Septembr 09th, 2008 tues
September 9th, 2008
Quiz: Presidential candidate John McCain claims his experience in the military makes
him a better choice for president. We know about former generals Eisenhower &
Grant, but which of these military heroes also wanted to be president, but failed?
a) Gen. Douglas MacArthur, b) Admiral Dewey, c) Gen. Winfield Scott, d) General
Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: Martha Custis had a rather famous husband.
Who was he?
Birthdays: Antonio Frescobaldi, Captain William Bligh, Jimmy the Greek Snyder, Joe
Theismann, Cliff Robertson, Angela Cartwright, Alf Landon, Dee Dee Sharpe who sang
the 60's R&B hit the Mashed Potato, Michael Keaton, Adam Sandler, Don Mattingly,
Otis Redding, Anita Ekberg, Hugh Grant, Topol, Colonel Lyman Sanders the founder
of Kentucky Fried Chicken, James Hilton-writer who created the name for paradise
Shangri-La in his novel Lost Horizon.
490BC -About this time, although I haven’t found an exact date yet, was the battle
of MARATHON- when the small Athenian army led by Militiades defeated a huge invasion
led by Darius the Great King of Persia. Militiades is from whom we get the word
490BC- This was the event that the runner Phidippides ran to bring the news to Athens-
the first Marathon. He once ran from Athens to Sparta- 150 miles in two days. The
ancient Olympics had foot races but no marathons, that came with the modern Olympics.
The reason the marathon became 26.2 miles, was during the London games the race
was lengthened so it could begin at Windsor Castle where Queen Victoria’s grandchildren
could watch, then end at the stadium in London where the little old Queen could
see them finish.
337AD- The aging Roman Emperor Constantine the Great makes his three sons Constantius
II, Constans and Constantine II all co-rulers in an effort to secure the succession.
It’s a confusing system and eventually the eldest Constantius II rules alone.
1087- WILLIAM THE CONQUERER DIED- King William had subdued Normandy, England and
Scotland and was one of the most successful kings of the Middle Ages. But old age
and good living caught up to him. He became very fat. One day when riding near
Mantes-La-Jolie, his horse bucked, causing the saddle pommel to stab up into his
groin and rupture his bladder. Blood poisoning brought the end swiftly. He was carried
to a monastery in great pain. His children ignored him in his last hours, because
they were too busy fighting each other for the throne. William the Conqueror died
alone in a bare room. His servants stole the rich bed trappings and rings from his
fingers as he lay in a coma. The coffin provided was too small for the large body,
now bloated with putrefaction. The monks tried to pound it into the box, but the
corpse finally burst "filling the room with horrid, malodorous odors."
1776- The Continental Congress officially changed the name of the United Colonies
to the United States of America.
1825- BEETHOVEN'S LAST PUBLIC APPEARANCE. Before he retired to a government
appointed home, Ludwig von Beethoven did one more concert as a conductor and pianist,
even though he was now stone deaf. The fees for personal appearances were too good.
The orchestra rehearsed to play the 9th Symphony and the Missa Solemnis while ignoring
his commands, starting and stopping on a signal given by the first violinist. So
Beethoven flapped his arms around fruitlessly while the orchestra played. Everyone
enjoyed it even though people in the first few rows could hear the Maestro wailing
to the music, unaware of his own voice. When the performance ended he was still
gyrating, obviously a few bars behind the orchestra and oblivious to the cheers
of the audience. The soprano made him turn around and bow.
1830 - Charles Durant, the first US aeronaut, flew in a balloon from Castle Garden,
at the tip of Manhattan across New York Harbor to Perth Amboy, New Jersey.
1888- Sitting Bull led the GHOST DANCE. Realizing armed resistance to the white
invasion was hopeless many Indians resorted to a spiritual attack, hoping to dance
the invaders away. An Indian prophet from the Northwest named Wovoka preached that
if native people danced a dance with their ancestors (ghosts), a millennial cataclysm
would annihilate the White Man and bury them under 10 inches of new soil. Then the
forests and game would return and the Indian would regain his natural hunting grounds
the continent over. On this day word of this new cult reached the Sioux reservations.
Sitting Bull was at first skeptical, but then realized it would at least keep his
people's hope's alive. U.S. authorities mistook this magical resistance for a physical act of rebellion. Bull's assassination and the later Wounded Knee Massacre was the result.
1908- THE PATENTS TRUST- Thomas Edison, Charles Pathe and Leon Gaumont form the
Motion Picture Patents Group. Called the "Trust", their attempt to monopolize
movie production and strangle off the independents had a lot to do with the early
filmmakers exodus to Los Angeles. Otherwise the film capitol of the world would
have been Ft. Lee, New Jersey. The only positive result of the trust was they enforced
a regular industry standard for film stock of 35 mm running at 24 frames per second.
It seems the Mitchell Camera Company was developing a motorized motion picture camera
to replace the hand crank variety but they needed an official speed to set it at.
In a contentious meeting of the Trust held at the Waldorf Astoria no one could settle
on a single speed. Finally the compromise was made to make it the number of delegates
in the room- 24.
1910-Alice B. Toklas moved in with Gertrude Stein at the 22 Rue de Flerus in Paris.
Until Stein’s death in 1946 they ran one of the most glittering social networks
of the Twentieth Century. Soirees included Picasso, Matisse, Dali, Ernest Hemingway,
F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, Max Ernst, Virgil Thompson, Sherwood Anderson,
Max Ernst, Guilliame Apollinaire and Carlos Santayanna. But the ultra modern was
not to everyone’s taste. Painter Mary Cassatt only visited once. She later told
a friend:" I never saw so many horrible things, I never met so many horrible
1920- Silent movie star Olive Thomas, nicknamed America's Kid Sister, partied
a little too hard at the Dead Rat Cafe in Paris. It was said the 21 year old died
of an overdose of cocaine and alcohol. Another theory was she accidentally overdosed
on mercury bicholoride tablets. Her nude body was discovered wrapped in a full length
ermine fur left on her couch in the Ritz Hotel. The scandal started the first investigation
of drugs in Hollywood. It netted an army captain named Spaulding who admitted that
film stars like Thomas, Mabel Normand and Ramon Navarro were regular clients for
morphine, heroin and cocaine. Shortly after Groucho Marx put in his vaudeville
show Animal Crackers the song Hooray for Captain Spaulding,.
1926 – The National Broadcasting Company or NBC created by Radio Corporation of
America RCA. Under the direction of David Sarnoff it became the powerhouse network
of broadcasting, recording and later television.
1939- The first Andy Panda cartoon.
1939- The first day of shooting on Charlie Chaplin’s film the Great Dictator.
1943- The first V-2 missile hit London, destroying buildings in the Chiswick area.
The V-2 was the first ballistic missile and the Allies were powerless to stop or
intercept it. Tens of thousands of London children were evacuated for safety to
Scotland and even as far as Canada. After the war the left over V-2’s were gathered
up by the US and Red Armies as the basis for the beginning of their space programs.
1945 - 1st bug in a computer program discovered by Grace Hopper. A moth
was removed with tweezers from a relay & taped into the log. Since then any
computer glitch was nicknamed "a bug".
1950 - 1st use of TV laugh track invented by Hank McCune.
1956- Elvis Presley appeared on nationwide television on the Ed Sullivan Show. Sullivan
himself had vowed never to have the kid on his show but caved in to network pressure.
He stayed home that first time and actor Charles Laughton was the substitute host.
CBS Network censors thought the gyrations of Elvis' pelvis so obscene that in
many markets they blacked out the lower portion of the screen so he was covered
the waist down.
1967- Jay Ward’s show George of the Jungle premiered, with SuperChicken and Tom
1982- Princess Grace of Monaco, the former movie actress Grace Kelly, died in a
car accident on the mountainous hill roads of Monaco. Twenty years earlier in the
film To Catch a Thief, Alfred Hitchcock had her drive her car at dangerous speeds
over the exact same hairpin turns.
2001 – Two days before the 9-11 terrorist attack on New York in Afghanistan Shan
Ibn Massoud , the greatest foe of the Taliban regime was assassinated. Massoud was
a charismatic rebel leader in the war against the Soviet occupation in the 1980’s.
Sort of an Afghan Robin Hood, in 1988 the Soviets launched a huge land and air operationjust to get him- Operation GoodBye Massoud. It failed and the Russians finally left Afghanistan. This murder was seen as an operation by Osama Ben Laden to thank the Taliban for their hospitality.
2001- Two days before the 9-11 Attack, Czech intelligence reported they saw top
hijacker Mohammed Atta meet the Chief of Iraqi Security Al Alhya in Prague. This
was one of the chief bits of proof given by US Vice President Cheney to justify
the attack on Iraq in 2003. When later asked to confirm this claim, the Czechs said:
"well, it may or may not have happened." President Vaslav Havel said he
didn’t know what they were talking about. A 2006 Senate committee concluded this
meeting never happened.
2002- Martin Strehl, "the Swimming Slovenian" completed his swim down
the entire length of the Mississippi River from Lake Athabasaca Minnesota to the
Gulf of Mexico in 68 days. To prevent infection from swallowing industrial pollution
in the water he daily gargled with Hydrogen Peroxide.
Yesterday’s Question: Martha Custis had a rather famous husband. Who was he?
Answer: George Washington.