Dec 13, 2017
December 13th, 2017

Question: What does it mean to be truculent?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: After the death of King Herod the Great, Rome divided Israel into three parts. One was ruled by Herod’s son Herod Antipas, A second piece was administered by the Roman Proconsul Pontius Pilate. Who ruled the third part?
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History for 12/13/2017
Birthdays: Heinrich Heine, Mary Todd Lincoln, Dick Van Dyke is 92, Mike Mosley, Darryl Zanuck Jr., George Schulz, Christopher Plummer is 88, Steve Buscemi is 60, Jamie Fox is 48, Lynn Holly Johnson, Wendy Malick, Taylor Swift is 28.

HAPPY HANUKKAH ! – Last night began the Hebrew Festival of Lights, commemorating the victories in 164BCE of the priest-general Judas Maccabeus (Maccabeus means the Hammer) against the Syrian Greeks .
The ancient state of Israel had been conquered by Babylon then Persia and finally by Alexander the Great. After Alexander's death his Greek generals divided up his empire and Israel found itself on theborder between the Kingdom of Seleucus and Ptolomey's Egypt. This power struggle enabled the Jewish state to reassert it's independence by playing one side against the other until the Romans kicked everyone's butt.

The Greek descendant of Seleucus, Antiochus IV Theos Epiphanes- “God Made Manifest” thought this one-God stuff weird. Jews should be praying to Hercules and Apollo like every other self-respecting ancient citizen. He plundered the Temple of Solomon for gold and even tried to command Jews to eat Pork on pain of death. The Jews reasserted their faith with such vigor that even when they fell under Roman rule Julius Caesar left specific instructions that Jewish customs and Sabbath be protected.

Hanukkah of Chanukkah means Rededication. When the re-lit lamp in the purified Temple of Solomon burned for eight days on only one day’s supply of oil.

305AD -Today is the Feast of Saint Lucy, who was ordered by the Romans to be raped in a brothel, set on fire, stabbed to death, and to stop men saying how beautiful her eyes were, she ripped them out and handed them over on a plate. But they miraculously grew back. So St. Lucy is the patron saint of opticians.

863- Duke Baldwin Iron Arm married Lady Judith du Kales.

1250 -Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II "Stupor Mundi" the Wonder of the World, his spirit broken by endless quarrels with the Pope and rebellious Italian city states, expired at age 52. Frederick had tried to re-form back the old Roman Empire but only succeeded in making Italy and Germany more divided than ever. Meanwhile France, England and Spain were developing into centralized nation states. The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation or the 1st Reich, was never as powerful again.

1264-THE HOUSE OF COMMONS- Victorious rebel English Earl Simon de Monfort called for a meeting in Westminster of a Parliament of all nobles, clergy and - common folk of the realm. It's probably the first time since the ancient Roman republic anybody had asked the common people their opinion about anything. King Henry III and Prince Edward Longshanks couldn't argue because Simon had them locked up in the Tower. To make sure Earl Simon had bishops pronounce the most fearful oaths of excommunication on anyone who dared undo his creation. So even after Longshanks escaped and had DeMonfort chopped into mincemeat, the House of Commons remained.

1543- THE COUNCIL OF TRENT convened- Officially called the XIX Ecumenical Council, this conference launched the Catholic Counter-Reformation against the Protestant reformation.

1642- Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in the Pacific discovered a big island near Australia and named it for the Dutch province of Zeeland, so New Zealand. He also found another island and called it Van Deimans Land, but it was later named in his honor as Tasmania.

1672- Polish King Jan Cazimir died a monk in Paris. He was king during a period of terrible wars with Russia, the Cossacks of the Ukraine, Turkey and Sweden. But he was pacific by nature. One saying was “the only battles Jan Cazimir ever saw were woven in his Dutch carpets!”

1769- Dartmouth College founded.

1775- the U.S. National Guard formed.

1862-BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG- Union General Ambrose Burnside (who created the men’s fashion-"sideburns") made his men frontal attack uphill an impregnable Confederate position of concentrated fire that " a chicken couldn't live through."
The massed regiments of bluecoats were mowed down wave after wave in one of the worst disasters in U.S. Army history. The New York Fighting 69th, the all Irish brigade, fell dead in even rows shielding their eyes from the bullets as though they were rain. They shouted “Faugh au Ballagh !” Gaelic for “Clear the Way!” They left 53% of their men dead on the field. In all 13,000 Yankees died to a mere handful of confederates.
One rebel general, sickened by the stupidity of it all, said: "This ain't war, it's just plain murder." After the defeat, Burnside rode past some of his men, a kissass major tried shouting "Three cheers for the General!" and was met with stony silence.

1872- The town council of Abilene, Kansas fired Wild Bill Hickok as sheriff. They said he was more violent than most of the criminals he arrested.

1895- Gustav Mahlers 2nd Symphony “Resurrection” premiered.

1928- Leopold Damrosch conducted the premiere of George Gershwin's -"An American in Paris."

1936- At the urging of New Yorker editor Harold Ross to find a better line of work, actor Dave Chasen opened Chasen's restaurant in Beverly Hills, which catered to Hollywood stars for 60 years. It is the restaurant where Leopold Stokowski was introduced to Walt Disney and as a result they conceived "Fantasia". Humphrey Bogart, John Huston and Lauren Bacall met upstairs to discuss the Blacklist of 1947. Elizabeth Taylor ordered Chasen’s chili flown out to Rome so she could eat it on the set of Cleopatra. The restaurant closed in 1995 because the Chasen family wanted to cash in on the choice real estate. Today it is a supermarket.

1937- THE RAPE OF NANKING- The Japanese army captured the Nationalist capitol of China. The Japanese generals let their soldiers run amok for three weeks, raping and murdering civilians by the thousands. Japanese who refused to kill the innocent were punished by their officers. Typical was two officers who held a contest to see who could behead more Chinese with their samurai swords. The winner killed 106 and the contest was reported in Tokyo newspapers on their sports pages.
When their commanding General Matsui returned from convalescent leave, he was horrified and ordered a stop. That got him recalled home in disgrace. The unprecedented brutality shocked the world, remember the further horrors of World War II were still years in the future.

1937-THE GOOD NAZI- During the Rape of Nanking, in an ironic twist, the women and children of the foreign delegations were protected from the rampaging Japanese soldiers by a German businessman Johann Robbe, who guarded the door in his Nazi party uniform and swastika armband. He took in desperate Chinese and saved thousands. Robbe had lived his entire life in China, so when it was suggested to him, he joined the Nazi party not knowing anything about it. Robbe went home to Berlin and tried lodge a complaint with Adolf Hitler! The Gestapo threatened him with arrest if he didn’t shut up.

Then after World War II, Johan Robbe was arrested by Allied authorities for being a Nazi! By 1947 he and his family were reduced to eating soup from nettles and grass to survive. Then a huge package was delivered of food and money. It was a subscription from the People of Nanking, to express their thanks for his humanity.

1939- Battle of the River Platte- The German pocket battleship Graff Spee battled with several British cruisers near the Argentine coastline. The German then put into the neutral port of Montevideo for repairs.
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1940- Fleischer Popeye cartoon "Eugene the Jeep" .The Thimble Theater character would give its name to the new army General Purpose vehicle- G.P. or "Jeep".

1942- In the rubble choked streets of Stalingrad, Soviet sniper Tanya Chernova was making her way to Nazi headquarters with instructions to assassinate their commander Field Marshal von Paulus. But on the way a comrade stepped on a mine and the explosion tore through her abdomen. She survived, but her participation in the war was over. An attractive blonde former ballerina, she began the war as a guerrilla in the Ukraine, and was trained by supersniper Vasily Zaistzev. She called the Germans she had killed “broken sticks”. By the time this explosion ended her military career, Tanya Chernova had 80 broken sticks to her record. She was 20 years old.

1951- One of the legendary Hollywood producers was Walter Wanger- starting in 1921 his films included The Sheik, Stagecoach, Queen Christina, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Silk Stockings and Cleopatra. His wife was beautiful starlet Joan Bennett, but at this time she had taken a lover. On this day Wanger surprised Hollywood by pulling out a gun and shooting his wife's lover in the nads right in the MCA studio parking lot. In true Hollywood fashion Wanger got off, sentenced to just a few months in an honor ranchero compound and was soon back to work. Contributors to pay his legal fees included the Jack Warner, Walt Disney and Sam Goldwyn. The boyfriend, Jennings Lang, recovered and later became an executive producer of comedies like House Calls. After all, who needs balls to be a producer?

1961- Jimmy Dean’s folk ballad Big Bad John went to #1 of the country charts. Later Dean had his own TV variety show and started Jimmy Dean’s Pure Pork Sausage Company.

1969- Arlo Guthrie’s hit song Alice’s Restaurant released.

1971- Disney’s film Bedknobs and Broom Sticks opened.

1978- The US tried to introduce silver dollar coins. The first Susan B. Anthony dollars issued. They looked too much like quarters so they didn’t catch on.

1981- Communist Polish Gov't under General Jaruszelski declared martial law and outlaws Solidarity, the Polish Labor Organization. The secret police, the ZOMO's started arresting all the ringleaders. Jaruszelski later claimed the liberal political climate was getting so out of hand that he had to crack down or the Soviet Union would invade like they did to Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Hungary in 1956. People showed their quiet resistance by wearing a small transistor (i.e. resistor) on their lapel. Also popular was a button that from a distance looked like the graphic "Solidarity" Logo but up close spelled out: "WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT ?"

1996- In Terry Gilliams’ sci-fi apocalypse epic the Plague of the 12 Monkeys was unleashed today, a virus that killed 4/5ths of the world’s population and drove the remainder underground.

2002- Cardinal Bernard Law resigned in disgrace. The Primate of Boston, the largest Roman Catholic diocese in the United States. Cardinal Law had spent years covering for priests who molested children. He even protected a priest who was registered in the Man-Boy Love Society. Cardinal Law was the highest ranking Catholic to step down from popular pressure. He was recalled to Rome to become prior of Santa Maria Maggiore.

2003-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was pulled out of a hiding hole and captured by U.S. forces near his hometown of Tikrit.
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Yesterday’s Question: After the death of King Herod the Great, Rome divided Israel into three parts. One was ruled by Herod’s son Herod Antipas, A second piece was administered by the Roman Proconsul Pontius Pilate. Who ruled the third part?

Answer: Phillip the Tetrarch. Sometimes called Herod II Philippus. His reign was benignly uneventful, except that he married Salome.


Dec 12, 2017
December 12th, 2017

Question: After the death of King Herod the Great, Rome divided Israel into three parts. One was ruled by Herod’s son Herod Antipas, A second piece was administered by the Roman Proconsul Pontius Pilate. Who ran the third part?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Who were the two combatants in the Punic Wars?
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History for 12/12/17
Birthdays: Frank Sinatra, Roman Emperor Alexander Severus, Edvard Munch, Gustav Flaubert, Cherokee Confederate General Stand Watie, John Jay, Edward G. Robinson, Field Marshal Karl Von Rundstedt-the Black Knight of Germany, Ed Koch, Zack Mosley –the cartoonist of “Smilin' Jack", Connie Francis, Dionne Warwick, Cathy Rigby, Tracy Austin, Bill Nighy is 67, Tom Wilkerson is 69, Jennifer Connelly is 47

639 A.D. Moslem-Arab armies of the Caliph Omar invade Egypt. Egypt at the time was a province of the Byzantine Empire and it's native church The Coptic Rite was persecuted by them as a heresy. So rather than put up with any more harassment the Egyptians opened their gates to the advancing Arabs and the province was overrun in short order.

1524- Pope Clement VII the Medici Fox, steered a dangerous policy to keep the Germans and French from taking over Italy. The previous year he signed a secret treaty with Germany against France, today he signed a secret treaty with France against Germany. This policy blew up in his face. The German army of Charles V stormed Rome and locked up the Pope in 1527. Italy was ravaged by wars for the rest of the century.

1653- Puritan General Oliver Cromwell, having executed King Charles I, declares himself Lord Protector of England and rules Britain as a military dictator. He had all the symbols of monarchy including the crown jewels destroyed. Including the ancient Iron Crown of Alfred the Great. This is why England's crown jewels date from the 1660’s, after Cromwell. Scotland's crown jewels were smuggled out of Edinburgh Castle ahead of Cromwell's troops in a berry basket.

1792- The Bank of the United States was set up in Philadelphia on the model of the Bank of England. President Andrew Jackson dismantled the Bank in 1832 and U.S. finances swung wildly in the hands of a few tycoons like Astor and Morgan until the Federal Reserve was set up in 1913.

1784- George Washington bid a final farewell to his friend the Marquis of Lafayette. The young little aristocrat and the tall somber Virginian had become so fond of one another they were like father and son. Lafayette left for France and they never saw each other again. When Lafayette returned to America in 1825, Washington was long dead.

1793- WASHINGTON THE SLAVEMASTER- The most concrete evidence we have that George Washington was troubled about owning slaves. This day George wrote a friend in England about his plan to carve up his Mt. Vernon estate into small lots and rent them out to immigrant English tenant farmers, so he could liberate his slaves. He asked his British correspondent to keep his plan a secret and destroy this note after reading it.
He never went ahead with his plan. After he and Martha were both dead, Washington’s will freed all 137 of his slaves and sent each off with a cash pension. Compare that to Thomas Jefferson, who freed 6 out of 300 when he died, and James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, who freed none.

1897-The Katzenjammer Kids comic strip by Rudolph Dirks appears in the Heart’s New York Journal. The first comic where characters spoke in word balloons. The adventures of Hans & Fritz was so popular a rival newspaper started an imitation called the Captain & the Kids, leading to the first artistic plagiarism lawsuit. Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas had a problem whenever they bought the American newspapers for their Paris salon, because Picasso and Fernand Oliver would fight over who got to read the Katzenjammer Kids first.

1899- George Grant of Boston invented the Golf Tee.

1900- At a dinner party Charles Schwab proposed a steel trust company to corner the steel market, uniting the resources of Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and John "Bet a Million" Taylor. U.S. Steel is born.

1901-First transatlantic wireless signal sent by Guglielmo Marconi. This finally ended the frustrating hoopla over laying transatlantic telegraph cables and have them break down almost constantly since the 1850s. The pioneers of radio broadcasting like Armstrong, Lee Deforest and David Sarnoff got their start working for the Marconi Wireless Company. Recent scholarship puts forward that Nikola Tesla may have preceded Marconi with the concept.

1922- Lenin suffered the first of a series of strokes that left him too sick to work. He ruled Soviet Russia for one more year as a figurehead while his true state of health was concealed from the public. Top Communist officials like Trotsky and Stalin now fought for power.

1925- The world’s first Motel opened. Arthur Heinman opened the Milestone Motel in San Luis Obispo California. Motel was a contraction of Motor-Hotel.

1925- Cossack officer Rezah Pahlavi deposed the last Qajar Shah and becomes Shah of Persia, which would shortly change its name to Iran.

1926- Polish Marshal Josef Pilsudski seized power in Warsaw. Sending troops to surround the Sejm- Parliament, he strode in and told the astounded politicians:” I sh*t on all of you! I am going to treat you like children because that is how you want to be treated.” He ruled as dictator until his death in 1935.

1936- After the abdication of Edward VIII, his stuttering younger brother Albert was proclaimed King George VI.

1937- During their war in China, Japanese dive bombers strafed and sank the neutral U.S. gunboat Panay in the Yangtse River. The Japanese Government apologized and paid $2.2 million in reparations.

1941- In the emergency after Pearl Harbor the U.S. Army ordered all peacetime airliners and pilots commandeered into military service. Federal customs authorities in the port of New York also seized the world’s largest luxury ocean liner, The French S.S Normandie, for “protective custody”. Remember at this time France was an occupied part of the Third Reich.

1947- The United Mine Workers under John L. Lewis pull out of the AF of L. The historic difference was the American Federation of Labor (AFL) was made up of skilled technical workers and artisans. The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) was made up of more unskilled assembly-line type folks.

1952- The first Screen Actors Guild Strike. President Walter Pidgeon -Dr. Morbius in Forbidden Planet- had the movie stars hit the bricks to win television and commercial residuals. The final deals were settled by then SAG president Ronald Reagan in 1960. Ronnie compromised with the studio heads (many who later backed his bid for the governorship of California) that only residuals for films released after 1955 would be paid.
Actors who made their big hits in the 30's and 40s like Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, and The Little Rascals were left out. Mickey Rooney, who's Andy Hardy movies were the box office champs of the mid-1940's put it mildly: "Reagan screwed me !!"

1955- the first hovercraft design patented. It wasn't built and launched until 1959.

1963- Kenya under Njomo Kenyatta declared independence from Britain.

1975- Sarah Jane Moore pleaded guilty to trying to assassinate President Gerald Ford.

1980- The song “Whip It” by Devo won a gold record.

1991- Actor Richard Gere married supermodel Cindy Crawford.

2000- THE SUPREME COURT PICKED THE PRESIDENT. In the tightest presidential election since 1877, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled George W. Bush won over Vice President Al Gore. They stated that although there may have been irregularities in the vote counting in the decisive state of Florida, it was too late and pointless to continue the recount, so they were suspending all further appeals. Al Gore and the Democrats caved in and squelched attempts by African-American congressmen to point out massive voter discrimination.

2015- Women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia finally given the right to vote.
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Yesterday’s Question: Who were the two combatants in the Punic Wars?

Answer: Rome vs. Carthage. Punic was another term for Carthaginian people.


Dec 11, 2017
December 11th, 2017

Question: Who were the two combatants in the Punic Wars?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What does it mean to call something a Doozy?
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History for 12/11/2017
Birthdays: Sir David Brewster 1781- inventor of the kaleidoscope, Fiorello LaGuardia, Robert Koch the conqueror of tuberculosis, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Carlo Ponti, Gilbert Roland, Big Mama Mabel Thornton, Vampira, Jean Marais, Jean Louis Tritignant, Tom Hayden, Jermaine Jackson, McCoy Tyner- John Coltrane's pianist, Brenda Lee, John Buscema, Rita Moreno is 86, Teri Garr is 70, Mos Def is 44, Mo’nique is 50

493 AD. Today is the feast of Greek Saint Simon Stylites the greatest of all the religious hermits known as pillar-sitters. He died at the age of 85 after having sat on top of a solitary stone column for 35 years. He only descended twice, once to chastise the Byzantine Emperor. The Patriarch of Constantinople even had to be hoisted up by ropes and pulleys to ordain him a priest.

711AD- death of Byzantine Emperor Justinian II Rhino-Nose. Gotta love that nickname.

1718- After many wars Swedish King Charles XII the "Madman of the North" was shot and killed by a Danish sergeant while peeping over a trench parapet. He was a brilliant general but had a bad habit of getting too close to the action for a look. The day before his great battle at Poltava with Russian Czar Peter the Great, Charles was wounded, and had to direct the battle from a stretcher. He lost.

1785- French artist Jean Baptiste Greuze was well known for making popular paintings of simple scenes like Young Girl Weeping For Her Dead Bird. This day he went to the Paris police prefect and accused his wife Gabriele Babuti of “Persistently receiving lovers into his home over his protests, stealing large sums of his money, and trying to beat his head in with a chamber pot.” The couple was granted a legal separation.

1793- Last July when the French Revolutionary Convention heard of the assassination of their great radical leader Jean Paul Marat one delegate called out “David ! We Need You!” This day Jacques David unveiled his painting The Death of Marat for the first time.

1816- Indiana admitted to the union.

1882- The Bijou Theater in Boston presented Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe in the first show completely illuminated by electric light bulbs.

1926- Josephine Baker performed her banana dance in Amsterdam.

1927- THE LADY VANISHES- 35 year old mystery writer Agatha Christie caused a mystery herself when she disappeared, leaving her car abandoned by a local brook. The search for the body sensationalized the London press, even knocking the death of the last great impressionist master Eduard Monet off the front page. Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle employed the first use of a police psychic. Finally after a week Mrs Christie turned up at a health spa in Yorkshire. She was depressed when she earned her husband Sir Archibald Christie of the Guards was having an affair with a younger lady. She ran off and registered in the hotel using her younger rivals name as her alias- Mrs Neal.

1929- Frenchman Charles Cros patented a searchlight he declared he would use to signal civilizations on Mars and Venus. Nobody's returned the call yet.

1936- In a dramatic speech broadcast on radio British King Edward VIII abdicated his throne to be with "The Woman I Love" - to marry the American divorcee' Wallace Simpson. He had been king of the British Empire for less than a year. His brother George became George VI, the father of the present Elizabeth II. Edward and Wallace later became Duke and Duchess of Windsor and lived outside of England for the rest of their lives.
The Nazis had planned after they had conquered England to put Edward back on the throne as a puppet. Edward Windsor never quite dismissed the rumors that he secretly sympathized with Nazi ideology. While governor of Bermuda they had many parties and dinners with socialites who were known Nazi agents.

1941- Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy declared war on the United States, honoring their Tripartite axis pact with Japan. Hermann Goering protested to Hitler that the Japanese had so far not been of any help to them, and they refused to declare war on Russia. Why invite another mighty foe? Hitler sniffed:’ The Americans will be our enemies eventually, why wait?”

1941- The hopelessly isolated little group of Marines on Wake Island repulsed a Japanese naval task force with heavy casualties. They played possum until the invasion fleet got in very close then hammered them with 16 inch naval shore batteries. To a U.S. still reeling from the shock of the Pearl Harbor attack, the nation was encouraged by the gutsy broadcast from tiny Wake: "Send us more Japs!"

1941- Gone With The Wind producer David Selznick pitched a movie version of Hitler’s book Mein Kampf to be directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written by Ben Hecht. Mercifully for moviegoers, the idea was soon dropped.

1946- UNICEF formed.

1950-THE CHOISIN FEW- During the Korean War the last remnants of the US First Marine Division completed their terrible retreat from the Chosin Resevoir. In subzero conditions they fought their way out of 5 encircling Red Chinese armies and brought out all of their wounded. Col. Chesty Puller, a veteran of Guadalcanal, exhorted his men “Remember you are First Marines, and all the Commies in Hell can’t stop you!”

1951- Yankee slugger Joe DiMaggio announced his retirement from baseball.

1957- Rock and Roll singer Jerry Lee Lewis secretly married his 13 year old cousin Myra Gail Brown, while still married to his second wife, who he divorced when the press broke the story the following April. The incident ruined his career. Great Balls of Fire!

1961- The first contingent of U.S. military advisers arrived in Vietnam.

1962- SAVE THE VILLAGE! Robert Moses was the famous engineer who crisscrossed New York City with bridges and highways. But many felt the imperious city-planner destroyed whole neighborhoods with little compassion for the inhabitants. Finally he set his sites on a roadway cutting right across Manhattan at Hudson Street to the Holland Tunnel, which would destroy historic Greenwich Village-houses once inhabited by Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Barret-Browning, Jacques Kerouac and Mark Twain. But Robert Moses plans were thwarted by an odd alliance of Beatniks, Little Italy Mafia dons, Chinatown merchants and various Village Bohemians lead by author Jane Jacobs. This day after successfully pleading their case the Mayor and the NY City Board of Estimate rejected Moses plan. The Village today remains a gloriously confused muddle of quaint streets.

1964- Soul music star Sam Cooke was shot to death in an argument with a lady who ran an L.A. motel he had brought his girlfriend to.

1967- The Concorde SST passenger plane is unveiled in Toulouse. It was a joint venture between England and France. The American SST project was scrapped as too expensive.

1970- Walt Disney's the 'Aristocats' premiered.

1978- THE LUFTHANSA HEIST.- Some small time Brooklyn Mafiosi slipped into the Lufthansa cargo terminal at Kennedy Airport and stole $8 million in unmarked bills and jewelry, most from European money exchange booths. As the FBI moved in on the gang its members tended to wind up dead, thirteen bodies in all. The money was never recovered. The reputed mastermind, Jimmy the Gent Burke, died in prison on an unrelated murder charge in 1991. The feds were still chasing ringleaders as late as 2015. The incident was dramatized in the Martin Scorcese film “Goodfellas”.

1985- A Sacramento computer rental store owner named Hugh Scrutton became the first to get a mail bomb from the Unibomber. MIT advanced mathematics major Ted Kusczynski slowly became mentally unbalanced and blamed rampant technology for ruining the world. His campaign of mailing explosives terrorized the academic world for a decade, until he was turned in by his own brother.

1997-150 nations sign the Kyoto Protocol, pledging to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but not the United States or China, the worlds two largest polluters.

2008- Bernie Madoff was arrested for stock fraud. For years he was known as an A-list Wall St investor. In reality, he ran the largest Ponzi-scheme fraud in history. Madoff cheated clients out of $180 BILLION, more than the GNP of many nations. Hundreds of investors as diverse as Steven Speilberg, Elliot Spitzer, Eli Weizel, The Shoah Foundation and his own synagogue got burned. Madoff’s son Mark committed suicide and his family members changed their names.

2009- Disney’s animated Princess and the Frog.
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Yesterday’s Question: What does it mean to call something a Doozy?

Answer: It came from the 1920s high-priced luxury car the Duesenberg. It was considered the ultimate in luxury and quality, so calling something a doozy meant it was very special and top grade.


Dec 10 , 2017
December 10th, 2017

Question: What does it mean to call something a Doozie?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Who were the opponents in the Peloponnesian War?
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History for 12/10/2017
Birthdays: English King Edward VII “Bertie”, Emile Dickinson, Ada Lovelace, E. H. Shepard the illustrator of Winnie the Pooh. Chet Huntley, Morton Gould, Victor McLaughlin, Dan Blocker, Tommy Kirk, Fionnula Flanagan, Kenneth Branaugh is 57, Dorothy Lamour, Susan Dey is 65, Michael Clarke Duncan

Happy World Freedom Day.

969AD- Byzantine Emperor Nicephorous II Phocas had no better administrator than John Tzimisces. But John was also the lover of Nicephorous’s wife Empress Theophano. This day she had Nicephorous assassinated. Theophano had earlier poisoned her own father-in-law Emperor Romanus II to help Nicephorous seize the throne. But now she was bored with him. To please the angry Greek Patriarch, John Tzmisces exiled Theophano to a convent and reigned as a pretty good emperor. But then he too was poisoned, by Basil II the Bulgar Slayer. Believe it or not, this was a happy period in Byzantine history.

1041- Byzantine Michael IV the Paphlagonian died. Before his death he had his sickbed moved to the Monastery of Saint Demetrios and changed his golden robes for monks rags.

1198-The death of the Moorish philosopher Averroes.

1508- Pope Julius II formed a grand alliance to crush the Republic of Venice. Called the League of Cambrai, the Vatican, France, The German Emperor, Spain and Naples all pledged to destroy the Most Surene Republic. The Venetians fought back valiantly, noblewomen patriotically pawning their jewels to pay the troops. After being attacked on all sides for 4 years, the League of Cambrai finally broke up when Pope Julius decided he’s rather have fellow Italians for neighbors rather than foreigners after all. The Republic of Venice survived, but her status as a world power was broken. She lapsed into an elegant, pleasure-loving decline until absorbed into Italy by Napoleon in 1796.

1513- Former Florentine politician Niccolo Machiavelli was living in a small town after being thrown out of power. He was even twisted a bit on a torture rack. Still missing his life in power, he declared today to a friend he was writing a book on political theory to present to the Medici duke of Florence. He hoped by doing so he’d be called back to office. It didn’t get him a job, but his book THE PRINCE became one of the great works of political philosophy, the handbook of unscrupulous politicians everywhere.

1518- Ulrich Zwingli was chosen to be the Gross Munster or chief vicar of the Swiss city of Zurich. Zwingli became a top leader of the Protestant Reformation like Martin Luther and John Calvin.

1520- Protestant reformer Martin Luther shows the Pope what he thinks of his Bull of Excommunication on him by burning it in public. Pope Leo’s command Exsurge Domine went up in smoke along with the Canons of Roman Church Law to the cheers of students.

1577- The Union of Brussels- The 17 provinces of the Netherlands and Belgium formalize their union. This is why Holland is also known as the United Provinces.

1607- Captain John Smith left the Jamestown camp with two men to find food. They were captured by the Indians who killed the other men and dragged Smith before chief Powhatan. He ordered Smith’s head to be placed on a flat stone and bashed in with a war club. But Powhatan’s favorite daughter Pocahontas threw herself over Smith and protected him. Smith could speak no Algonquin and the Indians no English and neither could sing any Broadway tunes. Was this an execution prevented or a ritual of admission into the tribe? Powhatan was known to extend his rule through dynastic alliances with other tribal leaders, and he was well aware of the white strangers, wiping out a Spanish attempt to land on his beach in 1600. Maybe this was his way of wanting to bring the white mans powers to his side. No one knows for sure. Smith didn’t write of this incident until back in England 14 years later.

1641- King Charles I issued a Royal Declaration ordering all Britons to conform to the practices of the Church of England, or else! This Declaration was King Charles’ defiant answer to a list of demands called the Great Remonstrance given him ten days earlier that accused him of debasing the Protestant faith. This was a poke at all the Puritans, Pilgrims, Levellers, Anabaptists and Roundheads who were clamoring that the Anglican Church had gotten too Catholic-looking in it's rituals.
Indeed at the insistence of monarchs since Elizabeth the reformed English service had re-introduced crucifixes, communion plate and surplice aprons for the priests. The declaration was one more provocation building the conflict that would soon break out as the English Civil War. When violence broke out the Puritans dragged out the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Laud and chopped his head off. Laud was seen as the instigator of this declaration and the Kings policy on religion and was branded as Laudism.

1672- New York colonies Royal Governor Sir Thomas Lovelace announced the establishment of a regular monthly mail delivery between New York and Boston.

1800- Congress debated a bill to build a mausoleum for George Washington to be placed in the center of the Congress. But Martha Washington cut off such efforts by citing George’s specific instructions that his remains not be turned into some kind of regal national shrine. He insisted on and still sleeps in his simple family tomb at Mt. Vernon.

1710-Battle of Villaviciosa- Phillip V of Spain defeats an Anglo-Portuguese invasion and assures the throne for the Bourbon family. His descendant is present king Juan Carlos.

1817- Mississippi statehood.

1839- THE GREAT GAME- A large British army left India to invade Afghanistan. The 15,000 troops carried with them 38,000 camp followers, including camels laden with raspberry jam, cigars, cricket bats and fox hunting dogs. One British officer alone brought sixty servants. The British claimed they were invading to contain Russian expansionism. The duel between Britain and Russia for the Indian Northwest that lasted until 1947 was nicknamed The Great Game. By 1841 this army would all die in the terrible Retreat from Kabul and its sole survivor would be a doctor who got lost. The British officer who coined the term the Great Game was beheaded by the Emir of Bokhara and thrown into a pit of reptiles.

1864- Sherman’s army reached the sea at the Georgia coast near Savannah.

1877- Siege of Plevna ends. Russia and Austria force Turkey to grant independence to Serbia and Bosnia. Austria’s later efforts to swallow up Bosnia became the issue that sparked the Great War.

1869- Wyoming Territory grants women the vote, the nation follows 58 years later (California in 1911).

1898- Spain and the U.S. make peace ending the Spanish American War. Secretary of State John Hay who was once Abe Lincoln’s secretary called it “A Splendid Little War.” Critics Mark Twain and Ambrose Bierce called it the Yanko-Spanko War. The United States became a global power player with colonies in Puerto Rico, Guam, Samoa, Midway, Wake, and the Philippines.
The Philippine’s, who were fighting for independence under their leaders like Aquinaldo, suddenly discover they were now American property. The U.S. declared they fought for their freedom from Spain yet never officially recognized their national independence movements. The Philippines gained its full independence in 1946 and the last American base Subic Bay wasn’t removed until the 1990s.

1899- Battle of Magersfontein (more Boer-Woer). Our post-Apartheid opinion of white South Africans was not very high, but in 1899 most of Europe and America sympathized with their fight against the awesome might of the British Empire. The Queen of Holland begged the German Kaiser to help them (the Boers were ethnically Dutch-German). Crowds in Paris and Brussels would jeer and boo at the visiting Prince of Wales with the cry "Vive les Boers!"

1901- The First Nobel Prize is given. Alfred Nobel made millions by inventing dynamite and nitro-glycerine. But as much as his discoveries were used for constructive purposes they also made it possible for armies to blow each other up much more efficiently. He felt guilty and after an accident with the stuff killed his own brother. He resolved to create something positive from his fortune. Hence the Nobel Prize. Nobel died on Dec 10th 1896 and the awards are given each year on the anniversary. President Teddy Roosevelt won the first Peace Prize in 1910 for mediating an end to the Russo-Japanese War. President Obama was the third U.S. President to receive the Peace Prize.

1905- O. Henry’s short story “ A gift from the Magi” first published.

1915- President Woodrow Wilson married Edith Bolling Galt in a ceremony in the White House.

1938- To make the film "Gone With the Wind" Producer David Selznick and director Victor Fleming shot the massive "Burning of Atlanta" in Culver City, California. The sequence was storyboarded and designed by William Cameron-Menzies, who designed the sets for Intolerance for D.W. Griffith. Selznick used the opportunity to clean the studios backlot storage, destroying sets from King Kong, Little Lord Fauntelroy and Last of the Mohicans in the inferno. They shot the scenes with three Rhett Butler stand-ins.

1941-The Hollywood Victory Committee formed. Top Hollywood agents like Abe Lastfogel, Lou Wasserman and Myron Selznick (David's brother) start signing up movie stars for bond drives and touring shows for the troops.
The committee later created the Hollywood Canteen, a nightclub for servicemen on Ivar near Sunset. A soldier or sailor could come in for a free meal served by Tyrone Power or Red Skelton and have a dance with celebrities like Rita Hayworth or Dina Shore.
One animation painter who worked in the kitchen told me the only celebrity who would stay until closing, even mopping and washing coffee cups was Marlene Deitrich.

1941-Japanese planes sink the battleships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse in just 90 minutes. The prized British Battleships had participated in the sinking of the German dreadnought Bismarck in the Atlantic a year earlier but had been transferred to the Pacific to boost the defenses of Singapore. The next day a lone Japanese plane dropped a wreath at the site of the sinking in tribute to the 884 British sailors who died there.

1941- A Japanese Army of 4,000 under General Homma landed on the Philippine Islands at Luzon and Vigan while a third force overran the U.S. outpost on Guam.

1941- The New York Metropolitan Opera announced that in light of the Pearl Harbor attack they were suspending any further performances of Madame Butterfly for the duration. Other opera companies also stopped doing Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado.

1942- OPERATION WINTERSTORM- General Von Manstein was ordered by Hitler to swing his panzers north and attempt to break through the Russian forces encircling the trapped German 6th Army at Stalingrad. But Von Manstein’s rescue mission was halted by Russian resistance and wintery conditions just 30 miles short of their goal. The 6th Army surrendered in February.

1948- The United Nations adopts Article XIX, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The committee, spending months drafting the resolution, was chaired by the Eleanor Roosevelt. By this act she debuted not just as a former first lady and widow of FDR but as a stateswoman and diplomat in her own right.

1949- After being defeated by Mao zse Tung’s Communist PLA, Kuomintang Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek flew to Taiwan. Two and a half million ethnic Han Chinese evacuated to the island of Formosa-Taiwan, which continues today to call itself the ROC- The Republic of China. This ended the Chinese Civil War. Since 1924 China suffered 2 million deaths in it’s first civil war, 20 million in the Japanese invasion and World War II, and 5 million more killed in the final civil war.

1966- The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations” hit #1 in pop charts.

1967- R&B star Otis Redding and four of his band the Bar Kays were killed in a small plane crash near Madison Wisconsin. He was 26. Redding had recorded his hit “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” just three days earlier.

1974- Powerful Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Congressman Wilbur Mills resigned in disgrace after being busted by the DC police for getting drunk with a stripper named Fannie Fox and taking her for a 2:00 AM skinny dip in the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial. Fannie was later christened the “Tidal Basin Bombshell.”

1994- The Unabomber sent an explosive device that killed Thomas J. Mosser, an advertising executive at Young & Rubicam who handled the public relations spin for Exxon after the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster.

2013- Richard Williams unfinished epic animated film the Thief and the Cobbler received its premiere at the Motion Picture Academy in Beverly Hills. It was begun 40 years earlier in 1972 and never completed.
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Yesterday’s Question: Who were the opponents in the Peloponnesian War?

Answer: Athens vs. Sparta.


Dec 9, 2017
December 9th, 2017

Question: Who were the opponents in the Peloponnesian War?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: The song The British Grenadier began “ Some Speak of Alex-ander, and some of Hercules; Of Hec-tor and Lysander, and other heroes as These..” We all know Alexander and Hercules, So who was this Lysander?
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History for 12/9/2017
Birthdays: Sappho, John Milton, Jean De Brunhoff, Emile Waldteufel the composer of the Skaters Waltz, Admiral Grace Hopper 1906 who wrote the earliest computer language, Elzie Segar the creator of Popeye, Hermoinie Gingold, Dalton Trumbo, John Cassavettes, Broderick Crawford, Dick Butkus, Red Foxx, Cesar Franck, John Malkovich is 64, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Buck Henry, Felicity Huffman, Mario Cantone, Judy Dench is 83, Kirk Douglas-born Issur Danielevitch is 101!

536- The legions of Byzantine General Belisarius captured Rome from the Ostrogoths.
This was part of Emperor Justinians’ unsuccessful plan to win back the western half of the old Roman Empire.

1658- Dutch explorers first land at the Indian harbor of Quilon, beginning the European
interference in India that would last until 1947.

1783- First executions began at England’s Newgate Prison, replacing the traditional
public hanging, drawing, quartering, branding, beheading place of Tyburn Hill- approximately where London’s Marble Arch is today.

1803- Congress passed the Twelfth Amendment calling for the President and Vice President to be of the same party and defining the order of succession: President-Vice President, Secretary of State. Speaker of the House, Senate Leader Pro-Tem. Before this the system was the Vice President was the loser of the presidential election, thus the people’s second choice. But trying to govern with your political enemy standing next to you proved clumsy. In 1945 this system was amended again by the 22nd Amendment, to exclude the Secretary of State, who is not an elected official.

1824- Battle of Ayacucho- Simon Bolivar defeated the last Spanish Army in the Americas.

1825- THE LATIN AMERICAN BUBBLE- The London Stock Exchange crashed over rampant stock speculation in the potential wealth in the new emerging Latin American republics. Financier Nathan Rothschild became a national figure when he lent the Bank of England millions to stay solvent. Thanks to new communications and international investment for the first time the London panic reached across national borders and caused the U.S. Stock Exchange and the Paris Bourse to also crash. This kind of speculation
in futures caused the South Sea Bubble in France and the Tulip craze a century earlier.
We’ve seen it in our own times with global credit crash of 2008.

1835- First battle of San Antonio de Bexar. Angry Texas citizens forced Mexican
General Cos to abandon a post in an old mission called the Alamo and give up a store
of valuable cannon. This was the inciting incident that provoked President Santa
Anna into attacking San Antonio the following Spring.

1840- Dr. David Livingstone set sail for Africa to do missionary work. He met Stanley
in 1871.

1854- Albert Tennyson's poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade" published.

1861- The first ever government oversight committee formed. The Joint Congressional
Committee on the Conduct of the War. It was created because Congressmen were afraid
President Lincoln was a naïve hillbilly lawyer who was losing the Civil War. All they succeeded in doing was give Lincoln more stress and at one point they even accused First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln of being a Confederate spy.

1889- The Chicago Auditorium dedicated. The landmark building’s architect Louis
Sullivan had hired a new assistant to help with the drawings-Frank Lloyd Wright.

1899- BLACK WEEK-Battle of Stormberg Junction. A series of small battles in which
British forces were defeated by Boer guerrillas in South Africa.
The commanding British general Sir Redvers Buller, was considered so slow moving
that one wag suggested they periodically hold a mirror up to his nostrils to check
for signs of life. He was later replaced with the more energetic Lord Roberts of
Kandahar.-“Ol’ Bobs”.

1905- Richard Strauss’s opera Salome premiered in Dresden. The lead role demands
a soprano with big Wagnerian lungs but also a flat stomach to do the strip tease
the Dance of the Seven Veils. When the opera debuted in New York old millionaires
like J.P. Morgan were shocked at its’ blatant sexuality. They threatened to cut
off funding until Sal and her skimpy veils was banished from the schedule.

1907- the first Christmas Seals go on sale to fight tuberculosis.

1909- Mary Harris a.k.a. Mother Jones speaks at the Thalia Theater in support of
the "The Strike of the 20,000" Immigrant seamstresses in New York's garment
district. "Every strike I have ever been in has been won by women !"

1917- During World War I, Field Marshal Allenby and the British army entered Jerusalem while Lawrence of Arabia and the Arab forces headed for Damascus. To promote harmony between Arabs and Jews, Allenby ordered the building a huge YMCA in the Old City. The people that schvitz together….

1936- The first cookery show appeared on British television.

1937- In the path of advancing Japanese armies, Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai
Shek and his government abandoned the capitol Nanking and moved to Chunking.

1946- Damon Runyon died, the writer whose characters the musical "Guys and
Dolls' are based. His philosophy: "All life is six to five against."

1948-Actor Ossie Davis married actress Ruby Dee.

1960- Coronation Street premiered on British ITV.

1964-John Coltrane recorded his landmark jazz album “The Love Supreme”. Late on
foggy nights Trane liked to take his saxophone out onto the middle of San Francisco’s
Golden Gate Bridge and practice by himself.

1965- Bill Melendez's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" the first half hour animated t.v. special featuring the music of Vince Guaraldi. Producer Lee Mendelson had heard Guaraldi's jazz combo perform in San Francisco. He never scored a
film before:" How many yards of music do you want?" A Charlie Brown Christmas has run every year for 52 years.

1967- At a Doors concert lead singer Jim Morrison was sprayed with mace and arrested
by Miami police for “lewd behavior” on stage, but probably more for referring to
the cops as pigs.

1967- Nicholas Ceaucescu became dictator of Communist Romania.

1992-Britains Prime Minister John Major announced the separation of Prince Charles
and Diana of Wales.

1994- Disney Animators in California move into their new Animation building designed
by Robert Stern.

1994- The Surgeon-General of the United States, Dr Jocelyn Elders, was forced to
step down after her statements that sex education in primary schools include masturbation
outraged many conservatives.

2004- Mia Hamm and the stars of the Women’s National Soccer Team played their last
game, defeating Mexico 5-0. Mia Hamm became a role model of women’s sports in the
US.

2008- Rod Blagojevich the Governor of Illinois was arrested for corruption, and having a bad hair cut.

2340- Mr Worf, the Klingon officer of Star Trek Next Generation was born.
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Yesterday’s Question: The song The British Grenadier began “ Some Speak of Alex-ander, and some of Hercules; Of Hec-tor and Lysander, and other heroes as These..” We all know Alexander and Hercules, So who was this Lysander?

Answer. Lysander was the general of Sparta who destroyed Athenian power at Aegospotamoi in 410BC.


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