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August 12, 2012 Sun
August 12th, 2012

Quiz: In France in the 1930s there was a style of cabaret dancing, where the man dragged the woman by the hair, threw her down and otherwise roughed her up. What was it called?

Yesterday’s question answered below: Last year’s Oscar for Best Picture went to a silent film, The Artist. Only one other silent film has ever won Best Picture. What is it?
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History for 8/12/2012
Birthdays: King George IV, Cecil B. DeMille, The alien Alf- 1757, Cantinflas, Buck Owens, George Hamilton, Edith Hamilton, Diamond Jim Brady, screenwriter William Goldman, Mtsislav Rostropovitch, Xenia Sharpe (educator who invented the childrens reader Dick and Jane, See Dick Run...etc.) Kathy Lee Bates-the author of the song America the Beautiful, Klara Schickelgruber- Hitlers mom, Dominique Swain, Pete Samprass, John Casale-I'm not Fredo! Casey Affleck is 37.

The Golden 12th. In England this is the beginning of Grouse hunting season.

1508- Ponce de Leon landed in Puerto Rico.

1530- The Medici family had ruled the Republic Florence previously as merchant politicians. Now they turned the city-state into the hereditary Duchy of Tuscany. This day the Republic ended when the city was stormed by a Medici-Papal army. The city fell, despite the fortifications being designed by Michelangelo. They didn't stop the enemy, but they must have looked GREAT!

1553- Pope Julius III ordered the confiscation and burning of Jewish Talmuds.

1658-Happy Birthday NYPD! The first city police force in America was set up in New Amsterdam ( I wonder if they said-"Booeck'eym²)

1687- Second Battle of Mohacs- Austria takes Hungary from the Turkish Sultan.

1794-The GREAT WHISKEY REBELLION-In the colonial Northwest frontier -Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan- the chief medium of trade was whiskey. Gold was rare and nobody knew whether English pounds, Spanish doubloons or Yankee eagles were legal tender. Whiskey was also the easiest way to convert excess corn crop to a commodity before it spoiled. And drinking water could kill you with any number of diseases, while nothing can live in alcohol. So buying and trading was in whiskey. Abraham Lincoln's father sold their farm for whiskey.

So when George Washington's government decided to put a tax on hooch, the frontiersmen went wild-not that they weren't that way anyway. Rebellion is an exaggeration; it was never more than a few drunken yahoos shooting up a local post office. Still, mindful of the recent chaos of the French revolution, President Washington freaked and sent 5,000 troops to crush the rebellion. Touchy Joe, or George.

1799- Napoleon spent the night meditating at the Great Pyramid of Egypt.

1805- Meriwether Lewis, of Lewis and Clark, climbed a mountain peak in the Bitterroot Range of Rocky Mountains near the present day Montana -Idaho border. He had traveled this far on the theory of Thomas Jefferson’s that the Missouri River and Columbia River were the same river. So one should be able to travel from New Orleans to the Pacific Ocean by river. When Lewis climbed this mountain he expected to see on the other side gentle rolling plains to the Pacific. Instead he saw even higher Snowcapped Mountains and more mountains behind them, the Great Continental Divide. It dawns on Lewis that this is one big mother of a continent and that river theory was all wrong.

1812 Austrian Dr Joseph Lister is the first surgeon to use disinfectant during surgery. It took a long time for Lister’s hygienic practices to catch on. During the American Civil War surgeons would sharpen their scalpel on the sole of their boot before commencing the incision.

1813- British commander the Duke of Wellington liberated Madrid, Spain, forcing out the French under Napoleons brother, Joseph Bonaparte.

1821- Stephen Austin entered Texas with the first group of Anglo colonists invited by the Mexicans to bolster their sparse population. It brought a land rush of poor families from the U.S. They would write on their doors before they left G.T.T. or Gone To Texas.

1822-Vicount Lord Castelreagh, chief British diplomat and statesman during the Napoleonic wars, goes mad after eating hot buttered toast and kills himself with a butter knife. He had been warned by his doctor Lord Graydon against eating hot buttered toast. Shortly afterwards his doctor Lord Graydon also committed suicide, but he didn't have any hot buttered toast.

1851- Mr Issac Singer received a patent on his new sewing machine. Elias Howe, who had invented the sewing machine first, immediately sued him. But Singers improved design was so much superior to Howes that he quickly recouped al the penalties paid and eventually bought out Howe. The Singer Sewing Machine Company is still around today.

1869- San Francisco lunatic Joshua Norton, who called himself Norton Ist, Emperor of the United States, today published an Imperial Edict outlawing the Democratic and Republican Parties. Hmmm… he may be on to something!

1877-THE BIRTH OF RECORDED SOUND. Thomas Edison announced his sound recording invention and demonstrates it by recording "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on a tin cylinder. Edison never quite understood the possibilities of a music industry and was convinced that the recorded sound was going to be a used primarily for people to listen to the voices of deceased family, sort of like a voice from the grave. That idea was so popular that it translated to the Logo of the RCA Company with the familiar image of the dog listening to "His master's voice". The original image of that dog listening to his master's voice, had the dog sitting on a coffin.

A few years later Emile Berliner from Georgia invented the flat record disc. Edison thought the disc was clumsy and too fragile. In the future he declared, everyone would use recording cylinders.

1898- Annexation Day in Hawaii. The U.S. formally takes over the Kingdom of Hawaii. The government of Queen Liliokalani had been overthrown a group of Yankee sugar plantation owners and handed over to the U.S.

1915 - "Of Human Bondage," by William Somerset Maugham, published.

1927- the William Wellman movie WINGS opened with Howard Arliss and Buddy Rogers, the only silent film to win best picture at the Academy Awards before the advent of sound. The second film was The Artist, only just last year.

1932 Aldous Huxley's Brave New World first published. Before anyone ever heard of stem cells, Huxley had written a scholarly paper on the moral dangers inherent in controlled eugenics. Writer H.L. Mencken urged him to put his ideas in a fiction form to reach a wider audience. The title comes from Shakespeare's the Tempest " Oh Brave New World, that has such people in it!'

1942-MONTY’S HERE!- General Bernard Law Montgomery arrived at El Alamein to take over command of the British Eighth Army facing Rommel and the Afrika Corps.

1944- JOE KENNEDY JR. The Allies were at a loss at how to stop the German V-1 and V-2 rockets being fired at London. They had wreaked more havoc than the great German bombing raids in the Blitz four years earlier. Allied Bomber command came up with the idea of filling a B-26 with high explosive and after getting to the coast the pilots would bail out and the plane would complete it’s trip by remote control to destroy the rocket launching pads in Calais. The first pilot to volunteer for this dangerous mission was Joe Kennedy Jr., eldest son of the famous Kennedy clan.

After ten minutes in flight the plane exploded before Joe could bail out. Ironically the Germans had moved the V-2 base out of range anyway. Just before he left he telephoned a friend in London: I’m going into my act now. If I don’t make it back tell dad I love him. The grief-stricken elder Kennedy transferred his plans for political power to his second son John F. Kennedy.

1951- Bob McKimson’s Warner Bros short Hillbilly Hair. The short includes the long routine animated by Emery Hawkins when Bugs Bunny takes over calling a square dance and uses it to torture the two twin brother Hillbillies who are after him.

1953- The Soviet Union exploded its first Hydrogen Bomb, nicknamed by the CIA "Joe-4" for Joe Stalin. The scientific team led by Andrei Sakharov called it the Layer Cake-alternating layers of hydrogen and uranium fuel wrapped around a conventional atomic bomb. Like Robert Oppenheimer in America, Andre Sakharov later became a leading critic of the nuclear arms race.

1959- Under the gaze of howling and spitting crowds, the first 6 black students registered for class at Little Rock High School. When the governor of Arkansas declared he would use the National Guard to keep the school segregated President Eisenhower sent in the elite 101st Airborne division to enforce the federal court order and escort the children. Scholars today admit that Eisenhower was not exactly a champion of civil rights, but the Supreme Court ordered it, and to the old general, orders were orders.

1961-Soviet and East German troops start building the Berlin Wall, which remained a symbol of Cold War tension until it was pulled down spontaneously by Berliners in 1989.

1981- IBM introduced its first PC- personal computer and PC-DOS I.. Unlike Apple, IBM shared the basic hardware design, so a myriad of cheaper competitor PC’s soon flooded the market.

1988- Martin Scorcese’ film The Last Temptation of Christ opened in theaters to howls of protests from religious groups. There had been more inflammatory interpretations of the Christ story on screens in the past like Pasolinis Gospel According to Saint Matthew and the Canadian film Hail Mary, but the church groups weren’t that media savvy yet. Like all these protest efforts, all the controversy did was boost it's box office.

1999- In Yorkshire England Tish, the world’s oldest goldfish, died at age 43.

2000- In the waters off Norway the Russian submarine Kursk suffered an explosion and sank. No one is sure what happened, the theory is an old torpedo exploded in the bow. Out of pride, Russian Naval authorities refused offers of international help to rescue the remaining sailors trapped on the sea bottom. By the time they relented and accepted help, all 116 men were dead.

2008- Entertainer and producer Merv Griffin died at age 81. The creator of games shows like Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, his last statement on his website was " I was planning to go on vacation, but this is not the destination I intended."
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Yesterday’s Question: Last year’s Oscar for Best Picture went to a silent film, The Artist. Only one other silent film has ever won Best Picture. What is it?

Answer: William Wellman’s war movie WINGS. See above, 1927.


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