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June 14th, 2009 sun.
June 14th, 2009

Question: How did you flip someone the finger in Italy during the Renaissance?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What does it mean when a person describes themselves as a Luddite?
History for 6/14/2009
Birthdays: Tomaso Albinioni, Senator Fighting Bob LaFollette,, Margaret Bourke-White, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sam Wanamaker, Dorothy McGuire, Burle Ives, Gene Barry, Jerzy Kosinski, Marla Gibbs

451 A.D. Battle of Orleans- Attila the Hun was defeated by Theodoric the Visigoth and the Roman general Aetius. Attila was told by his shamans that a great king would die that day. But even though Attila lost, it was Theodoric who fell.

1645- Battle of Naseby- Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army defeated King Charles Ist's army in the decisive battle of the English Civil War. After this the King never again could put a large army in the field. Charles Ist had as one of his generals his German nephew Prince Rupert of the Rhine. Rupert rode into battle with a white poodle under his arm named Bobbie. He made insensitive declarations like: "We will strew the field with English dead !" Considering it was a civil war, that fact seemed unavoidable.

1727- George II of England told by Sir Robert Walpole that his august father George Ist had died and he was now king. George thought it was one of his dad's cruel jokes and said" Dat ist von big lie!"( they had German accents remember). He always resented his dad’s cruel treatment of his mom, like having her lover murdered, while he himself kept a regular mistress. George Ist didn’t trust his English subjects and was always homesick for his birthplace in Hanover Germany. He was always visiting. So when he died and was buried over there truth be said nobody in England really missed him. While his grandson King George III’s death was cause for national mourning, George I’s death was only casually mentioned in the society newspapers.

Happy Flag Day -in 1777 The Continental Congress orders the Stars and Stripes flag to be the official U.S. flag. It replaced the Cambridge Flag (The Tree and Stripes) and the Snake and Stripes and all those other things silly things and stripes.

1789- Capt. Bligh reached East Timor after floating 4,000 miles in an open boat . He and his followers were cast adrift by the Bounty Mutineers.

1800- Battle of Marengo- Napoleon defeats the Austrian army and conquers most of Italy. At first he was losing and his men were fighting so furiously against high odds that some could be seen urinating into their rifle barrels to cool them off. Just when things seemed lost his regimental commander General Desaix, arrived in the nick of time, won the battle and was conveniently killed in action so Napoleon didn’t have to share any of the credit. This led Napoleon to observe "The difference between victory and defeat can be 15 minutes."
Napoleon’s cook at 5 p.m. was told the battle was lost and not to fix supper. At 7:00 pm Napoleon had won the battle and asked for dinner. Frantically the cook grabbed some chicken, prawns and garlic and invented Chicken Marengo. Believe it or not the cook’s name was Pierre Goufee’.( Garsh!)

1801- Old Revolutionary War traitor Benedict Arnold died in London of dropsy. He was living on a major generals half pay but was shunned by polite British society as he was hated by Americans. Tradition has it that in his last days he had his wife Peggy help him back into his old Colonial Generals uniform:" My country’s uniform, woe to me that I ever put on another!" After his death the London Post wrote: Poor General Arnold departed this life, unmourned and without notice. A sorry reflection for other turncoats."

1816- Writers Shelley, Lord Byron and Mary Shelley were spending the summer at the Villa Deodati on Lake Geneva. This day among the revels, drinking, partner swapping and opium taking Byron suggested they all write a ghost story. They all tried but failed except for 19 year old Mary who invented the tale of a Swiss scientist who created an artificial man. She called it Frankenstein.

1822- Charles Babbage presented a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society in London proposing to build a "Difference Engine" a machine that could calculate equations and print the results-i.e. a computer. His early machine required 8,000 moving parts. After ten years and a small fortune it never quite comes off.

1834- Isaac Fischer Jr. of Vermont invented sandpaper.

1846-THE GREAT BEAR REBELLION- U.S. citizens living in Spanish California led by a school teacher named William Ide and Ezekiel Merritt declared themselves an independent country, not knowing that back east the U.S. government had already declared war on Mexico and annexed California to the U.S.. Remember information took months to get back East across Indian territory and burning deserts. The Anglo-Californians seized a Sonoma military post and arrested the owner of the largest hacienda in the area, a retired Mexican General named Mariano Vallejo. Ironically Senor Vallejo himself desired AltaCalifornia to have independence from Mexico City. They chose as their flag for the new republic the grizzly bear and the polar star, which is now the state flag. It wasn’t well drawn and a Mexican noblewoman watching the events thought the flag looked like a large towel with a pig painted on it. US Col. John Freemont took over the Great Bear settlers and raised the US flag over the Presidio in San Francisco July 1st.

1865- A group of Englishmen climb the Materhorn Mountain in Switzerland, inventing the sport of mountain climbing. Why? Because it’s there.

1934- Hitler meets Mussolini for the first time for a conference in the city of Padua. They didn't trust any interpreters and neither could speak the others language, so it wasn't much of a meeting. Il Duce's first impression of the German Chancellor wasn't impressive. He called him " A comical little monkey."

1940- The German Army goose-stepped down the Champs Elysees into Paris. The Nazi propaganda that night broadcast from Berlin declared"The decadent, democratic Paris of Jews and Negroes is gone never to rise again!!" Not quite, Adolph.

1941- President Roosevelt ordered all German and Italian assets in the U.S. frozen.

1941- First day shooting on John Huston’s film "The Maltese Falcon". It was Huston’s first director gig. After George Raft turned down the role of Sam Spade the lead went to an actor named Humphrey Bogart. He had started well as the hood Duke Mantee in Petrified Forrest but had since been typecast in character roles. At the time no one thought that Bogie was romantic leading man material. Bogart even had to wear his own suits in the role.

1942- A secret coded message sent by Moscow's intelligence service to all their agents in Germany, England and the U.S.A. showed that Russia was aware of these countries attempts to build an atomic bomb and that Soviet agents should use all means to secure information about these programs.

1951- Univac I, built by Dr John W, Mauchly and J. Prosper Eckert Jr. of the Remington Rand Company to be the first U.S. commercial built electronic computer, went on line for the census bureau in Philadelphia.

1954- The Eisenhower Administration ordered the adding of the words "Under God" to the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance.

1962- The Boston Strangler killed his first victim.

1964- THE FIRST HIPPY BUS- Ken Kesey, the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, bought an old school bus, painted it psychadelic colors, took of troupe of 14 fellow free spirits called the Merry Pranksters and spent the next few months driving across the country taking LSD and staging Happenings in various cities and towns. The Bus’s name was Further and it’s driver was Neil Cassidy, friend of Beatnik author Jack Kerouac. A book documenting the escapades of the "hippy bus" was "The Electric Koolaid Acid Test.". Kesey became interested in LSD when he volunteered for a college program to experiment with the drug, secretly funded by the CIA. The Merry Pranksters were invited in 1969 to be the security for the Woodstock Rock Festival.

1966- The Vatican officially abolished the Index of Forbidden Books.

1977- The skinny Carnaby Street fashion model Twiggy Lawson got married to Michael Whitney.

1983- The Pioneer 10 space probe left it’s orbit around Jupiter and headed off into deep space. NASA lost all contact in 1997. Pioneer 10 is expected to reach the solar system of the star Ross 246 in the Constellation Taurus in the year 34,600 AD.

1989- Elderly actress Zsa Zsa Gabor was arrested for slapping a Beverly Hills policeman who was writing her a traffic ticket.

1995, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MP3. The researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits decided to use ".mp3" as the file name extension for their new audio coding technology. Development on this technology started in 1987. By 1992 it was considered far ahead of its times. MP3 became the generally accepted acronym as the popular standard for digital music on the on the Internet."

2001- The Oxford English Dictionary admitted the slang expletive of Homer Simpson "DOH!" into its august pages.

2002- An asteroid the size of a football field bypassed the Earth by just 75,000 miles, about one fifth the distance to our moon. If it had hit us, the cataclysm might have rivaled the one that eliminated the Dinosaurs. Little was said about it in the media because it came from the direction of the Sun and was undetectable until almost on top of us. So sleep well tonight, modern science is on guard! Nyaaahhhh!!
Yesterday’s Question: What does it mean when a person describes themselves as a Luddite?

Answer: Luddites were a movement in rural England let by a man named Ned Ludd to resist the advance of the industrial revolution. Luddites would break into factory and smash machines they felt would eliminate their jobs. So a Luddite is someone who resists technological change. What? There’s a new version of Maya to learn? Hand me my baseball bat!