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Aug 19, 2012 sun
August 19th, 2012

Quiz: Leon Trotsky was assassinated with a a) gun, b) poison, c) timebomb, d) mountainclimbers axe, e) bazooka.

Yesterday’s Quiz Answered Below: What is the origin of calling someone a Loose Cannon? What is a Loose Cannon?
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History for 8/19/2012
B-Days: Orville Wright, Ring Lardner, Ogden Nash, Alfred Lunt, George Enesco, jockey Willie Shoemaker, Malcom Forbes, Tipper Gore, Gene Roddenberry, Colleen Moore the It Girl, Jill St. John, Ginger Baker of Grand Funk Railroad, Dawn Steel, John Stamos, Peter Gallagher is 57, Kyra Sedgwick is 47, Matthew Perry is 43, former President Bill Clinton is 66

480 B.C. THERMOPYLAE- The Spartan King Leonidas had gone on ahead of other Greek allies to try and slow down the gigantic Persian invasion force of Xerxes. He chose to stop them at a narrow mountain pass in Thessaly called Thermopylae or Hot Gates. He had only 300 Spartans of his royal guard and 7000 other Greek allies to fight off 200,000 Persians.

After repulsing several attacks, this night spies told Leonidas a Greek traitor named Ephialtes had shown Xerxes a way behind his position. If he did not retreat he would be surrounded. Their seer Meistias saw in the sacrificial entrails nothing but death.
But Leonidas decided the best way to gain time, and create an example for Greece to rally, was to stay and fight to the last man. He allowed his allies to withdraw, but 1500 warriors including his 300 Spartans stayed with him. Meistias sent away his only son to be saved, but he stayed to fight.

This night before the last battle the Spartans spent most of their time combing and oiling their hair and beards, for they did not want to enter the next world looking shabby. One Spartan warrior named Dieneces, was told when the Persian multitudes fire their arrows they black out the sun. Dieneces replied: “Good, then we can fight them in the shade.”

14 A.D.- Elderly Emperor Augustus died after ruling the Roman Empire for 44 years. The Empress Livia had ordered the imperial villa surrounded with troops so no one but her saw his end. She said his last words were:" Have I played my part well in this great comedy called life?" But the historian Tacitus suspected Livia might have aided his shuffling off this mortal coil before he had second thoughts about leaving the empire to her son Tiberius, He may have said something more like: " Honey, I don't feel so good. What did you put in these figs?"

1274- King Edward Ist Longshanks and his Queen Eleanor of Castile crowned at Westminster Abbey. Edward was called Long-Legs because he was over 6 foot, and his constant wars and blood conquest earned him nicknames like The Hammer of the Scots, the Great Plantagenet, and Big Baddass In-Your-Face Mofo King.

1399 - King Richard II of England surrendered his throne to his cousin Henry Bollingbroke, who became King Henry IV. Richard II is not remembered for much else but inventing the pocket-handkerchief.

1561 - Mary Queen of Scots arrives in Leith Scotland to assume her throne after spending 13 years in France. She was raised at the extremely Catholic court of Queen Catherine de Medici and had little in common with her increasingly Presbyterian Scots subjects.

1599- Spanish conquistadors capture Acoma pueblo in New Mexico, east of modern Albuquerque. The Indian village on the sheer tabletop mountain reminded the Spaniards of attacking castles back in Europe. After their victory they enslaved the population and burned the Indian chief at the stake as a heretic. As the chief was roasting the monk Diego Las Casas started to feel guilty, so he urged the chief at his last moments to accept baptism. The chief called out through the flames:" No thank you, because then I would go to the Christian Heaven and meet even MORE of you people!"

1692- Salem Mass, The pilgrims executed four women as witches. One was an elderly senile woman who just looked scary like a witch and another was a Caribbean servant named Tituba who liked to tell children ghost stories.

1745- THE GATHERING OF THE CLANS- At Glenfinnin in the Scottish Highlands, to the thunder of drums and the skirl of massed bagpipes, Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his banner of revolt and called all Scottish clans to rally to him. Many clans stayed aloof but Clan MacDonald and Cameron wholeheartedly swelled his ranks, as did his family clan the Stuarts. His men were paid in oatmeal.

1781- George Washington started his Continental army marching from Yonkers, New York to attack Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown Virginia. At Dobbs Ferry he started ferrying his troops across the Great Northern River as the Hudson was known then. He was amazed that the British army only twenty miles away in New York City never stirred to attack him. Washington’s minutemen at this time were so broke that the French General the Comte du Rocheambeau donated some of his own money to pay them some wages.

1787 – British astronomer W. Herschel discovers Enceladus, a moon of Saturn. Herschel also discovered Uranus and other celestial bodies.

1812-OLD IRONSIDES- During the war of 1812 The USS Constitution pounded it out with the frigate HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia. The British captain complained his cannonballs bounced harmlessly off the Constitutions heavy New Hampshire oak hull as though it was made of iron. The nickname stuck and today Old Ironsides is the oldest commissioned ship in the US Navy. In 2012, the same Constitution was taken out for a spin around Boston Harbor.

1814-THE ASSAULT ON WASHINGTON BEGAN. A huge British battle fleet of 14 Ships of the Line landed an invasion force of veteran redcoat troops at the town of Benedict on the Pautuxent River in Virginia. Admiral Cockburn’s intent was to march on Washington D.C., and “give the Americans a Good Drubbing!”

The defenses of the American capitol were some militia and a few Marines from the two armed schooners hiding in the shallows of the Cheasapeake. U.S. Secretary of War Armstrong was convinced they were faking, and the real target of the British was Baltimore. President James Madison sent contradicting orders to Armstrong and the field generals. Secretary of State James Monroe personally galloped about alone under British fire bringing the only reliable scouting reports.

1848- The New York Herald published a story that President Polk confirmed that gold had indeed been discovered in California.

1886- Joseph Conrad got his British citizenship. The author of Nostromo, Heart of Darkness, and Lord Jim was born in Poland as Jozef Konrad Korzenieowski, but he went into exile when his patriot father was arrested by the Czars police and sent to Siberia.

1891 - William Huggins described the astronomical application of the spectrum.

1909- The Brickyard is born. The first Indianapolis 500 autorace.

1929 the Amos and Andy show premiered on de radio.

1942- The Dieppe Raid- Allied commanders were under pressure from Stalin to prove that they were doing something to open a second front in the west to take the pressure off Russia. So they sent a Canadian division in what amounted to the largest commando operation of World War Two. These Canadians had to attack a large U-Boat base on the channel and ram a destroyer full of explosives into the dry docks. The Germans were waiting and it became a suicide mission. The Canadians suffered almost 60% casualties.

1945- Four days after the Japanese surrender, Ho Chi Minh seized power in French Indochina and declared the Republic of Vietnam. Uncle Ho had been supported by the CIA’s forerunner the OSS in his struggle against the Japanese. This day Ho ordered a reading aloud of his declaration heavily borrowed from the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Even though FDR's personal representative Avriel Harriman advised that the U.S. recognize Ho's government, we decided to support the French and British in trying to keep their colonial empires. The British fly in French paratroops and the stage is set for the Vietnam wars of the next 30 years.

1953- Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mossadegh was overthrown and the Shah assumed absolute power. All with the blessing and cooperation of the American CIA. The popular Mossadegh was trying to steer Iran into a nonaligned status between the cold war superpowers and had nationalized the Iranian oil industry. So to Washington he was a threat. Eisenhower advisor Allen Foster Dulles considered Mossadegh a dangerous lunatic for not wanting American support. The Shah Reza Pahlevi II ruled for the next 25 years until overthrown by the Moslem fundamentalists under the Ayatollah Khomeni.

1953- The Israeli Knesset voted to create a huge memorial to Jews killed in the Holocaust called Yad Vashem.

1955 - WINS radio, announces it will not play "copy" white cover versions of black R&B . DJs must play Fats Domino's "Ain't It A Shame," not Pat Boone's. In 1957 Little Richards “Tuttie-Fruitie” never got higher than 17th in the Billboard Charts while Pat Boones version, by his own admission awful, went to number one.

1957- The NY Giants baseball team voted to move to San Francisco.

1960- The Russians launched a Sputnik capsule into space with two dogs- Belka and Strelka, 2 rats and 40 mice. They recovered this orbiting zoo the next day. The first sending of life into space and returning them safely.

1973 - Kris Kristofferson wed Rita Coolidge.

1977- Groucho Marx, the last surviving Marx Brother, died at age 86. In his final years Groucho had rewrote his will in favor of his young personal secretary Erin Fleming. This spawned a furious legal battle between Fleming and the Marx family.

1988- The Iran-Iraq war ended after 8 bloody years.

1989- The Polish Communist regime resigned and turned over power to the Solidarity trade union movement. Poland is the first Warsaw Pact government to collapse.

1991-THE AUGUST COUP. Communist hardliners in a final attempt to stop the fall of the Soviet Union, try to overthrow leader Mikhail Gorbachov. They try to do it the way they did it to Nikita Khruschev in 1964, arresting Gorbachov while he was at his vacation dacha or cottage. The coup failed several days later when Russian Republic President Boris Yeltsin climbed on top of a tank and called for a "people-power" style rising to support the democratic elements of the government.

2000- Scientists report water at the North Pole for the first time in 50 million years.

2335 – According to Star Trek the Next Generation, this is the birthday of William T Riker, in Valdez Alaska, first officer of the Enterprise.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: What is the origin of calling someone a Loose Cannon? What is a Loose Cannon?

Answer: In the days of the wooden fighting ships, if a cannon came loose from
it's moorings on the firing line, especially during a battle, it could
roll all over a heaving deck, causing injury to the ship and crew. A
"loose cannon" has come to mean a person who cannot control their
volatile personality. ( Thanks Mr.G)


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