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April 1st, 2008
April 1st, 2008

Quiz: What is the difference between Lager, Pilsner and Blonde Beer?

Yesterday's Answer below: What is mean by "The Writing on the Wall."
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History for 4/1/2008

Welcome to April, named for Aprilis, an Etruscan Goddess of Agriculture and planting or it may even be a corruption of the name of the Greek Aphrodite, the goddess of love. The month was considered by Romans sacred to Venus- Venuralia.

To Ancient Egyptians it was the birthday of the God Het-Heth or Hathor. http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_april_calendar.htm

Happy April Fool’s Day – The Ancient Romans considered today ALL FOOLS DAY-a day of comedy- they did things backwards, men and women swapped clothes and carried on. Before the Gregorian Reforms in 1582 some Old Style Calendars had the year begin in April instead of January. As the new modern calendar became more widely accepted the people who stubbornly clung to the old practice were made fun of and called April-Fools.

"This is the day upon which we are reminded what we really are on the other three hundred and sixty four.." -Mark Twain

Birthdays: Edmund Rostand, Lon Chaney, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Ali McGraw, Toshiro Mifune, Big Jim Fisk, Debbie Reynolds, Hans Conreid the voice of Captain Hook in Disney's Peter Pan, Wallace Beery, Jane Powell, Annette O’Toole, Barry Sonnenfeld

1081- Alexius Comnenus Ist, captures Constantinople and establishes the Comnenoi dynasty. He took the city by bribing the Varangian Guards –English, Hun and Viking mercenaries, to open the gates and let his army in. Alexius I was the Byzantine Emperor when the Crusades began. His daughter Anna Comnena described the event in her journal :"Then one day all of Europe decided to walk to our door..."

1488-Ludovico Buonarotti, after going through a lot of trouble to get his son in the wool and draper’s guild gives up hope that the boy would ever be anything other than an artist. He reluctantly takes him to be an apprentice to fresco painter Domenico Ghirlandaio. Michelangelo's career began.

1810-Napoleon, having divorced Josephine because she could not provide a son for his dynasty, married Princess Marie-Louise of Austria. Josephine was nicknamed "Our Lady of Victories" and was more beloved by the army but Marie Louise made up for it in spirit. She liked to smoke cigars and play billiards with Nappy’s officers. She was nearsighted but too vain to be seen in public wearing spectacles, so when she would dedicate art shows and public works like the Arch De Triomphes, she would smile regally and wave her hand, not knowing what she was looking at. Napoleon banned his kid sister Pauline Bonaparte from court because he caught her in a mirror making faces behind Empress Marie Louise’s back.

1865- BATTLE OF FIVE FORKS- Grant's Yankee Army closed in on Robert E. Lee's Confederates, Grant's cavalry master Phil Sheridan cut off and destroyed one over extended division of Lee's under George Pickett, taking 5000 prisoners. Pickett had won fame as the leader of the famous charge at Gettysburg. But he blew it at Five Forks because while his men were dying, he was away with some friends all day at a fish fry. No pagers or cell-phones in those days.

1867- Opening of the Paris World Exhibition. The gala worlds fair was seen as the zenith of Napoleon III’s Second Empire. Visitors marveled to fascinating exhibits as Dr Lister’s new Disinfectant, a new alloy called Aluminum and in the American exhibit a novel bit of furniture called a Rocking Chair. The Art galleries of the exhibition were filled with Ingres, Courbets and Delacroix. But nothing was accepted by those weird painters Cezanne, Manet , Pizarro or any of the others who would one day be called Impressionists.

1918- The British Royal Flying Corps (RAF) formed.

1923- Developers S.H. Woodruff and Canadian William Whitley start advertising lots for sale in Hollywoodland, beneath his his giant new Hollywoodland sign. The sign originally was covered with lightbulbs. It collapsed and was repaired in 1939, the 'land' part never restored. The Hollywood Sign was made over again in 1978.

1944- Tex Avery's "Screwball Squirrel" Only a few shorts were made. As one artist reminisced:" Everyone found that squirrel just too annoying!"

1945- OKINAWA- The Marines land and the battle begins. Because it was not a conquered territory but part of the home Japanese islands, Washington weighed it’s decision to use the atomic bomb by it’s observation of how tough Okinawa was, indicating how tough it would be to land on mainland Japan, only 360 miles away. The fighting was brutal, hand to hand with bayonets and flame-throwers. Of the 125,000 man Japanese garrison only 7,500 didn’t fight to the death, and civilians threw themselves off cliffs in mass suicide. A children's class trip visiting from Tokyo who were caught in the invasion were shown by soldiers how to cluster themselves around a single hand grenade so as to save on the number needed. Today there is a shrine to their memory. The Cave of the Maidens is dedicated to a group of schoolgirls who hid in a cave and when the Americans heard Japanese voices inside and none would answer their calls to come our and surrender, they filled the cave with flamethrower fire. Almost every American soldier who was captured was executed. The U.S. Navy suffered the worst number of ships sunk and men killed since Pearl Harbor in 1,900 Kamikaze plane attacks. U.S. casualties were so high the government re-imposed a press blackout.
This battle has the rare distinction like the Plains of Abraham in 1759 where both opposing generals died. US General Simon Bolivar Buckner, a descendant of the Liberator of South American, who’s father had fought Ulysses Grant in the Civil War, was killed by an artillery round three days before the battles end. Japanese General Usijima committed hari-kiri almost at the same time.

1949- Zsa Zsa Gabor married George Sanders.

1961- Rev Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker get married.

1970- A symbol of the 70’s.- AMC’s compact car the Gremlin introduced.

1972- In a gesture of turnabout-is-fair-play for women, Playgirl Magazine ran its first male nude centerfold- Burt Reynolds.

1984- Motown star Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his own father in an argument over plans for the singer's 45th birthday party the next day.

1995- Chasen's restaurant closed and turned into a supermarket. The Chasen family claims it will reopen it at another location, but this was the original since 1936. During the filming of Cleopatra (1963) Elizabeth Taylor had Chasen's famous chili flown out to her hotel in Rome. Walt Disney met Leopold Stokowski over dinner at Chasens and conceived the film Fantasia, Orson Welles and Joe Mankiewicz got into a fistfight over the script outline of Citizen Kane there, Bogart, Bacall and John Huston discussed how to fight the Hollywood Blacklist there.

1996- Animation World Network, Toontown’s first online magazine, started up. www.AWN.com

2004- G-Mail invented.

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Yesterday's Question: What is mean by "The Writing on the Wall."

Answer: In the Old Testament, Daniel Chap 5. The Israelites were being held in Babylonia. King Nebuchanezzer's son Beltshazzar was holding a particularly wild party, when a mysterious apparition of a hand appeared and wrote this on the wall " Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin" After the kings experts were unable to decipher its' meaning, they called the Hebrew prophet Daniel to figure it out. His said it was God saying:" Thou hath been weighed in the balance and found wanting." Meaning, your ass is grass! That night, an enemy army swarmed over the walls and killed Beltshazzar. So heeding the writing on the wall means listening to a final warning that your time is up.


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