BACK to Blog Posts

VIEW Blog Titles from March 2012


Blog Posts from March 2012:

March 6,, 2012 Tues.
March 6th, 2012

Quiz: What does BMW stand for?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What does it mean to set your imprimatur?
History for 3/6/2012
Birthdays: Michaelangelo Buonnarotti, Cyrano De Bergerac, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, General Phil Sheridan, Lou Costello, Ivan Boesky, Ring Lardner, Gabriele Garcia-Marquez, Valentina Tereschkova the first woman in space, Tom Arnold, Kiri Te Kanawa, Rob Reiner is 65, Alan Greenspan, DC Mayor Marion Barry, Stephen Schwartz is 64, Ed McMahon, Will Eisner, Shaquille O’Neal is 40

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Fridolin the Wanderer.

1521- Fernan de Magellan discovered the Pacific Island of Guam.

1554- The future King of Spain Phillip II married the Catholic Queen of England Mary Tudor long distance, by proxy. When Phillip came to England and realized Mary had waited to long to have children and was now too old and ill he sent emissaries to see if her half-sister Elizabeth was interested.

1834- The Ontario settlement of Fort York is incorporated as the new City of Toronto.

1836- THE ALAMO- The Mexican army of General Santa Anna overwhelmed a small garrison of rebellious Texans in an old mission.

The tragic stand of 189 men led by colorful frontiersmen like Davey Crockett and Jim Bowie against 5,000 troops has become part of American mythology. That they ignored Sam Houston's direct orders to blow up the mission and join his main army with their valuable cannon is forgotten. Apologists contend that if they didn’t stall, Santa Anna's army he would have swooped down on Washington-on-the-Brazos and squashed the Texas Rebellion while they were still quibbling over their constitution.

The attack began at 4:30 a.m. in the predawn darkness and was all over in 90 minutes, a little after 6 a.m.. Jim Bowie was bayoneted in his hospital bed. The notes of a Texas officer named Dolson who interviewed a Mexican officer named Sanchez after the battle were discovered in 1961. It revealed that maybe Davey Crockett didn't go down heroically using his rifle "Old Betsy" as a club- like in the movies, but tried to surrender. His wife was Mexican and he was a politician after all. Santa Anna had him and any other surviving men shot. Sanchez wasn’t sure if it was Crockett. We'll never know for sure.

There were 16 Alamo survivors, the women and children and Colonel Travis' black servant Joe. Santa Anna made sure they were each given two pesos and a blanket and set free. The battle cry of Texans became Remember the Alamo!

1837- Col Travis black slave Joe fought on the barricades of the Alamo alongside his master. After the battle Joe was thanked for his services by being returned to Travis’ family in Alabama to remain a slave. On the one year anniversary of the battle Joe escaped to freedom. He remained in hiding for 30 years, long after the Civil War and Emancipation, emerging for a newspaper interview in 1877.

1850- Gustav Flaubert was the French writer who was once tried for pornography for creating Madame Bovary. This day while in Egypt he kept an appointment with the countries most famous belly dancing prostitute Kuchuck Hanem.

1853- Giusseppi Verdi’s classic opera La Traviata premiered at Teatro alla Fenice in Venice. It was based on Dumas novel Le Dame Aux Camelias. Verdi wrote in his diary about the premiere:" The evening was a disaster! Was it my fault or the fault of the singers? Only time will tell..."

1856- Mr. Simon met Mr. Schuster while buying a piano in New York City and discovered they had a common love of books, They formed Simon & Schuster, one of the largest publishers in the U.S.

1857- THE DREDD SCOTT DECISION.-One of the incidents leading to the Civil War and one of the most infamous court rulings in US History. A slave, Dredd Scott, sued in court for his freedom on the grounds that he no longer lived in a slave state, because his master had moved them to a neutral state.

The Supreme Court of Justice Taney, whom the N.Y. Tribune had described as "5 slaveholders and two doughfaces", handed down the decision that not only was Scott still a slave, but he and his descendants could never have rights of U.S. Citizenship, no matter where they lived. In effect, all Afro-Americans even if born free in the North were still not people but property.

This idea exploded the already enraged public opinion in the North. Four years later the same justice Taney swore in Abraham Lincoln as president.

1860- Presidential candidate Abe Lincoln in a speech said:" Thank God we have a system where workers have the Right to Strike."

1864- THE NAVAJO LONG WALK- After being defeated when their Navajo-Fortress in Canyon de Chelly was stormed by US Cavalry under Kit Carson, the Navajo and their families were forced into a death march in the winter cold several hundred miles to a reservation. Years later Washington decided it didn't want their ancestral lands after all and let them return.

1884-Susan B. Anthony led 100 top women’s rights advocates, called Suffragettes, to a meeting with President Chester Allen Arthur. The demanded he throw his support for giving women the vote. President Arthur said he would think about it, but he did nothing.

1899- The wonder drug of the age and the first patent medicine- Aspirin, is patented. Felix Hoffman isolated the compound salicin from ground willow bark, an old Indian pain remedy. Ancient Romans drank willow water for pain.

1911-THE YELLOW PERIL- In the bizarre game of diplomatic chess the great powers played before World War One, the race issue was a favorite topic. The" Battle between the White Forces of Christian Civilization against the limitless Yellow Hordes of Asia" was an idea the German Kaiser Wilhelm liked to talk at length on.

On this day the Kaiser's agents convinced the U.S. public via the sensationalist press that Japan had concluded an alliance with Mexico and was preparing to seize the Panama Canal, and that a Japanese Army was even now marching up Baja to attack California! To quiet public fears President Taft was actually forced to mobilize 2/3 of the U.S. Army and Navy and sent it to the Mexican border "for maneuvers".

When the Great War did come Japan was on the American side and the Kaiser tried fruitlessly to make an alliance with an unsympathetic Mexico.

1917- Woman’s rights advocate Margaret Sanger is released from prison where she was jailed for trying to open the first Planned Parenthood clinic. She married the inventor of the Three-In-One Oil Company and used to smuggle abortion medicines in cans of oil. During prohibition she smuggled diaphragms in cases of innocent bootleg whiskey. She lived into the 1960s, long enough to see the Birth Control Pill and the Women’s Movement.

1918- The Navy destroyer USN Cyclops disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle, and has never been found since.

1921- The film Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse premiered. The first Hollywood film to earn over one million dollars, and it made a major star out of Rudolf Valentino..

1927- Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis opened in the US.

1936- Mr. Clarence Birdseye introduced frozen vegetables.

1944- The first great daylight bombing raid on Hitler’s capitol Berlin. In one of the largest air battles of World War Two 800 US B-17 and P-51s battled hundreds of Luftwaffe fighters. Over 80 US planes were shot down losing 690 airmen and 45 German but the message was sent: Berlin would now get the kind of destruction that Rotterdam, Warsaw and London got.

1978- Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flynt was shot and crippled by a lunatic.

1979- The film The China Syndrome premiered. It was about an accident at an American nuclear power plant.. Three weeks later the real Three Mile Island accident occurred, boosting the box office. " It's spooky, it's enough to make you religious" said star Michael Douglas.

1981- CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite retired. Dan Rather succeeded him after CBS learned ABC was offering Rather big bux to jump networks. Roger Mudd, who was thought to be the real successor to Cronkite, left the network to anchor the History Channel. Dan Rather was the CBS anchor until 2004.

1989- Time Inc. merged with Warner Communications to become Time Warner, the largest media conglomerate in the world. They were bought by AOL in 2000 but AOL proved to be dead weight and they resumed control as TimeWarner in 2003.

1998- The Big Lebowski opened in theaters. The Dude Abides…

Yesterday’s Question: Who coined the phrase What does it mean to set your imprimatur?

Answer: Imprimatur actually means "it may be printed". In ancient Rome, it meant a senator or magistrate would make a document official by pressing his signet ring into wax sealing it. In Medieval Times, setting an imprimatur meant a book or other publication met censorship standards (most often by the Catholic Church) and could be printed. Today the word has come to mean an approval or official endorsement of any sort.

March 5, 2012 mon
March 5th, 2012

Question: What does it mean to set your imprimatur?

Quiz: Why is the U.S. Southeast called Dixie?
History for 3/5/2012
Birthdays: Henry III of England, Gionanni Batista Tiepolo, Explorer Le Sieur de Cadillac the founder of Detroit, Hector Villa-Lobos, Howard Pyle, William Oughtred 1574- inventor of the Slide Rule," Red Rosa" Luxemburg, Rex Harrison, Dean Stockwell is 76, Paolo Pasolini, Andy Gibb, Samantha Eggar, Andrej Wajda, Fred Williamson, Penn Gillette is 57, Eva Mendes is 38, Kevin Connolly is 38

Today is the feast day of Saint Eusebius of Cremona.

493AD- BARBARIAN PEACE SUMMIT- Theodoric the Visigoth invited Odoacer, King of the Germans in Italy to a peace conference. On a pre-arranged signal two Goths held Odoacer's hands pretending to shake them, then Theodoric whipped out his sword and sliced Odoacer in half. He said of his sword stroke: "Surely the mother of this knave hath made him with gristle, for I find no bones in his body." Peace was achieved.

1496- English King Henry VII hired Italian John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto) to go explore this New World that the Spanish were going on about.

1534- Renaissance painter Correggio died when after an argument in the cathedral of Parma with his patrons paid him with sacks of pennies. He grew overheated carrying them all home and died of a fever at age 45.

1562- The Teutonic Knights disbanded- Warrior monks were a creation of the Crusades but by the Renaissance they were outmoded. This German order of military monks formed in Jerusalem went to Prussia after the Crusades to convert the pagan Baltic peoples by chopping them up for Christ. But by now they had two big problems: Number one- everyone they used to chop were already Christians. Number two- the Reformation had started and all the knights were converting to Lutheranism, even the Order’s own bishop! So Grand Master Kettler went to Wittenburg to talk to the great reformer Martin Luther. Luther told Kettler to chuck the whole monk-thing, get married and become Duke of Prussia. Brandenburg-Prussia was later the state that Germany unified under in 1870.

1616- The Holy Office of the Inquisition published its verdict on the new scientific ideas of Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo. It read:" The idea that the Earth goes around the Sun is Foolish, Philosophically Erroneous and Heretical since it contradicts Holy Scripture. The idea that the Earth revolves on its axis is also Ridiculous and Heretical." Galileo’s writings were not removed from the Index of Banned Books until 1835.

1717- Giovanni Tiepolo joined the Guild of Saint Lawrence, the artists union in Rome.

1759- Francois Voltaire’s most famous satire on religion and hypocrisy- Candide- was published. It was immediately ordered publicly burned by the regional parliaments of Geneva and Paris. This only increased its popularity. To stay out of trouble Voltaire first refused to admit he was the author:" People must have lost their senses to attribute to me that pack of nonsense! I have, Thanks God, better occupations."

1770- THE BOSTON MASSACRE- A snowball fight near some British sentries turned into an ugly anti-British riot that made the redcoats open fire on the crowd. African American Crispus Attucks among several others were killed. Radical publisher Sam Adams inflated the incident into the Boston Massacre. The British authorities were accommodating enough to allow the soldiers put on trial in a colonial civilian court. The soldiers were defended by a young Boston lawyer named John Adams. They were all acquitted.

1836- At the Alamo, as the Mexican army of Santa Anna prepared for their final attack, legend has it Colonel Travis gathered the remaining defenders. He drew a line in the sand with his sword and asked all who wished to stay and fight to the bitter end to cross it. All crossed but one. He was an elderly Frenchman named Louis Rose, who slipped out through the lines to safety. Rose was a veteran of Napoleon's army and had fought at Moscow and Waterloo. I guess he felt he had made enough history for one lifetime. At dusk, 16 year old rider James Allen slipped out of the Alamo to bring the doomed men’s last message to the outside world.

1853- Harry Steinway & Sons began their piano making company.

1863- The U.S. Army finally admits having the men do their own cooking was bad for morale, as well as their digestion. The first field kitchens with real cooks set up.

1868- Englishman C.H. Gould patented the first stapler.

1877- Rutherford Hayes inaugurated. His wife banned hard liquor from the White House. For this she was known as Lemonade Lucy.

1891- The town council of Phoenix Arizona offered a bounty of $200 for every dead Indian brought in, and they didn’t care how they came to be dead.

1912- Italy became the first to use dirigibles for military purposes. Using them to get aerial reconnaissance of Turkish positions west of Tripoli, Libya.

1913- The day after his inauguration, President Woodrow Wilson began filling his cabinet. Secretary of the Navy Dearing proposed as Assistant Secretary of the Navy a young New York assemblyman named Franklin D. Roosevelt. Wilson said:" Most Roosevelts I know try to run everything, but this fellow is a capitol idea!"

1918- Lenin moved the capitol of Russia from Petrograd- Saint Petersburg back to Moscow.

1922- F.W. Murnau’s eerie film Nosferatu premiered in Berlin.

1933- The day after his inauguration President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders a nationwide "Bank Holiday", a nice way of saying shut the whole darn system down to stop the panic and slide. One third of all U.S. banks had already collapsed. Roosevelt moved so fast, throwing program after program to combat the Great Depression, that his first 100 days in office became legendary, and now the media use it as a litmus to measure other presidents against.

1937-Allegheny airlines born, later to become U.S. Air. Allegheny had such a bad safety record that by the 1970’s the joke on their motto was "Allegheny will get you there-maybe."

1937- SPITFIRE. The first flight of Britain’s most famous fighter plane, the Supermarine Spitfire Mark II. Designer B. J. Mitchell fought red tape and outdated thinking on the army’s requisition board. He died of exhaustion and heart failure at 42, never knowing that his Spitfire would become the decisive tool in winning the air war over Britain, and saving his country from Nazi invasion.

1963- Country star Patsy Cline died in plane crash near Camden Tenn. Also killed were singers Cowboy Copas and Hacksaw Hawkins.

1973, New York Yankee pitchers Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson make a stunning declaration. The left-handers announce that they have traded each others wives, children, houses, even their family dogs.

1982 John Belushi died of drug overdose at Chateau Marmont hotel on Sunset Strip. He had done twenty heroin-cocaine speedballs in just 24 hours. A woman named Cathy Smith was charged with administering to him the fatal dose. Robin Williams was with him that night partying also but left early. He was 31. Someone scrawled on Belushi’s tombstone:" You could have given us more laughs.....But NNNOOOO!

1995- Vivian Stanstall, lead singer for the Bonzo Dog Band, died in a fire in his London flat. He had been smoking in bed.

2004- Communist China changes it’s constitution to say that private property is now OK.
Yesterday’s Question: Why is the U.S. Southeast called Dixie?

Answer: Individual states printed their own money in the Early Republic. Ten dollar bills printed in Louisiana had the French word for ten DIX on them. As riverboat trade moved currency up north people understood the South as the place where DIXies come from. Another theory is that it is from the Mason-Dixon Line, marked in 1763 by two British surveyors to mark the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland.

March 4, 2012 sun
March 4th, 2012

Thanks everyone for making this years Afternoon of Remembrance a success!

Quiz: Why is the U.S. Southeast called Dixie?

Yesterday’s Question: Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is acclaimed for how forward looking it still looks. But it has three anachronisms in it. One was the Soviet scientists, since the Soviet Union ended in 1991. What are the other two..?
History for 3/4/2012
Birthdays: King Henry II Plantagenet, Antonio Vivaldi, Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal, Count Pulaski, Miriam Makeba, Nancy Wilson, Bernard Haittink, John Garfield, Knute Rockne, Chastity Bono, prizefighter Ray Boom-Boom Mancini, Patsy Kensit. Katherine O’Hara is 57, James Ellroy

1152- Frederick Barbarossa made Emperor of Germany. Barbarossa means 'redbeard'. Barbarossa was the Richard Lionheart of Germany.

1517- HERNANDO CORTEZ LANDS IN MEXICO. With a hostile Viceroy of Cuba between him and Spain, and only 508 soldiers he resolves to attack the Aztec Empire of many millions. He even burned his ships to force his men to conquer or die.

1554- Queen Mary Tudor published a Royal edict repudiating her father Henry VIII’s religious reforms and restoring the Roman Catholic Faith to dominance in England. Protestantism and other “heresies” were forbidden. To those who didn’t agree she became Bloody Mary.

1647- As he realized he was losing the English Civil War, King Charles Ist sent his son Charles II and the rest of his immediate family abroad to Holland for safety. Today he saw them off. They would never see him alive again.

1681- King Charles II granted a charter to William Penn and his Quakers to found a colony in the New World-Penn wanted to name the new country "New Wales" because of its hills, but Charles disagreed. As a Quaker, Penn was too modest to have a whole colony named after him. Since the Merry Monarch was essentially paying off an old debt owed to Penn's father, Admiral Penn, who stayed loyal to him during Cromwell’s time, the king suggested the new colony be named after the father. What else was there besides hills? Lots of forest-- the King knew that woods in Latin is Sylvania. Hey, how about Penn's Woods- thus Pennsylvania..

When His Majesty noticed the Quakers not removing their hats in his presence, King Charles removed his. William Penn asked: ”Sire, why dost thou remove thy hat?” The Merry Monarch replied:” Well, ONE of us is supposed to!”

1759- Madame la Pompadour secured the appointment of Etienne de Silhouette as Finance Minister. Silhouette tried to fix the chaotic economy of France by steep taxes of aristocrats and cutting back their privileges. Noblemen said they had been reduced to mere shadows of their former selves. By November he was gone, people joking called him a shadow. Now the word silhouette means outline figure.

1791- Green Mountains, or in French Vermont, territory became the 14th state. The first new state added to the original 13 colonies. Before then, Vermonters had tried to be an independent country and once during the Revolution, Ethan Allen floated secret negotiations to sell Vermont back to the British.

TRADITIONAL PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION DAY-1792-1933 "March Forth with a New President" (get it ?) Transportation being what it was in early America and the time it took to count votes, and the Electoral College to ratify the election results, this seemed a convenient time. Inauguration ceremonies have been as simple as Tom Jefferson addressing a few guests indoors, then returning to have dinner by himself at Conrad's Tavern to George W. Bush's $40 million dollar 8 inaugural balls.
In 1937 Franklin Roosevelt moved the inauguration date to the third week in January.

1836- Today General Santa Anna held a council of war to decide what to do about the Alamo. Many of his officers were against an attack. The Texans were cut off with little food and there was no help coming. The Alamo had no strategic importance. So why waste men? But Santa Anna wanted to make an example of these “Yankee Land Pirates”. He ordered a grand assault on the Alamo as soon as the preparations were completed.

1861- THE STARS & BARS. During the Civil War the Confederate army was having a problem with their flag. Their first design so closely resembled the United States flag that soldiers had trouble distinguishing one from the other in heavy battle smoke. Creole General Pierre Beaureguard put the ladies sewing circles of New Orleans on the problem and they came up with the familiar Confederate Stars & Bars design that still flies over some errant Statehouses today. When Old Dixie was defeated the original prototype flag was smuggled out to Cuba, but was eventually returned and today is in the Museum of the Confederacy in New Orleans.

1887- William Randolph Hearst buys the little San Francisco Examiner and builds the Hearst newspaper empire. Hearst’s father was owner of the famed Comstock Mine and thought his son crazy for wasting his time with the penny-paper business. Hearst died in 1951 at age 88, leaving an estate of $160 million. Today Hearst publications is still 15 magazines and broadcast networks..

1887- The first Daimler motorcar introduced in Essenlingen Germany- the Daimler Benzin Motorcarriage. Daimler’s chief competition was the motor company of Dr Carl Benz. In 1899 Austrian Emile Jellinek invested heavily in Daimler’s motorcars provided he name them for his daughter Mercedes. Mercedes and Benz merged in 1926 but the two founders- Gottfried Daimler and Carl Benz never met face to face.

1902- AAA the Auto Club founded.

1917- Jeanette Rankin became the first female member of Congress.

1924- The song “Happy Birthday to You” copyrighted by Claydon Sunny.

1933- Franklin Roosevelt gave his famous speech“ The Only thing we have to fear is, Fear itself.” at his first inauguration.

1936- Screenwriter Dudley Nichols publicly refuses the Best Screenplay Oscar for John Ford’s “The Informer” as protest in support of the struggling Writer’s Guild.

1936- First flight of the German dirigible Graf Hindenburg.

1944- Louis Lepke Buchalter went to the electric chair at Sing Sing prison. Buchalter with Albert Anastasia headed the heavy enforcement arm of Lucky Lucciano’s New York Mafia Syndicate. Nicknamed “Murder Incorporated ”the Brooklyn gang committed at least 100 murders, including Dutch Schultz and Lucciano’s mentor Joe the Boss Masseria.

1946- Alex Raymond's comic strip 'Rip Kirby" premiered.

1952- Ronald Reagan married Nancy Davis at the Little Red Church on Coldwater Canyon blvd. in L.A. William Holden was best man.

1952- Ernest Hemingway wrote a letter to his publisher:" I've completed a new novel. I think it's my best one to date." The Old Man and the Sea.

1956- Burger King introduced their signature hamburger the Whopper.

1958- U.S.S. Nautilus, first nuclear sub, reaches the North Pole under the ice cap.

1960-Famed American opera baritone Leonard Warren collapses and dies on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in the 2nd act of Verdi's La Forza Del Destino.

1961- In the early stages of filming Cleopatra in London, actress Elizabeth Taylor developed pneumonia and slipped into a coma. She would have died, had not doctors at a convention at London’s Dorchester Hotel performed and emergency tracheotomy. When you seen the film today you can still see the tracheotomy scar at the base of her throat.

1976- Due to the intervention of San Francisco mayor George Moscone, the Giants baseball team would stay in city by the bay. In a last minute deal, the Stoneham family sells the team to Bob Lurie and Bud Herseth instead of the Labbatt's Brewery, which had planned to move the Giants to Canada.

1994- Basketball legend Michael Jordan comes to bat for the first time in a Chicago White Sox Baseball uniform. Jordan will give up baseball after one season and return to the NBA.

1991- During the Gulf War, US troops destroy an Iraqi bunker concealing tons of deadly serin nerve gas. Estimates are up to 24,000 troops were exposed to the toxic release.

1994- 375 pound comedian John Candy died of heart failure in his sleep. He was 43.

1997- The senate of Brazil allowed women to wear slacks to work.

2000- The Japanese launch of Sony Playstation 2. The most anticipated videogame launch in history. 600,000 units were sold. One store in Tokyo’s Ginza had 4,000 people lined up at their door.

2004- A New York court convicted interior decorating guru Martha Stewart of four counts of stock fraud. This was for dumping her stock in a pharmaceutical firm called InClone after getting an inside tip that their cancer cure didn’t actually work.
Yesterday’s Question: Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is acclaimed for how forward looking it still looks. But it has three anachronisms in it. One was the Soviet scientists, since the Soviet Union ended in 1991. What are the other two..?

Answer: When Dr. Floyd makes a phone call, it’s the ATT Bell System, which was broken up as a monopoly in 1982, and he is flying a shuttle run by PanAm Airways, which went out of business in 1991.

March 3, 2012 Sat
March 3rd, 2012

Quiz: Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is acclaimed for how forward looking it still looks. But it has three anachronisms in it. One was the Soviet scientists, since the Soviet Union ended in 1991. What are the other two..?

Answer to yesterdays question below: In honor of the latest Anne Rice novel, what is the first ever account of a werewolf?
History for 3/3/2012
B-Dayz: George Pullman of Pullman Railroad cars, General Matthew Ridgeway, Jean Harlow, Diana Barrymore, Akira Ifukube the composer of the music scores to movies like Godzilla, Tone Loc, Jacky Joyner-Kersee, James Doohan, Ronald Searle, Bruno Bozzetto, Will Eisner, Herschel Walker, George Miller, Miranda Richardson is 54

1517- Protestant reformer Martin Luther wrote the Pope in Rome a letter of submission and tried to make nice. But privately he told a friend” I am not sure whether the Pope is the AntiChrist or merely his Apostle.”

1764- Elderly King Louis XV appeared before the regional Parliament of Paris and re-affirmed in France he was absolute master:” In My Person alone resides the Sovereign Power…to me alone belongs the legislative power, unconditional and undivided. My people and I are one, all public order emanates from me.” No representative government stuff like England was going to happen while he was around. King Louis all but ensured that France would change only from violent revolution.

1783- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart first performed his Symphony #35 the Hafner in Vienna with the Austrian Emperor Joseph II in attendance.

1800- President John Adams signed a bill calling for the second Census of the people of the United States.

1801- THE MIDNIGHT JUDGES-Outgoing President John Adams was the first presidential sore loser. He was outraged that he was not re-elected to a second term. He vented his frustrations by spending his last night as President signing dozens of Federal Judgeships and army officer commissions to members of his Federalist party. He then boycotted the inauguration and took his sweet time moving out of the White House, forcing Thomas Jefferson to spend his first night as President in a pub.

1820- The Missouri Compromise. Most of US politics of the early nineteenth century was seeing how long they could keep the Civil War from breaking out. Congress was evenly divided between slave states and free states, so every new state created caused a crisis. This day it was decided Missouri would be a slave state while Maine would be a free state and there would be no slave states north of Missouri in the remaining Louisiana Purchase territories.

1836- A messenger slipped past the Mexican army into the Alamo. He told Col. Travis and his Texans that they could expect no help from the outside world to save them.

1842- Massachusetts created a law trying to limit the workday for children under twelve to twelve hours a day only, but it is considered too liberal to be enforced.

1849- The US Department of the Interior established

1863- President Lincoln signed into law the National Conscription Act (the Draft).
The Confederate States had already started drafting the previous year. Rich men could get out of the army by paying $300 for a substitute. J.P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller and Theodore Roosevelt's father took this way out. Harvard-Yale games and varsity boat races went on throughout the Civil War with no loss of players. This angered the poor that the war was a rich man's game. Riots broke out in several cities. A popular song of the day "We are coming Father Abraham, Three Hundred Thousand Strong" was changed to "We are Coming, Father Abraham, Three Hundred Dollars More

1873- Under the Comstock Act, information on birth control is considered pornography and not permitted to be sent through the U.S. mail.

1873- The US Congress voted to double their own salaries, and make the pay raise retroactive for the previous two years. This was at the time of a severe economic recession. The public was furious over the “Salary Grab Act”.

1875-Claude Bizet's opera CARMEN debuts. Parisians usually go to see comedies at the Opera Comique and most thought this would be about the adventures of a coquettish Spanish gypsy. Instead they saw one of the great dark dramas of opera, a story of sexual power and obsession. The shocking sight of a slutty smuggler getting knifed by a burnout soldier driven mad with sex was so upsetting, it was booed off the stage. Bizet never got over the fiasco, he died six months later. Carmen is now one of the world's most famous operas.

1875- HOCKEY- The first modern Hockey Game was played at the Victoria skating rink in Montreal Canada. No one is sure just how old hockey. In the 1700’s Micmac Indians played a game on bone skates using sticks and passed it on to the British garrison of Halifax Nova Scotia. The people of Windsor Nova Scotia claim hockey was invented there at Long Pond in 1844 from the Irish game of Stick & Ball. The first pucks were frozen horse droppings. No one is sure where the word Hockey came from, the nickname of some British officer or local schoolteacher perhaps.

1902-The U.S. Supreme Court ruled it's all right for the U.S. Government to ignore Indian treaties, if they do it in a nice way.

1931- Congress and President Hoover made the "Star Spangled Banner" officially the U.S. national anthem. The 1814 Francis Scott Key poem set to the English beer hall song "To Anacreon in Heaven" was sung since the 1850's, but this day it became official.

1934- Public Enemy #1 John Dillinger escaped from a Witchita jail by carving a gun out of soap (it was actually wood) and painting it with shoe polish. He said :"The jail hasn't been made that can hold me!"

1945- General MacArthur announced the Philippine capitol Manila had at last been retaken from the Japanese. The fighting had been house-to-house and General Yamashita’s troops had committed wholesale executions of civilians as they retreated. After the war, General Yamashita was executed as a war criminal.

1950-Paramount's "Quack-a-Doodle-Doo" The first Baby Huey cartoon.

1950-Don Herbert teaches millions of kids about science as televisions Mr.Wizard.

1952- The Supreme Court ruled that school teachers could be fired if they were Communists.

1966- William Frawley, the bald, gravel-voiced neighbor Fred Murtz on I Love Lucy, had just seen the movie Inside Daisy Clover on Hollywood Blvd. He was outside the Knickerbocker Hotel when he lit a cigar, then dropped dead of a heart attrack. He was 79. When his TV partner Vivian Vance heard the news, she said “ Champagne for Everyone!” They never liked each other much. She died in 1979.

1973- THE BAR CODE. An ad-hoc committee of scientists from Proctor & Gamble and Nabisco and such announced the invention of the Universal Product’s Code- The Bar Code, that annoying little set of bars and numbers on everything you own or buy. No longer would stores have to close their doors periodically for inventory counting. But if you are a conspiracy fan its the way the Hidden Government and the guys in the black helicopters keep a record on everything you buy.

1980- Aetna Insurance reported in a newsletter having to pay damages for a man at a delicatessen who had a carp he was ordering jump off the counter and bite him in the leg.

1991- L.A.P.D officers beat up drunk and disorderly driver Rodney King. King had previous convictions and was tazed several times with a an electric shock but still fought back at police, who seemed to go berserk on him with their clubs just as a witness caught the incident on videotape. The incident and trials caused a scandal in Los Angeles and later the largest civilian riots in U.S. history. The LAPD is one third the size of the NYPD yet receives three times the civilian complaints.

2001- Despite worldwide outrage, the fundamentalist Taliban of Afghanistan began destroying their nations ancient giant stone Buddhas with dynamite, as graven images.
Yesterdays question: In honor of the latest Anne Rice novel, what is the first ever account of a werewolf?

Answer: in Ovid's Metamorphoses: Zeus turns the evil king Lycaeus into a wolf , for serving human flesh to him when he was disguised as a traveller: hence, Lycanthropy.
( Thanks C.S.)

March 2, 2012
March 2nd, 2012

Quiz: In honor of the latest Anne Rice novel, what is the first ever account of a werewolf?

Yesterdays Question answered below: What does it mean to be quixotic?
History for 3/2/2012
Birthdays: Sam Houston, Alexander Graham Bell, Kurt Weill, Desi Arnaz ( Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III ), Ted Geisel aka Dr.Suess, Mikhail Gorbachov, Willis O'Brian, Moe Berg, Karen Carpenter, Lou Reed, Jennifer Jones, John Cullum is 82, John Irving, Tom Wolfe, Jon Bon Jovi is 50, Daniel Craig is 44

1820- It had been thought in modern times that the Pyramids in Egypt were solid monuments with no chambers. This day Italian archaeologist Giovanni Belzoni discovered the long lost entrance to the Great Pyramid of Giza and explored it’s corridors and burial chambers.

1836- TEXAS DECLARES INDEPENDENCE FROM MEXICO. In 1821 the Mexican Congress had given Yankee settlers permission to live in the under-populated northern province of Teijas. Soon there were 3,000 Tejanos to 100,000 Yanquis living there. After a military coup in 1833 brought General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna to power conditions in the outer provinces got harsh. Taxes were bad and the army sent to police them were drawn from the dregs, usually convicts. Mexico also wanted the American settlers to liberate their black slaves.

When settlers leader Stephen Austin went to Mexico City to complain he was immediately jailed for fomenting insurrection. The Republic of Texas independence declaration was signed at Washington-on-the-Brazos. One of the signers there was John Wheeler Bunton, the Great Grand-Uncle of Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson.

But the Texas revolt was as much a revolt of the ethnic Mexican Teijanos as the gringos. Similar revolts broke out at the same time in California and Jalixsco, but we remember Texas mostly because it succeeded.

1863- The Union Pacific Railroad adopted a standard track width of 4 feet 8 and 1/2 inches. This width became the standard for the United States and later for most of the railroads of the world. Although train travel was invented in Britain, Europe was slow to adapt to it, while America, Russia and India rapidly embraced a technology that could quickly cover it’s vast distances quickly.

1917-CZAR NICHOLAS II ABDICATED THE THRONE OF RUSSIA with a note scribbled in pencil. He had tried to abdicate in favor of his younger brother Archduke Michael as regent for his son Alexis, and save the dynasty. But Michael wanted none of it and the revolutionary forces tearing at Russian society. He ignored his pleas. After 303 years the Romanov Dynasty was at an end.

1922- A 21 year old veteran named Walt Disney after getting out of the army began studying in the public library Edwin Lutz's book "Motion Picture Animation and How it is Made". In Kansas City he and his brother Roy persuaded the owner of a small chain of vaudeville theaters to fund some cartoons. Today the Newman's Laff-O-Grams Company was formed. A year later the Disney brothers would move to Hollywood and start a new enterprise called the Walt Disney Company.

1923- THE FIRST TIME MAGAZINE. Founders Henry Luce and Claire Booth Luce were among the more powerful of the nations cultural elite. Conservative to the core -to the end of their days they thought Franklin Roosevelt and Civil Rights were big mistakes, they still experimented with LSD when it was thought by Harvard professors to be mind expanding. In the late 1980's the Time merged with Warner Communications to form Time-Warner, the world's largest media conglomerate.

1925- The US Government started assigning numbers to motorways and planned interstate highways Before that roads had names like the Boston Post Road or the Baltimore to Washington Highway.

1933- Movie "KING KONG" premiered at the new Radio City Music Hall in New York and the Roxy. Twas Beauty killed the Beast. No CGI around.

1940- SEABISCUIT-. The small ungainly racehorse Seabiscuit had lost the Santa Anita Handicap Stakes twice and at 7 years old had ligament tears and was considered washed up. But he was entered one more time to try to win this race. The jockey Red Pollard was an alcoholic who had broken his leg and collarbone and was told he couldn’t walk, much less ride ever again. Today this unlikely duo raced one more time against odds more like a Hollywood movie than a stakes race. The biscuit not only won his last race, but set a track record,, the second fastest time ever and the richest win for that time. It’s called one of the greatest comeback stories in sports history. When discussing the Sports Legends of the Twentieth Century- Ali, Ruth, Michael Jordan, Seabiscuit is the only non-human.

1943- Battle of the Bismark Sea. U.S. Navy planes shoot up a Japanese task force .

1947- Crusading Hollywood labor union organizer Herb Sorrell is plucked off the street in Glendale by gangsters posing as police. They may not have been just posing, many studios at the time hired off-duty LAPD at doubletime rates to rough up problem employees. They drive Herb up to Mulholland and work him over, leaving him by the side of the road. Shortly after leaving the hospital Sorrell was jailed for disturbing public peace.

1960- Wilt Chamberlain ("Wilt the Stilt") scores 100 points in one game for the Philadelphia Warriors . Wilt averaged a phenomenal 55 points per game that year and the NBA instituted a number of anti-Wilt regulations to ensure guys under 6'2 could get back in the game, like offensive goal tending, etc. Wilt also claimed to have put his off the court time to good use. He claims to have had sex with 3000 women .

1961- Pablo Picasso married his second wife Jacqueline. He was 80, she was 35. Jacqueline cared for the increasingly reclusive artist and kept even his family at a distance. When Picasso died in 1973 she turned away many family members from the funeral. Jacqueline committed suicide in 1986.

1965- US military bombers do the first bombing raid inside of North Vietnam in a campaign that got the designation Rolling Thunder.

1971- Charles Engelhard died, a venture capitalist who’s wild investments and grand lifestyle made him the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s villain Auric Goldfinger.

1972- Pioneer 10 space probe launched. The first satellite to the outer planets, it sent back the first closeup photos of Jupiter in 1973 and left our solar system in 1983. It carries a plaque with a representation of men and women, a map of the Earth and Richard Nixon’s signature on it. It is in deep space now and will reach the star Ross 246 in the constellation Taurus in the year 34,600 A.D. Boy, I can hardly wait!

1973- The Women in Film organization founded.

1976- Francis Ford Coppola began shooting his epic film“ Apocalypse Now” in the Philippines. The film was plagued by cost overruns, a typhoon and his Philippine Army helicopters frequently flying off to fight real guerrillas in the middle of shooting, but somehow it all got done.

1979- The Anglo-French Concord supersonic airliner service introduced. It was discontinued because of bad economics in 2003.

1982- Science Fiction writer Phillip K. Dick died of a stroke in Santa Ana California. The author of stories the movies Blade Runner, Minority Report and Total Recall were based. Dick said he was at times possessed by a superalien who appeared in his mind in a beam of pink light. His autobiography was titled “ I am alive and you are dead.”

1989- At a photo session, NY Mets outfielder and recreational cokehead Darryl Strawberry threw a punch at the team's first baseman, Keith Hernandez. The scuffle started over comments about salaries and ended with the Straw walking out of camp. A sportswriter for Sports Illustrated describing the fight said" Darryl Strawberry finally hit his cut off man."
Yesterday’s Question: What does it mean to be quixotic?

Answer: Like Don Quixote, taking a romanticized view of life that ignore practicality. To act on emotion, on a whim.