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Nov 5, 2013 Tues.
November 5th, 2013

Question: Of the Norse gods like Thor and Odin, who was Heimdall and what was his job?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What composer once referred to his contemporary Johannes Brahms as an “Unharmonious German Bastard!” …?
History for 11/5/2013
Birthdays: Gen Benjamin "Spoons" Butler, Eugene V. Debs, Art Garfunkel is 72, Roy Rogers, Tatum O'Neill, Elke Sommer- born Baroness Elke Von Shletz is 73, Ike Turner, Vivien Leigh. Will Durant, Joel McCrea, Sam Shepard is 70, John Berger, Robert Patrick is 55, Tilda Swinton is 53

1414- THE COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE- Since 1378 the Catholic Church had rent itself in pieces over politics, with no less than three Popes claiming the loyalty of Christians. This day the German Emperor Sigismund made Pope John convene at Constance the largest church conclave since the Roman Empire. Five thousand priests, bishops, cardinals, patriarchs, princes with an army of servants, secretaries and retainers. Even fifteen hundred prostitutes.

The published the declaration Sanctissima " This Holy Synod of Constance represents the true Church Militant, and has it’s authority directly from Christ, and everybody of whatever rank including the Pope is bound to obey." They healed the schism by deposing all three Popes and electing one acceptable to all sides. They also pledged to reform the Church. Then after accepting a promise from new Pope Martin V that he would do so, they dissolved. Martin did no such thing and future Popes worked to ensure a council would ever get that powerful again. Too bad, if the Council of Constance had reformed the Church maybe the Reformation and all the terrible religious wars could have been avoided.

In Jolly Old England it is
HAPPY GUY FAWKES DAY! in -1605 Sir Guy Fawkes, a Catholic nobleman, was caught digging a tunnel under the English Parliament and filling it with gunpowder. His goal was no less than blowing up the King and the entire blinkin' government! Sir Roger Catesby was actually the mastermind of the plot, but Sir Guy gets the fame.
Modern day Brits commemorate this as a kind of April Fools Day with bonfires and merrymaking. Children go from door to door asking : "A penny for Sir Guy, please." But in olden times it was also a let's have a good laugh on the Roman Catholics day.
This is why George Washington was against transplanting the holiday in America. Pope Day was celebrated in some American colonies but it died out after the Revolution. In 1775 Washington called it: A ridiculous and childish festival, burning effigies of the Pope." Many English folks I know told me they celebrate the day they tried to blow up the government because wouldn't things have been lovely if he had succeeded!

1688- William and Mary of Orange land in England from Holland to start the 'Glorious Revolution' against daddy James II.

1699- According to Jonathan Swift, this is the day Llemual Gulliver was shipwrecked on the isle of Liliput.

1757- Battle of Rossbach- Frederick the Great defeats a French Army led by two generals Marquis de Soubuise and Hildeberghausen, whose only qualifications were that they were lovers of Madame De Pompadour. Frederick referred to La Pompadour as Madamoiselle Poisson- Miss Fish.

1805- The Royal Spanish Governor of New Mexico, Joaquin del Real Alencaster, dispatches a cavalry troop under Don Pedro Vial on a secret mission. On this day Vial's force is attacked by hostile Indians on the Arkansas River. Vial drives off the Indians but his command is too battered by the fight to continue and has to return, their mission aborted. What was their mission? To kill or capture the American explorers Lewis and Clark. The Spanish government in Madrid knew full well the object in the American President Jefferson’s mind in sending this "scientific" expedition to find a land route to the Pacific, over territory Spain still claimed, despite the Louisiana Purchase. Lewis and Clark, at this point in the Columbia River Gorge, were unaware of the drama around them.

1820- Old British sea dog Lord Thomas Cochrane had joined the Latin Americans trying to gain independence from Spain. This night he decided the best way to do that was to board the flagship of the Spanish Pacific fleet, the 44 gun Esmerelda. Cochrane with 80 Chilean sailors rowed up to the frigate and captured her after a brief but violent hand to hand struggle. As they rowed silently past the neutral USS Mendocino they were almost given away by the American sailors cheering them.

1830- The day after leading a protest march in Rochester Woman’s Rights advocate Susan B. Anthony defied the law by casting a vote in a New York election.

1857- Oxford professors at a dinner hear Sir William Trench call for a new Dictionary of the English Language, this time not just a sampler of difficult words but an attempt to inventory all the words used in English at the time. The OED, the Oxford English Dictionary took 70 years to write and was the biggest effort since Dr. Samuel Johnson’s dictionary of 1755.

1872- Susan B. Anthony was arrested and fined again for trying to vote in the presidential election.

1895- Invention of the Car Clutch.

1917- After the collapse of the Czar’s government, the council of the Russian Orthodox Church reinstated the office of Patriarch, suppressed by Peter the Great in 1700.

1937- Disney's silly symphony The Old Mill debuted. The first film featuring the multiplane camera technique.

1940- President Franklin Roosevelt was re-elected to an unprecedented 3rd term. His defeated Republican opponent- Wendell Wilkie, became the butt of jokes in many Looney Tunes.

1946- Two punk kids fresh out of the Navy were elected to the US House of Representatives- John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

1954- THE WRONG DOOR RAID- Baseball great Joe DiMaggio was stewing over the collapse of his marriage to sexy movie star Marilyn Monroe. He was especially sensitive to the rumors that she was seeing other men. This night Joltin Joe was having dinner with Frank Sinatra and a few friends when a detective brought him a report that Monroe’s car was spotted parked in front of an apartment complex on Kilkea Dr. in West Hollywood. Enraged, he drove out to the building and kicked in the back door hoping to catch her en-flagrante. But Marilyn was staying in a girlfriend’s apartment upstairs. This was the home of a terrified old lady named Mrs Florence Klotz. We don’t know what she thought about her door suddenly kicked in by Joe DiMaggio, Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, but the tabloids had a lot of fun with it.

1956- SUEZ CRISIS ENDS. The United States and Soviet Union bring heavy pressure on Israel, France and Britain to stop their war with Egypt. Egypt kept the Suez Canal, Israel no longer looked like a pathetic little country about to get stomped, and the world now saw that the only countries who’s opinion now mattered were Russia and the U.S.. British historian Jan Morris called it the official end of the British Empire. Israeli diplomat Chaim Herzog was visiting Mount Sinai when he got the cablegram to come to New York for the peace talks. He joked:" I am only the second Jew in history to receive a message on Mount Sinai."

1975- Mormon lumberjack Travis Walton was abducted by aliens and experimented on for five days, then returned to his Snowflake Arizona home. The encounter was seen by seven adult men, who were his co-workers. Walton published a bestseller Fire in the Sky, that was made into a movie.

1977- George W. Bush married Laura Welsh. Laura was once a Democrat who campaigned for lefty George McGovern in 1972.

1979- National Public Radio’s news show Morning Edition started.

1990- In New York City the founder of the Jewish Defense League, Rabbi Meir Kahane, was assassinated. The JDL was an extremist organization that advocated tough responses to Arab extremism. Even though he was elected to the Israeli Knesset Meir Kahane was refused a seat because of his racist views. So no one was too surprised that he was a target. But what was surprising was that the assassin, El Sayyid Nossair, was a member of a terrorist cell operating in the US. His apartment was a "treasure-trove of information" according to NYPD detectives. They found terrorist manuals written in Afghanistan, bomb making instructions and plans to NY city landmarks. The NYPD turned over all this intelligence to the FBI, who filed it and promptly forgot about it.

1994- Retired President Ronald Reagan gave his last public speech. He confirmed he had Alzheimers Disease.

1999- A man was arrested in Minneapolis for stealing and keeping 150 shopping carts in his apartment.

2004- Pixar's The Incredibles premiered.

Yesterday’s Question: What composer once referred to his contemporary Johannes Brahms as an “Unharmonious German Bastard!” …?

Answer: Peter Illych Tschaikowski. The two men loathed one another. They would only be in the same room if Dvorak or Bruckner was also present.