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June 30, 2020
June 30th, 2020

Quiz: Where is the area known in the ancient world as The Fertile Crescent”?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What is the difference between a chemist and an alchemist?
History for 6/30/2020
Birthdays: Buddy Rich, Lena Horne, Czeslaw Milosz, Susan Hayward, Deanna Durbin, Howard Hawks, Anthony Mann, William Goldman, Martin Landau, Essa-Pekka Salonen, David Alan Grier, Vincent D’Onofrio, Monica Potter, Mike Tyson is 54, Michael Phelps, Rupert Graves is 57

In the Catholic calendar, this is the Feast Day of the First Martyrs of Rome, Saint Theobald and Saint Basilides

1520- " La Noche Triste- THE NIGHT OF SORROWS". At the Aztec capitol city, Tenochtitlan, the Aztecs finally realized that Cortez and his conquistadors were not gods, and drove them from their city with great slaughter. Almost half the conquistadors died on this one night. Some Spaniards attempted to escape by diving into the lake Texcoco and swimming, but were dragged down by the weight of their stolen gold and drowned.

Cortez made his hostage the Emperor Montezuma go out to quiet the multitudes, but the crowd killed him with a shower of rocks. During the fighting, captured Spaniards were dragged up the steps of the great pyramid of Huitzilopochtli and sacrificed while their comrades could only watch in horror. The temple towered over the city so everyone could watch. Cortez would regroup his forces and with the aid of allied Indian tribes and a terrible smallpox epidemic eventually fight his way back into the city.

1559- King Henry II of France was warned by a weirdo named Nostradamus, to beware of lances. Henry laughed it off because nobody seriously fought that way anymore. However, to celebrate a dynastic marriage of his son to Mary Queen of Scots, part of the Rue Saint Antoine in Paris was closed off for an old fashioned joust with blunt lances– kind of a "Medieval Times" party.
Forty-year old King Henry jousted with the Dukes of Guise and Savoy and knocked them down. He complained they were just letting him win, so he ordered his Scottish body guard Montgomery to lay-on for real. In a freak accident, Montgomery’s lance splintered and shot through the king’s gold helmet visor and into his brain, killing him instantly.
Nostradamus was quickly put on the Queen’s payroll.

1632- Caecilius Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, was awarded proprietorship of a new English colony forming north of Virginia named Mary’s land. The colony’s charter left open the issue of the official sanctioned church, so Baltimore could make it a haven for his fellow Roman Catholics.

1643- In Paris, the son of an upholsterer named Jean Coquelin signed a contract to establish the Ilustre Theatre. Jean also took on a stage name- Moliere .

1688- Several English Anglican Bishops had defied the decrees of King James II because he was openly Catholic. James II put the clerics on trial for treason, but this day no court would convict them. Sensing the spirit of the people was rising against the King several top Protestant Dukes sent covert letters to James’ son-in-law in Holland William of Orange inviting him to invade England and seize the throne.

1702- The leaders of the European Grand Coalition meet at the Hague to decide how to make war on Louis XIV of France over the Spanish Succession. The problem with a coalition is everyone wants to be in charge. The Dutch volunteered several generals as did the King of Prussia, the Elector of Baden and the Elector of Hesse. Queen Anne of England suggested her dim-bulb husband the Prince of Denmark be the commander.
While all this bickering went on, the real Captain General, John Churchill the Duke of Marlborough, slipped away to the army camp and Nijmegen and took command. After the major victories of Blenheim and Ramilies they finally let him be in charge. But his strategies had to be submitted to an international committee for approval, and he had to submit something like a term paper every spring with a dozen other strategists to decide how to fight the war!

1832- The Great Pierce Island Rendezvous- In the Old West, the end of June marked the one time of the year the solitary Mountain Men would come down out of the Rockies and meet together. At the rendezvous they contacted fur company representatives to turn in their furs and pelts for gunpowder, blankets, trade trinkets and whiskey. There were several rendezvous sites including Bent's Fort and Papoagia but Pierce Island was one of the more celebrated.

1837- England discontinued use of the Pillory as public punishment.

1837- The steamboat St. Petersburg arrived at Ft. Union to give the Indians of North Dakota blankets, knives and smallpox. The resultant plague all but wiped out the Assiniboine’s, Sans Arcs, Mandans and Blackfeet.

1841- The never-explained day it rained fish over Boston.

1856- Charles Dickens does his first public reading from his works in London.

1859- Daredevil Emile Blondin crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope. The stunt was duplicated by Nick Wallenda in Spring 2014.

1864- Abraham Lincoln signed a bill protecting the Yosemite Valley in California as a natural preserve or “park” from developers and mining companies.

1865 – All 8 Booth conspirators in the assassination of Lincoln were found guilty.

1870- The dictator of the Dominican Republic offered to sell his entire nation to the United States. President Ulysses Grant thought it would be a great territory to add to the republic. After all, hadn’t they just established a naval base at Pearl Harbor in the kingdom of Hawaii and Seward had pushed through buying all that useless ice up in Alaska?
Grant also had a plan that if American blacks hated being abused in the South they could move to this island. Maybe the threat of their leaving and removing the labor force would force Southern whites to treat them better. Many expansionists of the time also felt Cuba would make a great state. But the post Civil War Congress was not in a buying mood. This day they voted to block funds to buy the Caribbean country.

1882- Charles Guiteau, assassin of President Garfield and major league fruitcake, was hanged. He had acted as his own lawyer on a defense that God had ordered him to kill the president. One prison guard hated Guiteau so much he took a shot at him but missed, prompting a Congressman to order an investigation of the marksmanship of government officers. Tickets to the execution went for as much as $300 each. Guiteau’s last words as the gallows trapdoor dropped was "Glory Hallelujah!"

1893- PRESIDENTIAL COVERT OPERATION- Shortly after becoming President Grover Cleveland developed a cancer on his upper jaw. Without telling anyone in the government, or even his own Vice President, Cleveland and his family slipped off to New York and went on board the yacht of millionaire Elias Benedict. A makeshift operating room has rigged up inside with the table secured to the mainmast. The excuse for the trip was a relaxing cruise with a rich friend. As the ship bobbed in New York Harbor doctors removed part of Cleveland’s upper jaw and placed a rubber plate in it’s place. The Secretary of State and First Lady completed the charade by sunning themselves on deck. Cleveland never had cancer again and died of old age. The event was kept such a secret few today know it even happened.

1894 - London Tower Bridge opened.

1896 - W S Hardaway patented the electric stove.

1908-A mysterious explosion occurred in remote Tunguska Siberia, with the estimated strength of several atom bombs. No meteorite remains was ever discovered. Soil at the epicenter had been turned to glass. It was speculated as an ice comet impact or a UFO crash. But it has never been completely explained.

1913-The Second Balkan War began when Greece, Serbia, Romania and Turkey beat up on Bulgaria.

1914 – A young English trained Indian lawyer named Mohandas K. Ghandi was arrested for the first time, trying to win equal rights for non-European citizens in South Africa. Years later in India he would earned the name the Mahatma, or the Great Soul.

1933- A group of actors met in secret at Frank (the Wizard of Oz) Morgan’s house, and form the Screen Actors Guild. The secrecy was because studios threatened to blacklist anyone who so much as breathed the word union. Among the founding members that night are James Cagney, Groucho Marx, Joan Crawford, Franchot Tone, Frederic March, Robert Montgomery and Boris Karloff.

1934-"NIGHT OF THE LONG KNIVES"- Chancellor Adolf Hitler arrested his own stormtroopers during their convention and had them all shot. Hitler was placating the top industrial and military powers to consolidate his hold on Germany. The SA or Brownshirts led by Ernst Roehm were mostly street thugs and convicts who expected to get top jobs in the army when the Nazi's came to power. The Prussian officer corps didn't think this was a hot idea. In exchange for their loyalty Hitler wasn't fussed about having to liquidate his old friends. Ernst Roehm insisted that if he was to be killed, he wanted Adolf himself to pull the trigger. Instead, Hitler sent several Gestapo officers who ended Roehm’s life in a fusillade of pistol shots. The new unit took over the SA’s duties called the SS, or blackshirts, under former chicken farmer Heinrich Himmler.

1936- Margaret Mitchell's bestseller “Gone With the Wind" first published.

1936- the 40 hour work week was made a federal law.

1937- Congress voted to shut down the Federal Theater Program, the division of the government funded WPA that produced plays for Depression wracked poor people. The FTP produced cutting edge works of Orson Welles, Clifford Odets and Eugene O’Neill and at it’s height reached 25 million people. But conservative senators thought it had been taken over by lefties. Theater actors working in L.A. on a hit production of Pinocchio held a mock funeral for the puppet. Over it’s casket was the headstone FTP: Born 1934, Killed by an Act of Congress, June 30th 1937.

1940- Female Cartoonist Dale Messick takes over the Brenda Star comic strip and adds the trademark sparkles.

1948- Bell Laboratories announced the Transistor, a possible substitute for radio-vacuum tubes. So early computers can shrink from the size of a building to the size of a bus. In 1980 the silicon chip reduced the same computing power to the size of your fingernail.

1950- The Goofy short Motor Mania released.

1953- The first Chevy Corvette rolled off the assembly line. Only three thousand were made that first year, all white with red interior, selling for $3,500.

1971 - WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY was released. Directed by Mel Stuart, adapted from the 1964 novel CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY by Roald Dahl (who wrote the screenplay) and starring Gene Wilder.

1973- The Supreme Court orders President Nixon to yield the 'Pentagon Papers' to lawyers of Daniel Ellsberg. Nixon was so upset about these papers that in one taped meeting he actually considered a proposal from G. Gordon Liddy, that they firebomb the Brookings Institute where the papers were being kept. Most of the Supreme Court were Nixon appointees.

1975- Just 4 days after divorcing Sonny Bono, Cher married rocker Gregg Allman.

1996 - Margaux Hemingway, considered the first modern Supermodel, committed suicide at 41. Her grandfather Ernest Hemingway committed suicide, and his father before him.

1989- Spike Lee’s movie Do The Right Thing opened.

1997- Britain gave the colony of Hong Kong back to China upon the completion of the 99 year lease settled by the Second Treaty of Chuen Pee in 1898. While much was being made of a democratic state being turned over to a totalitarian regime, Hong Kong only had direct elections of its own officials for six years, since 1991.

2014- The rogue state of Islamist rebels called ISIS, ISIL, or DAESH, forming in between Iraq, Syria and Turkey declared their leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi as their Caliph, defender of the faithful. There had not been a caliph since Turkish President Kemal Ataturk abolished the office in 1920. Al Baghdadi died in a Delta Force raid in 2019.
Yesterday’s Quiz: What is the difference between a chemist and an alchemist?

Answer: The difference between alchemy and modern chemistry is alchemy is based on a mystic, supernatural view of reality, whereas chemistry assumes reality is basically natural. A chemist works with defined materials to achieve empirical results, while alchemy aimed for the fantastic, with a bit of magic and philosophy thrown in.

June 29, 2020
June 29th, 2020

Quiz: What is the difference between a chemist and an alchemist?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: When we turn on our computer or phone to go on the internet, why is that called going “on-line”?
History for 6/29/2020
Birthdays: Bernard Hermann, Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle, Slim Pickens, Nelson Eddy, Gary Busey, John Hench, Little Eva, Harmon Killabrew, Antoine de Saint Exupery, Anna Sophie-Mutter, Leroy Anderson, Maria Conchita Alonso, Robert Evans, Matthew Weiner, Brett McKenzie, Roger Allers, Ray Harryhausen

65 AD- Feasts of Saints Peter and Paul. Supposed to be the date they were executed by order of Nero. Paul was beheaded in the Mamertine prison. He had the right to die quickly because he had honorary Roman citizenship. Peter was taken to Vatican Hill to be crucified. When he expressed joy that he would die as Jesus had, the Roman guard thought of a variation, and crucified him upside down.
When later Roman Emperor Commodus learned the Christian sect liked Vatican hill because of that, he had his favorite racing horse buried there. When told “ The Christians venerate that ground.” Commodus replied, “Well, I really liked that horse….”

1540- When Henry VIII needed some dirty work done, his unscrupulous chancellor Sir Thomas Cromwell was there to do it for him. Behead a wife, behead a Saint, no problem sire. This day Cromwell’s turn came and he went to the block. The official charge was Heresy. Cromwell could probably appreciate the silliness of the charge. The king was merely tired of him, embarrassed by the botched marriage to Anne of Cleves and wanted him out of the way. His great nephew Oliver Cromwell disliked being reminded he was distantly related to that royal kissass Sir Thomas Cromwell.

1762- Catherine the Great overthrew her husband Czar Peter III in a palace coup. When Catherine received word that Peter intended to depose her to marry his mistress she decided to strike first. Peter was mentally ill, so few believe he managed to make a child Her husband the Czar –Autocrat preferred playing with his toy soldiers in bed. But in those days if a marriage didn’t produced children it was assumed the woman was at fault. Catherine had a son the Czarevich Paul.
So the remainder of the Romanoff dynasty may well be the spawn of Count Orloff in the Guards, Polish Prince Poniatowski or any one of a number of other lovers. The Russian troops worshipped their “little mother” because her first order after the coup was to cancel Peter’s planned war with Denmark, which the men thought pointless. Czar Peter was beaten and strangled, and Czarina Catharine became one of Russia’s great rulers.

1776- This day outside New York Harbor near Sandy Hook New Jersey, an immense British fleet was sighted. 500 ships bringing 32,000 redcoat troops and supplies 3,000 miles. It was led by the Howe brothers- General Lord William Howe and Admiral Richard Howe, “Black Dick”. One American soldier wrote:” There must be no one left in London, they are all here.”
Simultaneous task forces were headed for the Carolinas, and the mouth of the Chesapeake to menace Philadelphia. The British regulars were augmented by regiments of Hessian German mercenaries, toughened in the schools of Frederick the Great, reputedly the finest soldiers in the world. George Washington with his little army of amateur farmers were going to face the largest amphibious invasion until D-Day.

1776- THE BATTLE OF SULLIVAN’S ISLE. At the same time, Colonial Minutemen repulsed another English seaborne attack, this one at Charleston, South Carolina. A rebel song of the time poked fun at the British commander, Sir Peter Parker's Lament :

" With Much Labor and Toil
Unto Sullivan's Isle
Came I like Falstaff or Pistol.
But the Yankees ('Od rot'em)
I could not get at 'em
And they terribly mauled my poor Bristol! (-HMS Bristol)

But My Lords do not fear
For before the next year,
('Though a small island could fret us)
The continent whole
We shall take by my soul,
If the cowardly Yankees will let us!"

1776- Happy Birthday San Francisco! Don Juan Bautista De Anza brought 247 colonists to the tip of a rocky promontory in a huge foggy natural harbor and built a Presidio, a fort. When a monk came six months later to build a mission, he called it San Francisco de Asiacutes. The nearby village was called Yerba Buena for all the good herbs growing in the area. Juan de Anza explored and mapped most of the route from Old Mexico through Northern California but is not as well known to Americans as Fra Junipero Serra, or the Anglo explorers John Freemont, and Kit Carson.

1799- The little Kingdom of Naples had trouble deciding who's side it was on during the Napoleonic Wars. It was very pro-British until a French army showed up, when they drove out the king and became pro-French. The British came back with a battle fleet and put their king back on his throne. The Neopolitan King Ferdinand VII “Big Nose" told his British friends:" treat my Naples like it was a rebellious Irish village ".

On this day the commander of the Neapolitan Navy, Admiral Carracciolo, who had changed sides several times, was captured and brought before Admiral Horatio Nelson. Nelson convened a drumhead courts-martial, sentenced and hanged the old Italian from his flagship's yardarm all on the same day. His lack of mercy, even of enough time to allow the condemned time to say his prayers, remains one of the only black marks on Nelson's otherwise brilliant naval career. After a yardarm hanging, the body was cut loose and allowed to drop into the sea.

In a grim postscript, several days later, King Ferdinand was looking out across the harbor when he dropped his spyglass in horror. Carracciolo's body, bloated, fish knawed and pop-eyed from the hanging, had resurfaced and was looking right at him.

1801- Ludwig van Beethoven confessed to a friend that he was going deaf.

1815- After Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte spent a week sitting at Malmaison Palace trying to decide what to do, and reminiscing about Josephine to her daughter Hortense. as Allied armies closed in on Paris. Prussian Marshal Blucher declared his goal was to arrest Napoleon and hopefully shoot him as a criminal. At 5:00PM today Napoleon finally left Paris for the Atlantic coast with a promise that a ship was waiting to take him to exile in America. Shortly afterwards a troop of Prussian cavalry arrived too late.

1863- Robert E. Lee with his army invading Pennsylvania, learned from a stage actor turned spy named Harris that the Yankee army he thought he left behind in Virginia was following him close by. There was a danger his army could be attacked while in it was strung out in several columns foraging for supplies. Angry that Jeb Stuart’s cavalry was off raiding somewhere instead of scouting, Lee ordered his grey columns to turn away from Harrisburg and Philadelphia and concentrate where five main roads intersected.
A little town named Gettysburg.

1927- The first commercial airplane reached Hawaii from the US mainland. It was a seaplane and at one point it ran out of fuel, landed in the water and the crew rowed the final few miles.

1935- Disney short Who Killed Cock Robin? Directed by Dave Hand.

1936- Pope Pius XI published an encyclical warning of the evils of Motion Pictures. “They glorify Lust and Lascivious behavior.”

1940 – ROBIN THE BOY WONDER- According to Batman Comics, this day mobsters rubbed out a circus highwire team known as the Flying Graysons, leaving their son Dick an orphan. He was taken in by millionaire Bruce Wayne so Batman could have his Robin.

1940- First day shooting on the film Citizen Kane.

1941- One week after the German invasion began at a secret meeting in Moscow leader Josef Stalin was finally made to understand by his defense committee just how badly the Red Army was being beaten by the Nazis. Stalin left the room saying “ Lenin had left us a powerful state, and we have screwed it up!”

1950- The Hollywood 10 were given jail sentences for contempt of Congress.

1956- President Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highways Act, allocating millions of dollars to build a system of interstate freeways connecting all the major U.S. cities. The reason you can take one road from the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica to the Atlantic at Baltimore. Ike was an engineer in the 1920s and saw the deplorable condition of American roads. During World War II, he saw the Germans use autobahns to move heavy mechanized forces quickly.
The Interstate System had at first a definite Cold War logic to it. The Interstates would be commandeered in time of war and every few miles there had to be a five mile straitaway so military planes could use them for an emergency landing.

1956- Marilyn Monroe married author Arthur Miller.

1966- Operation Rolling Thunder. US B-52s bomb Hanoi for the first time.

1967- At 2:30AM outside of Biloxi, Mississippi, actress Jane Mansfield and her dog were killed in a car crash when their car slammed into the rear of a parked truck. Her children including Marisa Hargitay were in the back seat but unhurt. Ever since then, high chassis trucks have to have Mansfield bars in the back.

1968 - "Tip-Toe Thru' The Tulips With Me" by Tiny Tim peaks at #17.

1974- Isabella Peron, the second wife of Juan Peron after Evita, became President of Argentina.

1978- Actor Bob Crane, best known as the star in the television series Hogan’s Heroes, was found beaten to death with an electric cord wrapped around his neck in a Scottsdale Arizona hotel room. Around his room were piles of his homemade porn tapes. He was 49. Years later his sons gathered all of the tapes, had them digitized and posted on an online paysite, where you can watch the videos of their dad having sex. The killer was never found.

1992- President of Algeria Mohammed Boudief was assassinated during a speech.

2002- President George W. Bush formally turned over presidential power for two hours to Vice President Dick Cheney while he underwent a colonoscopy- i.e. a fiber optic camera is shoved up his butt.

2007- Pixar’s Ratatouille premiered, directed by Brad Bird.

2007- Steve Jobs introduced the iphone, initiating the era of the smartphone.

Yesterday’s Quiz: When we turn on our computer or phone to go on the internet, why is that called going “on-line”?

Answer: The term for computers speaking to each other was first coined by Prof Douglas Engelbart of Stanford. Because the electronic link was done via telephone lines, he called it being “on-line”.

June 28, 2020
June 28th, 2020

Quiz: When we turn on our computer or phone and check social media, why is that called going “on-line”?

Yesterday’s Quiz Answered below: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. What was the Philosopher’s Stone?
History for 6/28/2020
Birthdays: King Henry VIII, Luigi Pirandello, Jean Jacques Rousseau, John Dillinger, Richard Rogers, Gilda Radner, Cartoonist George Booth is 94, Leon Panetta, Mary Stuart Masterson, Kathy Bates is 72, John Cusack is 54, Mel Brooks is 94

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Plutarch and Saint Theodichidia.

622 A.D. The prophet Mohammed arrived in Medina, completing the Haj.

1098- THE HOLY LANCE- Outside the city of Antioch Kerbogha the Saracen Emir of Aleppo was defeated by the warriors of the First Crusade inspired by the "Holy Lance". The Crusaders were surrounded and starving, when a monk from Marseilles named Peter Bartholomew began to have visions of St. Andrew. The Saint told him to instruct the Crusader warlords where to dig to find the Holy Lance that pierced the side of Christ. At first the monk was too frightened to go up to the barons, but plucked up his courage after Saint Andrew appeared to him a second time and boxed his ears for not following his orders. Boy, that’s one touchy saint!
They dug in a church as instructed and found nothing, then dug up every other church in town until they found a rusty spike that looked close enough. The Crusader army was so jazzed over this obvious sign of divine favor that they stormed from the gates of the city and joyfully slaughtered all before them.

After the victory, Peter Bartholomew started to order the crusader barons around and get real bossy. The warlords told him that they were going to build a huge bonfire and that if he could walk through the flames unharmed, then God must surely be acting through him. By the morning of the test, the little monk had run off.

1119- Ager Saguinus "the field of Blood" Another crusader army doesn't do as well.

1519- THE MAN WHO MARRIED EUROPE- Charles V von Hapsburg was the grandson of Ferdinand & Isabella and so became King of Spain. At this time to be King of Spain meant he also ruled Portugal, the Netherlands and Belgium, Southern Italy, the Philippines and all of the Americas. This day he was elected Holy Roman Emperor of Germany, which meant he was now also ruler of all of Central Europe- Germany, Austria and Italy down to Sicily. Charles V became the most powerful man in Europe and France suddenly found itself surrounded. Both she and England faced a Hapsburg super-state, fueled by the limitless gold of the plundered Aztec and Inca empires. Charles was the first of his family to have the unique facial characteristic called the “Hapsburg Lip” – a large lower lip and protruding jaw.

1709- Battle of Poltava- Peter the Great of Russia defeats Charles XII of Sweden, the "Madman of the North". This battle wins Russia enough Baltic coastline needed for serious trade with Western Europe.

1751- The first volume of the ENCYCLOPAEDIA appeared in print. French philosophers Diderot, D’Alambert and Voltaire inspired by the ideas of English scholars Newton and Francis Bacon, decided to create a digest of all human knowledge into one reference work. Encyclopedia is from the Greek “Knowledge all in the Round”. It took thirty years to write all the volumes, the last volume the index was published in 1780. But in those days the Encyclopedists were as much a political movement as a source of trivia. That these humanist scholars should attempt to define concepts like “God”, The Soul” “Heaven and Hell,” without the Church involved, was considered a declaration of philosophical war. The liberal ideas in the Encyclopedia did a lot to advance the thinking of the Enlightenment, as well as the American and French Revolutions.

1778- BATTLE OF MONMOUTH- The largest land battle of the American Revolution. George Washington had gotten word that the main British army had quit the rebel capitol of Philadelphia and was headed back to New York City. He resolved to strike the British army while strung out on the march. It was the first battle where the Americans, their discipline stiffened by Baron Von Steuben’s drills, could slug it out face to face with the European soldiers.

The temperature was a stifling 90-100 % F and many men collapsed from heat exhaustion in their wool uniforms. This was where Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, called Molly Pitcher, took her husband’s place manning a cannon. She laughed when an enemy cannonball flew between her legs taking away parts of her lower petticoats.

The battle was a draw, but Washington had shown his army wasn’t a mob of raggedy-ass farmers, but a true modern army.

His second, General Charles Lee, was retreating from the field when Washington rode up and rallied his men. Lee was fired from the service, but not before Washington gave him a piece of his mind. An eyewitness said: “As a connoisseur of swearing I can attest that General Washington excelled at calling Lee every swear word one could think of. It was wonderful. He swore until the leaves shook from the trees!”

1868- Twenty something artist Claude Monet was so broke and depressed he jumped in the Seine River. After splashing around for a while, he decided it’s silly to drown himself, so he swam to the riverbank and went for a drink. He outlived all the Impressionist painters of his generation, dying famous in 1926 at age 86.

1914- WORLD WAR I began- commenting on 40 years of European peace, Otto Von Bismarck had said:" The next European war can only happen if some damn fool thing happens in the Balkans." The Austro-Hungarian Empire was muscling the little kingdom of Serbia. Austria had already annexed Bosnia in 1909 and Serbia claimed it as theirs. The heir of the Austrian throne, Archduke Franz-Ferdinand went on a provocative tour of the Bosnian town of Sarajevo in an open limousine. One terrorist Nedjelko Cabrinovic, hurled a bomb at the car but the driver avoided it and took another route. The Archduke stopped at city hall where he and the mayor got into an argument. The mayor claimed:” This city is absolutely safe!”

The motorcade proceeded until it was stopped by traffic at an intersection. Then 18 year old Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princeps stepped out of the crowd and fired his pistol. The first bullet hit the Archduchess Sophie Chotek who slumped lifeless over her husbands lap. Franz Ferdinand cried out: "Mama don't die! For the children!" when the next bullet killed him. Austria and Germany and Turkey declared war on Serbia and Russia and France and England. Later the whole world joined in the lunacy, about 58 nations and 22 million deaths, the last declaration was Honduras declaring war on Germany two months before the armistice. Gavrilo Princeps died in 1918 of tuberculosis in an asylum for the criminally insane, unaware that he had set the world aflame.

1918- The German Kaiser told Lenin that Germany and Finland would not violate the terms of their Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and so would not intervene in the Russian Civil War with a move against Petrograd. This enabled the Bolsheviks to move vital forces East to deal with Anglo-American supported White armies.

1919- The VERSAILLES TREATY is signed, finally ending the First World War. President Wilson had wanted a peace based on mutual respect and self-determination, but the winning powers led by Clemenceau and Lloyd George brushed aside his naive suggestions and wanted revenge. The German delegate was Count Brockdorff-Rantzau, a stiff monocled Prussian whose autocratic demeanor annoyed Wilson and lost probably the only sympathetic ear there.“ Isn’t it always the same with those people?” Wilson complained. Economist John Maynard Keynes warned the penalties heaped upon postwar Germany by article #232- The War Guilt Clause- would create a grave economic crisis for her and the world, all but predicting the Great Depression to come. The terms imposed on the defeated Germany were so crushing and humiliating that they were a major factor in the German public turning to Adolf Hitler. World War II has sometimes been called the "War to settle the Treaty of Versailles"

1928- Louis Armstrong & Earl Hines recorded West End Blues.

1944- German commanders in the West, Feldmarshalls Rommel and Von Rundstedt have a showdown with Hitler at Berschesgarten. They tell their Fuehrer bluntly that since the Allied breakout at Normandy the war in the West was already lost. Germany must make peace at any price before she is totally destroyed. Hitler said the Allies would never make peace with him, so he knows they mean he must resign. Hitler rants about the new miracle weapons that would turn the tide, but Rommel asks him about what to do right now?
Hitler angrily throws them out. Von Rundstedt was forcibly retired, and another officer promoted over Rommel’s head. Erwin Rommel decided to join in the generals plot to overthrow Hitler.

1950- General Douglas MacArthur flew out from Tokyo to see for himself the beginnings of the Korean War. He stood on a hilltop watching the terrible spectacle of the city of Seoul in flames. As bullets zipped around him and smoke and screams filled the air, he calmly lectured the newspapermen about the similarities to Napoleon’s assault on the Austrian city of Ratisbon in 1809.

1955- Walt Disney sends a memo to his studio employees to please come to the grand opening day of Disneyland Park on July 17. He was concerned not enough people would show up the first day and it would look bad on the TV cameras. He shouldn’t have worried. 100,000 people came that first day.

1969- THE STONEWALL UPRISING- New York City Police got a false tip about a stabbing in the mob-owned Stonewall gay bar in Greenwich Village. Others claim the cops were there to get their money kickbacks, and when it wasn’t paid, they started arresting patrons. But for once the patrons didn’t go quietly but began to fight back.
As she was being loaded into a paddy wagon, A drag queen began by kicking a policeman, then the others rushed out. People on the street began pelting the policemen with pennies and nickels, symbolizing there being there for graft.
In the 60’s era of social revolution, the incident caused three days of urban rioting and the Gay Pride Movement was born.
1970 -On the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, this day they marked the event with a march called at first The Christopher Street Liberation March. It marked the first Gay Pride Marches in New York, SF, Chicago and Los Angeles.

1971- Mobster Joe Columbo tells an Italian/American Unity Day rally in Columbus Circle, NY that the "Mafia" was a myth invented to demean people of Italian ancestry. A minute later hitmen sent by "Crazy Joe" Gallo, assassinated him.

1971- The Supreme Court overturned the conviction of prizefighter Mohammed Ali for draft evasion.

1975- Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling died during open heart surgery. He was 50. His last movie script was called The Man, about resistance of the Washington powerful to the first black president of the United States.

1997- Heavyweight prizefighter Mike Tyson was banned from boxing and fined $3 million for biting off a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear during a match.

2000- Little Cuban boy Elian Gonzales was taken by his father back home to Cuba after being in the US for 7 months. The 6 year olds estranged mother took the child and fled to Florida on a raft. But she and her boyfriend drowned, so the child was cared for by distant cousins in Miami.
Elian Gonzales case became sensationalized by the US media and the vocally militant anti-Castro Cuban community of Miami. Fidel’s regime also had fun making publicity out of the traumatized boy’s plight. Finally Attorney General Janet Reno ordered the family home raided by US Marshals to forcibly unite the boy with his father. Back in Havana, Juan Miguel Gonzales said: ”I never want anyone to stick a camera in my sons face again!”
Yesterday’s Quiz: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. What was the Philosopher’s Stone?

Answer: The Philosopher's Stone was a medieval myth of a magical substance that could turn base metal like lead into Gold. Many alchemists tried in vain to create it. German chemist Adolphe Meissen invented European porcelain (meissenware) while trying to find the Philosopher’s stone.

June 27, 2020
June 27th, 2020

Quiz: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. What was the Philosopher’s Stone?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: Why do we say someone got away “ scot-free?”
History for 6/27/2020
Birthdays: Swedish King Charles XII "the Madman of the North", Helen Keller, Norma Kamali, Charles Stuart Parnell, Bob" Captain Kangaroo" Keeshan, Emma Goldman, Marine General Chesty Puller, Walter Johnson, Ross Perot, Isabella Adjani is 65, Lauren Hill, Alice McDermott, J.J. Abrams is 54, Tony Leung Chu Wai is 58, Toby McGuire is 45. Katherine Beaumont the voice of Alice in Alice in Wonderland, and Wendy in Peter Pan.

1542- Juan Cabrillo set sail from Mexico to explore the unknown California Coast. He was told he might find the magic kingdom of Queen Califa, an island east of Asia, next to the Earthly Paradise, populated with beautiful brown amazons with golden swords. He got the idea from a popular novel of the time.

1652 - New Amsterdam passed the 1st speed limit law in the New World.

1693 – The first woman's magazine "Ladies' Mercury" published in London.

1743- The English under George II defeat the French at Dettingen, and composer Georg Frederich Handel wrote in celebration the Dettingen TeDeum.

1787- English historian Edward Gibbon completed his most famous work-"The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire". The massive history ran thousands of pages and took twenty years of his life to write. When he presented the first volume, bound in gold, to mad King George III, the King said: -" What's this? Another damn big, black book, eh Mr. Gibbon? Scribble, Scribble!! "

1788- The Battle of the Liman. Catherine the Great's fleet defeated the Turkish navy in the Black Sea near the Moldavan coast. What is memorable about this was one of the Russian admirals was Pavel Ivanovich Jones, or John Paul Jones from the US Navy. During the night Jones got in a little boat manned by one Cossack named Ivak and had himself rowed out into the middle of the Turkish Navy to inspect it. The Cossack spoke good Turkish and learned the fleet's passwords but it was still incredibly dangerous. Jones suffered no discovery and even paused to write graffiti on the stern end of a Turkish battleship to prove he was there. He wrote in chalk the French: "This ship to be burned- Paul Jones". Next day it was.

1804-The Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr challenged former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton (the guy on the ten-dollar bill) had slandered Burr in the press and on previous occasions he had also challenged James Monroe and General Charles Lee (a critic of George Washington). Between this challenge and the duel on July 11th, Aaron Burr fought another duel with his cousin. The two men still had to sit side by side at an Independence Day banquet on July 4th.

1829- James Smithson died. The English scientist had amassed a huge fortune from patents yet was snubbed by polite London society because of his illegitimate birth. So he turned his back on his mother country and willed all his money to the United States, specifically asking a museum be set up in his name. The Smithsonian Institute was the result.

1844- Mormon leader Joseph Smith and his brother Hyram were killed by a mob in Illinois. After being shot down Smith’s body was propped up and used for target practice. A man drew his Bowie knife to decapitate the body but Mormon folklore says his hand was stopped by a thunderbolt.

1847- New York and Boston linked by regular telegraph service.

1862. Battle of Gaines Mill. For the first time, the army launched two large observation balloons to observe enemy troop movements. The Washington and the Intrepid. The rebels launched their own balloon, called the Gazelle. Young George Armstrong Custer went for a ride in one.

1863- George Gordon Meade named commander of the Union Army of the Potomac. The quiet Pennsylvanian was awoken out of his sleep at three a.m. by a courier sent by special train from Washington. At first he thought he was under arrest. General Meade would have command for just one week before he would have to fight the greatest battle in U.S. history- Gettysburg.

1864- Battle of Kennesaw Mountain. General Sherman's Yankees are thrown back by Joe Johnston's Confederates near Atlanta.

1876- Major Gibbon's column discovered the remains of Custer and the Seventh Cavalry at the Little Big Horn. It was near one hundred degrees Fahrenheit in the dry sun. At first from a distance they thought the naked bloated bodies were skinned buffaloes. Custer’s men had all been paid their monthly wages before riding out of Fort Lincoln. The Indians were uninterested in paper money, so among the carcasses little piles of green dollar bills were blowing through the bloody grass.
Because hostile Indians were still in the vicinity, Gibbon's men hastily buried the soldiers where they fell. A few years later when a proper burial detail arrived to re-inter the bodies and remove Custer's remains to West Point they had trouble telling just who was who. So they shoveled a few bones and some yellow hair into a box and called it Custer. As late as 1991 Gen. George A. Custer III has refused to have the West Point tomb opened for DNA testing.

1905- Big Bill Haywood banged a board on the table to call to order the First Meeting of the I.W.W.-the International Workers of the World. Mother Jones, Dorothea Parsons, Eugene Debs, Emma Goldman and Fighting Bob LaFollette were also present. The I.W.W. nicknamed the Wobblies, was a labor movement that sought to unite all working people into one big international organization. Their romantic message of labor brotherhood, carried by poor folksingers like Joe Hill, was popular among miners and farmworkers. But their radical politics terrified big business. When they came out against U.S. participation in World War I the government violently suppressed them.

1922 - Newberry Medal 1st presented for kids literature, the first winner was Hendrik Van Loon.

1949 - "Captain Video & His Video Rangers," debut on DUMONT-TV.

1950- Seoul fell to North Korean troops. President Truman ordered U.S. troops to Korea without asking Congress for a declaration of war. He calls it a "police action." The Marines wrote on their tanks" Truman’s Police". Truman later told his aide Dean Acheson "Dean, I’ve spent the last five years trying to avoid a decision like the one I just had to make." The U.N. Security Council voted for a force to be sent to Korea without the Soviet Union's ambassador being present. Nations like Turkey, Holland, Britain, France, and Australia pledge to send troops for the force.

1954- Rebels organized by the CIA overthrow the elected government of Guatemala.

1962- Daryl F. Zanuck showed up at the quarterly meeting of the exec board of 20th Century Fox, and in a celebrated corporate showdown, he wrested back control of the company he founded in 1935, but had lost control of.

1966- TV soap opera Dark Shadows premiered. Barnabas Collins was the first vampire to have issues with his job, and so became the ancestor of the modern romantic vampires of True Blood and Twilight.

1967- In London, Barclay’s Bank sets up an automated teller machine, which they called a Robot Teller, but we know today as the first ATM.

1973- Senior White House Counsel John Dean testified to the Watergate committee that President Richard Nixon maintained an Enemies List. The list ran from Senator Ted Kennedy and journalist Daniel Shore, to June Foray and Bill Scott, who did the cartoon voices of Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Bullwinkle the Moose.

1984- Hollywood introduced the PG-13 rating to indicate graphic violence, invented for the film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

1995- Boyishly proper British actor Hugh Grant is busted for soliciting sex from a Sunset Blvd. street hooker named Divine Brown. Grant had just released a film called “ The Englishman Who went up a Hill and Came down a Mountain". Pundits had fun changing the title to "The Englishman who went to L.A. a Hugh, and Came Back a John."

2007- British Prime Minister Tony Blair stepped down after ten years. His security police nickname in office was Bambi.

2008- Pixar’s WALL-E opened in theaters.

2011- The Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team filed for bankruptcy. The team owners, Mr. & Mrs. Frank McCourt wrecked the team’s finances and almost destroyed the team fighting over their own personal divorce. In 2017, Pres Trump appointed Mrs. Jaimie McCourt as U.S. ambassador to Belgium. The Dodgers have been doing quite well without them.
Yesterday’s Quiz: Why do we say someone got away “ scot-free?”

Answer: In old Norse a tax or tariff was a “skat” which in Old English corrupted to “scot”, nothing to do with Scottish people. So getting by a toll road or bridge without paying was to get off “scot free”

June 26, 2020
June 26th, 2020

Quiz: Why do we say someone got away “ scot-free?”

Yesterday’s question answered below: What is a Catch-22?
History for 6/26/2020
Birthdays: Peter Lorre- born Laszlo Lowenstein, Pearl Buck, Abner Doubleday, Babe Deidrickson-Zacharias, Willy Messerschmidt, Claudio Abbado, Woolie Reitherman, Gregg LeMond, Vittorio Storaro, Colonel Tom Parker, Pat Morita, Chris Isaak, Derek Jeter, Paul Julian, Chris O’Donnell, Sean Hayes is 50, Wallace Tripp

4AD- The Roman Emperor Augustus officially adopted his stepson Tiberius, as his official heir and successor.

363 AD- Julian the Apostate slain in battle. Julian was the Roman Emperor who decided his stepdad Constantine had made a big mistake making the world Christian, and we should go back to worshipping Jupiter, Venus, Hercules and the lot. This is why he is called "Apostate". During his invasion of Persia his camp was raided by the Grand Surenna, the Persian Prime Minister. In the thick of battle he was struck in the chest by the enemy spear. Dying, he supposedly looked heavenward and said:" You have won, Galilean." The legions elected Christian General Jovian as the next emperor, and The Western World stayed Christian.

1483- Duke Richard of Gloucester, having locked up his two nephew princes in the Tower of London "for protection", has them declared illegitimate, so he could become King Richard III. Even after Richard was killed in battle and the Tudor Dynasty in place the two little princes seemed to have disappeared.
In 1903 their two little skeletons were discovered buried under a staircase in the Tower. Some historians maintain Richard III didn’t kill the princes but Henry VII Tudor did after he took the crown from Richard. Then his granddaughter’s favorite playwright Will Shakespeare wrote a play pinning the dirty deed squarely on Richard.

1496- Michelangelo Buonarotti arrived in Rome to look for work. Coming from the city of Florence he was treated like the citizen of a foreign country.

1522-The armies of the Grand Turk attack the island of Rhodes. The Knights of St. John had fallen back to Rhodes after losing the Crusades. They will lose this base too, but make their final stand on Malta.

1541- Conquistador Francisco Pizarro, the conqueror of Peru, was eating dinner in Lima when his enemies broke in and stabbed him to death.

1797 - Charles Newbold patents 1st cast-iron plow. He can't sell it to farmers, though; they fear the effects of iron on their soil.

1815- After Waterloo, Napoleon requested as a condition of his abdication be that he be allowed to go to the United States. He started to study books on America and the provisional French government prepared two frigates at Rochefort to take him across the Atlantic. Napoleon said his goal was now to be a scientist and study flora and fauna but he also said to another "Come, let us go to Texas, and found a new Empire in the Desert!" But the allies would not allow this dream to manifest. The British took him instead to a lonely prison island off the coast of Africa called Saint Helena.

1830- Ascension of King William IV of Great Britain after the death of his brother George IV. While still Duke of Clarence, William kept a certain Mrs. Jordan as a mistress, by whom he sired ten illegitimate children. One day he told his mentally tottering father, George III, that he paid her 1000 pounds annually for this service. Reportedly, the king was much agitated by this revelation and replied: "A thousand, a thousand--too much! Too much! Five hundred quite enough! Quite enough!" Some time later, following the collapse of his relationship with Mrs. Jordan, and reflecting on his father's words, William demanded repayment of a portion of her "allowance." She responded by sending him the announcement for a play that read, "Positively no money refunded after the curtain has risen."

1858- The U.S. Army marched into Salt Lake City Utah. This was considered the end of the Mormon Rebellion. The town was deserted as Mormon leader Brigham Young had told the population to flee into the mountains. The US commander was Col. Albert Sidney Johnston, would later die at Shiloh leading Confederate forces. In the soldiers’ gambling tents, nicknamed FrogTown, was a teamster and card-shark named William Clark Quantrill, who would one day lead his rebel guerrillas in Missouri-Quantrills Raiders. When Abe Lincoln was inaugurated, he was asked” What do you propose to do about the Mormons?” He replied” I propose to leave them alone.”

1870- Atlantic City inaugurated its ocean side boardwalk; the first of it's kind in the US.

1888- Scots writer Robert Louis Stevenson shipped out from San Francisco to wander the South Pacific, and finally settle in Samoa.

1900 - Dr Walter Reed began the research that conquered Yellow Fever.

1906- The first Grand Prix automobile race was held at Le Mans, France. The winner was Hungarian Ferenic Szisz with a top speed of 63 miles an hour! Szisz also was sporting those newfangled rubber tires on rims, which change faster than regular wood wheels.

1916- The Cleveland Indians baseball team began the custom of players wearing numbers on their uniforms.

1922- Montgomery’s Country House opened in the Los Feliz Area of LA. In 1926 it changed its name to The Tam O’ Shanter. In the 1930s it was the nearest bar to Walt Disney’s Hyperion Studio, so animators called it “ the commissary”. It is still in business today. Walt Disney’s favorite table is marked.

1924- At the Democratic Party nominating convention young politician Franklin D. Roosevelt stood up on crutches and painfully walked the 30 feet to the podium to nominate candidate Al Smith for president. Al Smith lost, but the big news was FDR was not all washed up due to his polio, but was back in the national political scene. He received a standing ovation.

1924 - The Ziegfeld Follies opened on Broadway.

1925- Charlie Chaplin has a lavish Hollywood premiere for his new film The Gold Rush.
He had edited the film in secret in an upstairs hotel room in Salt Lake City to keep away from the public and his wife’s bill collectors.

1925- From his Soho London flat, John Logie Baird invented an early form of television. The Boob Tube has no one single Tom Edison-like inventor but many claimants. The Englishman joined the ranks of others who claimed to have invented TV first, including Philo Farnsworth, Bell Labs, Vladimir Zworkin, and Dr. Lee DeForrest.

1927- The Cyclone Rollercoaster ride debuted at Coney Island Amusement Park. It was built on the site of the Switchback Railway, the oldest rollercoaster.

1940- Turkey announced that unlike World War I it would sit this one out, thank you. It declared itself neutral in World War II.

1945- The United Nations is born when 50 nations sign the U.N. Charter in War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco. John F. Kennedy was there, trying his hand as a journalist.

1950- Two days after their invasion began Communist North Korean troops reach the outskirts of Seoul, the capitol of South Korea.

1959- Queen Elizabeth and President Dwight Eisenhower dedicated the Saint Lawrence Seaway- a system of locks and canals connecting the Atlantic Ocean and Saint Lawrence River to the Great Lakes in the interior of the North American Continent.

1959- Disney short Donald in Mathmagic Land premiered with the film Darbie O’Gill and the Little People.

1961- John F. Kennedy makes his "Ich Bin Ein Berliner" speech at the Berlin Wall. He electrifies and inspires all Europe despite " ein berliner" also meaning a local brand of little jelly donut. The proper way to say I am a Berliner is "Ich bin Berliner”. The crowd smiled but was polite. Today in Berlin tourist shops, you can buy a plastic donut with JFK’s speech coming from a hidden computer chip.

1964 - Beatles release "A Hard Day's Night" album.

1965-"Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man " by the Byrds hits number one on the US pop charts. Bob Dylan wrote the lyrics. William Shatners version became the most well known.

1968- Pope Paul VI announced excavations in the ancient Roman cemetery located in the sub-sub basement of Saint Peters Basilica had discovered the bones of the apostle Saint Peter himself. There were a few red faces when it was also found out that a Vatican librarian had removed the piece of stone with the crucial inscription "Here is Peter" and had kept it on a shelf in his personal collection.

1977 - Elvis Presley does his last public performance, in Indianapolis.

1984- Campy singer Tiny Tim married Miss Vicky on the Johnny Carson show during a live broadcast.

1990- The IRA detonated a bomb in the elite conservative hangout in London called the Carleton Club that almost killed Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The exclusive club's rules are so strict that Thatcher had to be named an "Honorary Man" before she could enter.

1992- Secretary of the Navy William Garnett resigned over the Tailhook Scandal, when Navy pilots went wild partying at a convention and sexually assaulted 26 female officers. Female officers testified of having to run a gauntlet of drunken pilots pawing, groping, and tearing at their clothes.
The initial inquiry was led by Rear Admiral Duvall M. Williams. He was replaced after he told people he thought female Navy Pilots were all “hookers and go-go dancers.” The chief whistleblower that testified against the high command, Lt. Paula Coughlin, was treated like a pariah, and hounded out of the service.

1997- a novel called "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," the product of five years work by a new writer named J.K. Rowling with her own drawings, was published by Bloomsbury in the UK with a print run of five hundred copies. It became a world wide phenomenon. In 5 years J.K. Rowling was the richest woman in England after the Queen and Madonna.

2000- THE GENOME- Scientists announce they had cracked the human gene code and now had a rough sketch of how our DNA is assembled. Custom drugs could now e developed matching the DNA of an individual patient. It is called the biological equivalent of the landing on the moon.

2003 - Lenin said the Workers Must Control the Means of Production. Today a group of strippers bought their San Francisco bar The Lusty Lady.

2015- In the case Obergefell vs. Hodges, the Supreme Court ruled LGBT Americans had the right to marry. Legalizing same-sex marriage.

2016- This was the day of the infamous meeting in the NY Trump Tower, where the leaders of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, including his own son, met with high ranking Russian officials and businessmen to discuss how they could help Trump undermine Hillary Clinton and win the presidency. Collaborating with a foreign power to effect an American election is illegal. After his victory, Trump denies this meeting ever took place or he ever knew anything about it, despite being in the office directly above the meeting place.

Yesterday’s Quiz: What is a Catch-22?

Answer: The term was coined by Joseph Heller in his best selling 1961 anti-war novel.
A catch-22 is an absurd bureaucratic paradox from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules or limitations. So a soldier asks a doctor to get out of combat because he’s crazy. The doctor says its crazy to love combat, so the mere fact that the soldier doesn’t want to go into combat is proof he is not crazy. So, he must go into combat.