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June 26th, 2008 thurs
June 26th, 2008

Quiz: What is a coup d’ etat?

Yesterday’s question answered below: what is a Deus ex Machina?
History for 6/26/2008
Birthdays: Peter Lorre -real name Laszlo Lowenstein, Pearl Buck, Abner Doubleday, Babe Deidrickson-Zacharias, Willy Messerschmidt, Claudio Abbado, Woolie Reitherman, Gregg LeMond, Vittorio Storaro, Colonel Tom Parker, Pat Morita, Chris Isaak, Derek Jeter, Chris O’Donnell, Sean Hayes

363 AD- Julian the Apostate slain in battle with the Persians. Julian was the Roman Emperor who decided his stepdad Constantine had made a mistake making the world Christian and we should go back to Zeus, Venus, Hercules and the lot. This is why he is called "Apostate". He was only emperor for two years, if he had reigned thirty like his predecessor who knows how different the world may have looked.
Despite his religious stance no one doubted his ability as a leader. During his invasion of Persia his camp was surprise attacked by the army of the Grand Surenna, the Persian Prime Minister. Julian jumped on a horse without his heavy breastplate and rode into the melee. As he was struck in the chest by the enemy spear he supposedly looked heavenward and said:" You have won, Galilean." The legions elected a Christian General Jovian emperor and Europe never looked back.

1496-Michelangelo Buonnarotti arrived in Rome to look for work. Coming from the city of Florence he was treated as the citizen of a foreign country.

1830- Ascension of King William IV of Great Britain after the death of his brother George IV. While still Duke of Clarence, William kept a certain Mrs. Jordan as a mistress, by whom he sired ten illegitimate children. One day he told his mentally tottering father, George III, that he paid her 1000 pounds annually for this service. Reportedly, the feisty king was much agitated by this revelation and replied: "A thousand, a thousand--too much! Too much! Five hundred quite enough! Quite enough!" Some time later, following the collapse of his relationship with Mrs.Jordan, and after perhaps reflecting on his father's words, William demanded repayment of a portion of her "allowance." She responded by sending him the announcement for a play that read, "Positively no money refunded after the curtain has risen."

1870- Atlantic City inaugurated its ocean side boardwalk; the first of it's kind in the US.

1888- Scots writer Robert Louis Stevenson embarked from San Francisco to wander the South Pacific and finally settle in Samoa.

1906- The first Grand Prix automobile race was held at Le Mans, France. The winner was Hungarian Ferenic Szisz with a top speed of 63 miles an hour! Szisz also was sporting those newfangled rubber tires on rims, which change faster than regular wood wheels.

1924 - The Ziegfeld Follies opens on Broadway.

1925- Charlie Chaplin has a lavish Hollywood premiere for his new film the Gold Rush.
He had edited the film in secret in an upstairs hotel room in Salt Lake City to keep away from the public and his wife∂s bill collectors.

1926- From his London flat John Logie Baird invented television. The Boob Tube has no one single Tom Edison-like inventor but many claimants. The Englishman joined the ranks of others who claimed to have invented TV first, including Philo Farnsworth, Vladimir Zworkin, Dr. Lee DeForrest and Deutsches Kino.

1927- The Cyclone Rollercoaster ride debuted at Coney Island Amusement Park. It was built on the site of the Switchback Railway, the first modern rollercoaster. The Cyclone is still thrilling and scaring people today.

1950- Two days after their invasion began Communist North Korean troops reach the outskirts of Seoul, the capitol of South Korea.

1961- John F. Kennedy makes his "Ich Bin Ein Berliner" speech at the Berlin Wall. He electrifies and inspires all Europe despite " ein berliner" also meaning a local brand of little jelly donut. The proper way to say I am a Berliner is "Ich bin Berliner”.
I guess "The Proudest boast a free man today can say is, I am a little jelly donut!" has a certain cachet for some folks. The crowd smiled but was polite. Today in Berlin tourist shops, you can buy a plastic donut with JFK’s speech coming from a hidden computer chip.

1964 - Beatles release "A Hard Day's Night" album.

1965-"Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man " by the Byrds hits number one on the US pop charts. Bob Dylan wrote the lyrics. William Shatner's version became the most well known.

1968- Pope Paul VI announced excavations in the ancient Roman cemetery located in the sub-sub basement of Saint Peter∂s Basilica had discovered the bones of Saint Peter himself. There were a few red faces when it was also found out that a Vatican librarian had removed the crucial piece of stone with the inscription "Here is Peter" and had kept it on his library shelf.

1977 - Elvis Presley does his last performance in Indianapolis.

1984- Campy singer Tiny Tim married Miss Vicky on the Johnny Carson show during a live broadcast.

2000- THE GENOME- Scientists announce they had cracked the human gene code and now had a rough sketch of how our DNA is assembled. Custom drugs could now e developed matching the DNA of an individual patient. It is called the biological equivalent of the landing on the moon.

2003 - Lenin said the Workers Must Control the Means of Production. Today a group of strippers bought the San Francisco bar the Lusty Lady.
Yesterday’s Quiz: what is a Deus ex Machina?

Answer: An act of God or other supernatural device that fixes everything. Literally- god out of a machine. From ancient Greek plays, that would conclude when the god Apollo or some other would be lowered to the stage from a pulley and solve all the problems of the protagonists. Today its considered an improbable contrivance to a plot problem.