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August 24, 2012 Fri.
August 24th, 2012

Quiz: Who said "Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more."

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What country’s fighting men did The Long March?
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History for 8/24/2012
Birthdays: Jorge Luis Borges, William Wilberforce, Marlee Matlin, Yasir Arafat, Max Beerbom, Cal Ripken Jr, Joshua Lionel Cowan the inventor of Lionel toy electric trains, Kenny Baker-C3PO in Star Wars, Stephen Fry is 55, Durward Kirby- 1960s T.V. announcer, Duke Kahanamoku-1890- Olympic medalist who popularized the Hawaiian sport of Surfing. Dave Chappelle is 39, Steve Guttenberg is 54

410 A.D. ROME FALLS TO THE BARBARIANS- Alaric the Visigoth marched a horde of Goths, Vandals and Huns to the gates of Rome. At midnight, escaped Gothic slaves opened the Salarian Gate to them. Romans awoke next morning to the sound of barbarian horns. The Goths plundered the capitol of the Roman Empire for three days. Roman Emperor Honorius had moved his Imperial Court to Milan and there was an Eastern Emperor in Constantinople.

The Roman Senate continued to meet until 578 AD. But the symbolic significance of the Roman Empire losing Rome was devastating. Even though the Empire staggered along for a few more years, this event marks the end of the Ancient World and the beginning of the Middle Ages St. Jerome wrote:” It is the end of the world, I cannot write for the tears.”

1215 – After getting a hefty “donation” from English King John Lackland, Pope Innocent III declared the Magna Carta invalid. Luckily for future democracies, the English lords ignored him.

1217-THE BATTLE OF SANDWICH: FIRST VICTORY OF THE BRITISH NAVY- King John Lackland was a pretty lousy king, but he did understand that an island nation needs a badass navy. So he ordered land be purchased at Plymouth and Portsmouth and Greenwich for royal dockyards. This legacy didn't bear fruit until shortly after his death. A large French invasion fleet was defeated in the Channel by English ships lead by Sir Hugh de Bourg. The French didn't really have a navy yet either, these ships were hired freelancers led by a mad pirate named Eustace the Monk.

After the battle the victorious English found Eustace hiding in the bilge of his flagship. They sailed home merrily with his severed head decorating the top of their mainmast. This victory of Sandwich forced the French king to make peace and withdraw his occupying troops from London.

1227- GENGHIS KHAN DIED. A man called Temujin united a few small nomadic tribes into one of the greatest empires in history. He was named the Prince of Conquerors or the Genghis Khan. How he died is a mystery. The Mongols kept almost no records and all accounts are second and third hand. One said the old conqueror, now over sixty, had died of a fever, another in battle, my favorite is a captive Queen of the Tanguts concealed a piece of metal in her sexual organ and he lacerated his willy when ...you know... and he bled to death.

Part of Genghis’ funeral cortege was a riderless horse with boots reversed, a symbol of a fallen leader handed down to the funerals of Lincoln, JFK and Ronald Reagan.

1632- Battle of Alte Feste (the other castle). Archduke Wallenstein and his Catholic army stymies Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus and his Protestants outside Nuremburg.
1662 - Act of Uniformity requires all English subjects to accept Book of Common Prayer.

1800- Alexander Hamilton ruined President John Adams chances of re-election by today publishing a pamphlet accusing Adams of incompetence. Hamilton wasn’t a fan of Tom Jefferson either but he hated Adams even more. In the final vote tabulation Adams ran a distant fourth.

1814- BRITISH TROOPS BURN WASHINGTON D.C.- A large British task force filled with veteran redcoats fresh from defeating Napoleon, came up from Chesapeake Bay. With most of the US Army trying to invade Canada or on the Western frontier the only defense of America’s capitol was some scanty Maryland militia and a few beached Marines.

Generals, the Secretary of War, President Madison and Secretary of State James Monroe all galloped about in confusion barking orders. At noon at Bladensburg Maryland, the American force exchanged some gunfire with the British, then ran away. The U.S. Army and government ran so fast that the incident was nicknamed "The Bladensburg Races". President James Madison had to leave in such a hurry that his evening dinner was still on the table. British Admiral Cockburn said he: "mightily enjoyed Master Jimmy 's sherry."
First Lady Dolly Madison fled the White House but saved Gilbert Stuart's painting of George Washington, cut out of its frame with a penknife by her butler French John –Jean Pierre Sioussat. The Declaration of Independence was hidden under a front porch in Baltimore and the US Treasury hidden in a wagon at a solitary Maryland farm.
At 9:00PM Admiral George Cockburn, sat in the speakers chair in Congress and said to his laughing troops:" Well lads, what shall we do with this vile nest of Yankee democracy ?" "Burn it!" they cried. The redcoats set fire to Congress, the Presidents Mansion, the Navy Yard and marched 6 abreast in good order down Pennsylvania Ave. Around 11:30 PM Cockburn and his staff entered Mrs Suters Boarding House on 15th & Pennsylvania Ave. for a late supper. Cockburn blew out the candles on the dinner table, leaving the room illuminated by the bright glow of the burning city. He joked” THIS, is the light by which I prefer to eat.”
The humiliation unified American anger not unlike Pearl Harbor centuries later. It was no longer "Mr. Madison's War." On a Hudson riverboat author Washington Irving punched a man he saw laughing over the President's flight." The National Honor must be Avenged!" After the British troops withdrew the President's burned out mansion was hastily covered over with the paint that was most in supply, white. The White House it was known thereafter.

1832- In a little London flat in the dead of night top Tory party leaders led by the old Duke of Wellington executed a strange task. They huddled around a coal stove burning love letters. What made it unusual was they were the love letters of King George IV to his secret Irish-Catholic wife Mrs. Fitzherbert. The King while Prince Regent had secretly married her in 1788 but it was quickly hushed up, leaving him officially free to marry Princess Caroline of Brunswick.

Sir Charles Fox had declared on the floor of Parliament that the rumors were false and the Prince was not married. Mrs. Fitzherbert was paid to be quiet even after George IV had died. By this late date old Wellington wanted to be sure before she died that her secret would never come out.

1847 - Charlotte Bronte finished the manuscript of her novel "Jane Eyre".

1853 – Saratoga Springs hotel resort chef George Crum invented Potato Chips, or crisps.

1887- The US set up a weather station in Greenland.

1913- Congress okayed the creation of the Parcel Post system- UPS.

1939- Mr. Leslie Mitchell became the first British Television announcer.

1940- In Milan the first successful jet flight- the Italian Camponi CC-2.

1942- Walt Disney’s film Saludos Amigos received it’s world premiere in Rio De Janiero.

1944-The French Resistance in Paris with most of the police Gendarmes rise up to seize key points in the city as the Allies draw near. Gen. DeGaulle convinced General Eisenhower that Free-French units should be first to enter the city.

1951- Akira Kurosawa’s film Rashomon premiered at the Venice International Film Festival. The film won the Grand Prize and first showed the world that Japanese Cinema was a new force in the film world.

1958- The United States threatened to drop atomic bombs on China over two dinky islands called Quemoy and Matsu. Some of Chiang Kai Shek’s Nationalist armies had taken refuge there after being defeated by Mao. The islands were close enough to the mainland to be shelled by Red Chinese artillery. This caused Pres. Eisenhower to threaten them with the A-Bomb if they didn’t knock it off.

1973- One month after Bruce Lee’s death his last film Enter The Dragon opened in the US to wild acclaim. It renewed interest in the late star and spawned the Chinese Martial Arts craze in the US.

1981- IBM introduces the Personal Computer, or the PC.

1992- HURRICANE ANDREW tore through southern Florida. One a scale of one to five Andrew was a force 5 hurricane. One meteorologist watched his wind velocity measuring device rip off his roof and skip down the street.

1993- LAPD announced an investigation of pop star Michael Jackson for possible child molestation. The investigation never led to any indictments but the publicity tarnished his image. Equally damaging to his public image were revelations of his eccentric lifestyle, like his keeping chimps and mannequins around the house to talk to, and all the tap water and showers of his mansion spouting Evian water. Jackson was tried and acquitted of all charges in 2005

1995- Microsoft's Windows 95 introduced.

1997- According to the 1984 James Cameron film The Terminator this was the day the Skynet computer system became self aware, and began the War of the Day of Judgement.

2011- Washington D.C. and the Eastern Seaboard shaken by an earthquake. The first in 121 years. Californians did their best not to snicker too much.

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Yesterday’s Quiz: What country’s fighting men did The Long March?

Answer: Mao Zedongs Communist army in 1934 fought their way out of three encircling Nationalist Chinese armies and went on an epic retreat to safety in the northwestern provinces of China. The march marked the time when Mao rose from one of a committee to overall leader of the Chinese Communists. The veterans of this Long March remained Mao’s inner circle. When Deng Xiaoping died in 1997, he was considered the last leader of the Long March, and so the last leader of Mao’s generation.


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