April 15, 2011 friday
April 15th, 2011

Quiz: Why is the upper balcony of a theater called The Peanut Gallery?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: Who coined the term- A method to his madness?
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History for 4/15/2011
Birthdays: Leonardo DaVinci, composer Domenico Gabrieli, Nanak Ist the Guru of the Sikh religion 1469, Charles Wilson Peale, Theodore Rousseau, Henry James, Bessie Smith, Heinrich Klee, Kim Il Sung, Claudia Cardinale is 73, Roy Clark, Emma Thompson is 52, Olympic runner Evelyn Ashford, Alice Braga is 28 Seth Rogen is 29

Fordicidia-Ancient Roman Festival where 31 pregnant cows are sacrificed in honor of Tellus, the Earth-Mother.

Happy St. Matthews Day, the patron saint of tax-collectors.

1729- The Saint Matthew’s Passion oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach was first sung at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig.

1738-The Bottle Opener invented.

1755- Dr. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language first published. Dr. Johnson first created the system of listing a word’s phonetic pronunciation, ancient roots and how to use the word in a sentence. The excellence of Dr. Johnson’s dictionary made him the virtual dictator of English writing in his time.

Dr. Johnson allowed a bit of personal pique into his lexicographical prima non pares. He was annoyed that Lord Chesterfield pledged to finance his effort, but only sent a check for a measly ten pounds. When the book was a success his lordship claimed credit as Johnson’s benefactor. Dr. Johnson defined the word “Patron”- One who contributes Indolence, and pays in Flattery.”

1797-The Great Spithead Mutiney- Never mind the Bounty, here the whole blinking British Fleet mutinied against harsh conditions like flogging, press gangs and having to say “Arr-Mateys”in a silly voice whenever appropriate. Flogging was never officially prohibited in the British Navy, it just died out in the 1870's.

1822- The Captain Henry Expedition set off. Andrew Henry got together a team of mountain men including Jedediah Smith and Jim Bridger and went off in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark to the source of the Missouri River 2500 miles into Montana. They tried to drag a small ship on wheels along with them but wound up abandoning it. The story was dramatized in the 1970’s Richard Harris film” Man in the Wilderness”.

1839- Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg are betrothed to be married. Actually it was Victoria who proposed to Albert, it was unseemly to speak to a queen otherwise. Victoria and Albert had been intended by political arrangement since they were 13, but they fell in love, which was considered quite unusual.

1850- The townships of Yerba Buena- Good Herbs, incorporated as the City of San Francisco.

1861- LINCOLN’S EDICT- In reaction to the attack by Confederate rebels on Fort Sumter President Lincoln declares the ten southern states in an open state of rebellion and calls for troops. Legally the Constitution did allow for the Southern States to secede and Lincoln couldn't get a declaration of war from a half empty Congress, so he found an obscure 1792 law that allowed the President to call up state militias without requiring a declaration of war. He enlists 75,000 men.

Many regular army lieutenants and captains resigned from the national service so they could become generals and colonels in the militia. Even poor drunks like Ulysses Grant could get a captain's job from his local Ohio regiment. Frontier states were emptied of regular army men, forts like Tejon California abandoned because of lack of troops.

1865-LINCOLN DIED- After being shot at Ford's theater Abraham Lincoln finally expired at 7:08 am during a rainstorm. He had lingered all night without ever regaining consciousness. Mary Lincoln went into hysterics and had to be dragged from the room. She never entered the White House again. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton had the White House sealed up under guard for two months until Vice President Andrew Johnson got up enough nerve to move in.

In North Carolina General Sherman was putting the finishing touches on the surrender negotiations for the army of Joe Johnston, the largest remaining Confederate army in the field after Robert E. Lee's. When Sherman received the news of the murder he passed the telegram to Johnston, who grew pale. They both agreed to suppress the news from their armies for several days so vengeance fighting wouldn't break out . In far away Los Angeles the Los Angeles Star newspaper reported U.S. troops had to stop the Angeleanos from celebrating the news of the assassination.

1871- Wild Bill Hickok became sheriff of Abilene Kansas, then a wild boom town filled with drunk cowboys and yahoos.

1874- The first Paris show of Impressionist Painting.

1912- The S.S Carpathia finally reached the Titanic disaster site to rescue 705 survivors in the bobbing lifeboats. The Titanic death toll is now estimated at around 1,522 out of 2200. Early reports of the disaster mentioned that the Titanic had struck an iceberg but that all was well. This day's Wall Street Journal noted the incident "proved a triumph of modern technology!"

1924- Tne Rand McNally Company published the first automobile road atlas or North America.

1925- Ford introduced the first Model-T Pickup truck. Up to now farmers had cut the backs off cars and welded boxes on to make a light-load vehicle. There was also an earlier pickup truck called the International, but it had limited distribution.

1927- First Hollywood star's footprints in cement ceremony at Grauman's Chinese theater. Called Hollywood's most enduring publicity stunt. Norma Talmadge, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Sid Grauman himself are the first to leave their prints. Grauman also invented the classic Hollywood premiere with spotlights, red carpet runways and chauffered limousines.

1934- Chief of production Darryl Zanuck quit Warner Bros. over an argument about employee salary cuts to take over a struggling little movie studio called Twentieth Century Fox, which he turns into a giant.

1935-Kodachrome film developed. First as motion picture film, later for home photography.

1940- Franklin Roosevelt covertly gave permission for American volunteer pilots to join General Claire Chennault in fighting the Japanese invasion of China as part of a foreign corps serving in the Chinese air force. The Flying Tigers are born.

1945- Eva Braun left the comparative safety of Munich and traveled to Berlin to be with Hitler in his bunker. She told a friend. ”A Germany without Adolf Hitler would not be fit to live in.”

1947- Jackie Robinson takes the field with the Brooklyn Dodgers. First black player to join the Major Leagues. Up until then the Brooklyn Dodgers in their history had never won more than 2 pennants. After Robinson and Campanella and other Negro league players were added they won 6 in 7 years and a World Series. At one game after a particularly nasty barrage of boos and catcalls from the crowd Dodger stars Duke Snyder and Pee Wee Reese went over and publicly put their arms around Robinson in front of the crowd..

1951- General MacArthur prepared to leave Japan after being sacked by President Truman. The Japanese adored their American Shogun who helped reform their society from postwar chaos. Even though he left his offices in the Daiichi Building for his plane at 6:00AM, the crowds to see him off were already ten deep. One unintentional bit of fun for the Americans was a large misspelled banner from a Japanese well wisher about MacArthurs potential presidential run: “GOOD LUCK FOR YOUR UPCOMING ERECTION.” ( William Manchester American Caesar, Chapter 10)

1952- The Franklin Savings Bank issued the first credit card in the U.S.

1953- Famed illustrator Charles R. Knight died peacefully in a Manhattan hospital. The man who inspired the lush look of such films as 1933 King Kong, his last words were to his daughter Lucy, “Don’t let anything happen to my drawings.”

1955- The First MacDonald's Restaurant franchise opens in Des Plains, Ill. Ray Kroc, a traveling milkshake machine salesman, buys into a franchise restaurant idea cooked up by two brothers named MacDonald from Santa Bernadino. He urged the brothers to go national with their pre-prepared food system but the brothers wanted to stay local. So he offered them 1 million bucks for their idea and name (would you go to" Kroc's?") and the rest is history. The oldest surviving MacDonald’s from 1953 in Downey California was recently destroyed despite the efforts of historians, and replaced with a plastic plaque.

1961- 48 hours before the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Fidel Castro told the world his Cuban Revolution was Communist and he asked the Soviet Union and Red China for aid. He also ordered the arrest of 20,000 enemies of his regime.

1962-AUNTIE EM, AUNTIE EM! actress Clara Blandick, 80, the Auntie Em of the Wizard of Oz, took an overdose of sleeping pills and tied a plastic bag around her head. She left out on a table her resume and press clippings so the newspapers would get her obituary right.

1974- A surveillance camera picks up Heiress Patricia Hearst , now called Tanya, robbing a San Francisco bank with other members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, the group that kidnapped her.

1983- Tokyo Disneyland opens.

1989- Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yao Bang died. His funeral gathered mass rallies of pro-democracy students and workers that culminated in the Tien ah Mehn Square Movement.

1990- Kennan Ivory Wayans comedy show In Living Color premiered on FOX TV. The show made stars of Marlon Wayans, Damon Wayans, Jamie Fox, Jim Carrey and Fly-Girl Rosie Perez.

1994- English ice skater John Curry who created the concept of Ice Dancing, died of HIV/AIDS at 44.
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Yesterday’s Quiz Who coined the term- A method to his madness?

Answer: Shakespeare. In Hamlet, Polonius comments on Hamlet’s madness:’ Though this be madness, there be method in it…”


April 13, 2011 weds
April 13th, 2011

Question: Why is saying My name is Mudd, the equivalent of saying your goose is cooked, or you’re in big trouble.?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: The World War II version of the RPG was called a Bazooka. Why? Was the inventor Mr. Bazooka?
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History for 4/13/2011
Birthdays: St. Thomas Becket, Thomas Jefferson*, Frederick Lord North, Samuel Beckett, Dame Eudora Welty, Al Green, Jack Cassidy, Butch Cassidy, Franklin W. Woolworth, Howard Keel, Don Adams, Ricky Schroeder, Peabo Bryson, Ron Perleman, Stanley Donen, Alfred Butts the inventor of Scrabble, Glen Keane is 57

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

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

1598- King Henry IV of France tried to end the religious strife tearing his country apart by publishing the Edict of Nantes- granting freedom of worship to all. Later in 1685 King Louis XIV revoked the edict and religious freedom in France would have to wait until Napoleon 200 years later.

At this time the Edict of Nantes shocked Pope Clement VIII. He cried:" Every man with freedom of conscience? What can be worse than that?!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1962-The New York Mets (metropolitans) Baseball Club formed. In 1969 The Amazin’ Mets won their first World Series.

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

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

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

1997- 21 year old golf phenomenon Tiger Woods won his first Masters Tournament by a record 12 strokes.
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Yesterday’s question The World War II version of the RPG was called a Bazooka. Why? Was the inventor Mr. Bazooka?

Answer: 1930’s Hillbilly comedian Bob Burns made a musical instrument out of a stove pipe and a whiskey funnel that he played on popular radio shows like Bing Crosby’s and Rudy Vallees’. People said his instrument, called a Bazooka, sounded like a cross between a bass trombone and a whoopee cushion. When World War II started U.S. G.I.s named their shoulder-held rocket launchers Bazookas because of the resemblance.


April 12, 2011 tues..
April 12th, 2011

Question: The World War II version of the RPG was called a Bazooka. Why? Was the inventor Mr Bazooka?

Yesterday’s question answered below: What American movie star was nicknamed The Great Profile?
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History for 4/12/2011
Birthdays: Henry Clay, Lily Pons, Lionel Hampton, Herbie Hancock, Monserrat Caballe', Ann Miller, Tiny Tim, Shannon Dougherty, Andy Garcia is 55, Claire Danes is 37, David Letterman-64,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1861 150TH ANNIV-THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR BEGAN-For the previous twenty years Southerners and Northerners debated slavery and the right of a state to leave the American union. Guerilla violence had already been raging in border states like Missouri and Kansas when in response to Abraham Lincoln’s election 11 states announced the formation of a new country- The Confederate States of America.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1945- PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT DIED. The government knew since 1943 that FDR's health was failing and he would probably die in office. Roosevelt was at his Warm Springs Georgia retreat in the company of an old flame, Lucy Mercer whom he had promised Eleanor never to see again. The assignation was arranged by their daughter Alice, who promised not to tell her mom. Mom found out. FDR’s last words” I have a splitting headache..”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1983- Harold Washington elected first black Mayor of Chicago.

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

1995- To celebrate David Letterman’s 49th birthday, actress Drew Barrymore climbed up on his desk and flashed her breasts. For once, the bucktoothed talkshow host was speechless.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: What American movie star was nicknamed The Great Profile?

Answer: John Barrymore, ( Drew’s granddaddy)


Quiz: What American movie star was nicknamed The Great Profile?

Yesterday’s question answered below: History: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta…what comes next?
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History for 4/11/2011
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, Frederick the Warlike of Saxony-1370, Ethel Kennedy, Joel Grey, Louise Lasser, Mason Reese, Oleg Cassini, Cameron Mitchell. Norman McClaren, Bill Irwin, John Milius, Jennifer Esposito

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1876- Benevolent Order of Elks Lodge founded.

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

1906- Albert Einstein published his Theory of Relativity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1981- Valerie Bertinelli married rocker Eddie Van Halen.

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

2006 Italian police captured the capo-de-capo of the Sicilian Mafia, Salvatore Provenzano near the town of Corleone, the birthplace of Mario Puzo’s fictional Godfather. Don Provenzano had been hiding out for 43 years.
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Yesterday’s question: History: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta…what comes next?

Answer: Epsilon.


April 10th, 2011 sun.
April 10th, 2011

History: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta…what comes next?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: Who first coined the term “ The Mother of All Battles”…?
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History for 4/10/2011
Birthdays: Josef Pulitzer, Lew Wallace, George Arliss, Omar Sharif, Harry Morgan, Max Von Sydow, Ken Griffey Sr, Claire Booth Luce, Chuck Connors, John Madden, Don Meredith, Paul Theroux, David Halberstram, Steven Segal is 59, Orlando Jones, Mandy Moore is 27, Haley Joel Osment is 23

1610- French King Henry IV of Navarre was as famous for his sexual appetite as for his statesmanship. He had many liaisons with many women but one of the most famous was Gabrielle d’Estrees. When a duke told him of her beauty, he galloped through enemy territory to be with her. They had a long affair but Gabrielle wanted more, she wanted Henry to divorce his queen and marry her!

Henry was thinking about it, when this day D’Estees died of infection after childbirth. Some said it was poison, but that sort of infection was common then. Henry grieved: “I am destroyed. The Plant of Love is dead inside of me!” Two months later he had another girlfriend.

1741- Battle of Mollwitz- King Frederick the Great's first victory. His big battalions of Prussian-disciplined infantry defeated the Austrians even after his cavalry had been driven off the field, the King Frederick swept along in the rout. He thought he had lost. He was drinking his sorrows away in a pub, when he got the news of his victory.

The international fame of Frederick’s Army created an unexpected side industry. A Coburg toy maker named Andreas Hipert began selling mass market sets of toy soldiers modeled on his men. Flats made of lead and brightly painted, they were a big hit. Toy soldiers go back at least as far as the Romans. Medieval princes owned little replicas of knights. But Hipert created toys for average people.

1790- The U.S. patent office created.

1836- THE HELEN JEWETT MURDER- Helen Jewett was a beautiful, well-bred woman. But bad luck had brought her down to prostitution on the mean streets of New York. This night at a brothel at 41 Thomas St, she was murdered with an axe. Her partner shop clerk Richard Robinson was charged with the murder, but there was not enough evidence for a conviction.

The Helen Jewett Case was the first Media-Sensation Crime in the US. The emerging mass media held the public spellbound for weeks with salacious details and lurid descriptions of the sad end of this Soiled Dove.

1841- Horace Greeley creates the daily newspaper the New York Tribune, which he builds into a national voice for the abolition of slavery. Greeley was the man who advised: “Go West, Young Man.” During the New York Draft Riots of 1863 Greeley defended his newspaper from looters with his own personal cannon in the lobby

1849- Walter Hunt invented the safety pin. Hunt sold the pattern for $100 bucks.

1865- The day after Lee surrendered his army to Grant ending the Civil War, many of Lee’s officers started going through the lines to visit old friends on the other side. Men who only the day before had been trying to kill each other today laughed and partied. One of the visitors to Grant headquarters was Lee’s second in command General James Longstreet. Before the war Old Pete Longstreet was best man to Ulysses Grants wedding.

1866-The ASPCA founded.

1868- Johannes Brahms A German Requiem debuted.

1877- Honoring a political deal that helped win his election, President Rutherford Hayes began withdrawing occupying troops from the Southern States of the former Confederacy. This ends the period known as the Reconstruction. The South was once the wealthiest part of the U.S., by then it was the poorest. And all the civil and voting rights for black Americans that Lincoln had planned for postwar America were nullified.

1903- King Alexander Obrenovic of Serbia had become increasingly autocratic. His suspending the liberal constitution of 1889, installing press censorship and revoking secret balloting had made him very unpopular.

This night a group of Serbian army officers broke into the Kings bedroom and murdered King Alexander and his Queen Draga. They hurled their naked bodies out of a window to smash onto the cobblestone courtyard below where more army officers proceeded to hack up the remains with their sabers.

Peter Karageorgevic’ was elected new king. Mainstream world media was shocked by the brutality of the killings but the Head of the Serbian Church held a Thanksgiving Mass and there was a festive mood in Belgrade the rest of the week. One of the officers in the coup would later bankroll the Serbian terrorist group that assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and started World War One.

1906- O'Henry's story " The Gift of the Magi " first published.

1912- The White Star oceanliner RMS Titanic sailed from Southhampton on her maiden voyage. When one passenger expressed reservation to a porter, he replied:” Lady, God himself could not sink this ship!” Hints of sinister premonition was the fact that for some reason the Titanic was launched but never christened. The ship's cat was seen carrying her kittens off the ship when she made her last (above surface) landfall at Queenstown, Ireland. One of the crew (William Coffey) saw this, said "That cat knows something!" and hid himself amidst the mailbags, deserting the ship.

1919- Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata assassinated. Zapata went to see a Colonel Jesus Guajardo who said he was willing to change over to his side. The colonel ordered his men to raise their rifles as if to fire a salute, but on a given signal lowered them and blasted Zapata away. Guajardo got 52,000 pesos and a promotion to general. In recent times, Mexican-Indian guerrillas in Chiapas called themselves Zapatistas.

1923- Peeps invented. The sweet Easter marshmallow confection that is shaped like a yellow baby chick and can stick to most surfaces.

1925- F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" published by Scribners.

1941- First Battle of Tobruk. When Rommel's Afrika Korps pushed the British army across the Libyan desert, the port of Tobruk held out for three months in an epic siege.

1942-THE BATAAN DEATH MARCH- not one of the highpoints in U.S.-Japanese relations. The Japanese code Bushido stated warriors should prefer death to capture. So a soldier who surrenders is beneath contempt. When twenty thousand trapped American and Philipino troops surrendered to the Japanese, they were sent back through the steaming jungles of Bataan on a forced march without food or water, the guards shooting and bayoneting those who dropped from exhaustion. These men were already starving when captured, their conquerors gave them food after nine days. Only half survived the ordeal, 12,000 died.

1947- THE FBI PAY A VISIT to Screen Actor’s Guild president Ronald Reagan and actress-wife Jane Wyman. They accuse them of belonging to Communist Party front organizations. Ronnie agrees to become an informer on his own guild, and just about everyone else in Hollywood. Jane Wyman later divorced him.

1951- GENERAL MacARTHUR FIRED BY PRESIDENT TRUMAN- Douglas MacArthur had been used to being his own boss in the Far East and he found the politics of global nuclear brinksmanship puzzling. He thought you fought wars to win them, not to maintain a stalemate. Harry Truman was trying to limit the carnage of the Korean War from spreading into World War III.

MacArthur had been ordered by Truman last December 4th not to make public statements about the Korean war without going through Washington first. So when against direct orders MacArthur issued his own ultimatum threatening the Communist Chinese with a nuclear firestorm on their cities and independently conferring with Chiang Kai Shek about his getting Nationalist Chinese armies into the war Truman had had enough. Truman ordered MacArthur home and replaced with General Matthew Ridgeway. Generals Eisenhower, George C. Marshall and Omar Bradley supported the president’s policy that the military must be subject to civilian authority.

MacArthur didn’t get the news until he heard it on the radio. The public outrage at the humiliation of America’s legendary soldier was enormous, but in time subsided. 60% of the Korean War’s battle casualties occurred in the two years after MacArthur’s dismissal. In 1964 the dying MacArthur sent a final message to President Lyndon Johnson advising him not to go into Vietnam.

1952-ELIA THE FINK-Film director Elia Kazan ( On the Waterfront, East of Eden,etc.) saved his career but earned the lasting hatred of Hollywood by testifying to the House Un American Activities Committee. He named 8 of his friends as Communists, including famed writer Clifford Odets.

Unlike others who were forced to testify Kazan never expressed any regret for the pain he caused. Many see the irony of 'On the Waterfront' that it's hero is a guy who does the right thing by turning informer. The film was written by Bud Schulberg, who also named names.

In 1999 the Academy gave him an honorary Oscar and caused a new firestorm of protest, when Kazan stood next to visibly uncomfortable Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorcese. There an estimated 40% of the audience did not rise or applaud, although on television it seemed louder. That year the American Film Institute preferred to confer it’s lifetime achievement award on Roger Corman, director of Attack of the Giant Crab Monsters.

1953- The Vincent Price film The House of Wax in 3d premiered.

1961- Singer Joan Baez entered the Greenwich Village club called Folk City and was accosted by a funny young man with a nasaly twang ;”Joan Baez! Here, I wrote a song for you!” His name was Bob Dylan. Baez and Dylan became friends and together changed the image of folk music.

1962- DON'T TRY TO DOUBLECROSS JFK ! The U.S. Steel Corporation had made a deal with the Kennedy Administration that if the feds leaned on the steelworkers union for a favorable labor settlement U.S. Steel promised not to raise wholesale prices which would hurt the U.S. economy. On this day chairman Roger 'Ben' Blough told John Kennedy they were reneging on the deal and raising prices anyway. Kennedy exploded- " My father always warned me that all businessmen were sons of bitches but I never believed him until now!" The Kennedy administration made things so hot for U.S. Steel that they canceled the price increase.

1962- Stuart Sutcliffe was the bass guitarist of the Beatles until creative differences and a marriage made him drop out of the band in favor of George Harrison. This day Sutcliffe died of a brain hemorrhage at age 21.

1962- The Los Angeles Dodgers play their first game at their new Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine. They lost to the Cincinnati Reds 6-3.

1969- Radical students of the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) protesting the Vietnam War storm the administration buildings of Harvard. It takes 400 riot police and 197 arrests to drive them out.

1971- Rob Reiner married Penny Marshall.

1985- A new singer named Madonna began her first tour, the Virgin Tour.

1992- Raunchy- comedian Sam Kinison was killed in a head on collision with a truck on the road to Las Vegas. Ironically, the comedian who had glorified the wild sex, drugs and rock& roll lifestyle was sober at the time, and the truck driver was drunk.

1997- The Jerusalem Post announced the birth of a red heifer at a kibbutz near Haifa. The birth of a red heifer is supposed to be the prerequisite for the coming of the Messiah and the End of the World. In 2003 the cow became beef brisket, and we’re still all here.

2010- Polish President Lech Krasczynski and most of the Polish government leaders were killed in a plane crash on the way to commemorate the 70th anniv of the Katyn Massacre.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Who first coined the term “ The Mother of All Battles”…?

Answer. Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein. In the tough talk at the beginning of the Iraq War, Saddam said when he tangled with American, it would be “ The Mother of All Battles.”


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