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February 10th, 2010 weds
February 10th, 2010

Quiz: Who coined the Boy Scout motto:” Be Prepared.”…?

Answer to yesterdays question below: Which US President was never a boy scout? A-Barack Obama, B- George W. Bush, C-John F. Kennedy, D- Franklin D. Roosevelt.
History for 2/10/2010
Birthdays: Former British PM Harold Macmillan, Jimmy Durante, Bertholdt Brecht, Leontyne Price, Roberta Flack, tennis great Bill Tilden, Lon Chaney Jr., Stella Adler, Mark Spitz, Boris Pasternak, Dame Judith Anderson, Greg Norman, Donavan, Dr Alex Comfort author of the Joy of Sex, Michael Apted, Jerry Goldsmith, Robert Wagner, Laura Dern is 43

1531- King Henry VIII demanded the Convocation of English Bishops acknowledge him as “only Supreme Head of the Church and Clergy of England” After much dallying, rejected compromises and threats the Bishops agreed. Their spokesman archbishop Warham later denounced the decision on his deathbed.

In the myriad of Protestant sects popping up as the Reformation spread throughout Europe the most radical was the Anabaptists. They took the idea of living simply like the Old Testament to an advanced form of anarchist communism- no leaders, no private property. This day mobs of Anabaptists drove out the Bishop of the German City of Munster and declared the city The New Jerusalem. Their leader John of Leyden lived like an Old Testament King in rich clothing with several wives. After the Imperial German forces recaptured the city with horrible massacre (see June 24th) the Anabaptist movement was suppressed- except… one Anabaptist preacher named Menno Simmons reformed the movement stressing simple non-political farmlife. His group the Mennonites established communities in the America, Canada and Russia.

1722- Although not as famous as Blackbeard or Captain Kidd, Bartholomew Roberts was one of the most notorious pirates that ever flew the Jolly Roger. This day he met his end when the British warship HMS Swallow caught up with his ship the Royal Fortune near Cape Lopez in Gabon. The pirates had taken a merchantman the night before so most of them were too drunk or hung-over to fight. Captain Roberts bellowed defiance but as luck would have it he was struck dead by the first cannonball from the very first broadside the British fired. “ARR-MATEYS, ARR ….OUCH!” His men threw his body overboard and after a short fight surrendered. Roberts was the model for J.M. Barrie when he created the nemesis for Peter Pan, called Captain Hook. Robert's pirates were rounded up and sent in chains to the Cape Coast in Ghana where an Admiralty Court hanged 54, the largest one time pirate hanging ever.

1763- THE TREATY OF PARIS- Ending the Seven Years War ( or French and Indian War here). Europe makes peace and England wins an empire. France cedes her territory in India and all of Canada. Spain gets Louisiana. “Half a continent changed hands with the scratch of a pen”. To ensure speedy approval of the treaty, Prime Minister Pitt the Elder set up a booth outside the Parliament to distribute cash bribes to the members as they went in to vote.
The French were bitter but philosophical. Minister Choiseul predicted:" With our threat removed the Americans will try for independence in ten years." American colonial representative Benjamin Franklin assured London:" Freedom is the last thing Americans want...."

1799- Napoleon marched out of Cairo at the head of his French expeditionary Army. He headed north towards Jerusalem and Syria but was stopped at the city of Jaffa. Around this time French soldiers discovered marijuana. The tough old soldiers thought it cheaper than brandy and didn’t leave you hung-over the next morning.

1814- THE GREAT WEEK- Napoleon's enemies, figuring the little bastard can't be everywhere at once, invade France from five directions with five armies, all aimed at Paris. Napoleon with a small force of 15-year-old draftee’s defeated all five spearheads in one week. Today was the Battle of Champaubert.

1825- Gideon Mantell reported the discovery of an Iguanadon from the sandstone in Tilgate Sussex. He called it such because the teeth of the fossil resembled to him those of a large iguana.

1837- Russian poet Alexander Pushkin dies of wounds from fighting a duel defending his wife's honor. His last words were to his books "Farewell, my friends..." Pushkin was the great, great grandson of a black man sent to serve Czar Peter the Great in his Moorish Guard.

1840- English Queen Victoria marries a minor German prince named Albert of Saxe Coburg-Gotha. It becomes a real love-match and they produce children who will occupy the thrones of Europe. Their common belief in strong moral values above all transform English society into something truly Victorian. Albert set men’s fashion trends like tuxedos, neckties and sideburns; he also introduced to Britain and later to America the German custom of Christmas trees. He also is the origin of the famous dumb joke: "Do you have Prince Albert in a can? Well, Let him out!! " yuk, yuk...

1846- After their temples in Navoo Illinois were burned by mobs, the Mormons under Brigham Young leave for their trek to Utah.

1862- After a hard night partying with fellow poet Swinburne, pre-Raphaelite Dante Rossetti returned home to find his wife dead of an opium overdose.

1863- Alanson Crane invented the Fire Extinguisher.

1888- The City of Long Beach incorporated.

1906- DREADNOUGHTS -King Edward VII launched a new British design superbattleship called HMS Dreadnought. In the early twentieth century battleships were like nuclear weapons, the number and size showed the world how important a power you were. The Dreadnought class launched a new arms race, as the world’s navies spent millions to build more. Thousands of protesters marched in London’s Hyde Park demanding better aid for the poor and shorter working hours, rather than more battleships. Ironically when the world did finally go to war in 1914, their battleships played a relatively minor role.

1907- THE EUHLENDBERG SCANDAL- Three of Kaiser Wilhelm's closest aides are accused by a labor newspaper of being homosexuals. The aides, including the Kaiser's personal friend Count Phillip zu Euhlenburg, sue in court, but were disgraced and ostracized in the way writer Oscar Wilde was in England. The scandal shocked German society, and the Kaiser suffered a nervous breakdown.
Discreet approval of gays was common in the pre-Great War officer corps. Around this same time, Wilhelm witnessed the spectacle of one of his top generals, 56 year old Count von Hulsen-Haesler, did a dance for the army general staff in a pink ballet tutu and rose hair garland ! The general had done these pirouettes before. But this time he suddenly seized up and dropped dead of heart failure. In a panic, the generals squeezed his stiff body back into his uniform and monocle before calling for the doctor.

1920- Major League Baseball banned the spitball pitch, scuff ball, licorice ball, all attempts to effect a baseball by defacing it’s surface.

1929- Elsa Lanchester married Charles Laughton.

1938- RKO screwball comedy with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant “ Bringing Up Baby” premiered.

1940-MGM's "Puss gets the boot" the first Tom and Jerry cartoon and the first collaboration of the team of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.

1940- Despite the dangerously low manpower to fight the Nazis in North Africa, the British Cabinet voted to overrule Prime Minister Winston Churchill and not arm the Jews in Palestine for fear of angering the local Arabs. Churchill said he couldn’t see keeping two valuable Australian regiments stuck in Palestine keeping the peace and not arming a people who “naturally have a stake in the outcome of this war” . Churchill finally got Jewish divisions formed in 1942 and eventually 30,000 Jews of Palestine served as opposed to 9,000 Palestinian Arabs. The Palestinian leader the Grand Mufti spent the war in Berlin trying to raise an Islamic Fascist division in Bosnia. These details were brought up by Zionist leaders during the postwar debates to form a Jewish State.

1941- Nazi planes bombed Iceland.

1949- The premiere of Arthur Miller’s play "Death of a Salesman".

1962- U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, shot down over Russia in 1960, was finally traded back to the U.S. for top Soviet spy Alexander Abel. In his memoirs Soviet leader Khruschev later confided to Kennedy that he kept Col. Powers through the American election of 1960 because he didn't want "that s.o.b. Nixon" to have the advantage.

1966- CBS co-ops broadcasting the senate Kennan Hearings on the conduct of the Vietnam War with reruns of "I Love Lucy'. CBS news division president Fred Friendly quits in protest.

1966-Jaqueline Susanne’s novel The Valley of the Dolls first published. Although critics considered it cheap and trashy- Time Magazine called it “Dirty Book of the Month”, and Truman Capote called Susanne in her heavy sixties eye shadow, a “Truck Driver in Drag” Valley of the Dolls sold like wildfire. Its frank portrayal of single women enjoying casual sex and taking drugs was a big step in the sexual revolution of the 1960’s.

1966- Author Ralph Nader gained national fame when he testified to the Senate about the lax standards of auto safety. His greatest criticism was for GM’s Corvair. General Motors responded with a smear campaign trying to paint Nader as gay and anti-Semitic. Nader successfully sued them in court. Many of his consumer advocates ideas are mandatory today like seat belts and listing gas efficiency on the sales sticker.

1986- Steve Jobs bought the Lucasfilm Computer Animation division calling itself PIXAR.

1992- The children’s book- The Stinky Cheese Man debuted.
Yesterday’s question: Which US President was never a boy scout? A-Barack Obama, B- George W. Bush, C-John F. Kennedy, D- Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Answer: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The scouts were created in 1910, when Franklin was already an adult running for the NY State senate.