July 4th, 2009 Sat Independence Day
July 4th, 2009
Michael Sporn's blog has a nice overview today about the people who composed the music for animated films, from Frank Churchill to Randy Newman. http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/
Quiz: Which medal is older- The Congressional Medal of Honor, The Purple Heart or the Victoria Cross?
Yesterday’s question answered below: Who is Mrs. Malaprop?
History for 7/4/2009 U.S. Independence Day
Birthdays: Jean Pierre Blanchard the balloonist-1753, George M. Cohan, Stephen Foster, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Calvin Coolidge, Rube Goldberg, Louis Armstrong*, Edward Walker the inventor of the Lava Lamp, Mayer Lansky, Tokyo Rose, Louis B. Mayer, George Murphy, Emerson Boozer, Neil Simon, Mitch Miller, Eve Marie Saint is 86, Gina Lollabrigida is 83, Al Davis, George Steinbrenner, Ann Landers, Ron Kovic, Geraldo Rivera, Victoria Abril, Pam Shriver, Rene Laloux, Gloria Stuart is 99
•Louis Armstrong always claimed his birthday was July 4th 1900, although records show his birth was August 4th 1901.
1054- A supernova in the constellation Taurus created a star visible in the sky for 23 days. The residue of the blast is visible today as the Crab Nebula.
1187- BATTLE OF THE HORNS OF HATTIN- Sultan Saladin lured the Christian Crusader army out into the desert, far away from water. The Saracens started a brush fire to confuse the Crusader formations with choking smoke. Old Duke Raymond of Tripoli realized what was happening but was helpless to stop it. When he saw his knights stopping to fight, he cried out:" We're lost! We are already dead men!" In one big battle the entire hierarchy of Crusader Palestine or Outremer as they called it in French, was dead or taken. Saladin also captured Christian holy relics like the wood of the True Cross, and sent them to the Caliph in Baghdad. Saladin's sister had been captured while on the pilgrimage to Mecca and raped by a crusader named Peter de Courtenay. De Courtenay bragged that he planned next to march on Mecca and “piss on the grave of that lying old mule trader Mohammed!” Saladin had Peter taken alive, he then spent that evening slowly torturing him to death. Hattin was The battle that decided that the Holy Land would not be an outpost of Christian Europe.
1744- Representatives of the Crown Colony of Pennsylvania negotiate a peace accord with the Iroquois Confederacy of the 5 Nations. The great Onondaga chief Canastego lectured the whitemen : " Our wise forefathers established union and amity between the five tribes, it has made us formidable. We are a powerful confederacy and by following the same methods you too can acquire great powers." A secretary named Benjamin Franklin took his advice to heart. Their symbol, five arrows tied together is still held in the claws of the eagle in the Great Seal of the United States.
1776- U.S. INDEPENDENCE DAY- The actual vote for independence was on July 2nd, two days were required for rewrites, but the 4th was the day of the vote to approve the amended Declaration and the official announcement. After 46 revisions and deletions Tom Jefferson showed the finished document to Ben Franklin, he smiled :”Now we may proceed.” The 56 men who signed the document knew that this was their death warrant as they were committing high treason. Many had their personal fortunes ruined as a result.
1776- It took two months for the news to cross the Atlantic. In London King George III wrote in his diary for July 4th, 1776:" Nothing important happened today..."
1802-The Hudson River fortress of West Point is inaugurated as a military academy.
1804- Already pledged to fight a duel to the death in a week, Vice President Aaron Burr and former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton have to sit next to each other at an Independence Day dinner in New York City.
1826- John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Adams last words were: "Jefferson...Jefferson still lives...” . Jefferson breathed his last at 1:30PM at Monticello Virginia, Adams at 6:00PM at his home in Quincy Massachusetts. Adams left holdings amounting to $100,000, Jefferson left debts amounting to $100,000. Jefferson freed only six out of 200 slaves, all of the Hemmings Family but not Sally Hemmings his mistress for 38 years. Jefferson’s youngest daughter clandestinely freed her with a pension for her old age.
1831- former President James Monroe, veteran of Washington’s Army and called the Last Founding Father, also died on the 4th of July.
1848- The Communist Manifesto published by Karl Marx and Frederich Engels.
1850- President Zachary Taylor "Old Rough and Ready" gets sick from eating too many raw cherries and raw milk at a ceremony laying the cornerstone of the Washington Monument. He died 5 days later. Modern historians wondered if he was poisoned, being a Southern statesman who openly opposed slavery, but an examination of his exhumed remains in 1993 proved natural causes.
1855- Henry Davis Thoreau moves to Walden Pond. He was the first U.S. writer to espouse nature as a thing of beauty instead of an enemy to be conquered. This date is considered the birth of the American Conservation Movement.
1855- Walt Whitman published his quarto of poems The Leaves of Grass. Many people were shocked at it’s frank description of sexual desire. Whitman’s mother said :”Walt is a good boy, but strange.”
1862- Oxford mathematics professor Charles Dodgson rowed ten year old Alice Liddell and her sister up the Thames in a small punt. The little girls begged him for a story, so Dodgson made up fantastic tales of March Hares, Mad Hatters and the Queen of Hearts.
Dodgson later wrote them down and published them in 1865 as Alice in Wonderland. He used the penname Lewis Carroll, which was a joke on the fact that Renaissance scholars adopted big stuffy Latin names like Ludovicus Carolus Magnus.
1883- Buffalo Bill staged his first Wild West Show in North Platte Nebraska. Bill and his partners took the show all over the US and played for the crowned heads of Europe until 1916. In an interesting case of life imitating art until the Wild West Shows not many gunfighters carried their six shooters in a holster slung low on their hip. Wild Bill Hickock for instance carried his in a sash around his waist. But cowboys went to the Wild West Show and saw a hip holster was the only proper way to carry your shootin iron. Likewise, before the Wild West Shows cowboys wore any kind of hat: sombreros, derbys, old cavalry kepis. But soon the wide brimmed Stetson was the only proper attire for any self respecting cow puncher.
1905- Los Angeles developer Abbott Kinney had broke with his partners over the Santa Monica Pleasure Pier. He moved down the coast to some marshy wetlands and built a new community with canals, lagoons and gondolas. VENICE California opened this day. In 1925 the City of LA got rid of most of the canals and gondolas. Venice went on to be a seaside mecca for Beatniks, Hippies and weightlifters like young Arnold Schwarzenegger.
1912-THE GREAT WHITE HOPE- Jack Johnson had become the first black heavyweight boxing champ in 1908 and had defended his title against all comers. His flaunting of Jim Crow, extravagant lifestyle and romancing white women drove racists crazy. Finally boxing champ Jim Jeffries agreed to come out of retirement and challenge Johnson. He was billed in the press as the Great White Hope. But this day Johnson defeated Jeffries and kept the championship. The victory sparked racial violence throughout the country and even in Capetown and Bombay. Johnson kept his title until 1915 and died in a sports car crash in 1946.
1911- The first rollercoaster on the Pacific Coast opened on Santa Monica Pier.
1914- First day of filming on D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of an Nation.”
1915- Heavyweight Champion Jess Willard who had taken the championship from Jack Johnson was himself beaten by a new kid named Jack Dempsey, the Manassas Mauler. Dempsey chewed pine tar to make his jaw hard and washed his face in ocean brine to toughen his skin against cuts. He became a popular media figure by appearing with many Hollywood Movie stars. After he retired he opened a bar-restaurant called Dempseys in Times Square, the first sports-bar.
1926- Hungarian film director Mihaly Kertesz arrived in Hollywood. He changed his name to the more manageable Michael Curtiz and directed great classic films like Captain Blood and Casablanca. His brother Andre Kertesz lived in New York and became a famous photographer.
1946- The Independence of the Philippines is declared.
1947- THE WILD ONES- 400 motorcyclists converge on a small California town called Hollister to party hard. The local police arrest 49 and call for State reinforcements. The national media sensationalized the wild bikers terrorizing a small town, calling them "Hell's Angels" three years before the first chapter was formed. Truth be told many residents remember the incident fondly and said it livened things up. Many of the bikers weren’t teenage delinquents but World War Two veterans who used motorcycles to recapture the thrill and camaraderie of action. The Life Magazine that dramatized the Hollister incident had a cover photo showing a depraved biker swilling beer. The shot was staged and the man in the photo was actually a Hollister local who never went near a Harley. The Marlon Brando film 'The Wild One" was based on the Hollister incident.
1954- Dr Sam Shepard returned to his suburban Cleveland home to find his wife beaten to death and a man fleeing the scene. Dr. Shepard himself was convicted of his wife’s murder in a controversial trial. People still argue today whether he was guilty or not.In 1998 Dr. Shepards son got DNA evidence to prove there was another man at the scene the night of the murder, but in 2000 the court threw out his wrongful imprisonment suit. The TV show and film The Fugitive was based on Dr. Shepard.
1966- President Johnson signed the Freedom of Information Act.
1969-“ Give Peace a Chance.” released by John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band.
1976-What’s Love Got to Do With It? Singer Tina Turner left Ike Turner.
1976- The first true Punk Band, The Ramones, arrived in England for a tour. They greatly inspired future bands like the Clash and the Sex Pistols. When playing at the Palladium the Sex Pistols said they couldn’t get tickets to get in so the Ramones pulled them in through the men’s room window. Hey, Ho, Lets Go!
1982- Jimmy Connors defeated John McEnroe for his last Wimbledon Championship.
1982- Ozzie Ozbourne married Sharon Ozbourne.
1984- First Lady Nancy Reagan began the campaign to combat drugs among kids by saying “Just Say No”. Two of her Secret Service bodyguards were cocaine snorters.
1987- Martina Navratilova defeated Steffie Graf for her 6th straight Wimbledon championship.
1990- 2 Live Crew released the song Banned in the USA.
1997- NASA landed Pathfinder on Mars and deployed Sojourner, the first ever autonomous robotic rover. Expected to function for only two months, the rover collected data on the Red Planet for the next ten years.
2003- Pres. George W. Bush said to the Iraqi insurgents “ Bring it on!”. Insurgent attacks on American and coalition forces go up 300%.
Yesterday’s Quiz: Who is Mrs. Malaprop?
Answer: She was a main character in the Richard Sheridan’s 1775 Restoration play The Rivals.”