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Oct. 3, 2015
October 3rd, 2015

Question: O.J. Simpson. What does O. J. stand for?

Yesterday’s Answer below: in the Gilded Age, a popular food dish was terrapin. What is terrapin?
History for 10/3/2015
Birthdays: Gore Vidal, Mikail Lermontov, Harvey Kurtzman, Chubby Checker, James Herriot, Eleanor Duse, Emily Post, Leo McCarey the director of the Marx Brothers classic film Duck Soup, and many Laurel & Hardy shorts, Steven Reich, Dave Winfield, Tommy Lee, Neve Cambell, Clive Owen is 51

1226- Saint Francis of Assisi died at 44. He seldom bathed and he asked his followers to strip him naked so he could leave the world as he came in. They all sang his Canticle of the Animals, then he exclaimed 'Welcome, Sister Death." His gravesite was kept secret until 1818.

1574- The "Sea Beggers' the nickname of the Dutch rebel navy, lifted the Spanish siege of the Dutch city of Leyden. Surrounded by a large Spanish army, the Dutch flooded their dykes drowning thousands of enemy soldiers, then floated in their navy to the rescue. Singing their national hymn “Willhemus Van Nassauwen “they entered the city throwing bread from all sides to the starving populace. This victory turned the tide in the struggle with Spain for the independence of Holland. Prince William the Silent wanted to reward Leyden with a big tax cut, but Leydeners said they’d rather have a University. So William founded the University of Leyden.

1779- After the epic battle between the USS Bonhomme Richard and the HMS Serapis Captain John Paul Jones limped his battered ships into the nearest Dutch harbor near Amsterdam. The French and American strategists told him to do this, to drive the British crazy and get Holland into the war. The Dutch not only wouldn’t hand Jones over the British, they even allowed his men to guard his British POW’s under arms in a Dutch fort. Britain declared war on Holland soon after.

1800- The Gabriel Prosser Slave Revolt. Gabriel Prosser was a Virginia slave who planned an organized uprising in the Richmond area. His plan was to set fire to the downtown wharves as a distraction then seize guns from the armory and negotiate from strength his followers freedom. His plan as betrayed before he could put it into action and they were all executed. His plan had specific instructions about who was friend or foe. He wrote: “ Once armed Kill Everyone except Methodists, Quakers and Frenchmen. “

1855- American James McNeill Whistler arrived in Paris to study painting. He had tried to apply to West Point for a military career, but failed the entrance exam. Years later he joking told friends "If I hadn't identified phosphorous as a gas I'd be a major general by now!'

1895-The Red Badge of Courage first published. Despite being one of the best books on the average soldiers experience, author Stephen Crane was never in the Civil War or any army. He died of tuberculosis at age 26.

1903- President Teddy Roosevelt dreamed of a canal across the Isthmus of Panama linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. A French company had started the project and now wanted the U.S. to buy them out for $40 million. Panama was a province of Columbia and Teddy offered them $10 million for the land. Columbia said they wanted 40 so Teddy decided it would be cheaper to start a revolution instead. On this day he invited the leading Panamanian Nationalists including a Gen. Bonavilla to the White House and gave his tacit support for an uprising. After the Independence of Panama was declared Roosevelt recognized them within one hour and bought the Canal Zone- for ten million.

1903- Dr Horatio Nelson Jackson, the first man to drive an automobile across the American continent, was given a ticket in his home town for driving faster than 6 miles an hour.

1910- English comedians Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel first arrive in the U.S. with a touring British vaudeville company, the Fred Karno Troupe.

1918- THE LOST BATALLION During the Meuse Argonne Offernsive the 577th Battalion of the US Rainbow Division moved too far ahead of other attacking units and was cut off and surrounded by superior German forces. Called upon to surrender the doughboys fought off all attacks in a heroic stand for five days. Six hundred men went in, barely two hundred came out. After the war their commander Major Wittelsey was awarded the Medal of Honor but he never got over the trauma. Three years later he shot himself.

1928- The Nationalist Chinese Kuomintang armies completed the unification of China. After the Manchu Emperor was overthrown in 1911, China had fallen to pieces and it’s provinces were ruled by small warlords and foreign armies. Feng Xiao Yang “The Christian Marshal” baptized his troops with a fire-hose. Or Zhang Zhong Chang the ”Dogmeat General” who it was said “had a penis the size of a stack of silver dollars!” The Kuomintang created a new national assembly, constitution and elected Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek as their president. Chiang only had to deal now with those pesky Communists led by Mao Tse Tung.

1932- Iraq (formerly Mesopotamia) won its independence from British protectorate status.

1940- The US Army created Airborne troops. These soldiers would parachute behind enemy lines and infiltrate enemy positions. Because of the rigorous choosing and training process these troops turned out to be among the best prepared ground forces. The most well known divisions are the 101st Screaming Eagles and the 82 Airborne.

1941- Warner Bros. THE MALTESE FALCON "premiered. Screenwriter John Huston asked if he could direct an adaptation of this old Dashell Hammett story, which had been already made into movies twice. This version became the most famous. The name was kept despite producer Hal Wallis wanting to change it to THE GENT FROM FRISCO.

1942- In Pennemunde Germany, a group of Nazi scientists led by Dr. Werner Von Braun successfully launched a 12 ton rocket that flies 150 miles and almost breaks through the stratosphere into orbit. The good thing is Braun proves his thermos-bottle type liquid-fuel rocket engines arranged in a cluster of three can work. The bad thing is Hitler named them the Vengance-2, (V-2) fill them with explosives and started shooting them at England. When the war ended Von Braun and his team had been working on a rocket that could carry explosives 4,000 miles- to America.

1944- Haij-Amin al Husseini the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and spiritual leader of Palestinian Arabs was in Berlin writing Nazi propaganda for the Middle East. This day he pitched to SS Reichfuhrer Heinrich Himmler that he be allowed to organize an Arab-Islamic Nazi Army with which to conquer Palestine and drive out the Jews. Nothing came of the plan. While Churchill organized all-Jewish desert brigades in the British Army, the Mufti organized an SS Division for Hitler from Bosnian Muslims in Yugoslavia. After the war he was held in France for trial as a war criminal but escaped to Egypt where he lived out his days preaching resistance to Israel.

1951- The Shot Heard Round the World- Bobby Thompson's bottom of the ninth, last out, home run which enabled the N.Y. Giants to defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers for the National League Pennant.

1955- 'Good Morning, Captain.' The Captain Kangaroo kiddy Show debuted on television.

1955- The Mickey Mouse Club TV show premiered. “Who’s the leader of the Band that’s Made for you and me…?”

1957-Walter Lantz's The Woody Woodpecker T.V. show debuts.

1957- Jayne Mansfield met Greta Garbo and asked for her autograph.

1961- The Dick Van Dyke Show premiered. It made stars of Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore and was written by ex-Sid Caesar writer Carl Reiner and Rocky & Bullwinkle writer Alan Burns.

1967- Folksinger and union activist Woodie Guthrie died of Huntington’s Chorea. His family scattered his ashes in New York Harbor, then went to Nathans on the Coney Island Boardwalk for hot dogs, Woody’s favorite.

1972- After much backroom arm twisting by the Nixon White House, the House Banking Committee denied funds to the Packman Committee investigating the Watergate scandal.
This all but insured that the Watergate scandal would not break out in the open until after the 1972 Presidential election. Nixon won re-election by a landslide and the Watergate scandal made him leave office in 1974.

1986- THE K-219 INCIDENT- In the final years of the Cold War duel between the US and Soviet Union large nuclear submarines packed with missiles played a deadly game of hide and seek in the waters off the US and Russian coastlines. These submarine duels were dramatized by Tom Clancy’s novel the Hunt for Red October.

But recently evidence was declassified about a real incident. Either from mechanical failure or collision with an American sub the Soviet nuclear submarine K-219 had an explosion and reactor fire 250 miles west of Bermuda. As American ships looked on the Russian crew fought fire, acid fumes and radiation. The sub sank but not before Captain Alexei Britanov was able to evacuate 119 crewmen to a rescue ship. 4 crewman died including a young sailor named Pamynin, who gave his life to shut down the reactors with a hand wrench before they melted down. This young Russian sailor prevented the U.S. East Coast from being bathed in deadly nuclear radiation. A statue was dedicated to Pamynin in 1996. There were similar accidental sinkings of Russian nuclear subs in 1964-the K-19, and the Kursk in 2000.

1990- The rift between East Germany and West is declared officially over.

1992- Barack Obama married Michelle LeVaughn Robinson.

1992- Bald Irish pop star Sinead O’Connor caused a fuss by tearing up a picture of the Pope on the show Saturday Night Live. She was later booed off stage during a concert at Madison Square Garden.

1993- THE RAID ON MOGADISHU- US troops were deployed with other UN forces to the civil war wracked nation of Somalia to aid the starving population. Once there they found themselves plunged in a chaos of heavily armed warring clans. This day a Delta Force was sent into the capitol city Mogadishu to apprehend lieutenants of the faction leader Mohammed Farah Idide. Once there two helicopters were shot down by hand held missiles and the Deltas were surrounded in the narrow streets by swarms of hostile militia. The US forces fought their way out with the aid of UN Pakistani mountain troops. But the images of dead American troops being dragged through the dusty streets by gleeful Somalis soured the American public back home and the forces were soon withdrawn. Idide was later assassinated and the chaos continued. The Ridley Scott film BLACK HAWK DOWN dramatized the incident.

1995- After a long sensationalist trial turned into a media spectacle, celebrity O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the double murder of his second wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. He was later convicted in a wrongful death suit brought in Civil Court by Nicole’s family.

2002- Disgruntled Gulf War vet John Allen Mohammed and his 17 year old stepson John Lee Malvo went on a shooting spree in the suburbs of Washington DC as the DC Sniper. They shot thirteen people at random with one bullet each and terrorized Maryland and Virginia before they were caught. Even Son of Sam killer David Berkowitz was employed from prison to appeal to the Sniper to stop.

2003- The Siegfried and Roy magic show in Las Vegas comes to an end after a large Bengal Tiger attacks Roy Horn and tears his throat open in front of an audience. Most thought it was part of the act.
Yesterday’s Quiz: in the Gilded Age, a popular food dish was terrapin. What is terrapin?

Answer: A type of turtle, that was used for turtle steaks and turtle soup.