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April 10, 2015 fri.
April 10th, 2015

History: For centuries, the greatest church in Christendom after St. Peters was the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (Constantinople). What does the name mean? Hint: it is NOT Saint Sophia, although it is often confused as that.

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: Last night Tavis Smiley said to John Stewart “ I am human, and nothing human is alien to me.” Who was he quoting?
History for 4/10/2015
Birthdays: Josef Pulitzer, Lew Wallace, George Arliss, Omar Sharif is 83, Harry Morgan, Max Von Sydow is 86, Ken Griffey Sr, Claire Booth Luce, Chuck Connors, John Madden, Don Meredith, Paul Theroux, David Halberstram, Steven Segal is 64, Orlando Jones, Mandy Moore is 31, Haley Joel Osment is 27

Last day of the Roman Megaleasian festival in honor of Lunus the Moon god.

1500- The Renaissance Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza , was betrayed by his Swiss mercenaries to his enemy the French King Louis XII. This one time employer of Leonardo da Vinci was thrown in a dungeon to rot at the castle of Loche, dying in 1508. He asked for nothing to take with him except his copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

1610- French King Henry IV of Navarre was as famous for his sexual appetite as for his statesmanship. He had many liaisons with many women but one of the most famous was Gabrielle d’Estrees. When a duke told him of her beauty, he galloped through enemy territory to be with her. They had a long affair but Gabrielle wanted more, she wanted Henry to divorce his queen and marry her!
Henry was thinking about it, when this day D’Estees died of infection after childbirth. Some said it was poison, but that sort of infection was common then. Henry grieved: “I am destroyed. The Plant of Love is dead inside of me!” Two months later he had another girlfriend.

1741- Battle of Mollwitz- King Frederick the Great's first victory. His big battalions of Prussian-disciplined infantry defeated the Austrians even after his cavalry had been driven off the field, the King Frederick swept along in the rout. He thought he had lost. He was drinking his sorrows away in a pub, when he got the news of his victory.

The international fame of Frederick’s Army created an unexpected side industry. A Coburg toy maker named Andreas Hippert began selling mass market sets of toy soldiers modeled on his men. Flats made of lead and brightly painted, they were a big hit. Toy soldiers go back at least as far as the Romans. Medieval princes owned little replicas of knights. But Hippert created toys for average people.

1790- The U.S. patent office created.

1836- THE HELEN JEWETT MURDER- Helen Jewett was a beautiful, well-bred woman. But bad luck had brought her down to prostitution on the mean streets of New York. This night at a brothel at 41 Thomas St, she was murdered with an axe. Her partner shop clerk Richard Robinson was charged with the murder, but there was not enough evidence for a conviction. The Helen Jewett Case became the first Media-Sensation Crime in the US. The press of the time held the public spellbound for weeks with salacious details and lurid descriptions of the sad end of this soiled dove.

1841- Horace Greeley creates the daily newspaper the New York Tribune, which he builds into a national voice for the abolition of slavery. Greeley was the man who advised: “Go West, Young Man.” During the New York Draft Riots of 1863 Greeley defended his newspaper from looters with his own personal cannon in the lobby.

1848- THE CHARTISTS- A large working class movement broke out in England inspired by the industrial working class uprisings occurring that year throughout Europe. The English radicals wanted no less than a republic with universal voting rights. The demonstrations and threats of violence concerned young Queen Victoria so much that at one point she became hysterical with tears. This day the Chartists planned a rally of 200,000 to march on Westminster. Victoria and Albert fled to the Isle of Wight to avoid the confrontation. But the movement petered out of it's own lack of momentum. Only 23,000 showed up and their leader, a Mr. Fergus O'Connor, shook hands with the police chief and took a cab to Parliament to present his petitions alone. Universal voting rights in England didn't occur until the Twentieth Century.

1849- Walter Hunt invented the safety pin. Hunt sold the pattern for $100 bucks.

1865- The day after Lee surrendered his army to Grant ending the Civil War, many of Lee’s officers started going through the lines to visit old friends on the other side. Men who only the day before had been trying to kill each other today laughed and partied. One of the visitors to Grant headquarters was Lee’s second in command General James Longstreet. Before the war Old Pete Longstreet was best man to Ulysses Grants wedding.

1866-The ASPCA founded.

1868- Johannes Brahms A German Requiem debuted.

1877- Honoring a political deal that helped win his election, President Rutherford Hayes began withdrawing occupying troops from the Southern States of the former Confederacy. This ends the period known as the Reconstruction. The South was once the wealthiest part of the U.S., by then it was the poorest. And all the civil and voting rights for black Americans that Lincoln had planned for postwar America were nullified.

1903- King Alexander Obrenovic of Serbia had become increasingly autocratic. His suspending the liberal constitution of 1889, installing press censorship and revoking secret balloting had made him very unpopular.

This night a group of Serbian army officers broke into the Kings bedroom and murdered King Alexander and his Queen Draga. They hurled their naked bodies out of a window to smash onto the cobblestone courtyard below where more army officers proceeded to hack up the remains with their sabers.

Peter Karageorgevic’ was elected new king. Mainstream world media was shocked by the brutality of the killings but the Head of the Serbian Church held a Thanksgiving Mass and there was a festive mood in Belgrade the rest of the week. One of the officers in the coup would later bankroll the Serbian terrorist group that assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and started World War I.

1906- O'Henry's story " The Gift of the Magi " first published.

1912- The White Star oceanliner RMS Titanic sailed from Southhampton on her maiden voyage. When one passenger expressed reservation to a porter, he replied:” Lady, God himself could not sink this ship!” Hints of sinister premonition was the fact that for some reason the Titanic was launched but never christened. The ship's cat was seen carrying her kittens off the ship when she made her last (above surface) landfall at Queenstown, Ireland. One of the crew (William Coffey) saw this, said "That cat knows something!" and hid himself amidst the mailbags, deserting the ship.

1919- Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata assassinated. Zapata went to see a Colonel Jesus Guajardo who said he was willing to change over to his side. The colonel ordered his men to raise their rifles as if to fire a salute, but on a given signal lowered them and blasted Zapata away. Guajardo got 52,000 pesos and a promotion to general. In recent times, Mexican-Indian guerrillas in Chiapas called themselves Zapatistas.

1923- Peeps invented. The sweet Easter marshmallow confection that is shaped like a yellow baby chick and can stick to most surfaces.

1925- F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" published by Scribners.

1941- First Battle of Tobruk. When Rommel's Afrika Korps pushed the British army across the Libyan desert, the port of Tobruk held out for three months in an epic siege.

1942-THE BATAAN DEATH MARCH- not one of the highpoints in U.S.-Japanese relations. The Japanese code Bushido stated warriors should prefer death to capture. So a soldier who surrenders is beneath contempt. When twenty thousand trapped American and Philipino troops surrendered to the Japanese, they were sent back through the steaming jungles of Bataan on a forced march without food or water, the guards shooting and bayoneting those who dropped from exhaustion. These men were already starving when captured, their conquerors gave them food after nine days. Only half survived the ordeal, 12,000 died.

1947- THE FBI PAY A VISIT to Screen Actor’s Guild president Ronald Reagan and actress-wife Jane Wyman. They accuse them of belonging to Communist Party front organizations. Ronnie agrees to become an informer on his own guild, and just about everyone else in Hollywood. Jane Wyman later divorced him.

1951- GENERAL MacARTHUR FIRED BY PRESIDENT TRUMAN- Douglas MacArthur had been used to being his own boss in the Far East and he found the politics of global nuclear brinksmanship puzzling. He thought you fought wars to win them, not to maintain a stalemate. Harry Truman was trying to limit the carnage of the Korean War from spreading into World War III.

MacArthur had been ordered by Truman last December 4th not to make public statements about the Korean war without going through Washington first. So when against direct orders MacArthur issued his own ultimatum threatening the Communist Chinese with a nuclear firestorm on their cities and independently conferring with Chiang Kai Shek about his getting Nationalist Chinese armies into the war Truman had had enough. Truman ordered MacArthur home and replaced with General Matthew Ridgeway. Generals Eisenhower, George C. Marshall and Omar Bradley supported the president’s policy that the military must be subject to civilian authority.

MacArthur didn’t get the news until he heard it on the radio. The public outrage at the humiliation of America’s legendary soldier was enormous, but in time subsided. 60% of the Korean War’s battle casualties occurred in the two years after MacArthur’s dismissal. In 1964 the dying MacArthur sent a final message to President Lyndon Johnson advising him not to go into Vietnam.

1952-ELIA THE FINK-Film director Elia Kazan ( On the Waterfront, East of Eden,etc.) saved his career but earned the lasting hatred of Hollywood by testifying to the House Un American Activities Committee. He named 8 of his friends as Communists, including writers Clifford Odets and Lillian Hellman.

Unlike others who were forced to testify Kazan never expressed any regret for the pain he caused. Many see the irony of 'On the Waterfront' that it's hero is a guy who does the right thing by turning informer. The film was written by Bud Schulberg, who also named names.

In 1999 the Academy gave him an honorary Oscar and caused a new firestorm of protest, when Kazan stood next to visibly uncomfortable Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorcese. There an estimated 40% of the audience did not rise or applaud, although on television it seemed louder. That year the American Film Institute preferred to confer it’s lifetime achievement award on Roger Corman, director of Attack of the Giant Crab Monsters.

1953- The Vincent Price film The House of Wax in 3d premiered.

1961- Singer Joan Baez entered the Greenwich Village club called Folk City and was accosted by a funny young man with a nasaly twang ;”Joan Baez! Here, I wrote a song for you!” His name was Bob Dylan. Baez and Dylan became friends and together changed the image of folk music.

1962- DON'T TRY TO DOUBLECROSS JFK ! The U.S. Steel Corporation had made a deal with the Kennedy Administration that if the feds leaned on the steelworkers union for a favorable labor settlement U.S. Steel promised not to raise wholesale prices which would hurt the U.S. economy. On this day chairman Roger 'Ben' Blough told John Kennedy they were reneging on the deal and raising prices anyway. Kennedy exploded- " My father always warned me that all businessmen were sons of bitches but I never believed him until now!" The Kennedy administration made things so hot for U.S. Steel that they cancelled the price increase.

1962- Stuart Sutcliffe was the bass guitarist of the Beatles until creative differences and a marriage made him drop out of the band in favor of George Harrison. This day Sutcliffe died of a brain hemorrhage at age 21.

1962- The Los Angeles Dodgers play their first game at their new Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine. They lost to the Cincinnati Reds 6-3.

1969- Radical students of the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) protesting the Vietnam War storm the administration buildings of Harvard. It takes 400 riot police and 197 arrests to drive them out.

1971- Rob Reiner married Penny Marshall.

1973- At Xerox PARC, Dick Schoups team of scientists created Superpaint, the first digital paint and surfacing system for CG images. The first picture on the computer was a photo of Dick holding a sign that read “ It works, sort of.”

1985- A new singer named Madonna began her first tour, the Virgin Tour.

1992- Bill Kroyer’s Ferngully the Last Rainforest premiered.

1992- Raunchy- comedian Sam Kinison was killed in a head on collision with a truck on the road to Laughlin Nevada. Ironically, the comedian who had glorified the wild sex, drugs and rock& roll lifestyle was sober at the time, and the truck driver was drunk.

1997- The Jerusalem Post announced the birth of a red heifer at a kibbutz near Haifa. The birth of a red heifer is supposed to be the prerequisite for the coming of the Messiah and the End of the World. In 2003 the cow became beef brisket, and we’re still all here.

2010- Polish President Lech Krasczynski and most of the Polish government leaders were killed in a plane crash on the way to commemorate the 70th anniv of the Katyn Massacre.
Yesterday’s Quiz: Last night Tavis Smiley said to John Stewart “ I am human, and nothing human is alien to me.” Who was he quoting?

Answer: The Roman playwright Terrence. The phrase was a favorite in the Renaissance, and cited by humanists like Aquinas and Michelangelo.