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Question: In the years after the Civil War, Robert E. Lee was president of Washington/Lee University. Occasionally, he would remount his old white war horse Traveler to preside over an event. What was it?

Yesterdays’ question answered below: Someone who plays a violin is a violinist. Someone who plays a flute is a flutist or flautist. What is the name of someone who plays a viola de gamba?
History for 3/10/2009
Birthdays: Lorenzo da Ponte -libretist of Mozart's operas the Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni who finished his life living in New Jersey, Barry Fitzgerald, Claire Booth Luce, Heywoud Hale Broun,, James Herriot, Pablo de Sarrasate, Chuck Norris is 69, Shannon Tweed, Sharon Stone is 51, And where is Osama Ben Laden? He’s celebrating his birthday- 52

241 B.C.- NAVAL BATTLE OF AEGATES INSULAE- Romans under Gaius Lutatius Catullus defeat the Carthaginians under Hamilcar Barca (The Thunderer) and win the First Punic War. The Carthaginians were much better sailors than the Romans, so Catullus lashed his ships side by side and laid planks over the decks. This way his legions could fight infantry style. The Romans had another nasty trick of taking clay beehives filled with angry hornets and shooting them by catapult onto enemy ships. The Romans won Sicily and Hamilcar taught his son Hannibal that the Romans were not nice people.

1697- PETERS TRAVELS- Young Czar Peter the Great was so hungry for the knowledge of the West this day he shocked Russian society by leaving the country to travel through Europe. He was the first Russian Czar to go outside his country. The 6 foot 8 inch monarch spent 18 months personally studying economics, architecture and chemistry. Peter lived in a small wooden cottage in Zaandam Holland and studied boat building. He drank in local pubs with workers and even made love to a local waitress. He learned to make his own shoes, mend clothes and even learned to pull teeth, which he loved to practice on unwilling members of this court. After arriving in England Peter surprised English nobility by shouldering an axe every morning and pipe in teeth walking down to the docks to work with the ship builders. He returned to Russia filled with the desire to rebuild Russian society in the modern western European model.

1842-Vigilantes of Virginia City, Montana hang a tough desperado named Jack Slade. Accounts say Slade was "More feared than God, but all in all a good citizen." (?)

1862- FIRST U.S. GREENBACK PAPER DOLLARS ISSUED- "Dollar" is a corruption of Jacobsthaler- named for silver coins minted in St. James valley in Czech lands, which became 'Thalers' then 'Dollars'. Lincoln was originally annoyed that Secretary of the Treasury Samuel Chase put himself on the one-dollar bill while he was on the five. Lincoln thought Chase wanted some cheap advertising for a presidential bid in '64. Lincoln made him Supreme Court Justice to get him out of the way. The money was printed with green ink because it was cheap and plentiful. Union troops when issued the new money instead of silver or gold specie promptly rioted. People nicknamed the fat bills“ Chases Shinplasters ” but got used to them. After the civil war when the U.S. Treasury tried to recall the paper currency and go back to coins, people complained again that they were now used to the stuff.

1864- Lincoln gives Ulysses Grant overall U.S. command to finish the Civil War. The shy little general arrived late and unannounced at the White House party given in his honor. Because the crowd was so thick he stood quietly in the hallway until Lincoln spotted him. "There he is !" He made Grant stand on a stool, so everyone could get a good look. Lincoln was a constant nag on his generals, but after choosing Grant he backed off giving Grant independent command, a custom maintained by presidents to this day. Grant's successful though unorthodox approach disgusted more traditional strategists. Gen. Henry "Old Brains" Halleck, after running out of insults to hurl at Grant said :"And on top of everything else, The man's a drunkard!" To which Lincoln replied:"He is? Find out what brand he drinks and send a barrel of it to the other generals!"

1876- THE FIRST TRUE TELEPHONE CALL. Alexander Graham Bell had applied for the phone patent several weeks before but he still couldn’t get the signal clear enough to be understood. He even had a surgeon send him a human ear from a corpse to study. This day when trying a new variation Bell spilled acid on his lap and called out over the wires " Watson ! Come Here! I Need You!" Watson heard it clearly and rushed to his aid. Some say Watson made up the story of the acid later to explain why Bell couldn’t think of anything loftier or profound to say as the first message sent by wire.

1926- The First Book of the Month Club – The Lovely Willows by Sylvia Townshend Warner.

1933- The LONG BEACH EARTHQUAKE. There had not been a serious quake in LA since 1857, so everyone thought it a thing of the past. Today the buildings swayed and brick walls collapsed. It was the last big shift in the San Andreas Fault. 200 people were killed, and if the schools had not been empty, the casualties could have been much worse.
Actors convening union meetings in the El Capitan Theater moved out into a parking lot because of the aftershocks. The quake sparked the first serious earthquake building codes.

1940- US Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles tried some shuttle diplomacy between Berlin, London and Paris to try and halt the World War that had just broke out. He was met with no cooperation. Hitler told him “Peace will come when we have the inevitable German Victory.” In January 1941 FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover- J. Edgar Hoover mind you, “outed” Welles accusing him of homosexual activity and attempting to proposition several Pullman porters on trains. Welles resigned in disgrace.

1947- Ronald Reagan becomes President of the Screen Actor's Guild after President George Montgomery and V.P. Franchot Tone resign to become independent producers. In the violent gangster-ridden atmosphere of Hollywood unions in those days Reagan took to wearing a .32 Smith & Wesson in a shoulder holster under his coat.

1948- Zelda Fitzgerald, the socialite wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, died in a fire at the mental hospital where she had been committed for more than a decade.

1948- Stalin’s agents take Czech Nationalist leader Jan Masaryk and defenestrate him -throw him out of a window- as a way of influencing the upcoming Czech elections. They gave as an excuse that he accidentally fell out of the window while doing yoga to combat his insomnia.

1952- General Fulgensio Batista seized power in Cuba. He was a favorite with US Corporations and the Mafia because he sold everything in his country not nailed down. Part of his coup was the dissolving and arrest of the Cuban Congress, among whom was a young novice politician and part time baseball pitcher named Fidel Castro.

1953- PANCHO AND THE GENERAL- Florence Lowe "Pancho" Barnes was the granddaughter of Thaddeus Lowe, inventor of the U.S. Army balloon corps in the Civil War. She became an aviatrix and in 1930 broke an air speed record set by Amelia Earheart. In the late 1940s she moved to Maroc California in the desert and opened up a saloon "The Happy Bottom Riding Club' where the test pilots flying dangerous experimental craft trying to break the sound barrier came to blow off steam. Chuck Yeager and the future astronauts were frequent guests. She once told famed General Jimmy Doolittle "Jimmy, you know I can out fly and out f**k you any day of the Week!!" The bar was famous for wild parties with lots of booze and rough housing. One time Pancho got a baker to make several 6 foot long pieces of sandwich bread that she had young ladies lie down in to pose as human sandwiches. In 1952 a General Holtoner took over command of Maroc, now renamed Edwards Air Force Base. He tried to have Pancho evicted so the Air Force could expand it's supersonic runway. When she objected to the General's lack of respect, he implied that she ran a house of prostitution. On this day Pancho sued the US Air Force for 1 1/2 million dollars. General Holtoner was replaced, the Happy Bottom Riding Club was destroyed in a fire and Pancho Barnes moved away. The bar was immortalized in the film 'The Right Stuff'.

1954- In a letter to studio heads director Elias Kazan worried that young actor James Dean was “too odd” and unpredictable to star in his movie “Rebel Without a Cause”.

1954- First day of shooting on Stage 3 of the Giant Squid battle on Walt Disney’s production of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The director was Richard Fleischer, the son of Disney’s onetime competitor Max Fleischer.

1963- Pete Rose first took the field in a Cincinnati Reds uniform. During an exhibition baseball game with the Yankees Mickey Mantle hit one of his monster 400-ft home runs and young Rose was the only outfielder scrambling and jumping hopelessly to catch it. Mantle laughed and said:” Hey, look at Charlie Hustle over there.” The nickname stuck. Charlie Hustle would go on to break Ty Cobb’s all time hitting record and manage winning teams. But after his retirement he was banned from baseball for betting on sports.

2008: BANG THE GOV SLOWLY- Elliot Spitzer was a hard-driving NY State Attorney General who rocketed to the governorship and was touted as a potential future presidential candidate. His specialty was catching hi-tech Wall Street white collar crooks. Today his Icarus-like ascent came crashing down. He admitted to soliciting high price hookers. $4300. An hour. He was known to them as Client #9. When the news came over the ticker on the Stock Exchange trading floor, day-traders stopped to cheer.
Yesterdays’ question: Someone who plays a violin is a violinist. Someone who plays a flute is a flutist or flautist. What is the name of someone who plays a viola de gamba?

Answer: A Gambist ( I kid you not).