Sept. 04. 2009 fri.
September 4th, 2009

Quiz: Cogito Ergo Sum.

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Who said: “ an enigma, wrapped in a mystery, set in a question..” and what was he/she referring to?
History for 9/4/2009
Birthdays: Marcus Whitman the missionary who led US settlement of Oregon, Howard Morris, Darius Mihlaud, Anton Bruckner, Chateaubriand, Craig Claiborne, Dick York, Richard Wright, Nigel Bruce, Mary Renault, Tom Watson, Mitzi Gaynor, Damon Wayans, Paul Harvey, Beyonce' Knowles

218BC- Hannibal’s army with elephants reached the summit of the Alps.

1781- HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LOS ANGELES. Royal Governor of New Spain Gaspar de Portola and Franciscan monk Fra Junipero Serra with twelve soldiers, some free black families and Indians, about 44 in all, dedicated a new town, one days ride north of San Pedro. The 63 year old Serra had been stung by a scorpion but ignored it, so he hobbled around dragging his swollen leg. Fra Serra named the town after St. Francis of Assisi's first church in Italy- St. Mary of the Angels, so El Pueblo Nuestra Senora Santa Maria Reina de Los Angeles de Porcuincula. Like awesome, dude!

1781- Benedict Arnold, the American Colonial general turned traitor, led a force of British redcoats to burn his own home town of New London, Connecticut. Who says you can never go home?

1821- Russian Czar Nicolas I issued an Imperial Ukase- edict restating Russia's claim to all of the North American Pacific coastline from Alaska to Northern California. The United States rejected this claim and threatened war, which is interesting considering they didn't own any of it at the time. They had plans.

1833 –The New York Sun hired young boys to sell their papers on street corners. The first newsboy was ten year old Barney Flaugherty. Now go peddle your papers, kid.

1839- The Opium Wars began between Britain and China. U.S. Ambassador John Quincy Adams called it "the KowTow Wars" because he felt the real issue was the British Consul refused to lie prostrate on his face before the Chinese Emperor as was the local custom. The Chinese had never smoked Opium until it was introduced by Britain from Pakistan.

1877-Crazy Horse, the "Napoleon of the Plains" was murdered. He had surrendered his weapons on a promise of fair treatment , then was suddenly arrested and bayoneted in the back while resisting attempts to push him into a jail cell. His dying words to his tribe were "Tell the people it is no use to depend on me anymore." Indians enjoy a legend today that Crazy Horse's secret burial place is on the top of Mt. Rushmore.

1884-Thomas Edison proves he could replace gas streetlights with electricity by illuminating one square New York City block (around Pearl st.) with his new dynamo. J.P. Morgan's bank on the corner of Wall and Broad streets is the first private business to be lit solely by electricity.

1888-George Eastman patents the roll film camera. The word "Kodak" is supposedly the sound the shutter made. Another story on the origin of the word was that George wanted a word pronounced the same in all known dialects. So after some research (Rochester lore has it that he did all of this himself) he concluded that only k and x qualified as sounds uttered the same way in all languages. Thus Eastman Kodak. Years later the Rochester based Haloid company, which had for years manufactured photographic paper for Kodak, invented a dry copying process and renamed their company Xerox, following the same convention.

1893- Writer and illustrator Beatrix Potter sent a letter to a sick child: " I don't know what to write you so I shall tell you the story of four little rabbits. Their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter." The Peter Cottontail stories born.

1904 – The Dali Lama signed the first treaty allowing British commerce in Tibet. Tibet had been a closed society forbidding any contact with the outside world.

1914-The Miracle of the Marne- In World War One the main German advance smashed down into France and after 5 weeks were approaching Paris. But Von Kluck's grey clad soldiers were stopped at the river Marne. It was the first battle where telephones played an important role and at one point General Gallieni rushed French reserves up to the front in Parisian taxicabs. The commander of the defense of Paris was Albert Dreyfus, the Jewish officer of the famous scandal of the 1890's now fully exonerated.

1934- Young filmmaker Leni Reifenstahl was contracted by the German Propaganda Ministry to film the 1934 Nazis Party Congress to be held in Nuremburg. While they were expecting a routine documentary Reifenstahl instead created the film The Triumph of the Will, who’s darkly hypnotic images would make film history.

1940- The Columbia Broadcast Service or CBS network started up their first television station.

1949- THE PEEKSKILL RIOTS. Singer Paul Robeson was a renaissance man who embraced controversy. An athlete, opera singer and actor he was also a passionate Black Civil Rights champion who expressed open admiration for the Soviet Union and Maoist China. This did not win him any friends in the segregated, paranoid America of the post war era. This day when Robeson and fellow activist folksinger Pete Seeger gave a concert in Peekskill New York their cars were pelted with stones by screaming white rioters, all with the blessing of the local police. Robeson’s person was shielded by a bodyguard of union men. Fifty years later the town of Peekskill officially apologized to Paul Robeson Jr. Pete Seeger said he saved two of the stones and put them into his chimney.

1957-Ford Motor Company introduced the Edsel, named for Henry Ford's son. Touted as "the dream car of the decade". Ford spent more to promote it than any other car in history. Only 200,000 were sold and after complaints like the steering and brakes failing and dashboards unexpectedly bursting into flame the car was discontinued. Ford lost $250 million. Edsel became the synonym for corporate failure.

1957- Defying direct orders from the Federal Government Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus ordered the Arkansas National Guard to prevent any black students from attending classes at Little Rock High School. President Eisenhower took over direct control of the Guard and sent in the bayonet wielding 101st Airborne to ensure his orders were followed.

1972- American swimmer Mark Spitz won his 7th gold medal in Olympic competition in Munich. He also spawned a cottage industry selling the poster of him wearing his medals, tiny Speedos and that’s about it. This image and the swimsuit poster of Farrah Fawcett, were two of the more famous images of the 1970’s.

The Gillette Company offered Spitz a million dollars to shave his mustache in a commercial. Spitz said no. Spitz held the record until Michael Phelps came along in 2008.

1976- College party boy George W. Bush was busted for drunk-driving close to his family home in Kennebunkport, Maine. He later applied for a brand new Texas State driver’s license, which came with a clean record with no report of the arrest. As President delivering the commencement at Harvard in 2002 he joked:"In the motorcade, seeing all those police cars behind me with their lights flashing… kinda brings me back to my college days…”

1985- Australian press baron Rupert Murdoch became a U.S. citizen so he could build the Fox television and movie networks. US regulations forbade foreign ownership of broadcasting stations so Rupert didn’t fuss about what country he was a citizen of.

1993- Herb Villechaise, the little person who began the show Fantasy Island with the announcement: ”Da PLANE! Da PLANE!’ committed suicide with a shotgun.
Yesterday’s Quiz: Who said: “ an enigma, wrapped in a mystery, set in a question..” and what was he/she referring to?

Answer: Winston Churchill, in a radio address in October 1939, after Soviet Russia joined Hitler’s Germany in crushing Poland. “ I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, set inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest."

September 3rd, 2009 thurs
September 3rd, 2009

Quiz: Who said: “ an enigma, wrapped in a mystery, set in a question..” and what was he/she referring to?

Yesterday’s question answered below: What does it mean to call someone a “ real live wire..?”
History for 9/3/2009
Birthdays: Alan Ladd, Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Irene Papas, Memphis Slim, Eddie Brat Stanky, Mort Walker creator of Beetle Bailey, Bill Flemming, Mitzi Gaynor, Richard Tyler, Eileen Brennan, Valerie Perrine, Charlie Sheen is 43, Phil Stern- former WWII Darby’s Ranger and personal photographer for Louis B. Mayer, is 90!

401BC- THE MARCH OF TEN THOUSAND- Cyrus the Younger had begun a civil war to overthrow his brother the Persian Great King Artaxerxes The Mindful. In Prince Cyrus’ army was ten thousand Greek mercenaries led by several generals including Xenophon, a writer who was once a student of Socrates. Today at a Babylonian town called Cunaxa, Cyrus’s force defeated the Persian Royal Army, but Cyrus was killed. Without an employer and a thousand miles from home in a hostile country. These ten thousand Greeks were really screwed. But they got themselves together and in an epic march they fought their way through hostile armies from the Euphrates to the Greek colonies on the Black Sea. After 5 months their cry "Thalassa! " The Sea! meant they were at last safe and could get a ship home. They dedicated a monument which was discovered by archaeologists near Trapizond Turkey in 1997. Xenophon wrote a book about this adventure called Anabasis. He wrote a book about horsemanship- Dressage, which is still used today.

1189- King Richard Ist the LionHearted crowned at Westminister. He declared his desire to fulfill his father Henry II’s vow to go on Crusade. Richard spoke French and only visited England twice more in his ten years as king. The Anglo-Saxon tongue would not become the official language of England until the 14th century. We don't know Richard's full opinion of London but he allegedly once told his minister William Longchamps:" I'd sell the whole place if they'd let me.." The people celebrate their new king by killing all the Jews they can find, including a mass burning in York. That didn’t stop good King Richard from keeping a Jewish man as his personal doctor.

1260- Battle of Ayn Jalut- Hulugau & the Mongol horde are turned back from Egypt by the Mamaluke army of Sultan Baibars. The Mongols had been in the saddle since China. They had already ravaged Baghdad, Moscow and the Holyland. The Mamelukes were originally an elite guard of slaves handpicked as children to be brought up as fanatical fighting machines. They eventually seized power in Egypt and ran things until Napoleon's French invasion in 1798. When emissaries from the Caliph of Baghdad asked the Mameluke Sultan who was his family and by what right did he rule, the Sultan shook his scimitar in their faces and declared "This is by what right I rule!' Throwing some gold coins on the floor and watching the slaves and eunuchs scamper for them he said "And That is my family!!'

1592- Retired London actor Richard Green wrote a letter to his fellow actors complaining of a newcomer becoming popular in their midst "A new upstart crow filled with Bombast" - Master William Shakespeare.

1651-Battle of Worcester. Puritan Oliver Cromwell destroyed in battle the resurgent Royalists. Young King Charles II hid in an oak tree, forever called the Royal Oak. He then slipped out of the country in disguise as a chimney sweep. This is why a fair number of English pubs along the track bear the curious name "The Black Boy".

1657-Battle of Dunbar- Cromwell whups the Irish.

1658- Oliver Cromwell doesn't whup Death. As you can see Cromwell the Lord Protector liked things on lucky days. Even though he was a religious Puritan he believed in astrology and would send money to German astronomer Johannes Kepler to cast his horoscope. Kepler was the father of modern astronomy but it was horoscopes that paid the bills.

1777- In a small skirmish with British redcoats near Cooch Maryland the American rebels raise their new Stars & Stripes banner for the first time in battle. They are quickly defeated.

1833- The New York Sun began publication, the first American mass circulation newspaper.

1838- Writer Frederick Douglas escaped slavery by boarding a northern bound train disguised as a sailor. Later when he was making a living as a writer he returned to his former master enough money to compensate his loss. Southerners doubted anyone as intelligent and well read as Douglas could have really ever been a slave, but Douglas liked to remind them he "stole himself out of slavery."

1870- Napoleon III surrenders himself to Bismarck and the Kaiser after losing the Battle of Sedan. Louis Napoleon was suffering so from kidney stones that he was wearing rouge and lipstick to give color to his grey face.

1886- Geronimo gives up to the U.S. Army for the fourth and last time. He and his Chiracaua Apaches were promised no retribution would befall them. After they were disarmed they were packed up into railroad cars and shipped to prison in Ft. Myers, Florida to die in the malaria infested swamps. Geronimo in his time had as many Apache enemies as cavalry. The White Mountain Apaches helped guide the US cavalry in their pursuit. After Geronimo's Chiracaua's were exiled the White Mountain Apache were rewarded by also being transported to the Florida everglades. Geronimo survived all and after his release he retired to Santa Fe, where he died in 1910.

1895 - 1st pro football game played, Latrobe beats Jeanette 12-0 (Penn)

1912- Los Angeles attraction Frazier's Million Dollar Pier destroyed by fire.

1930- The first issue of the Hollywood Reporter.

1937- Orson Welles Mercury Theater of the air produced its first play on nationwide radio- an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Mierables.

1939- Britain and France declare war on Nazi Germany over the invasion of Poland, World War Two begins.

1939- British Prime Minister Chamberlain's war announcement interrupts a Disney Cartoon "Mickey's Gala Premiere" showing on the nascent BBC television service. Television shuts down for the duration.

1940 -Adolph Hitler sets the invasion of England for Sept 21st. Operation-Sea Lion after Goering’s Luftwaffe would destroy the Royal Air Force, which they never did.

1941-1st use of Zyclon-B gas in Auschwitz, on Russian prisoners of war.

1944- During the World War Two U.S. pilots shot down by the Japanese were rescued by submarines. The submariners called the pilots Zoomies. This day off the coast of Ichi Jima, the submarine USS Tampico plucked out of the ocean a Zoomie who would one day be President of the United States. Second Lieutenant George Bush Sr.

1946- After the War, the BBC television service resumes and an announcer says:" Well now, where were we?" They continue the Mickey cartoon from where it was interrupted in 1939. World War Two probably held back for a decade the development of television.

1950- Mort Walker's "Beetle Bailey" comic strip first appeared.

1960- The Hanna-Barbera show 'Lippy the Lion and Hardy-Harr-Harr" premiered.

1971- The offices of the psychiatrist of Defense Department attorney Daniel Ellsberg were burglarized by agents of the Nixon White House, to look for incriminating dirt on Ellsberg. They hoped to stop him from publishing the Pentagon Papers by resorting to blackmail. Chief White House counsel John Dean noted that agent G. Gordon Liddy was such a loose cannon that as he stood watch outside the offices he invited a friend to take a photo of him! A true Kodak moment!

2003- Two crooks in Detroit hijacked a Krispy Kreme truck and tried to hold three thousand donuts hostage.
Yesterday’s Quiz: What does it mean to call someone a “ real live wire..?”

Answer: There was a time when setting up an electrical appliance, a person had to splice and attach wires. You had to know which wire was the ground, and which one was the hot or live wire. Mishandling it could give you an electric shock. So a live wire was a term meaning someone who’s personality was dynamic or electric.

September 02, 2009 weds.
September 1st, 2009

Quiz: What does it mean to call someone a “ real live wire..?”

Yesterday’s Quiz Answered Below: Considering Sarah Palin’s husband is of Alaskan Innuit (Eskimo) ancestry. Has there ever been a US President that was Native American?
History for 9/2/2009
Birthdays: The last monarch of Hawaii Queen Lydia Kemehcka Liliuokalani, Yang Tsu Ching leader of the Taiping Rebellion, Cleveland Amory, Alfred Spaulding 1850, founder of Spaulding sports equipment, Martha Mitchell, Mark Harmon, Marge Champion, Peter Ubberroth, Terry Bradshaw, Chrysta McAuliffe, Jimmy Connors, Eric Dickerson, Selma Hayek is 41, Keanu Reeves is 45

31 BC- The Battle of Actium- Large naval battle near Corfu that decided that Augustus and not Anthony & Cleopatra would be the master of Rome. Legend has it that before a battle the priests spread out sacred chicken feed and could predict victory or defeat based on how the sacred chickens would peck. This time the chicken wouldn't peck. Anthony said:"If the chickens won't peck, then let them drink!" And had them all thrown overboard. He lost the battle. Don't mess with the sacred chickens.!

1191-Richard the Lionheart and Sultan Saladin made peace. Contrary to legend and Hollywood movies Richard and Saladin never met face to face. Saladin couldn't defeat Richard in open battle but knew the English king's time in the Holy Land was limited, because he had to get back to fight the French and his own brother Prince John. Richard knew Saladin was old, his Jihad was worn out and Richard fully expected to return by 1196 and finally take Jerusalem. So he made peace for now and got for Christians freedom to worship at the Holy Sepulcher, which they always had before the Crusades anyway. Richard even offered his sister in marriage to Saladin’s brother. Saladin died the following year but Richard never return to Palestine. He died in 1199 from a gangrenous arrow-scratch while attacking a little castle in France named Chalus.

1609- HAPPY BIRTHDAY NEW YORK CITY. Henry Hudson and his Dutch ship "Half Moon" entered New York Harbor. Twenty canoes of Indians rowed out to welcome the strange looking craft. The French under Cartier and English under Cabot had cruised by decades earlier but had not bothered to settle there. Hudson sailed 100 miles up the Hudson looking for China, but found just more river and forest. He reported home about this "Great River not unlike the Rhine and this Great Natural Bay Wherein a Thousand Ships may Ride tranquilly in Harbor." New Yorkers like to point out that while other cities like Boston and Philadelphia were founded as great experiments in religious living the Dutch founded New York to make a buck and its been that way ever since.

1666- THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON- started in the bakery shop of Thomas Farynor on Pudding Lane. The Lord Mayor was woken up at 3:00AM. At first he was not impressed.:"Tosh, an old woman might piss it out!" Actually it burned down the city, including Old St.Paul's Cathedral. 200,000 Londoners were left homeless. King Charles and his brother James (James II) pitched in personally as firefighters. After several days struggle it was finally put out. Samuel Pepys climbed up the steeple of Old St.Brides and recorded his eyewitness account in his diary. It was a tough time to be a Londoner because shortly before the Great Fire was the Great Plague. But the great architect Christopher Wren rebuilt St. Pauls and other London monuments into the beautiful images we know today.

1795- Happy Birthday Cleveland. A group of Connecticut businessmen buy a tract of land on Lake Erie and lay out a new settlement. Their agent and project supervisor Moses Cleveland, names the place for himself.

1814- A landing party from the British warship HMS Hermes visited the Louisiana pirate Jean Lafitte in his lair at Barataria Island in the swamps near the Bayou St. Jean. They offered him a captaincy in the Royal Navy and $30,000 dollars in gold if he would aide the British in capturing New Orleans. Lafitte dismissed them with a promise to think about it, then passed on all he knew to Louisiana Governor Claiborne and the American authorities. It was the first warning the Americans had that the British planned to invade in force at the mouth of the Mississippi.

1864- "Luki Lock the Door! The Yankees are coming!" Sherman’s army entered Atlanta.

1901- In a speech Teddy Roosevelt said the U.S. should " Speak softly and carry a big stick!"

1909- On the three hundredth anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery New York City held a grand birthday party. Hundreds of ships and public spectacles capped off with Wilbur Wright flying his new aeroplane around the Statue of Liberty. Thomas Edison illuminating the entire skyline with the new electric bulbs- the first time a city was illuminated at night by electricity.

1917- Baron on Richtofen the Red Baron on his first mission with his new all red Fokker triplane brought down an English Sopwith fighter plane intact. The rotary engine plane had a design flaw that made it buck sharply to the right whenever you let up on the rudder bar. Richtofen would let an enemy get behind him, then he would lift his foot from the bar. The plane would jerk quickly to the right and he would zip behind his opponent. Then with a cheerful wave he'd shoot them down.

1922 -Weimar President Ebert declares "Deutschland uber Alles" as German national
anthem . The song was written in the 1770’s by Franz Josef Haydn, who had heard God Save the King while touring in London and decided his Kaiser needed an anthem.

1923- Harold Lloyd’s comedy short "Why Worry?" released.

1931-Young new singer Bing Crosby sang for the first time on CBS radio.

1935- A huge hurricane submerged the Florida Keys, killing 443.

1945- WORLD WAR TWO OFFICIALLY ENDS. The Grand Surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay on board the U.S.S. Missouri. The Imperial Japanese forces sign the surrender documents before the representatives of the great powers. General Douglas MacArthur presided and his normally corny Victorian speaking style seemed appropriate for this historic moment:" These proceedings are now concluded. The most tragic era in human history has drawn to a close. We hope that future generations will not resort to war to resolve their problems." Dwight Eisenhower once said of his time on MacArthurs staff" I appreciate theater because I studied drama under Doug MacArthur." The only glitch in the ceremony was the Canadian representative signed the surrender in the space reserved for the Japanese ambassador, and MacArthur brought his own pens which he collected back for himself for souvenirs. General Claire Chennault, the leader of the Flying Tigers had an ego almost as big as MacArthur's. He was the American general most under enemy fire, but he was not invited to the ceremony because the top brass considered him a pain in the ass.

1946- "The Iceman Cometh" by Eugene O’Neill premiered at the Martin Beck Theater on Broadway.

1963 - CBS & NBC expand network news from 15 to 30 minutes. CBS names a new reporter to star in their broadcast with the title "news anchor" Walter Cronkite.

1964- Ten months after his brother’s assassination, Robert Kennedy resigned his post as attorney general of the United States to run for Senator of New York. Bobbie Kennedy and new president Lyndon Johnson hated one another. Johnson said he felt snubbed by that "Pipsqueak and his Massachusetts Mafia." Bobbie Kennedy referred to the President and First Lady as "Colonel Cornpone and the Little Piggy". Johnson’s decision not to run for re-election in 1968 in part was because he felt he would have to put his popularity up against Bobby Kennedy’s, the first politician to flash a two fingered peace sign credibly.

1973- J.R.R. Tolkein died at age 81. His comment about Lord of the Rings? I should have written more....

1985- A team of French and American oceanographers led by Dr. Robert Ballard discovered the final resting place of the HMS Titanic, which sank in 1912. Ballard would go on to discover the German battleship Bismarck, the WWII carrier USN Yorktown and JFK’s ship, the P.T. 109.
Yesterday’s Quiz: Considering Sarah Palin’s husband is of Alaskan Innuit (Eskimo) ancestry. Has there ever been a US President that was Native American?

Answer: Charles “Goodtime Charlie” Curtis, was the Vice President under Herbert Hoover 1929-1933. His grandmother was a Kaw Indian, and he liked to play up his Native American Ancestry for political advantage. He entitled his campaign biography- From Teepee to Capitol.

Sept. 1st, 2009 Tues.
September 1st, 2009

Quiz: Considering Sarah Palin’s husband is of Alaskan Innuit (Eskimo) ancestry. Has there ever been a US President that was Native American?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: : Last week Republican Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins of Kansas said that the Republican Party was looking for a “ Great White Hope”. Later she claimed she didn’t understand what it meant. Where does the phrase some from?
History for 9/1/2009
Welcome to Septembrius, After August the Romans ran out of names for months. Septembrius means number 7, March being the first month of the Roman Calendar.

Birthdays: Joachim Pachebel, Gentleman Jim Corbet, Sir Roger Casement, Seiji Ozawa, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Walter Reuther founder of the United Auto Workers, Englebert Humperdinck- the 19th century composer, Conway Twitty, Jack Hawkins, Leonard Slatkin, Seiji Ozawa, Yvonne DeCarlo, Gloria Estefan, Mike Lah, Boxcar Willie, Richard Farnsworth, Lily Tomlin,

338B.C. -BATTLE OF CHAERONEA- Phillip of Macedon, with his son Alexander the Great, defeated the combined armies of the independent Greek city states. . The Macedonian victory united Greece for the first time under one rule but ended the citystates individual rule. By this time Athens and Sparta had fallen from their once powerful positions and the Greek states that fought King Phillip were led by Thebes ( the Greek city of Theseus is often confused with the similarly named Egyptian city Thebes)

Even among the hard drinking Macedonian warriors King Phillip was considered a partyguy. It was said that night he went out on the battlefield and danced on the bodies of the slain. The elite corps of the Greek Theban army was the Sacred Band, a unit where every warrior was married to the man next to him. This way you are less likely to run away from a battle if your lover is next to you rather than a stranger. The system worked, no one ran, the Sacred Band fought and died to the last man. Gays in the Military.

1159- Pope Adrian IV died. The only English Pope, his original name was Hildebrand.

1642- THE ENGLISH CIVIL WAR BEGINS- Charles I of England, tired of arguing with his Parliament over money, religion and legislative power, set up his standard at Nottingham and called for the nobles of the Realm to bring troops to put down his saucy subjects. Charles once said “Democracy is a Greek drollery purporting the foolish notion that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.” The Royal flag was raised in a summer rainstorm and was soon blown down. This date is kind of a symbolic beginning of the conflict. Civil War was not a new thing in England- The War of the Roses, The Wars of Stephen and Matilda, Harry Hotspur, Simon de Monfort, Thomas Wyatt, Monmouths Rebellion, etc. But this is considered by historians the biggest English conflict.

1661- King Charles II introduced England to a sport he picked up in Holland, Yacht racing. Yacght is Dutch for little ship. This day in front of the court the King and his brother James raced each other down the Thames.

1715- French King Louis XIV, the Sun King, died at 76. He said:"Idiots! Did you think I would live forever?" later " Hmmm, I thought dying would be harder." His mistress Madame DeMaintenon once complained to the Archbishop that the king still insisted on sex every day and at 68 she was tired. He replied :"It is all our duty to obey the king."

1730- Benjamin Franklin marries Deborah Regan, the supposed mother of his illegitimate son William.

1774- EIGHT MONTHS BEFORE LEXINGTON AND CONCORD- Royal Governor in Boston General Thomas Gage had been ordered by London to get tough with these unruly colonials. This day he sent a force of redcoats to Cambridge to confiscate a store of gunpowder he believed would be used against him. The word spread that the troops were coming and the rumors grew to wild proportions. All the way in Connecticut and New York the rumor was Gage's men were burning farms and bayoneting innocent people in their beds. As the redcoat troops marched off they noticed hundreds of heavily armed farmers emerging from the woods, only dispersing after hearing that the atrocity stories were false. An army of Minutemen had materialized with hours before the British officer’s eyes and disappeared as quickly. Gage wrote London that things were getting out of hand.

1802 – The Aurora, a scandalous newspaper, first accused President Thomas Jefferson of having an 'improper relationship' with his slave Sally Hemmings. “Dusky Sally” was the child of Jefferson’s own father in law and his slave that Jefferson had inherited. When they met in 1786 he was in his late forties and she around fourteen. Friends said they lived together like man and wife for 38 years. The Aurora editor James Callander had also accused Alexander Hamilton of affairs, he called John Adams a “pernicious hermaphrodite” and even made fun of George Washington- calling him “the Dalai Lama of America.”. In August 1803 Callanders body was found floating face down in the Potomac. No murder enquiry was ever made. In 1998 DNA testing of descendants proved Jefferson indeed created offspring with his servant Ms. Hemmings, although outraged Jefferson apologists are still trying to blame it on another relative.

1836- In Jerusalem Rabbi Judah Hasid began to build his synagogue and his reform movement- Hasidim.

1852-The Hot Dog or Frankfurter was invented by a group of butchers in Frankfurt, Germany. It didn't catch on in the U.S until it was served at the opening the Coney Island Exhibition in 1894, where it was billed as a Vienna Sausage or Red Hots. Dog was one newspaper's speculation upon the origins of the meat. It was first served at a baseball game in 1910.

1864- After Sherman threatened his last escape route at Decatur rebel General John Bell Hood finally abandoned the City of Atlanta to the Yankees.

1885- Mrs. Emma Nutt became the first telephone switchboard operator. At first telephone companies used telegraph errand boys to connect calls, but switched to women after customers complained of the boys saucy wisecracks and rude attitude on the phone.

1897- The Boston T-train opened. First subway line in the U.S.

1913 - George Bernard Shaw’s play "Androcles & the Lion," premieres in London.

1919- Pat Sullivan's 'Feline Follies" cartoon staring Felix the Cat. Felix is the first true animated star, not depended on a previous newspaper comic strip. His body prototype, a black peanut shape with four fingers, will be the standard for years to come and copied for characters like Oswald and Mickey Mouse. By 1926 he was the most popular star in Hollywood after Chaplin and Valentino. Lindbergh had a Felix doll in his plane and it has been speculated that Groucho Marx copied his famous strut. The first television image broadcast by scientists in 1926 was of a Felix doll.

1923- Tokyo and Yokohama are destroyed by the largest earthquake recorded in the twentieth century. 100,000 died.

1928- Paul Terry premiered his sound cartoon RCA Photophone system for a short called "Dinner Time". Young studio head Walt Disney came by train out from Los Angeles to see it. He telephoned his studio back in L.A." My Gosh, Terrible! A Lot of Racket and Nothing Else!" He said they could continue to complete their first sound cartoon "Steamboat Willie".

1932-Mayor Jimmy Walker resigned as Mayor of New York. The corrupt but colorful Walker was a former vaudeville hoofer who wrote a hit song "Will you love me in September like you do in May.?" and flouted his chorus girl mistress at social functions. The man who served out Walker’s term was John P.”Boo-Boo” O’Brian, another Tamany machine politician who was so inept that when a reporter asked who he planned to name as the new Sewer Commissioner O’Brian said “A decision hasn’t been given me yet..”

1939- FIRST CANNES FILM FESTIVAL- The premiere film event in Europe had been the Venice Film Festival but western democracies tired of the bias of the judges for Fascist and Nazi films. For example Walt Disney was annoyed his Snow White, the box office and critical champ of 1938, lost out to Leni Reifenstahl's Olympia. So the little French Riviera city was chosen as the site for a new festival. Two days after opening World War Two was declared and the festival shut down until 1946.

1939- WORLD WAR TWO BEGAN. The Nazi Army blitzkreigs into Poland. Britain and France declared war two days later. Blitzkreig meant Lightning War- heavy motorized tanks and troops moving at full speed into an enemies interior while the airforce destroyed most of the Polish airforce still on the ground. The outdated Polish Army still fought with cavalry. The Nazis propaganda Ministry rigged up a border incident to claim Polish troops had fired first. They put dead concentration camp victims in German uniforms in a plan called Operation Canned Goods. So all through the massive invasion the operation was referred to in the German media as the “Counter Offensive”

1939- Hitler ordered the mentally ill sent to concentration camps.

1939 – The Physical Review published the1st paper on a celestial phenomena called "black holes".

1955- Phillip Loeb was a TV star, playing Papa on the show The Goldbergs on radio and television. But the book Red Channels listed him as a Communist. He was blacklisted and the show dropped by CBS and NBC. This day Loeb checked into the Hotel Taft and swallowed a bottle full of sleeping pills..

1956- Elvis Presley bought his momma a pink cadillac.

1969- Col. Mohammar el Khaddafi seized power in Libya after deposing King Idris.

1972 - Bobby Fischer (US) defeats Boris Spassky (USSR) for the world chess title.
The young eccentric genius Fischer was the Tiger Woods of chess and for a time a pop icon. He would after a few years of fame drop out of competition at the height of his powers and go into seclusion.

1977 - 1st TRS-80 Model I computer sold

1978 - Last broadcast of "Columbo" on NBC TV

1979 - LA Court orders retired TV star Clayton Moore to stop wearing his Lone Ranger mask in public appearances. Paramount was pushing a bad remake the Legend of the Lone Ranger starring Klinton Spillsbury, so they wanted the old man to stop competing for the spotlight. Today that movie is forgotten while many more remember the TV show,

1983- A Korean KAL 747 passenger airliner had strayed into Russian airspace over the Sakhalin islands. Soviet authorities had the 747 shot down, killing 269 innocent people including 60 Americans and a US congressman. President Reagan decried this “barbarous act” and called for sanctions. Truth be told US and Korean allied intelligence did play chicken with the reds using civilian airliners and the KAL pilots were given monetary bonuses if they got to their destinations ahead of time, so this pilot used the Sakhalin shortcut. Passengers were kept unaware of this dangerous game.

1989 - Princess Anne of England & Mark Phillips announce their separation

1995 – The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame opens in Cleveland Ohio

1996 – The Baltimore Ravens, who were the old Cleveland Browns, played their 1st NFL game, beating Oakland Raiders, 17-14

1998- THE STARR REPORT- The full text of Special Counsel Kenneth Starr’s investigation into the sexual wrongdoings of President Bill Clinton with his intern Monica Lewinsky was released on-line. It was the first major news story reported on the Internet, a full day before the other media could get it. Twenty million log-on’s in one day. It caused huge internet user jams and sparked a furious response from millions, all on electronic mail. Americans learned of their President’s many uses for his cigar, and Monica snapping her thong underwear at him. Many felt the salacious details ranked as soft-core pornography, but it was sent out without any child-proof guards, championed by conservative politicians who normally demand media censorship. Pornography publishing tycoon Larry Flynt jokingly offered Kenneth Starr a job.”Heck, any man who could get that much porn into 50 million homes so quickly should be working for me!”
Yesterday’s Question: Last week Republican Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins of Kansas said that the Republican Party was looking for a “ Great White Hope”. Later she claimed she didn’t understand what that meant. Where does the phrase some from?

Answer: Jack Johnson was the first Black Heavyweight boxing champion from 1909 to 1915. His flaunting his skills and his extravagant lifestyle at the height of segregation, drove racists nuts. Newspapers demanded a Great White Hope to win back the heavyweight title. Former champion Jim Jeffries came back out of retirement in 1911 to challenge Johnson. He stated: "I am going into this fight for the sole purpose of proving that a white man is better than a Negro". He lost.

Congresswoman Jenkins stating she did not know the obvious racist meaning of Great White Hope is at best disingenuous. Because a few weeks earlier she voted on a Congressional resolution absolving Jack Johnson of charges trumped up against him, and the bill restated the Great White Hope story.

August 31st, 2009 mon.
August 31st, 2009

Question: Last week, Republican Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins of Kansas said that the Republican Party was looking for a “ Great White Hope”. Later she claimed she didn’t understand what it meant. Where does the phrase some from?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What are dungarees?
History for 8/31/2009
Birthdays: Caligula 12AD*, Commodus 161AD**, Amilcare Ponchielli, Eldridge Cleaver, Buddy Hackett, James Coburn, Itshak Perleman, Van Morrison, Arthur Godfrey, Debbie Gibson, Richard Baseheart, Rocky Marciano. Alan J. Lerner, Dan Rather, Maria Montressori (of the Montressori Method of education), Daniel Saroyan, Richard Gere is 60, Chris Tucker is 37.

* Caligula was a nickname. His real name was Gaius but as a child in his dad's army camp the troops dressed him up in his own little uniform. An army issued boot was a Caligae, so they called him Caligula, or Little Army Bootie. As Emperor if you called him that to his face he'd have you killed.
** Commodus was yet another mad Roman Emperor . He'd have you killed if you reminded him that he had the same birthday as Caligula. Romans refused to believe such a loser as Commodus could be the son of the great philosopher Marcus Aurelius. The rumor was the empress coupled with a gladiator while Marcus was away in Germany. When Marcus found out he was …uh…philosophical.

1422- King Henry V of England had settled the Hundred Years War in England’s favor after the great victory of Agincourt. But this day he died of dysentery at age 35 before the peace could hold. Had he lived, the Hundred Years War would have been the 90 Years War.

1829- Giacomo’s Opera Guglielmo Tell debuted in Paris. The William Tell overture was heard for the first time- Hi Ho Silver!

1837- Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered his American Scholar speech in Cambridge Mass. “Our long apprenticeship to the learning of other lands is drawing to a close.” People called it an intellectual declaration of independence.

1879- THE RETREAT TO KANADAHAR- The British hold on Afghanistan and the Khyber Pass was difficult and dangerous. After a British force was wiped out by Ayub Khan at Maiwand, General Primrose reported he was surrounded at Khandahar. Lord Roberts ,or “Lil’ Bobs” conducted his army on an epic march from Kabul to Khandahar under heavy attack on all sides from Afghan tribesmen. Once there he discovered to his annoyance that Primrose had overreacted and the Khandahar garrison wasn’t in any serious danger. Roberts proceeded to defeat the forces of Ayub Khan and later was also victorious in the Boer War. He received the thanks of Parliament and was made Lord Roberts of Khandahar. Even his horse received a medal. Kipling wrote a poem in his honor “Our Bobs”. Roberts was five foot three, blind in one eye and liked to sip champagne while directing a battle.

1881- The first men’s singles competition in tennis was held in Newport Rhode Island. The winner was Richard Sears.

1887- Thomas Edison patented the plans for a Kinetoscope, his original version of Motion Pictures using George Eastmans new celluloid roll film. Most of the actual grunt work was done by Canadian technician W.K.L. Dickson. He drove himself sick designing, building and improving the device as well as the camera and studio, but Edison gets all the credit. Edison wrote Edweard Muybridge at the time that he doubted the Kinetoscope would have much commercial value beyond the lab.

1888-THE FIRST JACK THE RIPPER MURDER. Then called the Whitechapel Murders. The unique detail was that the Ripper killed his victim Mary Ann Nichols with a simple throat cut, then proceeded to remove her internal organs with the precision of a surgeon. Was the sadist murderer the syphilitic Duke of Clarence? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle suggested it was a woman, a psychotic midwife. An anti-Semitic issue appeared when a cryptic clue at the murder scene was interpreted by some to think the Ripper was Jewish. Then the message was thought to be a freemasons symbol. After six ghastly killings the murders stopped as mysteriously as they had started. In 1891 an Australian-born abortionist named Dr. Edward Cream was hanged for poisoning a prostitute. As he dropped through the trapdoor and the rope snapped he shouted: "I AM JAC-...!"

1909- A geologist named Walcott hiking in the Canadian Rockies discovered the Burgess Shale. The first fossilized proof of the period before the dinosaurs called the Cambrian Era.

1919- The American Communist Party founded in Chicago with John Reed and Carlos Tresca. This was distinct from Socialist Party tickets. Socialists had been active for years before and around 1912 Socialist Eugene Debs polled over a million votes in his run at the Presidency. In 1945 the CP/USA was outlawed but reinstated in the 1960s. Black militant professor Angela Davis once ran for president on the Communist ticket. She didn’t win.

1920 -Detroit radio station is 1st to broadcast a news program on the air.

1928- In Berlin the ThreePenny Opera premiered, music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Bertholdt Brecht with Lotte Lenya as Pirate Jenny. Mackie Messer or Mack the Knife is born.

1939- Adolph Hitler sent out "Wartime Order #1-Force White" calling for the attack on Poland to begin on schedule, and war to commence without a formal declaration. It also told all German ships at sea to be on alert for the news of hostilities with Britain and France.

1941 –The Great Gildersleeve, a spin-off of Fibber McGee & Molly debuts on NBC radio.

1946- Looney Toon short 'Walky Talky Hawky' the first Foghorn Leghorn. The character was based on a Fred Allen radio character Senator Claghorn that poked fun at bombastic Southern conservative politicians.

1948- Disney's 'Melody Time' premiered, featuring Willie the Operatic Whale.

1948- Movie star Robert Mitchum was busted for smoking pot with a blonde in the Hollywood Hills. This should have normally smoked his career, but the new postwar outlaw, noir attitude was in vogue. Bad-boy Mitchum emerged from jail more popular than ever.

1955-1st sun-powered automobile demonstrated, Chicago, Ill. Ed Begley didn’t buy it.

1954- Make a note of it, the US Census Bureau founded.

1957- Malaysia gained independence from Britain.

1969- Former Heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano died in a plane crash in Newton Iowa. He had been hurrying home to attend a birthday party in his honor. He was 45.

1972- Russian Olga Korbut won a gold medal in gymnastics at the Olympics. She was the first of the cutsey little 15 year old girl gymnasts with the bright smile to catch the world’s attention.

1997- PRINCESS DIANA OF WALES died in a high speed car crash in Paris. Her Mercedes had been trying to avoid paparrazzi hounding her and her current boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed, the son of the Egyptian tycoon owner of Harrods. The drivers body tested above normal for alcohol and drugs. Princess Di was 36. Britain reacted with an outpouring of grief not seen since the death of Nelson. The rapacious British paparazzi worked overtime to absolve themselves of hounding the poor woman to death. Rupert Murdoch personally flew to London to direct the spin campaign defending his papers. Part of their tactics was to point out that the Queen didn’t make a true statement of regret until the following Thursday, almost a week after the accident.

I was in Spain on the day of the crash. I noticed on a stand the late edition London Evening Standard, printed before news of the tragedy. It had the headline: DI & DODI’S BONKING BONANZA!

2001- The NY Stock Exchange tries to avoid a Recession by getting Michael Jackson and Jerry Lewis to ceremonially open trading day sessions. It didn’t work.
Yesterday’s Question: What are dungarees?

Answer: Before the 1960’s, it was the original name for denim bluejeans. The name originated in India, the coarse cloth of Dongari-Killa was appropriated by British Navy sailors to describe the pants they made out of old sailcloth. Denim came from the French town of Nimes, which made sailcloth until steam engines replaced them. It was known as Serge De’Nimes.