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March 11, 2015 Weds
March 11th, 2015

Quiz: What is the origin of calling someone zany?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: The official Walt Disney Fan Club is called D-23. Why?
HISTORY FOR 3/11/2015
Birthdays: Torquato Tasso, Marius Pretipa, Raoul Walsh. Rupert Murdoch is 84, Charlie Ruggles, Lawrence Welk, former British PM Harold Wilson, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Bobby McFerrin, Sam Donaldson, Justice Antonin Scalia, Jerry Zucker, Vannevar Bush- MIT scientist who in 1945 predicted personal computer workstations. Joey Buttafuco, Jules Engel, Douglas Adams, Rob Paulsen is 59, Terence Howard is 46

In ancient Rome, today was the Festival of Hercules

1513- Giovanni de Medici, a son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, was elected Pope Leo X.
He was ordained a priest two days later- hey, details, details! Leo was the quintessential Renaissance Party-Pope. He blew the Vatican treasury on lavish entertainment, artists, poets and buffoons. He was quoted as saying:” God has given us the Papacy, so let us enjoy it.”

1669- Sicily’s Mt Etna erupted and killed 20,000 people.

1801- Czar Paul I was strangled. It had been said the Czar was showing signs of mental instability. Others historians say that story was circulated by the nobility who were against the Czars land reform for peasants. The murder had the tacit approval of his son Alexander who became Czar. In 1812 after Napoleon's invasion was driven out, one of the top French generals, Dominique Vandamme, was captured. When Vandamme was reproached by Czar Alexander for attacking Russia, the Frenchman shot back:" Well at least Sire, I didn't murder my own father!"

1810- Prussian Chancellor von Hardenburg granted civil rights to the Jews of Germany.

1818- Mary Shelly's great novel "FRANKENSTEIN, or the Modern Prometheus" first published. It’s considered the first true science fiction novel. The heroes are not knights or kings but modern scientists. Whether you believe 21 year old Ms. Shelly invented the story one dark and stormy night in 1816 while smoking opium with her homeboys Percy Shelly and Lord Byron is a matter of conjecture. Still, it's a good story.

1829- BachMania!-The Rediscovery of Johann Sebastian Bach-. Bach was little known in his time and after his death in 1750 was soon forgotten. Even his son Carl Phillip Emmanuel Bach though his dad’s music old-fashioned. But a century later the stirrings of German nationalism led to the re-examination of this obscure organist. This night at the Singadakademie in Berlin, musical superstar Felix Mendelsson performed The “St. Matthew Passion” and other Bach works. The musicians performed for free. The concert caused a sensation and Bach is soon being played all over Europe and influencing everyone from Berlioz to Wagner. Goethe and Hegel declared him a genius.

1851-Guisseppi Verdi's grand opera" Rigoletto "debuts. Considered Verdi's first mature work, it makes him an international star. Based on Victor Hugo's "L'roi's amuse", originally about the lustful abominations of King Francois Ist of France, Verdi changed it to the Duke of Mantua and steered away from the class politics to a family melodrama. Victor Hugo didn't like it.

1861- the seceded southern states adopted a constitution based on the old Articles of Confederation passed in 1778, hence the name the Confederate States of America. It provided for a President with a six-year term with no eligibility for a second term.

1888- THE YEAR OF BLUE ICE- The Great Blizzard of '88. In New York and Boston 40 inches of snow fell in 36 hours. Record low temperatures, 80 mile an hour winds and ice storms so severe that all the telephone and telegraph wires between New York and Boston snapped. To contact anyone you had to be routed through London England. 400 people died in New York City alone. Police set up frostbite checkpoints to rub the ears of pedestrians as they walked by.
Out West so many head of cattle died that a serious beef shortage the following year created a labor problem with unemployed cowboys that led to the Johnson County Wars of 1890. Teddy Roosevelt was a Dakota rancher at the time and he saw cattle freeze to death where they stood. Later in the spring thaw, these "cowsickles" would be bobbing up and down in the Dakota River with the ice flows.

1889- The California Legislature splits Orange County from LA County.

1890- Orange County carved out of L.A. County.

1918- THE GREAT SPANISH FLU PANDEMIC- Today influenza is controlled by antivirals and you feel miserable for a few days, but back before such drugs, it was a killer. This day the first noticeable rise in a strange new flu occurred at Camp Funston Kansas. It was called the Spanish flu because even though it broke out all around the world, Spain was one of the few countries that didn’t have wartime press censorship, so they reported it first.

In only one year this new flu virus killed 21 million people around the Earth, 640,000 in the U.S. alone- everyone from Kaiser Wilhelm to Blackjack Pershing got sick. In places as far away as China to Calcutta to Russia thousands died. The epidemic killed as many people as the just concluding First World War. HIV/AIDS killed 22 million in 25 years, Spanish Flu killed 21 million people in only 8 months.
Then it disappeared as rapidly as it appeared.

1926- Eamon De Valera gave up opposition to Irish politics and resigned from Sinn Fein. In 1933 he became first president of the republic of Ireland, a job he held off and on until 1973.

1927- The first Roxy Theater opens at 50th st. & Seventh Ave. in New York. Roxy was a nickname of theater owner Samuel L. Rothaphel who pioneered the movie palace and is called the father of De-Luxe presentation.

1938- ANSCHLUSS- The Nazi takeover of Austria. Hitler had been organizing a covert takeover of the Vienna government by Austrian Nazis until the Austrian Prime Minister Schussning declared they would put the issue of uniting with the Reich to a public plebiscite. Rather than risk asking the public Hitler ordered his tanks to roll. Gen. "Panzer Heinz" Guderian had his men adorn their tanks with flowers act like it was more of a German family reunion than an invasion.

Viennese intellectuals like Albert Einstein had to flee. Sigmund Freud was not allowed to leave until he signed a note saying he was treated well-" I'd personally recommend the Gestapo to anyone". Painter Alphonze Mucha wrote a letter to his friends in America saying he was in the care of the Nazis and that he was fine. He died shortly afterwards…?

Eric Wolfgang Korngold was in Hollywood debating whether to score the latest Errol Flynn picture for Warner Bros.- "The Adventures of Robin Hood" or return to Vienna to produce his opera- "Die Kathrin". When he heard his Vienna apartment was one of the first the Gestapo raided he decided to stay and do the Flynn picture. He later inscribed the music score to Jack Warner; "to Jack. Thanks for saving my life."

1939- The Nazis take over the rest of Czechoslovakia that they didn't absorb through the Munich Pact. This leads Britains Prime Minister Chamberlain and France’s Premier Daladier to declare any attempt on Hitler’s next target-Poland, would be met with force.

1941- The U.S. enacted the Lend-Lease program to send valuable military equipment to Britain without getting directly involved yet in World War II.

1943- The Broadway musical team of Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein opened their first collaboration “Away We Go!”

1958- The U.S. Air Force accidentally dropped an H-Bomb on South Carolina near Mars Bluff. The safety catches insured it wouldn’t go off. The incident was kept top secret.

1971- Philo Farnsworth died of pneumonia at 64. As a young man in 1922 he had invented the television set, but by the 1960’s he was forgotten, broke and addicted to painkillers. The only recognition he got was as a contestant on the quiz show I Got a Secret. He won an $80 check and a carton of Winston Cigarettes. Today Farnsworth is considered one of the true inventors of Television, along with John Logie-Baird, Lee DeForrest and Vladimir Zworkin.

1977- Film director Roman Polanski (Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown) was arrested for having sex with a 13 year old girl in Jack Nicholson’s home after he got her stoned on quaaludes. Polanski was charged with statutory rape. He jumped bail and fled Hollywood for exile in Paris. LA tried unsuccessfully to get him extradited in 2009.

1985- Since the death of Lenoid Brehznev the Soviet Union’s Central Committee was having a problem: every elderly Bolshevik they named as Soviet Premier -Yuri Andropov, Constantin Chernenko, had quickly died themselves of old age. On this day they selected the youngest member of their ranks to the leadership. He would be the last Premier of the Soviet Union- Mikhail Gorbachov.

1990- Lithuania becomes the first Soviet republic to declare its independence. By years end the unwieldy Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had flown to pieces and the Russian Federation was formed in its place.

2004- Al Qaeda terrorists set off ten bombs in Madrid commuter trains at the height of the morning rush hour. 200 dead, 1500 hurt.

2011- Mega-flop Mars Needs Moms released.

2011- FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI- The northern coast of Japan was struck by one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded. The quake sent a tsunami wave that erased whole towns and killed 20,000. The wave went across the Pacific and sank boats in harbor at Santa Cruz California and Oregon. The tsunami also damaged 5 reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, sending clouds of radioactive steam into the atmosphere and water. No one seems to be clear about just how badly polluted the Pacific is now with radiation.
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Yesterday’s Question; The official Walt Disney Fan Club is called D-23. Why?

Answer: D is for Disney, obviously. 23 is for 1923, the year Walt and his brother Roy arrived in LA from Kansas City and set up their studio.