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July 13th, 2008 sun
July 13th, 2008

More good reviews for Click & Clack's As the Wrench Turns, and many folks whose PBS station didn't run it on Weds are seeing it now. We hope you like it.


Quiz: What do Leonardo DaVinci, Barack Obama, John McCain and Marilyn Monroe all have in common?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Has there ever been a position in the American government of Proconsul, Master of Horse or Viceroy?
History for 7/13/2008
Birthdays: French Admiral Bailly de Suffren, Cheech Marin, Father Flannagan, Cameron Crowe, Woye Solenka,Chef Paul Prudhomme, Michael Spinks, Film special effects artist Jim Danforth, Dr. Erno Rubik inventor of the Rubik’s Cube, Patrick Stewart is 67, Harrison Ford is 65

1704- BLENHEIM-the great battle where the Duke of Marlborough destroyed the French army of Louis XIV then attacking Bavaria. In the three centuries since Agincourt the reputation of English arms had faded in Continental Europe, preoccupied as they were by their internal Wars of the Roses and English Civil Wars. While the British Navy's reputation was growing, on land King William III trusted his Dutch generals more than his British. Blenheim changed all that. In one day Britain became the dominant powerbroker in Europe. John Churchill the first Duke of Marlborough was the great ancestor of Winston Churchill.

1798- Poet William Wordsworth visited Tinturn Abbey and was inspired to write his famous elegy on the ruins.

1865- P.T.Banham’s American Museum in New York City burned down in a spectacular fire. Barham rebuilt but after that one burned as well he got the idea of getting into the circus business. In his American Museum , more a sitting menagerie and sideshow than a museum as we know it, Barnum invented the idea of advanced hype and created kiddie matinees.

1898-Giusseppi Marconi patents wireless transmissions, the Radio. Marconi believed that sound never dies, it just grows fainter. In his old age he was trying to invent a machine that could pick up the traces of the voice of Jesus.

1923- Paleontologist George Olsen while digging in the Gobi Desert discovered the first fossilized dinosaur eggs.

1925- Walt and Lillian Disney marry.

1930- Six thousand people in formal evening wear crowded into London’s Albert Hall to hear a special message from Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle. It was extra special because everyone knew Conan-Doyle had died just five days ago. Arthur Conan-Doyle was a champion of spiritualism. He declared if anyone could get a message through from beyond the grave, he would. An empty chair was placed on stage in hopes of his apparition would take a seat. Hymns were sung and after long embarrassing silences, a clairvoyant medium claimed she could see Sir Arthur. Others saw nothing and thought it was all a big humbug.

1930 – David Sarnoff the head of the NBC radio network said in the NY Times that " The new invention of Television would be a theater in every home". Sounded crazy back then. Critics said it would require one room of the house be darkened, and they doubted people would just sit still that long.

1939- Frank Sinatra recorded his first album, this one with the Harry James Orchestra.

1960- Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts nominated for President by the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles. The day continued with rounds of fierce backroom deals to decide the running mate. Although the Kennedys wanted Sen. Stuart Symington of Missouri it finally was decided to go with Lyndon Johnson. He was the powerful Senate leader from Texas. Johnson had asked his Texas mentor Cactus Jack Garner if he should accept the job. Cactus Jack was Franklin Roosevelt’s Veep for his first two terms. The 90 year old Garner said:” Lyndon, the Vice Presidency ain’t worth a bucket a warm spit!” Bobby Kennedy considered offering Lyndon the Vice Presidency a token gesture to mollify his anger at losing the nomination. But he was surprised when Johnson accepted. Before going to Ciro’s with Frank Sinatra to celebrate the nomination, Presidential aide Kenny O’Donnell recalled JFK making the best of it:” The Vice Presidency doesn’t mean anything. I’m forty three and I don’t plan to die in office….”

1977- The Great New York City Blackout of '77. For the second time in 20 years the whole darn East Coast power grid breaks down. Unlike the 1964 Blackout it was much longer, much hotter, and there was no full moon to illuminate the city. My wife Pat remembers being in the Bronx on the phone to her boyfriend in Hoboken, when her lights went out. She told him and he raced to the Jersey shore just in time to see the Skyline of Manhattan blacking out a section at a time like a huge set of dominoes. The next day posh Eastside clubs had guys drive to Jersey for ice so they could offer a cold cocktail on the sidewalk for $25 each. There was some looting and other civil disturbances and at the same time the lunatic killer the Son of Sam was on the prowl. No wonder they called it Fun City!

1985- Boomtown Rats vocalist Bob Geldorf organized a massive live concert called LIVE AID. Televised and seen by 1.5 billion people, it raised money for African famine relief. Madonna, Santanna, Paul MacCartney, The Beach Boys and reunions of Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Who and Led Zeppelin.

1985- A cancerous polyp was removed from President Ronald Reagan’s colon. Comic Paul Rodriguez said:” Reagan is amazing: He got cancer in his nose, he got cancer in his butt, he got shot full of bullets- he’s like the Terminator President..”
Yesterday’s Question: Has there ever been a position in the American government of Proconsul, Master of Horse or Viceroy?

Answer: Yes. In 1778 during the Revolutionary War, Count Casimir Pulaski organized the U.S. Cavalry as a separate arm of the army, and was the only one to hold the archaic rank Master of Horse. In 1945 Douglas Macarthur was appointed US Proconsul Plenipotentiary over occupied Japan, a term not used since the days of Ancient Rome. In 2003 L Paul Bremer III was named US Executive Administrator over occupied Iraq, but was referred to also as Viceroy. If that sounds confusing, according to contemporary accounts, it was. US generals in Baghdad and even Defense Secretary Rumsfeld were never quite sure who had authority over whom.