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May 29th, 2009 fri.
May 29th, 2009

Quiz: To maintain their anonymity while based in a San Rafael industrial park, what did George Lucas' ILM call itself?

Yesterday’s question answered below: True or False? Chop Suey was not invented in China.
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History for 5/29/2009
Birthdays: King Charles II Stuart (the "Merry Monarch"), John F. Kennedy, J.G. Chesterton, Patrick Henry, Oswald Spengler, T.H.White, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Josef Von Sternberg, LaToya Jackson, John Hinckley Jr., Al Unser Jr., Beatrice Lilly, Danny Elfman, Annette Benning, Melissa Etheridge, Rupert Everett, Bob Hope

526 AD -An earthquake destroyed the city of Antioch. Another major quake two years later caused rebuilding efforts to be abandoned. Once one of the largest cities in the ancient world, locals moved to the new settlement called Beirut.

1415- The Grand Council of churchmen at Constance trying to heal the Great Schism ordered the deposition of Pope John XXIII. John ran the Vatican like a mercenary captain, taxing everything including gambling and prostitution. It was said he had slept with 200 women including maids, matrons and nuns. He fled Constance disguised as a groom and was given sanctuary by Cosimo de Medici of Florence. Today he is counted an AntiPope, an illegal one, so Salvatore Roncalli in 1958 was given his number John XXIII.

1453- CONSTANTINOPLE CONQUERED BY THE TURKS- Sultan Mohammed II the "Scourge of Christendom" captured the capitol of the old Byzantine Empire. His great cherry wood cannons firing giant stone balls blew great holes in the city walls, proving the end of castles as serious defenses. When he knew the battle was lost, the Last Eastern Emperor of the Romans, Constantine XI Paleologus, sallied out sword in hand and went down fighting. His body was identified out of a pile of corpses only by the bejeweled purple shoes. As Mohammed II rode into the city in triumph he recited a Persian poem:" A spider weaves it's web in the palace of the Caesars, a shadow falls over the House of Amonhasarib". Legend has it that when he entered the great Basilica of Hagia Sophia he put is finger in a magic hole and caused the entire building to rotate and face Mecca. (?!)
Except for Spain, Christian Europe hadn’t given much thought to expansionist Islam since the Crusades. Now Turkey became the number one threat for the next 300 years. The Byzantine Empire’s loss did have one beneficial effect on Western Europe. All the fleeing Greek scholars and scientists with their arms full of the works of Plato and Aristotle would settle in European capitols and help spark the Renaissance.

1606- Michel Caravaggio the artist shot a man over a tennis match. Caravaggio was a mad-artist before the term was invented. The police records of Rome show the master painter constantly in trouble, seducing man, woman and child, throwing rocks at soldiers, stabbing waiters, etc.

1765 - Patrick Henry historic speech against the Stamp Act, answering a cry
of "Treason!" with, "If this be treason, make the most of it!"

1780- THE WAXSAWS or TARELTON’S QUARTER- In the later part of the American Revolution the British Army tried encouraging Loyal Americans to fight their Rebel brothers. A British officer named Banastre Tarleton raised a hard riding company of American Loyalist dragoons to subdue unruly South Carolina. But Tarleton had a sadistic streak that made him go beyond the gentlemanly war of the era. At the Waxsaws in North Carolina Tarleton rode down a company of Virginia militia and slaughtered them as they tried to surrender. After the battle ended he ordered his men to comb the battlefield and bayonet the wounded. So he won the tactical victory but Butcher Tarleton’s tactics made more enemies than friends for his side. Many North Carolina hill country folk who had been sitting out the war lost kin at the Waxsaws and so joined the American side in droves. Knowing they may get “Tarleton’s Quarter” made many Minutemen fight harder rather than surrender.

1843- John C. Freemont began his second surveying expedition mapping out vast areas of California and Oregon and studying its geography. For this he was nicknamed the Pathfinder and later became the first presidential candidate of the new Republican Party.

1856- THE LOST SPEECH- Former Congressman Abraham Lincoln was called upon to deliver the adjournment speech to the convention inaugurating the new Illinois Republican Party. He had decided to abandon his strategy of mincing words about slavery and “hit it hard.”Lincoln delivered what many regarded as the best speech of his life, a speech better than the Gettysburg Address or “ With Malice Towards None” the Second Inaugural. And maddeningly for history we have no record of what he said. The newspapermen jotting it down shorthand were so amazed by what they heard that they stopped writing, confident they could share the notes of another later. Even Abe’s close friend Herndon, who was a prodigious note taker, gave up after fifteen minutes, admitting he “threw pen and paper away and was swept up in the inspiration of the hour”. The speech made Lincoln one of the rising stars of the party yet we don’t know anything he said that night.

1859 –Illinois Congressman Abe Lincoln says in a better documented occasion "You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of time, but you can't fool all of the people all of time"

1908- Teddy Roosevelt signed the first ban on child labor in the U.S.

1911 -The Brickyard is born. The first running of the Indianapolis 500.

1912- 15 young women were fired by the Curtis Publishing Company for dancing "Turkey Trot" during their lunch break.

1914-THE COLONEL REDL AFFAIR- In the years before World War One the Great Powers of Europe spent vast sums on spies and agents to discover each other's future war plans. The period was known as the “soft war” not unlike the Cold War of a later generation. Coloneloberst Redl was on the Austro-Hungarian General Staff but was passing information on to Russian Intelligence. He was exposed by an Italian double agent who was also his male lover. According to the Austrian military code of honor Redl was forced by his fellow officers to shoot himself. An eccentric man, his apartment was filled with life-size mannequins in chairs. Hungarian director Istvan Szabo made an award winning film about Redl with Klaus Maria Brandauer in 1986.

If you haven't seen this, it's a terrific movie.

1932- The" BONUS MARCHERS "announce their march on Washington D.C. Men who joined the army during the Great War were promised a huge extra bonus to be received in 1945. But by 1932 the Great Depression had so ruined people's lives a movement was started by a Portland Oregon veteran named Captain William Waters to have a bill in Congress to get their bonus early. Veterans would lobby congress by mounting a poor people's march on Washington. People's marches of this sort had happened before, like "Coxey's Army" in 1896, the Civil Right's march in 1964, and the Million-Man March in 1995.

1942- JOHN BARRYMORE- The great dramatic actor, the first American to dare to play Hamlet in England, died of his vices at age 46. Whether the infamous prank actually happened where Raoul Walsh, Bertholdt Brecht, Peter Lorre, W.C. Fields and some others (the"Bundy Drive Boys") kidnapped Barrymore's body from Pierce Brothers Funeral Home and propped it up at the poker table to scare the willys out of Errol Flynn is a matter of debate. Flynn and Paul Heinried said it was true, writer Gene Fowler said it was false.

Drew Barrymore's granddaddy.


John Barrymore's last words were to screenwriter Gene Fowler: "Say Gene, isn't it true you are an illegitimate son of Buffalo Bill?"

1942- Bing Crosby recorded White Christmas.

1952- Edmund Hillary and Sherpa guide Tenzing Norga become first men to reach the top of Mt. Everest.

1954- New York Police raid the studio of Irving Klaw, the photographer of the Betty Page kinky pin-up photos. Klaw tried to appeal to the Supreme Court but couldn’t get a hearing.

1956- Hollywood director James Whale (Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, and The Invisible Man) drowned himself in his pool. His career was over and his health was deteriorating from a series of strokes. Bruises were found on his head and at first the police suspected foul play. It wasn’t until 1989 his gay lover made his suicide note public. His head had struck the pool’s bottom as he jumped in causing the bruise.

1978 - Bob Crane, (Donna Reed Show, Hogan-Hogan's Heroes), died at 49 under mysterious circumstances. He was found in a Tucson hotel room surrounded by pornography bludgeoned to death by a camera tripod. The murder was never solved.

1987 –Eccentric pop singer Michael Jackson attempted to buy the nineteenth century remains of Joseph Merrick, a.k.a. the Elephant Man.

1999- Hikers in Malibu California discover the remains of Phillip Taylor, the bass guitar player of the 60’s band Iron Butterfly. The musician had disappeared four years before. Now his skeleton was found sitting in his Ford Aerostar at the bottom of a steep ravine.

2003- The BBC aired a news expose alleging that Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government “sexed up” or exaggerated the proof of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction to justify the unpopular invasion of Iraq. The documentary named a shy government researcher named Dr David Kelly as the perpetrator. He committed suicide as a result. An official enquiry into the affair a year later cleared the PM and his government, and made the directors of the BBC resign.
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Quiz: True or False? Chop Suey was not invented in China.

Answer: True, Chop Suey was invented in San Francisco in the 1890s. Chow Mein, the other signature Chinese-American dish, does have equivalents back in China.


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