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August 1, 2012 Weds.
August 1st, 2012

Question: Months alternate having 30 and 31 days each, but July and August each have 31. Why is that?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: An Olympic star was once offered $25,000 dollars by Gilette to shave his mustache in a commercial, but he refused. Who was he?
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History for 8/1/2012
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Claudius, Emperor Pertinax, Francis Scott Key, William Clark of Lewis & Clark, Herman Melville, Robert Todd Lincoln, Geoffrey Holder, Yves St. Laurent, Giancarlo Giannini is 70, Dom Deluise, Jerry Garcia, Coolio, Sam Mendes

31 B.C. Marc Anthony falls on his sword. It wasn't an accident, that’s how they did themselves in back then. Most people felt the final showdown between Marc Anthony and Augustus would be much bloodier than the war between Caesar and Pompey. But after the naval defeat of Actium, Anthony’s supporters melted away.

14 A.D. The Roman Senate decided to change the name of the Month Sextilus (number 6) to the Month of the Divine Augustus, or August.

1096- Peter the Hermit's Crusade, in reality an enormous horde of chanting, bloodthirsty peasants, arrived at Constantinople. Their nominal leaders were the monk Peter and Walter Sans Sou or Walter the Penniless. They had spent the march through Europe massacring Jewish enclaves in many cities and the Byzantine Emperor Alexius didn’t want them turning his city into a war zone. So he had them ferried them over to Asia without allowing them to enter his city. They were soon destroyed by the first large Saracen force they encountered. The real First Crusade army arrived months later.

1291- SWITZERLAND BORN- The rebellious peasants of three Helvetian cantons gather on Rutli meadow and pledge to unite in an Everlasting League against foreign oppression. Modern historians doubt that anything happened on Rutli meadow other than cows grazing, but it’s a good story anyway.

1485 - Henry VII Tudor’s army invaded England to overthrow King Richard III.

1690- The besieged city of Londonderry was rescued by the army of William of Orange.

1714- George Louis/Ludwig, German Elector of Hanover, became George Ist King of Great Britain upon the death of Queen Anne, last of the Orange dynasty. He never trusted his English subjects, they had too many revolutions, too many confusing Parliamentary checks and balances and just 60 years earlier had beheaded their king. George spoke no English ”The English asked me to Rule them, not to Speak to them!”.

1716- The first sculling race, down the Thames from London to Chelsea. Stroke! Stroke!

1740- Thomas Arne's song "Rule Britannia" is performed for the first time.

1744- British chemist Joseph Priestley isolated oxygen, first calling it "dephlogisticated air" . Swedish chemist Carl Scheele isolated the gas in 1771-2 but didn't publish his results until after Priestley. Before this doctors knew how the heart, lungs and blood operated but no one was sure why. Some thought the heart was a little furnace that kept the blood warm, others thought it sifted blood as it passed through the ventricle walls like a cheesecloth.

1793 – Revolutionary France became the 1st country to use the metric system.

1797- According to C.S. Forrester, his British naval hero Horatio Hornblower received his captain's commission today.

1798- BATTLE OF ABU KIR or ABOUKIR BAY. Also called THE BATTLE OF THE NILE so it doesn’t confuse it with a land battle of Aboukir happening at the same time. The Nile itself is 20 miles away from Abukir Bay but it sounds better in dispatches. British Admiral Horatio Nelson caught Napoleon's fleet in an Egyptian harbor and destroyed it in a spectacular night battle.

Nelson bore down upon the French ships even though it was already past 4 p.m.. The furious cannonading lit up the evening sky and caused the windows to rattle in nearby Alexandria. The English ships each had four lanterns hung on their stern rails so they could tell each other apart in the dark. The French complained about the English sailors disconcerting habit of cheering like a football match whenever an enemy ship went down or was dismasted. The French Admiral Brousse', his legs blown off by a cannonball, was propped up in an armchair on his poopdeck and died directing the fight. Nelson was wounded in the head by flying splinters and was temporarily blinded by his own blood.

Fighting was over by dawn as the exhausted sailors dropped from their guns dead asleep. The victory ruined Napoleon's efforts to destroy the British Empire through Egypt and Turkey and link up with Indian Maharratta Tippoo Sahib in India. 1805- Aaron Burr has dinner with Gen. Andrew Jackson in Nashville. The former Vice President was wanted for the murder of Alexander Hamilton and was plotting a mercenary invasion of the northernmost territory of Spanish Mexico called Texas. After President Tom Jefferson had Burr arrested for treason Jackson denied this dinner ever happened. Twenty five years later when Andy Jackson was president the elderly Burr tried to greet him in public in New York. Jackson turned pale and “ recoiled as though he had been shot."

1861- The Empire of Brazil became one of the few nations to recognize the independence of the Confederate States of America.

1876- Colorado became a state. Because it happened in the year of the American centennial Colorado calls itself the Centennial State.

1881- Angel Island in San Francisco Bay was established as a US gov quarantine station. Soon it was converted into an immigration station to control the influx of newcomers from China and Japan. Angel Island became the Asian Ellis Island.

1893 - Henry Perky & William Ford patent Shredded Wheat cereal.

1914- Count Friedrich von Portales, the German ambassador to Russia, suffering from nervous exhaustion after a sleepless week of negotiations, appeared in the office of the Czar's foreign minister Nikolai Sazonov. He asked if Russia had reconsidered Germany's ultimatum that Russia demobilize. Sazonov said they did not. Whereupon Portales pulled a paper out his pocket and read the Declaration of War: "His Majesty the Emperor, my august sovereign, accepts the challenge in the name of the empire and now considers himself at war with Russia!"

Portales then burst into tears and was comforted by his old friend Sazonov. Late that night Czar Nicholas II was lowering himself into his bathtub with a glass of tea when a final telegram pleading for peace from Kaiser Wilhelm himself arrived. "Silly man! Hadn't he just declared war on me?" Nicholas remarked.
The Czar said he slept soundly that night.

1917- Frank Little, native-American union organizer for the I.W.W. (the Wobblies) is beaten by a mob and hanged from a railroad trestle. His murder had originally been offered to new young Pinkerton detective Dashell Hammett, who refused.

1919- Bela Kun resigned as leader of the Bolshevik state of Hungary. In the postwar chaos of the collapsed Austro-Hungarian Empire Bela Kun seized power in Budapest and tried to set up a Soviet regime like Lenin in Russia. This day he was deposed and Admiral Horty began a purge of all leftists. The violence in Hungary inspired young scientist Dr Edward Teller to be a livelong opponent of Communism. Teller developed the Hydrogen Bomb. Bela Kun fled to Moscow where Josef Stalin had him shot in the Great Purges of 1936.

1924- Six months after his death Russian Leader Nikolai Lenin’s mummified body is unveiled in his great tomb in Red Square. After the USSR fell there were many calls to finally bury the Commie-Under-Glass but in 2001 the decision was made to leave him as is.

1933- The WPA Arts Project set up to employ starving artists on large public works projects like murals for libraries and bridges, etc. Artists like Grant Wood, Andrew Wyeth, Dorothea Lang , Orson Welles and Bernice Abbott got commissions.

1936- The opening ceremonies for the Olympic Games in Berlin. The first Olympic torch lighting ceremony. United States was the only nation to refuse to dip their flag in salute to the host head of state- Adolf Hitler. Filmmaker Leni Reifenstahl was given unlimited access to document the Games. She pioneered the use of slow motion, tracking shots and closeups to revolutionize the way sports is filmed.

1940- Hitler released War Directive #17, calling for increased air and sea operations against the British Isles. Operations were to commence August 5th which der Fuehrer called “The Day of the Eagle”. We call it the Battle of Britain.

1943- Late at night off the coast of Borneo the little torpedo boat P.T. 109 rammed and sunk by the Japanese destroyer Amaqiri. Lieutenant John F. Kennedy and his crew swam to an uncharted island. They will be rescued when a native in a canoe delivers a message from Kennedy scrawled on a coconut. “Naru Is. Native knows it. 11 alive need small boat.” When President, Kennedy had the native man to the White House and kept the coconut on his desk in the Oval Office. In June 2002 Dr Robert Ballard, who had discovered the Titanic, found the wreckage of the PT 109 on the ocean bottom. 1946- Congress authorized all the left over World War Two army surplus to be sold off and the money given out as educational scholarships. The Fullbright Scholarships.

1946- Truman signed the Atomic Energy Act. It nationalized atomic energy research but created a civilian commission to review peacetime uses of atomic energy. 1946-The first drive-in bank teller opens in Chicago. 1950-Jay Ward's "Crusader Rabbit" the first animated cartoon show made for television.

1953- The Alan Ladd movie Shane released.

1960 - Chubby Checker releases "The Twist" and starts a world wide dance craze.

1960 –A young Baptist preachers daughter who had sung nothing but gospel went into a recording booth to try her hand at R & B. Aretha Franklin’s career began.

1966- TEXAS TOWER WHITMAN-Lunatic Charles Whitman barricaded himself into the steeple of Texas University and shot 15 people at random during a day long gunbattle with police. The tragedy reached comic proportions when Texas recreational gun owners hauled out their pieces and joined the fun alongside the police. Whitman's Marine training was cited for his excellent marksmanship and his eccentric behavior, like constantly polishing his shoes during the day long battle. 1971- The Rock Concert for Bangladesh, organized by George Harrison. The first charity-fund raising rock-concert.

1971- The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour debuted.

1971- PBS started a new television series called Masterpiece Theater hosted by Alastair Cooke. It’s first presentation was a the Six Wives of Henry VIII. The high quality BBC and Thames Television programs became so popular in the USA, that people said PBS stood for Preferably British Shows.

1972- Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s first articles in The Washington Post exposing the depths of the conspiracy in the Watergate Scandal. The two journalists claimed they were fed information by someone very high in the Nixon White House who would only give his name as Deep Throat. In 2005 his identity was revealed as W. Mark Felt, the assistant head of the FBI. Their story was dramatized in the film All The Presidents Men.

1972- 187th Tactom Flight Group of the Air Texas National Guard suspended the flight privileges of Lieutenant George W. Bush for failing to take a drug test. The future US president went AWOL (away without leave) from May 1972-to May 1973 to work on his dads’ congressional campaign. It was well known then that the National Guard was an easy way for rich kids to avoid being sent to combat in Vietnam.

1973- With the tag line “Where were you in ’62?” the film American Graffiti opened in theaters. The hit made skinny young director George Lucas a player in Hollywood, and made stars of kids like Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfus and Susanne Somers.

1975- Billy Martin became manager of the New York Yankees. The hard-drinking, bad tempered Martin became one of the more colorful managers to lead the pinstripe crew.

1976- Elizabeth Taylor had married Richard Burton a second time. Today she divorced Richard Burton a second time. This was her 6th marriage.

1976- The expansion team The Seattle Seahawks play their first NFL game. They lost their preseason opener to the SF 49ers 27-20.

1981-I WANT MY MTV! MTV goes on the air, rock videos 24 hours a day. The idea was funded by a consortium of investors including Mike Nesmith of the Monkees, now on the board of 3M Paper company. If you put on the TV this day you saw a slide of an astronaut for several hours, then finally a voice said :”Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Rock & Roll.” The first rock video played was by a British New-Wave Band called the Buggles entitled “Video Killed the Radio Star.” followed by a Pat Benatar single.

1991- elderly movie queen Heddy Lamarr was busted in Tampa Florida for shoplifting.

1994- NASDAQ stock trading on Wall Street was halted for 35 minutes because a squirrel gnawed through a main fiber optic cable at the organization’s computer center in Connecticut.

2007- THE MINNEAPOLIS BRIDGE COLLAPSE. The I-35 Bridge, which crosses the Mississippi through the center of Minneapolis, collapsed during the afternoon rush hour, plunging 113 cars into the river. It killed 110 people. The tragedy was a big wake up call to America’s neglected infrastructure. Most American bridges were 40-70 years old and built only intended to last 75 years. In 1958 the U.S. spent 12% of the Federal Budget on infrastructure, in 2007, - 2%.

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Yesterday’s Quiz: An Olympic star was once offered $25,000 dollars by Gilette to shave his mustache in a commercial, but he refused. Who was he?

Answer: 1972 Olympic swimming champion Mark Spitz, the Michael Phelps of the 70s.


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