March 20, 2012 tues.
March 20th, 2012
Question: Does nougat grow on trees?
Yesterday’s Question answered below: What does it mean to be moribund?
History for 3/20/2012
Birthday: Roman poet Ovid -43b.c., Napoleon’s son Napoleon II "l'Aiglon" The eaglet, Henryk Ibsen, Lauritz Melchior, Ray Goulding, Mr. Rogers, Bobby Orr, Sheldon "Spike" Lee is 55, B.F. Skinner, Pat Riley, Sir Michael Redgrave, Edgar Buchanan, Holly Hunter is 54, William Hurt is 62, Carl Reiner is 90, Chris Wedge is 54.
Happy Vernal Equinox, or Spring, if you will….
Happy Saint Cuthbert's Day !
44BC- The Great Funeral of Gaius Julius Caesar. The spot in the Forum where the common people tearfully cremated Caesar’s body is still there today. Caesars lieutenant Marc Anthony won the Roman populace over by appealing to their love of Caesar.” Friends Romans Countrymen Lend me your Ears!” as Shakespeare wrote. At a key moment Anthony revealed Caesar’s bloody toga. The assassins Marcus Brutus and Cassius Longinus thought the people would proclaim them heroes for saving the democracy. But they committed a fatal error by staying hidden during this ceremony. They lost public sympathy and fled Rome.
1413- Prince Hal ascended the throne of England as King Henry V. He spent most of his short reign trying to conquer France and won the stunning victory at Agincourt. If he hadn’t died of dysentery at age 35 he might have united the kingdoms of France and England. Once more into the breach my friends!
1549- Thomas Seymour the Lord High Admiral of England was beheaded for treason. In the unstable regency following King Henry VIII’s death Seymour tried for the top job by wooing Princess Elizabeth and Princess Mary and stockpiled secret stores of arms and ammunition. This execution weakened the political status of his brother the Earl of Somerset who was running the kingdom. Somerset eventually lost his head too.
1760- The Great Fire of Boston.
1777- Benjamin Franklin was officially presented at the court of Versailles to meet King Louis XVI. Spain, Russia and Sweden withheld their ambassadors, both not wishing to cause a rift with England. His eyes teared up when he was introduced, not as representing rebellious English colonies, but as “ DR FRANKLIN, COUNSUL FROM THE UNITED STATES OF NORTH AMERICA!” This is the beginning of U.S. foreign policy.
1782-British Prime Minister Lord North resigned his government after thirteen years in power. North was infamous for doing King George’s bidding almost exclusively and bungling the American War of Independence. After the big defeat at Yorktown he was the target of the first ever Vote of No Confidence in Parliament. Lord North resigned before Parliament could vote on a resolution ordering unilateral withdrawal from America.
1800- Alessandro Volta announced he had invented the electric battery.
1815- Napoleon Bonaparte was borne on the shoulders of a cheering Parisian mob back into the Tuileries palace as fat King Louis XVIII hightailed it to England. From this day to Nappy's abdication after Waterloo is referred to as the Hundred Days.
1841- Edgar Allen Poe's The Murder's in the Rue Morgue first published in Graham’s Magazine. Called the first true detective novel, Poe's detective C. Auguste Dupin was inspired by a real French sleuth named Jules Vinquoc who used disguises and science to solve crimes the Paris police could not handle. The character was also the inspirations for Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie’s Inspector Poirot.
1852-Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" first published. It sold one million copies within six months. The book was the first to treat the horrors of slavery directly and portray slave families not as dumb brutes or happy minstrels but victimized human beings. Because of this book, during the Civil War Yankee soldiers referred to Confederates as women-whippers, and baby stealers. Stowe said modestly: “I didn’t write it, God did. I just took dictation.”When she visited the White House President Lincoln met her with:”So here’s the little lady who started the big war.”
1899- In Sing-Sing prison Martha Place becomes the first woman in the U.S. to be electrocuted. She had killed her stepdaughter. Because Sing-Sing Prison in Ossining New York was situated up the Hudson River from New York City, the phrase to be” sent up the River” as meaning going to jail, became popular.
1903- Henri Matisse exhibits at the Salon des Independents in Paris.
1931- Cantors Kosher deli opened in the Fairfax neighborhood of Los Angeles.
1932- The German airship Graff Zeppelin began a regular passenger service between Europe and South America -Cologne to Buenos Aires.
1940- KATYN- When the Nazi blitzkrieg crushed Poland the remains of the Polish Army and government escaped East only to fall into the hands of Stalin and his secret police, the NKVD. Stalin didn’t want this group to form the nucleus of a revived Polish state after the war. In an order signed this day Stalin ordered the execution of 14,000 Polish officers and a further 10,000 Polish government workers. When the Nazis invaded Russia the following year they uncovered the mass graves at Katyn, the Hill of Goats. All the bodies had the NKVD signature- one bullet hole in the back of the head. Strange, Nazis denouncing a mass murder. Stalin claimed the Germans did it and the news of Katyn was forgotten in the larger scale of the Holocaust. In 1991 Russia officially apologized.
1942- After a harrowing escape from the Philippines through Japanese lines by pt. boat, submarine and plane General MacArthur arrived at the Australian town of Darwin. His first radio message was to tell the occupied Philippine people “ I Shall Return!” The U.S. State Department later asked MacArthur to amend his message to the more democratic We Shall Return but the imperious general refused.
1943-Battle of Mersa Martruh, Rommel vs. Montgomery in the Egyptian desert.
1943-MGM's "Dumb Hounded" the first Droopy Cartoon.
1956-Habib Bourghiba and Prime Minister Mollet of France conclude talks for the independence of Tunisia.
1965- After the confrontation on the Edmund Pettis Bridge President Lyndon Johnson ordered 4,000 US troops to protect the Civil Rights protestors led by Martin Luther King marching from Selma to Montgomery. Alabama Governor George Wallace had sicked attack dogs and police on the marchers after promising the President not to. Johnson referred to Gov. Wallace as “a treacherous, lying son of a B*tch!”
1969-John Lennon married Yoko Ono on the Rock of Gibraltar.
1976- Heiress Patty Hearst, aka Tanya, convicted of bank robbery. How she could be tried for bank robbery and her Symbionese Liberation Army captors, simultaneously tried for kidnapping her, is one of the riddles of American jurisprudence. She was finally pardoned by Bill Clinton in one of those last day in office pardons.
1985- Libby Riddles became the first woman to win the Alaskan Iditarod dog-sled race. She would win it a total of four times.
1987- The U.S. food and drug administration finally approved AZT for use in treating the effects of AIDS.
1995-A Japanese doomsday cult called Aum Shinrikio released a deadly nerve gas called Sarin into the Tokyo subway system. It killed 13 and sickened 5,500. The cult had tried on several occasions to release anthrax and other germs into the air to kill millions but their attempts always failed. Their philosophy Poa stated the souls salvation could be achieved through mass-murder. Two days later Tokyo police raided Aum Shinrikio’s headquarters and arrested their leader Matsumoto Chuizo.
1999- After years of attempts and failures involving millionaires like Richard Branson, Rocky Aoki and Malcom Forbes, Dr Bertrand Picard of Switzerland and Brian Jones of the UK became the first to circumnavigate the Earth in a balloon. It was named the Breitling Orbiter 3. Dr Picard said: “I am with the Angels and completely happy.” Mr Jones said: First thing I’ll do is phone my wife, then like a good Englishman I’ll have a cup of tea.”
1999- Legoland opened in Carlsbad Cal.
Yesterday’s Question: What does it mean to be moribund?
Answer: It means as good as dead, or just about gone. Sometimes for people, sometimes for agreements or bills.