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Blog Posts from October 2019:

Oct. 1, 2019
October 1st, 2019

Question: What does it mean to say, “ beating the bushes..” ..?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What does it mean to say “your salad days”?
History for 10/1/2019
Welcome to Month Number 8, Octubrius to the Romans. In 138 AD the Roman Senate wanted to rename month eight Faustina, after the wife of the Emperor Antoninus Pius. But she being a rare modest empress, she declined the honor.

Birthdays: Vladimir Horowitz, Julie Andrews is 84, Walter Matthau, Richard Harris, Phillipe Noiret, James Whitmore, Pres. Jimmy Carter is 95, Everett Sloane, Rod Carew, Stanley Holloway, Tom Bosley, Randy Quaid, Cindy Margolis, Brie Larson, Zack Galifanakis is 50

522BC- The Magiophonia, the Massacre of the Magi. When a high priest of the Persian priestly caste, the Magi, attempted to usurp the throne, the Great King of Persia Darius killed him and ordered a general massacre of Magi priests. Greek writer Herodotus wrote: 'This day was celebrated each year as the feast of Magophonia or the day of the slaughter of the magi...the Persians observe this day with one accord, and keep it more strictly than any other in the whole year...this day is the greatest holy day that all Persians alike keep.'" By Jesus’ time, the Magi were much more circumspect in their ambitions, and merely stuck to astronomy and spiritual matters.

331BC- BATTLE OF GAUGAMELA or Arbelum - Alexander the Great's victory over the Persian army of King Darius IV. Darius had sought to once and for all destroy this Greek troublemaker by assembling an enormous army from all over his kingdom. But this multinational, polyglot force had no cohesion and the disciplined Macedonian-Greek veterans knifed through their ranks. Alexander ordered his elite Companion Cavalry to make right for King Darius, since he was the only thing holding his army together. Darius had to run for his life and his army broke up soon after seeing their Great King fleeing. The Persian kingdom collapsed and Alexander soon captured his capitol and family.

326 A.D. Christian Emperor Constantine banned sentencing criminals to gladiator schools, effectively phasing out gladitorial combat. The Games continued on a little while longer using prisoners of war, but all the fun and professionalism had gone out of it. The last recorded bout in Rome was in 407AD.

Today is the Feast of Saint Bavo of Ghent, who begged one of his former servants to drag him by a chain around his neck because of what a cruel master he was before his conversion to Christianity.

1202- To the sound of massed trumpets and singing the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus, the knights of the Fourth Crusade left by ship from Venice for the Holy Land.

1273- German Electors choose Duke Rudolph of Hapsburg as Holy Roman Emperor. The Hapsburg family was the most successful dynasty in Europe. They remained in power (with one or two interruptions) for 645 years, finally being deposed in 1918. And several Hapsburgs are still around in case Austria gets tired of republican democracy. When a Hapsburg chided Napoleon for having no royalty in his blood, he snapped back" I prefer to be the Rudolph of my race!'

1791- The first day of the French Legislative Assembly, the second French parliamentary body after the Assembly National that had started the French Revolution adjourned itself. In this assembly for the first time the conservatives sat on the right side of the hall, the liberals on the left side and the moderates in the center. This gives us the designation today used around the world for political Leftists and Right Wingers.

1800- By the secret Treaty of San Idelfonso Spain returned Louisiana to France in exchange for the Italian Duchy of Parma. Spain had owned Louisiana for her part in the French and Indian War (Seven Years War) victory. Napoleon needed it back for his planned worldwide colonial challenge to Britain. But when Santo Domingo revolted against French rule and Nelson sank the French navy Napoleon soured on his colonial plans. He decided to sell Louisiana to the one country he knew would annoy the British most, the United States. And Spain never did get Parma.

1810- The first Berkshire Cattle Show.

1857- Gustav Flaubert's Madame Bovary premiered in magazine installments. Flaubert was tried for pornography because of it, but acquitted.

1880- John Phillip Sousa was named leader of the Marine Corps Band and began his career as the March King.

1903- First World Series of Baseball. The Boston Pilgrims had lost the first game today to the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-3, even though Cy Young was the starting pitcher. But Boston went on to win the series in best of nine games. There was no 1904 World series because the owners couldn't agree on a format.

1908- Ford announces the Model "T" the "Tin Lizzie" the first mass-produced affordable car. It was called the Model T because it took Twenty prototypes to perfect it. The Model T cost $825, paid on installments with as little as $10 down. Its top speed was 45 miles and hour and 15 million were sold. When they asked Henry Ford what color should it be, he replied: "Any color so long as it's black.' The auto goes from being a rich mans plaything to something every home could afford.

1910- A bomb blew up the L.A. Times building, killing 23 people. The Times had a hostility to unions, and two union organizers the McNamara Brothers were arrested.
Despite having Clarence Darrow as a lawyer they were convicted, possibly because halfway through the trial the brothers confessed and Darrow had to beat a charge of jury tampering. As the MacNamaras were hanged they shouted 'Hurrah for Anarchy!'

1919- THE FIX IS IN- First game of the 'fixed' world series. The Chicago White Sox had the best team in baseball at the time but Charles Comisky paid them wages lower than most minor league teams. They were nicknamed the Black Sox because Comisky was too cheap to pay for laundering their uniforms. So this year five players accepted bribes from gangster Arnold Rothstein to throw the world series. Pitcher Eddie Cicotte, who spent much of the previous night sewing $10,000 into the lining of his overcoat, at first threw a perfect fastball strike, then hit the batter in-between the shoulder blades on the next pitch- a signal to the gangsters that "The Fix was In" Cincinnati won this game 9 -1 and eventually the series.
The scheme was uncovered a year later and Baseball Commissioner Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis banned all the accused Sox players from ever playing again.

1923- The first football game in the L.A. Coliseum- USC defeated Pomona.

1931- Construction completed on the new Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The original Waldorf Astoria from the XIX Century was demolished to make way for the Empire State Building. The new Waldorf boasted the Waldorf Towers, where kings, presidents and other Hoi-Paloi could enter by a private lobby and stay for weeks at a time. Old president Herbert Hoover was a long time resident. Their restaurant was where The Waldorf Salad was created.

1932- Babe Ruth's "Called" Home Run. Ruth was hitting against a Chicago Cubs pitcher when he pointed with his bat towards right field. He then swung his bat and hit a home run over the right wing bleachers.

1937- After heavy lobbying by millionaire publisher William Randolph Hearst the first Federal law banning Marijuana goes into effect. The law was sought chiefly by southwestern states, that wanted to have any excuse to deport Mexican immigrants. Plus Hearst had many powerful paper manufacturers behind him who wanted wood pulp to be the chief source of paper products rather than hemp, which grows, well…. like a weed.

1942-The test flight of America’s first experimental jet aircraft- the XP59A Comet.

1943-THE DANISH MIRACLE- This day the Nazis were to begin deporting Denmark's Jewish population to death camps. The Danish people meanwhile had quietly smuggled the entire Jewish population to the coast and onto ferries to neutral Sweden. The Germans only found a few hundred stragglers. Earlier in a show of defiance when the Nazi authorities ordered all Jews to wear a large yellow Star of David, every Danish citizen including the King wore one.

1944- Nazis doctors in Buchenwald concentration camp began conducting experiments on homosexuals.

1945- Looney Tunes director Frank Tashlin left the cartoon business to work full time as a screenwriter at Paramount on live action movies. He wrote for the Marx Brothers and later directed the Dean Martin Jerry Lewis comedies.

1946- NUREMBERG-The verdicts read in the International Military Tribunal Trials of top Nazi war criminals. Herman Goering, Hans Franck, Jodl and 8 others got death sentences, their bodies later to be burned in the very crematoriums they created. Others like Rudolf Hess life prison terms. Admiral Doenitz, the leader of the U-Boats, got a lighter sentence by appealing to US Admiral Nimitz. Nimitz admitted that US submarines sinking the Japanese merchant marine learned their stuff studying the German tactics. Japanese submarines never sunk US cargo ships because sinking other than a war ship was considered dishonorable.
Senator Robert Taft was a leading Republican Senator who pointed out that even though the Nazis were evil and deserved punishment, the Nuremberg trials had no legal precedent and were against the U.S. Constitution's guarantee against ex-post-facto – after the fact, laws. Technically speaking, there were no such laws like Crimes Against Humanity at the time, so how could anybody be convicted of violating them? Intriguing, but not a popular argument. Taft was being considered for a presidential run in 1948 until these statements ruined his career. John F. Kennedy put him in his book Profiles of Courage.

1947-THE BIRTH OF THE BURBS- William Levitt's postwar dream, a planned community of affordable pre-fab homes on the outskirts of New York, called Levittown, is born. Mr. and Mrs. Bladykas moved into the first 2 bedroom house, which cost $7,990 bucks. The first true suburb.

1948- After the Israeli War of Independence the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haij Amin Al Husseini gathered many Arab refugees displaced by the fighting and declared a Palestinian State in the North of Israel, in accordance with the UN Resolution. King Abdallah of Jordan rejected this and declared all Palestinian lands not claimed by Israel including the West Bank were part of Jordan. While Arab states lined up on either side to argue, the Palestinians were kept in refugee camps instead of being allowed to assimilate into the populations of the surrounding Arab countries. This confusion in part explains why Israel and other Western nations for many years had trouble understanding Palestinian nationalism. For years Israeli leaders like Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan felt Jordan was the homeland for resettled Palestinians. King Abdallah was assassinated by a Palestinian.

70 years ago- 1949- THE EAST IS RED - Mao declared the Peoples Republic of China. "Now Let the World Tremble! " he said. In China today is a holiday –National Day. Contrary to paranoid conservative American politicians who feared the growing global Communist Conspiracy, Soviet dictator Stalin hated Mao and continued to support Chiang Kai Chek’s nationalist government. During World War II, Mao sent his wife to Moscow for safety. Stalin locked her up in a lunatic asylum just to annoy him.

1952- This Is Your Life TV show hosted by Ralph Edwards premiered.

1955- The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason, Jayne Meadows and Art Carney premiered on TV.

1957- Los Angeles outlaws garbage incineration to try and cut down smog levels. Even though Los Angeles has reduced it's pollution levels by 30% in ten years it still had the worst air in the United States until surpassed by Houston in 1999.

1958- NASA born. The National Aeronautics & Space Agency. The U.S. government takes the space program out of the hands of the military and sets up a civilian space agency to get us into orbit.

1960- The independence of Nigeria.

1962- Johnny Carson took over the Tonight Show, after host Jack Paar in a rage walked of the set and resigned. Paar was annoyed at network censors for cutting a comedy sketch that featured the sound of a toilet flushing. At first, people were cool to Carson. Even his own mother in Nebraska wasn’t impressed. But by years end Johnny Carson became the king of late night TV, and ruled it for 32 years.

1963- People who argue that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy take note: It is a fact that this day weeks before the assassination top Mafioso Jimmy Roselli flew from Chicago down to New Orleans to have two secret meetings with Jack Ruby, the man who later shot Oswald. Why would a national crime boss take time to talk with a two-bit strip joint manager?

1964- THE FREE SPEECH MOVEMENT- It’s hard to believe now, but once upon a time most US universities had strict laws against students holding political protests on campus. It changed when this day on the campus of Berkeley, Cal., Jack Weinberg was arrested by Oakland police for distributing Civil Rights pamphlets. A mob of students surrounded the police car he was handcuffed in and would not let it proceed. The crowd held the car for 32 hours as speakers stood on the roof and made speeches denouncing the ban and other issues. The University lifted the ban on public political rallies and set the stage for the Ant-War protest of the 60’s.

1966- Largest demonstrations in China of Mao's Cultural Revolution.

1968-George Romero's weird film "Night of the Living Dead' premieres.

1982- Disney's EPCOT opens.

1987- The Whittier Earthquake rocks L.A. 5.9 on the Richter Scale, it killed 8 and caused millions in damage.

1992 -The Cartoon Network started.

10 Years ago- 2009- The Walt Disney Family Museum opened in San Francisco.

2013- The Obamacare sign-up website, went on line. It quickly crashed and caused much embarrassment and scoffing from critics of the administration. But eventually it signed up millions of uninsured and slowed the rise of medical costs.

2017- Retired real estate dealer Steven Paddock went to Las Vegas with a car full of legally purchased automatic weapons. From his hotel suite window he sprayed bullets down on the audience of an outdoor rock concert. He shot 480 people, killing 56. Then he killed himself. No motive was ever revealed.
Yesterday’s Question: What does it mean to say “your salad days”?

Answer: Salad days refer to one's youth, when a person is at the peak of innocence, idealism and exuberance, and all possibilities seem open and possible. From Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra, “…My salad days, / When I was green in judgment, cold in blood…”