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April 15th, 2008 tues.
April 15th, 2008

My thoughts about the passing of Ollie Johnston are below.

Quiz: The Constitution stipulates the US President must be born in America. There is a controversy about whether John McCain can run, since he was born of US parents in the US Controled Panama Canal Zone. Has any American President not been born on American soil?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: Why were U.S. Southern country folk called Rednecks?
History for 4/15/2008
Birthdays: Leonardo DaVinci, composer Domenico Gabrieli, Nanak Ist – the Guru of the Sikhs 1469, Charles Wilson Peale, Theodore Rousseau, Henry James, Bessie Smith Queen of the Blues, Heinrich Klee, Kim Il Sung, Claudia Cardinale, Roy Clark, Emma Thompson is 49, Olympic runner Evelyn Ashford, Alice Braga is 25

Happy U.S. income tax day- celebrating the Internal Revenue Service who take their motto from the Roman Emperor Caligula : " Let them hate me, so long as they fear me..."

Fordicidia-Ancient Roman Festival where 31 pregnant cows are sacrificed in honor of Tellus, the Earth-Mother.

1729- The Saint Matthew’s Passion oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach was first sung at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig.

1738-The Bottle Opener invented.

1755- Dr. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language first published. Dr. Johnson first created the system of listing a word’s phonetic pronunciation, ancient roots and how to use the word in a sentence. The excellence of Dr. Johnson’s dictionary made him the virtual dictator of English writing in his time. Dr. Johnson allowed a bit of personal pique into his lexicographical prima non pares. He was annoyed that Lord Chesterfield pledged to finance his effort, but only sent a check for a measly ten pounds. When the book was a success his lordship claimed credit as Johnson’s benefactor. Dr. Johnson defined the word “Patron”- One who contributes Indolence, and pays in Flattery.”

1871- Wild Bill Hickok became sheriff of Abilene Kansas, then a wild boom town filled with drunk cowboys and yahoos.

1874- The first Paris show of Impressionist Painting.

1912- The S.S Carpathia finally reached the Titanic disaster site to rescue 705 survivors in the bobbing lifeboats. The Titanic death toll is now estimated at around 1,522 out of 2200. Today there is one survivor still living. Early reports of the disaster mentioned that the Titianic had struck an iceberg but that all was well. This day's Wall Street Journal noted the incident "proved a triumph of modern technology!"

1927- First Hollywood star's footprints in cement ceremony at Grauman's Chinese theater. Called Hollywood's most enduring publicity stunt. Norma Talmadge, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Sid Grauman himself are the first to leave their prints. Grauman also invented the classic Hollywood premiere with spotlights, red carpet runways and chauffered limousines.

1934- Chief of production Darryl Zanuck quit Warner Bros. over an argument about employee salary cuts to take over a struggling little movie studio called Twentieth Century Fox, which he turns into a giant.

1935-Kodachrome film developed. First as motion picture film, later for home photography.

1947- Jackie Robinson takes the field with the Brooklyn Dodgers. First black player to join the Major Leagues. Up until then the Brooklyn Dodgers in their history had never won more than 2 pennants. After Robinson and Campanella and other Negro league players were added they won 6 in 7 years and a World Series. At one game after a particularly nasty barrage of boos and catcalls from the crowd Dodger stars Duke Snyder and Pee Wee Reese went over and publicly put their arms around Robinson in front of the crowd..

1951- General MacArthur prepared to leave Japan after being sacked by President Truman. The Japanese adored their American Shogun who helped reform their society peacefully from it's postwar collapse. Even though MacArthur left his offices in the Daichi Building for his plane at 6:00AM the crowds to see him off were already ten deep. One unintentional bit of fun for the Americans was a large misspelled banner from a Japanese well wisher about MacArthur’s potential presidential run : “GOOD LUCK FOR YOUR UPCOMING ERECTION.”

1952- The Franklin Savings Bank issued the first credit card in the U.S.

1953- Famed illustrator Charles R. Knight died peacefully in a Manhattan hospital. The man who inspired the lush look of such films as 1933 King Kong, his last words were to his daughter Lucy, “Don’t let anything happen to my drawings.”

1955- The First MacDonald's Restaurant franchise opens in Des Plains, Ill. Ray Kroc, a travelling milkshake machine salesman, buys into a franchise restaurant idea cooked up by two brothers named MacDonald from Santa Bernadino. He urged the brothers to go national with their pre-prepared food system but the brothers wanted to stay local. So he offered them 1 million bucks for their idea and name (would you go to" Kroc's?") and the rest is history. The oldest surviving MacDonald’s from 1953 in Downey California was recently destroyed despite the efforts of historians and replaced with a plastic plaque.

1961- 48 hours before the Bay of Pigs Invasion Fidel Castro told the world his Cuban Revolution was Communist and he asked the Soviet Union and Red China for aid. He also ordered the arrest of 20,000 enemies of his regime. Since taking power in 1959 Castro had been cagey about the nature of his politics, but he used hatred of the Yankee Imperialistas as a strong national unifier. When he visited the US for the opening of the United Nations he was snubbed by most of the State Department except a 20 minute meeting with Vice President Nixon. Still, he tried to stay non-aligned until he knew the CIA was readying a coup against him. Fidel aka “The Beard” has since stayed in the Communist camp and outlasted nine US presidents.

1962-AUNTIE EM, AUNTIE EM! actress Clara Blandick, 80, the Auntie Em of the Wizard of Oz, took an overdose of sleeping pills and tied a plastic bag around her head. She left out on a table her resume and press clippings so the newspapers would get her obituary right.

1974- A surveillance camera picks up Heiress Patricia Hearst , now called Tanya, robbing a San Francisco bank with other members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, the group that kidnapped her.

1983- Tokyo Disneyland opens.

1990- Kennan Ivory Wayans comedy show In Living Color premiered on FOX TV. The show made stars of Marlon Wayans, Damon Wayans, Jamie Fox, Jim Carrey and Fly-Girl Rosie Perez.

1994- English ice skater John Curry who created the concept of Ice Dancing, died of HIV/AIDS at 44.
Yesterday’s Quiz: Why were U.S. Southern country folk called Rednecks?

Answer: Much of the original settlers of the rural mountains of West Virginia and Tennessee were Scotch Irish whose pale skin didn’t tan well in the Southern sunshine. Their simple farming skills and lack of formal education in the poor post Civil War South made them the first group of people who went into competition with the newly emancipated African Americans. The landed class often played these two groups off one another to perform the available paying physical labor. These people were called RedNecks as early as 1870.
Another theory of the origin of Red Neck, was the pro-labor coal miners fighting for their union in areas like Blair Mountain wore red bandanas around their necks to show their allegiance.