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May 08th, 2008 fri.
May 8th, 2009

Quiz: the Chase Bank is currently going national, eating up Washington Mutual and Wachovia Banks. How old is Chase Bank?

Yesterday’s Quiz Answered Below: You may have heard the name The Robber Barons, but who were they?
History for 5/8/2009
Birthdays: Harry Truman, Roberto Rossellini, Leopold Bakhunin, Louis Gottschalk, Oscar Hammerstein, Ted Sorenson, Sonny Liston, Toni Tennille, Ricky Nelson, Peter Benchley, Thomas Pinchon, David Attenborough, Keith Jarrett, Alex Van Halen, Melissa Gilbert is 44, French illustrator Jean Giraud aka Moebius is 70, Enrique Inglesias is 33, Don Rickles is 83

1429-St. Joan of Arc saved the City of Orleans. The English had never captured the capitol of the Loire Valley but were besieging it from a string of powerful fortresses built around it. Joan with her French knights John the Bastard, Etienne the Furious One and their retainers had to storm these strategic castles one by one to break the siege. At one point in the battle for a point in a castle wall called La Tourelles and huge English knight stood in the breach hewing down Frenchman with his two-handed broadsword. He seemed invincible until a knight named Jean De Montesclere brought up one of those newfangled hand held cannons that sat on your shoulder. From a safe distance Jean put a stone bullet through the Englishman. The unknown knight was the first man ever shot by a gun.

1587- The Roanoke Colony settlers leave England for Virginia (named by Sir Walter Raleigh for Queen Elizabeth, "the Virgin Queen"). When a supply ship reached their colony in 1590 the houses were intact but the colonists had all disappeared, leaving no remains or signs of violence, but only a cryptic message CROTOAN carved on a tree.

1776- While the American Congress was debating whether to declare independence or not the British Navy reminded them what was at stake. This day two warships, HMS Roebuck and Liverpool tried to shoot their way up the Delaware River to Philadelphia They were turned back by the Yankee shore batteries.

1824- Ludwig Von Beethoven performed his Ninth (Choral) Symphony and Missa Solemnis in concert for the first time. Even though he was stone deaf he was still in demand as a conductor. The orchestra trained themselves to ignore the Maestro's baton waving and follow the lead of the concert-master ( first violinist ). It was said when they finished and the audience was cheering poor Beethoven was still flapping his arms about and moaning the melody, unaware of the sound of his own voice.

1874- Massachusetts adopted a ten-hour workday for women, down from 12-14 hours.

1878- David Hughes invents the Microphone while trying to get over bronchitis.

1910-Mazeltov! Russian-Jewish immigrant glove salesman Schmuel Gelpfisch married Blanche Lasky, the daughter of vaudeville performer Jesse Lasky. Gelpfisch later changed his name to Goldfish, then Goldwyn. He and his father in law Jesse Lasky went into the new flicker business and started the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company. They moved to Hollywood and in 1915 they merged with Paramount Pictures and Goldwyn merged into Metro-Goldwyn Mayer. Both became top Hollywood producers.

1933- When the Rockefellers were building their huge office complex Rockefeller Center in New York City they decided to get one of the greatest living Mexican painter Diego Rivera to design the murals for the interior of the atrium ’Man at the Crossroads". This despite the fact that Rivera was well known as a radical communist. Soon Nelson Rockefeller noticed Rivera was painting in the center of the mural a huge heroic portrait of Lenin stepping on John D. Rockefeller’s face! Over Rivera’s protests Rockefeller ordered the mural painted over and no record of it’s existence ever kept. But on the night before the painting was to be destroyed Swiss art student Lucienne Bloch slipped a camera into her shirt. While Frida Kahlo distracted the guards she took the only photos of the mural for posterity.

1943-Tex Avery's "Red Hot Riding Hood"- Ooohh Wolfy !

1945-The wee hours of the morning, The Nazi's repeat the surrender signing done for Eisenhower for the Russians in Berlin. The announcements are made, V-E day celebrations break out around the world.

1954-DIEN BIEN PHU- The Communist Viet Minh guerrillas decisively defeat the French in Indochina. The French strategy was to place a forward base in the heart of the guerrilla infested jungle to lure the Vietnamese into the open and defeat them. Instead they got a modern version of the Little Big Horn with the French Legionairies going down under endless waves of attacking Vietnamese. The guerrilla forces had carried large howitzers in small pieces up mountaintops and assembled them to rain shells down on the French.
In the famed tradition of the anonymous Foreign Legionaire, one of the most decorated sergeants was a former Nazi U-boat captain. Another was a Romanian Jewish holocaust survivor who had been tracking down the camp guard who had killed his family in Dachau. Once an Israeli paratrooper now a foreign legionaire the Romanian jumped from foxhole to foxhole ignoring the enemy shooting at him until he found his prey and exacted revenge for his family. He survived the battle and was cleared by a French courts martial, who ruled (tongue in cheek, I suspect ) it could not be proved that the specific bullet that killed the Nazi didn’t come from an enemy gun. Is this a screenplay, or what ?

1962-"A Funny thing Happened to Me on the Way to the Forum" opened on Broadway.

1962- Director Joe Mankiewicz shot the climactic spectacle scene of Cleopatra –Elizabeth Taylor, entering Rome through the Arch of Titus on a mobile sphinx surrounded by thousands of extras. The shot had been delayed six months after a stunt woman fell off an elephant and then the light in the Forum had not been right. When she appeared in the scene the thousands of Italian extras were supposed to shout "Hail Cleopatra!" but instead they shouted "Liz! Liz!"

1998- The impotence drug Viagra gains national prominence when retired Senator Bob Dole confessed on the Larry King talk show that he participated in the drugs test trials and the had "thoroughly enjoyed himself."
Yesterday’s Quiz: You may have heard the name The Robber Barons, but who were they?

Answer: The time after the Civil War known as the Industrial Revolution produced unscrupulous men who became mega-rich. They flaunted their wealth, bought politicians, flirted with European nobility, and paid few taxes. John Rockefeller of Standard Oil ( today’s Exxon) said “ I am rich, because God wants me to be”, Jay Gould “ I’ll hire one half the Working Class to murder the other half of the Working Class”, Big Jim Fisk, Andrew Carnegie, Mellon, Huntington, Frick, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt “ The public be damned! I answer to my shareholders!” J.P. Morgan of Morgan-Stanley, Diamond Jim Brady and Bet-A-Million Sawyer.