation of all American and British movies.
1946-HERMANN GORING CHEATED THE HANGMAN On the day before he was to hang for war crimes, Nazi Reichmarshall Herman Goring bit on a glass potassium-cyanide capsule. ( it didn't give him bad breath, it killed him). Goring was convinced that the Allies would need him to control postwar Germany that he was surprised and indignant at the death sentence. The condemned prisoners were closely watched by guards so suicides couldn't happen. Even the furniture in their cells were made rickety so you couldn't stand upon it to hang yourself and guards looked in on you through a peephole every hour.
1946 Walt Disney’s film Make Mine Music premiered.
1950- THE WAKE ISLAND CONFERENCE- President Harry Truman flew to Wake Island to confer with General Douglas MacArthur about the Korean War. There was a story that MacArthur kept Truman waiting at the airport. This is incorrect, but he was disrespectful to his commander in chief in other ways, like neglecting to salute him and brushing off the President’s invitation to lunch.
When Truman asked MacArthur if there was any chance of the Red Chinese joining in the war, MacArthur assured him there was no possibility. This same day in Beijing Mao Tse Tung was ordering General Lin Piao to move 300,000 troops to Korea. At one point Truman and MacArthur joked about Dwight Eisenhower thinking he could run for president. Truman said Ike didn’t know anything about politics and his administration would be more corrupt than Ulysses Grants’. Eisenhower did win election and his two terms were well run and scandal free.
1951- THE FIRST I LOVE LUCY SHOW- The most successful family sitcom in history began its pilot episode this night. CBS and Phillip Morris had wanted Lucille Ball to transfer her popular radio show-“My Favorite Husband” to television. The story of the family life of Ricky Ricardo, a Cuban immigrant nightclub band leader, his daffy wife Lucy and their landlord friends Fred and Ethel Murtz became an overnight sensation.
The show was shot on film instead of live TV and it was produced in Los Angeles instead of New York City because Lucy and Dezi Arnez refused to relocate back east. The show also pioneered the three camera shooting system still used to day. When Lucille Ball was off being pregnant, the show proved re-runs could be just as popular as first time showings. The January 1953 episode of little Ricky’s birth drew more viewers than the inauguration of President Eisenhower.
1965- The first large scale peace protests over U.S. involvement in Vietnam began in Oakland California. David Miller is the first young man to burn his draft card, followed by many others. Chants of “One, Two, Three, Four, We don’t want your F**king War! Uncle Sam, Drop the Bomb! We Don’t Wanna Go to Nam!”
1969- THE MORATORIUM- 250,000 people gather in Washington to protest the War in Vietnam. Richard Nixon had run as a peace candidate but once in office escalated the Vietnam conflict to include Cambodia and Laos. President Nixon came to regard the young student protestors as the chief nemesis of his administration. In Chicago young student John Belushi was hit in the chest with a tear gas shell and had to be dragged to safety.
He appealed to the Silent Majority, staged stunts like the Hard Hat Luncheon-an event thrown for conservative construction workers. According to John Dean by 1971 Nixon had a bunker built under the executive offices where aide John Ehrlichman monitored protests from a battery of television monitors. Nixon stalwart G. Gordon Liddy pitched preposterous schemes like infiltrating the students with mercenaries who would at a signal beat up people, and strategic commando style kidnapping of protest leaders. These schemes were never implemented.
1970- Height of the Canadian October Crisis. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau sent in army troops into Quebec to quell separatist riots and arrest terrorists of the FLQ.
1976-What’s Love got to do with it?- Ike and Tina Turner break up.
1989- Wayne Gretsky surpassed Gordie Howe’s all time record of scored points in hockey-1,850. The Great One went on to set a new record of 2,837 points before his retirement.
1991- CLARENCE THOMAS- After weeks of bitter hearings Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court to take the seat of Civil Rights pioneer Thurgood Marshall. The Anti-Affirmative Action Black Republican’s appointment was challenged by allegations that he sexually harassed one of his female staff, a Professor named Anita Hill.
2003- On the anniversary of the Long March, Wang Lee Wei became the first Chinese astronaut to go into space.
Yesterday’s question: Who is John Galt?
Answer: He was the hero of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. He doesn’t even appear in the first part of the book, as people ask Who is John Galt?