Feb. 23, 2021
February 23rd, 2021

Quiz: What does it mean when you call something agitprop?

Answer to yesterdays question below: What was a tinker? A kind of job?
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History for 2/23/2021
Birthdays: George Fredrich Handel, Samuel Pepys (pronounced 'peeps'), Mayer Amschel Rothschild-1743- founder of the Rothschild banking dynasty, Victor Fleming, W.E.B. DuBois, Johnny Winter, Peter Fonda, William Shirer, Allan MacLeod Cormack-inventor of the CAT Scan, Kelly MacDonald, Tom Bodet, Neal McDonough, Kristin Davis is 56, Dakota Fanning is 27.

303 A.D. DIOCLETIAN RENEWED THE BAN ON CHRISTIANITY. The Roman Empire recognized a cult as ‘religo’ ( officially sanctioned ) or “supersticio” ( banned ). After Nero's death in 64, the pattern of Christian persecution raised and lowered with each emperor. When Diocletian became emperor he made it his mission to stop the Roman Empire's decline. So if weirdo cults like Christianity were part of the problem, then it had to go too.
While Nero tortured people only in Rome, Diocletian demanded a systematic quota of executions in every part of the Empire. A lot of saints date their martyrdom’s around this time 295-305 AD.
What Diocletian couldn't foresee was that ten years later the son of one of his own generals, Constantine, would make Christianity the official religion of the Empire in 312.

1539- The Viceroy of New Spain Antonio Mendoza organized an expedition under Don Francisco de Coronado to march north from Vera Cruz and find El Dorado, the fabulous Seven Cities of Cibola. For the next two years Coronado wandered the American Southwest as far as Kansas and Oklahoma. He discovered marvels like the Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert, but found no cities of gold. When he returned to Spain, he was arrested for wasting government money.

1568- Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great stormed the great Rajput fortress of Chitoor. His warriors fought with Mongol bows, cannon, matchlock rifles and armored war elephants, trained to squish enemies.

1593-The Uppsala Murta- the Uppsala Declaration. The Swedish Diet declared that the national religion of Sweden would forever be Lutheran Protestantism.

1819- The CATO STREET CONSPIRACY- English radicals led by Sir Roger Thistlewood plot to murder the entire British cabinet including the Duke of Wellington as they dined after the opening of Parliament. Then would institute a French Revolutionary style republic in Jolly-Old England!
Odds Fish! But fear not, an informer disclosed the plan to the government and on this night constables raided the nefarious plotters at their Cato-Street hideout and nabbed the whole bunch! By Godfrey, Britain was safe once more!

1821- In a house in Rome’s Piazza de Espagna, 25 year old English poet John Keats died of tuberculosis. As he was dying he joked: ” I can feel daisies growing over me”. He instructed that his grave marker bear only the self-deprecating message” Here lies one Who’s Fame was Written in Water.”

1836- Santa Anna's Mexican army of 4,000 surrounds the mission called the Alamo, which had 185 Texas defenders. Santa Anna ordered the buglers to call to parley. Col. Travis answered with a cannon shot, which Jim Bowie thought was rather rash. Santa Anna then called for the raising of a red flag from a church steeple in San Antonio de Bejar, and his trumpeters sounded the Deguello, a call signifying that he intended to take no prisoners.

1847-Battle of Buena Vista- General Zachary Taylor defeated the Mexican army.

1861-Warned of death threats, President-elect Abraham Lincoln sneaked into Washington D.C. at 3:15 AM. Abe, with his newly grown beard, was dressed in disguise and escorted by his bodyguard Lehman and Charles Pinkerton, a former Scottish barrel maker who had set up the first detective agency in the United States.

1871- C.B. Stone, the mayor of Seattle, embezzled the town’s treasury, $15,000, and skipped town.

1886- the Johnson Wax Company formed.

1892- Rudolph Diesel patented the Diesel Engine.

1898- French writer Emile Zola was arrested and charged with libel for his J'Accuse newspaper article that exposed the cover up of the Dreyfus Scandal. He jumped bail and fled to England until the scandal brought down the government.

1905- The Rotary Club founded.

1915- In Berlin, a secret pact was concluded between the German government and Irish nationalist leader Sir Roger Casement. In it Germany pledged to supply Casement with guns, artillery and even German officers to aid the Irish people to revolt against Britain. The Irish never got more than a shipload of rifles but the Easter Sunday Uprising of 1916 was the result. Casement was arrested on the beach by the British trying to stop the rebellion from breaking out.

1926- President Calvin Coolidge said he was against the creation of a large US Air force because it “would be a menace to world peace.”

1927- animator Les Clark began work at the Walt Disney Studio. He was the first of Walt’s Nine Old Men.

1935- Walt Disney Mickey & Donald cartoon "The Band Concert." This was the first color Mickey Mouse cartoon.

1939 - Walt Disney receives a special Oscar for his classic 83-minute animated film SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, at the 11th Academy Awards held at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California.
Eleven-year-old child star Shirley Temple presents Walt with one statuette and seven miniature statuettes for "a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field for the motion picture cartoon." (Film director Frank Capra came up with the idea of a full-sized Oscar statuette with seven smaller ones descending in a row.)

1942- A few weeks after Pearl Harbor, in the dead of night a Japanese submarine surfaced off the California coast and fired it's cannon at lights it thinks is a city. In reality it's an oil refinery near Goleta, just north of Santa Barbara. The brief bombardment caused $150 dollars in damage. The sub breaks radio silence to report to Tokyo that " Enemy coast sighted. Los Angeles is in Flames." The incident fueled the panic Californians had that the West Coast was ripe for enemy invasion. The incident was lampooned in the Steven Spielberg comedy "1941."

1960 - The Day Brooklyn Cried'- After the Dodgers moved west to Los Angeles, Flatbush’s Ebbets Field baseball stadium went under the wrecking ball and became a low income housing project.

1981- The Moscardo Coup. Disgruntled Spanish Fascists missed the good old days under Franco. This day 200 members of the Guardia Civil police attacked the Spanish Parliament and held the lawmakers hostage. A Colonel Moscardo yelled threats on television and waved a pistol in the air. The coup was crushed after 18 hours thanks in no small part to King Juan Carlos, who appeared in nationwide television in uniform and called upon the people to defend their democracy.

1991- DESERT STORM, The Ground War to liberate Kuwait began. The US Army was led by Gen. Colin Powell, who was originally from the South Bronx, and in the spearhead column was the French Foreign Legion, then recruited from unemployed Liverpool and Manchester soccer hooligans. Scary bunch.

1994- The Russian Mir space station had been in space since 1986 but was starting to show it’s age. A booster ship sent with supplies collided with Mir during a bad-docking maneuver. This day an oxygen fire filled the Mir Space Station with smoke. The fire is put out but it’s just the beginning of 6 months of privation, accidents and hair-raising close-calls for the joint Russian-German crew, and lone American astronaut Jerry Leninger. Mir was retired in 2002 and burned up on re-entry.
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Yesterday’s Question: What was a tinker? A kind of job?

Answer: Until the XIX Century, it was someone who made, repaired and sold metal pots and pans. Replaced by mass-production in the Industrial Revolution.


Feb 22, 2021
February 22nd, 2021

Quiz: What was a tinker? A kind of job?

Yesterday’s question answered below: In Vietnam war slang, what did it mean to be “in country?”
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History for 2/22/2021
Birthdays: Hungarian King Ladislas the Posthumous-1440, Shah Tahmasp I-1514, George Washington, Frederic Chopin, Edward St. Vincent Millay, John Mills, Edward Gorey, Luis Bunuel, Ted Kennedy, Dr. J- Julius Erving, Dwight Frye- Renfield in Dracula, Sparky Anderson, Sheldon Leonard, Charlie O. Finley, Nicky Lauda, Don Pardo, Jonathan Demme, Jeri Ryan, Lea Salonga is 50, Kyle McLachlan is 60, Rachael Dratch, Steve Erwin, Drew Barrymore is 46

1495- French King Charles VIII with his invading army entered Naples in triumph. Charles was pushing his family claims to the throne of the Kingdom of Naples. The ease with which his forces brushed aside the armies of the Italian citystates proved how rich and defenseless Renaissance Italy had become. For the next few centuries Italy was the gameboard for armies from Germany, France, Austria, Turkey and Spain. Italian territory would not free of foreign control until 1918!

1732- GEORGE WASHINGTON born- Until 1969 Washington’s Birthday was a national holiday in the USA. Alexander Hamilton called him "Talented but Dull". Thomas Paine called him: "A compleate hippocryte". John Adams called him “Old Muttonhead” that he’d rather strike leadership poses than actually lead, But Thomas Jefferson called him the" Indispensable Man" who assured that this strange new system of elected chief executive would not lapse into a dictatorship or royalty.
SO HERE’S TO- a successful General who lost more battles than won them,
-Who donated much of his personal fortune to the Revolution, accepted no pay, yet ended the war with a profit;
- who had a whiskey still at Mt. Vernon, and grew hemp -for rope;
- Who had few close friends and hated people touching him;
- Who’s first ambition was to be an officer in the British Army.
- Who much preferred conversation about methods of raising squash and greenbeans to discussing his military campaigns.
- Who never went to college.
- Who’s inability to produce children prevented an American royal family.
- Who was turned down for a bank loan the day he was elected President.
- Who wrote about freeing his slaves, but worried what his neighbors would think.
- Who never used the word God, Jesus, or quoted the Bible in any of his letters or speeches.
- Who turned down a priest offering to give him Last Rites at his deathbed...
And without whom, the U.S.A. would not be the same. Happy Birthday GW!

1774- The English House of Lords announced that authors do not have a perpetual copyright on their works but it must be periodically renewed.

1775- The first IPO- the American Manufactuary of Woolins, Linens & Cottons became the first U.S. company to offer stock to the public- ten English pounds a share.

1782- After the news of the big defeat at Yorktown, Whig member of parliament William Conroy stood up in the House of Commons and called for Britain to finally withdraw from America and recognize the independence of the United States.

1805- Birth in England of Sarah Flowers Adams, whose poetry is in the hymn “Nearer My God to Thee.”

1821- As part of the Adams-Otis Treaty, Spain renounced her claims to Oregon.

1836- Texans defending the Alamo held a big fiesta in San Antonio to celebrate Washington’s Birthday. Dancing, tequila and corn whisky flowed. Davey Crockett played his fiddle. But the party was interrupted when scouts brought word that the first elements of General Santa Anna’s Mexican Army were coming, only 8 miles away.

1848- John Quincy Adams had a stroke on the floor of Congress. He was the son of John Adams and was one of the only U.S. presidents to go back to being a congressman after losing re-election. I believe the only other was Andrew Johnson. Quincy Adams got his stroke speaking out on a bill to award Mexican War officers a ceremonial sword -he was anti-war. He died shortly after.

1879- Frank Winfield Woolworth opened his first Five & Ten Cent-store in Utica, New York. F.W. Woolworths became a major national chain of stores.

1889- Montana, the Dakotas and Washington State admitted into the union.

1909- The Great White Fleet returned to Norfolk Virginia after 14 months circumnavigating the world. At a time when battleships were the nukes of international policy, Teddy Roosevelt sending this fleet around was making the statement that the U.S planned to be a world power.

1911-The Kester Ranch in the San Fernando Valley became the town of Van Nuys, named for early settler Issac Newton Van Nuys.

1912-”MY HAT IS IN THE RING!” Teddy Roosevelt announced his intention to challenge for the Republican Presidential nomination against his own hand picked successor William Howard Taft. Roosevelt and Taft were once close friends, but now Teddy called Taft a “Puzzlewit” and “Fathead”. The Taft -Roosevelt feud split the Republican Party and allowed Democrat Woodrow Wilson to defeat them both.
Roosevelt also split the progressive left wing off the Republicans that completed the process began in the Gilded Age of turning the radical party of Lincoln into America’s Tory conservatives. When Theodore Roosevelt was buried in 1919 the last mourner to linger weeping over his grave was William Howard Taft.

1913- Mexican President Francisco Madero assassinated by General Huerta who seized power. The gentle Madero- his enemies called him "the Christ-Fool", was elected after the long time dictator Porfilio Diaz was finally turned out. His assassination caused a new wave of revolutionary civil war waged by Pancho Villa, Emilio Zapata and Miguel Carranza. President Woodrow Wilson refused to recognize the Huerta government and by doing so only fueled anti-American sentiment.

1929- Grand Central Airport in Glendale dedicated. Los Angeles first major airport.

1924- President Coolidge becomes first president to address the nation over the radio.

1941- Nazis begin arresting the Jews of Amsterdam.

1945- The Arab League is formed in Cairo.

1946- Dr. Selman Abraham created Streptomycin, the first antibiotic drug.

1946- THE KENNAN REPORT- U. S. charges des affaires in Moscow George Kennan sent a long telegram to Washington in which he analyzed Soviet foreign policy. "Soviet Power is impervious to the logic of Reason, but responds to Force, and when confronted by sufficient force and determination it usually backs down." Kennan's report created the US strategic policy to confront global Communism with direct force. It gave philosophical justification to the client wars in Greece, Korea, Cuba and Vietnam, as well as the support of Spain’s Franco, Indonesia’s Suharto, Pinochet’s Chile and Iran’s Shah Reza Pahlevi because of their anti-Communist stances.

1957- Queen Elizabeth II’s husband Phillip was raised from Duke of Edinburgh to Prince of Edinburgh.

1965- General William Westmoreland asks for two marine battalions to protect the DaNang airbase. First U.S. troops sent to Vietnam not as advisers but as combat units.

1967- General Suharto assumed power in Indonesia after crushing a communist insurgency threatening his predecessor Sukarno.

1979- Happy Saint Lucia Independence Day!

1980- Underdog U.S. Olympic hockey team defeated Soviet team 4-3 for the gold medal. The summer games in Moscow were boycotted, not the winter. The two teams did not meet again until the 2002 games in Utah where they skated to a 2-2 tie.

2002- Animator, director Chuck Jones passed away at age 89.

2009- Slumdog Millionaire won best picture and best cinematography at the 81st Academy Awards. The first movie to win that was shot completely digital, with no celluloid film used.

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Yesterday’s question below: In Vietnam war slang, what did it mean to be “in country?”

Answer: It meant you were someone out in the jungle or forest, actively engaged combat against the Viet Cong. As opposed to personnel in auxiliary or support roles.


Feb 22, 2021
February 21st, 2021

Quiz: In Vietnam war slang, what did it mean to be “in country?”

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: Who first said, “ I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.”?
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HISTORY for 2/21/2021
Birthdays: Leopold Delibes, C. Brancusi, Anais Ninn, W.H. Auden, Hubert de Givenchy, Era Bombeck, Sam Peckinpah, Nina Simone, Robert Mugabe, Joe Oriolo, David Geffen, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kelsey Grammar is 66, Jennifer Love Hewitt is 42, Alan Rickman, Ellen Page is 34. Pebbles Flintstone is 57.

1613- The Russian parliament the Zemsky Sobor elected Michael Romanov as the new Czar. This ended the period of dynastic struggle and invasion called the Time of Troubles. It was also the last time a representative parliament decided anything in Russia until 1991. The Romanov Family ruled Russia until the Revolution of 1917 and are still around, should Russia ever want a monarchy again.

1719- A London weekly announced “Mr Handel, a Famous Master of Music, is gone beyond the sea, by order of His Majesty, to collect a company of the choicest singers in Europe for the Opera in the Haymarket.” The London Opera is born. On his recruiting trip George Frederich Handel passed through his hometown of Halle.
A few hours after he was gone another musician came to town, having walked 25 miles just to meet this great German composer who was the toast of England. He was Johann Sebastian Bach. But he was too late. The two giants of classical music would never meet.

1803- Edward Despard was executed at Horsemonger Lane Gaol for plotting to assassinate King George III. The last person to ever be sentenced to the medieval punishment of being drawn and quartered. But by now enough people thought it was horrific, that it was partly commuted. Despard was hanged, and his body beheaded-- no further gruesome butchery. The crowd at the event booed and hissed the executioner.

1814- LONG BEFORE BERNIE MADOFF- This day Captain De Berenger, a French exile aristocrat in the British Army, arrived in London with amazing news from the Continent- that Napoleon Bonaparte had been defeated and killed by the Russians. The war was over! London went wild with celebrations and exiled French King Louis XVIII held a celebratory ball.
But the story was a fake. Napoleon was alive and would wage war for two more years.
De Berenger was part of an elaborate stock fraud. His partners Andrew Butt, Richard Cochrane-Johnstone and Thomas Cobbett waited until the London Stock Market boomed with the news, then sold their shares at top price. When the truth came out and the market crashed, they had made a fortune. An investigation was convened and all the conspirators rounded up.
The only good from this was for America. Cochrane-Johnstone’s cousin, Admiral Lord Thomas Cochrane was also implicated in the scheme and this prevented him from sailing to America with a British fleet. Cochrane “The Sea Wolf” was one of the best fighting admirals since Nelson, and the model for fictional sea dogs like Horatio Hornblower and Lucky Jack Aubrey. He would not be at Baltimore when the “Rockets Red Glare, the Bombs Bursting in Air..”….etc.

1828- The Cherokee Nation adopted their own constitution.

1838- The first telegraph message sent by Samuel Morse "What hath God wrought?" He strung electric cables up and down several floors of his art studio using wood stretchers normally used for oil paintings. Morse was an artist and never wanted to be an inventor, he just did it to finance his painting.

1848- THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO- In Brussels Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published their revolutionary work the Communist Manifesto, redefining history in terms of economic class warfare and creating the terms communist and communism. Interestingly enough they picked Brussels to publish because that year 1848 there were revolutions happening in most of the other cities in Europe. In the 1998 to celebrate its anniversary an international publishing conglomerate issued a limited deluxe designer edition complete with trendy graphics and gilt cover. What would Marx have thought?

1885- The completed Washington Monument was dedicated by Pres Chester Allan Arthur. Plans for the obelisk were first drawn up in 1792 by Pierre L’Enfant and the cornerstone laid in 1840 but construction was constantly suspended. First they ran out of money for 20 years, then they stopped because of the Civil War, another time because the Presbyterian workers refused to handle Italian marble blocks donated by the Catholic Pope. The final capstone point as affixed last December, and the official dedication today.

1898- After the explosion of the battleship Maine in Havana Harbor Under Secretary of the Navy Teddy Roosevelt burned to take action. This day when his boss the Navy Secretary decided to take a day off, Teddy rushed off emergency orders to all the U.S. battleships to go onto a war alert and lay in a supply of extra coal and munitions. The War with Spain hadn't even been declared yet. His boss returned red faced and furious but Teddy had already resigned his office to raise his own volunteer cavalry brigade.

1901- Yankee outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with prostitute Hedda Place, sometimes called Mrs. Sundance, left New York City by ship for Latin America. They hoped to build a new life in the Patagonian foothills of Argentina. But after 4 year of ranching, Butch and Sundance took up their outlaw ways again, fleeing to Bolivia. Hedda Place returned to the US, and disappeared from history.

1916- VERDUN began- One of the most horrible battles in world history. World WarI German Gen. Eric Von Falkynhen planned to draw France into a battle that would ‘bleed her white”, but he wound up bleeding his own army just as badly. German and French troops battled over some stone fortresses for ten months. One million men died in one battle. The French fired 1 1/2 million shells in this thirty mile square area and the Germans even more. Regiments would be marched into the trenches, blown to bits, then another marched in. The surrounding countryside was turned into a shell hole pocked lunar hell.

1919- More chaos in Germany after the Great War defeat. The Socialist rebel leader of Munich, Kurt Eisner, was assassinated and Bolsheviks declared the Soviet Republic of Bavaria. One of the things they tried to do before rightwing paramilitary militias turn them out was try to declare war on Switzerland. By May, the streets of Munich become a battleground that ex-corporal named Hitler decides was a fun place to be.

1942- After the port of Darwin was bombed by the Japanese, President Roosevelt ordered General MacArthur, trapped on Corregidor, not to go down fighting in the Philippines, but escape and organize the defense of Australia.
MacArthur slipped away in the dead of night by PT boat with his wife and four year old son. He vowed to the Philippine people:" I Shall Return !" The army press liaison tried to change the press release to We Shall Return, but MacArthur insisted it remain as is.

1945- During the Battle of Iwo Jima, the Marines raise the flag on Mt. Suribachi. Associate Press photographer Joe Rosenthal takes the most famous image of the war. It's now the Marine monument at Arlington Cemetery. Actually, he photographed the second flag raising. The first was a small flag stuck on a piece of pipe to get the artillery below to stop shelling, and to give the Marines pinned down on the beach some hope. The second larger flag raising was done for the press. It was still plenty dangerous, two of the six flag raisers were later killed in battle that same day. Rosenthal almost missed the shot because he turned around momentarily to see if he was in the way of another cameraman.

1965- MALCOLM X was assassinated at the Audubon Meeting Hall in Washington Heights Manhattan. His last words were trying to quiet a disturbance in the crowd he was about to address-"Brothers, be cool." Three men then stood up and fired pistols and a shotgun killing him instantly. He was later found to have over twenty bullets in his body. Three murderers did time for the killing, but it has never been proven who ordered it. Popular sentiment says it was his enemies in the Black Muslim movement like leader Elijah Mohammed, with whom he had broken.

1980- Ukrainian astronomer Ludmila Karachkina named a main belt asteroid for Walt Disney, asteroid 4017 Disneya.

1988- Televangelist Jimmy Swaggart tearfully confessed to his Baton Rouge congregation “Ah Have Sinned!!” He had been arrested for soliciting a prostitute. They forgave him, A year later he was busted again for the same reason, but he still continues to preach family values on TV.
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Yesterday’s Question: Who first said” I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.”

Answer: Abraham Lincoln. Being hounded by journalists in 1860 about whether he would run for president or not, Honest Abe said, “You fellas can’t get me to say whether I am or not. Reckon I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.”


Feb. 20, 2021
February 20th, 2021

Question: Who first said, “ I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.”?

Yesterdays Quiz answered below: Quiz: News outlets keep referring to Pres. Biden’s first 100 dates. What is the significance of the 100 days and who started it?
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History for 2/20/2021
Birthdays: Honore' Daumier, Nancy Wilson, Ansel Adams, Cindy Crawford, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robert Altman, Roger Penske. Phil Esposito, Jennifer O’Neill, Ivanna Trump, Mike Leigh, Lili Taylor, Sidney Poitier is 94

1258- The Mongol horde under Hulugau sacked Baghdad. They were ordered by Genghis Khan not to spill any royal blood, so they took the last Caliph, Al Mostassem-Billah, rolled him in a blanket, then galloped their horde over him. Ouch. The beautiful city of the Arabian Nights was looted and burned for 40 straight days. Chroniclers said 800,000 died, and the streets ran with rivulets of liquid gold- melting from all the gilded books in the burning libraries.

1702- British King William III went riding around Hampton Court when his horse Sorrel stepped in a mole hole and threw him. He suffered a broken collarbone. But being already elderly, tuberculant and asthmatic, he died within a week. Friends of his enemy, the exiled Stuart king, drank a hearty toast to the 'Little man in the velvet waistcoat', meaning the mole who dug the hole.

1725- FIRST DOCUMENTED SCALPINGS- British militia scalped ten Indians in New Hampshire. Indians of the Eastern coast and Caribbean had done the practice before. Now colonial authorities encouraged allied tribes to bring in scalps as a way of proving how many of the enemy they had killed, before being paid a cash bounty. Scalps soon became a fashionable novelty item in for sale in London. Tribes adopted different scalp cuts so you would know who did it -the Cheyenne preferred a diamond cut, Sioux an oval pattern.

1792- U.S. Postal Service founded. Ironically, the only postal service that ever operated at a profit was the one established by the Confederacy under postmaster John Regan from 1861-65.

1816- "Fee-Garr-Row! Fig-Ar- Roww- Figaro-Figaro, Figaro, Figaro"- Giacomo Rossini's opera 'The Barber of Seville' premiered. Rossini endured bad press and heavy criticism at the time because the another opera of the Marriage of Figaro had just been premiered by Paisiello, an inferior composer who then was more popular than him.

1824- The first attempt to name and classify a dinosaur. At the Geological Society of London, Dean William Buckland announced the Megalosaurus or the Great Fossil Lizard of Stonesfield. Based on a leg bone he estimated it at 40 feet long and a bulk larger than an elephant.

1827- The Battle of Ituzaingo- The army of the Brazilian Empire defeated Argentina.
1831- The Battle of the Cahuenga Pass. Angry California rancheros led by Juan de Alvarado and Pio Pico clashed with the Mexican territorial governor Miguel de Micheltorena. The only casualty was a mule. Alvarado later become governor himself.

1839- The City of Washington DC outlawed dueling.

1862- Abraham Lincoln's youngest son Willie died of bilious fever in the White House. Today some theorize he died of cholera from drinking the swampy water of Washington.

1918- The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Lenin and the Bolsheviks had promised an end of Russia’s part in World War I. Its continuation had doomed the representative government of Alexander Kerensky after Tsar Nicholas was overthrown. Now Lenin decided to end the war at any cost. The Germans demanded huge parts of Poland and Ukraine as compensation. Since the Bolsheviks had demobilized the Russian Army, Lenin had to give it all away. He was gambling that the allies would win eventually. He also planned setting up Communist Party cells in Germany that he hoped would overthrow the Kaiser. The Kaiser was defeated and toppled, and Russia did get back all her lost territory.

1925- Willis O’Brien’s silent movie The Lost World premiered. Based on Conan-Doyles 1912 novel. The stop motion animation of dinosaurs and exploding volcanoes issued in a new era of special effects films. O'Brien later did King Kong and trained kids like Ray Harryhausen.

1933-"WE’VE HIRED HITLER!" German chancellor Adolf Hitler had a secret meeting with Germany's corporate leaders: Krupp, I.G. Faben, Seimans, Bayer, GAF, BASF, Daimler-Benz. He made a deal that if they financed his Nazi government, he would destroy the labor unions and communists, re-arm the nation, and suspend the eight hour workday. The quote is by Gottfried Krupp after their meeting.
Most of the German corporate CEO's survived the war and became leaders in the postwar anti-Communist world.

1936- The film “Follow the Fleet” premiered, with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

1939- The American Nazi Party held their largest rally in Madison Square Garden in New York City. 20,000 Americans goose-stepped and Sieg-Heiled under a huge portrait of George Washington, while angry anti-Fascist and Jewish groups protested outside. By 1941 most of the German American Bund dissolved. During the war 10,000 German Americans were interned along with the Japanese and Italians. Fritz Kuhn, the organizer of the rally was jailed for embezzling his organizations funds. He was deported to Germany in 1946.

1947- In a lecture to the London Mathematical Society, Computer pioneer Alan Turing said the best way to test the intelligence of a computer would be to teach it to play chess. Earliest reference to interactive gaming.

1962- "God Go with You, John Glenn!" Mercury -7 sends the first American into orbit.
His first words upon emerging from the space capsule were:” It was hot in there.” Glenn later became a Democratic senator and in his 70’s went into space a second time on a space shuttle in 1998. John Glenn was a combat Marine pilot, test pilot and astronaut but even he sometimes got the willies.
In 1968 while traveling with the Robert Kennedy for President entourage their chartered plane hit turbulence. Bobby Kennedy undid his seat belt, stood up and said to the cabin “ I have an announcement- Colonel Glenn- is scared!”

1980- Bon Scott, vocalist for the band AC/DC, was found dead in a friend’s automobile choked in his own vomit.

1986- The Soviets launch the first permanent orbiting space station, Mir, which means Peace. After a long career in which 7 US astronauts among many others spent time there in 2001 it finally burned up in re-entry. The International Space Station went up shortly after.

1986- Britain and France announced the project Napoleon had dreamed of 200 years earlier, a tunnel under the English Channel – the Chunnel.

1997- Chinese Chairman Deng Zhao Peng died at 92. Nicknamed Little Bottles, he was the last leader from Mao Zedong’s original Long March days.

2005- First episode of Seth Green’s Robot Chicken premiered on TV.

2006- The animated film Wallace & Gromet: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, won the British Academy Award (BAFTA) for the best British Film of the year. It beat out the Constant Gardner, and Pride & Prejudice.
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Yesterday’s Question: Quiz: News outlets keep referring to Pres. Biden’s first 100 dates. What is the significance of the 100 days and who started it?

Answer: Because of the terrible conditions of the Great Depression, in 1933 newly elected President Franklin Roosevelt set the tradition by hitting the ground running. Roosevelt approved, and, in two cases, created, 13 programs that were designed to prevent Americans from starving, assist businesses and farmers, and regulate the banking industry. (Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps and the March of Dimes.)
The FDIC is one of the two original Hundred Days programs left. The other is the Tennessee Valley Authority. The Glass-Steagall Act, which prohibited banks from speculating in stocks, was repealed by Bill Clinton in 1996 and led to abuses that were the direct cause of the crash of 2008. (just like in 1929). Franklin D. Roosevelt's first 100 days is the standard by which all later Presidents have been judged. (Thanks Nancy)


Feb. 19, 2021
February 19th, 2021

Quiz: News outlets keep referring to Pres. Biden’s first 100 dates. What is the significance of the 100 days and who started it?

Yesterdays’ question answered below: What does it mean to riposte?
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HISTORY FOR 2/19/2021
Birthdays: Copernicus is 1542, Luigi Boccherini, Smokey Robinson, Andre Breton, Lee Marvin, Sir Cedric Hardwicke. Karen Silkwood, Paul Terry, Paul Krause, Merl Oberon, Amy Tam, John Frankenheimer, Jeff Daniels, Benicio Del Toro is 55

Today is the Feast of Saint Wulfstan of Worchester.

197AD- General Septimius Severus of the African Legions had seized control of the Roman Empire was declared emperor. This day he defeated his last rival, Albinus, the commander of the legions of Gaul. He left Albinus’ dead body in front of his headquarters, where for fun he trampled it repeatedly with his horse. Albinus‘ corpse continued to lay around for days, being torn by dogs and vermin. Finally it stank so badly, it was dumped into a nearby stream.

1600- The monk Giordano Bruno was one of the first modern skeptics. He raged against superstition, and denied there was any such thing as Hell or Purgatory. But his chief crime was his expansion on the Copernican Theory. He said that not only is the Earth revolving around the sun, but that the Universe is Infinite and unfathomable. That God should not be belittled, being focused on one little people, on one little rock. He is an Infinite Presence ruling over countless worlds. This day in Rome, Giordano Bruno was stripped naked and burned at the stake, with a iron nail hammered through his tongue and his writings chained to his chest. Later thinkers like Galileo and Descartes kept Bruno’s fate in mind when they went too far in bucking Holy Mother Church.

1674- The Second Treaty of Breda settled the Third Dutch War with England. As part of the settlement, Holland gave up any chance of getting back her colonies in North America, now renamed by the English New York and New Jersey. Truth be told they weren’t bringing in much income anyway. They were considered of little value.

1725- The first recorded case of spontaneous combustion.

1736- Georg Frederich Handel’s oratorio Alexander’s Feast premiered at Covent Garden.

1807- AARON BURR, former vice president of the U.S, is arrested in Alabama territory for treason. Napoleon's attack on Spain put the Spanish Americas in confusion. Mexico declared her independence, the U.S. occupied West Florida (Alabama) and James Madison thought we should also take Cuba. Aaron Burr was organizing a freelance military expedition (called a filibuster) to take Texas away from Spain, but President Tom Jefferson suspected him of more sinister purposes. In this age of Napoleonic adventurers a frustrated ambition like Burr's might be thinking of taking over New Orleans (only American for 3 years) or even a march on Washington City!

Burr was put on trial but nothing could be proven. The state's chief witness General James Wilkinson was taken apart on the stand as a consummate liar - Chief Justice John Marshal tried to subpoena the President, but Jefferson invented the concept of "Executive Privilege, saying a president can't be put under oath. So, Marshal had no alternative but to acquit Burr. Tom Jefferson in a rage tried to have Burr's defense attorney jailed and the Chief Justice impeached- Justice Marshal was Jefferson's cousin. But Burr got away. He lived in Paris for a while, and when he died at 81 he was being sued by a woman for getting her pregnant.

1847-“ ARE YOU FROM CALIFORNIA OR ARE YOU FROM HEAVEN?” The Donner Party found at last. The wagon train of settlers had been trapped in the High Sierra mountains of California near Lake Truckee in blizzard conditions with no food since last October 31st. Half the settlers were dead and the rest subsisting on cannibalizing the dead for food. This day a survivor named John Reed who got to safety returned with a rescue party from Sutter’s Fort. Of the 89 original settlers only 45 made it out alive. One opened a restaurant.

1878- Thomas Edison patented the phonograph.

1913- Crackerjacks start putting toy prizes in every box. Legend has it the name Crackerjack for the caramel corn was named for the reaction of Teddy Roosevelt trying it for the first time- These caramel-corns are Crackerjack!

1915- Grand Admiral von Tirpitz told German newspapers that his strategy to win the Great War was to use his submarine u-boats to blockade Britain and prevent food, fuel and supplies entering from the outside world.

1915- L.A. Times publisher and land baron Harry Chandler was indicted with 8 other prominent Angeleanos for conspiring to start a new revolution in Mexico. The Mexican government had seized their large land holdings there for land redistribution, and this was their quaint little way of getting them back.

1920- THE MYSTERY OF ANASTASIA- This day came the first news reports that a emotionally disturbed young woman who tried to jump into a Berlin canal claimed to be the Archduchess Anastasia Romanov, youngest daughter of the Czar of Russia. That she somehow escaped the 1918 massacre of her family and tried to prove it by recalling minute details about the Imperial household. She was called Anna Anderson and was the toast of New York and Parisian society for awhile. But unlike the movies, the Romanov family in exile never took her seriously and Anna eventually married and settled down. In 1991 extensive attempts to match her DNA with the Romanovs proved she was not the little archduchess.

1942- Japanese planes bombed the Australian Port of Darwin, Australians braced for an invasion. In the beginning of the war, Australia had sent all her manpower to Europe to help mother England, figuring the U.S. Navy could handle anything in Asia. Now the U.S. Navy was sunk or on the run, the Japanese were massing for invasion while the Australian army was on the other side of the world in North Africa and Europe.
When the Australian prime minister asked Churchill for his divisions back to defend the homeland, Churchill refused, saying he couldn't spare them. In the end the Japanese never did invade, and relations between Aussies and Brits have been dodgy ever since.

1942- PRESIDENT FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT signed Executive Order# 9066- The JAPANESE INTERNMENT ACT- All along the Pacific Coast first and second generation Japanese-Americans were uprooted from their homes and property and with what only they could carry were shipped off to camps in the desert. Few Japanese-Americans were interned in Hawaii however, because it would have seriously depleted the population. Many got no restitution for their lost property.
. Although the F.B.I. kept tabs on German and Italian agents in U.S. and pro-Fascist groups like the American Bund flourished in the 30’s, nothing like what happened to Japanese Americans occurred to them. Less than 10,000 Germans were rounded up as compared to over 100,000 Japanese-Americans. Canada and Mexico also interned some of their Japanese immigrant population.

1943- Battle of Kasserine Pass ended. Rommel the Desert Fox showed he had a few tricks left, beating up the American army in its debut, and embarrassing Eisenhower's first combat command. He lured the Yanks into a narrow pass and chopped them up. It was the only time in the European war that American G.I.s broke and ran.

1945- THE INVASION of IWO JIMA-The nine mile square bit of barren beach cost over 50,000 lives. This island and Okinawa were the test cases to judge how fiercely the Japanese would fight for mainland Japan. Iwo Jima was the first island that wasn't conquered territory of some other people but was considered part of the home Japanese Islands, only 700 miles from Tokyo.

1944- Writer John Steinbeck asked that his name be taken off of the credits for the Alfred Hitchcock film version of “Lifeboat”. “In view of the fact that my script for the picture was distorted in production.”

1945- While Allied armies crossed into Germany on all sides, Nazi S.S. leader Heinrich Himmler contacted the neutral Swedish diplomat Count Bernadotte to try and open secret peace talks behind Hitler's back. Bernadotte asked as a condition that all concentration camps in the Reich be turned over to the International Red Cross. Himmler balked at that, but agreed to allow food packages to be delivered to Nordic prisoners. When Hitler found out Himmler was trying to cut his own deal, he was extremely upset. Himmler was under house arrest at the end of the war.

1951-Poet philosopher Andre Gide died in Paris. Several things were quoted as his last words, my favorite is " Before you quote me, please make sure I'm conscious."

1954- The prototype Ford Thunderbird auto completed.

1960- Bill Keane's "Family Circus" cartoon strip debuts.

1963- The book The Feminine Mystique was published. Betty Freidan’s analysis of contemporary women’s issues is considered the first shot of the modern Women’s Movement.

1968- “ It’s a beautiful day in the Neighborhood…” Mister Roger’s Neighborhood debuted on National Education Television, later called PBS. Ordained Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers had been doing children’s shows similar in Pittsburgh and Canada since the 50’s, but today was the start of his national show. It would run unchanged for thirty-five years.

1995- Shapely actress Pamela Anderson married rocker Tommy Lee. On their honeymoon they shot an explicit sex tape on Lake Powell, that leaked onto the internet, becoming the first viral video. By 2000, one sixth of everything viewed on the world-wide web was about Pamela Anderson.

1990- ILM VFX artist John Knoll helped his brother grad student Tom Knoll create a surfacing and paint system for home computer use. Adobe bought it, and this day released it as Photoshop.
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Yesterdays’ question: What does it mean to riposte?

Answer: In fencing, when you block your opponent’s thrust, a return thrust is called a riposte. It has come to mean any retaliation.


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