April 17th, 2010 sat
April 17th, 2010
Quiz: Is it true that Walt Disney once had a nervous breakdown?
Yesterday¹s Question: What does prima non pares mean?
History for 4/17/2010
Birthdays: artist Tobias Stummer-1539, Duke Maximillian Ist of Bavaria- leader of the Catholic League 1579, Nikita Khruschev, Thorton Wilder, Clarence Darrow, Arthur Schnabel, Olivia Hussey is 59, Gregor Piatigorsky, Don Kirschner, William Holden, Harry Reasoner, Boomer Eiseason,, Sean Bean, Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Garner is 39
161 AD- Today is the Feast of Saint Anicteus, who may have died a martyr's death in the reign of the Roman Emperor Antoninus, but more likely he was simply worn out over the fight about when exactly should Easter take place.
1421- Dort Dyke, one of the largest water barriers in Holland, ruptured and the ensuing flood killed thousands.
1492- After 8 years of interviews, waiting in antechambers and being laughed at and called crazy, King Ferdinand of Spain finally signed a commission for Christopher Columbus to outfit a fleet and sail west across the Atlantic to find Asia. Ferdinand gave him a diplomatic letter for the Great Khan of Cathay- now called China. The legend of Queen Isabella pawning her jewels to give him money didn¹t happen. She suggested doing so, only to embarrass her financial minister to accelerate Columbus’ funding.
1521-THE CONFESSION OF WORMS- German Emperor Charles V called Protestant reformer Martin Luther to come to the Imperial Diet at the city of Worms and explain his criticism of the Catholic Church. Ordered by the Papal Legate and the Emperor to renounce his heretical views, Luther defied them all." Here I stand, I can do no other, God help me." What makes this historically momentous is for the first time a common man stood before the Church, The Emperor and the assembled Princes of Europe and said "No. I won¹t obey". And he got away with it. The news ran like wildfire through Germany. That night someone hung on the council doors a placard with a farmer¹s shoe painted on it- the German traditional symbol of revolt.
1524- A French expedition led by Italian navigator Giuseppe De Verrasano sailed into New York Harbor. Verrasano claimed the lands for France but upon returning home found the French King too busy with his wars in Germany and Italy to bother with discoveries in the distant New World. Verrasano was later eaten by cannibals in the Caribbean. The big harbor was forgotten until Henry Hudson with the Dutch came upon it 80 years later. This is probably good in the long run because then New York Harbor would have been called the Bay of Anghouleme, and Manhattan the Isle deValois. The Verrasano Narrows Bridge now spans the waters named for him.
1525-THE MASSACRE OF WEINSBURG- Count Ludwig von Helfenshein was a German lord hated by his people for his cruel severity. This day the Great German Peasant Revolt army reached the walls of his castle at Weinsburg near Heilbronn. A small group under a flag of truce asked for a parley. Count Ludwig and his knights ran out and slew them. So the peasant army with enthusiastic help from the townspeople stormed the town and captured the Count. Now he begged for his life and offered his entire fortune as ransom. But the peasants only wanted revenge. They made Count Helfensheim run a gauntlet of peasants armed with knives, pitchforks and axes. As they chopped away at him they added their curses" You killed my father! You imprisoned my brother for not taking off his hat as you rode by!" etc. Then they slaughtered the other nobles.
1534- Sir Thomas Moore the Chancellor of England was ordered to the Tower of London by his King Henry VIII.
1656- Battle of Warka- Poles under Hetman Czarniecki defeated the Hungarians under Georgi Rackoszy.
1792- British Captain Vancouver explores Puget Sound. He founds a settlement and names it for then Prime Minister Granville. In 1886 Granville (sometimes called Gastown after Gassy-Jack the saloon keeper) was renamed Vancouver.
1770- At a dinner party in Versailles, Madame Necker the wife of France¹s first minister, suggested a subscription be held for the great artist Pigalle to make a statue of old philosopher Francois Voltaire. Rousseau and King Frederick the Great of Prussia donated money. The bust of the smiling old cynic became one of the well known images of the XVIII Century.
1793-The Battle of Warsaw- American Revolution hero Thaddeus Kozciuszko tried unsuccessfully to defend the Polish capitol from Catherine the Great¹s Russian army led by Marshal Suvarov.
1800- The Senate passed a bill for the moving of the U.S. government from Philadelphia to the new Federal City, being called Washington D.C.
1808- Napoleon ordered US ships trading with England seized when entering French harbors.
1839- The Republic of Guatemala declared.
1861- The State of Virginia voted to secede from the United States and join the rebel Confederacy. Virginia, The largest and most populous Southern State had wavered undecided and in a preliminary vote had voted 2-1 not to leave. But the violence at Fort Sumter and Lincoln's call for troops to put down rebellion made her decide to join her Southern brethren. Abe Lincoln now could see out of his White House office window a Confederate flag flapping in the breeze across the Potomac at Alexandria.
1865- In Washington DC At ten o¹clock in the evening Federal agents show up at Mary Surrat¹s Boarding House and arrest the remaining conspirators in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln: George Atzenrodt, Lewis Paine and Mrs Surrat. Their leader John Wilkes Booth with David Herold were on the run in the back country of Virginia. The four mentioned were hanged and a dozen others implicated were given prison sentences. But historians disagree about how extensive the conspiracy was. As Lewis Paine said when he was captured:" You don¹t know the half of it!" perhaps we never will.
1869- The first professional baseball game ever played sees the Cincinnati Reds defeat the rival Cincinnati Amateurs, 24-15
1875- The billiard game Snooker was invented by Sir Joseph Chamberlain, the uncle of the future British Prime Minister.
1929- Baseball great Babe Ruth married Ziegfeld Follies dancer Marge Colson in a morning ceremony. Then he drove to Yankee Stadium and hit a home run.
1937 "Porky's Duck Hunt" The birth of Daffy Duck. One legendary story is that newly hired voice actor Mel Blanc in part designed Daffys distinctive lisp to be an impression of the Looney Tunes boss Leon Schlensinger. When they screened this cartoon all the artists stood in dread of how Leon would take the joke. Leon never made the connection that the Ducks voice was an imitation of him:" Gee Fellers, dat Duck iz pretty Ffffunny!"
1941-Yugoslavia surrendered to the Nazis. Serb guerillas rallied in the mountains and continued to fight under Josef Broz Tito.
1945- As Allied armies overran Germany a massed raid of American bombers destroyed 752 German planes on the ground. This was all that was left of the Luftwaffe, once the world¹s largest air force.
At the same time Field Marshal Walter Model, who had been directing much of the German army operations in the west since Normandy, was sitting in a forest listening to Propaganda Chief Goebbels on the radio tell the German people that everything was going well. “ I’ve sacrificed my life to those bastards!” Model sighed. He then drew his pistol, put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger.
1946- Syrian Independence Day. The last French colonial troops leave Damascus.
1960- Cleveland Indians traded Rocky Colavito to the Detroit Tigers.
1961-THE BAY OF PIGS INVASION-.The US CIA started landing 1,400 anti-Castro Cuban fighters in La Bahia de los Cochinos. When John Kennedy became president he was shown a CIA plan that had been developed to land anti-Castro guerrillas in Cuba. Once there they would start a popular uprising to overthrow the bearded cigar smoking commie. Kennedy went along with the plan, it failed and he looked stupid to the rest of the world.
1964-The Ford Mustang introduced by Lee Iacocca.
1971- The song "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night tops the pop charts .
1975- The Khmer Rouge entered Pnom Penh, the Cambodian War ends. The Khmer Rouge led by a junta with Premier Pol Pot at it's head declare it to be Year Zero and began emptying the city people into the countryside. The holocaust known as Killing Fields began and when it was finally ended by a Vietnamese invasion a few years later almost one third of Cambodia's population had been murdered or driven into exile.
1987- Comedian Dick Shawn the Hippy-Hitler in the original Mel Brooks film the Producers- was doing his one-man show The Second Funniest Man in the World at UC San Diego. After one particularly funny punch line he fell over dead from a heart attack. The audience roared for several more minutes at him lying there face down because they thought it was part of the act.
1989-The Polish Government removes the ban on the Solidarity trade union. During the attempts to round up and imprison the ringleaders of the movement, one Zomo (secret police) got so close he had collared a man who leaped out of his jacket to escape. Later the same cop and dissident found themselves across a table discussing government powersharing. The cop nonchalantly mentioned:" Oh, by the way, here is your coat."
Yesterday¹s Question: What does prima non pares.
Answer: First without equal.