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June 14, 2011 tues.
June 14th, 2011

Question: When French composer Jacques Offenbach came to the U.S. do to a tour for the American Centennial Celebration, who was the concert master of his orchestra?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Who wrote the theme music to Monty Python’s Flying Circus?

History for 6/14/2011
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. Attila was not killed in battle like that Jack Palance-Jeff Chandler movie but died on his wedding night years later with wife #20. He was 45, she was 16. He was dead by morning.

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.

1718- The later years of Czar Peter the Great’s rule were clouded by a feud with his son and heir Alexis. While Peter was dragging Russia forcibly out of medieval backwardness his son was educated by priests to hate his fathers new ideas. Alexis pledged to undo all his father’s reforms when he became Czar. At one point Alexis fled to Italy to escape his father’s anger but returned when promised amnesty. This day Peter went back on his pledge and had Alexis arrested. In the Saint Peter & Paul fortress dungeons Alexis was beaten to death with whips. Papa himself administered the first blows.

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."

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."

1807- Battle of Friedland -Napoleon does it again, this time to a Russian army.

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 Senora Dona Vallejo watching the events thought the flag looked like a large towel with a pig painted on it.

US Col. John Freemont took charge 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 met 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.

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.

1957- Nelson Mandela married Winnie Mandela.

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 psychedelic 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.

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: Who wrote the theme music to Monty Python’s Flying Circus?

Answer: John Phillip Sousa, the Liberty Bell March.