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May 5, 2014 Mon
May 4th, 2014

Quiz: Where was The Sublime Porte? (Hint: near the Golden Horn)

Yesterday’s Quiz Answered below; So, what is Cinco De Mayo actually celebrating?
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History for 05/05/2014
Birthdays: Tyrone Power, Karl Marx, Elizabeth Cochrane called Nellie Bly, Soren Kierkegard, Alice Faye, James Beard, Michael Palin is 71, Pat Carroll, Patrick Ewing, John Rhys Davies is 70, Lance Henriksen is 74, Brian Williams, Floyd Gottfredson

In Mexico and parts of the US, this is Cinco de Mayo (see 1862 below )

In Japan this is a holiday known as Children's Day.

National Teacher's Day.

National Cartoonist's Day.

2349BC- According to Bishop Ussher, a XVI Century Flemish cleric who tried to calculate an actual date for every important event in the Bible, today is the day Noah’s Ark struck dry ground on Mount Ararat.

840- Louis the German, a son of Charlemagne, died of fright during a total eclipse of the sun.

1504 -Sir Anton of Burgundy, known as The Great Bastard, dies at 82.

1534- King Henry VIII executed an English nun named Elizabeth Barton, who claimed to have been instructed by God to condemn the King’s divorce. She claimed supernatural forces had shown her the place in Hell being prepared for King Henry.

1640- King Charles I dissolved Parliament after only three weeks for being uppity. It was called the Short Parliament. When they refused to grant him tax money to fight his wars the King levied a 1% property tax on everyone in England. If you didn’t pay it right away you could lose your ears and be branded on the cheeks with a hot iron. Bright ideas like this cost Charles his head after losing the English Civil War in 1649.

1789- King Louis XVI reluctantly convened an Estates General, the French national parliament, to get the country out of a fiscal crisis. He had fired the Swiss financier Necker, the only man who seemed capable of stopping the financial slide. Up to now Louis' understanding of fiscal policy was to cut the budget spent on the royal lapdogs. An assembly like this had not been called since 1611. The Parliamentarians demanded permanent power and by refusing to adjourn when the Royal command came set in motion the French Revolution.

1800- Shortly after winning his Federalist parties nod to run for re-election President John Adams was told by his wife Abigail Adams” Tis a pity that politicians would sacrifice all that Good men hold dear and Sacred just to win an election.” Of course, that doesn’t happen today, now does it?

1808- THE SPANISH ULCER- The Spanish Royal Family was having problems. King Charles IV, his chief minister Godoy who was also a lover of the Queen, the Infante Ferdinand VII and the Prince of Asturias were all trying to overthrow one another while Goya made funny looking portraits of them.

French Emperor Napoleon lured them all to Bayonne in French territory with an offer to mediate. He said: “I’ve got a better idea. I’ll lock you all up in this fortress so my brother Joseph can be King of Spain.” Napoleon sent an army into Spain to enforce his idea but the Spanish people wouldn’t stand for it and fought first in the open and then as “guerrillas”- little wars.

While Napoleon was trying to conquer the rest of Europe he had to keep troops in Spain fighting the guerrillas and the Duke of Wellington’s English. Spain was liberated in 1814 and the Royal Family promptly went back to arguing.

1821"...le Armee'......Josephine....." Napoleon Bonaparte died on the island of St.Helena at age 52. Recent radioactive analysis of his hair samples reveal that in his last 18 months the arsenic level in his body went up 150%. Did he die of stomach cancer like his father or was he poisoned as he stated in his memoirs ? Was there too many bits of mercury and arsenic in his prescribed medicines or the wallpaper? The debate continues..

1827- In Tennessee a 17 year old tailor's apprentice named Andrew Johnson married 16 year old Eliza McArdle. Johnson was illiterate so one of his bride's first chores was to teach him to read and write. Johnson became the 17th President of the United States.

1862-HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO- Battle of Puebla-Mexican Juaristas under Zaragosa defeated a French invasion force sent by Napoleon III. One of the heroes of the battle was a soldier named Porfiro Diaz. After Benito Juarez’s presidency Diaz made himself dictator and reigned until being ousted in the Mexican Revolution in 1910.

1864-While Lee and Grant’s armies began to battle in the Wilderness, Sherman began his Atlanta campaign. Sherman told Grant:" You hold Lee down and give me enough troops and I can make Georgia howl !"

1889- THE PARIS WORLD EXHIBITION opened. This exposition was what the Eiffel Tower was built for: it was the centerpiece of this World's Fair to mark the centennial of the French Revolution. At the time, the Eiffel Tower was the world's tallest free-standing metal structure, and hailed as a marvel - and now as an enduring symbol - of the Industrial Revolution.

Americans remembered it as the event where American painting first stood out on the world stage, despite being given a small gallery space between Bosnia and Denmark. The judging of the artwork was controversial. Here they are trying to show the world the uniqueness of American painting yet with not a single Copley, Bierstadt, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer or Mary Cassatt was accepted.

James McNeill Whistler considered himself American although he lived most of the time in London. When the show was announced, he patriotically entered a dozen paintings but the American judges rejected them all. He angrily re-submitted them as a British artist and won a gold medal.

1891-Carnegie Hall in New York opens. One old musician told me the acoustics are so perfect that you can fart in the trumpet section and you'll be heard in the second balcony.

1920- Britain and France get the League of Nations to sanction their colonial takeover of the Middle East. France occupies Syria and Lebanon and Britain Palestine and Mesopotamia (Iraq). The League officially considered them 'mandates' to administer territory of the defeated Turkish Empire, but Britain and France held them in effect as colonial possessions.

1932-Charles Revson founded the Revlon Cosmetics Company.

1942-The last U.S. forces on the besieged Island of Corregidor surrendered to the Japanese. General MacArthur was ordered to escape to Australia, leaving his friend Jonathan Wainwright to lead his men into captivity. But when he was asked to recommend General Wainwright for the Congressional Medal of Honor, MacArthur refused. "The Medal of Honor cannot be awarded to a general who pulls down Old Glory and surrenders!". MacArthur had Wainwright at his side to sign the surrender documents on the U.S.S. Missouri in 1945.

1945- In a desperate plan to get at America, Japanese generals tried tying bombs to high flying atmospheric weather balloons that could catch the jet stream across the Pacific. This day the only World War Two casualties on the U.S. mainland occurred when an Oregon woman Elsie Mitchell and her two children were killed by one of these strange bombs while picnicking.

1953- Broadway Director Jerome Robbins was riding high after directing hits like On the Town and King & I, when he was labeled a Communist. To save his career, this day he testified before Joseph McCarthy’s House UnAmerican Activities Committee and named names. One actress he finked on, Margaret Lee said” I’ve just been stabbed by a wicked fairy”. Ironically Robbins went on to direct two of his biggest 1960s hits “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and the Fiddler on the Roof using blacklisted actors like Zero Mostel, Beatrice Arthur and Jack Gilford, who all hated him.

1960- Soviet Premier Khruschev announces to the world press the shooting down of an American U-2 spy plane over Russia. President Eisenhower vigorously denied anything of the sort until Khruschev in a world media news conference produced the planes wreckage and pilot Lt. Francis Gary Powers. The incident not only deepened the Cold War, but for the first time in modern history a U.S. President was caught lying his head off. But sadly, not the last time.

1961- Alan Shepard became the first American in space on board Friendship VII. The rocket took him 115 miles into space but not high enough to achieve an orbit. That was done one year later by John Glenn. Shepard was kept on the ground in his capsule for so long he had to pee in his suit. In the upside down position the fluid ran up his back and puddles in his helmet behind his head. Ick.

1968- Albert Dekker, star of monster movies like Dr. Cyclops, was found hanged in his bathroom, handcuffed, and wearing ladies lingerie. A narcotics needle was sticking in his arm. The police declared it an “ auto-erotic episode that had gone wrong."

1975- Anne Rice’s novel The Interview With The Vampire first published.

1981- Young IRA supporter Bobby Sands made himself a martyr in the Northern Ireland crisis by dying of a hunger strike while in jail. He went 66 days without food.

1985- President Ronald Reagan started a firestorm of controversy among WWII veterans when he laid a wreath in Germany at a cemetery in Bitburg that contained graves of 49 Nazi Waffen-SS soldiers. Some of them may have participated in the infamous Malmedy Massacre of US prisoners.

2006- Walt Disney Company acquired Pixar Studio.
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Quiz: What is Cinco De Mayo actually celebrating?

Answer: See above, 1862.


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