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March 16th, 2009 mon
March 16th, 2009

Question: Was St. Patrick Irish?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: What famous character from fiction rode a horse named Rosinante?
History for 3/16/2009
Birthdays: President James Madison, Conrad Nagel, Dr. Josef Mengele the Angel of Death, Teresa Berganza, Christa Ludwig, Pat Nixon, Alice Bonheur, Jerry Lewis is 83, Bernardo Bertolucci, Eric Estrada, Kate Nelligan, Isabelle Huppert is 56, Lauren Graham is 42

597 BC.- Babylonian King Nebuchanesser II captured Jerusalem and ended the Old Kingdom of Israel. He forced the Jews to relocate to Babylon and thus was the Babylonian Captivity. After Cyrus the Persian king attacked Babylon and allowed the Hebrews to go home, two tribes disappeared- the Lost Tribes of Israel. These events were the basis for the term Babylon to be associated with ultimate evil in so much Judeo-Christian apocalyptic writings.
It’s been speculated by some scholars that the Israelites at this time worshiped many gods but by the time they left captivity they had trimmed down to one god, the storm god Yahweh.

In the ancient Roman religion this was the first day of nine days of fasting leading up to the Day of Blood, sacred to the Goddess Cybele. Although Jesus fasted in the wilderness, he never asked anyone else to. This pagan festival may be where the Christian Church developed the Lenten Fast.

50BC- After maneuvering Pompey and his senatorial enemies out of Rome, Julius Caesar entered the city and proclaimed a general amnesty. Between now and his murder in 44 he drained marshes, built forums, opened the first public libraries and started the first newspaper in human history. The Acta Diurna –The Daily Doings- a one sheet of the acts of the Senate and events. It was pasted on the walls of the city or read by heralds.

37 AD- The Roman Emperor Tiberius had lived to a great old age and spent his last years at his private villa on the Isle of Capri. He had raised his sister Agrippina’s son Caligula to succeed him as Emperor upon his death. This day after weeks of failing health Tiberius seemed to breathe his last. Caligula took the signet ring from his finger and went out to receive the adulation of the Praetorian Guard and Senate as the new emperor. But suddenly word came that Tiberius had opened his eyes and was asking for wine. The embarrassed Caligula went back into the sickroom and himself smothered the old man with a pillow.

1758- THE ST. SABAA MASSACRE- The Apache had invited the westward expanding Spanish colonists to move into the Texas hill country near where Austin would one day be. This brought them into direct conflict with the fierce Commanche nation, just as the Apache had hoped. This day a Commanche war party descended upon the new Spanish Mission of St. Sabaa and wiped it out. 200 dead. After punitive expeditions failed the Spaniards wisely left the territory alone. It remained Commancheria until the American settlers overran it in the 1850s.

1778- In Paris, Benjamin Franklin first met Voltaire.

1792 -King Gustavus III Vasa of Sweden was assassinated at a masked ball. He had been warned and went incognito but the killers recognized him because of the bejeweled medals all over his costume. He was a good ruler to Sweden but like Catherine the Great of Russia had no use for democratic parliaments and ruled like an absolute monarch. Giusseppi Verdi later wrote an opera based on the incident, "Un Ballo en Maschera" and invented a love story where the King falls for the wife of his Prime Minister. He was later forced to revise his story however because the Swedish government resented their late king portrayed, as an adulterer. The King’s enemies in his time had accused him of being a child-molester. So to avoid any more hassle Verdi made Gustavo the Duke of Boston.

1802- The fortress at West Point New York becomes the United States Military Academy. 40 student cadets without uniforms. Today West Point graduates about 4000 officers a year. The Long Grey Line.

1830- DULLEST DAY IN HISTORY OF STOCK MARKET- only 31 shares traded for a grand total of $ 3,740 dollars. Sounds like the market last week.

1848- King Ludwig Ist of Bavaria abdicated over the scandal of his mistress LOLA MONTEZ . Lola started off as an Irish nymph named Betty James who changed her name and passed herself off as a Argentine flamenco dancer. Ludwig was so besotted with her that after awhile she was hiring and firing gov't officials as the Bavarian economy careened towards bankruptcy. Ludwig protested publicly that all Lola and he ever did was spend evenings reading aloud from Thomas a' Kempis "An Imitation of Christ".
He gave the crown to his brother Maximillian and she published a best selling book on beauty tips and toured the U.S..

1850- Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter published.

1861- TEXAS votes to join the Confederacy over the protests of elderly governor Sam Houston. Houston had argued that a better course to follow was to invade Mexico again and this time conquer all of it, after which the U.S would elect Houston President and he would redress all the Southerners grievances. Sam was a little out of it by now .
As the Texas legislature called out 7 times for Sam Houston to take the Oath to the Confederacy, Houston sat quietly in his chair whittling on a stick. He then retired to his ranch and died a year later. Thousands of Texans died in the Civil War and the state was under military occupation until 1877.

1906- The Rolls-Royce Motorcar Company incorporated. Mr. Charles Rolls and Sir William Royce quickly realized that they couldn’t compete with the mass produced low cost motorcars made by Henry Ford, so they appealed to the high end buyer with elegant hand made craftsmanship.

1913- Artist Aubrey Beardsley died of tuberculosis at 25. Having a religious conversion at the end of his life, but still the stickler for detail, his last words were :"Destroy all my erotic drawings...all the bad ones too...." Happily his friends did neither.

1921- On the final day of the 10th Communist Party Congress Lenin laid down the statutes barring dissent in Russia. From now on Anarchism, Socialism, Centrism, Trade Unionism, in fact any dissent or disagreement with the Soviet Communist Party from Right of Left would be seen as Counter-Revolutionary Dead-Meatism. Tired of arguing with old Bolsheviks over how Russian society should be transformed, he in effect stamped out the last sparks of democracy in Russia. The slogans of Russia belonging to the workers and peasants became just that- slogans. Russia really belonged to a small central committee controlling the Communist Party.

1968-THE MY-LAI MASSACRE- U.S. troops shot 400 Vietnamese civilians. The GI's were disgusted with the endless invisible ambushes and not being able to tell civilians from guerrillas. So this day they annihilated an entire village that intelligence said had aided in an ambush of an earlier patrol. They lined up people in front of an open pit and shot them down. They got so carried away that a Huey helicopter gunship had to place itself between them and the fleeing women and children and threatened to fire if they didn't stop.
Atrocities conducted under wartime stress are sadly common in all wars, but this one and the clumsy attempt to cover it up particularly horrified the American public. The ensuing media coverage fostered a harsh public attitude towards returning veterans, unprecedented in American wars. Only one officer, Lt. William Calley, went to jail. The surviving crew of the helicopter that stopped the massacre were finally acknowledged for their bravery in 1998.

1994- Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding was arrested for obstructing the prosecution of the case of the attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan.

2008- J.P. Morgan takes over collapsing bank Bear Stearns, the first major firm to collapse in the current great global economic crisis you and I are currently living through.
Yesterday’s Question: What famous character from fiction rode a horse named Rosinante?

Answer: Don Quixote.