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Oct 25, 2017
October 25th, 2017

Question: What is a Punic Compliment?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: Who fought in The Punic Wars?
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History for 10/25/2017
Birthdays: Pablo Picasso, George Bizet, Johann Strauss Jr., Bobby Knight, Helen Reddy Minnie Pearl, Whit Bissell, Lyle Lovett. Leo G. Carroll, Bill Barty the famous Little Person actor, John Matusak, Julia Roberts, Katie Perry is 33, Tyrus Wong

Today is the Feast of Saints Crispin and Chrispinian- the patron saints of leatherworkers. They were supposed to be so holy, that when the Roman prefect of Soisson saw his tortures were having no effect, he drowned himself. Another case of low job satisfaction.

1555- Emperor Charles V was called the Man who Married Europe- The Prince of the Netherlands was also King of Spain, which meant all of the Americas and Italy, and he was Emperor of Germany-which meant everything from Denmark and the Rhine to Turkish held Hungary. He assumed all this power at 19, fought wars, tried to stop the Protestant Reformation, sacked Rome and imprisoned the Pope and wielded power with gusto. But by 45 he was exhausted, sick with asthma and arthritis.

So this day at the States General of the Netherlands, Charles V announced his resignation of all his offices and retirement to a monastery in Spain. He named his son Phillip II to be King of Spain and the Netherlands and his brother Ferdinand to succeed him as German Emperor. Charles wasn’t a great monk though, his cell had rooms for 50 servants and he insisted on keeping his favorite Titian paintings with him. A master of languages, Charles once said “Speak Italian to Ladies, German to enemies, French to friends and Spanish to God.”

1760- King George II died of constipation, his grandson George III becomes King. Old George II completed his 33 year reign with this final opinion of English politics:” I am sick to death of all this foolish stuff, and wish with all my heart that the Devil may take all your bishops, and the Devil take all your ministers, the Devil take your Parliament and the Devil take this whole Island, provided I can get out and go home to Hanover!” Gee, thank you Sire, we love you too.

1769-Young Massachusetts lawyer John Adams married Abigail Smith.

1795- The last king of Poland, Stanislas II Poniatowski, abdicates under pressure from his old girlfriend, Catherine the Great. Poland as a nation disappears until 1919. As King Stash was a loser but his family did pretty well in later years. A Poniatowski was a general under Napoleon and today the family is big in French -Gaulist politics, and Helena Poniatowska is a writer in Mexico who wrote a prize-winning book about Diego Rivera.

1854-THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE- BALACLAVA- the climactic battle of the Crimean War in which Britain and France sent armies to help Turkey fight off Russia.
During the battle Lord Raglan watched from his mountaintop the Russians on another mountaintop (their army was arranged on the hillsides like a fork with it's prongs pointed at the English and French). They were trying to pull some field artillery out of the way of the advancing Brits. So Raglan sent Lords Lucan and Cardigan orders to send the Light Brigade to capture these few cannon before they got away. Lord Cardigan (who always insisted his officers drink champagne for breakfast) wasn't on a mountaintop but deep in a valley and all he could see was the whole heavily fortified Russian army in front of him. Then he got Raglan's command: "-Charge the Guns!" To cap matters the messenger Captain Nolan was angry with Cardigan so he refused to explain the order.

So the 600 of the Light Brigade charged right into the whole Russian Army alone. It all took about 8 minutes. One survivor recalled seeing a Sergeant Talbot get his head struck off by a cannonball but his body stayed galloping in the saddle another 30 yards, lance still positioned under his arm. Lord Cardigan led his brigade through the first line of guns then immediately turned back “It is not the job of commanders to grapple with common soldiers.” Fired on from three sides the Light Brigade took the first lines of cannon and could have pierced the Russian center if they had been followed by reinforcements, but everyone just watched in stunned silence. The French commander gave orders for his Chausseurs d'Afrique to storm one other position which was the only positive result of the day. One problem the Light Brigade had that never made it into any movies was when they finally reached the Russian gunners, they were wearing their heavy wool winter coats that were too thick for sabers to slash. The horsemen slapped their swords harmlessly against their shoulders and backs.

The Light Brigade staggered back accomplishing nothing, 3/4 of their men killed. The 17th Lancers went in with 250 and came out with 17 men. But it did inspire a really swell poem by Tennyson. In a delightfully British moment, the 2nd in command, his clothes torn up by bullets, blackened with gun smoke and a horrible saber gash across his face, said to Lord Cardigan: "Sir, shall we have another go?"

1864 Battle of Mine Creek, Missouri. The last major Civil War battle in the Trans-Mississippi-Western Theater. Yankee cavalry charged and destroyed a Confederate army under General Sterling Price. Price’s army had invaded Missouri hoping to capture St, Louis and cause enough of a sensation so Lincoln would lose re-election and the new government would make peace with the Confederacy. Price’s army had taken in many Missouri desperadoes like Quantrill’s Raiders and Bloody Bill Anderson. On the Yankee side a cavalry brigade was commanded by Major Frederick Benteen, who would be known as the commander of Custers reserves in the Little Big Horn massacre in 1876.

1891- THE SECRET OF THE LOST DUTCHMAN MINE- An old German (Deutsche) immigrant miner named Jacob Walsh lay dying after a lifetime digging in the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. Before he died, he told those around him he had discovered a fabulously rich gold mine and killed his partners to keep the secret. As proof he gave them the 45 pounds of pure gold in his trunk and said there was ten times that amount in the mine. He died leaving tantalizing vague clues like " I can see the military road from my mine, but those on the military road can't see me.." 125 people died or went mad looking for the Lost Dutchman Mine. To this day it has never been found.

1903- New York’s New Amsterdam Theater opened with a gala performance of A Midsummer’s Night Dream. The New Amsterdam boasted all Art Nouveau decoration, the first theater in a steel girdered building and a new style of floating balcony that didn’t obstruct the view with support pillars, an effect to be copied by movie houses throughout the world. The Great Ziegfield staged his great Follies there and in the rooftop garden theater for only the cream of New York society. The theater fell into decrepitude and in the 1970’s was a porno house, but the Walt Disney Company restored it to its Gilded Age glory in 1996.

1917- Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, in a lecture announced his firm belief in spiritualism, divination, and communication with the dead. He called it The New Revelation. “The chasm between this life and the next is not insurmountable.” Other British intellects think Sir Arthur had gone a bit potty.

1920- King Alexander of Greece died from blood poisoning after being bit by his pet monkey.

1921- Bat Masterson, Quebec born gunfighter, marshal of Dodge City, gambler, Indian fighter and outlaw, died over a typewriter as a sports reporter for the New York Morning Telegraph while covering a championship prize fight. He was 67.

1924- The Zioniev Letter. Four days before the British General Elections the Tory opposition to the Labor Government of Ramsay MacDonald produced a letter purporting to show a cozy relationship between MacDonald Labour Party and the Bolshevik revolutionaries of Russia. Ramsay MacDonald’s party lost the elections. Later it turned out the letter was a fake. Fake News!

1944- Battle of the Leyte Gulf. The combined forces of General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz destroyed the last remaining tactical Japanese fleet. Four carriers, three battleships and assorted other craft sunk. After Leyte, the Japanese Navy ceased to be a factor for the rest of the war. In that same battle, the first Kamikaze planes attacked American ships.

1946- President Harry Truman declared a postwar “Housing Emergency” that led to the development of the suburban track house.

1957- Vicious gangster Al Anastasia, head of "Murder, Inc." walked into Arthur Grossos Barbershop in the Park Sheraton Hotel for his usual shave and haircut. He trusted Arthur enough to allow him to cover his face with a hot towel. While he was relaxing this way, Grosso backed away and two hitmen sent by Vito Genovese came in and shot Al full of bullets. The murderers were never found.

1960- The Bulova Acutron Watch went on sale today. The first watch using an electronic power cell instead of a wound mainspring.

1964- At a football game Minnesota Viking defensive back Larry Marshal scooped up a fumble and ran 66 yards into the end zone. Except, it was his own goal line. D’OH!

1983- President Reagan sent thousands of US Marines to invade the tiny island of Grenada, ostensibly to save a few American medical students from some fat Cuban construction workers, and secure the US strategic supply of nutmeg.
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Yesterday’s Question: Who fought in The Punic Wars?

Answer: Rome and Carthage.


Oct 24, 2017
October 24th, 2017

Question: Who fought in The Punic Wars?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What is the Christian concept of Original Sin?
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History for 10/24/2017
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Domitian, Bob Kane the creator of Batman, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek- the founder of Microbiology, Moss Hart, Jiles Perry Richardson better known as the Big Bopper, F. Murray Abrahams is 76, Enkwase Mfume, Y.A. Tittle, Sara Josepha Hale 1788- who wrote the poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb", animator Preston Blair, Kevin Kline is 69

439-The barbarian horde called the Vandals went into Africa and captured the Roman colony of Carthage, built on the site of Hannibal’s old city. When the Romans had destroyed Carthage in 146BC they put a curse on the land, but the cities natural harbor proved too useful, so a colony was soon set up. Ironically, or perhaps the curse in effect, in 455AD, Geneseric the Vandal launched an attack from Carthage that sacked Rome.

1648 –THE TREATY OF WESTPHALIA- After four years of negotiations Europe ends its last great religious war, the Thirty Years War. The good thing was nobody disputed Dutch or Swiss independence or the right to be a Protestant anymore, the bad part was Germany was devastated. Germany lost almost half her population. It wouldn't really get it's act together again until 1870. France replaced Spain as the dominant power on the continent. And because the Pope refused any peace signed with heretics, the exhausted European kings began to simply ignore him.

1781- British General Sir Henry Clinton arrived at Yorktown Virginia with a rescue force to learn that Lord Cornwallis had already surrendered to George Washington a week ago.

1800- Three weeks before a presidential election, Alexander Hamilton published ON THE PRESIDENCY OF JOHN ADAMS ESQ, a 58 page attack on the incumbent Presidents’ character and record. Though they were of the same party, the two men loathed one another. Hamilton had almost challenged the President to a duel. Finally Hamilton decided he would rather see the opposition party win than Adams re-elected. His persuasive pamphlet not only ruined any chance John Adams had of re-election, it was a grenade lobbed into the midst of his own Federalist Party. President Adams placed fourth in the election, but Alexander Hamilton’s party disloyalty lost him most of his political influence.

1812- BATTLE OF MALOYAROSLAVETS (say that three times fast). Contrary to traditional perception, Napoleon wasn't dumb enough to think he could retreat from Moscow through Russia in the dead of winter. His first move was to retreat south to the Ukraine and Crimea where it was warmer, the food abundant and the people anti-Russian. The Russian general Kutusov guessed this and moved his troops south to cut him off at a junction called Maloyaroslavets. There was a bloody battle and Napoleon was successfully blocked and forced to retreat north along the stripped and ravaged Smolensk Road whence he came.

1836- Mr. Alonzo D. Phillips of Springfield, Mass. received a patent for the first book of matches in the U.S. However the laboratory of the English scientist Robert Farraday had invented matches in 1829.

1861-The Last Pony Express ride. The idea was romantic, but a financial dud and only operated about two years before being replaced by stage, rail and telegraph.

1901- Anne Taylor becomes the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and live to talk about it. She attempted the stunt for a cash prize she used to get a loan to buy a ranch in Texas.

1902- Author Arthur Conan-Doyle was knighted by King Edward VII. He received the award not for his literary accomplishments but for his doctor volunteer services during the just concluded Boer War. It was also said the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was one of the few books King Edward ever managed to read from cover to cover.

1907- President Teddy Roosevelt called for a grand conference of government and business leaders to discuss a strategy for the conservation of America’s natural resources. For the first time, Conservation was made an issue of national policy. “ I have seen the last fluttering of bird species that once blackened the skies...”

1917-THE BATTLE OF CAPORETTO - The crumbling Austrian army was bolstered by some big German battalions defeated the Italian army, pushing them from the Alps practically down to Milan, erasing all the territorial gains the Italian army had made the last three years. Italian Commander General Cadorna was taken completely by surprise. Up to then he had been spending most of his energies replacing officers who didn’t agree with him.
Ironically the defeat was seen by scholars as being more beneficial to the future of Italy than a victory. This was because the insult and sacrifice welded Italian regional opinion into a national unity to defend their motherland, a spirit never seen during this unpopular war. The event was immortalized in Ernest Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms".

1918- As the German front crumbled, the Kaiser’s government requested preliminary talks for a cease fire to end the Great War. This day hotheaded General Eric Ludendorf tried to derail the peace initiative by publishing a manifesto in German newspapers. Last week he was urging the Kaiser to negotiate, but he suddenly changed his mind. He denounced American President Wilson’s Fourteen Points peace proposal and declared the German Army would fight on. He had no authority to publish such a rash statement and it got him fired.

1918- Battle of the Victorio Veneto. This day Italy launched one final attack across the Piave and reached Austrian territory.

1929- BLACK THURSDAY- THE PRELUDE TO THE GREAT CRASH- The Bear Stock Market that had seen prices dropping steadily since September 5th turned into a panic as dependable stocks prices like General Motors dropped through the floor. $11.5 billion dollars was lost in one day. Vacationing Winston Churchill picked that day to visit the Stock Exchange and later saw a banker jump to his death past his Waldorf Astoria window.

Basically what happened was people had bought stock on Margin, which meant you could buy ten thousand dollars worth of stock with just one thousand dollars. As the collapse occurred your broker would call you and demand the other nine thousand bux immediately or he would sell off everything you had. So in minutes you were broke.
It took every major banker and financier on Wall Street together dumping millions of dollars of emergency funds to stop the slide.

It was the worst day in American financial history, but it turned out to be just a mild prelude to Black Tuesday coming the following week. Ironically that night in a Broadway show the new song "Happy Days are Here Again' had it's debut. When the stage manager thought it inappropriate, the show's director snapped: "Play it for the Corpses !".

1937- At Piping Springs NY, composer Cole Porter suffered an accident while horseback riding that broke both his legs. Even after 26 operations he never regained their full use and one leg was amputated in 1958.

1938- The Fair Labor Standards Act established the 40 hour workweek as the law of the land. The 40 hour week, that thing few of us see nowadays.

1945 the United Nations Charter ratified.

1945- Vikdun Quisling was shot by firing squad. Quisling was a Nazi sympathizer who governed occupied Norway. His name was synonymous with traitor or Benedict Arnold.

1947- Walt Disney testified to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC) as a friendly witness. He accused members of the Cartoonists Guild and the League of Women Voters –which he mistakenly called the League of Women Shoppers, as being infiltrated by Communists "Seeking to subvert the Spirit of Mickey Mouse'.

1948- In & Out Burgers, the first drive-through restaurant opened in Baldwin Park California. It’s still in business today, selling only burgers, shakes, and fries, pretty much like they did back then.

1948- Bernard Baruch while testifying to Congress about the worsening relations between the US and Russia coined the term "cold war". "Although the war is over we are in the midst of a cold war, and it is getting hotter."

1959- The TV program Playboy’s Penthouse premiered. Hugh Hefner hosted a variety show designed to look like a cocktail party in a swinging bachelor’s pad. It was a success despite many stations in the South refusing to show it. That was because they dared to have black celebrities like Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole partying along side white ones like Tony Bennett and Lennie Bruce.

1960- At the Baykonur space center in Russia an R-16 ballistic missile exploded on the launch pad. The blast incinerated 165 people. This was all kept secret until the 1990s. Included among the dead is Field Marshall Mitrofan Nedelin, whose death was covered up as having occurred in a plane crash.

1962- During the Cuban Missile Crisis the U.S. Naval blockade closed around Cuba to prevent any more Russian missiles coming in. For one of the few times in it's history Strategic Air Command went from Defensive Condition Three to Def Con -2, a full war footing.
An American destroyer dropped depth charges on a Soviet submarine armed with nuclear tipped torpedoes. The enraged captain ordered a torpedo loaded into its tube and had to be talked out of firing it.

1969- Godfather Producer Robert Evans married young actress Ali McGraw.

1970- Chile elected Salvador Allende president. The US State Department went nuts because Allende was a lefty and began plans to have him overthrown.

1975- The musical play A Chorus Line opened.

1975- 90% of the women of Iceland went out on strike to demand equal rights and equal pay. They paralyzed the country. The won their fight and five years later they elected their first female president.

1994- Disney TV series Gargoyles premiered.
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Yesterday’s Question: What is the Christian concept of Original Sin?

Answer: “In Adam’s fall we sinned all.” The original sin is usually described as Adam, temped by Eve who, in turn, has been tempted by the Serpent, eating from the tree of knowledge and thus committing a crime against God. In punishment, Even and Adam, now ashamed of their nakedness, were banished by God from the Garden of Eden to live and suffer in the world. The original sin and the punishment of mortality of was to be shared by all mankind from that moment on. (thanks FG)


Oct 23, 2017
October 23rd, 2017

Question: What is the Christian concept of Original Sin?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: What is so special about the Dark Side of the Moon?
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History for 10/23/2017
Birthdays; Johnny Carson, Adlai Stevenson, Pele, Zioniev, Weird Al Yankovic, Dwight Yoakham, Michael Crichton, Chi-Chi Rodriquez, Phillip Kaufman, porn star Jasmine St. Claire, Gummo Marx, Ang Lee is 63, Ryan Reynolds is 41, Sam Raimi is 58

42 BC- Battle of Phillipi- The forces of Marc Anthony and Octavian defeated the legions of Brutus and Cassius in Greece. Both assassins of Julius Caesar, Marcus Brutus and Cassius Longinus, died.

524 AD- BOETHIUS- After the Fall of the Roman Empire in 476 for awhile the Roman Senate answered to Theodoric the King of the Goths in Italy, the way they once answered to the emperor. The Christian Senator Boethius had risen to be a counselor to Theodoric. But the old barbarian became increasing suspicious of plots around him.

Boethius was falsely accused of plotting against the king’s life and this day Theodoric had him executed. Goths tied a rope around his temples and twisted it until his eyes popped out, then he was beaten to death with clubs.

As soon as Boethius was dead Theodoric felt sorry and wept for his friend. The reason we remember this story was while Boethius was in prison awaiting death he wrote one of the great works of western philosophy- THE CONSOLATION OF PHILOSOSPHY. It was one of the first great works of Christian thinking since the Gospels and bridged the transition of philosophy from Greco-Pagan themes to Christian meditation.

1642- EDGEHILL- First battle of the English Civil War, King Charles Cavaliers-1, Roundheads-0. Even though the Parliamentary forces were defeated the King hesitated when his impulsive cavalry general Prince Rupert wanted to pursue the enemy to London. It was the best chance Charles ever had to crush the rebellion at one grand blow, Oliver Cromwell was as yet an obscure m.p. from Cambridge who led a small troop. Yet Charles hesitated and let the opportunity slip away. The Parliamentary Army was under the command of the Earl of Essex, who traveled around with a coffin and burial shroud among his personal baggage. An ancestor of Walt Disney fought there for the king.

1661- King Charles II, crowned at Westminster Abbey. The current English Crown Jewels date from this time, since Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan Parliament had the ancient crown jewels of Anglo-Norman times destroyed.

1812- THE MALET PLOT-While Napoleon was retreating from Moscow, thousands of miles away all France waited anxiously for news. This day a civil servant named Malet convinced everyone that Napoleon and his whole army was dead and destroyed. In the ensuing panic Malet actually succeeded in taking over the French Government for a few days.
Eventually everything was straightened out and Malet imprisoned. But it was terribly discouraging to Napoleon; he had hoped to build a dynasty to last generations. But it took only one nut with a rumor to show how shallow the support for his regime was.

1917- In a secret meeting in Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg) all the various left wing Russian political parties: Mensheviks, Anarchists, Utopian Socialists and Narodniks agreed to unite under Lenin’s Bolshevik Party and adopt their plan to violently seize power. After taking control Lenin had them all suppressed. The assassin who shot and wounded him in 1921 was a Socialist.

1923- The German postwar economy collapses. Raging inflation makes it 6 billion DeutschMarks to one U.S. dollar. The few workers who had jobs are paid every other day and it takes a wheelbarrow full of money to buy a loaf of bread. The major industrial region of the Ruhr was under foreign occupation. These conditions made the rise of Adolf Hitler possible. The creeping depression afflicting the war-ruined European economies would help collapse the American banking system in 1929.

1927- Charles Lindbergh finally returned to Roosevelt Field Long Island. It was his starting point of an epic tour around the U.S. to celebrate his successful solo crossing of the Atlantic. Lindbergh toured 80 U.S. cities, much of it flying town to town in his little plane The Spirit of St Louis. In so doing, Lindbergh taught Americans that travel by air was a safe, easy alternative to rail.

1928- A financial consortium led by Wall St. banker-bootlegger Joseph Kennedy Sr. buys the Keith Albee theater circuit and merged it with the Radio Company and the Orpheum theaters to form Radio-Keith-Orpheum or RKO pictures. After Joe Kennedy met with the other Hollywood moguls he told a friend: ”They’re all a bunch of Austrian Pants Pressers! I can take their businesses away from them!” Kennedy made a quick killing then got out of the picture business in 1930, just before the Depression dropped his studios stock value. RKO made films like King Kong, Fort Apache and Citizen Kane before merging into Desilu in 1957.

1930- The first Miniature Golf tournament held in Chattanooga Tenn.

1931- Chicago gangster Al Capone sentenced to 11 years in Alcatraz for federal income tax evasion.

1935- New York gangster Dutch Schultz was rubbed out. The erratic Schultz (real name Arthur Fleigenheimer) had announced to the other mob bosses that Federal prosecutor Thomas Dewey was getting too close, so he would kill him. To the syndicate killing such a high profile fed was going too far and would bring the wrath of Washington down on them, so Lucky Luciano decided it was easier to take care of the Dutchman instead.

Schultz was having dinner at the Bob Treat Porkchop House in Newark with his crooked accountant "Abadaba" ( a corruption of Abracadabra ) when he excused himself to go to the mens room. Hitmen followed him in and pumped 6 slugs into him while at the urinal. Gee, I hope he zipped up.....

1940- HITLER MET FRANCO- Hitler and Mussolini spent large sums of men and material to help Franco win the Spanish Civil War. Now they wanted payback in form of an alliance. However they could not strike a bargain and Franco declared neutrality in the World War. After the talks Hitler says of his negotiations with Franco:" I'd rather have 3 or 4 teeth extracted than go through that again!"

1940- Shooting on the film Citizen Kane wrapped.

1941- Walt Disney’s Dumbo premiered.

1942-EL ALAMEIN- Montgomery's British 8th Army threw 2500 new American made Sherman and Grant Tanks against Rommel's Afrika Korps threatening Egypt and the Suez Canal. Rommel the Desert Fox was on sick leave in Germany with diptheria and Rommels' replacement, General Stumme, dropped dead of a heart attack in the middle of the battle. Rommel flew back to try and stop the British attack, but by Nov.4th he had to accept defeat and abandon his Egyptian positions. Hitler had made Rommel a field marshal “ I wish he had given me another Panzer division instead” was his reply.

1955-Vietnamese Emperor Bao Dai abdicated to a South Vietnamese Republic set up outside of and ignoring Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh communists.

1956- The great Hungarian Rising of Inver Nagy. Inspired by the seeming liberalism Nikita Khruschev was bringing to Moscow, thousands march to the statue of the poet Petofi to read his poem "Arise, Hungarians!" and burn newspaper torches. It turned out Khruschev wasn't as liberal as they thought, a month later hundreds of Soviet tanks rolled in to Budapest to crush them.

1968-THE FIRST OCTOBER SURPRISE- Pres. Johnson was pushing secret peace talks to end the Vietnam War before he left office. Secret messages from South Vietnamese ambassador Bo Dhiem to the Saigon government confirmed that the Republican leaders like Richard Nixon were assuring the South Vietnamese that if they didn’t make peace before the American elections, Nixon would support them. On Nov 2nd, President Nguyen Van Thieu withdrew from the peace table and talks collapsed. Richard Nixon won election and the war went on 7 more bloody years.

1971-Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida opened.

1973- President Richard Nixon ordered a worldwide red alert of our strategic nuclear forces to warn the Soviets not to take advantage of U.S. domestic turmoil over Watergate. Soviet ambassador Dobrynin wrote in his memoirs that Secretary of State Henry Kissinger later telephoned and apologized to him for the alert. He said that it was only done to distract U.S. public opinion from the Watergate scandal.

1983- Jessica Savitch was one of the first women journalists to break the barrier for women getting the top anchor jobs in network news broadcasting. This day she died in a car accident.

1983- President Ronald Reagan had sent U.S. Marines into civil war torn Beirut to achieve peace. This day a suicide bomber drove a truck full of dynamite into the Marines barracks, killing 241 men in their sleep. Reagan then withdrew the remaining Marines.

1987- Judge Robert Bork was defeated in his bid for a seat on the Supreme Court. Besides offending Liberals by being a longtime Conservative stalwart, he offended Conservatives by admitting under oath he smoked marijuana. Recently he was an adviser to Mitt Romney.

2001- Apple Computers launched the i-pod.

2007- Massive brush fires north of San Diego California displaced one million people, the largest number of U.S. refugees since the Civil War.
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Yesterday’s Question: What is so special about the Dark Side of the Moon?

Answer: While the Earth rotates on its access, the Moon does not. It keeps the same side facing the Earth as it orbits the planet. So one side is hidden from us. Even though it gets plenty of sun, we call it the Dark Side of the Moon.


Oct 22, 2017
October 22nd, 2017

Question: What is so special about the Dark Side of the Moon?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Why is a project, that is bloated beyond control called A White Elephant?
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History for 10/22/2017
Birthdays: Sarah Bernhardt, Timothy Leary, Franz Liszt is 205, Doris Lessing, Joan Fontaine, Derek Jacobi, Christopher Lloyd is 79, Annette Funicello, Brian Boitano, Curly Howard of the Three Stooges, Catherine Deneuve is 74, Spike Jonze is 48.

1641- The Irish rise in revolt yet again against England, this time hoping that the Brits would be too wrapped up in their own Civil War to deal with them. By 1649 Oliver Cromwell came over and dealt with them so harshly his depredations are still remembered today.

1660- Edward Hyde the Earl of Clarendon was a staunch supporter and adviser to King Charles II. This day, upon learning that his daughter Anne had been seduced and made pregnant by James the Duke of York, The earl humbly asked the King to please cut off his daughters head! Boy, when daddy gets angry! King Charles II dismissed the whole affair as much ado about nothing.

1746- The Royal College of New Jersey chartered- it was later renamed Princeton.

1797- Frenchman Jean Garnerin does the first successful parachute jump. He conceived the idea while imprisoned in a Hungarian Castle during the French Revolution. He first took his dog and threw him out of a balloon, then he jumped himself at 2300 feet in the air and sprained his ankle. Garnarin died in a balloon accident in 1823 and his experiments forgotten. The practical modern parachute was not invented until 1910.

1805-After the naval Battle of Trafalgar, the shot-up English and French fleets were scattered by an ocean storm. Admiral Nelson's dead body had been sealed in an upright barrel of brandy for the trip back to London. After four days his body released some pent up gasses that suddenly popped the lid off the barrel. Must have scared the hell out of the guard on duty.

1843- THE GREAT DISSAPPOINTMENT- American preacher William Miller working with the books of Daniel and Revelations in the Bible calculated the exact date of the Messiah’s return and the End of the World to be Oct. 22nd 1843. A highly publicized newspaper and lecture campaign got the American public so worked up that many didn’t bother to plant crops. Banks noticed businessmen returning monies they swindled from former partners. On the appointed day Miller and thousands of followers withdrew to pitched tents outside Rochester New York to await the Rapture. They waited all day and all night. By dawn most went home disappointed and feeling a bit foolish.

1883- First performance at the New York Metropolitan Opera House. It was Gounod’s Faust with soprano Christine Nillson and tenor Italo Campanini.

1892-The SWAHILI WAR began. African ivory merchants Tippu Tip and Sefu began a revolution to drive the hated Belgian colonizers out of the Congo. This war has been forgotten in Europe in the light of how Belgium suffered under German occupations in the World Wars. But the Belgians proved they could be just as brutal in annihilating these native peoples as other European nations with more warlike reputations.

1900-Two bicycle repairmen from Ohio named Orville and Wilbur Wright build a large glider and fly it. They choose the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk North Carolina to test their glider because the winds were strong and they would crash in something soft. The airplane was still three years in the future but this was their first test of their prototype double winged plane design.

1903- Tom Horn, considered the Last of the Western Outlaws, was hanged in Wyoming for the murder of Willie Nickel. The era of the gunslinger ends with him.

1923- THE TEAPOT DOME SCANDAL hearings began. By World War I the U.S. Navy had refitted it's battleships from coal to diesel fuel engines, so maintaining a strategic petroleum reserve became as serious as nuclear stockpiles are today. The Secretary of the Interior Albert Ball arranged for some reserved oil rich areas of Teapot Dome Oklahoma and California transferred from the Navy Department's jurisdiction to his department of the Interior, so he could 'lease them' to oil magnates James Doheny of Doheny Drive fame, and Harry Sinclair. They in turn gave him a fortune in stock and other monetary kickbacks.
Albert Ball became the first senior cabinet officer to go to jail. It took years for the scandal to wind through the courts and blackened the last days of President Warren Harding's administration.

1934- Bank Robber James" Pretty Boy" Floyd killed in a furious gun battle with the F.B.I. He had told his father months before:" Pa, when ah go, I’m gonna go down in lead!" Floyd was considered a "dust bowl robin hood" for leaving food and money on doorsteps of destitute farmers. One story had him steal a pie cooling on a windowsill but replacing it with a $50 bill. In Woody Guthrie's "Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd" He says:" You may call me an outlaw, but one thing that I have known. I've never seen an outlaw drive a family from their home."

1938-THE BIRTHDAY OF THE XEROX COPY- Chester Carlson working with an amateur chemistry set behind a beauty parlor in Astoria Queens created the first photo copy. He took his invention to Edison, G.E., RCA and IBM who all rejected it. Finally a little firm that produced photographic paper for Kodak called the Haloid Company bought it. They later changed their named to Xerox.

1939-The first televised football game-The Brooklyn Dodger's 23 Philadelphia Eagles 14.

1962- Twentieth Century Fox chief Daryl Zanuck fired long suffering director Joe Mankiewicz off of the editing of the spectacle Cleopatra. Mankiewicz had shot a 6 hour movie he wanted shown as two films. Zanuck wanted one big movie at half that size. After a lot of embarrassing feuding in the press, Zanuck rehired Mankiewicz and he recut Cleopatra, When Elizabeth Taylor saw the finished film, she threw up.
Cleopatra became one of the biggest disasters in Hollywood History.

1962- After it looked like a news leak would make the news public anyway, President John Kennedy goes on national television and tells the American public about the CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS. 54 B-52 bombers with 4 Hydrogen bombs each took off to fly within two hours of their Soviet targets. 134 Titan nuclear missiles were armed.
Both sides wrestled with the temptation to do a 'First-Strike', meaning the side that hit first without warning just might knock out enough of the enemies nukes to limit the damage and “megadeaths” to his own side. Secretary of State Dean Rusk recalled: "I'd wake up in the morning and the first thing I'd think was, I'm alive, Khruschev didn't do it today." In Moscow, Khruschev grimly joked:" With the time difference, Kennedy works while I sleep and I work while he sleeps. Hmph, maybe soon we'll both be sleeping..."

1962- At the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis a stand up comic named Vaughn Meador recorded a comedy album called The First Family. It made lighthearted fun of John F. Kennedy and his White House. The record became the fastest selling hit of the pre-Beatles era, 7.5 million copies. Jackie called Meador a rat, but JFK thought it was funny and gave out copies as Christmas presents. He said Meador’s impersonation sounded more like his brother Teddy than him.

1966- In Oakland black militants Eldridge Cleaver, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and H. Rap Brown formed the Black Panther Party of Self Defense.
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Yesterday’s Question: Why is a project, that is bloated beyond control called A White Elephant?

Answer: A Prince of Siam (Thailand) would punish courtiers who displeased him by sending them the gift of an albino elephant. An animal respected with an almost divine reverence. The White Elephant’s care, feeding and upkeep would ruin the courtiers.


Oct 21, 2017
October 21st, 2017

Question: Why is a project, that is bloated beyond control called A White Elephant?

Yesterday’s question answered below: Who said “My Country, Right or Wrong!”…?
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History for 10/21/2017
Birthdays: Dizzy Gillespie, Whitey Ford, Alfred Nobel, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Blair, Carrie Fisher, Patty Davis (Reagan's daughter), Benjamin Netanyahu, Sir Malcolm Arnold, Manfred Mann, Sir Georg Solti, Angus McFadyen, Ken Watanabe is 58, Kim Kardasian is 37.

Today is the FEAST OF SAINT URSULA AND THE ELEVEN THOUSAND VIRGINS, one of the sillier medieval legends. Supposedly on the way back from a pilgrimage to Rome the saintly daughter of a Mercian (English) king had spurned the attentions of the King of the Huns. So he had her and all eleven thousand of her handmaids executed. Earliest accounts said she had only eleven servants and no one was killed.

1492- San Salvador. Christopher Columbus writes on this day in his diary about the new land he is exploring: " We must have found Eden. I think men shall never see this place again as we have seen it." Within 50 years of Columbus's discovery, the Indian tribe that welcomed him on the beach, the Taino, were all but extinct.

1520- Fernand de Magellan sails into the Straights named for him to the Pacific.

1600- BATTLE OF SEKIGEHARA The final battle of Japan's feudal civil wars- Warlord Ieyasu Tokugawa defeats the Toyotomi faction and becomes paramount leader under the Emperor, called the Shogun. Ieyasu later died from eating too much tempura, but the Tokugawa family closed off Japan from all contact with foreigners and missionaries and ruled as Shoguns until 1868.

1639- Battle of the Downs- Dutch Admiral Van Tromp destroyed a new Spanish Armada forming in the English Channel. The Dutch fleet sank or captured 70 out of 77 ships.

1797- The 44 gun frigate USS Constitution launched. Nicknamed Old Ironsides, it is the oldest commissioned warship in the US Navy. It saw active service until 1861, remained a training vessel and is still entertaining tourists in Boston Harbor today. Last week it took a spin around the harbor to show it still had what it takes.

1805- TRAFALGAR- Admiral Nelson destroyed Napoleon's naval power in one huge battle off the southwestern coast of Spain. Trafalgar is a vulgarization of the Arabic " Al-Taraff Al-Agharr" or " The Fair Point.” Nelson began the day raising the signal flags "England expects every man to do his duty." One of Nelson's toughest captains, Sir John Collingwood said: "What the devil is Nelson about ? We already know that!"

In the heat of the battle the one-eyed, one armed Lord Nelson strode up and down his poop deck in his full dress uniform to inspire his men. He loved medals, he even had one that spun around. He not only inspired the English Tars but also the French sharpshooters who targeted him. Nelson was felled by a shot through his spine. He received the news of the victory as he lay dying and said:" The day is ours, kiss me Hardy." Hardy was captain of the flagship HMS Victory. Another version said he actually said “kismet.”

French admiral Villeneuve, whom Napoleon goaded into fighting by threatening to courts-martial him as a 'Coward, Idiot and Traitor" left the service and later committed suicide. When they took Nelson's body back to England they bent it into a brandy barrel for preservation, which has been incorrectly called a rum barrel. Which is why today rum is known as "Nelson's Blood".

1837- The Second Seminole War ends. The US government conducted three long wars to remove the Seminole Indian Nation from their Florida homelands. The most famous Seminole leader was Osceola, who ran a guerrilla campaign for 7 years in the Florida swamps that frustrated American leaders like Andrew Jackson, Winfield Scott and Zachary Taylor. Finally treachery was used to bring him down. General Jessup asked Osceola to come to a conference under a white flag of truce and when the chief appeared he had him arrested and imprisoned. Despite good treatment Osceola was dead by January, it was said he “willed” himself to death. Seminole resistance continued under his allied chiefs Alligator and Billy Bowlegs until 1842.

1861- Battle of Balls Bluff. The only thing remembered about this Civil War skirmish was the death of President Lincoln's family friend Edward Baker. Another man wounded was a young lieutenant who would one day become a great writer and father of a Supreme Court Justice- Oliver Wendell Holmes. Holmes later wrote- 'sitting under a tree with two bullet wounds pouring out blood I decided to pass the time while waiting for the ambulance by beginning a debate in my mind about the existence or non-existence of the Afterlife. My final decision was -Damned if I Know !" In later years Holmes called war an “ Organized Bore.”

1879- Thomas Edison announced the invention of the Light Bulb. After experimenting with dozens of different type filaments in a vacuum Thomas Edison perfected the light bulb with carbonized cotton. He and his crew stared at the glowing bulb for 40 hours to make sure it was really worked.

1932- The film Red Dust premiered. It made stars out of Clark Gable and Jean Harlow.

1937- A cough medicine called Elixir Sulfalinamide sold in stores poisoned hundreds and killed 200 in 15 states, mostly children. It was found to have the same ingredients as antifreeze. The drug and the deaths led to the passage of the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which increased FDA's authority to regulate drugs.


1939- Turkey enraged Hitler and Mussolini, when contrary to their participation in World War I they opted to break with the Axis and remain neutral in World War II.

1944- BLOODY AACHEN- Aachen didn’t have much strategic value, but it was the first major German city to come under allied ground attack. It was the ancient home of Charlemagne and the first German emperors. The US First Army quickly surrounded the city, but the Germans dug in and held. For 39 days the US First Division the Big Red One did the bulk of the awful fighting- house-to-house, room by room. Finally today German Commander Gerhard von Wilke surrendered, even though he had been warned by Hitler that the Gestapo would shoot his wife and children if he did.

1956- The last trolley cars in Flatbush Brooklyn shut down.

1959- Six months after the death of Frank Lloyd Wright his last creation the Guggenheim Museum in New York City opened.

1967- THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON- 100,000 anti-Vietnam War protestors surrounded the Pentagon in Washington and tried to do an “exorcism “ and levitate the building. This was the day of the famous images of Hippies putting flowers in the gun barrels of the National Guard troops.

1969- Beat Generation author of On the Road- Jacques Kerouac died of alcoholism and stomach bleeding, a pencil and pad on his lap. He grew bitter about how his call for youth rebellion had been reinterpreted by the 60's generation as hippies and flower power. When he came upon a gathering of kids at an anti-war rally distributing American flags to burn, Kerouac collected them all and folded them neatly.

1972- Curtis Mayfield’s soundtrack theme to the movie “Superfly” debuted at Number #1 in the Billboard charts.

1975- The Cincinnati-Boston World Series-Carleton Fisk's 12th inning homer keeps the Boston Red Sox hopes alive against Johnny Bench and the 'Big Red Machine".

2003- The Great California Brush Fires. Hot dry wind and a lost hunter ignited the worst brush fires in California history. Ten fires from Ventura County north of Los Angeles to Tijuana Mexico burned hundreds of thousands of acres for two weeks, destroyed 3000 homes and killed 20. The smoke clouds were visible from space.

2015- According to Robert Zemeckis 1989 film Back to the Future II, all the events Marty McFly and Doc Brown experience in the future occur on this date. Got your hoverboard, yet?

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Yesterday’s Question: Who said “My Country, Right or Wrong!”…?

Answer: At a banquet, War of 1812 naval hero Captain Stephen Decatur was asked to comment on a recent partisan political issue. He raised his glass “ I am a military man, and as a military man, my creed must be My Country! In her intercourse with foreign countries may she be always in the right, but My Country, Right or Wrong!”


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