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November 1st, 2008 sat
November 1st, 2008

Happy Nov 1st, the "Most of the Trick or Treators went to the Mall, Now What am I Going to do With all this Candy?" Day.

My former colleague Helen was going with girlfriends to the big Halloween Party in West Hollywood last night. She said the hottest game this year was- every time you see a man in drag dressed as Sarah Palin, take a drink!


I heard today of the death of famed chronicler of the common working person- Studs Terkel. Terkel's real name was Lewis. He picked up the nickname from the charactr Studs Lonnegan in the James Farrel novels. Studs was a great Chicago institution and a great union man since as a child he proudly told his teacher he was a supporter of Fightin Bob LaFollette of the I.W.W. He pioneered the written form of Oral History, but more important to me, he was a great example of a good story teller.

Rest in Peace, Studs!

Question: On a political show tonight, one pundit joked “ Have you seen Goldstein?” It’s from a famous book. What does that mean?

Question: Why are conservatives in England called Tories?
History for 11/1/2008
Welcome to November, Roman Month #9-Novembrius.

Birthdays: Marie Antoinette, President Warren Harding, Stephen Crane, Marcel Ophuls, Benevenuto Cellini, Larry Flynt, Walter Matthau, Fernando Valenzuela, Lyle Lovett, Willie D, Rick Allen of Def Leppard, Jenny McCarthy

To the ancient Romans this was the Feast of Homona, Goddess of the Harvest. Her offerings were bright apples, a staple of the Roman diet. In the Early Christian Church they changed the name to the Feast of All Souls Day. The custom of bobbing for apples at Halloween comes from the pagan ritual.

333BC – BATTLE OF ISSUS- Alexander the Great’s Macedonian army met the main Persian army of Darius the Great King and defeated it. Alexander declared the Greek cities of Ionia (the western coast of Turkey) liberated. Persian power would not return there for 900 years. Alexander captured Darius’s family and household who he treated courteously. After the battle Darius offered Alexander 300 tons of gold to go away, but Alex was just getting started. Alexander’s warriors were the first Europeans to try bananas, but they gave them diarrhrea so he told them to throw them away. Alexander’s men also learned the painkilling characteristics of Opium bulbs, the herbal basis of Morphine and Heroin. They chewed opium “The Gift of the Gods” to recover from wounds and surgery.

307BC - Agathocles, Greek Tyrant of Syracuse, abandoned his army and even his sons in the middle of the Saharan Desert in front of the Carthaginian army because things weren't turning out that well.

79AD- Erupting since last August and burying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, Mount Versuvius finally calmed down.

1290- This was the deadline King Edward Ist Longshanks ( the bad guy in Braveheart ) set for all Jews to leave England. Many drowned in small boats crossing the Channel. Once in France the French king told them they had to leave in one year. Jews would not be allowed to resettle in England until Oliver Cromwell’s time in the 1650s.

1478- THE SPANISH INQUISITION- At the request of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, Pope Sixtus IV promulgated a bull setting up the office of the Holy Inquisition in Spain. The royal couple tired of civil fighting among Moslems, Jews, Christians and converts in their country and they wanted Spain united under one orthodox doctrine. The Inquisition, also called La Suprema dominated life and thought for centuries. The Holy Office of the Inquisition was administered by the Dominican monks and supported by an elite group of nobles called he Santa Hermandad, the Sacred Brotherhood. In 1709 King Phillip V broke with tradition by refusing to attend an Auto da Fe, a festival climaxed with the burning of heretics. The Inquisition was stopped by Napoleon’s French occupation in 1808 but restored after liberation and only finally died out in 1819.

1503 –IL PAPA TERRIBLE- Giuliano Della Rovere made Pope Julius II. The Holy Father delayed his coronation until his astrologers told him the stars were right. Julius drove out Caesar and Lucretia Borgia and fought in armor more than as he prayed. In his 10 year reign he'll commission the Sistine Ceiling, the rebuilding of St.Peter's Basilica ,Michelangelo's Moses, Raphael's "The School of Athens", created the Swiss Guard (uniform designed by Michelangelo), dug up the Laocoon, conquered most of Central Italy and left the Vatican treasury a surplus for the first time in decades. He was known for quotes like:"Let the whole world perish provided I get my way!" One critic wrote how during a festival where the Pope is supposed to kiss the feet of the poor Julius was careful to hold them up, then kiss his own bejeweled fingers. Still he was one of the greatest of the Popes, called "Il Papa Terrible'" the Terrible Father.

1512- Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Ceiling is unveiled to the public for the first time.

1604- William Shakespeare's play "Othello the Moor of Venice" first performed.

1700- The War of Spanish Succession began. King Charles VI "The Mad" died of enteric fever, despite being fed milk with ground pearls, freshly killed pigeons placed on his head and the hot entrails of a deer laid on his belly -i.e., the best modern medicine could do. He died leaving daughters and many Catholic countries worked under the tradition known as Salic Law, that women can't inherit property themselves.
So the King of France claims the throne of Spain for his son Phillip D'Anjou, and the Emperor of Germany claims it for his son Maximillian. The English and Portuguese and Dutch all get involved and fight it out all over Europe for 14 years. The Spanish parliament ( Cortes) makes it's own choice but it affects no-one. After all, this is the business of kings, who the heck asked the people to butt in ? Even in the remote forests of the New World it was called Queen Anne’s War. Orders came across the Atlantic from Europe so South Carolina and Georgia were ordered to attack Spanish Florida and Massachusetts men fought French Canadians.

1755- THE GREAT LISBON EARTHQUAKE-85%of the city destroyed, 50,000 killed, gallows erected ringing the city to punish looters. The earthquake happened on a Sunday at 9:40AM so most killed were in Church hearing Mass when the rooftops collapsed on them. This irony was seized upon by humanist philosophers like Votaire and Diderot- that a overwhelmingly Catholic city like Lisbon could be struck in such a way while Paris and London went on their sinful ways. This said to them that the great earthquake was not God’s punishment but a coldly impersonal force of Nature. This notion coupled with Sir Edmund Halley's discovery that Comet's are not a message from the Diety but an equally natural phenomena led to the growing disillusionment with religion engendered by the Age of Enlightenment.

1776- Mission San Juan De Capistrano founded on the California coast.

1800- President John Adams, moves into the White House, first president to do so. First Lady Abigail Adams had her wash hung in the East Room because the walls weren't in yet so it had a nice breeze. The first three buildings erected in Pierre L'Enfant's new federal capitol city are the House of Congress, the White House, and Conrad’s Tavern. The first business in Washington City that was not part of the government was a brewery. Pennsylvania Avenue was still dotted with tree stumps. Abigail Adams wrote that Georgetown was “The very dirtiest hole I have ever seen.”

1835- Davey Crockett, after losing his bid for re-election to Congress tells his Tennessee voters:" You can all go to Hell, I'm going to Texas!"

1848 -The Boston Female Medical School opened with 12 students until it merged with Boston University in 1874

1858- The British Crown takes direct control of India from the Honorable East India Company. The period known as "The Raj" begins.

1895- Emil and Max Skladowsky set up a Bioscope Projector in Berlin's Wintergarden. Birth of German Cinema.

1911- During a little war between Italy and Turkey over Tripolitania (Libya) a dangerous new precedent was set. An Italian pilot reached out of his cockpit and dropped three small grenades on a Turkish oasis. The first aerial bombing. Guernica, Rotterdam, London, Dresden, Hiroshima, Hanoi and Baghdad to follow.

1913- Notre Dame quarterback Gus Doreias throws the first "Forward Pass" to center Knute Rockne. The forward pass was the solution to a request to the coach of Notre Dame by Teddy Roosevelt to do something to make the game more mobile and less bone crunching, since parents were beginning to complain about the injuries to their sons.

1918- The Hungarian subjects of the disintegrating Austro-Hungarian Empire declared themselves to be the new independent nation of Hungary.

1920- The first issue of American Cinematographer.

1936-Benito Mussolini in a speech coined the term “The Axis” for his new alliance with Hitler’s Germany. “There is now an “axis of mutual interest between Berlin and Rome”

1938- At Pimlico in Maryland this day was the famous horse race between War Admiral and Sea Biscuit, the two finest thoroughbreds of the age. War Admiral was sleek and aristocratic, sired from the blood of the great champion Man of War. Sea Biscuit by contrast looked ungainly and lame. But in the end The Biscuit he won the race by three lengths. The race was heard live on radio by one in three Americans.

1939- Rockefeller Center in New York City opened.

1945- OPERATION OLYMPIC- If the Atomic Bombs had failed to end the war this was the planned date for the U.S. Invasion of Japan. Based on the casualty figures to take Okinawa and Iwo Jima, Gen.MacArthur estimated 100,000 U.S. soldiers would be killed or wounded to land on the beaches of Kyushu, another 50,000 to take Tokyo and a guerrilla war in the mountains possibly lasting until 1948. The Japanese had stockpiled 2200 kamikaze planes in mountain bunkers and had mobilized the civilian population to fight with spears for the Motherland. The Soviets were already in the Kurile Islands and had timed their mainland invasion for July. So the resulting actions would probably divide the island into a North Japan, South Japan situation. But things turned out differently...

1946- THE FIRST NBA BASKETBALL GAME- The first professional game was the New York Knicks 68, the Toronto Huskies 66. The first basket was scored by Ozzie Sheckmann.

1950- Two Puerto Rican nationalists Oscar Coralzo and Griselo Torresola try to shoot their way to President Truman. Truman was staying at Blair House while the White House was being renovated. Two assassins were shot down by the Secret Service in a furious gun battle at the foot of his stairs. Secret serviceman Leslie Coffelt mortally wounded fatally shot Collazo as he himself was killed. President Truman was awoken from a nap and went to the window to see what the noise was all about. " Get down ya G-ddamn fool !" the agents shouted at him.

1952- The first U.S. Hydrogen Bomb test vaporized the island of Elugelab. Once called the Super-bomb project Dr. Edward Teller's brainchild was nicknamed-"Mike".

1959- Hockey goalie Jacques LaPlante became the first to wear a face mask during play. Before this many Hockey goalies lost their front teeth.

1968- To replace the outmoded Hays Production Code, the Motion Picture Ratings System introduced-"G,M, R, and X"- Later PG, PG-13, R and NC-17".

1972-John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company, who owned the Esso brand of gasoline, changed their name to the Exxon Corporation. Esso- S-O, Standard Oil, get it?

1988- Jeff Goldblum married Gena Davis. They divorced several years later.
Question: Why are conservatives in England called Tories?

Answer: The opposition party to the Whigs in England in the 1670s was nicknamed Tory after the Irish word for robber, sometimes called Jack Tory the Highwayman. Many political dissidents then were ex-Royalists from the English Civil War and so more conservative than the conservatives. After their number died out, the name stuck to all English right wingers.