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Aug 20, 2012 mon
August 20th, 2012

Quiz: There always seems to be a lot of things named Linden: Linden Blvd, Unter Den Linden, Lindenhof Palace, Who or what was Linden?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: Leon Trotsky was assassinated with a a) gun, b) poison, c) timebomb, d) mountainclimbers axe, e) bazooka.
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History for 8/20/2012
Birthdays: President Benjamin Harrison, Sukenoba Nishikawa, Bernardo O’Higgins, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, H.P. Lovecraft, Art Tatum, Issac Hayes, Connie Chung, Jacqueline Susanne, Rajiv Ghandi, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin- who co-wrote Stairway to Heaven, Joan Allen is 56, Fred Durst, Alan Reed -the original voice of Fred Flintstone, Slobodan Milosovic’, Amy Adams is 38

Feast day of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

480 B.C. -THE THREE HUNDRED SPARTANS- When Persian King Xerxes invaded Greece the King of Sparta Leonidas decided the best place to try and stop him was in the narrow pass of Thermopylae. But the Spartan senate and other allied Greek states refused to send troops until they completed the Olympic religious festival. It was forbidden for Greeks to wage war during the Games. So Leonidas went with the 300 Spartans of his bodyguard, and a thousand more allied troops, to try and stall ten times their number. After repulsing several attacks a traitor showed Xerxes a goat path around the Spartan position. Leonidas could still have retreated but he, his three hundred and some other Greek allies decided to stand and fight to the last man. They were wiped out, but they bought enough time for the Greeks eventual victory.

Later a monument was erected over their bones: O xein angellin Lakdaimoniois hoti tede keimetha tois keinon rhemasi peithomenoi- which means "Go Tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that True to their Command, Here We Lie."

636 A.D. Battle of Yarmuk- The armies of Islam led by Caliph Omar defeat the Byzantine Greeks and captured Palestine and Jerusalem. The Caliph Omar received the defeated and captured Byzantine Emperor Romanus Diogenes with a cup of fruit flavored ice called Sherbat or sorbet. Omar was a very devout Moslem and spurned the vanity of a white charger, preferring to travel by donkey, as the Prophet Mohammed had done. The custom was for high born prisoners like an emperor to be ransomed back. But the Byzantine court was so annoyed, they refused to pay for big loser Romanus.

1191- At Acre, Richard Lionheart had his crusaders slaughter 3,000 Arabs and their families in front of Saladin to piss him off. Also to see if they had swallowed their gold. In olden days when you were captured it was wise to swallow your gold. Gold never tarnishes and err... well...lets just say, you'll get it back three days later.

1619- A Dutch ship anchors at the English colony at Jamestown Virginia and landed the first African slaves. Twenty people. By the American Revolution three million African people had been forcibly brought to America to serve as slaves. There was white slavery as well in the form of indentured servitude, but that had mostly died out by the formation of the American Republic.

1648- Battle of Lens, the last battle of the Thirty Years War. Archduke Leopold defeated somebody or other. The Thirty Years war went on so long that all those who started the war in 1618 had died and by 1648 nobody remembered how the whole damn mess got started in the first place.

1672- Jan DeWitt had governed the Netherlands as Grand Pensioner of the Republic for four terms but by now the Dutch hated him and his weak handling of a French invasion. They wanted the more resolute leadership of young William III of Orange. Jan deWitt resigned his offices and when his brother Cornelius was imprisoned Jan went to his aid. A mob broke into the jail and as unsympathetic guards looked on they beat Jan and Cornelius to death and hung their bodies from a lamp post. The Dutch Republic ended and William became their Prince.

1741-VITUS BERRING DISCOVERED ALASKA and helps colonize California. Well, he didn't actually help but for 200 years Spain had ignored it's Southwest colonies because there were no gold sodden Inca empires there. But when Berring opened the Pacific coast to Russian colonization the King of Spain freaked and ordered towns and missions built up the California coast. Britain also rushed it's claims to Washington State and British Columbia. This is why Juan DeCabrillo explored the California coast in 1542 but cities like L.A. and San Francisco weren't founded until 1770's.

Berring was a reluctant explorer. The Dane had heard Tsar Peter the Great was giving cushy salaries to skilled European sailors. But when Berring arrived in Russia the Tsar ordered him to travel 3700 miles to Siberia, build a fleet and explore the arctic because the Tsar had always wondered if America and Russia are connected. He went off and fooled around in the Arctic Sea for awhile then went back and said it wasn't. The Tsars scientists said that wasn't good enough, go back and do it again! Finally he discovered his Berring straights but died of scurvy in the Aleutians before he ever saw any money.

1794- Napoleon Bonaparte was released from prison at Caps d’Antibe. He was arrested with the leading Jacobins when Robespierre was overthrown. Nappy was friends with Robespierre’s brother.

1862-SECOND BATTLE OF BULL RUN or MANASSAS. Robert E. Lee maneuvered the larger Union army of General George Pope back onto the old Bull Run battlefield and smashed it, sending thousands of bluecoats running back to Washington, -again. Pope considered himself a man of action and bragged "From now on my headquarters are in the saddle !" To which one wag wrote :"It's not the first time that a general had his Headquarters where his Hindquarters should be !' Confederate General James Longstreet was nursing a foot wound so he directed the decisive attack wearing bedroom slippers instead of boots.

After three spectacular Yankee defeats in just two months, the Confederate cause was looking pretty good. In London Prime Minister Palmerston wrote Lord Liverpool the foreign secretary that Washington or Baltimore would soon fall into rebel hands and a special steamboat was kept waiting at the navy docks to rush President Lincoln and his cabinet to safety should the capitol fall. The time may have arrived for England to offer her mediation to negotiate a ceasefire. Emperor Napoleon III of France was also offering Paris as the site of an international peace conference to oversee the final separation of North and South.

1866- One year after the Civil War ended President Andrew Johnson declared the great insurrection officially over and rescinded all remaining wartime regulations and edicts, reinstating Habeas Corpus, etc.

1882 -Peter Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" premiered in Moscow. The composer said of all his works the two pieces he liked the least were the 1812 Overture and the Nutcracker Suite. Overture 1812 was Richard Nixon’s favorite classical piece.

1896 – The Dial telephone patented. It was nicknamed the Gravediggers Dial because it was invented by funeral director Almon Strowger. It was the world standard until replaced by the touchtone button system in the 1980s. Even though the dial phone is a memory the words remain when we speak of "dialing up a number" or "dialing up someone’s website."

1913- The first successful parachute jump. French balloonists experimented with parachutes in the 1790's but this is the first practical one.

1940- In Mexico City exiled Russian leader Leon Trotsky was assassinated. While writing at his desk he hacked in the neck with a mountainclimbers pick. His murderer Ramon Mercador- alias Jules Antoine, alias Jackson, was paid by Stalin's agents. He got into Trotsky's household by dating one of the maids. It was rumored that part of the Stalinist cell in Mexico was famed painter David Siquieros. Trotsky was having an affair with famed painter Frida Kahlo. Leon Trotsky predicted Stalin would try to get him while the world's attention was distracted by the Hitler War. When Mercador was released from a Mexican prison Stalin presented him with the Order of Lenin.

1940- In a radio speech Winston Churchill praised the efforts of the Royal Air Force in fighting Hitler's bombers-"Never have so Many, owed so Much, to so Few.'

1953- The Kinsey Report on Sexual Behavior in Women first published. Alfred & Clara Kinsey’s study proved to the conservative American public that 50% of women had premarital sex, liked sex for more than just procreation and 25% had an extramarital affair. This document following his 1948 report on sexual behavior of men revolutionized social attitudes towards sex and feminism.

1954- President Eisenhowers intelligence chief Allan Foster Dulles presented a paper on Far East Policy in which he urged that the US support be given to the post colonial government of South Vietnam in opposition to communist Ho Chi Minh.

1971- THE ENEMIES LIST. FBI documents prove this day the Nixon White House began to covertly investigate journalist Daniel Schorr because of his anti-war editorials. President Richard Nixon kept an enemies list of people he imagined to be opponents to his administration. It began with obvious liberals like George McGovern and Ted Kennedy, then expanded as far as June Foray the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel.

1972- Star Hollywood directors Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich and William Freidkin announced a partnership in a new production company called "The Director's Company" Young punks Martin Scorcese, George Lucas and Steven Speilberg were also involved. The partnership lasted two years then collapsed.

1977- NASA launched the Voyager One probe towards the outer planets of our solar system. Among the things Voyager discovered was that Jupiter had many more moons than previously thought and had a ring like Saturn. Part of NASA's program was an explanatory simulation film done totally on computer by Jim Blinn. The animation was so smooth and the graphics so breathtaking it expanded the use of the CGI medium and inspired a new generation of digital artists.

1982- Ralph Bakshi's film Hey Good Lookin'.

1982- President Reagan sent the Marines into civil war torn Beirut Lebanon.

1985- Israel shipped 96 American-made TOW shoulder held missiles to the Ayatollahs in Iran. This was part of the Iran-Contra scheme. When Congress had forbidden the Ronald Reagan White House to send them any money to Anti-Communist rebels in Nicaragua, Reagan’s West Wing cooked up this scheme to trade arms for secret funds. Irans’ cash payment for the missiles went to the Nicaraguan Contra-Rebels.

1989- George and Joy Adamson, the naturalists who inspired the book Born Free, were murdered by Somali poachers with machetes in Kampi Ya Simba, Africa.

1998- THE WAG THE DOG ATTACKS- After the Al Qaeda terrorist organization bombed US embassies in Africa the Bill Clinton administration looked for an opportunity to hit back. This day the CIA got word that senior Al Qaeda leaders including Osama Ben Laden were gathering in a remote Afghan camp for a meeting. President Clinton ordered a spread of cruise missiles launched to kill them. The missiles hit their target, but Ben Laden got away.

In Washington the hostile Neo-Con media had a field day accusing the Clinton of making the strikes only to distract public attention from the Monica Lewinsky Sex Scandal. It alluded to a popular movie out at the time called Wag the Dog, where a scandal ridden president rigs a fake crisis to distract attention. Bill Clinton was stymied in any further efforts, and Osama Ben Laden lived on to plan 9-11.

1999- Planet Hollywood, the theme restaurant started by movie stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore filed for bankruptcy.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Leon Trotsky was assassinated with a a) gun, b) poison, c) timebomb, d) mountainclimbers axe, e) bazooka.

Answer: d) Mountainclimbers axe, see above, 1940.


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