August 3, 2015
August 2nd, 2015

Quiz: What famous movie began with the words “ …Saigon……shit……”

Yesterdays’ question answered below: Ever notice most books are the same size? Who decided the standard size and why?
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History for 8/3/2015
Birthdays: British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, Elisha Otis inventor of the elevator, John T. Scopes- the teacher accused in the Monkey Trial, Habib Bourghiba, Ernie Pyle, Gene Kelly, Lenny Bruce, Tony Bennett is 89, John Landis, Jay North, Dolores Del Rio, Leon Uris, Ann Klein, Martha Stewart, Martin Sheen is 75, John C. McGinley is 56

Happy National Mustard Day

216 B.C. THE BATTLE OF CANNAE. Hannibal's defeat of a much larger Roman army is one of the great pieces of strategy still studied today. He had crossed the Alps to attack Italy with 30 war elephants but only 3 or 4 survived the crossing. This victory annihilated the top generals of Rome and left nothing between him and the Eternal city. Yet Hannibal uncharacteristically hesitated. His cavalry commander Mago snarled:" You know how to win battles, but not a war." The Romans recovered, eventually drawing him off to Africa to protect his home city Carthage, where he was defeated by Scipio Africanis at Zama.

48 B.C.-Battle of Pharsalia- Julius Caesar defeated his rival Pompey Magnus in northern Greece. Pompey fled to Egypt where he was assassinated. Caesar came in pursuit where he met Cleopatra.

1305- Scots warrior William Wallace was betrayed to the English and captured while visiting the Glasgow house of a man named Robert Roe.

1347- THE BURGHERS OF CALAIS- When King Edward III attacked France to press his claim for it’s throne, the first city he attacked was the port of Calais. After a long vicious siege the leaders of Calais agreed to surrender. England held Calais for 250 years. The king wanted to hang the burghers (city leaders) because of their stubborn resistance, but they were spared after pleas of mercy from Edward’s Queen. August Rodin created a beautiful statuary group the Burghers of Calais. The six men loaded down with chains and ropes around their necks, defiance still radiating in their faces, are a symbol of resistance for all oppressed peoples.

1492- One half hour before dawn, Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain on the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. This was the first of four voyages in search of the Indies. He took a linguist fluent in Turkish, Sanskrit and Hebrew to speak to any natives they might encounter.

1529- The Ladies Peace of Cambrai- The King of France Francis Ist and Spanish-German Emperor Charles V has fought a series of costly wars over who controlled Italy. Their hatred was so extreme that they even considered a personal duel. Nothing seemed to solve this feud and Europe was being wrecked. Finally Francis mother Anne of Savoy and Charles’ aunt Margaret of Austria, met without their permission and concluded a peace treaty without them.

1553- Mary Tudor the eldest daughter of the late King Henry VIII entered London in triumph. The schemes and corruption of the Duke of Somerset regency had been such a mess that even Protestant London was glad to have a real queen, even if she was Catholic. People brought out tables of food, danced and celebrated all night.

1610 - Englishman Henry Hudson with the Dutch fleet discovered a great bay on the Northeast coast of Canada and named it for himself- Hudson’s Bay.

1745- Bonnie Prince Charlie stepped on the soil of Scotland- at Arisca in the Hebrides. When a frightened Scottish lord asked him to go home, Charles Stuart replied:” But I am home.” The English Parliament offered a reward of 30,000 pounds for his arrest. So began the Great Highland Uprising, the last great campaign on British Soil.

1769- Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola made the first-ever recorded mention of the Rancho La Brea "tar pits" in Los Angeles: "The 3rd, we proceeded for three hours on a good road; to the right of it were extensive swamps of bitumen which is called chapapote. We debated whether this substance, which flows melted from underneath the earth, could occasion so many earthquakes.”

1807- Former Vice President Aaron Burr is arrested for treason. President Jefferson accused him of plotting to make himself dictator of a republic in newly acquired Louisiana and conquering Texas for himself.

1823-English Poet Lord Byron arrived in Greece, burning with a desire to help the Greeks attain independence.

1852- The first Harvard-Yale boat race.

1858- British explorer John Speeckes discovered Lake Victoria Nyanza, the source of the Nile River. The question of the Nile's origins had become a cause celebre among British explorers and debate raged fiercely. Speeckes was traveling with famed Orientalist Richard Burton, translator of the Arabian Nights stories, but Burton absented himself from the last leg of the journey because of malaria. He regretted this decision for the rest of his life and grew to hate Speeckes. Speeckes and Burton began a feud that may or may not have contributed to Speeckes accidental suicide in 1864.

1882- Congress passed the first Immigration Act, trying to restrict what had been an open door policy since the Pilgrims. But the act had a heavy European bias. Chinese immigrants were banned for ten years.

1916- Sir Roger Casement was executed for treason in London. Casement was an Irish patriot who worked with Germany to get weapons for the Irish Easter Sunday Uprising. He also exposed human rites violations done by the Belgians in the Congo. After his conviction, many leading English intellectuals like Arthur Conan-Doyle and George Bernard Shaw urged for mercy for Casement. But the government produced his “black diaries” taken from his home that proved he was homosexual. All the bad publicity silenced the mercy movement, and Sir Roger was hanged.

1921- The first aerial crop dusting in Troy, Ohio to kill caterpillars.

1933- The first Mickey Mouse watches go on sale.

1943- In Sicily Gen. George S. Patton while touring a field hospital encountered a Pvt. Herman Kuhl. Private Kuhl wasn't physically wounded, but suffering from what is called today Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Patton angrily accused him of cowardice and slapped him down. Allied High Command ordered Patton to apologize to Kuhl and the entire army, then recalled him to England. He would have no part in military actions until after D-Day, to the amazement of the Nazi Generals. Patton never could understand battle fatigue, I guess he never got tired of it.

1948- Now that Baseball was finally integrated Satchel Page, genius of the Negro Leagues, makes his belated Major League debut with the Cleveland Indians. A 45 year old rookie. Page once said:" Don't look back, something may be gaining on you."

1948- Time Magazine editor Whittaker Chambers publicly denounced a top Truman presidential aide Alger Hiss of being a Russian spy. Alger Hiss was a protege of both Franklin Roosevelt and Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. The Hiss investigation eventually convicted Hiss of espionage based on the 'pumpkin papers', incriminating documents on microfilm Chambers said were found hidden in a pumpkin. The senate investigation shot to national prominence a new young congressman named Richard Nixon.

1949 -The National Basketball League is founded.

1958 – USN nuclear submarine Nautilus crossed the North Pole under the icecap.

1961- The first airline hijacked to Cuba.

1963 –Unemployed television producer Alan Sherman released an album of comedy songs at the request of his friends. Called “My Son the Folksinger” it contained the hit “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh, Here I am at, Camp Granada” and became an overnight sensation.

1966- While celebrating his 39th birthday, Comedian Lenny Bruce died of a morphine overdose. The groundbreaking comedian who coined the term “T & A” was arrested in 1964 and charged with obscenity for using the "F" word in his act. President Johnson and his opponent Senator Barry Goldwater could swear enough to make a sailor blush, but comedians were only supposed to make mother-in-law jokes.
.Lenny Bruce did six months in jail, and left broken physically and financially. No club would dare hire him. Phil Spector said: “ Lenny died of an overdose of cops” Yet he is the model for all modern stand-up comedy. No one was ever arrested again for telling jokes. Whether he leapt to his death from his apartment window yelling “ I’m Super Jew! ” is a matter of legend.

1975- The Louisiana Superdome stadium is dedicated. Some football coaches like Mike Ditka of the Chicago Bears were skeptical:” Football is meant to be played in snow and mud. Dome stadiums are for Roller Derby!”

1981- U.S. Air traffic controllers (PATCO) go on strike despite Pres. Reagan's warning they would be fired. Reagan was once president of the Screen Actor’s Guild. Ironically the only U.S. President who has ever been a labor leader, was the most union-busting president of our time.

1996- The Macarena, by Los Del Rio, becomes the #1 hit worldwide.

2012- At the London Olympics, swimmer Michael Phelps won his final race. That made his total earning 21 Olympic medals, 17 of them gold.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Ever notice most books are the same size? Who decided the standard size and why?

Answer: Before Johannes Guttenburg (1450), Arab merchants had brought the secrets of making paper and block printing from China. Rather than make scrolls or heavy religious books, they create the concept of a Quarto- one large page folded in half to make four pages. They created a standard size that could fit easily into a saddlebag- 8 1/2inches by 11 inches. Later when printing became common in Europe, they created their printing blocks to the same size as the old Arab standard, and so it remains to this day.


Aug 2, 2015
August 2nd, 2015

Quiz: Ever notice most books are the same size? 8 inches by 11? Who decided the standard size and why?

Yesterday’s Question: What is the origin of the phrase " Go Tell the Spartans."...?
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History for 8/2/2015
Birthdays: Perre L’Enfant the designer of Washington DC, Jack Warner, Myrna Loy, Sir Arthur Bliss, James Baldwin, Carrol O'Connor, Joanna Cassidy is 55, Pete Sampras, Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster), Bill Scott the voice of Bullwinkle, Bob Beamon, Wes Craven, Edward Furlong, Kevin Smith is 45, Peter O'Toole, Marie Louise Parker is 51

National Ice Cream Sandwich Day.

47BC- Battle of Zela. Pharnaces the King of Pontus- a land today in the middle of Turkey, decided he could take advantage of the Roman civil war by rising in revolt. He called for all the eastern provinces throw off the Roman yoke. This day Julius Caesar took time off from Cleopatra, and hurried up to Pontus, where he destroyed Pharnaces army in one large battle. Caesar then sent his famous three word report to the Senate: “ VENI VIDI VICI- I came, I saw, I conquered.”

1100- King William II Rufus (the Red), son of William the Conqueror, was shot with a poisoned arrow while hunting in the New Forest. His son Henry I became king. Truth be told, nobody liked Rufus very much, so it was probably not an accident.

1589- French King Henri III de Valois is stabbed in the guts by a demented Dominican, Brother Jacques Clement. He thought the King wasn't doing enough to stamp out Heresy. The kings last words were: "That little bastard has killed me. Kill him!"
Henry IV de Bourbon became one of Frances most beloved rulers. The children's song "Frere' Jacques" is about this assassin "Brother Jacques, Why are you sleeping?" another bad ruler needs stabbing, in other words.

1803- The British in India declare the Second Maharratta War against Skindia and Bousla, pro-French Rajahs in the Deccan penninsula.

1815- After Waterloo, a pro-royalist mob lynched a veteran general named Brune. Brune was a radical even before Napoleon promoted him. He still had Death to Tyrants tattooed on his chest from his days as a revolutionary. As the rope went around his neck Brune called out:" To stand on a hundred battlefields and die like this!"

1858 –As a result of the Sepoy Rebellion, the Government of India was transferred from the Honorable East India Company to direct Crown control.

1858- The first public mailboxes installed on Boston & NYC streets.

1865- The Confederate raider CSS Shenandoah, after sinking a dozen U.S whaling ships in the Bering Sea off Alaska, is told by a passing British merchantman that the American Civil War had been over since April. They refused to believe it until shown some newspapers. Whoops! My bad…

1873- The first San Francisco cable car began service. Inventor Arthur Halliday had conceived the idea in 1869 after seeing a horse drawn tram fail to get up a steep hill.

1876- In Deadwood South Dakota at Nuttall & Manns No.10 Saloon gunfighter Wild Bill Hickock was shot in the back and killed while playing cards. He was 48 years old. He was holding the "Deadman's Hand" aces & eights all black, and a jack of hearts. His assailant 'Crooked Nose" Jack McCall was found hiding in a butchers shop and hanged for the murder. An eyewitness said:" It was very sad. Bill had won the hand too."

1877- The San Francisco Public Library dedicated.

1909- The US issues the first Lincoln head pennies.

1914- THE GUNS OF AUGUST-General mobilization began throughout Europe for World War I. Large armies moved towards their frontiers amid hysterical street demonstrations of patriotism, Jubilant mobs shouting "A Berlin!" "Nach Paris!" ring out as Europe prepared to destroy itself. In Russia, Czar Nicholas II in a solemn religious ceremony takes the oath his ancestor Alexander Ist had taken to drive out Napoleon. In Berlin a torchlight parade stopped under the Japanese Embassy to salute their friends. They were unaware that Japan had already decided to join the other side. The terrified diplomats thought the crowd was there to lynch them.
Diplomats stood around stunned that all their efforts could not avoid the catastrophe.
In Berlin, German foreign minister Von Bethman-Holveig mumbled: "How did this all happen? If only I knew..." In London, Lord Grey watched the lamplighters on the street and reflected-" The Lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."

1914- Holland and Switzerland declared their neutrality in the coming Great War, closed their borders and mobilized their forces.

1920- Marcus Garvey addressed a rally of 25,000 African Americans at Madison Garden New York. He called upon Black Americans not to integrate with White Society but to work for economic self-sufficiency and an eventual return to Africa. Garvey told biographers he was never born, he had “combusted himself” on the corner of 125 & Lennox in Harlem.

1923- President Warren Harding died suddenly in San Francisco’s Palace Hotel. He was touring the country to get away from the 'Tea Pot Dome'' bribery scandal in Wash. The official cause of death was listed as “ a stroke of apoplexy”. It was rumored he may have committed suicide or had eaten bad crab meat. A popular idea was that First Lady Florence “Flossie” Harding had poisoned him. Harding was a womanizer and Flossie was well aware of his indiscretions; She refused an autopsy and had him quickly embalmed. She controlled all media coverage. To the press she was the Duchess. Nan Britton, one of Warren Harding’s tootsies, immediately sued for $50,000 for the daughter she bore Harding. She lost but wrote a best selling book called the President’s Daughter in 1927. “Silent Cal” Coolidge became President.

1934- Elderly President of the German Republic Paul von Hindenburg died, leaving Chancellor Adolf Hitler alone in charge of Germany. Hitler had waited for the old man to croak before dispensing with the parliamentary niceties. Hindenburg’s death signaled the official end of the Weimar Republic. Hitler combined the offices of President and Chancellor and becomes Der Fuehrer- the Leader.

1939- Albert Einstein then living in New Jersey, wrote a famous letter to President Franklin Roosevelt describing the potential power of atomic energy. That the US must develop atomic bombs before the Nazis do. The Manhattan Project was the result. In later years Einstein described this letter as “one of the biggest mistakes of my life.”

1940- King Gustav of Sweden sent a note to both Adolf Hitler and King George VI offering to be the go-between to start talks to end World War Two. All sides refused.

1961 - Beatles 1st gig as house band of Liverpool's Cavern Club.

1962- If you are a fan of the “Marilyn Monroe was done in by the Kennedy’s ” conspiracy theory, a recently unearthed CIA document dated this day mentioned that Marilyn’s bungalow was under electronic surveillance. Also that she kept a “red book” diary. The diary disappeared after her death, two nights from now.

1971- President Nixon acknowledged for the first time that the CIA was maintaining 30,000 troops secretly fighting in Laos.

1979- Yankee baseball star catcher Thurmon Munson died when he crashed his private plane near Akron Ohio. He was 32.

1990 –After Kuwait refused to forgive Iraq’s outstanding debts. 100,000 troops of Saddam Hussein’s army invaded Kuwait.

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Yesterday’s Quiz: What is the origin of the phrase " Go Tell the Spartans."...?

Answer: After the 300 Spartans fell defending Greece from invasion in 480BC, a monument was dedicated over their bones, with an epitaph from Simonides of Cos.
“Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, obedient to their laws, we lie." Ὦ ξεῖν', ἀγγέλλειν Λακεδαιμονίοις ὅτι τῇδε κείμεθα, τοῖς κείνων ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι.


Aug 1, 2015 saturday
August 1st, 2015

Question: What is the origin of the phrase " Go Tell the Spartans."...?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: Months alternate having 30 and 31 days each, but July and August each have 31. Why is that?
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History for 8/1/2015
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Claudius, Emperor Pertinax, Francis Scott Key, William Clark of Lewis & Clark, Herman Melville, Robert Todd Lincoln, Geoffrey Holder, Yves St. Laurent, Giancarlo Giannini is 73, Dom Deluise, Jerry Garcia, Coolio, Sam Mendes 31 B.C. Marc Anthony fell on his sword. It wasn't an accident, that’s how they did themselves in back then. Most people felt the final showdown between Marc Anthony and Augustus would be much bloodier than the war between Caesar and Pompey. But after the naval defeat of Actium, Anthony’s supporters melted away and he was alone.
14 A.D. The Roman Senate decided to change the name of the Month Sextilius (number 6) to the Month of the Divine Augustus, or August.

1096- Peter the Hermit's Crusade, in reality an enormous horde of chanting, bloodthirsty peasants, arrived at Constantinople. Their nominal leaders were the monk Peter and Walter Sans Sou or Walter the Penniless. They had spent the march through Europe massacring Jewish enclaves in many cities, and the Byzantine Emperor Alexius didn’t want them turning his city into a war zone. So he had them ferried them over to Asia without allowing them to enter his gates. They were soon destroyed by the first large Saracen force they encountered. The real First Crusade army arrived months later. 1291- SWITZERLAND BORN- The rebellious peasants of three Helvetian cantons gather on Rutli meadow and pledge to unite in an Everlasting League against foreign oppression. Modern historians doubt that anything happened on Rutli meadow other than cows grazing, but it’s a good story anyway.

1485 - Henry VII Tudor’s army invaded England to overthrow King Richard III.

1690- The besieged city of Londonderry was rescued by the army of William of Orange.

1714- George Louis/Ludwig, German Elector of Hanover, became George Ist King of Great Britain upon the death of Queen Anne, last of the Orange dynasty. He never trusted his English subjects, they had too many revolutions, too many confusing Parliamentary checks and balances and just 60 years earlier had beheaded their king. George spoke no English ”The English asked me to Rule them, not to Speak to them!”.

1716- The first sculling race, down the Thames from London to Chelsea. Stroke! Stroke!

1740- Thomas Arne's song "Rule Britannia" is performed for the first time.

1744- British chemist Joseph Priestley isolated oxygen, first calling it "dephlogisticated air" . Before this doctors knew how the heart, lungs and blood operated but no one was sure why. Sir William Harvey discovered the circulatory system, but thought it brought only nutrients from food. Some thought the heart was a little furnace that kept the blood warm, others thought it sifted blood as it passed through the ventricle walls like a cheesecloth.

1793 – Revolutionary France became the 1st country to use the metric system.

1797- According to C.S. Forrester, his British naval hero Horatio Hornblower received his captain's commission today.

1798- BATTLE OF ABU KIR or ABOUKIR BAY. Also called THE BATTLE OF THE NILE so it doesn’t confuse it with a land battle of Aboukir happening at the same time. The Nile itself is 20 miles away from Abukir Bay but it sounds better in dispatches. British Admiral Horatio Nelson caught Napoleon's fleet in an Egyptian harbor and destroyed it in a spectacular night battle.

Nelson bore down upon the French ships even though it was already past 4 p.m.. The furious cannonading lit up the evening sky and caused the windows to rattle in nearby Alexandria. The English ships each had four lanterns hung on their stern rails so they could tell each other apart in the dark. The French complained about the English sailors disconcerting habit of cheering like a football match whenever an enemy ship went down or was dismasted. The French Admiral Brousse', his legs blown off by a cannonball, was propped up in an armchair on his poopdeck and died directing the fight. Nelson was wounded in the head by flying splinters and was temporarily blinded by his own blood.

Fighting was over by dawn as the exhausted sailors dropped from their guns dead asleep. The victory ruined Napoleon's efforts to destroy the British Empire through Egypt and Turkey and link up with Indian Maharratta Tippoo Sahib in India. 1805- Aaron Burr has dinner with Gen. Andrew Jackson in Nashville. The former Vice President was wanted for the murder of Alexander Hamilton and was plotting a mercenary invasion of the northernmost territory of Spanish Mexico called Texas. After President Tom Jefferson had Burr arrested for treason Jackson denied this dinner ever happened. Twenty five years later when Andy Jackson was president the elderly Burr tried to greet him in public in New York. Jackson turned pale and “ recoiled as though he had been shot."

1861- The Empire of Brazil became one of the few nations to recognize the independence of the Confederate States of America.

1876- Colorado became a state. Because it happened in the year of the American centennial Colorado calls itself the Centennial State.

1881- Angel Island in San Francisco Bay was established as a US gov quarantine station. Soon it was converted into an immigration station to control the influx of newcomers from China and Japan. Angel Island became the Pacific version of Ellis Island.

1893 - Henry Perky & William Ford patent Shredded Wheat cereal.

1914- Count Friedrich von Portales, the German ambassador to Russia, suffering from nervous exhaustion after a sleepless week of negotiations, appeared in the office of the Czar's foreign minister Nikolai Sazonov. He asked if Russia had reconsidered Germany's ultimatum that Russia demobilize. Sazonov said they did not. Whereupon Portales pulled a paper out his pocket and read the Declaration of War: "His Majesty the Emperor, my august sovereign, accepts the challenge in the name of the empire and now considers himself at war with Russia!"
Portales then burst into tears and was comforted by his old friend Sazonov. Late that night Czar Nicholas II was lowering himself into his bathtub with a glass of tea when a final telegram pleading for peace came from Kaiser Wilhelm. "Silly man! Hadn't he just declared war on me?" Nicholas remarked. He wrote he slept soundly that night.

1917- Frank Little, native-American union organizer for the I.W.W. (the Wobblies) is beaten by a mob and hanged from a railroad trestle. His murder had originally been offered to new young Pinkerton detective Dashell Hammett, who refused.

1919- In the postwar chaos of the collapsed Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bela Kun seized power in Budapest and tried to set up a Soviet regime like Lenin in Russia. This day he was deposed and Admiral Horty began a purge of all leftists. The violence in Hungary inspired young scientist Dr Edward Teller to be a livelong opponent of Communism. Teller developed the Hydrogen Bomb. Bela Kun fled to Moscow where Josef Stalin had him shot in the Great Purges of 1936.

1924- Six months after his death Russian Leader Nikolai Lenin’s mummified body is unveiled in his great tomb in Red Square. After the USSR fell there were many calls to finally bury the Commie-Under-Glass but in 2001 the decision was made to leave him as is.

1933- The WPA Arts Project set up to employ starving artists on large public works projects like murals for libraries and bridges, etc. Artists like Grant Wood, Andrew Wyeth, Dorothea Lang, Orson Welles and Bernice Abbott got commissions.

1936- The opening ceremonies for the Olympic Games in Berlin. The first Olympic torch lighting ceremony. United States was the only nation to refuse to dip their flag in salute to the host head of state- Adolf Hitler. Filmmaker Leni Reifenstahl was given unlimited access to document the Games. She pioneered the use of slow motion, tracking shots and closeups to revolutionize the way sports is filmed.

1940- Hitler released War Directive #17, calling for increased air and sea operations against the British Isles. Operations were to commence August 5th which der Fuehrer called “The Day of the Eagle”. We call it the Battle of Britain.

1943- Late at night off the coast of Borneo the little torpedo boat P.T. 109 rammed and sunk by the Japanese destroyer Amaqiri. Lieutenant John F. Kennedy and his crew swam to an uncharted island. They will be rescued when a native in a canoe delivers a message from Kennedy scrawled on a coconut. “Naru Is. Native knows it. 11 alive need small boat.” When President, Kennedy had the native man to the White House and kept the coconut on his desk in the Oval Office. In June 2002 Dr Robert Ballard, who had discovered the Titanic, found the wreckage of the PT 109 on the ocean bottom.

1946- Congress authorized all the leftover World War II army surplus to be sold off and the money given out as educational scholarships. The Fullbright Scholarships.

1946- Truman signed the Atomic Energy Act. It nationalized atomic energy research but created a civilian commission to review peacetime uses of atomic energy. 1946-The first drive-in bank teller opens in Chicago. 1953- The Alan Ladd movie Shane released.

1960 - Chubby Checker releases "The Twist" and starts a world wide dance craze.

1960 –A young Baptist preachers daughter who had sung nothing but gospel went into a recording booth to try her hand at R & B. Aretha Franklin’s career began.

1966- TEXAS TOWER WHITMAN-Lunatic Charles Whitman barricaded himself into the steeple of Texas University and shot 15 people at random during a day long gunbattle with police. The tragedy reached comic proportions when Texas recreational gun owners hauled out their pieces and blazed away alongside the police. Whitman's Marine training was cited for his excellent marksmanship and his eccentric behavior, like constantly polishing his shoes during the day long battle.

1971- The Rock Concert for Bangladesh, organized by George Harrison. The first charity-fund raising rock-concert.

1971- The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour debuted.

1971- PBS started a new television series called Masterpiece Theater hosted by Alastair Cooke. It’s first presentation was a the Six Wives of Henry VIII. The high quality BBC and Thames Television programs became so popular in the USA, that people said PBS stood for Preferably British Shows.

1972- Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s first articles in The Washington Post exposing the depths of the conspiracy in the Watergate Scandal. The two journalists claimed they were fed information by someone very high in the Nixon White House who would only give his name as Deep Throat. In 2005 his identity was at last revealed as W. Mark Felt, the assistant head of the FBI. Their story was dramatized in the film All The Presidents Men.

1972- 187th Tactom Flight Group of the Air Texas National Guard suspended the flight privileges of Lieutenant George W. Bush for failing to take a drug test. The future US president went AWOL (away without leave) from May 1972-to May 1973 to work on his dads’ congressional campaign. It was well known then that the National Guard was an easy way for rich kids to avoid being sent to real combat in Vietnam. His unit was called the Champagne Unit.

1973- With the tag line “Where were you in ’62?” the film American Graffiti opened in theaters. The hit made skinny young director George Lucas a player in Hollywood, and made stars of kids like Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfus and Susanne Somers.

1975- Billy Martin became manager of the New York Yankees. The hard-drinking, bad tempered Martin became one of the more colorful managers to lead the pinstripe crew.

1976- Elizabeth Taylor had married Richard Burton a second time. Today she divorced Richard Burton a second time. This was her 6th marriage.

1976- The expansion team The Seattle Seahawks play their first NFL game. They lost their preseason opener to the SF 49ers 27-20. 1981-I WANT MY MTV! MTV goes on the air, rock videos 24 hours a day. The idea was funded by a consortium of investors including Mike Nesmith of the Monkees, then on the board of 3M Paper company. If you put on the TV this day you saw a slide of an astronaut for several hours, then finally a voice said :”Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Rock & Roll.” The first rock video played was by a British New-Wave Band called the Buggles entitled “Video Killed the Radio Star.” followed by a Pat Benatar single.

1991- elderly movie queen Heddy Lamarr was busted in Tampa Florida for shoplifting.

1994- NASDAQ stock trading on Wall Street was halted for 35 minutes because a squirrel gnawed through a main fiber optic cable at the organization’s computer center in Connecticut.

2007- THE MINNEAPOLIS BRIDGE COLLAPSE. The I-35 Bridge, which crosses the Mississippi through the center of Minneapolis, collapsed during the afternoon rush hour, plunging 113 cars into the river. It killed 110 people. The tragedy was a wake up call to America’s neglected infrastructure. Most American bridges were 40-70 years old and built only intended to last 75 years. In Los Angeles in 2014, a ninety-year old water pipe burst spilling 12 million gallons. Pieces of the Brooklyn Bridge keep falling off.
In 1958 the U.S. spent 12% of the Federal Budget on infrastructure, in 2007, 2%.

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Yesterday’s Quiz: Months alternate having 30 and 31 days each, but July and August each have 31. Why is that?

Answer: Except for February, the calendar system of Sosigenes alternated one month at 30 days with the next month at 31. But in 14AD the family of the Emperor Augustus did not like that Julius Caesars month had 31 days, and theirs had only 30. So they ordered the Senate to borrow a day from February, a month nobody liked anyway.


July 31, 2015
July 30th, 2015

Question: Months alternate having 30 and 31 days each, but July and August each have 31. Why is that?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: In 1971, the US Supreme Court ruled on the Carlin Case, defining the Seven Deadly Words that can never be said on a U.S broadcast program. What are they?
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History for 7/31/2015

Birthdays: Liberace, General George H. Thomas the "Rock of Chickamagua", Sebastian Sperling Kresge the founder of S.S. Kresge stores, Milton Friedman, Sherry Lansing, Geraldine Chaplin, Kurt Gowdy, Dean Cain, Leon “ Bull “Durham, Primo Levi, Ted Cassidy who played Lurch in the Adams Family, Wesley Snipes is 53, and according to J.K. Rowling, this is the birthday of Harry Potter



1358- The Mayor of Paris Etienne Marcel was killed trying to defend his city from the King of France’s army. Marcel tried to use the chaos of the English Hundred Years War to gain independence for Paris like the city-states of Italy. He governed the city with a bodyguard of Malletards, workmen who wielded huge two-handed sledgehammers. After Marcel fell, the king would never grant that much power to a Parisian again, Paris was governed by a royal appointee. There would be no Mayor of Paris until the Revolution in 1789. Today the Mayor of Paris is considered a direct step to the French Presidency. 



1498- Christopher Columbus discovered Trinidad.



1620- The Pilgrims set sail for America. They were aiming for Virginia but washed up in Massachusetts instead. Comedian Eddie Izzard noted:” The Pilgrims sailed from Plymouth and landed in…. Plymouth…how convenient for them!”



1703- In London writer Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe) was made to stand in pillory for writing critical satires of the Her Majesties government and Church. The pamphlet was The Shortest Way with Dissenters.



1720- Height of the Great Plague of Marseilles- A bubonic plague of such ferocity hits the city that the regional parliament at Aix en Provence drew a line around the city and forbade anyone to enter or leave. Order within the city collapsed and the Bishop of Marseilles with his Jesuits took over the day-by-day functions. Everyday the Bishop, seated on a huge wagon of corpses pulled by convicts chanting the "Miserere' would lead a procession to church. Ahh, the good ole' days.. In later years people never forgot the heroism of the prelate. When the French Revolution ordered the despoiling of churches, the people of Marseilles refused to throw down the statue of their hero bishop.



1763- Battle of Bloody Bridge. British Captain Dalyell tried a surprise attack on Chief Pontiac’s camp to relieve the Indian siege of Fort Detroit. But Pontiac was forewarned. His warriors shot up Dalyell and his men. Pontiac slew the captain and ate his heart. yum!



1776- Francis Salvador, a South Carolina plantation owner was killed in a skirmish with British troops. He became the first of the Jewish faith to die for American Independence.



1790- The U.S. Patent Office opened.



1793- THE BIRTH OF THE TWO PARTY SYSTEM IN AMERICA- Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson informed President George Washington of his intention to resign. Jefferson was frustrated with his endless feuds with Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton and Vice President Adams. Although he told Washington he wished to retire to Monticello, in reality he planned to direct the strategy of his new opposition party the Democratic-Republicans. The party that became the Democratic Party was first called the Republicans, the term “democrat” was then seen as an insult. Jefferson called Hamilton’s Federalist party “the Monocrats” because he felt they had royal ambitions. 


From now on with few exceptions the U.S. President’s cabinet would not be a coalition of differing viewpoints but all from one party. The modern Republican Party would not be born until Lincoln’s time, 60 years in the future. Washington was appalled that his old friend and fellow Virginia planter Jefferson would take partisanship so far that he would desert the cabinet. George Washington thought political parties a bad idea because it encouraged people to put the needs of their party over the needs of their country…. Heh, he should see things now.



1798- Admiral Horatio Nelson sighted Napoleon's fleet anchored in the bay of Aboukir at the mouth of the Nile. Since it was too late that evening to fight, the one-eyed, one armed admiral ordered dinner to be served. Over port he told his captains; "Gentlemen, tomorrow I shall gain either a peerage, or a crypt in Westminster Abbey." 



1813- The British invade New York State at Plattsburgh.



1830- The Revolution of the Ten Days- King Charles X of France overthrown and replaced with his cousin Louis Phillipe d'Orleans as a constitutional monarch, The event was remembered by Delacroix in his painting "Liberty Leading the People". The Royal French Army was deliberately held back from suppressing the rebellion by their leaders, they were Napoleon’s old Generals Marmont and Soult. Honore Daumier liked to draw new King Louis Phillipe“ The Bourguois Monarch” as a fat pear in a top hat. Prince Metternich the premier of Austria correctly predicted this uprising would signal a new round of revolutionary ferment throughout Europe:.”When Paris Sneezes, Europe catches the cold.” King Louis Phillipe’s descendants, the D’Orleans branch of the Bourbon family, are the present heirs to the throne, should the French Nation ever desire a monarchy again.



1873- San Francisco's famous cable car system starts up.



1904- Russia completed the Trans-Siberian Railroad, linking the Ural Mountains and European Russia with the Pacific Coast.



1914- Europe spirals down into world war. The Czar of Russia changed his mind one more time and ordered the Russian Army to mobilize. He told his chief of staff ” You may smash your telephone now, for I will not change my mind again.” The French government decided to reject a last minute German warning to keep away from their coming war with Russia. France ordered general mobilization. 

The leader of the French Socialists and best hope for European pacifists, Jean Jaure' had helped diffuse a similar crisis the previous year by chairing a last minute international summit in Switzerland. This night he was sipping wine in a Paris café’ when a shot came through the window and killed him. Someone obviously didn’t want him to spoil the fun.

1914- Meanwhile in America the reaction to the war in Europe was THE WALL STREET PANIC OF 1914. American investors feared the war would cut off European markets for their goods and thus be disastrous for business. So many sell orders deluged the exchange that on the advice of Treasury Secretary MacAdoo and J.P. Morgan, Jr. the New York Stock Exchange closed down completely until December. 

Brokers began to meet in the street around Wall and Nassau streets and make deals anyway. These 'Gutter-Brokers" were the world's only open functioning stock market for several months. Ironically the war proved a boon to U.S. industry ( stock in Dupont went up 400% ) and caused the U.S. to supplant England as the world's largest creditor nation.



1917-The PASSCHENDALE OFFENSIVE also called the Third Battle of Ypres- Field Marshall Sir Douglas "Whiskey Doug" Haig proved he learned nothing in the last 3 1/2 years of trench war by ordering a massive standing infantry attack right into the German machine guns. Even today the War Office is vague on the losses, but the estimate is tens of thousands of young Britons died to move the front line 1/2 a mile. When hearing of the high casualties Sir Douglas reacted:" Oh dear, have we really lost that many ?"



1922- Ralph Samuelson invented water skis.



1930- Radio mystery show “The Shadow” premiered. “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows…heh, heh, heh.” Orson Welles did the voice of the crime fighting Shadow for a year in 1937 for $185 a week.



1945- Truman still at the Potsdam conference issues the orders to use the Super Cosmic Bomb (a-bomb) on Japan but not before Aug 2nd to see if Japanese peace overtures through the Swedish Embassy were sincere. He conferred with General Eisenhower but Ike was against the decision:” It was unnecessary to use that thing on those people.”



1945- Allied authorities find arch-collaborator Pierre Laval hiding in Austria. Laval was the premier
and chief organizer of the pro-Nazi Vichy French government. He cooperated in the transporting of thousands of French Jews to Nazi death camps and many others of his countrymen to slave labor camps. After a sensational trial Laval tried to poison himself, but was nursed back to health long enough so he could hang.



1948- President Truman dedicated New York City’s second major airport Idlewild Field. In 1963 it was renamed JFK Airport.



1954- Steve Allen married Jayne Meadows. 



1966- Birmingham Alabama held a massed rally to burn Beatles records after John Lennon joked that the Beatle had become more popular than Jesus.



1960- Elijah Mohammed set up the African-American movement the Nation of Islam, called by some the Black Muslims.



1962- Malaysian independence.



1971- Apollo 15 astronaut went for a drive on the surface of the moon in their land-rover.



1977- Son of Sam serial killer David Berkowitz had kept normally unflappable New York City in the grip of fear for one year. This night he killed his last victim. He was caught because of his Volkswagen beetle being illegally parked. When writing the ticket the policeman noticed the 44 cal. pistol sticking out of a paper bag on the seat. Berkowitz was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences and today says he is a born-again Christian and he doesn’t like to dwell on the past. ( too bad ). While in Attica he made friends with Mark David Chapman, the murderer of John Lennon.



1992- The Robert Zemeckis comedy Death Becomes Her opened. With Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn and Bruce Willis. It is the first film that widely used the new digital matte technique to replace traditional optical printing.

1995- The Walt Disney Company bought the ABC Network, the Discovery Channel and ESPN.

1999- Premiere of Brad Bird’s first movie The Iron Giant.


2006- Elderly, ailing, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro handed over leadership to his brother Raul Castro and went into retirement.

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Yesterday’s Quiz: In 1971, the US Supreme Court ruled on the Carlin Case, defining the Seven Deadly Words that can never be said on a U.S broadcast program. What are they?

Answer: Sh*t, Piss, F*ck, C*nt, C*cks*cker, Motherf*cker, Tits. Comedian George Carlin was inspired by seeing Lenny Bruce being arrested for using the same words. He later worked the words into a hit comedy routine. In 1994 Howard Stern was fined by the FCC for having on his radio show a man who could play the piano with his penis. And so it goes.


JUly 30, 2015
July 30th, 2015

Question: In 1971, the US Supreme Court ruled on the Carlin Case, defining the Seven Deadly Words that can never be said on a U.S broadcast program.
What are they?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: In the early days of television, The Production Code dictated that married couples, or any couples for that matter, had to sleep in separate beds. Who was the first TV couple to share the same bed?

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History for 7/30/2015
Birthdays: Georgio Vasari, Henry Ford, Emily Bronte', Casey Stengel, Roy Williams, Vladimir Zworykin who invented the television picture tube, Arnold Schwarzenegger aka the Governator is 68, Ed "Kookie" Byrnes, Peter Bogdanovich is 76, Delta Burke, Henry Moore, Anita Hill, Lawrence Fishburne is 53, Jean Reno is 66, Hilary Swank is 40, Christopher Nolan, Lisa Kudrow is 51


101 B.C.- Marius of Rome defeats two migrating hordes of German barbarians, the Teutons and Cimbri, at Raudine Plains. Marius built a fortified camp in their path and held them off until he was ready and his men got over their fear of these strange looking wildmen. Warriors taunted the Romans: “Do you have any messages for your wives? For we shall be with them soon !”
When one frustrated German warchief marched up to the gates and challenged Marius to single-combat, Marius laughed and sent out a gladiator, "Here, fight him. He loves to fight." When he felt they were at last ready Marius marched out his legions and they made mincemeat of the barbarians. Years later Marius would give the first opportunities to a young intern named Gaius Julius Caesar.


1540- When King Henry VIII broke England away from the Catholic Church he spent some time trying to decide just how Protestant England should be. The confusion was made manifest this day when at Smithfield, he burned at the stake three Catholics for not wanting to be Protestant, then three Protestants for questioning Catholic doctrine!


1619- The Virginia House of Burgesses formed, the first legislative body in the US.


1700- the British Succession Crisis- The 11 year old Duke of Gloucester, only surviving child of Princess Anne and the grandson of King Charles II, died of smallpox. This left England with no future prince, only a gouty old princess who had 17 miscarriages or dead children and widowed King William III of Orange- childless, asthmatic and tuberculant. The exiled Catholic king James II Stuart was waiting to be recalled and many Whig politicians even wanted to chuck the whole system and make Britain a Republic! 

Claimants from as far as Savoy in Italy offered to be king of England. Zounds!

Parliament solved the crisis with the Act of Settlement of 1701- That Anne would reign as Queen after William of Orange died and then the Protestant family of her cousin the German elector of Hanover, George Ist would reign. It also reinforced the law that a Catholic could never again rule England.


1729- The City of Baltimore founded. Named for Cecilius Calvert, Lord Baltimore. 


1733- The first lodge of Freemasons in the US opened in Boston.


1810- Father Miquel Hidalgo, who began the Mexican revolution against Spain, was shot by firing squad. But the revolt continued until Mexico achieved independence in 1823.


1847 - Queen Victoria noted in her diary today she took a swim in the ocean for the first time. She entered a cottage on wheels called a bathing house and while she changed into her fully covered bathing costume the cottage was rolled into the water by means of cranks and pulleys. Another time she was at the beach at Ostend, Holland she noticed the curious habit there of Dutch women swimming with their hair loose-" down to their hips, like penitents."


1864- Confederate raiders led by Jubal Early looted and burned the Northern town of Chambersburg Pennsylvania, in retribution for Yankee depredations down south. 


1864- THE CRATER- One of the strangest battles of the Civil War. A Pennsylvania coal mine engineer convinced General Grant to dig a tunnel under Robert E. Lee's army and fill it with 8 million of pounds of gunpowder. The massive explosion blew 4,500 troops and guns into the air and created the first man-made mushroom cloud. It created a crater 30 feet deep and 200 yards wide. 

No one had ever seen anything so terrible. However the follow up Union attack was so badly bungled the rebels had time to recover from the shock and fight back. Instead of using a highly trained fresh black regiment, Grant instead sent in two exhausted frontline regiments who were told they were going to a rest area. He didn’t want to be accused of racism. The Union troops were supposed to attack around the rim of the crater, Instead they crowded down into it through a bottleneck and were massacred by the rebs from above as they tried to climb up the steep 30 foot walls. Troops bayoneted each other trying to get out of the slaughter pen. 

Another golden chance to end the war early was ruined. Grant sacked the commander, a General Ledlie, who spent the battle drinking brandy in the rear. "The generals dismissal was a great loss to the enemy" one officer wrote. It all accomplished nothing. One soldier said:"I hope we never make war like that again". 


1867- After the Civil War the conquered states of the South were divided up into districts of military occupation. On this day General Phil Sheridan was removed from the military governorship of Texas and Louisiana for being too harsh. During his two years in charge, Sheridan sacked the Governors of Texas and Louisiana, as well as the mayors of New Orleans, Shreveport and Galveston. He hated Texans as unreconstructed rebels that should have gotten what Atlanta got.- "If I owned both Hell and Texas and was forced to choose, I'd sell Texas and live in Hell !"


1889- Start of the Sherlock Holmes mystery, the Naval Treaty.
1915- WWI, At the Battle of Hooge, the Germans first introduced hand-held flamethrowers as a weapon. 


1916-The Black Tom Pier Explosion- Throughout World War I German spies and saboteurs were active on American waterfronts. On this day German agents Kurt Jahnke and Lothar Witzkhe detonated two million pounds of explosive destined for the European battlefields on a New Jersey pier behind the Statue of Liberty. It caused 45 million dollars in damage, windows on Wall Street shattered and the Statue's arm was knocked slightly askew. In later years the park service would forbid tourists from climbing up to the torch. The success of German agents in America in World War One was a reason why in World War II-army intelligence struck a deal with the Mafia to keep peace on the waterfront. 


1917- Republican Senator and future President Warren G. Harding was caught by two New York hotel detectives in bed with an underage girl. He bought them off with $20 each. "I thought I wouldn't get off for under a thousand!" he told a friend. Later as President he always kept a guard at the door...


1929 -The Hollywood Bowl musicians go on strike.


1932-Walt Disney’s “Flowers and Trees” the first Technicolor Cartoon. Disney had worked out a deal with Technicolor creator Herbert Kalmus to use his technique exclusively for two years to show larger Hollywood studios its quality.


1932- The first Los Angeles hosting of the Olympic Games in their spanking new Coliseum. Gold medalist in swimming Larry Buster Crabbe later became a movie star. Another medalist, the Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku, began to teach the Californians about a new sport- surfing!



1935- THE FIRST PAPERBACK BOOK- Andre Maurois 'Ariel, a Life of Shelley', published in this new form by Penguin Books of London.



1936- Producer David O. Selznick buys the movie rights to the best selling book “Gone With The Wind” from an ailing Irving Thalberg. The "boy genius" Thalberg was hoping that Selznick would ruin himself in the process of making this film. Thalberg was convinced that GWTW would prove to be a massive flop because "Costume dramas are box office poison." D’oh!



1938- Adolf Hitler awarded the Third Reich’s highest civilian medal to American industrialist Henry Ford. He admired Ford’s anti-Semitic views. Ford paid for copies of the racist book Protocols of the Elders of Zion to be placed in American libraries. Writer William Shirer noted when interviewing Hitler that he had translations of Ford’s own newspaper the Dearborn Independent on his desk. The Chairman of the US Chamber of Commerce also got a medal from Der Fuehrer in recognition the international corporate support of the Nazi regime. They admired the way Hitler suppressed unions, the 8 Hour Work Day and other bad-for-business items.



1948 - Professional wrestling premieres on prime-time network TV ( DuMont )



1954 - Elvis Presley joins Local 71, the Memphis Federation of Musicians.

1956 – Pres. Eisenhower signs the bill declaring "In God We Trust" to be the official motto of the USA. It was put on coins. This was around the same time "under God" was also added to the Pledge of Allegiance.



1959- Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor patented the integrated circuit.



1962-Italy adopts a total ban on cigarette advertising. Consumption of cigarettes doubled.

1963 –Escaped British spy Kim Philby was found living in Moscow.

1965- President Lyndon Johnson signs the Medicare Act and issues the first medicare card (#00001) to former president Harry Truman. 



1974- President Richard Nixon turned over his White House tapes on Watergate after being forced to by the Supreme Court. That same day the House Judiciary Committee voted three acts of impeachment against the President. 



1975- Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa disappeared while on the way to a lunch meeting with Teamster officials at a small Detroit restaurant. He once said: "Bodyguards? Who needs bodyguards?" He hated Bobby Kennedy so much that when he learned of his assassination he ordered the half-masted flag at his union office run back up to the top and spent the day at the track celebrating. 
Rumor has it he currently resides under the goalposts at Giants Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey. Another story is that he was strangled by a Mafia hit man named Sal Briguglio, then his body was taken to an auto fender factory, cut up and the pieces thrown into vats of boiling zinc. Briguglio was himself whacked in 1978.



1986- Disney released “Flight of the Navigator”, featuring early photo-real VFX done by Canadian studio Omnibus.

1988- The last Playboy Club in America closed. It was in Lansing, Mich. In 2006 Hugh Hefner opened a Playboy Club themed casino in Las Vegas.


1999- The Blair Witch Project opened in theaters. The low-budget indy became a monster hit due to an early on-line campaign claiming the footage was real.
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Yesterday’s Question: In the early days of television, The Production Code dictated that married couples, or any couples for that matter, had to sleep in separate beds. Who was the first TV couple to share the same bed?

Answer: Fred & Wilma Flintstone. (Actually, it was Mary Kay and Johnny Stearns, who had a live show, the very first TV sitcom, on the Dumont Network back in 1947. As far as I can tell, there are no photographs or kinescopes of the bedroom arrangements, however. Interestingly, Mary Kay’s on-air, and real-life, pregnancy also predated Lucille Ball’s public pregnancy by several years. Unlike the scripts for “I Love Lucy,” I wonder if Mary Kay and Johnny were able to use the term “pregnant” on their show.) - FG.


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