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Nov 22, 2019
November 22nd, 2019

Question: What city was once known as La Serenissima, the Most Surene Republic?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What was the Hellfire Club?
History for 11/22/2019
Birthdays: French explorer Sieur de LaSalle, George Elliot- pen name for Mary Anne Evans, Benjamin Britten, Charles DeGaulle, Andre Gide, Wiley Post, Billy Jean King, Boris Becker, Geraldine Page, John Nance "Cactus Jack" Garner, Hoagy Carmichael, Rodney Dangerfield, Robert Vaughn, Tom Conti, Mark Ruffalo, Victoria Paris- porn star of such classics like Bimbo Bowlers from Buffalo, Stevie Van Zandt is 68, Jamie Lee Curtis is 61, Terry Gilliam is 80, Scarlett Johanssen is 35

1220- Pope Honorius III crowned Frederick Barbarossa the Holy Roman Emperor.

1622- English poet John Donne ordained the deacon of Saint Paul’s Cathedral. The poet had written some of the most erotic poetry in English literature, now he devoted himself as fervently to religious contemplation.

1739- Georg Frederich Handel premiered the oratorio Ode to Saint Cecilia’s Day.

1809- Baltimore native Peregrine Williamson was given a patent for a re-usable steel pen. This finally freed the western world from sharpening goose quills and other feathers to write.

1864- The Battle of Griswold. After Sherman’s army had burned Atlanta they began ravaging the Georgia countryside. Except for some horsemen most of the state was defenseless before the Union juggernaut.
This day, a pathetic collection of Georgia state militia led by a drunk, accidentally blundered into Sherman’s line of march. The untrained boys and elderly men were angry how the Yankees had burned their homes. So despite the ridiculous odds they attacked- 2,000 charged 34,000. They were easily mowed down, and Sherman’s men resumed their march.

1880- Actress Lillian Russell made her debut on the New York Stage. Russell exemplified the sex appeal of the era- big figured, big bustle, tiny waist and big caboose.

1886- Melbourne’s Victoria Street Streetcar starts.

1888- According to Edgar Rice Burroughs, this is the birthday of the boy who would become Tarzan.

1903- Franklin Roosevelt proposed to his cousin Eleanor Roosevelt. She was President Teddy Roosevelt’s niece, Franklin was his 5th cousin.

1916- Author Jack London died at 40 in Glen Ellen California of kidney disease. The author of White Fang and Call of the Wild was a lifelong socialist and supporter of the labor movement. In 1919 radical Emma Goldman eulogized in an article in The Masses: “It’s a pity that brother Jack never lived long enough to see the Red Flags of Freedom flying over the Kremlin!”

1923- President Calvin Coolidge pardoned Lothkar Witzke, a German spy who had set off the Black Tom Pier explosion in New York Harbor in 1916.

1928- Ravel’s Bolero Suite premiered in Paris.

1935- The First Pan Am China Clipper service began from San Francisco to Honolulu and Manila. Captain Edwin Musik took off with 20,000 people waving bon voyage.

1942- Operation Uranus- The German 6th Army surrounded at Stalingrad. As the Russian pincers were closing around him, Gen. Von Paulus wired Hitler for permission to pull back and maneuver. Hitler promoted him to Field Marshal and ordered him not to withdraw one millimeter. The 6th Army was slowly starved, frozen and pounded on all sides. By February, 100,000 surviving German troops surrendered. They were sent to Stalin's gulags in Siberia where most of them died. The bitter Von Paulus became as diehard a communist as he had been a diehard Nazi.

1950- The Lowest Scoring Basketball game in NBA history. The Fort Wayne Pistons defeated the Minneapolis Lakers 19-18. They later became the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers.

1955- Shemp Howard, one of the Three Stooges, died of a heart attack while driving home with friends from a prizefight. No one noticed he was gone until they saw his lit cigar had fallen into his lap. He was 60. Born Samuel Horvitz, he got the name Shemp from his mother attempting to say his name Sam in her thick Yiddish accent.

1957- The Miles Davis Quintet debuted.

1963- ONE DAY IN DALLAS- At 12:30 Central time, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed. Whether you believe the assassin was Lee Harvey Oswald, The Military Industrial Complex, Vice President Johnson, the Mafia, Corsican contract killers, The C.I.A., Fidel Castro, Anti-Castro Cubans, space aliens, or all of the above, it remains one of the traumatic moments of US History.
John Kennedy had been warned about all the hateful conservative rhetoric originating in Texas. He said to Jackie about Dallas " We're going to Nut Country." One of the last things President Kennedy heard before the bullets struck him, was the wife of Texas governor John Connolly, who said:” Well Mr. President, now nobody can say they don’t love you in Dallas!”

After the shots, reporter Robin MacNeill ran into the nearest building to phone in the story. He ran into the Texas Book Depository and asked a skinny t-shirted man where the nearest phone was. Two days later when watching TV of the assassin being arrested, he realized he had been talking to Lee Harvey Oswald!

Jackie Kennedy, who after flying to D.C. from Dallas still wearing the blood soaked pink Channel dress “let the people see what they’ve done!” immediately started going over the funeral arrangements. Before retiring she had her staff comb the National Archives for the details of the 1865 Lincoln Funeral.

In 1966 evidence from the Kennedy assassination including the presidents brain disappeared. For years people claiming knowledge of a conspiracy died in strange ways, like karate chops and boating accidents. Much testimony is still under seal. Before she died, Jackie Kennedy left a personal affidavit with her lawyers that is not allowed to be made public until the year 2050. Only 15% of Americans believed Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. One Mafia don said in his memoirs:” If you believe Oswald, a rather lackluster Marine, could get off three carefully aimed shots from an bolt action rifle in just six seconds, you have a vivid imagination.”

1963- Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa had been fighting off indictments and racketeering charges pressed by the aggressive Attorney General Robert Kennedy. When Hoffa heard that President Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas his first reaction was to laugh:” Now Bobby is just another lawyer!” Hoffa was himself whacked in 1975.

1963- Aldous Huxley died. The author of Brave New World had inoperable cancer so his wife kept him high on LSD,

1965- The musical The Man of La Mancha opened on Broadway. “ To Dream, the Impossible Dreaaammm…”Brings back memories of middle school band practice.

1967- The United Nations passed Resolution# 242 calling upon all the belligerents in the recently ended Arab-Israeli Six Day War to live in peace and trade back conquered territories like the West Bank for permanent peace. But because the resolution is vague on ideas like what exactly is meant by “conquered territories” the nations of the Middle East continue to argue over its meanings.

1974- The United Nations seated the Palestinian Liberation Organization as an unofficial observer group. Yassir Arafat was allowed to address the world body with a noticeable pistol stock sticking out of his belt.

1975- Two days after the death of Generalissimo Franco, Juan Carlos became the first King of Spain since 1936.

1980- Screen goddess Mae West died at 87. He apartment suite at the Ravenswood in the Hancock Park section of Los Angeles has been lovingly restored, since the owner claims her ghost nagged him to put her furniture back!

1985- Apple ended a long lawsuit with Microsoft and Hewlett Packard that allowed them to share the visual characteristics of the Macintosh displays in their Windows software.

1986- 20 year old Mike Tyson knocked out Trevor Berbick to become the youngest Heavyweight Champion of the World.

1990- Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady of English politics, resigned her offices to successor John Major. After 11 years in power her popularity was low because of her poll tax, and resistance to English cooperation in the European Community.

1993- Sir Anthony Burgess died. The author of A Clockwork Orange had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and told he had one year to live, back in 1959.

1995- Pixar’s Toy Story opened, the first all CG movie, and the first true CG hit.

2005- Microsoft Xbox 360 goes on sale.
Yesterday’s Question: What was the Hellfire Club?

Answer: HellFire Club was the name given to several London Gentlemen’s Clubs in the 1700s, The most famous being St. Francis of Wycomb Club, where aristocrats, politicians and intellectuals partied hardy unfettered by the morality of organized religion. The bawdy goings on were exaggerated by reputation more than reality. But it is known such men as Benjamin Franklin, John Wilkes, Charles Fox, Edmund Burke, even a few of George III’s princelings and more took part in the revelries.