Oct 28, 2016
October 28th, 2016
Question: What was the first Marvel comic book character to be made the subject of a major motion picture?
Yesterday’s Question answered below: When Zeus wanted to kick serious bootie, he’d put on the Terrifying Aegis. What is an Aegis?
History for 10/28/2016
Birthdays: Elsa Lanchester, Cleo Lane, Charlie Daniels, Evelyn Waugh, Jonas Salk, Bruce Jenner, Joan Plowright, Edith Head, Chef August Escolfiere the great French Chef who created Peche Melba and moved French cuisine to the front rank of world cooking, Charles Grovesnor the founder of National Geographic magazine, Joaquin Phoenix is 42, Dennis Franz 74, Julia Roberts is 49, Bill Gates is 61, Disney animator Don Lusk is 103.
FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON ZEALOT & ST. JUDE- In the Middle Ages people mixed up St. Simon with St. Simeon the " Hobgoblin Saint", and St. Jude (The patron saint of Lost Causes) with Judas Iscariot- I guess they felt God made him a saint as a consolation prize. So today was considered a good day for conjurers, sorcerers, necromancers and other practitioners of the Black Arts. One 17th century sorcerer, Bruno of Prague, claimed he could summon up St. Jude this day to grant you a wish. But if you showed any sign of fear or hesitation, St. Jude would smack you upside of the head and disappear.
312AD- BATTLE OF THE MULVIAN BRIDGE-The day before his showdown with his enemy emperor Maxentius at the gates of Rome, Roman Caesar Constantine had a vision: a fiery Cross appeared in the sky with the device "IN HOC SIGNO VINCE" -By This Sign shalt thou Conquer". He decided this must be Christianity calling, so when Constantine won the battle, he ended Nero's 300 year ban on the outlaw religion, and later made it the official religion of the Empire.
Yet despite his efforts in the cause of this new religion, and his mother Saint Helena being a devoted Christian, Constantine himself worshipped Sol Invictus, the Invincible Sun most of his life. He made the Church move the Christian Sabbath from the Hebrew Saturday to the Sun's day. Constantine himself wasn't baptized until on his deathbed 37 years later.
1147- Battle of Iconium- Saracens-1, Crusaders-0
1492- Christopher Columbus reached the island of Cuba. Here the Indians showed him how to smoke tobacco, which they called cochiba.
1575- THE PACIFICATION OF GHENT- The 17 provinces of the upper and lower Netherlands agreed to unite under the leadership of William of Orange. They also call for complete religious freedom and cut all ties with the Spanish Hapsburg Empire.
1726-Johnathan Swift published "Gulliver's Travels"-"To Vex the World rather than Divert it."
1872- EVANGELIST SEX SCANDAL! After the Civil War, minister Henry Ward Beecher of Brooklyn's Plymouth Church was the most famous clergyman in America. He was a great abolitionist, friend of Presidents and brother of writer Harriet Beecher Stowe. On this day feminist Victoria Woodhull revealed Beecher's habit of seducing the ladies of his congregation. Woodhull was a radical socialist who believed in Spiritualism and Free Love, and she admitted she herself had slept with the good reverend and even participated in a ménage a' trois with Beecher and publisher Charlene Tilton! Beecher's friends locked up Woodhull for slander and tried every lawsuit possible. His sister Harriet wrote lampoons of Mrs. Woodhull calling her Aurelia Dangereyes. But the famous reverend fell from grace in American eyes. In later years Rev Beecher preached a sermon that Hell didn’t exist. Critics said it was because he was afraid that was his own eventual destination.
1916- Oswald Boelcke, German air ace and tutor of Baron von Richtofen the Red Baron, died during a dogfight when he accidentally collided mid-air with one of his own wing man. Boelcke was a jolly fellow who if he heard one of the Allied pilots he shot down was captured, he would appear at his bedside with chocolate, schnapps and tobacco to party with him.
1918- The first signs begin that the Kaiser's government was crumbling under the strain of the Great War. Germanys closest ally Austria Hungary asked the Allies for a cease fire. On this date at Kiel the entire Imperial German High Seas Fleet mutinied and refused to set sail to attack the British Navy one more time. When soldiers were brought in to shoot the sailors, they joined the mutiny too. Factory worker uprisings broke out in Hamburg and in Munich. The willingness to carry on the war and obey the Kaiser was breaking down all over Germany.
In 1940 Newspaperman William Shirer noticed how pampered and well treated the sailors of the Third Reich’s navy were. Herr Hitler never forgot that revolution in Russia and Germany started in the Navy.
1918- The Czechs, Bohemians, Sudetens, Moravians and Slovaks form themselves into the Republic of Czechoslovakia. In 1991 the Slovakians split off from the Czech Republic.
1919- Congress overrode the veto of President Woodrow Wilson and passed the Volstead Act. The act gave enforcement powers to the Prohibition (XIX) Amendment forbidding the sale and consumption of alcohol. Named for House Judiciary Chair Andrew Volstead (R. Minn), the act was actually drafted by Wayne Wheeler, powerful lobbyist of the Anti-Saloon League. The Volstead Act gave government the power to seize and destroy alcohol and distilleries and shut down bars. This set the stage for the Roaring Twenties.
1928- Mussolini and his Fascists complete the March on Rome. Mussolini had started his political career as a socialist labor leader but soon decided there were more opportunities on the other side. He was Italy's youngest Prime Minister before forming his right wing extremists into a party and seizing power. He actually already had control of the government, he had just promised his men a dramatic march and didn’t want to let them down. Pope Pius XI said:” Mussolini is a man sent by Divine Providence.”
The word "Fascist" comes from their symbol "fasces" the bundle of sticks with an axe sticking out of them you sometimes see on gov't buildings. It was an allusion to the symbols of Roman power he wished to revive. In the previous generation Guisseppi Garabaldi's men were nicknamed the Red Shirts, so Mussolini dressed his men in Blackshirts, which led Hitler to make his stormtroopers Brownshirts. The Fashionwise say:"Hey, we're fascists! Let's make a statement! Let's clash!"
1929- Composer Irving Berlin scolded George Gershwin for his lack of patriotism that he unloaded his stocks and bonds. The Great Stock Market Crash the following day bankrupting Irving Berlin but left Gershwin unscathed. Stick to music, Irv...
1948- Swiss chemist Paul Mueller received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. It was for inventing DDT. After the world war whole populations and jungles were sprayed with DDT to kill bugs and parasites. It wasn’t until 1970 that someone finally noticed it also caused cancer.
1949- A top secret meeting of the Special Advisory Committee met at the Atomic Energy Commission to discuss whether to respond to the Russian atomic bomb by building a bigger Super “Hydrogen” Bomb. The Special Committee included father of the A-Bomb Robert Oppenheimer, Edward Teller, Enrico Ferme, two Nobel Prize winners and the President of Harvard. The scientists unanimously concluded that the H-Bomb “would not be a weapon of war but a weapon of Mass Genocide, and so a Moral Evil.” They advised against it. The US government ignored them and built one anyway.
1949- Walt Disney’s merchandise and licensing mastermind Kay Kamen and his wife were killed in a plane crash in the Azores.
1962- THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS ENDED- Soviet Chairman Nikita Khruschev withdrew his nuclear missiles from Cuba in exchange for a promise from Kennedy not to invade Cuba and to withdraw missiles from Turkey -they were obsolete and had been planned for de-activation anyway. Kennedy told the U.S. public there was no deal made. Generals on both sides were furious. Gen. Curtis LeMay called it America's greatest defeat. But the world breathed a sigh of relief. And Fidel Castro? Well, nobody bothered to tell him. He came out of his bunker after he found out the news on the Voice of America broadcast that evening.
1963- First day of demolition of New York’s City Pennsylvania Station, a massive Beaux Artes building. It signaled the triumph of the automobile over the train. It took three years to demolish and today it is considered a great cultural crime. The remade Pennsylvania station was an all underground facility. One writer said:” We used to enter New York like gods, now we come in like rats.” The angry reaction over the destruction of Penn Station fostered the creation of the New York Landmarks Commission.
1965- Pope Paul VI published an encyclical Nostra Aetate, that officially absolved the Jewish people for any guilt in the death of Jesus Christ.
1965- St. Louis Gateway Arch completed.
Yesterday’s Question: When Zeus wanted to kick serious bootie, he’d put on the Terrifying Aegis. What is an Aegis?
Answer: The aegis was a magical goat-hide shield, or it may have been a cloak, that made the bearer seem terrifying to his opponent. Today, when you are under someone’s aegis, it means you have their protection and support.
Oct 27, 2016
October 27th, 2016
Question: When Zeus wanted to kick serious bootie, he’d put on the Terrifying Aegis. What is an Aegis?
Yesterday’s Question Answered below: What does it mean when something is chintzy?
HISTORY FOR 10/27/2016
B-Days: Captain James Cook, Theodore Roosevelt, Dylan Thomas, Nicolo Paganinni, Gerhard Von Gneisenau, Sylvia Plath, Roy Lichtenstein, John Cleese is 77, Freddy De Cordova, Ruby Dee, Roberto Benigni is 64, Bernie Wrightson is 68
1553- In Geneva, after a trial prosecuted by the great religious reformer John Calvin, the Protestants burned at the stake another Protestant theologian Michael Servetus. His doctrines about Christ were too radical even for them. Servetus argued that Christ may have been just a powerful prophet but not God, and the Greek text speaking of Mary could have mistranslated Young Woman to Virgin. Servetus was refused a quick death and with his books chained to his chest he was slow burned, taking a half an hour of agony to die.
1560- Berserk conquistador and Amazon explorer Aguirre who called himself the Emperor of El Dorado and we know from a movie as Aguirre the Wrath of God, was killed in Venezuela by Spanish loyalists.
1788-THE FEDERALIST PAPERS- While the new American republic was still trying to decide what kind of government it wanted, this day the first in a series of editorial letters appeared in American newspapers. The 85 essays argued the case for a strong federal government and judiciary, superceding the authority of individual states. Under the pseudonym "Publius". The essays were written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. Today they are called collectively the Federalist Papers.
1806- After defeating the Prussian Army at Jena, Napoleon’s French army marched into Berlin, all bands blaring Le Marseillaise. Part of his sightseeing Napoleon went to Potsdam and visited the tomb of Frederick the Great, the previous generation’s military genius.
1864-"BLOODY BILL" ANDERSON BUSHWHACKED-Among the Missouri bandits who called themselves Confederate guerillas like Quantrill and Jesse James, Bill Anderson was one of the worst. A complete psychopath, he had union soldier' scalps hanging from his horses bridle, and to avenge his sister’s death he made a knot in a silk cord every time he killed a Yankee. He rode into battle tearfully shouting her name. By the time the Yankees finally killed him and stuck his head on a telegraph pole, the silk cord had 54 knots in it.
1886-THE STATUE OF LIBERTY DEDICATED- Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was originally asked by Ferndinand de Lesseps to create a huge statue of a woman to welcome Europeans sailing into the Suez Canal at Port Said. After that deal didn’t work out Bartholdi revamped the design for the Americas. The face looks like a classic Greek beauty but some insist it’s an image of the artist’s mother. This day Bartholdi’s masterpiece held up by Gustav Eiffel's superstructure was supposed to be unveiled at the American Centennial celebrations in 1876, but was a little over deadline, about ten years. President Cleveland had started giving his opening remarks when the curtain revealing the statue was dropped early and he was drowned out by cheers, boat whistles, cannon salutes and fireworks. Women Suffragettes rented a boat and floated alongside the parade bearing a large banner "She's beautiful, but she can not vote!"
1886-Musical fantasy "Night on Bald Mountain" premiered in Russia. Composer Modest Mussougorsky worked as a florist during the day and wrote music at night. He was convinced he couldn’t make a living otherwise.
1916- The entertainment trade magazine Variety has the blurb: "Chicago has added recently to it’s number of so-called Jazz bands." Now jazz was around in black neighborhoods for years before, but the form was labeled Ragtime or Syncopation. This is the earliest known use in print of the word Jazz.
1919- New Orleans Louisiana was unique because it governed itself using French law. This day saw the last execution of a criminal by axeman in the Big Easy, twenty years after most of America had gone from hanging to the electric chair.
1941- The Chicago Tribune announced in an editorial that there was no chance that the US would go to war with Japan.
1947- The "You Bet Your Life" quiz show premiered on radio. "Say the Secret Word and Win Fifty Dollars". Comedian Groucho Marx had struggled after his brothers act the Marx Brothers broke up. During a live radio program with Bob Hope at one point Hope dropped his script. Before he could pick it up Groucho stepped on the pages, threw his own away and the two improvised their conversation. The result was much funnier that anything anybody had written. The producer of the show was so impressed he hired Groucho and built a quiz show around him.
1954- Benjamin O. Davis became the first black general in the US Army.
1954- The" Disneyland" television show premieres. Up until then the major Hollywood Studios were all boycotting the new upstart medium of television, then mostly done in New York by blacklisted stage actors and writers. MGM Production head Dori Schary called TV “ the Enemy”. Walt Disney is the first to break ranks with the major film studios and get into television production and even films the show in Technicolor, figuring television will develop color broadcasting eventually.
1962- THE DAY THE WORLD ALMOST ENDED Black Saturday, the Darkest day of the Cuban Missile Crisis, The US and Russia had enough nuclear weapons to destroy all life on planet Earth 22 times over, and this day they came closest to doing just that.
Soviet and American battle fleets were faced off in the ocean, at the Berlin Wall tanks were muzzle to muzzle, some with nuclear artillery shells. All B-52's were in the air waiting for the order to enter Russian air space, Russian subs off the U.S. coast with nuclear missiles trained on American cities, all code Red, DEF CON-2- TOTAL WAR status. At a signal from The White House, the U.S. was poised to drop 7,000 nuclear weapons capable of killing 100 million people in an instant. Recently the Russians revealed that 64 hydrogen bombs were already operational in Cuba mounted on missiles that could hit Washington and New York in five minutes. Also 9 tactical nukes were under the direct control of two Soviet generals in Cuba, the only time that permission has ever been given.
Then suddenly a Cuban anti-aircraft missile shot down an American U-2 spy plane, killing the pilot. John Kennedy complained to his staff:" Khruschev doesn't think I have the guts to push the button !" Attorney General Robert Kennedy almost in tears from the strain cried to Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin: " Things are moving beyond all human control!"
The Kremlin got a secret telegram from Fidel Castro in his underground bunker begging them to fire the nukes immediately, saying Cuba is proud to sacrifice itself on the ramparts of Socialism (Fidel sent it from an underground bunker ). KGB director Yuri Andropov passed Castro's note on to Khruschev after he has red penciled question marks and exclamation marks all over it.( !!!??!?!? ) Khruschev decided to accept Kennedy's offer of a deal, before the unthinkable happened. Khruschev also later mentioned that he received an appeal from philosopher Bertrand Russell that he credited with helping him make up his mind.
After the crisis passed the Hot Line was set up between Washington and the Kremlin to try and ensure such misunderstandings wouldn’t happen again. Kennedy sent Khruschev a copy of Barbara Tuchman’s book the Guns of August, about how the world fell into World War I, when nobody really wanted to go to war.
1964- Sonny & Cher married. I got you babe!
1964- The “ You Choose Speech” Actor and TV pitchman Ronald Reagan made his maiden political speech at a fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. He had made political speeches in the past, but this one marks his shedding his acting and union careers to become a full time politician.
1966- Bill Melendez's Peanuts TV special "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown'.
1967- the worlds fair in Montreal called Expo 67 closed.
1967- Anti-Vietnam War protestors in Baltimore break into the Selective Service offices and pour human blood on draft files and records.
1981- Former UN ambassador and presidential aide Andrew Young was elected Mayor of Atlanta Georgia.
1986- The NY Mets defeated the Boston Red Sox to win the baseball World Series.
1989 - World Series play resumes between Oakland and San Francisco after a ten day delay from the 1989- Bay Area Earthquake.
2004- After not winning it for half the history of baseball, since 1918, the Boston Red Sox swept the Saint Louis Cardinals to win the World Series.
Yesterday’s Question: What does it mean when something is chintzy?
Answer: Something cheap, stingy and shoddy. Originally a type of bedcover fabric imported from India. During the American Civil War, it came to mean when unscrupulous businessmen billed the U.S. Army for cheaply made goods like shoes that fell apart after one wearing. Badly made goods became known as chintzy.
Oct. 26, 2016
October 26th, 2016
Question: What does it mean when something is chintzy?
Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: Who was the last presidential candidate to sport facial hair?
History for 10/26/2016
Birthdays: Danton, Leon Trotsky, Vladimir “Bill” Tytla - Disney animator who gave life to Dumbo, Grumpy and the Devil from Bald Mountain, Francois Mitterand, Domenico Scarlatti, Charles W. Post of Post Cereals, Bob Hoskins, The last Shah of Iran Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, Mahalia Jackson, Clive Barker, Bootsie Collins, Marla Maples, Count Helmuth Von Molkte the Elder -German strategist of the Franco-Prussian War, Dylan McDermott, Cary Elwes, Jaclyn Smith, Hilary Rodham Clinton, Seth McFarlane, and Pat Sito!
Feast of Saint Evaristus, a Hellenic Jew who was made pope during the Roman persecutions. He is counted as a martyr even though there is no evidence that he did die that way. It's just assumed that all those early popes all became toast sooner or later.
901 AD- English King Alfred the Great died. One of two English kings ever to be called The Great. (the other being the Danish Canute). He drove the Vikings from England and unified most of the island under his rule.
1326- Hugh Despenser, the boyfriend of King Edward II, is hanged on orders of Edward's wife, Queen Isabella the" She-Wolf of France".
1440- French nobleman Giles De Rais beheaded. If the concept of "medieval justice" always seemed like an oxymoron, the case of Giles De Rais is a notable exception.
Giles was a powerful warlord of Joan of Arc who went bizarrely wrong in his later years. He was so paranoid about losing his fortune, he listened to a sorcerer who told him the Devil would help if Giles sacrificed some children to him.
When children began disappearing in large numbers from around his castle, even the Royal court and aristocracy couldn't ignore the outcry. The knight was tried, beheaded and his remains burned without Christian rites. His castle Chevrenault outside Tours was leveled, so no memory of the horrible episode would remain. Giles De Rais is sometimes called Bluebeard, a name also given to the insurance murderer Nicholas Landru in 1928.
1555- After being given the kingdom of the Netherlands by his father Charles V, this day King Phillip II of Spain pledged to respect Dutch freedom. But his Catholic zeal was offended by the rising conversion rates to Calvinist Protestantism. One Dutch bishop fed Holy Communion wafers to his pet parrot. Phillip soon unleashed the Dukes of Alva and Parma to tortured and executed thousands. The Dutch responded with revolutionary force and after an 80 year struggle, won their independence.
1825-THE ERIE CANAL COMPLETED, on budget and ahead of schedule. Governor Dewitt Clinton poured a ceremonial bucket of Great Lakes water into the Hudson River. Once called Clinton’s Big Ditch, even elderly Thomas Jefferson thought the plan was madness. The 350 mile Erie Canal tied the Midwest interior of America to it’s Atlantic coast and makes New York the economic capitol of the nation. It also set off a boom in canal boat building. Remember at this time trains weren’t invented yet and roads were so poor, it took Jefferson two weeks to travel from Washington to Charlottesville Virginia, a distance today driven in two hours!
1858- The rotary drum washing machine patented by H. E. Smith of Philadelphia.
1863- The English Football Association formed to standardize the rules for soccer.
1863- We all know the Transcontinental Railroad was completed when the Golden Spike was driven in, on May 10,1867. Well today the first nails of that four year, 800 mile track were hammered in ceremonies in Missouri on the East and Sacramento on the West.
1881-The GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL- The grudgefight between the Earp Brothers and the Clantons only lasted about 90 seconds but remains one the most famous fight of the Old West. The fight may have actually happened in front of McFly's Photo-Parlour, but the Tombstone Gazette decided the OK Corral, a block away sounded more macho. Deputy Marshal Wyatt Earp later told so many different versions of what happened that he's totally discredited as a witness today. Before the encounter, Morgan Earp had been discussing with his brothers whether there was a life after death. As Morgan lay dying, he looked up at his brothers and said:" I guess you're right Wyatt, I can't see a damn thing!"
1918- As the German war effort in the Great War was falling apart, the Kaiser’s government had asked for secret talks to get a ceasefire. Everyone knew this meant defeat and General Erich Ludendorf was having none of it. He denounced liberal Chancellor Prince Max of Baden’s peace efforts and vowed to fight on. Prince Max went to the Kaiser and said" He’s got to go. It’s Ludendorf or me!" Kaiser Wilhelm convened a meeting of his war council and ordered Ludendorf to submit his resignation.
Ludendorf refused a limousine; he walked alone to his house and sat silent in his parlor chair for several hours. Finally he emerged from his meditation and said to his wife:" In a fortnight we shall have no more Empire and no more Emperor. You will see." He was right to the day. Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated November 9th.
1929- Henry Ford invited President Herbert Hoover out for a picnic at Greenfield Michigan to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the invention of Electricity. Greenfield was a theme park recreation of a pre-industrial American farm town Ford's innovations had done so much to change forever. Other guests include Thomas Edison, William Dupont, Henry Firestone and Madame Curie. During their picnic the President gets ominous news of a growing crisis on Wall St.. Hoover tells Ford not to worry, but later quietly advises his own broker to sell all his personal stocks.
The Stock Market Crash happened three days later.
1942- Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands- American and Japanese planes dogfight for supremacy in the fourth carrier battle of the Pacific War. The carrier USS Hornet was sunk but the damaged Japanese fleet had to draw off and give up plans to re-supply their troops on Guadalcanal. In a strange bit of bad luck a torpedo rigged under the wing of a damaged PBY Catalina flying boat accidentally dropped into the ocean and after several mad circles sank the destroyer USS Porter.
1944- End of the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
1947-HOLLYWOOD FIGHTS BACK.- Members of Hollywood's progressive elite tried to answer the McCarthy hearings and the blacklist with a nationwide radio broadcast "Hollywood Fights Back' -Starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, Katharine Hepburn, Danny Kaye, John Huston, Gene Kelly and Edward G. Robinson.
The event was a public relations fiasco. Nobel laureate Thomas Mann used his airtime to launch into a longwinded intellectual defense of Communism. When word reached them that some of the Hollywood writers they were defending really were communists Bogart and Bacall felt they had been hoodwinked. "As politicians we stink!" quote Bogie.
1951- Despite being past his prime famed heavyweight boxing champ Joe Louis The Brown Bomber came out of retirement to attempt a comeback and pay off back taxes. This day he was knocked out and finally retired by young champ Rocky Marciano. Growing up Marciano had idolized Louis and afterwards apologized to him.
1952- David Wolper’s documentary Victory at Sea, with it’s majestic score by Richard Rogers first premiered.
1955- The Greenwich Village Voice, later called simply The Voice, first published.
1957- Vatican Radio began broadcasting.
1962- During the tense standoff of the Cuban Missile Crisis, this day a KGB contact named Frohman met Peter Scholly, an ABC news correspondent, at a quiet Washington DC coffee shop. He gave the newsman a letter containing an offer from Khruschev to take to the White House that would eventually end the superpower standoff. No personal emails then.
1965- The rock band the Beatles received MBEs ( most excellent Member of the British Empire ) medals at Buckingham Palace. John Lennon later returned his as a protest.
1970- Doonesbury born. Yale law graduate Gary Trudeau was convinced by Jim Andrews his classmate now an editor at Universal Press syndicate, to recreate his funny comic he did in the campus newspaper. It's original name was 'Bull Tales".
1972- Nixon advisor Dr Henry Kissinger announced "Peace is at Hand" in Vietnam.
1979 - Kim Jae-kyu, head of the South Korean intelligence agency, blew away their country's President, Park Chung-hee with a machine gun at a state banquet. Park had been president/dictator since 1961. The assassin was executed some months
later. He claimed it was an accident.
1984-" I’LL BE BACK…" James Cameron’s sci-fi thriller THE TERMINATOR first released. Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered a Hollywood joke before this film made him a major star. An interesting what-if, was that before Arnold was cast in the role of the cyborg assassin, the producers were first considering O.J. Simpson.
1985- The original date Marty McFly time travels from in the film Back to the Future.
2001- President Bush signed the USA Patriot Act, which gave him power to read your mail, tap your phones, bypassing all the safeguards demanded by Congress and the Bill of Rights, even the Magna Carta.
2028- Asteroid 1977 FX11 will pass within 600,000 miles of the Earth. In 1998 The Smithsonian announced the asteroid would hit the planet or maybe pass closer than the moon's orbit 30,000 miles, causing global meteorological convulsions. The following day the Jet Propulsion Lab and Mount Palomar Observatory announced a correction of the calculations to prove it will miss us by a wide distance. Stick around, we're gonna find out.
Yesterday’s Question: Who was the last presidential candidate to sport facial hair?
Answer: Jesse Jackson sported a small mustache when he ran for president in 1984 and 1988.
Oct. 25, 2016
October 25th, 2016
Question: Who was the last presidential candidate to sport facial hair?
Yesterday’s Question Answered below: Who was the last American President to sport facial hair?
History for 10/25/2016
Birthdays: Pablo Picasso, George Bizet, Johann Strauss Jr., Bobby Knight, Helen Reddy Minnie Pearl, Whit Bissell, Lyle Lovett. Leo G. Carroll, Bill Barty the famous Little Person celebrity, John Matusak, Julia Roberts , Tyrus Wong is 106!
Today is the Feast of Saints Crispin and Chrispinian- the patron saints of leatherworkers. They were supposed to be so holy that when the Roman prefect of Soisson saw his tortures were having no effect, he drowned himself. Another case of low job satisfaction.
1555- Emperor Charles V was called the Man who Married Europe- The Prince of the Netherlands was also King of Spain, which meant all of the Americas and Italy, and he was Emperor of Germany-which meant everything from Denmark and the Rhine to Turkish held Hungary. He assumed all this power at 19, fought wars, tried to stop the Protestant Reformation, sacked Rome and imprisoned the Pope and wielded power with gusto. But by 45 he was exhausted, sick with asthma and arthritis.
So this day at the States General of the Netherlands, Charles V announced his resignation of all his offices and retirement to a monastery in Spain. He named his son Phillip II to be King of Spain and the Netherlands and his brother Ferdinand to succeed him as German Emperor. Charles wasn’t a great monk though, his cell had rooms for 50 servants and he insisted on keeping his favorite Titian paintings with him. A master of languages, Charles once said “Speak Italian to Ladies, German to enemies, French to friends and Spanish to God.”
1760- King George II died of constipation, his grandson George III becomes King. Old George II completed his 33 year reign with this final opinion of English politics:” I am sick to death of all this foolish stuff, and wish with all my heart that the Devil may take all your bishops, and the Devil take all your ministers, the Devil take your Parliament and the Devil take this whole Island, provided I can get out and go home to Hanover!” Gee, thank you Sire, we love you too.
1769-Young Massachusetts lawyer John Adams married Abigail Smith.
1795- The last king of Poland, Stanislas II Poniatowski, abdicates under pressure from his old girlfriend, Catherine the Great. Poland as a nation disappears until 1919. As King Stash was a loser but his family did pretty well in later years. A Poniatowski was a general under Napoleon and today the family is big in French conservative -Gaulist politics, and Helena Poniatowska is a writer in Mexico who wrote a prize-winning book about Diego Rivera.
1854-THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE- BALACLAVA- the climactic battle of the Crimean War in which Britain and France sent armies to help Turkey fight off Russia.
During the battle Lord Raglan watched from his mountaintop the Russians on another mountaintop (their army was arranged on the hillsides like a fork with it's prongs pointed at the English and French). They were trying to pull some field artillery out of the way of the advancing Brits. So Raglan sent Lords Lucan and Cardigan orders to send the Light Brigade to capture these few cannon before they got away. Lord Cardigan (who always insisted his officers drink champagne for breakfast) wasn't on a mountaintop but deep in a valley and all he could see was the whole heavily fortified Russian army in front of him. Then he got Raglan's command: "-Charge the Guns!" To cap matters the messenger Captain Nolan was angry with Cardigan so he refused to explain the order.
So the 600 of the Light Brigade charged right into the whole Russian Army alone. It all took about 8 minutes. One survivor recalled seeing a Sergeant Talbot get his head struck off by a cannonball but his body stayed galloping in the saddle another 30 yards, lance still positioned under his arm. Fired on from three sides the Light Brigade took the first lines of cannon and could have pierced the Russian center if they had been followed by reinforcements, but everyone just watched in stunned silence.. The French commander gave orders for his Chausseurs d'Afrique to storm one other position which was the only positive result of the day. Lord Cardigan led his brigade through the first line of guns then immediately turned back “It is not the job of commanders to grapple with common soldiers.” One problem the Light Brigade had that never made it into any movies was when they finally reached the Russian gunners they were wearing their heavy wool winter coats that were too thick for Wilkinson sabers. The horsemen slapped their swords harmlessly against their shoulders and backs.
The Light Brigade staggered back accomplishing nothing, 3/4 of their men killed, and inspiring a really swell poem by Tennyson. The 17th Lancers went in with 250 and came out with 17 men. In a delightfully British moment, the 2nd in command, his clothes torn up by bullets, blackened with gunsmoke and a horrible saber gash across his face, said to Lord Cardigan: "Sir, shall we have another go?"
1864 Battle of Mine Creek, Missouri. The last major Civil War battle in the Trans-Mississippi-Western Theater. Yankee cavalry charged and destroyed a Confederate army under General Sterling Price. Price’s army had invaded Missouri hoping to capture St, Louis and cause enough of a sensation so Lincoln would lose re-election and the new government would make peace with the Confederacy. Price’s army had taken in many Missouri desperadoes like Quantrill’s Raiders and Bloody Bill Anderson. On the Yankee side a cavalry brigade was commanded by Major Frederick Benteen, who would be known as the commander of Custers reserves in the Little Big Horn massacre in 1876.
1891- THE SECRET OF THE LOST DUTCHMAN MINE- An old German (Deutsche) immigrant miner named Jacob Walsh lay dying after a lifetime digging in the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. Before he died, he told those around him he had discovered a fabulously rich gold mine and killed his partners to keep the secret. As proof he gave them the 45 pounds of pure gold in his trunk and said there was ten times that amount in the mine. He died leaving tantalizing vague clues like " I can see the military road from my mine, but those on the military road can't see me.." 125 people died or went mad looking for the Lost Dutchman Mine. To this day it has ever been found.
1903- New York’s New Amsterdam Theater opened with a gala performance of A Midsummer’s Night Dream. The New Amsterdam boasted all Art Nouveau decoration, the first theater in a steel girdered building and a new style of floating balcony that didn’t obstruct the view with support pillars, an effect to be copied by movie houses throughout the world. The Great Ziegfield staged his great Follies there and in the rooftop garden theater for only the cream of New York society. The theater fell into decrepitude and in the 1970’s was a porno house, but the Walt Disney Company restored it to it’s Gilded Age glory in 1996.
1917- Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, in a lecture announced his firm belief in spiritualism, divination, and communication with the dead. He called it The New Revelation. “The chasm between this life and the next is not insurmountable.” Other British intellects think Sir Arthur had gone a bit potty.
1920- King Alexander of Greece died from blood poisoning after being bit by his pet monkey.
1921- Bat Masterson, Quebec born gunfighter, marshal of Dodge City, gambler, Indian fighter and outlaw, died over a typewriter as a sports reporter for the New York Morning Telegraph while covering a championship prize fight. He was 67.
1924- The Zioniev Letter. Four days before the British General Elections the Tory opposition to the Labor Government of Ramsay MacDonald produced a letter purporting to show a cosy relationship between MacDonald and the Bolshevik revolutionaries of Russia. Ramsay MacDonald’s party lost the elections. Later it turned out the letter was a fake.
1944- Battle of the Leyte Gulf. The combined forces of General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz destroyed the last remaining tactical Japanese fleet. Four carriers, three battleships and assorted other craft sunk. After Leyte, the Japanese Navy ceased to be a factor for the rest of the war. In that same battle, the first Kamikaze planes attacked American ships.
1946- President Harry Truman declared a postwar “Housing Emergency” that led to the development of the suburban track house.
1957- Gangster Al Anastasia, head of "Murder, Inc." walked into Arthur Grossos Barbershop in the Park Sheraton Hotel for his usual shave and haircut. He trusted Arthur enough to allow him to cover his face with a hot towel. While he was relaxing this way Grosso backed away and two hitmen sent by Vito Genovese came in and started shooting Al full of bullets. The murderers were never found.
1960- The Bulova Acutron Watch went on sale today. The first watch using an electronic power cell instead of a wound mainspring.
1964- At a football game Minnesota Viking defensive back Larry Marshal scooped up a fumble and ran 66 yards into the end zone. Except, it was his own goal line. D’OH!
1983- President Reagan sent thousands of US Marines to invade the tiny island of Grenada, ostensibly to save a few American medical students from some fat Cuban construction workers, and secure the US strategic supply of nutmeg.
Yesterday’s Question: Who was the last American President to sport facial hair?
Answer: William Howard Taft (pres 1908-1912) had a big walrus mustache.
Oct. 24, 2016
October 24th, 2016
Question: Who was the last American President to sport facial hair?
Yesterday’s Question answered below: A few years after that Jesus fellow, the Romans nailed up another Jewish holy man named Rabbi Akiva. What did he do?
History for 10/24/2016
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Domitian, Bob Kane the creator of Batman, Antoni van Lewuenhoek- the founder of Microbiology, Moss Hart, Jiles Perry Richardson better known as the Big Bopper, F. Murray Abrahams is 75, Enkwase Mfume, Y.A. Tittle, Sara Josepha Hale 1788- who wrote the poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb", animator Preston Blair, Kevin Kline is 68
439-The barbarian horde called the Vandals went into Africa and captured the Roman colony of Carthage, built on the site of Hannibal’s old city. When the Romans had destroyed Carthage in 146BC they put a curse on the land, but the cities natural harbor proved too useful, so a colony was soon set up. Ironically, or perhaps the curse in effect, in 455AD Geneseric the Vandal launched an attack from Carthage that sacked Rome.
1648 –THE TREATY OF WESTPHALIA- After four years of negotiations Europe ends its last great religious war, the Thirty Years War. The good thing was nobody disputed Dutch or Swiss independence or the right to be a Protestant anymore, the bad part was Germany was ravaged and divided. It wouldn't really get it's act together again until 1870. Germany lost almost half her population. France replaced Spain as the dominant power on the continent. And because the Pope refused any peace signed with heretics, the exhausted European kings began to simply ignore him.
1781- British General Sir Henry Clinton arrived at Yorktown Virginia with a rescue force to learn that Lord Cornwallis had already surrendered to George Washington a week ago.
1800- Three weeks before a presidential election, Alexander Hamilton published ON THE PRESIDENCY OF JOHN ADAMS ESQ, a 58 page attack on the incumbent Presidents’ character and record. Though they were of the same party, the two men loathed one another. Hamilton had almost challenged the President to a duel. Finally Hamilton decided he would rather see the opposition party win than Adams re-elected. His persuasive pamphlet not only ruined any chance John Adams had of re-election, it was a grenade lobbed into the midst of his own Federalist Party. President Adams placed fourth in the election, but Alexander Hamilton’s party disloyalty lost him most of his political influence.
1812- BATTLE OF MALOYAROSLAVETS (say that three times fast). Contrary to traditional perception, Napoleon wasn't dumb enough to think he could retreat from Moscow through Russia in the dead of winter. His first move was to retreat south to the Ukraine and Crimea where it was warmer, the food abundant and the people anti-Russian. The Russian general Kutusov guessed this and moved his troops south to cut him off at a junction called Maloyaroslavets. There was a bloody battle and Napoleon was successfully blocked and forced to retreat north along the ravaged Smolensk Road whence he came.
1836- Mr. Alonzo D. Phillips of Springfield, Mass. received a patent for the first book of matches in the U.S. However the laboratory of the English scientist Robert Farraday had invented matches in 1829.
1861-The Last Pony Express ride. The idea was romantic, but a financial dud and only operated about two years before being replaced by stage, rail and telegraph.
1901- Anne Taylor becomes the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and live to talk about it. She attempted the stunt for a cash prize she used to get a loan to buy a ranch in Texas.
1902- Author Arthur Conan-Doyle was knighted by King Edward VII. He received the award not for his literary accomplishments but for his doctor volunteer services during the just concluded Boer War. It was also said the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was one of the few books King Edward ever managed to read from cover to cover.
1907- President Teddy Roosevelt called for a grand conference of government and business leaders to discuss a strategy for the conservation of America’s natural resources. For the first time, Conservation was made an issue of national policy. “ I have seen the last fluttering of bird species that once blackened the skies...”
1917-THE BATTLE OF CAPORETTO - The crumbling Austrian army was bolstered by some big German battalions defeated the Italian army, pushing them from the Alps practically down to Milan, erasing all the territorial gains the Italian army had made the last three years. Italian Commander General Cadorna was taken completely by surprise. Up to then he had been spending most of his energies replacing officers who didn’t agree with him.
Ironically the defeat was seen by scholars as being more beneficial to the future of Italy than a victory. This was because the insult and sacrifice welded Italian regional opinion into a national unity to defend their motherland, a spirit never seen during this unpopular war. The event was immortalized in Ernest Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms".
1918- As the German front crumbled, the Kaiser’s government requested preliminary talks for a cease fire to end the Great War. This day hotheaded General Eric Ludendorf tried to derail the peace initiative by publishing a manifesto in German newspapers. Last week he was urging the Kaiser to negotiate, but he suddenly changed his mind. He denounced American President Wilson’s Fourteen Points peace proposal and declared the German Army would fight on. He had no authority to publish such a rash statement and it got him fired.
1918- Battle of the Victorio Veneto. This day Italy launched one final attack across the Piave and reached Austrian territory.
1929- BLACK THURSDAY- THE PRELUDE TO THE GREAT CRASH- The Bear Stock Market that had seen prices dropping steadily since September 5th turned into a panic as dependable stocks prices like General Motors dropped through the floor. $11.5 billion dollars was lost in one day. Vacationing Winston Churchill picked that day to visit the Stock Exchange and later saw a banker jump to his death past his Waldorf Astoria window.
Basically what happened was people had bought stock on Margin, which meant you could buy ten thousand dollars worth of stock with just one thousand dollars. As the collapse occurred your broker would call you and demand the other nine thousand bux immediately or he would sell off everything you had. So in minutes you were broke.
It took every major banker and financier on Wall Street together dumping millions of dollars of emergency funds to stop the slide.
It was the worst day in American financial history, but it turned out to be just a mild prelude to Black Tuesday coming the following week. Ironically that night in a Broadway show the new song "Happy Days are Here Again' had it's debut. When the stage manager thought it inappropriate, the show's director snapped: "Play it for the Corpses !".
1937- At Piping Springs NY, composer Cole Porter suffered an accident while horseback riding that broke both his legs. Even after 26 operations he never regained their full use and one leg was amputated in 1958.
1938- The Fair Labor Standards Act established the 40 hour workweek as the law of the land. The 40 hour week, that thing few of us see nowadays.
1945 the United Nations Charter ratified.
1945- Vikdun Quisling was shot by firing squad. Quisling was a Nazi sympathizer who governed occupied Norway. His name was synonymous with traitor or Benedict Arnold.
1947- Walt Disney testified to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC) as a friendly witness. He accused members of the Cartoonists Guild and the League of Women Voters –which he mistakenly called the League of Women Shoppers, as being infiltrated by Communists "Seeking to subvert the Spirit of Mickey Mouse'.
1948- In-N-Out, the first drive-through restaurant opened in Baldwin Park California. It’s still in business today, selling only burgers, shakes, and fries, pretty much like they did back then.
1948- Bernard Baruch while testifying to Congress about the worsening relations between the US and Russia coined the term "cold war". "Although the war is over we are in the midst of a cold war, and it is getting hotter."
1960- At the Baykonur space center in Russia an R-16 ballistic missile exploded on the launch pad. The blast incinerated 165 people. This was all kept secret until the 1990s. Included among the dead is Field Marshall Mitrofan Nedelin, whose death was covered up as having occurred in a plane crash.
1962- During the Cuban Missile Crisis the U.S. Naval blockade closed around Cuba to prevent any more Russian missiles coming in. For one of the few times in it's history Strategic Air Command went from Defensive Condition Three to Def Con -2, a full war footing.
An American destroyer dropped depth charges on a Soviet submarine armed with nuclear tipped torpedoes. The enraged captain ordered a torpedo loaded into its tube and had to be talked out of firing it.
1969- Godfather Producer Robert Evans married young actress Ali McGraw.
1970- Chile elected Salvador Allende president. The US State Department went nuts because Allende was a lefty and began plans to have him overthrown.
1975- The musical play A Chorus Line opened.
1975- 90% of the women of Iceland went out on strike to demand equal rights and equal pay. They paralyzed the country. The won their fight and five years later they elected their first female president.
1994- Disney TV series Gargoyles premiered.
Yesterday’s Question: A few years after that Jesus fellow, the Romans nailed up another Jewish holy man named Rabbi Akiva. What did he do?
Answer: Rabbi Akiva was a very influential religious leader who reorganized Jewish teaching structure after the Romans had destroyed and disbanded the Sanhedrin. He influenced the Talmud and the final editing of the Old Testament, and made sure it included the Psalms and Book of Leviticus. He was executed by the Romans for supporting Bar Kochba’s Revolt in 137AD.