BACK to Blog Posts

May 2, 2020
May 2nd, 2020

Quiz: What is a riposte?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: Who was the saint who was crucified upside down?
History for 5/2/2020
Birthdays: Czarina Catherine the Great, Domenico Scarlatti, Manfred Von Richthofen the Red Baron, Bing Crosby, Dr. Benjamin Spock the Baby Doctor, Vernon Castle, Lorenzo Music, Theodore Bikel, Lesley Gore, Roscoe Lee Browne, Satyajit Ray, Pinky Lee, Link Wray of the Wraymen, Christine Baranski, Doug Wildey, Dwayne Johnson The Rock is 48

1349- The Kings of England and France are forced to declare a ten-year truce in their Hundred Years War because of the ravages of the Black Plague. After all, how can anyone be expected to have a good war, when everyone was already dead?

1519- Leonardo Da Vinci died at the chateau of Amboise in the arms of King Francis I. He had accepted the offer of the French King of a stable retirement (even then artists worried about that kinda stuff). Two hundred and eighty years later during the French Revolution peasants broke into his tomb to get the lead lining for cannonballs and threw his bones into a trash pile. So no one is sure where he's buried.

1670- The Hudson's Bay Company is chartered by King Charles II. At one point the Honorable Company was responsible for the administration of most of western Canada, called Prince Rupert's land, the largest land mass in history ever under the control of a board of directors. It's CEO, Sir George Simpson, was nicknamed "the Emperor".

1797- One of the marvels of Europe today is the preservation of the City of Venice. Beyond an occasional flood Venice never had a great fire or destruction by war. Many of the buildings are as old as Notre Dame. Venice was a naval power so all of her wars were fought out at sea. Venice was besieged once by Pepin the son of Charlemagne in 967AD. This day in 1797 Napoleon, pursuing his conquest of Italy, declared war on the Venetian Republic. They immediately surrendered.

1808- Spanish Independence Day- Napoleon had invaded Spain and put his older brother Joseph Bonaparte on the throne. The Spanish called him "Pepe Bottaglia" (Joey Bottles-due to his fondness for drink) and bitterly hated the French occupation. Reacting to the occupation of Madrid, the Spanish people riot in the Playa Del Sol and cut up all the French soldiers they can find. The French arrest and shoot them. Francisco Goya does lots of neat drawings and paintings. The Spanish invention of organized small scale partisan actions they will give the name "guerilla" warfare.

1813- Battle of Lutzen- Napoleon whups the Prussians.

1863- Battle of Chancellorsville - Robert E. Lee is surrounded by the superior Union army of "Fighting Joe" Hooker. Hooker bragged: "God have mercy on General Lee, for I shall have none!". Lincoln was more realistic: "The hen is the wisest of all animal creation. She does not cackle until AFTER her egg is laid." Lee gets out of the trap and defeats Hooker.

1865- A $100,000 reward was offered for the arrest of former president of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis, now a fugitive on the run from Union armies.

1885- First Good Housekeeping Magazine.

1920 –The Negro National League, the first successful all-Black baseball league, held its first game in Indianapolis. The league was founded earlier that same year by legendary baseball player, Andrew "Rube" Foster, and featured teams such as the Chicago American Giants, Chicago Giants, Cuban Stars, Dayton Marcos, Indianapolis ABCs, Kansas City Monarchs and St. Louis Giants in its first season.

1921- Chicago’s Field Museum opened to the public. It was housed in the building originally called the Hall of Fine Arts in the Great Chicago Exhibition of 1893.

1927- Buck vs. Bell. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled states have the right to mandatory enforced sterilization of the “unfit and incompetent”. These included low IQ and epileptics. This was a result of the Eugenics Movement, that felt America’s gene pool would be swamped by “lesser races”. A court could order you sterilized against your will. The Nazis said they learned much from study of these American laws. Even today, there are still sterilization laws on the books in 20 States.

1930- Little ten year old Phillip of Greece came home from school to find his mother Princess Alice von Battenburg had been packed off to an insane asylum, and his father Prince Andrew of Greece intending to send him to an Scottish boarding school so he could move in with his mistress. The boy would grow up to marry Queen Elizabeth II and become Prince Phillip of Edinburgh.

1932- Jack Benny's Radio Show debuts. Oh Rochester! Mel Blanc the voice of Bugs Bunny did many characters and voices on the show, including the engine of Jacks’ old Maxwell automobile.

1933- Hitler's stormtroopers raid all union offices in Germany. They seize their accounts and cart the labor leaders off to concentration camps. Hitler had said" Democracy and Free Enterprise cannot co-exist in the same state, and one of the evilest forms Democracy can take is Trade Unionism".

1933- The first modern sighting of the Loch Ness Monster. The Inverness Courier published an account of a couple that sighted Nessie and offered a reward for proof.

1936- Ethiopian Emperor Rastafari Halie Selassie the Lion of Judah fled Addis Ababa in advance of Mussolini's invading armies.

1945-As General Weidling surrendered what was left of Berlin to the Russians, Admiral Doenitz, then head of government, ordered his Foreign Minister, Schwerin von Krosigk to broadcast to the German people advising them to flee west," The Iron Curtain in the east moves closer and closer; all those people caught in the mighty hands of the Bolsheviks are being destroyed." Beating Churchill to the term Iron Curtain by a couple years.

1945- After the suicide of Adolf Hitler, the German ambassador to Dublin was summoned to President Eamon De Valera's office. He was given an official note of condolence on the loss of their head of state. The neutral Irish Republic became the only nation on Earth to send The Third Reich a sympathy card.

1945- All the remaining Axis forces in Italy surrendered. Meanwhile on this day in Bavaria, the top German rocket scientists led by Dr. Werner Von Braun gave themselves up to the Americans. On Braun’s worktable were plans for a missile that could travel 4,200 miles, far enough to reach the U.S. East Coast.

1952- The British Airline B.O.A.C. began the first trans-Atlantic jet plane service. This began the class of globetrotting rich partygoers named Jet-Setters. BOAC later became British Air.

1957- Mafia don Frank Costello had taken over the Lucciano New York crime family after Lucky Lucciano had been deported to Sicily. Another Lucciano triggerman named Vito Genovese felt he had been passed over. This day Frank Costello was crossing the lobby of his apartment on Central Park West, when Vinny " the Chin" Gigante came up behind him: "Hey Frank, this is for you!" and started shooting. Costello was left for dead but Vinny bungled his job- Costello was only grazed in the skull. He recovered, but wisely decided to retire from racketeering. Costello’s job went to Carlo Gambino.

1957- Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy, the Commie Hunter, died in an asylum from hepatitis, alcohol delirium and cirrhosis of the liver.

1964- Disney’s audio- animatronic Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln opened at the NY World’s Fair.

1967-" Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud!" The Black Panther Party announced it’s armed militancy to the US and the world by trying to break in with shotguns on the California State assembly during a vote. This caused Gov. Ronald Reagan to pass the first assault weapons ban in the U.S. The media would ring with the militant words and images of Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver and Huey Newton.

1972- J. EDGAR HOOVER DIED. He had been F.B.I. director since 1934. Despite his numerous achievements like neutralizing Nazi espionage and the Ku Klux Klan, he never seemed willing to attack the Mafia. While the FBI chased lone criminals like Dillinger or Bonnie & Clyde, the big crime syndicates in Chicago and New York functioned unmolested. Some speculate it was because he knew they would expose the FBI chiefs secret lifestyle. Hoover lived in a long-term relationship with his second in command Clyde Tolson. That didn’t stop him from outing high profile gays in the Truman and Johnson administrations when it suited him. When Hoover was buried at Arlington, the Marine guard handed Tolson the folded flag from the coffin, something only the widow gets.
J. Edgar said he needed his secrecy to pursue his high profile war on "American Immorality". When Lyndon Johnson was asked why he still kept the ancient F.B.I. director around, he replied:" I’d rather keep that old bastard on the inside of my tent a pissing out, than on the outside pissing in.".

1972- First day shooting on Steven Spielberg’s film JAWS. The giant mechanical shark used as a prop was nicknamed "Bruce" after Spielberg’s lawyer.

1982- During the Falkland's War a British helicopter equipped with Exocet missiles sank Argentina's largest battleship, the Belgrano. London tabloids ran as the headline over the burning ship- "Gotcha !" Interestingly, the Belgrano was a refitted 45 year old American battleship, the U.S.S. Phoenix, that had survived the Pearl Harbor attack.

1982- The 24 hour Weather Channel started.

1983- Microsoft introduced the three-button mouse.

1997- Movie star Eddie Murphy was busted for picking up trans hooker Artisone Seiuli at 4:45 in the morning on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. Murphy said he was just being a good Samaritan and giving the young lady a ride home.

2011- In the middle of the night American Navy Seal Team 6 flew into Pakistan and killed Osama Ben Laden. It turned out Osama had been living in a large compound just a few blocks from the Pakistani version of West Point. (Because of the time difference, it was still May 1st back in US).
Yesterday’s Quiz: Who was the saint who was crucified upside down?

Answer: St. Peter.