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Feb 15, 2013 friday
February 15th, 2013

Question: What was the first film directed by Brad Bird?

Answer to yesterdays question below: Which modern country was never part of the old Roman Empire? Ireland, Armenia, Jordan, Portugal, Morocco?
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History for 2/15/2013
Birthdays: Galileo, French King Louis XV, Michel Praetorius, Susan B. Anthony, Charles Tiffany, John Barrymore, Jane Seymour, Cesar Romero, Gale Sondergard, Melissa Manchester, Chris Farley, Claire Bloom, Chris MacDonald, Marissa Berenson is 66, Matt Groening is 59

Circa 980 AD.- Today is the Feast of Saint Sigfrid, an Englishman who became the patron saint of Sweden. At the invitation of Viking King Olaf Tryggvason, Sigfrid came north from Glastonbury and baptized Swedish King Olaf the White. Once when Sigfrid was away and his nephews minding his church, the pagans grabbed them and cut their heads off. Saint Sigfrid made the dismembered heads preach to the pagans about the coming Judgement Day. Musta scared the BeeJeezus out of them.

1720- Young Francois Voltaire had begun a career as a successful playwright with his first play Oedipe. But his second play Artemire was booed as loudly as his first play was cheered. The irate poet ran up on stage and argued with the audience for over an hour, but the audience still thought the play sucked.

1764-The town of Saint Louis Missouri was established by French fur trappers ( les voyageurs) led by Pierre Ligueste.

1793- Revolutionary France adopts the Tricolor flag. After Waterloo royalists tried to go back to the white with gold Fleur du Lys banner. But from 1848 on the Tricolor remained the national banner of the French nation.

1815- Things on the Island of Elba had gotten so quiet that the British officer in charge of Napoleon's exile, Sir Colin Cambell, informed his prisoner he was going on holiday to see his girlfriend in Italy. “Will you be back by the 28th?” Napoleon asked. “Yes, why ?” Oh, nothing. it's just my sister Princess Pauline is planning a party and we'd hate for you to miss it." In reality Nappy planned to escape and reconquer Europe. Pauline had her party on the 25th.

Sir Colin returned to find his prisoner, and his career, had flown the coup.

1836- The large Mexican Army of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna crossed the Rio Grande into the rebellious state of Texas. Santa Anna had mortgaged his own lands back home and put his field hands into uniform to bolster up his army.

1861- When Texas joined the Confederacy, US frontier fort commanders worried about how to proceed. This day, without waiting for orders, General William Twiggs surrendered all army posts and war material of the Department of Texas to the new Confederate Government. The rebels gained tons of munitions and guns, and even some Egyptian camels from a failed experiment to introduce them to American deserts. Abe Lincoln called Twiggs a traitor, and Twiggs responded by trying to unsuccessfully challenge former President Buchanan to a duel.

1862- Battle of Valverde New Mexico- Pro Confederate Texans fought Pro-Union Colorado and New Mexico militia in a sleepy adobe village. Texans captured 4 Yankee brass cannon and dragged them over mountains and deserts back to San Antonio. The Valverde Guns became a famous Texas unit.

1879-President Rutherford Hayes signed a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases in U.S. law courts, even though they still were not allowed to vote.

1898- The U.S.S. Battleship MAINE EXPLODES in Havana Harbor, killing 252 sailors. The cause was never confirmed, it may have been a spontaneous igniting of fumes in the gunpowder magazine, but the American public was urged to blame Spanish sabotage.

The next day a motor launch out to the site of the disaster rescued the ships cat clinging to the mainmast protruding from the water. U.S. public opinion against Spain was pushed by "yellow journalists" like William Randolph Hearst and Josef Pulitzer who told his correspondent artist Frederick Remington: "You supply the pictures, I'll supply the war."

American expansionists had been planning a war with Spain since 1896 and had tried to pick a fight over Cuba in 1871 and 1874. President McKinley, who Teddy Roosevelt described as having :"no more backbone than a chocolate eclair" gave in and declared War on Spain to cries of "Remember the Maine!". More Americans were killed on the USS Maine than in the entire Spanish American War, which was fought and over by December of the same year. America emerges as a power player on the world stage.

1903- British Major General Hector MacDonald was one of the most famous soldiers of the Victorian Era. Fighting Mac had laughed in the face of fierce Afghan tribesmen, Boer bullets and Dervish’s spears and always triumphed.

But he had a secret. The Love that Dare Not Speak It’s Name. He married young but abandoned his wife and son and now sought only the company of men. This day while serving as military commander of Ceylon, a leading cleric and several boys accused General MacDonald of homosexuality. Gays in the British Empire were not uncommon- Gordon of Khartoum, Cecil Rhodes of South Africa, even Earl Kitchener of Omdurman were known to prefer men to women. But never in the open. MacDonald tried to flee to England on medical leave but the General Staff ordered him to return and clear his name in a court martial. MacDonald instead went into his office and put his service revolver to his temple. All Edinburgh turned out for his funeral.

Still friends and admirers refused to admit he was gone. There was a rumor that a successful World War One German General Von Mackensen was actually MacDonald under an alias since von Mackensen stayed in the Balkans and never faced English troops in battle.

1933- ATTEMPTED ASSASINATION OF FDR- Unemployed anarchist Guisseppe Zangara shot a pistol at President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a rally in Chicago.
He missed FDR but killed the Mayor of Chicago Anton Czermak. Guisseppe
Zangara was tried and sent to the electric chair the following month.

1942- BANZAI ! Japanese troops take Singapore. The British were confident the Japanese couldn't get an army through the thick Malaysian jungle, so they concentrated their firepower facing out to sea for any potential naval attack. Gen. Yamashita, the "Tiger of Malaya" put his army on bicycles and with light tanks burst through the cities defenses from the weaker land side. The “Gibraltar of the East’ fell with depressing speed – Prime Minister Winston Churchill admitted he was humiliated. He felt the surrender had shown the world just how old and brittle the British Empire had become.

1947- The British had administered the Palestinian territories like a colony of the Empire since the end of World War One. But faced with a shattered post World War Two economy, fed up with Arab-Jewish terrorism and the mortification of having to put Jewish Holocaust survivors back into camps, this day the British Government announced it was going to leave the Palestine Mandate. The new United Nations could have the whole Arab-Israeli mess and bugger off!

1947- During the anti-Communist witchhunts, the FBI revoked the visa of famed documentary filmmaker and founder of the National Film Board of Canada John Grierson because they thought his politics were too lefty.

1954- Future President and b-movie star Ronald Reagan tried doing a stand-up act at the Las Vegas Ramona Room with the "Honey Brothers", a comedy troupe similar to Abbot & Costello.

1965- Canada first flies the Maple Leaf flag.

1969- President Richard Nixon combined the twin holidays of Lincoln’s Birthday Feb. 12th and Washington’s Birthday Feb.22nd into one three day weekend and called it President’s Day. So instead of two days off in February you have one with no emotional meaning to it. Nixon does it to us again!

1984- Touchstone Pictures created so the Walt Disney Company could do more adult movies. Their first film was Splash, starring a tastefully topless Darryl Hannah.

1989- The last Soviet troops leave Afghanistan.

1991- In a speech, President George H. W. Bush Ist invited dissidents in Iraq to rise up against Saddam Hussein in Iraq. He declared: ”The Day of the Dictator is Over!” Iraqi Kurds, Shiites and Marsh Arabs rose in revolt, confident the US would back them. The US instead ignored them, and left them to be bombed and nerve-gassed by Saddams’ Republican Guard. Thousands died and the dictator hung around another ten years.

1994- After months of insane bidding, Viacom’s Sumner Redstone beat out QVC’s Barry Diller to buy Paramount Pictures. The cost is $20 billion, although the studio’s net worth was estimated at $8 billion. When asked, Diller replied: “What’s done is done. Next.”

2002- Scientists announce the first discovery of fossilized Dinosaur vomit.

2003- Millions of protesters march in cities from Hollywood to New York, Kiev to Capetown, London to Tokyo to protest US plans to attack Iraq. Nearly a million people marched in London alone. The U.S. invaded anyway.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Which modern country was never part of the old Roman Empire? Ireland, Armenia, Jordan, Portugal, Morocco?

Answer: Ireland. The Romans sent a fleet to circle the island and explore, but in the end decided it was too remote and difficult to rule to conquer.


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