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May 26, 2014 Memorial Day
May 25th, 2014

Question: What is the difference between the Ethernet and the Internet?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: You’ve seen the word jaeger: Jaegermeister, jaeger battalions, jaeger bombers. What does jaeger mean?
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History for 5/26/2014
Birthdays: John Churchill the first Duke of Marlborough, Pope Clement VII the Medici Fox-1478, Mary Wollenstonecraft Godwin 1759- early feminist writer and mother of Mary Shelley, Alexander Pushkin, Isadora Duncan, Norma Talmadge, Paul Lukas, John Wesley Hardin the shootist, John Wayne, Al Jolson, Jay Silverheels (Tonto), Peter Cushing, Robert Morley, Peggy Lee, Sally Ride, Pam Grier is 65, Helen Bonham Carter is 48, Bobcat Golthwaite is 54, Matt Stone the co creator of South Park

Happy U.S. Memorial Day.
For those who are curious why America celebrates Memorial Day in May instead of November 11th like most of Europe, it is because of our Civil War.
The main Confederate field armies surrendered in early April; it took this long for word of the ceasefire to reach the frontier, the final action happening on May 27th. Once the countryside was finally at peace, the U.S. government declared a Day of Remembrance of the fallen. An abolitionist named James Redpath began having black children in South Carolina decorate the graves of fallen union soldiers with flowers. The early name of this holiday was Decoration Day.
In rebel strongholds like Mississippi children decorated the graves of Southern dead but had to be forced at bayonet point to decorate the graves of Yankees.

A.D. 17 In Rome, the General Germanicus celebrated a triumph over the German barbarians, the Alemani. Germanicus was the father of Caligula.

1574- The Siege of Leyden begins- Through a series of confusing dynastic trades the Lowlands of Holland wound up owned by Catholic Spain. The Protestant provinces united under their leader William the Silent and fought tenaciously for their freedom. The Spanish army was the finest in the world but the Dutch had a pretty good navy, nicknamed "the Sea Beggars". So when the Spaniards attacked the city of Leyden the Dutch flooded their dykes behind the infantry and floated their ships in to fight them.

1805- Lewis and Clark first sight the Rocky Mountains.

1828- THE MYSTERY OF KASPAR HAUSER- On this day on a street in Nuremberg a judge came upon a filthy boy unable to read, write or even speak. As the boy's trauma eased and he could communicate he said he had been kept in a dungeon since he was three years old, never seeing another human soul. One day he was suddenly released. His name was Kaspar Hauser and his case became a cause celebre throughout Europe. Some thought he was the rightful prince of the German State of Baden. Then one day while walking in the park a man came up and stabbed Kaspar Hauser. He bled to death. The judge who first cared for him was poisoned. The murderers were never found and the mystery never solved.

1864- Montana territory created.

1865- General William Kirby-Smith surrendered the last organized body of Confederate troops to Yankee General Canby in New Orleans. Rather than surrender, rebel Gen. Joe Shelby took his cavalry over the border to Mexico where a Confederate exile community was forming under the French Emperor Maximillian.

1868- At Newgate prison Irish nationalist Michael Barrett was the last man in England to be publicly hanged. England switched to a system of execution behind prison walls. The hangman later sold Barrett’s clothes and noose for souvenirs. Meanwhile in the American West the spectacle of a public necktie party remained popular for years, the citizenry sometimes hauling out their shooting irons and popping away at the dangling body to give him a good send off. Yee-Hah!

1895 -Nicholas II crowned Czar-Autocrat of all the Russias. During the ceremony a reviewing stand collapsed and several hundred people were crushed. Not a good omen.

1896- Charles Dow started his stock index named the Dow Jones Index. The first Dow Jones closing is 40.94. Last Fridays Dow was at 14,452.

1897- A novel by a quiet London theatre manager named Bram Stoker appeared in bookstores. It was titled Dracula.

1913- Actors Equity formed.

1933- Jimmy Rogers "the Singing Brakeman", considered the father of modern country music, died of tuberculosis at age 31. Shortly before his death he recorded a song about it called "TB Blues".

1937- The Battle of Millers Overpass- Henry Fords hired thugs beat up Walter Reuther and four other UAW union men for handing out union literature.

1940-The Miracle of Dunkirk- When German panzers overrun France they surround the British army and pin them against the Normandy coastline. Instead of finishing them off Marshal Goering asks Hitler's permission to use the Luftwaffe (airforce) to administer the coup de grace. Britain mobilized all available ships and hundreds of small boat owners volunteer to cross the channel under dive bombing and strafing and in ten days evacuate 340,000 troops. 40,000 stayed behind and surrendered. The British force was decimated but not destroyed and would live to fight again.

1942- The "Witches Cauldron"- Rommel the "Desert Fox" and his Afrika Corps defeat the British army in a whirling confused desert tank battle.

1949- Mao Tse Tung’s Red Army entered Shanghai, winning the Chinese Civil War.

1960- THE MOULIN ROUGE AGREEMENT- Las Vegas gambling casinos finally integrate. Before this stars like Sammy Davis Jr. and Ella Fitzgerald could headline in the clubs but had to exit via the kitchens and sleep across town in the colored section. Singer Nat King Cole was requested to keep his eyes on his piano keys for fear if he looked up he would seduce young white girls. Frank Sinatra played a big part in pressuring the Vegas wiseguys to change with the times. Marlene Dietrich grabbed Lena Horne by the arm and stormed into a casino bar defying any reaction. None came. The Moulin Rouge was the first completely integrated casino.

1960-UN ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge complained that the gift of a wood carving of the Great Seal of the United States given the US Embassy by Moscow had a concealed microphone in it.

1962- The Isley Brothers single “Twist & Shout” released.

1969- John Lennon and Yoko Ono have their "Bed-In for Peace" news conference in New York. One of the most acerbic exchanges was one Lennon had with Lil'Abner cartoonist and curmudgeon Al Capp.

1980- South Korean President Chun Do Hwan orders his army to fire on pro-democracy protestors in Kwang-Ju. 2000 were killed.

1994- Singer Michael Jackson married Elvis’ daughter Lisa Marie Presley in the Dominican Republic. They keep the wedding a secret for six weeks, then divorced 18 months later.

1995- Looney Tunes director Friz Freleng died at age 89.

1995- In a memo to Microsoft, founder Bill Gates declared the Internet the “most important single development” since the personal computer.

2008- To commemorate Memorial Day, President Bush went on camera and asked all Americans to stop what they were doing at 3:00PM to remember the sacrifices of our soldiers. Then he went mountain biking.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: You’ve seen the word jaeger: Jaegermeister, jaeger battalions, jaeger bombers. What does jaeger mean?

Answer: Jaeger in German means hunter. During the American Revolution the British learned to cope with the Americans Indian style of irregular fighting by recruiting Hessian brigades of Black Forrest hunters called Jaeger battalions. Jaegermeister means Master of the Hunt, a job under the Kaiser.


May 25, 2014 sun
May 25th, 2014

Quiz: You’ve seen the word jaeger: Jaegermeister, jaeger batallions, jaeger bombers. What does jaeger mean?

Yesterday’s Quiz Answered Below: What does it mean to be Dressed to the Nines..?
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History for 5/25/2014
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 51, Ray Stevenson is 50, Ian McKellen is 75

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

1085- King Alfonso VI of Aragon captured 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 the emperor in the epic Schmalkalden Wars.

1660-RESTORATION DAY- After Oliver Cromwell executed King Charles Ist, he declared the British Monarchy abolished, and ruled England with a junta of generals as Lord Protector. When Cromwell died of natural causes in 1659 he tried to leave his son Richard Cromwell in his place. But the son is not the father. The rickety system didn’t work, and Richard got the nickname “Tumbledown-Dick”. The Puritan junta led by General Monck had no other remedy to avoid chaos other than recalling King Charles’ son Charles II from exile to be king of England. This day King Charles entered London. For many years Restoration Day was a holiday in the UK.

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 new document.

1810- When Napoleon had conquered Spain, the colonies of Latin America puzzled about where to send taxes to. The French occupation government in Madrid or the Spanish Royal family in exile in Naples? This day Argentina had a better idea. They declared Independence.

1865- Mary Lincoln and her son Tad move 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 premiered at the Savoy in London. “So stick to your desk and never go to Sea, and You can be the Leader of the Queen’s Naveeee”

1895- Author and playwright Oscar Wilde sentenced to prison for sodomy.
The terrible conditions of his imprisonment in Redding Gaol will break 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 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! London’s Ritz Hotel opened.

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 later seized power for himself. Under his long rule Mexico industrialized and gained railroads, electric power and schools. He had 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 recognize 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 model in history. Today they stop 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 testifies 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 hits 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 massive German Blitzkreig designed just to kill him.

1950- Brooklyn Battery Tunnel opened in NYC.

1957- Sid Caesar's Your Show of Show's canceled after nearly a decade. The show used future star writers like Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Woody Allen and Neil Simon. The show pioneered the executive strategy of network programmer 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 Sigorney 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 release 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.

1977- The Hollywood premiere of Star Wars. The movie opened on the 28th.

1979- Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic Alien opened. It featured the exotic designs of Hungarian artist 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 implement and unify the new World Wide Web.

2000- It was revealed that in 1958 US scientists planned to explode an atomic 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.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: What does it mean to be Dressed to the Nines..?

Answer: The slang term has been around since quoted in an 1859 book on English slang. It means to be dressed up really fancy, as elegant as you can manage. There are several theories as to the origin. One is that a tailor required nine yards of costly fabric to create a suit and waistcoat for such a look. Another was that the 99th Regiment of Foot was famous for their smart look. “dressing like the Nines”. Still another is that the number nine had a certain magical level of intensity, like Dante putting Judas and Beelzebub in the Ninth Level of Hell, so Robert Burns in a 1793 poem says” Thou art Nature to the Ninth Degree.”


May 24, 2014
May 24th, 2014

Quiz: What does it mean to be Dressed to the Nines..?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: Who outranks whom? A major general or a brigadier general ?
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History for 5/24/2014
Birthdays: Jean Paul Marat, Queen Victoria, Walt Whitman, Emmanuel Leutze, Gary Burghoff, Priscilla Presley, Patti LaBelle, Tommy Chong of Cheech & Chong, Peter Ellenshaw, Kristin Scott Thomas is 54, Alfred Molina is 61, Jim Broadbent is 65, John C. Reilly is 49, Bob Dylan is 73

1429- Near Champagne, Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians. The independent Duchy of Burgundy then was the area where Belgium and Lorraine are today. They sold her to the English, who put her on trial as a witch. The French king, Charles VI, whom Joan had re-conquered half of France for, did absolutely nothing to help or ransom her, as was the custom with noble prisoners. She was tortured and burned at the stake. While other kings are nicknamed Lion Heart or The Great, Charles VI nickname is Charles "The Well-Served."

1543- Astronomer Nicolas Copernicus died in Frombork, Poland. He made sure his book ‘Die Revolutionabus Orbium Coelestrum’, ‘On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies’, would be published after his death. Legend says that after thirty years of trying to get it published, on his deathbed his friends laid the first copy on his pillow. The old scientist smiled and died. In the book, he mathematically proved the Earth went around the Sun instead of visa-versa, and that the Earth rotated on its axis daily. The Pope, Martin Luther and John Calvin all agreed that Copernicus was crazy. In Scripture, hadn’t Joshua commanded the Sun to stand still? One question historians debate is whether Copernicus was a priest or not. He worked for the Archbishop of Gniezno as a lay-clergyman that didn’t have to take Holy orders. No record exists of his saying a Mass. He never married, but he lived with his housekeeper like man and wife.

1578- Dutch Calvinists stage a march through Amsterdam. They dismiss the pro-Catholic town council and take over the large Catholic Cathedrals in the city for use by the new reformed faith.

1590- In Rome, construction of the great Dome of Saint Peters Basilica completed.

1626- MANHATTAN BOUGHT FROM THE INDIANS- Dutchman Peter Minuit stopped several Indians he found on the island and negotiated a purchase of the land for $24 dollars in trade goods, which at the time was not a bad price. To the Indians the purchase and ownership of land was crazy ("Why not also buy the clouds?"-Chief Seattle), and besides, the Hackensack-Lanapii Indians weren’t even from that area, they were just hunting. Manhattoes is old Algonguin meaning " island of little hills". The Lenapii were named Canarsie by Frenchman Jacques Cartier “duck people”(canard) because their village on the Jamaica Bay (just west of present day J.F. Kennedy Airport,) was surmounted by a totem topped with the image of a duck.

1647- With the English Civil War almost over, the various factions of the Parliamentary side start to bicker and pull apart. Presbyterians and Puritans squabble over the spiritual direction of the nation and, on this day, Parliament ordered Oliver Cromwell to disband his New Model Army. The Army refused to disarm and instead marched on London- Cromwell declared: "This army is no mere assemblage of mercenaries but the true embodiment of the will of the English people!” King Charles I, currently a prisoner in Scotland passing the time by learning to play a new game called “Golfe” would be encouraged to restart the civil war. Cromwell's Army, not Parliament, soon became the only real power in English politics.

1667- The War of Devolution- French King Louis XIV sent his armies in to conquer the Spanish Netherlands- aka Belgium, after the Spanish kings heir died and the title “devolved” to Louis wife Anne of Austria.

1738- English clergyman John Wesley pursued a stricter way to God, but a German Moravian preacher told him he wouldn’t really know God until God came to him and touched him. According to Wesley’s own diary this day at a sermon he “saw the light” the Magna Dies- the Great Day- the first of many revelations that would lead him to found the Methodists.

1804- On their route up the Missouri River, Lewis and Clark came ashore at Boone’s Settlement Missouri, near what will one day be Kansas City. They bought butter and corn. Did Lewis and Clark meet old Daniel Boone? Meriwether Lewis’ diary pages for that day are lost.

1818- Gen. Andrew Jackson captured Pensacola, capitol of the Spanish colony of Florida. Hotheaded Jackson decided the only way to stop Seminole Indian raids into Georgia territory was to invade Spanish Florida and chuck the Spanish Governor out. From the capitol of Pensacola he sends a message to the shocked Monroe Administration: " Gimme another regiment and I'll be in Key West in a fortnight. Gimme a frigate and I'll be in Cuba in a month!" The Spanish were outraged, but their resources were already stretched to the limit fighting the armies of liberation in South America. They couldn’t fight the U.S. as well. What Jackson started violently Secretary of State John Quincy Adams negotiates peacefully, the U.S. acquisition of Florida.

1830 –The poem "Mary Had A Little Lamb," was written.

1844- Samuel Morse sent the first telegraph message. From Washington to Baltimore it said:"What Hath God Wrought." The message was from the Bible- Numbers 23:23.
Samuel Morse considered himself an artist first and did a little inventing to pay the bills. He heard a French inventor had speculated about the idea of telegraphy so he decided to build a working model and invented the Morse code system of representing letters with dots and dashes. Members of Congress and octogenarian former First Lady Dolley Madison were present at the ceremony. By the decade’s end, twenty thousand miles of telegraph wire crisscrossed the country.

1850- America’s first nationwide newspaper/magazine Harpers Weekly began.

1853- First cases reported of Yellow Fever Epidemic in New Orleans. The city had swelled with ethnic immigrant Irish and Germans who had been forced to live and work in the low-rent swamp districts. 2,000 people or 10% of New Orleans population died in just four months, at the rate of 200 a day. The disaster was later evoked by Anne Rice in her book “ Interview with the Vampire.”

1856- The Potawattomie Massacre. In pro-slavery vs. anti-slavery infighting in Kansas, abolitionist John Brown dragged James Doyle and five other slaveholders out of bed at night. Announcing he was the Avenging Arm of the Lord, Brown beheaded them with an antique broadsword. Later in New York, when John Brown was feted by high society like Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, Brown would omit this little detail about his life.

1861- The day after Virginia finalized its joining the Confederate States, US troops occupied Arlington and the Potomac riverbank opposite Washington DC. John Ellsworth was a personal friend of Abe and Mary Lincoln. When the Civil War broke out, Ellsworth raised a volunteer regiment of New York City firemen and dressed them in colorful Algerian costume. The roughneck 6th New York Fire Zouaves were shunned by Washington society at first until they proved their worth when they stopped a fire that would have destroyed a popular hotel.

This day, Col. Ellsworth and some men, crossed the Potomac River into Alexandria, Virginia to pull down a Confederate flag flying on top of a building that all Washington could see. As he was descending the stairs with the miscreant banner, the building’s caretaker pulled out a gun and shot Ellsworth dead. The Zouaves riddled him with bullets. All Washington turned out for a massive state funeral for the gallant Ellsworth, filled with Victorian pomp and maudlin sentiment. Yet the real Civil War had only just started. Few Americans understood that soon they would be mourning not one death but hundreds of thousands.

1866 - Berkeley, California founded, named for George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne.

1866- The Battle of Tuyuti- The Waterloo of South America. Paraguayan strongman Francisco Solano Lopez fought a war of annihilation against the combined armies of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Lopez fell; Paraguay was defeated and dismembered. So many of its male population were dead by the war’s end it was factored out of the regional balance of power.

1881-Canadian Ferry Princess Victoria sinks near London, Ontario drowning 220.

1883-The Brooklyn Bridge Opened. After 14 years and 27 deaths, including the architect John Roebling, and the crippling of his son Washington Roebling, President Arthur and the Mayor of New York walked out on to the span to be met at the middle by the Mayor of Brooklyn. At this time the Brooklyn Bridge was the tallest structure in the world.

1899 - 1st auto repair shop and car garage opens: The Back Bay Cycle and Motor Company of Boston.

1929- The Marx Brothers first movie comedy” The Coconuts” premiered.

1935- The first Baseball night game- Reds vs. Phillies.

1941- The German Battleship Bismarck sunk the largest warship in the British Navy, HMS Hood, when a lucky shot exploded her internal ammunition stockpile. The news shocked a world accustomed to the invincibility of the British Navy.

1949- The city of Shanghai was captured from the Nationalists by the communist Peoples Liberation Army of Mao Tse Tung.

1950- Married movie star Ingrid Bergman shocked American morality by having an open love affair with neorealist film director Roberto Rosselini. This day they were finally married but the outcry of conservatives about this “Apostle of Degradation” was such that her image needed a makeover, so she played Saint Joan.

1954 - IBM announces vacuum tube "electronic" brain that could perform 10
million operations an hour.

1958 - UP & International News Service merge into United Press International

1976 - 1st commercial SST Concorde flight to North America -London to Wash DC.

1989- In Los Angeles, a spectacular fire destroyed the Art-Deco-Moderne all-wood landmark, the Pan Pacific Auditorium.

1991- Tri-Star Pictures 75 million-dollar mega-flop "Hudson Hawk" opened.
Star Bruce Willis, whose own salary was $17 million, blamed the film’s costs on union filmworkers’ salaries. He would return to his car after a day’s shooting to find it covered with animal excrement. The film almost sank his career. Willis’ next two films, "Death Becomes Her" and 'Pulp Fiction", he did for scale. In 2000 he made a $100,000 dollar donation to the SAG/AFTRA strike fund.

1991- Ridley Scott’s Thelma & Louise opened.

2000- Prime Minister Ehud Barak withdrew Israeli troops from southern Lebanon after a military occupation of eighteen years. The mastermind of the 1982 Lebanon invasion, General Ariel Sharon, later took Barak’s job. Israel invaded Lebanon again in 2006.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Who outranks whom? A major general or a brigadier general ?

Answer: A major general outranks a brigadier, and a lieutenant general outranks a major general.


May 23, 2014
May 23rd, 2014

Quiz: Who outranks whom? A major general or a brigadier general ?

YESTERDAYS Quiz answered below: What does it mean to ostracize someone?
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History for 5/23/2014
Birthdays: Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Scatman Crowthers, Rosemary Clooney, Artie Shaw, Alicia de Larrocha, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Drew Carey is 56, Joan Collins is 81

Today in ancient Rome was the feast of Vulcan.

1498- In Rome, mystic monk Savonarola was hanged and his body burned for defying the Borgia Pope Alexander VI. Savonarola dominated Florence for a time like a Christian Ayatollah. Artists Michelangelo Buonarrotti, Sandro Botticelli and Luigi Della Robbia were admirers of his. Among his reforms were to hold a large Bonfire of the Vanities.

1533- King Henry VIII of England has his first wife Catharine of Aragon's marriage to him annulled. Henry's interest in multiple marriages wasn't merely a case of being horny, his father had won the throne in a bloody civil war (The War of the Roses) and it could all happen again because he couldn't produce a male child fast. Despite his efforts his Tudor dynasty was remembered for his female offspring, Mary I and Elizabeth I.

1618- THE DEFENESTRATION OF PRAGUE- The Protestant officials of Bohemia let the Catholic German Emperor know what they thought of his ultimatums by throwing his emissaries out of a window. "De-fenestrate" or to toss out a window. It was a low second floor window and a dung pile broke their fall, so only pride was injured. Catholic writers said they were saved by angels.
This event started the THIRTY YEARS WAR, a European Civil War, when Catholic and Protestant nations who's pent up anger had been boiling for decades broke forth. They battled for years, until nobody could remember who started the whole damn thing to begin with. Germany lost one quarter of her population and would not see this kind of devastation again until World War II.

1633- By an edict of the King, France declared that only good Catholics would be allowed to settle in their colony of New France, already being called Canada. French Huguenots settled for the Anglo Dutch territories in Maryland, and New Amsterdam.

1701 Pirate Captain Kidd was hanged in London for piracy, robbery and killing a sailor with a bucket. His last letter was written to try to bribe the judge with his buried treasure. His body was coated with tar and left hanging in a cage suspended over Execution Wharf on the Thames for years afterward, as a warning to other would-be pirates.

1706- BATTLE OF RAMILIES- the Duke of Marlborough destroyed the main French army of Louis XIV under Marshal Villeroi. Carried away by the excitement, Marlborough personally led a cavalry charge sword in hand against the Maison Du Roi – the French elite Guards Cavalry. In the melee' he was knocked off his horse, trampled, and he had to run for his life. As he was climbing up on another horse, the aide holding the reins had his head struck off by a cannon ball. His enthusiasm for mano-a-mano combat cooled, Marlborough spent the rest of the day in the rear directing the victory like a good general should.

1785- Ben Franklin invented bifocal glasses.

1861- Virginia, the most populous state and home of many presidents announced it was leaving the United States and joining the new Confederate States.

1865- Over a month after Richmond’s fall and Lee’s surrender the last bloodshed of the Civil War happened. In Texas Confederate General Magruder defeated a small Yankee force near Galveston Bay.

1865- UNION VICTORY DAY-To celebrate the end of the American Civil War today was the Union Victory Parade in Washington D.C.- The massed Grand Armies of the Republic marched down Pennsylvania Ave. to celebrate their victory over the Confederacy. They passed President Andrew Johnson and Generals Grant and Sherman. Sherman refused to shake hands with Secretary of War Edwin Stanton because of Stanton's criticism of Sherman's surrender terms to the Confederate western armies.
27 year old Gen. Custer, showing off for the crowd, with his golden locks flowing, managed to pass the reviewing stand twice. He claimed his horse was skittish. Despite the fact that 180.000 African American men fought in the war no black regiments were allowed in the parade to avoid controversy. Even the Gallant 54th Mass who did the heroic attack on Fort Wagner was refused permission to march. The flags in the nation's capitol were returned to full mast for the first time since Lincoln's assassination. Union veterans later formed the first professional veterans aid association the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a forerunner of the VFW and the American Legion.

1873- The first Preakness horse race. The winner's name was Survivor.

1903- MOTHER JONES 'CHILDRENS CRUSADE- Seventy three year old activist and union organizer Mary "Mother Jones" Harris led a strike of 16,000 Philadelphia mill workers, all children under 12 years old, to demand a 55 hour workweek down from 60 hours a week. That July she led a march of thousands of working children from Philadelphia to President Teddy Roosevelt's home in Oyster Bay New York to demand the repeal of child labor.

1911- President Taft dedicated the central branch of the New York Public Library.

1931- In Max Fleischer's Silly Scandals, the girl character first seen in Dizzy Dishes is first called Betty Boop.

1934- BONNIE & CLYDE were blown away in a hail of machine gunfire as they drove down a road near Gisland, Louisiana. She was 24, he was 25. The ambush was set up by Texas Ranger Frank Hamer. An estimated 107 shots were fired in less than two minutes. Each body had about 28 bullets in them. Hamer smiled:" It’s a shame I had to bust the cap on a lady." Their peppered car still pops up at auto shows from time to time. In 1948 Frank Hamer was called out of retirement to help investigate voter fraud involving the first senate race of a young congressman named Lyndon B. Johnson.

1941-Hollywood union boss George Brown and assistant Willard Bioff (also a Frank Nitti bagman) were indicted on federal racketeering charges. Brown had been a Chicago operative and it was said 'he could drink 100 bottles of beer in one day". Their main contact among the Hollywood studio heads was Nicholas Schenck, the chairman of Loews Theaters and a head of MGM. Willie Bioff had tried to help Louis B. Mayer defeat the screen actor's guild and hijack the Disney animator's union. After their jail time Bioff blew up in his car after turning government witness and Brown 'disappeared...' Schenck meanwhile was pardoned by President Truman.

1945- Reinhard Gehlen was the head of Nazi intelligence and kept numerous agents in Washington, London and Moscow. After hiding for a month after the fall of Berlin, on this day he surrendered himself to the Americans. Initially they wanted to put him on trial for war crimes, until he revealed his spies in Moscow were still on his payroll, which greatly interested General Wild Bill Donovan, who was reforming the O.S.S. for it's new cold war responsibilities. So Generalobherst Gehlen came to the U.S. and began his second career as a founder of the CIA

1945- SS leader Heinrich Himmler committed suicide by biting a cyanide capsule shortly after being captured by the British authorities. "The bastards’ beat us!" A British army guard growled, when he heard the news.

1951- China formally annexed Tibet, a nation they invaded the year before.

1960- Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann was one of the architects of the Final Solution. He had been hiding in Argentina since the war ended. In 1957 a German prosecutor tipped off Israeli intelligence of Eichman’s whereabouts. This day Mossad agents kidnapped him in Buenos Aires and brought him to Israel for a public trial.

1969- The Who released their rock opera Tommy.

2003- In US occupied Iraq, new occupational viceroy L. Paul Bremmer overruled CIA and Pentagon advice and disbanded the Iraqi Army, internal security, Presidential Guards and police forces, about 500,000. His explanation was he was following orders, although Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld later claimed he was surprised by the move. With this one decree, thousands of angry, humiliated soldiers were unemployed, robbed of their pensions and livelihood, but allowed to keep their sidearms. The Anti-American guerrilla insurgency exploded soon after.
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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.
Today it means to shun someone's company.


May 22, 2014 Thurs
May 22nd, 2014

Quiz: What does it mean to ostracize someone?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: A popular phrase lately is “do the right thing”. What is the origin of the phrase?
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History for 5/22/2014
Birthdays: Sir Lawrence Olivier, Mary Cassatt, Richard Wagner, Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, T. Bone Pickens, Judith Christ, Irene Pappas, Paul Winfield, Richard Benjamin, Susan Strassberg, George Baker, Paul Winchell, Tommy John, Naomi Cambell, Dr. Robert Moog –inventor of the first Music Synthesizer, Ginnifer Goodwin is 36

In Kodiak Alaska, today is the Kodiak Crab Festival.

Happy National Bartender's Day

337AD Emperor Constantine the Great, who raised Christianity from an illegal cult to the official religion of the Roman Empire, died after a ruling for 37 years. For some reason he himself didn't accept baptism until on his deathbed. His coins had Christ on one side and Sol Invictus, the Imperial Sun god on the other. To maintain order in the Empire until his son Constantius could be contacted and safely installed as leader in Constantinople, the embalmed corpse of Constantine continued to receive ambassadors and preside over meetings until that winter.

1276- Today is the feast day of Saint Humility of Faenza, a nun who insisted she be bricked up into her cell with only a hole cut for food, water and to hear Mass and slept on her knees. After twelve years of this she was talked out of her cell to become an abbess.

1455- Battle of St.Albans- First battle of the WAR OF THE ROSES. The conflict wasn't about differing views on horticulture but a dynastic struggle between two powerful branches of the royal family of England. It seems a hundred years earlier King Edward III had a lot of lusty sons. His two eldest and lustiest were Edward the Black Prince and John of Gaunt. Edward lusted after Joan the fair Maid of Kent and John lusted after the throne. The Black Prince should have become The Black king but he died young. Even then John couldn't be king because the rules said the throne went to the eldest Black Princeling, Richard II. So John of Gaunt had some lusty sons himself and they became the Lancaster branch of the family -after John's title as Earl of Lancaster- represented by the Red Rose; and The Black Prince's progeny were the York family represented by the White Rose. So they warred and conspired and murdered and had a lusty old time until they wiped each other out and were replaced by a third family, the Tudors.

1761-The first life insurance policy issued in the U.S.

1782- In a letter to one of his officers George Washington rejected the calls to declare him King of the United States. " It pains me to hear such ideas are circulating within the army. I regard such ideas with horror and condemn it severely. It seems pregnant with the greatest misfortunes that could ever befall our country."

1800- The US Congress disbanded the US Army as being unnecessary and expensive. We would make do with militia to deal with Indians and a coast guard.

1809- Battle of Aspern-Essling. Napoleons army was crossing the Danube when the rivers flood washed out two bridges cutting his army in two. Austrian general Archduke Charles jumped on the opportunity and attacked, driving back Nappys troops against the river. Marshal Lannes, one of Napoleon’s top combat officers, was killed.

1843- Wagons Ho! The Great Emigration- One of the largest wagon trains ever formed set out from Independence Missouri to the new Oregon Territory. Thousands of settlers driving a thousand head of cattle set off along the Oregon Trail.

1854- The NEBRASKA COMPROMISE-One of many stop-gap legislative measures to try to stall the Civil War a few more years. In an attempt to keep the balance between slave states and free states entering the Union Whig Congressmen strike a deal where Kansas and Nebraska could decide for themselves whether they wanted to enter the union as free or slave states. Nobody was pleased with this deal. Guerrilla war broke out in Kansas and the Whig party disintegrated from dissent. The dissident Whig politicians like Freemont and Lincoln soon formed a new political party. At first called the Anti-Nebraska Men, they later became the Black-Republicans or simply Republicans.

1856- San Francisco City supervisor James Casey was hanged by San Francisco City Vigilance Committee for murder. Casey had sought out the editor of the Evening Bulletin James King and shot him down on the street for insulting him in print. The vigilantes of the Barbary Coast then formed and went into action.

1868- The Reno Gang rob an Indiana express train and get $96,000.

1915-The San Fernando Valley voted to become part of Los Angeles.

1920- THE DEARBORN INDEPENDENT- Henry Ford was a brilliant inventor with strange opinions. He overpaid assembly line workers, gave equal raises and promotions to black and Latino workers, but he hated Jews. He had purchased the newspaper the Dearborn Independent in 1918 and ran editorials in it with no advertising, totally his own opinions. This day the Independents Anti-Semitic campaign began with the headline -"The International Jew: The World’s Problem." 119 leading prominent Christian leaders including President Woodrow Wilson signed a petition demanding the slanderous publications be stopped, but Ford just ignored them. In 1934 when American journalist for CBS, William Shirer, interviewed Chancellor Adolf Hitler in Berlin, he noticed Hitler kept translations of the Dearborn Independent on his desk.

1922-The U.S. Supreme Court rules Baseball is not a monopoly but a sport. This is the Achilles heel issue everyone jumps on when arguments about baseball owners use of salary fixes and other group actions reach crescendo.

1925- First day of shooting on Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis.

1942- In a dark basement room in Pearl Harbor the U.S. Navy Cryptographic Unit spent weeks at primitive computers breaking the Japanese radio codes. Cmdr Joe Rochefort paced the small room in his red smoking jacket downing pots of coffee and coming up with answers to riddles.

This day Rochefort solved the most important riddle of his career. He deduced from intercepted radio messages that on June 4th Japan was going to feint a strike at the Aleutian Islands then launch it’s main battle fleet at Midway Island. When Admiral Nimitz received this report he had to decide whether it was a trick or the real thing before committing his own battered aircraft carriers. If Nimitz was wrong and the fleet outmaneuvered Hawaii, Australia and even the California coast could come under Japanese attack. Nimitz chose to fight at Midway and Rochefort proved to be exactly right. The Battle of Midway June 4th would be the victory to turn the tide of the Pacific War.
In the month following the victory the Chicago Tribune published the headline "Navy Breaks Jap Code" which cause Tokyo to change all their codes, so the work had to start all over again.

1949- Admiral James Forrestal was a top strategist during World War Two and was serving as President Truman’s Secretary of Defense. But the pressures of command in first the World War , then the Cold War may have been too much for him. Several days after President Truman awarded a medal to Forrestal he was admitted to the Bethesda Naval Hospital for nervous exhaustion. This day he leapt out a window with his bathrobe cord knotted around his neck. It was ruled a suicide.

1954- Bob Dylan’s Bar Mitzvah. Maseltov!

1955-The Golden Age of Radio ends when after 22 years the Jack Benny show was canceled. Once the top broadcast show in the nation, Benny went on to television.

1957- A U.S. B-36 bomber accidentally drops a Hydrogen Bomb on Albuquerque, New Mexico. The bombardier, Lt. Robert Carp lost his balance in the bomb bay area and grabbed for a handle that released the nuke. He ran back to the cockpit yelling: "I didn't touch anything! I didn't touch anything!" The bomb blew up a mesa and killed a cow but miraculously the thermonuclear triggering mechanism didn't kick in. This was a classified secret until the late 1980's.

1964- In a speech at Ann Arbor, President Lyndon Johnson called for the Great Society. Johnson is remembered as the Vietnam War president but many of his Great Society social programs like Medicare and Medicaid are still in effect today.

1966- Bill Cosby became the first African-American to win an Emmy Award for starring in a television series- I-Spy.

1967- T.V. children's show Mr. Roger's Neighborhood debuted.

1969- PEOPLE’S PARK- The escalating tension between anti-war counter-culture and "the Establishment" picked an unusual item to fight over. A group of activists in Berkeley took over a 2 acre plot of land scheduled for development by the college. They planted grass and flowers and called it a "people’s park". Conservative Governor Ronald Reagan wasn’t going to tolerate any more tomfoolery and after officers and a chain link fence failed to keep out the squatters he sent in the National Guard. This day the confrontation between the bayonet wielding troops and hippies broke out into violence. One man was killed and another was blinded by riot gas. The college decided to yield the land for the park and it stays so today.

1972- The land of Ceylon declared itself the Republic of Sri Lanka.

1973 Scientist Bob Metcalfe of Xerox PARC patented the Ethernet.

1981- Peter Sutcliffe was convicted in the Yorkshire Ripper trial of murdering 13 women.

1985- Top Disney animation director Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman who directed the Jungle Book among other films, died in a car crash following lunch at the Smoke House in Burbank.

1992- The film Encino Man premiered, with Brendan Frazier and Pauly Shore.

2001- Ted Turners divorce from actress Jane Fonda became official.

2002-Ayatollahs outlaw Barbie dolls from Iran. They denounce Barbie as "agents of subversive Zionist Western propaganda."

2004- The heir to the Spanish throne Prince Felipe of Asturias married a TV news anchorwoman. The first commoner in the Spanish Royal family.

2004- Manmohar Singh was sworn in as Prime Minister of India. The first Sikh ever to hold this office. His Congress party had been led Sonya Ghandi, but she declined the job. Let me see, if my husband P.M Rajiv Ghandi was blown up by a suicide bomber, and my mother-in-law Indira was machined gunned by her own body guards, and my great uncle the Mahatma was shot, maybe this job isn't a good career move for me?

2012- SpaceX, the world’s first privately owned spacecraft, blasted off to bring supplies to the International Space Station.
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Yesterday’s Question: A popular phrase lately is “do the right thing”. What is the origin of the phrase?

Answer: The phrase has obviously been around for awhile, but the 1989 Spike Lee movie Do The Right Thing pushed it into pop stardom. Soon politicians were asking one another to “ Do the Right Thing.”


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