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Blog Posts from June 2011:

June 20, 2011 mon
June 20th, 2011

Question: What is a Wagner Tuben?

Yesterdays Question answered below: Why is amateur radio called Ham radio?
History for 6/20/2011
Birthdays: Wolf Tone, Jacques Offenbach, Lillian Hellman, Errol Flynn, Audie Murphy,
Andre Watts, Cyndee Lauper, Bob Vila, Chet Atkins, Stephen Frears, Brian Wilson, Robert Rodriquez, John Goodman,Martin Landau is 83, John Mahoney is 71, Nicole Kidman is 44

1218- Simon De Monfort, Leader of the Crusade against the Albigensian heretics of southern France, was squished by a catapult stone whilst besieging Toulouse. Legend says the lucky catapult shot that nailed Simon was fired by the women & children of Toulouse who knew they could expect no mercy from him.

1389 -Battle of Kosovo Polje, where a coalition of Serbs, Croats, Bulgars and
Albanians under Prince Lazar I of Serbia were annihilated by an Turkish army. Under young Sultan Bajazet called Ilderim- Lightning. The Sultan was presented with King Lazar’s head on a spear. The Ottoman Turkish Empire would rule in the Balkans for 500 years.

1397- The Union of Kalmar unites Sweden, Norway and Denmark under one crown.

1605-The False Dmitri invades Russia. A defrocked Lithuanian priest named Grishka declared himself the dead infant son of Czar Ivan the Terrible grown up and convinced a powerful Polish noble family, The Mniszechs, to back him. Historians wrongly call this a Polish-Russian War but actually it was a privately run freelance invasion.

Dmitri succeeded in toppling Czar Boris Gudunov and occupying Moscow. When the Polish Army went home the Russians killed him, burned his body, mixed the ashes with gunpowder, stuffed it in a cannon and fired it back in the direction of Poland.

1747- Persian King Nadir Shah had seized the throne and led armies across Central Asia in a march of conquest not seen since the days of Tamerlane. He conquered Iraq, Uzbekizatan, Afghanistan, Northern India and Yerevan. He forced the Indian Moguls to give him the fabulous Peacock Throne. But as he grew older he got increasingly paranoid, blinding his eldest son and executing hundreds. Finally, this day, his own bodyguards stabbed him, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

1756- THE BLACK HOLE OF CALCUTTA- Bengal Rajah Siraj ud Daula stuffed 146 captured British officers in a tiny cell. Most died of asphyxiation by morning. 23 survived.

1782- Angry Revolutionary soldiers, who had not been paid for months, surrounded the US Congress at Independence Hall. They waved their bayonets and muskets and threatened violence if they weren’t paid. Congressmen fled to Trenton to reconvene.

1782- Shortly before they fled, Congress approved the final design of the Great Seal of the United States, choosing the Bald Eagle over the Wild Turkey as the symbol of America.

1789- THE TENNIS COURT OATH- French King Louis XVI got annoyed with his parliament or Estates General for constantly asking for permanent power and the right to rule by laws. So this day he tells them to disband. Of the Estates three divisions the First Estate- Nobility and the Second Estate – Clergy quietly obey and go home. But the Third Estate -the common folk- refused and when they were turned out of their meeting hall by the guards they reconvened in the Royal tennis court. There the members pledged not to disband until Liberty was established. "Go tell your master that here the People rule!"- Said Mirabeau to the royal herald.

1790- THE US CAPITOL CONCEIVED- In the then American capitol, New York City, Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, went over to have dinner with Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and Senator James Madison. There were no real American political parties yet, but Jefferson had been leading the opposition to Hamilton’s plan for the US Government to assume all the debt incurred by the individual states in the Revolution. This act would strengthen the central government at the expense of the states. Everyone knew Jefferson worked through Madison but he presented this dinner as his arbitrating a peace between Madison and Hamilton!

No one recorded what was said at the meal but it is assumed Hamilton proposed a deal in exchange for the debt assumption- move the American capitol south. This night they agreed to move the planned US capitol to a new site on land suggested by President Washington near his Mount Vernon estate. It would become Washington, DC. It was also possibly the last time Jefferson, Hamilton and Madison ever agreed on anything ever again.

1815- NATHAN ROTHSCHILD'S BIG SCORE. -When The Battle of Waterloo happened in Belgium no one in England knew who had won for 72 anxious hours. The House of Rothschild Bank had a Dutch agent at the battlefield who galloped to Ostend then across the Channel to Nathan before the official news reached the London. This morning, Nathan Rothschild walked into the London Stock Exchange and took his usual stance by his favorite pillar.

Everyone was sure Rothschild knew something. He said nothing himself but his agents started to sell off Government bonds. Day traders took this as a sign that the French were victorious, so the price of Government securities plummeted in panic sales. When the prices had fallen low enough Rothschild gave the signal to start buying. By the time the real news that Wellington had beaten Napoleon arrived, Nathan Rothschild had made a fortune. He later became the first of the Jewish faith to enter the House of Lords.

1819- The first steam powered ship successfully crossed the Atlantic. The SS Savannah made it to Liverpool after a trip of 27 days.

1837-QUEEN VICTORIA-Upon the death of her uncle King William IV, little, 19 year old Princess Victoria becomes Queen of the British Isles. She will rule until 1901 and give her name to the era, Victorian.

She came to the throne when veterans of the American Revolution and Waterloo were still alive and she lived to use electric lights, telephones and was the first monarch to watch a movie. Before Victoria, the British Royals were never considered examples of morality. It was said her grandfather George III was insane, her Uncle George IV a bigamist, her other uncle, William IV, a glutton and her mother the Duchess of Kent was living openly with an Irish adventurer named James Conroy. If you wanted to meet the great men of the nation you had to look in the gambling houses or brothels. Victoria changed all that.

She and her husband Prince Albert made the pursuit of Morality and family the highest standard of polite society her face.

1862- The U.S. Congress passed the Pacific Railroad Act, allowing funds for the transcontinental railroad.

1863-Several Virginia counties whose people opposed the Confederacy and slavery re-enter the Union as the new state of West Virginia.

1900- THE BOXER REBELLION- In Beijing, the Boxer Rebellion trapped the foreign diplomatic corps in their compound in the Forbidden City. The Chinese mobs were led by martial arts societies like the I Ho Chu Huan- The Righteous and Harmonius Fists. They wanted to drive out the hated foreigners who were ruining China the way they had carved up Africa and India.

The German ambassador Baron Von Kettler, who liked to shoot at Chinese children from his balcony, was murdered in the street, and the Japanese ambassador was pulled out of his sedan chair and beheaded. Women in western clothing were doused with gasoline and set ablaze. The Chinese Manchu Empress Zhou Zsi permitted the regular Chinese Army to support the Boxers.

At first the besieged delegations didn't get along well, the British and Japanese didn't trust the Russians, the Germans were cut off from their big new brewery in Tsing-Tao, yeah, the same. And nobody liked the Americans with their constant preaching that they weren't out to annex new colonies, while their gunboats and Marines prowled the Yangtze. But under the leader ship of British attache, Sir Archibald MacDonald, the diplomats soon learned to work together. They held out until an international force rescued them- the "55 days in Peking".

1910- Longtime President of Mexico, Porfirio Diaz, unsuccessfully tried to stop the Revolution breaking out by declaring martial law and arresting hundreds.

1927- THE RED TENT- Italian polar explorer, General Nobile, had reached the North Pole in his zeppelin, the Norge, the year before. He was the hero of Mussolini’s Italy and the world. But in his second expedition, his zeppelin, the Italia, crashed and the men were stranded on the arctic ice. They dyed their shelter tent red to be seen.

An international rescue effort was launched to try to save them and the great Norwegian polar explorer, Roald Amundsen, died in the attempt. On this day, a Swedish plane reached the Red Tent. There was not room on the plane for everyone so Nobile went aboard to safety before the rest. He said he did so to better organize the saving of his men. But because he didn’t stay behind until all were saved Nobile was branded a coward. Remember this was just a few weeks after Lindbergh so ‘hero’ standards were pretty high. Mussolini and the rest of the world would have nothing more to do with him. General Nobile spent the rest of his long life regretting he ever left the Red Tent.

1940- Thirty thousand people gather at the Hollywood Bowl and the surrounding hills for an America First rally. There they listened to isolationist celebrities like Lilian Gish and Charles Lindbergh and leading Republicans protest President Franklin Roosevelt’s plans to aid Britain.” It is obvious that Britain will lose the war…. It is not freedom when one fifth the country can drag four fifths into a war it does not want!” –quote Lucky Lindy. Students like future President Gerald Ford were in the crowd.

1940- Artist Alberto Vargas signs a contract with Esquire Magazine to paint the ‘Vargas Girls’ pin ups that made the magazine famous. He replaced artist Richard Petty who was demanding $1500 a week. Vargas was paid $75 a week. Today an original Vargas goes for $200,000.

1941- Two days before Hitler’s invasion of Russia, Richard Zorga, a Russian spy in the German Embassy in Tokyo, sent home to Moscow microfilm with complete information on the attack. He even revealed it’s codename- Operation Barbarossa. A Russian agent in Hungary, code-named “Lucy”, and the Chinese agents of Mao Tse Tung confirmed the information. Yet despite this warning Soviet leader Josef Stalin refused to believe it. On June 22 Stalin and the Red Army were taken completely by surprise.

1941-Walt Disney's "the Reluctant Dragon" premiered, with cartoonist's pickets around the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. Police actually have to close part of Hollywood Blvd. out of concern for what the rampaging animators might do. Future UPA producer Steve Bosustow drove up in a limo and picketed in tuxedo and top hat. His chauffeur was Maurice Noble, the designer of the RoadRunner cartoons. Ironically the movie was part documentary about how wonderful life was working at the Disney studio.

1943- Martial law was declared in Detroit when race riots killed 28. New Sherman tanks built in the auto plants of Dearborn, were driven into town to help restore order.

1947- Benjamin Bugsy Siegel, the mobster creator of Las Vegas, was murdered while reading his evening paper in his Beverly Hills home. He had bought the mansion from opera singer George London for his girlfriend actress Virginia Hill. The order to whack Bugsy was probably given by his old friend Mayer Lansky. The Mob was fed up with Bugsy’s cost overruns to build Las Vegas. The second owner of his Flamingo casino, Moe Greenberg, had his throat cut with a butcher knife. Despite all, the Flamingo and the Las Vegas Strip went on to become a great success.

1948- The Ed Sullivan Show "Toast of the Town" later to be “the Ed Sullivan Show” premiered. Sullivan's show was the showcase that brought new acts like Elvis Presley, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones into the average American living room. Prior to this, Mr. Sullivan was a columnist and radio show personality who co-authored "Red Channels", a book accusing dozens of his compatriots as Communists. His “really, really Big Shewww” may have been given to Sullivan to make him lay off.

1972- In the first reaction to the news of the Watergate Break in, Nixon Presidential spokesman Ron Zeigler dismissed it: “It is not for the White House to comment on the investigation of a third-rate burglary”. The Third-Rate Burglary drove Richard Nixon from office in 1974.

1972- THE SMOKING GUN- All through the Watergate scandal the big question was how involved was President Richard Nixon? A conversation in the Oval office was taped this day between Nixon and his aide H.R. Haldeman. Whatever was said on this tape it took two years of lawsuits and a Supreme Court ruling to get Nixon to surrender it. This tape for June 20th had 18 missing minutes.

Experts say five separate manual erasures caused the gap. After a feeble attempt to blame it on the fumble fingers of Nixon’s secretary, Rosemary Woods, it’s generally believed, although never admitted ,that Nixon himself probably erased the incriminating parts of the tape. It was called the “smoking gun”. Three days after the tape was made public in 1974 President Nixon resigned. If Nixon had simply popped this tape into the White House incinerator, he may have completed his presidency with honor.

1977- The Trans-Alaskan Pipeline began flowing.
Yesterdays’ Question: Why is amateur radio called Ham radio?

Answer: In the 1920’s as broadcast radio began to be a major mode of popular entertainment, it picked up a lot of show-business terms. Professionals referred to amateur actors as Hams, so amateur radio people became Hams.

June 18, 2011 sat
June 18th, 2011

Quiz: Thinking of the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), what was the Ark of the Covenant?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What do these men have in common with Congressman Anthony Weiner? Alexander Hamilton, Roscoe Conkling, Charles Stuart Parnell.
History for 6/18/2011
Birthdays: M C Escher, Charles Gounod, James Montgomery Flagg, Kay Kayser,William Lassell 1799- English astronomer who discovered Neptune's moon Triton, Richard Boone, Jeanette MacDonald, Key Luke, Isabella Rosselini, E.G. Marshall, Roger Ebert, Eduard Daladier, Carol Kane, Sammy Kahn, Sir Paul McCartney is 69

1178- According to the chronicler Gervase of Canterbury, on this evening five monks sitting near the town witnessed a "flaming torch" spring up from the moon - it has been theorized that this was a lunar meteor impact; explosion on moon. Or maybe, an interplanetary visitor?

1574- Henry III de Valois was the younger son of the King of France. Being third in line for the succession he accepted the throne of Poland as better than nothing. In Krakow after his coronation and betrothal to a Polish Princess he learned his two older brothers had died and he was now king of France! Without pausing to consider the strategic advantages of a dual monarchy on either side of Germany the spoiled young man just desired to go home immediately. He abandoned the Polish throne and galloped for the border with his court and fiance’ in hot pursuit.

1583 - Richard Martin of London takes out the1st life insurance policy on his friend William Gibbons. The premium was 383 pounds.

1682 – Quaker leader William Penn founded Philadelphia.

1757-Battle of Koln- A rare time when Frederick the Great was defeated in battle by the Austrian army under Archduke Daun. Frederick in frustration shouted at his fleeing cavalry- " What? Do you want to live forever?"

1778- The British army evacuated the American Capitol of Philadelphia. The reason General Clinton pulled back his redcoats was because of his learning of the French entry into the war. London didn’t want him to be stranded in the American interior should the French fleet attack the coast. Clinton offered protection to any Philadelphia loyalists who were afraid of Yankee revenge. Six thousand American loyalists abandoned the city with the troops, many pulling their furniture laden wagons by hand because of the scarcity of horses and oxen.

By 3:00PM the British columns were gone. Then the first elements of the U.S. Army marched into the silent city down Second St. to William Penn’s mansion. They were led by the newly appointed military governor- General Benedict Arnold.

1815- WATERLOO- One of the battles that changed history. 145,000 men in brightly colored uniforms with 400 cannons blew each other to pieces for 9 hours at a road intersection about three miles square. Many factors affected Wellington's defeat of Napoleon: The previous nights rains delayed the battle until 11:00 A.M. Napoleon had a bout of stomach cramps and while he rested his subordinates wasted troops in fruitless assaults.

The Prussian army everyone thought was running to Berlin boiled into the French right just when it seemed that the French were winning. Wellington in private admitted, "It had been a very close run thing."

-My favorite anecdote is about General Cambronne, leader of the French elite' Old Guard. He formed up an infantry square to take a last stand to cover the French retreat. His small band is surrounded by the victorious Anglo-Dutch German army and called upon to surrender. Cambronne had time for a one word reply before all the guns go off-" MERDE!" This is a favorite French epithete meaning "sh*t!" The writer Chateaubriand later said that he cried"The Guard dies but never Surrenders!" But we all know what he really said. To this day in France if you’re too polite to use an expletive you can say: A' la mode de Cambronne!"

1817- With the Iron Duke (Wellington), himself in attendance London opened a new bridge across the Thames, named the Waterloo Bridge. Later the guests sat down at the traditional Waterloo banquet and were served- you guessed it.....Beef Wellington. No crème napoleons for desert, through.

1879 - W H Richardson, an African American inventor, patents the baby buggy or perambulator.

1892 - Macademia nuts first planted in Hawaii

1898 - 1st amusement pier opens in Atlantic City, NJ

1900- The Dowager Empress of China Zhou Zshi calls for the killing of all foreigners during the Boxer Rebellion. She commits the Chinese Imperial Army to the expulsion of all the European colonialist powers. Empress Zhou Chi was the first person westerners called the Dragon Lady, later used by Milt Caniff in his comic strip Terry & the Pirates.

1903 - 1st transcontinental auto trip begins in SF; arrives NY 3-mo later

1913- composer Cole Porter graduated from Yale.

1916- German Max Immelman, the first true fighter ace, died when the synchronizing mechanism that enabled his machine gun to fire through his propeller blades failed and he shot his own propeller off. Ach, Himmel! To take your plane in a large loop-de-loop around someone else is still called an Immelman Turn.

1923- The first Checker Cab was manufactured in Chicago. The big boxy durable Checkers were the most famous city taxicabs until dying out in the 1980s.

1927- The last radio transmission of the flying boat carrying famous arctic explorer Roald Ammundsen to the arctic circle. Norwegian Ammundsen had conquered the South Pole and flew over the North Pole. He was now called out of retirement to lead an international effort to save Italian Polar explorer General Nobile , who’s zeppelin had crashed on the arctic ice. Ironically Ammundsen disliked Nobile personally. Nobile and his men were rescued but Ammundsen and his plane were never found.

1931- The Metropolitan Museum of NY had in it’s collection a little blue statue of a Hippo from the tomb of the Egyptian Steward Senbi from the Twelfth Dynasty. People nicknamed it Willie and this day an article about it with a color picture appeared in Punch Magazine. Soon museum craftsmen made little replicas of Willie that they gave as gifts to donors and eventually started selling to the public. The massive retail business in museum reproductions and merchandise began with little Willie the Hippo.

1940- As the shattered French armies fall back from the Nazis onslaught Marshal Petain telephoned the German High Command and requested an armistice. Meanwhile across the Channel an obscure French colonel made a dramatic radio broadcast from London calling for Free French Resistance. Charles DeGaulle's career begins.

1945- During the battle raging for Okinawa the US Army commander General Simon Bolivar Buckner went up to the front to see better and was killed by a Japanese tank shell. Okinawa was one of those rare battles like Quebec in 1759 where both commanding generals died. General Buckner’s father was a Confederate General in the Civil War who had fought Gen Douglas MacArthur's father.

1953- Dr Martin Luther King married Corretta Scott.

1959 - 1st telecast transmitted from England to US.

1959- Earl Long the Governor of Louisiana was ordered confined to a State Mental Hospital for his erratic behavior. Earl’s response was to arrange for the director of the hospital to be fired and replaced with another who declared him perfectly sane.

1967- At the Monterey Pop Rock festival Jimi Hendrix electrified the audience then finished his set by burning and smashing his guitar on stage. Until then musicians didn’t behave in such a way towards their instruments. Ravi Shankar was particularly shocked.

1980 –"We are on a mission from God." John Landis movie of " The Blues Brothers" with Dan Ackroyd & John Belushi premiered.

1983- Sally Ride becomes the first U.S. woman in Space. Russian Valentina Tereshkova had gone up in 1963.

1989- John Wayne Bobbitt married Lorena Bobbitt.

2002- President George W. Bush said:” When we talk about war, we are really talking about peace.”
Yesterday’s Question: What do these men have in common with Congressman Anthony Weiner? Alexander Hamilton, Roscoe Conkling, Charles Stuart Parnell.

Answer: They were all dynamic politicians who seemed to be going places, until they were brought down by a sex scandal.

June 17, 2011 friday
June 17th, 2011

Question: What do these men have in common with Congressman Anthony Weiner? Alexander Hamilton, Roscoe Conkling, Charles Stuart Parnell.

Yesterday’s question answered below: What was the name of the military band John Phillip Sousa became famous with?
History for 6/17/2011
Birthdays: King Edward Ist "Longshanks", John Wesley the founder of the Methodists, Igor Stravinsky, Wally Wood, Ralph Bellamy, Dean Martin, Barry Manilow, Joe Piscopo is 59, Newt Gingrich, Martin Bormann, Jason Patric, Ken Loach, Greg Kinnear is 47, Venus Williams, Thomas Haden Church is 50

1745- During one of the periodic wars between England and France, a force of New England colonists captured the fortress of Louisburg, the largest French bastion on the Atlantic coast. It cost 100 colonists’ lives and 900 more during the occupation but, amazingly, England gave the fortress back to France in exchange for a fortress in Madras, India. This was another reason Americans were pissed off about being a colony.

1775-THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL. British troops surrounded in Boston, crossed the harbor to attack an entrenched rebel position on Breeds Hill (the names got confused.). It took the Redcoats three human wave assaults until they took the hill, but the rebel farmers, instead of fleeing like rabbits, shot them to pieces. Captain Israel Putnam advised his men,” Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes, then aim low.” The minutemen only retreated when their ammunition ran low.

The battle exacted such a huge cost in soldiers’ lives that the British public was shocked (1,000 casualties out of 2,040 men). Based on America's lukewarm participation in the French and Indian War a decade past, had not the great General Wolf of Quebec labeled the American the "Worst Soldier in the Universe"? and General Gage once told his friend, George Washington," New Englanders are big boasters and worst soldiers. I never saw any as infamously bad." The English generals consoled themselves with the thought that it couldn't have been the Yankees that fought so well, but all the Irish and Scottish immigrants that had arrived recently.

Lexington and Concord could be dismissed as an extended civilian disturbance, but Bunker Hill convinced London that it now had a full-scale war to fight 3,000 ocean miles away.

1789- French King Louis XVI had convened an Estates General to solve the bankrupt economy. The body consisted of three branches- the First Estate-Nobility, 2nd – Clergy and Third Estate the common people- about 99% of the country. This day after much debate the Third Estate voted to declare itself the real representative will of the French people and as such they should legislate for them, King or no.

They renamed themselves the National Assembly. Two days later most of the poor clergy and some nobles like Lafayette voted to join them and when the King ordered them to disband on June 20th they moved to the tennis court. This was the political beginning of the French Revolution.

1815- Heavy Spring rains cancel any actions as the British and French armies converge on a little village outside Brussels called Waterloo. Thunder and lightning drowned out the sound of cannon. The English were optimistic because by coincidence every major victory of the Duke of Wellington was preceded by a strong thunderstorm.

The Prussian (German) army, beaten and driven off yesterday, regroups and turns around to join the English. Its commander was eccentric, 72-year-old Marshal Blucher. In the previous day's battle Blucher had a horse collapse on top of him and was trampled by French cavalry. But after bathing his limbs in brandy and swallowing a large schnapps he was back at the head of his troops bellowing: “Vowarts Mein Kinder! Vowarts Mein Leiber!”At night,

1823- Charles MacKintosh patents the waterproof rubberized raincoat. In England, a raincoat is still called a MacKintosh.

1863 - Travelers Insurance Co of Hartford chartered (1st accident insurer)

1876- Battle of the Little Rosebud- The Ogalala Sioux under Crazy Horse repulsed U.S. cavalry and allied Crow warriors under George Crook. Crazy Horse amazed the white generals who claimed he maneuvered his warriors around the field like elite European light cavalry. They started calling him the Napoleon of the Plains. Crazy Horse then moved the Ogalala to the Little Big Horn to meet Sitting Bull, and fight Custer. Even though he was not badly beaten, Gen. Crook suspended his campaign and went fishing, and was no help to Custer.

1873- Women’s Rights leader Susan B. Anthony went on trial for attempting to vote.
She was found guilty by an all-male jury and fined $100, which she refused to pay.

1885- The pieces of the Statue of Liberty arrive from France. Some assembly required...

1893- Cracker Jacks invented by RW Reuckheim. Their name came from Teddy Roosevelt sampling the caramel corn, and exclaimed “These are Crackerjack!”- popular slang back then for something very good.

1893- The last Queen of Hawaii, Liliuokalani, is overthrown by a junta of American plantation owners led by Sanford Dole. The US apologized in 1992.

1917- The Republic of Finland is declared.

1919 - "Barney Google" cartoon strip, by Billy De Beck, premiered.

1930- Using 6 solid gold pens President Herbert Hoover signed the Harley-Smoot Act slapping huge trade tariffs on imports from overseas. Britain and France and their overseas colonies retaliated with tariffs on American exports. The American stock market had collapsed 6 months before; now this shortsighted act sparked a trade war with the ruined economies of postwar Europe. It all but ensured that the Great Depression would spiral out of control, hitting rock bottom in 1932.

1940- The Nazis had taken Paris and the French were asking for surrender terms. An invasion of Great Britain seemed imminent. Today on the BBC radio, Prime Minister Winston Churchill inspired his demoralized people with his famous speech:”We shall fight them on the beaches, we shall fight them in the hills and in the towns… we shall defend our island home. We shall Never Surrender!”

1946- The first mobile telephone was installed in an automobile in St. Louis, Missouri.

1950-Future attorney general and Senator Robert Kennedy married heiress Ethel Scheckter.

1952- Jack Parsons died in a massive explosion in his Pasadena kitchen. Parsons was a founder of the Jet Propulsion Lab and the Aerojet Corporation. One of the nations top rocket scientists, his research into fuels powered everything from world war two bazooka shells to the Space Shuttle booster engines.

But Parsons also had a strange second life in the occult. He was a follower of Alastair Crowley, sometimes signed his name as AntiChrist and once tried to raise a demon in a white-magic ceremony. His close friends included writer Robert Heinlein and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. His mother committed suicide within hours of the explosion.

No one is sure what caused the explosion that killed him, but he was cavalier in his use of dangerous materials “

1964- The first Universal Studios tram car tour. Carl Laemmle had been inviting tourists in for a nickel to watch movies be filmed as early as 1915.

1968- Ohio Express’ single “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy I got love in my Tummy” went gold.

1972- THE WATERGATE BREAK IN- President Richard Nixon's staff, trying to gain an edge on an upcoming election, hire men to break into Democratic National Committee's offices in the Watergate Hotel to steal election strategy documents. They had already broken in once before but the batteries on the wiretap they planted were defective so they wanted to replace them and copy some more documents. Hotel security guards caught three Cubans and a man named Frank Sturgis. One Cuban had, in his pocket, a check made out by a White House employee named E. Howard Hunt.

This "Third-Rate Burglary" and subsequent cover-up ulcerated into a major scandal that eventually forced the first ever resignation of a US president. President Lyndon Johnson had bugged the Republicans in 1967 and President Kennedy used the IRS to audit politicians he didn’t like, but the general public didn’t know that yet. President Nixon said: "nobody's gonna make a big deal that a Republican President broke into Democratic headquarters."

1976- The Soweto Uprising. A march turned into a running battle as thousands of South African black protesters battled police in their poor townships.

1990- The Battle of Century City- Police attacked 500 striking building maintenance workers and janitors, mostly Central American immigrants, for trying to form a union.

1994- THE WHITE BRONCO CHASE- Movie actor and Hall of Fame football player O.J. Simpson was wanted for questioning about the grisly murder of his second wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her boyfriend Ron Goldman. This day OJ tried to escape. He and his football friend Al Cowlings led police on a strange slow-speed pursuit for two hours around the freeways of Los Angeles as the world watched amazed on live television. He eventually was convinced to surrender. OJ Simpson was acquitted of murder in a controversial trial, but found guilty in a civil wrongful death suit.
Yesterday’s question: What was the name of the military band John Phillip Sousa became famous with?

Answer: The U.S. Marine Band, which is why it became The President’s Own.

June 16, 2011 thurs
June 16th, 2011

Question: What was the name of the military band John Phillip Sousa became famous with?

Yesterdays Question answered below: What is a Sousaphone?
History for 6/16/2011
Birthdays: Stan Laurel, Willy Boskovsky, Joyce Carol Oates, Nelson Doubleday, Brian Eno, animator Pete Burness, Martha Graham, Erich Segal, Jack Albertson, Helen Traubel, Ron LeFlore, Laurie Metcalf, Sonia Braga is 61, John Cho is 39

1686 BC- King Hammurabi the Lawgiver died in Babylon. He was succeeded by his son Samsu-iluna.

391 A.D.- Roman Emperor Theodosius Ist sent the Praefect of Egypt orders to close the pagan temples and forbid the any further practice of the worship of Isis, Serapis and Amon-Ra. It was Theodosius' policy to purge the now Christian Empire of the last vestiges of the old pagan religions. Theodosius closed Plato's Academy, silenced the Oracle of Delphi, burned the Sybilline Books and stopped the Olympic Games.

1497- Amerigo Vespucci reached the mainland of South America.

1657- First recorded mention in London of chocolate for sale. Xocoaltl was served to Hernando Cortez by Montezuma in 1517 but it was pretty bitter stuff. The Maya also gave Europeans the first Vanilla beans. They tamed Chocolate with sugar and kept the formula a secret for 100 years. The Dutch figured it out and added milk for Milk Chocolate and Sir John Sloan the British chemist invented a formula as well.

1779- Spain joined France and Holland in declaring war on Britain over the American Revolution.

1788- The Virginia Convention met to bring together the opponents of the new US Constitution. Led by Patrick Henry, after several weeks’ discussion they adjourned without coming up with any serious alternative to the Constitution.

1857-WAR OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENTS-One of the strangest incidents in law enforcement history. The New York City Police Dept. under Mayor Fernando Wood was so unbelievably corrupt that Governor Samuel Tilden built a second police force called the Metropolitan Police Force and ordered it to take over the city and arrest the Mayor. They were stopped on the steps of City Hall by the original NYPD and a fight broke out. While citizens and criminals alike looked on in amazement as hundreds of blue-coated policemen clubbed, battered and shot each other in the street. Washington D.C. negotiated a settlement that if the state police force would disband Mayor Wood would resign. He ran for mayor again and was elected 5 years later in time to start the New York City Draft Riots of 1863.

1884 - On Coney Island Amusement Pier the Switchback Railway, the first roller coaster began operating.

1897- Congress approves the treaty to annex the Kingdom of Hawaii.

1902- A musical play of L Frank Baum’s fantasy story the Wizard of Oz premiered at Chicago’s Grand Opera House. When Baum was writing down the stories at point he was stuck for a name for the magical kingdom. He looked down at his desk files that were labeled A-N and O-Z. Eureka!

1903 – The Pepsi Cola company forms.

1903-. As Henry Ford filed papers of incorporation of his Ford Automobile Company the first Ford automobiles go on sale at the Tenvoorde sales lot in Minnesota. The Tenvoorde is the oldest Ford dealership in the world and is still in business today, still run by the Tenvoorde Family.

1904- "Blume's Day" all the actions in James Joyce's "Ulysses" takes place on this one day in Dublin. This day Dubliners dress up as characters from the book and do readings.

1920- International Telephone and Telegraph incorporates- ITT.

1932- Broadway star Mae West heads west for Hollywood to make movies.

1933-Franklin Roosevelt signs the National Recovery Act (NRA) and the Glass-Steagel Act, which orders big banks to separate commercial bond business from private savings and loans. This way big banks that ruined themselves in the Stock Market Crash couldn’t destroy the savings of average people who never saw a stock or bond. A heavy publicity campaign encouraged Americans to rally under the blue eagle symbol of the NRA.

The NRA was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1937 but Glass-Steagel stayed in effect, much to the chagrin of banking corporations. It was finally rescinded by supposedly liberal President Bill Clinton in 1999, creating the financial collapse we have now.

1939- Bandleader Chick Webb died at age 30. Webb was an unlikely pop star, a hunchbacked, tuberculant dwarf who played drums, but his band the Chick Webb Orchestra pioneered the new Jazz form called Swing Music and inspired the Big Band Sound. One of Webb’s last actions before succumbing to his debilitating health problems was to make a star out of 19-year-old street singer named Ella Fitzgerald.

1940- As the Nazi tanks continue to roll deeper into France, French Premier Paul Reynaud resigned, and elderly Great War Hero Marshall Phillipe Petain formed a new government and asked the Germans for terms of surrender.

1941-Operation Battle Axe- In the Sahara Desert, Rommel the Desert Fox defeated the British Army under Sir Archibald Wavell.

1941- President Franklin Roosevelt ordered Nazi Germany and Italy to close their diplomatic consulates and leave the country.

1943- 54 year old actor Charlie Chaplin married his fourth wife, 18 year old Oona O’Neill. In Hollywood Chaplin’s nickname was “Chickenhawk Charlie” for his fondness for women of barely legal age. Oona did stay his wife until the end of his life in 1971.

1947 –The 1st regular broadcast network news show began-Dumont's "News from Washington".

1952- The CBS television comedy My Little Margie premiered. It starred Gale Storm and Charlie Farrell.

1958-Imre Nagy, who led Hungarys ill-fated uprising against Communist domination in 1956, was hanged by the Soviets.

1959- Actor George Reeves, who played the 1950s television Superman, went upstairs during a dinner party and shot himself with a German Luger pistol. Actor Gig Young, who was a friend of Reeves, said the actor 's career was going well and his love life was fine. He never believed the actor would shoot himself. Gig Young shot himself in 1981.

Many of Reeves friends also wonder if it was a suicide because Reeves had been dating a socialite named Toni Mannix who’s husband Eddie Mannix of MGM had mob connections. The bullet entrance wound didn’t have the customary powder burns of a suicide and there were other bullet holes in the floor and ceiling. Also the gun in Reeves hands had been wiped clean of fingerprints.

1960- Alfred Hitchcock's thriller "Psycho" premiered.

1963- Cosmonaut Valentina Tereschkova was the first woman to go into space.

1963- David Ben-Gurion, who directed the Jewish Zionist independence movement since 1936 and was Israel’s first Prime Minister, stunned the young nation by announcing his retirement. He declared he was worn out by the strain of power. He lived quietly in a Kibbutz in the Negev Desert, occasionally coming out to give a speech.

In 1968 he was invited to visit South Africa at the height of its racist Apartheid laws. At dinner Ben-Gurion turned to the Calvinist Afrikanz bishops and asked:” And how do you explain to your flock that Moses married a black woman?”

1966-YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT… The Supreme Court handed down the ruling Miranda vs. Arizona, overturning the conviction of an Ernesto Miranda, who was jailed after he was tricked into confessing an assault of a Phoenix woman. This ruling established the famous Miranda Rights, read to every suspect upon arrest. Ernesto Miranda was retired and convicted again and was stabbed in a bar fight in 1972.

1967- The film “The Dirty Dozen” debuted.

1987- Italian porno star Ciccolina announced that since all politicians were whores and she was a whore she would run for office. This made sense to Italians who this day elected her overwhelmingly to a seat in Parliament.
Yesterdays Question What is a Sousaphone?

Answer: A wrap around tuba you can march with. It was ordered by John Phillip Sousa and designed by W.J. Pepper in 1898.

June 15, 2011 weds
June 15th, 2011

Question: What is a Sousaphone?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: When French composer Jacques Offenbach came to the U.S. in 1876 to do to a tour for the American Centennial Celebration, who was the concert master of his orchestra?
History for 6/15/2011
Birthdays: Edward the Black Prince of England, Rachael Donelson Jackson- Andy Jackson’s First Lady, Edvard Grieg, Saul Steinburg, Mario Cuomo, Jim Varney, Wade Boggs, Waylon Jennings, Xaviera Hollander the Happy Hooker, Jim Belushi, Ice Cube is 42, Neil Patrick Harris is 38, Courtenay Cox is 47, Helen Hunt is 48

Happy St. Vitas Day ! "If St. Vitas Day be rainy weather, twill rain for thirty days together. "St.Vitus was the patron of epilepsy, and some extreme forms of spasmic seizure (chorea) was called "St. Vitus Dance".

1215- The MAGNA CARTA or the Great Charter SIGNED. On the field of Runymede. The rebellious English barons force King John Lackland ( also called John Soft Sword, John the Total Loser, etc. ) to sign a document granting basic rights such as trial by a jury of peers, Habeas Corpus, etc. It basically said for the first time that even a King was not above the law of the land.

After King John agreed he crossed the Channel where he paid off the Pope to absolve him of his oath and then he returned with an army of mercenaries to beat up the barons. Even though he hired rogues like Victor the Villain and Mauger the Murderer, King John still lost. Magna Carta became the basis of English Law.

John wasn’t a totally terrible king. He built the first British navy yards at Portsmouth and Southhampton and unlike his older brother Richard Lionheart, John actually preferred speaking English over Norman French.

1300- Poet Dante Alighieri got a job as one of the governing priors of Florence, sort of a city council. We don’t know if it says something about his abilities at municipal governing, but he was run out of town in 1302.

1762 – The Austrian Empire becomes the first to issue paper currency.

1775 - The Continental Congress appointed Mr. George Washington, Esq. of Virginia to be commanding general of the new colonial army forming around Boston. John Adams urged Congress to pick a southerner to command the mostly New Englander farmers in the interest of colonial unity. The fact that he was one of the richest men in America didn't hurt either.

Plus the 6’ 2 plantation owner dropped hints he was interested in the job, like being the only delegate to attend congress squeezed into his 20 year old militia uniform. They afterwards bought him dinner at Peg Mullen's Beefsteak House. During the meal he turned to Patrick Henry and said with the appropriate 18th Century modesty: " From the date I enter into command of America's Armies, I date the fall and ruin of my reputation!"

1776- William Franklin, the pro-British governor of New Jersey is arrested by the Yankee rebels and thrown into a dungeon. He was the illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin and his cook Deborah Regan, whom Franklin had married out of sympathy for the boy. William had assisted his dad with his flying kite experiment years ago. The New Jersey delegates told Dr. Franklin while the Independence Declaration was being debated and he was 'unmoved'.

Truth be told the two men couldn't stand one another. They said they reconciled after the Revolution but that may have been more for public record than reality. When he died Ben Franklin did not leave his son a penny in his will, bitterly stating it's only what William would have left him had the positions been reversed.

1800- US Congress ordered the disbanding of the US Army as a waste of money.

1815-THE WATERLOO BALL- In Brussels Belgium, the Duchess of Richmond hosts a ball for the officers of Wellington’s army before they go to stop Napoleon. Many of the dancers will be dead at Waterloo three days later. The event is dramatized in "Vanity Fair" and" Becky Sharp." While this ball is taking place Napoleon crossed his army into Belgium and placed it inbetween the British and Prussians on the road to Brussels. Napoleon correctly guessed it would take some time for the enemy nations like Russia and Austria to mobilize armies (their target date was July 17) so instead of waiting for the inevitable invasion of France he would attack first, win a big victory then hopefully negotiate a peace from strength.

1836- Arkansas becomes a state.

1844- Mr. Charles Goodyear invents the vulcanization process, that keeps rubber from getting sticky in warm weather and brittle in the cold.

1846-The Oregon Treaty. The United States and Great Britain settle a dispute over exactly where the northwest border was between the U.S. and Canada. Despite President Polk’s belligerent campaign slogan “Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!” a peaceful compromise was reached on the 49th parallel.

1849-Three months after leaving office President James K. Polk died. The President who fought the War with Mexico to get California and the southwest was a lifelong teetotaler and died of cholera from drinking tainted water. Sam Houston, who was one of the great alcoholic opium addicts of American history, said of Polk's death: " It’s the natural end of all Water-Drinkers!"

1888 -Kaiser Wilhelm II becomes leader of Germany after the death of his father Frederich III, who died of throat cancer after reigning only 100 days. Kaiser Frederich was mild, liberal and had an English wife. He hated German powermongers and abhorred the cruel reputation Germany was getting for militarism. He was determined to alter these policies. The modern world would have been amazingly different had Frederich lived to see 1914 as Kaiser instead of his emotionally disturbed son " Willy ".

The first thing Wilhelm did was have troops break into his mother's office and seize some confidential papers in her desk. He and his mother were hardly on speaking terms and he referred to her as "That English Princess who is my mother.." Once when Wilhelm had a nosebleed he refused to stop it because" Now maybe all the English blood will drain out of me !"

1896- GERMANY GETS A NAVY. Kaiser Wilhelm approved the plan of Admiral Von Tirpitz to create a huge battleship fleet. This act is seen as a direct threat to British seapower and for the first time Von Tirpitz implicitly named England as an enemy. Germany and England until then had never fought a war and were usually allies. Queen Victoria spoke fluent German and her grandson the Kaiser was fluent in English. The Kaiser’s desk in his office was made from the wood of Admiral Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory. But building a navy meant Germany was directly challenging England for domination of the High Seas..

1932-The Bonus Marchers, twenty thousands of Depression-unemployed veterans, encamp around Capitol Hill and begin a silent barefoot protest march around Congress. Unlike the army and Government of the time they vote to abolish Jim Crow and completely integrate their ranks.

1938-Tha Fair Labor Standards Act passed.

1945- Judy Garland married director Vincente Minelli.

1951- Comedian Lenny Bruce married a stripper named Honey Stuart.

1955- DUCK & COVER. The US Government held Operation OPAL, the first nationwide Civil Defense alert drills. Not only did millions of school children have to jump under their desks to avoid imaginary Russian nukes but plans were made for commandos to grab the President, Congressional leaders, Supreme Court and even grab the Declaration of Independence and other valuable documents and whisk them out of endangered Washington D.C. to bunkers in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Top Russian officials said they learned a great deal about US intentions from observing these silly drills. President Eisenhower got a good laugh when the motorcade speeding him through the Virginia countryside was blocked by a heard of pigs. “Well, I guess that means we’re all dead boys!” The president joked.

1969- The country music comedy TV show Hee-Haw premiered as a replacement for the Smothers Brothers Hour. Hee Haw ran for two years with high ratings but CBS canceled the show anyway. This was because CBS chief Bill Paley disliked country music. CBS had so many shows like Mayberry RFD, Beverly Hillbillys and Hee Haw, that insiders joked that CBS stood for the Country Broadcasting System. Hee Haw had the last laugh, going on to a successful syndication run until 1997.

1977- Everybody Disco! KC and the Sunshine band release “I’m your Boogie Man”.

1992- The US Supreme Court ruled that it was okay for American law agencies to kidnap suspects being given asylum in foreign countries and bring them to the US for trial, just no one better try kidnapping anybody outta da Good Old U-S of A!

1999- In San Diego, Nicholas Vitalich was arrested for slapping his wife with a large tuna.

2002- Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones was knighted.
Yesterday’s Question: When French composer Jacques Offenbach came to the U.S. in 1876 to do to a tour for the American Centennial Celebration, who was the concert master of his orchestra?

Answer: John Phillip Sousa!