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May 12th, 2008 mon
May 12th, 2008

Quiz: Why are Marines called Leathernecks?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: What is a Lonesome Jennie?
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History for 5/12/2008
Birthdays: Dolly Madison, Daniel Rossetti, Frank Stella, Florence Nightingale, Tom Snyder, George Carlin is 71, Wilfred Hyde-White, Emilio Estevez, Howard K. Smith, Ron Zeigler, Farley Mowatt, Ving Rhames, Bruce Boxleitner, Katherine Hepburn, Gabriel Byrne, Yogi Berra is 80

1775- During the American Revolution a New York mob carrying clubs and torches broke onto the campus of King’s College determined to lynch it’s president Miles Cooper, who was an outspoken loyalist. The mob was stopped on the steps of Cooper’s home by student Alexander Hamilton. While Cooper watched from the second story window, Hamilton begged the mob not to kill his teacher. Cooper was hard of hearing and he thought the troublemaker Hamilton was the instigator. Miles Cooper yelled down:” DON’T LISTEN TO HIM! HE’S A BLOCKHEAD!” Despite this, Miles Cooper got away unharmed. Kings College name was changed to Columbia University.

1789- TAMANY HALL BORN- The first and oldest of U.S. political machines (clubs , pacts, lobbies, whatever ) Founded in Philadelphia and moved to New York it was named for a Chief Tamamend, the Delaware chief who welcomed William Penn. The Hall on 14 th street was nicknamed the Wigwam and the leaders called Sachems, the Algonquin word for chief. Throughout the 1800's it was famous for buying and selling political offices, bribery and corruption. Boss Tweed and Slippery Dick Connolly, the first American to embezzle one million dollars, were Tamany Sachems. Tamany were the first to realize there was political power in mobilizing the mass of working class immigrants against the snooty New York power elite. Tamany Hall men would stand on docks welcoming immigrants with a voting card and a silver dollar to vote for their candidates. Another trick was for Tamany men to grow a full beard and vote, then go home, shave to a goatee, vote again, shave to a mustache, vote again, then clean shave and vote once more.
Tamany Hall was still influential into modern times. Bill O'Dwyer, a Tamany sachem was mayor of New York in the late 1940’s and in 1963 future Mayor Ed Koch became a congressman by unseating the last Tammany sachem Carmen DeSapio..

1796- Napoleon's French Republican Army occupied the city of Venice and destroyed the last traces of the independent Venetian Republic 'La Serenissima" The Most Surene Republic. The Last Doge Daniele Manin was forced to abdicate and his Byzantine crown and trappings of office were burned, along with his famous gilded barge, the 'Boucintoro'. Venice, an independent city-state since 976AD, was going to be part of Italy whether she liked it or not!

1846- The Donner Party wagon train left Independence Missouri to start it’s trek out west to California. They tried a new short cut proposed by a charlatan named Lansford Hastings to get to California. They crossing the burning alkaline deserts of Utah and were attacked by Paiute Indians. By Halloween heavy snow storms stranded the Donners in the High Sierra Mountains where the starving survivors resorted to cannibalism.

1864-BATTLE OF SPOTSYLVANIA- After Lee whips Grant in the Wilderness, instead of retreating Grant wheels around and attacks again. This time winning a draw. The fighting was dreadful, reports of trees so thick you couldn't put your arms around cut down by bullets, and men hit with so many 68 cal.musket balls at one time that their bodies literally would fall apart. At the fight in the center of the line called The Angle Yankees and Confederates crowded in so tightly they pressed against one another like a massive rugby game. Soldiers fought hand to hand with pistol butts, flag staffs, clubs, fists, some even took their empty bayonet muskets and hurled them into the crowd like a spear. Nothing failed to cause injury. One casualty was union general "Uncle John" Sedgewick, shot by rebel snipers. His last words were:" Aw go on men! Them rebs couldn't hit an elephant at this dis......." His great, great granddaughter Edie Sedgwick hung out with Andy Warhol.

1915- THE BRYCE COMISSION- An English commission to study reports of German atrocities that was really a propaganda machine aimed at getting the United States into the Great War. America had the problem that if she chose the allied side in World War One, several million immigrant citizens of German, Hungarian and Austrian descent were sympathetic to the Kaiser. Add to them millions of English-hating Irish, Jewish Americans who wanted the openly Anti-Semitic Russian Empire beaten and many average Americans who felt the main reason their forefathers crossed the ocean was to get away from the kind of trouble that occurred back in Europe. So you can see it was hard to get everyone up for intervention. The American yellow press printed all the British accounts without ever questioning their accuracy- they horrified the average reader with hair-raising stories of German troops raping and killing Belgian women, chopping the hands off of children and crucifying Canadian prisoners with bayonets through their hands and feet. Even though some atrocities stories were verified, like the needless burning of the medieval Library of Louvain -The German term was Shreiklichkeit- Rule by Fear- today it is acknowledged that most of these accounts were dressed up to get us to Hate the Hun! Later the U.S. Office of War Information took over feeding these stories to the press. It was headed by a psychiatrist Edmund Bernays, a psychoanalyst nephew of Sigmund Freud who after the war went into advertising.

1936- John Maynard Keynes most famous work "the General Theory of Money, Interest and Work" was published. Today if a politician advocates government intervention in the business market he is called a "Keynesian".Keynes once said: ' My only regret in life is that I did not drink more champagne."

1938- “The Adventures of Robin Hood” starring Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, Olivia DeHaviland, Claude Rains and Eugene Paulette premiered. The swashbuckling film then cost a whopping $2 million dollars to make! The light brown horse Maid Marion rode in the movie was later bought by singing cowboy Roy Rogers and renamed Trigger.

1948- In Palestine the secret key cabinet meeting of Jewish leaders over whether to declare independence before the British evacuated on May 15th. The UN and even the US was asking for a UN sponsored three month cooling off period but Jewish leaders like David Ben Gurion felt any more delay would be fatal. The decided that even though they would be attacked by five Arab nations simultaneously they would declare independence on May 14th. The last problem was what to call the new country? After Zion, Zionia and Herzelania was suggested, they decided to go with the name of a Kibbutz using an ancient Biblical name- Eretz-Israel or simply Israel.

1950- The comic strip 'Marvin' debuted.

1962- First day shooting on Frederigo Fellini’s film 8 1/2. When screened for American Producer Joe Levine, Levine took the cigar from his mouth and growled-” Frederigo, what da hell did that movie mean? ” Fellini shrugged –“I dunno”.

1971 - Rolling Stone Mick Jagger weds Bianca Macias at St Tropez Town Hall.
They later divorced and Bianca became a famous habitue’ of trendy discos and fashion magazines.

1971- Tor Johnson died of a heart attack at age 68. Swedish wrestler turned actor Tor’s preferred role was the bald eyeless zombie in classics like Plan Nine from Outer Space and Bride of the Monster.

Happy Birthday to meee...what? Oh, I'm dead? Oh...never mind....

1977- A small Westchester radio station WENW hired a thin, gawky, college grad as a DJ- Howard Stern. US radio would never be the same.

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Yesterday’s Question: What is a Lonesome Jennie?

Answer: In the middle of the night, it is the feint whistle of a far off freight train.


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