May 29, 2015
May 29th, 2015
Quiz: What is the origin of the term “ Don’t be second banana”…?
Yesterday’s question answered below: Who said “ Senator, I am not a potted plant!”
History for 5/29/2015
Birthdays: King Charles II (the "Merry Monarch"), John F. Kennedy, Bob Hope, J.G. Chesterton, Patrick Henry, Oswald Spengler, T.H. White, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Josef Von Sternberg, LaToya Jackson, John Hinckley Jr., Al Unser Jr., Beatrice Lilly, Danny Elfman, Annette Benning is 60, Melissa Etheridge is 54, Rupert Everett is 56
526 AD -An earthquake destroyed the city of Antioch. Another major quake two years later caused much rebuilding efforts to be abandoned. Once one of the largest cities in the ancient world, today it is a quiet little Turkish border town.
1415- The Grand Council of churchmen at Constance trying to heal the Great Schism ordered the deposition of Pope John XXIII. John ran the Vatican like a mercenary captain, taxing everything including gambling and prostitution. It was said he had slept with 200 women including maids, matrons and nuns. He fled Constance disguised as a groom and was given sanctuary by Cosimo de Medici of Florence. Today he is counted an AntiPope, an illegal one, so Salvatore Roncalli in 1958 was given his number John XXIII. 1453- CONSTANTINOPLE CONQUERED BY THE TURKS- Sultan Mohammed II the "Scourge of Christendom" stormed the capitol of the old Byzantine Empire. His great cherry wood cannons firing giant stone balls blew great holes in the city walls, proving the end of castles as serious defenses.
When he knew the battle was lost, the last Eastern Emperor of the Romans, Constantine XI Paleologus, sallied out sword in hand and went down fighting. His body was identified out of a pile of corpses only by the bejeweled purple shoes. As Mohammed II rode into the city in triumph he recited a Persian poem:" A spider weaves it's web in the palace of the Caesars, a shadow falls over the House of Amonhasarib.
Except for Spain, Christian Europe hadn’t given much thought to expansionist Islam since the Crusades. Now Turkey became the number one threat for the next 300 years. The Byzantine Empire’s loss did have one beneficial effect on Western Europe. All the fleeing Greek scholars and scientists with their arms full of the works of Plato and Aristotle would settle in European capitols and help spark the Renaissance.
1606- Michel Caravaggio the artist shot a man over a tennis match. Caravaggio was a mad-artist before the term was invented. The police records of Rome show the master painter constantly in trouble, seducing man, woman and child, throwing rocks at soldiers, stabbing waiters, etc.
1692- The Battle of La Hogue- Great naval battle when the French fleet of Admiral de Tourville was ordered by Louis XIV to attack an Anglo-Dutch navy despite being heavily outnumbered. The French admiral did a brilliant job but lost anyway, and the French monarch turned his back on the navy, abandoning supremacy of the seas to England.
Once considered the most important naval engagement until Trafalgar, La Hogue is now mostly remembered on cheap, framed prints of naval battle paintings you see hanging in doctor’s waiting rooms.
1765 - Patrick Henry gave a defiant speech in the Virginia House of Burgesses against the English Stamp Act. Someone in the crowd yelled "Treason!"
Henry smiled: "If this be treason, make the most of it!"
1780- THE WAXSAWS or TARELTON’S QUARTER- In the later part of the American Revolution the British Army tried encouraging Loyal Americans to fight their Rebel brothers. A British officer named Banastre Tarleton raised a hard riding company of American Loyalist dragoons to subdue unruly South Carolina. But Tarleton had a sadistic streak that made him go beyond the gentlemanly war of the era.
At the Waxsaws in North Carolina Tarleton rode down a company of Virginia militia and slaughtered them as they tried to surrender. After the battle ended he ordered his men to comb the battlefield and bayonet the wounded. So he won the tactical victory but Butcher Tarleton’s tactics made more enemies than friends for his side. Many North Carolina hill country folk who had been sitting out the war lost kin at the Waxsaws and so joined the American side in droves. Knowing they may get “Tarleton’s Quarter” made many Minutemen fight harder rather than surrender.
1790- Two years after the U.S. Constitution was ratified, Rhode Island had still not ratified the document. Rhode Island refused to send delegates to the convention drafting it, and only after the other twelve states threatened to completely sever all commercial ties with it did they knuckle under and vote to join the union, but only by a majority of only two votes.
1814- Napoleon’s Empress Josephine died of a cold contracted while entertaining Czar Alexander of Russia. A woman’s fashion of the time was to wear a flimsy muslin dress dampened with water to make it see-through, the equivalent of the modern wet T-shirt. Dressed this way she went for an evening stroll through the gardens of Malmasion with the Russian emperor, caught a chill and soon expired.
1843- John C. Freemont began his second surveying expedition mapping out vast areas of California and Oregon and studying its geography. For this he was nicknamed the Pathfinder and later became the first presidential candidate of the new Republican Party.
1848- Wisconsin became a state.
1856- THE LOST SPEECH- Former Congressman Abraham Lincoln was called upon to deliver the adjournment speech to the convention inaugurating the new Illinois Republican Party. He had decided to abandon his strategy of mincing words about slavery and “hit it hard.” Lincoln delivered what many regarded as the best speech of his life, a speech better than the Gettysburg Address or “ With Malice Towards None” the Second Inaugural.
And maddeningly for history we have no record of what he said. The newspapermen jotting it down shorthand were so amazed by what they heard that they stopped writing, confident they could share the notes of another later. Even Abe’s close friend Herndon, who was a prodigious note taker, gave up after fifteen minutes, admitting he “threw pen and paper away and was swept up in the inspiration of the hour”. The speech made Lincoln one of the rising stars of the party, yet we don’t know anything he said that night.
1859 –Illinois Congressman Abe Lincoln says in a better documented occasion "You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of time, but you can't fool all of the people all of time"
1905- Third Day of the Battle of Tsushima Straights. Japanese Admiral Togo catches up to the second half of the Russian Navy and sinks it. In 1985 Japanese salvage crews brought up a huge hoard of gold bullion meant for the payroll for the Tsarist sailors. A Japanese venture capitalist tried to use it to buy back the Kurile Islands- the few small islands in the north that Soviet Russia invaded in the closing days of World War Two and have never given back. Russia said 'No Deal."
1908- Teddy Roosevelt signed the first ban on child labor in the U.S.
1911 -The first Indianapolis 500
1912- 15 young women were fired by the Curtis Publishing Company for dancing "Turkey Trot" during their lunch break. 1914-THE COLONEL REDL AFFAIR- In the years before World War I, the Great Powers of Europe spent vast sums on spies and agents to discover each other's future war plans. The period was known as the “soft war” not unlike the Cold War of a later generation. Coloneloberst Redl was on the Austro-Hungarian General Staff but was passing information on to Russian Intelligence. He was exposed by an Italian double agent who was also his male lover. According to the Austrian military code of honor, Redl was forced by his fellow officers to shoot himself. An eccentric man, his apartment was filled with life-size mannequins in chairs. Hungarian director Istvan Szabo made an award winning film about Redl with Klaus Maria Brandauer in 1986. There were earlier films made of the story in 1931 and 55.
1932- The" BONUS MARCHERS "reach Washington D.C. Men who joined the army during the Great War were promised an extra bonus to be received in 1945. Similar bonuses were given by the Gov’t to Civil War Veterans in the 1890s. But by 1932 the Great Depression had so ruined people's lives a movement was started by a Portland Oregon veteran named Captain William Waters to pass a bill in Congress to get their bonus early. Veterans would lobby congress by mounting a poor people's march on Washington. People's marches of this sort had happened before, like "Coxey's Army" in 1896, the Civil Right's march in 1964, and the Million-Man March in 1995. Veteran's groups came from all over the nation and by the time they got to Capitol Hill they numbered around 80,000. The set up shantytowns on the Mall nicknamed “Hoovervilles”.
Everyday Senators going to work had to slip through a huge line of homeless men shuffling silently around the Capitol Building. The Hoover government panicked and believed Soviet-style revolution was imminent. The opposition to the bonus bill was led by Senator Howard Vidal, father of writer-activist Gore Vidal and uncle to Al Gore.
1941-THE GREAT WALT DISNEY CARTOONISTS STRIKE.. The picket line and campsite went up across the street where St. Joseph's Hospital is today. Chef's from nearby Toluca Lake restaurants would cook for the strikers on their off time and the aircraft mechanics of Lockheed promised muscle if any ruffstuff was threatened.
Picketers included Hank Ketcham (Dennis the Menace), Walt Kelly and Margaret Selby (later Kelly) (Pogo), Bill Melendez (A Charlie Brown Christmas), Steve Bosustow and John Hubley (Mr. Magoo), Maurice Noble and Chuck Jones (What's Opera Doc?), George Baker (Sad Sack), Dick Swift ("the Parent Trap") Frank Tashlin (Cinderfella) and four hundred others. Animators from Warner Bros. MGM and Walter Lantz marched with their Disney brothers and sisters, because they knew this was where the fate of their entire industry would be settled. Celebrities like Dorothy Parker and John Garfield gave speeches. The studio claimed no one of importance was on strike.
The strike was eventually settled by Federal arbitration and a little arm twisting by the Bank of America. Many of the artists who left the studio afterwards set up U.P.A. and pioneered the modern 1950's style.
1942- JOHN BARRYMORE- The great dramatic actor, the first American to dare to play Hamlet in England, died of his vices at age 60. Whether the infamous prank actually happened where Raoul Walsh, Bertholdt Brecht, Peter Lorre, W.C. Fields and some others (the"Bundy Drive Boys") kidnapped Barrymore's body from Pierce Brothers Funeral Home and propped it up at the poker table to scare the willys out of Errol Flynn is a matter of debate. Flynn and Paul Heinried said it was true, writer Gene Fowler said it was false. . John Barrymore's last words were to screenwriter Gene Fowler: "Say Gene, isn't it true you are an illegitimate son of Buffalo Bill?"
1942- Bing Crosby records "White Christmas," debatably the greatest selling record of all time. 1952- Edmund Hillary and Sherpa guide Tenzing Norga become first men to reach the top of Mt. Everest.
1954- New York Police raid the studio of Irving Klaw, the photographer of the Betty Page kinky pin-up photos. Klaw tried to appeal to the Supreme Court but couldn’t get a hearing.
1956- Hollywood director James Whale (Frankenstein, The Invisible Man) drowned himself in his pool. His career was over and his health was deteriorating from a series of strokes. Bruises were found on his head and at first the police suspected foul play. It wasn’t until 1989 his gay lover made his suicide note public. His head had struck the pool’s bottom as he jumped in causing the bruise.
1972- Moe Berg died of old age. He was a master spy who using a front as a catcher for the Washington Senator’s Baseball team, fluent enough in quantum physics to converse with Einstein. He was once ordered by Washington to go to Switzerland and meet with Rudolph Heisenberg, the Nazi Einstein, and kill him if he felt the Germans were getting too close do developing their own atomic bomb. He chose not to shoot him. In his later years he was a regular contestant on TV game shows. Believe it or not!
1973 - Columbia Records fired president Clive Davis for misappropriating
$100, 000 in funds, Davis then founded Arista records.
1977 - Janet Guthrie becomes 1st woman to drive in Indy 500.
1978 - Bob Crane, (Hogan-Hogan's Heroes), died at 49 under mysterious circumstances. He was found in a Tucson hotel room surrounded by pornography bludgeoned to death by a camera tripod. The murder was never solved.
1987 –pop singer Michael Jackson attempted to buy the nineteenth century remains of Joseph Meredith a.k.a. the Elephant Man.
1999- Hikers in Malibu California discover the remains of Phillip Taylor, the bass guitar player of the 60’s band Iron Butterfly. The musician had disappeared four years before. Now his skeleton was found sitting in his Ford Aerostar at the bottom of a steep ravine.
2003- The BBC aired a news expose alleging that Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government “sexed up” or exaggerated the proof of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction to justify the unpopular invasion of Iraq. The documentary named a shy government researcher named Dr. David Kelly as the perpetrator. He committed suicide as a result.
Quiz: Who said “ Senator, I am not a potted plant!”
Answer: During the Iran Contra Scandal Hearings, White House operative Col. Oliver North appeared before Congress. During some heated questioning when Rep Boland asked why his attorney was so involved with North’s answers, his attorney Brendan Sullivan snapped “ Congressman, I am not a potted plant! I am here to do my job!”
May 28, 2015
May 28th, 2015
Quiz: Who said “ Senator, I am not a potted plant!”
Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: Why are white people called Caucasians?
History for 5/28/2015
Birthdays: Solomon 970 BC, Noah Webster, Dr. Joseph Guillotine, William Pitt the Younger, General Pierre Beauregard, Ian Fleming, Jim Thorpe, The Dion Identical Quintuplets 1930, Gladys Knight, Jerry West, Dietrich Fisher-Deiskau, Sandra Locke, T-Bone Walker, Taffy Abel (one of the first professional hockey stars), John Fogarty is 70, Carey Mulligan is 30, Carol Baker is 84. Frank Gladstone
585 BC- The first recorded Solar Eclipse. It struck blind people who dared to look at it, and it scared away the armies of Cyaxerxes of Media and Alyattes of Lydia who were about to fight a battle. Thales of Miletus, the first Greek Philosopher, predicted it.
20AD- Tiberius’ general Drusus celebrated a triumph over the Pannonians ( Hungary).
1358-THE JACQUERIE- In the Middle Ages the oppression of the peasantry coupled with the Black Death and the Hundred Years’ War reaches the breaking point and major peasant revolts begin to break out across Europe. In Italy they’re called the Ciompi, in England Wat the Tyner’s revolt, and outbreak today in France was called the JACQUERIE (after "poor Jacques" or peasant). The outraged peasants burned manor homes and castles and massacred nobility without any real plan. To English and French knights class meant more than national feuds, so they took time out from their Hundred Years’ War to join together to chop up their uppity peasants.
1453- The night before his final assault on Constantinople, Turkish Sultan Mohammed II, addressed his troops:" I give you the capitol of the ancient Romans, the greatest city in the world! I give you her women and children, her silks and jewels. All I ask is that you leave me her buildings and monuments. I want the city for myself!" Then battalions of belly dancers and women danced for the men, but no sex was permitted until the battle ended.
1494- The official "birth" of Scotch - though it had been around much earlier, on this date, the Scottish Exchequer records a purchase of malt by a friar to make "aqua vitae", the first written reference to spirits in Scotland. Hoot Man!
1742 - 1st public indoor swimming pool opens at Goodman's Fields, London.
1786- French explorer the Comte de Purvoise became the first European to set foot on the Hawaiian Island of Maui. "The climate of Mowhee is quite delightful." He wrote. Then spending only three days there he hurried his ship on to the Northwest coast of America.
1853- THE CRIMEAN WAR BEGAN- England and the French Empire declare War on Russia over Russia’s trying to beat up Turkey and annex the Bosporus. England and Russia spent the nineteenth century in a tactical struggle for supremacy in Central Asia not unlike the Cold War the Soviet Union fought with America after World War Two. The name for the Anglo-Russian duel was "the Great Game". It only heated up once, producing such artifacts as the Charge of the Light Brigade, Balaclava Helmets and Florence Nightingale. Roger Fenton also followed the army to the Crimea as the first war-photographer.
1871- THE COMMUNE OF PARIS CRUSHED- As the occupying Prussian Army looked on, the regular French army loyal to the conservative government of President Alphonse Thiers recaptured Paris from the workers-revolutionary government called the Paris Commune. In the fierce house to house fighting the Hotel Du Ville -city hall was completely destroyed, as well as the Royal Palace of the Tuileries (the open area of the Louvre in front of there the glass Pyramid is.) and the Palace of Saint Cloud.
One hundred and fifty revolutionaries were lined up against the wall in Pere Lachaise Cemetery and shot. Today the Wall of the Communards is still there and you can see the bullet holes. In Russia young Nikolai Lenin studied the Commune and when he formed his Bolshevik Party he took as his flag the Red banner of the Commune.
1892- The Sierra Club formed.
1905- Second day of the Battle of Tsushima Straights- Japanese Admiral Togo, having shot up the first half of the Russian Navy waits for the other half.... They were slowly chugging their way around the world being sent from the Black and Baltic seas to the Sea of Japan.
1928 - Dodge Brothers Automobile Inc & Chrysler Corp merged.
1929 - 1st all color talking picture, "On With the Show" exhibited (NYC).
1935- Tortilla Flat published. The first novel by John Steinbeck.
1940- Throughout World War I the tiny Belgian Army held out heroically against huge German forces. In World War II the story was different. As the Allied frontlines crumbled before the relentless Nazis armored Blitzkrieg, this day the Belgian Army surrendered unconditionally. The surrender left retreating British and French forces dangerously exposed were it not for quick thinking divisional commander who plugged the line and enabled the escape to Dunkirk. General Bernard Law Montgomery first caught the notice of Churchill and the English high command.
1941- THE WALT DISNEY STRIKE- Labor pressures had been building in the Magic Kingdom since promises made to artists over the success of Snow White were reneged on, and Walt Disney’s lawyer Gunther Lessing encouraged a hard line with his employees. On this day, in defiance of federal law, Walt Disney fired animator Art Babbitt ,the creator of Goofy, and thirteen other cartoonists for demanding a union. Babbitt had emerged as the union movements’ leader. Studio security officers escorted Babbitt off the lot.
That night in an emergency meeting of the Cartoonists Guild, Art’s assistant on Fantasia, Bill Hurtz, made the motion to strike, and it was unanimously accepted. Bill Hurtz will later go on to direct award winning cartoons like UPA’s "Unicorn in the Garden". Picket lines go up next day in cartoon animation’s own version of the Civil War.
Walt Disney nearly had a nervous breakdown over the strike and a federal mediator was sent by Washington to arbitrate. In later years, Uncle Walt blamed the studio’s labor ills on Communists. The studio unionized completely, but the hard feelings remained for their rest of their lives.
1948- During the Israeli War of Independence the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem surrendered after a long siege by the Arab Legion. The Legion was a force organized and led by a British officer Sir John Bagot-Glubb or Glub-Pasha. The main Jewish community was in west Jerusalem but the Holy places of the Old City were in the eastern part. Jews lost the Wailing Wall until retaken in the Six-Day War of 1967.
1954- Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder in 3D premiered.
1960- George Zucco 74, a character actor who specialized in horror movies like Blood from the Mummies Hand, died. One version says he died of fright in a mental hospital in San Gabriel California. He was convinced that H.P. Lovecraft's Great God Cthulu was after him. He actually died of natural causes in a nursing home.
1961 -Amnesty International, a human rights organization, is founded. It was the result of an Appeal for Amnesty, written in the London Daily Observer by a British author who read of several Portuguese students who were arrested because they were overheard making a toast to Freedom in a café.
1966- the It’s a Small World exhibit, which had been created for the NY Worlds Fair, reopens at Disneyland.
1977- " MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU." George Lucas' space fantasy film STAR WARS opened (The premiere was May 25). This blockbuster was the first film where the filmmaker retained the licensing rights for merchandise instead of the distributor, known in Hollywood as the 'backend deal'. Several studios including Universal passed on the film because the prevailing wisdom was sci-fi films didn't make money.
Twentieth Century Fox picked up the distribution but let the backend go to Lucas, because they didn't think the film would do any serious business. Even George Lucas didn’t expect the film to break even. Fox's market research department told studio head Alan Ladd, Jr.” a) don't make this movie; no one will go see a science fiction movie; and b) change the title; no one will go see a movie with "War" in the title. Fox executives had predicted the studios monster hit for that summer would be "Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry" with Peter Fonda and Susan George.
Star Wars was a monster hit. It was like there were no other movies playing that summer. George Lucas became a seriously rich man and developed THX Dolby sound, digital animation and Industrial Light and Magic special effects. The film’s popularity ran so ahead of expectations, that at Christmas when you purchased a Star Wars Game you got a box with a pink IOU note in it pledging to get you the game when they printed more.
1981- The Bambi Murders- Police hunt Playboy Bunny Bambi Bemenek for shooting her husband’s ex-wife in Milwaukee. She was captured but escaped prison in 1990. Just follow the little stiletto high heel footprints.
1983- “What a Feeling” the theme from the film Flashdance by Irene Cara reaches the top of the pop charts. Everyone dancing with leggings and baggy sweaters.
1987- A young German student named Matthias Rust rented a Cessna airplane in Helsinki, and flying low to avoid radar flew into the heart of the Soviet Union. Evading a forest of missiles and anti-aircraft weapons, he landed his little plane in the middle of Red Square in the Kremlin. The ensuing furor and humiliation cost many Russian generals their jobs.
1998- Saturday Night Live comedian Phil Hartman was shot to death by his wife Brynne as he slept. She was a heavy drink and pill user. At 6:00am as the LAPD were knocking Brynne turned the gun on herself.
2005- The great London clock Big Ben mysteriously stopped ticking for 45 minutes.
2005- Actress Lindsay Lohan was photographed passed out in her car shortly after a court hearing for a previous DUI.
Yesterday’s Question: Why are white people called Caucasians?
Answer: In the ancient slave markets of Rome, the people of the Caucasus Mountains were renown to be of exceptional health and physical stature. The best white slaves were Caucasians. Later in the XIX century, when German anthropologist Frederich Blumenbach was dividing homo-sapiens into five distinct races, being versed in the Classics, he picked the old title Caucasian for the peoples from Europe to the Ganges in India.
May 27, 2015
May 27th, 2015
Question: Why are white people called Caucasians?
Yesterday’s Question: What does it mean to call someone a Luddite?
History for 5/27/2015
Birthdays: James 'Wild Bill' Hickock, Julia Ward Howe, Aemelia Jenks-Bloomer, Dashell Hammett, Vincent Price, Henry Kissinger is 90, Leopold Goldowsky (the inventor of Kodachrome film), Hubert H. Humphrey, Herman Wouk, Harlan Ellison, Joseph Feines, Richard Schiff is 60, Peri Gilpin, Paul Bettany is 44, Sir Christopher Lee is 93
595 a.d. Today is the Feast day of Saint Augustine of Canterbury, who saw children in the slave docket and when told 'Those are Angles"-The barbarian tribe that England is named for. Augustine replied: Non Sunt Anglicai, Sunt Angelis” -Those are not Angles, those are Angels" -please forgive my Latin grammar. Augustine of Canterbury should not be confused with the Saint Augustine of Hippo, who wrote the Confessions.
1647-The first witch execution in Salem Massachusetts. Contrary to popular perception, more witches were hanged, than burned at the stake.
1647- Peter Stuyversant inaugurated as Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam. The one legged old soldier was a staunch Calvinist who was sent by the Hague to “clean up the town”.
1703- Czar Peter the Great laid the cornerstones for his new capitol Saint Petersburg. The Baltic Port was called at one time Petrograd and Leningrad but was changed back to the original name in 1989. It was the capitol until Lenin moved it back to Moscow in 1917.
1831- Mountain man Jedediah Smith was killed fighting Commanches.
1874- Prostitution was outlawed in Los Angeles central business district.
1895 - British inventor Burt Acres patented a film camera/projector.
1905- BATTLE OF THE TSUSHIMA STRAIGHTS- Grand Admiral Togo and the Japanese Navy destroy the Imperial Russian fleet in a battle that announced to the world Japan's had become an international power. It had been only 55 years since Admiral Perry forced the opening of its feudal society. Mahatma Ghandi said also the victory was a beacon to all colonialized peoples that the Europeans could be defeated at their own games. Of course the Japanese weren't fighting for altruistic motives but to see who would take over Manchuria and Korea. One-eyed Admiral Togo was trained as a samurai until their profession was abolished in 1877. When a midshipman cadet in England, had been nicknamed "Joe Chinaman" by the tars. After this battle he became one of the most respected naval strategists of the age. Ishoruku Yamamoto, the mastermind of Pearl Harbor, was his ensign at the time.
1930- HAPPY BIRTHDAY SCOTCH TAPE -Chemist Richard Drew of Saint Paul Minnesota invented cellophane tape, marketed by the 3M Company under the brand Scotch. It was called Scotch after the stereotype perception that Scots people are frugal with money, so it’s a good value. Three years later Drew invented Masking Tape as a way for car manufacturers to paint cars two tone.
1933- Disney’s cartoon“The Three Little Pigs” premiered, whose song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” became a national anthem of recovery from the Depression.
Director of the short Burt Gillette left Disney afterwards to run the Van Beuren Studio in New York.
1935- The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Franklin Roosevelt’s National Recovery Act (The NRA) program. Roosevelt responds by trying to stack the court with judges more to his liking. He referred to them as 'The Nine Old Men', a sobriquet Walt Disney would borrow in 1949 for his animators.
1937- San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge opens.
1941- The German battleship Bismarck finally sunk by massed Royal Navy ships and torpedo planes. The British sailors of the battleship HMS Prince of Wales helped the German sailors out of the water saying:”Now you, one day it may be us.” That December HMS Prince of Wales was sunk by the Japanese.
In 1981 I heard CBC radio interview with the last surviving flag-deck officer of the Bismarck, a Baron von Mullenheim-Rechburg, who had just published a memoir. The radio interviewer asked him:" When did you get the idea to write this book? He replied:" When I was floating around in the burning water..." The interviewer then asked incredulously" Then why did you wait forty years? He replied:" Well...you know, things come up..."
1942- Top Nazis in occupied Czechoslovakia Reynhard Heydrich was assassinated by the resistance ,who threw a bomb into his car. Hitler angrily responded by ordering the SS to select a Czech village at random and destroy it. They picked Lidice; they leveled it and murdered all its innocent inhabitants.
1942- The aircraft carrier USS Yorktown limped into Pearl Harbor after being shot up in the Battle of the Coral Sea. The crew expected to be sent Stateside for weeks of major repairs, but the word came down from Admiral Nimitz that the Yorktown had to be ready for battle in just three days! Nimitz needed all his forces for an anticipated Japanese strike at Midway. 1,500 dockworkers labored around the clock patching her up. The Yorktown left on schedule to achieve victory and death at Midway Island on June 5th.
1943- In a secret meeting in German occupied Paris, young French resistance leader Jean Moulin got all the various separate underground movements to unite under Charles DeGaulle's Free French. Moulin was eventually captured by the Gestapo and tortured to death, but le Maquis- i.e. resistance, continued the fight until the liberation.
1948- Walt Disney feature Melody Time released, featuring Pecos Bill.
1949- Actress Rita Hayworth married Arab playboy Prince Aly Khan. Prince Aly Khan, 1911-1960, was born in Italy a son of dispossessed Pakistani Muslim royalty to the Aga Khan II. He lived his life as an international playboy, socialite and sportsman, making love to women from actress Rita Hayworth to Winston Churchill’s daughter-in-law Pamela Churchill-Harriman. Cole Porter wrote him into a song. He died when he crashed his sportscar in France
1961 – The first black light is sold
1969 – Construction on Walt Disney World Florida began.
1977-The Sex Pistols release their Punk hit God Save the Queen, the Fascist Regime, in time for the Queen’s Jubilee year. Her Majesty preferred the Beatles All You Need is Love.
1968- At this time 350 Americans a week were being killed in action in Vietnam, and in 12 days little Georgie W. Bush’s student deferment would be up! But never fear, his family was pulling strings. So even though the normal wait was a year, this day George W. Bush was accepted into the Texas Air National Guard on the same day he applied.
1991- The Milwaukee police question serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer after finding a distraught, bleeding young Laotian immigrant in the street. The boy was struggling to shake off the effect of date-rape drugs given him by Dahmer. After deducing that it was merely a quarrel between lovers, the police returned the boy to Dahmer, who killed and ate him later.
1994 – Nobel Prize winner and dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia after a twenty year exile.
1995- Actor Christopher Reeve was left paralyzed from the neck down after falling from his horse in an equestrian event in Charlottesville, Va. He became a spokesman for stem-cel research, but his effort in the US was frustrated by powerful religious lobbyists. Christopher Reeves died in 2004.
1997- President Bill Clinton liked to appease his critics by appointing conservative judges despite popular perception of him as a Liberal. This day this practice came back to bite him when the conservative Supreme Court of William Rheinquist unanimously rejected Clinton’s plea that a President should not be subject to a private law suit while in office. A woman named Paula Jones with heavy funding from the religious right wing of the Republican Party was suing him for sexual harassment.
Yesterday’s question: What does it mean to call someone a Luddite?
Answer: In 1811- 1816, English textile workers inspired by a man named Ned Ludd, roamed the countryside smashing the new mechanical looms and other machines they felt would put them out of a job. So a Luddite means someone who rejected innovation and inventions.
May 26, 2015 tues.
May 26th, 2015
Question: What does it to call someone a Luddite?
Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: Who once said of the US Marines “ They’re nothing but the Navy’s police force, with a PR department Joe Stalin would envy.”…?
History for 5/26/2015
Birthdays: the Duke of Marlborough, Pope Clement VII the Medici Fox-1478, Mary Wollenstonecraft Godwin 1759- early feminist writer and mother of Mary Shelley, Alexander Pushkin, Isadora Duncan, Norma Talmadge, Paul Lukas, John Wesley Hardin the shootist, John Wayne, Al Jolson, Jay Silverheels (Tonto), Peter Cushing, Robert Morley, Peggy Lee, Sally Ride, Pam Grier is 66, Helen Bonham Carter is 49, Bobcat Golthwaite is 55, Matt Stone the co creator of South Park
A.D. 17 In Rome, the General Germanicus celebrated a triumph over the German barbarians, the Alemani. Germanicus was the father of Caligula.
1574- The Siege of Leyden begins- Through a series of confusing dynastic trades the Lowlands of Holland wound up owned by Catholic Spain. The Protestant provinces united under their leader William the Silent and fought tenaciously for their freedom. The Spanish army was the finest in the world but the Dutch had a pretty good navy, nicknamed "the Sea Beggars". So when the Spaniards attacked the city of Leyden the Dutch flooded their dykes behind the infantry and floated their ships in to fight them.
1805- Lewis and Clark first sight the Rocky Mountains.
1828- THE MYSTERY OF KASPAR HAUSER- On this day on a street in Nuremberg a judge came upon a filthy boy unable to read, write or even speak. As the boy's trauma eased and he could communicate he said he had been kept in a dungeon since he was three years old, never seeing another human soul. One day he was suddenly released. His name was Kaspar Hauser and his case became a cause celebre throughout Europe. Some thought he was the rightful prince of the German State of Baden. Then one day while walking in the park a man came up and stabbed Kaspar Hauser. He bled to death. The judge who first cared for him was poisoned. The murderers were never found and the mystery never solved.
1864- Montana territory created.
1865- General William Kirby-Smith surrendered the last organized body of Confederate troops to Yankee General Canby in New Orleans. Rather than surrender, rebel Gen. Joe Shelby took his cavalry over the border to Mexico where a Confederate exile community was forming under the French Emperor Maximillian.
1868- At Newgate prison Irish nationalist Michael Barrett was the last man in England to be publicly hanged. England switched to a system of execution behind prison walls. The hangman later sold Barrett’s clothes and noose for souvenirs. Meanwhile in the American West the spectacle of a public necktie party remained popular for years, the citizenry sometimes hauling out their shooting irons and popping away at the dangling body to give him a good send off. Yee-Hah!
1895 -Nicholas II crowned Czar-Autocrat of all the Russias. During the ceremony a reviewing stand collapsed and several hundred people were crushed. Not a good omen.
1896- Charles Dow started his stock index named the Dow Jones Index. The first Dow Jones closing is 40.94. Last weeks Dow was around 18,000.
1897- A novel by a quiet London theatre manager named Bram Stoker appeared in bookstores. It was titled Dracula.
1913- Actors Equity formed.
1933- Jimmy Rogers "the Singing Brakeman", considered the father of modern country music, died of tuberculosis at age 31. Shortly before his death he recorded a song called "TB Blues".
1937- The Battle of Millers Overpass- Henry Fords hired thugs beat up Walter Reuther and four other UAW union men for handing out union literature.
1940-The Miracle of Dunkirk- When German panzers overrun France they surround the British army and pin them against the Normandy coastline. Instead of finishing them off Marshal Goering asks Hitler's permission to use the Luftwaffe (airforce) to administer the coup de grace. Britain mobilized all available ships and hundreds of small boat owners volunteer to cross the channel under dive bombing and strafing and in ten days evacuate 340,000 troops. 40,000 stayed behind and surrendered. The British force was decimated but not destroyed, and would live to fight again.
1942- The "Witches Cauldron"- Rommel the "Desert Fox" and his Afrika Corps defeat the British army in a whirling confused desert tank battle.
1949- Mao Tse Tung’s Red Army entered Shanghai, winning the Chinese Civil War.
1960- THE MOULIN ROUGE AGREEMENT- Las Vegas gambling casinos finally integrate. Before this stars like Sammy Davis Jr. and Ella Fitzgerald could headline in the clubs but had to exit via the kitchens and sleep across town in the colored section. Singer Nat King Cole was requested to keep his eyes on his piano keys for fear if he looked up he would seduce young white girls. Frank Sinatra played a big part in pressuring the Vegas wiseguys to change with the times. Marlene Dietrich grabbed Lena Horne by the arm and stormed into a casino bar defying any reaction. None came. The Moulin Rouge was the first completely integrated casino.
1960-UN ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge complained that the gift of a wood carving of the Great Seal of the United States given the US Embassy by Moscow had a concealed microphone in it.
1962- The Isley Brothers single “Twist & Shout” released.
1969- John Lennon and Yoko Ono have their "Bed-In for Peace" news conference in New York. One of the most acerbic exchanges was one Lennon had with Lil'Abner cartoonist and curmudgeon Al Capp.
1980- South Korean President Chun Do Hwan orders his army to fire on pro-democracy protestors in Kwang-Ju. 2,000 were killed.
1994- Singer Michael Jackson married Elvis’ daughter Lisa Marie Presley in the Dominican Republic. They keep the wedding a secret for six weeks, then divorced 18 months later.
1995- Looney Tunes director Friz Freleng died at age 89.
1995- In a memo to Microsoft, founder Bill Gates declared the Internet the “most important single development” since the personal computer.
2008- To commemorate Memorial Day, President Bush went on camera and asked all Americans to stop what they were doing at 3:00PM to remember the sacrifices of all our soldiers. He then went mountain biking.
Yesterday’s Quiz: Who once said of the US Marines “ They’re nothing but the Navy’s police force, with a PR department Joe Stalin would envy.”…?
Answer: Pres. Harry Truman. Truman was an old Army man who found was not a fan of the Marines reputation. After WWII ended he tried to merge them into the regular Army the way the Army Air Corps was merged into the USAF. But he was ultimately dissuaded.
May 25, 2015
May 25th, 2015
Quiz: Who once said of the US Marines “ They’re nothing but the Navy’s police force, with a PR department Joe Stalin would envy.”…?
Yesterday’s Quiz Answered Below: What does it mean to be Dressed to the Nines..?
History for 5/25/2015
Birthdays: Miles Davis, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Josef Broz Tito, Igor Sikorsky, Pontormo, Bennett Cerf, Claude Akins, Leslie Uggams, Bill Bojangles Robinson, Frank Oz (Richard Frank Oznowicz), Beverly Sills, Robert Ludlum, Anne Heche, Irwin Winkler, Mike Myers is 52, Ray Stevenson is 51, Ian McKellen is 76
In the US- MEMORIAL DAY
For those who are curious why America celebrates Memorial Day in May instead of November 11th like most of Europe, it is because of our Civil War.
The main Confederate field armies surrendered in early April; it took this long to quiet the entire countryside, the last fighting on May 27th. Once the countryside was finally at peace, the U.S. government declared a Day of Remembrance of the fallen. An abolitionist named James Redpath began having black children in South Carolina decorate the graves of fallen union soldiers with flowers. Later in 1868, Mary Cunningham Logan, wife of General John A. Logan, Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Union Army Veterans Organization, went to Petersburg, where she mentioned to her husband the Southerners were decorating the graves of their soldiers. The holiday was called Decoration Day, and the first formal one was held May 28, 1868. By the end of WWI in 1918, Americans had gotten used to honoring all their war dead at then end of May, and the holidays name changed to Memorial Day.
194BC- The Roman temple of Fortuna Virilis was dedicated on the Quirinal Hill.
1085- King Alfonso VI of Aragon took Toledo from the Moors.
1521- German Emperor Charles V declared Protestant reformer Martin Luther a heretic and an outlaw. The German states that rallied to Luther’s new teachings fought their emperor in the epic Schmalkalden Wars. Even Charles’ own sister became a Lutheran.
1660- RESTORATION DAY- After Oliver Cromwell executed King Charles Ist, he declared the British Monarchy abolished, and ruled England with a junta of generals as Lord Protector. When Cromwell died of natural causes in 1659 he tried to leave his son Richard Cromwell in his place. But the son is not the father. The rickety system didn’t work, and Richard got the nickname “Tumbledown-Dick”. The Puritan junta led by General Monck had no other remedy to avoid chaos other than recalling King Charles’ son Charles II from exile to be king of England. This day King Charles entered London. For many years Restoration Day was a holiday in the UK.
1720- John Copson became the first Insurance Agent in the New World.
1787- First meeting of delegates in Philadelphia to write the U.S. Constitution.
Interestingly enough, nobody really asked them to. They were only summoned by Congress to iron out some bugs in the Articles of Confederation. However James Madison of Virginia and Alexander Hamilton of New York hatched a plan to chuck the whole system and write a new document.
1810- When Napoleon had conquered Spain, the colonies of Latin America puzzled about where to send taxes to. The French occupation government in Madrid or the Spanish Royal family in exile in Naples? This day Argentina had a better idea. They declared Independence.
1865- Mary Lincoln and her son Tad move out of the White House where she had been holed up in seclusion since the night of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. She had been too traumatized to attend the funeral or accompany the body back to Illinois.
1878- Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore premiered at the Savoy in London. “So stick to your desk and never go to Sea, and you can be the Leader of the Queen’s Navy! ”
1895- Author and playwright Oscar Wilde sentenced to prison for sodomy.
The terrible conditions of his imprisonment in Redding Gaol will break his health and lead to his early death in exile in 1900. In a 1995 ceremony honoring him in Westminster Abbey it was revealed the laws that sentenced Wilde were still on the books in England.
The Victorian hypocrisy was compounded by the fact that so many great men of the British Empire privately acknowledged a preference for their own sex- Gordon of Khartoum, Sir Cecil Rhodes, Lawrence of Arabia, Nicholson the Tiger of the Punjab, and more. Queen Victoria once said after a meeting with Earl Kitchener of Omdurman:”I was told my lord does not prefer the company of women. Still, I found him to be a pleasant speaker.”
1906- Putting on the Ritz! London’s Ritz Hotel opened.
1911-The beginnings of Mexican Revolution forced longtime dictator Gen. Jose Porfirio Diaz into exile. As a young man Diaz had fought the French under Juarez but later seized power for himself. Under his long rule Mexico industrialized and gained railroads, electric power and schools. He had once said:" My poor Mexico. Too far from Heaven and too close to the United States."
1911- Thomas Mann visited Venice Italy. On the Lido Beach he was inspired to write A Death in Venice.
1915- Following up on the widespread massacres of Armenians, today the Ottoman Turkish government began mass deportations of their Armenian citizens.
1917-In World War I, Germany bombed London for the first time not with zeppelins but with new Gotha biplane bombers.
1923- Britain and France recognize the Hashemite Kingdom of TransJordan ruled by Abdallah Ibn Hussein.
1927- Ford had put America on wheels with the Model T, the most successful car model in history. Today they stop making the Model T after 15 million cars, costing on average $300 each, $26 dollars down with monthly payments.
1932- Flamboyant New York Mayor Jimmy Walker testifies before the Seabury Commission. The corruption scandals of his administration will force him to resign.
1932-Mickey’s Revue, the first Disney cartoon that featured the character that would eventually be called Goofy.
1935- Babe Ruth hits his final home runs. The Bambino was in his last year, working out his contract with the Boston Braves. This day in Pittsburgh the Babe showed his old form when he hit three home runs and a single. His record of 714 home runs held for over sixty years.
1942- First day shooting on the film “ Casablanca”.
1944- Yugoslav partisan leader Marshal Tito escaped a massive German Blitzkreig designed just to kill him.
1950- Brooklyn Battery Tunnel opened in NYC.
1957- Sid Caesar's Your Show of Show's canceled after nearly a decade. The show used future star writers like Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Woody Allen and Neil Simon. The show pioneered the executive strategy of network programmer Pat Weaver to not let the show be owned by an entire sponsor but the network would produce the show and would sell the sponsor commercial time in 30 second chunks. Pat Weaver’s daughter is Sigorney Weaver. Your Show of Shows was finally bested in the ratings by The Lawrence Welk Show.
1961- THE SPACE RACE- The United States had been chafing about how far ahead the Soviet Union was in the exploration of space. In an address to Congress this day President John F. Kennedy pledged the wealth and resources of the U.S. to beating the Soviets to the Moon. "Our pledge is within the next ten years to send a man to the moon and return him safely to Earth… We choose to go to the Moon not because it will be easy but because it is hard!" The Moon landing was achieved in 1969. Today it is acknowledged that without the motivation of the Cold War the conquest of the Moon would have happened much more slowly.
1965- The Saint Louis Gateway Arch dedicated.
1968- The Rolling Stones release the song Jumping Jack Flash.
1969- John Schlesinger’s film Midnight Cowboy premiered. The first X-rated film to ever win the Oscar for Best Film.
1977- The Hollywood premiere of George Lucas’ movie Star Wars. The movie opened on the 28th.
1979- Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic Alien opened. It featured the exotic designs of Hungarian artist Giger, and John Hurt with a classic case of chest pains!
1980- Evangelist Oral Roberts claimed he saw a 900-foot Jesus over his bed.
1983- Return of the Jedi opened. It was originally Revenge of the Jedi, but George Lucas changed the name just a month before.
1986- Hands Across America stunt to help hunger has 7 million people at one time holding hands at noon.
1994- First International Conference on the World Wide Web. Tim Berners-Lee and CERN talked on how to implement and unify the new World Wide Web.
2000- It was revealed that in 1958 US scientists planned to explode an atomic bomb on the moon. There would be no mushroom cloud because that requires an atmosphere, and the flash would only be visible for a few seconds. What the purpose would be other than to scare the BeeJeezus out of the Russkies no one knew. This dumb-ass idea was soon scrapped.
Yesterday’s Quiz: What does it mean to be Dressed to the Nines..?
Answer: The slang term has been around since quoted in an 1859 book on English slang. It means to be dressed up really fancy, as elegant as you can manage. There are several theories as to the origin. One is that a tailor required nine yards of costly fabric to create a suit and waistcoat for such a look. Another was that the 99th Regiment of Foot was famous for their smart look. “dressing like the Nines”. Still another is that the number nine had a certain magical level of intensity, like Dante putting Judas and Beelzebub in the Ninth Level of Hell, so Robert Burns in a 1793 poem says” Thou art Nature to the Ninth Degree.”