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Sept. 09, 2009 weds.
September 9th, 2009

The El Grupo Show at the American Cinemateque was good fun. The movie itself opens on Friday.
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Quiz: Could General Custer sing?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: What was a carpetbagger?
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History 9/9/2009
Birthdays: Antonio Frescobaldi, Captain William Bligh, Jimmy the Greek Snyder, Joe Theismann, Cliff Robertson, Angela Cartwright, Alf Landon, Dee Dee Sharpe who sang the 60's R&B hit the Mashed Potato, Michael Keaton, Adam Sandler, Don Mattingly, Otis Redding, Anita Ekberg, Hugh Grant, Topol, Colonel Lyman Sanders the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, James Hilton-writer who created the name for paradise- Shangri-La, in his novel Lost Horizons.

490BC -About this time, although I haven’t found a precise date yet, was the battle of MARATHON- when the small Athenian army led by Militiades defeated a huge invasion led by Darius the Great King of Persia. Militiades is from whom we get the word "Military".

490BC- This was the event that the runner Phidippides ran to bring the news to Athens- the first Marathon. He once ran from Athens to Sparta- 150 miles in two days. The ancient Olympics had foot races but no marathons, that came with the modern Olympics. The reason the marathon became 26.2 miles, was during the London games the race was lengthened so it could begin at Windsor Castle where Queen Victoria’s grandchildren could watch, then end at the stadium in London where the little old Queen could see them finish.

1087- WILLIAM THE CONQUERER DIED- King William had subdued Normandy, England and Scotland and was one of the most successful kings of the Middle Ages. But old age and good living caught up to him. He became very fat. One day when riding near Mantes-La-Jolie, his horse bucked, causing the saddle pommel to stab up into his groin and rupture his bladder. Blood poisoning brought the end swiftly. He was carried to a monastery in great pain. His children ignored him in his last hours, because they were too busy fighting each other for the throne. William the Conqueror died alone in a bare room. His servants stole the rich bed trappings and rings from his fingers as he lay in a coma. The coffin provided was too small for the large body, now bloated with putrefaction. The monks tried to pound it into the box, but the corpse finally burst "filling the room with horrid, malodorous odors." Ehhuwww!

1776- The Continental Congress officially changed the name of the United Colonies to the United States of America.

1825- BEETHOVEN'S LAST PUBLIC APPEARANCE. Before he retired to a government appointed home, Ludwig von Beethoven was still making appearances as a conductor and pianist, even though he was now stone deaf. The fees for personal appearances were still too good. The orchestra rehearsed to play the 9th Symphony and the Missa Solemnis while ignoring his commands, starting and stopping on a signal given by the first violinist. So Beethoven flapped his arms around fruitlessly while the orchestra played. Everyone enjoyed it even though people in the first few rows could hear the Maestro wailing to the music, unaware of his own voice.
When the performance ended he was still gyrating, obviously a few bars behind the orchestra and oblivious to the cheers of the audience. The soprano made him turn around and bow.

1830 - Charles Durant, the first US aeronaut, flew in a balloon from Castle Garden,
at the tip of Manhattan across New York Harbor to Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

1878-CHEYENNE AUTUMN- Rather than die from starvation and neglect on the reservation, Cheyenne Chief Dull Knife led 365 men women and children in a desperate trek to escape to Canada, 'to seek protection of the Great Redcoat Mother '(Queen Victoria). They fight off several pursuing US armies and endure early snowstorms and sub-zero weather. When they finally surrender to the U.S. cavalry at Ft. Robinson, Nebraska they were reduced to 149.

1888- Sitting Bull led the GHOST DANCE. Realizing armed resistance
to the white invasion was hopeless many Indians resorted to a spiritual attack, hoping to dance the invaders away. An Indian prophet from the Northwest named Wovoka preached that if native people danced a dance with their ancestors (ghosts), a millennial cataclysm would annihilate the White Man and bury them under 10 inches of new soil. Then the forests and game would return and the Indian would regain his natural hunting grounds the continent over. On this day word of this new cult reached the Sioux reservations. Sitting Bull was at first skeptical, but then realized it would at least keep his people's hope's alive.
U.S. authorities mistook this magical resistance for a physical act of rebellion. Bull's assassination and the later Wounded Knee Massacre was the result.

1908- THE PATENTS TRUST- Thomas Edison, Charles Pathe and Leon Gaumont form the Motion Picture Patents Group. Called the "Trust", their attempt to monopolize movie production and strangle off the independents had a lot to do with the early filmmakers exodus to Los Angeles. Otherwise the film capitol of the world would have been Ft. Lee, New Jersey. The only positive result of the trust was they enforced a regular industry standard for film stock of 35 mm running at 24 frames per second. It seems the Mitchell Camera Company was developing a motorized motion picture camera to replace the hand crank variety but they needed an official speed to set it at. In a contentious meeting of the Trust held at the Waldorf Astoria no one could settle on a single speed. Finally the compromise was made to make it the number of delegates in the room- 24.

1910-Alice B. Toklas moved in with Gertrude Stein at the 22 Rue de Flerus in Paris. Until Stein’s death in 1946 they ran one of the most glittering social networks of the Twentieth Century. Soirees included Picasso, Matisse, Dali, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, Max Ernst, Virgil Thompson, Sherwood Anderson, Max Ernst, Guilliame Apollinaire and Carlos Santayanna. But the ultra modern was not to everyone’s taste. Painter Mary Cassatt only visited once. She later told a friend:" I never saw so many horrible things, I never met so many horrible people!"

1920- Silent movie star Olive Thomas, nicknamed America's Kid Sister, partied a little too hard at the Dead Rat Cafe in Paris. It was said the 21 year old died of an overdose of cocaine and alcohol. Another theory was she accidentally overdosed on mercury bicholoride tablets.

Her nude body was discovered wrapped in a full length ermine fur left on her couch in the Ritz Hotel. The scandal started the first investigation of drugs in Hollywood. It netted an army captain named Spaulding who admitted that film stars like Thomas, Mabel Normand and Ramon Navarro were regular clients for morphine, heroin and cocaine. Shortly after Groucho Marx put in his vaudeville show Animal Crackers the song Hooray for Captain Spaulding,.

1926 – The National Broadcasting Company or NBC created by Radio Corporation of
America RCA. Under the direction of David Sarnoff it became the powerhouse network of broadcasting, recording and later television.

1939- The first Andy Panda cartoon.

1939- The first day of shooting on Charlie Chaplin’s film the Great Dictator.

1943- The first V-2 missile hit London, destroying buildings in the Chiswick area. The V-2 was the first ballistic missile and the Allies were powerless to stop or intercept it. Tens of thousands of London children were evacuated for safety to Scotland and even as far as Canada. After the war the left over V-2’s were gathered up by the US and Red Armies as the basis for the beginning of their space programs.

1945 - 1st bug in a computer program discovered by Navy Commander Grace Hopper. A moth
was removed with tweezers from a relay & taped into the log. Since then any computer glitch was nicknamed "a bug".

1950 - 1st use of TV laugh track invented by Hank McCune.

1951 - 1st broadcast of the soap opera" Love of Life " on CBS-TV

1956- Elvis Presley appeared on nationwide television on the Ed Sullivan Show. Sullivan himself had vowed never to have the kid on his show but caved in to network pressure. He stayed home that first time and actor Charles Laughton was the substitute host. CBS Network censors thought the gyrations of Elvis' pelvis so obscene that in many markets they blacked out the lower portion of the screen so he was covered the waist down.

1967- Jay Ward’s show George of the Jungle premiered, with SuperChicken and Tom Slick sequences.


1971- Inmates riot and seize control of the NY State Penitentiary at Attica.

1982- Princess Grace of Monaco, the former movie actress Grace Kelly, died in a car accident on the mountainous hill roads of Monaco. Twenty years earlier in the film To Catch a Thief, Alfred Hitchcock had her drive her car at dangerous speeds over the exact same hairpin turns.

2001 – Two days before the 9-11 terrorist attack on New York, in Afghanistan, Shan Ibn Massoud , the greatest foe of the Taliban regime was assassinated. Massoud was a charismatic rebel leader in the war against the Soviet occupation in the 1980’s. Sort of an Afghan Robin Hood. This murder was seen as an operation by Osama Ben Laden to thank the Taliban for their hospitality. This night Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on telephone with President Bush. Putin said:” I think this attack is the prelude to something bigger to come…”

2001- Two days before the 9-11 Attack, it was reported Czech intelligence saw top hijacker Mohammed Atta meet the Chief of Iraqi Security Al Alhya in Prague. This was one of the chief bits of proof given by US Vice President Cheney to justify the US conquest of Iraq in 2003. When later asked to confirm this claim, the Czechs said: "well, it may or may not have happened." Czech President Vaslav Havel said he didn’t know what they were talking about. A 2006 Senate committee concluded this meeting never happened, but Dick Cheney didn’t admit the lie until 2009.

2002- Martin Strehl, "the Swimming Slovenian" completed his swim down the entire length of the Mississippi River from Lake Athabasaca Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico in 68 days. To prevent infection from swallowing industrial pollution in the water, he daily gargled with Hydrogen Peroxide.
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Yesterday’s Question: What was a carpetbagger?

After the Civil War, unscrupulous businessmen roamed the defeated South buying up devastated businesses and land with cheap unbacked currency. These crooks traveled with a distinct suitcase bag made from carpet material. So, they were nicknamed carpetbaggers.


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