August 5th, 2010 thurs
August 5th, 2010

Quiz: What is a spelunker?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What glamorous Hollywood movie goddess also was an inventor who received a patent for the guidance system of a torpedo?
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History for 8/5/2010
Birthdays: Guy de Maupassant, Amboise Thomas, Neil Armstrong is 80, John Huston, Robert Taylor, Conrad Aiken, Roman Gabriel, Selma Diamond, Patrick Ewing, John Merrick the Elephant Man, Loni Anderson is 65, Bill Scott -the voice of Bullwinkle Moose, John Saxon, Jonathan Silverman is 38

1667- Moliere’s famous comedy “Tartuffe” first played for the public. The next day the Parliament of Paris ordered the theater closed and it’s posters ripped down. The Archbishop of Paris threatened excommunication of anyone who saw it or performed it. It seemed the local religious community didn’t like all the jokes about a charlatan who steals everything from a family by pretending to be a man of the cloth. But the Sun King Louis XIV thought it was funny. He overruled the prelates and ordered the play resumed.

1769- Marching up the California coast Gaspar de Portola discovered the San Fernando Valley. ( Oh ma Gaawd!) He came down out of the Sepulveda pass, made a left at Ventura Blvd. and went over to the Chumash village by a spring in Encino (now Encino park near Balboa Blvd.).. The original Indian word for this valley was “Valley of Smoke”.

1775- 1st Spanish ship, the San Carlos, entered San Francisco Bay.

1847 -Author Herman Melville met Nathaniel Hawthorne. They went for a hike together in the Berkshires.

1864-“ DAMN THE TORPEDOES!” Admiral David Farragut at Mobile Bay. The Union Navy captured one of last Southern deep water ports. As the US warships in a line ran the heavy cannon of the rebel forts, a lead ship exploded from a floating mine called a torpedo. This stacked up the ship traffic under the enemy guns like a shooting gallery . Admiral Farragut shouted “Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead ! “ he pushed his flagship the USS Hartford to the lead and gambled the remaining booby traps would be duds. They were. They also defeated the Confederate ironclad Tennessee, who’s captain Franklin Buchanan had commanded the Merrimac two years earlier. Even though Farragut had closed the port to Confederate ships the North wouldn’t spare troops to capture the city. So Mobile Alabama didn’t surrender until four days after Lee surrendered to Grant in 1865.

1891- the American Express Company introduces Travelers Checks.

1924 Arf, Arf ! the first Little Orphan Annie comic strip drawn by Harold Gray. Little Orphan Annie was finally discontinued this year after 83 years.

1926 Magician Harry Houdini stays in a coffin under water for one hour.

1927 Victrola Record producer Ralph Peer realized there might be a market for “Hillbilly Music”. So he set up a makeshift recording studio above a furniture store in Bristol Tennessee and put an ad in the local papers for talent. In one day he recorded future stars Jimmy Rogers the Singing Brakeman, The Carter Family, The Tennessee Mountaineers and Ernest Pop Stoneman. This session has been called the “ Big Bang of Country Music.”

1940- The Day of the Eagle. The first German raids by the Luftwaffe over England. Mostly to probe defenses and attack coastal radar installations. This was the beginning of the Battle of Britain.

1945- At Tinian airbase The atomic uranium bomb “Little Boy” is loaded onto the B-29 bomber Enola Gay after traveling by ship from Hawaii. The crew will take off at 5:00 am next morning.

1945-THE INDIANAPOLIS The ship that carried the Atomic bombs, the cruiser U.S.S. Indianapolis was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-168 on the way back from Tinian. Because the Indianapolis was under top secrecy it took five days for the Navy to realize that she was even missing. By the time rescue planes reached the site most of her sailors had drowned or had been eaten by sharks. Out of 900 sailors in the water only 300 were rescued. Survivors recalled how they could feel the sharks noses bumping into the soles of their feet then another comrade would disappear under water. This day the plane that discovered them did so by accident. He had spotted the oil slick and assumed it was a submerged Japanese submarine and was closing in to drop a bomb when he saw the men’s heads bobbing in the water.

1953- The film “From Here to Eternity” opened, starring Deborah Kerr, Burt Lancaster and Montgomery Clift. But the big story was Frank Sinatra’s Oscar winning performance as Maggio that signaled the turnaround in his slumping career.

1953- Operation Big Switch- a large exchange of prisoners of war in the Korean conflict. At this time when some American POW’s refused to come home the charge was made of “Brain Washing” that the Red Chinese used extreme psychological pressure to alter prisoners.

1955- The Screen Actor’s Guild strikes Hollywood for television residuals. Their president was Walter Pidgeon who had played Dr. Morbius in Forbidden Planet.

1957- American Bandstand featuring the eternally teenage Dick Clark debuts on television.

1962- GOODBYE, NORMA JEAN. Marilyn Monroe found nude in bed, dead of barbiturate overdose. She was 36. Whether you think the starlet overdosed by accident, suicide, or was done in by the Mafia, the Kennedys, a Svengali like personal physician, lesbian physical therapist or space aliens is still a mystery. She made a call to Attorney General Bobby Kennedy’s office in Washington several hours earlier but was rebuffed. Her last call was to her hairdresser Mr. Guilaroff.

She left the bulk of her belongings to her drama teacher Lee Strassberg and her funeral was organized by ex-husband Joe Dimaggio. Her Westwood cottage suite had a tile over the doorway which read :"All my troubles end Here."

1963- The US, Britain and USSR sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

1964 - Actress Anne Bancroft & Comedian Mel Brooks wed.

1966- Caesar’s Palace Hotel & Casino first opened to the public. This was the first of the super-resort casinos, with a total theme park design and three times the space and accommodations of anything yet seen on the Vegas Strip. It’s success ushered in an accelerated era of building for Las Vegas casinos.

1967- Bobby Gentry released “Ode to Billy Jo”.

1980- The Osmond Brothers break up.

1984- Welsh actor Richard Burton died of cerebral hemorrhage at 64. With a tumultuous career and two marriages to Elizabeth Taylor, the hard drinking Burton was the most famous English-speaking thespian of his day. But unlike Olivier and Gielgud, he was never knighted. As I recall, the monarchy objected to their portrayal, when Burton starred in a miniseries on Winston Churchill.
Richard Burton was buried with a copy of Dylan Thomas’ poems.

1984- Joan Benoit won the first Women’s Olympic Marathon.

1986 - It's revealed painter Andrew Wyeth had secretly created 240 drawings & paintings of his neighbor Helga Testorf, in Chadds Ford, Pa

1994- JUDGE KENNETH STARR appointed by Congress to be special prosecutor to investigate wrongdoing by President Clinton in his Whitewater financial dealings. When the Whitewater affair proved a cold lead he came upon the Travelgate, Paula Jones and the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal. Yet Starr never garnered much public support because his probe was perceived as a political vendetta. Rather than seem to be impartial Judge Starr was an declared enemy of Bill Clinton’s politics. And his blunt tactics brought up disturbing memories of McCarthyism- like his ordering the arrest of a D.C. bookshop owner who refused to hand over his receipts and berating jurors who deadlocked over two counts against Clinton’s law partners. After $54 million tax dollars spent, Congress voted impeachment of the President for lying under oath. But that effort was defeated and Clinton served out his term. Judge Starr became president of Pepperdine College in liberal Malibu, Ca.

2000- Sir Alec Guiness ( Obie Wan Ken Obie) died.

2001- In a throwback to the long dead Communist era, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il visited Moscow to meet with Russian leaders. Flanked by goose stepping soldiers he laid a wreath at the tomb of Lenin. Russian President Putin let him sleep in a Kremlin suite his father Kim Il Sung slept in 50 years earlier, as the guest of Stalin. Terrified of flying, Kim made the 6000 mile trip from Pyongyang by train, pausing to visit a tank factory. The only reaction was annoyance from Moscow workers. Kim’s private train had jammed up their morning commute.
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Yesterdays’ Quiz: What glamorous Hollywood movie goddess also was an inventor who received a patent for the guidance system of a torpedo?

Answer: Actress Hedy Lamarr. She invented something called Spread Spectrum theory to combat Nazi code breakers. She conceived of it when the problem was brought up by a research engineer at a Hollywood cocktail party. Her basic idea is still being used in communications satellites and modern cel phones today. It’s too complicated for me to figure out, but she looked really hot in Samson & Delilah 1949.


August 4th 2010 weds
August 4th, 2010

Quiz: What glamorous Hollywood movie goddess also was an inventor who received a patent for the guidance system of a torpedo?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: John Lennon was a-a rock & roll musician, b-a Protestant theologian, c- Captain of the Mayflower
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History for 8/4/2010
Birthdays: Percy Bysshe Shelley, Nicholas Conte' 1777-inventor of the modern pencil and the conte'-crayon, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, William Pater, Richard Belzer, Franco Corelli, Elizabeth-England's late Queen Mum, opera tenor, Roger Clemens, runner Mary Decker-Slaney, Billy-Bob Thornton is 55, Helen Thomas is 90,
President Barack Obama is 49

1181- A supernova was observed by Arab astronomers in the constellation Cassiopia.

1265- Battle of Evesham –Young Prince Edward Longshanks defeats the rebellious barons holding his father King Henry III of England captive. The leader of the rebel barons, Simon de Monfort had forced the King to acknowledge his creation of a House of Commons in Parliament. For that act old DeMonfort was so hated by the King's men that even after he was slain in battle they continued to chop his body to bits in a blind rage. But it was too late. Nothing could end the institution of a parliament of common men, curbing the capricious power of kings.

1693 “ Come quickly Martin, I am tasting stars!”monk Dom Perignon invented champagne.

1735- N.Y. newspaper editor John Peter Zenger had been writing articles criticizing the Royal Governor for corruption. Past governors of New York, Maryland and North Carolina colonies were known fences for Caribbean pirates like Captain Kidd and Blackbeard and pocketing monetary bonds set up for colonial defense. This day German born Zenger's newspaper was shut down, and he was arrested for 'Seditious Libel". His later trial and acquittal was seen as the first great victory in America for Freedom of the Press. Today the Governor would just call his corporate employer, who would fire him.

1753- George Washington became a Master Mason in the Freemason Lodge #4 of Fredericksburg, Virginia. The first Masonic lodge in America was founded in 1730 by Benjamin Franklin. Some think Freemasons akin to Fred Flintstones Waterbuffalo Lodge, but in the 1700’s Freemasonry had strong political ramifications. Most European intellectuals –Voltaire, Mozart, Lafayette and Goethe were masons.

1776-The nice printed up Declaration of Independence we all recognize was officially signed. The declaration approved on July 2nd and published on July 4th was the rough draft. Today John Hancock signed that big flowing signature "So old King George won't need his spectacles". Today a nickname for a signature is a John Hancock. It was a gutsy thing to do, the signatures would be their death warrants if the rebellion was crushed. Ironically if you asked Hancock for a pinch of snuff his snuffbox was an engraved gift from King George III he received during a visit to London ten years earlier.
During the War of 1812 when the British burned Washington D.C. the Declaration was hidden under a doorstep in Baltimore. It later hung in a sunlit window for 30 years which bleached it’s print almost to invisibility. Today millions are being spent on restoration efforts like encasing it in pure helium.

1782- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart married Constanze Weber, the aunt of composer Karl Maria Von Weber. Mozart had first proposed to Constanze's sister but she chose another.

1792- The FRENCH REVOLUTION HEATS UP. Since the fall of the Bastille two years earlier France and King Louis XVI had tried to work as a constitutional monarchy guided by the Marquis de Lafayette. But Louis only played the system for time while negotiating with his royal relatives in Germany and Austria to send armies to help him put his peasants in their place. By now the French nation had enough. Mobs stirred to anger by radicals like Danton and Marat marched on the Tuilieries Palace demanding justice. The King Louis XVI's Swiss bodyguard opened fire on them . The enraged peasants tore the guards to pieces and looted the palace, sticking soldier's ears on the kings desk. The king and queen tried to escape out the back door but were grabbed by the mob. A flag was made from a Swiss red uniform coats- the very first Red Flag of Revolution. Lafayette later fled into exile and was imprisoned. Standing in the street watching all this was a young unemployed lieutenant named Napoleon Bonaparte. He later wrote that if King Louis had the nerve to appear on a horse at the head of his supporters he could have still triumphed. Napoleon's murmured: " Quel con!”- “What an Asshole!"

1821- 1st edition of Saturday Evening Post -published until 1969.

1855 - John Bartlett publishes his first book of "Familiar Quotations"

1874- Methodist clergyman John Vincent and Ohio businessman Lewis Miller began the Chautauqua Assembly in Northwestern New York. Under large summer tents lectures and training were given to Sunday school teachers and other church workers. The Chautauqua Movement grew into a national movement for religious revival and became a conservative rural force in turn of the century national politics.

1892-" Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks, when he saw what she had done, gave her father forty-one.", etc. In Fall River Mass, Andrew and Abbie Borden were found brutally murdered and their daughter Elisabeth was accused. Ms. Borden pleaded innocence and cited a long history of abuse from her parents .She was acquitted but the murderer was never found. When Lizzie died peacefully in 1927 she left $30,000 to the ASPCA.

1914- WWI- grey clad spiked helmeted armies begin crossing into Belgian territory to deliver their knockout blow against France-aka the Schefflein Plan. This strategy violated the neutrality of Belgium which had been agreed to by treaty since 1839. When this was protested, German minister Bethman-Holveig bragged "we shall not be held by a scrap of paper!" This outrage brought England into the war against Germany and made handsome young King Albert of the Belgians into a international celebrity. Ironically, professional diplomat Betthman-Holveig had worked tirelessly for the last three weeks to try and prevent the war, but by now he was reduced to a mere a mouthpiece for the army.

1918- Young corporal Adolf Hitler was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class for bravery. He was quite proud of it and wore it on his uniform for the rest of his life. The German officer who recommended Hitler, and pinned his medal on was Captain Hugo Gutmann, a Jew.

1922- In honor of the passing of Alexander Graham Bell, all 13 million telephones in the United States observed three minutes of silence.

1925- Conrad Hilton opened the first Hilton Hotel in Dallas Texas.

1942- The Bing Crosby-Fred Astaire-Marjorie Reynolds film the Holiday Inn released. The film featured Irving Berlin hit songs like White Christmas and Easter Parade .

1944- British pilot T.D. Dean uses his plane to bump the wing of a German V-1 Flying Bomb, causing it to flip over off course.

1944-Acting on a tip from a neighbor, the Gestapo discovered and arrested 16 year old Anne Frank and her family in their hiding place in an Amsterdam warehouse. All were sent to Auschwitz. Only her father Otto survived.

1956- Elvis Presley released his version of the Big Mama Mabel Thornton song " You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog".

1964- The TONKIN GULF INCIDENT. North Vietnamese gunboats attacked the U.S.S. Maddox and the Turner Joy patrolling off their coast. The US claimed they were in international waters but the Pentagon Papers revealed that the Maddox was deliberately sent close to the shore to provoke the Vietnamese. The Maddox's captain testified he was 30 miles offshore when in reality he was 3 miles. For months the CIA had been conducting hit and run naval raids on the Vietnamese coast, but that was all still top secret. Although the U.S. already had advisers in the Vietnamese civil war for years this incident provided the legal pretext President Lyndon Johnson needed to escalate U.S. involvement up to 450,000 combat troops and trillions of dollars\

1964- Rand Corporation analyst Daniel Ellsberg’s first day working at the Pentagon. Ellsberg would be the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers.

1984- Actor Johnny Depp opened his own club on the Sunset Strip called the Viper Room. The original club on that site had once been owned by mobster Bugsy Siegel.

1993- Japan admitted that during World War Two they forced 200,000 Korean and Chinese women to become “comfort women”- i.e. prostitutes for the Japanese soldiers. The army organized this policy after in 1937 the massed rapes of Chinese women in Nanking made them look bad in the world press.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: John Lennon was a-a rock & roll musician, b-a Protestant theologian, c- Captain of the Mayflower

Answer: A-rock & roll musician.


August 3rd, 2010 tues.
August 3rd, 2010

Quiz: John Lennon was a-a rock & roll musician, b-a Protestant theologian, c- Captain of the Mayflower

Yesterdays’ question answered below: What is the difference between a Dirigible and a Blimp?
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History for 8/3/2010
birthdays: British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, Elisha Otis inventor of the elevator, John T. Scopes- the teacher accused in the Monkey Trial, Habib Bourghiba, Ernie Pyle, Gene Kelly, Lenny Bruce, Tony Bennett is 84, John Landis, Jay North, Dolores Del Rio, Leon Uris, Ann Klein, Martha Stewart, Martin Sheen is 70, John C. McGinley is 51

Happy National Mustard Day

126 B.C. THE BATTLE OF CANNAE. Hannibal's defeat of a much larger Roman army is one of the great pieces of strategy still studied today. He had crossed the Alps to attack Italy with 30 war elephants but only 3 or 4 survived the crossing. This victory annihilated the top generals of Rome and left nothing between him and the city . Yet Hannibal uncharacteristically hesitated until the Romans recovered. His cavalry commander Mago snarled:" You know how to win battles, but not a war." The Romans recovered, eventually drawing him off to Africa to protect his home city Carthage, where he was defeated by Scipio Africanis at Zama.

48 B.C.-Battle of Pharsalia- Julius Caesar defeated his rival Pompey Magnus in northern Greece. Pompey fled to Egypt where he was assassinated. Caesar came in hot pursuit where he met Cleopatra.

1305- Scots warrior William Wallace was betrayed to the English and captured while visiting the Glasgow house of a man named Robert Roe.

1347- THE BURGHERS OF CALAIS- When King Edward III attacked France to press his claim for it’s throne, the first city he attacked was the port of Calais. After a long vicious siege the leaders of Calais agreed to surrender. England held Calais for 250 years. The king wanted to hang the burghers (city leaders) because of their stubborn resistance, but they were spared after pleas of mercy from Edward’s Queen. August Rodin created a beautiful statuary group the Burghers of Calais. The six men loaded down with chains and ropes around their necks, defiance still radiating in their faces, are a symbol of resistance for all oppressed peoples.

1492- One half hour before dawn, Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain on the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria in search of the Indies. This was the first of four voyages. He took on board a linguist fluent in Turkish, Sanskrit and Hebrew to speak to any natives they might encounter.

1529- The Ladies Peace of Cambrai- The King of France Francis Ist and Spanish-German Emperor Charles V has fought a series of costly wars over who controlled Italy. Their hatred was so extreme that they even considered a personal duel. Nothing seemed to solve this feud and Europe was being wrecked. Finally both their mothers- Anne of Savoy and Margaret of Austria, met without their permission and concluded a peace treaty without them.

1769- Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola made the first-ever recorded mention of the Rancho La Brea "tar pits" in Los Angeles: "The 3rd, we proceeded for three hours on a good road; to the right of it were extensive swamps of bitumen which is called chapapote. We debated whether this substance, which flows melted from underneath the earth, could occasion so many earthquakes.”

1852- The first Harvard-Yale boat race.

1858- British explorer John Speeckes discovered Lake Victoria Nyanza, the source of the Nile River. The question of the Nile's origins had become a cause celebre among British explorers and debate raged fiercely. Speeckes was traveling with famed Orientalist Richard Burton, translator of the Arabian Nights stories, but Burton absented himself from the last leg of the journey because of malaria. He regretted this decision for the rest of his life and grew to hate Speeckes. Speeckes and Burton began a feud that may or may not have contributed to Speeckes accidental suicide in 1864.

1882- Congress passed the first Immigration Act, trying to restrict what had been an open door policy since the Pilgrims. But the act had a heavy European bias. Chinese immigrants were banned for ten years.

1916- Sir Roger Casement was executed for treason in London. Casement was an Irish patriot who lobbied Germany to fund the Irish Easter Sunday Uprising, and he exposed human rites violations done by the Belgians in the Congo. After his conviction, many leading English intellectuals like Arthur Conan-Doyle and Bernard Shaw urged for mercy for Casement. But the government produced his “black diaries” taken from his home, that proved he was homosexual. All the bad publicity silenced the mercy movement, and Sir Roger Casement was hanged.

1943- In Sicily Gen. George S. Patton while touring a field hospital encountered a Pvt. Herman Kuhl. Private Kuhl wasn't physically wounded, but suffering from nervous exhaustion, called today Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Patton angrily accused him of cowardice and slapped him down. Allied High Command ordered Patton to apologize to Kuhl and the entire army, then recalled him to England. He would have no part in military actions until after D-Day, to the amazement of the Nazi Generals. Patton never could understand battle fatigue, I guess he never got tired of it.

1948- Now that Baseball was finally integrated Satchel Page, genius of the Negro Leagues, makes his belated Major League debut with the Cleveland Indians. A 45 year old rookie. Page once said:" Don't look back, something may be gaining on you."

1949 -The National Basketball League is founded.

1958 - USS Nautilus begins 1st crossing of the Arctic Ocean under the icecap.

1961- The first airline hijacking to Cuba.

1963 –Unemployed television producer Alan Sherman released an album of comedy songs at the request of his friends. Called “My Son the Folksinger” it contained the hit “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh, Here I am at, Camp Granada” and became an overnight sensation.

1966- While celebrating his 39th birthday, Comedian Lenny Bruce died of a morphine overdose. The groundbreaking comedian who coined the term “T & A” was arrested in 1964 and charged with obscenity for using the "F" word in his act. President Johnson and his opponent Senator Barry Goldwater could swear enough to make a sailor blush, but comedians were only supposed to make mother-in-law jokes. Phil Spector said: “ Lenny died of an overdose of cops”. Lenny Bruce did six months in jail, and left broken physically and financially. No club would dare hire him. Yet today he is the model for all modern stand-up comedy. Today no one is arrested for telling jokes. Whether he leapt to his death from a window yelling “ I’m Super Jew! ” is a matter of legend.

1975- The Louisiana Superdome stadium is dedicated. Some football coaches like Mike Ditka of the Chicago Bears were skeptical:” Football is meant to be played in snow and mud. Dome stadiums are for Roller Derby!”

1981- U.S. Air traffic controllers (PATCO) go on strike despite Pres. Reagan's warning they would be fired. Reagan was once president of the Screen Actor’s Guild. Ironically the only U.S. President who has ever been a labor leader, was the most union-busting president of our time.

1996- The Macarena, by Los Del Rio, becomes the #1 hit worldwide.
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Yesterday’s What is the difference between a Dirigible and a Blimp?

Answer: A dirigible has a rigid frame with gas bag compartments,
while a blimp is one big bag of gas, a motor powered balloon.


August 2nd, 2010 mon.
August 2nd, 2010

Quiz: What is the difference between a Dirigible and a Blimp?

Yesterday’s Question: When a Mahout climbs into your Howdah, what kind of vehicle are you riding in?
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History for 8/2/2010
Birthdays: Perre L’Enfant the architect –designer of Washington DC, Jack Warner, Myrna Loy, Sir Arthur Bliss, James Baldwin, Carrol O'Connor, Pete Sampras, Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster ), Bob Beamon, Wes Craven, Apollonia, Edward Furlong, Kevin Smith is 39, Peter O'Toole is 78, Marie Louise Parker is 46
Happy Birthday Joanna Cassidy-48

47BC- Battle of Zela. Pharnaces the King of Pontus- a land today in the middle of Turkey, decided he could take advantage of the Roman civil war by rising in revolt. He called for all the eastern provinces throw off the Roman yoke. This day Julius Caesar took time off from Cleopatra, and hurried up to Pontus, where he destroyed Pharnaces army in one large battle. Caesar then sent his famous three word report to the Senate: “ VENI VIDI VICI- I came, I saw, I conquered.”

1100- King William II Rufus (the Red), son of William the Conqueror, was shot with an arrow while hunting in the New Forest. His son Henry I became king. Truth be told, nobody liked Rufus very much, so it was probably not an accident.

1589- French King Henri III de Valois is stabbed in the guts by a demented Dominican, Brother Jacques Clement. He thought the King wasn't doing enough to stamp out Protestantism. The kings last words were: "That little bastard has killed me. Kill him!"
Henry IV de Bourbon became one of Frances most beloved rulers. The children's song "Frere' Jacques" is about this assassin "Brother Jacques, Why are you sleeping?" another bad King needs stabbing, in other words.

1858- The first public mailboxes installed on Boston & NYC streets.

1865- The Confederate raider CSS Shenandoah, after sinking a dozen U.S whaling ships in the Bering Sea off Alaska, is told by a passing British merchantman that the American Civil War had ended over 3 months ago......doh! They refused to believe it until shown some newspapers.

1876- In Deadwood South Dakota at Nuttall & Manns No.10 Saloon gunfighter Wild Bill Hickock was shot in the back and killed while playing cards. He was 48 years old. He was holding the "Deadman's Hand" aces & eights all black, and a jack of hearts.

His assailant 'Crooked Nose" Jack McCall was found hiding in a butchers shop and hanged for the murder. An eyewitness said:" It was very sad. Bill had won the hand too."

1877- The San Francisco Public Library dedicated.

1909- The US issues the first Lincoln head pennies.

1914- THE GUNS OF AUGUST-General mobilization began throughout Europe for World War One. Large armies moved towards their frontiers amid hysterical street demonstrations of patriotism. Jubilant mobs shouting "A Berlin!" "Nach Paris!" ring out as Europe prepared to destroy itself. In Moscow, Czar Nicholas II took the oath his ancestor Alexander Ist had taken to drive out Napoleon. In Berlin, the Reichchancellory window German foreign minister Von Bethman-Holveig thought: "How did this all happen? If only I knew..." In London, Lord Grey similarly reflected-" The Lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."

1914- Holland and Switzerland declared their neutrality in the coming Great War, closed their borders and mobilized their forces.

1920- Marcus Garvey addressed a rally of 25,000 African Americans at Madison Garden New York. He called upon Black Americans not to integrate with White Society but to work for economic self-sufficiency and an eventual return to Africa. Garvey told biographers he was never born, he had “combusted himself” on the corner of 125 & Lennox in Harlem.

1923- President Warren Harding died suddenly in San Francisco’s Palace Hotel. He was touring the country to get away from the 'Tea Pot Dome'' bribery scandal in Wash. The official cause of death was listed as “ a stroke of apoplexy”. It was rumored he may have committed suicide or had eaten bad crab meat. A popular idea was that First Lady Florence “Flossie” Harding had poisoned him. Harding was a womanizer and Flossie was well aware of his indiscretions; She refused an autopsy and had him quickly embalmed. She controlled all media coverage. To the press she was the Duchess. Nan Britton, one of Warren Harding’s tootsies, immediately sued for $50,000 for the daughter she bore Harding. She lost but wrote a best selling book called the President’s Daughter in 1927. “Silent Cal” Coolidge became President.

1934- Elderly President of the German Republic Paul von Hindenburg died, leaving Chancellor Adolf Hitler alone in charge of Germany. Hitler had waited for the old man to croak before dispensing with the parliamentary niceties. Hindenburg’s death signaled the official end of the Weimar Republic. Hitler combined the offices of President and Chancellor and becomes Der Fuehrer- the Leader.

1939- Albert Einstein then living in New Jersey, wrote a famous letter to President Franklin Roosevelt describing the potential power of atomic energy. That the US must develop atomic bombs before the Nazis do. The Manhattan Project was the result. In later years Einstein described this letter as “one of the biggest mistakes of my life.”

1940- King Gustav of Sweden sent a note to both Adolf Hitler and King George VI offering to be the go-between for talks to end World War Two. All sides refused.

1961 - The Beatles 1st gig as house band of Liverpool's Cavern Club.

1962- If you are a fan of the “Marilyn Monroe was done in by the Kennedy’s ” conspiracy theory, a recently unearthed CIA document dated this day mentioned that Marilyn’s bungalow was under electronic surveillance. Also that she kept a “red book” diary. That diary disappeared after her death, two nights from now.

1971- President Nixon acknowledged for the first time that the CIA was maintaining 30,000 irregular troops fighting in Laos.

1979- Yankee baseball star catcher Thurmon Munson died when he crashed his private plane near Akron Ohio. He was 32.

1990 –After Kuwait refused to waive Iraq’s outstanding debts. 100,000 troops of Saddam Hussein’s army invaded Kuwait.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: When a Mahout climbs into your Howdah, what kind of vehicle are you riding in?

Answer: An elephant. A Howdah is the basket strapped to the back of an Indian elephant, and a Mahout is the driver.


August 1st, 2010 sun.
August 1st, 2010

Question: When a Mahout climbs into your Howdah, what kind of vehicle are you riding in?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What is a Diaspora?
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History for 8/1/2010
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Claudius, Emperor Pertinax, Francis Scott Key, William Clark of Lewis & Clark, Herman Melville, Robert Todd Lincoln, Geoffrey Holder, Yves St. Laurent, Giancarlo Giannini, Dom Deluise, Jerry Garcia, Coolio, Sam Mendes

31 B.C. Marc Anthony falls on his sword. It wasn't an accident, that’s how they did themselves in back then. Most people felt the final showdown between Marc Anthony and Augustus would be much bloodier than the war between Caesar and Pompey. But after the naval defeat of Actium, Anthony’s supporters melted away.

14 A.D. The Roman Senate decided to change the name of the Month Sextilus (number 6) to the Month of the Divine Augustus, or August. Greek scientist Sosigene's plan for the Julian Calendar was a mix of alternating months- 30 days, then 31 days. The system got messed up when Augustus' relations hated that Julius Caesar's month July had 31 days but their August had only 30! So the Senate added a day onto August and took one from, February, which was named for a god of the underworld that nobody liked anyway, which went down to 28.

1096- Peter the Hermit's Crusade, in reality an enormous horde of chanting, bloodthirsty peasants, arrived at Constantinople. Their nominal leaders were the monk Peter and Walter Sans Sou or Walter the Penniless. They had spent the march through Europe massacring Jewish enclaves in many cities and the Byzantine Emperor Alexius didn’t want them turning his city into a war zone. So he had them ferried them over to Asia without allowing them to enter his city. They were soon destroyed by the first large Saracen force they encountered. The real First Crusade army arrived months later.

1291- SWITZERLAND BORN- The rebellious peasants of three Helvetian cantons gather on Rutli meadow and pledge to unite in an Everlasting League against foreign oppression. Modern historians doubt that anything happened on Rutli meadow other than cows grazing, but it’s a good story anyway.

1485 - Henry VII Tudor’s army invaded England to overthrow King Richard III.

1690- The besieged city of Londonderry was rescued by the army of William of Orange.

1714- George Louis/Ludwig, German Elector of Hanover, became George Ist King of Great Britain upon the death of Queen Anne, last of the Orange dynasty. He never trusted his English subjects, they had too many revolutions, too many confusing Parliamentary checks and balances and just 60 years earlier had beheaded their king. George spoke no English ”The English asked me to Rule them, not to Speak to them!”.

1716- The first sculling race, down the Thames from London to Chelsea. Stroke! Stroke!

1740- Thomas Arne's song "Rule Britannia" is performed for the first time.

1744- British chemist Joseph Priestley isolated oxygen, first calling it "dephlogisticated air" . Swedish chemist Carl Scheele isolated the gas in 1771-2 but didn't publish his results until after Priestley. Before this doctors knew how the heart, lungs and blood operated but no one was sure why. Some thought the heart was a little furnace that kept the blood warm, others thought it sifted blood as it passed through the ventricle walls like a cheesecloth.

1793 – Revolutionary France became the 1st country to use the metric system.

1797- According to C.S. Forrester, his British naval hero Horatio Hornblower received his captain's commission today.

1798- BATTLE OF ABU KIR or ABOUKIR BAY. Also called THE BATTLE OF THE NILE so it doesn’t confuse it with a land battle of Aboukir happening at the same time. The Nile itself is 20 miles away from Abukir Bay but it sounds better in dispatches. British Admiral Horatio Nelson caught Napoleon's fleet in an Egyptian harbor and destroyed it in a spectacular night battle. Nelson bore down upon the French ships even though it was already past 4 p.m.. The furious cannonading lit up the evening sky and caused the windows to rattle in nearby Alexandria. The English ships each had four lanterns hung on their stern rails so they could tell each other apart in the dark. The French complained about the English sailors disconcerting habit of cheering like a football match whenever an enemy ship went down or was dismasted. The French Admiral Brousse', his legs blown off by a cannonball, was propped up in an armchair on his poopdeck and died directing the fight. Nelson was wounded in the head by flying splinters and was temporarily blinded by his own blood. Fighting was over by dawn as the exhausted sailors dropped from their guns dead asleep. The victory ruined Napoleon's efforts to destroy the British Empire through Egypt and Turkey and link up with Indian Maharratta Tippoo Sahib in India.

1805- Aaron Burr had dinner with Gen. Andrew Jackson in Nashville. The former Vice President was wanted for the murder of Alexander Hamilton and was plotting a mercenary invasion of the northernmost territory of Spanish Mexico called Texas. After President Tom Jefferson had Burr arrested for treason Jackson denied this dinner ever happened. Twenty five years later when Andy Jackson was president the elderly Burr tried to greet him in public in New York. Jackson turned pale and “ recoiled as though he had been shot."

1861- The Empire of Brazil became one of the few nations to recognize the independence of the Confederate States of America.

1876- Colorado became a state. Because it happened in the year of the American centennial Colorado calls itself the Centennial State.

1893 - Henry Perky & William Ford patent Shredded Wheat cereal. .

1914- Count Friedrich von Portales, the German ambassador to Russia, suffering from nervous exhaustion after a sleepless week of negotiations, appeared in the office of the Czar's foreign minister Nikolai Sazonov. He asked if Russia had reconsidered Germany's ultimatum that Russia demobilize. Sazonov said they did not. Whereupon Portales pulled a paper out his pocket and read the Declaration of War: "His Majesty the Emperor, my august sovereign, accepts the challenge in the name of the empire and now considers himself at war with Russia!" Portales then burst into tears and was comforted by his old friend Sazonov. Late that night Czar Nicholas II was lowering himself into his bathtub with a glass of tea when a final telegram pleading for peace from Kaiser Wilhelm himself arrived. "Silly man! Hadn't he just declared war on me?" Nicholas remarked.
The Czar said he slept soundly that night.

1919- Bela Kun resigned as leader of the Bolshevik state of Hungary. In the postwar chaos of the collapsed Austro-Hungarian Empire Bela Kun seized power in Budapest and tried to set up a Soviet regime like Lenin in Russia. This day he was deposed and Admiral Horty began a purge of all leftists. The violence in Hungary inspired young scientist Dr Edward Teller to be a livelong opponent of Communism. Teller developed the Hydrogen Bomb. Bela Kun fled to Moscow where Josef Stalin had him shot in the Great Purges of 1936.

1933- The WPA Arts Project set up to employ starving artists on large public works projects like murals for libraries and bridges, etc. Artists like Grant Wood, Andrew Wyeth, Dorothea Lang , Orson Welles and Bernice Abbott got commissions.

1936- The opening ceremonies for the Olympic Games in Berlin. The United States was the only nation to refuse to dip their flag in salute to the host head of state- Adolf Hitler. Filmmaker Leni Reifenstahl was given unlimited access to document the Games. She pioneered the use of slow motion, tracking shots and closeups to revolutionize the way sports is filmed.

1940- Hitler released War Directive #17, calling for increased air and sea operations against the British Isles. Operations were to commence August 5th which der Fuehrer called “The Day of the Eagle”. We call it the Battle of Britain.

1943- Late at night off the coast of Borneo the little torpedo boat P.T. 109 rammed and sunk by the Japanese destroyer Amaqiri. Lieutenant John F. Kennedy and his crew swam to an uncharted island. They will be rescued when a native in a canoe delivers a message from Kennedy scrawled on a coconut. “Naru Is. Native knows it. 11 alive need small boat.” When President, Kennedy had the native man to the White House and kept the coconut on his desk in the Oval Office. In June 2002 Dr Robert Ballard, who had discovered the Titanic, found the wreckage of the PT 109 on the ocean bottom.

1946- Truman signed the Atomic Energy Act. It nationalized atomic energy research but created a civilian commission to review peacetime uses of atomic energy. 1946-The first drive-in bank teller opens in Chicago. 1950-Jay Ward's "Crusader Rabbit" the first animated cartoon show made for television.

1953- The Alan Ladd movie Shane released.

1960 - Chubby Checker releases "The Twist" and starts a world wide dance craze.

1960 –A young Baptist preachers daughter who had sung nothing but gospel went into a recording booth to try her hand at R & B. Aretha Franklin’s career began.

1966- TEXAS TOWER WHITMAN-Lunatic Charles Whitman barricaded himself into the steeple of Texas University and shot 15 people at random during a day long gunbattle with police. The tragedy reached comic proportions when Texas recreational gun owners hauled out their pieces and joined the fun alongside the police. Whitman's Marine training was cited for his excellent marksmanship and his eccentric behavior, like constantly polishing his shoes during the day long battle.

1971- The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour debuted.

1971- PBS started a new television series called Masterpiece Theater hosted by Alastair Cooke. It’s first presentation was a the Six Wives of Henry VIII. The high quality BBC and Thames Television programs became so popular in the USA, that people said PBS stood for Preferably British Shows.

1972- Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s first articles in The Washington Post exposing the depths of the conspiracy in the Watergate Scandal. The two journalists claimed they were fed information by someone very high in the Nixon White House who would only give his name as Deep Throat. In 2005 his identity was revealed as W. Mark Felt, the assistant head of the FBI. Their story was dramatized in the film All The Presidents Men.

1972- 187th Tactom Flight Group of the Air Texas National Guard suspended the flight privileges of Lieutenant George W. Bush for failing to take a drug test. The future US president went AWOL (away without leave) from May 1972-to May 1973 to work on his dads’ congressional campaign. It was well known the National Guard then was an easy way for rich kids to avoid being sent to real combat in Vietnam.

1973- With the tag line “Where were you in ’62?” the film American Graffiti opened in theaters. The hit made skinny young director George Lucas a player in Hollywood, and made stars of kids like Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfus and Susanne Somers.

1981-I WANT MY MTV! MTV goes on the air, rock videos 24 hours a day. The idea was funded by a consortium of investors including Mike Nesmith of the Monkees, now on the board of 3M Paper company. If you put on the TV this day you saw a slide of an astronaut for several hours, then finally a voice said :”Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Rock & Roll.” The first rock video played was by a British New-Wave Band called the Buggles entitled “Video Killed the Radio Star.” followed by a Pat Benatar single. There are now MTV channels around the world- Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, Berlin and Moscow, but they hardly ever show music videos anymore. That kind of experimental filmmaking has moved to You Tube.

1991- elderly movie queen Heddy Lamarr was busted in Tampa Florida for shoplifting.

1994- NASDAQ stock trading on Wall Street was halted for 35 minutes because a squirrel gnawed through a main fiber optic cable at the organization’s computer center in Connecticut.

2007- THE MINNEAPOLIS BRIDGE COLLAPSE. The I-35 Bridge, which crosses the Mississippi through the center of Minneapolis, collapsed during the afternoon rush hour, plunging 113 cars into the river. It killed 110 people. The tragedy was a big wake up call to America’s neglected infrastructure. Most American bridges were 40-70 years old and built only intended to last 75 years. In 1958 the U.S. spent 12% of the Federal Budget on infrastructure, in 2007, - 2%.

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Yesterday’s Quiz: What is a Diaspora?

Answer: Originally from botany, meaning a scattering of seeds. A diaspora has come to mean a forced relocation of a people away from their ancestral homeland. The most well known Diaspora is that of the Jewish people by the Romans under Hadrian in 135 AD. Another famous diaspora is that of 6-12 million African peoples brought to the New World by the slave trade.


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