BACK to Blog Posts

Nov. 4, 2021
November 4th, 2021

Quiz: What is meant by agitprop?

Yesterday’s Answer Below: What is a denouement?
History for 11/4/2021
Birthdays: Will Rogers, Art Carney, Illustrator T.S. Sullivant, Disney animation director Ben Sharpsteen, Loretta Swit, Martin Balsam, Gig Young, Darla Hood, Joe Neikro, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ralph Maccio, Andrea McArdle, Walter Cronkite, Matthew McConnaughy is 51, Laura Bush, Kathy Griffin is 61, Aardman animator Peter Lord is 68.

1530- Cardinal Wolsey had been the chief minister of King Henry VIII and dominated English politics for a decade. He was a European power broker and fancied himself a future Pope. But he lost favor with the King over his inability to get him a divorce from his first wife and his alliances on the continent lost them Calais, the last English stronghold on mainland Europe. This day the King's men arrested Cardinal Wolsey for treason. But being old and infirm, he died on the way to the Tower.

1640- THE LONG PARLIAMENT- British King Charles I didn't much like parliaments. He found them pushy, always demanding rights for the common man and such nonsense. It had been 11 years since his last parliament, and he had dismissed that one after three weeks. It was called "the Short Parliament". But he needed money to put down rebels in Scotland. So, Charles I reluctantly convened Parliament. This one stayed in session for the rest of Charles' life and beheaded him in the English Civil War. The Long Parliament was finally disbanded by Cromwell and his army in 1652. After Charles II 's restoration, the English parliament stayed more or less in regular sessions.

1646- The Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony started to feel threatened by all the Quakers, Shakers, Anabaptists and other weirdoes coming by the boatload from Europe. So, they announced that the crime of Heresy was punishable by death. And of course, heresy was anything the Massachusetts Bay Colony said it was. After hanging two Quaker preachers and driving others like Anne Hutchinson outside the walls to death at the hand of hostile Indians, the heresy statutes were revoked this day by King Charles II.

1677- William III and Mary of Orange are married at St. James Palace.

1791- ST. CLAIRS DEFEAT- When President Washington sent General Arthur St. Clair to put down the Indian raids on the Ohio Frontier, he advised him" Trust not the Indians, beware of surprise". St. Clair, who had a rather lackluster military career in the Revolution, must have forgotten Washington's advice because this day at dawn near what would be Celina Ohio, St. Clair's camp was surprise-attacked by thousands of Shawnee, Creek and Miami warriors. 900 American casualties including General Richard Butler.
The spectacular defeat was led by Chief Little Turtle, who although he defeated more US soldiers than Sitting Bull, is barely remembered today. After the peace treaty in 1795, St. Clair finished life running a tavern. Little Turtle was a guest of George Washington at Mt. Vernon. His grandson graduated from West Point.

1804- LEWIS & CLARK MET SACAJEWEA- The American explorers were spending the winter in a friendly Mandan village when a French Canadian trapper named Toussaint Charbonneau offered his services as a guide. He had two wives who were Shoshone women. Sacajewea (Bird Woman) was then 15 and pregnant. Charbonneau won his wives in a bet with some Hidatsa warriors.

Lewis and Clark hired Charbonneau not because he would be useful as much as Sacajewea, because she spoke the languages of the western tribes beyond the Rocky Mountians. Sacajewea would speak to Shoshone and Nez Perce in their language, then translate into Hidatsa to Charbonneau. He would translate it into French to another trapper named Driar who would speak English to Lewis and Clark.
Despite the clumsiness, this system worked. Sacajewea braved every hardship the expedition faced to the Pacific and back, and with her baby on her back. One scholar said the European conquest of the America's could not have been done without the help of three women: Pocahontas, Malinche' the Aztec Princess and Sacajewea.

1842- Abe Lincoln, 33, and Mary Todd, 23, marry. Mary Lincoln came from a pro Southern Kentucky family and was always at odds with Washington society. At one point Congress even held a hearing on whether the First Lady was a Confederate spy.
Mary was as volatile as Abe was laid back and they would have marital fights right in front of officers and dignitaries causing everyone to hang their heads in embarrassment and stare at the wall. Most of her children had died by the time Lincoln was shot and the grief broke her sanity causing her surviving son Robert Lincoln to lock her up for her remaining years.

1854- THE LADY WITH THE LAMP- English nurse Florence Nightingale arrived at Scutari Turkey, to care for English wounded from the Crimean War. The English Army medical system then was a disaster of outmoded bureaucracy. Hundreds of sick and dying men were piled up bed to bed in a hospital 4 miles square without basic sanitary conditions- no blankets, fresh clothes or fresh food. Rich English aristocrat Florence Nightingale brought her own finances to clothe, feed and care for the sick. Even just doing laundry saved lives because men had clean linens to sleep on. She told her volunteers "The strongest women must stand with me at the washtub!" She had no official status or commission from the government, but she revolutionized the military hospital system and the nursing profession, often fighting stodgy old generals who saw her as a troublemaker. Chief surgeon Sir John Hall growled: "The woman insists on grotesque excess and luxury- after all, what does a soldier want with a toothbrush?"

1861- University of Washington founded in Seattle.

1861- Richard J. Gatling patented the machine gun. "It is to the pistol as the sewing machine is to the simple sewing needle." Soldiers called it “The Coffee-Mill Gun.” Gatling's idea was to invent machines to make war too terrible to be waged any longer. What he succeeded in doing was to indeed make war more terrible.

1879- James Ritty of Dayton Ohio patented the cash register, invented as a way to keep employees from pocketing receipts.

1913- William Mulholland's great aqueduct starts bringing water 200 miles from Northern California to L.A. by the force of gravity alone. Without the extra water L.A. would never have grown any larger than 180,000 people. ( L.A. Times estimate.)

1918- Wilfred Owen, one of the great English poets, was killed in combat in World War I, only six days before the final armistice.

1918- Woodrow Wilson was elected on liberal support. But during WWI he suppressed all liberal and progressive voices who questioned the war. Today in midterm elections he was rewarded when his party lost their majority in Congress to the Republicans

1927- HOWARD CARTER OPENED THE TOMB OF KING TUT. Other royal tombs had been opened before but they had always been cleaned out centuries ago by grave robbers. King Tut Ankh Amon’s was the first unspoiled Pharoah's tomb to be discovered in modern times. The site was discovered under a house built for workers excavating the tomb of King Ramses IV.
There was King Tut’s Curse guarding the door, and a few folks like Lord Carnarvon did go to an early grave: allegedly from scratching a zit and getting blood poisoning. Legend has it the same zit was found on King Tut's mummy! But Howard Carter, the man who broke the seal, rifled the tomb and did everything but stick his fingers in Tut's ears, lived to a merry old age and even pocketed a few artifacts he didn't feel like sharing with the British Museum. They were later returned by an embarrassed family descendant.

1928- Arnold Rothstein, top New York gangster who got dancer Jimmy Walker elected mayor, and rigged the 1919 World Series, was shot in the groin during a poker game. It took him hours to die. When asked by the police who shot him, Rothstein’s last words: "If I live, I'll take care of it..."

1931- One of the pioneering trumpet innovators of the new music called Jazz was Buddy Bolden. He was one of the first soloists to improvise within the body of a song, and so doing paved the way for the greats like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. But by 1931 Bolden was forgotten. This day he died broke in the Louisiana Home for the Insane. His family couldn't even afford a Dixieland Band to play at his funeral.

1939- President Roosevelt signs the Neutrality Act, declaring the U.S. would not get involved in the growing war between Hitler and Britain and France.

1939- Packard introduced the first air-conditioned automobile.

1952- UNIVAC, the first business computer, accurately predicted Dwight Eisenhower would win in a landslide. The first computer projected results for an election.

1945- Cartoonist Al Hirschfeld first inserts his daughter Nina’s name into one of his cartoons. It was for a Broadway musical review “ Are You With It?” with Johnny Roberts.

1955- In Arizona, Willie Bioff, former IATSE union official, who tried to hijack the Hollywood unions (Including the Disney cartoonists) for Frank Nitti's gang, turns the key in his Ford pickup and explodes. He had turned informer and was in the federal Witness Protection plan.

1956- The Soviet army crushed the Hungarian Uprising of Inver Nagy.

1958- Angelo Roncalli was elected Pope John XXIII. John 23rd was one of the best-loved popes of the twentieth century. He liberalized the Church through his council Vatican II, changed the Latin Mass into common language, encouraged folk masses and other reforms. Pope John Paul II has made more saints than any other Pope but withheld final sainthood for John XXIII because he was too liberal for his taste. Current Pope Francis I finally made him a saint in 2015.

1963- The Beatles were part of the Queens Royal Command performance in London. John Lennon told the audience: " Will the people in the cheap seats clap their hands? And the rest of you, would you please just rattle your jewelry."

1968- The day before the presidential election, outgoing President Lyndon Johnson was told the Christian Science Monitor wanted to publish an article that proved Republican Richard Nixon committed treason, consorting with the South Vietnamese government to sabotage peace talks to end the Vietnam war, so he could win as the “Peace Candidate”. LBJ decided to not publish the story to not damage the election process. Nixon won, and the war went on, killing a further 20,000 Americans.

1968- the first issue of Screw Magazine. Former reporter Jim Buckley and former industrial spy for the Bendix Corporation, Al Goldstein, named their magazine Screw after trying Hump, Love, and being told they couldn't name it F*ck.

1977- The Incredible Hulk TV show starring Lou Ferrigno and Bill Bixby, first premiered as a made for TV movie.

1979- THE IRAN HOSTAGE CRISIS- Iranian militants with the approval of the Iranian revolutionary government and the Ayatollah Khomeni attack the U.S. embassy in Teheran and take most of the 90 staff hostage for 444 days. The event infuriated US opinion and there were loud calls to nuke the Mad Mullahs. Truth be told, without condoning such an outrage the US public remained blissfully ignorant of how our CIA helped the overthrow of the democratic regime of Mossadegh in 1953 that established the Shah's autocratic regime and that the coup was directed from within the US embassy, but hey, that's just details.
The crisis seemed to paralyze the Jimmy Carter administration and probably helped elect Ronald Reagan. The incident also proved that the Cold War East-West way of judging world politics was now outdated, since the Ayatollah declared both America and Russia "Great Satans"!

1980- Yomiuri Giants baseball great Saduharu Oh retired after hitting 868 homeruns in his 22 year career.

1993- The Topanga-Malibu fires., Huge brush fries burn expensive homes in Malibu. The fires reached from the Santa Monica Mountains down to the ocean. Eyewitnesses said the 30 foot flames were reflected in the sky and water turning everything orange and the landscape looked more like Mars.

1995- YITZHAK RABIN ASSASSINATED- At a peace rally after making a speech where he declared "Violence will undermine Israeli Democracy" Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was shot and killed by a young Yeshiva student Ygail Amir. Amir was mad at Rabin for daring to make peace with the Palestinians. The night before Amir attended a Likud political rally where people waved pictures of Yitzhak Rabin dressed in a Nazi uniform. Ironically Rabin as chief of staff of the Israeli army was the strategists of the conquest of the West Bank and Golan Heights.
President Clinton was shocked by the act and said goodbye in Hebrew "Shalom, Haver" –Peace Brother. Despite this slogan becoming a popular bumper sticker in Israel, in the election Likud won anyway.

1999- Congress passed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. This law, drafted by conservative Republican Senator Phil Gramm, repealed many of the government safeguards enacted during the Great Depression against banks speculating in stocks and insurance. It created the free-wheeling Wall Street market that collapsed in 2008 in the Great Recession.

2008- Barack Obama was elected first African-American to be President of the United States.
Yesterday's Question: What is a denouement?

Answer: The conclusion of a story, a play, or movie, in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and all matters are explained or resolved.