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June 18th, 2009 thurs
June 18th, 2009

Quiz: Who is the current Prime Minister of Canada?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What is the Torah?
History for 6/18/2009
Birthdays: M C Escher, Charles Gounod, James Montgomery Flagg, Kay Kayser,William Lassell 1799- English astronomer who discovered Neptune's moon Triton, Richard Boone, Jeanette MacDonald, Key Luke, Isabella Rosselini, E.G. Marshall, Roger Ebert, Eduard Daladier, Carol Kane, Sammy Kahn, ,Sir Paul McCartney is 67

1178- According to the chronicler Gervase of Canterbury, on this evening five monks sitting near the town witnessed a "flaming torch" spring up from the moon - it has been theorized that this was a lunar meteor impact; explosion on moon. Or maybe an interplanetary visitor?

1682 – Quaker leader William Penn founded Philadelphia.

1778- The British army evacuated the American Capitol of Philadelphia. The reason General Clinton pulled back his redcoats was because of his learning of the French entry into the war. London didn’t want him to be stranded in the American interior should the French fleet attack the coast.

1815- WATERLOO- One of the battles that changed history. 145,000 men in brightly colored uniforms with 400 cannons blew each other to pieces for 9 hours at a road intersection about three miles square. Many factors affected Wellington's defeat of Napoleon: The previous nights rains delayed the battle until 11:00 A.M. Napoleon had a bout of stomach cramps (he had bleeding ulcers, cystitis, piles and hypertension) and while he rested his subordinates wasted troops in fruitless assaults. The Prussian army everyone thought was running to Berlin boiled into the French right just when it seemed that the French were winning. Wellington in private admitted, "It had been a very close run thing." Suffice to say the world would have been a much different place. Napoleon said: "If I lose England will dominate the world for the next 100 years." Individual stories abound.

- When a sharpshooter suggests to Wellington early in the battle that he thinks he can pick off Napoleon, Wellington snaps:"Certainly Not! Generals have better things to do than take pot shots at one another!"
-Towards the end of the battle the Earl of Uxbridge was struck by a cannonball while seated next to Wellington. The Earl noticed: "My God Sir, I do believe I’ve lost my leg." Wellington looked down, then replied: "My God Sir, I do believe you’re right." Uxbridge had eloped with Wellington's younger sister so he didn't like him that much anyway.
-My favorite anecdote is about General Cambronne, leader of the French elite' Old Guard. He formed up an infantry square to take a last stand to cover the French retreat. His small band is surrounded by the victorious Anglo-Dutch German army and called upon to surrender. Cambronne had time for a one word reply before all the guns go off-" MERDE!" This is a favorite French epithete meaning "sh*t!" The writer Chateaubriand later said that he cried"The Guard dies but never Surrenders!" But we all know what he really said. To this day in France if you’re too polite to use an expletive you can say: A' la mode de Cambronne!"
-Wellington didn't have any dinner until 11 p.m. He ate alone because his entire personal staff were dead or wounded.
- In later years writer Victor Hugo lived at Waterloo for awhile and was influential in making the old battlefield field a shrine. When I visited I saw across from Hugo's statue the "Victor Hugo's Private Men's Club" with "New Hostesses!"

1817- With the Iron Duke (Wellington), himself in attendance London opened a new bridge across the Thames, named the Waterloo Bridge. Later the guests sat down at the traditional Waterloo banquet and were served- you guessed it.....Beef Wellington. No crème napoleons for desert, through.

1879 - W H Richardson, an African American inventor, patents the baby buggy or perambulator.

1892 - Macademia nuts first planted in Hawaii

1898 - 1st amusement pier opens in Atlantic City, NJ

1900- The Dowager Empress of China Zhou Zshi calls for the killing of all foreigners during the Boxer Rebellion. She commits the Chinese government to the expulsion of all the European colonialist powers. Empress Zhou Chi was the first person westerners called the Dragon Lady, later used by Milt Caniff in his comic strip Terry & the Pirates.

1913- composer Cole Porter graduated from Yale.

1916- German Max Immelman, the first true fighter ace, died when the synchronizing mechanism that enabled his machine gun to fire through his propeller blades failed and he shot his own propeller off. Ach, Himmel! To take your plane in a large loop-de-loop around someone else is still called an Immelman Turn.

1923- The first Checker Cab was manufactured in Chicago. The big boxy durable Checkers were the most famous city taxicabs until dying out in the 1980s.

1927- The last radio transmission of the flying boat carrying famous arctic explorer Roald Ammundsen to the arctic circle. Norwegian Ammundsen had conquered the South Pole and flew over the North Pole. He was now called out of retirement to lead an international effort to save Italian Polar explorer General Nobile , who’s zeppelin had crashed on the arctic ice. Ironically Ammundsen disliked Nobile personally. Nobile and his men were rescued, but Ammundsen and his plane were never found.

1931- The Metropolitan Museum of NY had in it’s collection a little blue statue of a Hippo from the tomb of the Egyptian Steward Senbi from the Twelfth Dynasty. People nicknamed it Willie and this day an article about it with a color picture appeared in Punch Magazine. Soon museum craftsmen made little replicas of Willie that they gave as gifts to donors and eventually started selling to the public. The massive retail business in museum reproductions and merchandise began with little Willie the Hippo.

1959- Earl Long the Governor of Louisiana was ordered confined to a State Mental Hospital for his erratic behavior. Earl’s response was to arrange for the director of the hospital to be fired and replaced with another who declared him perfectly sane.

1967- At the Monterey Pop Rock festival Jimi Hendrix electrified the audience then finished his set by burning and smashing his guitar on stage. Until then musicians didn’t behave in such a way towards their instruments. Ravi Shankar was particularly shocked.

1980 –"We are on a mission from God." John Landis movie of" The Blues Brothers" with Dan Ackroyd & John Belushi premiered.

1983- Sally Ride becomes the first U.S. woman in Space. Russian Valentina Tereshkova had gone up in 1963.

1989- John Wayne Bobbitt married Lorena Bobbitt.

2002- President George W. Bush said:” When we talk about war, we are really talking about peace.”
Yesterday’s Question: What is the Torah?

Answer: Like the Pentateuch, it is the first five books of the Old Testament.