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May 20, 2023
May 20th, 2023

Question: Custers Last Stand, the Battle of the Little Big Horn was one of the greatest battles on U.S. soil. What state is the Little Big Horn in?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What is the story of The Prodigal Son?
History for 5/20/2023
Birthdays: Honore Balzac, Jimmy Stewart, Leon Schlesinger, William Fargo of Wells Fargo, Moshe Dayan, Henri Rousseau, Dave Thomas, Ted Bessell (Donald to Marlo Thomas’ “That Girl”), Japanese baseball great Sadaharu Oh, Antony Zerbe, Bronson Pichot, Joe Cocker, Cher is 77, Busta Rhymes

1347- Cola di Rienzi became the “tribune”, or leader of the city of Rome. The Pope was a prisoner in Avignon, France, so the Eternal City was in chaos. Rienzi tried to bring about reforms and restore infrastructure, but like Mussolini he got too arrogant and overplayed his hand. Finally a mob killed him and danced with his corpse. At least Wagner wrote a nice overture about him.

1520- A violent young Spanish mercenary soldier named Ignacio was hit by a cannonball but miraculously lived. When he recovered, he underwent a spiritual conversion and became St. Ignatius Loyola. Loyola founded a religious order called the Society of Jesus or Jesuits. Instead of acting like monks, the Jesuits were organized on military discipline. Their leader is not called an abbot but the Secretary General. He is nicknamed “the Black Pope”.

1520- Hernando Cortez had not only to fight the entire Aztec Empire with just 391 troops, he also had the Spanish Governor of Cuba out to get him! This day Cortez surprised attacked the troop of Spaniards sent to arrest him. After a short battle he defeated the Governor’s force, and invited the survivors to join him.

1609- Shakespeare’s sonnets first published.

1621- The Sack of Magdeburg-During the Thirty Years War, Catholic armies captured this Protestant German city. They cut down the surrendering Dutch commander Dietrich Von Falkenberg, and committed horrible atrocities on the population. The medieval cry "Cria Havoc!" was the traditional signal for the soldiers to run amuck. According to the rules of war they had the right to rape and pillage for three days before discipline was restored.
But at Magdeburg they looted the city for 14 days and dumped the bodies of their victims in the River Elbe. The army’s commander Johan Tserclas von Tilly explained: “The soldier must get something for his toil and trouble.” The incident galvanized Protestant resistance. Ironically a lot of the troops in the Catholic army were protestant mercenaries who figured the religious questions were for kings to worry about, they just thought the catholic side had better pay and benefits.

1690- The English Parliament passed the Act of Grace, giving pardon to all who had supported the deposed Stuart king James II.

1756- Battle of Minorca or Port Mahon- French Admiral the Marquis de Galissioniere defeated a British fleet led by Admiral of the Blue Sir John Byng, allowing the French to conquer the isle of Minorca. Byng was such a stickler for regulations he actually directed the battle while referring to an open copy of the Naval Rules of Engagement manual. The British admiralty and King George II was so incensed by Byng’s incompetence they recalled him to London, had him courts martialed and shot on the deck of his own flagship.

1830 - D Hyde patented the fountain pen, replacing the goose quill. Recently archaeologists found a bronze pen in Roman Pompeii, but it’s probably not to write in ink, but scratch on wax or bronze tables.

1862- Congress passed the Homestead Act. 250 million acres of Free Land to all families who move west and build a home.

1873- When ships went from sails to engines, the makers of sail cloth faced economic hard times. A Mr. Levi Strauss bought a lot of this unused sail cloth for a song from an exporter. He traveled out to California, hoping to sell it to gold miners for tents. Once there, miners told him that they were happy to sleep under a tree and didn’t need tents but what they really wanted were pants! So, Levi Strauss went into the pants business. The sailcloth was grey in color and showed dirt easily, and miners didn’t care about washing their pants, so Levi contacted the manufacturer in Nimes France and they found a blue dye that came from North Africa and made special colored blue material to send to California for Levi’ s jeans. They called it “serge de Nimes”, or denim. The word Jeans comes from the sailors from Genoa Italy who wore pants that were wider at the bottom (bell bottoms) the sailors were able to roll up their pants legs over their thighs while swabbing the decks and not wear out the knees.

Levi Strauss was later walking down Battery St in San Francisco, when he was accosted by a gnarly gold miner. The miner had his entire stash of gold nuggets in his pockets and the pockets tore and the crusty old miner lost his entire stash, he did have a pistol which he threatened Levi with, as he blamed Levi for his loss. The man finally calmed down but the event inspired Levi to contact a black smith named Jacob Davis to invent the copper rivet system. This day Levi Strauss patented Jacob Davis’ process of riveted blue jeans. One alteration he made was to remove a rivet that was at the base of a cowboys crotch. It seems when they squatted around the campfire that rivet got red hot and caused much whoopin’ an a’ dancin’.

1887- In Russia a young man named Alexander Ulyanov was hanged by the police for plotting to assassinate the Tsar with a bomb hidden in a dictionary. His baby brother Vladimir watched him hang and was deeply affected. He took up his brother’s revolutionary cause, and to protect his family, he changed his name to Lenin.

1891- Thomas Edison demonstrated an early prototype of kinetoscope- a motion picture machine- to his wife's friends at a party. The footage was of engineer W.K.L. Dickson and his associates dancing. That night Edison wrote a letter about his movie machine to photographer Eadweard Muybridge: " I doubt it will ever have any commercial value...”

1892- J.P. Morgan created the General Electric Company.

1892 - George Sampson patents the electric clothes dryer.

1902- US military occupation of Cuba after the Spanish American War ended.

1916- Explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton set off in 1914 to cross the continent of Antarctica. No one had heard from him in two years, and everyone assumed he was dead. This day Shackleton and two survivors reached a Norwegian whaling station on South Georgia Island ahead of the rest of his party.
At one point Sir Ernest asked about the Great War in Europe. He assumed that by now the war was probably over. “So, who won that war?” he innocently asked. He was told: “It is still going on. Europe has gone mad. The World has Gone Mad.”

1916- Artist Norman Rockwell sold his first painting for a Saturday Evening Post cover.

1926 - Thomas Edison says Americans prefer silent movies over talking pictures. He also thought the flat record disc could never replace the cylinder.

1927- Charles Lindbergh took off for France in his little plane The Spirit of Saint Louis. Just the day before two pilots died when their plane failed to clear some power lines. They exploded and burned. Weighed down with extra fuel, Lindbergh barely cleared the wires himself. By attempting the trip alone, it meant he would have to stay awake for 33 1/2 hours with no company but a Felix the Cat doll and a thermos of coffee.

1932- Amelia Earhart landed in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, completing the first solo flight by a woman across the Atlantic Ocean. Since Lindbergh in 1927, five aviators had died trying to recreate the feat, until Earhart did it.

1937-The Cinema Editor's Guild started.

1937- Bob Clampett promoted to director at Leon Schlesinger’s Looney Tunes Studio. Clampett’s mother hand sewed the first Mickey Mouse dolls for Walt Disney.

1939- Pan Am established "Yankee Clipper"" flying boat passenger service across the Atlantic. From Long Island New York to Lisbon Portugal in 22 hours. For awhile it was thought flying boats would be the future of civilian aviation because they land in water so save land for airports and runways. Also safer because if there was any kind of engine trouble they could just put down in water and bob around until help arrived.

1940- British Admiral Ramsey set up his HQ in a bunker in Dover overlooking the Channel to France, 21 miles away. There he began to plan how to evacuate 500,000 British and allied troops trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, without air superiority.

1942- Nazi parachutists capture Crete. One of the paratroopers was Max Schmelling, who boxed Joe Louis for the heavyweight title. The Germans casualty rate was so high the Germans abandoned all future parachute assaults.

1943- Admiral Yamamoto was shot down and killed in transit by American pursuit squadron tipped off by the broken Japanese code, so they send a squadron just to get him. Ironically the mastermind of Pearl Harbor was against the war with America and predicted: " If I can knock out the American fleet early, I can raise hell in the Pacific for two years. If you don't negotiate after that we will eventually lose."
I recently read a theory of one historian who said that right around this time Prime Minister Hideki Tojo's government had fallen over the conduct of the war and Yamamoto, as Japan’s most popular soldier, could have been the next Prime Minister. In which case he would have opened peace talks as early as 1943, long before Okinawa, Iwo Jima and Hiroshima. It’s a stretch, but one of the intriguing “what if’s” of history.

1948- A tornado touched down on a commercial airport in Tinker Oklahoma. What made this episode special was two air force meteorologists named Miller and Forbush just happened to present studying tornado weather patterns when the twister showed up as if on cue. The result was the invention of the first serious tornado warning systems.

1969- The Battle of Hamburger Hill ended- U.S.101st Airborne took the summit of Hill 937 in the Bo Giap Mountains from North Vietnamese regulars after nine days of frightful losses. It was nicknamed Hamburger Hill as a grim joke on the terrible meatgrinder of human life it cost. The hill was abandoned shortly after the battle.

1970- THE HARD HAT PARADE- In a response to the anti-war demonstrations convulsing US colleges and cities, several thousand people marched in downtown New York in support of President Nixon’s Vietnam policies. The so-called Hard Hat Parade was made up of union construction workers and middle-aged veterans. Conservatives made a lot of this event, but the fact is this was a one time anomaly in the face of hundreds of thousands marching nationwide against the unpopular war.

1975- In a small warehouse in Sherman Oaks California, George Lucas assembled an effects crew to create the film Star Wars. It is the birth of Industrial Light & Magic, or ILM.

1979- The last Saturday Night Live show done by the original cast. Many of them had their 5 year contracts up and they wanted to do something else. Plus, producer Lorne Michaels was feuding with NBC chairman Fred Silverman and wanted to leave. So goodbye Lorne Michaels, Gilda Radner, Lorraine Newman, Garret Morris, Bill Murray and Al Franken. Hello Jean Doumainian and Joe Piscopo! Lorne Michaels came back to the show a few years later and has produced it ever since.

1984- Hanna Barbera’s “The Smurfic Games”.

1988- George Lucas film Willow premiered.

1993 - Max Klein, the inventor of Paint by Numbers sets, died at 77. President Eisenhower once passed out paint-by-numbers sets to his senior cabinet so their paintings could adorn the West Wing offices. Imagine seeing on your wall an original artwork by Richard Nixon or Curtis LeMay!

1994- Walt Disney released Aladdin II, the Return of Jaffar. Done overseas at ¼ the budget of the original, it nevertheless success spawned the industry of Disney direct-to-video sequels, called “cheapquels” by some animators.

2003- In 1977, when Walt Disney's the Rescuers was being completed, the artists for a joke added a Playboy picture into a pan shot. Going by at 1/24th a second, they were confident nobody would ever spot it. Later in the 1990s, when Rescuers went to VHS video, they edited out the controversial frame. But when it was time in 2003 to rerelease on DVD, the Studio apparatchik’s went to the original 1977 negative, without ever bothering to consult any of the artists. We could have warned them, but noooo. So on May 20, 2003, nine million copies of the Rescuers DVD hit the stores, with the ensuing out cry, firestorm, and embarrassed apologies you can imagine..
Yesterday’s Quiz: What is the story of The Prodigal Son?

Answer: One of the most well-known of Jesus’ parables, a father gives his two sons equal shares of his estate. Responding to this magnanimous gift, the elder son immediately goes to work to help his father, while the other goes off adventuring, wasting his fortune on sinful endeavors. The wandering son, having no further resources, soon sinks into poverty and despair, finally retuning to his fathers house, wretched and hopeless, begging forgiveness. However, before he can finish his plea, his father accepts him back, provides him with fine clothes and accouterments and begins a celebration.
The steadfast son resents this, saying he has always worked hard, been responsible, upright and heeded his father's wishes, while his prodigal brother had done none of those righteous things, in fact had done the opposite, yet was now, upon returning home, being treated better than he had ever been. Responding to his son’s complaint, the father says “You have always been with me. All that I have belongs to you. But your brother, whom I also love, was lost and now is found." (Thanks Frank G)