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May 07th, 2008 weds.
May 6th, 2008

Quiz: Why does the term quarantine mean isolating people with a contagious disease? If someone has Typhus, you give them 25 cents?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: What was Saint Paul's real name?
History for 5/7/2008
Birthday: Johannes Brahms, Peter Ilyich Tschaikowsky *, Gary Cooper**, Gabby Hayes, Robert Browning, Marcus Loew of Loews Theater chain, Darin McGavin, Edward Land (inventor of the Polaroid lens and camera), Bob Clampett, Amy Heckerling, Traci Lords

*It's ironic that Brahms and Tschaikowsky had the same birthday because they couldn't stand one other. Tschaikowsky referred in his diary "What an unharmonious German bastard!" The only way they'd stay at a party was if Anton Dvorak was there too.

**The great cowboy-actor from Montana who's original name was Frank James Cooper and his first ambition was to be a cartoonist for the Helena Times.

Happy Birthday, Coop! Being a movie star was fun, being rich and making love to lots of beautiful women, but I'm sure you would have rather drawn cartoons...

Happy Norwegian National Day. ’Huff Da!

Greek Festival of the Birth of Apollo.

401 B.C. SOCRATES DIED. Contrary to modern perception not everyone in ancient Greece loved philosophy. The Greeks had the same conflicts we have now between faith, tradition and rational thought and science. The scientist Anaxagoras was run out of town for saying that the Sun wasn’t Phoebus in a chariot but a burning rock floating in space. Euripides the playwright was also in trouble for doubting the Gods existence. But Socrates pushed the argument to its most extreme conclusion. The Athenian conservatives convicted Socrates of blasphemy and subverting the public morals. All hoped Socrates would just pay a fine and shut up, but Socrates unrepentant stance forced the law to go all the way to the death penalty. He was ordered to commit suicide by being given a cup of Hemlock. Actually it wasn’t a cup., the poison was held in a leaf of Romaine Lettuce, then called Lettuce of the Isle of Cos. His friend Crito said “You don’t deserve to die!” To which he replied: “You weep because you would rather I did deserve death? ”Socrates students like Plato and Xenophon continued on and became great writers on their own. My favorite story was that Socrates wife Xantippe was always yelling at him for wasting his time philosophizing when he should be working at his real job as a stone-cutter. After one loud tirade she dumped a pisspot's contents on his head. Socrates looked at his friends and replied:" After thunder one should expect some rain."

1863- Hard-fighting Confederate major general Earl 'Buck' Van Dorn was killed, but not in battle. A Tennessee doctor named J.G. Peters made an appointment with the general, went up behind him while he was at his desk and shot him in the back of the head. Peters then calmly got back into his carriage and rode to Union lines. Peters wasn't a Yankee assassin. He was expressing his disapproval of the fact that the handsome Van Dorn was having an affair with his wife.

1914-Paramount Pictures formed by a consortium led by Jesse Lasky and Cecil B. Demille.

1915- THE LUSITANIA- The Civilian oceanliner Luisitania was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-20. 1,198 drowned, including many Americans. The Kaiser later gave a medal to the U-boat Captain Walter Schweige. These acts outraged American opinion and led us into World War I, despite many pro-German immigrants. It was revealed later that the reason Lusitania sank so quickly, just 18 minutes - even Captain Schweige was surprised- was that it's cargo hold was full of explosives. First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill fought the German U-boat blockade by covertly transporting purchased American weapons on hospital ships, civilian ocean liners and let some British freighters illegally fly the flags of neutral countries. The German government knew that the Lusitania had been classified by the British admiralty a military cruiser. The German government apologized to the American government and stopped the unrestricted U-boat campaign for two years, but the Lusitania shifted neutral U.S. public sympathy irrevocably to the Franco-English side. Winsor McCay later did the animated film about the incident.

1926- Gangster Al Capone killed 3 men with a baseball bat over dinner.

1937-Nobel Prize winning writer William Faulkner hired by MGM Studios, earning $500 a week. He celebrated by going on a two week long drinking binge. When MGM's Head of Writing Sam Marx had him tracked down to an Oakie migrant camp in the Imperial Valley, he was dragged off boozily whining: " Ah only wanna write for Mickey Mouse !!"

1941-Glen Miller records the "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" for RCA. the first gold record million seller.

1942- Battle of the Coral Sea-The U.S. Navy, suffering only defeats up 'til then, stops a Japanese task force. This is the first engagement in which the two fleets never saw each other, but fought long distance with carrier launched airplanes. Veterans commented that one of the sadder losses was when the aircraft carrier USS Lexington went down, she took the fleet's supply of 6 Bugs Bunny cartoons with her. War is Hell.

1945- V.E. Day. Grand Admiral Doenitz, the successor to Adolph Hitler, officially surrendered the Third Reich to the allies. They repeat the ceremony to the Russians next day. There was a fear after the fall of Berlin that the remaining Nazis would form a 'National Redoubt" in the Bavarian Alps or that a "werewolf army" of young fanatics would continue to fight on as guerrillas with poison gas. But that threat failed to materialize. Admiral Doenitz said after the signing:" I feel we shall not see our flag fly over a prosperous Germany in our lifetime." Well, not in your lifetime, Karl....

1945- In a top secret test at Los Alamos, the Manhattan Project scientists detonated, in the desert, a single blast 100,000 pounds of TNT. This was to measure the effect of a blast that big and provide a control to gauge the effectiveness of the Atomic Bomb. 100,000 pounds of TNT became known as one Kiloton. The Hiroshima A-Bomb was 20 kilotons, the largest thermonuclear device was 50 kilotons.

1966- “Monday Monday” by the Mamas and the Papas becomes #1 in the pop charts.

1996- Comedian Martin Lawrence went berserk and ran down a main intersection in Van Nuys Cal. raving and waving a pistol. When asked to explain himself, Lawrence blamed it on “Dehydration.”

1998- Apple Computers introduced the iMac.
Yesterday’s Question: What was Saint Paul's real name?

Answer: He was originally a Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus. He became known as Paul, the Greek version of his name, since that was the common second tongue of the ancient Middle East.