BACK to Blog Posts

October 09, 2009 friday
October 9th, 2009

Question: What is the meaning of the phrase 54-40 or Fight!....?

Quiz: What does it mean to “ set your imprimatur” on something?
History for 10/9/2009
Birthdays: Camille Saint Saens, E. Howard Hunt, Jacques Tati, Alastair Sim, Bruce Catton, Joe Pepitone, cartoonist Mike Peters, Savannah, John Lennon, his son Sean Lennon, E. Howard Hunt, Scott Bakula, Tony Schaloub, Peter Tosh, Charles Rudolph Walgren-the inventor of the modern Drugstore, Guillermo Del Toro is 45

Today is the Feast of St. Denis. If you've ever been to Paris you'll notice the Basilica of St. Denis is way out of town in a northern suburb.
In 270 a.d. Saint Denis and several followers were sent to preach in Lutetia (home of a Gaulish tribe called the Parisi ). The local Roman authorities had them rounded up and beheaded on a small hill north of town. The hill is today called the Hill of Martyrs, or Montmartre. The legend goes Saint Denis was so indignant at this lack of hospitality of having one's head cut off that he picked up his head and walked out of town. Where he reached the city limits and dropped down lifeless is where basilica designed by the Abbey Suger in 1122 today stands.

1000AD- VIKINGS DISCOVER AMERICA. Viking Leif Ericsson lands his dragonships in Labrador, Canada. He calls it Vinland and there are several theories why: one was because of an abundance of grapevines he discovered. Another is that the old Norse crossed with Latin Vinland could also be described as Land of Pastures. Still a third theory was that Leif may have been taking after his old man Eric the Red, one of the phoniest used car salesmen in history. Eric discovered a frozen waste near the arctic circle and named it Greenland to dupe people into coming out to settle, so Leif may have described this barren rocky shoreline Vinland to get suckers interested. The Vikings settled a colony in America but it didn't take and was withdrawn for unknown reasons. The second expedition under Thorfinn Karlsefni called the Indians they met Skraelings, and claimed they met a race of one legged men.

1192- Richard the Lionheart left the Holyland. End of the Third Crusade. He planned to return in 1196 and take Jerusalem but never did.

1609- Invalid Captain John Smith is put on a ship back to England. Smith had earlier gotten stung by a stingray and almost died. This time a powder horn exploded on his hip and blew out part of his side. While Smith was leader of the Jamestown Colony he had many enemies among the jealous gentry and some don't think he had an accident. Opinions also differ as to why the Jamestown settlers put Smith through a two month Atlantic crossing that could kill even healthy men. Some say they were hoping he wouldn't make it. He survived but never returned to America. Nobody told Pocahontas he had left and when she visited camp the men told her he was dead and forget about him. She would meet him ten years later in England when she was a wife and mother of the children of settler John Rolfe.

1635- Pilgrim Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts colony for saying the government should not be involved in determining someone’s religion.

1701- Yale University chartered.

1744- Peace of Kleinschellendorf- Frederick II the Great makes peace with Maria Theresa of Austria ending Prussian participation in the War of Austrian Succession.

1779- THE LUDDITE RIOTS- A movement of English peasants and tradesmen started by a man named Ned Lud who felt that all this newfangled machinery was going to cost them their jobs. The Luddites roamed the countryside smashing any looms, pistons, flywheels or other such devices they encountered. A similar movement in France. French peasants would remove their wooden clogs, called sabots, and throw them into a machine's gears to jam them, and coined the term Saboteurs.

1781- George Washington and the Comte du Rochambeau commenced the bombardment of English positions opening the Battle of Yorktown. Not much credit is given that although Rochambeau considered himself the more experienced tactician he diplomatically deferred to Washington as the commander of the allied army. Privately Rocheambeau didn’t think the American rebels had much of a chance, still, when the Yankee payrolls dried up he paid the US troops out of is own pocket. Hmph, so what have the French ever done for us, eh?

1809- The first Royal Jubilee celebrated in England. The monarchy had taken a number of hits lately. King George III was a blind, insane shut in and the Prince and Princess of Wales couldn't stand each other and were sleeping around. So an old widow named Mrs Biggs came up with the idea of a celebration of King George's 50th anniversary of his reign as a way to boost morale. It worked and it's been a custom ever since.

1888- The Washington Monument finally opened to the public. Construction on it was begun in 1840 and discontinued for a decade during the Civil War. Work was also held up when Protestant workmen refused to use marble blocks donated by Pope Pius IX.

1905- The World Series resumes after a one year haggle between the owners of the American and National leagues. A best of seven contest between the N.Y. Giants and the Philadelphia Athletics. It would continue undisturbed until 1994 with the players strike.

1938 Eugene O'Neill's play 'The Iceman Cometh' opened.

1951- RKO Pictures asked Marilyn Monroe to please wear panties while working, She was distracting the film crew.

1983- Reagan Interior Secretary James Watt forced to resign. Watt was a former oil industry lawyer who galvanized popular anger over his views on ecology, such as what's wrong with a few MacDonalds hamburger stands at the base of the Grand Canyon? Yet he refused to allow the Beach Boys to perform at a public 4th of July concert in DC because he felt they attracted: ”An unsavory element”. The thing that did Watt in was a comment he made about a government panel he had just convened. Quote Mr Watt:” We have all bases covered. We have a black, a woman, two Jews and a cripple!”

1986- The Fox Network's first program-the Joan River's Show, premiered. That show didn't last, but future hits like The Simpson's, Married With Children and the X-Files made Fox a major network in ten years.

1989- First edition of Penthouse Magazine in Hebrew. Oy Vey!
Yesterday’s Quiz: What does it mean to “ set your imprimatur” on something?

Answer: from the Medieval Church Latin imprimere- to print. To give permission to publish or give official sanction to proceed, usually by setting your seal , signet ring down on wax .