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February 21th, 2009 sat
February 21st, 2009

Quiz: According to the Catholic Church, where do unbaptized babies go if they die?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: : In live action movies, why do you strike a set, when you take it down?
HISTORY for 2/21/2009
Birthdays: Leopold Delibes, C. Brancusi, Anais Ninn, W.H. Auden, Hubert de Givenchy, Era Bombeck, Sam Peckinpah, Nina Simone, Robert Mugabe, Joe Oriolo, David Geffen, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kelsey Grammar is 54, Jennifer Love Hewitt is 30, Alan Rickman is 63, Ellen Page is 22

1719- A London weekly announced “Mr Handel, a Famous Master of Music, is gone beyond the sea, by order of His Majesty , to collect a company of the choicest singers in Europe for the Opera in the Haymarket.” The London Opera is born. On his recruiting trip George Frederich Handel passed through his hometown of Halle. A few hours after he was gone another musician came to town having walked 25 miles to meet this great German who had conquered England. He was Johann Sebastian Bach. But he was too late. The two giants of classical music would never meet.

1814- LONG BEFORE BERNIE MADDOW- This day Captain De Berenger, a French exile aristocrat in the British Army, arrived in London with amazing news from the Continent- that Napoleon had been defeated in battle and had been killed by Russian Cossacks. The war was over! London went wild with celebrations and exiled King Louis XVIII held a celebratory ball. But the news was false. Napoleon was alive and would wage war for two more years. De Berenger was part of an elaborate stock fraud. His partners Andrew Butt, Richard Cochrane-Johnstone and Thomas Cobbett waited until the London Stock Market boomed with the news, then sold their shares at top price. When the truth came out and the market crashed, they had made a fortune. Soon a stock fraud investigation was convened and all the conspirators rounded up.
The only good thing from this was for America. Cochrane-Johnstones cousin Admiral Lord Thomas Cochrane was also implicated in the scheme and this prevented him from sailing to America with the British fleet. Cochrane-The Sea Wolf” was one of the best fighting admirals since Nelson and the model for fictional salts like Horatio Hornblower and Lucky Jack Aubrey. He would not be at Baltimore when the “Rockets Red Glare, the Bombs Bursting in Air..”etc.

1838- The first telegraph message sent by Samuel Morse "What hath God wrought?" He strung electric cables up and down several floors of his art studio using wood stretchers normally used for oil paintings. Morse was an artist and never wanted to be an inventor, he just did it to finance his painting.

1848- THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO- In Brussels Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published their revolutionary work the Communist Manifesto, redefining history in terms of economic class warfare and creating the terms communist and communism. Interestingly enough they picked Brussels to publish because that year 1848 there were revolutions happening in most of the other cities in Europe. In the 1998 to celebrate it’s anniversary an international publishing conglomerate issued a deluxe designer edition complete with trendy graphics and gilt cover. What would Marx have thought?

1885- The completed Washington Monument was dedicated by Pres Chester Allan Arthur. Plans for the obelisk were first drawn up in 1792 by Pierre L’Enfant and the cornerstone laid in 1840 but construction was constantly suspended. For a time because of the Civil War, another time because strict Presbyterian workers refused to handle Italian marble blocks donated by the Vatican.

1901- Yankee outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with prostitute Hedda Place, sometimes called Mrs. Sundance, left New York City by ship for Latin America and hopefully a new life. They built a ranch in the Patagonian foothills of Argentina, but 4 years later took up their outlaw ways again, eventually fleeing to Bolivia. Hedda Place returned to the US and disappeared from history.

1916-VERDUN began- One of the most horrible battles in world history. World War One German commander Eric Von Falkynhen had planned to draw France into a battle that would ‘bleed her white”, but he wound up bleeding his German Army just as badly. German and French troops battled over some stone fortresses for ten months. Hundreds of thousands of men died in one battle. Names like Petain, Rommel, DeGaulle, the Red Baron, even Bavarian Lance-Corporal Adolf Hitler were all there. The French fired 1 1/2 million shells in this thirty mile square area and the Germans even more. Regiments would be marched into the trenches, blown to bits, then another marched in. One whole French regiment was buried alive by shellfire. Today in a shrine you can see their bayonets sticking out of the soil, still in a straight line waiting to attack.

In the fortresses like Donaumont and Vaux men fought underground in 12 foot high concrete tunnels in total darkness with grenades and flamethrowers, their ears bleeding from the concussions and choking on the fumes and stench of rotting corpses. The French commander of Douamount went mad after the war and shot himself. The surrounding countryside was turned into a shellhole pocked lunar hell. Frenchmen are still digging up unexploded bombs 90 years later. It is said even birds would not fly over Verdun and nothing could grow there. Even their monument by Rodin is macabre. The Verdun Tourist Office was trying to emphasize the positive sites of the city, like they are the birthplace of those candy-covered almonds you get at weddings.

1942- After the port of Darwin was bombed by the Japanese, President Roosevelt ordered General Douglas MacArthur, trapped on Corregidor, not to go down fighting but escape and organize the defense of Australia.
Generals Eisenhower and George Marshal, who knew MacArthur, really didn't mind the idea of him dying in battle, but Roosevelt felt it would be too big a propaganda victory for the Japanese. MacArthur slipped away in the dead of night by PT boat with his wife and four year old son. He vowed to the Philippine people:"I Shall Return !" The army press liaison tried to change the press release to We Shall Return, but MacArthur insisted it remain as is.

1945-During the Battle of Iwo Jima the Marines raise the flag on Mt. Suribachi. Associate Press photographer Joe Rosenthal takes the most famous image of the war. It's now the Marine monument at Arlington Cemetery. Actually, he photographed the second flag raising. The first was a small flag stuck on a piece of pipe to get the artillery below to stop shelling and to give the Marines pinned down on the beach some hope. The second larger flag raising was done for the press. It was still plenty dangerous, two of the six flag raisers were later killed in battle that same day. Rosenthal almost missed the shot because he turned around momentarily to see if he was in the way of another cameraman.


1965- MALCOLM X was assassinated at the Audubon Meeting Hall in Washington Heights Manhattan. His last words were trying to quiet the crowd he was about to address-"Brothers, be cool." Three men then stood up and fired pistols and a shotgun killing him instantly. It has never been proven who ordered the killing. Popular sentiment says it was his enemies in the Black Muslim movement like leader the Honorable Elijah Mohammed, with whom he had broken.

1988- Televangelist Jimmy Swaggert tearfully confessed to his Baton Rouge congregation “Ah Have Sinned!!”. He had been busted for soliciting a prostitute. They forgave him, A year later he was busted again for the same reason but continues to preach morality on t.v. today.
Yesterday’s Question: : In live action movies, why do you strike a set, when you take it down?

Answer: Circus tent handlers used to work early movies when the big top was in winter quarters. The term goes back even further to Elizabethan sailors. To strike the sails, means to undo the ropes and lower them. So also to strike the tents means to undo the ropes and lower them, Likewise to strike the sets.