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October 11, 2007 thurs
October 11th, 2007

Birthdays: Eleanor Roosevelt, Henry Heinz the Ketchup king,, Jerome Robbins, Carl Hubbard, Ron Leibman, John Candy, Omar Shariff, Art Blakey, Luke Perry, Joan Cusak, Sig Ruman – the fat actor with the goatee and the over-the-top German accent in the Marx Brothers comedies and Ninotchka

1303- Pope Boniface VIII died. He was the Pope who first proclaimed Papal dominance in the bull Unam Sanctam ( even when I'm wrong I'm still right because I'm the Pope and you're not ), and who used to declare Crusades against Italian families he didn't like. He died a raving lunatic in the dungeons of San Angelo eating the flesh off of his own arms. Dante hated him so much in his poem "Inferno" he has two devils stirring a boiling cauldron of lead and calling up to the world above:" Hey Boniface! When are you coming down? It's almost ready!"

1424- Czech general John of Ziska died of plague. He had never been defeated in the Hussite Wars and led battles even when almost blind. When dying he requested that his body be skinned and the skin used to make a drum for his army. Wow, tough Czech!

1492- The Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria continue sailing west. Christopher Columbus' fear crazed men began to see signs that land was close at hand: floating driftwood, a carved stick, moths, a seabird.

1800- The remaining French army trapped in Egypt and abandoned by Napoleon made a deal with the Egyptians and their English allies to get evacuated back to France. One of the things that had to give up to the Brits was the Rossetta Stone, the key to deciphering Ancient Heiroglyphics. Another thing the French troops brought back to Europe was marijuana, easily purchased in Egyptian bazaars. The old soldiers said the weed didn’t give you a hangover like drinking brandy did and made recovering from wounds easier.

1809- MERIWETHER LEWIS’ SUICIDE- Colonel.Meriwether Lewis, of Lewis and Clark fame, shot himself..twice. He wounded himself in the head the first time. He was 35. Meriwether Lewis was governor of Upper Louisiana (Missouri, Wisconsin, Montana, Illinois) and was the personal protege of Presidents Jefferson and Monroe. It’s not inconceivable to assume that he would have been president one day. Some contend that Lewis didn't commit suicide but was murdered, because it was at a small tavern on the Natchez Trace, he had been arguing with some men along the road, and he was found with two head wounds, and his belly slashed with a bowie knife. Another scholar recently theorized Lewis was suffering from delirium caused by advanced syphilis, which he may have contracted from a Shoshone woman while on the great trek over the Rockies. His friends Jefferson and Captain Clark maintained Lewis was emotionally overwrought and was drinking too much. What an important United States Governor was doing riding all alone with no staff on a country road is still a mystery.

1906- The San Francisco Board of Education ordered children of Chinese and Japanese ancestry placed in segregated schools. This act caused great popular resentment back in Japan who thought the Americans were their friends after helping settle their war with Russia. President Teddy Roosevelt intervened and forced Frisco to rescind the law.

1939- Albert Einstein sent a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt describing the feasibility of atomic weapons and urging the US begin such a program before Hitler creates an A-Bomb. Years later with atomic weapons a reality he said his letter of Oct.11th “was the biggest mistake of my life.”

1944-“ To Have and to Have Not,” written by Ernest Hemingway premiered. The movie paired Humphrey Bogart with a sultry Harpers model turned actress named Betty Persky, now changed to Lauren Bacall. Bacall originally had a higher voice but director Howard Hawks told her to go behind the soundstage and scream for an hour every day to bring her voice down to a dusky, sexy alto. It worked on Bogart, who fell in love and married her despite his being 44 and she 20 years old. The nicknamed each other Slim and Steve after the characters in the film.“If you want me, just whistle. You know how to whistle, don’t you? Just put your lips together and blow.”

1960- The Bugs Bunny Show premiered on TV. “Overture, hit the lights! This is it, we’ll hit the heights, and oh what heights we’ll hit…..etc..”

1975- NBC needed a Saturday replacement for Best Of Carson reruns, so Lorne Michaels’ TV show SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE premiered. First guest host George Carlin did his opening monologue while high- and the Not-Yet-Ready-For-Prime-Time Players: John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd ,Gilda Radner, Garret Morris, Chevy Chase, Lorraine Newman, Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin and Mike O’Donaghue. Albert Brooks did a short film and Andy Kaufman did his Mighty Mouse lip sync routine. Paul Shaefer conducted the music and the show was held in NBC’s Studio 8H, which was built originally for Maestro Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony of the Air. At the last moment a sketch by young Billy Crystal was cut from the show.. The show also revived the career of announcer Don Pardo, who had trouble finding work since the original Jeopardy Show was cancelled.

1975- Bill Clinton married Hillary Rodham.

1976- After the death of Chairman Mao, Chinese authorities arrest his widow Chiang Ching and three followers and accuse them of plotting a coup- the Gang of Four.

1978- Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious stabbed his girlfriend Nancy Spungen at the Chelsea Hotel in New York. Sid was too stoned to adequately explain why he killed the love of his life. It’s assumed they had a suicide pact. Vicious died of a drug overdose before his trial.

2001- V.S. Naipul won the Nobel Prize for literature.

2005- Andrea Merkel named Chancellor of Germany. She is the first woman to lead Germany and the first head of state from the former East Germany.