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October 11, 2009 sun.
October 11th, 2009

Question: What does TNT stand for?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below- What did Alfred Nobel do to get a prize named after him?
History for 10/11/2009
Birthdays: Eleanor Roosevelt, Henry Heinz the Ketchup king,, Jerome Robbins, Carl Hubbard, Ron Leibman, John Candy, Omar Shariff is 77, Ben Vereen, Art Blakey, Luke Perry, Joan Cusak, Sig Ruman– the fat actor with the goatee and the over-the-top German accent in the Marx Brothers comedies, Ninotchka and Stalag 17

1424- Czech general John of Ziska died of plague. He had never been defeated in the Hussite Wars and led battles even when almost blind. When dying he requested that his body be skinned and the skin used to make a drum for his army. Wow, tough Czech!

1492- As the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria continue sailing west, Christopher Columbus' fear crazed men began to see signs that land was close at hand: floating driftwood, a carved stick, moths, a seabird.

1776- The Battle of Valcour Island- American patriot Benedict Arnold builds a little navy on Lake Champlain and lets himself get shot up to stall a huge British invasion force under Canadian Governor-General Sir Guy Carleton. Because of Arnold's delaying tactics it became too late in the year to cut off Washington's army retreating from New York and crush the Revolution in it's first year. Sir Guy Carleton's force had to return to Canada and wait until the Spring thaw. Valcour Island sometimes is called the first action of the U.S. Navy. Amazingly one of Arnold's little boats was recently brought up from the lake and is now in the Smithsonian.

1809- MERIWETHER LEWIS’ SUICIDE- Colonel Meriwether Lewis, of Lewis and Clark fame, shot himself -twice. He wounded himself in the head the first time. He was 35. Meriwether Lewis was governor of Upper Louisiana (Missouri, Wisconsin, Montana, Illinois) and was the personal protege of Presidents Jefferson and Monroe. It’s not inconceivable to assume that he would have been president one day. Some contend that Lewis didn't commit suicide but was murdered, because it was at a small tavern on the Natchez Trace, he had been arguing with some men along the road, and he was found with two head wounds, and his belly slashed with a bowie knife. Another scholar recently theorized Lewis was suffering from delirium caused by advanced syphilis, which he may have contracted from a Shoshone woman while on the great trek over the Rockies. His friends Jefferson and Captain Clark maintained Lewis was emotionally overwrought and was drinking too much. What an important United States Governor was doing riding all alone with no staff on a country road is still a mystery.

1867- General George Armstrong Custer was courts-martialed for leaving his post without permission to see his wife Libby, ordering his men to shoot deserters and marching his troops too excessively. He was found guilty but only given a years suspension of pay.

1899- THE BOER WAR BEGINS. Ever since the British took over South Africa they had to contend with the fiercely independent German Dutch settlers called Afrikaners or Boers. Warfare flared up in 1886 but was settled temporarily. Now egged on by the German Kaiser, and threatened by the nationalistic pressures of English speaking immigrants (Uitlanders) President Kruger of the Transvaal ("Oom Paul" -Uncle Paul) invaded the Orange Free State and the Cape Colony to throw off British domination. The Boers were defeated after three bloody years which saw the development of military barbed wire, khaki uniforms (from the Persian word for dust, advocated by Arthur Conan-Doyle) and concentration camps. Twenty five thousand Boers died, of them only five thousand were soldiers, the rest were uprooted civilians stuffed into camps with inadequate sanitary conditions. Despite his belligerent talk the Kaiser begged off sending any aid, despite pleas from the Queen of Holland. When German-Americans asked Vice Presidential candidate Teddy Roosevelt to condemn British actions, Teddy replied: " It is right and natural that stronger nations should gobble up weaker ones!”

1910- Teddy Roosevelt becomes the first U. S. President to fly in an airplane.

1939- Albert Einstein sent a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt describing the feasibility of atomic weapons and urging the US begin such a program before Hitler creates an A-Bomb. Years later with atomic weapons a reality he said his letter of Oct.11th “was the biggest mistake of my life.”

1944-“ To Have and to Have Not,” written by Ernest Hemingway premiered. The movie paired Humphrey Bogart with a sultry Harpers model turned actress named Betty Persky, now changed to Lauren Bacall. Bacall originally had a higher voice but director Howard Hawks told her to go behind the soundstage and scream for an hour every day to bring her voice down to a dusky, sexy alto. It worked on Bogart, who fell in love and married her despite his being 44 and she 20 years old. The nicknamed each other Slim and Steve after the characters in the film.“If you want me, just whistle. You know how to whistle, don’t you? Just put your lips together and blow.”

1960- The Bugs Bunny Show premiered on TV. “Overture, hit the lights! This is it, we’ll hit the heights, and oh what heights we’ll hit…..etc..”

1962- Pope John XXIII convened the 2Nd Ecumenical Council. Nicknamed Vatican II, it instituted major reforms in the Catholic Church including ordering the Mass said in the vernacular instead of Latin, and toleration of Judaism and other faiths. Many conservative Catholic splinter groups including the one Mel Gibson belongs to reject Vatican II.

1975- NBC needed a Saturday replacement for Best Of Carson reruns, so Lorne Michaels’ TV show SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE premiered. First guest host George Carlin did his opening monologue while high- and the Not-Yet-Ready-For-Prime-Time Players: John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd, Gilda Radner, Garret Morris, Chevy Chase, Lorraine Newman,Jane Curtin and Mike O’Donaghue. Albert Brooks did a short film, and Andy Kaufman did his Mighty Mouse lip sync routine. Paul Shaefer conducted the music and the show was held in NBC’s Studio 8H, which was built originally for Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony of the Air. A sketch by young Billy Crystal was cut from the show. The show revived the career of announcer Don Pardo, who had trouble finding work since the original Jeopardy Show was canceled.

1975- Bill Clinton married Hillary Rodham.

1976- After the death of Chairman Mao, Chinese authorities arrested his widow Chiang Ching and three followers and accused them of plotting a coup- the Gang of Four.

1978- Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious stabbed his girlfriend Nancy Spungen at the Chelsea Hotel in New York. Sid was too stoned to adequately explain why he killed the love of his life. It’s assumed they had a suicide pact. Vicious died of a drug overdose before his trial.

2005- Angela Merkel named Chancellor of Germany. She is the first woman to lead Germany and the first head of state from the former East Germany.
Yesterday’s Quiz: What did Alfred Nobel do to get a prize named after him?

Answer: The Swedish chemist invented dynamite and amassed a vast fortune. When his brother Emil died in an accidental explosion, Alfred became a pacifist and left his fortune to establish the award in 1895.