BACK to Blog Posts

May 15, 2020
May 15th, 2020

Quiz: What is the difference between a laugh, and a sardonic laugh?

Yesterday’s question answered below: What was President Richard M. Nixon’s religion?
History for 5/15/2020
Birthdays: Lyman Frank Baum, Claudio Monteverdi, Richard Avedon, James Mason, Joseph Cotten, George Brett, Jasper Johns, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Jean Renoir, Richard Daley Sr., Trini Lopez, Charles Lamont, director of Abbott & Costello Go to Mars, country singer Eddy Arnold, Chaz Palmintieri is 67, Lainie Kazan is 78, Joe Grant

The Mercuralia, the Roman Festival of Mercury, God of business, profit, and professional sports. Businessmen and athletes would go to the sacred well of Mercury on the Aventine Hill, and sprinkle sacred water on themselves to ensure good luck.

392A.D.- Roman Emperor Valentinian got so angry at a bunch of barbarians that he burst a blood vessel and fell over dead. Accession of Theodosius I.

756- Abdel Rahman I became Moorish Emir of Cordoba, Spain.

1248- Bishop Otto Von Hochstaden laid the cornerstone for the great DOM Cathedral of Cologne (Koln)

1577- The Orgy of Chenonceaux. Wild party at the French Royal Palace gardens with nude ladies cavorting with cross dressing knights and all such goings on.
Historians like Barbara Tuchman speculate that queen mother Catherine de Medicis threw this kind of party for her son King Henry III because the monarch showed no interest in his Queen, but hung around with his male courtiers, his "mignons"-darlings. She figured by placing scores of scantily clad damsels around the palace grounds perhaps the King would see that girls are fun too, and he should try some, and make some heirs to his throne.
If this was the reason for the party it didn't work. The king spent the evening trying on dresses, and there were no royal princes at the time of the king's death. This allowed the Bourbon dynasty to succeed to the throne.

1602 - Cape Cod discovered by English navigator Bartholomew Gosnold.

1648- Treaty of Muenster- After 125 years of conflict Spain finally signs a peace that recognized the independence of Holland.

1703- Charles Perrault died. Perrault 1628-1703 was a retired minister to French King Louis XIV, who wrote stories for children under the title Mother Goose. He created Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Puss in Boots.

1776- The Continental Congress in Philadelphia voted that the American Colonies would refuse to obey any further orders from England and would from now govern themselves. Yet they still shrank from the obvious step of declaring independence.

1800-At a performance at London's Old Drury Lane Theatre, a man rose from the audience and fired two pistols at King George III. They both miss and the assassin was dragged off. Old King George not only insists that the show go on, but even dosed off during the second act.

1863- Edouard Manet first displayed his Dejeuner sur l’Herbe at the Salon des Refuses in Paris. The painting is of two modern clothed men having a picnic with two nude women by a river bank. The women aren’t mythical goddesses or muses but just bare, naked ladies. This shocked Paris society and Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugene called it “Immodest and obscene”. Its revolutionary simple subject matter heralded the rise of Impressionism.

1874- Mexican Bandito Turbico Vasquez hanged. His last words were “Pronto!” The wild hills north of Newhall California where he hid out are today named in his honor-Vasquez Rocks. They are the site of numerous film shoots like original Star Trek episodes.

1903- While on a tour of Yosemite, President Teddy Roosevelt slipped away from his entourage to camp out alone under the stars with naturalist John Muir.

1905- From a public auction of railroad land, the town of Las Vegas Nevada founded.

1917- During World War I, this day Germany tried offering Russia an immediate peace so she could concentrate on the Western Front before the Americans could arrive in force. The Russian Provisional Government of Alexander Kerensky refused. This was a key moment for history. Part of the reason parliamentary democracy was overthrown by the Communists under Lenin was Kerensky’s refusal to stop the war, which was very unpopular with the average Russian. If they had agreed, Russia might have been spared Lenin, Stalin. Purges and the Cold War. But World War I might have turned out differently.

1927- The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel opened for business. Named in honor of Teddy Roosevelt.

1928- Walt Disney held a private screening of his completed cartoon Plane Crazy, featuring his new star Mickey Mouse imitating Charles Lindbergh. But it was a silent cartoon, and Walt had been impressed by the new Talking Pictures. So, he decided to hold back the release of this cartoon and push ahead with his first sound cartoon Steamboat Willie. After the success of Steamboat Willie, Plane Crazy was refitted with a soundtrack and released as the 4th Mickey Mouse cartoon in 1929.

1930- Miss Ellen Church became the first airline stewardess on a flight from San Francisco to Cheyenne Wyoming. Originally called SkyGirls, stewardesses had to be registered nurses in case of any health emergencies.

1935- Japanese Prime Minister Inokai was assassinated in his official residence by several young army officers because he tried to cut the military budget. Several top Japanese statesmen who tried to stop the military taking over the government wound up lying in the street full of bullets. Inokai was replaced as Prime Minister by Admiral Hokoku Saito. The war party now silenced all political opposition in Japan.

1935- The Moscow Subway system opens.

1940- Nazis panzer tanks pierce the French Maginot line near Sedan with little trouble.

1940- The first Nylon stockings go on sale in the US.

1941- Yankee centerfielder Joe DiMaggio had been in a dry spell hitting lately. This day he got a safe hit and began a hitting streak that ran for 56 straight games, an unparalleled feat. He became America’s most famous baseball player since Babe Ruth. He was variously nicknamed Joltin’Joe, the Yankee Clipper but his teammates called him affectionately the Big Dago.

1942- The U.S. initiated a program of wartime gas rationing. Slogans like “Is this Trip Really Necessary?” and a system of ratings vehicles with A, B & C cards pop up in a lot of gas stations for the duration. C meant a war-essential worker and you went to the head of the line to get gas. A cards was the lowest status.

1946- The first Tommy’s Burger stand opened in Los Angeles.

1947- Future President George Bush Sr. was initiated into the elite secret society at Yale University called Skull & Bones. It’s so named because initiates pledge to remain loyal until “I die and nothing remains but skull and bones.” His sponsor-Charles Whitehouse later became big in the CIA. So many Bonesmen went into the CIA that they nicknamed the agency,“ The Front Office.”

1948- The ISRAELI WAR OF INDEPENDENCE- The day after the State of Israel was proclaimed the Jewish State was attacked simultaneously by the armies of Iraq, Syria, TransJordan, Egypt and Lebanon. Egyptian planes bombed Tel Aviv and destroyed what Israeli airforce there was, leaving two Piper cub planes. Many Jewish fighters were veterans of WWII who were given guns and rushed into battle almost as soon as they stepped off their boat. The UN Mandate also called for the creation of a Palestinian homeland state but that seemed to be forgotten in all the fighting. Jordan and Syria both felt the territory of Palestine should be part of their country.

1949- Hungary voted in a communist government. Since the country was overrun with the Russian Red Army and there was only one candidate to check on the ballot, the result was hardly surprising. The Communist regime lasted until 1991.

1953- Rocky Marciano defeated Jersey Joe Walcott for the Heavyweight Championship.

1955- The Cuban dictator Fulgensio Batista ordered a partial freeing of political prisoners. One of those freed from prison was a young lawyer named Fidel Castro. Castro goes into exile but returns a year later with trained guerrillas to begin an insurgency.

1963 - Peter, Paul & Mary won their first Grammy for, “If I Had a Hammer”.

1967- Paul McCartney first met his first wife Linda Eastman.

1968 - Paul McCartney & John Lennon appear on the Johnny Carson Show to promote
Apple records, Joe Garagiola is substitute host.

1970- As at Kent State two weeks earlier, National Guard units again fire into a crowd of anti-war protesters. This time at Jackson State, Mississippi, slaying two students.

1970 – The Beatles' last album, "Let It Be," is released in US

1972- Alabama governor and rogue third party Presidential candidate George Wallace was shot five times by Arthur Bremer. Wallace survived but spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair in great pain.
An Ultra Conservative, Wallace always thought he’d be killed by some hippy black-panther liberal outraged by his extremist political views. But in the end he was shot by a lonely little loser who wanted his picture in the newspapers. Arthur Bremer had contemplated shooting President Nixon before he focused on Wallace. In all the excitement Bremer forgot to say the words he wanted to be quoted for on TV, ” Penny for your Thoughts…”.
The Nixon Whitehouse in their unique way immediately focused upon how they could turn this tragedy to their own political use. There was a scheme to plant George McGovern campaign material in Bremers’ apartment, but unfortunately for Tricky Dick’s people the FBI had already sealed it off.

1991- Socialist leader Edith Cresson became France’ first female Premier. She lasted only a year in office. For a nation renown for diplomacy, she said some pretty undiplomatic things- such as England was a nation of homosexuals, and when you negotiate with the Japanese, it is like ants crawling all over you.
Yesterday’s Question: What was President Richard M. Nixon’s religion?

Answer: He was raised a Quaker but did not practice.