May 18, 2024
May 18th, 2024

Quiz: Who were the Lollards?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What is the controversy about the Oxford comma?
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History for 5/18/2024
Birthdays: Pope St. John Paul II, Grover Cleveland, Ezio Pinza, Czar Nicholas II, Omar Khayam, Walter Gropius, Reggie Jackson, Margot Fonteyn, Robert Morse, Perry Como, Dwayne Hickman aka Dobie Gillis, Big Joe Turner, Richard Brooks, Mad artist Don Martin, Miriam Margolyes, Chow Yung Fat is 69, Tina Fey is 54

The ancient Greek festival of Pan.

331 B.C. ALEXANDER THE GREAT DIED IN BABYLON. By age 31 he had conquered most of the known world and was planning a campaign to Arabia and western Europe when he fell ill. When asked "To whom do you leave your empire? He replied- "Hoti to Kratisto- To the Strongest". Some historians speculate he actually meant: "Hoti to Kratero" to Craterus, one of his trusted companions, but the generals in the room had their own ideas and didn't want to hear that.
They carved up Alexanders empire into their own kingdoms-Ptolemy became Pharoah of Egypt, Seleucus king of Syria, and Antigonus One-Eye & Cassander divided up Greece. They started fighting with each other almost immediately. Alexander grimly joked: "There will be great games at my funeral". The Successor kings even fought over his corpse, carrying it around with the army in a huge rolling shrine, until Ptolemy brought it to Alexandria and embalmed it in a solid block of honey. Caesar and Marc Anthony were able to gaze upon Alexander’s face three hundred years later. (Imagine today, being able to look at the undecayed face of George Washington!) The final fate of the honey-pickled corpse is unknown.

323BC- Diogenes the Cynic died his 90s. He once met Alexander the Great. Alexander came up to him seated upon the ground, stood over him and said "I am Alexander the King of Macedon". Diogenes countered:" And I am Diogenes the Dog". Alexander said:" If there is anything in the world you desire of me, just ask!" Diogenes replied:" Yes. You’re blocking my light."

257AD.- Today is the Feast of Saint Venantius. Little is known of him except his endurance record for being martyred. His persecutors flogged him, burned him with torches, hanged him upside down over a fire, knocked his teeth out, broke his jaw, and threw him to the lions, who merely licked his feet. Then they threw him off a cliff, and finally cut his head off.

1291- The last crusader stronghold in Middle East, St. Jean D'Acre, fell to the Egyptian Mamelukes of Al Khalil. Considered the official end of the Crusades.

1512- IRON HAND- German knight Gotz von Berlichingen spent his 81 years fighting and raiding throughout Germany. When his hand was blown off by a cannonball he had a mechanical one built for him out of metal. This day Gotz and one legged Hans von Selbitz raided 55 Nuremburg merchants and carried off their gold. Goethe and other German writers made Gotz into a Robin Hood type folk hero.
In answering a challenge to personal combat, Iron Hand was credited with uttering the famous epithet "Er aber sag seinem Herren, er kann mich im Arsche lecken!" Go tell your master he can kiss my ass!"

1565- THE SIEGE OF MALTA BEGINS. Turkish Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent attacked the island stronghold of the Knights of St. John. The knights had formed in Jerusalem during the Crusades and ran a hospital when not chopping people, so they were called Hospitallers. Later after their victory they became the Knights of Malta. Their symbol, four barbed arrowheads forming a cross is called the Maltese Cross. Today they still run a medical service called St. John's Ambulance.

1642- Huron village of Hochelaga was rededicated as the city of Montreal.

1778-THE MESCHIANZA- Before the British Army evacuated the rebel capitol of Philadelphia they threw a grand farewell masque ball. American loyalist girls and young redcoat officers danced the night away under a spectacle of fireworks. There was a waterborne parade, medieval tournament and a huge dinner.
Nothing this lavish had ever been staged in the American Colonies. One of the belles was Peggy Shippen, who would marry General Benedict Arnold and turn him from the American patriot cause. That night her dance partner was Major John Andre’, who art directed and designed the event. He even designed Peggy’s costume. The men had costumes as Knights and the women as Turkish damsels, symbolizing the civilizing influence of Art on barbaric peoples.
The next day the British began their withdrawal to New York, and abandoning Philadelphia to Washington’s army camped at Valley Forge. Two years later George Washington hanged Major Andre as a spy.

1781- Inca resistance to the Spaniards didn't end when Pizarro left. They abandoned Cuzco and fled deeper into the Andes and continued to struggle for another 150 years. This day the last fighting Inca emperor, Tupu Amuru II, was executed by the Spanish conquistadors. They tried to pull him apart with horses, but he was too pliable, so they cut him up.
The Inca believed the world periodically is overthrown and another takes its place, so the European invasion was seen as a part of this cycle. The Inca word for earthquake also means revolution. In the 1980s the rebels fighting the Peruvian government forces called themselves the Tupu-Amaru Liberation front.

1795- Col. Robert Rogers died in poverty in London. During the French and Indian War Rogers’ colonial militia called Roger’s Rangers was the most daring unit fighting for England. But by the American Revolution, George Washington didn’t trust his loyalty, especially after he ratted out Nathan Hale. He formed a Tory unit but it was undistinguished. Despite the obscurity of his death, Rogers wrote down a manual of his tactics that are considered the basis of all Special Ops -Move Fast, Hit Hard.

1804- French senate voted Napoleon the title of Emperor of the French. This act disappointed many European liberals like Beethoven who had seen Napoleon as the strong wind of reform blowing through the dusty corridors of Monarchy.

1832- CLIMAX OF THE MAY DAYS- The closest England ever came to a full French style working class Revolution. The Whig party under Lord John Russell and Lord Grey ( Earl Grey Tea ) had introduced three bills in Parliament asking for voting rights to be extended to the middle classes and parliamentary allocations reformed to better represent the large city populations like Manchester and Birmingham. This would forever break the tight hold on power possessed by the gentry. Naturally the conservatives like King William IV (Victoria's uncle) fought it tooth and nail. Every time the bill passed in the House of Commons it was defeated in the House of Lords. The Commons in retaliation refused to let the Tories form a government.
Starting with the bills third defeat on May 7th England was convulsed by rioting, looting, general strikes and boycotts. The King was hit in the face with a stone, the Horse Guards were called out and the Prime Minister the Duke of Wellington had so many rocks thrown at his house in Hyde Park he had steel shutters installed on the ground floor. On this day Lord Grey told the King if he didn't sign the reform act and create a dozen new liberal peers to the Lords, anarchy and revolution would result! Lord Lionel Rothschild reported the economy was at the point of collapse.
The king backed down, reform went through, and real two-party voting resulted, although the working classes would have to wait 86 more years until they could vote. King William IV has come down to us called William the Reformer, although it sounds like a title he would have liked to do without....

1896- The US Supreme Court in the decision Plessy Vs Ferguson upheld the concept of Separate-But-Equal facilities and laws. This racial separation called Segregation or Jim Crow, was not reversed until the 1960’s, and many say are still trying to come back today.

1904- In Paris 12 nations sign an international agreement for the Suppression of the White Slave Trade. The United States did not sign.

1905- MORROCCAN CRISIS OF 1905- A Moroccan desert sherif, El Raisuli, kidnapped a small Greek-American businessman named George Pedicaris. He did this for ransom, and because he wanted someone new to play chess with. Pedicaris was ransomed, but not before the incident became a major international incident between with Germany, Britain, France and the U.S. Marines. The incident was romanticized in the 1975 John Milius film "The Wind and the Lion", with Raisuli played by Sean Connery and Pedicaris turned into the beautiful Candice Bergen.

1911- Composer Gustav Mahler died of heart disease shortly before his 51st birthday. He had completed his Ninth Symphony with dread, because he knew Beethoven, Schubert and Bruckner had never lived beyond their ninth symphony. On his table were preliminary sketches for his tenth.

1926- L.A. evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson was the Billy Graham of her time. This day she shocked the nation when she mysteriously disappeared on a beach near Venice Cal. After an exhaustive search involving ships and planes, she turned up a month later with a lame story of being kidnapped. Truth was she had ran off with her boyfriend Kenneth Ormiston for a romantic week in Monterrey. Hallelujah!

1927- Sid Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood opened. The first show was the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s King of Kings. Ushers and doormen were dressed in imported Mandarin robes, and wall hangings were painted by young artist/actor Key Luke. Sid Grauman was the showman who also invented the Hollywood premiere with spotlights and limo's pulling up to red carpets, etc. He made other themed theaters like The Egyptian and the Mayan, but the Chinese was the most famous.

1931- Japanese pilot Seiji Yoshihara attempted to be the first pilot to fly alone across the Pacific Ocean. But he crashed and was rescued by a passing ship.

1933- President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Tennessee Valley Authority. The TVA created massive public works bringing electric power to much of the Appalachians and deep South.

1940- John Halas & Joy Batchelor founded Halas & Batchelor, for many years one of the best animation studios in England.

1943- Battle of Monte Cassino. A ninth century mountaintop abbey filled with German troops held back the allied armies advancing up from Naples. In order to capture the fortress, the allies had to heavily bomb it from the air, destroying many priceless paintings by Piero della Francesca and Giotto. This day the monastery was finally captured by Free-Polish troops attached to the British Army.

1944- Stalin's revenge- millions of Crimean Tartar people were herded up and shipped to Siberia because Stalin said they collaborated with the Nazis. In the 1990s some were allowed to return to their ancestral homeland. This is the reason when Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea back into Russia in 2014, a majority of the population were now ethnic Russians.

1976- The filming of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now was disrupted when the Philippines was hit by a major typhoon. Francis rode out the storm cooking pasta, smoking pot and listening to recordings of La Boheme.

1980- Mt. St. Helens exploded in Washington State. The volcano was always thought to be safely extinct but Mother Nature had other plans. I was in Toronto thousands of miles away and noticed volcanic ash floating in Lake Ontario. The eruption and earthquake killed 57 people and destroyed 24 square miles around the mountain.
A lone eccentric named Harry Truman refused to be evacuated and stayed in his home. He was interviewed by Sixty Minutes and other programs. After the explosion Truman disappeared and is assumed killed.

1995- Elizabeth Montgomery, the star of Bewitched, died of colon cancer at age 62.

2001- Dreamworks animated SHREK opened. The voice of Shrek was originally planned to be Chris Farley but the big comedian died of a drug overdose and was replaced by Mike Myers. I’m serving Waffles! Shrek was awarded the first ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

2003 Pixar’s Finding Nemo opened.
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Yesterday’s Question: What is the controversy about the Oxford comma?

Answer: The Oxford comma argument is whether or not there is a comma before the “and” in a list of three or more items. An example of an Oxford comma would be: Brands of American cars that are no longer manufactured include Rambler, Studebaker, Tucker, LaSalle, and DeSoto.
Some people complain it makes the writing style too alliterative and stuffy.


May 17, 2024
May 17th, 2024

Quiz: What is the controversy about the Oxford comma?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Which one of these was NOT once a brand of American automobile? Nash, Studebaker, Stuyvesant, Tucker, Opel, Edsel.
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History for 5/17/2024
Birthdays: Sandro Botticelli, Eric Satie, Ayatollah Khomeni, Edmond Jenner, Archibald Cox, Sugar Ray Leonard, Maureen O'Sullivan, Howard Ashman, Craig Ferguson, Bill Paxton, Ralph Wright- the original voice of Eeyore, Alan Kay-inventor of the laptop computer, Dennis Hopper, Enya is 62- born Eithne Patricia Ni’ Bhraonain

1204- The Fourth Crusade captured the city of Constantinople (Istanbul). The Western Crusaders decided to blame the Byzantine Greeks for their failure to keep Jerusalem, so they sent a crusade just to get them. This Crusade was backed by the growing merchant naval powers like Venice, Genoa and Pisa who saw the Byzantines as a commercial competitor.
They stormed the unconquerable city and killed the Emperor Constantine VIII Paleologus called Mourzufle "Fuzzy", by hurling him off a high column.
The Republic of Venice plundered many treasures to adorn their Cathedral of San Marco back home, including the four bronze horses that had adorned the Hippodrome. In the weeks of destruction and pillage that followed many priceless works of art were lost, including only remaining copies of a dozen plays of Sophocles, leaving only the four we have now.
The Doge of Venice Enrico Dandolo had a horror of dying in bed. So, he was in the first wave to attack the city's walls even though he was 81 and blind. He survived the arrows, spears; catapult stones and boiling oil, and died in bed anyway.

1488- Vasco DeGama reached India from sailing around the horn of Africa.
This fulfilled the master plan of Prince Henry the Navigator to outflank the Muslim world, providing an alternative to the ancient Silk Road land route that connected the world’s trade. Ironically, legend has it that DeGama’s navigator was an Arab.
It was the beginning of the Age of Exploration and the rise of Western Europe. Both Columbus and Magellan learned their stuff studying in Prince Henry’s Portugal. A previous Portuguese navigator named Diaz had actually rounded the African continent before DeGama but his men were so freaked out that they mutinied and forced him to turn around go home, so he got no credit.

1673- French Explorers Father Marquette and Joliet set out from Green Bay, Wisconsin to explore the Mississippi. The missionary made only one baptism but he said that alone made the trip worthwhile.

1763- The Marquis de Sade was arrested on the first of many charges over his unusual recreational tastes. This time he was charged with “…outrage to public morals, blasphemy and profanation of the image of Christ.” The Marquis de Sade would be in and out of prisons and insane asylums for most of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. He died in 1814.


1792- In New York, twenty-four investors met under a buttonwood tree on the street where the old city wall once stood and formed The New York Stock Exchange. Then they all went to the Merchant’s Coffee House for lunch.

1802- Meriwether Lewis went to Philadelphia to meet Dr. Benjamin Rush to get advice for his Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific. Rush was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the most famous doctor in America. Dr. Rush gave Lewis a list of questions he had about the West, such as asking the Plains Indians if they practiced the religion of the Hebrews? Were the Sioux or Cheyenne the Lost Tribes of Israel? If you think that’s silly Thomas Jefferson told Lewis to look for living Mastodons.
When Lewis asked what medical supplies were needed, Rush said unhesitatingly that he should lay in a good supply of Rush’s Purgative Pills, nicknamed ‘thunderclappers’ for the effect they had on your system.

1826- Artist-Naturalist John James Audubon departed for England” in deep sorrow” because he could find no publisher in America for his masterpiece the “Birds of North America”.

1845 - Rubber bands were patented by Stephen Perry of Mssrs Perry & Co, vulcanized rubber manufacturers of London.

1847- The American Medical Association- the AMA formed.

1860- At the second presidential convention of the Republican Party former Illinois Congressman Abraham Lincoln is nominated on the second ballot, beating out William Seward and John Freemont, aka the Pathfinder.

1861- The California State Legislature passed a resolution declaring the states loyalty to the Union and against slavery and secession.

1875 –The First Kentucky Derby. Winning horse was Aristides.

1881- Engineer John Roebling designed the Brooklyn Bridge. The largest and tallest suspension bridge in the world. After his death his son engineer Washington Roebling oversaw most of its construction. But it was his wife, engineer Emily Warren Roebling, who finished the job. Emily oversaw the completion of the bridge after Washington became too ill from caisson-sickness to continue. This day Emily became the first person to cross the bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn. She crossed the bridge in a carriage with a rooster on her lap for good luck. The Brooklyn Bridge was opened to the public the following week.

1885- Geronimo went on the warpath for the second time. His Chiricahua Apache were the last independent Indian tribe still fighting the U.S. and Mexico.

1890 - Comic Cuts, 1st weekly comic newspaper, published in London.

1905 - After having been given to Sweden by Denmark back in 1814, Norway finally regained its independence.

1924- Marcus Loew of the Loew's theater chain bought Metro Pictures and combined them with Sam Goldwyn and Louis B. Mayer’s studios to form Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Four years ago Amazon bought MGM for $8 billion.

1931- Broadway dancer James Cagney became a tough guy movie star when the Howard Hawk’s film The Public Enemy opened in general release. “There you go with that wishing stuff! I wish you wuz a wishing well… so I could tie a bucket to ya and sink ya!”

1938 - Radio quiz show "Information Please!" debuts on NBC Blue Network.

1940- In World War I the German army tried for four years to reach Brussels. This day in World War 2 they captured the Belgian capitol in just 6 days.

1941- The Looney Toon Lockout. Producer Leon Schlesinger tried to forestall the unionization of his Bugs Bunny cartoonists by locking them out. After a week he relented and signed a contract with the cartoonist guild. Chuck Jones called it “our own little six-day war.”

1943- The B-17 bomber Memphis Belle flew it’s last of 25 successful missions over Germany. Today the Belle is in a museum, in Memphis, appropriately enough.

1954-" Brown vs. Board of Ed" Supreme Court ruled segregation illegal. Future justice Thurgood Marshal was the successful attorney.

1965- At a hotel in lower Manhattan, Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke shook hands and agreed to write a sci-fi movie, with an accompanying novel.
First called How the Solar System was Won, because How the West Was Won was a popular film then. Then Journey Beyond the Stars, the title finally became- 2001: A Space Odyssey.

1967 – Bob Dylan's 1965 UK Tour is released as film "Don't Look Back"

1970 - Thor Heyerdahl crossed the Atlantic on reed boat Ra, proving the ancient Egyptians could have reached South America.

1971 - Stephen Schwartz' musical Godspell premiered off-Broadway.

1973 - Stevie Wonder released "You are the Sunshine of my Love"

1973- the Senate Watergate Committee convenes.

1974- The LAPD attacked the LA stronghold of the Symbionnese Liberation Army extremists, then holding heiress Patty Hearst. In a furious shootout most SLA members including their leader Donald DeFreeze were killed, but Miss Hearst remained missing for a few more weeks.

1977- In Israeli general elections, the right-wing Likud party under Menachem Begin won a majority. Labor lost power for the first time since independence in 1948. It also marked the religious conservative groups having a bigger say in Israeli politics over the earlier socialist-humanist reformists that built Israel. One-eyed Moshe Dayan startled his friends by changing parties and becoming foreign minister in the new government.

2004- Massachusetts became the first US State to legalize gay marriage.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Which one of these was NOT once a brand of American automobile? Nash, Studebaker, Stuyvesant, Tucker, Opel, Edsel.

Answer: Stuyvesant.


May 16, 2024
May 16th, 2024

Quiz: Which one of these was NOT once a brand of American automobile? Nash, Studebaker, Stuyvesant, Tucker, Opel, Edsel.

Answer to Yesterday’s Question below: What does it mean to cut the mustard?
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History for 5/16/2024
Birthdays: Tamara de Lempicka, Lily Pons, Richard Tauber, Henry Fonda, Liberace- real name Wladziu Valentine Liberace, Jan Kiepura, Edmund Kirby-Smith, Gabriela Sabbatini, Thurman Thomas, Margaret Sullivan, Olga Korbut- the original adorable little Olympic Gold Medal gymnast, Debra Winger is 70, Tori Spelling, Janet Jackson, Woody Herman, Studs Terkel, Ivan Sutherland is 86, Danny Trejo is 70, Pierce Brosnan is 70.

When you consider just how far digital media has come remember this: the man who wrote the first drawing and animating program is still around. Happy Birthday Ivan Sutherland. May 16, 1938. Sutherland wrote Sketchpad in late 1962, pioneered early VR, was on the panel that approved funds to create the Internet and trained a generation of computer pioneers. His pupils include Ed Catmull, Nolan Bushnell, Alan Kay, Jim Blinn, Bui Dong Phuong, and more. Everything we experience in…

218 A.D. Elagabalus hailed Roman Emperor by the Eastern Legions. During the long succession of Roman emperors many usurpers and generals would try to prove a tenuous family link to Julius Caesar for legitimacy. Elagabalus was the son of Senator Sextus Varius Marcellus and an Egyptian prostitute (he later claimed she was a Syrian noble woman). So he declared himself divinely conceived by the Sun god, Helios who formed himself into a fiery phallus and scooted up her skirts while she tended a family cookout. Hence the name Helio, or Elagabalus.

1571- By his own calculations, Astronomer Johannes Kepler was conceived at 4:37 AM.

1648- Battle of Zolty Wody (sweet water) The Cossack rebel army of Ukrainian leader Bogdan Khmelnitsky defeated the Polish army of King Jan II Kazimierz.

1717- A Lettre du Cachet was issued to arrest young writer Voltaire. They locked him up in the Bastille for writing satires critical of the King’s government. He was not allowed to take anything but his clothes. Once in the slammer, he learned his mistress Suzanne De Livry consoled herself by promptly jumping into bed with his best friend.
Philosopher Voltaire was philosophical, “One must put up with these bagatelles.”

1763- James Boswell was drinking tea in Samuel Davis’ London bookshop when he first met Dr. Samuel Johnson. The two great men of letters became lifelong friends and Boswell’s biography of Dr. Johnson became a literary classic.

1770- Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were married. Louis was 15 and Marie was 14. Louis was just Duc' du Berry and never expected to become king until both his father and older brother died before grandpa King Louis XV. Louis was unable to consummate their marriage because of an obstruction in his foreskin. It took seven years and a painful operation before they could create any children. During that time the vivacious Marie-Antoinette would put her dull husband to bed early and party all night with others.

1777- Button Gwinnett of Georgia died from wounds incurred in a duel. Button Gwinnett has the fame of being the most obscure signer of the Declaration of Independence. A signature of his on a small piece of paper recently sold at auction for $778,000 USD.

1861- The State of Kentucky declared its neutrality in the Civil War. For that it became a battle ground for both armies for most of the following year.

1863- THE LONG CHANCE- In Richmond at a meeting of the Confederate Cabinet plans were discussed for helping relieve the fortress city of Vicksburg. If Yankee General Grant captured the city, he would cut the Confederacy in half and choke off the Mississippi. Then it would only be a matter of time. Gen. Pierre Beauregard proposed drawing regiments from west and east to launch a grand assault into Ohio and Indiana. This would force Grant away from Vicksburg to defend the Yankee heartland.
But Gen. Robert E. Lee countered with his idea for the Gettysburg Campaign. Lee proposed an invasion north through Pennsylvania to menace Philadelphia and descend upon Baltimore and Washington, in effect, gambling everything that he could knock out the U.S. Army with one giant blow. Some strategists agreed with Beauregard's plan, but President Jefferson Davis disliked Beauregard personally and just couldn't say no to the invincible Bobby Lee. Of all the Confederate cabinet only postmaster general John Reagan had the nerve to openly disagree. He was outvoted. 15-1. Lee was defeated at Gettysburg and Vicksburg fell to Grant.

1866- Congress authorized the creation of a new 5 cent coin, which because of its metal content people called the Nickel.

1868-The IMPEACHMENT OF THE PRESIDENT -President Andrew Johnson survived a Senate vote of Impeachment by one vote. The pro-union governor of rebel Tennessee was made Vice President on a unity ticket, then became president because of Abe Lincoln’s assassination. Johnson was filling out Lincoln's term and was despised by Washington circles for being too quick to forgive the defeated Confederacy and restrict the new rights of the freed slaves. His campaign slogan was “This Nation was made for the White Man.”
He was continually at odds with the members of Lincoln's cabinet who wanted to control him, especially Secretary of War William Stanton. When Johnson tried to fire Stanton, the bewhiskered secretary not only barricaded himself into his office, but he instigated impeachment proceedings in Congress. He even accused President Johnson of treason and of complicity in the plot to kill Lincoln! Senate leader Benjamin Wade was so sure he was going to be president he had already announced his cabinet.
The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly for impeachment and the Senate was only one vote short of the 2/3 majority required. The one vote that kept Johnson in office was a Senator Edmund Ross. Ross deliberately voted no because he didn’t want to be famous as the man who impeached a President. Ross’ career was ruined- “He will die in the street!” thundered one-legged N.Y. Senator Dan Sickles.
Andrew Johnson for the rest of his life bitterly resented the questioning of his patriotism when he had sacrificed friends and family to stay loyal to the U.S. When he died, he left instructions that his body be wrapped in the Stars and Stripes and a copy of the U.S. Constitution put under his head.

1879- Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances premiered.

1900- MAFEKING. During the Boer War in South Africa the besieged city of Mafeking was rescued by the British Army. When the first combat units fought their way into the beleaguered city the first Englishman they saw was a droll gentleman seating on a porch sipping lemonade, who calmly stated:" Ah, so there you are. We'd heard you chaps had been knocking about. " The public in London went wild with the news and a huge spontaneous street party breaks out, forever called a "Mafeking Night".
The British commander at Mafeking was Sir Robert Baden-Powell "Good Old B.P." After the war he would form the Boy Scouts. The scout uniform with the ranger hat and neckerchief was based on his own uniform in the Boer war. The slogan 'Be Prepared' was an abbreviation of the dramatic order B.P. gave at the height of the Mafeking battle, “Be Prepared to Die for your Country! “

1913- President Woodrow Wilson held a crisis cabinet meeting over a potential war with Japan. The Japanese Government was shocked and insulted by the State Legislature of California passing a law forbidding Japanese immigrants the rights of citizenship or to own property. Wilson’s own policy advocated state’s rights, but he didn’t want to needlessly offend Tokyo any further. The crisis was averted by January when Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan was sent to negotiate milder treaty language, not with the Japanese, but with the State of California!

1918- During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson created the Wartime Committee of Public Information- a propaganda board headed by journalist George Creel and psychologist Edmund Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud. After the war they would ply their skills in mass persuasion for the private sector- Bernays advertising equating cigarette smoking with women's equality hooked millions of women. He labels cigarettes “freedom sticks” and even engineered a change in ladies fashion to a taste for green to help sagging sales of a cigarette in a green pack. To help the pork industry, Bernays engineered a campaign to make all Americans believe the only real American breakfast is bacon & eggs.

1922- The White Star Line’s ocean liner Majestic, a sister ship to the Titanic, made its maiden voyage with no problems at all.

1929- The First Academy Awards ceremony at the Rose Ballroom of the Roosevelt Hotel. Douglas Fairbanks was the first emcee. They gave out two best picture winners. One was to William Wellman’s “Wings”. The second for “unique and artistic merit” went to F. W. Murnau’s Sunrise. The Academy originally wanted to give the Best Actor Oscar to the dog Rin Tin Tin, but they reconsidered when reminded about what kind of message that would send. So, they gave it to Emil Jannings. Janet Gaynor got the first Best Actress. The ceremony was originally a dinner party with some industry business conducted. About 270 attendees who paid $5 each. The ceremony took about 15 minutes.

1934- 35,000 Pacific longshoremen go on strike and paralyze ports from Seattle to San Diego.

1946- the musical Annie Get Your Gun starring Ethel Merman premiered on Broadway.

1957- in a town in Pennsylvania, a failing small time businessman who had been drinking heavily, died of a heart attack at age 54. Ironically, he had just completed the first draft of a memoir about his days as a young Treasury Agent in Roaring Twenties Chicago. His name was Elliot Ness. The book - The Untouchables- became a national best seller and Hollywood turned it into a hit television series, films. Elliot Ness became the most famous lawman since Wyatt Earp.

1963- Gordo Cooper orbited the Earth in the last flight of Project Mercury.

1965 – the birthday of Spaghetti-O's later known as Spaghettios.

1969- PEOPLE’S PARK- The escalating tension between anti-war counter-culture and "the Establishment" picked an unusual item to fight over. A group of activists in Berkeley took over a 2 acre plot of land scheduled for development by the college. They planted grass and flowers and called it a "people’s park". Conservative Governor Ronald Reagan wasn’t going to tolerate any more tomfoolery and after officers and a chain link fence failed to keep out the squatters, he sent in the National Guard. This day the confrontation between the bayonet wielding troops and hippies broke out into violence. One man was killed and another was blinded by riot gas. The college decided to yield the land for the park, and it stays so today.

1972- Hollywood Cartoonists local# 839 voted to expel Business Agent Larry Kilty for misappropriation of funds. They called him Guilty-Kilty.

1975- Japanese climber Junko Tabei became the first woman to climb Mt. Everest.

1975 - Wings release "Listen to What the Man Said" in UK

1979- Shooting wraps on Steven Spielberg’s movie 1941.

1980 - Brian May of rock group Queen collapsed on stage with hepatitis.

1980 - Paul McCartney releases "McCartney II" album.

1981 - "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes hits #1 for next 9 weeks. The elderly movie legend was not impressed,” Kim Carnes does not have eyes like me!” quote Bette.

1985 - Michael Jordan named NBA Rookie of Year.

1986 – "Top Gun," directed by Tony Scott and starring Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis premiered.

1990- Jim Henson died of viral pneumonia at Bellevue Hospital in NYC. He was 53.

1996- One of the lamest moments in TV writing. On Dallas, Pam Ewing encounters her husband Bobby Ewing in the shower although he had been dead for one year. The incident meant the entire previous season had only been a bad dream.

2001-THE SECRET ENERGY SUMMIT- Traditionally the job of U.S. vice presidents is to attend state funerals and wait for the president to cough. Shortly after the inauguration of George W. Bush, VP Dick Cheney convened a secret summit of top energy execs. This day their plan was announced- A heavily one-sided partisan document that emphasized increased drilling for oil and nuclear power, regardless of the environmental impact. Even today it is a top secret just who was at that summit, and Cheney had all their records and transcripts destroyed.

2009- The Sri Lankan military declared victory over the Tamil Tiger separatist rebels and killed their leader Vellilpurai Prahabkaran. The civil war had been raging since 1983.

2009- Pixar’s film UP premiered.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: What does it mean to cut the mustard?

Answer: In Jolly Old England mustard was one of the main crops in East Anglia. It was cut by hand with scythes, like corn. The top of the plant had the useful seeds, the stalks were not used. The crop could grow up to six feet high and this was very arduous work, requiring extremely sharp tools. When blunt they "would not cut the mustard". Today it has come to mean if you’ve cut the mustard, you’ve passed the test, fulfilled requirements, achieved the goal, made the grade, knocked it out of the park; in short, succeeded.


May 14, 2024
May 14th, 2024

Quiz: Who was the last US President to have been in actual military combat?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What’s a hat-trick?
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History for 5/14/2024
Birthdays: Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Wedgewood, Francesca Annis, David Byrne, Jack Bruce, Bobby Darin, Mark Zuckerberg is 39, Tim Roth is 65, Robert Zemeckis is 72, Kate Blanchett is 54, George Lucas is 80

Roman festival of the Avral Brethren, a ceremony where straw puppets were thrown into the river to bless Father Tiber. (Perhaps it's an echo of a more primitive human sacrifice?)

1264- BATTLE OF LEWES Rebel earls of Sussex and Simon de Monfort defeated and captured King Henry III and the Prince of Wales -Edward Longshanks. These barons compelled extensions to liberties that began with Magna Carta and created the House of Commons. The prince eventually escaped and killed de Monfort and Sussex but could not stop the growth of representative house of commons.

1525 – The Great German Peasant Revolt of Thomas of Muntzer was crushed at The Battle of Bad Frankenhausen. Muntzer was a devotee of reformer Martin Luther and he became a folk hero for trying to extend Luther’s idea of spiritual freedom to real political freedom. Martin Luther himself was horrified by the violence of the revolt and denounced it.
Finally a powerful coalition of the Elector Dukes of Hesse, Saxony and Brunswick raised a big army of knights and went city by city suppressing the revolt with great massacre. Muntzers group was destroyed at Bad Frankenhausen. Thomas Muntzer was ordered broken on the wheel and beheaded by the vengeful German nobles. So many common people were being put to the sword, that the Imperial Diet at Augsburg warned that if the nobles killed all their peasants, who would be left to do the work and pay taxes?

1667- The sailors of the English Navy were only paid once a month. During the Dutch Wars, an incident happened when after several months of hard fighting the loyal sailors were told that their fun loving King Charles II didn't have any money left in his treasury to pay them. This made them so angry, scores of them deserted to the enemy. They guided Dutch Admiral De Ruyter's fleet right up the Thames where they burned the docks of Greenwich, within sight of King Charles' palace.

1787- Shortly before returning to America, the Marquis de Lafayette wrote his friend George Washington about his sponsorship of the famous quack Dr. Anton Mesmer, for whom Mesmerism is known. "Before leaving I shall obtain permission to tell Dr Mesmer’s great secrets on Animal Magnetism to you, for it is a great philosophical discovery."

1787- George Washington arrived in Philadelphia to chair the great convention to write the U.S. Constitution. Once there, he discovered that so far only three states had even bothered to show up, and that included host Pennsylvania. There was a fear that if enough states could not be made to cooperate, a federal constitution imposed by a minority would break up the United States. To Washington’s relief, by months end all the states except Rhode Island sent a delegation.

1796- English scientist Edward Jenner administered the first smallpox vaccination. This disease, which ravaged Europe for decades, was cured by the Chinese in the 600's B.C. Chinese doctors would ground up particles from a smallpox scab and blow it up your nose through a glass tube. After the pox decimated Native American tribes in the 1500's, by the 1770’s they did the same vaccination using a porcupine quill under the fingernail.
Smallpox was the great killer of the age, Queen Elizabeth, George Washington and Robespierre almost died of the pox. The fashion of wigs and makeup became popular because it covered the facial scars and hair loss from the disease. Robespierre’s eyes were permanently weakened by the pox and he had to wear black painted spectacles. Made him look badass.

1800- The Sixth US Congress voted to adjourn for the last time in Philadelphia and meet again in November in the new capitol city, already being called Washington City.

1800- Napoleon’s army began crossing the Alps into Italy via the Great Saint Bernard Pass.

1804- Lewis and Clark set out from St. Louis to find the Pacific. President Jefferson had told his aide Meriwether Lewis that there was a large river headed west from the Mississippi called the Missouri. Perhaps the large river that emptied into the Pacific in Oregon called the Columbia was the same river? So, maybe you could travel by boat from New Orleans to Seattle? And if there was a little neck of land between the two rivers, they were to measure the distance.
Later, 1,200 miles into the high Rockies, eating candles to stay alive, they determined that the distance was much greater than previously thought.
Pres. Jefferson had a fossil bone from a prehistoric sloth in his office. He told Lewis if he found a live one out there to send it back. Known as Paramylodon jeffersoni, remains of this animals have been found recently while digging the world's largest reservoir near Hemet, CA, and one specimen is known from the La Brea Tar Pits on Wilshire Blvd in downtown L.A.

1811- Paraguay declared independence from Spain.

1842 - 1st edition of London Illustrated News.

1860- The first delegation of diplomats from Japan arrived in the U.S bringing greetings from the Shogun.

1878- Vaseline petroleum jelly patented.

1940- Holland surrendered to the Nazis after Hitler threatened to bomb Amsterdam to rubble the way they did to Rotterdam.

1935- Griffith Park Observatory above Hollywood first opened to the public. It is featured in the James Dean movie Rebel Without a Cause.

1942- Nazi Stuka dive bombers began the attack on Malta.

1942- Walt Disney composer Frank Churchill, who wrote "Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf", Whistle While you Work”, shot himself at his piano at home. He was 40. He left a suicide note that said, “Dear Caroline: My nerves have completely left me. Please forgive this awful act. It seems the only way I can cure myself. Frank.”

1944- In the comic strip Dick Tracy, the longtime nemesis Flattop Jones was killed.

1945- US bombers firebombed Nagoya Castle, built in 1612 by Tokugawa Ieyasu the Japanese Shogun as a gift for his son. The castle was reconstructed to its original form 1959-1978.

1948- Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy, the older sister to John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Ted Kennedy, was killed in a plane crash. She was 28. She was married to the English Duke of Devonshire, and so was buried at their estate Chatsworth.

1948- THE STATE OF ISRAEL DECLARED- Since the Jewish Diaspora begun by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 162 AD, Jews have wished for their own country. In 1897 European Jews called Zionists began building a homeland by encouraging mass immigration to the loosely governed Turkish province called Palestine. By World War 2 there were two populations, Arab and Jewish, both claiming the same land. After years of sectarian fighting the British announced they would evacuate Palestine May 15th. The 5 surrounding Arab nations announced they would attack if a Jewish State was declared- 45 million against barely one million. US ally King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia declared:" Even if we lose ten million to destroy the Jews, it will be a small sacrifice."
The UN was considering a further three-month delay to debate the problem, when at 4:00PM Jewish Agency Premier David Ben Gurion walked into the crowd at the Tel Aviv Museum and declared the State of Israel. He did it at 4pm and the day before the mandate ran out, because it was Friday night, which is the Jewish Sabbath. During the Sabbath no Jews can sign anything or do any business, so he had to move it up.

1951 - Ernie Kovacs Show, debuted on NBC TV. Kovacs was a great pioneer in the video medium who created uniquely surreal images and pantomime blackout skits.

1955- Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park Cal, today’s Silicon Valley, was founded by peace activist Roy Kepler. Keplers’ books was a hangout for Stanford computer scientists, Hippies, and creators of the Whole Earth Catalog. The Grateful Dead and Joan Baez played there, Prof. Douglas Englebart the inventor of the computer mouse, would pop in for coffee, and kids like Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak would ride their bikes over to check out the new computer books.

1973- Skylab, Americas first attempt at a space station, blasted off into orbit. In 1979 the remains of the 77 ton satellite re-entered the atmosphere, causing half the world to duck.

1974- The Maalot Massacre-On the anniversary of Israeli Independence Palestinian terrorists of the Al Fatah faction entered an Israeli school and killed 22 children.

1976- Keith Relf of the rock group the Yardbirds, was electrocuted while playing his guitar in his bathtub.

1968 - Beatles announce formation of Apple Records.

1989 – The funeral for a Communist Party reformer named Hu Yao Bang grew into massive Demonstrations for democratic reforms in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. For three weeks the attention of the world focused on the students demands for greater personal freedom. The movement was finally crushed by the Chinese Army in June.

1992 - Carlos “ Danny” Herrera, bartender inventor of the Margarita, died at age 90- The Margarita was supposedly invented in 1938 for Hollywood actress Margaret Sullavan who wanted to drink tequila with the guys, but couldn’t tolerate the strong taste. Herrera mixed the tequila and lime juice into an iced cocktail and put the salt along the rim. He mixed a batch whenever he heard the actress was in Tijuana, writing on the bottle- For Margaret- Por Margarita.

1998 - Last episode of sitcom Seinfeld on NBC. Elderly singer Frank Sinatra died shortly after watching it.

2016- The Disneyland Parks stopped selling Disney Dollars
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Yesterday’s Quiz: What’s a hat-trick?

Answer: A "hat trick” is a reference to something happening successfully three time in a row. Ity is most often used in relation to sports like soccer (football) or hockey, when a player scores three goals in a single game. It can al;so apply to other endeavors. For example, Orson Wells was nominated for Academy Awards three times for a single film, Citizen Kane.


May 13, 2024
May 13th, 2024

Quiz: What’s a hat-trick?

Yesterday’s Quiz below: There is doing something, then doing something in a holistic way. What’s the difference?
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History for 5/13/2024 Birthdays: St. Sergius of Radonez 1314, Sir Arthur Sullivan, Cyrus McCormick, Stevie Wonder, George Braque, Daphne DuMaurier, Joe Louis, Richie Valens, Gil Evans, Beatrice Arthur, Harvey Keitel is 83, Dennis Rodman, Clive Barnes, Burnett “Burny” Mattinson, Steven Colbert is 59

In ancient Rome this was the Liberalia, Festival of the gods of the Grape- Liber and Liberia. As part of the fertility theme Romans waved little phalluses or wore them around their necks to parties. Putting a big penis statue in your garden was a sure way to make your flowers bloom.

In the Middle Ages, this was the Day of the Holy Ice, when God sent a final hailstorm to herald the coming of Summer. The hail usually turned to warm rain.

1568- Battle of Langside- Mary Queen of Scots was forced to abdicate her throne in favor of her son James in 1565. She raised an army of Scottish Catholics to try and regain power but was defeated outside Glasgow by her son’s Protestant guardians. This battle forced her to flee to England and fall into the hands of Queen Elizabeth. Liz beheaded Mary in 1587.

1610- French King Henry IV Bourbon was stabbed to death by Ravaillac the mad monk. Catholic extremists were furious with him for ending the Religious Wars in France by granting freedom of worship to all. Ravaillac leapt up onto the running board of the King’s carriage and thrust at him with his knife through the carriage window. His Queen Marie De Medici, the lady Rubens painted so many triumphant pictures of succeeded Henry.

1637- French Cardinal Richelieu threw a dinner where he introduced a new invention. He had each place at the table set with a fork, a spoon and a table knife. For the first time guests didn't have to whip out their own blade to cut their food. He also had the points of these knives ground down and rounded off so people could not stab one another with them. The dinner knife is born.

1655- A Rhode Island statute was passed granting freeman citizenship with no pre-requirements regarding Christian worship. For the first time Jews, Muslims and dissenters had the right to vote in the U.S.

1794- Dolly Madison writes in her diary today that if she was ever to die, she would want her child raised by Aaron Burr (Vice President, two-time presidential candidate, future assassin of Alexander Hamilton). She was a 26-year-old widowed mother at the time but according to both friend and foe she was a ravishing beauty. Much writing of the time criticized her immodestly low necklines and flirtatious demeanor around men. She knew most of the Founding Fathers, and in four months would marry powerful senator James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights and the original 40-year-old virgin. Ironically Burr introduced them to each other.

1809- After bombarding the city for a day, Vienna surrendered to Napoleon.

1846-THE U.S. DECLARED WAR ON MEXICO- The U.S had claimed the border of its new state of Texas was the Rio Grande, Mexico said it was the Rio Nueces. When American General Zachary Taylor was ordered to march his army into the disputed area and was attacked, the United States declared War. America won the Rio Grande line as well as the new states of California, New Mexico and Arizona, basically half the landmass of Mexico.
Just in case you thought political dissent began with Vietnam; Daniel Webster said this war was unworthy of America for it could not be disguised as other than a old world-style imperial land grab for the Pacific coast. Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln were anti-war congressman. Ulysses Grant said in his memoirs that the Civil War was God's punishment on the U.S. for attacking Mexico. Henry David Thoreau refused to pay his taxes and was fined, later writing his famous work On Civil Disobedience.

1851- the two leaders of the US Women’s Rights movement- Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady-Stanton met for the first time in Seneca Falls New York.

1910- James "Sugar Jim” Smith, the boss of the Essex County Democratic machine announced his candidate for the New Jersey governor’s race would be a tall, sour-puss Presbyterian professor named Woodrow Wilson, then President of Princeton University. Wilson had never run or held elective office, and everyone thought they were out of their minds, until they heard him speak. Woodrow Wilson not only won the governorship but two years later became president.

1913- In Saint Petersburg, Igor Sikorsky invented the first airplane toilet. Later he would move to the US and invent the helicopter. Without a toilet though.

1917- Three small children see the Virgin Mary in the town of Fatima in Portugal. All Catholics know about the story that the Madonna gave a letter to the Pope which was to be opened 50 years later which revealed secrets about the fate of mankind too horrible to say. Actually we all know, we’re just not saying.

1925- Tallahassee Florida ordered daily Bible readings in public schools.

1940-100 Nazis Heinkel 111 bombers began bombing the city of Rotterdam as an act of terror. This despite Rotterdam being declared an open city and negotiations under way for its surrender. The bombers destroyed the city in just several hours. At the same time Queen Wilhelmina left The Hague for London as the Nazi tanks rolled in.

1950 - Diner's Club issued its first credit cards.

1956- Actor Montgomery Clift was disfigured in a car crash. He had to have his jaw wired until it could heal.

1957- THE MAIN BOUT- The McClellan Senate Committee was investigating organized crime inroads into the labor unions, but the "main bout" as it was then called was young prosecutor Robert Kennedy’s attempts to nail Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa. This day RFK tried a sting on Hoffa, arresting him at the Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington with $21,000 in kickback money handed him by an FBI plant. Hoffa’s attorney portrayed the money as a misunderstood legal fee and when he noticed half the jury was black, Jimmy Hoffa had boxing champ Joe Louis flown in so they could see them embracing. Hoffa was acquitted in this trial but eventually convicted ten years later. When Bobby Kennedy was assassinated Hoffa ordered the flag over his office run back up to full staff and spent the day celebrating.

1963- The English adventure comic Modesty Blaise, by Peter O’Donnell and Jim Holdaway debuted.

1963- Marvel published the first X-Men comic book.

1965 - Rolling Stones recorded "Satisfaction".

1965- In a DC nightclub, the Ramsey Lewis Trio recorded live “The In Crowd”, one of the last jazz singles to crossover and become a hit pop song.

1966 - Rolling Stones released "Paint it Black"

1971- The Black Panther 21’ trial- In 1969 the F.B.I. pre-dawn raided the headquarters of the militant Black Panther Party in New York. After a trial that took eighteen months the Panthers were acquitted on all charges after a jury deliberation of only 55 minutes. The case raised serious questions of the F.B.I.’s right to domestic infiltration and surveillance. Despite winning 96% of all the court cases brought against them, by 1975 most of the Black Panthers were dead or in exile. In later years Panther leader Bobby Seale owned a barbecue franchise in Philadelphia. Panther Eldridge Cleaver died a born-again Reagan-Republican.

1971 - Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane seriously injured in a car accident

1982- President Reagan says he's certain that our nuclear missiles could be recalled in case of an accidental firing. He didn't say how we'd catch them when they came back.

1981-Pope John Paul II shot by Turkish-Terrorist Mehmed Ali Agca. The Pope survived and lived twenty more years. It’s never been proven but generally believed the hit on the Polish Pope was organized by the Soviet KGB through the Bulgarian secret service. Another source said the in 2001 the Vatican revealed that a prediction of the assassination attempt on the Pope was part of the secret message given by the Virgin Mary to three small Portuguese children at Fatima in 1917.

1988- Legendary jazz trumpeter Chet Baker “The Prince of Cool” died when he fell off a window ledge of the Hotel Prinz Hendrik in Amsterdam. He frequently locked himself out of his room and trying to climb in a window. Heroin and cocaine were found in his system. He was 58.

1992- Police arrest the manager of Comic Book Heaven in Sarasota Florida on seven counts of "displaying materiel harmful to minors", i.e., comic books.

2006- Disney’s The Little Match Girl, directed by Roger Allers was released.
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Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: There is doing something, then doing something in a holistic way. What’s the difference?

Answer: Holistic means approaching something in context with its environment; how it will affect its surroundings (up to an including the entire planet) and how it’s surroundings will, in turn, effect it. (Thanks FG)


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