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April 12, 2022
April 12th, 2022

Question: Were Choo-Choo, Brain, Chutney and Bennie the Ball members of Sgt. Bilko’s gang, Vito Corleones’ or Top Cat?

Yesterday’s question answered below: We all have heard of theology. But what is theosophy?
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History for 4/12/2022
Birthdays: Henry Clay, Lily Pons, Lionel Hampton, Herbie Hancock, Disney artist Hardie Gramatky, Monserrat Caballe' is 89, Ann Miller, Tiny Tim, Shannon Dougherty, Andy Garcia is 66, Claire Danes is 43, David Letterman is 75

65AD. SENECA DIED- The Roman philosopher Seneca committed suicide after his old pupil the Emperor Nero ordered him to. The poets Lucan and Petronius were also forced to kill themselves. When Nero sent you an indictment for treason, you knew the verdict would be guilty. So, you had the option of avoiding the public trial and horrible execution by committing suicide in the comfort of your own home. This also ensured your wealth would go to your family and not be confiscated by the state. Seneca had previously been condemned by Emperors Caligula, and Claudius as well, but always managed to wiggle out of it. But now his luck ran out. While Nero's Praetorian guards waited the old man opened his veins, but his circulation was so bad that it was taking him forever. The Praetorians patience finally exasperated, they took him in to his steam bath and suffocated him.

1606- The Union Jack adopted as the official flag of Great Britain. It showed the union of Scotland's cross of St. Andrew (white diagonal cross on blue background) with England's cross of St. George (red perpendicular cross on white background).

1633- GALILEO FACED THE INQUISITION- Galileo had to publicly recant the theories of Copernicus before the court of the Holy Inquisition. Their argument of hot irons and thumbscrews outweighed his mathematical proof that the earth went around the sun.
Copernicus shrewdly avoided this problem by publishing his theory on his deathbed. When he heard of Galileo’s censure Frenchman Rene Descartes was intimidated enough to stop writing Le Monde, a book summing up his major philosophical and scientific conclusions. Protestant reformers like Martin Luther and John Calvin also considered Galileo a dangerous lunatic.
The Catholic Church kept Galileo under house arrest for the rest of his life. His conviction was overturned in 1827 and the Holy See admitted he might have been right in 1989.
Supposedly as Galileo was leaving the courtroom he whispered to a friend " eppi si muove !" but it moves! Meaning the earth.

1709- In London the first issue of the Tattler published. “All accounts of gallantry, pleasure, poetry, foreign and domestick news you will have from Saint James Coffeehouse.”

1796- George and Martha Washington sit for painter Gilbert Stuart. Stuart noted that the General was a very uncooperative model. Stuart asked him to take out his dentures because they made his jaw bulge. But then his cheeks looked sunken, so he had him pad them inside with cotton balls. He tried small talk about his famous battles but that made GW even more annoyed. Washington much preferred a discussion on how to raise turnips to reliving his military career. The likeness Stuart painted became the basis for many other paintings and prints. Today it is on the U.S. one dollar bill. Eventually Gilbert Stuart had to move to England, because the only commissions he ever got in the U.S. were people wanting copies of his Washington portrait.

1843- A charter to sell Life Insurance is granted to the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, beginning the American insurance industry.

1861 -THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR BEGAN-For the previous twenty years Southerners and Northerners debated slavery and the right of a state to leave the American union. Guerilla violence had already been raging in border states like Missouri and Kansas when in response to Abraham Lincoln’s election 11 states announced the formation of a new country- The Confederate States of America.
In the tense months after the Southern States declared independence a question arose. Who now owned U.S. Army bases and their property on Southern soil ? Fort Leavenworth & Fort Fisher gave up without a struggle. The one other obvious place was Fort Sumter, sitting out in the middle of Charleston Bay, South Carolina. U.S. Col. Robert Anderson would defend the flag even as he was surrounded by hostile batteries, commanded by his former West Point pupil Gen. Pierre Beauregard.

In the wee hours of April 12th secessionist journalist Edmund Ruffin was allowed to fire the first shot at the fort. After a five hour cannon duel the fort surrendered. Ironically the only fatality was when a soldier was killed by a ruptured cannon while firing a final salute to the lowering Stars & Stripes. This was the almost bloodless beginning to the bloodiest war in U.S. history.
When the war was over Edmund Ruffin wrapped himself in a Confederate flag and shot himself, preferring death to "living in a universe populated by the vile Yankee race!"

1864-THE FORT PILLOW MASSACRE-Confederate cavalry under Nathan Bedford Forrest overran a small Yankee post manned by black troops and pro-union Tennesseans. The Rebels killed 300 of the garrison, just because they were black. Forrest later claimed it was because they refused to surrender and kept fighting after the flag was pulled down, but that is disputed.
Some say his action was to prove black soldiers were cowards. If so, he miscalculated. Thousands of free black men rushed to enlist, dropping on one knee first to take an oath to avenge Fort Pillow. After the Civil War Forrest was the first Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. He resigned when they became too violent even for him. His reputation dogged him the rest of his life.

1865- The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia lays down its arms in a field outside Appomattox Courthouse surrounded by massed union troops. Lee and Grant both were not present. Grant left specific instructions that no union soldiers were to publicly celebrate: ”Those people are no longer our enemies, they are our fellow Americans. We will not exult in their downfall.”
General John Gordon led the ragged procession with the 250 surviving members of the Stonewall Brigade, who began the war as 4,500. Yankee Medal of Honor winner Joshua Chamberlain demonstrated the warrior’s ability to forgive, by commanding his men to salute the Confederates, who snapped to attention and returned salute.
In North Carolina when a hard riding dispatch rider with the news reached the front of Sherman’s western army, one soldier greeted him: “So you’re the sonofabitch I’ve been waiting four years for !”

1911- Cartoonist Winsor McCay opened his vaudeville act with his "Little Nemo" animated short.

1941-The Nazis captured Belgrade, Yugoslavia. The Croats and Serbs paused in their own fratricidal strife to take up sides, the Croats joining the Nazis’ and the Serbs the Soviets. In World War II more Yugoslavs were killed by other Yugoslavs than by the Germans.

1945- PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT DIED. The government knew since 1944 that FDR's health was failing and he would probably die in office. Roosevelt was at his Warm Springs Georgia retreat in the company of an old girlfriend, Lucy Mercer whom he had promised Eleanor never to see again. The assignation was arranged by their daughter Alice, who promised not to tell her mom. Mom found out anyway. FDR’s last words were to his portrait painter Madame Schoumatoff” I have a splitting headache..” then had a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 63.
The nation was shocked. In his Berlin bunker with the Red Army knocking on the door Adolf Hitler was jubilant because he felt this was an astrological omen of final Nazi victory. Gen. MacArthur was still bitter about FDR's broken promises to the Philippines. His first reaction was:" He never used the truth where a good lie would do."
Vice President Harry Truman was enjoying one of his whiskey & poker parties with House Speaker Sam Rayburn when he got the phone call. "Jeezus Christ and General Jackson !!"-was his response. He was rushed to the White House while the staff went crazy looking for a Bible to swear him in -confirming the suspicions of many about FDR's attitude towards religion. Finally a Gideon turned up in a guest room drawer and the 33rd President was sworn in. Truman told Eleanor:" I'll pray for you." Eleanor replied: "No Harry. We'll pray for YOU."

1945- Generals Eisenhower, Bradley and Patton toured a Nazi concentration camp and saw for themselves the full horrors of the Holocaust. Patton threw up. Eisenhower ordered the press to film everything, because as he said:” Someday some people might say this was exaggerated and never happened. Let them see for themselves” As he was leaving the camp Ike turned to a US Army guard and said:” Still need a reason to hate them? I never thought I’d be ashamed to be German. ” Eisenhower’s ancestors emigrated from the Rhineland and settled in Kansas in the 1800’s.

1945-Momotaro: Sacred Sailors (桃太郎 海の神兵, Momotarō: Umi no Shinpei) by Mitssuyo Seo opened. The first Japanese anime, feature-length animated film.

1954- "ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK' recorded by Bill Haley and the Comets- arguably the first true Rock & Roll hit.

1955- the Salk vaccine for Polio made available to the public.

1961-THE FIRST MAN INTO SPACE- Soviet Major Yuri Gargarin aboard Vostok 1.

1981- The first space shuttle Columbia took off. After 26 flawless missions, in 2003 the Columbia broke up and disintegrated upon reentry, killing all aboard.

1983- Harold Washington elected first black Mayor of Chicago.

1992- Euro-Disney, now called Disneyland Paris, opened. It attracted only 50.000 visitors the first year, about ten times less than what was expected. In 1955, the first Disneyland in California drew 100,00 on opening day alone. Many felt it should have been built in Barcelona where the climate was milder. Disneyland Paris finally paid for itself in 1997.

1995- To celebrate David Letterman’s 49t birthday, actress Drew Barrymore climbed up on his desk and flashed her breasts. For once, the bucktoothed talk show host was speechless.

1996- James and the Giant Peach opened in the USA. Directed by Henry Selick.

2003- When US forces occupied Baghdad, troops ignored important cultural landmarks while they secured the Iraqi Oil Ministry. People looted palaces, and the museum of antiquities, defacing and destroying priceless artifacts of Ancient Mesopotamia and Babylonia. Defense Secty Donald Rumsfeld excused this outrage by saying” Hey, …stuff happens..”
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Yesterday’s question: We all have heard of theology. But what is theosophy?

Answer: A religious movement founded in America by a Madame Blavatsky in 1875. Theosophy is a series of non-dogmatic, universalistic beliefs, usually defined as a religion, that are based on spiritual enlightenment and the elevation of humankind.


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