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September 17th, 2008 weds
September 17th, 2008

Question: The famous French children’s song Frere’ Jacques is about a real person. Who was it?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: When they say “ he faced a phalanx of reporters.” What is a phalanx?
History for 9/17/2008
Birthdays: Hank Williams, Spiro Agnew, Ken Kesey, Jerry Colonna, Roddy MacDowell, George Blanda, Wendy Carlos Williams, Elvira- real name Cassandra Peterson, Anne Bancroft, Jeff MacNelly, Sir Frederick Ashton, Rita Rudner, Bass Lehrman is 46

1179- Feast of Saint Hildegard of Bingen, the medieval female composer.

Hmm,Here we go just a walking down the street, rest, Singing Doo Wah Diddie-Diddie, Dum Diddie-Dee... "

1630- Happy Birthday Beantown! The Puritan colonists of New England decide to name their new settlement Boston, after a town in Lincolnshire. The site was an Algonquin village called Shawmut.

1632-BATTLE of BRIETENFELD- One of the great battles of the religious Thirty Years War. South Germans, Austrians, Italians, Spaniards on the Catholic side, Swedes, Danes, Hungarians and North Germans on the Protestant side. Catholic general Joachim Tchserclas Von Tilly lost despite dedicating the battle to the Virgin Mary and having twelve cannon named for the Twelve Apostles. Protestant Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus sang morning prayers with his army from the saddle. I wonder if their battle cry was:" Prince of Peace! CHAAAAARGE !!"

1787- The U.S. Constitution signed by the representatives of 12 of the thirteen states. Rhode Island boycotted the convention. “The business is closed.” George Washington wrote in his diary. Alexander Hamilton signed as the only representative of New York since the others left in protest. He was a prime mover of the Constitutional rewrite but was unimpressed with the final result: “Just more pork with the same old sauce, but it might lead the way for a better one later.”Aaron Burr was more blunt” I doubt if it will last 50 years.” Yet the US Constitution became the bedrock of the American system and is viewed with an almost religious dedication. When Ben Franklin emerged from the chamber, an old woman asked:’ Well, Dr Franklin, what have you given us now?” Franklin replied:” A Nation, mam, if you can keep it!”

1859- JOSHUA NORTON of San Francisco, a well known rice merchant, suffered a mental breakdown under the strain of work, bought a tricycle and a marching band uniform and declared himself Joshua Ist, By God's Grace Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico! Everybody went along with the gag including Abraham Lincoln, who Joshua would write to as "My Prime Minister" and Abe would answer "Your Majesty". When Joshua died in 1875, 35,000 San Franciscans turned out for a state funeral befitting royalty.

1862- BATTLE OF ANTIETAM or Sharpsburg. Lincoln needed a Union victory before freeing the slaves so the act wouldn't look like the last desperate gamble of a losing side. Robert E. Lee had invaded Maryland but his secret orders wrapped around some cigars were discovered by Yankee trooper. "At last I've got him!' crowed Gen. George B. "Little Mac" McClellan, the Union commander who was a great organizer but a terrible battlefield commander. The two sides batter each other in one of the bloodiest days in U.S. history, double the U.S. casualties of D-Day in World War II. McClellan delayed sending in his reserves at a critical moment to break Lee's center, so the battle was a draw. Lee withdrew into Virginia -he was leaving Maryland anyway, so it was kind of, sort of, a Union success.
Yet despite Lincoln's pleading, McClellan refused to pursue. Lil' Mac was convinced Lee had 100,00 troops (he had barely 30,000.). Never one for modesty, McClellan wrote his wife: "Once again God has made me His instrument to be the Savior of my country."
Lincoln fired him ,but published his Emancipation Proclamation anyway.

1876- THE GREAT NORTHFIELD MINNESOTA RAID-One old Hollywood myth is of the Western town cowering in fear while desperadoes shoot up the street whoopin and a’hollering. When the Jesse James & Cole Younger gang rode out of Missouri and tried to rob the Bank of Northfield they found a town full of old Civil War veterans, who hauled out their rifles and shot them to pieces from every window and doorway. Frank and Jesse are about the only ones who escaped. They laid low in Tennessee for three years until resuming their outlaw ways. Cole Younger was taken and did 25 years in prison. In 1903 Cole and Frank James went on tour with their own Wild West Show.

1921-SWASTIKA- New leader of the German National Socialist or Nazi Party Adolf
Hitler sent his first circular letter to party members. He had spent a lot of time researching graphic symbols in a Munich library with a Professor Pluskau who specialized in Oriental cultures. Now Herr Hitler advised all good party members to adopt as their emblem an ancient Aryan symbol of a crooked cross called a Swastika. This was to be worn as an armband and on party stationary toped with an eagle in imitation of ancient imperial Rome. Early Nazi rallies actually sold name brand merchandise to fund the movement.

1940- After the failure of the German Luftwaffe, Hitler postponed Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of the British Isles.

1941- As Stuka Bombers drop incendiary explosives over their heads, Dmitri Shostakovitch performs the first two movements of his Symphony #7 the "Leningrad" to a Leningrad audience. Shostakovitch wrote the symphony during the terrible 900 day siege by the Nazi's, often pausing to join the fire brigade in putting out fires.

1965- If you ever wondered what could be funny about being held in a Nazi prison camp you could watch the TV sitcom HOGANS HEROES, which debuted this day. Nazi Commandant Colonel Klink was acted by Werner Klemperer, whose father was the famous orchestra conductor Otto Klemperer who had to flee Germany because they were Jewish. Sergeant Schulz and the Frenchman LeBeau were also played by actors who survived the real concentration camps- John Banner and Robert Clary.

1971- RCA gave up and pulled out of the retail computer market.

1972- Filmation's The Groovie Ghoulies" debuts.

1978- After thirteen days of intense negotiations President Jimmy Carter announced the Camp David Peace Accords , the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab neighbor- Egypt. Prime Minister Menachem Begin shook hands with President Anwar El Sadat.

1980- Saddam Hussein’s Iraq attacked the Ayatollah Khomeni's Iran. A terrible 8 year war resulted. Because at the time we hated the Ayatollah’s Iran more, the US actively aided Iraq by supplying Saddam with arms, CIA intelligence on Iranian troop movements and a lot of those hand held rockets Iraqis are shooting today.

Yesterday’s Question: When they say “ he faced a phalanx of reporters.” What is a phalanx?

Answer: Most ancient armies were disorganized mobs of warriors. The Greeks invented the system of in-step marching and fighting in a huge rectangle formation. They presented their enemies with a moving wall of shields, bristling with bronze spears. The formation was called the Phalanx. They literally pushed their enemies off the field by their momentum. The phalanx dominated until replaced by the smaller and more maneuverable legion tactics of the Romans.
The name phalanx has come down to us to mean a group that presents a solid united front. Franco’s fascist party in Spain called themselves phalangists or the phalanx.