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Saturday I was in Boston, not to celebrate the Celtics win like the rest of the city, but to celebrate the world premiere of our show CLICK & CLACKS' AS THE WRENCH TURNS. It was all a big benefit for the local NPR station, WBUR, and it was at the prestigious Kresge Auditorium at MIT. Maybe there was about a thousand people there.

Tom and Ray Magliazzi were their crazy, charming selves. After some speeches and banter they ran one of our episodes. The audience loved it. They got all the "in" jokes and references to local scenery.

Thanks to CarTalk and WBUR for inviting us.

We got the laughs, where we hoped to get the laughs. It's always interesting to see how your stuff plays with a real audience. If you ever get the chance, don't hide, embrace what you hear.

I started on Click & Clack a year and a half ago in Jan 2007. Since then, I've directed the production, flying from Boston to New York Los Angeles, Denton Texas, Vancouver, Norwalk Conn, and Washington D.C..I met worked with a lot of old friends and made a lot of new ones. When we started, I saw the Charles River frozen solid. The other day at MIT it was a warm summer day. All in all, it was a pleasurable experience and I think its a pretty good looking show.

Soon we'll see what the public thinks. Morituri te Salutant!
Now, if you excuse me, I have to train to New York to mix the last two episodes.


Quiz: Americans have been called Yankees since Colonial times. What does Yankee mean?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Sometimes the followers of a famous person are called Myrmidons. Who were the Myrmidons?
History for 6/21/2008
Birthdays: Martha Washington, Alexander Pope, Berke Breathed, Al Hirschfeld, Jean-Paul Sartre, Judy Holliday, Benazir Bhutto, Jane Russell, Mariette Hartley, Bernie Koppel, Rick Sutcliffe, Maureen Stapleton, Joe Flaherty, Juliet Lewis, Prince William the Duke of York -Charles & Di's eldest. He will be King William V some day.

Happy Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. The sun, at dawn, aligns perfectly with the entrance to Stonehenge and in Persia the Zoroastrians would light ceremonial fires on altars on their roofs to the sungod Ahura Mazda.

1527- Political theorist Niccolo' Macchiavelli died. - His last words were:
"I hope I shall go to Hell, for there I shall meet kings, popes and princes.
In Heaven one can only meet beggars, monks and apostles."

1582- Japanese warlord Nobunaga Oda assassinated. He was the most pro-western of Japan's feudal lords and in western Japan, a folk hero, sort of a samurai Robin Hood. Under his protection the Catholic missionaries flourished, and Oda liked to parade around in his Spanish suit of armor. His enemy Tokugawa Ieyasu later became Shogun and banned all contact with the outside world.

1791- THE FLIGHT TO VARENNES- After the fall of the Bastille in 1789, King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette tried to work things out as constitutional monarchs but moderates like Mirabeau and Lafayette were losing control of the vengeful people, kept in medieval poverty for so long. So the royals decided to sneak away and escape across the border. The escape plot was organized by Count Axel Fersen, a lover of Queen Marie Antoinette. They slipped away in the dead of night and traveled 150 miles to the Belgian border before they were stopped. At Varennes they were recognized and brought back to Paris by the city's fishwives led by Jean-Baptiste Drouet the postmaster of Ste. Menehould. King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were eventually both guillotined and their son Louis XVII died rotting in prison. Ironically, a troop of loyalist cavalry, who were to meet them on the road and escort them across the border got lost only a quarter mile away.

1815- Napoleon reached Paris after his defeat at Waterloo. Napoleon had regained power in France with the understanding he would rule as a constitutional monarch. As enemy armies closed in around Paris, the Chamber of Deputies now voted itself in permanent session and began arguing his fate. Royalists and the old Marquis De Lafayette called for his abdication. Napoleon still had 100,000 men and the common people were with him. His troops were still so motivated that surgeons tending the wounded noted they shouted 'Vive L’Empereur! as their shattered limbs were sawed off without anesthesia. Napoleon’s brother Lucien advised him to ignore the Deputies and rule as dictator. But curiously enough, despite his reputation as a warmonger, Napoleon never could bring himself to start a civil war. He said “The fate of one man is not worth drenching Paris with blood.” His famous self-confidence also seemed shattered by the Waterloo defeat. He took a hot bath to relax and splashed his generals with water, joking: 'Apres moi. Le Deluge! " This is a joke on old Louis XV's prediction of the coming Revolution -”After me, the Deluge”.

1866- First recorded train robbery by Jesse James.

1871- The Los Angeles Star newspaper announced the first trainload of pretzels had reached town!

1879 - F W Woolworth opens his 1st five and ten cent store.

1893- The FERRIS WHEEL -George Washington Ferris, Jr. decided that the Columbia Exhibition, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus' discovery, needed to surpass the French Eiffel Tower (introduced during the centennial celebration of the French Revolution). So he created his wheel so each compartment could hold 12 people plus a butler in a parlor-like atmosphere and rotate them 250 feet in the air. People were afraid they would gasp for oxygen up so high but it was a big hit anyway.

1907 - E W Scripps founded United Press Agency.

1939-Eugene O’Neill’s wife Carlotta wrote in her diary- Gene kept me up all night talking about his outline for a new play about his family- The Long Days Journey into Night. It took him two years to write and it almost killed him.

1940- In a theatrical act of revenge Adolph Hitler forced France to sign her surrender in the same railroad car in Compiegne that the Germans surrendered in 1918. They broke into a museum to pry loose the exact same Wagon-Lit train car so it could be moved to the exact spot. The treaty meant half of France was occupied by Germany while the other half was French governed from the mineral water spa town of Vichy by a puppet government led by old Marshal Petain.

1948- THE ATALENA INCIDENT- THE ISRAELI CIVIL WAR- Before the Independence of Israel there were two underground militia groups fighting for a Jewish homeland- the Hagnnah and the more violent Irgun. After the State of Israel was declared, Leader David Ben Gurion ordered both to form the new Israeli Army. But the Irgun resisted assimilation. While a tenuous four-week truce with the Arabs held the Irgun filled a ship, the Atalena, with weapons and fighters in France and this day it arrived off the coast of Tel Aviv. Ben Gurion gave a direct order to turn over the weapons to the Army and assimilate the fighters but Irgun leader Menachem Begin refused. When Israeli troops converged on the beached ship to unload it, the Irgun opened fire on them with machine guns. In the gun battle, Jews killed Jews in front of Tel Aviv. Begin screamed he wanted to go down with the ship. The captain replied that that was unlikely since the ship had run aground. The ship caught fire and the captain had the cargo of high explosives dumped overboard and when Begin became hysterical the captain had him, too, dumped into the sea. After several deaths, the Irgun surrendered and agreed to cooperate. Ben Gurion called them all traitors but was compelled to be lenient because of the greater threat of the Arab armies. Menachem Begin was rehabilitated, formed the Likud Party and, as Prime Minister, won the Nobel Peace Prize.

1948- The last Japanese holdout defenders surrender on Okinawa, unaware that the war had been over for three years.

1948- Columbia Records introduced the 33 1/3-rpm long playing record, the LP. Inventor Peter Goldmark was annoyed that he had to change his 78 rpm records several times to hear just one Brahms Symphony. He decided to invent a way to fit all of a symphony on one side of a record. His immediate supervisors told him to stop it because people would not throw away all their 78 rpm records to replace them with his. So Goldmark went over their heads to CBS chief William Paley and Paley loved the idea. RCA and David Sarnoff tried to compete with the 45-rpm record, but all it was good for was singles. The 33 1/3 dominated recording until replaced by the Compact Disc in the 1980’s.

1948 - The Manchester Mark I computer introduced with the first stored program.

1978 - Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice's musical "Evita," premieres in London.

1982- John Hinkley was found innocent by reason of insanity in the assassination attempt on President Reagan.

1989- The Supreme Court rules in the case Texas vs. Johnson that burning a US flag is a form of free speech and is so legally protected under the First Amendment. While more important issues are at hand the Neo-Conservative dominated Congress spent the next few years in repeated attempts to amend the Constitution. Pundits joked that the next constitutional amendment righteous NeoCons would demand would be that cheeseburgers have only American cheese on them.

1998- Paleontologists in Canada announced the discovery of the largest Tyrannosaurus turd yet found. The search intensified for a T-Rex with a relaxed look on his face.

Yesterday’s Question: Sometimes the followers of a famous person are called Myrmidons. Who were the Myrmidons?

Answer: In Homer’s Iliad, the Myrmidons were the soldiers of Achilles. They were
known for their blind devotion to their chief. So the term became descriptive of die-hard followers, with positive connotations- loyal, or extremely negative-like in goons. Originally from the Greek word for ant- 'murmeke'.