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March 25, 2023
March 25th, 2023

Question: What is a mishigas?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: In literature, who were Gargantua and Pantagruel?
History for 3/25/2023
B-Days: King Henry II Plantagenet, Joachim Murat, Gutzon Borglum, David Lean, Mary Flannery-O’Connor, Arturo Toscanini, Aretha Franklin, Bela Bartok', Howard Cosell, Bonnie Bedelia, Jerry Livingston (writer of Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo), Simone Signoret, Gloria Steinem is 89, Sarah Jessica Parker is 59.

In ancient times this was the feast of Thalia, the goddess of comedy, one of the Nine Muses. In Latin she was called Hilaria. According to the historian Pausanias there was a town that was sacred to Thalia. When you arrived, you had to tell a joke to the locals or they would kill you.

In the medieval London this was Lady Day when streetlights no longer had to be lit after dark.

3019 TA- Frodo Baggins destroyed the one true ring, causing the death of Sauron.

421AD- People fleeing the depredations of Attila the Hun go into the marshes and found the city of Venice.

1306- Robert the Bruce crowned King of Scotland.

1330- Battle of Zebras de Acholes (Tula)- On his deathbed, Scottish king Robert the Bruce asked Earl Douglas of Argyle to take his heart to the Holyland. Black Douglas went on Crusade with the Bruce's heart embalmed in a little lead box, hanging from a silver chain around his neck. In Spain, the Earl was ambushed by a large force of Moors. When Black Douglas realized his hour had come, he hurled the box into the thickest of the foe, and plowed after it, long sword in hand, to go down fighting.

1441-During the Council of Clermont, the Vatican invited Czech Jan Hus under an amnesty to come and explain his Protestant doctrines. After he explained his case, they burned him at the stake. Supposedly we got the expression ‘his goose is cooked’ from the martyrdom of Hus. Hus was the old German word for goose.

1521- FIRST MAN CIRCUMNAVIGATES THE GLOBE- No, it was not Magellan. It was Magellan's 16 year old Malay slave, Enrique. Enrique was taken from his native Sumatra, then Arab merchants brought him to Madagascar where Portuguese sailor Magellan purchased him. He brought him by sea around Africa to Lisbon, then to Spain.
Later Magellan took him with his fleet west to South America and around the Cape into the Pacific and finally to the Philippine Islands. On this day on the isle of Cebu, Enrique found he could converse with the locals. Magellan knew he had done it and reached the Indies by sailing west. After Magellan was killed by natives, while captains stood around wondering what to do next, Enrique jumped overboard and swam home.

1524- Explorer Giuseppe Verrazano with a French fleet going up the coast of North America drop anchor off Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. Verrazano could not see the Carolina coastline beyond the thin isthmus of Diamond Shoals, so he decides the American Continent must become really-really thin in the middle before widening out to Canada. His men strain their eyes for signs of China, beyond what he thinks is the" Pacific". For a century European maps reflected this silly mistake, and Verrazano was later eaten by cannibals.

1586- Margaret Clitherow was a Yorkshire butchers wife who converted to Catholicism in Queen Elizabeth’s time. She held secret masses and sheltered outlawed priests. For this she was “pressed”. Meaning she was laid on the ground with a stone against her back, a door was placed on top of her. On that door they piled 700-800 pounds of stones until she was squished. The Catholic Church declared her a saint in 1970.

1634-The good ships Dove and Ark drop anchor in America bringing 128 English Catholics. The Colony of Maryland founded by Caelius Calvert- Lord Baltimore under former Virginia Gov. De La Ware (Delaware). For the first time in English America a Catholic Mass was held.

1668-First recorded horse race in America.

1815- After Napoleon seized back power in Paris he asked Europe for peace. This day the assembled powers meeting in Vienna declared him an outlaw and enemy of Europe. The issue was decided on the field of Waterloo.

1843- In London, the Thames Tunnel opened. The first tunnel under a major river.

1865- The Battle of Fort Steadman. Robert E Lee tried to break a hole in Ulysses Grants encircling army so he could rush reinforcements to Joe Johnston’s rebel army. They were trying to stop Sherman in South Carolina from marching north and uniting with Grant. It didn’t work.

1911-THE TRIANGLE SHIRTWAIST FIRE- 145 seamstresses, mostly teenage Jewish immigrant girls, burned to death in a horrible office building fire. They could not escape the flames because their employer padlocked them into their sweatshop so they wouldn't take so many breaks, or talk to union organizers. The pavement was littered with dead girls who jumped ten stories to their death rather than burn, while a helpless crowd looked on in horror. They would hold hands and leap to their deaths together.
The factory owners were never charged with any crime. The owners soon opened another clothes factory that was cited for fire safety violations. The tragedy was a major cause of the formation of the ILGWU now called UNITE and the first job safety laws. One of the eyewitnesses to the horror, Frances Perkins, later became Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor. The last survivor of the fire died in 2001 at age 107.

1915- The first modern submarine disaster. The US F-4 went down with 21 sailors.

1916 - Ishi, the last survivor of his Yaqui Indian tribe, died.

1928- Young American composer George Gershwin first arrived in Paris.

1931- The Scottsboro Boys. In Alabama nine young black men were accused of raping two white women in a freight car. Although convicted the case was appealed and retired four times, and only the spotlight of national attention prevented any from being lynched.

1931- Shortly after the invention of automobiles, there were automobile races. This day in the dry lake beds of Muroc California saw the first race car speed trials sanctioned by the American Automobile Assoc. It was the beginning of NASCAR.

1932- Motion Picture Academy President William DeMille, the brother of Cecil B., tried starting a 'Squawk Forum", inviting film industry workers to air their grievances with their studio heads. (and this way they won't try to unionize). The first boss on the hot seat was MGM's Louis B. Mayer. He was greeted with boos, insults and catcalls. The forum quickly devolved into a screaming free for all. Mayer furiously stormed out and preceded to fire all those Metro employees he could remember were there. The Squawk Forum idea was quickly abandoned. Workers continued to organize into craft unions.

1933- Nazis Minister of Propaganda Josef Goebbels offered famed director Fritz Lang a job. Fritz said he’d think about it, then immediately packed his bags for Hollywood.

1943 - The first Japanese anime film premiered " Momotarō no Umiwashi (桃太郎の海鷲,
Momotaro's Divine Sea Eagles" by director Mitsuyo Seo. Momotaro or Peach Boy, was a popular character with children. It ran only 37 minutes.

1944- During World War II, over the Dover coastline, Flight Sgt. Nicholas Alkemade bailed out of his burning Spitfire, and his chute failed to open. He fell 18,000 feet. In a freak occurrence, high on shore winds slowed his descent, and he hit a wet beach that broke his fall. Sgt. Alkemade suffered only a broken ankle. It was a million to one shot. English film director Michael Powell made the incident the basis of his fantasy film with David Niven called "A Matter of Life and Death", released in the US as "Stairway to Heaven”.

1945- The 322 fighter group escorted a large contingent of bombers from Italy to Berlin and back. During the dogfights over Germany the unit’s P-51 fighter planes shot down three German ME-262 jet fighters. No bombers were lost and the 322rd was awarded a special unite citation for bravery. The 322rd Fighter Group were the Tuskeegee Airmen, the Red-Tails, all black pilots. Their commander Benjamin Davis became the first African-American to become a US General.

1945- General Eisenhower told Marshal Stalin that the allied armies would hold back and let the Soviet Red Army take Berlin.

1953- NUMBER 10 RILLINGTON PLACE. A new tenant to this modest flat in London made an awful discovery- behind the walls were the bodies of 4 women, with one more buried under the pea patch. The previous tenant Jack Christie confessed to the murders and was executed. Christie became the most infamous British serial killer since Jack the Ripper.

1954- RCA began mass production and marketing of color television sets. At the time the set cost as much as an automobile, 12 inch screen and there was very little programming in color.

1955- US Customs seize a shipment of 258 copies Alan Ginsburg’s poem Howl printed in the UK on the grounds it was obscene." I saw some of the finest minds of my generation destroyed by madness." Next year when Lawrence Ferlinghetti of San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore printed the poem, he was arrested.

1957-The Rome Treaty establishing the European Economic Community.

1960- Thirty-five years after it was written and published in Europe an American judge ruled that D.H. Lawrence's novel 'Lady Chatterley's Lover" was not pornography and could finally be sold in the U.S. Whaddaya think of that, John-Thomas?

1960- The Moulin Rouge Agreement. After a lot of agitation and arm twisting from Frank Sinatra, the owners of the Las Vegas casinos agreed to integrate. It was so named for the Moulin Rouge Casino, which up to then had been the only casino that allowed black and white patrons to mix freely.

1965- Viola Gregg Liuzzo was a fiesty red-haired wife of a Detroit Teamster official who was so moved watching Martin Luther King’s freedom marchers being beaten up by cops that she drove down to Alabama to offer her help. When her children feared they would never see her again Mrs Liuzzo replied she would "live to pee on your graves".
This night she was driving black marchers from Selma to Montgomery when three Ku Klux Klansmen pulled along side her car and shot her at point blank range. Her case reached up as high as the White House where President Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover spent several anxious meetings over what to do. The Klansmen were rounded up but acquitted by an all-white Alabama jury, then a Federal court gave them six years for violating Mrs. Liuzzo’s civil rights. Viola Liuzzo was the only white woman ever murdered in the 60’s Civil Rights Movement.

1966 - Beatles pose with mutilated dolls & butchered meat for the cover of the "Yesterday & Today" album, It was later pulled.

1967 -The Who & Cream make their US debut at Murray the K's Easter Show.

1969- John Lennon and Yoko Ono began their week-long "love-in" for peace in the bed of Room 902 of the Hilton Hotel, Amsterdam.

1975- King Faisal of Saudi Arabia was assassinated by a nephew. The nephew was beheaded.

1990- The Happy Land Social Club fire. A Cuban man broke up with his girlfriend over drinks in a crowded Latino bar in New York City. The bouncers threw him out when he got abusive. He left the club then returned and splashed gasoline around the one entrance and set it on fire. 87 people died, some so fast that their remains still had their drinks in their hands. It was the worst fire in New York since the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, ironically on this same date.
Quiz: In literature, who were Gargantua and Pantagruel?

Answer: Two giants who go on adventures created by the XVII French writer Francois Rabelais.