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May 9th, 2011 mon
May 9th, 2011

Quiz: In 1748 an English slave trader named John Newton’s was caught in a violent Mid Atlantic storm. Newton prayed to God he would reform his life if he made it through this gale. The storm broke. John Newton not only stopped his slave trading, but he wrote a famous hymn. What is it?

Yesterday’s Question: What are the Smurfs called back in their country of origin, Belgium?
History for 5/9/2011
Birthdays: John Brown, James Barrie the creator of Peter Pan, Henry J. Kaiser of Kaiser Aluminum, Glenda Jackson is 75, Billy Joel, Candice Bergen is 65, Mike Wallace is 93, Pancho Gonzales, James L. Brooks, Rosairo Dawson, John Corbett, Albert Finney is 75
To the ancient Romans this was the Lemuria, the Festival of Death . Like the ancient Greek Anthesterion in February the Lemuria was a deal made with the Underworld that the dearly departed were allowed to visit the surface world and you should leave your door open and leave out food for them. This way they won't haunt you and you'll have good luck all year.

At sunset tomorrow the head of the house (Pater Familias) walks through the house hitting a little bronze gong, he throws a handful of black beans over his shoulder and chants 'With These Beans I Redeem Myself and My Family. O Shades of My Ancestors Depart! Lemuria has Ended!'

310 a.d. This is the Feast of Saint Pachonius, the first monk to bring other monks and nuns together to live communally, instead of living in caves as solitary hermits.

1421- A fire destroyed part of the just completed Forbidden City in Beijing.

1503- Columbus sails home to Spain from his fourth and final voyage. He traveled down the Central American coast as far as Venezuela. Despite revisionist history extolling his genius Columbus never stopped thinking he had discovered Asia. Because the Nicaraguan Indians told him there is another ocean just beyond the jungle in his diary he confuses it with the Indian ocean, so he thinks he is in VietNam.(Cochin China)

1754- THE FIRST NEWSPAPER CARTOON- Ben Franklin in his Pennsylvania Gazette prints a drawing of a segmented snake with each piece named for a colony with the inscription: Join or Die. ( Okay, it's not Calvin and Hobbs but it's a start).

1775-LUMBERJACKS ATTACK THE ROYAL NAVY- One of the stranger engagements of the American Revolution. Captain Henry Mowat, RN, anchored his warship off Falmouth Maine (present day Portland) to reassert Royal authority on the Maine seacoast. Suddenly several little boats rowed out to his ship. At first he thought they were royalists come out to greet him. But when they scampered up on board he saw they were Maine lumberjacks wielding their huge double bladed axes. Mowat and his startled crew surrendered and were roughly taken into custody. It was the first time a warship was ever captured by axe.

The Maine men, not having any central authority or instructions about what exactly to do with prisoners eventually let them go. Once back on his ship Capt. Mowat ‘s revenge was to haul off and bombard the town with red-hot cannonballs, burning the town of Falmouth to the ground. The incident created a violent resentment in the colonies, many of whom still hoped for eventual reconciliation with the motherland.

1785 - British inventor Joseph Bramah patents the beer-pump handle. So pull us a dram for a pint of pure.-i.e. I’d like a glass of Guinness Stout, please.

1812- Napoleon left his palace in Paris to begin the March to Moscow.

1844-THE PHILAPELPHIA SECTARIAN RIOTS- in Philadelphia arguments between Irish and Protestant gangs over public funding over religious schools erupted into four days of rioting. 20 were killed, Catholic Churches were burned and the city placed under martial law. As news of the riots spread the Irish Catholic Bishop of New York warned the mayor that if one church were harmed in New York Irishmen would burn down the city. “We’ll make New York another Moscow!”- recalling that cities famous burning in 1812.

These are the first anti-immigrant nativist fighting in U.S. history. Also it was the first time Americans would have to understand that some immigrants could be loyal Americans without assimilating into an Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture. Anti-Irish anger would seethe until respect was won on the bloody battlefields of the Civil War.
Another fact about the Philadelphia Riot was newspapermen Will & Frederick Langeheim point their daguerrotype box camera out of the window and photographed the troops around City Hall. It was the first News Photo.

1865- In Gainseville Alabama hard fighting rebel cavalry leader Nathan Bedford Forrest received news of the fall of Richmond and the surrender of the armies of Lee and Joe Johnston. He and a friend went on an all night ride to meditate what to do. “If one road led to Hell and the other to Mexico, I would be indifferent as to which to take.”

Finally Forrest announced to his men his decision: they would not go to Mexico, and they would not continue on as guerrillas, they would surrender and go home. When the governor of Mississippi protested, Bedford Forrest growled: “ Any man who is in favor of further prosecution of this war is a fit subject for a lunatic asylum! The attempt to establish and independent confederacy has failed, we should now meet our responsibilities like men.”
And despite Sherman offering a price for Forrest ‘s head, saying “There can be no peace in the land until he is dead!” Nathan Bedford Forrest was allowed to go home in peace.

1887- Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show did it’s first performance in Europe. In London the English public thrilled to displays of trick riding, wild red Indians, cowboys and little Annie Oakley the trickshooter.

1896 - 1st horseless carriage show in London. It featured 10 models.

1919- Mustapha Kemal, called Ataturk, is ordered to disband his Turkish Army at Samsun in accordance with the armistice agreement ending the Great War. Instead he declares a revolt and resists the Greek invasion. It is the beginning of modern Turkey.
One of the interesting conflicts in Turkey today is the Islamic fundamentalist movements coming up against the legacy of strict church-state separation and state espoused by Ataturk. Today in Turkey it is a state crime to even criticize Ataturk.

1927- Commander Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennett fly over the North Pole in a Fokker monoplane called the Josephine Ford. He beats by two days famed Norwegian explorer Roald Ammundsen who flew over the Pole in a dirigible built by Mussolini. Remember Lindbergh hadn’t flown across the Atlantic yet and it was ten years before the Hindenberg disaster, so a dirigible was considered much safer than an aeroplane.

Commander Byrd won the Medal of Honor and became a household name. A modern biography based on his diary now contends he really didn’t go over the Pole as he claimed but turned back 150 miles short. He was too drunk to tell anyway. Although a former World War One pilot by now he had grown terrified of flying.

1932 – London’s Piccadilly Circus first lit by electricity.

1935- The First Belch heard on nationwide radio. Melvin Purvis (the FBI man who killed John Dillinger) was doing an ad for Fleischmann’s Yeast when he committed the offense, which was dubbed “The Burp Heard Round the World”.

1937- ACTOR’S SHOWDOWN WITH L.B.MAYER- In a dramatic confrontation the heads of the Screen Actor’s Guild Robert Montgomery and Franchot Tone go to MGM boss Louis B. Mayer’s beach house during a Sunday garden party. While IATSE-Capone mob gangster Willie Bioff stood by to give Mayer moral support, Montgomery told Mayer he had a 96% strike vote from the actors, so if Mayer didn’t recognize SAG as the sole bargaining agent for actors they would paralyze Hollywood monday morning!

Mayer considered, then gave in. Bioff got from the actors a deal that the IA would back off if the actors would withdraw their support from a rival union to IATSE’s organizing the behind the scene’s technical artists. That night 5600 actors and friends celebrated at Hollywood Legion Stadium. Next morning 200 waited in line to get their SAG cards including Garbo and Jean Harlow.

1937- Burne Hogarth began drawing the Tarzan comic strip. Hal Foster had been in contract negotiations with the syndicate over money and the right to his originals. He had created Prince Valiant as a bargaining chip when the syndicate called his bluff by giving the Tarzan job to Hogarth. Foster went on to greater glory with Valiant but never forgave Burne.

1950- The French Premier Schumann warned that more deadly world wars would occur in Europe unless Europeans started to unite as one country.

1950- Former Naval reserve officer and pulp science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard published Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, his book defining his new religion Scientology.

1955- HAPPY BIRTHDAY KERMIT THE FROG! Washington D.C. station puts on a young Univ of Maryland grad named Jim Henson as filler before the TODAY Show. He antics with his green frog called Kermit, fashioned from fabric from one of his mothers old green coats. The Muppets are born.

1960- Dr. Gregory Pincus introduced the Birth Control Pill Enovid-10, aka The Pill.

1961- John F. Kennedy's newly appointed head of the FCC, Newton Minow, did his first major address to a luncheon of top television executives. In his speech he blasted them for TV’s mindless content and violence. He called television: " A Vast Wasteland."

What makes it historic is it's the first time anybody had noticed just how lousy TV is and how badly we are all addicted to it. In the show Gilligan’s Island, the boat they were on was named the Minnow for Newton Minnow.

1970- THE MORATORIUM DAY- Largest of the nationwide youth protests against the U.S. War in Vietnam and Cambodia. President Nixon was obsessed by the protests. He had a bunker command post built under the White House where video monitors observed the “long haired peaceniks” outside. When Nixon told his staff he was going to go watch some football, he meant he was going to brood over the monitors. Retired CIA director Bill Gates confessed in his memoirs that as a young operative he took the day off to go protest as well as did a lot of other CIA agents. In Chicago young student and future comic John Belushi was dragged off by friends after being struck in the chest with a fired tear gas shell.

In 2000 it was revealed that President Nixon was so depressed at this time, he was taking a mood altering prescription barbiturate named Dilantin. It was given him by Jack Dreyfus of the Dreyfus Fund without a doctors permission. He was so out of it that Secretary of Defense John Schlesinger ordered military and nuclear installations to ignore the orders of our stoned President, unless first cleared by the Defense Department.

1978- Italian authorities found the bullet-riddled body of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro in a car trunk. He had been kidnapped and murdered by a left wing extremist group called the Red Brigade. The cruelty of the act backfired on the brigade. They lost any public support they may have had and were soon gone.

1995- The Center of Disease Control published findings on a new deadly strain of virus appearing near Kinshasha Zaire. They called it the Ebola Virus.
Yesterday’s Quiz: What are the Smurfs called back in their country of origin, Belgium?

Answer. Les Schtroumpfs