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April 5th, 2010 mon.
April 5th, 2010

Quiz: What does it mean in music when the score asks you to play Andante Cantabile?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: How old was George Washington when the American Revolution began?
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History for 4/5/2010
Birthdays: Plato, Swineburne, Booker T. Washington, Josef Lister, Bette Davis, Nadar, Jean Fragonard, Hicks Lokey, Nguyen Van Thieu, historian Robert Bloch, Gale Storm, Washington Atlee-Burpee the mail order seed king, Spencer Tracy, Frank Gorshin, Melvyn Douglas, Walter Huston, Nigel Hawthorne, Peter Greenaway, Gregory Peck, Roger Corman. Agnetha Faltskog of ABBA is 60, Colin Powell is 73

To the ancient Romans this was the Feast Day of the Goddess Fortuna Virilis, or Good Fortune.

1242-" THE BATTLE ON THE ICE" Lake Pripous. Alexander Nevsky the Prince of Novgorod defeated the German monastic knights The Order of Sword Brothers. These warrior-monks had been sent by Rome to combat pagans in the Baltic lands but after everyone had become Christian they had switched their attention to "Greek Orthodox-Schizmatics". In 1939 Sergei Eisnestein did the famous film Alexander Nevsky about the battle with a musical score by Sergei Prokoviev.

1614- English King James I’s second parliament met. It was famous for enacting no laws, basically doing absolutely nothing. Briton’s rejoiced.

1759- A small Dutch fleet blown off course in a Pacific storm discovered a small island. Because it was Easter they named it Easter Island.

1794- French Revolutionaries Danton and Camille Desmoulins go to the guillotine. They were arch-leftists but their old buddy Robespierre wanted them out of the way. So they were convicted of being treasonous counterrevolutionaries. When Danton mounted the scaffold he laughed:" When you take my head off, show it to the people. It will be worth it!"

1815-the volcano Mount Tambora erupted in Indonesia killing 12,000 and effecting weather patters around the world. Many quaint Currier & Ives ice skating prints come from this year without a summer.

1827- Englishman Joseph Lister born. Lister was not only the inventor of Listerine but of hygienic medical practices. Before Lister insisted on sterilization hospitals were known as death traps of infection where surgeons would sharpen their scalpels on the sole of their boots before making their incision. He once stopped an epidemic in a hospital by noticing that the interns would go from dissecting cadavers to delivering babies without washing their hands!

1851- New York Mayor Ambrose Kingland proposed that a large park be built in Manahattan for health and recreation. Work on Central Park was begun in 1856.

1860- GARABALDI AND “THE THOUSAND RED SHIRTS” LAUNCH THEIR INVASION OF SICILY. Of the several Italian leaders struggling to unify Italy Guisseppi Garabaldi was the least patient. While the King of Sardinia Vittorio Emanuel and his minister Cavour tried quiet gentle diplomacy, Garabaldi and his "red shirts" launched a unprovoked assault on the Bourbon Kingdom of Two Sicilies and told Vittorio-"You come from the North, I from the South." They met at the middle at Magenta and unified the Italian peninsula for the first time since the Roman Empire fell. While in the south Garabaldi's Northern Italian men wrote home of a new dish they tried- pasta with tomato sauce!

1869- Daniel Bakeman, recorded as the last surviving minuteman of George Washington’s Revolutionary army, died at age 109. A man who looked George Washington in the face lived long enough to be photographed by Matthew Brady.

1874- Johann Strauss Jr.’s operetta Die Fledermaus premiered in Vienna.

1887- Lord Acton wrote: “ Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

1892- THE JOHNSON COUNTY WAR- By the 1890's many great Wyoming cattle ranches were owned by Eastern or European companies. When cattle herds were decimated by the great frost of 1888 a labor dispute arose between the distant employers and the laid off cowboys, many of whom resorted to rustling to make a living. By 1892 the friction became so bad the Wyoming Cattlemen's Association hired a private train and filled it with hired Texas gunfighters and enough ammunition to kill everyone in three states and sent it to Johnson county. This day they pulled out of Cheyenne with orders to shoot or string up any and all rustlers, revolutionists and troublemakers. After killing two men on their list the word got out to the citizens of Casper Wyoming. They gathered en masse and surrounded the Texans in a ranch house laying siege to it, throwing lit dynamite sticks from an armored wagon and shooting at any cowpoke who dared show his face in a window.
The hapless hit men were finally rescued by the U.S. Army, who granted all a general amnesty. The incident was the basis for the movie "Heaven's Gate".

1913- Ebbets Field opened in Flatbush. The Brooklyn Dodgers defeat the New York Highlanders (Yankees) 3-2

1915- Jess Willard knocked down Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion in a title fight in Havana Cuba. The older Johnson retired after the fight. He wouldn’t hold the title long though, only a few weeks later on July 4th Willard lost to new kid Jack Dempsey.

1923- Lois Armstrong, King Oliver and the Creole Jazz Band took a train from Chicago to Richmond Indiana to record Chimes Blues. Satchmo’s first record.

1930 -James Dewar invented the Twinkie. Dewar ate two every day of his life and called them “The best darn-tootin idea I ever had!” As an experiment in 1996 five top French master chefs were given the assignment of trying to recreate a Twinkie. They all failed.

1931- Fox Film Company dropped their option on young star John Wayne as a dud not going anywhere. Wayne eked out an existence doing cheap westerns for Republic and Monogram until John Ford made him a star in 1939’s Stagecoach.

1939- For German children, membership in the Hitler Youth corps became mandatory.

1945- The first Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoon.

1951- Republican Senator Robert Short read General Douglas MacArthur’s proclamation to the Communist Chinese on the floor of Congress. It read that if they didn’t withdraw from Korea MacArthur would restart the Chinese Civil War and “Rain Nuclear Fire down upon their cities”. Gen. MacArthur had no permission from the State Department to make such a rash statement and it ruined all the behind the scenes maneuvers to get the Chinese to negotiate an end to the Korean War early. Last December MacArthur had received a direct order from the President not to make any public statements about Korean policy, but the General chose to ignore it. President Harry Truman reacted-“I’m gonna fire that pompous Sunofabitch!”

1951- The Atomic Spies, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to death for espionage.

1955- Elderly Prime Minister Winston Churchill finally retired. He was succeeded as PM by Anthony Eden. Churchill, already the author of several books, joked with his cabinet:” Gentlemen, History shall be kind to us, for I intend to write it!”

1965- Julie Andrews had created the role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady on Broadway. But when filming the motion picture the studio decided she was not a big enough star so they used Audrey Hepburn with a dubbed singing voice. But Ms Andrews had her revenge .At the Academy Awards My Fair Lady won Best Picture and Rex Harrison best actor, but Julie Andrews won the best actress Oscar for Mary Poppins.

1963- The Lava Lamp invented by Dr Edward Craven Walker.

1969- Pope Paul VI abolished those silly big wide brimmed red hats (galeros) the cardinals wore.

1976- Eccentric Billionaire Howard Hughes died at age 76. Hughes had inherited his fathers tool company at 17 and built the mighty Hughes aircraft empire and RKO pictures. But after surviving several test plane crashes, he became addicted to pain killers and became increasing withdrawn from the world. He died a strange shut in, long haired and living on a diet of drugs and saving his urine in mason jars.

1985- Singer David Lee Roth quit the rock band Van Halen to pursue a solo career.

1994- Grunge rock star Kurt Kobain shot himself. His body wasn’t discovered until two days later.

2003- Invading American forces began the Battle for Baghdad.

2030- FIRST CONTACT- According to Star Trek this is the day Professor Zephram Cochran adapted an old World War Three ICBM and invented the Warp Drive, enabling the Earth to begin deep space exploration, and during whose maiden flight he made the first contact with an alien race- from the planet Vulcan.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: How old was George Washington when the American Revolution began?

Answer: He was 43.


April 4th, 2010 sun.
April 4th, 2010

Quiz: How old was George Washington when the American Revolution began?

Answer to yesterday’s question below Why does the date of Easter move around, while Christmas and Valentines Day stay put??
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History for 4/4/2010
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Caracalla, Edweard Muybridge, Maya Angelou, Frances Langford, Irv Spence- Tom & Jerry animator, Gil Hodges, Arthur Murray, Muddy Waters, Cloris Leachman, Dorothea Dix, Elmer Bernstein, Bijan, Heath Ledger, Robert Downey Jr is 45, Barry Pepper is 40, Craig T. Nelson is 66, Hugo Weaving is 50

Happy Easter Sunday.
Here's da Easter Rabbit, huh-ray....

If you were a Roman today is the first day of the Megaleasian Festival in honor of Lunus the Moon god. Party! Par-tee!

In China today is Ching-Ming Tomb Sweeping Day.

527AD- Byzantine Emperor Justin named his nephew Justinian as his successor.

636AD- Today is the Feast Day of Saint Isadore of Seville, the Patron Saint of the Internet. Don’t believe me? Check out http://www.catholic.org/saints

896 A.D.-THE SYNOD HORRENDIUS-One of the more bizarre incidents in Vatican history. Bishops Stephen and Formosan hated each other. When Formosan became pope Stephen had to bide his time in hiding. After Formosan's death Stephen became pope but was unsatisfied that he couldn't strike back at his old enemy. So Pope Stephen had Formosan's tomb opened and the corpse dressed in bishop's robes, sat up in a chair and put on trial for heresy. The cross examination was pretty strange, the prosecutor said things like: "His very silence is admittance of his guilt!" The corpse was convicted, excommunicated, bounced around by a Roman mob, and thrown in the Tiber. Pope Stephen VI later became the first pope to be killed in bed with someone's wife.

1561- A strange show in the sky of red discs and crosses was reported over Nuremberg Germany. Perhaps an early UFO sighting?

1581- Queen Elizabeth I visited the Golden Hind, the ship which Francis Drake sailed around the world. The 'Great Pirate of the Unknown Seas" had plundered huge treasure ships and drove Spanish Colonial America crazy. The Spanish Ambassador to London demanded the pirate Drake lose his head, but Queen Elizabeth had a different use in mind for her sword- she knighted the Devon innkeeper's son.
The Golden Hind was kept in a prize anchorage for decades until age and dry rot caused her to fall to pieces. Ben Johnson wrote poems about Sir Francis Drake and Shakespeare's island of wizards in the Tempest may have been modeled on Drake's accounts of the strange stormy islands of Tierra Del Fuego in the Straights of Magellan.

1704 -British sea dog Admiral Rourke and Sir Cloudsley Shovel capture Gibraltar from Spain. Britain still owns it today, which really annoys Spain.

1841-PRESIDENT WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON DIED AFTER ONLY 31 DAYS IN OFFICE. “Old Tippicanoe”caught pneumonia giving his inauguration address in icy drizzle. No U.S. President had ever died in office before and no one knew if the Vice President was now only a caretaker until special elections or was he the president for the next for years. Vice President John Tyler set the rule by staying as President for four full years. People couldn't stand him. They called him "Your Accidency". When he got word of the President's death he was playing marbles with some children and was about to get his knuckles rapped for losing.

1865- LINCOLN IN RICHMOND- Meanwhile against the wishes of his bodyguards that it was still too dangerous Abraham Lincoln toured the newly captured Confederate capitol of Richmond. Most of the white population had fled the smoldering city but crowds of jubilant black slaves pulled his coach and cheered that the Day of Jubilee had arrived. One man kneeled to him and Lincoln raised him up “Father, you no longer have to kneel to any other man, only God. You are Free. Free as air.” Lincoln walked over to the Confederate Executive Mansion and sat in Jefferson Davis’ chair, putting his feet up on his desk. He then visited the family of Rebel General George Pickett of the famous Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. The Pickett’s were friends of Abe and Mary Lincoln before the war and Abe enjoyed bouncing Pickett’s baby boy on his knee.

1901- Russian author Leo Tolstoy broke with the Russian Orthodox Church when he sent a letter to the Patriarch this day declaring that prayers offered to Jesus Christ were “the worst type of sacrilege”.

1924-Tom Milton first ran a Miller hot rod on the dry lake Cal bed at 151 mph.

1932- Louisiana Senator Huey Long tells Congress that 80% of America’s wealth was controlled by 20% of its population. According to Business Week in 1997 80% of America’s wealth was owned by 2% of its population and the top 175 richest people on Earth collectively own 50% of all the total wealth of the planet.

1933- The U.S. Government orders all citizens to turn in their remaining gold dollar coins.

1933- The U.S. airship Akron crashed in a storm killing the crew and an admiral.

1942- 'THE HUMP' -When the Japanese army overran Rangoon and cut the Burma Road, Allied forces helping Chiang Kai Shek 's Chinese armies and the Flying Tigers were suddenly without supplies. Army Air Corps General Olds and his men begin the daily supply flights of transports from India over the Himalayas to China, or 'Over the Hump'.

1944- During World War Two a South African reconnaissance plane flies over the Auschwitz Concentration Camp and takes photos. When they are analyzed in London the intelligence boys declare it do be nothing more than a synthetic rubber plant.

1952-CARTOON COMMIES- Nationally syndicated columnist Walter Winchell accused the owners of a New York commercial animation studio, Tempo Productions, of Communist sympathies. One of the owners was Disney Layoutman Dave Hilberman, who was a union organizer and was the only artist personally denounced by Walt Disney to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. The F.B.I. began investigating Tempo and their Madison Avenue clients quickly pulled their business. Tempo closed, laying off 50 artists. Mr. Clean, Markie Maypo and the Hamm’s Beer Bear were once again safe from Red subversion.

1954- Arturo Toscanini , who had been making music since the 1880’s, conducted his final concert.

1958- Screen goddess Lana Turner and her gangster lover Johnny Stompanato had a violent argument that ended when Turner’s teenage daughter plunged a large kitchen knife into his chest. She was acquitted as justifiable homicide and some rumors maintain the daughter was covering for her mother’s actions. It was whispered Hollywood society ladies had nicknamed Stompanato’s male organ Oscar for it’s size.

1967- Van Nuys premier head shop Captain Ed’s Heads & Highs first opened for business.

1967- In a speech at the Riverside Baptist Church in Manhattan Rev Dr. Martin Luther King announced his opposition to the Vietnam War. This put him in direct conflict with the heretofore friendly Lyndon Johnson administration. Whereas LBJ had Dr King and the Southern Christian leadership up to the White House often, and had done much to fight discrimination, the volatile LBJ now called Dr. King “that backwoods n*gg*r preacher!”

1968- DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING ASSASSINATED. The great civil rights leader was struck in the head by a dum-dum bullet fired from a high-powered rifle, while he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. His last words were teasing Jesse Jackson for not being dressed properly for going out to a dinner. Jesse was wearing a turtleneck instead of suit and tie. Dr. Benjamin Hooks ran to the phone to get help but the switchboard was not working. The motel manager's wife who usually ran the switchboard had seen the shooting, and the shock had given her a heart attack. She died the next day. The Memphis police had always surrounded King's party with at least seven officers whenever he was in town. For some unknown reason that morning they were ordered to stand back at least seven blocks. It was the one-year anniversary of the speech where he declared his opposition to the Vietnam War. A man named James Earl Ray was later apprehended in England, confessed to the shooting and was given a life sentence. He later recanted his confession and said the FBI coerced him, and he was taking orders from a mysterious contact man named Raul. James Earl Ray died in 1998. The King family reopened the investigation and a civil court ruled that Dr. King was probably killed by a conspiracy. When F.B.I. director J.Edgar Hoover heard about the assassination he did what he did the day John Kennedy was shot, he spent the day at the racetrack celebrating.

1968- When news of Martin Luther King's assassination got out, 175 US cities suffered urban rioting. In Indianapolis, Sen. Bobby Kennedy was scheduled to go speak to a mostly black crowd. His police escort refused to follow him out of fear. Kennedy went anyway. He told the audience the terrible news, made a reference to his own murdered brother, then proceeded to quote them poetry from the Greek writer Aeschylus "We must tame the savageness of man, and make gentle the life of this world." Indianapolis was quiet that night.

1984- In George Orwell’s novel 1984 this is the day Winston Smith started a secret diary and first wrote the dangerous thought-crime “Down With Big Brother”.
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Yesterday’s question: Why does the date of Easter move around, while Christmas and Valentines Day stay put?

Answer: Because Jesus came to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, the Easter Feast was tied to the Jewish holiday, which was determined by the lunar calendar. This annoyed anti-Semitic Popes, who wanted a new calculation to determine the holiday. By 325AD they came up with holding it on the first Sunday after the First Full Moon of the Spring Equinox.


April 3rd, 2010 sat.
April 3rd, 2010

Quiz- Why does the date of Easter move around, while Christmas and Valentines Day stay put?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What kind of work employed guys like Lauritz Melchior, Richard Tauber and Ragnar Ulfung?
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History for 4/3/2010
Birthdays: King Henry IV of England (1361), Washington Irving, William Marcy " Boss" Tweed, Sally Rand the Fan Dancer, Ma Rainey, Iron Eyes Cody, Wayne Newton, Doris Day, Robert Sherwood, Virgil Grissom, Marsha Mason, Melissa Etheridge, Marlon Brando, Amanda Byrnes, David Hyde Pierce, Alec Baldwin is 52, Eddie Murphy is 48

In Ancient Greece the beginning of April was the Aphrodisia- the Festival of Aphrodite. Greeks would offer sacrifices to the Goddess of Love and some would visit the holy prostitutes in the great temple in Corinth. Gimme that Ole Time Religion…..

628AD- After being defeated by Byzantine Emperor Heraclius, Persian King Chosroes II was murdered by his own son, and his body chucked down a well.

1721-THE FIRST BRITISH PRIME MINISTER-Before this time men who ran the government of England at the kings pleasure held a variety of titles: Lord High Admiral, Chancellor, Mayor of the Palace, etc.. As the complicated checks & balances of democratic government evolved more dependable positions were needed. When in 1720 The British Crown was offered to the German George Ist of Hanover, he was bewildered by how complicated English parliamentary democracy was! Couldn't I just work with one man who could get what I wanted done? So Minister of the Exchequer (treasury) Sir Robert Walpole (father of writer Hugh Walpole), who's party was in the majority in Parliament became First Minister, later Prime Minister .The reason the job evolved out of the Treasury is that minister could grease the rights palms to get things done.
King George wanted Walpole in close touch so he gave him a house near Whitehall Palace. He had just foreclosed on a modest row house called #10 Downing Street. Walpole said he didn't want it seen as a royal bribe. He would vacate it when he left office for his successor.

1730 -EMPEROR MOYTOY OF AMERICA- An English conman, Sir Alexander Cummings, had ingratiated himself into the council of the huge Cherokee Nation, then occupying most of Georgia, the Carolinas, Kentucky and Tennessee. In a scam to make himself look like the spokesperson of all native Americans, Cummings convinced one Cherokee chief named Moytoy to travel to England and do ritual submission to King George II under the title Emperor Moytoy of the Americas! The Indians were confused but went along with what they thought was a gag. Cummings disappeared shortly after the truth came out, undoubtedly a much wealthier man.

1764- Aging Empress Maria Theresa of Austria raised her son Joseph II to be co-emperor. He was the Emperor in the movie Amadeus. This day he was crowned at Frankfurt. He later wrote his mother “ ..a lot of elegant people mouthing idiocies.”

1814-THE MARSHALS STRIKE. Napoleon’s top generals, the Marshals, gathered around him at Fontainbleau Palace to try to convince him to step down. These men had their fortunes made in his service. They had fought and bled for him on a hundred battlefields. But after twenty years, France was overrun by five foreign armies, Paris had fallen, the French were down to drafting fifteen year olds. The war was obviously lost.
The discussion soon grew ugly. Marshals Ney, Oudinot, Moncey and Lefebvre told him if ordered they would not follow him to try to retake Paris. Napoleon shouted at them:” You just want to protect your titles and estates! I can replace you all with sergeants!” Finally he was made to accept the inevitable. He had tried first to resign in favor of his three year old son and save his dynasty. The Allies were amenable to this if it represented what the French people really wanted. However certain French government officials scheming for the return of the Bourbon Kings staged street demonstrations for the old monarchy, and convinced one of Napoleon's closest friends, Marshal Marmont the Duke of Ragusa, to defect to the enemy with his entire army. This gesture decided the allies that the French people would rather have King Louis return rather than the boy Napoleon II. Napoleon was forced to abdicate completely, and the name "Raguser" became a word for traitor like Judas or Benedict Arnold.

1860-The Pony Express system starts. Relay riders from Saint Louis across the prairies and deserts all the way to Sacramento, California. For all it's romance it failed after just 1-1/2 years. Stagecoaches and telegraph wires soon covered the message business.

1869- First performance of Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor.

1882- JESSE JAMES SHOT-The famous outlaw had been living quietly with his family under the alias of Mr. Howard when he was murdered by his own gang members, his cousins Bob and William Ford. Jesse was shot in the back of the head while he was standing on a chair straightening a picture frame. His last words were: ”My, it’s awfully hot today...” He was 34. Jesse’s older brother Frank took the hint and went straight. Bob Ford went on tour giving lectures, re-enacting how he had killed Jesse. Finally in a mining camp someone blew him away with a shotgun.

1920- Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald got married.

1922- JOSEF STALIN made General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party. In the scramble for power after the death of Lenin this move allowed him to consolidate his his hold on the top job and push out Leon Trotsky and the other top Bolsheviks like Zioniev, Kamieniev and Krupskaya. He made sure Lenin's last will and political testament was never made public.

1930- Ras Tafari crowned Emperor of Ethiopia as Halie Selassie. The Jamaican movement called Rastafarians are named for him.

1936-Bruno Richard Hauptmann was electrocuted for the kidnap and murder of the Lindbergh baby.

1948 -THE MARSHAL PLAN signed into law by President Truman. It called for 5 billion U.S. dollars to be spent to help 16 European countries rebuild their shattered economies after World War Two.

1968- In Memphis Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was supposed to give a sermon
at the Temple Baptist Church but excused himself because of his workload and
stress. Since he had openly come out against the Vietnam War the death threats had
increased and it all weighed heavily on his mind. Rev. Ralph Abernathy telephoned from the church that the crowd was disappointed Dr. King had not showed up. "Martin, they don't want to hear me. They're here to hear you." So Dr King went to the church and delivered off-the-cuff the last great speech of his life: "I have been to the Mountain and have Seen the Promised Land, and though I may not get there with you, it is alright.". At one point he was startled when the wind outside caused a shutter to bang. Then he returned to the Lorraine Motel. He was murdered the next day.

1968- Stanley Kubrick's epic film "2001: A Space Odyssey" premiered. The N.Y. Times review said it was : " Somewhere between hypnotic and boring". Pauline Kael called it "monumentally unimaginative!" In a recent interview screenwriter Arthur C. Clarke said HAL the computer was not a coded reference to IBM . At the Oscars for that year Clarke and Kubrick lost the best screenplay award to Mel Brooks for the Producers. The film won only one Oscar, the only one Kubrick ever won, for visual effects.

1974- Even while the Watergate Scandal continued, this day the IRS reported President Richard Nixon had been paying taxes based on an income of only $15,000 a year, when he was making at least $200,000 a year.

1984-THE COFFEE SHOP CONVERSION. Future President George W. Bush was a cocaine-snorting alcoholic who had been busted for drunk driving. This day he claimed he became Born-Again after meeting an evangelist in a coffee shop.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: What kind of work employed guys like Lauritz Melchior, Richard Tauber and Ragnar Ulfung?

Answer: Opera singers, specifically German heldentenors.


April 2nd, 2010 friday.
April 1st, 2010

Question: What kind of work employed guys like Lauritz Melchior, Richard Tauber and Ragnar Ulfung?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: Who was Atticus Finch?
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History for 4/2/2010
Birthdays: Frankish Emperor Charlemagne, Giacomo Casanova, Hans Christian Andersen, Marvin Gaye, Emile Zola, Max Ernst, Buddy Ebsen, Sir Alec Guinness, Frederick Bartholdi, Emmy Lou Harris, Linda Hunt, Isaiah Washington

304B.C.- Alexander IV, the young child of Alexander the Great, began his reign under the regency of the Macedonian General Perdiccas.

33AD- To Christians, this is Good Friday.

430 a.d. Today is the feast day of Saint Mary the Egyptian, a former prostitute who repented by living naked and alone in the desert for 49 years, only appearing briefly at Easter time to take communion, and to get some more sunblock.

1459- Vlad II "Dracula" -Little Dragon, duke of Wallachia, shows why he got the nickname Vlad the Impaler by impaling the city council of Brasov high on stakes then eating lunch under their quivering bodies. Impaling was a torture of Turkish origin, where you had a huge sharpened stake hammered up into your body, then standing it up. A good executioner could keep the stake from piercing too many important organs, prolonging the agony of your death. This was Vlad’s preferred method of getting rid of inconvenient people. No wonder in the 1890’s when British author Bram Stoker was collecting folk tales in the Transylvanian mountains to use as source material for a gothic vampire novel he chose Dracula for it’s title. Another of Dracula’s favorite gags was when Turkish diplomats refused to take their hats off in his presence he had them nailed to the men’s heads, then chuckled as they rolled around on the floor in agony.

1502- King Henry VII Tudor’s primary heir Arthur of Britain died at age fifteen. King Henry had just married Arthur to the Catharine daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain a few weeks before. Now Henry didn’t want to lose the Spanish alliance, and he was too cheap to send back Catharine’s huge dowery. So he remarried her to his other son, Henry VIII. Catherine and Henry VIII’s marriage problems would lead to the English Church’s break with Rome.

1520- Somewhere off the coast of what will one day be Argentina, Magellan's captains, convinced this crazy Portuguese turncoat didn’t know where he was going, try to mutiny and go home to Spain.

1800- Beethoven's First Symphony premiered. Vienna's leading music critic called it - 'a vulgar, impertinent explosion, more expected from a military band than an orchestra!’

1801- BATTLE OF COPENHAGEN- The British Navy has a one day war with Denmark. The fleet was sent by London to intimidate the Danes into leaving Napoleon's anti-British blockade, but the Danes were more worried about a Russian-Swedish alliance forcing them to remain. So Admiral Nelson sailed his fleet into Copenhagen harbor and pounds it out with the Danish Navy and shore batteries. Nelson’s ships sailed up and down the drydocks pounding the unmasted Danish battleships in for repairs. Despite fearful manpower losses the British don't lose one ship while sinking or capturing 17 Danish top ships of the line.
The one-eyed, one armed Nelson gloried in battle. When a Danish cannon ball struck his mainmast showering him and his staff with burning splinters, he laughed and said: "Hot work, what ?" At one point the action got so desperate, that Nelson's superior Admiral Hyde Parker raised the ensign flags to break off battle and retreat. Nelson ignored them. He jokingly raised his spyglass to his dead eye and said :"What ensign flags ? I don't see any ensign flags !" Denmark made peace the next day and all the surviving combatants had a lovely dinner together at the Copenhagen Palace, as though nothing had happened.

1836- Charles Dickens married Elizabeth Howarth.

1865- The Confederate capitol Richmond fell to U.S. armies. More destruction to the city was done by looting Confederates and released prisoners than the enemy. Several large fires created the type of total urban destruction not to be seen again until the World Wars in the 20th Century. In another part of the field one of Lee’s top officers Ambrose Powell Hill was struck down and killed. He wore a flaming red shirt in battle instead of his uniform so everyone would know it was him. I guess the Yankees knew him as well.
Mrs. Robert E. Lee ( a grandniece of George Washington) was at her town home in the city while her husband was still out with his army. General Phil Sheridan stationed a guard to protect her door but she protested bitterly that he was a black soldier and thought it was meant as an insult, which knowing Sheridan, it probably was.

1877- First man shot out of a cannon.

1877- The first White House egg rolling contest.

1917- President Woodrow Wilson called a special session of Congress to ask for a declaration of war against Germany. ‘The World Must be made Safe for Democracy!” he said.

1943- Disney short 'Private Pluto' the first Chip & Dale cartoon.

1943-Happy Birthday SAT’s! This day Harvard Dean Henry Chauncey supervised the distribution to 316,000 High School seniors of the Army-Navy College Qualifying Test, later re-titled the Scholastic Aptitude Tests or SAT. This became a standardized test that manages every year to raise the stress level of seniors regardless of race, class or religion. Go On To Next Page.

1974-While actor David Niven was speaking at the Academy Awards telecast a nude streaker ran past him on nationwide television. Mr. Niven, completely unflustered, dryly commented: "The only laugh that man will ever get is by stripping off his clothes and showing off his shortcomings. "

1978-The TV show "Dallas" debuts.

1982- THE FALKLANDS WAR-Britain declared war on Argentina over the their takeover of the Falkland Islands. British tabloid papers called for a boycott of Argentine imports. It turns out the chief Argentine imports were bully-beef for SPAM and grass seed which nefarious jelly makers would use as imitation strawberry pips to convince unsuspecting customers that the jam they were buying was real strawberry. That'll bring them to their knees...

1981- John Welsh made CEO of General Electric. After automating factories and firing one third of his employees, he earned the name "Neutron Jack" after the bomb that kills people but leaves buildings intact.

1993- Bullocks Wilshire department store with the famous Tea Room closed.

1994-Disney chief executive Frank Wells is killed in a helicopter crash on a skiing trip. It’s been speculated that blowing snow off some high peaks caused a ice ball to be sucked into the copter’s air intake manifold. Clint Eastwood was supposed to be on that trip but couldn't make it. Billie Joel and Christie Brinkley had a similar scare with their helicopter on the same day. The death of the Disney CEO set in motion the events that would lead to Jeffrey Katzenberg forming Dreamworks and Michael Ovitz’s brief tenure as a mouseketeer and Michael Eisner’s eventual fall. In 1999 the Hollywood Reporter estimated that the little iceball cost the Walt Disney Company one billion dollars.

2004- Walt Disney Studio released Home on the Range.

2005-Polish Pope John Paul II died after reigning for 26 years and making more Saints than any previous pope, but not the late Pope John XXIII, because he was a liberal.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Who was Atticus Finch?

Answer: The wise country lawyer in the book “ To Kill a Mockingbird.” He was played on the big screen by Gregory Peck.


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