BACK to Blog Posts

May 25, 2023
May 25th, 2023

Quiz: Many famous American entertainers are of Jewish ancestry. Which one of these people is NOT Jewish? a) Jerry Seinfeld, b) Lady Gaga, c) Larry David, d) Lewis Black.

Yesterday’s Quiz Answered Below: What does it mean to ostracize someone?
History for 5/25/2023
Birthdays: Miles Davis, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Josef Broz Tito, Igor Sikorsky, Pontormo, Bennett Cerf, Claude Akins, Leslie Uggams, Bill Bojangles Robinson, Frank Oz (Richard Frank Oznowicz), Beverly Sills, Robert Ludlum, Anne Heche, Irwin Winkler, Mike Myers is 60, Ray Stevenson, Ian McKellen is 84

194BC- The Roman temple of Fortuna Virilis was dedicated on the Quirinal Hill.

1085- King Alfonso VI of Aragon took Toledo from the Moors.

1521- German Emperor Charles V declared Protestant reformer Martin Luther a heretic and an outlaw. The German states that rallied to Luther’s new teachings fought their emperor in the Schmalkalden Wars. Even Charles’ own sister became a Lutheran.

1720- John Copson became the first Insurance Agent in the New World.

1787- First meeting of delegates in Philadelphia to write the U.S. Constitution.
Interestingly enough, nobody really asked them to. They were only summoned by Congress to iron out some bugs in the Articles of Confederation. However, James Madison of Virginia and Alexander Hamilton of New York hatched a plan to chuck the whole system and write a whole new document. They called it The Virginia/New York plan.

1810- When Napoleon conquered Spain, the colonies of Latin America puzzled about where to send their taxes to? To the French occupation government in Madrid? Or the Spanish Royal family in exile in Naples? This day Argentina had a better idea. They formed a national assembly ( Primera Junta) and in July declared the Republic of Argentina.

1865- Mary Lincoln and her son Tad moved out of the White House where she had been holed up in seclusion since the night of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. She had been too traumatized to attend the funeral or accompany the body back to Illinois.

1878- Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore or The Lass that Loved a Sailor premiered at the Savoy in London.
When I was a lad I served a term
As office boy to an Attorney's firm.
I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor,
And I polished up the handle of the big front door.
I polished up that handle so carefullee
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!

1895- Author and playwright Oscar Wilde sentenced to prison for sodomy.
The terrible conditions of his imprisonment in Redding Gaol broke his health and lead to his early death in exile in 1900. In a 1995 ceremony honoring him in Westminster Abbey it was revealed the laws that sentenced Wilde were still on the books in England.
The Victorian hypocrisy was compounded by the fact that so many great men of the British Empire privately acknowledged a preference for their own sex- Gordon of Khartoum, Sir Cecil Rhodes, Lawrence of Arabia, Nicholson the Tiger of the Punjab, and more. Queen Victoria once said after a meeting with Earl Kitchener of Omdurman: ”I was told my lord does not prefer the company of women. Still, I found him to be a pleasant speaker.”

1906- Putting on the Ritz! Swiss hotelier Cesar Ritz opened London’s Ritz Hotel. The first hotel to feature unheard of luxuries like a telephone and an indoor toilet in every suite!

1911-The beginnings of Mexican Revolution forced longtime dictator Gen. Jose Porfirio Diaz into exile. As a young man Diaz had fought the French under Juarez, but he later seized power for himself and ruled for thirty years. Under him Mexico industrialized and gained railroads, electric power, telephones and schools. He once said:" My poor Mexico. Too far from Heaven and too close to the United States."

1911- Thomas Mann visited Venice Italy. On the Lido Beach he was inspired to write A Death in Venice.

1915- Following up on the widespread massacres of Armenians, today the Ottoman Turkish government began mass deportations of their Armenian citizens.

1917- In World War I, Germany bombed London for the first time not with zeppelins but with new Gotha biplane bombers.

1923- Britain and France recognized the Hashemite Kingdom of TransJordan, ruled by Abdallah Ibn Hussein.

1927- Ford had put America on wheels with the Model T, the most successful car in history. Today they stopped making the Model T after 15 million cars, costing on average $300 each, $26 dollars down with monthly payments.

1932- Flamboyant New York Mayor Jimmy Walker testified before the Seabury Commission. The corruption scandals of his administration will force him to resign.

1932- Mickey’s Revue, the first Disney cartoon that featured the character that would eventually be called Goofy.

1935- Babe Ruth hit his final home runs. The Bambino was in his last year, working out his contract with the Boston Braves. This day in Pittsburgh, the Babe showed his old form when he hit three home runs and a single. His record of 714 home runs held for over sixty years.

1942- First day shooting on the film “Casablanca”.

1944- Yugoslav partisan leader Marshal Tito escaped a German attack designed just to kill him.

1946- Chuck Jones cartoon Hare Raising Hare, where Bugs meets a large shaggy monster originally named Rudolf, later Gossamer, “Monsters are such interesting people…”

1950- Brooklyn Battery Tunnel opened in NYC.

1957- Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows ended after nearly a decade. The show built a legendary writers room, employing future star writers like Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Woody Allen and Neil Simon. The show also pioneered the executive strategy of producer Sylvester “Pat” Weaver to not let the show be owned by an entire sponsor, but the network would produce the show and would sell the sponsor commercial time in 30 second chunks. Pat Weaver’s daughter is Sigourney Weaver. Your Show of Shows was finally bested in the ratings by The Lawrence Welk Show.

1961- THE SPACE RACE- The United States had been chafing about how far ahead the Soviet Union was in the exploration of space. In an address to Congress this day President John F. Kennedy pledged the wealth and resources of the U.S. to beating the Soviets to the Moon. "Our pledge is within the next ten years to send a man to the moon and return him safely to Earth… We choose to go to the Moon not because it will be easy but because it is hard!" The Moon landing was achieved in 1969. Today it is acknowledged that without the motivation of the Cold War the conquest of the Moon would have happened much more slowly.

1965- The Saint Louis Gateway Arch dedicated.

1968- The Rolling Stones released the song Jumping Jack Flash.

1969- John Schlesinger’s film Midnight Cowboy premiered. The first X-rated film to ever win the Oscar for Best Film. This is the film where Dustin Hoffman yells “Hey! I’m walking here!”

1977- The premiere of George Lucas’ movie Star Wars. The movie opened on the 28th. After Universal passed, Twentieth Century Fox picked up the distribution but let the backend profits go to Lucas. First because they had taken a loss with the failure of Dr. Doolittle, and second because they didn't think the film would do any serious business. Even George Lucas didn’t expect the film to break even. Fox's market research department told studio head Alan Ladd Jr: 1). don't make this movie; no one will go see a science fiction movie; and 2). change the title; no one will go see a movie with "War" in the title. Fox executives had predicted the studios hit for that summer would be "Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry" with Peter Fonda and Susan George.
Star Wars was a monster hit. It was like there were no other movies playing that summer. It sold out Grauman’s Chinese in Hollywood 50 weeks in a row. George Lucas became a seriously rich man and developed THX sound, digital animation and Industrial Light and Magic special effects. The film’s popularity ran so ahead of expectations, that at Christmas when you purchased a Star Wars game you got an empty box with a pink IOU note in it pledging to get you the game when they printed more.

1979- Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic Alien opened. It featured the exotic designs of Swiss artist H.R. Giger, and John Hurt with a classic case of chest pains!

1980- Evangelist Oral Roberts claimed he saw a 900-foot Jesus over his bed.

1983- Return of the Jedi opened. It was originally Revenge of the Jedi, but George Lucas changed the name just a month before.

1986- Hands Across America stunt to help hunger has 7 million people at one time holding hands at noon.

1994- First International Conference on the World Wide Web. Tim Berners-Lee and CERN talked on how to unify existing internet systems into the new World Wide Web.

2000- NUKE THE MOON. During the Cold War, it was revealed that in 1958 in the panic over Sputnik, US scientists proposed to explode a nuclear bomb on the moon. There would be no mushroom cloud because that requires an atmosphere, and the flash would only be visible for a few seconds. What the purpose would be other than to scare the BeeJeezus out of the Russkies no one knew. This dumb-ass idea was soon scrapped.

2020- George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, was arrested for allegedly buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Officers handcuffed him on the ground and sat on him. Then Officer Derek Chauvin knelt with his full weight on Floyds neck for over 8 minutes while he choked to death, moaning “I can’t breathe”.
Floyd’s death set off massive protests across the USA and around the world. For two weeks, hundreds of thousands marched and battled police in the streets. President Trump fled to a bunker under the White House and had to be talked out of having the National Guard fire on the crowd. The massive show of police and military firepower on the streets to confront this protest all managed to be mysteriously missing on Jan. 6, 2021 when the US Capitol was attacked.
Yesterdays Quiz: What does it mean to ostracize someone?

Answer: Ostracism was a system in Ancient Athens to vote to exile someone. This way the democracy assured some individuals never got too powerful. Top general Alcibiades aided an old man with weak eyesight write his name on the ballot of ostracism.