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August 15, 2023
August 15th, 2023

Quiz: What is spumoni?

Yesterday’s question answered below: What is The Natchez Trace?
History for 8/15/2023
Birthdays: Napoleon Bonaparte, Leon Theremin- inventor of that weird electronic musical instrument that is in all those 1950s flying saucer movies, Samuel Coleridge, Sir Walter Scott, King Frederick Wilhelm I of Prussia 1685, Lawrence of Arabia, Ethel Barrymore, Huntz Hall, Bill Baird, Edna Ferber, Sir Robert Bolt, Rose-Marie, Linda Ellerbee, Gene Upshaw, Oscar Peterson, Shimon Peres, Mike “Mannix” Connors, Nicholas Roeg, Animator Dick Lundy, Julia Child, Anthony Andrews, Ben Afleck is 50, Debra Messing is 54, Jennifer Lawrence is 32.

778 AD Battle of Roncevaux or Roncesvalles. Legendary battle where Charlemagne's top knights -the Paladins: Roland waving his sword Durandel, Oliver, and Ogier the Dane fought to the last against overwhelming odds. In reality the battle was probably a small rearguard border skirmish with hostile Basques tribesmen in the Pyrenees Mountains.
But a poem about the incident called the Song of Roland inflated it into an epic Christian battle against the Muslim Moors, wizards and devils. The Chanson du Roland became the Sgt. Pepper of the Middle Ages, read and enjoyed throughout Europe. When William the Conqueror's Normans went into battle at Hastings in 1066, William’s minstrel Vailletan sang the Song of Roland at full gallop while tossing his sword into the air and catching it like a parade drum major.

1057-Scottish king Macbeth was defeated and killed by Malcolm III Canmore at the Battle of Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire. But did Burnham Wood move to Dunsinane?

1097- DEUS VOLT! GOD WILLS IT! The First Crusade was announced at Clermont by Pope Urban II. Christian Europe decided that the Holy places in Jerusalem should not be in Muslim hands. In his sermon the Pope addressed the assembled knights in their native French: "Christian warriors who continually seek pretexts for war and rape Rejoice! If you must have Blood, then bathe in the Blood of the Infidels, and Christ will count you among his Warriors! Soldiers of Hell, become Soldiers of the Living God!”
They sewed small strips of red cloth in a cross on their left shoulders and began with a massacre of any Jews they could find. History is at a loss to find any comparable social phenomenon. It took Islam a generation to understand that this was a Christian Jihad (Holy war) declared on them. The Muslim Emirs were just as feudally divided as the European warlords, until they united under Saladin.

1100s-1400s- PAX DEI- The Medieval Church tried to limit the carnage of knights fighting and feuding by declaring a Truce of God between Lent and this, the beginning of the harvest season. It sometimes worked, but slaying infidels was still okay year-round.

1261 Byzantine Emperor Constantine VIII came from Nicea and recaptured his capitol Constantinople from the Crusader knights who had occupied it since 1209.

1457 – The earliest dated bound book, The "Mainz Psalter," completed.

1519- Panama City, Panama founded.

1535- Ascension Paraguay founded.

1549- First Christian missionaries arrive in Japan. A band of Spanish Jesuits led by Father Francis Xavier landed in Kagoshima on the island of Kysuhu.

1598- Irish Earl Hugh O’Neill of Tyrone defeated an English Army at Yellow Ford.

1649- THE IRONSIDE CONQUEST- Oliver Cromwell brought his New Model Army over to Ireland to crush the Irish rebellion. His depredations wreaked upon the population of Ireland are still recalled as the Curse of Cromwell. Mass death of this kind would not visit the Emerald Isle again until the Great Potato Famine of 1846.

1794- The first U.S. coin minted in the United States, a silver dollar. Minting of colonial and state currencies had been going on in America for years, Continental Eagles and such. There was a phrase then for something of no value, “ Not worth a Continental.” The word Dollar is derived from Thaler from JacobsThaler, meaning from the Gift of St. Jacob, a Czech mountain valley where there were rich silver deposits.

1806- For his birthday, Napoleon dedicated the cornerstone for the Arc de Triomphe.

1812- English General Issac Brock turned back a U.S. invasion of Canada, and captured the Yankee settlement of Detroit.

1824- The Marquis de Lafayette, now retired, returned to America for a grand tour of the new nation he did so much to create. A lot of towns in the South were named Fayette, Lafayette and Lafayetteville from this tour.

1843- Tivoli Gardens opened in Copenhagen. One of the oldest amusement parks in the world. King Christian said. “When people are amused, they don’t worry about politics.” Hans Christian Andersen was a frequent visitor. One hundred years later, Walt Disney visited to get inspiration for his Disneyland.

1848 - M Waldo Hanchett patented the dental chair.

1885- Sir Richard Burton completed his translation from medieval Persian of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights. There had been earlier attempts like a French edition in 1809, but Burton’s edition introduced the west to Aladdin and his magic lamp, Sinbad the Sailor and Scheherazade.

1911- Proctor & Gamble introduced Crisco shortening.

1914- After ten years labor, the Panama Canal opened for regular service.

1935- Humorist writer Will Rogers and his pilot Wiley Post were killed when their small plane crashed in Barrow, Alaska.

1936- Disney animator Ward Kimball married painter Betty Lawyer-Kimball.

1939 - In 1st night game at Comiskey Park, Sox beat Browns 5-2.

1944- Operation Dragoon. To support the Normandy beachheads landings a second landing was made by allied armies on the southern French beaches near Marseilles.

1945- The US officially ended wartime gasoline rationing.

1946- Disney’s Make Mine Music, featuring Blue Bayou, All the Cats Join In, and Willie the Operatic Whale.

1947-"The Stroke of Midnight" India and Pakistan, the Jewel in the Crown, got their freedom from Britain after 200 years. The end of the Raj.

1948- Syngmun Rhee elected first president of the Republic of South Korea. The Russians saw this as a direct challenge to their hold over the North and quickly choose communist Kim Dae Jung as the leader of North Korea. What began as a postwar temporary partition of the Korean peninsula was made complete.

1958 - Buddy Holly wed Maria Santiago.

1960- The Congo (Brazzaville) declared independence from France. It had been renamed Zaire for a while, but is back to the Republic of the Congo today.

1965- The Beatles play their largest U.S. concert yet, at New York's Shea Stadium.

1968- The pirate radio station Radio Free London began transmitting.

1969- WOODSTOCK-Three Days of Peace and Music- The rock concert of the 20th Century opened. The promoters, one of whom was heir to the Polident Denture Cream fortune, were hoping to host 50,000 people and launch a recording studio in the quiet New York farming town. What they got was 500,000 young fans and the social phenomenon that defined an age. At one point the more conservative elements of the community got a court order to block the land to be used, but farmer Max Yasgur offered his cow farm for the site.
Up till then in the tumultuous 1960’s, any gathering of young people that big meant violence and riot, and at one point New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller offered to send in the National Guard. But the magic prevailed and there was no violence outside of 200 bad acid trips and one heroin overdose.
Richie Havens was the first act to play, he did six sets and kept stalling because the crowd was so immense, they had to bring in the other bands by helicopter. When he ran out of songs to sing, Havens started riffing anything he could think of. This way Havens created his most famous tune “Freedom” with added in spirituals like “Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child”. After his death in 2013, his ashes were scattered at the Woodstock site.

1971- President Nixon announced a sweeping economic package including taking the U.S. dollar off the Gold Standard. The world's most stable currency being so transformed created the wildly free-flowing currency market we have today. When warned of this consequence, President Nixon is supposed to have replied: "I don't give a sh*t about the Lire."

1971- Bahrain declared independence from Britain.

1973- Westworld with Yul Brynner and Richard Benjamin opened.

1977- THE WOW SIGNAL- Project SETI- Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence- heard something. It sounds like static to us, but it was a strong electromagnetic signal on a regular narrow band AM radio frequency emanating from deep space. So far, it has never been adequately explained away or repeated. SETI scientist Jerry Ehmen noted in his log for that night “….wow!”

1979- Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam epic “Apocalypse Now” opened. Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, young Harrison Ford and even younger Lawrence Fishburne. Pixar director Ronnie Del Carmen (Inside Out) got his first job as a student painting scenery.

1984- “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension” opened nationwide.

2021- Twenty years after being driven out of power by an American led coalition, the Taliban re-captured the Afghan capital Kabul. Called The Graveyard of Empires, the Afghans have only completely submitted once, to Alexander the Great.
Yesterday’s Quiz: What is The Natchez Trace?

Answer: A forest trail in Tennessee. Since the Ice Age, used by animals, then Indians, then early white settlers. The Trace went from where Nashville would one day be , and wound its way through the dense forests, down to Natchez Mississippi. Connecting the Cumberland, Tennesssee Rivers with the Mississippi. Steamboats and railroads eventully made the Natchez Trace obsolete. But the trail is a beautiful place to hike today.