August 28th, 2009 friday.
August 28th, 2009
Question: What do the films Barry Lyndon and Last of the Mohicans have in common?
Yesterday’s Answer Below: What was the first novel written on a typewriter?
History for 8/28/2009
Birthdays: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Leo Tolstoy, George Villiers the Duke of Buckingham- minister of James I, O'Flagherty, Donald O'Connor, Charles Boyer, Karl Boehm, Bruno Bettleheim, Ben Gazzara is 79, Jack "King" Kirby, Janet Evans, Ron 'Louisiana Lightning' Guidry, Jason Preistley, Daniel Stern, Shania Twain, Charles Solomon, Jack Black is 40.
In Hong Kong today is the Festival is the Festival of Hungry Ghosts.
79 a.d.- POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM DESTROYED BY MOUNT VERSUVIUS -The great volcano erupted, burying the two Roman cities. The Emperor Titus rushed a fleet commanded by the natural scientist Pliny to rescue as many as he could. Pliny was overcome by the sulphurous fumes and died. His son, Pliny the Younger, eyewitnesses it all and wrote a moving account of the tragedy in his 'letters'. Scientists have been digging at the site of Pompeii since it's rediscovery in 1726, but estimates are there's as many as 30,000 skeletons still buried.
390 AD-This was the Feast of Saint Augustine of Hippo. He was the Saint who tried every weird orgiastic cult he could find before converting to Christianity, He drove his mother Saint Monica crazy but his experiences helped him develop an answer to every anti-Christian argument. His famous book was "the City of God". For a Saint he could have done stand-up. He was famous for one liners like when someone asked him "What did God do before he created the world?" Augustine answered: "He made a hell for people who ask stupid questions !" His other great motto was "Lord, Make me Chaste- but not just yet..."
476 a.d. - The Last Roman Emperor of the West, the boy Romulus Augustulus, is deposed. It was done by his counselor and actual power behind the throne, a the barbarian warlord named Odoacer. Odoacer sent the Imperial diadem and insignia to the Zeno the Emperor of the East in Constantinople and declared himself King of the Germans in Italy.
The Roman Empire of the West ceased to exist. For historical clarity we begin to call the Eastern-Greek speaking half the Byzantine Empire, even though they continued to call themselves Romans. Odoacer was later chopped in half by Theodoric the Visigoth at a peace summit.
1296- The Ragman Roll- Scottish nobles in Parliament were forced to pledge allegiance to King Edward Ist of England. Edward Longshanks dropped his pretense of protection of the Scottish crown and instead moved for direct annexation to England. The only resistance came from peasant born leader William Wallace. The ceremony went on for so long such it coined a term for long inane formalities- Rigamarole.
1526- Battle of Mohacs. The Turkish Sultan Sulieman the Magnificent defeated the Hungarian army of Jan Hunyadi the"White Knight of Christendom" and pushes the borders of the Moslem World up to the gates of Vienna Austria.
1565 - Oldest city in the US, St Augustine Fla, established.
1678- THE POPISH PLOT- A man named Titus Oates came before King Charles II and the Parliament and declared he had uncovered a plot by English Catholics, Jesuits , the Bishop of Armaugh and the Roman Pope to kill Charles, enthrone his Catholic brother James, burn London and land an army of mercenaries to force the English people back into Roman Church by force! Odds Fish! King Charles at first laughed it off but the Privy council and public took him seriously. There may have been one or two forlorn Catholic schemes but nothing on the scale Oates proclaimed, yet England went crazy for the next several months arresting and executing anybody accused. Titus Oates became very rich and famous but he finally was caught in his lies and sent to prison. When a mob of anti-Catholic Londoners attacked the carriage of the kings mistress Nell Gywnn thinking it was one of Charles’ French tootsies Nell poked her head out of the carriage and cried:”Peace be with you Good Citizens! I am the PROTESTANT Whore!” the crowd cheered.
1776 – The day after George Washington’s Army was defeated by the British in Brooklyn this day heavy rain and fog canceled any actions. After the battle the British pushed the colonials up against the East River and could have brought up their fleet from Staten Island, captured Washington’s army and destroyed the Revolution while the ink was still wet on the Declaration of Independence. But they hesitated. Was it contrary winds in New York Harbor? Was it British memories of Bunker Hill preventing them from assaulting fixed colonial positions? Maybe it was because the English commanders Lord William Howe and his brother Admiral Richard 'Black Dick" Howe were Whigs in political opposition to the Tories in London. They saw a decisive military victory in America as a justification of the Lord North Government's policies. So Howe hesitated finishing off the rebels and requested peace talks. If he could succeed in pacifying the colonies he would have the credit to run for Prime Minister. Washington stalled him and while they exchanged polite notes, the rebels slowly escaped by boat across the East River to fight on.
1837 - Pharmacists John Leah & William Perrins invent Worcester Sauce.
1850- Lohengrin, the first opera written by Richard Wagner, premiered in Weimar. The Third Act chorus “Treulich Gefuhrt” became famous for weddings as “Here Comes the Bride, All Dressed in White”. Wagner asked his friend Franz Liszt to produce the opera because he was in exile for his political activities. Wagner did not see Lohengrin performed until 1861.
1859-In Titusville Pennsylvania the first U.S.oil well strikes oil. Before the industrial revolution crude oil or coal tar was considered a smelly nuisance. It was called Indian-Oil because Indians wore it as black warpaint, it was great for tarring and feathering rapscallions. Some entrepreneurs even tried to bottle it as health tonic. By this era it was refined into kerosene which was seen as a cheap plentiful substitute for whale-oil lamps. Unemployed railroad conductor Edwin Drake built the first oil well drilling apparatus out of components of a steam engine. By 1939 America exported 80% of the world’s crude oil. Today she is the worlds largest importer, producing domestically only 6%.
1907- UPS small package delivery service started in Seattle.
1922- The first broadcast commercial. It was for a real estate firm Queensboro Realty lasting ten minutes and cost $100 dollars. The firm selling suburban homes in Queens NY immediately did $100,000 worth of business. The Business world took note of the new method of advertising.
1934-Upton Sinclair the writer is nominated for Governor of California on the Democratic ticket by over half a million votes. This shocked the California power-elite because Sinclair was a radical whose grass roots organization EPIC (End Poverty in California) advocated socialist solutions to the Depression. Even FDR kept his distance from Sinclair.
Powerful forces enlisted Louis B. Mayer, Irving Thalberg and other Hollywood conservatives to ensure Sinclair's defeat by creating the first modern media negative campaign. This included phony newsreels of actors dressed as hobos saying how they're going to California to sponge off the taxpayers. Walt Disney's lawyer, Gunther Lessing, demanded Ward Kimball take the "Sinclair for Governor" sign off his car window.
Governor Frank Merriam who earlier that year had ordered troops to shoot down striking San Francisco longshoremen and their families won re-election.
1937- The Nazis began mass arrests of Jehovah's Witnesses.
1938- Northwestern University conferred an honorary degree upon the ventriloquist puppet Charlie McCarthy- Edgar Bergen’s famed dummy. The Dean of the School of Speech conferred a Master of Innuendo and Snappy Comeback upon the wooden celebrity.
1963- Dr. Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial at the climax of the first ' Poor People's March 'on Washington”. Organizer A. Phillip Randolph conceived a poor people’s march taking weeks not unlike the Bonus Marchers of 1929. The sympathetic John F. Kennedy administration prevailed upon them to keep it to one day to reduce the chance of violence and maximize media exposure. They had planned for 100,000 but they got 400,000. Movie stars like Sidney Poitier, Marlon Brando, even Charlton Heston attended. Young CBS reporter Roger Mudd was so excited he confessed he threw up behind the Jefferson Memorial
1968- THE CHICAGO DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION- While thousands of anti-war hippie and yippie protestors battled the Chicago Police in Grant Park the Democrats nominated Hubert Horatio Humphrey, the "Happy Warrior" their candidate to replace the assassinated Bobby Kennedy. Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, the Yippie and SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) leaders tried to get a live 100 pound pig into the convention and get it nominated for President. The Chairman of the DNC decried Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's "Gestapo Tactics" from the rostrum. Ironically Boss Daley opposed the Vietnam War, but he would not tolerate kids making him look bad on national TV.. Newsman Dan Rather was gut-punched by a Chicago cop on camera on the convention floor. My friend writer John Culhane was clubbed down by police despite wearing all his press credentials and a baby blue army helmet with Newsweek painted on it. While the police and demonstrators battled poet Alan Ginsburg and Timothy Leary grabbed a loudspeaker and chanted the Buddist "Ohhhmmmmm" to calm people down. The student leaders -the Chicago 7 in reality 8, were put on trial for incitement to riot but after a year long media circus all the charges were overturned. Republican Richard Nixon won the election. The Democrats wouldn't go near Chicago again for thirty years.
1996- The Prince and Princess of Wales Charles & Diana got divorced. This was the first Royal divorce since Henry VIII annuled Anne of Cleves in the 1530's, not counting George IV's secret marriage to Mrs. Fitzherbert which was hushed up and his later cavorting with Lady Cunningham who was nicknamed "the Vice-Queen" and Edward VII's sleeping with every woman in Europe but his wife, etc.
Yesterday’s Quiz: What was the first novel written on a typewriter?
Answer: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain.