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August 30, 2023
August 30th, 2023

Question: Among great American inventors, what did William Kennedy-Laurie Dickson do?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What is philately?
History for 8/30/2023
Birthdays: Mary Shelley, Jacques Louis David, Huey Long, Fred MacMurray, Raymond Massey, Ted Williams, John Blondell, Nancy Kulp, Timothy Bottoms, Jean-Claude Killy, Shirley Booth, John Landis, Tug McGraw, Stephen Silver, R. Crumb is 80, Lewis Black is 75, Cameron Diaz is 51

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Fiacre, the Patron Saint of Gardeners.

30 BC- Cleopatra Philopator committed suicide at age 39. Some accounts have her allowing herself to be bitten by a poison asp concealed in a basket, another said she took poison concealed on a hairpin. It was said she killed herself to join her lover Marc Anthony, more likely it was because the victorious Augustus planned to have her dragged through the streets of Rome in a cage while the mob laughed and threw trash at her, then quietly strangled. The snakebite was thought by Egyptians to bestow immortality.
After Julius Caesar's murder, Marc Anthony and Augustus had divided up the Roman Empire east and west. Cleopatra fell in love with Anthony and governed with him from 41 to 31BC. Augustus defeated them in the naval battle of Actium. Octavian Augustus was only Julius Caesar's nephew. Cleopatra had borne Caesar a natural son, Caesarion. Augustus discovered the boy during this turmoil and had him quietly killed. Octavia, Anthony’s jilted wife, took Cleo’s two other children by Anthony and raised them as her own.

304AD- Today is the feast of Saints Felix and Adauctus. Felix was sentenced to be beheaded when a voice in the crowd called out: "I too believe in what this man confesses! Take me too!" The Romans beheaded both of them, but forgot to get the other guy's name. So, it's Saint Felix and Saint What’s-His-Name.

1483- French King Louis XI, “the Spider King” died.

1721- The Treaty of Nystad ending the Great Northern War. The twenty-year struggle ended Sweden’s status as a butt kicking world power and the coming of Russia as a major player. The aging Czar Peter returned to his new capitol Saint Petersburg to cries of Mir Mir!- Peace! He was being called Pyotr Vyelke- Peter the Great.

1784- The Empress of China, a fast-sailing American clipper ship established trade between New England and China. Far East trade had been cut off by the British since the Revolution broke out.

1813- The Fort Mims Massacre- Red Eagle and his Creek warriors kill and scalp 500 whites. This was the pretext for the U.S. army driving the Creek Nation out of Alabama and Mississippi. Red Eagle eventually was defeated by Andy Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. He changed his name to William Weatherford and became a Methodist.

1850- Honolulu became a city.

1861- Western explorer John C. Freemont was given the Civil War command of the department of the west. This included the embattled states of Missouri and Kansas. The Missouri Governor and most of the legislature were pro-Southern. Many city dwellers were pro-abolition, particularly the German and Scandinavian immigrants. They thought the Declaration of Independence was supposed to be taken literally- “All Men Are Created Equal.” Not the local’s interpretation that it doesn’t include black people. Freemont declared that all slaves that fell into his hands would be set free and all citizens caught in arms against the United States would be executed. President Lincoln made him rescind these orders. He was not ready to free the slaves…not yet.

1873- The Royal Canadian Mounted Police- The Mounties formed.

1867- At the University of Göttingen, Albert Niemann isolated the chemical elements of the Columbian coca plant and named the powdery substance Cocaine.

1880- Diablo, chief of the Cibecue Apache, was killed fighting the White Mountain Apache.

1919- THE RED TERROR- Think of the famous assassins of history- Brutus, John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Fanny Kaplan…..Fanny Kaplan? Yep, on this day in Moscow, Socialist Fanya Kaplan fired several bullets into Lenin. Several hours before this attack the head of the Saint Petersburg secret police Moishe Uritsky was assassinated. Uritsky was from an Orthodox Jewish family but joined the Communists like many Jews who hated the Anti-Semitic regime of the Czar.
Lenin survived, Fanny was shot, and the police destroyed all remaining critics of the Bolshevik Revolution. Founder of the Communist Secret police, Felix Derzhinsky, said: Our purpose is not to find justice, but to mete out retribution!”
In twenty months, they jailed and executed more Russians than the Tsar’s police did in the entire Nineteenth Century.
A defining moment in the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was when Russians pulled down the huge statue of Derzhinsky in front of KGB headquarters.

1932- DID CHURCHILL EVER MEET HITLER? In 1932, Winston Churchill was out of government, and travelling in Bavaria to research his biography of the Duke of Marlborough. While in Munich, a mutual friend Ernst “Putzi” Hafstaengl suggested a meeting with the up and coming German politician named Adolf Hitler. This day they were supposed to meet for coffee. But Hitler stood Winston up. “Herr Hitler’ Hanfstaengl said, ‘don’t you realize the Churchills are sitting in the restaurant? They are expecting you for coffee and will think this a deliberate insult.’ Hitler replied, “It is of no consequence. He is out of power. What on earth would I talk to him about?” So they never did meet face to face.

1935- “Top Hat” starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers premiered.

1936- First newspaper comic strip entirely devoted to Donald Duck.

1939- The last peacetime voyage of the HMS Queen Mary left Southampton evacuating Americans fleeing the impending war in Europe. Among the crowd was a large contingent of Hollywood stars like Robert Montgomery, Loretta Young, Bob Hope and Jack Warner who planned to attend the first Cannes Film Festival (postponed until 1946).
The Queen Mary kept radio silence across the ocean to hide from U-Boats. This was wise because her sister ship HMS Athenia was torpedoed.

1939- The first Marvel comic book went on sale. Marvel comic #1, introducing The Human Torch and the Submariner.

1942- Cartoonist Al Kapp premiered his comic strip “Fearless Fosdick”, a spoof of Dick Tracy detective stories.

1945- THE AMERICAN SHOGUN- Gen. Douglas MacArthur landed on mainland Japan as their military governor.
After the ceasefire was announced, there still was a lot of distrust on both sides, and in the streets of Japan gangs of outraged youths and kamikaze pilots fought loyal troops trying to restart the war. Into this turmoil General MacArthur and his staff flew in alone ahead of any other allied occupying troops. He even ordered his staff to leave their pistols behind to show their fearlessness to the Japanese. He also wanted to get there before Admiral Nimitz and the Navy got there first and stole his spotlight.
In a sight that alarmed his staff as MacArthur drove to Yokohama the road was lined on both sides with 30,000 crack Japanese troops standing silent with fixed bayonets.
They were not threatening but saluting their new Shogun. They even faced backwards from the road not looking at MacArthur, a gesture of respect reserved only for the Emperor.
While the still new Truman administration focused on Europe, MacArthur was left with a free hand to reshape Japanese society as he saw fit. He used the power of unquestioning Japanese social discipline to give women the vote, form labor unions and rewrite their constitution, setting the basis of Japanese democracy.

1963- The HOT LINE is set up between the White House and the Kremlin.
It was never really a red telephone, more a coded teletype machine. It was to prevent misunderstandings like the Cuban Missile Crisis the previous year. In 1986 they became a fax machine, and since 2008 a secure e-mail link.
We know now that in 1973 Nixon had put U.S. forces on red alert war footing to prevent the Soviets from intervening in the Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur War. In 1980 the Fail Safe system failed and reported 12,000 Soviet missiles were coming at us over the North Pole. Jimmy Carter had just 5 minutes to decide whether it was a mistake or the dreaded first strike warranting our full retaliation. We're all still here, so I guess you know how Carter chose.

1968- The first 7-11 store opened in Palmdale California. Have a Slurpee!

1975- Ralph Bakshi's film "Coonskin". Bad boy Bakshi's portrayal of African American urban violence was deemed so offensive that it caused the first ever riot at the Museum of Modern Art, and it died at the box office. The film was retitled on video "Streetfight". When Ralph resurfaced, he turned his attention to Sword & Fantasy films.

1979- President Jimmy Carter claimed that while boating on vacation in Georgia he was attacked by an enraged rabbit.

1980- Willie Nelson released his hit song “On the Road Again.”

1983- Lt. Guion Bluford, the first African American in Space, went up on the Challenger space shuttle.

1992- Astronomers Jane Luu and David Jewitt discovered the Kuiper Belt. That out at the edge of our Solar System, where Pluto is, is a second asteroid belt of even more particles and debris.

1993- The David Letterman Show premiered on CBS. Letterman was wooed away from NBC for $42 million bucks.

2012- At the Republican Presidential convention, venerable 80 year old filmmaker Clint Eastwood made a fool out of himself by improvising a rambling dialogue with an empty chair that he meant to be the absent Pres. Barack Obama. Eastwood was supposed to introduce candidate Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech, but his bizarre performance upstaged anything Romney said. This followed the keynote speech by New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who talked only about himself for 16 minutes before he ever mentioned Romney. For this and many other reasons, Romney lost in a landslide.
Yesterday’s Question: What is philately?

Answer: Stamp-collecting.