March 31st, 2011 thurs
March 31st, 2011
Question: Why is tomorrow called April Fools Day?
Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: Harriet Lane was one of the first women to be called First Lady of the United States, but she was not married to any President. Who was she?
History for 3/31/2011
Birthdays: Rene' Descartes, Franz Josef Haydn, Serge Diagheliev, Richard Chamberlain, Cesar Chavez, Herb Alpert, Gordie Howe, Liz Claiborne, Gabe Kaplan, Rhea Perlman, Shirley Jones, Richard Kiley, Volker Schlondorf, William Daniels, Lucille Bliss the voice of Crusader Rabbitt, Christopher Walken is 68, Colin Farrell is 35, Ewan McGregor is 39, Al Gore is 63
250AD Roman general Constantius 1st born. He was called Constantius Chlorus or the Pale. He was the most powerful general and virtual ruler of Northwestern Europe at the end of Diocletian’s rule. His son Constantine became Roman Emperor in 312.
1146- St. Bernard preaches the Holy Crusade at Vezalay, King Louis VII of France and Emperor Conrad of Germany declare the SECOND CRUSADE. After all the ready-made pilgrim cross emblems were distributed Saint Bernard tore his own cloak to pieces for cross making material. Folks don't remember much about the Second Crusade because it was pretty much a non-event.
Conrad took the land route through the Balkans to the Holy Land and by the time he got to Jerusalem his army was about 5 guys. The French king’s army arrived intact but he was more of a tourist than a conqueror, after visiting the holy places and gathering some medieval tourist trinkets ( 'My folks went on Crusade and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt!") he went home.
They wasted most of their time in an unprovoked attack on the Emir of Damascus, who at the time was one of the Christians’ only Moslem allies. The most memorable person on the voyage was the French Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, who had an affair with a Saracen Prince, and legend has it inspired the troops by riding barebreasted to Damascus. Later she would leave Louis and marry Henry Plantagenet of England and give birth to Richard Lionheart.
1796- Touissaint L’Ouverture named Lieutenant Governor of the island of Saint Dominique, now called Haiti.
1814- PARIS FALLS- Since his Retreat from Moscow, Napoleon seemed to be fighting all of Europe. Today the allied armies of Austria, Sweden, Prussia and Russia captured Paris despite a spirited defense in the suburbs of Montmartre by Marshals Moncey and Marmont. Moncey had reformed the municipal police and is considered the father of the Paris Gendarmerie. But now German army tents went up in the Bois Du Bolongne and Cossacks watered their steppe ponies in the Seine.
In the South, Wellington and his Anglo-Portuguese army moved down from the Pyrenees to take Toulouse. Napoleon was at Fountainbleau with the tatters of his little army. He tried to make the best of it. Saying that now that he was free of covering the capitol he could maneuver in the enemies rear, but everyone but him had had just about enough.
1824- The British Parliament declared that any ships they caught transporting slaves would be treated as pirates and punished accordingly. They tried to get the United States to agree to make it an international law but the U.S. refused.
1836- Charles Dickens first work published "The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club."
1840- Congress lowers the minimum workday for federal workers from 11.4 hours a day to 10 hours a day. At this time in mines and factories people worked an average 12-16 hour day. The 8 hour day wasn’t achieved until 1913, not until 1941 in Hollywood and it’s still a dream in most digital effects studios and dot-com companies today.
1889- The Eiffel Tower opened to the public to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution. Twice as tall as the Saint Peter's in Rome or the Great Pyramid of Giza. The Wizard of Iron Gustave Eiffel also designed the armature holding up the Statue of Liberty. Eiffel’s original deal with the French government called for the tower to only stay up for twenty years, then pulled down if no further use can found for it. Eiffel agonized about what to do as the deadline approached but fortunately by 1909 Wireless radio transmissions became important and the Eiffel Tower was a great broadcast antenna.
1905- The Tangiers Incident. Germany tries to provoke an incident with France by sending the Kaiser to Morocco, then a target of French colonial expansion. Kaiser Wilhelm rode around on a temperamental white Arabian stallion and spent the ceremony looking nervously at the welcoming crowd for Spanish anarchist assassins. He gave the Moroccan Sultan a gift of his own personal machine gun that the delighted boy liked to fire at his running courtiers. The whole thing looked silly but it scared the hell out of diplomats in Paris and London.
1905- THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle brought back his famous sleuth in a new series of adventures. Conan Doyle had created Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson in 1887 but by 1893 he had tired of the characters, he wanted to write more serious fiction like his novel The White Company. So he killed him off. Holmes fell to his doom fighting Prof. Moriarity at the Reichenbeck Falls. The reaction of the public was astonished outrage. It seemed whenever Conan Doyle went out inevitably someone would stop him and say "You Blackguard! How Could You ?!" Finally Conan-Doyle bowed to public pressure and resumed the career of the inhabitants of #221B Baker Street.
1918- The Battle of Ykaterinadar- Anti-Communist White Russian armies invaded the Kuban region of southern Russia to fight a battle that was considered so unnecessary that one officer said it was “ A march to Hell to collect bluebirds.”Although the Kuban and Don Cossacks were anti Bolshevik the workers and peasants of the town were pro-Red and outnumbered them heavily.
So when the White commander General Kornilov ordered an attack his aristocratic second General Markov dryly joked “Better wear your clean underwear if you have any left gentlemen, because whether or not we take Ykaterinadar, we are all going to be killed!”But fate intervened. Before the attack could commence a lucky Red artillery shell dropped right on top of their commander General Kornilov and blew him to bits. Breathing a sigh of relief, his army immediately turned around and went home.
1930 -Reacting to charges that the movies had become too naughty, Hollywood producers accept the MOTION PICTURE CODE. It was regulated by Will Hays, former Republican Party Chairman. The regulation wouldn't really start to have strength until 1935-36 when pressure groups like the Catholic League of Decency went after Mae West and the Tarzan pictures.
The Hays Code forbade open sex and obscenity:
- twin beds only in a bedroom, nightclothes buttoned to the neck.
-if a couple were seated together on a bed they must have at least one foot touching the floor,
-"kisses with a duration of no longer than 3 seconds, parting with lips closed."
Lots of jokes were spawned like: "Give him the bird!" "If the Hays Commission would let me, I'd give him the bird!" One other little known clause was the forbidding of members of different races from kissing on camera. So Anna Mae Wong, the greatest Chinese actress of her time, could not play a Chinese heroine if her co-star was a Caucasian made up to look asian.
1931- ITT transmits the first message by microwave, from Dover to Calais.
1932 Ford introduces the V-8 Engine.
1943- Rodger & Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!" debuts. Despite the opinion of producer Mike Todd -"No legs, No Laughs, No Chance", the musical becomes one of the great hits of American musical Theater.
1950- Thor Heyderthal's book of his exploits Kon Tiki published. This was an account of his 4200 mile voyage which proved ancient mariners could have traveled from Peru to Polynesia on boats made from tied reeds.
1959- The Dalai Lama fled the Communist Chinese invasion of Tibet and began his long exile.
1962- The Los Angeles County Museum of Art opened on Wilshire Blvd. No, it didn’t display customized surf boards or the ideal tuna melt with sprouts, but an exhibit of paintings by Bonnard.
1967- In a small London nightclub rising young rock & roller Jimmy Hendrix burned his guitar for the first time. British rock luminaries like Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Pete Townsend sat in the audience stunned at the technical brilliance of this unknown former paratrooper who played left handed. The pieces of his guitar were purchased by Microsoft chairman Paul Allen and today are in his Seattle Rock Museum.
1968- Depressed over Vietnam War, the strong primary surge of Sen. Eugene McCarthy and the challenge of his old enemy Bobby Kennedy, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced he would not run for re-election. Borrowing the words of General Sherman in 1884 he says: "If Nominated Ah will not Run, If elected Ah will not serve.." In retirement Johnson resumed cigarette smoking and neglected his health. He was dead in four years.
1973- Comic strip hero Smilin' Jack gets married, the strip concludes next day.
1991- Former child star Danny Bonaduce arrested for a fist fight with a transvestite prostitute.
1995- In Corpus Christy Texas famed Tejana singer Selena Perez was shot and killed by an obsessed fan. The woman Yolanda Saldivar was president of the Selena Fan Club. “the gun just went off, I didn’t mean to shoot anybody.” Uh-huhh.
Yesterday’s Answer: Harriet Lane was one of the first women to be called First Lady of the United States, but she was not married to any President. Who was she?
Answer: 1860- Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper refers to Harriet Lane, President James Buchanan's niece as "FIRST LADY of the Land". Buchanan was a bachelor and may have been gay, So Ms. Lane performed the duties of the White House hostess. Earlier in 1840 President Zachary Taylor eulogized Dolly Madison as First Lady, before that Martha Washington and Abigail Adams were referred to as Lady Washington and Lady Adams. But this is the first official use of the term First Lady for the President’s consort.