February 17th, 2008 Sunday
February 17th, 2008
Quiz: Was Cyrano de Bergerac a real person?
Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: Why did L. Frank Baum call his fantasy land over the rainbow, the Land of Oz?
History for 2/17/2008
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, Montgomery Ward, Red Barber, Michael Jordan, Marian Anderson, C'haim Potok, Jim Brown, Rene Russo, Michael Bay, Cybil Shepard, Denise Richards is 37 and Paris Hilton is 27
3,201BC- According to Sumerian records from today in the month of Hilu to the month of Eshil-March 30th occurred the GREAT FLOOD, that the story of the flood of Noah in the Bible was based on. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the 1920’s theorized that the Great Flood was the tidal backwash caused by the sinking of the lost continent of Atlantis.
1673- MOLIERE DIED. The great playwright was suffering from tuberculosis and was in failing health, but he insisting on playing the lead in his final play "The Imaginary Illness". Tonight when asked to rest instead he responded" There are fifty workman here who won’t get paid if we don’t play". He played Argan, a hypochondriac who imagined himself dying.
In the final act he uttered the word "Juro I swear," and was seized with a violent coughing fit. He covered with a joke and finished the play, but later was carried home where he died choking on his own blood. The local priest refused to come and give him Last Rights because of his Tartuffe making fun of religious types. Moliere was one of the greatest playwrights and poets of the age and Frenchmen equate him with Shakespeare.
1864-THE FIRST SUCCESSFUL SUBMARINE ATTACK-. The Confederate submarine Hunley ,after testing that drowned 23 men including the inventor, sails, err, chuggs, actually it was driven with a screw turned propeller -screws it's way to Yankee ships blockading Charleston Harbor. It attaches a underwater bomb called a David to the hull of the U.S.S. Housatonic. The david exploded sinking the Housatonic, but it also dragged down the Hunley and it’s 13 man crew to a watery grave. The first modern diesel/electric submarine was developed by John Holland in 1894. Recently archaeologists raised the Hunley from the harbor and even found the lucky gold dollar the captain kept in his pocket. Researchers also found the graves of one of the earlier test crews under the concrete foundation of a Charleston football stadium.
1865- Gen. Sherman burns Columbia, S.C. The POPULARITY OF THE CIGARETTE- By Jan 1865, Everyone knew the Civil War was almost over, yet try and reason with Uncle Billy Sherman. His army, fresh from burning Georgia, now spread a wide path of destruction through the Carolinas. When Sherman's men reached the capitol of South Carolina, they took special revenge in destroying the city where the first vote to secede took place. Yankee's sang "Hail Columbia, Happy Land; If I don't burn you I'll be damned!" Cigarettes were gaining popularity in Spain and Latin American while in the U.S. tobacco was taken chiefly in cigars, pipes and chaw. A South Carolina planter in Durham had just finished developing the perfect mild blend of cigarette tobaccos, Bull Durham, when Sherman's bluecoats arrived to loot and torch the factory. Instead of tragedy things worked out well for the fellow. After the Civil War the Yankees went home to towns from Maine to California and talked of the good smoke they had in Carolina. Soon it was a national passion. Hey man, you got any papers?
1876- The invention of canned sardines.
1877- THE SATSUMA REBELLION-Part of the modernizing of Japanese society after the Mejii Restoration was the phasing out of the Samurai class. Some moved into the officer corps of the new western trained army. Many of the samurai, rather than bear the shame of demotion to peasantry, emigrated to Hawaii under the invitation of King David Kalakaua IV. But some samurai didn’t go quietly. When ordered by the government to give up their swords, a large samurai army led by Takamuri Saigo revolted and has to be put down in several bloody battles. Takamuri committed suicide but later all is forgiven. One of the Satsuma clan retainers will go to the Naval Academy and become Grand Admiral Togo, father of the modern Japanese Navy. The Tom Cruise 2001 film The Last Samurai was about this event.
Modern statue of Takamuri Saigo
1906- In a White House wedding ceremony President Teddy Roosevelt saw his eldest daughter Alice married to Congressman Nicholas Longworth of Ohio. Alice was as free spirited as her father, Once when confronted about her escapades Teddy remarked " I can run the country or control Alice, but I cannot do both."
1911- General Motors installed in their Cadillacs the first automatic starters, replacing the handcrank. It was developed by Charles Kettering, the reason he did it was because a friend of his stopped to assist a young lady's who's engine had stalled. When he tried to get the engine started again using the hand crank, it kicked back and hit him in the jaw, breaking it and eventually causing gangrene, which eventually killed him. Kettering spent many years at GM and started the Delco brand of auto parts. He also was responsible for fast drying paint which allowed a car to be painted in almost instantly on an assembly line instead of days. He sold the idea to an unbelieving client by having his car taken from the parking lot, painted and returned over a long lunch.
1912- THE NEW YORK ARMORY SHOW-Mabel Dodge and Gertrude Stein introduce Post expressionist modern art to the U.S. public. The first U.S. showings of Picasso, Matisse, Duchamp and the Italian futurists. The show was denounced as a "chamber of horrors" and Matisse was burned in effigy in Chicago. Marcel Duchamp's "Nude Descending a Staircase" was described by an art critic as "an explosion in a shingle factory". Duchamp was highly gratified, I believe.
1925- First issue of Harold Ross’s The New Yorker magazine.
1934- Pennsylvanian Amos Neyhardt started the first drivers education course.
1942- Ernst Lubitsch’s screwball comedy about the Nazis "To Be , Or Not To Be"debuted. Adolf Hitler enters a room and after everyone "Seig Heil" salutes him, he replies "Heil Myself !" But the film flopped because it’s female star Carole Lombard died tragically in a plane crash shortly before the premiere.
1958 – Johnny Hart’s comic strip "BC" 1st appears
1967 – The Beatles release "Penny Lane" & "Strawberry Fields"
1979- A Prairie Home Companion radio show starring Garrison Keilor was first broadcast nationally. It was a feature on Minnesota Public Radio since 1974.
1987- Soviet premiere Mikhail Gorbachev revealed President Ronald Reagan's preoccupation with space aliens: "At our meeting in Geneva, the U.S. President said that if the earth faced an invasion by extraterrestrials, the United States and the Soviet Union would join forces to repel such an invasion. I shall not dispute the hypothesis, though I think it's early yet to worry about such an intrusion..."
1989- "Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure" premiered starring the most excellent Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter. Whoah-Dude!
2008- The province of Kossovo declares it's independence. This is the last part of the old nation of Yugoslavia to break apart, a process that began with the death of Tito in 1991.
Yesterday’s Quiz: Why did L. Frank Baum call his fantasyland over the rainbow, the Land of Oz?
Answer: While he was writing stories, Baum tried many careers like theater manager and door to door china salesman. In 1900 he tried to publish a book he called first called the Wizard of the Emerald City. But the publisher had a superstition about gemstones and asked him to change the title. At the time he was a reporter for the Chicago Evening Post. He looked around for an idea, when he noticed the files inside his desk. He saw files listed A-N, and O-Z, Oz. And so Wonderful Wizard of Oz it became. It became the best selling children’s book two years running and a hit play in 1902.