BACK to Blog Posts

Aug 4, 2022
August 4th, 2022

Quiz: What is a parvenu?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What is a Ouija board?
History for 8/4/2022
Birthdays: Percy Shelley, Hans Christian Andersen, Nicholas Conte' 1755-inventor of the modern pencil and the conte'-crayon, Louis Armstrong, William Pater, Dr. Alexander Schure, Richard Belzer, Franco Corelli, Elizabeth-England's late Queen Mum, Roger Clemens, runner Mary Decker-Slaney, Billy-Bob Thornton is 68, former President Barack Obama is 61

1181- Arab astronomers noted a supernova in the constellation Cassiopia.

1265- Battle of Evesham –Young Prince Edward Longshanks defeated the rebellious barons holding his father King Henry III of England captive. The leader of the rebel barons, Simon de Monfort had forced the King to acknowledge his creation of a House of Commons in Parliament. For that act old DeMonfort was so hated by the King's men that even after he was slain in battle they continued to chop his body to bits in a blind rage. But it was too late. Nothing could end the institution of a parliament of common men, curbing the capricious power of kings.

1578- Battle of Alcazar El Kebhir- King Sebastien of Portugal’s attempt to restart the long defunct Crusades, this time in Morocco, ended when he was defeated and killed.

1693- “Come quickly Martin, I am tasting stars!” monk Dom Perignon invented champagne. Others say this is baloney, Benedictine monk Pierre Perignon was indeed involved in the development of the Method Champagnoise, but the quote was invented for an advertisement in the 1880s.

1735- N.Y. newspaper editor John Peter Zenger had been writing articles criticizing the Royal Governor for corruption. Past governors of New York, Maryland and North Carolina were known to be fences for pirates like Captain Kidd and Blackbeard. This day German born Zenger's newspaper was shut down, and he was arrested for 'Seditious Libel". His trial and acquittal was seen as the first great victory in America for Freedom of the Press.

1753- George Washington became a Master Mason in the Freemason Lodge #4 of Fredericksburg, Virginia. The first Masonic lodge in America was founded in 1730 by Benjamin Franklin. Some think Freemasons akin to Fred Flintstone’s Waterbuffalo Lodge, but in the 1700’s, Freemasonry had strong political anti-clerical ramifications. Most European intellectuals –Voltaire, Mozart, Casanova, Lafayette, and Goethe were masons. Most U.S. Presidents were freemasons.

1776- The nice printed up Declaration of Independence we all recognize was officially signed. The declaration approved on July 2nd and published on July 4th was the rough draft. This day John Hancock signed that big flowing signature "So old King George won't need his spectacles". Today a nickname for a signature is a John Hancock. It was a gutsy thing to do, the signatures would be their death warrants if the rebellion was crushed.
During the War of 1812 when the British burned Washington D.C. the Declaration was hidden under a doorstep in Baltimore. For 30 years the Declaration hung in a window of the government patents office so people on the street could admire it. After few decades, the sun bleached the words almost to invisibility. Today millions are being spent on restoration efforts, like encasing it in pure helium.

1782- In Vienna’s St Stephen Cathedral, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart married Constanze Weber, the aunt of composer Karl Maria von Weber. Mozart had first proposed to Constanze's sister, but she chose another. They had several children, but only two survived to adulthood. They both died childless.

1789- The French Revolutionary Assembly abolished forever all rights of the nobility in France. The French aristocracy made up less than 1% of the population yet were given over 20% of the nation’s budget to play with, and they paid no taxes on their lands. The Revolutionaries also abolished the system of High-Law and Low-Law. In other words if some randy old Duke took a fancy to your wife or sister, you could do nothing but smile and hope he gave her some money for her trouble. These things more than the “Let Them Eat Cake” quote made people dance around the guillotine.

1821- 1st edition of Saturday Evening Post -published until 1969.

1855 - John Bartlett publishes his first book of "Familiar Quotations"

1874- Methodist clergyman John Vincent and Ohio businessman Lewis Miller began the Chautauqua Assembly in Northwestern New York. Under large summer tents lectures and training were given to Sunday school teachers and other church workers. The Chautauqua Movement grew into a national movement for religious revival and became a conservative rural force in turn of the century national politics.

1892-" Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks, when he saw what she had done, gave her father forty-one.", etc. In Fall River Mass, Andrew and Abbie Borden were found brutally murdered and their daughter Elisabeth was accused. Ms. Borden pleaded innocence and cited a long history of abuse from her parents. She was acquitted but the murderer was never found. When Lizzie died peacefully in 1927 she left $30,000 to the ASPCA.

1914- WWI- grey clad spiked helmeted armies begin crossing into Belgian territory to deliver their knockout blow against France-aka the Schefflein Plan. This strategy violated the neutrality of Belgium which had been agreed to by treaty since 1839. When this was protested, German minister Bethman-Holveig bragged "we shall not be held by a scrap of paper!" This outrage brought England into the war against Germany and made handsome young King Albert of the Belgians into an international celebrity. Ironically, professional diplomat Betthman-Holveig had worked tirelessly for the last three weeks to try and prevent the war, but by now he was reduced to a mere a mouthpiece for the army.

1918- Young corporal Adolf Hitler was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class, for bravery. He was quite proud of it and wore it on his uniform for the rest of his life. The German officer who recommended Hitler, and pinned his medal on him, Captain Hugo Gutmann, was a Jew.

1921 The Motion Picture Fund created.

1922- In honor of the passing of Alexander Graham Bell, all 13 million telephones in the United States observed three minutes of silence.

1925- Conrad Hilton opened the first Hilton Hotel in Dallas Texas.

1940- The Mayor of Montreal was arrested for telling French-Canadian citizens to resist the military draft to fight for Britain in World War II.

1942- The Bing Crosby-Fred Astaire-Marjorie Reynolds film the Holiday Inn released. The film featured Irving Berlin hit songs like White Christmas and Easter Parade, but is hardly ever shown anymore because the Lincoln’s Birthday skit featured the cast in embarrassing minstrel blackface, singing “ ‘bout Massa Lincoln”.

1944- British pilot T.D. “Dixie” Dean used his new Gloster Meteor jet plane to bump the wing of a German V-1 buzz bomb, causing it to flip over off course.

1944- Acting on a tip from a neighbor, the Gestapo discovered and arrested 16 year old Anne Frank and her family in their hiding place in an Amsterdam warehouse. All were sent to Auschwitz. Only her father Otto survived.

1955 –President Eisenhower authorized $46 million for construction of CIA
headquarters in Langley Virginia.

1956- Elvis Presley released his version of the Big Mama Mabel Thornton song, "You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog".

1964- The TONKIN GULF INCIDENT. . The incident that began the U.S. phase of the Vietnam War. North Vietnamese gunboats attacked the USS Maddox and the Turner Joy patrolling off their coast. The US claimed they were in international waters but the Pentagon Papers revealed that the Maddox was deliberately sent close in to the shore to provoke the Vietnamese to attack. The Maddox's captain testified he was 30 miles offshore when in reality he was 3 miles. For months the CIA had been conducting hit and run naval raids on the Vietnamese coast, but that was all still top secret. Although the U.S. already had advisers in the Vietnam for years this incident provided the legal pretext President Lyndon Johnson needed to escalate U.S. involvement up to 450,000 combat troops and trillions of dollars.
Johnson had told his press attache' Bill Moyers:" Bill, if this Vietnam thing comes off I'll go down as one of the great presidents of this century, if not I'll be the goat.".....

1964- Rand Corporation analyst Daniel Ellsberg’s first day working at the Pentagon. Ellsberg would be the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers.

1984- Actor Johnny Depp opened his own club on the Sunset Strip called the Viper Room. The original club on that site had once been owned by mobster Bugsy Siegel.

1993- Japan admitted that during World War II they forced 200,000 Korean and Chinese women to become “comfort women”- i.e., prostitutes for the Japanese soldiers. The army organized this policy after in 1937 the massed rapes of Chinese women in Nanking made them look bad in the world press.
Yesterday’s Quiz: What is a Ouija board?

Answer: An offshoot of the late XIX Century fashion for Spiritualism and Divination. A mass-marketed talking board created by Elijah Bond in Baltimore in 1890. It was a surface on which is an alphabet, numerals and other symbols are printed. Those using the board place their hands on a small pointer that, in theory, a force from another spiritual plane, generally from people who have passed away, guide the indicator in spelling out or otherwise pointing to a message. The name Ouija was supposed Ancient Egyptian for Good Life. It really means Yes in French and German Oui-Ja.