April 24, 2015
April 24th, 2015

Quiz: What is a Tundra? Besides a Toyota brand mini-SUV?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: Of 44 American Presidents, seven had been generals- Washington, Jackson, Harrison, Taylor, Grant, Garfield and Eisenhower. How many British Prime Ministers were generals?
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History for 4/24/2015
Birthdays: Daniel Defoe, William de Kooning, St. Vincent de Paul, Morgan Earp, Jack E. Leonard, Dame Ethel Smyth, Jill Ireland, Eric Bogosian, Sue Grafton, Robert Penn Warren, Barbera Streisand is 73, Cedric the Entertainer is 52, Shirley McLaine is 81

1184 B.C.(est.)- TROY FALLS TO THE GREEKS- Despite the warnings of Cassandra and Laocoon the Trojans pull Ulysses' great horse into the city and at night the Greeks climb out and open the city gates to destruction. The reason we have any estimated date for this is this was the day the Romans celebrated a festival commemorating this event.
Conventional wisdom was always that Troy was a myth until Heinrich Schleimann discovered it in the 1800’s.

The Romans loved a myth of their own origin that they were descended from the Trojan refugees led to Italy by the hero Aeneas. This seemed way more cool than being a grubby little Latin tribe who got their act together ahead of their neighbors.
They loved this myth so much that in 218 B.C. when the legions of Publius Scipio Asiaticus marched into Turkey to make war on Antipater the king of Syria, they paused first to go to the plains of Illium (the field where Troy once stood).
There the writer Livy states" The grim warriors embraced and wept aloud like babes, for after countless generations, the children of Troy had come home at last."

1584- Japanese Shogun Hideyoshi Toyotomi ordered the Heii Shrine in Edo (Tokyo) to dedicate a new heraldic design - the red disc Asahi - Rising Sun flag is created.

1800- The U.S. Congress set up the Library of Congress. By 1814 it had three thousand volumes, but they were destroyed when a British Army burned Washington. Thomas Jefferson then donated his own private library to restart the collection. Today it numbers in the millions of volumes.

1833- The Soda Fountain is patented.

1861- The minister of the independent German city-state of Bremen, Johann Schlieben, offered his services to Abraham Lincoln to open shuttle diplomacy with the rebellious Confederate States. He carried a message or two between Washington and Richmond. Eventually Lincoln told him thanks but no thanks. Blood had been shed and the flag insulted; it was too late for negotiations...Similar offers of mediation by a delegation of Virginia moderates led by former President John Tyler were also refused.

1874- Jesse James married Miss Zerelda Mimms who he called Z.

1901-The First American League baseball game. The Cleveland Blues vs. the Chicago White Stockings.

1913- The Woolworth Building was dedicated in lower New York. It’s cornices decorated like the campanile of Saint Marks in Venice. At the time it was the tallest skyscraper in the world. President Woodrow Wilson illuminated its electric lights by flipping a switch long distance in the White House.

100 Years Ago 1915- THE ARMENIAN MASSACRES- The Ottoman Turkish Empire had always been a amalgamation of ethnic peoples held together by force. As the Empire aged and became the 'Sick Man of Europe', one by one these subject peoples-Greeks, Serbs, Egyptians asserted their independence and broke away.
So when the Armenians also demanded autonomy the Sultan Abdul Hamid IV came up with a bloodthirsty solution. After a botched Turkish assault into Russia was defeated, this day the first 200 Armenian elders of a village were shot, signaling a general nationwide pogrom that would eventually kill over one million people. The first person first brought the massacre story to the world was a German doctor, Armen Wegner, on the scene for the Red Cross, who complained to the Kaiser.

1933-Ub Iwerk's "Fiddlesticks" the first Flip the Frog cartoon, done in a simple two-color process. Iwerks was the first designer and animator of Mickey Mouse, who had left Walt Disney to open his own studio.

1945- As the Russian Army approached the center of Berlin, Adolf Hitler gathered his remaining staff in his bunker deep under the ReichsChancellery. He told his people that all was lost and that they should escape the city as best they could. Most decided to stay and began discussions on how to commit suicide. The Fuehrer himself lapsed into apathy. His secretary recalled seeing Hitler sitting quietly in a hallway, cradling a puppy in his lap, rocking back and forth, staring off, hollow-eyed.

1949- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) formed.

1948- The Chinese Communists under their leader Mao zse Tung and their generals Chu Teh and Lin Piao began their final push to conquer all of China.

1954- Handsome English actor Peter Lawford married John F. Kennedy’s sister Patricia Kennedy. This union would give JFK his link to Hollywood, Frank Sinatra and the RatPack.

1961- First day of shooting on the film King of Kings, the Christ story starring Jeffrey Hunter. Called by one critic” I was a Teenage Jesus” . In 1966 Jeffrey Hunter turned down a TV series after doing the pilot episode. His wife worried that he’d be typecast. The role of Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, went instead went to William Shatner.

1967- Soviet Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov became the first acknowledged fatality in the conquest of Space, when the parachute of his re-entering capsule got snarled and he fell four miles to Earth.

1980- After months of fruitless negotiations to get the U.S. hostages held in the American Embassy in Teheran freed, President Jimmy Carter tried force. A Delta Force of eight helicopters met at their staging area in the Iranian desert. Once there it was discovered three of the helicopters had mechanical problems and they had fallen badly behind schedule so the mission was scrapped. As they were leaving one of the helicopters crashed into a transport plane killing 8 soldiers. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance resigned in protest. No more military adventures were planned and the Iran Hostage Crisis dragged on throughout 1980. The hostages were released in January 1981.

1981- Small companies like Apple and Commodore had dominated the personal computer market while giants like IBM stuck with large business systems. Now IBM weighed in with The IBM PC –personal computer, with basic software language DOS provided by Microsoft. It soon came to dominate the market.

1983- THE HITLER DIARIES HOAX- Gerd Heideman, a top correspondent for Germany’s top magazine Die Stern was contacted by a mysterious Professor Fischer that he had in his possession the long lost personal diary of Adolph Hitler. Heidemann was an eccentric who collected fascist memorabilia like Herman Goerings yacht and a pair of Idi Amin’s underwear. Fischer sold him the Hitler diary manuscripts for $4 million.
After Heidemann got British Historian Sir Hugh Trevor Roper and several handwriting analysts to declare them genuine, the Hitler Diaries went public in Die Stern and Rupert Murdoch’s London Times. When Sir Hugh began to express doubts over the authenticity of the diary, Times mogul Rupert Murdoch reacted in typical fashion: ”F**k him. I’m in the entertainment business!”

This day a Bonn laboratory declared the diaries high quality but completely phony. Professor Fischer was actually an art forger named Konrad Kujau who knew suckers when he saw them. He had an expensive girlfriend and wife to keep so he was writing the diaries in his garage on 1940’s vintage paper and ink. Careers were ruined and everyone looked pretty stupid. Even when they were all in jail, Gerd Heidemann refused to believe the truth. Konrad Kujau sent him a letter in Hitler’s handwriting admitting he did the forgery.

1984- David Kennedy, the eldest son of Robert Kennedy, was found dead in his hotel room of a drug overdose. As a child he had watched his father assassinated on live television and had never gotten over it. He was a drug addict by 15 and dead at 28.

1990-The Hubble Space Telescope was carried into orbit by the Space Shuttle Challenger.
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Yesterday’s Question: - Of 44 American Presidents, seven had been generals- Washington, Jackson, Harrison, Taylor, Grant, Garfield and Eisenhower. How many British Prime Ministers were generals?

Answer: One. The Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, was Prime Minister in 1828.


April 23, 2015 thurs
April 23rd, 2015

Question: Of 44 American Presidents, seven had been generals- Washington, Jackson, Harrison, Taylor, Grant, Garfield and Eisenhower. How many British Prime Ministers were generals?

Yesterday’s question answered below: What was New Coke, and why is it not around anymore?
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History for 4/23/2015
Birthdays: William Shakespeare, James Buchanan, Sergei Prokoviev, J.M.W. Turner, Vladimir Nabokov, Senator Stephen Douglas the Little Giant, Shirley Temple, Roy Orbison, Halston, Sandra Dee, Valerie Bertinelli, Lee Majors is 74, Judy Davis, Simone Simon, Michael Sporn, Tony Esposito, Michael Moore is 61, Herve Villechaise

This was the ancient Roman Feast of the Vinalia, the feast of the first grapevine plantings.

301AD- This is the Feast of St. George.- George of Nicomedia was a native of Illyria (Croatia) and a member of the Praetorian Guards, who went up to the Emperor Diocletian’s palace and tore up his edict banning Christianity. Then Diocletian had George torn up. And what about St. George fighting the dragon? In the old tradition of borrowing from pagan myths, the Coptic Christian monks took from the Ancient Egyptian religion the famous battle between Horus and his evil uncle Seth, God of Sandstorms, often represented in temple art as a weird dragon-like animal.

1014- BATTLE OF CLONTARF- Irish High King Brian Boru defeated the Vikings and drove them from Ireland. Boru himself was too elderly to fight, so he was praying in a church when a renegade group of Danes surrounded the church and set it on fire.
Oh well, at least he won...

1348- The Order of the Garter created in England.

1374- The King of England grants the writer Geoffrey Chaucer a pension that included a pot of wine every day for the rest of his life. What more could a writer ask for !

1500- Explorer Pedro Cabral claimed Brazil for Portugal.

1538- Protestant theologian John Calvin was asked to leave his ministry in Geneva for being, uhh, well.. too Puritan. Geneva went party wild. Two years later the city fathers called Calvin back to clean up the town.

1616-After a night out partying with Ben Johnson, John Draydon and other old buddies from Ye Old Mermaid Tavern, William Shakespeare caught a fever and died on his fifty second birthday.

1746-THE GLASS HARMONICON- German composer Johann Christoph Witobald Gluck had premiered his first opera La Caduta de Giganti in London to weak box office . Today he hit it rich by playing an entire concerto on twenty-six drinking glasses with water raised to different levels to effect the pitch. He played it by rubbing his fingers along the rims. The crowd went wild. Another triumph of musical taste.

1784- Congress adopted Thomas Jefferson’s plan to extend government to territories west of the Appalachian Mountains but reject his suggestion that ten states be organized with classical names like Metropotamia and Polypotamia. Some of his suggestions for Indian names like Michigania and Illinoia sounded better however.

1789- President-elect George Washington and Martha move in to their temporary U.S. capitol of New York City. Traveling from Virginia up to New York every town he passed through greeted him with huge parades and celebrations. When moving through Philadelphia the artist John Singleton Copley had designed a triumphal arch that as Washington moved under it sprang a strange mechanical device that plopped a gold laurel wreath on his head. Annoyed, the startled statesman tore it off.

Once set up as President, Washington realized that the first Presidential residence Franklin House had no furniture, and Congress was broke. He had to pay out of his own pocket for all the furnishings and dinnerware, large enough for state dinners of thirty or more. When he left office in 1796 he offered to John Adams to sell him his furniture. When the frugal New Englander balked at the price, Washington left the new President of the United States an empty mansion with a few candle sticks and one crystal punch bowl.

1809- Napoleons army captured Ratisbon ( Regensburg ) from the Austrians and Robert Browning did a nice poem about it.

1867- William Lincoln patents the zoetrope, an optical toy predating motion pictures..

1896-THE FIRST PROJECTED MOVIES IN THE U.S.- The first projection of Thomas Edison’s kinetoscope film by means of Thomas Armat’s Vitascope at Koster & Bials Music Hall on 28th street and Broadway in New York City. Edison had to be nagged into this by his engineer W.K.L. Dickson. Edison thought projecting movies like the Lumiere Brothers were doing in Europe would never catch on and the future of film was nickelodeon machines. The movie show featured the sultry Annabella the Dancer and a boxing match, but the real hit of the evening was footage of Waves Hitting the Rocks on Shore, which made people instinctively duck to keep from getting wet.

1900- A celebration held in Russian Georgia was addressed by a young revolutionary who had been expelled from the Tiflis Theological Seminary where he was studying to become a priest. Josef Dzugashvili was later encouraged by other revolutionaries to change his name so the Czar’s police wouldn’t pick up his family. He changed his name to Man of Steel- Josef Stalin.

1903- The first game of the New York Highlanders (later Yankees) baseball team. They defeated the Washington Senators, 7-2.

1914- Chicago’s Wrigley Field opened.

1942-The Baedecker Raids- In reprisal for an allied bombing raid on Lubeck the German Luftwaffe began bombing medieval English cities like Norwich and Canterbury based on their rating in the Baedecker Tourist guidebooks. If a place got three or more stars it became a target.

1945- As the Red Army was reaching the suburbs of Berlin, S.S. Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler quietly contacted Swedish diplomat Count Bernadotte and requests peace terms with the Allies. From his hiding place in Bavaria Hermann Goring was also trying to make peace as well. When Hitler found out from Martin Borman, he was furious and ordered both of them under house arrest.

1951- Comedian Lenny Bruce was arrested for a stunt where he dressed as a priest and solicited funds in a leper colony.

1971- Vietnam veterans protest the continued U.S. presence in the war by ceremoniously returning their medals, in some cases tossing them over the White House fence. One angry soldier who tossed his medals was future Democratic Senator John Kerry. Meanwhile Lt. George W. Bush was in the Texas Air Guard, tossing his cookies.

1985- Coca Cola introduces New Coke. They decided to make the basic formula slightly sweeter to appeal to younger people. Its reception by the public was so overwhelmingly bad that the company returned to the original formula 90 days later. The chairman of rival Pepsi Cola exulted: " We've been eye to eye for decades and I think the other guy's just blinked! New Coke became a symbol for large-scale executive incompetence,

1998- Microsoft chairman Bill Gates introduced Windows 98 to a 4,000 industry leaders. When he ceremonially opened the first window, the system crashed-.Doh!

2003- Boston area Catholic priests began to get busted for child molestation and the cover up by the Archdiocese was exposed. One priest, a Father Shayne was a registered member of the Man-Boy Love Society (NAMBLA). Outraged parishioners demanded the eventual resignation of their Cardinal Bernard Law. Instead Cardinal Law was recalled to Rome were he was made pastor of the Church of Maria Maggiore.

2005- The first You-Tube video was uploaded- Me At the Zoo.
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Yesterday’s question answered below: What was New Coke, and why is it not around anymore?

Answer: See above, 1985.


Next weekend on May 2, I'll be at the Walt Disney Family Museum.

http://www.waltdisney.org/node/1605/0


April 22, 2015
April 22nd, 2015

Quiz: What was New Coke, and why is it not around anymore?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Which nation did America NEVER go to war against? Germany, Italy, France, England, Spain, Mexico.
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History for 4/22/2015
Birthdays: Queen Isabella I of Castille, Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, Immanuel Kant, Madame De Stael, Alexander Kerensky, Aaron Spelling, Eddie Albert, Glen Cambell, Betty Page, Marilyn Chambers, Charlie Mingus, Peter Frampton, John Waters is 69, Jack Nicholson is 78

Happy Earth Day (see below- 1970)

753 B.C.-Founding of Rome by Romulus and Remus. The Romans counted time from this date. So 1AD to them was 754 AUC or Anno Urbis Conditae- from the "Founding of the City". So this year 2015 is 2,769 AUC.

1370-Beginning of construction on the castle/prison in Paris called La Bastille.

1567- Dutch protestant leader William of Orange was such a shrewd leader and diplomat his nickname was William the Silent. This day as the persecutions of Dutch Protestants by Catholic Spanish Inquisitors increased William resigned all his offices and fled to Germany to raise an army to fight for Dutch Independence. He was eventually assassinated but not before he had united the Dutch provinces under his leadership. His family still rules Holland today.

1621- FRANCIS BACON -Philosopher and writer Sir Francis Bacon had become the first judge and minister in the England through hard work and furious ass-kissing. He was so unscrupulous he prosecuted to death his first benefactor the Earl of Essex. But King James 1st trusted him to run England whenever he was away. Finally the pushy Parliament brought Bacon up on charges of bribery and corruption.

This day Bacon pled guilty to all charges and left his public offices. The King waived his fines and imprisonment. Francis Bacon on his estate free of his addiction to power could now focus on his true love, philosophy and science. He became one of the greatest minds in Western thought, to be ranked with Aristotle and Descartes. He published the Great Renewal and Res Atlantica, two works that revolutionized the study of philosophy and science.
Historian Will Durant called Francis Bacon the finest mind of his time after Shakespeare.

1741- Georg Frederich Handel dipped his quill into ink and began to write the Messiah.

1769- Madame DuBarry officially presented at the French Court. King Louis XV’s earlier mistresses like Madame La Pompadour were women of breeding and culture. But DuBarry was a saucy little trollop who had already schtupped most of the men of the court. When the Duc d’ Richelieu asked Louis what he saw in this vulgar new toy, His Majesty replied:" She makes me forget that I shall soon be sixty."

1778- THE CONWAY CABAL- During the American Revolution, a conspiracy (or cabal) of colonial officers led by a Major Conway, and former Washington aide Thomas Mifflin plotted behind George Washington's back to get Congress to replace him for incompetence. Their choice for command of the American army was General Gage, whose career was undistinguished other than the Battle of Saratoga. The plot was exposed and Conway made to resign. Washington stayed the symbol of the American war effort even though he lost more battles than won.

1793- THE UNITED STATES DECLARED IT'S NEUTRALITY IN THE NAPOLEONIC WARS. This decision caused the split in American opinion that formed our two party system and soured the last years of George Washington’s presidency. The France that helped us win the Revolution was Louis XVI's Royal France, but she had now become a people’s republic like ours, the only other in the world. The French Revolutionary Convention had a Stars and Stripes flag hanging proudly in it's hall. Americans danced in the streets when the Bastille fell and started calling each other "citizen".

Thomas Jefferson’s followers felt we owed it to France to support a fellow people’s republic against the European autocrats. The more conservative Federalists like Alexander Hamilton and John Adams were afraid of guillotines and anarchy and openly wanted Mother Britain to win. Jefferson called them Monocrats, they called his side Democrats. Europeans tried to push America into choosing a side: America almost declared war on France in 1797,1804 and 1808, and almost declared war on Britain in 1800 and finally did in 1812. Napoleon had hoped America would then send over her navy to ferry his army across the Channel to get at England. Small wonder George Washington’s advice upon retiring was "Avoid entangling foreign alliances."

1811- Last of the Parthenon Marbles pried off their walls in Greece and sent back to England on a British frigate. Lord Byron was on board and called Lord Elgin, the supervisor of this act, "The Spoiler". Today the Elgin marbles are still at the British Museum and the Greeks are still annoyed about it.

1836-GENERAL SANTA ANNA the Dictator of Mexico was captured after the Battle of San Jacinto and brought to Texas Gen. Sam Houston. Santa Anna was disguised in peasants clothes but when brought into the Anglo camp the Mexican prisoners gave him away by cheering El Presidente! Santa Anna was suffering from nervous exhaustion so Houston offered him some of his opium. Houston was an alcoholic nursing a shattered ankle.

As they sat under a tree Santa Anna said to Houston: " Great is the destiny of the man who can defeat the Napoleon of the West!" Everyone (including many Mexicans) wanted to kill the man who massacred the Alamo, but Houston used him as a hostage to draw off the remaining Mexican armies still in Texas. Not only did Santa Anna get released unhurt, but ten years later the U.S. Government even covertly helped him regain power in Mexico.

1876- Composer Peter Tchaikovsky completed his score for the ballet Swan Lake.

1889-At noon on the signal of a cannon shot The Great Oklahoma Land Rush began. The town of Oklahoma City was set up in one day-population 10,000. The settlers who slipped in early were nicknamed Sooners and Oklahoma became known as the Sooner State. This eats up the remaining land of the Cherokee Nation, who once owned all of Georgia, the Carolinas and Alabama. The Cherokee kept their land communally, which to U.S. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge was their downfall: "The Cherokee possess many fine attributes except Greed, which we all know is the basis for Civilization."

1898- Teddy Roosevelt formed the First US Volunteer Cavalry, called the Rough Riders. It was a curious mix of Teddys' personal tastes- Harvard bluebloods and polo champions mixed with rough western cowboys and rodeo stars.

1906- In earthquake destroyed San Francisco, one day after the last of the fires were declared officially out, the Market Street cable car began running once more.

1915- Second Battle of Ypres- First use of poison gas WWI. German Jewish Dr. Fritz Hauber and friend of Albert Einstein, was convinced his experiments to create poison gas would win wars. He ran from battlefield to battlefield ensuring it was being used correctly. Einstein thought he was a fool. Hauber’s wife committed suicide. The chlorine clouds did cause a huge panic in the British ranks, that opened the way to Paris, but the German generals were too cautious to follow up their surprise and the Canadians fought fiercely to close the gap. Although they had no gas masks, a quick thinking Canadian doctor ordered his men to urinate into their own handkerchiefs, then tie them around their faces. Although exceedingly gross, the ammonia counteracted the gas enabling them to survive.

1916- THE IRISH EASTER SUNDAY UPRISING -Patrick Pearse, Richard Connolly, Michael Collins, Eamon De Valera and followers seize the O'Connell Street post office in downtown Dublin and proclaim the Irish Republic. After furious streetbattles with British troops diverted from the World War I battlefields, the rebellion is put down. All the ringleaders were executed. Connolly was so badly wounded that they had to prop up his stretcher before the firing squad, and pinch his cheeks so he'd be awake for his own death. Eamon De Valera used his U.S. citizenship to avoid execution. Initially the Irish people hadn't wholly supported the futile rising, but the fierce police crackdown had the effect of arousing sympathy. It sparked the major IRA campaigns in the 1920's and eventual Independence.

1922- Albert the Duke of York married Scottish socialite Lady Elizabeth Beaux-Lyons. Bertie was shy and had a speech impediment and it took him three proposals before she said yes. The Archbishop of Canterbury refused to allow a live radio broadcast of the marriage ceremony for fear it would be broadcast in pubs, where uncouth men would not doff their hats.
What Bertie and Elizabeth couldn’t know would be in 1936 Berties older brother Edward VIII would abdicate and they become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. After her husband died in 1952 and her daughter Elizabeth II ascended the throne, the Queen Mum lived on, dying at age 101 in 2002.

1934- In Little Bohemia Hunting Lodge in Wisconsin, Public Enemy No.1 John Dillinger shot his way out of a FBI ambush. The FBI not only failed to stop Dillinger, they shot an innocent bystander who got caught in the crossfire.

1940- Writer Ernest Hemingway cabled his editor Max Perkins from Havana about a new novel he was writing.-" Title is "For Whom the Bell Tolls" from passage John Donne Oxford Book of English bottom page seventy one STOP Please register immediately."

1945- While the Red Army was attacking the outskirts of Berlin, Adolph Hitler sent away to the south his personal belongings and files in a final Luftwaffe flight of ten planes. One plane was shot down carried some of his most private possessions. When Hitler heard the news, he called it a catastrophe. What was in that plane that he valued so much? The wreckage was never found. It’s a mystery to this day.

1952- The first nuclear bomb test shown on network TV -Tommy Turtle says duck and cover!

1954- THE ARMY–McCARTHY HEARINGS on live nationwide TV began. Senator Joe McCarthy’s Senate committee chasing communists finally bit off more than it could chew when it took on the U.S. Army. Sparked by the drafting of Private G. David Shine, a young crony of chief counsel Roy Cohn, a hearing was held to investigate charges that the Army Secretary and several other top Pentagon officers were Russian spies.

The hearing soon devolved from an indictment of the army into a probe of Senator McCarthy’s red baiting tactics. It lasted for three months and held the nation spellbound. At one point Senator McCarthy submitted a note that the television cameras be turned off for a minute so he could wipe his nose. After one heated session, Roy Cohn and Robert Kennedy had to be separated before a fistfight broke out. Finally under the withering condemnation of Joseph Walsh "Senator, have you no shred of decency?!" McCarthy’s power was broken.

1954- The U.S. Congress added the phrase "In God We Trust" on to US currency

1961- THE PARATROOP COUP- The decision of whether to give up Algeria, the colony they owned since 1832 agonized the nation. It was further complicated by a large population of Algerian-born French people, the "Pied-noirs". They felt they were being sold out to terrorist guerillas. The Foreign Legion's headquarters was at Sidde Abbes, and for generations their blood had spilled into the Sahara's sands to keep Algeria French. So on this night French paratroop generals and the Legion plotted to stop President Charles DeGaulle from granting Algerian independence. They planned a night parachute jump over downtown Paris to seize the government.
After the rebels grabbed the governor of Algeria and a few key posts, President Degaulle went on nationwide TV and exposed the plot, calling upon all Frenchmen to defend the nation. The conspirators lost their nerve and melted away. The Paris jump never occurred. The trials afterwards saw strange scenes like Croatian and Thai legionnaires falling before firing squads, shouting "Vive La France!!"

1970- The first Earth Day. The idea was started by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin "The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy," Senator Nelson said, "and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda."

1972- Magnavox announced the Magnavox Odyssey. Created by Ralph Baer in his spare time, it was the first home videogame console.

1978- Comic actors Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi debut two new characters on the Saturday Night Live TV show, Joliet Jake and Ellwood Blues. The Blues Brothers are born.

1996- Christopher Robin Milne dies at age 75. The young boy who’s fascination with a bear in the London Zoo called Winnie inspired his father A.A. Milne to write the Winne the Pooh stories. Christopher Robin wasn’t always appreciative of all the attention. He said of his father: "Someday I’ll write some verses about him and see how He likes it!"

2000- The estranged wife of Mr Juan Gonzales of Cuba had grabbed their son Elian and tried to escape by boat to the United States. The wife and her lover drowned in the attempt but little 6 year old Elian survived and became a cause–celebre of the Cuban exile community in Miami. But Mr. Gonzales had come from Havanna to get his son back. Back in Havana, Fidel Castro had a ball making political hay out of the Yankee Imperialistas stealing children from their parents. Finally, after months of media circus, Attorney General Janet Reno ordered federal marshals to forcibly grab Elian Gonzales from his uncles home and give him back to his father. His father pledged:" I want no one to ever stick a camera in my son’s face again!"

2004- Pat Tillman was a football star who was moved by the 9-11 attacks to sacrifice a multi-million dollar contract in the NFL to fight for his country. This day Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. He was 27 and left a wife and two children. The Pentagon played up his heroism, while lying to his grieving family and burning his diary and uniform. At the funeral, when presented with the casket’s flag, Tillman’s father snapped “ Keep your f*cking flag!” Pat Tillman was an atheist and it further annoyed his family to hear conservative politicians go on about him in Heaven among the warriors of Christ. After several hearings a general was reprimanded for his handling of the affair.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Which nation did America NEVER go to war against? Germany, Italy, France, England, Spain, Mexico.

Answer: America never went to war with France. The French & Indian War was when we were still part of Britain. We skirmished with French ships in 1804 & 1808, and again against Vichy forces in 1942, but never officially.


April 21, 2015 tues.
April 21st, 2015

Quiz: Which nation did America NEVER go to war against? Germany, Italy, France , England, Spain, Mexico.

Yesterday’s Question answered below: We remember the Alamo as the battle for Texas independence from Mexico. But the Alamo was essentially a defeat. What was the battle that won Texas independence?
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History for 4/21/2015
Birthdays: Edwin S. Porter, Charlotte Bronte', John Muir, Freiderich Froebel the inventor of kindergarten-1782, Anthony Quinn, Patti Lupone, Iggy Pop, Charles Grodin, Anna Magnani, Andie MacDowell is 57, Tony Danza, Elaine May, James McAvoy is 36, Rob Riggle is 45, Queen Elizabeth II is 89

Happy Palilia- Roman festival of the rustic god "Pales" for whom the Palatine Hill in Rome was named.

43BC- Battle of Mutina (Modena), One year after the assassination of Julius Caesar, his heirs squabble. Legions sent by Octavian defeat Mark Anthony and drive him into the Alps.

1526- The First Battle of Panipat. Mogul Emperor Babur defeated the Indian army of Ibrahim Lodi and captured Delhi. This established the Moghul Empire in India. Babur’s army fought with Mongol bows, elephants and he introduced cannon to India.

1831- NAT TURNER'S REBELLION- The most serious slave revolt in the South before the Civil War. Using an eclipse as a sign from heaven, Turner and 75 other slaves turned on their masters, and went on a rampage through Virginia. It took 3,000 troops to crush them. Turner was taken and hanged, defiant to the end. Nat Turner’s Rebellion hardened opinions of both pro and anti-slavery groups in the U.S, and accelerated the slide towards civil war.

1836-BATTLE OF SAN JACINTO-. After chasing Sam Houston’s men across Texas almost to the Louisiana border, General Santa Anna thought so little of these rag-tag gringo rebels that he no longer bothered to post sentries. When the Texans attacked at 1:00PM, the Mexican army was having it's afternoon siesta. General Santa Anna was bedded down with his mistress he called his Yellow Rose, the origin of the song Yellow Rose of Texas.
Suddenly Houston's wild frontiersmen, filled with rage over the massacres of the Alamo and Goliad rushed into the Mexican camp and routed them. After the battle Houston couldn't restrain the Texans from killing running fugitives, and even scalping some. Santa Anna was captured and forced to sign a peace.

1847- The 4th rescue team removed the last survivors of the Donner Party wagon train from their snowed in camp on Lake Truckee in the Sierras down to the settlement on the Sacramento River. A furious winter trapped the Donners in the mountains last Oct 31st with almost no food and all their oxen dead. Of 86 pioneers 41 died and the others ate their corpses to survive. Louis Keyesburg, the only settler who spoke openly of eating human flesh and was called a ghoul, moved to Sacramento and opened a restaurant.

1865- UNCLE BILLY’S POLITICAL LESSON. In North Carolina, General William T. Sherman had offered Confederate Joe Johnston’s army the same terms for surrender that Grant had given Robert E Lee. But Johnston handed Sherman new terms rewritten by crafty Confederate President Jefferson Davis. It asked for political and property amnesty for all Confederate leaders; that the US Government would leave all Southern state officials at their posts.
This went much further than one army surrendering to another, it was in effect a treaty that no one would be punished for the Civil War. But Billy Sherman didn’t seem to see the fine print. He thought that’s what old Abe Lincoln had wanted before he was killed. So he signed it and passed it on to Washington.

When new President Andrew Johnson and General Grant read the terms they were thunderstruck. They ordered Sherman to tear that treaty up and offer nothing but unconditional surrender. Hotheaded Secretary of War Stanton denounced Sherman in the newspapers as a traitor. Sherman the Hero of Atlanta was furious at being made a fool of. He resolved the rest of his life to have nothing more to do with politics, which is probably why we never had a President William T. Sherman.

1865- President Lincoln’s funeral train left Washington DC for the long trip back to Springfield Ill.

1911- LENIN WANTS A LIBRARY CARD. Russian communist revolutionary N. Lenin was living secretly in exile in London. In a letter dated this day he applied to the British Museum Library collection to study it's documents. His letter was in perfect English and he signed his name under his alias Jacob Richter.

1910- Mark Twain died of congenital heart failure at 75 as Haley's comet appeared overhead. He once wrote: " When arriving in Heaven feel free to ask all the questions you want of Saint Peter. You may ask for his autograph, however don’t take any Kodak photos or bring your dog. Admittance to Heaven is based on favor, not merit, else the dog would be allowed to go in and you kept out."

1918-THE RED BARON SHOT DOWN- In the wild duels in the air above the World War I trenches Baron Manfred Von Richtofen was the best of the best. The Red Baron had shot down more planes than anyone -80 confirmed kills.
On this day, von Richtofen got onto the tail of one plane and was about to add #81, when Canadian Roy Brown got behind him and filled the back of his plane with machinegun bullets. Other experts claim The Red Baron was his by Australian ground fire. Mortally wounded, The baron still managed to land his red fokker triplane before slumping over dead. Manfred von Richtofen was 26.

Roy Brown got the credit, but couldn't handle his celebrity status. He committed suicide after the war.

1921- The Coconut Grove nightclub opened in Hollywood.

1933- The Nazis ban kosher meat processing in Germany.

1938- Disney animator Bill Tytla married artists model Adrienne LeClerc.

1948- HAIFA- As the British occupying troops were being withdrawn from Palestines second largest city, they had given up trying to keep Arabs and Jews fighting. This day the British informed city leaders that he was withdrawing his garrison. The British commander wagered a friend a bottle of whisky that neither side would have control of Haifa for weeks. The Jewish militia the Hagannah secured control of the city in 48 hours. The Arab population began a mass evacuation of the city,

1960- Brazil moved it’s capitol from Rio De Janiero to Brasilia, a modern architects fantasy built in the middle of the jungle.

1961- Two groups of British teenage rock bands meet each other for the first time- The Beatles met the Rolling Stones.

1964- British TV viewers double their pleasure- BBC 2 goes on the air. Their first program is Play School.

1973- The pop song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree” became a number one hit on the US, Canadian and UK pop charts. The song spawned the custom of a yellow ribbon as a symbol of remembering a soldier overseas, which reached its’ peak during the Iran Hostage Crisis. That in turn spawned variations like the red AIDS ribbon, the pink breast cancer ribbon, and so on.

1975- As North Vietnamese armies roll towards his capitol, South Vietnamese President Nygun Van Thieu resigned and went into exile. The Roman Catholic French-educated Thieu tearfully blamed America for the defeat. Vice President Nygun Kao Key moved to Orange County Cal and opened a convenience store.

1989- Oil executive George W. Bush became part of a ownership consortium that bought the last place baseball team the Texas Rangers." As soon as I knew they were for sale I went after them like a pit bull on a pants leg….It doesn’t get much better than this…"

1997-The first Intergalactic Funeral. The ashes of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and 1960's drug guru Dr. Timothy Leary were shot into space.
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Yesterday’s Question: We remember the Alamo as the battle for Texas independence from Mexico. But the Alamo was essentially a defeat. What was the battle that won Texas independence?

Answer: The Battle of San Jacinto. See above 1836.


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