BACK to Blog Posts

Sept. 17, 2009 thurs.
September 17th, 2009

Question: Are St. John the Apostle and St. John the Evangelist the same guy?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: When they say “ he faced a phalanx of reporters.” What is a phalanx?
History for 9/17/2009
Birthdays: Hank Williams, Spiro Agnew, Ken Kesey, Jerry Colonna, Roddy MacDowell, George Blanda, Wendy Carlos Williams, Elvira- real name Cassandra Peterson, Anne Bancroft, Jeff MacNelly, Sir Frederick Ashton, Rita Rudner, Bass Lehrman is 47

1179- Feast of Saint Hildegard of Bingen, the medieval female composer.

1630- Happy Birthday Beantown! The Puritan colonists of New England decide to name their new settlement Boston, after a town in Lincolnshire. The site was an Algonquin village called Shawmut.

1632-BATTLE of BRIETENFELD- One of the great battles of the religious Thirty Years War. South Germans, Austrians, Italians, Spaniards on the Catholic side, Swedes, Danes, Hungarians and North Germans on the Protestant side. Catholic general Joachim Tchserclas Von Tilly lost despite dedicating the battle to the Virgin Mary and having twelve cannon named for the Twelve Apostles. Protestant Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus sang morning prayers with his army from the saddle. I wonder if their battle cry was:" Prince of Peace! CHAAAAARGE !!"

1787- The U.S. Constitution signed by the representatives of 12 of the thirteen states. Rhode Island boycotted the convention. “The business is closed.” George Washington wrote in his diary. Alexander Hamilton signed as the only representative of New York since the others left in protest. He was a prime mover of the Constitutional rewrite but was unimpressed with the final result: “Just more pork with the same old sauce, but it might lead the way for a better one later.”Aaron Burr wrote” I doubt if it will last 50 years.” Yet the US Constitution became the bedrock of the American system and is viewed with an almost religious dedication. When Ben Franklin emerged from the meeting, an old woman asked:’ Well, Dr Franklin, what have you given us now?” Franklin replied:” A Nation, mam, if you can keep it!”

1859- JOSHUA NORTON of San Francisco, a well known rice merchant, suffered a mental breakdown under the strain of work, bought a tricycle and a marching band uniform and declared himself Joshua Ist, By God's Grace Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico! Everybody went along with the gag including Abraham Lincoln, who Joshua would write to as "My Prime Minister" and Abe would answer "Your Majesty". When Joshua died in 1875, 35,000 San Franciscans turned out for a state funeral befitting royalty.

1862- BATTLE OF ANTIETAM or Sharpsburg. Abe Lincoln needed a Union victory before freeing the slaves so the act wouldn't look like the last desperate gamble of a losing side. Robert E. Lee had invaded Maryland but his secret orders wrapped around some cigars were discovered by Yankee trooper. "At last I've got him!' crowed Gen. George B. "Little Mac" McClellan, the Union commander who was a great organizer but a terrible battlefield commander. The two sides batter each other in one of the bloodiest days in U.S. history, double the U.S. casualties of D-Day in World War II. McClellan delayed sending in his reserves at a critical moment to break Lee's center, so the battle was a draw. Lee withdrew into Virginia -he was leaving Maryland anyway, so it was kind of, sort of, a Union success.
Yet despite Lincoln's pleading, McClellan refused to pursue. Lil' Mac was convinced Lee had 100,00 troops (he had barely 30,000.). Never one for modesty, McClellan wrote his wife: "Once again God has made me His instrument to be the Savior of my country."
Lincoln fired him ,but published his Emancipation Proclamation anyway.

1921-SWASTIKA- New leader of the German National Socialist or Nazi Party Adolph
Hitler sent his first circular letter to party members. He had spent a lot of time researching graphic symbols in a Munich library with a Professor Pluskau who specialized in Oriental cultures. Now Herr Hitler advised all good party members to adopt as their emblem an ancient Aryan symbol of a crooked cross called a Swastika. This was to be worn as an armband and on party stationary toped with an eagle in imitation of ancient imperial Rome. Early Nazi rallies actually sold name brand merchandise to fund their movement. I wonder if they had Nazi ShamWows….?

1939- Russian forces join German troops in the invasion of Poland and occupied the Balkan countries Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. These nations would not regain their independence until 1990.

1940- After the failure of the German Luftwaffe, Hitler postponed Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of the British Isles. The Battle of Britain was over. Hitler would resume bombing London with rocket weapons in 1943 in the period called 'The Blitz".

1941- As Stuka Bombers drop incendiary explosives over their heads, Dmitri Shostakovitch performs the first two movements of his Symphony #7 the "Leningrad" to a Leningrad audience. Shostakovitch wrote the symphony during the terrible 900 day siege by the Nazi's, often pausing to join the fire brigade in putting out fires.

1951- Battle of the Yalu River. General MacArthur's UN army reached the edges of North Korea near the Chinese border.

1965- If you ever wondered what could be funny about being held in a Nazi prison camp you could watch the TV sitcom HOGANS HEROES, which debuted this day. Nazi Commandant Colonel Klink was acted by Werner Klemperer, whose father was the famous orchestra conductor Otto Klemperer who had to flee Germany because they were Jewish. Sergeant Schulz and the Frenchman LeBeau were also played by actors who survived the Holocaust- John Banner and Robert Clary.

1971- RCA gave up and pulled out of the retail computer market.

1972- Filmation's The Groovie Ghoulies" debuts.

1975- Psychotherapist Lucile Yaney opened one of LA’s most unusual restaurants- the Inn of the Seventh Ray in Topanga Canyon. Built on the site of a countryhouse 1920’s evangelist Aimee Semple MacPherson brought her lovers. Premiere organic cuisine with berry wines, then you can browse the store for power crystals, I-Ching sticks and literature from Alastair Crowley and Edgar Cayce. Faaar- Out !

1978- After thirteen days of intense negotiations President Jimmy Carter announced the Camp David Peace Accords , the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab neighbor- Egypt. Prime Minister Menachem Begin shook hands with President Anwar El Sadat.

2008- the entire country of Iceland declared bankruptcy.

2008- the first revelations that the Department of the Interior officials were having sex and taking drugs with lobbyists for the Oil companies. One official admitted snorting meth off an office toaster oven. Meanwhile they winked at the oil companies forgetting to pay hundred of millions of dollars in environmental penalties and fees.
Yesterday’s Question: When they say “ he faced a phalanx of reporters.” What is a phalanx?

Answer: Most ancient armies were disorganized mobs of warriors. The Greeks invented the system of in-step marching and fighting in a huge rectangle formation. They presented their enemies with a moving wall of shields, bristling with bronze spears. The formation was called the Phalanx. This human wedge literally pushed their enemies off the field. The phalanx dominated until replaced by the smaller and more maneuverable Roman legion.
The name phalanx has come down to us to mean a group that presents a solid united front. Franco’s fascist party in Spain called themselves phalangists or the phalanx.