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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?
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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.
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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."


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