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August 20th, 2008 weds
August 20th, 2008

Quiz: Okay, animation buffs, riddle me this..Who was Pinto Colvig?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What is meant by Spartan living?
History for 8/20/2008
Birthdays: President Benjamin Harrison, H.P. Lovecraft, Art Tatum, Issac Hayes, Connie Chung, Jacqueline Susanne, Rajiv Ghandi, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin- who co-wrote Stairway to Heaven, Joan Allen is 52, Fred Durst, Alan Reed -the original voice of Fred Flintstone, Amy Adams is 34

480 B.C. -THE THREE HUNDRED SPARTANS- When Persian King Xerxes invaded Greece the King of Sparta Leonidas decided the best place to try and stop him was in the narrow pass of Thermopylae. But the Spartan senate and other allied Greek states refused to send troops until they completed the Olympic religious festival. It was forbidden for Greeks to wage war during the Games. So Leonidas hurried ahead the 300 Spartans and a thousand more allied troops to try and stall ten times their number. After repulsing several attacks a traitor showed Xerxes a goat path around the Spartan position. Leonidas could still have retreated but he, his three hundred and some other Greek allies decided to stand and fight to the last man. They were wiped out, but they bought enough time for the Greeks eventual victory. Later a monument was erected over their bones: O xein angellin Lakdaimoniois hoti tede keimetha tois keinon rhemasi peithomenoi which means "Go Tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that True to their Command, Here We Lie."

1741-VITUS BERRING DISCOVERED ALASKA and helps colonize California. Well, he didn't actually help but for 200 years Spain had ignored it's Southwest colonies because there were no gold sodden Inca empires there. But when Berring opened the Pacific coast to Russian colonization the King of Spain freaked and ordered towns and missions built up the California coast. Britain also rushed it's claims to Washington State and British Columbia. This is why Juan DeCabrillo explored the California coast in 1542 but cities like L.A. and San Francisco weren't founded until 1770's.
Berring was a reluctant explorer. The Dane had heard Tsar Peter the Great was giving cushy salaries to skilled European sailors. But when Berring arrived in Russia the Tsar ordered him to travel 3700 miles to Siberia, build a fleet and explore the arctic because the Tsar had always wondered if America and Russia are connected. He went off and fooled around in the Arctic Sea for awhile then went back and said it wasn't. The Tsars scientists said that wasn't good enough, go back and do it again! Finally he discovered his Berring straights but died of scurvy in the Aleutians before he ever saw any money.

1882 -Peter Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" premiered in Moscow. The composer said of all his works the two pieces he liked the least were the 1812 Overture and the Nutcracker Suite. Overture 1812 was Richard Nixon’s favorite classical piece.

1896 – The Dial telephone patented. It was nicknamed the Gravediggers Dial because a funeral director invented it. It was the world standard until replaced by the touchtone button system in the 1980s. Even though the dial phone is a memory the words remain when we speak of "dialing up a number" or "dialing up someone’s website."

1940- In Mexico City exiled Russian leader Leon Trotsky was assassinated. While writing at his desk he hacked to death with a small mountainclimbers pick.. His murderer Ramon Mercador- alias Jules Antoine, alias Jackson was paid by Stalin's agents. He got into Trotsky's household by dating one of the maids. It was rumored that part of the Stalinist cell in Mexico was famed painter David Siquieros. Trotsky was having an affair with famed painter Frida Kahlo. Leon Trotsky predicted Stalin would try to get him while the world's attention was distracted by the Hitler War. When Mercador was released from a Mexican prison Stalin presented him with the Order of Lenin.

1940- In a radio speech Winston Churchill praised the efforts of the Royal Air Force in fighting Hitler's bombers-"Never have so Many, owed so Much, to so Few.'

1953- The Kinsey Report on Sexual Behavior in Women first published. Alfred & Clara Kinsey’s study proved to the conservative American public that 50% of women had premarital sex, liked sex for more than just procreation and 25% had a extramarital affair. This document following his 1948 report on sexual behavior of men revolutionized social attitudes towards sex and feminism.

1971- THE ENEMIES LIST. FBI documents prove this day the Nixon White House began to covertly investigate journalist Daniel Schorr because of his anti-war editorials. President Richard Nixon kept an enemies list of people he imagined to be opponents to his administration. It began with obvious liberals like George McGovern and Ted Kennedy, then expanded as far as June Foray the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel.

1972- Star Hollywood directors Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich and William Freidkin announced a partnership in a new production company called "The Director's Company" Young punks Martin Scorcese, George Lucas and Steven Speilberg were also involved. The partnership lasted two years then collapsed.

1977- NASA launched the Voyager One probe towards the outer planets of our solar system. Among the things Voyager discovered was that Jupiter had many more moons than previously thought and had a ring like Saturn. Part of Nasas' program was an explanatory simulation film done totally on computer by Jim Blinn. The animation was so smooth and the graphics so breathtaking it expanded the use of the c.g.i. medium and inspired a new generation of digital artists.

1982- Ralph Bakshi's film Hey Good Lookin'.

1985- Israel shipped 96 American-made TOW shoulder held missiles to the Ayatollahs in Iran. This was part of the Iran-Contra scheme. When Congress had forbidden the Ronald Reagan White House to send them any money to Anti-Communist rebels in Nicaragua, Reagan’s West Wing cooked up this scheme to trade arms for secret funds. Irans’ cash payment for the missiles went to the Nicaraguan Contra-Rebels.

1989- George and Joy Adamson, the naturalists who inspired the book Born Free, were murdered by Somali poachers in Kampi Ya Simba, Africa.

1991- Russian President Boris Yeltsin climbed onto a tank in front of the Russian Parliament and yells:" Come an get me!" Communist hardliner's attempt to regain power eventually fails.

1998- THE WAG THE DOG ATTACKS- After the Al Qaeda terrorist organization bombed US embassies in Africa the Bill Clinton administration looked for an opportunity to hit back. This day the CIA got word that senior Al Qaeda leaders including Osama Ben Laden were going to gather in a remote Afghan camp for a meeting. President Clinton ordered a spread of cruise missiles launched to kill them. The missiles hit their target but Ben Laden got away. In Washington the hostile Neo-Con media had a field day accusing the Clinton White House of making the strikes only to distract public attention from the Monica Lewinsky Sex Scandal. It alluded to a popular movie out at the time called Wag the Dog, where a scandal ridden president rigs a fake crisis to distract attention. Bill Clinton was stymied in any further efforts, and Osama Ben Laden lived on to plan 9-11.

1999- Planet Hollywood, the theme restaurant started by movie stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore filed for bankruptcy.
Yesterday’s Quiz: What is meant by Spartan living?

Answer: The Greek city state of Sparta built their society around the laws of the statesman Lycurgus (est 650BC). They created a warrior society where women and men ate separately at communal tables with no luxuries and used iron bars for currency instead of gold, Boys from age 7 were given brutal military exercises to harden them, and become soldiers. They ate little but black broth, spring water and rough bread. This Draconian code created no poets or artists, but the finest soldiers in the world. Sparta came to defeat rival Athens and dominate the Greek world for awhile. By Roman times Sparta had devolved into a curious theme park to visit for losing weight. Kind of an ancient boot-camp diet.

Since then, to call a lifestyle Spartan means to live without luxuries or comfort with the barest of necessities.