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April 5, 2012 thur
April 5th, 2012

Quiz: Walt Disney called his animators “ The Nine Old Men.” But where did he get it from?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: When someone jokes Did the Ancient Romans enjoy pasta with tomato sauce? They were Italian, after all?
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History for 4/5/2012
Birthdays: Plato, Swinburne, Booker T. Washington, Josef Lister, Bette Davis, Nadar, Jean Fragonard, Hicks Lokey, Nguyen Van Thieu, historian Robert Bloch, Gale Storm, Washington Atlee-Burpee the mail order seed king, Spencer Tracy, Frank Gorshin, Melvyn Douglas, Walter Huston, Nigel Hawthorne, Peter Greenaway, Gregory Peck, Roger Corman. Agnetha Faltskog of ABBA is 62, Colin Powell is 75

To the ancient Romans this was the Feast Day of the Goddess Fortuna Virilis, or Good Fortune.

622 A.D.- BYZANTINE EMPEROR HERACLIUS began his military campaigns. Heraclius is one of the mysteries of history. He sat lethargic on his throne while the Persian Shah Chosroes II conquered the whole Middle East almost up to his doorstep. Then Heraclius got up, put on his armor and turned into Julius Caesar, Alexander and Rambo all rolled into one. In a lightning campaign he destroyed the Persian army, burned their capitol, sprinkled garbage on the grave of Zoroaster and chased them to the foot of the Himalayas. The Persians assassinated Chosroes just to make Heraclius go away.

Then Heraclius went back to his throne and did nothing for the rest of his reign. Moslem Arabs would soon appear from out of Arabia and wipe out both empires, which is why you probably never heard of him. Some speculate that his wife Empress Heracleonas was the real military genius but the scholars recorded the deeds all in the man’s name.

1242-" THE BATTLE ON THE ICE" Lake Pripous. Alexander Nevsky the Prince of Novgorod defeated the German monastic knights The Order of Sword Brothers. These warrior-monks had been sent by Rome to combat pagans in the Baltic lands but after everyone had become Christian they had switched their attention to "Greek Orthodox-Schizmatics". In 1939 Sergei Eisnestein did the famous film Alexander Nevsky about the battle with a musical score by Sergei Prokoviev.

1531- Richard Roose was boiled in oil for trying to poison the Archbishop of Canterbury.

1613- Princess Pocahontas, now baptized Lady Rebecca, married John Rolfe. She had been sold by her cousins to the Jamestown colonists as a hostage for a copper pot. Today many old families in Virginia claim a dynastic link to Pocahontas. John Rolfe is famous for inventing the American tobacco industry. The local Virginia weed was a bit too rough for Englishmen to puff on so Rolfe had tobacco cuttings smuggled out of Brazil and planted in the James River delta. Since the English had found no gold-rich Aztec Indians this settlement was at first viewed as a failure. But this tobacco crop made the Virginia Colony a success to profit hungry investors back home.

1614- English King James I’s second parliament met. It was famous for enacting no laws, basically doing absolutely nothing. Briton’s rejoiced.

1759- A small Dutch fleet blown off course in a Pacific storm discovered a small island. Because it was Easter they named it Easter Island.

1794- French Revolutionaries Danton and Camille Desmoulins were guillotined. They were arch-leftists but their old buddy Robespierre wanted them out of the way. So they were convicted of being treasonous counterrevolutionaries. When Danton mounted the scaffold he laughed:" When you take my head off, show it to the people. It will be worth it!"

1814- Now that Napoleon had agreed to abdicate he wanted to assure his son would keep the throne of the French Empire But the victorious allied monarchs in occupied Paris told Nappy’s emissary Caulaincourt that they refused negotiate with them any further. At the same time one of Napoleon’s generals and closest friends Marshal Marmont made his own deal and took his army over to the enemy. Marmont was the Duke of Ragusa and for the next few decades a Raguser became a synonym for traitor like Benedict Arnold or Quisling.

1815-the volcano Mount Tambora erupted in Indonesia killing 12,000 and effecting weather patters around the world. Many quaint Currier & Ives ice skating prints come from this year without a summer.

1827- Englishman Joseph Lister born. Lister was not only the inventor of Listerine but of hygienic medical practices. Before Lister insisted on sterilization hospitals were known as death traps of infection where surgeons would sharpen their scalpels on the sole of their boots before making their incision. He once stopped an epidemic in a hospital by noticing that the interns would go from dissecting cadavers to delivering babies without washing their hands!

1851- New York Mayor Ambrose Kingland proposed that a large park be built in Manahattan for health and recreation. Work on Central Park was begun in 1856.

1860- GARABALDI AND “THE THOUSAND RED SHIRTS” LAUNCH THEIR INVASION OF SICILY. Of the several Italian leaders struggling to unify Italy Guisseppi Garabaldi was the least patient. While the King of Sardinia Vittorio Emanuel and his minister Cavour tried quiet gentle diplomacy, Garabaldi and his "red shirts" launched a unprovoked assault on the Bourbon Kingdom of Two Sicilies and told Vittorio-"You come from the North, I from the South." They met at the middle at Magenta and unified the Italian peninsula for the first time since the Roman Empire fell. While in the south Garabaldi's Northern Italian men wrote home of a new dish they tried- pasta with tomato sauce!

1862- During the Civil War Union General George MacClellan paused in his march through Virginia to attack the old Revolutionary War town of Yorktown. A small force under a rebel leader named MacGruder fooled MacClellan into believing he was facing a large rebel army when he actually outnumbered them 20 to one. MacGruder marched his little force in circles, making multiple camp fires and blowing bugles, trying to look like a larger force than they actually were. When the Yankees finally overran the rebel fortifications they found the heavy cannon pointed at them were harmless logs - Quaker Guns.

In another incident MacClellan held up his main advance several hours while his staff debated how deep a stream was. Finally fearless young cavalry leader George Armstrong Custer walked his horse out into the stream and sat down.”This is how deep it is, General.” Custer said.

1862- Meanwhile in Tennessee Confederate Beauregard and Albert Johnston’s rebel army was sneaking up to surprise attack Ulysses Grants army at Shiloh. But Beauregard was concerned that their undisciplined men were whooping and shooting their guns off and the element of surprise was now lost. Johnston ended speculation by saying:” I intend to fight them tomorrow even if they are a million strong!” Past midnight Yankee General Sherman received reports of rebs skirmishing with his sentries. He told his adjutant to forget it and get some sleep as there would be no battle that day. Shortly afterwards the entire Confederate Army boiled into his camp.

1869- Daniel Bakeman, recorded as the last surviving minuteman of George Washington’s Revolutionary army, died at age 109. A man who looked George Washington in the face lived long enough to be photographed by Matthew Brady.

1874- Johann Strauss Jr.’s operetta Die Fledermaus premiered in Vienna.

1887- Lord Acton wrote: “ Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

1892- THE JOHNSON COUNTY WAR- By the 1890's many great Wyoming cattle ranches were owned by Eastern or European companies. When cattle herds were decimated by the great frost of 1888 a labor dispute arose between the distant employers and the laid off cowboys, many of whom resorted to rustling to make a living. By 1892 the friction became so bad the Wyoming Cattlemen's Association hired a private train and filled it with hired Texas gunfighters and enough ammunition to kill everyone in three states and sent it to Johnson county. This day they pulled out of Cheyenne with orders to shoot or string up any and all rustlers, revolutionists and troublemakers. After killing two men on their list the word got out to the citizens of Casper Wyoming. They gathered en masse and surrounded the Texans in a ranch house laying siege to it, throwing lit dynamite sticks from an armored wagon and shooting at any cowpoke who dared show his face in a window.
The hapless hit men were finally rescued by the U.S. Army, who granted all a general amnesty. The incident was the basis for the movie "Heaven's Gate".

1913- Ebbets Field opened in Flatbush. The Brooklyn Dodgers defeat the New York Highlanders (Yankees) 3-2

1915- Jess Willard knocked down Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion in a title fight in Havana Cuba. The older Johnson retired after the fight. He wouldn’t hold the title long though, on July 4th Willard lost to new kid Jack Dempsey.

1923- Lois Armstrong, King Oliver and the Creole Jazz Band took a train from Chicago to Richmond Indiana to record Chimes Blues. Satchmo’s first record.

1930 -James Dewar invented the Twinkie. Dewar ate two every day of his life and called them “The best darn-tootin idea I ever had!” As an experiment in 1996 five top French master chefs were given the assignment of trying to recreate a Twinkie. They all failed.

1931- Fox Film Company dropped their option on young star John Wayne as a dud not going anywhere. Wayne eked out an existence doing cheap westerns for Republic and Monogram until John Ford made him a star in 1939’s Stagecoach.

1939- For German children, membership in the Hitler Youth corps became mandatory.

1945- The first Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoon.

1951- Republican Senator Robert Short read General Douglas MacArthur’s proclamation to the Communist Chinese on the floor of Congress. It read that if they didn’t withdraw from Korea MacArthur would restart the Chinese Civil War and “Rain Nuclear Fire down upon their cities”. Gen. MacArthur had no permission from the State Department to make such a rash statement and it ruined all the behind the scenes maneuvers to get the Chinese to negotiate an end to the Korean War early. Last December MacArthur had received a direct order from the President not to make any public statements about Korean policy, but the General chose to ignore it. President Harry Trumans reacted-“I’m gonna fire that pompous Sunofabitch!”

1951- The Atomic Spies, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to death for espionage.

1955- Elderly Prime Minister Winston Churchill finally retired. He was succeeded as PM by Anthony Eden. Churchill, already the author of several books, joked with his cabinet:” Gentlemen, History shall be kind to us, for I intend to write it!”

1963- The Lava Lamp invented by Dr Edward Craven Walker.

1965- Julie Andrews had created the role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady on Broadway. But when filming the motion picture the studio decided she was not a big enough star so they used Audrey Hepburn with a dubbed singing voice. But Ms Andrews had her revenge .At the Academy Awards My Fair Lady won Best Picture and Rex Harrison best actor, but Julie Andrews won the best actress Oscar for Mary Poppins.

1969- Pope Paul VI abolished those silly big wide brimmed red hats (galeros) the cardinals wore.

1976- Eccentric Billionaire Howard Hughes died at age 76. Hughes had inherited his fathers oil rig tool company at 17 and built the mighty Hughes aircraft empire and ran RKO pictures. But after surviving several test plane crashes, he became addicted to pain killers and became increasing withdrawn from the world. He died a strange shut in, long haired and living on a diet of drugs and saving his urine in mason jars.

1985- Singer David Lee Roth quit the rock band Van Halen to pursue a solo career.

1994- Grunge rock star Kurt Kobain shot himself. His body wasn’t discovered until two days later.

2003- Invading American forces began the Battle for Baghdad.

2030- FIRST CONTACT- According to Star Trek this is the day Professor Zephram Cochran adapted an old World War Three ICBM and invented the Warp Drive, enabling the Earth to begin deep space exploration, and during whose maiden flight he made the first contact with an alien race- from the planet Vulcan.

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Yesterday’s Quiz: Did the Ancient Romans enjoy pasta with tomato sauce? They were Italian, after all?

Answer: Tomatoes were a plant found in the Americas. No European saw one until Columbus, fourteen hundred years after Rome.


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