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March 22, 2008 saturday
March 22nd, 2008

After a week in New York City mixing Car Talk episodes, I'm back in LA. As I walked through Burbank Airport, a large colorful sign greeted me: THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS WELCOMES YOU TO LOS ANGELES!. This made me think: Gee, does that mean I have my old job back?...

Some friends ask me why I don't put more artwork on this site? Even my family said I should put more images up. I will eventually. In the mean time,I'm pretty busy, and writing history is my way of relaxing. When your full time job is fantasy, reality is where you come to relax and unwind. The other stuff sounds like work!

Quiz: What do Roscoe Conkling, James G. Blaine, Harold Stassen, John Lindsay, Nelson Rockefeller, Pat Buchanan and Mitt Romney’s father George Romney have in common?

Yesterday's Quiz answered below: What were the Lace Curtain Irish?
History for 3/22/2008
Birthdays: portraitist Sir Anthony Van Dyck, Marcel Marceau, Stephen Sondheim, Karl Malden, Werner Klemperer- Colonel Klink in Hogan’s Heroes, George Benson, James Gavin, Allen Neuharth the founder of USA-Today, Disney animator Milt Kahl, Fanny Ardant, Karl Maldin is 96, Lena Olin is 53, Reese Witherspoon is 32, William Shatner is 77 In honor of Bill Shatner's birthday, here is his rendition of Elton John's early hit Rocketman, from the 1978 Sci Fi Awards.

In ancient Rome this day was the Festival of the Entry of the Tree- when the priestesses of Cybele Goddess of the Harvest would lead a procession through the streets carrying pine or palm branches. In later times the Christians took this custom and made it Palm Sunday.

1622-POWHATAN INDIANS SUPRISE ATTACK JAMESTOWN.-While the Pilgrims were still thinking of coming to America and Plymouth Rock was just another rock, Jamestown Virginia was the only English settlement in North America. After the deaths of Pocahontas and Powhatan in in 1619, Opescanacough- pronounced Opee-cantanoo, became Mamanatowick- overall chief of the Virginia Powhatan Confederation. He had hated the English since the days of John Smith. So he resolved to rid his land of the white settlers once and for all with a simultaneous assault on them from all sides on the same day.
The settlers were taken completely by surprise, many while tending their fields. 300 were killed, among them John Rolfe, the husband of the late princess Pocahontas.
Despite such heavy losses the English recovered and in a slow war of attrition eventually defeated and killed Opescanocough and annihilated the Powhatan people.

1687- LULLY DIES. Jean Francois Lully was court composer to Louis XIV the "Sun King" and by all accounts a champion hustler and opportunist. The King once paid him for a march with a bag of diamonds. In an age when the Baton had not come into use for conductors (not until Beethoven’s time.) Lully conducted his orchestra by beating a large pole on the ground to the tempo of the music. One day during a performance he poked a hole in his own foot with the pole and died of blood poisoning. On his deathbed he asked a priest for Last Rites but the priest refused unless he burned his latest opera "Atys" which the church considered blasphemous (the church was always angry at theater folk for all the mythological allegories, they refused Last Rites to Moliere as well ). Lully admitted his sins and burned the manuscript of ATYS in front of the priest, who then gave him the sacrament. Later a friend came in and said:"How could you burn your work?" Lully replied:" Don't worry. I have another copy here in my desk. "

1882- Congress outlaws polygamy.

1894- First Stanley Cup Game- Montreal 3, Ottawa I."

1913- Jack London (White Fang, The Call of the Wild ) wrote fellow writers HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw and Winston Churchill and asked them how much they get paid. He was unsure what to charge.

1944- When the evidence became overwhelming President Franklin Roosevelt in a national radio address first told the American people of Hitler’s holocaust of the Jews. He warned that all persons aiding in these war crimes would be hunted down. Still no attempt was ever made to bomb Auschwitz, Dachau or even the railroad links to them. US Immigration rules had been tightened since 1938. Although Jewish groups had complained for years, the US public never really understood the full horror of the death camps until the film footage returned from the land armies a full year later.

1947- President Truman signed an Executive Order # 9835 ordering background checks of all government employees and to take a Oath of Loyalty to the United States. Two million took the oath, only 129 were sacked for refusing.

1958- Hollywood producer Mike Todd was killed in a small plane crash. He produced hit movies like Around the World in 80 Days and romanced starlets like Gypsy Rose Lee and Elizabeth Taylor. Taylor and Todd had been married for one year and she was devastated by the accident. Years and many marriages later Taylor said Mike Todd was the only man she actually loved.

1960- Arthur Shawlow and Charles Townes patent the laser beam. Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation or LASER.

1972- The National Commission on Drug Abuse recommends ending all penalties and laws prohibiting marijuana. No one listens to them.

1972- Congress passed the ERA, the Equal Rights Amendment, forbidding any discrimination by sex. The ERA was first proposed by women’s rights groups in 1923. With the heady atmosphere of Women’s Liberation in the early 70s the amendment seemed a no-brainer, however the Conservative backlash led by anti-feminists like Phyllis Schlafly slowly stunted it’s ability to win over states for ratification and the ERA died unratified in 1982.

1978- Karl Wallenda, 73 year old scion of the daredevil family the Flying Wallendas, fell to his death from a tightrope between two resort hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

1991- Ivana Trump divorces Donald Trump. A celebrated court case ensued to see how the huge Trump fortune would be divided. Newspapers cry Ivanna More Money!

1995- First day of shooting on that utterly classic film- Dinosaur Valley Girls!

Yesterdays Quiz: One more Irish Question. What were the Lace Curtain Irish?

Answer: Poor Irish immigrant families living in America would demonstrate to their neighbors how good they were doing by hanging lace curtains in their front window. This bit of elegance would mask whatever squalor or distress was in the rest of the home. Lace Curtain Irish came to mean Irish families who became so bourgeois they became indistinguishable from the WASP families they were trying so hard to emulate.