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June 4, 2016
June 4th, 2016

Quiz: The British journalist who first exposed the FIFA Soccer corruption, dryly titled his book Omerta. What does omerta mean?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: English people love a wine called Claret. What part of England is claret grown?
History for 6/4/2016
Birthdays: King George III, Alvah Bessie, Rosalind Russell, Gene Barry, Dennis Weaver, Robert Merrill, Bruce Dern, Andrea Jaeger, Dr Ruth Westheimer, Freddy Fender, Rachael Griffiths, Noah Wylie is 45, Russell Brand is 41, Angelina Jolie is 41

Happy Saint John the Baptist Day.

1070- THE BIRTHDAY OF ROCQUEFORT CHEESE. Legend has it on this day in the town of Roquefort a shepherd found in a cave some cheese he had been saving but had forgotten about. He noticed it was covered with mold but he was hungry and ate it anyway, and lo and behold, it tasted much better than before...

1249-King Louis IX of France (St. Louis) arrives in the HolyLand on Crusade.

1259- Kublai Khan, the grandson of the Genghis Khan, was elected the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. Kublai then shattered Mongol tradition by dividing the huge Empire into three pieces. His uncle Kaidu would rule the Mongolian homeland and Uncle Batu the Western section (the Golden Horde in the Crimea) while Kublai preferred to rule China as it's emperor. In doing this he was acknowledging the reality that the master plan of Genghis for world conquest was unfeasible. The empire, which extended from Korea to Budapest to Baghdad was unmanageable and would break up anyway. Kublai Khan's Yuan Dynasty in China would last. He was the Chinese Emperor who met Marco Polo.

1615- Osaka Castle fell to the forces of Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa.

1647-English troops storm into St. James Palace and arrest King Charles I. While the king had been gently stalling peace negotiations with Oliver Cromwell and the victorious Parliamentary army encamped at Putney, he was in secret talks with the Vatican Nuncio. King Charles promised toleration for Roman Catholicism in the British Isles if they would lend him an Irish army to beat Cromwell. At almost the same time he was promising the Scots that he would make all of England Presbyterian if they lent him an army. His attempts to restart the English Civil War was what labeled him "That Man of Blood" and got him beheaded.

1666- Moliere’s play "Le Misanthrope" premiered.

1717- FREEMASONS- The Grand Lodge of England was inaugurated in London on St John the Baptist Day. This is considered by some the birth of Freemasonry, but many alleged histories claim the practices of the Brotherhood of the Craft go back to ancient Egypt and was brought to England by the Knights Templar in the 1300’s. There is some validity to the reports of independent Lodges already existing in the 1630’s in England and earlier in Scotland. The Freemason movement spread throughout Europe and became an alternative to Christianity for many intellectuals in the 1700’s. Mozart, Haydn, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Casanova, Voltaire and many more were members.

1789- King Louis XVI was a kindly but weak king who never made a decision without consulting his beautiful Queen Marie Antoinette. But as the storm clouds of the French Revolution began to cover the land the Queen was taken out of the strategic decision making. Her sickly son the Dauphin had died leaving her broken with grief.

1797- English officers in India fighting the Maharatta rajahs pause to celebrate King George III's birthday in their words "with a most ripe debauch."

1798- While Europe was convulsed by revolutions and Napoleon, the elderly ladies man Giacomo Casanova died of old age. He had accepted the retirement post of librarian for a Czech nobleman.

1844- The last Great Auk killed by hunters.

1863- Robert E. Lee launches his divisions from their encampment at Culpepper, Virginia northwards towards Pennsylvania for the campaign that will climax at Gettysburg. Their movements were first sighted by the new observation balloons invented by Thaddeus Lowe. Gen. Custer had already gone for a ride, and the concept of lighter-than-air flight had captured the imagination of a young German military observer then attached to the Union Army, Count Von Zeppelin. Demonstrating the curious cross-currents of history, after the war Thaddeus Lowe moved his family to Pasadena California and his granddaughter Florence "Pancho" Barnes became a pilot who raced with Aemelia Earhart and was friends with Chuck Yeager and the Gemini astronauts.

1896-Henry Ford tests out his automobile with headlights in a nighttime drive around Detroit.

1912-The first minimum wage law passed, in the state of Massachusetts.

1916-THE HERO PIGEON OF VERDUN- During the horrific battle of Verdun the Germans had surrounded the French strongpoint of Fort Vaux. The fighting in the underground 15 foot high concrete tunnels of the fort was ghastly, men killed each other with hand grenades and flamethrowers at close quarters while groping through the blackness and gagging at the stench of rotting corpses. The French commander Captain Reynal, his telephone communications cut, sent his last carrier pigeon to get help. The pigeon, despite being badly gassed and perching on the roof of the fort for a little while, got through to the high command. Delivering his message, he then fell over dead. Help never got through, and Captain Reynal had to surrender, but the dead pigeon was awarded the medal of the Legion d'Honneur.

1916 - Mildred J Hill, one of the two Hill sisters who composed the song Happy Birthday To You, died at 56.

1919- The Women's Suffrage Act passed the Senate by one vote. A chorus of women in the visitor's gallery break into: "Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow". The deciding vote was cast by a Utah senator who wanted to please his mother.

1938- Date of the famous Walt Disney Studio Norconian crew party to celebrate the success of Snow White. The young single artists (average age 26), released of tension and filled with booze, swapped bedrooms and galloped horses through the Hotel Norconian sending Walt and Roy fleeing the scene for fear of bad publicity. Walt picked the resort because when he first held a party at the studio, the crew trashed the place. One animator drunkenly fell out of a window.

1939- The Voyage of the Damned. The British ship SS Saint Louis was filled with 930 refugees, mostly Jewish families fleeing Hitler’s persecution. Up until the war the Nazis allowed thousands of Jews to emigrate, but after the Evian Conference the western democracies announced they weren’t prepared to open their borders to so great a human flood. So the Saint Louis was refused permission to land her cargo of human desperation. The ship sailed from Florida to Havana to Panama and finally back to Europe where most of the passengers perished in the Holocaust.

1940- The last day of the Miracle of Dunkirk. British sea transports and small pleasure craft cross the English Channel and withdraw most of the British Army trapped against the sea. 280,000 British men and 100,000 allies were saved, 40,000 men go into captivity.

1941- While the Second World War raged, 82 year old Kaiser Wilhelm II Hohenzollern died peacefully of old age. He refused all offers of Hitler to return to Germany and stayed in exile in Holland.

1942- The BATTLE OF MIDWAY. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto committed the bulk of his carrier force to destroy the American Navy once and for all. Recent research of Japanese Imperial files reveal he considered this step a prelude to the invasion of the Hawaiian Islands, which he hoped would force America to negotiate peace. But the path of Yamamoto’s fleet was revealed by the breaking of the top Japanese radio codes and the American fleet laid an ambush for him. It was a battle of carrier-based planes where the opposing fleets never saw each other.

The famous suicide attack of TBY-8, was an attack of U.S. torpedo planes on the Japanese carrier fleet without fighter cover. Of 51 planes, 47 were shot down by faster more agile Zeros. But while the zeros were on deck getting refueled and rearmed a cloud of Dauntless divebombers dropped out of the sky and blew Yamamotos four best aircraft carriers to bits- The Akagi, Hiryu, Soryu and Kaga. One American carrier the Yorktown was sunk.

The Japanese fleet would never mount an attack of this size again. Its defeat was seen by the U.S. Navy as the turning point of the Pacific War.

1942- Capitol Records opened for business.

1944- Original date for the D-Day Normandy Invasion. It was postponed until there was better weather. If the allies waited too long the tides would not be this good again until September.

1944- American armies at last enter Rome. An Allied beachhead had been established at Anzio last February only a few miles away and scouts had reported the Eternal City wide open, but the American generals Lucas and Clark hesitated until the Germans could bring up reinforcements and bog them down for weeks. But this day they entered the city to the cheers of the populace. A G.I. cartoonist named Vinny solicited laughs from the troops by appearing on Mussolini’s balcony on the Via Del Corso and doing a mock interpretation of Il Duce.

1947- The film "A Miracle on 34th St." opened. Starring Maureen O’Hara, Edmund Gwen and 8 year old Natalie Wood.

1951- The Supreme Court upholds the anti-Communist Smith Act. This act stated you could be fired from your job or jailed even on a suspicion that you were a communist, no proof required.

1951- Tony Curtis married Janet Leigh. The result was to produce Jamie Leigh-Curtis.

1965- The Rolling Stones release the single "Satisfaction".

1967- The television show "The Monkees" win the Emmy award for Best Comedy.
go figure... The producers of the Pre-Fab Four raise enough money and clout to fund later projects like the hit movie Easy Rider. This same ceremony saw Bill Cosby become the first African-American to win an Emmy, this for his role in the series I-Spy.

1972- UCLA political science teacher and black militant Angela Davis was acquitted of all charges of conspiracy and kidnapping by an all white jury in San Jose. Davis was arrested not for anything she did but just for her vocal support of more violent members of the Black Power movement. Her case, like almost all these kind of cases in the 60’s became a national cause-celebre. In 1980 Angela Davis ran for vice president as a candidate for the American Communist Party.

1977- The Apple II went on sale.

1989-THE TIENAHMEN SQUARE MASSACRE. Chinese army troops loyal to Premier Deng Zhao Peng crushed the student democracy movement in the center of Bejing. The demonstrations started around a funeral for Hu Yao Bang, a party premier who was ousted for his liberal democratizing policy. The crowds gathered in strength and militancy, students joined by workers and soldiers.

There was a hope China’s ruling elite would fall to a "people-power" type revolution that had overthrown Marco’s Philippines and the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe. But Premier Deng brought in soldiers from the rural provinces and brutally cracked down.

No figures of total casualties exist but the figure ten thousand is thrown around as conservative. Incidentally this incident probably was the beginning of the world popularity of CNN news. Despite threats from commissars CNN correspondent Mike Chinoy remained at his post and continued to broadcast when all other news teams had fled. Deng Zhao Ping’s name was a pun on the word for "little bottle" so people showed their resistance by smashing dozens of small bottles out on the street.

1990- The New York Daily News quietly discontinued its long running comic strip Ching Chow. Besides being un believably racist and offensive, the little one panel strip of a stereotype Chinese man with a long hair queue saying silly Confucian platitudes, also was the source of racetrack and numbers racket tips.

2003- Martha Stewart, the self-made millionaire leader of a home recipe empire, was indicted for insider trading.

2004- THE HOMEMADE TANK- In the small town of Granby Colorado, a muffler salesman named Jim Heemeyer got so annoyed at his town, that he welded iron plates on to a large bulldozer to create a kind of homemade tank. While policemen fruitlessly shot at it, he razed to the ground most of the public buildings in town before shooting himself. If you can’t fight City Hall, bulldoze it.

Yesterday’s Question: English people love a wine called Claret. What part of England is claret grown?

Answer: In the early 1700s the prime wine country of Bordeaux France, began exporting to England, because French King Louis XV preferred Beaujolais. The English had been calling Portugese rose Claret, now they gave the name to the light red.