July 27, 2015
July 27th, 2015

Quiz: In honor of Bugs Bunny's 75th Birthday. We know Bugs was named for character designer Bugs Hardaway. But where did Benjamin Hardaway get that name?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: What was the Chautauqua Movement?
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History for 7/27/2015
Birthdays: Confucius, Alexander Dumas fils, Enrique Granados, Hillaire Belloc, Norman Lear, Maureen McGovern, Keenan Wynn, Leo Durocher, Peggy Fleming, Bobby Gentry, Jerry Van Dyke, Vincent Canby, Betty Thomas, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Ilya Salkind, David Swift –director of the Haley Mills Disney films like The Parent Trap, Maya Rudolph is 43, Jonathan Rhys Meyers is 38.

1214- THE BATTLE OF BOUVINES-England loses her lands on continental Europe.
Ever since 1066 there was a technically sticky point of medieval etiquette, because the King of England was also Duke of Normandy, thereby a vassal of the King of France. For years nobody pushed the question.
Finally paranoid English King John Lackland had his boy nephew Arthur of Brittany castrated and then killed for fear he would try and overthrow him. King Phillip of France convened a Feudal grand jury over the murder and as his Feudal Suzerain formally stripped King John of Aquitaine, Gascony, Poitou, Brittany, Vexin, Anjou and hereditary Normandy, the so-called "Angevin Empire". King John naturally didn't go along with this and the issue was decided by battle. After the battle King Phillip was called Phillip Augustus, King John's nickname was changed from John Lack-land to John Softsword.

The French victory doubled the size of France and cut England off from the continent of Europe. Although the English tried several more times to get back Normandy, England went on to develop her own unique society, instead of being a Norman adjunct. King John even grew to prefer speaking English over French!

1586- Sir Walter Raleigh brought the first tobacco pipe home to England from America.
Columbus had of course brought cigars and other duty-free home years earlier but tobacco was one of the goodies that kept England interested in American colonies after everyone realized there weren’t any more gold-rich Aztec-Inca Empires to plunder. King James I called smoking a filthy and unhealthful habit, but Raleigh persisted. He even paused for a few last puffs before putting his head on the executioners block.

1661- England passes the Navigation Act, spurring shipbuilding, especially in the U.S colonies. The masts of the British Navy were harvested from tall New Hampshire oaks.

1667- At Sulzbach near Baden a lucky cannonball killed Marshal Turenne, general of Louis XIV. Turenne was one of the most brilliant commanders of the age and idolized by military strategists like Napoleon.

1861- One week after losing the Battle of Bull Run, Union Army commander Irwin MacDowell was replaced by General George B. McClellan. “Little Mac” McClellan was a brilliant organizer with a Napoleon complex a mile wide. He once kept President Lincoln and the Secretary of War cooling their heels for hours in his drawing room while he took a nap. Never able to defeat Robert E. Lee, he would persist in writing friends letters like “Once Again God has chosen me to be the savior of My Country.”

1880-BATTLE OF MAIWAND: The Afghan leader Ayub Khan's tribesmen destroy a British invasion force. Dr. Watson told Sherlock Holmes he was there . One of the heroes of the battle was a little terrier named Bobbie who was a regimental mascot and was wounded several times. He was brought to London and received a medal from Queen Victoria, but was later run over by a London taxi.

1900- HUNS-In Bremerhaven, Kaiser Wilhelm II addressed a contingent of German marines about to embark to go to China to help in the international effort to put down the Boxer Rebellion. Caught up in the moment, Wilhelm said: "Take no prisoners! Kill all those who fall into your hands! As the deeds of the Huns of Attila resound through history for their ruthlessness, so like the Huns, make the name of Germany live in Chinese annals for a thousand years!"
An embarrassed chancellor Von Bulow called it "The worst speech of the year and possibly of the Kaiser's career." He tried to release an edited version to the press but someone leaked the full text. When the Kaiser read the edited speech, he said: My dear Bulow. You left out all the good parts." Germans got the nickname Huns for years afterwards.

1914-Austria declared war on Serbia. The first declaration of World War I.

1921- Two Toronto scientists, Frederick Banting and Charles Best isolate the hormone Insulin to treat diabetes.

1921- SHAKESPEARE & CO. opens in Paris. The English language bookshop on the Seine owned by Sylvia Beach was the most famous hangout for the U.S. expatriate intellectuals. Shakespeare & Co. championed writers like James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, Carlos Santayanna, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Sherwood Anderson and more. After the Nazi occupation the shop was liberated personally by Ernest Hemingway who shot snipers off its roof. After paying his respects to Sylvia, Hemingway and his G.I. buddies went on to liberate the Ritz hotel and it's famous wine cellar.

1937- The invading Japanese Army enters Beijing, then called Peiping, the former Peking. Most of the art treasures of the old Imperial City had been crated up and moved to Taipei.

1939- Nazi High Command gave secret orders for German supply ships to put to sea, fill up on supplies like fuel oil at neutral harbors in the Americas and take their positions in the Atlantic. In effect, this is the first hostile move against Britain, four and a half weeks before the attack on Poland and the declaration of war.

1940- HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUGS BUNNY. Tex Avery’s short-"A Wild Hare”-There were several earlier prototypes of the famous rabbit, white with a different voice, but this is the short that launched his career. Bugs says “Whats Up Doc?” for the first time, co-opting a line uttered by Clark Gable while chewing a carrot in the 1934 Frank Capra film “It Happened One Night”. Interestingly, voice actor Mel Blanc was allergic to carrots, and kept a bucket nearby to spit them out after chewing.

1946- Writer Gertrude Stein died. Her last words to Alice B. Toklas were:" What is the Answer?" When Alice said nothing, Gertrude said:" Well then, What's the Question?"

1953- THE KOREAN WAR ENDS- The Treaty of Panmunjom. After 170,000 Americans casualties and millions of Koreans & Chinese killed, the treaty fixed the border basically where it was when the war started in 1950. The South Korean Government was outraged and considered it a betrayal, because it acknowledged the permanent breakup of Korea in to two parts. South Koreans weren’t even allowed at the negotiating table. But America and China were tired of the endless death and stalemate and wanted out.
Before the treaty went into effect, South Korean President Sygmun Ree opened all POW camps and let all the North Korean troops who didn’t want to return home, run free. South Korea never signed the treaty so is still technically at war with the North.

1953- The Tonight Show debuted on NBC. It's first host was Steve Allen.

1965- The U.S. Government forces cigarette companies to print warning labels on the their packages about the hazards of smoking.

1977- John Lennon got his green card. Richard Nixon considered him a dangerous radical. Several times he was under 60 day notice to leave the country.

1986- Gregg Lemond became the first American to win the Tour de France bicycle race.

1993- IBM announced it would eliminate 35,000 white-collar jobs. Downsizing becomes a popular sport in corporate America. The more workers laid off, the higher your stock rose. The chairman of General Electric Jack Welch, was nicknamed “Neutron Jack” after the neutron bomb that kills off people but leaves buildings intact. He wrote op-eds in the NY Times defending his practice of outsourcing jobs.

1996- A bomb packed with nails goes off during Olympic celebrations in Atlanta Georgia. One woman was killed and dozens injured. While hunting the bomber, the media decided to focus on an overweight security guard named Richard Jewel. Ironically Jewell was the one who first alerted police to the suspicious package, and tried to evacuate the area, otherwise more people would have been killed. After weeks of merciless hounding by the press, the FBI declared Jewel completely innocent. In 2003 the police finally caught the real culprit, abortion clinic bomber and backwoods fruitcake Eric Rudolph.

2007- The Simpson’s Movie debuted.
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Yesterday’s Question: What was the Chautauqua Movement?

Answer: In 1874 a reverend John Heyl Vincent began an adult education program at a summer camp at Lake Chautauqua NY. To reach out to isolated, rural people and bring them culture, lectures, and concerts. The Chautauqua Movement spread nationwide in open-air tents every summer. Chautauqua died out in the 1920s with the advent of radio and more of the lectures transitioned into Pentecostal evangelism.


July 26, 2015
July 26th, 2015

Question: What was the Chautauqua Movement?

Dying is not hard. Comedy is hard.”
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History for 7/26/2015
Birthdays: Salvador Allende, Serge Koussevitsky, George Bernard Shaw, Gracie Allen,
Carl Jung, Stanley Kubrick, Blake Edwards, George Grosz, Pearl Buck, Jason Robards Jr, Aldous Huxley, Jean Shepard, Vivian Vance, Emil Jannings, Sandra Bullock is 51, Kevin Spacey is 54, Kate Beckinsdale, Mick Jagger is 72

1533- Athawuallpa, Emperor of the Incas, was executed by Francisco Pizzarro. The Great Inca was captured by ambush at Cajamarca and forced to fill a large room with gold and two of silver to get his release. This was accomplished, but Pizzarro decided to kill him anyway. Athawallpa accepted baptism out of fear of being burned alive, the Inca mummified their kings and carried their remains around like saints relics, being burned denied you access into the next world. So he was garroted-strangled with a twisting stick behind the rope. The Spaniards then burned his body anyway.

The Inca didn't completely submit but withdrew deeper into the Andes and fought on for 70 more years. Pizzarro became first governor of Peru and lived in Lima where he was run through with a sword during a feud with another Spanish noble family.

1656– Rembrandt van Rijn declared bankruptcy.

1694- The Bank of England opened on London's Threadneedle Street. It issued the first bank checks.

1757- Battle of Hastenbeck- The Duke of Cumberland, the bastard son of King George II who had defeated Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden, took over a Hanoverian army in the Netherlands. The British general was so badly beaten that he signed a treaty of his own at Klosterzeven with the French pledging not to militarily intervene anymore in Central Europe and even giving up Hanover, King George’s family home. In London Prime Minister Pitt called Cumberland “a Coward and Traitor!”

1758- Admiral Boscowen’s fleet with the aid of New England militia captured the French fortress of Louisbourg on the mouth of the Saint Lawrence, This was the first step in the British conquest of Canada.

1775- U.S. Postal System begins. Ben Franklin as first postmaster general. The year before Franklin had been fired by the Kings Privy Council in London from his post as postmaster of the Colonies. Interesting enough the only time a US postal system ever operated at a profit was the Confederate Postal System ran by a man named John Regan.

1781- During the Revolution, James Armistead was a runaway black slave who served British Lord Cornwallis as a cook. He was also a spy planted by Lafayette. Today he brought news to George Washington that Lord Cornwallis was fortifying his encampment at Yorktown and intended to stay put. His information was vital in the victory.

1790- The Funding Bill passed in Congress that was the first step in the master plan of Alexander Hamilton to start the US economy. He struck a deal with states rights politicians like Thomas Jefferson that allowed the US government to assume all the outstanding debts the individual states accrued during the Revolution. This act bound all the loose knit states more firmly under the Federal Government’s leadership. In return Hamilton proposed moving the site of the American Capitol from Philadelphia to a more southern site, like some area in Maryland near George Washington’s Virginia home.

This site for the federal City would eventually be Washington DC. Of course all of this create a huge federal budget deficit, but in Hamilton’s thinking big deficits were good for a country, they implied solidity.

1815- THE WHITE TERROR- It was said after the French Revolution that the Royal Bourbon family had learned nothing but remembered everything. After the Battle of Waterloo smashed Napoleon's power forever, restored King Louis XVIII issued his Royal Ordinances, lists of Bonaparte supporters to be arrested. Some like Marshal Ney and General Labedouyere were shot, some jailed, Marshal Brune was lynched, most fled into exile in America where Napoleon’s brother Joseph had resettled the Bonaparte family in Philadelphia.

Others fled to New Orleans where for years they defiantly waved the Tricolor flag at arriving French merchant ships. When Andrew Jackson fought British troops at New Orleans over the roar of the guns French volunteers sang Le Marseillaise at the bagpiping Highlanders, A group of Napoleon’s veterans tried to found a colony on an island off Galveston Texas, but were driven away by a hurricane. One of the exiles hanging around Philadelphia, a 16 year old draftee named Michel Bouvier was the ancestor of Jackie Kennedy.

1822- The Liberators meet. Simon Bolivar confers with Jose San Martin
at Guayaqui, Equador.

1826- School teacher Cayetano Ripoll became the last person executed for heresy by the Spanish Inquisition, which had been raging since 1492. Napoleon had suspended their activities when he occupied the country in 1808, but they restarted after he left.

1835 - 1st sugar cane plantation started in Hawaii.

1847- The Republic of Liberia was declared, the first democratic republic in Africa. Joseph Jenkins-Roberts elected first president. When the US government finally outlawed the African slave trade in 1825 one problem was what to do with all the boatloads of slaves still at sea completing the Middle Passage and all the unsold slaves in harbor depots? It was decided to send all these people to a specific beach on the West African Coast. The freed slaves called themselves Liberia and named their capitol Monrovia in honor of James Monroe, who was US president at the time of their liberation.

1861- Mark Twain left St. Jo Missouri to go west and sit out the Civil War. He went with his brother Oren Clemens who had been appointed to administer the Nevada territory.

1887 - 1st Esperanto book published.

1903 –FIRST TRANSCONTINENTAL AUTO TRIP- Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson, mechanic Sewell J. Crocker and Bud the Wonderdog in their Winton Touring Car rode into New York City, having left San Francisco sixty-three days before. They are the first to cross the United States by automobile. They did it to win a $50 bet that you could cross the country by auto in 90 days. Jackson won the bet but spent $8,000 of his own money to do it. He was hailed as the Great Automobilist and his car was put on display bedecked with flags.

1917- The last two-horse street car made it’s final run down Broadway. There were now more automobiles than horses on the streets of American cities.

1918- During WWI, at a testimonial dinner in London, U.S. UnderSecretary of the Navy Franklin Roosevelt first met First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. The friendship made there would mean a lot when they fought a future war together.

1925- Exhausted by his verbal battle with Clarence Darrow in the just concluded Scopes Monkey Trial, famed statesman William Jennings Bryan died in his sleep.

1926 - National Bar Association incorporates.

1941- Angered by Japan's refusal to stop it's invasion of China and now Indochina, President Roosevelt orders Japan's overseas assets frozen and embargoes oil and steel.
Since the U.S. was then the world's leading producer of oil and steel this meant Japan's imports were cut by 90% and her industry would soon dry up. Japan had a strategic oil reserve that could last only three years. FDR also closed the Panama Canal to all Japanese shipping. The generals in Japan now felt war with America was inevitable.

1945-The Potsdam Declaration-Truman and Churchill call upon Japan one more time to surrender unconditionally. All the leaders now knew about the Atomic Bomb- including Stalin, who had been told by an American spy Klaus Fuchs. With a tentative schedule of dropping it the first week of August, they wanted to give Japan one more chance. The Japanese cabinet decided to ignore the Potsdam Declaration, and hope to use a diplomatic route to Stalin to force negotiations. They were unaware that Stalin was planning to attack Japan also.

1945- While the Big Three Potsdam conferences were going on, at home a British general election turned Winston Churchill out of office. He had to embarrassingly leave the conference and was superceded by Labor candidate Clement Atlee, who assumed a junior role in the talks. Churchill used to refer to Atlee as “a sheep in sheep’s clothing”

1947- HAPPY BIRTHDAY CIA! Pres. Truman signs the National Security Act, creating the CIA, the NSC, The Joint Chiefs and all those other groups that draw unscrutinised federal budgets.

1948- President Truman issues Exec Order # 9981 to the U.S. military to ban segregation. At the time the US Army was more segregated than it had been in 1865 or 1776.
(What's this with Truman and July 26th?)

1951- Charlie Chaplin driven into exile by red-baiters. He was on a holiday to Britain when he learned his visa had been revoked by the U.S. government. He didn't return until 1972. Despite his immense achievements in Hollywood History, when the Hollywood Walk of Fame was dedicated later that year, Chaplin’s name was deliberately excluded.

1952- Evita Peron the beautiful First Lady of Argentina died at age 33.

1953- Fulgensio Batista had suppressed the evolution of democracy in Cuba and ruled as a dictator. This day a 25 year old lawyer and part time left handed baseball pitcher named Fidel Castro with a few followers tried to start a revolt by raiding the impregnable Morcado Barracks. The pathetic assault was immediately crushed and the survivors including Castro jailed. But the event was seen by the people and the world that Cubans would not submit quietly. When Castro was released in 1956 and started his more organized guerrilla campaign he called his group the July 26th Movement.

1956- The Suez Crisis. Egypt's Gamal Nasser, on the anniversary of the exit of King Farouk I (1952) and the declaration of the Republic, nationalized the Suez Canal, which had been run by an Anglo-French cooperative. Britain, France and Israel invaded Egypt but the war was stopped by the intervention of the US and USSR.

1958- Top US test pilot Ivan Kinchilo was killed in a plane crash. His F-104 malfunctioned only 800 feet off the ground and he ejected, but couldn’t prevent his parachute from delivering him into the fireball of wreckage. Kinchilo has been called the First Spaceman, since in 1956 piloted a Bell-X test plane to the edge of the stratosphere. A friend of Neil Armstrong and the Gemini astronauts, many say had Kinchilo lived he would have been an important figure in the NASA Space Program.

1959- KPFK , Los Angeles lefty alternative radio of the Pacifica Network, starts up.

1979- Alvin Texas recorded 43 inches of rain in one day.

1984- Edward Gein died peacefully in a prison for the criminally insane. Gein was arrested in 1957 and sentenced to life for mass murder. Police found his farm in Wisconsin decorated with human body parts and heads in the freezer and in the stove, and the dried cadaver of his mother. His story inspired "Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Silence of the Lambs".

1991 – Children’s comic Paul Reubens aka Pee Wee Herman was arrested in Florida for masturbating in an adult movie theater. The film was Naughty Nurse Nancy.

1995- After a year of investigation the General Accounting Office noted that all documents pertaining to the Rosswell UFO Incident of 1947 had disappeared or been destroyed. …Hmmm.
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Yesterday’s Question answered below: Who first said “ Dying is not hard. Comedy is hard.”…..?

Answer: In 1833, great English actor Edmund Kean had a stroke on stage while doing Othello. His last words were when a friend asked “ Is it hard to die?” Kean replied “ Dying is not hard. Comedy is hard.”


July 24, 2015
July 24th, 2015

Question: Who first said “ Dying is not hard. Comedy is hard.”…..?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: What does it mean to be “ born to the purple.”…?
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History for 7/24/2015
Birthdays: Simon Bolivar, Amelia Earhart, Alexander Dumas fils, Ambrose Bierce, Robert Graves, Pat Oliphant, Bela Abzug, Zelda Fitzgerald, Ruth Buzzi, Lynda Carter, Chief Dan George, Robert Hays, Gus Van Sant, Anna Paquin, Michael Richards, J-Lo Jennifer Lopez is 45

634 A.D. Accession of Omar as the third Caliph after Mohammed. This event caused the great split in the Moslem world. After the death of the Prophet his first successor was his best friend and companion during the Hijrah, Abu Bakir. But after his death the unrelated general and second best friend supporter Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, nicknamed "the Just" was nominated successor.

Mohammed's daughter Fatima and son-in-law and cousin Ali Ibn-Abu Taleb split off with their followers. After the death of Ali and his two sons Hassan and Hussein their group under the third Fatimid Caliph, Osman Ibn-'Affan became the Shiite sect of Islam while the main branch under Omar became the Sunnite.

The rivalry is similar to the Protestant-Catholic split in Western Christendom.

1567- Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned by the Scots and forced to abdicate her throne to her 1-year-old son James VI. Mary was raised in exile at the French court and her autocratic French ways and Catholic religion didn’t sit well with the Presbyterian Scots lords and their chaplain John Knox. So as soon as the succession was secure with a baby Mary was bundled off to prison and later turned over to Elizabeth of England for execution.

1568- Don Carlos was the eldest son of King Phillip II of Spain, the most powerful monarch in the world at the time. But Carlos and his dad didn’t get along, it all started when the King Phillip decided to marry the 16 year old bride Margaret of France, originally intended for Carlos. When Carlos showed signs of mental instability, he decided to take the side of Dutch rebels and made noises like he wanted to overthrow his father. Phillip had him imprisoned. He died of dysentery after fasting three days then gorging on meat and ice water, but many in Europe accused his father of poisoning him.

1656- Jewish philosopher Benedict Spinoza was excommunicated by the Rabbis of the Portuguese Synagogue in the Hague. His radical ideas of God made Jews, Catholics, Protestants and even some other humanists attack him, but his ideas formed the basis for modern rationalist philosophy. A German writer called Spinoza “Der Gott bedrunken Mensch” The Man Drunk on God. Albert Einstein, Kant, Goethe and Voltaire were all inspired by the philosophy of Spinoza.

1701- HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOTOWN!- After paddling in birchbark canoes 49 days from Quebec, French explorer Antoine de al Mothe-Cadillac and several families found the City of Detroit.

1758 – Mr. George Washington Esq., admitted to the Virginia House of Burgess.

1784- On his way home from France after the American Revolution, Dr Benjamin Franklin stopped on the British Isle of Wight. While there he met his only son William Franklin, the former Royal Governor of New Jersey. While Franklin was a leading patriot William stayed loyal to Britain and suffered imprisonment and exile. The two men loathed one another, they only agreed to meet to humor grandson Temple Franklin.

After an all night conversation nothing was settled and Franklin never spoke nor wrote to him ever again. When Franklin died he wrote William out of his will. “ It’s only what he would have done to me.” Temple never recovered any salaries Congress owed Ben Franklin, but he did inherit lands in New Jersey from his Tory father.

1794-The End of the "Reign of Terror". After tens of thousands of deaths and fear rampant, a group of French politicians called the Directorate overthrow Maximillien Robespierre and have him and his Jacobin followers guillotined. Robespierre didn't go quietly, a soldier named Charles Merda shot him in the face shouting Vive la Republique!" His brother Augustin Robespierre tried to escape out a window but just succeeded in breaking his hip.

At the guillotine Robespierre’s second in command Saint-Just was defiant to the end:
" I curse the dust I'm made of! I give it to you! Scatter my bones and Republics shall spring from them!" Robespierre wasn't so eloquent on the scaffold. He just bellowed in pain from the jaw wound. A woman shouted at him:" Go to Hell, Villain, and go knowing with you go the curses and maledictions of every wife, every mother !" When his head plopped into the basket Parisians cheered and applauded for 15 minutes. Then they overthrew and smashed the fearsome guillotine.

Napoleon was careful to keep few political prisoners and if he executed any he used a firing squad. He shrank from ever using the hated guillotine. He renamed the place where the Guillotine was set up Place de la Concord.

1824- The Harrisburg Pennsylvanian published the results of the first ever US public opinion poll- a clear lead for Andrew Jackson for president.

1832- French immigrant Benjamin Booneville led the first wagon train across the Rocky Mountains in Southern Wyoming. Booneville was a US Army captain who answered personally to President Jackson. Many believed he used the wagon train as an opportunity to assess British power in the Northwest.

1847- The Mormons reach the Great Salt Lake. After trekking 1500 miles for17 months since Illinois, leader Brigham Young said :"Enough. This is the place.'

1847 - Rotary-type printing press patents by Richard March Hoe, NYC.

1901- William Porter, also known as O. Henry, was released from jail after doing time for embezzlement. While in jail he found he had a talent for writing.

1923- Treaty of Lausanne - The western powers end the Greek-Turkish War and confirm the Turkish Republic's borders from the old Ottoman Empire. The Turks keep Anatolia and their Aegean coastline, The French Syria, The Greeks the Ionian islands, the British Palestine, the Bolshevik Russians get Yerevan, and the Armenians and Kurds get nothing.

1934- Cecil B. DeMille’s epic film Cleopatra premiered. It starred Claudette Colbert wearing skimpy metal lingerie that Lady Gaga could envy.

1938 - Instant coffee invented.

1948-HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARVIN THE MARTIAN- Warner's "Haredevil Hare" featuring the first Marvin the Martian.

1965- Bob Dylan released the song “Like a Rolling Stone”.

1966- Actor Montgomery Clift died at age 45.

1967-VIVE QUEBEC LIBRE. French President Charles DeGaulle was on a state visit to Canada. While giving an address to a huge crowd of in Quebec City he uses the same words he used in 1940 to call for French freedom from Nazi tyranny to announce his tacit support of French Canadian independence: “Vive Le France, Vive Quebec, Vive Quebeque Libre!” Long Live Free Quebec.
The Ottawa government cut short the remainder of his trip and packed him off back to Paris. But his words set the province aflame. All the separatist sentiment dividing Canada for next two decades-national referendums, the Meech Lake accords, the FLQ conspiracy and the Quebec Separatist movement, can trace their beginnings to those three words said on that day.

1969- After successfully landing on the moon and returning to Earth, Apollo 11 safely splashed down in the ocean.

1980- In London’s Dorchester Hotel, comedian and actor Peter Sellers died of a heart attack. He was 54.

1983-George Brett of the Kansas City Royals had a second homerun he hit nullified after Yankee manager Billy Martin complains he had too much pine tar on his bat.

1985- Walt Disney's "The Black Cauldron" premiered.

1998- Russell Weston was a schizophrenic who believed Navy Seals were hiding in his cornfield. He had shot his mothers twenty five cats because they had fleas. This day he went to Washington and tried to shoot his way into the US Congress, He killed two security guards before he was brought down in a hail of bullets. I wonder if the Congress was debating gun control at the time?

2002- Only once since the Civil War had a U.S. Congressman been officially expelled. Today the House of Representatives voted 420 to 1 to expel Congressman James Trafficante for his conviction on Bribery and extortion charges, and having the worst haircut on Capitol Hill.

2005- American Lance Armstrong won the Tour du France bicycle race for an unprecedented 7th time, even after surviving testicular cancer that had spread to his spine and brain. Steroids or not, it was still one hell of an achievement. After he confessed to juicing, his medals were taken away.
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Yesterday’s Question: What does it mean to be “ born to the purple.”…?

Answer: In the late Roman Empire, and early Byzantine Empire, status was color coordinated. Only so many people were allowed to wear red, or blue. To assume the purple, meant a direct challenge to make yourself emperor, since only him and his family wear allowed to wear it. Purple was a color derived from a rare Mediterranean squid ink, and very expensive. Children of the imperial family were called “porphyrogenetos” , to be born to the purple. Today it means someone born into wealth and status.


July 23, 2015
July 23rd, 2015

Quiz: What does it mean to be “ born to the purple.”…?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What kind of color is porphyry?
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History for 7/23/2015
Birthdays: Ethiopian Emperor Rastafari Halie Selassie "the Lion of Judah", Raymond Chandler, Raymond Booth, Don Drysdale, Gloria DeHaven, Arthur Treacher, Pee Wee Reese, Bob Fosse, Harry Cohn, Don Imus, Slash, Marlon Wayans, Monica Lewinsky, Woody Harrelson is 55, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Edie McClurg is 65, Daniel Radcliffe is 27

Today is the Ancient Roman Festival of Neptune, God of the Sea.

1599- Michel Caravaggio received his first commission for a painting.

1645- Russian Czar Michael Romanov died, founder of the Romanov dynasty.

1846- Because he did not agree with the U.S. War with Mexico, writer Henry David Thoreau refused to pay his taxes. A Concord Mass constable fined him. The event caused him to write his famous piece "On Civil Disobedience" which inspired Mahatma Ghandi Martin Luther King and Ang Syung su Chi.

1866- The Cincinnati Reds Baseball club formed. The oldest continual professional baseball team in the U.S.

1868- The 14th Amendment ratified, giving all African Americans the right to vote. It just wasn’t enforced until 1965.

1880 - 1st commercial hydroelectric power planet begins, Grand Rapids, Mich

1885- Ulysses Grant died at age 63. Despite being a great general, he was a bad politician and a worse businessman. Bankrupt after trusting speculators who swindled him, Grant saw his memoirs as the only way to save his family from his bad debts. Writing up to 50 pages a day in constant pain, he refused any painkillers to not cloud his mind. But he coated his throat daily with a mixture of salt water and cocaine. He completed the book only four days before he died. They were published by the ex-confederate Mark Twain, and became a best seller.

1886- This was the day Bowery saloonkeeper Steve Brodie claimed he jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge and lived to tell about it.

1888 - John Boyd Dunlop patents the pneumatic rubber tire.

1892- The business partner of millionaire steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie was attorney Henry Clay Frick. Frick was charged by Carnegie to resolve the union issues at his steel works while he vacationed in Europe. Frick set off the Homestead Massacre, shooting with shotguns workers and their families who protested a 20% pay cut. Frick claimed he was merely the front man for Carnegie. Carnegie goes down in history as a great philanthropist. This day a Russian immigrant named Sasha Berksman entered Frick’s office and shot him twice. Frick recovered.

1894- Japanese troops occupy the Korean Imperial Palace. Japan held Korea as a colony until 1945.

1904 – The Ice Cream Cone created by Charles E. Menches during the LA Purchase Expo.

1908 -Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid IV is deposed by a group of militant army officers demanding modern reforms called the Young Turks.

1914-The Austro-Hungarian Empire sent Serbia its final ultimatum. After their Archduke's assassination in Sarajevo by Bosnian- Serb terrorists, the Austrian government deliberately made their demands so humiliating that Serbia would have to reject it and Austria could cleanly declare war. Austria wanted to beat up the little nation it saw as encouraging revolution among the Slav parts of it's territory. But Serbia had an alliance that would bring Russia into the conflict and Austria an agreement that would bring Germany into war with Russia.
Once the Austrians got proof that the assassins were in the pay of the Serbian Secret Service, if they had simply declared war then no country would have minded. The Austrian Emperor Franz Josef said: "Russia will not step in to protect regicides." But Austria wasting weeks publicly posturing and intriguing, so Russia, Germany and France would have to get involved or lose face. The Russian ambassador said to the Austrians-" You are trying to set fire to Europe!" When German Kaiser Wilhelm read the ultimatum he said-" Spirited note, what?"

1919- At the request of his Secretary of War McAdoo President Woodrow Wilson named the recently concluded great war against Germany as the "World War." It wasn’t called World War I until in Nov 1942, when Time magazine labeled the new conflict of 1939-45 World War II. Franklin Roosevelt thought it" too depressing, like we were bound to have more."

1920- Kenya declared a crown colony of the British Empire.

1927 – Reacting to a public finally tired of the Tin Lizzy Model T and increased competition, the Ford Motor Co sells the first Model A car.

1932-The Birthday of Fritos. Texas ice cream maker Elmer Doolin buys a recipe for corn chips from a Mexican fry cook for $100 dollars and started the Frito-Lay Company.

1936- Aviator Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh arrived in Berlin to begin a state visit of Germany as the personal guests of Adolph Hitler. Lindbergh praised the German Luftwaffe as the "greatest air force in the world". Only three Americans ever got the Third Reich’s highest civilian medal- Lindbergh, Henry Ford and the Chairman of the US Chamber of Commerce.

1937 – Scientists at Yale University announced the isolation of the pituitary hormone.

1937-TENNIS DIPLOMACY- The US and Nazi Germany spent much of the late 1930’s testing their competing philosophies on sports playing fields- Democracy vs Aryan Racial Purity. First Jesse Owens at the Olympics, then prizefighters Joe Louis and Max Schmeling, this day even the semi-finals of the Davis Cup Tennis championship became another Yankees vs Nazis test.
At Wimbledon England, American Don Budge and German Baron Gottfried von Cramm played the game of their lives. Hitler had personally telephoned Von Cramm the night before and ordered him to win. Ironically von Cramm was anti-Nazi. Don Budge won after 6 nail-biting tied sets. Queen Mary was present, and Hitler was glued to his radio. At one point American tennis great Bill Tilden who had been hired to coach the German team signaled that the match was in the bag. This provoked such an angry reaction from the audience that entertainers Jack Benny and Ed Sullivan tried to climb the fence to kick Tilden’s ass. But Budge came from behind to win. Von Cramm took defeat like a gentleman but Hitler didn’t. Shortly upon his return to the fatherland, the Gestapo arrested him for homosexual activity.

1942- Fuehrer directive #45. Adolf Hitler ordered General Von Paulus in Russia to turn his Sixth Army from his drive on the oil fields of Baku and take the city of Stalingrad.

1944- To counter charges that concentration camps are bad places, the Nazis invited the International Red Cross and neutral journalists to tour a model camp called Theresinstadt. The camp was a dummy with little white picket fences and flower pots in the barracks windows. The ICRC found conditions "moderately comfortable". After the Red Cross left the inmates were all shipped off to Auschwitz.

1952- Egyptian King Farouk abdicated to a group of army officers led by General Mohammed Naikeeb and Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser. Another officer in the coup was Col. Anwar El Sadat. Britain had ruled Egypt since 1880 and after withdrawing in 1936 they continued to control Egyptian politics through the Albanian-born ruler King Farouk. It was the first time Egypt was ruled by Egyptians in 2,250 years. Gamal Nasser would make Egypt a leader in the Third World non-aligned movement, fought wars against Israel and nationalized the Suez Canal. Nassar later said: "Whenever I asked someone 'What should I do first to build the new Egypt ?" they would only advise me who I should kill!"

1966- The comedy song "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha, Ha!" released. The singer was Napoleon XIV.

1967- The city of Detroit exploded into race riots after white police raided a house party at 12th & Claremont for returned black Vietnam veterans. Forty-three died and it took 20,000 soldiers to restore order. It was the worst rioting in the city's history in a summer of race riots in other major American cities like Newark and Washington D.C.

1968- Fred Blasie won an unprecedented fifth World Wrestling Championship belt. Blasie later gained more fame for recording the comedy song "Pencil Necked Geeks" and beating up comedian Andy Kaufman in the ring for calling wrestling a hoax.

1974- The junta of military officers ruling Greece since the time of George Papadopoulos collapsed. Greece held free elections.

1982- Actor Vic Morrow and two children are killed by a stunt helicopter while filming "Twilight Zone, the movie". The last scripted line before his death was "I’ll Keep you safe kids, I swear to God!" The children were being worked into the early morning hours without a caretaker supervisor in defiance of the Coogan Laws. Director John Landis was investigated but exonerated. The only filmworker to dare to testify against Landis, the wardrobe supervisor, was blacklisted and never worked in Hollywood again.

1984- Vanessa Williams the first black Miss America, resigned after a photo spread of her in a nude lesbian scenario in Penthouse magazine. She denied any impropriety until the photos were published widely.

1986 - Britain's Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson called Fergie. They divorced later and she moved to the US and became the spokesperson for Weight Watchers.

1995- The Discovery of Comet Hale-Bop. It’s called that because it was discovered almost simultaneously by two separate astronomers-Alan Hale in New Mexico and Thomas Bop in Arizona. The comet’s passing close by the Earth was the signal for a messianic cult in San Diego called the Heaven's Gate to commit mass suicide by eating poison laced Jello chocolate pudding. They felt that suicide would enable them to join aliens flying in UFO’s flying in the comet’s tail. Media mogul Ted Turner said of the cult: "Oh well, one hundred fewer nuts in the world.."

2003-THE DOWNING STREET MEMO- British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his cabinet have a meeting about Iraq. During that meeting Blairs’ people openly discuss as fact that the George W. Bush administration had cooked the data as an excuse for their invasion. “ Their case is thin..” This while the White House was loudly declaring that war was it's last resort. When the Downing St memo was revealed in 2005, the story was quickly buried by the complacent U.S. media.

2004- Two armed men enter the Munch Museum in Norway and steal Edvard Munch’s masterpiece The Scream at gunpoint. It was recovered with some water damage in 2007.
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Yesterday’s Question: What kind of color is porphyry?

Answer: Porphyros is ancient Greek for purple. Because the stone was hard to get, it was considered quite valuable.


July 22, 2015
July 22nd, 2015

Question: What kind of color is porphyry?

Yesterday’s Quiz Answered below: What does it mean to be paid “ a Yankee Dime”..?
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History for 7/22/2015
Birthdays: Emma Lazarus, Eduard Hopper, Gregor Mendel, Alexander Calder, James Whale, Oscar De La Renta, Rose Kennedy, Stephen Vincent Benet, Jason Robards, Bob Dole, David Spade is 51, Terence Stamp is 77, Danny Glover is 69, Alex Trebek, Bobby Sherman, Don Henley, Alan Mencken, Irene Bedard, William Dafoe is 60, John Leguizamo, Selena Gomez, Albert Brooks is 68- real name Albert Einstein, a nice name but already taken.

1298- William Wallace's Scottish rebels was crushed by English King Edward Ist Longshanks at the battle of Falkirk.

1378- Viva l’Popolo! Revolt of the Ciompi- Woolworkers seize control of the Florentine
Republic. They were eventually put down. This idea of peasants fed up with the Black
Death and class oppression who rise up against their feudal masters catches on. Peasant revolts break out across Europe- in France the Jacquerie; in England, Wat the Tyner’s revolt.

1502- Amerigo Vespucci and a Portuguese expedition return from exploring the coast
of Brazil. It's popular nowadays to claim Columbus was ripped off by a German
mapmaker from the credit of discovering America, but there's more to it than
that. Columbus went to his grave believing he had discovered the outer coastline
of Asia. Vespucci, after exploring from Brazil to South Carolina was the first to
press the idea that this new coastline was not Asia, but something quite different.
A new continent.

1598- William Shakespeare lists on the Stationers Register, a sort of copyright registry, his new play The Merchant of Venice.

1657-Battle of Czarny Ostrow-Poles defeated George Rakoszy the Voivode of Hungary.

1793- THE MACKENZIE EXPEDITION- No, I’m sorry, but Louis & Clark weren’t the first white men to explore the NorthAmerican Continent to the Pacific. This day a party
of French-Canadian voyageurs and Scottish trappers led by Alexander Mackenzie reached the Georgian Straights in British Columbia ten years earlier. MacKenzie had been trying since 1789 to find the Pacific shore of Canada and stake British claims to
the great Canadian Northwest. In 1790 Mackenzie started out from Lake Athabasca
and followed a river that took him to the Arctic ocean instead of the Pacific -oops!
This time he reached the right salt water.
His 1801 book "Travels to the Pacific" was studied and debated intensively by President Thomas Jefferson and his aide Meriwhether Lewis. It is the prime reason the U.S. plans for the Lewis & Clark expedition to the Pacific were given top priority. For the first time since Christopher Columbus white settlers at last understood just how big the North American continent was. Mackenzie correctly estimated it was about three thousand miles wide.

1812- Battle of Salamanca. The Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon’s lieutenant Marshal Marmont in Spain. Wellington wrote in his report: " We have defeated 40,000
men in 40 minutes ". The battle was preceded by one of the most violent thunderstorms
anyone had ever seen. The troops were more afraid of the lightning bolts than the
cannon . The British noted that all of Wellington’s victories including Waterloo
were always preceded by a rainstorm.

1861- The day after the Battle of Bull Run the victorious Confederate army had no
serious opposition between it and Washington D.C. The Union army had panicked from
their defeat, thrown away their weapons and ran for the hills. If the Johnny Rebs
had marched the 25 miles into Washington and captured Lincoln, the Civil War would
have been over with and Bull Run would have been the American Waterloo. Instead
the Confederate generals sat down to argue amongst themselves who was to blame for
what went wrong in the battle, then a furious outbreak of measles ravaged the badly
sanitized camp. More men died from the measles than combat. The Confederacy let
slip their best chance to win the war in a few weeks instead of four bloody years.
One positive result of the panic after the battle was the Congress authorized the
creation of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Force, to supplant all previous
militias and provost guards to maintain order in the garrisoned city.

1862- EMANCIPATION- President Abraham Lincoln called a secret cabinet meeting at
The White House in the dead of night. Abe opened the session by reading jokes from
a newspaper by humorist Artemus Ward. The cabinet officers exchanged confused glances. Secretary of State William Seward found Abe’s folksy-hillbilly humor annoying. He wondered if the Old Tycoon would ever get to the point. Lincoln then shocked them
all, when he said that he intended to free the slaves by presidential proclamation. This
without the consent of Congress. Seward convinced him not do it until there was
a Union battle victory, because to do so at the then bad state of affairs would
look more like a last act of desperation. In a few weeks the Battle of Antietam
was fought, which wasn’t a great victory, but it was at least it wasn’t an embarrassing
defeat, so then the Emancipation Proclamation was announced.

1864- THE BATTLE OF ATLANTA- Confederate leader John Bell Hood attempted to break the siege of the Atlanta by William Tecumseh Sherman. At the beginning of the fight Sherman’s gifted corps commander General Dan MacPherson was killed by a sniper. MacPherson was admired by the generals of both sides. Had he lived, many predicted he would have been President. When MacPherson’s successor General John Logan asked for orders, Sherman told him "Just Fight’em. Fight them like Hell!" Hoods attempts at a break out failed.

1893 –Katharine L. Bates wrote the song "America the Beautiful," in Colorado.

1894- The first true automobile race- from Paris to Rouen.

1898- Russian revolutionary Lenin married Nadehzda Krupskaya.

1916- Anarchists set off a bomb at a Preparedness Day Parade in San Francisco. Ten
killed. Despite overwhelming evidence of their innocence, union leaders Tom Mooney and Warren Billings were convicted of murder and given life sentences. Mooney was pardoned in 1939 and Billings not until 1961! Oh, uh…sorry about your life there.

1917 –In the provisional government between the fall of the Russian Czar and the
Communist revolution A.P. Kerensky was the leading figure. This day after Prince
Lvov resigned from the government Alexander Kerensky became Russian Prime Minister
and combined it with the defense and justice ministry. He moved his offices into
the Czars palace and began virtual one man rule. It was said Kerensky was very passionate and motivational as a speaker, he just didn’t have many ideas.

1921- Artist Man Ray arrived in Paris determined to go Dada!

1933- Wiley Post completed the first solo flight around the world. The following
year Post would die in the same plane crash as writer Will Rogers.

1934- Public Enemy #1-John Dillinger was shot down by G-Man Melvin Purvis coming
out of the Biograph Theater on Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. He had just seen Clark
Gable and Myrna Loy in Manhattan Melodrama. Dillinger 's identity was betrayed
by Anna Sage, the Woman in Red, a German-Romanian prostitute who didn't want
to be deported. As they came out of the theater Purvis shouted “ STICKEM UP JOHNNIE!” Dillinger dropped into a crouch and went for his gun. Purvis blew him away. Anna Sage was deported anyway.

1945- In one of the last diplomatic notes to come out of Japan before the atomic bombing, Japan’s Foreign Minister said Japan refused any surrender terms that did keep their Emperor in absolute power.

1946-THE KING DAVID HOTEL- The British headquarters in Palestine
was situated in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. This day a terrorist bomb blew
up the hotel, killing 91 people, and maiming dozens more. It was the work of fringe Israeli guerrillas called the Stern Gang. In 1980 their leader, now Prime Minister Menachem Begin, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Egyptian Anwar Sadat, another former terrorist.

1965- Cary Grant married Dyan Cannon.

1967- Jimi Hendrix quit as opening act for the Monkees.

1977- Walt Disney’s film "The Rescuers" featuring the last work of Disney
master animator Milt Kahl.

1989- Nintendo released in America the Gameboy. Designer Gunpei Yokoi designed it and the unique cross shaped directional fingerpad to replace a joystick control. Nintendo loaded Tetris on to it and it became a worldwide phenomenon. Gunpei Yokoi was killed in a car accident outside Kyoto in 1997.

1991- Jeffrey Dahmer’s final captive, Tracy Edwards, escaped his lair, still handcuffed, and got through to the Milwaukee Police. When officers arrested Dahmer, they found the remains of 11 people in his apartment.

2002- Worldcom files for Chapter 11, up to then the largest bankruptcy in US history. This while the CEO Bernard Ebbers was building himself a new $94 million mansion. Ebbers got 25 years in prison, and Worldcom reorganized as MCI. The following year the Bush Administration awarded them a no-bid contract to build a cellular telephone system in Iraq. Iraqis use the phones to set off remote control bombs.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Quiz: What does it mean to be paid “ a Yankee Dime”..?

Answer: An old Southern phrase for paying someone who does a task with a little kiss on the cheek. Perhaps meaning the unreliability of Yankee promises during the Reconstruction- carpetbagger era.


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