Sept 2, 2014 Tues.
September 2nd, 2014

Quiz: The leader of Germany during WWI was Kaiser Wilhelm II. How many other Kaisers had there been? (In the modern era, not counting the Holy Roman Empire).

Yesterday’s Quiz Answered Below: Who were Retta Scott, Lillian Friedman and Laverne Harding?
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History for 9/2/2014
Birthdays: The last monarch of Hawaii Queen Lydia Liliuokalani, Yang Tsu Ching leader of the Taiping Rebellion, Cleveland Amory, Alfred Spaulding 1850, founder of Spaulding sports equipment, Martha Mitchell, Mark Harmon is 63, Marge Champion is 96, Terry Bradshaw, Chrysta McAuliffe, Jimmy Connors, Norm Ferguson, Selma Hayek is 47, Keanu Reeves is 50 –Woah!

44BC- In the Roman senate, Marcus Cicero delivered the first of his speeches condemning Mark Anthony. He called them his Philippics, because they were modeled on Demosthenes speeches against Phillip of Macedon.

31 BC- The Battle of Actium- Large naval battle near Corfu that decided that Augustus and not Anthony & Cleopatra would be the master of Rome. Legend has it that before a battle the priests spread out sacred chicken feed and could predict victory or defeat based on how the sacred chickens would peck. This time the chicken wouldn't peck. Anthony said:" If the chickens won't peck, then let them drink!" And had them all thrown overboard. He lost the battle. Don't mess with the sacred chickens!

1191-Richard the Lionheart and Sultan Saladin made peace. Contrary to legend and Hollywood movies, Richard and Saladin never met face to face. Saladin couldn't defeat Richard in open battle but knew the English king's time in the Holy Land was limited, because he had to get back to fight the French and his own brother Prince John.

Richard knew Saladin was old, his Jihad was worn out and Richard fully expected to return by 1196 and finally take Jerusalem. So he made peace for now and got for Christians freedom to worship at the Holy Sepulcher, which they always had before the Crusades anyway. Richard even offered his sister in marriage to Saladin’s brother. Saladin died the following year but Richard never return to Palestine. He died in 1199 from a gangrenous arrow-scratch while attacking a little castle in France named Chalus.

1415- Czech theologian Jan Huss had traveled to a Church conference in Constance to explain why the Church needed to be reformed. The Church elders burned him as a heretic, despite a promise of safety. This day 500 Czech leaders signed a note to the Vatican stating Hus was a good Catholic, they denounced his burning and declared they would fight to the last drop of blood for his doctrines. The Hussite Wars Began.

1609- HAPPY BIRTHDAY NEW YORK CITY. Henry Hudson and his Dutch ship "Half Moon" entered New York Harbor. Twenty canoes of Indians rowed out to welcome the strange looking craft. The French under Cartier and English under Cabot had cruised by decades earlier, but had not bothered to settle there.

Hudson sailed 100 miles up the Hudson looking for China, but found just more river and forest. He reported home about this "Great River not unlike the Rhine and this Great Natural Bay Wherein a Thousand Ships may Ride tranquilly in Harbor." New Yorkers like to point out that while other cities like Boston and Philadelphia were founded as great experiments in religious living the Dutch founded New York to make a buck and its been that way ever since.

1666- THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON- started in the bakery shop of Thomas Farynor on Pudding Lane. The Lord Mayor was woken up at 3:00AM. At first he was not impressed.:"Tosh, an old woman might piss it out!" Actually it burned down the city, including Old St.Paul's Cathedral. 200,000 Londoners were left homeless. King Charles and his brother James (James II) pitched in personally as firefighters.

After several days struggle it was finally put out. Samuel Pepys climbed up the steeple of Old St.Brides and recorded his eyewitness account in his diary. It was a tough time to be a Londoner because shortly before the Great Fire was the Great Plague. But the great architect Christopher Wren rebuilt St. Pauls and other London monuments into the beautiful images we know today.

1752 - Last Julian or Old Style calendar day in Britain and her colonies, including the
US and Canada. You went to sleep the evening of Sept. 2nd and awoke the morning of Sept. 14th. The Gregorian Calendar had been promulgated in Rome in 1582, but it took this long for the Protestant countries to get on board with the new system.

1772- The FIRST PARTITION OF the POLAND. Russia, Austria and Prussia start to digest Poland, the Ukraine, Bylorus ( then called the Voivode of Ruthenia), Moldova and the Baltic States. These nations disappear in 1794 not to reappear until 1919 (and later until 1991). English statesman William Pitt called it "One of the great political crimes of our Century." This gives folks like Frederic Chopin, Josef Conrad, Madame Curie and Pulaski an opportunity to chalk up a lot of bonus miles in exile.

1775- George Washington gives a commission to the U.S.S. Hannah, The U.S. Navy is born. Most of the infant navy was privately funded pirate ships, given the nice label "commissioned privateer". The British refused to give Americans the status of foreign belligerents so they referred to any sea-going Yankees as Pirates.

1784- Thomas Coke was named the first Bishop of the Methodist rite, by founder John Wesley.

1792- The September Massacres- When the French Revolution seized power the mob locked up pro French royalists, noblemen and priests. They were confused about just how far to go with trying them. But this day after radical publisher Jean Paul Marat called for death to all traitors because they were plotting with the German invaders to destroy the Revolution, mobs broke into the various prisons around Paris. They murdered the inmates by the thousands with swords, clubs and lynching from streetlights. "A’ la Lantern!" meant hang him from a lamppost. The massacres continued until Sept. 6th but the real Reign of Terror was just starting.

1795- Happy Birthday Cleveland. A group of Connecticut businessmen buy a tract of land on Lake Erie and lay out a new settlement. Their agent and project supervisor Moses Cleveland, names the place for himself.

1814- A landing party from the British warship HMS Hermes visited the Louisiana pirate Jean Lafitte in his lair at Barataria Island in the swamps near the Bayou St. Jean. They offered him a captaincy in the Royal Navy and $30,000 dollars in gold if he would aide the British in capturing New Orleans. Lafitte dismissed them with a promise to think about it, then passed on all he knew to Louisiana Governor Claiborne and the American authorities. It was the first warning the Americans had that the British planned to invade in force at the mouth of the Mississippi.

1864- "Luki Lock the Door! The Yankees are coming!" Sherman’s army entered Atlanta.

1897 - "McCall-magazine 1st published

1898-BATTLE OF OMDURMAN Lord Herbert Kitchener the Sirdar turned heavy cannon and machine guns on attacking Sudannese tribesmen. Kitchener later revealed his cruel side by refusing any medical aid for the enemy wounded and letting hundreds of them die slowly where they fell. 20,000 Sudanese fell to 48 British casualties. Standing in the field of corpses Kitchener said he had given the enemy a "Thoroughly Good Dusting." Kipling writes some neat poems, young Winston Churchill gets decorated and Kitchener breaks open the tomb of the Dervish religious messiah El Mahdi and has his skull made into a drinking cup. Prime Minister Gladestone told him this is not a terribly civilized thing to do so he got rid of it.

1901- In a speech Teddy Roosevelt said the U.S. should " Speak softly and carry a big stick!"

1909- On the three hundredth anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery New York City held a grand birthday party. Hundreds of ships and public spectacles capped off with Wilbur Wright flying his new aeroplane around the Statue of Liberty. Thomas Edison illuminating the entire skyline with the new electric bulbs- the first time a city was illuminated at night by electricity.

1917- Baron on Richtofen the Red Baron on his first mission with his new all red Fokker triplane forced down an English Sopwith fighter plane intact. The rotary engine plane had a design flaw that made it buck sharply to the right whenever you let up on the rudder bar. Richtofen would let an enemy get behind him, then he would lift his foot from the bar. The plane would jerk quickly to the right and he would zip behind his opponent. Then with a cheerful wave he'd shoot them down.

1922 -Weimar President Fritz Ebert declares "Deutschland uber Alles" as the German national anthem . The song was written in the 1770’s by Franz Josef Haydn, who had heard God Save the King while touring in London and decided his Kaiser needed an anthem. It was originally named Gott Enhalte Kaiser Franz.

1924- Harold Lloyd’s comedy short "Why Worry?" released.

1925- French and Spanish troops attacked the Moroccan coastline under Abdl el Krim to re-establish their colonial interests. The first Spanish troops landing at Alhucemas Bay were led by a Colonel Francisco Franco, later dictator of Spain.

1930 - 1st non-stop airplane flight from Europe to US –only 37 hrs.

1931-Young new singer Bing Crosby sang for the first time on CBS radio.

1935- A huge hurricane submerged the Florida Keys, killing 443. They did not name them yet.

1945- WORLD WAR II OFFICIALLY ENDED. The Grand Surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay on board the U.S.S. Missouri. The Imperial Japanese forces sign the surrender documents before the representatives of the great powers. General Douglas MacArthur presided and his normally corny Victorian speaking style seemed appropriate for this historic moment:" These proceedings are now concluded. The most tragic era in human history has drawn to a close. We hope that future generations will not resort to war to resolve their problems."

The only glitch in the ceremony was the Canadian representative signed the surrender in the space reserved for the Japanese ambassador, and MacArthur brought his own pens which he took back for himself for souvenirs. General Claire Chennault, the leader of the Flying Tigers had an ego almost as big as MacArthur's. He was the American general most under enemy fire, but he was not invited to the ceremony because the top brass considered him a pain in the ass.

1946- "The Iceman Cometh" by Eugene O’Neill premiered at the Martin Beck Theater on Broadway.

1963 - CBS & NBC expand network news from 15 to 30 minutes. CBS names a new reporter to star in their broadcast with the title "news anchor"- Walter Cronkite.

1964- Ten months after his brother’s assassination, Robert Kennedy resigned his post as attorney general of the United States to run for Senator of New York. Bobbie Kennedy and new president Lyndon Johnson hated one another. Johnson said he felt snubbed by that "Pipsqueak and his Massachusetts Mafia." Bobbie Kennedy referred to the President and First Lady as "Colonel Cornpone and the Little Piggy". Johnson’s decision not to run for re-election in 1968 in part was because he felt he would have to put his popularity up against Bobby Kennedy’s, the first politician to flash a two fingered peace sign credibly.

1969- The first ATM opened at a branch of Chemical Bank at Rockville Center, NY.

1973- J.R.R. Tolkein died at age 81. He once said of his trilogy The Lord of the Rings- I should have written more.

1985- A team of French and American oceanographers led by Dr. Robert Ballard discovered the final resting place of the HMS Titanic, which sank in 1912. Ballard would go on to discover the German battleship Bismarck, the WWII carrier Yorktown and JFK’s torpedo boat, the P.T. 109.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Who were Retta Scott, Lillian Friedman and Laverne Harding?

Answer: They were the first women animators in American commercial animation.


Sept 1, 2014 Labor Day
September 1st, 2014

Quiz: Who were Retta Scott, Lillian Friedman and Laverne Harding?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: What was the only American state to be an independent country before it was a state?
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History for 9/1/2014
Welcome to September from Septembrius Mensis, After August the Romans ran out of names for months. Septembrius means number 7, March being the first month of the Roman Calendar. Birthdays: Joachim Pachebel, Gentleman Jim Corbet, Sir Roger Casement, Seiji Ozawa, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Walter Reuther founder of the United Auto Workers, Englebert Humperdinck- the 19th century composer, Conway Twitty, Jack Hawkins, Leonard Slatkin, Yvonne DeCarlo, Gloria Estefan, Mike Lah, Boxcar Willie, Richard Farnsworth, Lily Tomlin is 74

HAVE A NICE LABOR DAY....
The holiday was thanks to AF of L leader Samuel Gomper's convincing President Grover Cleveland that America needed a day to honor working people without the lefty-connotations of May Day. And besides, we could all use a day off between the 4th of July and Thanksgiving. So Labor Day was born in 1894. Shortly after signing the bill President Cleveland ordered U.S. troops to shoot down striking railroad workers.

338BC BATTLE OF CHAERONEA- Phillip of Macedon, with his son Alexander the Great, defeated the combined armies of the Greek citystates. The Macedonian victory united Greece for the first time under their rule. By this time Athens and Sparta had fallen from their once powerful positions and the Greek states that fought King Phillip were led by Thebes. Even among the hard drinking Macedonian warriors, King Phillip was considered a wild partyguy. It was said that night he went out on the battlefield and danced on the bodies of the slain.
The elite corps of the Theban army was the Sacred Band, a unit where every warrior was married to the man next to him. This way you are less likely to run away from a battle if your lover is next to you rather than a stranger. The system worked, no one ran, the Sacred Band fought and died to the last man.

1642- THE ENGLISH CIVIL WAR BEGINS- Charles I of England, tired of arguing with his Parliament over money, religion and legislative power, set up his standard at Nottingham and called for the nobles of the Realm to bring troops to put down his saucy subjects.

1661- King Charles II introduced England to a sport he picked up in Holland, Yacht racing. Yacght is Dutch for little ship. This day in front of the court the King and his brother James raced each other down the Thames.

1715- French King Louis XIV, the Sun King, died at 76. He said: "Idiots! Did you think I would live forever?" later " Hmmm, I thought dying would be harder." His mistress Madame DeMaintenon once complained to the Archbishop that the king still insisted on sex every day and at 68 she was tired. He replied :"It is all our duty to obey the king."

1730- Benjamin Franklin marries Deborah Regan, the supposed mother of his illegitimate son William. William nursed a lasting hatred of his father for his shoddy treatment of him. When the revolution broke out William Franklin was the Royalist Governor of New Jersey. When Ben Franklin died he left nothing in his will to his son: " It is as much as he would have left me were the roles reversed."

1772- Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa founded in California.

1774- EIGHT MONTHS BEFORE LEXINGTON AND CONCORD- Royal Governor in Boston General Thomas Gage had been ordered by London to get tough with these unruly colonials. This day he sent a force of redcoats to Cambridge to confiscate a store of gunpowder he believed would be used against him. The word spread that the troops were coming and the rumors grew to wild proportions. All the way in Connecticut and New York the rumor was Gage's men were burning farms and bayoneting innocent people in their beds.

As the redcoat troops marched off they noticed hundreds of heavily armed farmers emerging from the woods, only dispersing after hearing that the atrocity stories were false. An army of Minutemen had materialized with hours before the British officer’s eyes and disappeared as quickly. Gage wrote London that things were getting out of hand.

1775- British King George III asks Czarina Catherine the Great for 20,000 Russian troops to put down the American rebellion . She declines but later said:"If I were my cousin George, rather than give up my American colonies I would sooner put a pistol to my head." The British crown did buy mercenaries from the Elector of Hess, the famous Hessians for ten pounds ten penny a man. The elector became very rich exporting his subjects, he received an extra charge whenever one was killed or wounded. Frederick the Great of Prussia charged cattle tax when they were transported over his territory. The Rothschild Bank was founded to handle the expenses. Of the 15,000 Hessians sent to America, only 5,000 ever returned. The rest weren't all killed, most decided to stay and become Americans.

1785 - Mozart publishes 6 string quartet opus 10 in Vienna

1799 - The Manhattan Company chartered. This was a clever bit of maneuvering by Aaron Burr to move in on the banking trade dominated by Alexander Hamilton’s rival The Bank of New York. The Manhattan Company was proposed as a concern to finance the building of new sources of fresh water. New York City’s mushrooming population was constantly beset by diseases of poor sanitation- yellow fever, typhus. Hamilton ruled the New York State Legislature but saw nothing wrong in building aqueducts. So the company was granted a charter.

Deep in the companies boiler plate text was an amendment allowing it to open a bank as well. Much to Hamilton’s chagrin the Manhattan Bank opened. The Manhattan Bank in 1840 dropped it’s water projects and united with the Chase Bank to form the Chase Manhattan Bank. Burr and Hamilton would settle their rivalry with pistols in 1804 but Chase is still around today.

1802 – The Aurora, a scandalous newspaper, first accused President Thomas Jefferson of having an 'improper relationship' with his slave Sally Hemmings. “Dusky Sally” was the child of Jefferson’s own father in law and his slave that Jefferson had inherited. When they met in 1786 he was in his late forties and she around fourteen. Friends said they lived together like man and wife for 38 years. In 1998 DNA testing of descendants proved Jefferson indeed created offspring with his servant Ms. Hemmings, although outraged Jefferson apologists are still trying to blame the DNA on a near-do-well cousin.

1807- Chief Justice John Marshall finds former Vice President Aaron Burr not guilty of treason against the United States. President Thomas Jefferson was so mad that Marshall let his old enemy off the hook that he tried to have the chief justice impeached and had Burr's defense attorney, Luther Martin, put in jail. Burr always maintained his real purpose was the conquest of Texas. He lived long enough to see Texas independence and remarked” I was right! Only thirty years too soon”.

1836- A wagon train of Presbyterian missionaries reached the site of Walla-Walla Washington. One member of the party Narcissa Whitman, was the first white woman to cross the Rockies.

1836- In Jerusalem, Rabbi Judah Hasid began to build his synagogue and his reform movement- Hasidim. 1852-The Hot Dog or Frankfurter was invented by a group of butchers in Frankfurt, Germany. It didn't catch on in the U.S until it was served at the opening the Coney Island Exhibition in 1894, where it was billed as a Vienna Sausage or Red Hots. Dog was one newspaper's speculation upon the origins of the meat. It was first served at a baseball game in 1910.

1859- The first Pullman sleeping car train went into service.

1864- After Sherman threatened his last escape route at Decatur, General John Bell Hood abandoned the City of Atlanta to the Yankees. By now the 34 year old Texas born General Hood had his arm amputated at Gettysburg and a leg blown off a Chickamagua. He required straps to hold him up in his saddle. Yet he survived the Civil War, became a US senator and fathered nine children.

1870- THE BATTLE OF SEDAN. French Emperor Napoleon III lost his Empire losing to the Prussians and gets captured to boot. He had allowed himself to be bottled up in a fortress and pounded on all sides by new long distance German steel cannon. French General LaCroix wrote: " We are caught in a chamberpot and here comes la merde." When it came time to surrender the generals couldn't bear the humiliation, so they sent LaCroix out to do the honors.

1885- Mrs. Emma Nutt became the first telephone switchboard operator. At first telephone companies used telegraph errand boys to connect calls, but switched to women after customers complained of the boys saucy wisecracks and rude attitude on the phone.

1897- The Boston T-train opened. First subway line in the U.S.

1901 - Construction began on NY Stock Exchange.

1905-The Canadian territories of Prince Rupertland become the Provinces of Alberta and Sashkatchuan.

1913 - George Bernard Shaw’s play "Androcles & the Lion," premieres in London.

1916- The Keating-Owen act banned child labor from interstate commerce.

1919- Pat Sullivan's 'Feline Follies" cartoon staring Felix the Cat. Felix is the first true animated star, not depended on a previous newspaper comic strip. His body prototype, a black peanut shape with four fingers, will be the standard for years to come. By 1926 he was the most popular star in Hollywood after Chaplin and Valentino. Lindbergh had a Felix doll in his plane and it has been speculated that Groucho Marx copied his famous strut. The first television image broadcast by scientists in 1926 was of a Felix doll.

1923- Tokyo and Yokohama are destroyed by the largest earthquake recorded in the twentieth century. 100,000 died.

1928- Paul Terry premiered his sound cartoon RCA Photophone system for a short called "Dinner Time". Young studio head Walt Disney came by train out from Los Angeles to see it. He telephoned his studio back in L.A." My Gosh, Terrible! A Lot of Racket and Nothing Else!" He said they could continue to complete their first sound cartoon "Steamboat Willie".

1932-Mayor Jimmy Walker resigned as Mayor of New York. The corrupt but colorful Walker was a former vaudeville hoofer who wrote a hit song "Will you love me in September like you do in May.?" and flouted his chorus girl mistress at social functions. The man who served out Walker’s term was John P.”Boo-Boo” O’Brian, another Tamany machine politician who was so inept that when a reporter asked who he planned to name as the new Sewer Commissioner O’Brian said “A decision hasn’t been given me yet..”

1939- FIRST CANNES FILM FESTIVAL- The premiere film event in Europe had been the Venice Film Festival but western democracies tired of the bias of the judges for Fascist and Nazi films. For example Walt Disney was annoyed his Snow White, the box office and critical champ of 1938, lost out to Leni Reifenstahl's Olympia. So the little French Riviera city was chosen as the site for a new festival. Two days after opening World War II was declared and the festival shut down until 1946.

1939- WORLD WAR II BEGAN. The Nazi Army blitzkreigs into Poland. Britain and France declared war two days later. Blitzkreig meant Lightning War- heavy motorized tanks and troops moving at full speed into an enemies interior while the airforce destroyed most of the Polish airforce still on the ground. The outdated Polish Army still fought with cavalry. The Nazis propaganda Ministry rigged up a border incident to claim Polish troops had fired first. They put dead concentration camp victims in German uniforms in a plan called Operation Canned Goods. So all through the massive invasion the operation was referred to in the German media as the “Counter Offensive”

1939- Hitler ordered the mentally ill sent to concentration camps.

1939 – The Physics Review published the first paper on a celestial phenomena called "black holes".

1941- Hitler passed a law ordering Jews in Nazis occupied countries to wear yellow stars on their clothing for identification. The King of Denmark reacted by wearing a yellow star.

1942- Battle of Alam Halfa. Rommel the Desert Fox’s final flanking push to try to reach Cairo and the Suez Canal was stopped by Montgomery’s Eighth Army. Rommel had no further petrol for any more attacks. He now dug in and awaited Montgomery’s counter assault.

1947-In early 1947 the British Government turned over the problem of Palestine and Jewish statehood to the UN. The UN High Commission on Palestine UNSCOM studied the matter and on this day recommended to the General Assembly that two separate states, one Jewish, one Palestinian Arab be set up.

1955- Phillip Loeb was a TV star, playing Papa on the show The Goldbergs on radio and television. But the book Red Channels listed him as a Communist. He was blacklisted and the show dropped by CBS and NBC. This day Loeb checked into the Hotel Taft and swallowed a bottle full of sleeping pills.

1956- Elvis Presley bought his momma a pink Cadillac.

1967- After Israel’s big victory in the Six Day War she put out a diplomatic feeler. They offered to return the West Bank, Gaza and Sinai Desert in return for Arab recognition of Israel and stable borders. Today at a meeting of the Arab League in Khartoum Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Jordan said a resounding no. No peace, no recognition, no deals. President Nasser said, “What was lost in war can only be recovered by war.”

1969- Col. Mohammar el Khaddafi seized power in Libya after deposing King Idris. He held power until the Arab Spring Revolution overthrew him in 2011.

1972 - Bobby Fischer (US) defeats Boris Spassky (USSR) for the world chess title.
The young eccentric genius Fischer was the Tiger Woods of chess and for a time a pop icon. He would after a few years of fame drop out of competition at the height of his powers and go into seclusion.

1977 - 1st TRS-80 Model I computer sold

1978 - Last broadcast of "Columbo" on NBC .

1979 – An LA Court ordered retired TV star Clayton Moore to stop wearing his Lone Ranger mask in public appearances. Paramount was pushing it’s remake the Legend of the Lone Ranger starring Klinton Spillsbury, so they wanted the old man to stop competing for the spotlight. Today that movie, as well as the 2013 movie are forgotten, while many still fondly remember the TV show,

1982 - Max US speedometer reading mandated at 85 MPH.

1983- A Korean KAL 747 passenger airliner had strayed into Russian airspace over the Sakhalin islands. Soviet authorities had the 747 shot down, killing 269 innocent people including 60 Americans and a US congressman. President Reagan decried this “barbarous act” and called for sanctions. Truth be told US and Korean allied intelligence did play games of chicken with the commies using civilian airliners. Also KAL pilots were given monetary bonuses if they got to their destinations ahead of time, so this pilot used the Sakhalin shortcut. Passengers were kept unaware of these dangerous games.

1995 – The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame opened in Cleveland Ohio

1998- THE STARR REPORT- The full text of Special Counsel Kenneth Starr’s investigation into the sexual wrongdoings of President Bill Clinton with his intern Monica Lewinsky was released on-line. It was the first major news story reported on the Internet, a full day before the other media could get it. Twenty million log-on’s in one day.

It caused huge internet user jams and sparked a furious response from millions, all on electronic mail. Americans learned of their President’s many uses for his cigar, and Monica snapping her thong underwear at him. Many felt the salacious details ranked as soft-core pornography, but it was sent out without any child-proof guards, championed by conservative politicians who normally demanded media censorship.

Hustler publishing tycoon Larry Flynt jokingly offered Kenneth Starr a job.”Heck, any man who could get that much porn into 50 million homes so quickly should be working for me!”
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Yesterday’s Question: What was the only American state to be an independent country before it was a state?

Answer: Texas, a Republic from 1836 to 1846. Also Hawaii, which was an independent kingdom before being annexed in 1898.


Aug 31, 2014 sun
August 31st, 2014

Question: What was the only American state to be an independent country before it was a state?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What are dungarees?
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History for 8/31/2014
Birthdays: Caligula 12AD*, Commodus 161AD**, Amilcare Ponchielli, Eldridge Cleaver, Buddy Hackett, James Coburn, Itshak Perleman is 69, Van Morrison, Arthur Godfrey, Richard Baseheart, Rocky Marciano. Alan J. Lerner, Hugh Harman,, Maria Montressori (of the Montressori Method of education), William Saroyan, Richard Gere is 65, Chris Tucker is 42.

• Caligula was a nickname. His real name was Gaius but as a child in his dad's army camp the troops dressed him up in his own little uniform. An army issued boot was a Caligae, so they called him Caligula, or Little Army Bootie. As Emperor if you called him that to his face he'd have you killed.

** Commodus was yet another mad Roman Emperor . He'd have you killed if you reminded him that he had the same birthday as Caligula. Romans refused to believe such a loser as Commodus could be the son of the great philosopher Marcus Aurelius. The rumor was the empress coupled with a gladiator while Marcus was away in Germany. When Marcus found out he was …uh…philosophical.

1422- King Henry V of England had settled the Hundred Years War in England’s favor after the great victory of Agincourt. But this day he died of dysentery at age 35 before the peace could hold. Had he lived, the Hundred Years War would have been the 90 Years War.

1535- Pope Paul II excommunicated English King Henry VIII for this Protestant –Reformation thing he was doing.

1798- Haitian leader Touissaint L’Overture signed a secret peace treaty with British General Maitland. In it the British and Spanish resolved to stop trying to invade Haiti and in turn Touissaint promised to not spread his revolution to the slaves of British Jamaica.

1829- Giacomo’s Opera Guglielmo Tell debuted in Paris. The William Tell overture was heard for the first time- Hi Ho Silver!

1837- Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered his American Scholar speech in Cambridge Mass. “Our long apprenticeship to the learning of other lands is drawing to a close.” People called it an intellectual declaration of independence.

1879- THE RETREAT TO KANADAHAR- The British hold on Afghanistan and the Khyber Pass was difficult and dangerous. After a British force was wiped out by Ayub Khan at Maiwand, General Primrose reported he was surrounded at Khandahar. Lord Roberts ,or “Lil’ Bobs” conducted his army on an epic march from Kabul to Khandahar under heavy attack on all sides from Afghan tribesmen. Once there he discovered to his annoyance that Primrose had overreacted and the Khandahar garrison wasn’t in any serious danger. Roberts proceeded to defeat the forces of Ayub Khan and later was also victorious in the Boer War.

He received the thanks of Parliament and was made Lord Roberts of Khandahar. Even his horse received a medal. Kipling wrote a poem in his honor “Our Bobs”. Roberts was five foot three, blind in one eye and liked to sip champagne while directing a battle.

1881- The first men’s singles competition in tennis was held in Newport Rhode Island. The winner was Richard Sears.

1887- Thomas Edison patented the plans for a Kinetoscope, his original version of Motion Pictures using George Eastmans new celluloid roll film. Most of the actual grunt work was done by Canadian technician W.K.L. Dickson. He drove himself sick designing, building and improving the device as well as the camera and studio, but Edison gets all the credit. Edison wrote Edweard Muybridge at the time that he doubted the Kinetoscope would have much commercial value beyond the science lab.

1888-THE FIRST JACK THE RIPPER MURDER. Then called the Whitechapel Murders. The unique detail was that the Ripper killed his victim Mary Ann Nichols with a simple throat cut, then proceeded to remove her internal organs with the precision of a surgeon. Was the sadist murderer the syphilitic Duke of Clarence? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle suggested it was a woman, a psychotic midwife. An anti-Semitic issue appeared when a cryptic clue at the murder scene was interpreted by some to think the Ripper was Jewish. Then the message was thought to be a freemasons symbol.

After six ghastly killings the murders stopped as mysteriously as they had started. In 1891 an Australian-born abortionist named Dr. Thomas Neill Cream was hanged for poisoning a prostitute. As he dropped through the trapdoor and the rope snapped he shouted: "I AM JAC-...!"

1907- Russia and the British Empire sign an entente or alliance. Russia and England had not been allies since the Age of Napoleon. They had fought a war against each other in 1854, competed over Afghanistan and almost went to war again in 1877. When World War One started, the Russian diplomat Isvolsky proudly boasted: " This is MY War !!"

1909- A geologist named Walcott hiking in the Canadian Rockies discovered the Burgess Shale. The first fossilized proof of the period before the dinosaurs called the Cambrian Era.

1919- The American Communist Party founded in Chicago with John Reed and Carlos Tresca. This was distinct from Socialist Party tickets. Socialists had been active for years before and around 1912 Socialist Eugene Debs polled over a million votes in his run at the Presidency. Reed died in Russia and Tresca was murdered on a NYC street. In 1945 the CP/USA was outlawed but reinstated in the 1960s. Black militant professor Angela Davis once ran for president on the Communist ticket. She didn’t win.

1920 -Detroit radio station is 1st to broadcast a news program on the air.

1928- In Berlin the ThreePenny Opera premiered, music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Bertholdt Brecht with Lotte Lenya as Pirate Jenny. Mackie Messer or Mack the Knife is born.

1914- The Battle of Tannenberg ended. The Russian assault, called the great Russian Steamroller, was stymied in the forests of Prussia by an old General named Hindenberg who had been reactivated out of retirement.

1935- Disney cartoon Plutos’ Judgement Day.

1938- Walt Disney puts ten thousand down to buy 51 acres on Buena Vista Street in Burbank. He will build his modern studio there.

1939- Adolph Hitler sent out "Wartime Order #1-Force White" calling for the attack on Poland to begin on schedule and war to commence without a formal declaration. It also told all German ships at sea to be on alert for the news of hostilities with Britain and France.

1939- In Saint Moritz, exiled King of Spain Alfonso XI doubted there was going to be a world war. Even if one did break out, he predicted, it will all be over within a year.

1941 –The Great Gildersleeve, a spin-off of Fibber McGee & Molly debuts on NBC radio. The voice of Gildersleeve later narrated the UPA cartoon Gerald McBoing Boing.

1946- Looney Toon short 'Walky Talky Hawky' the first Foghorn Leghorn. The character was based on a Fred Allen radio character Senator Clayton Langhorn, that poked fun at bombastic Southern conservative politicians.

1948- Disney's 'Melody Time' premiered.

1948- Movie star Robert Mitchum was busted for smoking pot with a blonde in the Hollywood Hills. This would have normally smoked his career but the new postwar outlaw, noir attitude was in vogue. So bad-boy Mitchum emerged from county jail more popular than ever. When asked what he thought of being in jail, he said it's not much different than being free....but you meet a better clientele of people IN jail.

1950- Heaviest North Korean attacks on the Pusan Perimeter, a last stand line of the South Koreans and Americans only 23 miles long and 200 miles deep. General Bulldog Walker told his men:” This will not be another Dunkirk or Bataan, There is no further retreat, it is a fight to the finish!” While Walker and his men held on at Pusan, Douglas MacArthur prepared the amphibious counterattack behind the Koreans at Inchon.

1955 - 1st microwave TV station operated in Lufkin, Texas.

1955-1st sun-powered automobile demonstrated, Chicago, Ill. Ed Begley didn’t buy it.

1954- Make a note of it, the US Census Bureau founded.

1957- Malaysia gained independence from Britain.

1964 - Ground is broken for Anaheim Stadium, future home of the California Angels

1969- Former Heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano died in a plane crash in Newton Iowa. He had been hurrying home to attend a birthday party in his honor. He was 45.

1972- Russian Olga Korbut won a gold medal in gymnastics at the Olympics. She was the first of the cutsey little 15 year old girl gymnasts with the bright smile to catch the world’s attention.

1997- PRINCESS DIANA OF WALES died in a high speed car crash in Paris. Her Mercedes had been trying to avoid paparrazzi hounding her and her current boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed, the son of the Egyptian tycoon owner of Harrods. The drivers body tested above normal for alcohol and drugs. Princess Di was 36. Britain reacted with an outpouring of grief not seen since the death of Nelson. The rapacious British paparazzi worked overtime to absolve themselves of hounding the poor woman to death. Rupert Murdoch personally flew to London to direct the spin campaign defending his papers.

2001- The NY Stock Exchange tries to avoid a Recession and bolster growth, by getting Michael Jackson and Jerry Lewis to ceremonially open trading sessions. Didn’t work.
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Yesterday’s Question: What are dungarees?

Answer: Before the 1960’s ,it was the original name for denim bluejeans. The name originated in India, the coarse cloth of Dongari-Killa was appropriated by British Navy sailors to describe the pants they made out of old sailcloth. Denim came from the French town of Nimes, which made sailcloth until steam engines replaced them. It was known as Serge De’Nimes.


Aug 30, 2014
August 30th, 2014

Question: What are dungarees?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: In the Godfather, who was the person the character Hyman Roth was based on?
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History for 8/30/2014
Birthdays: Mary Shelley, Jacques Louis David, Huey Long, Fred MacMurray, Raymond Massey, Ted Williams, John Blondell, Timothy Bottoms, Jean-Claude Killy, Shirley Booth, John Landis, Tug McGraw, R. Crumb is 70, Lewis Black, Cameron Diaz is 41

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Fiacre, the Patron Saint of Gardeners.

30 BC- Cleopatra committed suicide at age 39. Some accounts have her allowing herself to be bitten by a poison asp concealed in a basket, another said she took poison concealed on a hairpin. It was said she killed herself to join her lover Marc Anthony, more likely it was because the victorious Augustus planned to have her dragged through the streets of Rome in a cage for the crowd's amusement, then quietly strangled. The snakebite was thought by Egyptians to bestow immortality.

After Julius Caesar's murder, Marc Anthony and Augustus had divided up the Roman Empire east and west. Cleopatra fell in love with Anthony and governed with him from 41 to 31BC. Augustus conquered them in the naval battle of Actium. Octavian Augustus was only Julius Caesar's nephew. Cleopatra had borne Caesar a natural son, Caesarion. Augustus discovered the boy during this turmoil and had him quietly killed. Octavia, Anthony’s jilted wife, took Cleo’s two other children by Anthony and raised them as her own.

304 AD-Today is the feast of Saints Felix and Adauctus. Felix was sentenced to be beheaded when a voice in the crowd called out :"I too believe in what this man confesses! Take me too!" So the Romans beheaded both of them but forgot to get the other guy's name. Adauctus means "That other guy" So it's Saint Felix and Saint Whats-His-Name.

1483- French King Louis XI, “the Spider King” died.

1721- The Treaty of Nystad ending the Great Northern War . The twenty year struggle ended Sweden’s status as a butt kicking world power and the coming of Russia as a major player. The aging Czar Peter returned to his new capitol Saint Petersburg to cries of Mir Mir!- Peace! He was being called Pyotr Vyelke- Peter the Great.

1784- The Empress of China, a fast sailing American clipper ship established trade between New England and China. Far East trade had been cut off by the British since the Revolution broke out.

1813- The Fort Mims Massacre- Red Eagle and his Creek warriors kill and scalp 500 whites. This was the pretext for the U.S. army driving the Creek Nation out of Alabama and Mississippi. Red Eagle eventually was defeated by Andy Jackson at Horseshoe Bend and changed his name to William Weatherford and became a Methodist.

1850- Honolulu became a city.

1861- Western explorer William Freemont was given the Civil War command of the department of the west. This included the embattled states of Missouri and Kansas. The Missouri Governor and most of the legislature were pro-Southern. Freemont declared that all slaves that fell into his hands would be set free and all citizens caught in arms against the United States would be executed. President Lincoln made him rescind these orders. He was not ready to free the slaves…just yet.

1873- The Royal Canadian Mounted Police- The Mounties formed.

1867- At the University of Göttingen, Albert Niemann isolated the chemical elements of the Columbian coca plant and names the powdery substance Cocaine.

1880- Diablo, chief of the Cibecue Apache, was killed fighting the White Mountain Apache.

1919- THE RED TERROR- Think of the famous assassins of history- Brutus, John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Fanny Kaplan…..Fanny Kaplan? Yep, on this day in Moscow Socialist Fanya Kaplan fired several bullets into Nikolai Lenin. Several hours before this attack the head of the Saint Petersburg secret police Moishe Uritsky was assassinated. Uritsky was from an Orthodox Jewish family but joined the Communists like many Jews who hated the Anti-Semitic regime of the Czar.
Lenin survived, Fanny was executed and the Communist police terror consumed all remaining critics of the Bolshevik Revolution. Founder of the Communist Secret police Felix Derzhinsky said: Our purpose is not to find justice, but to mete out retribution!”
In twenty months they jailed and executed more Russians than the Tsar’s police did in the entire Nineteenth Century. A defining moment in the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was when Russians pulled down the huge statue of Derzhinsky in front of KGB headquarters.

1935- “Top Hat” starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers premiered.

1936- First newspaper comic strip entirely devoted to Donald Duck.

1939- The last peacetime voyage of the HMS Queen Mary evacuated Americans fleeing the impending war in Europe. Among the crowd was a large contingent of Hollywood stars like Bob Hope and Jack Warner who planned to attend the first Cannes Film Festival (postponed until 1946). The Queen Mary kept radio silence across the ocean to hide from U-Boats. This was a wise because her sister ship HMS Athenia was torpedoed.

1945- THE AMERICAN SHOGUN- Gen. Douglas MacArthur lands on mainland Japan as military governor.
After the ceasefire was announced, there still was a lot of distrust on both sides, and in the streets of Japan gangs of outraged youths and kamikaze pilots fought loyal troops trying to restart the war. Into this turmoil General MacArthur and his staff flew in alone ahead of any other allied occupying troops. He even ordered his staff to leave their pistols behind to show their fearlessness to the Japanese. He also wanted to get there before Admiral Nimitz and the Navy got there first and stole his spotlight.
In a sight that alarmed his staff as MacArthur drove to Yokohama the road was lined on both sides with 30,000 crack Japanese troops standing silent with fixed bayonets.
They were not threatening but saluting their new Shogun. They even faced backwards from the road not looking at MacArthur, a gesture of respect reserved only for the Emperor.
While the still new Truman administration concentrated on Stalin and postwar Europe MacArthur was left with a free hand to reshape Japanese society as he saw fit. He used the power of unquestioning Japanese social discipline to give women the vote, form labor unions and rewrite their constitution, setting the basis of Japanese democracy.

1963- The HOT LINE is set up between the White House and the Kremlin.
It was never really a red telephone, more a coded teletype machine. It was to prevent misunderstandings like the Cuban Missile Crisis. We know now that in 1973 Nixon had put U.S. forces on red alert war footing to prevent the Soviets from intervening in the Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur War. In 1980 the Fail Safe system failed and reported 12,000 Soviet missiles were coming at us over the North Pole. Jimmy Carter had 5 minutes to decide whether it was a mistake or the first strike warranting our full retaliation. We're all still here, so I guess you know how Carter chose.

1968- The first 7-11 store opened in Palmdale California. Have a Slurpee !

1975- Ralph Bakshi's film "Coonskin". Bad boy Bakshi's portrayal of African-American urban violence was deemed so offensive that it caused the first riot ever at the Museum of Modern Art, and died at the boxoffice. The film was retitled on video "Streetfight".
When Ralph resurfaced he turned his attention to Sword & Fantasy films.

1979- President Jimmy Carter claimed that while boating on vacation in Georgia he was attacked by an enraged rabbit.

1980- Willie Nelson released his hit “On the Road Again.”

1983- Lt. Guion Bluford , the first African American in Space, went up on the Challenger spaceshuttle.

1993-The David Letterman Show premiered on CBS. Letterman was wooed away from NBC for $42 million bucks.
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Yesterday’s Question: In the Godfather, who was the person the character Hyman Roth was based on?

Answer: Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky. Lansky was Lucky Lucciano’s partner, and so made the transition from Irish Jewish gangsters to the Sicilian Clan Mafia. Like Hyman Roth he also was refused permission to retire to Israel, but he died of natural causes, not shot like in the movie.


Aug 29, 2014
August 29th, 2014

Quiz: : In the Godfather, who was the person the character Hyman Roth was based on?

Yesterdays’ question answered below: When Mario Puzo wrote the novel The Godfather, that the movie is based on, many felt the Vito Corleone character was based on a real man. Who was the real Godfather?
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History for 8/29/2014
Birthdays: King James II Stuart, John Locke, Oliver Wendel Holmes Sr., Jean Dominique Ingres, Charlie Parker, Preston Sturges, Ingrid Bergman, William Friedkin is 76, Dinah Washington, George Montgomery, Slobodan Milosevic, Robin Leach, Michael Jackson, Joel Schumacher, choreographer Mark Morris, Charles Kettering inventor of the automobile ignition, Joyce Clyde Hall the founder of Hallmark greeting cards, Richard Attenborough, Donald O’Connor, Elliot Gould is 76, Rebecca DeMornay, John McCain is 78.

29 AD- Estimated date of the beheading of John the Baptist.

1664- The name of the colony of Niew Amsterdam is officially changed to New York by the occupying British forces. This was a birthday present to the King Charles’s brother James, the Duke of York.

1709-PORT ROYAL and the JANSENISTS- Cornelius Jansen was a Dutch Catholic who formulated an extreme reform movement inside Catholicism. He said the only way the Roman Church could re-unite Christianity would be to adopt disciplines that were in essence not too dissimilar to Protestant Calvinism. His ideas won great favor at the French Cistercian Convent of Port Royal and it became the stronghold of the movement under their charismatic Abbess Mere Angelique. Cardinal Richelieu ignored them as he ignored most spiritual issues, but later King Louis XIV and the Jesuits would not.

After almost a century of controversy this day the King closed the Abbey of Port Royal and outlawed Jansenism. King Louis XIV had such distaste for Jansenism that he held up the appointment of one judge because he thought he was a devotee. But upon being reassured that the man was merely a complete atheist, Louis then approved the appointment.

1756- THE SEVEN YEARS WAR began. This could arguably be called the true first World War. Britain, France, Prussia and Russia, Austria, Poland, Sweden and Turkey fought each other all over the globe. Armies battled from Prague to Pennsylvania, Belgium to Gibraltar, to Madras, Quebec and Sri Lanka. In America it is called The French & Indian War. If you are a film buff consider this: Barry Lyndon and the Last of the Mohicans are happening at the same time as part of the same war.

1776- The Battle of Long Island ended. George Washington's army was badly beaten in battle by the British, and pinned against the East River. All night the fishermen of Marblehead Massachusetts ferried the remainder of his troops across to Manhattan while the British Navy sat strangely inactive around Staten Island. If the warships had moved up to block the retreat, the Revolution would be over. Even the weather helped with a thick fog that shrouded all activity until 8:00AM in the morning.

A Brooklyn Loyalist named Mrs. Rapalie sent her slave to warn the British that the rebels were getting away. The man was stopped by some German Hessians who couldn’t understand anything he said in his thick Brooklyn-Colonial accent. So they arrested him as a spy.

1793- Commissioner of the French Revolutionary Republic, Leger Felicite’ Sonthonax proclaimed the abolition of slavery in San Dominique- now Haiti.

1831 - Michael Faraday demonstrated the 1st electric transformer.

1864 - William Huggins published a study of the chemical composition of nebulae.

1885 – The first heavyweight title fight with regulation 3-oz gloves & 3-minute
rounds fought between John L Sullivan & Dominick McCaffrey. Before this bareknuckle fights could go on for 75 rounds and only be stopped when one of the other opponent was too bloody to continue.

1889 - 1st American Intl pro lawn tennis contest -Newport RI.

1893- Whitcomb Judson invented the zipper.

1896- Chop Suey invented in New York City.

1897- The FIRST WORLD ZIONIST CONGRESS opened in Basel, Switzerland. Jews from all around the world met to agree on a strategy of returning to Palestine to build a Jewish homeland and getting a major world power to sanction their efforts. They also agreed to adopt the revived Hebrew language as the common mother tongue. Russian Socialist Theodore Herzel, called the Father of Zionism , at one point almost split the movement with a scheme for all Jews to move to Uganda,. There was also another group who wanted Argentina to be the Jewish Homeland, but Palestine finally won out over all.

1908 - NY gives a parade to returning US Olympians from London. Wall Street brokers come up with the idea of throwing shredded stock ticker tape out the windows.
The first ticker tape parade.

1909 - World's 1st air race held in Rheims France. Glenn Curtiss (USA) wins.

1914- Mass march of women in black with muffled drums down New York’s Fifth Avenue to demand the U.S. stay out of World War One.

1916- FeldMarshals Paul von Hindenberg und Eric Ludendorf were given overall command of the Germany’s armies, and in effect run their country as well. This was the opposite of the great Clauswitz's rules that war should be subservient to diplomacy and never waged for it's own sake. The Kaiser, so belligerent at the beginning of the war was by this point was merely a figurehead. To contribute to the war effort he agreed to limit his meals to four courses and drink beer instead of champagne. War is Hell !

1925 - After a night on the town, Babe Ruth shows up late for batting practice Yankee manager Miller Huggins suspended Ruth & slapped a $5,000 fine on him. Whenever the Yankees were on the road and were safely winning a game Ruth would take himself out of the lineup early so he could scout out a good bar for the team to go to later.

1929- New York City was having competitions between builders for who could build the tallest office building. The Chrysler Building had recently surpassed the Bank of Manhattan Building. On this day William Ratzengauer and former Presidential candidate Al Smith announced they would build a monster building, much higher than any other. It would be on the site of the old Waldorf Astoria Hotel and they would call it the Empire State Building.

1949- Soviet Russia detonated it's first atomic bomb "First Lightning". The scientists won medals, automobiles and dachas. They knew that if it had not worked they all would have been shot. Yet Stalin made no public announcement until he could fill his larder with nukes. A CIA sniffer plane picked up the evidence of the bomb and dubbed it "Joe-1" after Joe Stalin. It was announced on Sept 23rd. The U.S. reacted to this news and the news of Mao's taking over China with shock. It fueled the great Red-scare of the 1950's.

1953- Warner's "Cat Tails for Two" introduces Speedy Gonzales.

1954- San Francisco International Airport (SFO) opened.

1955- Mamie Van Doren married Ray Anthony.

1958 - George Harrison joins the Quarrymen -Lennon-McCartney and Sutcliffe. The later rename themselves the Beatles.

1962- The Kennedy State Department sent poet laureate Robert Frost on a goodwill tour of Soviet Russia.

1966- Egyptian writer Sayyid Qutb was executed for plotting against the government. Qutb is considered by many the philosopher of the new radical offshoot of Islam in the world today. His pupil who took up his cause was Ayman Al Zuwahiri. He is the man in the horn rimmed glasses who took over from Osama bin Laden.

1967- Final Episode of the television series "The Fugitive". Dr. Richard Kimble catches the one-armed-man and clears his name.

1974- THE RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE- Prizefighter Mohammed Ali wins back his heavyweight crown from George Foreman in a wild showbiz event set up in Kinshasa, Zaire. While the African government was trying to use the press attention to highlight the modern society they had developed, Ali was making jokes about witchdoctors, missionaries in stewpots and other cliches. "Tonight they'll be a thousand guys named Mohammed out there rooting for me, and another thousand guys named Ali rooting for me, but their won't be anybody else out there named George Foreman!" Foreman left boxing, became a minister, then returned in his 40’s to win the heavyweight crown and a fortune when most athletes are retired.

1976 - Anissa Jones, the child actress who played Buffy on the television show Family Affair), died of a drug overdose at age 18.

1989 -Hotel millionaire Leona Helmsley had said: "Only little people pay taxes". This day she was sentenced to four years in prison and fined two million dollars for 33 counts of income tax evasion. According to a London newspaper one servant under oath admitted he hated The Queen of Mean so much that whenever he had to bring her a Perrier, he would unzip his fly and use a rather unique stirrer for her drink. Leona died in 2007 and left the bulk of her estate to her dog.

2002- Peep-O-Rama, Times Square’s last remaining peep show, closed.

2005- HURRICANE KATRINA destroyed the cities of New Orleans, Gulfport Louisiana, and Biloxi, Mississippi. Tidal surges up to 30 feet collapsed levees, sending walls of water across the Big Easy. Thousands died, 800,000 homeless and billions of dollars in damage. The tragedy proved that for all the fuss about government preparedness after 9-11, America was still woefully confused in a real crisis.

While people drowned in their attics and critical care patients were left on the sidewalks to die, the government fumbled for almost a week. Long lines of relief trucks and ambulances were kept waiting outside the city with no permission to move in.

Meanwhile President Bush played air guitar at a Navy base in San Diego and compared himself to Franklin Roosevelt, then partied with John McCain on a golf course for his birthday. Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff attended a Bird Flu seminar and FEMA head David Brown was sending e-mails to friends like “Did you see me on camera with my new tie? -Fabulous!”

2008- CARIBOU BARBIE- Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain surprised the political world when he named Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his choice for running mate. It is still argued today whether this unconventional choice was good or bad. She energized the far right wing base of her party, but her obvious unpreparedness for high office offended Republican intelligentsia and scared off their few remaining independent voters.
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Yesterday’s Question: When Mario Puzo wrote the novel The Godfather, that the movie is based on, many felt the Vito Corleone character was based on a real man. Who was the real Godfather?

Answer: Several real life Mafiosi have been floated as the inspiration for the Godfather. In NYC in the 70s, Carlo Gambino was known as The Godfather. He was a softspoken old world gentleman and had a large estate on a compound in Massapequa like the Don. He also died at home of a heart attack like Vito did. Marlon Brando said he studied films of Frank Costello to get the voice of Vito Corleone. The Bonano crime family claimed Joe “Bananas” was the model for the don, because like Vito, he didn’t want his son Joseph to get into the business, but he did anyway. Mario Puzo grew tired of the argument. When asked what family was his model, he replied “ The Borgias.”


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