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April 7, 2012 Sat
April 7th, 2012

Question: What was the Splendid Isolation?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: Who was Jan Christian Smuts?
History for 4/7/2012
Birthdays St. Francis Xavier, William Wordsworth, Mongo Santamaria, Francis Ford Coppola is 73, Walter Winchell, David Frost, Percy Faith, Daniel Ellsberg, Jerry Brown, Alan Pakula, Billie Holiday, Ravi Shankar, Irene Castle, Wayne Rogers, Stan Winston, James Garner, Olikirk Christenson-the inventor of Lego toys, Russell Crowe is 48, Jacky Chan is 58

Today is the Feast of Saint Jean Baptiste de LaSalle.

1805- Ludwig Van Beethoven premiered his Symphony # 3 Eroica at Vienna’s Theater-an-der-Wein. It marks his break with the gentle styles of Mozart and Haydn and the evolution of his full mature sound. He originally intended to dedicate it to Napoleon but scratched out the dedication page when he heard Napoleon had renounced Republican liberal values and made himself an emperor. Of all his symphony’s it remained his favorite, despite the opinions ofmusic critics-“ Strange modulations and violent transitions… undesirable originality.”

1827- The first book of matches is patented.

1850 - The California gold rush town of Rough n’ Ready declared itself an independent nation, complete with president, flag and constitution. It lasted about three months, because unknown to them on the other side of the US in Washington, the territory of California was receiving it’s statehood.

1862-THAT DEVIL FORREST! The Second Day of the Battle of Shiloh. Union General Grant, reinforced overnight, counterattacked and recaptured his ground lost the day before by the rebel surprise attack. When General Lew Wallace met him with reinforcements Wallace said :”If stupidity and hard fighting are what you want, here we are.” Grant said: “I’ve had plenty of both already.”

The last Confederate under fire was wild cavalryman Nathan Bedford Forrest. He led a charge at the Union Army to cover the rebel retreat. At one point the gray-clad horseman found himself cut off and alone in a sea of blue uniforms. The Yankees yelled: "Kill Him! Kill the G-ddamn Rebel! Knock him off his horse!" While Forrest slashed all around him with his saber, a bluecoat pushed his rifle into Forrest's ribs and pulled the trigger. The force of the blast lifted him momentarily out his saddle, but Forrest ignored the wound and kept fighting. To keep from being shot in the back as he galloped to safety Forrest pulled one hapless Yankee up on his horse and used him as a shield, then dropped him down when out of danger.

Forrest survived the Civil War " I personally killed ten Yankees and had eleven horses shot out from under me. I finished the war down one horse!"

1865- General Ulysses Grant opened a correspondence with Confederate General Robert E. Lee about the surrender of his army. After the capture of Richmond, Grant’s Yankees sensed final victory was close. This night at Farmville Virginia Grants blue coated troops broke out in a spontaneous torchlight celebration. The sky was illuminated by multitudes of torches and as Grant received their cheers. The nearby rebels could hear as the night sky shook with the sound of “John Brown’s Body” sung by thousands.

1891- Showman P.T. Barnum died of old age. The last words of the man who invented kiddie matinees, the Greatest Show on Earth and coined the word “Jumbo” were "How were the box office receipts today?"

1927- An audience at the Bell Laboratory watched a three inch television screen broadcast an image of US Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover with sound.

1927- Abel Gances classic film Napoleon premiered at the Paris Opera. Gances active camera and wild editing were years ahead of their time, climaxed by a triptych of large images on three movie screens linked by synchronized projectors. One American man in the audience, Walter Wallin, was inspired to develop the Panavision wide screen lens, used by many modern movies today.

1933-The Prohibition 18th Amendment is repealed. My grandmother remembered jumping on a beer wagon as they paraded down Fifth Ave. in New York City. Canadian cities like Moose Jaw Saskatchuan, where Al Capone had set up huge distilleries to run-rum across Lake Michigan, went into mourning. Bootleggers like Josef Bronfman of Seagrams and Joe Kennedy Sr. had to look for other sources of income.

1933- Hitler's regime passed the Professional Civil Service Restoration Act, which ordered Jews and other political undesirables fired from all government posts including university professorships and museum curators and arts funded grants. The exile of Germany's intellectual elite began- Bertholdt Brecht, Billy Wilder, George Gropius, Thomas and Heinrich Mann, George Grosz, Fritz Lang, Michael Curtiz, Lazslo Moholy-Nagy, Max Reinhardt and Otto Klemperer -Colonel Klink's dad.

1939-"The Ugly Duckling" the last Disney Silly Symphony short cartoon.

1945-The SUICIDE MISSION OF THE BATTLESHIP YAMATO- The Japanese superbattleship had just enough fuel to cruise into the midst of the American Navy around Okinawa, then it was to sell itself dearly. It never made it though. Because of Ultra, the cracking of the Japanese code, the Americans knew it was coming. The Yamato was bombed and torpedoed by swarms of U.S. planes and went to the bottom before it ever got within range of other surface ships.

1947-The Russians hanged Rudolph Hoess, Nazi commandant of Auschwitz, in front of the camp. His last words were Seig Heil.

1948- The World Health Organization created.

1949-Musical "South Pacific" debuts. Some Enchanted Evening…

1957-The last New York City trolley car shuts down. (Queens to Manhattan)

1966-The U.S. Air Force recovered one of the H-Bombs they lost over Spain.

1970- The film Midnight Cowboy with Dustin Hoffman and John Voight won the Best Picture Oscar. The first x-rated film to do so.

1971- In a taped phone conversation, President Richard Nixon complained to Henry Kissinger that none of his cabinet called to compliment him on a policy speech.” Well, screw ‘em ! Screw all the cabinet!”

1972-Gangster "Crazy Joe" Gallo was machine gunned while celebrating his birthday at Umberto's Clam House in the Little Italy section of Manhattan. He had been disturbing the gang peace in New York set up by the council of the Five Families, under the leadership of Godfather Carlo Gambino. Crazy Joe’s headquarters was in the President’s Street section of Brooklyn where supposedly he kept a live African lion as a pet. Finally when Gallo had hit rival don Joe Columbo in broad daylight at a Columbus Day Italian Unity rally the Five Families decided he had gone too far. Ownership of the restaurant was returned in 1994 by the city prosecutors office to the original owner Manny "the Horse" Ianello.

1990- The Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center opened a show of the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe that the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC cancelled. Mapplethorpe’s explicit depictions of gay and s/m lifestyles shocked neoconservative critics of the national endowments for the arts. A media debate on whether government should subsidize or censor art raged, and Dennis Barry the museum director was tried for obscenity. His acquittal was seen as a victory for free expression but the argument cast a pall on future funding of controversial art.

1998- Pop star George Michael was busted after exposing himself to an undercover policeman in a public park men’s room in Beverly Hills.

1998- Lead singer for the Plasmatics, Wendy O.Williams, committed suicide with a shotgun. The outrageously mohawked punk rocker was known for stunts on stage like destroying her amplifiers with a chainsaw, skydiving in the nude, autoeroticism with a sledgehammer and crashing a burning school bus into a wall of television sets.

2155- According to the show Babylon 5 today marked the first contact between humans and the Centauri Alliance.
Yesterday’s question: Who was Jan Christian Smuts?

Answer: Smuts (1870-1950) was an influential President of the Union of South Africa, leading it through World War I and II. Although he fought Britain in the Boer War, as president he was a big believer in South Africa’s place within the British Empire. After he was voted out of office in 1948, the victorious nationalist party encoded the worst discriminatory laws known as Apartheid.