BACK to Blog Posts

Feb. 10, 2023
February 10th, 2023

Quiz: During wars, US soldiers would refer to their enemy with derogatory nicknames. In WWII, the German enemy was called “Krauts”. During the Vietnam War, the Vietcong was referred to as “Charlie”. What did Yanks call the Iraqi fighters during the 2003-2011 Iraq War?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: What is an imbroglio?
History for 2/10/2023
Birthdays: Former British PM Harold Macmillan, Jimmy Durante, Bertholdt Brecht, Leontyne Price, Roberta Flack, tennis great Bill Tilden, Lon Chaney Jr., Stella Adler, Mark Spitz, Boris Pasternak, Dame Judith Anderson, Greg Norman, Donavan, Dr Alex Comfort author of the Joy of Sex, Michael Apted, Jerry Goldsmith, Robert Wagner, Laura Dern is 56

1531- King Henry VIII demanded the Convocation of English Bishops acknowledge him as “ Supreme Head of the Church and Clergy of England” After much dallying, rejected compromises and threats, the Bishops agreed. Their spokesman archbishop Warham later renounced the decision on his deathbed.

In the myriad of Protestant sects popping up as the Reformation spread throughout Europe the most radical was the Anabaptists. They took the idea of living simply like the Old Testament to an advanced form of anarchist communism- no leaders, no private property. This day mobs of Anabaptists drove out the Bishop of the German City of Munster and declared the city The New Jerusalem. Their leader John of Leyden lived like an Old Testament King in rich clothing with several wives.
After the Imperial German forces recaptured the city with horrible massacre (see June 24th) the Anabaptist movement was suppressed- except… one Anabaptist preacher named Menno Simmons reformed the movement stressing simple non-political farm life. His group the Mennonites established communities in the America, Canada and Russia.

1722- Although not as famous as Blackbeard or Captain Kidd, Bartholomew Roberts was one of the most notorious pirates that ever flew the Jolly Roger. J.M. Barrie used him as the model for Captain Hook. This day he met his end when the British warship HMS Swallow caught up with his ship the Royal Fortune off Cape Lopez in Gabon. The pirates had taken a merchantman the night before so most of them were too drunk or hung-over to fight. Captain Roberts bellowed defiance, but as luck would have it, he was struck dead by the first cannonball from the very first broadside the British fired.
His men threw his body overboard and after a short fight surrendered. The pirates were rounded up and sent in chains to the Cape Coast in Ghana where an Admiralty Court hanged 54, the largest one time pirate hanging ever.

1763- THE TREATY OF PARIS- Ending the Seven Years War (The French and Indian War). Europe makes peace and France yields to England all of her territory in India and Canada. Spain gets Louisiana. “Half a continent changed hands with the scratch of a pen”. To ensure speedy approval of the treaty, Prime Minister Pitt the Elder set up a booth outside the Parliament to hand out cash bribes to the M.P.s as they walked in to vote.
The French were bitter but philosophical. Minister Choiseul predicted:" With our threat removed, the Americans will try for independence in ten years." American colonial representative Benjamin Franklin reassured London:" Freedom is the last thing Americans want...."

1799- Napoleon marched out of Cairo at the head of his French expeditionary Army. He headed north towards Jerusalem but was stopped at the city of Jaffa.

1814- THE GREAT WEEK- Napoleon's enemies, figuring the little bastard can't be everywhere at once, invade France from five directions with five armies, all aimed at Paris. Napoleon with a small force of 15-year-old draftees defeated all five spearheads in one week. Today was the Battle of Champaubert.

1825- Gideon Mantell reported the discovery of an Iguanadon from the sandstone in Tilgate Sussex. He called it such because the teeth of the fossil resembled to him those of a large iguana.

1837- Russia’s greatest poet Alexander Pushkin died of wounds from fighting a duel defending his wife's honor. His last words were directed to his books "Farewell, my friends..." Pushkin was the great, great grandson of a black man Abram Gannibal, brought from Cameroon to serve Czar Peter the Great in his Moorish Guard.

1840- English Queen Victoria married a minor German prince named Albert of Saxe Coburg-Gotha. It becomes a real love-match, and they produced children who would occupy the thrones of Europe. Their common belief in strong moral values above all transformed English society into something truly Victorian. Victoria began the custom of brides always wearing white. Albert set men’s fashion trends like tuxedos, suits with neckties and sideburns; he also introduced to Britain and later America to the German custom of Christmas trees.

1846- After their temples in Navoo Illinois were burned by mobs, the Mormons under Brigham Young left for their trek to Utah.

1862- After a hard night partying with fellow poet Swinburne, pre-Raphaelite Dante Rossetti returned home to find his wife dead of an opium overdose.

1863- Alanson Crane invented the Fire Extinguisher.

1870- Anaheim California was founded. No Disneyland yet. The name means Ana, as in Santa Anna River, and Heim, the German word for home. So- Home of the Santa Anna Rover. The town was founded by 50 German immigrants families who wanted to raise grapes and build a socialist commune.

1888- The City of Long Beach incorporated.

1906- King Edward VII launched a new British design superbattleship called HMS Dreadnought. In the early twentieth century battleships were like nuclear weapons; the number and size showed the world how important a power you were. The Dreadnought class launched a new arms race, as the world’s navies spent millions to build more.

1907- THE EUHLENDBERG SCANDAL- Three of Kaiser Wilhelm's closest aides are accused by a socialist opposition newspaper of being gay. The aides, including the Kaiser's personal friend Count Phillip zu Euhlenburg, who carried on an affair with Count Kuno von Molkte, military governor of Berlin! They sued in court, but were disgraced and ostracized in the same way writer Oscar Wilde was in England. The scandal shocked German society, and the Kaiser suffered a nervous breakdown. That year the preferred pick-up line in the gay hangouts of Paris was “ Parlez vous Alemand?” “Do you speak German?”

1920- Major League Baseball banned the spitball pitch, scuff ball, licorice ball, all attempts to effect a baseball by defacing its surface.

1929- Elsa Lanchester married Charles Laughton.

1938- RKO screwball comedy with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant “Bringing Up Baby” premiered. Directed by Howard Hawks.

1940- MGM's "Puss gets the Boot" the first Tom and Jerry cartoon and the first collaboration of the team of Bill Hanna & Joe Barbera.

1940- Despite the dangerously low manpower to fight the Nazis in North Africa, the British Cabinet voted to overrule Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and not arm the Jews in Palestine, for fear of angering the local Arabs.

1941- Nazi planes bombed Iceland.

1943- DUCT TAPE- During WW2, Miss Vesta Stout worked at a defense plant in Illinois. She noticed the way ammunition boxes were sealed required some effort to open. This could cost precious time in battle. She suggested they develop a strong cloth tape that could be torn open without scissors. Her supervisors ignored her. So she wrote President Roosevelt this day. FDR loved the idea, and ordered it implemented. Because developers waterproofed the tape, they called it Duct Tape. G.I.s liked the tape so much, they began using it for everyday repairs, even to close wounds. I’m not sure when it was ever used on ducts.

1949- The premiere of Arthur Miller’s play "Death of a Salesman”.

1960- Jack Paar was the star and host of NBC’s The Tonight Show. He pioneered the talk show format, the opening monologue and couch, that everyone uses today. He tried to tell one joke about a woman in a water closet (i.e. toilet) when the network censors cut the joke. Jack Paar was so angry, that in the middle of this show, he stood up, exclaimed “ There’s gotta be better ways to make a living,” and walked off the show. A few weeks later he was convinced to return, but he left permanently in 1962. His celebrity status faded while his successor Johnny Carson became famous. Paar later admitted quitting was the biggest mistake of his life.

1962- U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, shot down over Russia in 1960, was finally traded back to the U.S. for top Soviet spy Alexander Abel. In his memoirs, Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev later confided to Kennedy that he kept Col. Powers through the American election of 1960, because he didn't want "that s.o.b. Nixon" to have the advantage.

1966- CBS co-ops broadcasting the senate Kennan Hearings on the conduct of the Vietnam War with reruns of "I Love Lucy'. CBS news division president Fred Friendly quit in protest.

1966- Jaqueline Susanne’s novel The Valley of the Dolls first published. Although critics considered it cheap and trashy- Time Magazine called it “Dirty Book of the Month”, and Truman Capote called Susanne in her heavy sixties eye shadow, a “Truck Driver in Drag” Valley of the Dolls sold like wildfire. Its frank portrayal of single women enjoying casual sex and taking drugs in suburbia was a big step in the sexual revolution of the 1960’s.

1966- Author Ralph Nader gained national fame when he testified to the Senate about the lax standards of auto safety. His greatest criticism was for GM’s Corvair. General Motors responded with a smear campaign trying to paint Nader as gay and anti-Semitic. Nader successfully sued them in court. Many of his consumer advocates ideas are mandatory today like seat belts and listing gas efficiency on the sales sticker.

1968- Operation Fractured Jaw. Secret memo only released in 2018 showed the Pentagon had plans to use nuclear weapons to win the Vietnam War. Several days later, LBJ cancelled their plan.

1992- The children’s book- The Stinky Cheese Man debuted.

1996- IBM computer Deep Blue defeated world chess master Garry Kasparov. The first time a computer ever beat a human chess champion.
Yesterday’s question: What is an imbroglio?

Answer: An embarrassing confusing mess. A tangle.