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May 14th, 2008 weds
May 14th, 2008

Quiz: What is a raccoon called in Algonquin?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What is a sofa called in Spanish?
History for 5/14/2008
Birthdays: Thomas Gainsborough, George Lucas , Thomas Wedgewood, Francesca Annis, David Byrne, Jack Bruce, Bobby Darin, Tim Roth is 47, Robert Zemeckis is 57, Kate Blanchett is 39, Amber Tamblyn

1667- At this time, the sailors of the English Navy were only paid once a month. During the Dutch Wars, an incident happened when the loyal sailors were told after several months of hard fighting, that their fun loving King Charles II didn't have any money left in his treasury to pay them. The tars were so angry, scores of them deserted to the enemy. They guided Dutch Admiral De Ruyter's fleet right up the Thames where they could burn the docks of Greenwich, within sight of King Charles' palace.

1787- Shortly before returning to America the Marquis de Lafayette wrote his friend George Washington about his backing the famous quack doctor Anton Mesmer, for whom Mesmerism is known. "Before leaving I shall obtain permission to tell Dr Mesmer’s great secrets on Animal Magnetism to you, for it is a great philosophical discovery."

1787- George Washington arrives in Philadelphia to chair the great Convention to write the U.S. Constitution. Once there, he discovered that so only three states had even bothered to show up, and that included host Pennsylvania. There was a fear that if enough states could not be made to cooperate, a federal constitution imposed by a minority would break up the United States. To Washington’s relief by months end all the states except Rhode Island sent a delegation.

1796- English scientist Edward Jenner administered the first smallpox vaccination. This disease, which ravaged Europe for decades, was cured by the Chinese in the 600's B.C. Chinese doctors would ground up particles from a smallpox scab and blow it up your nose through a glass tube. After the pox decimated Native American tribes in the 1500's, by the 1770’s they did the same vaccination using a porcupine quill under the fingernail.
Small pox was the great killer of the age, Queen Elizabeth, George Washington and Robespierre almost died of the pox. The fashion of wigs and makeup became popular because it covered the facial scars and hair loss from the disease. Robespierre’s eyes were permanently weakened by the pox and he had to wear black painted spectacles (the first Ray-Bans).

1800- The Sixth US Congress voted to adjourn for the last time in Philadelphia and meet again in November in the new capitol city, already being called Washington City.

1800- Napoleon’s army began crossing the Alps into Italy via the Great Saint Bernard Pass.

1804- Lewis and Clark set out from St. Louis to find the Pacific. President Jefferson had told his aide Meriwether Lewis that there was a large river headed west from the Mississippi called the Missouri. Perhaps the large river that emptied in to the Pacific in Oregon, called the Columbia, was the same river? So you could go by water from New Orleans to Seattle? And if there was a little neck of land between the two rivers they were to measure the distance. Later 1200 miles into the high Rockies eating candles to stay alive, they determined that the distance was greater than previously thought. Pres. Jefferson had a fossil bone from a prehistoric sloth in his office. He told Lewis if he found a live one out there to send it back. *Known as Paramylodon jeffersoni, remains of this animals have been found while digging the world's largest reservoir near Hemet, CA, and one specimen is known from the La Brea Tar Pits on Wilshire Blvd in downtown L.A.

1842 - 1st edition of London Illustrated News.

1878- Vaseline petroleum jelly patented.

1942- Disney composer Frank Churchill, who had written "Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" and "Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho" shot himself at the piano. Another story had him shooting himself in an onion field in Valencia that would one day be the site of Cal Arts.
One version of his story had his last words before the gun went off as " How's This Walt?" but that is a matter of legend.

1944- In the comic strip Dick Tracy, the longtime Tracy nemesis the gangster Flattop was killed.

1948- THE STATE OF ISRAEL DECLARED- Since the Jewish Diaspora begun by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 162 AD Jews have wished for their own country. In1897 European Jews called Zionists began building a homeland by encouraging mass immigration to the loosely governed Turkish province called Palestine. By World War Two there were two populations, Arab and Jewish Immigrants, both claiming the same territory. After years of sectarian fighting the British protectorate announced they would evacuate Palestine May 15th. The 5 surrounding Arab states announced they would invade if a Jewish State was declared- 45 million against barely one million. US ally King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia declared:" Even if we lose ten million to destroy the Jews, it will be a small sacrifice." The UN was considering a further three month delay to debate the problem when at 4:00PM Jewish Agency Premier David Ben Gurion walked into the crowd at the Tel Aviv Museum and declared the State of Israel. He did it at 4:00PM and the day before the mandate ran out, because it was Friday night, which is the Jewish Sabbath. During the Sabbath no Jews can sign anything or do any business, so he had to move it up.

1951 - Ernie Kovacs Show, TV Variety debut on NBC. Kovacs was a great pioneer in the video medium who loved creating surreal images and pantomime blackout skits.

1973- Skylab, Americas first attempt at a space station, blasted off into orbit. In 1979 the remains of the 77 ton satellite fell to earth.

1974- Tha Maalot Massacre-On the anniversary of Israeli Independence Palestinian terrorists of the Al Fatah faction entered Israel at night and shot up a school, killing 22 children. Whenever Yassir Arafat tried to be taken seriously as a partner for peace, Israel would bring up this incident.

1976- Keith Relf of the rock group the Yardbirds, was electrocuted while playing his guitar in his bathtub. Wikipedia says the bathtub story is an urban legend, but it is a good story.

1968 - Beatles announce formation of Apple Records.

1998 - Last episode of sitcom Seinfeld on NBC (commercial fees were $2M for 30 seconds) Elderly singer Frank Sinatra died shortly after watching it.
Yersterday’s Quiz: What is a sofa called in Spanish?

Answer: - sofa.