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Feb 21, 2016
February 21st, 2016

Quiz: In Walter Scotts novel Ivanhoe, Ivanhoe fights to free the imprisoned King of England. Which one?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: What does it mean when someone calls you Methuselah?
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HISTORY for 2/21/2016
Birthdays: Leopold Delibes, C. Brancusi, Anais Ninn, W.H. Auden, Hubert de Givenchy, Era Bombeck, Sam Peckinpah, Nina Simone, Robert Mugabe, Joe Oriolo, David Geffen, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kelsey Grammar is 61, Jennifer Love Hewitt is 37, Alan Rickman, Ellen Page is 29.

1613- The Russian parliament the Zemsky Sobor elected Michael Romanov as the new Czar. This ended the period of dynastic struggle and invasion called the Time of Troubles. It was also the last time a representative parliament decided anything in Russia until 1991. The Romanov Family ruled Russia until the Revolution of 1917 and are still around, should Russia ever want a monarchy again.

1719- A London weekly announced “Mr Handel, a Famous Master of Music, is gone beyond the sea, by order of His Majesty, to collect a company of the choicest singers in Europe for the Opera in the Haymarket.” The London Opera is born. On his recruiting trip George Frederich Handel passed through his hometown of Halle.
A few hours after he was gone another musician came to town, having walked 25 miles to meet this great German who had conquered England. He was Johann Sebastian Bach. But he was too late. The two giants of classical music would never meet.

1803- Edward Despard was executed at Horsemonger Lane Gaol for plotting to assassinate King George III. The last person to ever be sentenced to the medieval punishment of being drawn and quartered. But by now enough people thought it was horrific, that it was partly commuted. Despard was hanged, and his body beheaded-- no further gruesome butchery. The crowd at the event booed and hissed the executioner.

1814- LONG BEFORE BERNIE MADOFF- This day Captain De Berenger, a French exile aristocrat in the British Army, arrived in London with amazing news from the Continent- that Napoleon Bonaparte had been defeated and killed by the Russians. The war was over! London went wild with celebrations and exiled French King Louis XVIII held a celebratory ball.
But the story was a fake. Napoleon was alive and would wage war for two more years.
De Berenger was part of an elaborate stock fraud. His partners Andrew Butt, Richard Cochrane-Johnstone and Thomas Cobbett waited until the London Stock Market boomed with the news, then sold their shares at top price. When the truth came out and the market crashed, they had made a fortune. An investigation was convened and all the conspirators rounded up.
The only good thing from this was for America. Cochrane-Johnstones cousin Admiral Lord Thomas Cochrane was also implicated in the scheme and this prevented him from sailing to America with the British fleet. Cochrane-“The Sea Wolf” was one of the best fighting admirals since Nelson, and the model for fictional salts like Horatio Hornblower and Lucky Jack Aubrey. He would not be at Baltimore when the “Rockets Red Glare, the Bombs Bursting in Air..”….etc.

1838- The first telegraph message sent by Samuel Morse "What hath God wrought?" He strung electric cables up and down several floors of his art studio using wood stretchers normally used for oil paintings. Morse was an artist and never wanted to be an inventor, he just did it to finance his painting.

1848- THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO- In Brussels Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published their revolutionary work the Communist Manifesto, redefining history in terms of economic class warfare and creating the terms communist and communism. Interestingly enough they picked Brussels to publish because that year 1848 there were revolutions happening in most of the other cities in Europe. In the 1998 to celebrate it’s anniversary an international publishing conglomerate issued a deluxe designer edition complete with trendy graphics and gilt cover. What would Marx have thought?

1885- The completed Washington Monument was dedicated by Pres Chester Allan Arthur. Plans for the obelisk were first drawn up in 1792 by Pierre L’Enfant and the cornerstone laid in 1840 but construction was constantly suspended. For a time because of the Civil War, another time because strict Presbyterian workers refused to handle Italian marble blocks donated by the Pope.

1898- After the explosion of the battleship Maine in Havana Harbor Under Secretary of the Navy Teddy Roosevelt burned to take action. This day when his boss the Navy Secretary decided to take a day off, Teddy rushed off emergency orders to all the U.S. battleships to go onto a war alert and lay in a supply of extra coal and munitions. The War with Spain hadn't even been declared yet. His boss returned red faced and furious but Teddy had already resigned his office to raise his own volunteer cavalry brigade.

1901- Yankee outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with prostitute Hedda Place, sometimes called Mrs. Sundance, left New York City by ship for Latin America. They hoped to build a new life in the Patagonian foothills of Argentina. But after 4 year of ranching, Butch and Sundance took up their outlaw ways again, fleeing to Bolivia. Hedda Place returned to the US, and disappeared from history.

1916- VERDUN began- One of the most horrible battles in world history. World War One German commander Eric Von Falkynhen had planned to draw France into a battle that would ‘bleed her white”, but he wound up bleeding his German Army just as badly. German and French troops battled over some stone fortresses for ten months. Hundreds of thousands of men died in one battle. The French fired 1 1/2 million shells in this thirty mile square area and the Germans even more. Regiments would be marched into the trenches, blown to bits, then another marched in.. The surrounding countryside was turned into a shellhole pocked lunar hell. Frenchmen are still digging up unexploded shells 95 years later..

1919- More chaos in Germany after the Great War defeat. The Socialist rebel leader of Munich, Kurt Eisner, was assassinated and Bolsheviks declared the Soviet Republic of Bavaria. One of the things they tried to do before rightwing paramilitary militias turn them out was try to declare war on Switzerland. By May, the streets of Munich become a battleground that ex-corporal named Hitler decides is a fun place to be.

1942- After the port of Darwin was bombed by the Japanese, President Roosevelt ordered General Douglas MacArthur, trapped on Corregidor, not to go down fighting but escape and organize the defense of Australia.
MacArthur slipped away in the dead of night by PT boat with his wife and four year old son. He vowed to the Philippine people:" I Shall Return !" The army press liaison tried to change the press release to We Shall Return, but MacArthur insisted it remain as is.

1945-During the Battle of Iwo Jima the Marines raise the flag on Mt. Suribachi. Associate Press photographer Joe Rosenthal takes the most famous image of the war. It's now the Marine monument at Arlington Cemetery. Actually, he photographed the second flag raising. The first was a small flag stuck on a piece of pipe to get the artillery below to stop shelling, and to give the Marines pinned down on the beach some hope. The second larger flag raising was done for the press. It was still plenty dangerous, two of the six flag raisers were later killed in battle that same day. Rosenthal almost missed the shot because he turned around momentarily to see if he was in the way of another cameraman.

1965- MALCOLM X was assassinated at the Audubon Meeting Hall in Washington Heights Manhattan. His last words were trying to quiet a disturbance in the crowd he was about to address-"Brothers, be cool." Three men then stood up and fired pistols and a shotgun killing him instantly. He was later found to have over twenty bullets in his body. Three murderers did time for the killing, but it has never been proven who ordered it. Popular sentiment says it was his enemies in the Black Muslim movement like leader the Honorable Elijah Mohammed, with whom he had broken.

1988- Televangelist Jimmy Swaggert tearfully confessed to his Baton Rouge congregation “Ah Have Sinned!!”. He had been arrested for soliciting a prostitute. They forgave him, A year later he was busted again for the same reason, but he still continues to preach family values on TV.
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Yesterday’s Question: What does it mean when someone calls you Methuselah?

Answer: According to the Bible, Methuselah lived to over 900 years old.

As Sportin' Life sings in “It Ain’t Necessarily So”from Gershwin’s “Porgy & Bess”:
“...But who calls that livin’
When no gal will give in
To no man what is 900 years!”


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