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August 8th, 2010 sun
August 8th, 2010

Quiz: When did the Americans liberate the Auschwitz death camp? A) May 1945, B) April 1945, C) March 1945, D) November, 1944

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What profession is nicknamed in France “Toe-Biters”..?
History for 8/8/2010
Birthdays: Emiliano Zapata. Esther Williams, Gene Deitch, Dino DeLaurentis, Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, Keith Carradine is 60, Rory Calhoun, Mel Tillis, Dustin Hoffman is 72, Martin Brest, Peter Weir, Patricia Arquette, Mamoru Oshii is 59.

1143- Byzantine Emperor John III Comnenus was killed in a hunting accident, when a poisoned arrow sitting in his own quiver scratched his leg. I don't know who hunts with poisoned arrows, but that's Byzantine politics for you.

1502 – King James II of Scotland marries Margaret Tudor the sister of English King Henry VII. Their child was Mary Queen of Scots and their grandchild James would be selected by the Virgin Queen Elizabeth to succeed her.

1588- THE GREAT PROTESTANT WIND- The bulk of the Spanish Armada was not destroyed by the English Navy but by a huge North Sea Typhoon that hit them off the coast of Northern Ireland. This is why if you want to view relics of the great Spanish galleons don't go to Cadiz, go to the Museum of Belfast. Supposedly the thousands of Spanish and Italian sailors marooned on the Irish coast intermarrying with the Irish population, who weren't crazy about the English either. They created the racial strain Black Irish, or Celts with milk white skin and black hair and eyes.

1662- We all have heard of how England captured New Amsterdam and named it New York, well on this date Dutch Admiral Van Tromp came back with a bigger Dutch fleet and took it back. He renamed New York "New Orange". But it didn't stick and after the peace treaty of Utrecht was signed, New York went back to the English. New Yorkers didn't really much care so long as it didn't affect business.

1709 - 1st known ascent in hot-air balloon indoors by Bartolomeu de Gusmao.

1811- THE IRON CROSS- Before medals common soldiers were rewarded for bravery with a few gold coins. Washington and Napoleon made medals things soldiers competed of. General Gerhard von Gneisenau urged the King of Prussia to create a medal like the French Legion d'Honneur to reward all ranks in the German Army. At first the sulky King was against anything that led soldiers to believe they were better than the common schweinhundts he felt they were, but he finally was made to give in. The new medal was based on the heraldic symbol of the Crusader order of the Teutonic Knights, a black cross formed by four arrowheads. The "Iron Cross" medal was created. Goths, Surfers and Hells Angels rejoiced.

1818- 22 year old English poet John Keats returned from a trip to the Lakes District only to discover the first signs of the tuberculosis that would kill him.

1876 - Thomas Edison patented the mimeograph, a forerunner of the Xerox process.

1920- The German National Socialist -NSDP or Nazi Party formed.

1925- The National Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan staged a massive march in Washington D.C. Twenty thousand white hooded members of the Invisible Nation marched down Pennsylvania Ave. in broad daylight. It was the height of Klan influence in American politics. Soon scandal, corruption and public revulsion of their violent methods would help break them down. It was said the FBI had half the Klan informing on the other half. In 1944 they re-formed themselves from a national organization to regional cells.

1944 - Smokey the Bear, named after NYC fireman Smokey Joe Martin born .

1945-Two days after the Hiroshima bombing, the Soviet Union declared war on the Japan and began landing troops in Manchuria, Korea and the northern Kurile Islands. The Japanese cabinet had hoped to avoid a total unconditional surrender by first negotiating a separate peace with Stalin, then using him to force a deal with the Anglo-Americans. But Stalin had his own ideas. Even today with Stalin dead and Communism long gone, the Russians still won’t give back the Kuriles.

1960 – Brian Hyland’s song "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-dot Bikini" hits #1.

1963 – THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY- In Buckinghamshire England a small group of masked men stopped the London to Glasgow express and stole 2.6 million pound sterling about $7.3 million U.S.. English police netted most of the gang, but the ringleader Ronald Biggs escaped. Biggs lived well in Rio de Janiero for thirty eight years and gave frequent interviews to British media. Old and sick, he finally returned to England and jail in 2001. “I just want one more pint in a pub” he sighed.

1963 – The Kingsmen release the song "Louie, Louie,". Many labeled it obscene, although no one is quite sure just what the song lyrics mean.

1973-Vice President Spiro Agnew vows not to resign. He resigned shortly afterwards.

1974 - Richard Nixon decided to resign the U.S. Presidency, after Senator Howard Baker informed him his last supporting congressmen on the Senate Impeachment Committee intended to change their vote to yes for impeachment. Insiders say his last call before making up his mind was to Blue Dog Dixiecrat George Wallace, who told the President he could no longer count on the support of Southern white conservatives.

1978- The character of Odie the dog first met Garfield in Jim Davis’ comic strip.

2008- Russia invaded Georgia. Part of the opening attack was a Russian Cyber-Attack, crashing all the websites and web communications in Georgia. Russian bombers also targeted cell phone towers. Estonia offered to keep the Georgian gov’t ministry channels open. Presidential candidate John McCain declared “ We are all Georgians.” Without asking anyone in the State Department if that was U.S. policy or not.

2008- The Beijing Olympic Games open. The opening ceremony used 20,000 dancers. When asked why so many, Director Zhiang Zshe Miou responded: Hey, we've got the people.."
Yesterday’s Question: What profession is nicknamed in France “Toe-Biters”..?

Answer: Undertakers. Before the Twentieth Century, people understood so little about coma and catatonic sleep, people had a dread of premature burial. Before burial, British undertakers would poke the inside of your nose with a pin, hoping to elicit a reflexive twitch. French undertakers would bite the toe of a corpse, checking for the same reflex. The nickname stuck.