April 20, 2024
April 20th, 2024

Quiz: What was the first digitally projected movie to win the Best Picture Oscar?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: Why do religious groups go naming things Mt. Carmel? Does God have a thing for candy?
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History for 4/20/2024
Birthdays: Harold Lloyd, Juan Miro', Adolf Hitler, Tito Puente, Nina Foch, Gregory Ratoff, Ryan O'Neal, Daniel Day Lewis, Jessica Lange, Luther Vandross, Don Mattingly, Rosalyn Summers, Crispin Glover, Betty-Lou Gerson the voice of Cruella da Vil, George Takei is 87, Clint Howard, Carmen Electra is 49, Andy Serkis is 61, Bob Kurtz

Happy 4:20 Day. See below 1970.

1605- King James I granted charters to the Virginia Company to found colonies in the New World. Jamestown Va. is the result.

1653- After the English Civil War beheaded King Charles I, General Oliver Cromwell sat listening to the Barebones Parliament arguing over trivial issues. He had already arrested any politicians who disagreed with him, and those who were left were too afraid to discuss anything else. Finally, Oliver rose and exploded in rage:” Drunkards! Whoremasters! You are no Parliament! “He ordered his troops to run them all out. England would remain under Cromwell’s military dictatorship until his death in 1659. A note was tacked onto the locked doors of the House of Commons-“This House to Let, Unfurnished.”

1689- Deposed English King James II Stuart had landed in Ireland and raised the Irish to help him regain his throne from his daughter and son-in-law William & Mary. This day his army surrounded the City of Londonderry and began an epic 4 month siege. Like every battle in those days the conflict had a heavy religious connotation, James’ Irish followers were Catholics while the besieged loyalists were Protestants. Despite starvation and heavy bombardment, the Londonderriers held out until help arrived, and James II was beaten at the Battle of the Boyne.

1759- Composer George Friedrich Handel died after collapsing in the orchestra pit while conducting the Messiah. He was 74, almost blind, and suffering from a number of illnesses.

1769- Ottawa Chief Pontiac had organized a great rebellion against the whites that united all the Great Lakes tribes and made his name feared from Detroit to Maine. After capturing and burning scores of forts and towns, his forces were defeated by the British and American settlers, and he was forced to swear allegiance to King George. Ten years later old Pontiac was visiting a French merchant at a settlement across from modern Saint Louis called Caholkia when a Peoria Indian clubbed and stabbed him to death. It was never known why, but it’s rumored he was bribed by a white businessman. The Indian was rewarded with a barrel of whiskey, the very stuff Pontiac warned would ruin all Indian People.

1814- After his defeat Napoleon was sent to Elba, a little island off the south coast of France. He quoted the famous palindrome "Able was I ere I saw Elba." he had been learning English.

1836- Wisconsin Territory established.

1859- " It was the Best of Times, It was the Worst of Times..." Charles Dicken's novel "A Tale of Two Cities" began to be published in magazine form.

1865- Robert E. Lee, now a private citizen in occupied Richmond, wrote President Jefferson Davis still on the run. He urged Davis to give up the struggle and allow the remaining Confederate forces to lay down their arms and go home.

1902- Marie Curie discovered radium.

1903- THE KISHNIEV POGROM- The word Russian Jews feared most was Pogrom. It meant the Russian police would stand back and do nothing while mobs were encouraged to murder and violate the homes of Jews. This day in the city of Kishniev, mobs killed 43 Jews and mutilated their bodies, and several hundred Jewish women were raped. There were protests around the world about the Kishniev massacre but nothing official was ever done. When Jewish leaders went to the Czar to protest, they were answered with another pogrom in Gomel.
Back in America, old Mark Twain donated money to groups advocating the Czars overthrow. Twain said:” If it takes dynamite to overthrow that regime well then, thank God for Dynamite!”

1909- Mary Pickford, the first Movie Star, goes in front of a camera for the first time.

1912- The first baseball game played at Fenway Park. The Boston Red Stockings, defeated the New York Highlanders (Yankees), 6-1.

1914- Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs opened. Commuters on the “El” could see how their cubbies were doing by looking for the W or L flag flying.

1914- THE LUDLOW MASSACRE- In Colorado a violent strike was being waged between coal miners and the Standard Oil Company of John D. Rockefeller. This night militia, Pinkerton detectives and strikebreakers attacked a tent camp of striking miners and their families in the dead of night. They poured kerosene on their tents while they were sleeping, set them alight and shot people as they ran out to safety. 20 died, half were women and children. As in most labor murders, no one was ever tried or convicted. President Woodrow Wilson sent federal troops to occupy Colorado and restore order. Even then, John Rockefeller refused mediation until the strike was broken.

1912- A London West End theater manager and failed author named Abraham “Bram” Stoker died. He was 65. If anyone noticed him, it was because he managed the Lyceum theater where famed actor Henry King performed. Bram Stoker’s seven books and several plays made little money in his time. But a decade later a play adapted from one of his novels made him world famous. Dracula.

1916- Mauser Day- A German submarine U-20 surfaces off the coast of Ireland and landed two IRA leaders, Sir Roger Casement and Patrick Pearse, and some rifles and ammunition. Casement was arrested by authorities while still on the beach, but the rifles were used to start the Irish Easter Sunday Rebellion.

1925- The Warner Bros. Moving Picture Company merged with Vitagraph, and began experimenting with fixing sound on to film.

1931- LA MAFIA- Charles “Lucky” Lucciano became a top crime figure in New York after he murdered Joey the Boss Masseria. Lucciano and Masseria were having dinner in Coney Island when Lucciano excused himself to go to the lavatory. Once gone, four gunmen burst in and filled Joey the Boss with bullets. Lucciano later whacked the other top capo of New York, Salvatore Maranzano. Maranzano and Masseria were the last of the “Mustache Petes” the old guard Sicilian immigrants, still pursuing feuds brought over from the old country. After this the Mafia became more American than Sicilian and Luciano organized his gangs along a corporate model. Lucky’s young gunmen- Joey Adonis, Al Anastasia, Vito Genovese and Bugsy Siegel, all became important gang bosses in the years to come.

1935- Radio program “Your Hit Parade” premiered.

1938-For Hitler’s birthday was the Berlin premiere of Leni Reifenstahl’s film Olympia, about the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

1939- RCA president David Sarnoff dedicated RCA pavilion at World's Fair in New York City. First U.S. news event filmed on television. Sarnoff predicted that one day everyone would have a television in their home!

1940- RCA labs demonstrated the first Electron Microscope.

1942- The' Bataan Death March' ends and the prison camps at Butan and Palayu. Half the captive 16,000 Pilipino and 10,000 American troops died. (there was two animators there who I later worked with at Filmation- Don Schloat and Len Rogers..)

1942- On his birthday, Adolf Hitler was presented with his favorite kind of present, a new tank. The first Tiger Tank.

1945- Adolph Hitler celebrated his last birthday (56) in his bunker and announced his decision to remain in Berlin. He did allow the military high command OberKommando Wehrmacht or OKW, to relocate out of the doomed city. There was a plan for a breakout to the Bavaria to organize a National Redoubt in the mountains and use Germany's poison gas stockpile, but the Fuhrer wanted his Wagnerian immolation in Berlin.
The U.S. sent him a birthday present of the last 1000 plane bombing raid. Soviet pilots later said after this raid they discontinued bombing missions over Berlin because "every target we could think of had already been destroyed." One effect of the bombing, several great apes in the Berlin Zoo died of heart attacks from the stress.

1946- Walt Disney’s Make Mine Music premiered in NY.

1951- After being fired by President Truman, General Douglas MacArthur was given a massive ticker tape parade on Wall Street in his honor.

1968- Pierre Elliot Trudeau sworn in as Prime Minister of Canada. Trudeau became one of Canada’s more colorful leaders with his flower-child wife Margaret.

1971, Five students at San Rafael High School would meet at 4:20 p.m. by the campus’ statue of chemist Louis Pasteur to smoke some grass. They chose that specific time because extracurricular activities had usually ended by then. This group — Steve Capper, Dave Reddix, Jeffrey Noel, Larry Schwartz, and Mark Gravich — became known as the “Waldos” because they met at a wall. They would say “420” to each other as code for marijuana. Reddix later got a job as a roadie to the influential rock band The Grateful Dead. They took up the designation and made it a pop icon and now everyone lights up and tokes at 4:20PM.

1974 - Paul McCartney and Wings releases "Band on the Run" .

1976 - At a stage performance at City Center NYC, George Harrison secretly slipped in and sang the Lumberjack Song with the Monty Python comedy troop. John Cleese recalled: “George was wonderful. He came up on stage with us as a Mountie and sang the 'Lumberjack Song’ impeccably, and I don’t suppose 10 percent of the audience knew he was up there."

1977- Woody Allen & Diane Keaton starred in the film “Annie Hall”. Young Christopher Walken did an early cameo as Annie’s weird brother.

1980- The Mariel Boat Lift. Fidel Castro made a mockery of President Jimmy Carter's policy of admitting seaborne political refugees from Cuba by opening his prisons and creating a flood of boat people, including many hardened criminals.

1999- COLUMBINE- Teenagers Ryan Harris and Dylan Kleibold entered their Columbine High School in Littleton Colorado and shot their classmates with semi-automatic guns. 15 died including the two gunmen and 26 were hurt. Despite making videotapes in which they bragged about their intentions, and leaving shotguns and ammunition around their rooms, their parents didn’t think anything was unusual.

2010- The BP DEEP WATER HORIZON oil well exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and drenching the U.S. Gulf Coast with millions of gallons of crude oil and dispersal chemicals. BP could not stop the leak for two and a half months. Despite the disaster, that year the TransAmerica Company, that built the rig, awarded their top execs bonuses for their safety record. They paid 18.7 billion in fines. The gov’t allowed BP to write off $9 billion in costs to clean up their own accident.
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Yesterday’s Question: Why do religious groups go naming things Mt. Carmel? Does God have a thing for candy?

Answer: Jews, Muslims, Christians and Ba’hai faiths regard Mt Carmel as a holy place, because the Prophet Elijah built an altar there and lived in a grotto. An order of monks and nuns called Carmelites, was established there.


April 19,2024
April 19th, 2024

Quiz: Why do religious groups go naming things Mt. Carmel? Does God have a thing for candy?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What is a dreadnought?
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History for 4/19/2024
Birthdays: Paulo Veronese, Elliot Ness, Jayne Mansfield, Dudley Moore, Paloma Picasso, animator Iwao Takamoto, Ashley Judd, James Franco is 47, Kate Hudson is 46, Tim Curry is 79

Cerealia- an ancient Roman agricultural festival. Ceres (Demeter), the mother of Persephone, was the Goddess of Growing and Planting. To say, “That’s Fit for Ceres” was the Roman equivalent of saying “That’s Totally Awesome”.

1521-THE TESTAMENT OF WORMS- Two days after reformer Martin Luther told him to take a flying leap, German Emperor Charles V announced he was against Luther’s reformation and called all German princes to support him. Half decided not to. Even Charles’ own sister became a Lutheran.

1587- SIR FRANCIS DRAKE RAIDS CADIZ- The bold English captain attacked the ships of the Spanish Armada in their home harbor and so doing delayed the sailing of the Great Armada for one year. With him on the raid we re men like Capt. Newport and Capt. Martin who in 1607 will be with John Smith at Jamestown.

1775- LEXINGTON AND CONCORD- The American Revolution began.
After being awakened by Paul Revere, some 70 farmers spent all night at Buckman's Tavern drinking and trying to decide whether to fight or run away. By 4:00 a.m. John Hancock talked them into staying to fight. Then John Hancock ran away.
The redcoat column was met on Lexington green by the minutemen. "Stand aside, ye dammed Rebels!" Captain Pitcairn shouted. " Stand fast boys! if they want a war, let it start here!" was Captain Parker's reply. The redcoats opened fire and easily dispersed that group. But by the time the British reached Concord bridge, hordes of farmers were shooting at them from bushes and rooftops. Finally, they were forced to withdraw to Boston empty handed. Lord Percy complained even 'American women were pointing muskets out of their kitchen windows and firing at us!" One 80 year old man shot three soldiers from his front porch, before he was bayoneted. He lived 7 more years. And most of the Yankee muskets were British government-issue Brown Bess.
Americans later called Lexington “The Shot Heard Around the World”, but the British Crown regarded this situation at first as little more than a minor local disturbance. It barely made the back pages of the London newspapers. But by Bunker Hill they realized they had a real trans-ocean war on their hands. As late as December, elements in the Colonial Congress kept asking Parliament if we could still be friends and talk it over.

1782- Holland became the first nation to officially recognize the United States of America. Ambassador John Adams hung a Stars & Stripes out his hotel room window, calling it the first official American Embassy in Europe.

1824- Poet Lord Byron died of fever and uremic poisoning at Missolonghi Greece.

1861- Maryland tried to join the Confederacy. In Baltimore a secessionist mob attacked the Sixth Massachusetts regiment marching to protect Washington D.C. 4 killed, 30 wounded. A young nurse named Clara Barton first took over the responsibility of treating the injured.
She later founded the American Red Cross.
If Maryland seceded the nation’s capital would have had to be abandoned. Colonel Ben Butler solved the situation on his own initiative. He filed union troops into the Maryland legislature to point guns at the delegates as they voted. They wisely voted to stay loyal.

1863- GRIERSON'S RAID. Gen. Grant, besieging the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg, detached a hard riding cavalry brigade to loot and burn their way through the deep south from Vicksburg Mississippi, through Baton Rouge Louisiana to Union occupied New Orleans. Grierson himself was an Illinois music teacher who disliked horses and liked to strum his jaw-harp on the march. It was said any unit he commanded always had the best band. John Ford’s 1959 movie “The Horse Soldiers” was based on this event.

1881- Former British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli died. When asked if he would like a final visit from Queen Victoria, Disraeli answered:" No, not now, she'd only ask me to take a message to Albert." His political arch-enemy William Gladstone wrote him a moving eulogy, but he confided in his diary that it gave him diarrhea to do it.

1910- The Earth passed through the tail of Halley’s Comet.

1927- Mae West found guilty of indecent behavior in writing, producing and starring in a Broadway musical entitled “SEX”. She was fined and emerged from jail more popular than ever. She said:” Everyone thinks I am opposed to censorship. Actually, I’m in favor of censorship. I’ve made a fortune from it!”

1951- General MacArthur had been fired from his Korean command by President Harry Truman. This day he did his famous speech to Congress” An Old Soldier never Dies, He just Fades Away, and like that old soldier I now close out my military career, and just fade away. An Old Soldier who tried to do his duty, as God showed him the light to do that duty, etc.” Republican Senator Robert Short shouted “We’ve just heard the Voice of God!”
President Harry Truman watched the speech on TV and called it “The biggest bunch of bullshit I ever heard!”

1956-Movie star Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier of Monaco.

1961- The BAY OF PIGS INVASION DEFEATED The CIA sponsored landing of AntiCastro Cubans failed on the beach of Bahia De Los Cochinos. After sanctioning some initial US Air Force bombing attacks, JFK changed his mind and cut off any further help, including a refusal to evacuate them when trapped. 200 Cuban insurgents were killed and 1,497 imprisoned. This earned him the everlasting anger of the Miami Cuban community.
An aide said the day after the surrender Kennedy went alone to a secluded D.C. golf course and spent hours hitting golf balls, moaning:” How could I have been so Stupid!” after each whack.

1970- XEROX PARC – The Xerox Company announced the setup of a research group in Palo Alto Cal. This group pioneered the development of the personal computer, GUIs, digital scanning and the laser printer.

1973- Three years later Xerox Parc booted up the Alto, the first personal computer. They invented a new mouse, point and click windows, graphic interface and a digital printer. President Carter installed one in the White House. Yet Xerox didn’t know what to do with them, they were in the copier business. There was no internet yet, except for government communications. The Alto cost $16,500 each, too expensive for most, so the idea bombed. One day in 1979 a group from Apple visited led by Steve Jobs. The group was inspired by their progress, and they went back to Apple and put what they learned into the development of the Macintosh.

1987- The first Simpsons short aired today. MG01 "Good Night Simpsons" was on the 3rd episode of The Tracey Ullman Show, airing Sunday, 4/19/87 at 9pm. Animated by Wes Archer, Bill Kopp, and David Silverman.

1993- Branch Davidian cultists led by their messianic leader David Koresh immolate themselves in their compound at Waco, Texas during a furious shootout with the F.B.I.

1995- THE OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING- On the second anniversary of the Waco tragedy, emotionally disturbed Gulf War veterans Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols wanted their revenge on the U.S. Government. So, they detonated a truck bomb at the Murrow Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Among the 156 dead were a dozen pre-school children in a daycare center on the first floor. McVeigh called the dead children “collateral damage.” He was executed in 2001 and Nichols got life in prison.

2005- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany elected Pope Benedict XVI. The first German Pope since Hildebrandt in 1077, and the first pope to have been a soldier in the Nazi army. He was drafted in 1945 as all male children had been ordered to. Italians called him “The German Shepherd.” In 2013 he became the first pope to voluntarily retire since 1477. He died in 2022.
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Yesterday’s Question: What is a dreadnought?

Answer: A British battleship, larger than the usual battleship. Prior to WWI it sparked an acceleration of the arms race between the European Powers to keep up.


April 18, 2024
April 18th, 2024

Quiz: What is a dreadnought?

Yesterday’s question answered below: What do you mean when you say someone or something is glib?
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History for 4/18/2024
Birthdays: Lucretzia Borgia, Franz Von Suppe’, Haley Mills is 77, Leopold Stokowski, Miklos Rosza, Herb Sorell, Wahoo Sam Crawford, Disney animator Phil Young, Conan O’Brien is 60, James Woods is 76, Eric Roberts, Rick Moranis is 72, Maria Bello is 56, David Tennant is 52, America Ferrerra is 39

185AD- Today is the Feast Day of the Roman martyr Saint Apollonius.

1506- Pope Julius II lays the cornerstone for St. Peter's Basilica. He had pulled down the old St. Peters, which had stood for 1,200 years. The new structure designed by Bramante with the big dome by Michelangelo and the interiors by Sangallo and later Bernini.
With true Renaissance modesty, Julius originally wanted his own tomb in the center under the altar, borne aloft by four giants carved by Michelangelo. I guess nobody mentioned the grave of St. Peter, overtop which this Basilica was being built. Eventually Julius scaled down his plans, and when he died his enemies put him in another church altogether (San Pietro Vincoli). Saint Peters was completed a little over schedule, 120 years later, in 1626.

1521-THE CONFESSION OF WORMS- German Emperor Charles V called Protestant reformer Martin Luther to come to the Imperial Diet at the city of Worms and explain his criticism of the Catholic Church. Ordered by the Papal Legate and the Emperor to renounce his heretical views, Luther defied them all." Here I stand, I can do no other, God help me."
What makes this historically momentous is for the first time a common man stood before the Church, The Emperor and the assembled Princes of Europe and said "No. I won¹t obey". And he got away with it. The news ran like wildfire through Germany. That night someone hung on the council doors a placard with a farmer¹s shoe painted on it- the German traditional symbol of revolt.

1775- PAUL REVERE'S RIDE- Informers in Gen. Gage's office learned the British planned to send troops to seize an illegal arms cache in Lexington and arrest two radical leaders named John Hancock and Sam Adams. So silversmith Paul Revere, Thomas Dawes and a country doctor out on a date named Dr. Prescott were sent to warn them and raise the minutemen on the way, after getting the two lantern signal in the old North Church. "One if by land and two if by sea, etc." Dr. Prescott actually completed the mission. Revere was arrested by a British patrol soon after warning Adams & Hancock and sent home without his horse.
At daybreak Paul Revere walked over to Lexington green in time to watch the Revolutionary War begin. Longfellow's poem never mentioned Prescott or Dawes. Paul Revere never said "The British are Coming!" because he considered himself British like everybody else in America at the time. He would have said: "The Regulars are Coming! "meaning the regular army.

1778- THE WHITEHAVEN RAID- Former Scotsman John Paul Jones wanted to show the British public that the American Revolution wasn't just some distant war across the sea.
He decided to raid Britain itself. An ulterior motive Jones had in attacking a seaport called Whitehaven was that Jones always suspected he was the illegitimate son of a Lord Selkirk, who resided there. It was his boyhood home. So through the dead of night, while the sailors of the U.S.S. Ranger were burning and plundering the harbor, John Paul Jones was out looking to kidnap his own father! By dawn they were gone. Jones couldn't locate his deadbeat dad, so he had to content himself with stealing his silverware.
The British Navy never regarded Jones as more than an irritant, but the raid was a great morale booster in the States.

1847- Battle of Cerro Gordo- General Winfield Scott defeated the Mexican army of Santa Anna and opened the way to Mexico City.

1857- Vice President Rufus King died of tuberculosis. President James Buchanan was totally distraught. There has been speculation that James Buchanan might have been our first Gay President. He was a lifelong bachelor, his niece Harriet Lane filled in for the social duties of First Lady. Only once in his life did Buchanan have an affair with a lady, which he broke off abruptly without explanation. When James Buchanan and Rufus King were colleagues in the Senate they roomed together and were inseparable. Old Andrew Jackson liked to refer to Senators Buchanan and King," Little Miss Nancy and Mrs. Buchanan".

1861-Mr. LINCOLN'S LOUSY DAY PART I- America’s top soldier Robert E. Lee declined Lincoln's offer to command the U.S. Army and instead sided with the Confederacy. In his letter doing so he confesses: "I foresee the Country will go through a terrible ordeal, a necessary expiation for our national sins."

1861-Mr. LINCOLN'S LOUSY DAY PART II- As if that news wasn't bad enough, on the same day Lincoln got a telegram from the pro-Southern Governor of Maryland saying not only would he refuse to cooperate in fighting the rebels, but he was cutting the telegraph wires and railroads into and out of Washington D.C.! Until the main union armies reached the capitol on the 24th, Washington was deserted, surrounded by a hostile slave state, with only a few Massachusetts volunteers to defend them. Maryland was only prevented from joining the Confederacy by Col. Ben Butler's initiative of sending troops into the state legislature to point their guns at the members as they voted. They voted to stay loyal.

1870- John D. Rockefeller files papers to form the Standard Oil Corporation of Ohio. One the largest companies in the world, today it is called Exxon-Mobil.

1906- THE SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE. 3,500 deaths and the city destroyed in the most frightening earthquake in U.S. History. Writer Jack London wrote:” Never has a modern Imperial city been so completely destroyed. San Francisco is gone!” Enrico Caruso was in town with the Metropolitan Opera on tour. He later sat on his suitcase in front of the ruined Palace Hotel and said- "Helluva Place! Ah’ma ’never coming back!"
Drew Barrymore’s grandfather the great actor John Barrymore was in a San Francisco hotel room when the quake struck. He ran into the bathroom and sat shivering in his bath tub until it was over. Afterward the National Guard put him to work clearing rubble looking for bodies. When they read his telegram, the other Barrymores refused to believe the story. Old John Drew, a patriarch of the acting family, felt otherwise. "It took an Act of God to get John out of bed and into a bathtub, and the National Guard to get him to go to work. I believe every word." Amadeo Gianini, founder of the Bank of America, then called the Bank of Italy, gathered up his bank's papers and stocks and buried them in his garden under the begonias until his new office could be set up. He soon set up for business again on a pier. City government was set up in the undamaged St. Francis Hotel on Powell Street and a large mahogany bar was moved out to the street to serve free drinks to calm nerves.

San Franciscans dusted themselves off and rebuilt. By 1913 they were doing well enough to host the World’s Fair. A little ditty of the time said:
"They say God spanked the town, for being rather frisky.
Then why'd He knock all the churches down, yet leave up
Hotaling's Whiskey?"

1914-. The full feature length movie premiered in Turin, Italy. "Cabiria" directed by Giovane Patrone. It was believed to be the first full length movie ever until the discovery of a 1912 version of Quo Vadis. D.W. Griffith’s 1915 classic the Birth of a Nation popularized feature film format in the U.S..

1923- The first Yankee Stadium dedicated. Yankees win the opener against Boston, 4-1 in front of over 72,000 fans, Babe Ruth hit the park's first home run. The new $2.5 million ballpark is the first to feature three decks. This Yankee Stadium was replaced in 2009.

1923- The Eastman-Kodak Company introduced 16mm movie film and projectors.

1934- The first automatic Laundromat opened in Ft. Worth Texas.

1938- Switzerland closed its’ borders to all Jews in a pact made with the German government. The Swiss government never admitted this until 1995.

1942- The DOOLITTLE RAID. Gen. Jimmie Doolittle led 16 B-25s to fly long distance and drop bombs on Tokyo. It was a desperate mission. They did it knowing they didn't have enough fuel to return to the carrier USS Hornet, so they continued on to China and took their chances where they landed. Some of the men shot down and captured were hanged or beheaded by angry Japanese. The raid was had no strategic value and did little damage, but after weeks of unbroken Japanese success, the American public needed a morale booster. General Doolittle survived the war and lived to be 97, dying in 1993.

1943- The Second Uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto.

1945- The German army surrounded in the Ruhr Pocket surrendered. 350,000 went into prison camps. Conscious that it was probably their last major battle in Europe, the Americans called it Operation Kaput. The same day British Prime Minister Churchill ordered Field Marshal Montgomery’s army to stop racing to Berlin and turn north towards Lubeck on the Baltic. "There is no reason for our friends the Russians to occupy Denmark, and our presence at Lubeck would save a lot of argument later on."

1945- Famed journalist Ernie Pyle is killed by Japanese machine gun fire during the fighting at Okinawa.

1955- Scientist Albert Einstein died in Princeton, New Jersey. He was 75. As he fell in and out of a coma, his last words were in German. Since no one around his bed could speak German, we don't know what his last words were.

1958- A U.S. court ruled that poet Ezra Pound no longer had to stay at a Washington D.C. mental hospital. The Idaho born Pound had moved to Italy in the 1920s and became an ardent supporter of Mussolini and the Fascists. He felt artists thrived under strongman rule. Gertrude Stein couldn’t stand him because of his open Anti-Semitism. When World War II ended, he was arrested for treason and sent to this mental hospital. After 13 years’ incarceration, he was deported to Italy and died in 1972.

1958- At the Los Angeles Coliseum in front of a crowd of 78,672, the Dodgers play their first game in the City of Angels, defeating the new San Francisco Giants, 6-5.

1967- Jonathan Frid first appeared as the vampire Barnabas Collins in the TV series Dark Shadows.

1980- The white minority dominated African nation of Rhodesia transitioned into the black majority nation named Zimbabwe and elected rebel leader Robert Mugabe as its first president.

30th Anniv 1994- Disney’s first theatrical musical based on one of their animated films, Beauty and the Beast: A New Musical, opened on Broadway. It’s first run would go for over thirteen years and became the 4th highest earning show on Broadway. It saved Radio City Music Hall from demolition.

2000- Earlier that spring some of the world’s biggest internet companies –e-Bay, Amazon and CNN were paralyzed by a virus spread by a hacker. Today the FBI made an arrest. The culprit was a Canadian High School student who went by the domain name of Mafia Boy. He received probation, and a promise to use his computer only for schoolwork for two years.
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Yesterday’s Question: What do you mean when you say someone, or something is glib?

Answer: To be glib is to be persuasive by being smoothly amusing.


APril 17, 2024
April 17th, 2024

Quiz: What do you mean when you say someone or something is glib?

Yesterday¹s Question: During WW2, American soldiers were called G.I.s like GI Joe. What does G.I. mean?
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History for 4/17/2024
Birthdays: Tobias Stummer-1539, Duke Maximillian I of Bavaria, Nikita Khrushchev, Thorton Wilder, Clarence Darrow, Arthur Schnabel, Olivia Hussey is 73, Gregor Piatigorsky, Don Kirschner, William Holden, Harry Reasoner, Boomer Eiseason, Sean Bean is 65, Victoria Beckham, Martha Sigall, Ron Miller, Jennifer Garner is 52, Rooney Mara is 39.

161 AD- Today is the Feast of Saint Anictetus, who may have died a martyr's death in the reign of the Roman Emperor Antoninus, but more likely he was simply worn out over the argument about when exactly Easter should take place.

1421- Dort Dyke, one of the largest water barriers in Holland, ruptured and the ensuing flood killed thousands.

1492- After 8 years of interviews, waiting in antechambers and being laughed at and called crazy, King Ferdinand of Spain finally granted a commission for Christopher Columbus to outfit ships and sail west across the Unknown Ocean to find Asia. Ferdinand gave him a diplomatic letter for the Great Khan of Cathay- now called China. The legend of Queen Isabella pawning her jewels to give him money didn¹t happen. She suggested doing so, only to embarrass the royal finance minister to complete Columbus’ funding.

500 Anniv! 1524- A French expedition led by Florentine navigator Giuseppe De Verrazano sailed into New York Harbor. He thought at first it was a lake. Verrazano claimed the lands for France but upon returning home found the French King Francis too busy with his wars in Germany and Italy to bother with discoveries in faraway Terra-Nuova. Verrazano was later killed by natives in the Caribbean. The big harbor was forgotten until Henry Hudson with the Dutch came upon it 80 years later.
This is probably good in the long run because then New York Harbor would have been called the Bay of Angouleme, and Manhattan the Isle de Valois. The Indian settlement that would one day be Newport Connecticut, he called “Refugio”. The Verrazano Narrows Bridge at the mouth of New York Harbor, is named for him.

1525- THE MASSACRE OF WEINSBERG- Count Ludwig von Helfenshein was a German lord hated by his people for his cruel severity. This day the Great German Peasant Revolt army of Jackob Rohrbach reached the walls of his castle at Weinsberg near Heilbronn. A small group under a flag of truce asked for a parley. Count Ludwig’s knights slew them.
So, the peasant army with enthusiastic help from the townspeople stormed the town and captured the Count. Now he begged for his life and offered his entire fortune as ransom. But the peasants only wanted revenge. They made Count Helfensheim run a gauntlet of peasants armed with knives, pitchforks, scythes and axes. As he ran they chopped away at him they added their curses" You killed my father! You imprisoned my brother for not taking off his hat as you rode by!" etc. Then they slaughtered all the other nobles.

1534- Sir Thomas Moore the Chancellor of England was ordered to the Tower of London by King Henry VIII.

1656- Battle of Warka- Poles under Hetman Stefan Czarniecki defeated the Hungarians under Georgi Rackoszy.

1792- British Captain Vancouver explored Puget Sound. He founds a settlement and names it for then Prime Minister Granville. In 1886 Granville (sometimes called Gastown after Gassy-Jack a saloon keeper) was renamed Vancouver.

1770- At a dinner party in Versailles, Madame Necker, the wife of France¹s first minister, suggested a subscription be held for the great artist Pigalle to make a statue of old philosopher Francois Voltaire. Rousseau and King Frederick the Great of Prussia donated money. The bust of the smiling old cynic became one of the well-known images of the XVIII Century.

1793-The Battle of Warsaw- American Revolution hero Thaddeus Kozciuszko tried unsuccessfully to defend the Polish capitol from Catherine the Great’s Russian army led by Marshal Suvarov.

1800- The Senate passed a bill for the moving of the U.S. government from Philadelphia to the new Federal City, being called Washington D.C.

1808- Napoleon ordered US ships trading with England seized when entering French harbors.

1839- The Republic of Guatemala declared.

1861- The State of Virginia voted to secede from the United States and join the rebel Confederacy. Virginia, The largest and most populous Southern State had wavered undecided and in a preliminary vote had voted 2-1 not to leave. But the violence at Fort Sumter and Lincoln's call for troops to put down rebellion made her decide to join her Southern brethren. Abe Lincoln now could see out of his White House office window a Confederate flag flapping in the breeze across the Potomac at Alexandria.

1865- In Washington DC, At ten o’clock in the evening Federal agents show up at Mary Surrat¹s Boarding House and arrested the remaining conspirators in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln: George Atzenrodt, Lewis Paine and Mrs. Surrat. Their leader John Wilkes Booth with David Herold were on the run in the back country of Virginia. The four mentioned were hanged and a dozen others implicated were given prison sentences. But historians disagree about how extensive the conspiracy was. As Lewis Paine said when he was captured:" You don¹t know the half of it!" perhaps we never will.

1869- The first professional baseball game ever played saw the Cincinnati Reds defeated the rival Cincinnati Amateurs, 24-15.

1875- The billiard game Snooker was invented by Sir Joseph Chamberlain, the uncle of the future British Prime Minister.

100 Years old 1924- Metro Pictures, Goldwyn and Mayer Films all merged to become Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. By 1940, MGM was the largest studio in Hollywood.

1929- Baseball great Babe Ruth married Ziegfeld Follies dancer Marge Colson in a morning ceremony. Then he drove to Yankee Stadium and hit a home run.

1937 "Porky's Duck Hunt" The birth of Daffy Duck. One legend is that voice actor Mel Blanc designed Daffy’s distinctive lisp to be his impression of the Looney Tunes boss Leon Schlesinger. When they screened this cartoon all the artists stood in dread of how Leon would take the joke. Leon never made the connection that the Ducks voice was an imitation of him. Michael Maltese recalled Leon saying: “ Hey fellowth, where’d you get the craythee voith of that duck? Lotta joketh!”

1941-Yugoslavia surrendered to the Nazis. Serb guerillas rallied in the mountains and continued to fight under Josef Broz Tito.

1945- As Allied armies overran Germany, a massed raid of American bombers destroyed 752 German planes on the ground. This was all that was left of the Luftwaffe, once the world¹s largest air force.
At the same time Field Marshal Walter Model, who had been directing much of the German army operations in the west since Normandy, was sitting in a forest listening to Propaganda Chief Goebbels on the radio tell the German people that everything was going well. “ I’ve sacrificed my life to those bastards!” Model sighed. He then drew his pistol, put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

1946- Syrian Independence Day. The last French colonial troops leave Damascus.

1960- Cleveland Indians traded Rocky Colavito to the Detroit Tigers.

1960- Munro, directed by Gene Deitch won the academy award for best animated short.

1961-THE BAY OF PIGS INVASION- The CIA started landing 1,400 anti-Castro Cuban fighters in La Bahia de los Cochinos. When John Kennedy became president he was shown a CIA plan that had been developed to land anti-Castro guerrillas in Cuba. Once there they would start a popular uprising to overthrow the cigar smoking commie. Kennedy went along with the plan, it failed, JFK looked bad, and South Florida has voted Republican ever since.

1964-The Ford Mustang introduced by Lee Iacocca.

1971- The song "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night tops the pop charts.

1973- In Marin County, young movie director George Lucas sat down and began writing a 13 page treatment for a story called, “The Adventures of Luke StarKiller: As Taken from the Journal of Whills”. This would later be polished into Star Wars, A New Hope.

1975- The Khmer Rouge entered Pnom Penh overthrowing Prince Norodom Sihanouk. the Cambodian War ended. The Khmer Rouge led by a junta with Premier Pol Pot at its head declare it to be Year Zero and began emptying the city people into the countryside. The holocaust known as The Killing Fields began. When it was finally ended by a Vietnamese invasion a few years later, almost one third of Cambodia's population had been murdered, or driven into exile.

1987- Comedian Dick Shawn ­the Hippy-Hitler in the original Mel Brooks film the Producers- was doing his one-man show The Second Funniest Man in the World at UC San Diego. After one particularly funny punch line he fell over dead from a heart attack. The audience laughed and clapped for several more minutes because they thought it was part of the act.

1989-The Communist Polish Government removed the ban on the Solidarity trade union. During the attempts to round up and imprison the ringleaders of the movement, one Zomo (secret police) got so close he had collared a man who leaped out of his jacket to escape. Later the same cop and dissident found themselves across a table discussing government power-sharing. The cop nonchalantly mentioned:" Oh, by the way, here is your jacket."

2011- The first episode of Game of Thrones premiered in the U.S. on HBO.
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Yesterday’s Question: During WW2, American soldiers were called G.I.s like GI Joe. What does G.I. mean?

Answer: GI meant to some General Inductee, others Government Issue. Originally to tell between draftees and volunteers, in time it came to mean all army personnel.


April 15, 2024
April 15th, 2024

Quiz: What is a malapropism?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What professional sport is nicknamed “ The Beautiful Game”? (hint: not in the U.S.)
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History for 4/15/2024
Birthdays: Leonardo DaVinci, composer Domenico Gabrieli, Nanak I the founder of the Sikh religion 1469, Charles Wilson Peale, Theodore Rousseau, Henry James, Bessie Smith, Heinrich Klee, Kim Il Sung, Claudia Cardinale is 85, Roy Clark, Emma Thompson is 63, Hans Conried, Olympic runner Evelyn Ashford, Alice Braga is 39, Seth Rogen is 41, Emma Watson is 33

Fordicidia-Ancient Roman Festival where 31 pregnant cows are sacrificed to Tellus, the Earth-Mother.

Happy St. Matthews Day, the patron saint of tax-collectors.

1632- Battle of the Lech River. Round one of Protestant Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus vs. Catholic Duke Albrecht Wallenstein in the Thirty Years War.

1729- The Saint Matthew’s Passion oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach was first sung at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig.

1738- The Bottle Opener invented.

1755- Dr. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language first published. Dr. Johnson first created the system of listing a word’s phonetic pronunciation, ancient roots and how to use the word in a sentence. Before this, nobody fussed much about spelling words correctly. The excellence of Dr. Johnson’s dictionary made him the virtual dictator of English writing in his time.
Dr. Johnson allowed a bit of personal pique into his lexicographical prima non pares. He was annoyed that Lord Chesterfield pledged to finance his effort, but only sent a check for a measly ten pounds. When the book was a success his lordship claimed credit as Johnson’s benefactor. Dr. Johnson defined the word “Patron”- One who contributes Indolence and pays in Flattery.”

1797-The Great Spithead Mutiny- Never mind the Bounty, here the whole blinking British Fleet mutinied against harsh conditions like flogging, press gangs and having to say “Arr-Mateys” in a silly voice whenever appropriate. Flogging was never officially prohibited in the British Navy, it just died out in the 1870's.

1822- The Captain Henry Expedition set off. Andrew Henry got together a team of mountain men including Jedediah Smith and Jim Bridger and went off in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark to find the source of the Missouri River, 2,500 miles into Montana. They still couldn’t give up on the idea was one of these western rivers would go from the Mississippi to the Pacific Coast. They dragged a small ship on wheels along with them but wound up abandoning it. The story was dramatized in the 1971 Richard Harris film” Man in the Wilderness” and in the 2015 Leonardo DiCaprio film “ The Revenant”.

1839- Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg were betrothed to be married. It was Victoria who proposed to Albert, it was unseemly to speak to a queen otherwise. Victoria and Albert had been intended by political arrangement since they were 13, but they actually fell in love, which was considered rare among European royals.

1850- The township of Yerba Buena- Good Herbs, incorporated as the City of San Francisco.

1861- LINCOLN’S EDICT- In reaction to the attack by Confederate rebels on Fort Sumter, President Abe Lincoln declared the ten southern states in a state of rebellion and called for troops. Legally the Constitution did allow for the Southern States to secede, and Lincoln couldn't get a declaration of war from a half empty Congress, so he found an obscure 1792 law that allowed the President to call up state militias without requiring a declaration of war. He enlisted 175,000 men.
Many regular army lieutenants and captains resigned from the national service so they could become generals and colonels in the militia. Even poor drunks like Ulysses Grant could get a captain's job from his local Ohio regiment. Frontier states were emptied of regular army men, forts like Tejon, California abandoned because of lack of troops.

1865- LINCOLN DIED- After being shot at Ford's Theater Abraham Lincoln finally expired at 7:08 am during a rainstorm. He had lingered all night without ever regaining consciousness. Mary Lincoln went into hysterics and had to be dragged from the room. She never entered the White House again. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton had the White House sealed up under guard for two months until Vice President Andrew Johnson got up enough nerve to move in.
In North Carolina, General Sherman was putting the finishing touches on the surrender negotiations for the army of Joe Johnston, the largest remaining Confederate army in the field after Robert E. Lee's. When Sherman received the news of the murder he passed the telegram to Johnston, who grew pale. They both agreed to suppress the news from their armies for several days so revenge fighting wouldn't break out.
In faraway Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Star newspaper reported U.S. troops had to stop the locals from celebrating the news. Many were Southerners who had fled west when it looked like the Confederacy was losing.

1871- Wild Bill Hickok became sheriff of Abilene Kansas, then a wild boom town filled with drunk cowboys and yahoos. One of the reforms he instituted was strict gun control.

1874- THE IMPRESSIONISTS. In Paris, a group of young modernist painters, fed up with being rejected by mainstream galleries and salons, banded together to mount their own show, Le Societie Anonyme Artistes, at photographer Nadar’s old studio. One franc, and a one flight walk up allowed you to see works by Cezanne, Degas, Pizarro and Monet. The critics hated it. One writer Louis Leroy said,” These people are not real artists, they are just Impressionists.” The name stuck.

1912- The Titanic sank by 2:20AM. At 4:30 AM, The S.S Carpathia finally reached the Titanic disaster site to rescue 705 survivors in the bobbing lifeboats. The Titanic death toll is now estimated at around 1,522 out of 2,200. Early reports of the disaster mentioned that the Titanic had struck an iceberg but that all was well. That morning's Wall Street Journal noted the incident "proved a triumph of modern technology!"

1924- The Rand McNally Company published the first automobile road atlas or North America.

1925- Ford introduced the first pickup truck. Up to now farmers had cut the backs off Model T cars and welded boxes on, to make a light-load vehicle. There was also an earlier pickup truck called the International, but it had limited distribution.

1927- First Hollywood star's footprints in cement ceremony at Grauman's Chinese theater. Called Hollywood's most enduring publicity stunt. Norma Talmadge, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Sid Grauman himself are the first to leave their prints. Grauman also invented the classic Hollywood premiere with spotlights, red carpet runways and chauffeured limousines.

1933- Chief of production Darryl F. Zanuck quit Warner Bros. over an argument about employee salary cuts, to take over a struggling little movie studio called Twentieth Century Fox, which he turned into a giant.

1935- Kodachrome film developed. First as motion picture film, later for home photography.

1938- Donald’s Nephews, the first appearance of Huey, Duey and Louie. All voiced by Clarence Nash. Written by Carl Barks and Jack Hannah.

1938- Walt Disney received his first honorary degree, a Master of Science from USC.

1940- Franklin Roosevelt covertly gave permission for American volunteers (mostly Army and Navy fighter pilots) to join General Claire Chennault to fight the Japanese invasion of China as part of a freelance foreign corps serving in the Chinese air force. The Flying Tigers are born. The famous toothy grimace painted on their planes was created by Walt Disney artist Hank Porter.

1945- Eva Braun left the comparative safety of Munich and traveled to Berlin to be with Hitler in his bunker. She told a friend. ”A Germany without Adolf Hitler would not be fit to live in.”

1947- Jackie Robinson took the field with the Brooklyn Dodgers. First black player to join the Major Leagues. Up until then the Brooklyn Dodgers in their history had never won more than 2 pennants. After Robinson and Campanella and other Negro league players were added they won 6 in 7 years and a World Series. At one game after a particularly nasty barrage of boos and catcalls from the crowd, Dodger stars Duke Snyder and Pee Wee Reese (a Southerner) went over to Robinson and publicly put their arms around him.

1950- Chuck Jones short The Hypo-chondri-Cat.

1951- General MacArthur prepared to leave Japan after being fired by President Truman. The Japanese adored their American Shogun who helped reform their society from postwar chaos. Even though he left his offices in the Daiichi Building for his plane at 6:00AM, the crowds to see him off were already ten deep. One unintentional bit of fun for the Americans was a large, misspelled banner from a Japanese well-wisher about MacArthur’s potential presidential run: “GOOD LUCK FOR YOUR UPCOMING ERECTION.” (William Manchester American Caesar, Chapter 10)

1952- The Franklin Savings Bank issued the first credit card in the U.S.

1953- Famed illustrator Charles R. Knight died peacefully in a Manhattan hospital. The man who first us all showed us what dinosaurs might have looked like and inspired the lush look of such films as 1933 King Kong. His last words were to his daughter Lucy, “Don’t let anything happen to my drawings.”

1955- The First McDonald's Restaurant franchise opened in Des Plaines, Ill. Ray Kroc, a traveling milkshake machine salesman, buys into a franchise restaurant idea cooked up in 1948 by two brothers named McDonald from Santa Bernadino. He urged the brothers to go national with their pre-prepared food system, but the brothers wanted to stay local. So, he offered them 1 million bucks for their idea and name, (would you go to" Kroc’s?”). The rest is history.

1961- Since taking power in 1959 Castro had been cagey about the nature of his politics, but he used hatred of the Yankee Imperialistas as a strong national unifier. When he visited the US for the opening of the United Nations he was snubbed by most of the State Department except a 20 minute meeting with Vice President Nixon. Still, he tried to stay non-aligned until he knew the CIA was readying a coup against him. This day, 48 hours before the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Fidel Castro told the world his Cuban Revolution was Communist, and he asked the Soviet Union and China for aid. He also ordered the arrest of 20,000 enemies of his regime.
Fidel aka “The Beard” stayed in the Communist longer than Russia and China and outlasted eleven US presidents.

1962- AUNTIE EM! 80 yar old actress Clara Blandick, the Auntie Em of the Wizard of Oz, took an overdose of sleeping pills and tied a plastic bag around her head.
She had been retired for several years and was suffering from bad arthritis and failing eyesight.
She said,” It is time to embark on The Great Adventure.” She left out on a table her resume and press clippings so the newspapers would get her obituary right.

1964- Walt Disney sent attorney Robert Foster to Orlando Florida to quietly start buying up land for a planned new Disneyland Park.

1974- A surveillance camera picks up Heiress Patricia Hearst, now called Tanya, robbing a San Francisco bank with other members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, the group that kidnapped her.

1983- Tokyo Disneyland opens.

1989- Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yao Bang died. His funeral gathered mass rallies of pro-democracy students and workers that culminated in the Tien ah Mehn Square Movement.

1990- Kennan Ivory Wayans comedy show In Living Color premiered on FOX TV. The show made stars of Marlon Wayans, Damon Wayans, Jamie Fox, Jim Carrey and the Fly-Girls, Jennifer Lopez and Rosie Perez.

1994- English ice skater John Curry who created the concept of Ice Dancing, died of HIV/AIDS at age 44.

2013- The Boston Bombing. Two Cheychen brothers, Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev exploded two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing 3 and injuring 120. Dzokhar died in a police shootout, and Tamerlan is serving a life sentence.

2019- A terrible fire gutted Notre Dame Cathedral, which had stood for 856 years.

2022- During Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, this day Ukrainians sank the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, The heavy cruiser Moskva, with shore based missiles.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: What professional sport is nicknamed “The Beautiful Game”? (hint: not in the U.S.)

Answer: Soccer. Called football everywhere else but the U.S. This nickname was popularized by the great Brazilian soccer star Pele.


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