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Oct. 23, 2023
October 23rd, 2023

Question: What does it mean when you describe someone as being droll?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: What is meant by “a flash in the pan”?
History for 10/23/2023
Birthdays; Johnny Carson, Adlai Stevenson, Pele, Zioniev, Weird Al Yankovic, Dwight Yoakham, Michael Crichton, Chi-Chi Rodriquez, Phillip Kaufman, porn star Jasmine St. Claire, Gummo Marx, Ang Lee is 69, Ryan Reynolds is 47, Sam Raimi is 64

42 BC- Battle of Phillipi- The forces of Marc Anthony and Octavian defeated the legions of Brutus and Cassius in Greece. Both assassins of Julius Caesar, Marcus Brutus and Cassius Longinus, were killed.

524 AD- BOETHIUS- After the Fall of the Roman Empire in 476, for awhile the Roman Senate answered to Theodoric the King of the Goths in Italy, the way they once answered to the emperor. The Christian Senator Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius had risen to be chief counselor to Theodoric. But the old barbarian became increasing suspicious of plots around him.
Boethius was falsely accused of plotting against the king’s life and this day Theodoric had him executed. Goths tied a rope around his temples and twisted it until his eyes popped out, then he was beaten to death with clubs. According to the chronicle, as soon as Boethius was dead Theodoric felt sorry and wept for his friend.
The reason we remember this story was while Boethius was in prison awaiting death he wrote one of the great works of western philosophy- THE CONSOLATION OF PHILOSOPHY. It was one of the first great works of Christian thinking since the Gospels and bridged the transition from pagan philosophy to Christian.

1642- The Battle of Edgehill- First battle of the English Civil War, King Charles Cavaliers-1, Roundheads-0. Even though the Parliamentary forces were defeated, the King hesitated when his impulsive cavalry general Prince Rupert wanted to pursue the enemy to London. It was the best chance King Charles ever had to crush the rebellion at one grand blow, but Charles delayed and let the opportunity slip away. The Parliamentary Army was under the command of the Earl of Essex, who traveled around with a coffin and burial shroud among his personal baggage. An ancestor of Walt Disney fought there for the king. The Edgehill Battlefield is considered one of the most haunted areas in Britain. It is actually listed as such in the British Office of Public Records.

1812- THE MALET PLOT-While Napoleon was retreating from Moscow, thousands of miles away all France waited anxiously for news. This day an escaped lunatic general named Malet convinced everyone that Napoleon was dead in Russia. In the ensuing panic, Malet actually succeeded in taking over the government for a few days.
Eventually, everything was straightened out and Malet imprisoned. But it was terribly discouraging to Napoleon; he had hoped to build a dynasty to last generations. But it took just one nut and some fake news to show how shallow support for his regime was.

1917- In a secret meeting in Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg) all the various left wing Russian political parties: Mensheviks, Anarchists, Utopian Socialists and Narodniks agreed to unite under Lenin’s Bolshevik Party and adopt their plan to violently seize power. After seizing power, Lenin had them all suppressed. The assassin who shot and wounded him in 1921 was an angry Socialist.

1923- The German postwar economy collapsed. Raging inflation makes it 6 billion Deutschmarks to one U.S. dollar. The few workers who had jobs are paid every other day and it takes a wheelbarrow full of money to buy a loaf of bread. The major industrial region of the Ruhr was under foreign occupation. These conditions made the rise of Adolf Hitler possible. The creeping depression afflicting the war-ruined European economies would help collapse the American banking system in 1929.

1927- Charles Lindbergh finally returned to Roosevelt Field Long Island. It was his starting point of an epic tour around the U.S. to celebrate his successful solo crossing of the Atlantic. For the last several months Lindbergh toured 80 U.S. cities, much of it flying town-to-town in his little plane The Spirit of St Louis. In so doing, Lindbergh taught Americans that travel by air was a safe, easy alternative to railroads.

1928- A financial consortium led by Wall St. banker-bootlegger Joseph Kennedy Sr. bought the Keith Albee theater circuit and merged it with the Radio Company and the Orpheum theaters to form Radio-Keith-Orpheum or RKO pictures. After Joe Kennedy met with the other Hollywood moguls he told a friend: ”They’re all a bunch of Austrian Pants Pressers! I can take their businesses away from them!” Kennedy made a quick killing then got out of the picture business in 1930, just before the Depression dropped his studios stock value. RKO made films like King Kong, Fort Apache, Snow White and Citizen Kane before merging into Desilu in 1957.

1930- The first Miniature Golf tournament held in Chattanooga Tenn.

1931- Chicago gangster Al Capone sentenced to 11 years in Alcatraz for federal income tax evasion.

1935- New York gangster Dutch Schultz was rubbed out. The erratic Schultz (real name Arthur Fleigenheimer) had announced to the other mob bosses that Federal prosecutor Thomas Dewey was getting too close, so he would kill him. To the syndicate, killing such a high profile fed was going too far and would bring the wrath of Washington down on them, so Lucky Luciano decided it was easier to take care of the Dutchman instead.
Schultz was having dinner at the Bob Treat Porkchop House in Newark with his crooked accountant "Abadaba" (a corruption of Abracadabra ) when he excused himself to go to the men’s room. Hitmen followed him in and shot him six times while at the urinal. Gee, I hope he zipped up.....

1940- HITLER MET FRANCO- Hitler and Mussolini spent large sums of men and material to help Franco win the Spanish Civil War. Now they wanted payback in form of an alliance. However, they could not strike a bargain and Franco declared Spain neutral in the World War. After the talks Hitler says of his negotiations with Franco:" I'd rather have 3 or 4 teeth extracted than go through that again!"

1940- Shooting on the film Citizen Kane wrapped.

1941- Walt Disney’s Dumbo premiered.

1942- EL ALAMEIN- Montgomery's British 8th Army threw 2,500 new American-made Sherman and Grant tanks against Rommel's Afrika Korps threatening Cairo and the Suez Canal. Rommel the Desert Fox was on sick leave in Germany with diphtheria and Rommels' replacement, General Stumme, dropped dead of a heart attack in the middle of the battle. Rommel flew back to try and stop the British attack, but by Nov.4th he had to accept defeat and abandon his Egyptian positions. Hitler had made Rommel a field marshal “ I wish he had given me another Panzer division instead” was his reply.

1955-Vietnamese Emperor Bao Dai abdicated to a South Vietnamese Republic set up outside of and ignoring Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh communists.

1956- The Hungarian Rising of Inver Nagy. Inspired by the seeming liberalism Nikita Khrushchev was bringing to Moscow, thousands marched to the statue of the poet Petofi to read his poem "Arise, Hungarians!" and burn newspaper torches. It turned out Khrushchev wasn't as liberal as they thought, a month later hundreds of Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest to crush them.

1968-THE FIRST OCTOBER SURPRISE- Pres. Johnson was pushing secret peace talks to end the Vietnam War before he left office. Secret messages from South Vietnamese ambassador Bo Diem to the Saigon government confirmed that the Republican leaders like Richard Nixon were assuring the South Vietnamese that if they didn’t make peace before the American elections, Nixon would support them. On Nov 2nd, President Nguyen Van Thieu withdrew from the peace table and talks collapsed. Richard Nixon won election and the war went on 7 more bloody years and double the casualties.

1971-Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida opened.

1973- President Richard Nixon ordered a worldwide red alert of our strategic nuclear forces to warn the Soviets not to take advantage of U.S. domestic turmoil over Watergate. Soviet ambassador Andrei Dobrynin wrote in his memoirs that Secretary of State Henry Kissinger telephoned and apologized to him for the alert. He said that it was only done to distract the U.S. media and public from the festering Watergate scandal.

1983- Jessica Savitch was one of the first women journalists to break the barrier for women getting the top anchor jobs in network news broadcasting. This day she died in a car accident.

1983- President Ronald Reagan had sent U.S. Marines into civil war torn Beirut to achieve peace. This day a suicide bomber drove a truck full of dynamite into the Marines barracks, killing 241 men in their sleep. Reagan then withdrew the remaining Marines. Their whole intervention in Beirut accomplished nothing.

1987- Judge Robert Bork was defeated in his bid for a seat on the Supreme Court. Besides offending Liberals by being a longtime Conservative stalwart, he offended Conservatives by admitting under oath he smoked marijuana.

2001- Apple Computers launched the ipod. Once you could collect all your favorite songs in a little device, it sealed the doom of the record industry. Ipods were made obsolete by iphones in 2007.

2007- Massive brush fires north of San Diego California displaced one million people, the largest number of U.S. refugees since The Civil War.
Yesterday’s Question: What is meant by “ A flash in the pan”?

Answer: In old fashioned muskets the place where the hammer flint struck the gunpowder to fire the bullet was called the pan. Sometimes if a proper amount of gunpowder was not in the pan it ignited but failed to fire the charge. That was called a flash in the pan. Today it has come to mean someone or something that draws a lot of attention for a moment, but it means nothing and is quickly forgotten.