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Feb 20, 2016
February 20th, 2016

Question: What does it mean when someone calls you Methuselah?

Yesterdays Quiz answered below: Why is the statuette of the Academy Award called an Oscar?
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History for 2/20/2015
Birthdays: Honore' Daumier, Nancy Wilson, Ansel Adams, Sidney Poitier is 88, Cindy Crawford, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robert Altman, Roger Penske. Phil Esposito, Jennifer O’Neill, Ivanna Trump, Mike Leigh, Lili Taylor

1258- The Mongol horde under Hulugau stormed Baghdad. They were ordered by Genghis Khan not to spill any royal blood, so they took the last Caliph, Al Mostassim- Billah, rolled him in a blanket then galloped their army over him. Ouch. The beautiful city of the Arabian Nights was sacked and burned for 40 straight days. Chroniclers said 800,000 died, and the streets ran with rivulets of liquid gold- melting from the gilded books in the burning libraries.

1702-British King William III went riding around Hampton Court when his horse Sorrel stepped in a molehole and threw him. He suffered a broken collarbone. But being already elderly, tuberculant and asthmatic, died within a week. Friends of his enemy the exiled Stuart dynasty drank a hearty toast to the 'Little man in the velvet coat', meaning the mole who dug the hole.

1725- FIRST DOCUMENTED SCALPINGS- British militia scalped ten Indians in New Hampshire. Indians of the Eastern coast and Caribbean had done the practice before. Now colonial authorities encouraged allied tribes to bring in scalps as a way of proving how many of the enemy they had killed, before being paid a cash bounty. Scalps soon became a fashionable novelty item in for sale in London. Tribes adopted different scalp cuts so you would know who did it -the Cheyenne preferred a diamond cut, Sioux an oval pattern.

1792- U.S. Postal Service founded. Ironically, the only postal service that ever operated at a profit was the one established by the Confederacy under postmaster John Regan from 1861-65.

1816- "Fee-Garr-Row! Fig-Ar- Roww- Figaro-Figaro,Figaro,Figaro"- Giacomo Rossini's opera 'The Barber of Seville' premiered. Rossini endured bad press and heavy criticism at the time because the another opera of the Marriage of Figaro had just been premiered by Paisiello, an inferior composer who then was more popular than him.

1824- The first attempt to name and classify a dinosaur. At the Geological Society of London, Dean William Buckland announced the Megalosaurus or the Great Fossil Lizard of Stonesfield. Based on a leg bone he estimated it at 40 feet long and a bulk larger than an elephant. Before Darwin the conventional explanation was that these fossils were the remains of dragons or creatures that missed Noah’s Ark and perished in the Flood.

1827- The Battle of Ituzaingo- The army of the Brazilian Empire defeated Argentina.

1839- The City of Washington DC outlawed dueling.

1845- The Battle of the Cahuenga Pass. Angry Spanish Californians led by rancher Juan de Alvarado clashed with the Mexican governor Miguel de Micheltorena. The only casualty was a mule. The story of Alvarado may be one of the origins of Zorro.

1862- Abraham Lincoln's youngest son Willie died of Bilious fever in the White House. Today some theorize he died of cholera from drinking the swampy water of Washington.

1918- The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Lenin and the Bolsheviks had promised an end of Russia’s part in World War One. Its continuation had doomed the representative government of Alexander Kerensky after Tsar Nicholas was overthrown. Now Lenin decided to end the war at any cost. The Germans demanded huge parts of Poland and Ukraine as compensation. Since the Bolsheviks had demobilized the Russian Army Lenin had to give it all away. He was gambling that the allies would win eventually. He also planned setting up Communist Party cells in Germany that he hoped would overthrow the Kaiser. The Kaiser was defeated and toppled and Russia did get back all her lost territory.

1925- Willis O’Brien’s silent movie the Lost World premiered. Based on Conan-Doyles 1912 novel. The stop motion animation of dinosaurs and exploding volcanoes issued in a new era of special effects films. O'Brien later did King Kong and trained kids like Ray Harryhausen.

1933-"WE’VE HIRED HITLER !." German chancellor Adolf Hitler had a secret meeting with Germany's corporate leaders: Krupp, I.G. Faben, Seimans, Bayer, GAF, BASF, Daimler-Benz. He made a deal that if they financed his Nazi government, he would destroy the labor unions and communists, re-arm the nation and suspend the eight hour workday. The quote is by Gottfried Krupp after their meeting.
Most of the German corporate CEO's survived the war and became leaders in the postwar anti-Communist world.

1936- The film “Follow the Fleet” premiered, with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

1939- The American Nazi Party held their largest rally in Madison Square Garden in New York City. 20,000 Americans goose-stepped and Sieg-Heiled under a huge portrait of George Washington, while angry anti-Fascist and Jewish groups rioted outside. By 1941 most of the German American Bund dissolved. During the war 10,000 German Americans were interned along with the Japanese and Italians. Fritz Kuhn, the organizer of the rally was jailed for embezzling his organizations funds and deported to Germany in 1946.

1947- In a lecture to the London Mathematical Society, Computer pioneer Alan Turing said the best way to test the intelligence of a computer would be to teach it to play chess. Earliest reference to interactive gaming.

1962- "God Go with You, John Glenn !" Mercury -7 sends the first American into orbit.
His first words upon emerging from the space capsule were:” It was hot in there.” Glenn later became a Democratic senator and in his 70’s went into space a second time on a space shuttle in 1998 John Glenn was a combat Marine pilot, test pilot and astronaut but even he sometimes got the willies.
In 1968 while traveling with the Robert Kennedy for President entourage their chartered plane hit turbulence. Bobby Kennedy undid his seat belt, stood up and said to the cabin “ I have an announcement- Colonel Glenn- is scared!”

1980- Bon Scott, vocalist for the band AC/DC, was found dead in a friend’s automobile choked in his own vomit.

1986- The Soviets launch the first permanent orbiting space station, Mir, which means Peace. After a long career in which 7 US astronauts among many others spent time there in 2001 it finally burned up in re-entry.

1986- Britain and France announced the project Napoleon had dreamed of 200 years earlier, a tunnel under the English Channel – the Chunnel.

1997- Chinese Chairman Deng Zhao Peng died at 92. Nicknamed Little Bottles, he was the last leader from Mao Zse Tung’s original Long March days.

2006- The animated film Wallace & Gromet: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, won the British Academy Award (BAFTA) for the best British Film of the year. It beat out the Constant Gardner, and Pride & Prejudice.
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Yesterdays’ question: Why is the statuette of the Academy Award called an Oscar?

Answer: When actress Bettie Davis first saw the statuette, she joked his butt looked like her first husband Oscar. Another legend is that Margaret Herrick, then the fledgling Academy’s first librarian, upon seeing the design of the trophy, remarked that it looked like her uncle Oscar. Whatever the origin, the name stuck.


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