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June 9, 2015
June 9th, 2015

Question: Before the comic strip Boondocks, the boondocks or out in the boonies, was an American slang term. What is it’s origin?

Yesterday’s Quiz Answered Below: What was the Volstead Act?
History for 6/9/2015
Birthdays: Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Cole Porter, John Bartlett of Bartletts Familiar Quotations, Boy George O’Dowd, Les Paul, Burl Ives, Lash LaRue, Happy Rockefeller, Robert MacNamara, Major Bowes, Carl Neilsen, Donald Trump, Jerzy Kosinski, Pierre Salinger, Steffy Graff, Marvin Kalb, Charles-Augustin de Coulomb, physicist who formulated Coulomb's Law, Dr. Alois Alzheimer, Michael J. Fox is 54, Johnny Depp is 52, Natalie Portman is 34

Today is the Roman festival Vestalia, when the Vestal Virgins made a special cake.

53BC- Battle of Caarhae- Roman consul Marcus Licinius Crassus was defeated in Persia by the Parthian leader the Grand Surena. Crassus was an extremely rich man, and legend has it the Parthian King killed him by having his jaws held open, and having molten gold poured down his throat.

Today is the Feast Day of St Columba, and St. Maximian of Syracuse.

68 AD- Roman Emperor Nero commits suicide. Nero saw the jig was up when the Roman people welcomed the Spanish Legions of Servius Galba into the city, shouting "Death to the Incendiary! Death to RedBeard!” a nickname implying his fatherhood may not have been pure Latin. He took his life on the anniversary of the murder of his wife, whom he had kicked to death while she was pregnant. He had his servant Epaphroditus push a knife into his throat. Nero died saying "Oh, what an artist dies in me!” Nero was descended from Augustus on his father’s side, and on the other side from Marc Anthony. His death ended the direct bloodline of Julius Caesar's family. For the next few months four generals would turn their legions homeward to fight for power. The Roman called this period "The Long Year".

1358- The Massacre of Meaux. In a France already ravaged by the Black Death and the Hundred Years War, a violent peasant revolt broke out called the Jacquerie -Poor Jacques. On this day two top knights, one from the English side and one from the French- Gaston Phoebus and the Captal De Buch, took time out from their war to join forces and chop up rebellious peasants in the town of Meaux. Phoebus later became a character in Hugo's novel the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

1732- James Oglethorpe, a British Parliamentarian, was granted a charter by King George II to found a colony south of the Carolinas. He would call it Georgia in honor of the king. Oglethorpe lived into his 90s and saw the Revolution. He lived long enough to congratulate John Adams and wish the new American nation well.

1798- Napoleon's fleet, on the way to Egypt, stops to attack the strategic island of Malta. The keepers of the Island fortress, the once valiant Knights of Malta, had become so stodgy and decrepit that the French easily burst in. When Napoleon inspected the massive defense works, capable of holding an attacker at bay for months, he said: " This conquest is embarrassing." After the Napoleonic Wars Britain took over Malta until the 1950's. The Knights went from an order of warrior-monks, to a jet-set club, with members like Prince Rainier and Sir Frank Sinatra and charity work like Saint John's Ambulance.

1817- A defective boiler destroyed the experimental riverboat Washington. Despite this unfortunate occurrence, the S.S. Washington was the prototype of Mississippi riverboats- a flat bottomed side wheeler with the engine machinery above the waterline instead of down in a deep hold like Robert Fulton’s model.

1834 – Brass helmet deep-sea diving suit was patented by African-American inventor Leonard Norcross of Dixfield, Maine. The design remained unchanged for 100 years.

1834 - Sandpaper patented by Isaac Fischer Jr., Springfield, Vermont

1839 – The first Henley Regatta held

1847 - Robert von Bunsen invents the Bunsen burner.

1860- DIME NOVELS & PULP FICTION. Mr. Erastus Beadle (don’t you love 19th century names?) published the first dime novel, Maleska, Indian Wife of the White Hunter by Anna Stephens. Sometimes called the Penny Dreadfulls, pocket-sized stories printed on cheap pulp paper became popular reading. They fantasized the West, extolling two-gun chivalry and virtuous maidens, roaring desperadoes and wild savages. This early form of mass media made celebrities out of characters like Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok, Black Bart, Billy the Kid and Belle Starr.

1863- BRANDY STATION-The largest cavalry battle of the Civil War- Union cavalry caught Jeb Stuart's reb cavalry in camp. Stuart's horses and men were spent because they had spent the previous day holding a pageant showing off for the ladies. A huge confused swirl of horseflesh, sabers and guns ensued. The rebs eventually drove off the Yankees, but Stuart looked pretty dumb being surprised so badly. Yankee cavalry finally proved that under tough new leadership like Sheridan and Custer they could hold their own with the Southern gentlemen horsemen.

1902- Woodrow Wilson was named President of Princeton University. One of the Board of Trustees that selected the future US President, was the former US President, Grover Cleveland.

1918- Louella Parsons began her Hollywood Gossip column. Louella became one of the most powerful and widely read columnists in Hollywood’s golden age. Stories say Louella got as much pull as she did in the Hearst newspaper empire for helping cover up the killing of director Thomas Ince and also trying to stifle the release of Orson Welles’ film Citizen Kane.

1920- King George V dedicated the new Imperial War Museum, comprising artifacts from the recently concluded Great War. In 1936, the War museum moved to its present home in the former building of the infamous mental asylum, Bedlam.

1930- Chicago Tribune reporter Jack Lingle was shot and killed by Al Capone’s hoods. The hit was done right in broad daylight on Michigan Ave and Randolph St at the Illinois Central underpass at the height of rush hour. It was first thought that Lingle was going to do some kind of courageous crusading journalist expose, but Big Al had him rubbed out because he welched on a $100,000 gambling debt.

1934- Happy Birthday Donald Duck! Walt Disney's short cartoon"The Little Wise Hen".

1934- The film the Thin Man with William Powell. Myrna Loy and Asta the dog premiered.

1938 - Chlorophyll isolated by Benjamin Grushkin

1938 - Dorothy Lathrop wins the 1st Caldecott Medal for outstanding children’s books.

1941- First day shooting on the film, the Maltese Falcon. It was John Huston’s first directorial effort. The studio budget was so low, Humphrey Bogart had to wear his own suits.

1942 - The1st bazooka- shoulder held rocket launcher, produced in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The name Bazooka was from a Fred Allen and Allen’s Alley radio show name for a home-made musical instrument made from a stove pipe. Bazookas became vital in the US infantry’s ability to stop tanks and other obstacles.

1942- LBJ in the USN- Young Texas Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson spent 1941 loudly declaring if war came, he’d be the first in the trenches. After Pearl Harbor, he joined the US Naval Reserve and was made a lieutenant-commander. He spent the next few months inspecting naval facilities in Hollywood and Squaw Valley, Idaho while partying hard. Finally, friends warned he better go to the battlefront before too much talk hurt him politically.

Lyndon Johnson flew as an observer on one mission of B-26 bombers over the Japanese held island of Leii, New Guinea. To his credit, he reacted coolly as Japanese Zeroes attacked. The original plane he was supposed to be on, got shot down over shark-infested waters. After the mission, General MacArthur gave him a Silver Star, whose ribbon he wore proudly for the rest of his life. After 13 minutes in actual combat, the next day he was on a plane Stateside. By July 18th he had resigned his commission (by Presidential Order he added), and was back at his desk in Washington. Presidential aide Harry Hopkins quipped:” Lyndon Johnson is back from his politically expedient dip in the Pacific.”

1942 - Anne Frank began her diary.

1943- The Internal Revenue Service introduced the Pay-As-You-Go system of tax collection, or today we know it as tax withholding from your paycheck.

1950- After all appeals fail the first of the Hollywood Ten, screenwriters Dalton Trumbo, Philip Dunne, Alvah Bessie, Waldo Salt, Edward Dymtytrk, David Ogden Stewart, Ring Lardner and John Howard Lawson are sentenced to prison. In the L.A. Municipal Jail one felon greeted the leftist writers with a smile and said: "Hi Ya, Hollywood Kids!”

1953 - Elvis Presley graduates from L.C. Humes High School in Memphis, Tennessee.

1972- Rapid City, South Dakota destroyed by a flash flood. 280 died.

1973- The thoroughbred horse Secretariat ridden by Ron Turcott won the Belmont Stakes, taking the first Triple Crown since Citation did it in 1948. He won it by an amazing 31 lengths! Secretariat was sired by Bold Ruler, the 1957 Preakness winner. The Triple Crown is three high stakes races. The Kentucky Derby is a mile and 1/4 (called by horseman "the classic distance"), the Preakness is slightly shorter at a mile and 3/16ths, and the Belmont, as reported, is a mile and 1/2. So the second race is actually shorter than the first. The big deal is that they all take place in only five weeks, which is asking a great deal of three-year-old colts.
>Secretariat becomes the only non-human to appear on Greatest Sports Legends of the Twentieth Century lists.

1976 – Chuck Barris’ the" Gong Show" premiered. Where’s Jean-Jean the Dancing Machine?

1989 - Queen Elizabeth II knighted Ronald Reagan.

1992- Congress passed the Internet Communications Act, opening up the Internet to the public. At this time, when only defense contractors used it, the Internet had 50 websites; by 2000, it had 77 million websites, now in the hundreds of millions.

2002 –The Canadian Supreme Court lifted the ban on Gay marriages as unconstitutional; the first couple in Ontario was legally married.

2006- Pixar film Cars released.

2160 - Montgomery Edward Scott, called Scotty or Mr. Scott, born in Aberdeen, Scotland, the engineer of the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek. “ Cap’n, Ah dunno know how much more the engines can take!”
Yesterday’s Quiz: What was the Volstead Act?

Answer: After the Prohibition Amendment was passed in 1919, the Volstead Act of 1920 gave it actual teeth. It declared a prohibition on all alcoholic spirits used for non medicinal purposes. The act was written by Temperance lobbyist Wayne Wheeler of Ohio, but named for Congressman Andrew Volstead, who was not against drink, he was simply the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee that approved it. In the next election Volstead’s voters kicked him out of office.