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April 4, 2017
April 4th, 2017

Quiz: What is a Dahlgren gun?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: What does it mean to ride roughshod over something, or someone?
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History for 4/4/2017
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Caracalla, Edweard Muybridge, Maya Angelou, Frances Langford, Irv Spence-Tom & Jerry animator, Gil Hodges, Arthur Murray, Muddy Waters, Cloris Leachman, Dorothea Dix, Elmer Bernstein, Bijan, Heath Ledger, Robert Downey Jr is 52, Barry Pepper, Craig T. Nelson is 73, Hugo Weaving is 57

If you were a Roman, today is the first day of the Megaleasian Festival in honor of Lunus the Moon god. Party! Par-tee!

In China, today is Ching-Ming Tomb Sweeping Day.

527AD- Byzantine Emperor Justin named his nephew Justinian as his successor.

636AD- Today is the Feast Day of Saint Isadore of Seville, the Patron Saint of the Internet. Don’t believe me? Check this out. http://factually.gizmodo.com/the-patron-saint-of-the-internet-is-isidore-of-seville-1595023500

896 A.D.-THE SYNOD HORRENDIUS-One of the more bizarre incidents in Vatican history. Bishops Stephen and Formosan hated each other. When Formosan became pope Stephen had to go into hiding. After Formosan's death Stephen became pope, but was unsatisfied that he couldn't strike back at his old enemy. So Pope Stephen had Formosan's tomb opened and the corpse sat up in a chair and put on trial for heresy.
The cross examination was pretty strange, the prosecutor said things like: "His very silence is admittance of his guilt!" The dead body was convicted, excommunicated, tossed around by a Roman mob, then thrown in the Tiber. Pope Stephen VI later became the first pope to be killed in bed with someone's wife.

1561- A strange show in the sky of red discs and crosses was reported over Nuremberg Germany. Perhaps an early UFO sighting?

1581- Queen Elizabeth I visited the Golden Hind, the ship which Francis Drake sailed around the world. The 'Great Pirate of the Unknown Seas" had plundered huge treasure ships and drove Spanish Colonial America crazy. The Spanish Ambassador to London demanded the pirate Drake lose his head, but Queen Elizabeth had a different use in mind for her sword- she knighted the Devon innkeeper's son.
The Golden Hind was kept in a prize anchorage for decades until age and dry rot caused her to fall to pieces. Ben Johnson wrote poems about Sir Francis Drake and Shakespeare's island of wizards in the Tempest may have been modeled on Drake's accounts of the strange stormy islands of Tierra Del Fuego in the Straights of Magellan.

1704 -British Admirals Rourke and Sir Cloudsley Shovel capture Gibraltar from Spain. Britain still owns it today, which really annoys Spain. It’s ownership recently came up in the Brexit discussion.

1841- PRESIDENT WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON DIED AFTER ONLY 31 DAYS IN OFFICE. “Old Tippicanoe” caught pneumonia giving his inauguration address in icy drizzle. No U.S. President had ever died in office before, and no one knew if the Vice President was now only a caretaker until special elections or was he the president for the next for years. Vice President John Tyler set the rule by staying as President for four full years. When he got word of the President's death he was playing marbles with some children and was about to get his knuckles rapped for losing. Many people couldn't stand him. They called him "Your Accidency".

1850- The City of Los Angeles was incorporated under U.S. law.

1865- As the bedraggled Army of Northern Virginia retreated from Richmond, Robert E. Lee had a slim hope that if he could put distance between himself and the pursuing Union armies he might be able to join together the remaining Confederate forces in the Carolinas and keep fighting. These hopes were dashed this day. When Lee’s army reached Amelia Courthouse, the waiting trainloads of promised food turned out to be only ammunition. There weren’t enough trains to convey his men. Lee lost an entire day resting his army while scavenging for food. This allowed Grants Yankee army to catch up and slowly surround him. Lee remarked bitterly that while his men starved, the Confederate Congress could only “debate and shell peanuts!”

1865- LINCOLN IN RICHMOND- Meanwhile against the wishes of his bodyguards that it was still too dangerous, Abraham Lincoln toured the newly captured Confederate capitol of Richmond. Most of the white population had fled the smoldering city, but crowds of jubilant black slaves pulled his coach and cheered that the Day of Jubilee had arrived. One old black man kneeled to him. Lincoln raised him up “Father, you no longer have to kneel to any other man, only God. You are Free. Free as air.” Lincoln walked over to the Confederate Executive Mansion and sat in Jefferson Davis’ chair, putting his feet up on his desk. He then visited the family of rebel General George Pickett of the famous Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. The Pickett’s were friends of Abe and Mary Lincoln before the war and Abe enjoyed bouncing Pickett’s baby boy on his knee.

1900- In Brussels, a protester shouting 'Vive Les Boers!" fired four shots at the Prince Edward and Princess Augusta of Wales (Future Edward VII). They all miss. He was protesting the British war on the whites Afrikanners of South Africa.
Queen Victoria survived six assassination attempts in her lifetime.

1901- Russian author Leo Tolstoy broke with the Russian Orthodox Church when he sent a letter to the Patriarch this day declaring that prayers offered to Jesus Christ were “the worst type of sacrilege”.

1924-Tom Milton first ran a Miller hot rod on the dry lake Cal bed at 151 mph.

1932- Louisiana Senator Huey Long tells Congress that 80% of America’s wealth was controlled by 20% of its population. According to Business Week in 1997 80% of America’s wealth was owned by 2% of its population, and the top 175 richest people on Earth collectively own 50% of all the total wealth of the planet.

1933- The U.S. Government orders all citizens to turn in their remaining gold dollar coins.

1933- The U.S. airship Akron crashed in a storm, killing the crew and an admiral.

1942- 'THE HUMP' -When the Japanese army overran Rangoon and cut the Burma Road, Allied forces helping Chiang Kai Shek 's Chinese armies and the Flying Tigers were suddenly without supplies. Army Air Corps General Olds and his men begin the daily supply flights of transports from India over the Himalayas to China, or 'Over the Hump'.

1944- During World War II a South African reconnaissance plane flew over the Auschwitz Concentration Camp and took photos. When they are analyzed in London, the intelligence boys declared it to be a synthetic rubber plant.

1952- CARTOON COMMIES- Nationally syndicated columnist Walter Winchell accused the owners of a New York commercial animation studio, Tempo Productions, of Communist sympathies. One of the owners was Disney Layoutman Dave Hilberman, who was a union organizer and was the only artist personally named by Walt Disney to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. The F.B.I. began investigating Tempo and their Madison Avenue clients quickly pulled their business. Tempo closed, laying off 50 artists. Mr. Clean, Markie Maypo and the Hamm’s Beer Bear were once again safe from Red subversion.

1954- Arturo Toscanini, who had been making music since the 1880’s, conducted his final concert. Toscanini’s studio space at NBC is today the set of the Saturday Night Live TV show.

1958- Screen goddess Lana Turner and her gangster lover Johnny Stompanato had a violent argument that ended when Turner’s teenage daughter plunged a kitchen knife into his chest. She was acquitted as justifiable homicide, and rumors maintain the daughter was covering for her mother’s own actions. It was whispered Hollywood society ladies had nicknamed Stompanato’s willy Oscar for it’s size.

1967- Van Nuys premier head shop Captain Ed’s Heads & Highs first opened for business.

1967- In a speech at the Riverside Baptist Church in Manhattan Rev Dr. Martin Luther King announced his opposition to the Vietnam War. This put him in direct conflict with the heretofore friendly Lyndon Johnson administration. Whereas LBJ had Dr King and the Southern Christian leadership up to the White House often, and had done much to fight discrimination, the volatile LBJ now called Dr. King “that backwoods n--- preacher!”

1968- THE SETTLERS MOVEMENT- The Israeli government was trying to sort out what to do about the West Bank territories conquered in the Six Day War. This day a small group of ultra-conservative Jews called Gush Eymunim moved into a hotel the Arab city of Hebron and declared themselves a settlement. Minister Moshe Dayan wanted Jewish settlements but he wanted them to be alongside Arab communities, not displacing them. This was the first provocation by conservative settlers that would bedevil Palestinian-Israeli relations for the next fifty years.

1968- DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING ASSASSINATED. The great civil rights leader was struck in the head by a dum-dum bullet fired from a high-powered rifle, while he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. King and his team had been clowning around that morning and throwing pillows at one another. On the balcony Dr Kings last words were teasing Jesse Jackson for not being dressed properly for going out to dinner. Jesse was wearing a turtleneck instead of suit and tie.
Dr. Benjamin Hooks ran to the phone to get help but the switchboard was not working. The motel manager's wife who usually ran the switchboard had seen the shooting, and the shock had given her a heart attack. She died the next day. The Memphis police had always surrounded King's party with at least seven officers whenever he was in town. For some unknown reason that morning they were ordered to stand back at least seven blocks. It was the one-year anniversary of the speech where he declared his opposition to the Vietnam War.

A man named James Earl Ray was later apprehended in England, confessed to the shooting and was given a life sentence. He later recanted his confession and said the FBI coerced him, and he was taking orders from a mysterious contact man named Raul. James Earl Ray died in 1998. The King family reopened the investigation and a civil court ruled that Dr. King was probably killed by a conspiracy. When F.B.I. director J. Edgar Hoover heard about the assassination he did what he did the day John Kennedy was shot, he spent the day at the racetrack celebrating.

1968- When news of Martin Luther King's assassination got out, 175 US cities suffered urban rioting. In Indianapolis, Sen. Bobby Kennedy was scheduled to go speak to a mostly black crowd. His police escort refused to follow him out of fear. Kennedy went anyway. He told the audience the terrible news, made a reference to his own murdered brother, then proceeded to quote them poetry from the Greek writer Aeschylus "We must tame the savageness of man, and make gentle the life of this world." The crowd wept and prayed together. Indianapolis was quiet that night.

1984- In George Orwell’s novel 1984, this is the day Winston Smith started a secret diary and first wrote the dangerous thought-crime “Down With Big Brother”.

1987- Ronald Reagan’s FCC voted to repeal The Fairness Doctrine, which ordered news services to report unbiased news reflecting all opinions. This set the stage for the highly partisan political fake news reporting of today.

1988- Arizona governor Evan Meacham was impeached, the first US governor to get the boot in 60 years. Meecham had made Arizona the only state in the U.S. to refuse the Martin Luther King holiday. Meecham had once referred to African Americans as “pickaninees”, and had ordered a list drawn up of all state employees who were gay.

1994- Marc Andreesen and Jim Clark start Netscape. Clark also founded Silicon Graphics, Inc.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: What does it mean to ride roughshod over something, or someone?

Answer: One theory was it came from a blacksmith badly shoeing a horse. Another theory is it comes from giving a horse special shoes with extra spikes to prevent slipping in icy weather. So riding roughshod meant to trample you with cleats on. Today it means to bully your way through something.


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