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August 15th, 2010 sunday
August 15th, 2010

Quiz: In honor of the 65th anniv of the End of World War II: if you were watching TV that evening in 1945, what program told you the news?

Yesterday’s question answered below: When asked why how he stayed in great shape, even into old age, who said:” I never use hotel elevators. I always climb the stairs.”
History for 8/15/2010
Birthdays: Napoleon Bonaparte, Leon Theremin- inventor of that weird electronic musical instrument that is in all those 1950s flying saucer movies, Samuel Coleridge, Sir Walter Scott, King Frederick Wilhelm Ist of Prussia 1685, Lawrence of Arabia, Ethel Barrymore, Huntz Hall, Bill Baird, Julia Child, Edna Ferber, Sir Robert Bolt, Rose-Marie, Linda Ellerbee, Gene Upshaw, Oscar Peterson, Shimon Peres, Mike “Mannix” Connors, Nicholas Roeg, Anthony Andrews, Ben Afleck is 38, Debra Messing is 42

778 AD.-Battle of Roncevaux or Roncesvalles. Legendary battle where Frankish Emperor Charlemagne's top knights -the Palladins: Roland waving his sword Durandel, Oliver and Ogier the Dane fell fighting the Moors. In reality the battle was probably a small rearguard border skirmish with hostile Basques tribesmen in the Pyrenees Mountains.

But a poem about the incident called the Song of Roland inflated it into an epic Christian battle against the evil Moslem Moors, wizards and devils. The Chanson du Roland became the top best seller of the Middle Ages.

1057-Scottish king Macbeth was defeated and killed by Malcom III Canmore at the battle of Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire. But did Burnham Wood move to Dunsinane?

1097- DEUS VOLT ! GOD WILLS IT! The First Crusade was announced at Clermont by Pope Urban VII. Christian Europe decided that the Holy places in Jerusalem should not be in Moslem hands. In his sermon the Pope addressed the assembled knights in their native French: "Christian warriors who continually seek pretexts for war and rape Rejoice! If you must have Blood, then bathe in the Blood of the Infidels, and Christ will count you among his Warriors! Soldiers of Hell, become Soldiers of the Living God!”

1100s-1400s- PAX DEI- The Medieval Church tried to limit the carnage of knights fighting and feuding by declaring a Truce of God during Lent and this, the beginning of the harvest season. It sometimes worked, but slaying infidels was still okay year round.

1261 Byzantine Emperor Constantine VIII came from Nicea and recaptured his capitol Constantinople from the Crusader knights who had occupied it since 1209.

1549- First Christian missionaries arrive in Japan. A band of Spanish Jesuits led by Father Francis Xavier landed in Kagoshima on the island of Kysuhu.

1620 - Mayflower sets sail from Southampton with 102 Pilgrims.

1649- THE IRONSIDE CONQUEST- Oliver Cromwell brought his New Model Army over to Ireland to crush Catholic Irish rebellion. His depredations wreaked upon the population of Ireland are still recalled with bitterness as the Curse of Cromwell. Mass death of this kind would not visit the Emerald Isle again until the Great Potato Famine of 1846.

1848 - M Waldo Hanchett patents the dental chair.

1885- Sir Richard Burton completed his translation from medieval Persian of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights. There had been earlier attempts like a French edition in 1809, but Burton’s edition introduced the west to Aladdin and his magic lamp, Sinbad the sailor and Sherherazahde.

1911- Proctor & Gamble introduced Crisco shortening.

1914- After ten years labor the Panama Canal opened for regular service.

1935- Twentieth Century Pictures and Fox Pictures merge to become Twentieth Century Fox.

1935- Humorist writer Will Rogers and his pilot Wiley Post are killed when their small plane crashed in Barrow, Alaska.

1945- The US officially ended wartime gasoline rationing. 1947-"The Stroke of Midnight" India and Pakistan, the Jewel in the Crown, get their freedom from Britain after 300 years. The end of the Raj.

1960- The Congo ( Brazzaville) declared independence from France. It had been renamed Zaire for awhile but is back to the Republic of the Congo today.

1965- The Beatles play their largest U.S. concert yet, at New York's Shea Stadium.

1969-WOODSTOCK-Three Days of Peace and Music- The rock concert of the Century opened. The promoters, one of whom was heir to the Polident Denture Cream fortune, were hoping to host 50,000 people and launch a recording studio in the quiet New York farming town. What they got was 500,000 hippies and the social phenomenon that defined the Age. At one point the more conservative elements of the community got a court order to block the land to be used, but farmer Max Yasgur offered his cow farm for the site.
Up till then in the tumultuous 1960’s any gathering of young people that big meant violence and riot, and at one point New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller threatened to send in the National Guard. But the magic prevailed and there was no violence outside of 200 bad acid trips and one heroin overdose.

Richie Havens was the first act to play, he did six sets and kept stalling because the crowd was so immense they had to bring in the other bands by helicopter. When he ran out of songs to sing Havens started riffing any thing he could think of the top of his head. This way Havens created his most famous tune “Freedom” with added in spirituals like “Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child”.

1971- President Nixon announced a sweeping economic package including taking the U.S. dollar off the Gold Standard. The world's most stable currency being so transformed created the wildly free-flowing currency market we have today. When warned of this consequence President Nixon is supposed to have replied: "I don't give a sh*t about the Lire."

1977- THE WOW SIGNAL- Project SETI- Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence- heard something. It sounds like static to us, but it was a strong electromagnetic signal on a regular narrow band AM radio frequency emanating from deep space. So far, it has never been explained away or repeated. SETI scientist Jerry Ehmen noted in his log that night “….wow!”
Yesterday’s Quiz: When asked why how he stayed in great shape, even into old age, who said:” I never use hotel elevators. I always climb the stairs.”

Answer: Paul Newman. It was his response to being asked why he was in such great shape, even into his 80s.