Dec 5, 2019
December 5th, 2019

Question: What did you get when you asked a bartender to make you a Bromo?

Yesterdays Question Answered Below: What is Stockholm Syndrome?

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History for 12/5/2019
Birthdays: Pope Julius II, Martin Van Buren, Walt Disney, Fritz Lang, Eugene Debs, George Armstrong Custer, Little Richard Penniman, Strom Thurmond, Otto Preminger, Lin Piao, Calvin Trillin, Joan Didion, Jim Plunkett, Jose Carrerras, Margaret Cho is 51

Faunalia- the ancient Roman festival for rustic god Faunus.

1212-THE WONDER OF THE WORLD.- Fredrick II Hohenstaufen became Holy Roman Emperor of the German Nation at 18. The son of Henry VI the Lion, Freddy was called "stupor mundi et immutator mirabilis” The Marvelous Transformer and Wonder of the World”.

1349- People in Europe were at a loss to explain why the Black Death plague was killing everyone. So, they settled on their age-old answer- It must be the Jews fault! This day in Nuremberg 500 Jews were killed by rioters.

1484- Pope Innocent VIII raises the practice of Witchcraft from a minor sin to a major heresy. Included in the definition of witchcraft is any remaining vestiges of local animist customs, herbalism or treating illnesses with home grown medicines. He ordered the Holy Office of the Inquisition to look into all cases. From 1484 to 1750 maybe 200,000 people died in Europe and America. As late as 1784 a woman in Belgium was executed for bewitching a child. The last burning of the Spanish Inquisition was in 1817.

1492- Christopher Columbus, still looking for Japan, now discovered Haiti.

1502- Columbus last voyage was hit by a hurricane. For twelve days his ships were battered by wind and waves. At one point Columbus saw a waterspout in the ocean near them. He read a Rite of Exorcism at it and made the sign of the Cross with his sword. Tradition says it then went away.

1560- King Francis II of France died at age 16. His mom Catherine de Medici didn’t fret, she had more sons. She made her next son Charles IX king at age 10.

1704- In Hamburg, towards the end of the opera Cleopatre, composer Georg Frederich Handel and soloist Johann Mattheson started bickering over who should bow and receive the audiences applause. As the curtain came down and the cheers rang out, Handel and Mattheson began furiously wrestling over the harpsichord. Finally they rushed out into the snowy public square and fought with swords. The audience followed them and cheered on this unique encore. Neither was hurt in the end, and they even made up over their next opera.

1766- London auction house Christies held it’s first auction.

1791-MOZART DIED- The 35 year old composer was slaving away on a commission for a Requiem Mass when he died of scarlet fever and kidney failure complicated by exhaustion and alcoholism (and he didn't work in animation ) Mozart was buried in a pauper's grave and when his wife came to mourn him a few days later nobody could recall where he was buried.
The theories about Antonio Salieri poisoning him out of jealousy or the FreeMasons doing him in began only a few years later. Schiller wrote a play in 1817 called Mozart & Salieri where he has Salieri doing the dastardly deed. Salieri lived into his 80s. In 1827 one of Beethoven's pupils wrote the Maestro about going up to the sanitarium to visit the ancient composer: "Salieri is in one of his fits again, shouting “I killed Mozart! Mozart forgive me!”"

1791- First Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton presented his Report on Manufactures to Congress. This was considered a revolutionary document because here was this illegitimate snob telling his half wild nation of farmers and trappers with dead raccoons on their heads, that their future lay in developing heavy industry closely regulated by a strong centralized government. Thomas Jefferson among many others thought it was a big mistake, but modern scholars declare The Report on Manufactures as the true beginning of the US economy.

1804- The Presentation of the Eagles- Part of Napoleon’s reforming of the French Army after becoming Emperor was to standardize the battle flags. The old tattered flags of the Revolution were collected and a red, white and blue flag with gold trim was distributed, each surmounted by a brass Eagle patterned on an ancient Roman design. In 1807 the flag was standardized as the modern French tricolor we know today. Also given out was an emerald green flag with golden harps to the Irish Volunteer brigade. Jacques Louis David did a beautiful painting of the event but the truth be told it was a lousy rainy day and there was a lot of confusion.

1837- Hector Berlioz chorale Requiem premiered.

1854- Aaron Allen of Boston patented the theater chair that folded up so you could exit.

1865-The steel industry is transformed when Sir Henry Bessemer received an American patent for the Bessemer Steel process, which made steel harder with less impurities.

1912- New York Hat directed by D.W. Griffith starring Mary Pickford and Lionel Barrymore premiered. The first movie script written by19 year old Anita Loos to be produced. She became one of the finest Hollywood screenwriters and Broadway playwright, who penned films like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She died in 1981 at age 92.

1933- Prohibition was repealed in the U.S. with the ratification of the 21st Amendment. Interestingly enough the final state to ratify the repeal amendment was Utah. Canadian cities like Moose Jaw Saskatchuan, where Al Capone had set up huge distilleries to run-rum across Lake Michigan, went into mourning. Bootleggers like Josef Bronfman of Seagrams and Joe Kennedy Sr. had to look for new sources of income.

1938- The FCC concludes there was no malicious intent in Orson Welles Halloween broadcast of The War of the Worlds, and no fines would be imposed.

1941- Marshal Zhukov commenced the first Soviet counterattack since the Nazis invasion began in June. As the Red Army pushed the Germans 100 miles back from the outskirts of Moscow. The Germans first came up against the new Soviet T-34 Stalin Tank. German tank expert Heinz Guderian wrote to a colleague” I have just seen a most amazing tank, and if the Russians are mass producing them, we may lose the war!”

1941- Admiral Halsey moved his carrier fleet- USS Lexington & Enterprise out of Pearl Harbor to go on maneuvers. They would not be there for the Japanese attack on Pearl. This is why Admiral Yamamoto was disappointed with the battle’s final results.

1945- Flight 19, a routine training patrol of 5 Navy Avenger torpedo bombers took off from Fort Lauderdale at 2:00PM and flew into the Bermuda Triangle. Two hours later the commander radioed that his compass and backup compass had failed and his position was unknown. The 14 men and their planes were never seen again. In the next few months hundreds of planes and ships searched the waters for some signs of wreckage with no success. In 1986 and 1991 claims were made that wreckage was found, but so far but so far nothing has ever been confirmed.

1951- Shoeless Joe Jackson died. The most powerful baseball batter of his age, he taught Babe Ruth how to hit. But he was implicated in the Black Sox scandal of 1919 and permanently banned from baseball. He spent the rest of his life running a hardware store near his rural Georgia home.

1952- The Abbott & Costello Television Show premiered. Where’s Hilary, Mr Fields and Stinky? “ Niagara Falls! Slooowwlly I turn! Step by Step! Step by Step!”

1952- A killer smog blanketed London and southern England for a week. Visibility was reduced to barely a yard. Before it dispersed it killed 4,000-12,000 people. The crisis spurred Britain to ban the use of coal fires to heat homes.

1953- Josef Stalin died. He was in a coma after a stroke but his doctors were too terrified to treat him. They left him on the floor for hours. Before he died, Stalin was preparing a new purge, aimed at doctors.

1953- Russian Composer Sergei Prokoviev died, but the news was overshadowed by the death of Stalin.

1974- The Seattle Seahawks football team formed.

1974- The BBC aired the last Monty Python show.

1978- Under the Jimmy Carter administration, a federal judge ruled that religious schools could no longer be segregated, and still claim religious tax-exempt status. This made many mega churches decide to shift their activities towards Republican politics.
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Yesterday’s Question: What is Stockholm Syndrome?

Answer: Stockholm Syndrome is the unique situation where someone is kidnapped, and in the course of the close relationship with his/her captor begins to sympathize with their cause.


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Dec 3, 2019
December 3rd, 2019

Question: Where is the nation of Andorra?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: We hear people referred to as a Manchurian Candidate. What does that mean?
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HISTORY FOR 12/3/2019
Birthdays: French King Charles VI the Well-Loved 1380, Gilbert Stuart, Sven Nykvist, Joseph Conrad- real name Josef Korzeniowski, Jean Luc Godard, Nino Rota, Jim Backus, Maria Callas, Larry Parks, Charles Pillsbury, Mitsuo Fuchida the Japanese pilot who led the attack on Pearl Harbor, Darryl Hannah is 59, Katerina Witt, Brendan Fraser is 51, Julianne Moore is 59, Andrew Stanton, Amanda Seyfried is 34

Happy Ozzy Day! Ozzie Ozbourne is 71- ”I never set out to be a businessman. I just wanted to have fun, f—k chicks, and do drugs.”

749AD- This is the Feast of Saint John Damascene. He’s the saint who’s called the Father of Christian Art, because he theologically argued a way for artists to avoid the “No Graven Images “ hitch in the Ten Commandments, so we could make paintings of Jesus and the Saints.

1557- The Scottish Covenant- In Edinburgh Scotland a group of anticlerical noblemen Argyll, Glencairn, Morton, Lorne and Erskine signed the First Scottish Covenant- pledging to reform the religion of the land.

1591- The first fire insurance contract was written in Hamburg.

1775- The first official U.S. flag hoisted aboard the USS Alfred. It was thirteen stripes with a cross of Saint George and Saint Andrew in the corner.

1800-Battle of Hohenlinden- French whip the Austrians, but it wasn’t done by Napoleon but by a different general, so Nappy asks us to overlook his competition.

1818- Illinois became a state with its first capitol at Kaskaskia.

1838- The Battle of Windsor. Another attempt by the U.S. to conquer Canada. On this day a force of 500 disaffected Canadians, Yankee opportunists and Polish revolutionists crossed over from Detroit and captured Windsor Ontario. (why do we always invade Canada in the winter? )
They are led by the uncle of writer Ambrose Bierce, Lucius Verus Bierce. They called themselves the Secret Guild of the Sacred Hunters of the East, and their intention was no less than liberating Canada from the hated British yoke!
Well, nobody rose up with them. And while they were standing around trying to think of what to do next, the British army quickly rounded them up. Those that weren’t hanged were shipped to New Zealand.
Lucius Bierce escaped back across the Detroit River in a canoe where he was promptly arrested for violating U.S. neutrality laws. He later devoted his time and money to abolitionist causes, and financed John Browns’ anti-slavery campaign in Kansas.
1845- Britain wages the First Sikh War.

1868- Preliminary hearings open into the treason trial of Jefferson Davis, former President of the Confederate States. Radical republicans wanted someone punished for the Civil War, but many were worried that a master lawyer like Davis would use the opportunity to prove the Constitutional basis for states legally seceding from the union. Indeed Davis himself wanted the trial to prove just that point. But presiding judge Chief Justice Salmon B. Chase had by prior arrangement with President Andrew Johnson. A plan to stall the trial until Johnson's amnesty for all confederates went into effect on Feb 15th.

1881- In Africa, explorer Henry M. Stanley founded the town of Kinshasa, which they called then Leopoldville after the King of the Belgians.

1890- A small British army marches into Buganda and camping on a hilltop called Kampala informs the local chief Mwanga that he is now part of the British Empire, whether he likes it or not. The British officer even made Mwanga sign the treaty twice because he felt his first ink splotch was done insincerely. Uganda remained a British colony until 1956.

1894- In Samoa, writer Robert Louis Stevenson was opening a bottle of wine, when he paused and cried “ What’s that?”, then he looked at his wife and said “ Does my face look strange?” Then he collapsed and died of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 44.

1919- Impressionist painter Pierre August Renoir died at age 79 . Suffering from arthritis that left him unable to paint with his hands, Renoir used a bit that held the brush in his teeth.

1925- GEORGE GERSHWIN PLAYS CARNEGIE HALL. Gershwin always wanted to be taken seriously as a composer and not just a Tin Pan Alley pop-song writer. While in Paris he met Maurice Ravel, but instead of giving him advice Ravel said: "You make HOW much from your songs? Maybe I should learn from you!" When he asked to be Arnold Schoenberg's pupil, Schoenburg told him :" Why do you want to be a bad Schoenburg when you're already such a good Gershwin?"

1931- Happy Birthday Alka Seltzer! The fizzy tablet was invented by chemist Maurice Treener for the Dr. Miles Medicine Company of Indiana.

1934- Lee Blair, Disney artist and brother of Preston Blair, Disney artist, married Mary Browne Robinson, Disney artist. She became the most famous of them as Mary Blair.

1941- After clandestine diplomatic initiatives to raise the U.S. oil and steel embargoes failed, The Japanese High Command radioed it's carrier fleet out in the Pacific: "Climb Mount Niitaka". This code meant go forward with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Admiral Nagumo orders resumption of radio silence and turned his fleet South-SouthWest towards Hawaii.

1944- A Nazi newspaper published on this day features a photo of a young Austrian S.S. officer with his commander in Greece. After the war his commander was hanged as a war criminal. The young man became Secretary General of the United Nations, President of Austria, and winner of a Nobel Peace Prize- Kurt Waldheim.

1956- British and French forces evacuate Egypt, where they had been since 1799.

1965- The Beatles release the album Rubber Soul.

1967- Dr. Christiaan Barnard of Capetown performed the first heart transplant.

1968- Elvis Presley opened in Las Vegas to rave reviews and packed houses. It marks the beginning of his comeback and his transition from thin, black leather-jacketed youth to fat, rhinestone jumpsuit, half tinted sunglasses, karate-swinging middle age.

1976-A 40 foot long inflated pig broke away from its’ tether at a Pink Floyd photo shoot and became a hazard to civil aviation. The AeroPork was lost to radar at 8,000 feet.

1984- An accident at a Union Carbide facility in Bhopal, India filled the air with poison methyl-isocynate gasses that killed 10,000 people and blinds or otherwise injured a further 200,000. No one from Union Carbide was ever tried or convicted for the tragedy. Saint Mother Theresa shows a controversial side of her nature when she publicly encouraged Indians to accept the disaster as God’s Will. Even today the ground around the closed facility is considered too deadly for inhabitation.

1991- Hulk Hogan defeated Undertaker to become WWF champ for the 4th time.

1997 – 56 year old Darlene Gillespie, an original member of the Mickey Mouse Club, was busted in LA for a securities fraud scheme.

1997- Basketball star Latrell Sprewell lost his $32 million contract with the Golden State Warriors for trying to strangle his coach, P.J. Carlesino.

2004-The Ukranian Supreme Court ruled the recent presidential election invalid. Moscow and hardline Kiev Gov’t supported Victor Januscowicz followers committed widespread acts of voter fraud, then suppressed any news reports.
The story was revealed to the world by a heroic sign language translator for the deaf. While the state approved news anchor reported the elections on the evening news the translator, Nataliya Dmytruk, signed “EYERYTHING YOU HAVE JUST HEARD IS A LIE! YUSCHENKO IS OUR TRUE PRESIDENT! THIS IS PROBABLY THE LAST TIME YOU WILL EVER SEE ME..” The word spread spawned weeklong mass demonstrations and international pressure that compelled the government to redo the election. Ms Dmytruk survived and is today considered a national hero.

2008- Conservative Episcopalian churches in the U.S. and Canada announced they were leaving the main Episcopal communion to found a new church- the New Anglican Church of North America. These theologians objected to the Church nominating gay priests and bishops.
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Yesterday’s Question: We hear people referred to as a Manchurian Candidate. What does that mean?

Answer: After the Korean War, American POW’s came back sympathizing with their communist captors. People spoke of “brain-washing”, that intense psychological pressure and enforced social conditioning had re-programed their personalities. The phrase comes from the title of a late 1950s Richard Condon novel and movie by John Frankenheimer. It means someone whose political, religious or societal opinions have become automatic and when triggered, instinctively acts upon those beliefs without thinking, as if brainwashed.


Dec 2, 2019
December 2nd, 2019

Question: We hear people referred to as a Manchurian Candidate. What does that mean?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What was the concept of Manifest Destiny?

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History for 12/2/2019
Birthdays: George Seurat, Charles Ringling, Julie Harris, Gianni Verasce, Ray Walston, Monica Seles, Cathy Lee Crosby, Lucy Liu is 51, Britney Spears is 38

1254- Manfred, The bastard son of the German Emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen, came into Italy with an army and routed Papal forces near Foggia.
Ever since the Pope had crowned Charlemagne, the argument was whether Popes or Emperors were top dog. The German Emperors wasted two centuries fighting the independent Italian City states trying to consolidate a reborn Roman Empire. The Popes fought them like any other independent landowner who didn’t want to yield their property.
Emperor Manfred didn’t accomplish much in Italy, but he liked to sing and write poetry. Dante said “There was not his like in the world when it came to playing string instruments.”

1494 - BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES Now that the Medici family were driven out, mystical monk Savonarola proposed to the people of Florence that they create a republic ruled by God’s Law. Savonarola ruled Florence like a Christian Ayatollah. He led big public spectacles where in large bonfires Florentines burned their “vanities” like makeup, wigs, art and books, and tried to live a religious life. Even the artist Botticelli burned one of his own paintings. Eventually, it all got so boring they burned Savonarola instead, and recalled the fun-loving Medici family.

1644- THE FIRST GREAT EUROPEAN SUMMIT- The various combatants of the Thirty Years War began a peace conference at Westphalia. France, Spain, Sweden, The German Empire, Saxony, Holland, the Papacy, Hungary, Denmark and a multitude of German and Italian small states try and end the seemingly endless war. It took them four years to hammer out a deal. While Central Europe was ravaged by six armies that depopulated the countryside, plague broke out and peasants rose in revolt, diplomats wasted six months arguing the order of how they entered the conference chamber, how they addressed one another and who had precedence. The Peace Treaty of Westphalia was signed and the war ended in 1648.

1697- Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London reopened. It was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren after being destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666.

1723- Phillipe D’Orleans died of an apoplectic seizure at 49. He ruled France as regent for the boy King Louis XV. Even when Louis attained his manhood, he didn’t mind if his Uncle Phillipe continued to run the country. Phillipe D’Orleans was an able minister but extremely corrupt and sexually promiscuous. The City of New Orleans was founded in his name.

1804- NAPOLEON CROWNED EMPEROR OF FRANCE .The 35 year old little corporal from Corsica who spoke French with an Italian accent, had piercing gray eyes and if he liked you showed his affection by giving your ear a tug, was crowned Emperor of the French. He had the Pope brought up from Rome to Notre Dame for legitimacy, but in a moment of planned theater Napoleon took the crown from his hands and crowned himself.

European liberals like Goethe and Beethoven who had thought Napoleon would be a strong force of reform in Europe were now disillusioned that he turned out to be just another usurper. Beethoven scratched off his dedication of his Third Symphony (Eroica) to him. Napoleon's mother, an old guerrilla named Madame Letizia, thought her son was making a fool out of himself and boycotted the ceremony. When David was doing the official painting of the event Napoleon ordered him to paint his mother in anyway.

1805- THE SUNRISE OF AUSTERLITZ- At a small village in what is now the Czech republic, Napoleon defeated the armies of the Czar of Russia and Emperor of Austria in one spectacular battle. Tolstoy called it the Battle of the Three Emperors. As much as he was a strategist and tactician Napoleon was a great analyst of human character. Based on his opinion of his opponent’s personalities, he predicted exactly how the battle would go two weeks before he lured them into it. The defeat of the Allies was total, French artillery blew holes in a frozen lake the Russians were trying to escape over, drowning hundreds. Within days they sued for peace and the war was ended. Napoleon's take on the days events: "Ah, que belle journee'."What a lovely day it's been."

1823- U.S. President James Monroe published the Monroe Doctrine, saying all the European empires then coveting lands in the Western Hemisphere should butt out or the Good Ole U.S.A. would have something to say about it! Shortly afterwards Britain extended its claim on Western Canada and seized the Falkland Islands, France entered Mexico, and Russia pressed it's claim on Alaska.

1834-Battle of Ndondakasuka- Csetshwayo and his Zulu Impis (regiments) defeat his rival Mbulazi to become King of the Zulu Empire. Csetshwayo's descendants are now the leaders of the Inkatha Freedom Party in modern South Africa.

1845- President James K. Polk re-affirmed the Monroe Doctrine and announced it would be the policy of his administration to get Texas and California from Mexico and Oregon from the British. He called such continental expansion America’s “Manifest Destiny.”

1854-Napoleon III was Napoleon's nephew and since 1848 legally elected President of the Second French Republic. But he decided that he wanted to be an Emperor like his uncle, so he seized dictatorial power on the anniversary of Austerlitz and arrested all dissenters like Victor Hugo, Alex DeTocqueville and cartoonist Honore' Daumier (gotta watch them cartoonists...)

1859- John Brown was hanged. He said nothing on the scaffold but left a prediction on a slip of paper,".. I now believe that the sins of this nation have become so great that the cannot be excised but by a great spilling of blood.." Witnessing the event were Col. Robert E. Lee, Captain Jeb Stuart, and part time reservist John Wilkes Booth.

1863- The dome of the U.S. Capitol completed as the Goddess of Freedom is hoisted up into place.

1877- Camille Saint Saens opera “Samson & Delilah” premiered in Weimar.

1896- We remember Wyatt Earp as the marshal of Dodge City and gunfighter of the 1881 OK Corral gunfight. He was better known to his people of his own generation as the referee of the Fitzsimmons-Sharkey Heavyweight Championship prizefight in San Francisco. After leaving Tombstone Arizona, Wyatt Earp drifted to San Francisco where his skills as a fight referee were called upon for this last of the big bare-knuckle bouts.
He enraged the public when he declared the fight for Sharkey in the 3rd round after Big-Bob Fitzsimmons couldn't stop bleeding. More people were out to kill him over this decision than were ever out to get him when marshal of Dodge City. He quickly pulled up stakes and went to the Yukon for the gold rush. He was all but forgotten until a little book called Wyatt Earp Frontier Marshal published in 1920 made him famous.

1901- Mr. King Gillette invented the safety razor.

1933- Voice actor Clarence “Ducky” Nash began working at Walt Disney. He would create the voice for Donald Duck and his nephews.

1935- Animator Marc Davis first day at Walt Disney Studios. He retired in 1978.

1938- The first executions in California by gas chamber.

1942- THE FIRST CONTROLLED NUCLEAR CHAIN REACTION -The concept of a fission reaction had been theorized by Einstein and Bohr in 1939. Under a squash court at the University of Chicago a team of physicists led by Enrico Ferme began a chain reaction in a uranium pile and stopped it again, producing a few watts of energy. To celebrate they produced a bottle of Chianti and some paper cups. No toasts were made to man's entrance into the Atomic Age. Tennis courts are still there and the Regenstein Library was built on the site. To this day the lowest basement registers off the scale on Geiger counters.

1954- Senator Joseph McCarthy’s fall from power became complete. The Senate voted to censure him for Misconduct Unbecoming a Senator. He died of alcoholism in 1957.

1956- Fidel Castro with 88 followers trained in guerrilla fighting, landed on the beach in Cuba and melted into the mountains. This group would be the core of a revolution that by 1959 would topple the US backed regime of dictator Fulgensio Batista and upset the world balance of power. The ramshackle boat Fidel, Che and his buddies made the crossing over from Mexico in was called the Granma.

1965- Walt Disney live action comedy That Darned Cat, with Dean Jones and Hayley Mills, opened.

1980- During El Salvador’s civil war four American churchwomen, three catholic nuns and a lay worker, were raped and murdered by government death squads backed by the U.S.

1982- Wild-eyed British comedian Marty Feldman (Igor in Young Frankenstein) suddenly died of a heart attack in Mexico while filming the comedy YellowBeard. He was only 48.

1993- NASA astronauts do a series of space walks from their shuttle to adjust the Hubble space telescope. The Hubble cost billions of dollars but was sent into orbit with a flaw in its lenses. It was nearsighted. The spacewalk in effect gave the Hubble a set of glasses to see better the furthest details of deep space.

1994- LA jury found Heidi Fleiss ‘The Hollywood Madam” guilty of running a prostitution ring. Charlie Sheen and Sean Penn were among her customers.
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Yesterday’s Question: What was Manifest Destiny?

Answer: That it was America’s ultimate mission to expand across the continent to be a nation that was “From Sea to Shining Sea.”


Dec 1, 2019
December 1st, 2019

Question: What was the concept of Manifest Destiny?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: What does it mean to be stoic?
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History for 12/1/2019
Welcome to December from Decembrius Mensis, month number 10 to the Romans who only had ten months in their original calendar. It’s the same Latin root as Decimate, Dime, Decimal.

Birthdays: Richard Pryor, Mary Martin, Cyril Ritchard, Dick Shawn, Richard Crenna, Lee Trevino, Charlene Tilton, Lou Rawls, Marshal Gyorgi Zhukov, Admiral Stansfield Turner, Rex Stout the author of Nero Wolfe, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, Treat Williams, Woody Allen is 84, Bette Midler is 74, Sarah Silverman is 49

Happy Roman Festival of Neptune.

WORLD AIDS DAY- established by the UN in 1987.

659 AD-Today is the feast day of Saint Eligius of Limoge, a goldsmith and mint master to Merovingian King Dagobert, who started the art of Limoge enamels.

1521- Pope Leo X died after getting overheated attending celebrations of the defeat of French forces in Milan. He was 45. Some thought he was poisoned, but he probably caught the malarial fever prevalent in Rome at the time. Leo was one of the great art patrons of the Renaissance. He spent lavishly. “ God has given us the Papacy, so let us enjoy it” As soon as the Pontiff was cold, Cardinals and bankers looted the Vatican treasury for all the money he borrowed from them, sending the Church into one of the worst financial crises in its’ history.

1641- THE GREAT REMONSTRANCE- The English Parliament sent King Charles I a long list of everything that annoyed them about him. They demanded Parliament to be the supreme authority in the realm, to sit in permanent session, the right to select and dismiss royal ministers, and to reform the Protestant Church of England to a more Calvinist purity. “God's Blood! You ask of me things one would never ask of a king!"-sayeth King Charles. This little spat would become the English Civil War by next June.

1805-THE MIDNIGHT CAMP AT AUSTERLITZ- The night before the big battle between French, Austrian and Russian armies on a cold little field in what would be the Czech Republic. Napoleon went on a midnight inspection of his troops. His tour turned into something akin to a homecoming football rally. The French soldiers cheered, lit torches, sang and partied around bonfires all night. Across the hills the enemy generals mistakenly thought all the activity meant Napoleon was preparing to run away.

1835- Hans Christian Andersen published his first book of fairy tales.

1861- The first installment of Charles Dicken’s novel Great Expectations began to appear in magazines.

1869- A Sir William MacDougal was sent by Ottawa to take over the administration of Prince Rupertland, now called the new Canadian province of Manitoba. His problem was the whole population of French trappers, Indians and half-breeds had already declared themselves the independent Metiz Republic under their leader Louis Riel. MacDougal had to sneak across the border from the U.S. at midnight. Avoiding Metiz patrols, his party stopped at an abandoned Hudson's Bay trading post where they raised the Union Jack in the darkness and MacDougal read his Royal Proclamation to an audience of seven aides and two hunting dogs. Then they crept back over the border to the U.S. to a healthy dose of razzing from Yankee cowboys. The British Army arrived next spring and established order but by then MacDougal had been recalled.

1879- Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera HMS Pinafore opened. Sullivan conducted the orchestra while Gilbert was a chorister.
“When I was a lad I served a term
As office boy to an Attorney's firm.
I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor,
And I polished up the handle of the big front door.
I polished up that handle so carefullee
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!

1887- The very first Sherlock Holmes mystery by Arthur Conan-Doyle "A Study in Scarlet" first published in Beeton’s Christmas Gazette.

1909- The Pennsylvania Trust Company invented the Christmas Club account.

1917- Father Flanaghan opened Boys Town west of Omaha Nebraska. A retreat for homeless boys and in 1979 girls as well.

1934- Josef Stalin's close confidant Sergei Kirov is assassinated in a Kremlin hallway by Lenoid Nikolayev. Stalin orders the GREAT PURGES of the thirties to begin. Later it came out that Stalin had ordered Kirov assassinated as an excuse. Exact figures are debatable but it is estimated millions were arrested and died. Stalin even had the wandering poor blind storytellers of the Ukraine rounded up and shot for fomenting anti-revolutionary ethnicity. Declassified private papers of Stalin revealed he admired Czar Ivan the Terrible and tried to learn from his example.

1938- In Moscow legendary filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein released his film of Russian patriotism ALEXANDER NEVSKY, with soundtrack provided by Sergei Prokoviev.

1941-Anticipating imminent hostilities with Japan, The U.S. Navy withdrew it’s fleet of Yangtze River gunboats. As the gunboats steamed out into the South China Sea, they were surrounded by large Japanese warships, that held their fire to let them pass.

1943- FDR, Churchill and Stalin conclude their first meeting in Teheran, Iran. The western allies passed supplies to Russia via the Persian Gulf through Iran. Roosevelt discussed the occupation zones of a defeated Germany by drawing lines in pencil on a map torn out of an old National Geographic magazine he found on a table.

1944- Bela Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra premiered by the Boston Symphony and Serge Kousevitsky.

1947- Alastair Crowley died. Called the “wickest man in the world” he fused several occult theologies like Bavarian Illumanism, Gnosticism and Numerology into his Abbey of Theleme. His own mother nicknamed him “the Great Beast.” In 1968 Alastair Crowley was portrayed on the cover of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper album.

1949- The last Nationalist capitol, Chunking (Chonqing), fell to Mao ZeDong's PLA, the People’s Liberation Army.

1951- MIT scientists booted up Project Whirlwind, the TX-0 Computer. Called the Tixo, it was as large as a bus and was the first computer that could do more than one program at a time. In 1952 it had the first computer screen and first light pen. It calculated everything from synchronizing the gunfire of battleships to how much icing to put in an Oreo cookie. The TX-2 was used to write the first animation program Sketchpad, and the first interactive game SpaceWar!, both in 1962.

1953- Ex- Esquire magazine art director and frustrated cartoonist Hugh Hefner published the first issue of Playboy Magazine. It featured a nude centerfold of actress Marilyn Monroe. She joked to the press “ I had nothing on but the radio!” Hefner assembled the layout of the magazine on his kitchen table and borrowed money from his mother-in-law to pay for the printing. The first Playboy had no number or date, because Hef was certain he couldn’t afford to make an issue number two.

1955- ROSA PARKS, a black seamstress in Montgomery Alabama, refused to give up her seat on a crowded bus and was arrested for violating the segregation laws. She was fined $10. At the time she said she was unaware that she was breaking the law, she was actually seated in the first row reserved for Colored passengers, but since the bus was crowded the driver insisted she give up her seat for a white man anyway. This incident and the subsequent boycott is the spark of the great Black Civil Rights Movement of the 50's and 60's.

1963- The NASA space facility at Cape Canaveral Florida was changed to Cape Kennedy in honor of slain president John F. Kennedy. The same day the Kennedy Family moved out of the White House so Lyndon Johnson could move in. Jackie Kennedy only returned to the White House once more in her life in 1971 and on the condition that it be in secret and no press be present. She even would tell D.C. taxicabs to avoid streets where she might accidentally get a glimpse of it.

1963- According to recently unclassified documents, today was supposed to be the day a staged coup would overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba. The CIA had hired Mafia hitmen to shoot Fidel as he drove in an open jeep to his beach home. Then the head of the Cuban army, Juan Almeida would then seize the government.
But John Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas suspended all such plans.

1964- DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING MET J. EDGAR HOOVER- Dr. King and Rev Ralph Abernathy were on their way to Oslo for Dr. King to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. In Washington they were invited to meet with the legendary head of the FBI. Hoover sat them down and proceeded to lecture them for over two hours, calling them "boys" and hinting that they better not cause him trouble because he had tapes of Dr. King's extra-marital affairs. Dr. King and Abernathy left insulted and enraged. Hoover always believed that Martin Luther King and the entire NAACP were Communist agents of Moscow. Later when Dr. King came out publicly against the Vietnam War, one of these audio sextapes was mailed to his wife Corretta- anonymously.

1982- Dr. Barney Clark receives the first Artificial Heart. Part of the research development was credited to Paul Winchell, puppeteer and cartoon voice who created Jerry Mahoney, Knucklehead Smith, Dick Dastardly and a plastic heart valve. At first it was hoped these plastic valves could take the place of real hearts, but today they are mostly used for temporary relief until a human donor heart can be found.

1990- Tunnelers digging below the English Channel from France and England break through to meet in the middle and shake hands. A tunnel under the Channel had been a dream since Napoleon in 1802.
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Yesterday’s Question: What does it mean to be stoic?

Answer: Stoicism was an ancient Greek school of philosophy founded by the philosopher Zeno. He taught that the highest good is virtue, based on knowledge. That the wise live in harmony with the divine Reason (also identified with Fate and Providence) that governs nature, and they are indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune and to pleasure and pain.
Today to be stoic is to be unflappably calm in the face of trouble, unemotional, resigned to one’s fate, able to endure without complaint


Nov 30, 2019
November 30th, 2019

Question: What does it mean to be stoic?

Yesterday’s question answered below: What is the St. Crispian’s Day Speech?
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History for 11/30/2019
Birthdays: Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Jonathan Swift, Shirley Chisholm, Gordon Parks, G. Gordon Liddy, Alan Sherman, Abbie Hoffman, Virginia Mayo, Ephram Zimbalist Jr, Richard Crenna, Robert Guilliame, Rex Reason, Mandy Patinkin, Luther Ingram, Ridley Scott is 82, David Mamet, Shuggie Otis, Billy Idol, Joan Ganz Cooney the creator of Sesame Street, Dick Clark, Ben Stiller is 53, Henry Selick

1731-An earthquake kills 100,000 in Peking (Beijing).

1750- Marshal Saxe died. Maurice de Saxe was born an illegitimate son of Polish King Augustus the Strong, but grew to become one of the top generals of French King Louis XV. Louis gave him the magnificent palace of Chambord for his retirement. The old soldier spent the summer nights camping out Cossack style and letting wild steppe ponies gallop the grounds.
Like his father a notorious ladies man, this night he died after an all night session with eight actresses at once. The king's physician wrote as the cause of death: "Une surfeit des femmes - an overdose of women.”

1776- As George Washington’s minuteman army retreated across New Jersey to escape the pursuing British Army, a third of his troop’s enlistment’s were up. In a cold rain 2,000 New Jersey and Maryland militiamen, one third the army, left and went home. Writer Thomas Paine was serving Gen. Nathaniel Greene as a secretary. He was moved by this pitiful sight to write the pamphlet: “The Crisis”: ”These are times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will shrink in this crisis from the service of his country. But he that stands now deserves the love and thanks of both man and woman. “ Washington called his downcast soldiers together and had the pamphlet read aloud to them.

1782- On a dark, snowy day in an upstairs room on the Rue Bonaparte on Paris’ Left Bank, The United States and Britain signed the first of several protocols leading up to the treaty ending the American Revolution. John Adams, John Jay, Benjamin Franklin and Richard Lawrence signed for America, a parliamentary delegation led by Lord Oswald signed for the Crown. On British diplomat said:” The Americans are the greatest quibblers I have ever dealt with, and I pray never to again in the future!”

1809- Napoleon told Josephine he wanted a divorce. She was the love of his life, but at 46 she could no longer bear children and he needed a son to establish his dynasty. Even though she long suspected something like this might happen, eyewitnesses said when she heard the news she screamed and swooned. The French Army called Josephine Our Lady of Victories, and marked the end of their good luck from this moment. Although his second wife Marie Louise gave him a son, Napoleon never forgot her. In exile he once admitted,” I loved her, but I did not respect her.” On his deathbed in 1821, one of his last words was “Josephine.”

1864- THE BATTLE OF FRANKLIN. Confederate General John Bell Hood had lost Atlanta to Sherman, then failed to lure him out of Georgia. Now his subordinate officers missed an opportunity to entrap a different Yankee army outside of Nashville. That army now was facing them in an impregnable defensive position across open ground. Cavalry leader Nathan Bedford Forrest urged a maneuver around the enemy, but Hood had had enough of his insubordinate officers. He ordered a full frontal attack. The attack was a complete fiasco.
General Patrick Cleburne, the blue-eyed Irish immigrant called the Stonewall of the West, thought the order stupid but couldn't send his men out without himself leading them.” Oh well lads, if we are to die today, let us do it like men.” After the battle he was found on the Yankee breastworks with 49 bullets in his body. Writer Ambrose Bierce was serving on the Union army staff. He was amazed at such a ‘ghastly carnival of death’ was being enacted on such a beautiful Autumn day.

1886- Paris’ famed naughty nightclub the Follies Bergere opened. The home of the Can-Can, Toulouse Lautrec, Josephine Baker, Bricktop, and Maurice Chevalier.

1900- Oscar Wilde died of meningitis in a hotel in Paris. His last words; "This wallpaper is appalling! Either it goes or I do."

1922- The great actress Sarah Bernhardt made her last performance in Turin Italy. She was still considered sexy despite advanced age and a wooden leg.

1924- The first fax message sent. A photo of the Prince of Wales was wired across the Atlantic by radio transmission.

1935- Hitler’s government passed a law that non-belief in Nazi doctrine could be grounds for legal divorce in Germany.

1939- Soviet Russia invaded Finland. The gallant Finns fought back fiercely with skiing hit and run attacks, and gasoline bottle bombs nicknamed for Stalin's Foreign Minister, Vachyeschav Molotov, the "Molotov Cocktail".

1940- Actress Lucille Ball married Cuban band leader Dezi Arnez. Together they pioneered the new art of Television Situation Comedy. They divorced in 1960.

1941- President Franklin Roosevelt left Warm Springs Georgia and traveled by special train to meet that evening with Japanese ambassadors Hamada and Kurusu at the White House in a last effort to prevent war.
Meanwhile the main Japanese carrier fleet weighed anchor and left Yokohama for the North Pacific. It’s code name was Kido Butai. It was officially scheduled for military exercises, but once out at sea Admiral Nagumo ordered radio silence, and following his instructions from Admiral Yamamoto turned his ships south-southeast towards Pearl Harbor Hawaii.

1944- The Red Army invaded Nazi held Austria.

1954- Mrs. Elizabeth Hodges of Sylacauga Alabama was hit by a meteorite. It shot through her roof, bounced off a radio and hit her on the hip. It gave her a nasty bruise and one heck of a story to tell. Broke her radio too.

1961- President-elect John F. Kennedy signed a secret memorandum creating Operation Mongoose. It ordered the CIA under the direction of Attorney General Robert Kennedy to eliminate Cuban leader Fidel Castro by any means necessary. The CIA tried everything from Mafia assassins, to poison cigars, to chemicals to make his beard fall out. Nothing worked and Mongoose was discontinued after Kennedy’s assassination.

1966- Barbados got its independence from Britain.

1968- “Love Child” by Diana Ross and the Supremes hit #1 in the pop charts.

1970- First day shooting on William Freidkin’s film The French Connection.

1974- The Missing Link. In a dry gully in Ethiopia Dr Donald Johannsen discovered the perfect skeletal remains of one of the earliest human ancestors, an ape that walked upright named- Australiopithicus Afrancenis. He called it Lucy. Johannsen liked the Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

1976- After doing such a fine job lowering the journalistic standards of the London press, Australian tabloid king Rupert Murdoch turned his attention to America. Today he bought the New York Post. The Post, a newspaper originally started in 1794 by Alexander Hamilton, quickly gains notoriety as the trashiest newspaper in the U.S. In an interview, Murdoch admitted the only reason he didn’t put in the Post his “Page Three Girls” -nude photos of young women so successful in the London Daily Sun, was because his wife objected...He later replaced his wife. Rupert then bought New York Magazine and the Village Voice, whereupon half their staff immediately quit.

1979- ESPN, the 24 hour sports channel began broadcasting.

1982- Nova Pictures is founded, but due to conflict with a PBS TV show of the same name they change theirs to TriStar Pictures. In 1994 TriStar was merged into Sony Pictures.

1985- Punk band The Dead Kennedys released their album Frankenchrist.

1991- Battered wife Mrs. Omeima Nelson killed her abusive husband, dismembered his body and ate him. “I did his ribs just like in a restaurant.” she said.

1993- President Clinton signed the Brady Handgun bill into law. The bill was named for Ronald Reagan press secretary James Brady, who received a debilitating head wound in the assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981. In 2001, President George W. Bush let it expire without renewing it.

1999- THE BATTLE OF SEATTLE- protesters trying to disrupt the World Trade Organization battle riot police and turn the downtown area into a battle zone. For the next several years wherever the WTO met they were surrounded by hundreds of thousands of protestors, although the mainstream media tends to pooh-pooh their message.

2003- Roy Disney Jr, the last serving member of the Disney family, was forced to resign from the Walt Disney Company. It was claimed to be the mandatory retirement policy, but more likely he was forced out by the exec he himself hired to run the company in 1984- Michael Eisner. Roy built a successful grass roots stockholders campaign SaveDisney.com. In 2005 Eisner was compelled to retire. Roy Disney kept an emeritus board position until his death in 2009.


Question: What is the St. Crispan’s Day Speech?

Answer: From Shakespeare’s Henry V, the speech the king gives to his outnumbered troops before the Battle of Agincourt: "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers…" (FG)


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