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July 22, 2021
July 22nd, 2021

Question: What does it mean to be prosaic?

Yesterday’s Quiz Answered below:What does it mean to call something byzantine? As an adjective.


History for 7/22/2021

Birthdays: Emma Lazarus, Eduard Hopper, Gregor Mendel, Alexander Calder, James Whale, Oscar De La Renta, Rose Kennedy, Vaughn Bode, Stephen Vincent Benet, Jason Robards, Bob Dole, David Spade is 58, Terence Stamp is 84, Danny Glover is 76, Alex Trebek, Bobby Sherman, Don Henley, Alan Mencken, Irene Bedard, William Dafoe is 66, John Leguizamo, Selena Gomez, Albert Brooks is 75- real name Albert Einstein, a nice name, but already taken.

1298- William Wallace's Scottish rebels were defeated by English King Edward I Longshanks at the battle of Falkirk.

1378- Viva l’Popolo! Revolt of the Ciompi- Woolworkers seize control of the Florentine

Republic. They were eventually put down. This idea of peasants fed up with the Black

Death and class oppression who rise up against their feudal masters catches on. Peasant revolts break out across Europe- in France the Jacquerie; in England, Wat the Tyner’s revolt.

1502- Amerigo Vespucci and a Portuguese expedition returned from exploring the coast

of Brazil. It's popular nowadays to claim Columbus was ripped off by a German

mapmaker from the credit of discovering America, but there's more to it than

that. Columbus went to his grave believing he had discovered the outer coastline

of Asia. Amerigo, after exploring from Brazil up to South Carolina was the first to

present the idea that this new coastline was not Asia, but something quite different.

A new world.

1598- William Shakespeare lists on the Stationers Register, a sort of copyright service, his new play The Merchant of Venice.

1657-Battle of Czarny Ostrow-Poles defeated George Rakoszy the Voivode of Hungary.

1793- THE MACKENZIE EXPEDITION- No, I’m sorry, but Louis & Clark weren’t the first white men to explore the North American Continent to the Pacific. This day a party

of French-Canadian voyageurs and Scottish trappers led by Alexander Mackenzie reached the Georgian Straights in British Columbia ten years earlier. MacKenzie had been trying since 1789 to find the Pacific shore of Canada and stake British claims to

the great Canadian Northwest. In 1790 Mackenzie started out from Lake Athabasca

and followed a river that took him to the Arctic ocean instead of the Pacific -oops!

This time he reached the right salt water.

His 1801 book "Travels to the Pacific" was studied and debated intensively by President Thomas Jefferson and his aide Meriwhether Lewis. It is the prime reason the U.S. plans for the Lewis & Clark expedition to the Pacific were given top priority. For the first time since Christopher Columbus white settlers at last understood just how big the North American continent was. Mackenzie correctly estimated it was about three thousand miles wide.

1812- Battle of Salamanca. The Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon’s lieutenant Marshal Marmont in Spain. Wellington wrote in his report: " We have defeated 40,000

men in 40 minutes ". The battle was preceded by one of the most violent thunderstorms

anyone had ever seen. The troops were more afraid of the lightning bolts than the

cannon . The British noted that all of Wellington’s victories including Waterloo

were always preceded by a rainstorm.

1861- The day after the Battle of Bull Run the victorious Confederate army had no

serious opposition between it and Washington D.C. The Union army had panicked from

their defeat, thrown away their weapons and ran for the hills. If the Johnny Rebs

had marched the 25 miles into Washington and captured Lincoln, the Civil War would

have been over with and Bull Run would have been the American Waterloo. Instead

the Confederate generals sat down to argue amongst themselves who was to blame for

what went wrong in the battle, then a furious outbreak of measles ravaged the badly

sanitized camp. More men died from the measles than combat. The Confederacy let

slip their best chance to win the war in a few weeks instead of four bloody years.

One positive result of the panic after the battle was the Congress authorized the

creation of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Force, to supplant all previous

militias and provost guards to maintain order in the garrisoned city.

1862- EMANCIPATION- President Abraham Lincoln called a secret cabinet meeting at

The White House in the dead of night. Abe opened the session by reading jokes from

the newspaper by humorist Artemus Ward. The cabinet officers exchanged confused glances. Secretary of State William Seward found Abe’s folksy humor style annoying. He wondered if the Old Tycoon would ever get to the point. Lincoln then shocked them

all, when he said that he intended to free the slaves by presidential proclamation. This

without the consent of Congress. Seward convinced him not do it until there was

a Union battle victory, because to do so at the then bad state of affairs would

look more like a last act of desperation. In a few weeks the Battle of Antietam

was fought, which wasn’t a great victory, but it was at least it wasn’t an embarrassing

defeat, so then the Emancipation Proclamation was announced.

1864- THE BATTLE OF ATLANTA- Confederate leader John Bell Hood attempted to break the siege of the Atlanta by William Tecumseh Sherman. At the beginning of the fight Sherman’s gifted corps commander General Dan MacPherson was killed by a sniper. MacPherson was admired by the generals of both sides. Had he lived, many predicted he would have been President. When MacPherson’s successor General John Logan asked for orders, Sherman told him "Just Fight’em. Fight them like Hell!" Hood’s attempts at a break out failed.

1893 –In Colorado, Katharine L. Bates wrote the song "America the Beautiful".

1894- The first true automobile race- from Paris to Rouen.

1898- Russian revolutionary Lenin married Nadehzda Krupskaya.

1916- Anarchists set off a bomb at a Preparedness Day Parade in San Francisco. Ten

killed. Despite overwhelming evidence of their innocence, union leaders Tom Mooney and Warren Billings were convicted of murder and given life sentences. Mooney was pardoned in 1939 and Billings not until 1961! Oh, uh…sorry about your life there.

1917 –In the provisional government between the fall of the Russian Czar and the

Communist revolution A.P. Kerensky was the leading figure. This day after Prince

Lvov resigned from the government Alexander Kerensky became Russian Prime Minister

and combined it with the defense and justice ministry. He moved his offices into

the Czars palace and began virtual one man rule. It was said Kerensky was very passionate and motivational as a speaker, he just didn’t have many ideas.

1921- Artist Man Ray arrived in Paris determined to go Dada!

1933- Wiley Post completed the first solo flight around the world. The following

year Post would die in the same plane crash as writer Will Rogers.

1934- Public Enemy #1-John Dillinger was shot down by G-Man Melvin Purvis coming

out of the Biograph Theater on Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. He had just seen Clark

Gable and Myrna Loy in Manhattan Melodrama. Dillinger 's identity was betrayed

by Anna Sage, the Woman in Red, a German-Romanian prostitute who didn't want

to be deported. As they came out of the theater Purvis shouted “ STICK-EM UP JOHNNIE!” Dillinger dropped into a crouch and went for his gun. Purvis shot him dead. Anna Sage got deported anyway.

1945- In one of the last diplomatic notes to come out of Japan before the atomic bombing, Japan’s Foreign Minister said Japan refused any surrender terms that did not keep their Emperor in absolute power.

1946- THE KING DAVID HOTEL- The British headquarters in Palestine

was situated in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. This day a terrorist bomb blew

up the hotel, killing 91 people, and maiming dozens more. It was the work of fringe Israeli guerrillas called the Stern Gang. In 1980 their leader, now Prime Minister Menachem Begin, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Egyptian Anwar Sadat, another former terrorist.

1958- Plan 9 From Outer Space directed by Ed Wood, opened. It has the reputation as the worst movie ever made. Wood coaxed elderly moviestar Bela Lugosi to star in it, but half way though the film he died. Wood shot the remainder of Lugosi’s scenes with his dentist wrapped in a cape covering his face.

1965- Cary Grant married Dyan Cannon.

1967- Jimi Hendrix quit as the opening act for the Monkees.

1977- Walt Disney’s film "The Rescuers" featuring the last work of Disney

master animator Milt Kahl.

1989- Nintendo released in America the Gameboy. Designer Gunpei Yokoi designed it and the unique cross shaped directional fingerpad to replace a joystick control. Nintendo loaded Tetris on to it and it became a worldwide phenomenon. Gunpei Yokoi was killed in a car accident outside Kyoto in 1997.

1991- Jeffrey Dahmer’s final captive, Tracy Edwards, escaped his lair, still handcuffed, and got through to the Milwaukee Police. When officers arrested Dahmer, they found the remains of 11 people in his apartment.

1996- The Daily Show premiered on Comedy Central. John Stewart replaced Craig Kilborn in 1999 and made it famous.

2002- Worldcom filed for Chapter 11, losing $11 billion, up to then the largest bankruptcy in US history (later overtaken by Lehman Bros and Washington Mutual collapse). This while the CEO Bernard Ebbers was building himself a new $94 million mansion. Ebbers got 25 years in prison, and Worldcom reorganized as MCI. The following year the Bush Administration awarded them a no-bid contract to build a cellular telephone system in Iraq. Iraqis use their phones to set off remote control bombs.


Yesterday’s Quiz:What does it mean to call something byzantine? As an adjective.

Answer: Something of unbelievable complexity, with layer upon layer of confusing detail.