Oct 25, 2011 Tuesday
October 25th, 2011
Question: What does it mean when something is chintzy?
Yesterday’s Question Answered below: In the 1929 Stock Market Crash, which person made out okay? 1-Charles Dupont Chairman of General Motors, 2-Groucho Marx comedian, 3-Al Capone Chicago Gangster, 4-Irving Berlin composer.
History for 10/25/2011
Birthdays: Pablo Picasso, George Bizet, Johann Strauss Jr., Bobby Knight, Helen Reddy Minnie Pearl, Whit Bissell, Lyle Lovett. Leo G. Carroll, Bill Barty the famous Little Person celebrity, John Matusak, Julia Roberts
Today is the Feast of Saints Crispin and Chrispinian- the patron saints of leatherworkers. They were supposed to be so holy that when the Roman prefect of Soisson saw his tortures were having no effect, he drowned himself. Another case of low job satisfaction.
1555- Emperor Charles V was called the Man who Married Europe- The Prince of the Netherlands was also King of Spain, which meant all of the Americas and Italy , and he was Emperor of Germany-which meant everything from Denmark and the Rhine to Turkish held Hungary. He assumed all this power at 19, fought wars, tried to stop the Protestant Reformation, sacked Rome and imprisoned the Pope and wielded power with gusto. But by 45 he was exhausted, sick with asthma and arthritis.
So this day at the States General of the Netherlands Charles V announced his resignation of all his offices and retirement to a monastery in Spain. He named his son Phillip II to be King of Spain and the Netherlands and his brother Ferdinand to succeed him as German Emperor. Charles wasn’t a great monk though, his cell had rooms for 50 servants and he insisted on keeping his favorite Titian paintings with him. A master of languages, Charles once said “Speak Italian to Ladies, German to enemies, French to friends and Spanish to God.”
1760- King George II died of constipation, his grandson George III becomes King. Old George II completed his 33 year reign with this final opinion of English politics:” I am sick to death of all this foolish stuff, and wish with all my heart that the Devil may take all your bishops, and the Devil take all your ministers, the Devil take your Parliament and the Devil take this whole Island, provided I can get out and go home to Hanover!” Gee, thank you Sire, we love you too.
1769-Young Massachusetts lawyer John Adams married Abigail Smith.
1795- The last king of Poland, Stanislas II Poniatowski, abdicates under pressure from his old girlfriend, Catherine the Great. Poland as a nation disappears until 1919. As King Stashu was a loser but his family did pretty well in later years. A Poniatowski was a general under Napoleon and today the family is big in French conservative -Gaulist politics, and Helena Poniatowska is a writer in Mexico who did a memoir about Diego Rivera.
1854-THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE- BALACLAVA- the climactic battle of the Crimean War in which Britain and France sent armies to help Turkey fight off Russia.
During the battle Lord Raglan watched from his mountaintop the Russians on another mountaintop (their army was arranged on the hillsides like a fork with it's prongs pointed at the English and French). They were trying to pull some field artillery out of the way of the advancing Brits. So Raglan sent Lords Lucan and Cardigan orders to send the Light Brigade to capture these few cannon before they got away. Lord Cardigan (who always insisted his officers drink champagne for breakfast) wasn't on a mountaintop but deep in a valley and all he could see was the whole heavily fortified Russian army in front of him. Then he got Raglan's command: "-Charge the Guns!" To cap matters the messenger Captain Nolan was angry with Cardigan so he refused to explain the order.
So the 600 of the Light Brigade charged right into the whole Russian Army alone. It all took about 8 minutes. One survivor recalled seeing a Sergeant Talbot get his head struck off by a cannonball but his body stayed galloping in the saddle another 30 yards, lance still positioned under his arm. Fired on from three sides the Light Brigade took the first lines of cannon and could have pierced the Russian center if they had been followed by reinforcements, but everyone just watched in stunned silence.. The French commander gave orders for his Chausseurs d'Afrique to storm one other position which was the only positive result of the day. Lord Cardigan led his brigade through the first line of guns then immediately turned back “It is not the job of commanders to grapple with common soldiers.” One problem the Light Brigade had that never made it into any movies was when they finally reached the Russian gunners they were wearing their heavy wool winter coats that were too thick for Wilkinson sabers. The horsemen slapped their swords harmlessly against their shoulders and backs.
The Light Brigade staggered back accomplishing nothing, 3/4 of their men killed, and inspiring a really swell poem by Tennyson. The 17th Lancers went in with 250 and came out with 17 men. In a delightfully British moment, the Brigades 2nd in command, his clothes torn up by bullets, blackened with gunsmoke and a horrible saber gash across his face, said to Lord Cardigan: "Sir, shall we have another go?"
1864 Battle of Mine Creek, Missouri. The last major Civil War battle in the Trans-Mississippi-Western Theater. Yankee cavalry charged and destroyed a Confederate army under General Sterling Price. Price’s army had invaded Missouri hoping to capture St, Louis and cause enough of a sensation so Lincoln would lose re-election and the new government would make peace with the Confederacy. Price’s army had taken in many Missouri desperadoes and bushwhackers like Quantrill’s Raiders and Bloody Bill Anderson. On the Yankee side a cavalry brigade was commanded by Major Frederick Benteen, who would be known as the commander of Custers reserves in the Little Big Horn massacre in 1876.
1891- THE SECRET OF THE LOST DUTCHMAN MINE- An old German (Deutsche) immigrant miner named Jacob Walsh lay dying after a lifetime digging in the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. Before he passed on he told those around him he had discovered a fabulously rich gold mine and killed his partners to keep the secret. As proof he gave them the 45 pounds of pure gold in his trunk and said there was ten times that amount in the mine. He died leaving tantalizing vague clues like " I can see the military road from my mine, but those on the military road can't see me.." 125 people died or went mad looking for the Lost Dutchman Mine but to this day it has ever been found.
1903- New York’s New Amsterdam Theater opened with a gala performance of A Midsummer’s Night Dream. The New Amsterdam boasted all Art Nouveau decoration, the first theater in a steel girdered building and a new style of floating balcony that didn’t obstruct the view with support pillars, an effect to be copied by movie houses throughout the world. The Great Ziegfield staged his great Follies there and in the rooftop garden theater for only the cream of New York society. The theater fell into decrepitude and in the 1970’s was a porno house, but the Walt Disney Company restored it to it’s Gilded Age glory in 1996.
1917- Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, in a lecture announced his firm belief in spiritualism, divination, fairies and communication with the dead. He called it the New Revelation. “The chasm between this life and the next is not insurmountable.” Other British intellects think Sir Arthur had gone a bit potty.
1920- King Alexander of Greece died from blood poisoning after being bit by his pet monkey.
1921- Bat Masterson, Quebec born gunfighter, marshal of Dodge City, gambler, Indian fighter and outlaw, died over a typewriter as a sports reporter for the New York Morning Telegraph while covering a championship prize fight. He was 67.
1924- The Zioniev Letter. Four days before the British General Elections the Tory opposition to the Labor Government of Ramsay MacDonald produced a letter purporting to show a cosy relationship between MacDonald and the Bolshevik revolutionaries of Russia. Ramsay MacDonald’s party lost the elections. Later it turned out the letter was a fake.
1944- Battle of the Leyte Gulf. The combined forces of General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz destroyed the last remaining tactical Japanese fleet. Four carriers, three battleships and assorted other craft sunk. After Leyte the Japanese Navy ceased to be a factor for the rest of the war.
1946- President Harry Truman declared a postwar “Housing Emergency” that led to the development of the suburban track house.
1957- Gangster Al Anastasia, head of "Murder, Inc." walked into Arthur Grosso’s Barbershop in the Park Sheraton Hotel for his usual shave and haircut. He trusted Arthur enough to allow him to cover his face with a hot towel. While he was relaxing this way Grosso backed away and two hitmen sent by Vito Genovese came in and started shooting Al full of bullets. The murderers were never found.
1960- The Bulova Acutron Watch went on sale today. The first watch using an electronic power cell instead of a wound mainspring.
1964- At a football game Minnesota Viking defensive back Larry Marshal scooped up a fumble and ran 66 yards into the end zone. Except, it was his own goal line. DOH!
1983- President Reagan sent thousands of US Marines to invade the tiny island of Grenada, ostensibly to save a few American medical students from some fat Cuban construction workers, and secure the US strategic supply of nutmeg.
Yesterday’s Question: In the 1929 Stock Market Crash, which person made out okay? 1-Charles Dupont Chairman of General Motors, 2-Groucho Marx comedian, 3-Al Capone Chicago Gangster, 4-Irving Berlin composer.
Answer: Al Capone never invested in stocks.” Dem guys is all crooks!” He said of Wall St. So he was unaffected by the Stock Market Crash, while the others were all ruined.