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Feb 25, 2016
February 25th, 2016

Question: Napoleon I was the little general with the funny hat. Napoleon III the French Emperor during Jacques Offenbach, and can-can dancing. Who was Napoleon II?

Yesterday’s Answer below: Who was the English king who tried to command the tide to go back out?
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History for 2/25/2016
Birthdays: Enrico Caruso, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Zeppo Marx, St. Louis (King Louis IX of France), Bobby Riggs, Carl Eller, Sir Anthony Burgess, Neil Jordan, Larry Gelbart, Tom Courtenay, Sean Astin is 45, Tea Leoni, John Foster Dulles, Neil Jordan is 66

799AD- Today is the Feast of Saint Walburga, who with her brother Saint Winebold preached Christianity in the remote forests of Germany. Oddly enough after Walburga’s death the Saint’s remains were removed to a new resting place on the anniversary of a pagan festival and her name stuck to the celebration- April 30th the Walpurgisnacht.

1525- THE BATTLE OF PAVIA. King Francis I of France was besieging this Italian city when he was defeated and captured by Spanish-German Emperor Charles V. This battle was noteworthy as the first battle in which hand held rifles were important. Medieval Gonnes or guns were slow and more dangerous to the holder than the enemy. A good archer could get off ten aimed arrows while a gun-man was still loading. But improvements created a more accurate rifle called an arquebuse with a wooden stock and trigger.

At Pavia, when the French knights charged, arquebusiers safe behind a wall of spears, shot them out of their saddles. 8,000 casualties and a new era in combat was born. King Francis fought in the van like a knight and didn’t notice his army was losing until he was alone, surrounded by enemies. After his capture wrote his queen: "All was lost save honor - and my skin, which is safe."

1570- Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth of England and absolved all English subjects of their allegiance to her. Since England was very Protestant by now, it didn't mean very much.

1601- The 31 year old Earl of Essex, one time toyboy of Queen Elizabeth, was beheaded for treason. She once gave him a ring and said if he was ever in trouble and needed her help he should send her the ring. One of his last acts was to send the ring to her. Whether she ever got it or she chose to ignore the summons is unknown.

1634-The ASSASSINATION OF WALLENSTEIN-Generalissimo of the Catholic armies in the Thirty Years War, which had been raging since 1618 with no end in sight. Duke Albrecht Wallenstein had so sickened of the seemingly endless carnage that he began secret negotiations with the Protestant Swedish generals to make peace in defiance of their kings. The German Emperor couldn't just fire him because his mercenary troops were so devoted to their General they would burn down their own capitol as soon as any enemy one.

So Wallenstein was murdered by a hit squad sent by his own employer. They broke into the Generalissimo’s bedroom and speared him in his bed. As the assassins dragged his perforated body down his grand staircase his head bumped on every step. Just to show how confusing the Thirty Years War was the German Wallenstein was murdered in his castle in the Czech homeland by a troop of Scotsmen led by an Irishman hired by an Austrian through and Italian intermediary named Piccolomini. The only language anybody could speak in common was Italian. United Europe.

1689- James II Stuart tries to regain his throne on offer of the Irish Parliament. At Boulogne King Louis XIV of France sent him off with money and troops. He told James:" The best hope I can wish you is the hope that I never see you again."

1779- During bone chilling cold American Captain George Rogers Clark and his men stormed the frontier fort Vincennes in Illinois Territory and captured his British nemesis Sir William Hamilton. Hamilton was nicknamed the Hair Buyer for his encouraging local Indians to scalp settlers. Clark and his army of frontiersmen fought like Indians. Part of his surrender ceremony was to make Hamilton watch while Clark personally tomahawked six captive Seneca chiefs.

One chief was so tough after Clark imbedded his tomahawk in his skull the chief calmly pulled it out and handed it back to Clark to have another whack. The American Revolution on the Western Frontier effectively ended. Gen. Clark’s kid brother William Clark would be the explorer of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

1815- Princess Pauline Borghese holds a gala dress ball on the Island of Elba to distract the Allied occupation representatives away from Napoleon's secret plot to return to France. Pauline was Napoleon's kid sister and a wild thing. She drove her prudish brother nuts with her many love affairs and posing nude for artists, but when Nappy was down on his luck she was his most loyal sibling.

1836- FIRST COLT REVOLVER. Samuel Colt was given his first gun to play with at age 7. He was inspired by a ships steering wheel to invent a cylindrical gun chamber. They didn’t become popular until the price dropped with the 1860 Navy Colt. His six-shooter was nicknamed : The Great Equalizer","The Peacemaker" the "Confidence Machine" and sometimes the 'Thumbbuster". Gunfighters usually filed off the sight at the end of the barrel because it caught in your clothes during a quickdraw.

Wild Bill Hickock for instance didn't wear holsters, he carried his two Navy Colts tucked in a red sash around his waist. Shootists also learned to carry it "5 beans in the wheel', meaning leaving your gun cocked to one empty chamber while you walk around. This so your gun doesn't accidentally go off in your holster, which could be very embarrassing, as Wyatt Earp once found out.

1860- A little known former congressman from out west named Abraham Lincoln stepped off the Cortlandt St Ferry in New York City. He walked alone, carrying a moth-eaten carpet bag suitcase up to the Astor Hotel where he let the press know he was in town to declare himself a candidate for President of these here United States. He then went and traded in his old beaver skin stovepipe hat for a new silk top hat, and went to Matthew Brady’s photo parlor to pose for a photo like all genteel-type folks is supposed ta do.

1863- CIVIL WAR PRANKS - Outside the siege lines of Vicksburg, Union admiral David Porter decided to play a practical joke on the rebels. On an old barge he built a dummy ironclad with wooden logs for guns and two burning tar smudge pots nailed to phony smokestacks. The total cost to the government for black paint and wood was 15 dollars.

He then had this contraption pushed into the Mississippi and let it float with the current downstream. When the rebel shore batteries spotted the black monster they let loose a furious barrage. It only increased their panic that the Yankee ship seemed so formidable that it didn't even bother to shoot back! When the Confederate river fleet spotted the black enemy warship they fled in terror. One captain ran his own gunboat into a sand bar, abandoned it and blew it up rather than let it be captured. Eventually the dummy barge stuck in some shallows. Finally a rebel sheepishly rowed out to the barge and discovered the gag.

1864- Battle of Buzzards Roost. Sherman’s army attacked Joe Johnston’s defense works in Georgia but were repulsed.

1932- TOONTOWN SCANDALS. Former Australian prizefighter Pat Sullivan was the producer of the Felix the Cat cartoons, the first true animation star. Although animator Otto Mesmer actually created him, Sullivan's name is the only one on the titles. Felix was one of the top film stars of the 1920s. Lindbergh supposedly had a Felix doll with him in the Spirit of St. Louis and his body shape was the prototype of Mickey Mouse and dozens of other characters. While Mesmer quietly drew pictures Sullivan lived the fast life of a roaring twenties celebrity.

Mrs. Marjorie Sullivan had been having an affair with her chauffeur. After a nasty scene when husband confronted wife and the chauffeur fled, Mrs. Sullivan mysteriously fell out of her window to her death. The scandal was front page news and Sullivan never got over it. He soon drank himself to death, which during Prohibition was difficult to do. Sullivan's death and his failure to get Felix into sound cartoons doomed his studio. Otto Mesmer went on to animate the first Broadway light signs but did not receive any recognition for his contributions to animation until he was re-introduced to the public at a Bob Clampett night at the Museum of Modern Art in 1975. Kid animators Eric Goldberg and Tom Sito were in the audience.

1932- A minor bit of bookkeeping. Austrian born Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had to officially become a German citizen before he could run for President.

1956- THE SECRET SPEECH-In Moscow at a closed session of the 20th Party Congress Premier Nikita Khruschev denounced the crimes of the mass-murderer Josef Stalin. The audience was stunned at such honesty. When someone shouted:" If he was so terrible, why did you say nothing?" Khruschev roared back: " WHO SAID THAT?................(silence)..........................that's why."

1956- Poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes met at a party in Cambridge England.

1957- Bugs Moran, the gangster who challenged Al Capone for mastery of the Chicago rackets, died in prison of lung cancer. The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre ruined Moran’s organization and he finally slipped down to petty thievery when he was nabbed.

1957- Buddy Holly and the Crickets record "That'll Be the Day."

1964- Young Cassius Clay, later renamed Muhammad Ali, defeated Sonny Liston in 2:14 minutes into the 6th round for the heavyweight boxing crown. The odds were on Liston 8-1 but Clay said he would "Float like a Butterfly and Sting Like a Bee!"
When asked to comment about his defeat, Sonny Liston said: "Life, a funny thing."

1971- Oh Calcutta, the first play with lots of actors shedding their clothes, premiered on Broadway at the Belasco.

1983- Famous playwright Tennessee Williams was found dead in a New York hotel room. He died when he choked on a nose spray bottle cap that fell into his mouth while he was using the spray. Others say it was a Pepsi bottle cap.

1986- President Ferdinand Marcos fled the Philippines in the face of the People-Power revolution. Former movie star turned first lady Imelda Marcos left behind her amazing shoe collection. She felt that if the poor people saw her living in luxury it would make them feel better- (?)

1994- In Hebron, A Brooklyn born Jewish man named Baruch Goldstein went berserk in the Tomb of the Patriarchs and shot 29 innocent Palestinian civilians at prayers.

1996- Dr Haing Ngor, the doctor who survived the Cambodian Killing Fields holocaust and won an Academy Award in a movie of the same name, was killed in a robbery attempt outside his Los Angeles home.

2004- Movie star uber-Catholic Mel Gibson’s movie the "The Passion of the Christ" opened in North America. The film was criticized for it’s perceived anti-Semitism, it was the first movie in which Jesus spoke his real language –Aramaic. Pastors bought blocks of tickets for their congregations. The film earned nearly a billion dollars, most of the profit earned by Mel Gibson, who was the films sole investor.
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Question: Who was the English king who tried to command the tide to go back out?

Answer: King Cnut, or Canute the Great (1035) put a throne in the surf, sat in it and commanded the tide to go back. Nothing of the kind happened and he got wet. Apologists said he did it as an object lesson on the limits of power. Other people thought his majesty was off his nut.


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