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April 12, 2015 Sun
April 12th, 2015

Question: Igmar Bergman’s most famous movie, where the knight played chess with Death, was called the Seventh Seal. What is that name mean?

Yesterday’s question answered below: What does it mean when you say “ The Prodigal Son returns!”
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History for 4/12/2015
Birthdays: Henry Clay, Lily Pons, Lionel Hampton, Herbie Hancock, Monserrat Caballe', Ann Miller, Tiny Tim, Shannon Dougherty, Andy Garcia is 59, Claire Danes is 36, David Letterman-68

65AD. SENECA DIED- The Roman philosopher Seneca committed suicide after his old pupil the Emperor Nero ordered him to. The poet Lucan was also forced to kill himself. When Nero sent you an indictment for treason, you knew the verdict would be guilty. So Romans had the option of avoiding the public trial and painful execution by committing suicide in the comfort of their own home. This also ensured your wealth would go to your family and not be confiscated by the state. Seneca had previously been condemned by Emperors Caligula and Claudius as well but always managed to wiggle out of it. But now his luck ran out. While Nero's Praetorian guards waited the old man opened his veins, but his circulation was so bad that it was taking him forever. The Praetorians patience finally exasperated, they took him in to his steam bath and suffocated him.

1606- The Union Jack adopted as the official flag of Great Britain. It showed the union of Scotland's cross of St. Andrew (white diagonal cross on blue background) with England's cross of St. George (red perpendicular cross on white background).

1633- GALILEO FACED THE INQUISITION- Galileo was forced to publicly recant the theories of Copernicus before the court of the Holy Inquisition. The argument of hot irons and thumbscrews outweighed his mathematical proof that the earth went around the sun.
Copernicus had shrewdly avoided this problem by publishing his theory on his deathbed. When he heard of Galileo’s censure Frenchman Rene Descartes was intimidated enough to stop writing Le Monde, a book summing up his major philosophical and scientific conclusions.

The Catholic Church kept Galileo under house arrest for the rest of his life, and even Protestant reformers like Martin Luther and John Calvin also considered him a dangerous lunatic. His conviction was overturned in 1827 and the Holy See admitted he might have been right in 1989. Supposedly as Galileo was leaving the courtroom he whispered to a friend " eppi si muove !" but it does move!.

1709- In London the first issue of the Tattler published. “All accounts of gallantry, pleasure, poetry, foreign and domestick news you will have from Saint James Coffeehouse.”

1796- George and Martha Washington sit for painter Gilbert Stuart. Washington had little patience for painters so it was an event to get him to sit still. Stuart noted that the General was a singularly uncooperative model. He tried small talk about his famous battles but that made GW even more annoyed. Washington much preferred a discussion on how to raise snap beans to reliving his military career. The likeness Stuart painted became the basis for many other paintings and prints. Today it is on the U.S. one dollar bill. Gilbert Stuart at one point moved to England because the only commissions he ever got were people wanting copies of his Washington portraits.

1843- A charter to sell Life Insurance is granted to the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, beginning the American insurance industry.

1861 -THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR BEGAN-For the previous twenty years Southerners and Northerners debated slavery and the right of a state to leave the American union. Guerilla violence had already been raging in border states like Missouri and Kansas when in response to Abraham Lincoln’s election 11 states announced the formation of a new country- The Confederate States of America.

In the tense months after the Southern States declared independence a question arose. Who now owned U.S. Army bases and their property on Southern soil ? Fort Leavenworth & Fort Fisher gave up without a struggle. The one other obvious place was Fort Sumter, sitting out in the middle of Charleston Bay, South Carolina. U.S. Col. Robert Anderson would defend the flag even as he was surrounded by hostile batteries, commanded by his former West Point pupil Gen. Pierre Beauregard.

In the wee hours of April 12th secessionist journalist Edmund Ruffin was allowed to fire the first shot at the fort. After a five hour cannon duel the fort surrendered. Ironically the only fatality was when a soldier was killed by a ruptured cannon while firing a final salute to the lowering Stars & Stripes. This was the almost bloodless beginning to the bloodiest war in U.S. history.

When the war was over Edmund Ruffin wrapped himself in a Confederate flag and shot himself, preferring death to "living in a universe populated by the vile Yankee race!"

1864-THE FORT PILLOW MASSACRE-Confederate cavalry under Nathan Bedford Forrest overran a small Yankee post manned by black troops and pro-union Tennesseans. The Rebels shot down 300 of the garrison, many just because they were black. Forrest later claimed it was because they refused to surrender and kept fighting after the flag was pulled down, but that is disputed.

Some say his action was to prove black solders would not fight. If so he miscalculated – thousands of free black men rushed to enlist, dropping on one knee to take an oath to avenge Fort Pillow. After the Civil War Forrest was the first Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. He resigned when they became too violent even for him. His reputation dogged him the rest of his life.

1865- The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia lays down its arms in a field outside Appomattox Courthouse surrounded by massed union troops. Lee and Grant both were not present. Grant left specific instructions that no union soldiers were to publicly celebrate: ”Those people are no longer our enemies, they are our fellow Americans. We will not exult in their downfall.”

General John Gordon led the ragged procession with the 250 surviving members of the Stonewall Brigade, who began the war as 4,500. Yankee Medal of Honor winner Joshua Chamberlain demonstrated the warriors ability to forgive by commanding his men to salute the Confederates, who snapped to attention and returned salute.

In North Carolina when a hard riding dispatch rider with the news reached the front of Sherman’s western army, one soldier greeted him: “ You’re the sonofabitch I’ve been waiting four years for !”

1911- Cartoonist Winsor McCay opened his vaudeville act with his "Little Nemo" animated short.

1912- A slightly built London theater manager and failed author named Abraham “Bram Stoker died. His seven books and several plays made little money in his time. But a decade later one of his novels entitled Dracula made him world famous.

1941-The Nazis captured Belgrade, Yugoslavia. The Croats and Serbs paused in their own fratricidal strife to take up sides, the Croats joining the Nazis’ and the Serbs the Soviets. In World War II more Yugoslavs were killed by other Yugoslavs than by the Germans.

1945- PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT DIED. The government knew since 1944 that FDR's health was failing and he would probably die in office. Roosevelt was at his Warm Springs Georgia retreat in the company of an old girlfriend, Lucy Mercer whom he had promised Eleanor never to see again. The assignation was arranged by their daughter Alice, who promised not to tell her mom. Mom found out anyway. FDR’s last words were to his portrait painter Madame Schoumatoff” I have a splitting headache..” then had a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 63.

The nation was shocked. In his Berlin bunker with the Red Army knocking on the door Adolf Hitler was jubilant because he felt this was an astrological omen of final Nazi victory. Gen. MacArthur was still bitter about FDR's broken promises to the Philippines. His first reaction was:" He never used the truth where a good lie would do."

Vice President Harry Truman was enjoying one of his whiskey & poker parties with House Speaker Sam Rayburn when he got the phone call. "Jeezus Christ and General Jackson !!"-was his response. He was rushed to the White House while the staff went crazy looking for a Bible to swear him in -confirming the suspicions of many about FDR's attitude towards religion. Finally a Gideon turned up in a guest room drawer and the 33rd President was sworn in. Truman told Eleanor:" I'll pray for you." Eleanor replied: "No Harry. We'll pray for YOU."

1945- Generals Eisenhower, Bradley and Patton toured a Nazi concentration camp and saw for themselves the horrors of the Holocaust. Eisenhower ordered the press to film everything, because as he said:” Someday some people might say this was exaggerated and never happened. Let them see for themselves” As he was leaving the camp Ike turned to a US Army guard and said:” Still need a reason to hate them ? I never thought I’d be ashamed to be German. ” Eisenhower’s ancestors emigrated from the Rhineland and settled in Kansas in the 1800’s.

1954- "ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK' recorded by Bill Haley and the Comets- arguably the first true Rock & Roll hit.

1955- the Salk vaccine for Polio made available to the public.

1961-THE FIRST MAN INTO SPACE- It was Soviet Major Yuri Gargarin aboard Vostok 1.

1981- The first space shuttle Columbia took off. After 26 flawless missions, in 2003 the Columbia disintegrated upon reentry, killing all aboard.

1983- Harold Washington elected first black Mayor of Chicago.

1992- Euro-Disney, now called Disneyland Paris, opened. It attracted only 50.000 visitors the first year, about ten times less than what was expected. The first Disneyland in California drew 100,00 on opening day alone . But it has since crawled back to solvency- it finally paid for itself in 1997.

1995- To celebrate David Letterman’s 49th birthday, actress Drew Barrymore climbed up on his desk and flashed her breasts. For once, the bucktoothed talkshow host was speechless.

2003- When US forces occupied Baghdad, troops ignored important cultural landmarks while they secured the Iraqi Oil Ministry. People looted palaces, and the museum of antiquities, defacing and destroying priceless artifacts of Ancient Mesopotamia and Babylonia. Defense Secty Donald Rumsfeld excused this by saying” Hey, stuff happens..”
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Yesterday’s Quiz: What does it mean when you say “ The Prodigal Son returns!”

Answer: The Prodigal Son is a well known parable of Jesus ( Luke 11:32) . “A father divides his estate between his two sons. One son stays and works hard, the other son, a wastrel, goes off on a humongous toot, looses his inheritance and finds himself starving. Finally, as a last resort, he returns home, disgraced and forlorn. The father unequivocally welcomes him back and kills a fatted calf in celebration, much to the chagrin of the loyal son. The father explains that the prodigal son has returned from iniquity. He was “lost and now is found.” (Thanks FG)


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