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September 18th, 2008 fri.
September 18th, 2009

Question: In Ben Hur Roman movies, What does SPQR mean?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Are St. John the Apostle and St. John the Evangelist the same guy?
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History for 9/18/2009
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Marcus Ulpius Trajan 53AD, Dr Samuel Johnson, Frankie Avalon, Greta Garbo, Claudette Colbert, Leon Foucault ( Foucault's Pendulum ), Jack Warden, Canadian PM John Diefenbaker, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Rossano Brazzi, Debbie Fields founder of Mrs. Field's Cookies, Jada Pinkett-Smith, James Gandolfini is 49, June Foray

96 A.D. ROMAN EMPEROR DOMITIAN ASSASSINATED- Domitian was a crazy tyrant in the mold of Nero and Caligula. He once ordered all the fortunetellers, sorcerers, swamis and such driven out of Rome. Their guild got together and retaliated by doing a group prediction of Domitian's assassination: Sept. 18th on the eleventh hour. Domitian pretended not to care but on the day spent all day locked indoors with a sword under his pillow. He didn't come out until his slaves and butlers assured him the eleventh hour had passed. Domitian came out and was promptly murdered by his slaves and butlers. They lied. It was the eleventh hour.

-BUT WAIT! IT GETS WEIRDER... A Roman mob drags Domitian's body through the streets on a hook and chain. They tried to stuff him into the sewer but he was too fat, so they tore the body to pieces and threw the chunks into the Tiber.

-BUT WAIT! IT GETS EVEN WEIRDER!!-The Roman Senate told his wife the Empress Valeria no hard feelings, if she needed anything.... She requested to be allowed to keep one statue of her husband in the Forum. The Senate approved. Unbeknown to them fishermen had fished out the pieces of Domitian. Valeria took the fish-knawed chunks to an Egyptian doctor and had him sew them back into something resembling a man. Then she told her artists to make a statue of the cadaver. This horrid statue she put in the forum to remind Roman's of 'their ingratitude'.

324 A.D.-Battle of Chalcedon-Constantine, Roman Emperor of the West,
defeated Licinius, Emperor of the East and takes over the whole Roman Empire. One result of this battle was he took the Christian religion, which he had earlier removed the ban on, and made it the official state religion of the Empire.

1572-the painter El Greco first appeared in history in a document paying his union dues to the Guild of St. Lawrence, the artists guild of Rome. His real name was Domenico Theotocopoulos. People just called him El Greco, 'the Greek Guy".

1705- PIRATES TAKE OVER NEW YORK CITY and hold it until the British Navy drove them away.

1793- At the building site of the new capitol city (Washington D.C.) the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol building was set in a ceremony presided over by President George Washington and a group of Freemason masters from GW's local lodge.
At one point Washington dismissed the crowd so the Freemason's could do their mystical rites in secret. No regular clergy was invited nor conventional Christian benedictions given. The US Capitol as we know would not be completed until 1863.

1804- Napoleon inspected Baron Gros new painting The Plague Victims of Jaffa and liked it. Nappy considered paintings part of propaganda and commissioned artists to project his image.

1811 A Portuguese 'Projectionist' (experimenter with Magic Lanterns) offers the Duke of Wellington to burn up Napoleon's army with a series of convex lenses and mirrors. Wellington says thanks, but no thanks...

1812- The Great Fire of Moscow finally out, Napoleon sent to Czar Alexander informing him of the tragedy and once more calling upon him to submit to peace talks. The Czar sent no reply but told his troops and court: “I will continue to fight so long as I have one soldier. Rather than surrender to the invaders I’d grow my beard to my waist, go to Siberia and live on potatoes!”

1851-First issue of the New York Daily Times, later just the New York Times.

1870-THE SIEGE OF PARIS BEGAN- The main French armies defeated and Emperor Napoleon III a prisoner, Paris alone refused to surrender to Prussia. As the great Krupp guns boom shells into the city, American General Phil Sheridan stood as a tourist in between Chancellor Bismarck and the Kaiser. Painter August Renoir would go outside the city walls to sketch and was once picked up and accused of espionage. Parisians starved in the siege and elegant restaurants were soon offering 'roast cat in orange sauce with a decorative garnish of mice'. Top fashion guru Worth of Paris declared it chic' to have some decorative ruins in your garden. After the siege the Paris city walls were demolished. They were approximately where the freeway "peripherique" around the city is today. The fiercest fighting was where the suburb of La Defense is (hence the name).Young Emile Cohl was inspired by the military wall posters he saw to become an artist. He later became the first true animation artist.

1873- THE GREAT PANIC AND DEPRESSION OF '73- Contrary to modern belief the Depression of 1929-41 and 2008 wasn't the only time the U.S. economy stumbled. This panic began when the huge Bank of Cooke & Sons closed. In those times you would say "to be rich as Jay Cooke' was like saying rich as a Rockefeller or Trump today. Cooke got the news of his ruin while having breakfast with President Grant and broke down and wept in front of the befuddled chief executive. The run on the collapsing market got so out of control that the New York Stock Exchange shut down for ten days. The Depression lasted ten years.1907,1819,1893,1914, 1832 and 1987 also saw financial panics. Uh, also 2008.

1895- In Davenport Iowa Daniel David Liliiard invented the chiropractic adjustment session. Now just relax- CRACCCK!!

1917-Writer Aldous Huxley got a job teaching at Eton. One of his students was Eric Blair, who would write under the name George Orwell.

1927-The Columbia Broadcasting System-CBS, broadcast its first program, an opera called the King’s Henchman.

1931- THE MUKDEN INCIDENT- The Japanese army rig a supposed Chinese ambush at a small railway junction near Shenyang. This served as the pretext for a mass invasion of Manchuria. This is technically the first violence of World War Two, since the Sino-Japanese conflict would continue until 1945.

1932-Frustrated movie actress Peggy Enwhistle jumped off the Hollywood Sign. In case you are curious she jumped off the “H”. She also didn’t hit the ground immediately but hit a cactus patch, dying slowly later in great pain. Ironically in her mail that day was a script and a job offer. The role was of a woman who commits suicide.

1939-LORD HAW-HAW Shortly after World War Two broke out in Europe today Britons first heard an English voice reading propaganda news from Radio Berlin. English fascist William Joyce became the voice of Nazi Germany in English, making pro-axis commentary not unlike Tokyo Rose was doing in Asia. He was nicknamed Lord Haw-Haw because of his assumed upper-class British accent. He was actually of Irish ancestry and lived in Brooklyn New York for awhile, but he considered himself English. After Germany’s defeat Joyce was captured and executed for treason.

1961- United Nations General Secretary Dag Hammerskjold was killed in a plane crash in Africa. He left behind a book of philosophical musings called Markings that became a best seller. Today the central plaza in front of the United Nations Building is named for him.

1965- I Dream of Genie debuted on television. Network Standards & Practices said Barbara Eden could wear the harem outfit so long as her belly-button didn’t show. At first the reviews were not good. Variety said: “The only star of this show is Barbera Edens cleavage.”


1970- Jimi Hendrix (27) was found dead of drug and alcohol abuse. He had passed out and choked on his own vomit. Janis Joplin's reaction was -"G-ddammit! He beat me to it !" Joplin herself died three weeks afterwards.

1981- France outlaws capitol punishment and the guillotine.

1991- Comedian Redd Foxx was famous for doing bits like faking a heart attack. This day on the set of his new series the Royal Family while joking with Della Reese he clutched his chest and fell over dead. Everyone thought he was faking and laughed.

1992- Arch anti-feminist and conservative values spokesperson Phyllis Schlafly learns from her son John Schlafly that he is gay. Doh!
1994- Tennis star Vitus Gerulaitis was found in his home dead from carbon monoxide poisoning.

2001- ANTHRAX- While America was still in shock from the 9-11 attacks, government and media offices started getting envelopes in the mail containing weapons grade Anthrax powder. 22 people are sickened and 5 died. Most of the lethal packets were mailed to opponents of the Bush Administration. Bush immediately claimed it was the work of Al Qaeda and later Saddam Hussein. But the only culprit the FBI could pinpoint was a disgruntled chemist at the Army Biological Weapons Lab, who committed suicide. Nothing was ever proven.

2003- In Scotland paleontologists discover the worlds oldest genitalia. From a dinosaur era insect ancestor of the preying mantis. Great Giant Mantis Balls!”

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Yesterday’s Question answered below: Are St. John the Apostle and St. John the Evangelist the same guy?

Answer: There is a big argument among Biblical Scholars whether they are the same. Christian tradition has it that John the Apostle wrote the Gospel of St. John and was the only apostle not martyred, but allowed to grow old. Other scholars say John of Patmos was someone else, living in Greece and hallucinating the Book of the Apocalypse around AD165. So the earliest Gospel was that of Mark, who knew Simon Peter but wrote his Gospel around AD120. Maybe the Gospel of Thomas, discovered at Nag Hamadi in 1948 but not included in the Bible, is the only Gospel written by someone who actually looked Jesus in the face. There is no definitive answer either way.


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