BACK to Blog Posts

June 25th, 2009 thurs
June 25th, 2009

Quiz: What was the origin of the phrase, the Real McCoy?

Yesterday’s Quiz Answered Below: What is a monstrance?
History for 6/25/2009
Birthday: George Orwell (born Eric Arthur Blair ), Marc Charpentier, Lord Louis Mountbatten, General Hap Arnold, Cajun musician Clifton Chenier, Sidney Lumet is 82, Walter Brennan, Willis Reed, George Abbott, Carly Simon, June Lockhart is 84, Alex Toth, Jimmy Dyne-o-Mite Walker, George Michaels, Mike Myers

1630 – The Fork was introduced to American dining by Plymouth Gov Winthrop.

1815- After Napoleons defeat at Waterloo, now it that it was safe, King Louis XVIII returned to France. He was the younger brother of the Louis XVI guillotined in the Revolution. The slow, rotund Louis XVIII, called Dix-Huit -Deez-Hweet in French, was nicknamed "Louis Biscuit" by the British because he came to Paris with the supply wagons of Wellington’s Army. The French called him Louis Dix-Huitres meaning Louis Ten Oysters.

One British officer called him "A French Falstaff, a Fat Disgrace."

1835- Antoine Baron Gros was a celebrated painter under Napoleon and a friend of David and Ingres. But politics and tastes change. In a royalist postwar France dominated by Delacroix and Gericault, Baron Gros lived on forgotten and melancholy. This day the 64 year old artist drowned himself in the Seine.

1857- Writer Gustav Flaubert goes on trial for pornography for his novel Madame Bovary. He escaped conviction, and went on to his next book Salambo the Carthaginian princess who strangled herself with her own hair. Don’t try this at home girls!

1863- During the Civil War siege of Vicksburg Yankee engineers dug a tunnel under the rebel lines and fill it with gunpowder. The huge explosion accomplished little but blew a black slave named Abraham up through the air and over into Union lines. The man was badly frightened by his strange flight to freedom but miraculously unhurt . Soldiers of an Iowa regiment immediately put him in a tent and charged people five cents to come look at him.

1867 - 1st barbed wire patented by Lucien B Smith of Ohio. It was considered the perfect tool to protect crops from free-range cattle and other marauders. During the Boer War in 1898 South Africa the White Afrikaner Boers got the idea of stringing the stuff in front of the attacking Gordon Highlanders.It’s been used as a tool to herd people ever since.

1876- CUSTER'S LAST STAND called by the Sioux the Battle of the Greasy Grass- George Armstrong Custer and 300 of his 7th Cavalry are wiped out by Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and the combined Sioux, Cheyenne nations (approximately 1,700 warriors).
There had been defeats of the Whites like this before: Fetterman's Massacre, The Little Rosebud Battle, but nothing captures the imagination like the Little Big Horn. And for Native-Americans it marks the last coming together of the tribes and the last great victory .The Ogalala Sioux, Hunkpapa, Miniconjou, Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne all united to resist the violation of their sacred Black Hills. No U.S. Army commander ever expected so many different tribes could unite and field thousands of warriors at once. Custer trusted in his audacity. "Custer's Luck". The boy general –just 23 years old in the Civil War, he was always at the head of his men in costly, reckless attacks yet personally suffered nothing more severe than the flu. Now at age 36 his luck ran out.

Accounts by natives were sketchy and no one is sure just how Custer died. The last white soldier who saw him alive was a courier sent away with a message " Benteen, come up quick. Big Village. Bring packs". The courier was an Italian immigrant named Giusepppi Martini who couldn’t speak English. The famous image of Custer standing to the last with Old Glory in hand was made up by an artist named Paxton for an Anheuser-Busch beer advertisement in 1877. One Crow Indian scout who escaped said Custer was the first casualty and that his being shot down panicked the troopers. Others say the last they saw of Custer he was crawling on all fours with blood trickling down his mouth. He was found in a pile of bodies with a bullet wound in the left side and one in the temple. The Indians didn’t even know they had killed Yellow Hair until told way later. The tribes afterwards dispersed and headed for Canada. The only 7th Cavalry survivor was Commanche, Capt. Mile’s Keough's horse. He was treated with honor by the army and fed a bucket of beer every payday for the rest of his life.

Custer was hallowed with martyrdom. President Ulysses Grant was quiet about the affair but privately thought it a badly botched operation. Sitting Bull was more blunt- "The soldiers were fools, they rode to their deaths." Mrs. Libby Custer lived until 1937 and met FDR. The last living eyewitness of the battle, Mrs. Kate Bighead of the Cheyenne who was taken on the battlefield by her mother at 4 years old, died in 1959.

1970- Toi Yo ta Hoooo! Richard Wagner's opera Die Walkure premiered in Munich.

1906- Famed New York architect Stanford White was having dinner at Madison Square Garden (back when it was still a garden, on Madison Ave. and still square) when he was shot to death by millionaire Harry Thaw, the husband of his mistress Evelyn Nesbitt. The eccentric Thaw was obsessed by White, hiring detectives to follow the artist, and report his amorous pursuits. He would only date women who had dated White first. Thaw’s defense attorney’s got him acquitted of murder by reason of temporary insanity.

So instead of the electric chair Harry Thaw spent a few years in a mental home living on squab flambé' and champagne. The crowd cheered him when he was freed. The key defense witness was 22 year old Mrs. Evelyn Nesbitt-Thaw, one of the beautiful "Gibson Girls’. She gave juicy details of her kinky relationship with White, like the red velvet swing she would ride in the nude over the admiring architect’s head. After Thaw was released they divorced. Before Evelyn Nesbitt died of old age in 1967, she admitted Stanford White was the only man she ever really loved. The incident was the basis for I.L.Doctorow's novel "Ragtime".

1910- First performance of Stravinsky's ballet "Firebird" by Diagheilev and his Ballet Russe. Stravinsky used to refer to the dancers as "A bunch of knock-kneed Lolitas".

1910- Congress passed the Mann Act sometimes called the White Slave Trafficking Act. It stated you couldn’t coerce a woman across state borders for immoral purposes. Penalties are doubled for legal minors, but the law says nothing about boys.

1940- Young actor, and liberal labor activist Ronald Reagan married his first wife, actress Jane Wyman. So, wha' happened?

1951- After losing a power struggle between himself and Dory Schary, Louis B. Mayer announced he was stepping down as head of MGM. Mayer in his time was the most powerful man in Hollywood. He kept an all white office modeled after Mussolini’s in Rome. His penchant for putting relatives in charge of the company’s departments caused the joke that MGM stood for Mayer-Ganz-Mishpochen, Yiddish for Mayer-And-His-Whole-Family.

1951 - 1st color TV broadcast-CBS' Arthur Godfrey from NYC to 4 cities

1967- The "Our World" Beatles concert, the first television event to try a worldwide satellite linkup. They sing and record "All You Need is Love" live in front of an audience of 400.

1968- Pierre Elliot Trudeau elected Prime Minister of Canada. For the next twenty five years he and his flower-child wife Margaret will be one of Canada’s most colorful leaders.

1973- White House counsel John Dean testifies to the Congressional Watergate Committee "There is a Cancer on the Presidency." For the first time one of President Nixon's closest advisers hinted that the President himself was personally involved in the Watergate scandal.

1980- Disney premiered the 4th sequel to the Love Bug, Herbie Goes Bananas.

1997- Disney's animated film Hercules released.

1997- the widow of Malcolm X- Betty Shabazz , died of 3rd degree burns from when her 12 year old grandson set fire to her house.
Yesterday’s Quiz: What is a monstrance?

Answer: In a Catholic Mass, it is the receptacle that carries the consecrated Host for adoration. In Baroque times it looked like a crucifix at the base, topped with a gold metal sunburst around the clear glass casing of the wafer.