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History for 4.30.2016
April 30th, 2016

Quiz: Who was Little Egypt?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: A trip to the Moon, on Gossamer wings…..What is Gossamer?
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History for 4/30/2016
Birthdays: Elector Johann-Frederich the Magnanimous, Franz Lehar, Joachim Von Ribbentropp, Max Skladanowsky, Jaroslav Hasek, Eve Arden, Jill Clayburgh, Alice B. Toklas, Isaiah Thomas, Cloris Leachman is 90, Jane Campion, Al Lewis, Bill Plympton is 69, Lars von Trier, Burt Young, Willie Nelson is 83, Kirsten Dunst is 33

WALPURGISNACHT- In the Hartz Mountains of Germany the eve the Feast Day of St. Walpurga the demon chaser is a Halloween kind of party, when the Devil can romp for a night. It's part of the inspiration for Mussorgsky’s "Night on Bald Mountain".

535 A.D. STRANGULATION OF ARMALASUNTHA, queen of the Ostrogoth’s. One hundred years after the fall of Rome the nomadic Gothic peoples had settled in Southern Europe. The West-Goths or Visigoths across southern France and Spain, the East Goths or Ostrogoth’s across central Italy under their leader Totila.

But Totila had now died and his Vandal wife Armalasuntha was trying to fend off rivals to her throne. She had concluded and alliance with the Byzantine Emperor Justinian just before she was overthrown and killed by Totila’s brother Witimer. She was supposedly strangled in her bath, the latest fad among barbarians (baths I mean, they always had strangulation).

Justinian used her death as the pretext to invade Italy and try and get back the western half of the old Roman Empire. The Ostrogothic nation was at last destroyed by the Byzantine general Narses, who was a eunuch-little person. But the Roman Empire was not recovered and stayed fallen.

1524- The Chevalier Bayard, called the Knight without Equal and above Reproach, was killed covering the French rearguard after the battle of Romagnano. Bayard was considered the last of the great Knights of the Realm. France uses his death to count as the End of the Middle Ages. Fittingly the armored knight was shot by a rifle- a harquebus to be exact. When the fatal bullet struck him Bayard drew his sword and kissed the handle skyward as a sign of the Cross.
As the Chevalier’s remains were brought out of Italy to Grenoble, simple peasants came out to carry the coffin aloft from hand to hand for miles. At a time when nobles were despised, Bayard was beloved of all people.

1598-Conquistador Don Juan de Onate claims for Spain all of "New Mexico", a province comprising all of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and California. He began an aggressive colonization policy among the Pueblo Indians.

1789-FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES-wearing a suit of Connecticut homespun and a sword on his hip, George Washington was inaugurated on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York as the first President.

John Hancock and John Adams were always annoyed that they weren't made first president before him. Thomas Jefferson originally thought the position of elected ruler ridiculous "So they've saddled us with a Polish King." (The Kings of Poland at the time were elected figureheads with little power). Jefferson was made first Secretary of State and felt the position was so useless since we had no foreign policy he asked to also be made attorney general so he could do something to pass the time. Alexander Hamilton wanted to be first Secretary of the Treasury so he could manipulate it into something resembling a Prime Minister. This was the way the Exchequer had evolved in England. At the same time Vice President Adams was hoping for the same kind of power.

But Washington had his own ideas. His animosity with Adams may explain why the Vice Presidency evolved into the useless position it is. And Congress set up the Ways and Means Committee to curb the autocratic methods of Hamilton's Treasury Department. It's amazing that despite all this intrigue the system worked out the way it did....

1803- THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE - Spain had governed Louisiana since the French defeat in the Seven Years War. At first Napoleon dreamed of rebuilding France’s colonial empire, but after his naval defeats and the long war against rebels in Haiti he soured on the project. He had duped the King of Spain into giving him back Louisiana in exchange for the Italian Duchy of Parma. The King of Spain’s only stipulation was that should France ever wish to unload Louisiana it must come back to Spain. Napoleon said:" Trust Me!" then figured he could do the British most damage by selling it to the Yankees. Spain never did get Parma either.

The US wanted to buy New Orleans from France the way they bought Alabama from Spain and Maine from England. America's nightmare was England taking Louisiana from France the way they took away Canada in 1759. Then American expansion would be permanently confined to the east coast and the U.S. would be a one time zone country. Napoleon decided not jut to sell them The Big Easy but the entire Deep South and Midwest up to Montana! At the stroke of a pen the land mass of the United States doubled. Such a deal!

Napoleon later wrote: "I have confirmed the might of the United States and in her raised a Rival to England, that will one day Humble her Pride !"

1859- CAMARONE DAY- National Holiday of the French Foreign Legion.
It commemorates a battle during the French Empire in Mexico. 175 legionaries were attacked at a little ranchero called Camarone by thousands of Juaristas. The legionaries fought until only 12 were left alive with no more bullets. When the Mexican commander called upon them to surrender, Capt. Danjou ordered "Fix bayonets and Charge!"

Today the wooden hand of Capt. Danjou is a relic at the Legions headquarters outside Marseilles. Since then to do a gutsy action in Legion parlance is a Camarone. In 1951 in Korea when the Foreign Legion rose from their trenches to fight hand to hand with human wave attacks of Red Chinese, their war cry was "Camarone! "

1897- The Discovery of the Electron. English Professor J.J Thompson discovered a subatomic particle 100 times smaller than a proton. He called it a 'corpusle' but later changed it to 'electron'.

1900- John Luther Jones, called CASEY JONES died in a spectacular train crash near Vaughn Mississippi. Jones' freight train was running 75 minutes late so he stoked up his engine to 100 mph. Suddenly a switching error put a passenger train in his path. Jones stayed at the controls trying to stop the train while his crew jumped to safety. There was a head on collision but because of Jone’s bravery his was the only death. A brakeman later wrote the famous folksong.

Union activists prefer to remember that Jones was a strikebreaker running his train recklessly in defiance of a strike to impress his employers. The union still paid his widow his $3000 dollar life insurance. Folksinger Joe Hill in his song "Casey Jones the Union Scab." tells how when he went to heaven the Angel’s Union Local #23 "fired Casey down the Golden Stair.."

1905- At Evansville Illinois, future baseball umpire Cy Rigler began the practice of raising his right arm to indicate strikes, so that friends in the outfield could distinguish calls.

1916- The Chicago Cubs played their first game in Wrigley Field, then called Weegman Park.

1934- In Berlin hotel, Chancellor Adolf Hitler met Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, who showed him the plans for a cheap inexpensive car the average German worker could afford. A people’s car or VolksWagen. It would become the VW beetle.

1939- The 1939 World’s Fair opened in Flushing Meadows, NY. The Trylon & Perisphere presided over the gleaming Art-Deco paean to optimism, even as the world waited nervously for Hitler’s next move. With President Franklin D. Roosevelt in attendance the NBC network began regular television broadcasting. It only went to a few homes. Experts were not optimistic." It requires a darkened room and constant attention." one said.

1943- The body of an American Major named Martin washed up on shore in Italy. On the intelligence officer’s body was found sensitive documents outline the coming Allied Invasion of Italy through Sardinia. It was all an elaborate hoax set up by the OSS to fool Nazi strategists on Allied intentions. The body used was an unidentified corpse. It worked. In July when the Anglo-American forces invaded Sicily many of the German heavy forces were waiting in Sardinia.

1945- BERLIN FALLS. Sergeants Yegorov and Kantariya raise the red flag over the Reichstag as the last Nazi resistance in the capitol was stamped out. After a late supper of spaghetti and a tossed salad Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun bit down on cyanide capsules and Hitler put a Walthur PPK pistol in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Dr. Josef Goebbels and his family took poison but secretary Martin Bormann decided to take his chances making a run for it. For years it was thought he had made it to Latin America but in the late 1980's excavations in Berlin found his skeleton under a collapsed building crouching behind a tank.

Hitler even left instructions to have his Alsatian dog Blondi poisoned. The bodies were taken out to a ditch and burned with gasoline. A famous photo of a dead man with a Hitler mustache, was in reality a body double shown to the Russians to throw them off the track. Today, Adolf Hitlers’ skull is sitting in a filing cabinet in Moscow somewhere.
When Marshal Zhukov informed Soviet leader Josef Stalin by telephone of Hitler's death, Uncle Joe said:" Doigralsya, podlets!" So, that's the end of the bastard!"

Soviet troops found in Hitler’s office that he did possess a large world globe like Charlie Chaplin’s film the Great Dictator. The globe had arrows drawn in red pen pointed at England and the United States with Hitler’s handwritten scribbles "Look out! Here I come!". Russians covered the Reich Chancellery building with graffiti- the most popular being "Svenia went to Berlin" a version of the American "Kilroy was Here".

1945- "Arthur Godfrey Time" debuts on CBS radio. Godfrey was a local Washington D.C. deejay who gained nationwide fame for his emotional coverage of the funeral of FDR. He then went from radio to television, hosting the first regularly successful television entertainment program. Godfrey in later life got increasingly hard on his employees and in an infamous incident actually fired singer Julius LaRosa live on the air.

1948- The first civilian Land Rover automobiles produced.

1948- David Ben-Gurion read the declaration of independence of the State of Israel to a cheering crowd in Tel Aviv.

1952 - Mr Potato Head is 1st toy advertised on television. In 2000 Rhode Island declared itself the Mr Potato Head State. the Hasbro Toy Company is headquartered in Pawtucket, a city just outside of Providence.

1961- In Moscow, Lee Harvey Oswald married Marina Prusakova. He later moved back to the US and is alleged to be the lone assassin of President John Kennedy.

1970- President Nixon announced the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. The announcement from a President who ran on a Peace platform was greeted by an explosion of nationwide anti-war protests, climaxing in the Kent State murders.

1973- The Saturday Night Massacre. As the Watergate Scandal accelerates, President Nixon tells all his senior White House Staff- H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, Nicholas Katzenbach and attorney general John Mitchell that they were all fired.

1975 -SAIGON FELL. As Huey helicopters lifted the last panic stricken evacuees off of the US embassy roof, the South Vietnamese capitol city Saigon was taken by the Communist North Vietnamese army. Over 7000 people were lifted out by helicopter to the U.S. fleet, the largest helicopter evacuation ever.

One of the last out was US ambassador William Martin, with the Stars & Stripes folded under his jacket. As North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Thin accepted the surrender of the city he told acting South Vietnamese President Big Minh “ Do not be sad. Only the Americans are defeated. Consider this a moment of Joy.” The Vietnam War ends.
Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City.

1976- Great Disney animator Milt Kahl retired.

1980- Bert Lance, White House budget director for President Jimmy Carter was cleared of nine charges of fraud. Lance had once explained the economy thus: " Think of the Inflationary Spiral as a giant Corkscrew, and think of yourselves as the Cork."

1988- Tom Hanks married actress Rita Wilson.

1993- In Hamburg, young tennis star Monica Seles had just completed a match when lunatic fan named Gunter Parche jumped out of the crowd and stabbed her in the back with a knife. He didn’t want Monica to overtake Stephy Graff, whom he was stalking. Monica Seles recovered and resumed competition but never again regained her world championship poise. Parche spent a little time in prison but was soon released. Stephy Graff did stay the number one seed.

1992- BERN, the Geneva particle lab where the World Wide Web was developed by Tim Berners-Lee, declared that WWW. aka the Web would be open and free to all with no restrictions or royalties to be paid to them.

1993- The Walt Disney Company announced its’ purchase of top independent film producer Miramax. Ten years later a feud with Michael Eisner caused Miramax founders the Weinsteins to leave and form another company. By the time Miramax was sold off in 2010, it was a shadow of it’s former self.

1997- In the last show of the season, comedian Ellen Degenere’s character Ellen admits to Laura Dern that she’s gay. Disney promptly canceled the Ellen Show. Ellen returns with a talk show that is even more popular.

2012- The Freedom Tower, was the building made to replace the destroyed World Trade Center. This day it’s height surpassed that of the Empire State Building, to be the tallest building in New York.
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Yesterday’s Question: A trip to the Moon, on Gossamer wings…..What is Gossamer?

Answer: Gossamer is something super fine and delicate — like a spider web or the material of a wedding veil. The original gossamer, from which these meanings come from, is the fine, filmy substance spiders excrete to weave their webs. A dress can be gossamer-like, if its fabric is so sheer as to be see-through, or almost.


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