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September 20th, 2008 sat
September 20th, 2008

Question: Who first said “Go West, Young Man”?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Why does every U.S. Congressional session begin with a benediction?
History for 9/20/2008
Birthdays: Alexander the Great -356 BC, Upton Sinclair, Jelly Roll Morton, Red Auerbach, Guy Lafluer, Fernando Rey, Ann Meara, Rachel Roberts, Jonathan Hardy, Pia Lindstrom, Gary Cole, Fran Drescher, Sophia Loren is 74

356BC- The Great Temple of Artemis of Ephesus was destroyed by fire. It was said to be the work of a lunatic arsonist from Hailicarnassus. The temple had been built as a gift to the goddess by Croesus the Lydian who had so much wealth the phrase “To be as rich as Croesus “ is still in use today. Why had the Goddess Artemis would allow her house to be consumed so cruelly? The priests explained that she was probably too busy overseeing the birth of Alexander the Great in Macedon to keep a watch on her house.

450 A.D.-Battle of Chalons-Attila the Hun is decisively defeated by Theodoric the Visigoth and Aetius, the general of what remained of the dying Roman Empires’ legions. Attila's shaman's had predicted a great chief would die that day. Theodoric wound up being the one killed as his warriors won the battle.

1400- The Welsh under Owen Glendower revolt against English rule. Supposedly the fierce bowmen marched into battle to the sound of harps. Owen at one point captured English Prince Edwin Mortimer and not only treated him well but he married Owens daughter creating the Tudor family of British monarchs.

1519- Fernand de Magellan sails from Seville, Spain. His original mission from King Carlos Ist was to seize the Moluccas from Portugal, now part of Indonesia. Instead his fleet was the first to sail around the world.

1670- English poet John Milton published his last works “Paradise Regained” and “Samson Agonistes”. He was blind but dictated to a secretary who wrote down his poems. When he felt the inspiration he would call him by saying:” Come. I need to be milked.”

1714- George Ist the Elector of Hanover in Germany entered his new capitol of London as King of England. But the eccentric George feared his new subjects as treacherous revolutionists who’d overthrown and executed their earlier monarchs. So he deliberately waited out the huge throngs lining the streets come to welcome him and slipped into the city in the dead of night after most had gone home to bed disappointed. George never bothered to learn English.” The English have asked me to rule them, not to speak to them!”

1792-BATTLE OF VALMY- French revolutionaries (The Sans-cullottes, without trousers) mow down the Prussian army, the best soldiers in Europe, who were marching on Paris to suppress their revolution and rescue King Louis XVI. The cool, professional Prussian troops, used to the powdered bewigged, silk stockings type of soldier, had underestimated the passions unleashed by the enraged masses shouting "Aux Armes, Citoyen!" Another problem the Germans had was an excess of diarrhea among the ranks from eating too many grapes in the Champagne region. The great German poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe was there as an advisor to his patron the Duke of Saxe-Weimar. Although Goethe did not fight, he stood cool under fire. Watching the spectacle Goethe predicted: From today and from this place begins a new epoch in the History of the World”.

1803- Irish patriot Robert Emmett executed for leading an abortive uprising against the British. His final words became famous: “ Let no man write my epitaph. When my country takes her place among the nations of the Earth, then, and not till then, Let my epitaph be written.”

1839- The steamer British Queen first brought news of the invention of Photography and the Daguerreotype process to the U.S.. Soon everyone is happily snapping away.

1853- Elisha Otis revolutionized office building construction by demonstrating his elevator that didn’t fall when the cable was cut.

1863-BATTLE OF CHICKAMAGUA- Bloody Civil War battle in Eastern Tennessee. Union General Rosecrans moved some troops to fill an imagined gap in his line and opened up a real gap that Confederate General Bragg exploited to rout the Yankees. The Union army was only saved by the rearguard action of Gen.George H. Thomas, who earned the name "Rock of Chickamagua". The fighting was unusually vicious, when soldiers ran out of bullets they threw rocks, clubbed and strangled each other. Lincoln's opinion of the losing commander, Rosecrans:" Old Rosy's acts stunned, like a duck that's been struck on the head."

1870- The Italian Army captures Rome from the Papal guards and allied French troops and finished the unification of Italy. The city was under Napoleon III's protection until he was defeated and overthrown by the Germans in the Franco Prussian War.The status of the Pope in an Italian Rome remained ambiguous until 1927, when Mussolini signed the Concordat (Treaty) creating the Vatican city-state.

1918- Lawrence of Arabia and the Arab army enter Damascus. Lawrence had inspired Prince Faisal's Bedouins that they were fighting for their own all Arab nation. But the British and the French had no intention of honoring that pledge and the knowledge gnawed at Lawrence. Arabia was divided into British and French protectorates (a civil servant named Speeckes created Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Palestine and Saudi Arabia with a stick in the sand) and Lawrence returned to England a spiritually broken, albeit famous, man.

1942- SUPERSNIPER- This day during the terrible Battle of Stalingrad a young shepherd boy from the Ural Mountains named Vassily Zaitsiev arrived to fight the Nazis. Zaistsiev turned out to be the most deadly sniper since Sgt. York. In ten days he shot forty Germans, mostly officers- one man one bullet. The Germans got so upset they sent for a top marksman from Bavaria named Major Koenig. For the next few weeks the two supersnipers waged a private duel in the ruins of Stalingrad. In mid October Zaitsiev finally got Koenig. Zaitsev survived the war and his rifle is lovingly preserved in the Volgograd Museum today.

1944-"I HAVE RETURNED'- Douglas MacArthur and the President Quezon of the Philippines led the invasion of Japanese held Luzon. The U.S. military wanted to pass by the Philippines to head straight for Japan, but MacArthur couldn't bear to go back on his pledge. MacArthur did the stepping off of the landing craft on to the beach twice, once for the moment and a second time for the newsreel cameras. Some insiders said the scowl on his face was not just his grim determination to get at the Japanese but because the landing craft had left him in water deeper than expected and he soaked a good pressed uniform. The Generals press attache' briefed the press that you're never supposed to film or photograph the General in other than an up-angle shot.

1944- Now that the Pacific War was winding down martial law was lifted on the Hawaiian Islands. It had been imposed since Pearl Harbor. One tragic result for the servicemen was that the first thing the restored chief of Honolulu police did was shut down the brothels of Waikiki. The area known as Hotel Street was ringed with houses of ill repute servicing servicemen for the duration. One sailor reminisced: I got stewed, screwed and tatooed, all in one night.” The quarters most famous hooker, Jean O’Hara said: “ I think I slept with the entire US Navy.”

1952- CBS premiered the Jackie Gleason Show- The Honeymooners".

1955- The Phil Silvers Show, Sgt. Bilco, originally entitled You’ll Never Get Rich” debuted on CBS.

1973- Musician Jim Croce (30) died in a charter plane crash near Natchitoches Louisiana.

1984- The Cosby Show premiered.

1989- A Los Angeles court found Richard Ramierez guilty of the Night Stalker crimes- 43 counts including 13 murders, rape, burglary and sodomy. He would draw a Satanic pentagram in the victim’s blood at the scene.
Yesterday’s Question: Why does every U.S. Congressional session begin with a religious benediction?

Answer: This is in emulation of the ancient senate of Rome, who began every session with a sacrifice to Mars the Avenger. The historian Ammianus Marcellinus claimed that when the Christian Emperors forbade the sacrifice, Rome fell shortly after. Since there were no other republics in the world to copy at the time, our Founding Fathers read up on their classical history.
Maybe our Congress would get more done if they cut up a chicken and read the entrails once and awhile.