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July 19,2009 sunday
July 19th, 2009

Quiz: Who were Murrow’s Boys?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: What does the opening notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony have to do with winning World War Two?
History for 7/19/2009
Birthdays: Edgar Degas, Col. Samuel Colt, Charles Mayo of the Mayo Clinic, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Vicki Carr, Max Fleischer, Lizzie Borden, Ille Nastase, George McGovern, Brian Harold May of Queen, Atom Egoyan, Anthony Edwards, Campbell Scott

64 A.D. THE BURNING OF ROME- As the city burned, Mad emperor Nero was inspired to run up to an observation platform and sing an elegy on the destruction of Troy while accompanying himself on the lyre. Romans later became suspicious when the areas most affected by the fire on the Palatine Hill were expropriated by the Emperor to build his palace, the Golden House.

The fire had started to die out after six days, but flared up again on the grounds of the estate of Tigellinus, an aide to Nero. The fire burned for nine days total and destroyed two thirds of the city, including a temple built by Romulus the Founder and the shrine of the Vestal Virgins.

711 A.D. Battle of Medina-Sidonia- The Moors conquered most of Spain. When he first landed, the Moorish commander Tarik Bin Ziyad ordered his landing ships burned. He addressed his warriors: " ...The enemy is in front of you and the sea behind you... You have no choice but victory!” Christian Spain was reduced to a thin strip up against the Pyrenees Mountains and in Galicia. The Moors weren’t driven out until 1492. Until then the Emirs of Granada and Cordoba set up lavish courts where great sums were spent on poets, artists, mathematicians and scientists.

1629- Communications between Europe and America in the colonial period were always spotty and confused. The fastest news could travel across the Atlantic was two months. On this day an English expedition attacked the French settlement of Quebec and captured Governor Samuel Champlain. Shortly afterwards a message came from London saying the war had been over for two months and they should let him go and apologize.

1717- George Frederich Handel premiered his suite the Water Music for a procession of King George II on pleasure boats from Whitehall to Lambeth Palace.

1799- THE ROSETTA STONE DISCOVERED. During Napoleons campaign in Egypt several soldiers digging a latrine uncover a black basalt slab with several forms of writing all over it. In 1821 Francois Champolion figured it out. The stone was the key to translating Egyptian hieroglyphics, sort of an ancient Berlitz Guide. The document in honor of Cleopatra and her brother Ptolemy is written three times in Hieroglyphs (sacred letters of Ancient Egypt), in Hieratic (governmental cursive type, a simpler form of Hieroglyphs used for texts unrelated to the Temple and Religion) and in Coptic, the same Egyptian language written in Greek letters. Since Champolion knew Greek, and had contacts with Egyptian Christian priests who spoke Coptic... The rest was the proverbial piece of cake...

Before the Rosetta Stone people thought Egyptian hieroglyphics were just magical symbols, but after the stones discovery the long mute voice of Ancient Egyptian civilization was heard again. Prayers, Literature and Poetry could now be understood. It was like the discovery of a long dead world.

1848- THE SENECA FALLS DECLARATION- The Birth of the American Woman's Rights Movement. In a Wesleyan Chapel 200 women delegates heard Lucretzia Mott and Elizabeth Cady-Stanton explained the case for women to be treated as equal citizens under the law. Frederick Douglas attended and admitted that at first he was a skeptic, but he left convinced.

1878- In New Mexico Territory the climax of the Lincoln County Wars, a feud between cattle barons and smaller independent ranchers. John Tunstall's attorney Big Jim McSween and his men including outlaw Billy the Kid were surrounded by a large force of rancher Murphy’s men backed up by militia with a Gatling gun and a howitzer. The Murphy men set the house on fire and shot the defenders as they rushed out. Billy the Kid blasted his way out to freedom. Big Jim McSween tried to surrender but was shot down.

1879- Doc Holiday had opened a saloon with a partner in Las Vegas, New Mexico. An army scout named Mike Gordon got mad at one of his dance hall girls, went out into the street and started firing wildly into the saloon. Doc Holiday came out, shot Gordon dead with one bullet, went back in and calmly resumed his poker game.

1913 - Billboard Magazine publishes earliest known "Last Week's 10 Best Sellers among
Popular Songs". Malinda's Wedding Day is the first #1.

1934- In an affidavit dated this day an old blacksmith from Pittsburgh named Louis Davarich claimed in 1899 he flew in a flying machine before the Wright Brothers. The inventor was a German immigrant named Gustav Whitehead and he designed a monoplane powered by a small steam engine. If true this would predate the Wright Brothers by 5 years, but Whitehead never documented nor published his discoveries, did not apply for a patent and died poor and forgotten in 1927. Is it true? Believe it or not!

1941 - British PM Winston Churchill launched his "V for Victory" campaign. By coincidence the letter "V" in morse code corresponded with the opening notes of Beethoven ‘s 5th symphony "Dit-Dit-Dit Daaah."making it the musical theme of the BBC overseas radio service war news.

If you ever lived in England you would know that reversing the two fingers sign is an insult akin to flashing someone the middle finger.

1957- That great movie I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF starring Michael Landon premiered.

1966- 50 year old Frank Sinatra married 21 year old Mia Farrow. Frankie’s ex Ava Gardner commented:” Hah! I always knew Frank would one day wind up in bed with a little boy. “ Two years later when Mia Farrow was offered the lead role in Roman Polanski’s film “Rosemary’s Baby” Frank gave her an ultimatum "Baby, it's either me or your career”. She took the part and he sent her a divorce notice on the set. Mia got an Oscar nomination and Frank recorded “Strangers in the Night”.

1990- The Richard Nixon Library dedicated in Yorba Linda California. Nixon's Western White House of San Clemente first refused the honor of being the site as well as his real birthplace town of Whittier . The little wood frame house where he was born was moved to the Yorba Linda site. At the dedication the five living Presidents were present. Senator Bob Dole pointed at former Presidents Ford, Reagan and Nixon and joked to a friend: "Look, there’s Hear no Evil, See No Evil, and- Evil.”

1993- President Clinton launched his Gays in the military initiative called "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." It caused a storm of controversy, and probably rooted more gay men and women out of their military careers than if nothing was done. The concept that homosexuality or bisexuality and the profession of arms are incompatible does not stand up to the historical record: Richard the Lionheart, Frederick the Great, Alexander the Great, Kitchener of Omdurman, The Sacred Band of Thebes, Shaka Zulu, Nicholson the Tiger of the Punjab and most of the Roman Emperors were gay or bisexual.
Yesterday’s quiz: What does the opening notes of Beethovens Fifth Symphony have to do with winning World War Two?

Answer : The Morse Code for the letter V for Victory, was dit-dit-dit Daaahhh. Which is the opening notes of Beethovens’ 5th Symphony, known as Fate calling. It seemed an appropriate slogan for the homefront victory campaign.