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April 30. 2022
April 30th, 2022

Quiz: “Once more into the breach, my friends!”

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Who was Horatio Alger?
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History for 4/30/2022
Birthdays: Elector Johann-Frederich the Magnanimous, Franz Lehar, Joachim von Ribbentropp, Max Skladanowsky, Jaroslav Hasek, Eve Arden, Jill Clayburgh, Alice B. Toklas, Isaiah Thomas, Cloris Leachman, Jane Campion, Al Lewis, Bill Plympton is 75, Lars von Trier, Burt Young is 82, Kirsten Dunst is 40, Gal Gadot is 37.

In ancient Egypt today was Shem El Nessim, Wake up and Smell the Breeze Day, The first recorded Spring Festival in history. As part of the holiday, Egyptians ate a small dried fermented fish called Fessig, which they thought prevented diseases blown in by the desert. Another custom was painting eggs. (hmm….?)

WALPURGISNACHT- In the Hartz Mountains of Germany the eve the Feast Day of St. Walpurga the demon chaser is a Halloween kind of party, when the Devil can romp for a night.

535A.D. -STRANGULATION OF ARMALASUNTHA, queen of the Ostrogoth’s. One hundred years after the fall of Rome, the nomadic Gothic peoples had settled in Southern Europe. The West-Goths or Visigoths across southern France and Spain, the East Goths or Ostrogoth’s across central Italy under their leader Totilla.
But Totilla had now died and his Vandal wife Armalasuntha was trying to fend off rivals to her throne. She had concluded and alliance with the Byzantine Emperor Justinian just before she was overthrown and killed by Totilla’s brother Witimer. She was supposedly strangled in her bath, the latest fad among barbarians (baths I mean, they always had strangulation).
Justinian used her death as the pretext to invade Italy and try and recover the western half of the old Roman Empire. The Ostrogothic nation was at last destroyed by the Byzantine general Narses, who was a eunuch-little person. But the Roman Empire was not recovered and stayed fallen.

1524- The Chevalier Bayard, called the Knight without Equal and above Reproach, was killed covering the French rearguard after the battle of Romagnano. Bayard was considered the last of the great Knights of the Realm. France used his death to count as the End of the Middle Ages. Fittingly, the armored knight was shot by a rifle- a harquebus to be exact. When the fatal bullet struck him, Bayard drew his sword and kissed the handle skyward as a sign of the Cross.
As the Chevalier’s remains were brought out of Italy to Grenoble, simple peasants came out to carry the coffin aloft from hand to hand for miles. At a time when nobles were despised, Bayard was beloved of all people.

1598- Conquistador Don Juan de Onate claims for Spain all of "New Mexico", a province comprising all of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and California. He began an aggressive colonization policy among the Pueblo Indians.

1789- FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES-wearing a suit of Connecticut homespun and a sword on his hip, George Washington was inaugurated on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York as the first President.
John Hancock and John Adams were always annoyed that they weren't made first president before him. Thomas Jefferson originally thought the position of elected ruler ridiculous "So they've saddled us with a Polish King." (The Kings of Poland at the time were elected figureheads with little power). Jefferson was made first Secretary of State. He felt the position was so useless since we had no foreign policy he asked to also be made attorney general so he could do something else to pass the time. Alexander Hamilton wanted to be first Secretary of the Treasury so he could manipulate it into something resembling a Prime Minister. This was the way the Exchequer had evolved in England. At the same time Vice President Adams was hoping for the same kind of power.

But Washington had his own ideas. His animosity with Adams may explain why the Vice Presidency evolved into the useless position it is. And Congress set up the Ways and Means Committee to curb the autocratic methods of Hamilton's Treasury Department. It's amazing that despite all this intrigue the system worked out the way it did....

1803- THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE - Spain had governed Louisiana since the French defeat in the Seven Years War. At first Napoleon Bonaparte dreamt of rebuilding France’s colonial empire. But after his naval defeats and the long war against rebels in Haiti, he soured on the idea. He had duped the King of Spain into giving him back Louisiana in exchange for the Italian Duchy of Parma. The King of Spain’s only stipulation was that should France ever wish to unload Louisiana it must come back to Spain. Napoleon said:" Trust Me!" Then figured he could do the British most damage by selling it to the Yankees. Spain never did get Parma.
The US wanted to buy New Orleans from France the way they bought Alabama from Spain and Maine from England. America's nightmare was England taking Louisiana from France the way they took away Canada in 1759. Then American expansion would be permanently confined to the east coast and the U.S. would be a one time zone country. Napoleon decided not just to sell them The Big Easy but the entire Midwest up to Montana! At the stroke of a pen the land mass of the United States doubled. Such a deal!
Napoleon later wrote: "I have confirmed the might of the United States and in her raised a Rival to England, that will one day Humble her Pride!"

1859- CAMARONE DAY- National Holiday of the French Foreign Legion.
It commemorates a battle during the French Empire in Mexico. 175 legionaries were attacked at a little ranchero called Camarone by thousands of Juaristas. The legionaries fought until only 12 were left alive with no more bullets. When the Mexican commander called upon them to surrender, Capt. Danjou ordered "Fix bayonets and Charge!"
Today the wooden hand of Capt. Danjou is a relic at the Legions headquarters outside Marseilles. Since then to do a gutsy action in Legion parlance is a Camarone. In 1951 in Korea when the Foreign Legion rose from their trenches to fight hand to hand with attacks of Red Chinese soldiers, their cry was "Camarone! "

1897- English Professor J.J Thompson discovered a subatomic particle 100 times smaller than a proton. He called it a 'corpusle' but later changed it to ' The Electron'.

1900- John Luther Jones, called CASEY JONES died in a spectacular train crash near Vaughn Mississippi. Jones' freight train was running 75 minutes late so he stoked up his engine to 100 mph. Suddenly a switching error put a passenger train in his path. Jones stayed at the controls trying to stop the train while his crew jumped to safety. There was a head on collision but because of Jone’s bravery his was the only death. A brakeman later wrote the famous folksong.
Union activists prefer to remember that Jones was a strikebreaker running his train recklessly in defiance of a strike to impress his employers. The union still paid his widow his $3000 dollar life insurance. Folksinger Joe Hill in his song "Casey Jones the Union Scab." tells how when he went to heaven, the Angel’s Union Local #23 "fired Casey down the Golden Stair."

1905- At Evansville Illinois, future baseball umpire Cy Rigler began the practice of raising his right arm to indicate strikes, so that friends in the outfield could distinguish calls.

1916- The Chicago Cubs played their first game in Wrigley Field, then called Weegman Park.

1934- In Berlin hotel, Chancellor Adolf Hitler met Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, who showed him the plans for a cheap inexpensive car the average German worker could afford. The KdF Wagen, A people’s car or VolksWagen. It would become the VW beetle. One of the designers who contributed to the project, Josef Ganz, was outed as a Jew and had to flee the country.

1939- The 1939 World’s Fair opened in Flushing Meadows, NY. The Trylon & Perisphere presided over the gleaming Art-Deco paean to optimism, even as the world waited nervously for Hitler’s next move. With President Franklin D. Roosevelt in attendance the NBC network began regular television broadcasting. It only went to a few homes. Experts were not optimistic." It requires a darkened room and constant attention." one said.

1943- During WWII this day the dead body of an American Major named Martin washed up on a beach in Italy. On the intelligence officer’s body was found sensitive documents outline the coming Allied Invasion of Italy through Sardinia. It was all an elaborate hoax set up by the OSS to fool Nazi strategists on Allied intentions. The body used was an unidentified corpse. It worked. In July when the Anglo-American forces invaded Sicily many of the German heavy forces were far away in Sardinia.

1945- BERLIN FALLS. Sergeants Yegorov and Kantariya raise the red flag over the Reichstag as the last Nazi resistance in the capitol was stamped out. After a late supper of spaghetti and a tossed salad Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun bit down on cyanide capsules and Hitler put a Walthur PPK pistol in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Dr. Josef Goebbels and his family took poison but secretary Martin Bormann decided to take his chances making a run for it. For years it was thought he had made it to Latin America, but in the late 1980's excavations in Berlin found his skeleton under a collapsed building crouching behind a tank.

Hitler even left instructions to have his Alsatian dog Blondi poisoned. The bodies were taken out to a ditch and burned with gasoline. A famous photo of a dead man with a Hitler mustache, was in reality a body double shown to the Russians to throw them off the track. Today, Adolf Hitlers’ skull is sitting in a filing cabinet in Moscow somewhere.
When Marshal Zhukov informed Soviet leader Josef Stalin by telephone of Hitler's death, Uncle Joe said:" Doigralsya, podlets!" So, that's the end of the bastard!"

Soviet troops found in Hitler’s office that he did possess a large world globe like Charlie Chaplin’s film the Great Dictator. The globe had arrows drawn in red pen pointed at England and the United States with Hitler’s handwritten scribbles "Look out! Here I come!". Russians covered the Reich Chancellery building with graffiti- the most popular being "Svenia went to Berlin" a version of the American "Kilroy was Here".

1945- "Arthur Godfrey Time" debuts on CBS radio. Godfrey was a local Washington D.C. deejay who gained nationwide fame for his emotional coverage of the funeral of FDR. He then went from radio to television, hosting the first regularly successful television entertainment program. Godfrey in later life got increasingly hard on his employees and in an infamous incident actually fired singer Julius LaRosa live on the air.

1948- The first civilian Land Rover automobiles produced.

1952- Mr. Potato Head became the first toy advertised on television. Over one million kits will be sold in the first year! Originally invented by George Lerner in 1949 to stuck faces on real vegetables, Mr. Potato Head was sold to brothers Henry and Merrill Hassenfeld in 1951 (the creators of the toy company Hasbro). In 2000 Rhode Island declared itself the Mr Potato Head State. The Hasbro Toy Company is headquartered in Pawtucket, a city just outside of Providence.

1953- Frank Sinatra did his first session at Capitol Records with Nelson Riddle. This is the first recording of crooner Sinatra’s mature style.

1961- In Moscow, Lee Harvey Oswald married Marina Prusakova. He later moved back to the US and became the assassin of President John Kennedy.

1970- President Nixon announced the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. The announcement from a President who ran on a Peace platform was greeted by an explosion of nationwide anti-war protests, climaxing in the Kent State murders.

1973- The Saturday Night Massacre. As the Watergate Scandal accelerated, President Nixon told his senior White House Staff- H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, Nicholas Katzenbach and attorney general John Mitchell, that they were all fired.

1975 -SAIGON FELL. As Huey helicopters lifted the last evacuees off of the US embassy roof, the South Vietnamese capitol city Saigon was taken by the Communist North Vietnamese army. Because initial rocket attacks had damaged the airports runways, all evacuation had to be done by helicopter. The signal to begin was Saigon radio played Bing Crosby’s “ White Christmas”. Over 7,000 people were airlifted out by helicopter to the U.S. fleet, the largest helicopter evacuation ever.
One of the last out was US ambassador William Martin, with the Stars & Stripes folded under his jacket. As North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Thin accepted the surrender of the city he told acting South Vietnamese President Big Minh “ Do not be sad. Only the Americans are defeated. Consider this a moment of Joy.” The Vietnam War, which had been raging on and off for 25 years, finally ended. Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City.

1976- After completing his work on the Rescuers, Disney animator Milt Kahl retired. Shortly after Ralph Bakshi called him and offered him a job on his project Lord of the Rings. Milt replied, “ Thanks, but no thanks. If I wanted to keep doing shit, I would’ve stayed at Disney.”

1980- Bert Lance, White House budget director for President Jimmy Carter was cleared of nine charges of fraud. Lance had once explained the economy thus: " Think of the Inflationary Spiral as a giant corkscrew and think of yourselves as the cork."

1988- Tom Hanks married actress Rita Wilson.

1992- BERN, the Geneva particle lab where the World Wide Web was developed by Tim Berners-Lee, declared that WWW, aka The Web, would be open and free to all with no restrictions or royalties to be paid to them.

1993- In Hamburg, young tennis star Monica Seles had just completed a match when lunatic fan Gunter Parche jumped out of the crowd and stabbed her in the back with a knife. He didn’t want Monica to overtake Stephy Graff, whom he was stalking. Monica Seles recovered and resumed competition but never again regained her world championship poise. Parche spent a little time in prison but was soon released. Stephy Graff did stay the number one seed.

1993- The Walt Disney Company announced its’ purchase of top independent film producer Miramax. They produced films like The Crying Game. Ten years later a feud with Michael Eisner caused Miramax founders the Weinstein brothers to leave and form The Weinstein Company. By the time Miramax was sold off in 2010, it was a shadow of its former self.

1997- In the last show of the season, comedian Ellen Degenere’s character Ellen admits to Laura Dern that she’s gay. Disney promptly canceled the Ellen Show. Ellen returns with a talk show that became even more popular.

2011- At the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, President Obama kept the mood light by poking fun of Donald Trump that he might run for president. Trump never cracked a smile, and resolved there and then he would run for President. As president he ignored the correspondents dinner every year, the only president in a century. Pres. Biden renewed the custom.

2012- The Freedom Tower, was the building made to replace the destroyed World Trade Center. This day its height surpassed that of the Empire State Building, to be the tallest building in New York.
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Yesterday’s Question: Who was Horatio Alger?


Answer: Horatio Alger was a prolific author of boy’s literature that was popular in the mid 19th through the early 20th centuries. Generally, in these stories, boys would overcome their poor circumstances by bravery, intelligence, ingenuity, perseverance, irreproachable morality and maybe a little luck, to rise above their humble origins. A lot of young people like Walt Disney were inspired by the Horatio Alger stories.


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