Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Happy 80th Birthday to Willie Nelson!

Legendary country music singer, and founder of the Farm Aid concert series, has turned 80 years old today!

Here is one guy who has been in the public eye for many years, and it still at it to this day. I was at two concerts that he headlined last year, including one show at Montclair's Wellmont Theater, as well as the Farm Aid, and he can still bring an audience to it's feet. He also still has a good sense of humor, and is an utterly decent man right down to his core! He has advocated all sorts of causes, including for the legalization of pot, and obviously, for farmers and curbing corporate power in general.

That, and of course, he has produced a legendary musical career, and is still seen as quite the icon right on through to the present!

So, here's wishing Willie a very happy 80th Birthday today!

Pearl Jam at Uniondale, 2003 - Ten Year Anniversary


I have long been a huge fan of Pearl Jam, but I would have to say that my following them reached it's peak in 2003. I had been a fan of the group for over a decade by that point, and had gone to see them numerous times, had read books about the group, collected t-shirts, bootlegs, posters, and other artifacts, and just generally  You might think that I would have tired of them, but it was quite the opposite, feeling I had grown with the band, and they had been a constant presence. If anything, I was an even bigger fan of the band after ten years than I had been at the beginning.

There is a reason for this. I was absolutely disgusted with George W. Bush. I remember feeling absolutely disgusted with Bush. I mean, before he was even elected, when the Republicans chose him as the "obvious" heir apparent to the White House, as if his resume to that point was so commendable and golden. Yet, as Jello Biafra suggested during the NO WTO Combo's show during the "Battle in Seattle", "King George" was already anointed unofficially by 1999. He was the chosen, so to speak, by the powers that be.

Unfortunately, however, he did wind up as President. I remember feeling so depressed at having to hear the words "President George Bush" once again, as he was sworn in on January 20, 2001, following the stolen election (let's remember our history, and call a spade a spade, as well).

I did not like George W. Bush, and distrusted his intentions. That was true before the election, and afterwards, too. That included on September 10th, 2001, and September 12th, 2001, although I tried to suspend my skepticism in hopes that he might show real leadership. As far as I am concerned, he did not, and that included that moment that exhilarated so many, when he stood on the rubble and declared that the terrorists were going to hear the American people. And then, of course, that included the lead up to the war in Iraq, and everything that happened afterwards.

But the atmosphere was so stifling at that time. People tried to intimidate you if you were opposed to the Iraq  invasion at the time, like it was such an obviously good idea. Given that all the stated justifications for the war were proven false, and that the war proved far costlier to Americans than almost anyone had expected or anticipated. Thousands of lives were lost, and tens of thousands more were seriously wounded.

Yet, the biggest outrage, I remember, was when Americans finally heard about the price tag of the war (What?! War costs money?!! Who knew?). That was when the real outrage seemed to hit home, and the popularity of the war plummeted.

I got in numerous heated arguments with quite a few people who were supportive of the war and/or President Bush. I remember some of them well. In particular, I remember urging supporters of that war, my age and younger (I was in my twenties at the time) to go ahead and join the war effort. Why have others do your fighting for you? You think this guy (Saddam) is really an immediate and serious threat to world peace? That he is Hitler incarnate? Then go ahead and go overseas, and join the fight! Why not? If I believed that he was that dangerous and threatening, I would do that!

More or less, that was what I told many of the supporters, particularly male supporters. Usually, that was met with an uncomfortable smile, as if I were kidding. Some challenged me to join the army, to which I replied, simply, that I had not supported the invasion to begin with, and did not believe that the war in Iraq was justifiable on any level.

Yet, the atmosphere was stifling, and you did not hear too much dissent on the television.

So, quite naturally, I looked for outlets. Art has always been an outlet for expression of all sorts, and I have never been one to think that politics is somehow "out of bounds". Some feel that way, including the friend that I was originally supposed to bring to one particular concert of a band that I really turned to quite a bit in 2002-03, during the height of the Iraqi war fever - Pearl Jam.

I saw Pearl Jam a few times that year, and they meant more to me than ever before. It was nice to hear the voice of others who did not think that George W. Bush was the greatest president, or that he, and his views, represented America. That, moreover, he actually represented the worst of America.

Pearl Jam had released "Riot Act". I do not believe that this was the band's strongest effort, although I like it far more than some people. But it was an interesting album, with some solid music. It came to be important to me, also, because it was an anti-war album. The band did not shy away from voicing their opinions, at a time when far too many seemed to be willing to go with the war fever that had taken hold. Note that this title, Riot Act, could be interpreted as having numerous meanings. Riot Act could be taken as a rebellion, or it could be seen as clamping down on rebellion. Some suggested that they had expected the album to be far harder, given the name. But also, if you add the letters P, A, and T to the front of the name, you get something very different, and very relevant, to those times, as well as another reminder of the actions of your friend and mine, George W. Bush.

Of course, it should be mentioned that there was a reason that I felt a need for some kind of "outlet", and that is that the atmosphere politically in the nation was stifling. For far too many people did not question George W. Bush's motives for going to war in Iraq, and accepted his premises unconditionally. I knew quite a few people (probably a good majority of people I knew, actually) who fit this description. But particularly disappointing to me were three people, intelligent people, who fit into this description. They each had shown a strong capacity for independent thinking prior to September 11th. But once that tragedy struck, they automatically assumed that Bush's militaristic crusade was more than justified, it was necessary.

One of those people, when lecturing me for ten minutes in a public restaurant in New York City about the virtues of George W. Bush and the war in Iraq (and mind you, this was a man who could not stand Bush prior to September 11th), calling "those people" (by which he meant, Muslims, or possibly Arabs, or, possibly, even both) savages, and claiming that "we need to civilize them". He must have noticed my silence at some point, because he stopped in mid-sentence and asked if I supported Bush. Now, I did not want to engage in some heated and pointless discussion with someone that was showing an undeniable strand of ignorance (and not a small amount of arrogance). But when a question is posed to me directly, I will usually make a point of answering as honestly as I can.

So I did. I said, simply one word.


I swear, that was the only word I said, although I had quite a few other words in mind that I wanted to say, but held back.

He spent the next ten minutes going off about how naive I was being, and how the war was necessary. He was drunk, and loud. He has somewhat of a hearing problem, so his voice tends to be a bit loud anyway. But by that point, the alcohol and the anger mixed to make sure that the conversation was clearly heard by all of the restaurant's patrons. Ten more minutes, with me silently sitting there, trying to politely listen, mentally taking notes when there was something that I felt he was clearly wrong about (there were quite a few of these). But I said nothing, and that was more or less the way it went until he ran out of steam. His wife had tried to stop him at some point, but he told her to shut up. Sometimes, people have to vent, and even if you do not feel they are right, you have to let them get it out.

Anyway, he was one of three people that I knew like this. Another was my friend, who was at the time the guy that I usually would go to concerts with. He and I must have gone to dozens of concerts together over the years. Hell, he even got me my first ever Pearl Jam tickets, to Randall's Island in 1996, which we went to together, with another friend of mine. In 1998, I paid him back for this by getting him tickets to the show at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, through the fan club. I did not know it then, but those seats were simply amazing! The best seats that I have ever had to see Pearl Jam (or almost any group, for that matter). Second row and just off center! The attendant took out tickets, and we just kept walking closer and closer to the stage. I grew very excited, and when she showed us our seats, it took my breath away! Speaking of "Breath", I still have the one makeshift poster from that show that someone had made, requesting the song "Breath", which is pictures in the book "Twenty". They did not play it at that show, although I would see them play it in the future.

But I digress. Majorly, actually, since this is a post about the Uniondale show, and I have hardly spoken of that at all yet, although I have been trying to set the background up. So, here goes:

My Own Little Ticket Controversy:

It seemed that this was the go to guy for tickets and concerts in general. So, once again, when I got fan club tickets in 2003, I offered these tickets to him. He accepted. And so, it seemed we would see Pearl Jam  for what would have been the third time together (I had already seen Pearl Jam with other people).

But then something happened. Following April 1st, this friend (let's call him Glen) informed me that he would not be able to attend that show. His voice had an edge to it when he told me this, and so, wondering if I had done anything to offend him, asked why. He then expressed his anger at the "actions" of Pearl Jam at a recent concert in Denver. Following "Bushleaguer", many fans (varying accounts range from dozens to thousands) left after the song was played, supposedly as a protest against the anti-President Bush song. Glen was particularly incensed that Eddie Vedder had allegedly "impaled" a mask of Bush.

We talked about it, and I read the conflicting reports from the show, and the response by fans. But he wanted no part of them anymore. He mentioned that he intended to sell the albums that he owned of them, and wanted nothing more to do with the band, ever.

So, obviously, I had to find someone to go with me, and it wound up being my brother, who is likeminded about many things, including George W. Bush.

The Concert

And as it turned out, it was a good thing that Glen didn't actually go with me to that particular show, because as it turns out, the negative response in this show would make the Denver show response look mild by way of comparison. I am absolutely certain he would have been one of the ones booing as they played "Bushleaguer", probably the loudest one booing. Possibly even one of those who were throwing things on stage in anger towards the band.

The thing is, up to that point, the crowd was hugely excited! I think it was one of the loudest Pearl Jam shows that I had seen, and the crowd was one of the wildest and most enthusiastic that I had seen (although Philadelphia ranks close by, too - I think that was an even more enthusiastic crowd, and most of us stayed on our feet literally through the whole show, without pause!). The fact of the matter is, Uniondale's show was highly intense and enjoyable.

They played some really cool tunes, and they just seemed on fire. Everything was clicking, and the crowd was responsive! It was just a very good concert. I recently listened to it again on the official bootleg, and found it apropos, given what was about to transpire, that they performed "Save You", which includes these lyrics:

And fuck me if I say something that you don't wanna hear
And fuck me if you only hear what you wanna hear
Fuck me if I care.....but I'm not leaving here

Well, actually, they did leave there that night, and earlier than expected. Of course, the lyrics obviously have a much wider reference than that, though. But it was the first time that I truly listened to the lyrics (which i was already familiar with from when Riot Act first was released) for that specific song, for that specific concert. Ten years later, and I just noticed the irony of that. Not too quick on the uptake all of the time, I guess.

However, back to the show. it really was fantastic, with terrific crowd response and participation. Everything about it was simply awesome. Everyone in the building was having a good time.

But the feeling all changed almost as soon as the first few chords of "Bushleaguer" were played. The atmosphere changed, radically. it was still highly charged, but now, it was for a different reason. There was anger, and a nervous atmosphere underneath. I'm not sure that anyone knew what to expect, and that probably includes the audience, the band themselves, and the security. It was just....well, it's hard to explain. It was probably the most unique, bizarre ending to a concert that I had ever seen.

Now, it is time for an admission that goes two-fold. I was glad that they played "Bushleaguer". After all, I was no fan of Bush, and will say this about their performance of the song that night: I have never been prouder to be a Pearl Jam fan. They took a stand, knowing there would be strong risks. It was not a popular thing to do, and of course, they could possible raise the ire of Ann Coulter, among others. But they took a stand for what they believed in, and challenged those booing to think. Plus, there is something to be said about being present for something memorable like that.

Yet, it's time to admit something else, as well. I really actually don't like that song that much. I like the lyrical content, and the protest value. But the song itself? Not really all that enjoyable to listen to, frankly. Since Bush left office, I have not made a point of putting that song on. Even worse, I usually find myself skipping that particular track.

That said, it meant a lot to me that night. A lot. Again, I was never so proud of the band as I was at that moment.

The weird thing is, it reminded me a lot of wrestling, back in the old days. You know, you have the bad guy, and he's trying to instigate the crowd, to rile them up against him? That's what it seemed like Eddie Vedder was doing. Hell, Mike McCready even waved his arms, gesturing for more response. It was kind of weird, admittedly. So, yes, it reminded me of watching wrestling as a little kid, and seeing the hated bad guys trying to elicit a reaction from the crowd.

There was energy after the song, but it was a different kind of energy. Whereas before, they were excited and enjoying a great show, now, all that anyone wanted to discuss, or seemed to remember, was the weird, unconventional ending.

Pearl Jam cut their set list short, and Vedder slammed the microphone stand to the ground as they walked off.


My brother and I walked out to the car and, like with everyone else who attended the show, there was only one topic of conversation. What had just happened was just highly unusual, and warranted discussion.

It had been a strange situation. Again, to reiterate, I had never before (or since) been to a concert that ended in a more bizarre manner.

Yet, it was not exactly what everyone thinks it was. Yes, the band was more or les booed offstage. True enough. But there were people there - and quite a few of them - who were applauding Pearl Jam's makeshift protest against Bush. True, they were drowned out, but there were some there (my brother and I being among them, of course).

I was glad that Glen did not go. From that point onward, he took a book out of Vedder's page, in trying to taunt me about how meaningless Pearl Jam was to him. I frankly did not care. Still don't, even though we have lost touch. I know what I like, and it has nothing to do with some sort of show of popularity or not. Certainly, I was not looking for his stamp of approval in order to listen to and enjoy whatever music that I liked, but he seemed to be under that impression. What I was disappointed with was his suddenly juvenile approach.

We had gotten in a few political discussions, and let me just preface this by saying that this guy was quite taken by a certain famous personality (who shall remain anonymous). He emulated this personality in every way, including the way that he looked, and even the way that he talked. The way he told stories, specifically.

Anyway, I noticed that his viewpoint about George W. Bush changed at about the same time as this famous personality began to change his viewpoints. Around the time of the Uniondale concert, he was lecturing me about how the country was better off with George W. Bush, and insisting that I had to admit that I felt "safer" with Bush in charge. (Oh, really?)

Maybe a year later, he had changed his tune, and was critical of Bush (once again, surely coincidentally, making the same arguments as this famous personality). Against my better judgment, I reminded him of his former unconditional support of Bush. He got angry, and apparently, did not remember nearly so much as I did. Perhaps that even included the reasons for what he refused to go to the Pearl Jam show. I laughed as he  told me that he was getting angry. Such a convenient escape from an uncomfortable conversation. My main point was this: agree or disagree, I have my own value system, and judge things my own way. I try and be fair, and not jump the gun on conclusions, but will admit to having strong opinions. Agree or disagree, wrong or right, however, my opinions are my own.

Of course, he was far from the only one just going with the flow of popular, conventional, very unoriginal thinking. A lot of people suspended their doubts about Bush in the aftermath of September 11th. Glen certainly was not the only one. Nor was that other man that spent twenty minutes yelling about how "those people" were uncivilized barbarians, and that we needed to go over there to "control those people".

Obviously, he was in favor of official policy.

Pearl Jam received a lot of flack for their actions, but I always wondered why so many people, Bush supporters generally, were so critical of the actions of a band, yet suspended any critical thinking when it came to the actions of a President, who outright lied about the reasons for an unpopular invasion that most of the rest of the world strongly condemned. There were scandalous headlines about artists like Pearl Jam and the Dixie Chicks, as well as Michael Moore, among others. Everything and everyone was harshly scrutinized, it seemed - except the President.

Excuse my language, here, but what kind of shit is that, anyway?

In any case, I can go on and on about that particular line of reasoning, but this a post about ne particular show, from one particular band. They received a lot of criticism for that, and many people felt that they were wrong. But a large part of their identity from the earliest days was political, and it's hard for me to imagine people going to a Pearl Jam show, and then claiming to be shocked that they would express their political beliefs, and how strongly they differed than what most people tend to apparently believe - particularly in this country. They have opinions, and they were willing to express them in a very public manner, using their art to express these viewpoints. That was a large part of the reason that I became a fan of the group, and remain so to this day.

I remember after the first Pearl Jam show that I ever say, back in 1996 at Randall's Island, thinking that it was likely going to be the most memorable show of the band that I would ever see. But that proved untrue. Every time that I hear the opening chords to "Bushleaguer", a little part of that show lives on.  Also, you can view the entire performance of that song on the extended "Twenty" DVD, which I would highly recommend watching. It's not exactly like being there, but it documents what happened, and much of the reaction.

Looking back, although it made me a bit mad at the time, I am glad that Glen canceled. I would have had to hear his bullshit support of Bush afterwards, and talking crap about Pearl Jam. Our views diverged, simple as that. But it was nice not to hear some neocon rantings against the band at precisely the moment when I felt more pride in them, and what they stood up to and for, than ever before.

That concert, whether you consider it one of their most famous, or infamous concerts, continues to stand out. Today marks the ten year anniversary of that show.

On This Day in History - April 30

Once again, it should be reiterated, that this does not pretend to be a very extensive history of what happened on this day (nor is it the most original - the links can be found down below). If you know something that I am missing, by all means, shoot me an email or leave a comment, and let me know!


Adolf Hitler Commits Suicide

On this day in 1945, holed up in a bunker under his headquarters in Berlin, Adolf Hitler commits suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule and shooting himself in the head. Soon after, Germany unconditionally surrendered to the Allied forces, ending Hitler's dreams of a "1,000-year" Reich.  

Since at least 1943, it was becoming increasingly clear that Germany would fold under the pressure of the Allied forces. In February of that year, the German 6th Army, lured deep into the Soviet Union, was annihilated at the Battle of Stalingrad, and German hopes for a sustained offensive on both fronts evaporated. Then, in June 1944, the Western Allied armies landed at Normandy, France, and began systematically to push the Germans back toward Berlin. By July 1944, several German military commanders acknowledged their imminent defeat and plotted to remove Hitler from power so as to negotiate a more favorable peace. Their attempts to assassinate Hitler failed, however, and in his reprisals, Hitler executed over 4,000 fellow countrymen.  

In January 1945, facing a siege of Berlin by the Soviets, Hitler withdrew to his bunker to live out his final days. Located 55 feet under the chancellery, the shelter contained 18 rooms and was fully self-sufficient, with its own water and electrical supply. Though he was growing increasingly mad, Hitler continued to give orders and meet with such close subordinates as Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler and Josef Goebbels. He also married his long-time mistress Eva Braun just two days before his suicide.  

In his last will and testament, Hitler appointed Admiral Karl Donitz as head of state and Goebbels as chancellor. He then retired to his private quarters with Braun, where he and Braun poisoned themselves and their dogs, before Hitler then also shot himself with his service pistol.  

Hitler and Braun's bodies were hastily cremated in the chancellery garden, as Soviet forces closed in on the building. When the Soviets reached the chancellery, they removed Hitler's ashes, continually changing their location so as to prevent Hitler devotees from creating a memorial at his final resting place. Only eight days later, on May 8, 1945, the German forces issued an unconditional surrender, leaving Germany to be carved up by the four Allied powers.

30 - Jesus of Nazareth was crucified.

311 - Emperor Galerius legal recognizes Christians in the Roman Empire

313 - Roman emperor Licinius unifies the entire Eastern Roman Empire under his rule.

711 - Islamic conquest of Hispania: Moorish troops led by Tariq ibn-Ziyad land at Gibraltar to begin their invasion of the Iberian Peninsula (Al-Andalus).

1064 - German King Henry IV gives away Utrecht county of West Friesland

1250 - King Louis IX of France was ransomed for one million dollars.

1315 - Enguerrand de Marigny is hanged on the public gallows at Montfaucon.

1349 - Jewish community at Radolszell Germany, exterminated

1396 - Crusaders & earl of Nevers depart from Dijon

1483 - Orbital calculations suggest that on this day, Pluto moved inside Neptune's orbit until July 23, 1503.

1492 - Columbus is given royal commission to equip his fleet

1492 - Spain announces it will expels all Jews

1506 - Philip of Bourgondy & England sign trade agreement

1527 - Henry VIII of England and King Francis of France signed the treaty of Westminster.

1562 - First French colonists in US: Jean Ribault and colonists arrive in Florida

1563 - Jews are expelled from France by order of Charles VI

1598 - First theater performance in America (Spanish comedy-Rio Grande)

1616 - English King Jacob I leaves Brielle/Vlissingen

1650 - French rebel Henri de la Tour Turenne signs treaty with Spain

1661 - Tsjeng Tsj'eng-Kung begins siege of Dutch fort Zeelandia, Formosa

1671 - Petar Zrinski, the Croatian Ban from the Zrinski family, is executed.

1695 - William Congreve's "Love for Love," premieres in London

1722 - Game of Billiards is mentioned in New England Courant

1725 - Emperor Charles VI and King Philip IV of Spain sign Treaty of Vienna

1748 - Ceasefire at Aken ends

1763 - London Journalist John Wilkes confined in the Tower

1772 - John Clais patents 1st scale

1774 - Pope Clement XIV proclaims a universal jubilee

1789 - George Washington inaugurated as 1st president of US

1790 - Colonial troops occupy Bonni's marroon village

1794 - The Battle of Boulou is fought, in which French forces defeated the Spanish under General Union.

1798 - Dept of Navy forms

1803 - France sells Louisiana Territory to the United States, which subsequently doubled in size through Louisiana Purchase ($15 million)

1804 - Hague's Theater opens

1808 - 1st practical typewriter finished by Italian Pellegrini Turri

1812 - (Eastern) Louisiana admitted as 18th US state

1838 - Nicaragua declares independence from Central American federation

1852 - Anton Rubinsteins opera "Dmitri Donskoi," premieres in St Petersburg

1857 - San Jose State University forms

1859 - Charles Dickens' "A Tale Of Two Cities" is first published in literary periodical All the Year Round, continues in weekly installments until Nov 26

1859 - Paul Morphy returns from 10-mo chess tour of Europe, retires

1860 - Navaho indians attack Fort Defiance (Canby)

1861 - President Lincoln ordered Federal Troops to evacuate Indian Territory

1862 - Swift Run Gap, West Virginia skirmishes

1863 - Mexican forces attacked the French Foreign Legion in Hacienda Camarón, Mexico.

1864 - Battle of Jenkin's Ferry, Arkansas; Gen W R Scurry is killed

1864 - New York becomes 1st state to charge a hunting license fee

1865 - -5/1] Gen Shermans "Haines's Bluff" at Snyder's Mill, Virginia

1869 - Hawaiian YMCA organized

1871 - The Camp Grant Massacre of Apaches in Arizona Territory, perpetrated by white andMexican adventurers; 144 die

1885 - Boston Pops Orchestra forms

1888 - Hail stones kills about 250 in Moradabad district of Delhi

1889 - First US national holiday, on centennial of Washington's inauguration

1889 - George Washington Bridge linking New York City and New Jersey opens

1900 - 165 lb Robert Fitzsimmons KOs 305 lb Ed Dunkhost in a boxing match

1900 - USA annexes Hawaii

1900 - Casey Jones dies in a train wreck in Vaughn, Mississippi, while trying to make up time on the Cannonball Express.

1902 - Debussy's opera "Pelléas et Mélissande," premieres in Paris

1903 - NY Highlanders (Yankees) 1st home game, (Hilltop Park-168th St and  Broadway, Manhattan), they beat Wash Senators, 6-2

1904 - Ice cream cone makes its debut

1905 - First official soccer game between Belgium-Netherlands (1-4)

1907 - Honolulu, Hawaii becomes an independent city.

1910 - Cleveland Indian Addie Joss wins 2nd no-hitter beating White Sox

1911 - Portugal approves woman suffrage

1916 - Chicago Cubs play first game at Weeghman Park (Wrigley Field) beat Reds

1918 - Orange Nassau soccer team forms in Groningen

1919 - Phillies beat Bkln Dodgers 9-0 in 20 innings

1921 - American Professional Football Association reorganizes in Akron

1921 - Pope Benedict XV encyclical "On Dante"

1922 - Chic White Sox Charles Robertson perfect games Detroit Tigers, 2-0

1925 - Automaker Dodge Brothers, Inc is sold to Dillon, Read & Company for $146 million plus $50 million for charity.

1927 - Princess Juliana gets seat in Dutch Council of State

1928 - Cherkess Autonomous Region forms in RSFSR (until 1957)

1929 - Earnest Streeruwitz becomes chancellor of Austria

1934 - Austrian gets "Austrian facist" constitution

1935 - World Congress for Women's Rights concludes in Istanbul

1937 - The Philippines holds a plebiscite for Filipino women on whether they should be extended the right to suffrage; over 90% would vote in the affirmative.

1938 - The first televised FA Cup Final takes place between Huddersfield Town and Preston North End.

1939 - NBC/RCA first public TV demo with FDR at opening of NY World's Fair

1941 - Spread of Judaism begins in Croatia

1942 - First submarine built on Great Lakes launched, (Peto), Manitowoc, Wi

1943 - Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp for Jews forms

1943 - Dutch strike against forced labor in Nazi Germany's war industry

1945 - Concentration camp Munchen-Allag freed

1945 - Lord Haw-Haw calls for crusade against the bolsheviks

1945 - Red Army occupies Demmin

1945 - Red Army opens attack on German Reichstag building in Berlin

1945 - Russian Army frees Ravensbruck concentration camp

1945 - US troops attack the Elbe

1947 - Boulder Dam renamed in honor of Herbert Hoover

1948 - Organization of American States charter signed at Bogota, Colombia

1948 - US performs atmospheric nuclear test at Enwetak

1952 - Mr Potato Head is 1st toy advertised on television

1955 - Element 101, Mendelevium, announced 1955 - Imperial Bank of India nationalized

1955 - West German unions protest for 40-hour work week and higherwages

1958 - Ted Williams is 10th major league player to get 1,000 extra-base hits

1961 - 1st shuttle flights between Wash DC, Boston & NYC begin (Eastern)

1961 - Premier Fidel Castro of Cuba receives Lenin-Peace Prize

1961 - SF Giant Willie Mays hits 4 HRs in a game

1962 - NASA civilian pilot Joseph A Walker takes X-15 to 75,190 m

1967 - Highest tower to the world finished, 537m (USSR)

1970 - US troops invade Cambodia

1971 - 25th NBA Championship: Milwaukee beat Balt Bullets in 4 games

1973 - Nixon announces resignation of Haldeman, Ehrlichman, et al

1973 - Paul McCartney releases "Red Rose Speedway" including "My Love"

1973 - Women's tennis groups end disputes over sanctioning tournaments

1974 - President Nixon hands over partial transcripts of Watergate tape recordings

1975 - Last US helicopter leaves US embassy grounds, Saigon surrenders

1976 - Muhammad Ali beats Jimmy Young in 15 for heavyweight boxing title

1976 - Royal Canadian Mint opens a branch in Winnipeg Manitoba

1977 - Billy Graham beats Bruno Sammartino in Baltimore, to become WWF champ

1980 - Terrorists seize Iranian Embassy in London

1980 - Beatrix, Wilhelmina Armgard, crowned queen of Netherlands

1980 - Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands, abdicates

1982 - Alvaro Magana chosen to succeed Jose N Duarte as pres of El Salvador

1982 - Atlanta Braves win record 12th straight from beginning of season

1982 - Iranian offensive in Khusistan

1985 - France performs nuclear test at Muruora Island

1985 - Last edition of Brink Daily Mail/Sunday Express in South Africa

1986 - Ashrita Furman peformed 8,341 somersaults over 12 miles

1987 - Lou Lamoriello is named NJ Devils President

1987 - NY Islander Mike Bossy plays his final game

1988 - Baltimore Orioles win record 14th straight from beginning of season

1988 - Largest banana split ever, at 455 miles long, was made in Penns

1988 - New Jersey Devils beat Caps 3-2 taking 7th game of Patrick Division final

1988 - World Exposition, Expo 88 opens in Brisbane Australia

1989 - Critics Siskel & Ebert film their 500th TV movie-review show

1989 - Pope John Paul II beatifies Victoire Rasoamanarivo of Madagascar

1989 - US beats Costa Rica 1-0, in 3rd round of 1990 world soccer cup

1990 - Seattle's Brian Holman's perfect game broken up with 2 outs in 9th

1990 - US 66th manned space mission STS 31 (Discovery 10) returns from space

1990 - US hostage Frank Reed freed after 4 years in hands of pro-Iranians

1991 - In Bangladesh a cyclone killed over 131,000 & left 9 million homeless

1992 - 208th and final episode of Cosby Show on NBC-TV

1993 - The World Wide Web is born at CERN.

1993 - Virgin Radio broadcasts for the first time in the United Kingdom.

1996 - Dutch/Itallian Beppo-SAX launches from Cape Canaveral

1997 - 42 million watch "Ellen" admit she is gay

1997 - Atlanta Braves win record 19 games in April

1997 - Big Ben stops at 12:11 PM for 54 minutes

1999 - Cambodia joins the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bringing the total members to 10. 2001 - The Mitchell Report on the Arab-Israeli conflict is published.

2002 - A referendum in Pakistan overwhelmingly approves the Presidency of Pervez Musharraf for another five years.

2004 - U.S. media release graphic photos of American soldiers abusing and sexually humiliating Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.

2008 - Two skeletal remains found near Ekaterinburg, Russia were confirmed by Russian scientists to be the remains of Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia and one of his sisters.

2009 - Chrysler automobile company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

2009 - Failed attack on the Dutch Royal Family results in 7 deaths and 17 injured. 2009 - The United Kingdom formally ends combat operations in Iraq.

2012 - The unfinished One World Trade Center overtakes the Empire State building to become the tallest building in New York

2012 - Spain's economy double dips after a 0.3% contraction and 25% unemployment rate

2012 - Overloaded ferry in the Brahmaputra River,India, killing 103 people

2012 - Manchester City defeat Manchester United 1-0 in what is claimed to be the biggest match in the English Premier League's history





Monday, April 29, 2013

On This Day in History - April 29

Once again, it should be reiterated, that this does not pretend to be a very extensive history of what happened on this day (nor is it the most original - the links can be found down below). If you know something that I am missing, by all means, shoot me an email or leave a comment, and let me know!

A lot of the events on these timelines recently have centered on World War II. Indeed, the spring time was a very busy time for the war throughout, beingh conducive to beginning major combat operations and invasions. It makes sense.  But this date also marks the anniversary of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, and that is what this short piece by the History Channel's website focuses on. It can be found at: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/world-war-ii-monument-opens-in-washington-dc

On April 29, 2004, the National World War II Memorial opens in Washington, D.C., to thousands of visitors, providing overdue recognition for the 16 million U.S. men and women who served in the war. The memorial is located on 7.4 acres on the former site of the Rainbow Pool at the National Mall between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. The Capitol dome is seen to the east, and Arlington Cemetery is just across the Potomac River to the west.  

The granite and bronze monument features fountains between arches symbolizing hostilities in Europe and the Far East. The arches are flanked by semicircles of pillars, one each for the states, territories and the District of Columbia. Beyond the pool is a curved wall of 4,000 gold stars, one for every 100 Americans killed in the war. An Announcement Stone proclaims that the memorial honors those "Americans who took up the struggle during the Second World War and made the sacrifices to perpetuate the gift our forefathers entrusted to us: A nation conceived in liberty and justice."  

Though the federal government donated $16 million to the memorial fund, it took more than $164 million in private donations to get it built. Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, who was severely wounded in the war, and actor Tom Hanks were among its most vocal supporters. Only a fraction of the 16 million Americans who served in the war would ever see it. Four million World War II veterans were living at the time, with more than 1,100 dying every day, according to government records.  

The memorial was inspired by Roger Durbin of Berkey, Ohio, who served under Gen. George S. Patton. At a fish fry near Toledo in February 1987, he asked U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur why there was no memorial on the Mall to honor World War II veterans. Kaptur, a Democrat from Ohio, soon introduced legislation to build one, starting a process that would stumble along through 17 years of legislative, legal and artistic entanglements. Durbin died of pancreatic cancer in 2000.  

The monument was formally dedicated May 29, 2004, by U.S. President George W. Bush. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it received some 4.4 million visitors in 2005.

1091 - Battle at Monte Levunium: Emperor Alexius I beats Petshegenes

1429 -  Joan of Arc entered the city of Orléans. She would end its months-long siege and would become known as the "Maid of Orléans."

1522 - Emperor Charles V names Frans van Holly inquisitor-gen of Netherlands

1540 - Emperor Charles declares all privileges of Gent ended

1550 - Emperor Charles V gives inquisiters additional authority

1553 - Flemish woman introduces practice of starching linen into England

1623 - 11 Dutch ships depart for the conquest of Peru

1628 - Sweden & Denmark sign defense treaty against Duke of Wallenstein

1636 - Prince Frederik Henry occupies Schenkenschans

1644 - Farm leader Li Zicheng becomes emperor of China & flees Peking

1661 - Chinese Ming dynasty occupies Taiwan

1670 - Pope Clemens X elected

1672 - Franco-Dutch War: Louis XIV of France invades the Netherlands.

1701 - Drenthe Neth adopts Gregorian calendar, tomorrow is May 12, 1701

1706 - Emperor Jozef I becomes monarch of Cologne/Bavaria

1707 - English/Scottish parliament accept Act of Union; form Great Britain

1715 - John Flamsteed observes Uranus for 6th time

1781 - French fleet occupies Tobago during American War of Independence

1781 - French fleet stopped Britain from seizing the Cape of Good Hope

1784 - Premiere of Mozart's Sonata in B flat, K454 (Vienna)

1793 - Cornerstone laid for Groningen's new townhall

1813 - Rubber is patented

1834 - Charles Darwin's expedition sees top of Andes from Patagonia

1845 - Macon B Allen & Robert Morris Jr, 1st blacks to open law practice

1852 - First edition of Peter Roget's Thesaurus published

1853 - Comet C/

1853 G1 (Schweizer) approaches within 0.0839 AUs of Earth

1856 - Peace between England and; Russia

1857 - US Army, Pacific Div HQ permanently forms at Presidio (SF)

1861 - Maryland's House of Delegates votes against seceding from Union

1862 - 100,000 federal troops prepare to march into Corinth, Mississippi

1862 - New Orleans fell to Union forces during US Civil War

1863 - Battle of Chancellordville, VA (Fredericksburg, Wilderness Tavern)

1864 - -30] Skirmish at Jenkins' Ferry, Arkansas

1864 - The Theta Xi fraternity is founded at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

1882 - The "Elektromote" - forerunner of the trolleybus - is tested by Ernst Werner von Siemens in Berlin.

1886 - First public Dutch electricity opens

1888 - Old Kavallison, Congo: Stanley meet Emin Pasha

1892 - Charlie Reilly is baseball's first pinch hitter

1894 - Commonweal of Christ (Coxey's Army) arrives in Wash, DC 500 strong to protest unemployment; Coxey arrested for trespassing at Capitol

1901 - 27th Kentucky Derby: Jimmy Winkfield on His Eminence wins in 2:07.75

1901 - Anti semitic riot in Budapest, Hungary

1903 - Limestone slides at Turtle Mountain kills 9 (Frank Alberta)

1905 - 2" rain falls in 10 mins in Taylor, TX

1905 - Pierre de Brazza lands in Libreville Gabon

1910 - Ex-president Theodore Roosevelt visits Amsterdam

1912 - 108°F (42°C), Tuguegarao, Philippines (Oceania record)

1912 - Frank Wedekind's "Tod und Teufel," premieres in Berlin

1913 - Swedish engineer Gideon Sundback of Hoboken patents all-purpose zipper

1916 - Irish nationalists set post office on fire in Dublin,  the Easter rebellion in Ireland ended with the surrender of Irish nationalists.

1918 - Tris Speaker ties career outfield record of 4 unassisted double plays

1922 - First official Intl Weightlifting Federation Champ (Tallinn, Estonia)

1925 - Netherlands returns to gold standard

1926 - France ad the; United States reach accord on repayment of World War I

1927 - Construction of Spirit of St Louis is completed

1930 - North Sea floodgate at Ijmuiden (biggest in world) officially opens

1930 - Telephone connection England-Australia goes into service

1931 - Cleveland Indian Wes Ferrell no-hits St Louis Browns, 9-0

1936 - 1st pro baseball game in Japan is played Nagoya defeats Daitokyo, 8-5

1939 - Whitestone Bridge connecting Bronx and Queens opens in New York City

1940 - Norwegian King Haakon and exiled government flees to England

1940 - Robert Sherwood's "There Shall be No Night," premieres in NYC

1942 - Japanese troop march into Lashio, cuts off Burma Road

1942 - Jews forced to wear a Jewish Star in Netherlands and in Vichy-France

1943 - Dietrich Bonhoeffer arrested by Nazis

1943 - Noel Coward's "Present Laughter," premieres in London

1943 - US 34th Division occupies Hill 609, North Tunisia

1944 - Surprise attack by Van de Peat on General Landsdrukkerij in the Hague

1945 - 1st food drop by RAF above nazi-occupied Holland (operation Manna)

1945 - Japanese army evacuates Rangoon

1945 - Terms of surrender of German armies in Italy signed

1945 - US liberates 31,601 in Nazi concentration camp in Dachau Germany

1945 - Venice and Mestre were captured by the Allies

1946 - 28 former Japanese leaders indicted in Tokyo as war criminals

1948 - Bradman scores 107 Aust v Worcs, 152 mins, 15 fours

1953 - The first U.S. experimental 3D-TV broadcast showed an episode of Space Patrol on Los Angeles ABC affiliate KECA-TV.

1955 - G Gronchi elected president of Italy

1956 - Betsy Rawls wins LPGA Peach Blossom Golf Open

1956 - WLUC TV channel 6 in Marquette, MI (CBS/NBC/ABC) begins broadcasting

1956 - WSPA TV channel 7 in G'ville-Spartanburg, SC (CBS) begins broadcasting

1956 - WWBT TV channel 12 in Richmond, VA (NBC) begins broadcasting

1957 - First military nuclear power plant dedicated, Fort Belvoir Va

1961 - ABC's "Wide World of Sports, debuts

1964 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1965 - Australian government announces it would send troops to Vietnam

1965 - Earthquake hits Seattle; 5 die

1965 - Malta is 18th member of Council of Europe

1967 - Aretha Franklin releases "Respect"

1970 - 50,000 American and South Vietnamese troops invade Cambodia

1971 - Boeing receives contract for Mariner 10, Mercury exploration

1971 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1974 - President Nixon said he will release edited tapes made in White House

1975 - Ethiopia nationalizes all ground/earth

1975 - Vietnam War: Operation Frequent Wind: The U.S. begins to evacuate US citizens from Saigon prior to an expected North Vietnamese takeover. U.S. involvement in the war comes to an end.

1976 - Minister Irene Vorrink begins fluoridating Dutch drinking water

1977 - British Aerospace forms

1980 - Corazones Unidos Siempre Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority Inc. is founded.

1981 - Peter Sutcliffe admits he is the Yorkshire Ripper (murdered 13 women)

1982 - Alfredo Magana elected pres of El Salvador

1982 - Nordiques 2-Isles 5-Semifinals-Isles hold 2-0 lead

1983 - Harold Washington sworn in as Chicago's first black mayor

1985 - Sebventeenth space shuttle mission (51-B)-Challenger 7 launched

1985 - Ranger Larry Parrish is 5th to hit 3 HRs in a game in both leagues

1985 - Tony Tubbs TKOs Greg Page in 15 for heavyweight boxing title

1986 - 800,000 books destroyed by fire in Los Angeles Central Library

1987 - Japan's premier Nakasone visits the US

1988 - Orioles beat White Sox 9-0 for first 1988 win after 21 loses

1989 - 2nd government of Lubbers falls

1990 - STS-31 (Discovery 10) lands

1990 - Wrecking cranes began tearing down Berlin Wall at Brandenburg Gate

1991 - Croatia declares independence

1991 - Cyclone strikes Bangladesh, 139,000 die/10 million homeless

1991 - Earthquake in Georgia, kills 100

1992 - Country singer Doug Stone, 35, undergoes quadruple bypass surgery

1992 - Jury acquits Los Aangeles police officers of beating Rodney King, riots begin

1992 - Sheena Easton collapses on stage while performing in "Man of LaMancha"

1992 - Voting ends on choice of Elvis stamps

1994 - Ferry boat smashes into Mombasa Harbor Kenya, kills over 300

1994 - Israel and the PLO sign economic accord

1995 - Longest sausage ever, at 2877 miles, made in Kitchener Ontario

1997 - KC Royal Chili Davis is 75th to hit 300 HRs

1997 - The Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 enters into force, outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons among its signatories.

1999 - Avala TV Tower near Belgrade is destroyed in NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

2002 - The United States is re-elected to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, one year after losing the seat it had held for 50 years.

2004 - Dick Cheney and George W. Bush testify before the 9/11 Commission in a closed, unrecorded hearing in the Oval Office.

2004 - Oldsmobile builds its final car ending 107 years of production.

2005 - Syria completes withdrawal from Lebanon, ending 29 years of occupation. 2005 - New Zealand's first civil union takes place.

2007 - Republic Protests in Turkey.

2012 - International Chemical Weapons Convention deadline for chemical weapon stockpiles comes into effect

The following are the websites that I used to compile this list for this blog entry:





RIP- Richie Havens

This is a bit late. I have been meaning to do this since I first heard about the passing of Richie Havens several days ago. Yet, I am only getting around to it now. No disrespect intended.

Richie Havens enjoyed a long and distinguished musical career. He was best known for opening the legendary Woodstock concert. Perhaps his most famous individual piece was actually an improv right on stage for the Woodstock concert, titled "Freedom". Havens also performed at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton.

This came two years after his breakout album, "Mixed Bag".

His last album, "Nobody Left to Crown", was released in 2008.

He was born and raised in Brooklyn.

I will regret not having made more of a point of seeing Richie Havens a couple of years ago when I still had that chance. I was kind of on a Woodstock fix, having just gone there to see Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band. Seeing the actual field where the historic concert was held, and really being able to appreciate it in person for the first time, made me want to see some of those artists that were there. That included Richie Havens, of course.

RIP, Richie Havens, January 21, 1941 - April, 22, 2013


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sports Update for April 28

It has been a very bust time for sports lately, and I think it's time to have a review, even though it has only been a few days since my last one.

This is supposed to be the busiest time for sports (at least in North America). Baseball is in full swing, and the NBA and the NHL are now in enjoying their playoff time, where intensity is stepped up quite a bit, and the NFL had their draft this past weekend.


The Nets owned a fourteen point lead late in the game at Chicago yesterday, but the Bulls pulled off a huge comeback to force overtime. It then went into triple overtime, before the Bulls finally completed the historical comeback, securing a 142-134 win, for a three games to one series lead. The Nets now have to win all their remaining games against Chicago if they hope to survive and move to the next round. One more win for Chicago would see the Bulls advance.

That was not even the biggest comeback of the day, however (although it likely will live on as one of the greatest NBA playoff games ever). The Oklahoma City Thunder spotted the Houston Rockets a 26-point lead, before coming all the way back and managing a 104-101 win on the road.  The Thunder now lead the series three games to none.

There were a couple of other games, as well, but neither were nearly as epic or exciting as those other two. The Memphis Grizzlies managed to even their series against the Los Angeles Clippers with a landslide 104-83 victory, while the Atlanta Hawks finally got a win in their series against the Indiana Pacers, shutting Indiana down en route to a 90-69 blowout win. The Pacers still lead that series two games to one over the Hawks.

There is a rumor that legendary coach Phil Jackson will be heading to Toronto:



In other sports news, the Detroit Red Wings secured their playoff spot last night with a convincing 3-0 win at Dallas yesterday. Their streak of 21 consecutive seasons qualifying for the playoffs had been in serious jeopardy, but they managed to avert the disappointment of missing the playoffs for at least one more year. The two other teams vying for a playoff spot in the West, the Minnesota Wild and the Columbus Blue Jackets, also both won yesterday. The Wild beat the Avalanche in Colorado, 3-1. Columbus beat the Nashville Predators 3-1 at home yesterday, but still will fall short of qualifying for that final playoff spot they had so desperately wanted.


It was a bit of an unusual draft this year. In the first round of the NFL Draft, the vast majority of teams focuses primarily on improving their offensive and defensive lines. Only one team (the Buffalo Bills) selected a quarterback in the first round, while three other teams selected wide receivers. There were no running backs selected in the first round.

Also, the MVP of Super Bowl XLV, quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and the Green Bay Packers finally came to an agreement, as he signed the largest contract in the NFL. Rodgers is now committed to the Packers through the 2019 season.


Floyd Mayweather has a title fight coming up next weekend, and he is trying to get ready. But in a sparring session on Friday, he began bleeding from the nose. His father voiced concern, but Floyd himself seemed unfazed, and continued to box, showing good focus and finishing strong, landing some well-placed blows.

Mayweather is still currently undefeated, an unblemished record of 43-0 that he puts on the line against Robert Guerrero.


On This Date - April 28

Once again, it should be reiterated, that this does not pretend to be a very extensive history of what happened on this day (nor is it the most original - the links can be found down below). If you know something that I am missing, by all means, shoot me an email or leave a comment, and let me know!

So, this little bit of history is interesting, and focuses on the capture and execution of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. His fate was known by Hitler, and it scared him to death - literally. Trapped in the secret underground bunker in Berlin under the Reichstag, Hitler would take his own life, and had arranged to have his body burned. Mussolini, who had been dictator of Italy for over two decades, and Hitler's closest foreign ally, was captured, shot, and had his body hung upside down and beaten publicly. The end of the war in Europe was fast approaching.   http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

On this day in 1945, "Il Duce," Benito Mussolini, and his mistress, Clara Petacci, are shot by Italian partisans who had captured the couple as they attempted to flee to Switzerland.  

The 61-year-old deposed former dictator of Italy was established by his German allies as the figurehead of a puppet government in northern Italy during the German occupation toward the close of the war. As the Allies fought their way up the Italian peninsula, defeat of the Axis powers all but certain, Mussolini considered his options. Not wanting to fall into the hands of either the British or the Americans, and knowing that the communist partisans, who had been fighting the remnants of roving Italian fascist soldiers and thugs in the north, would try him as a war criminal, he settled on escape to a neutral country.  

He and his mistress made it to the Swiss border, only to discover that the guards had crossed over to the partisan side. Knowing they would not let him pass, he disguised himself in a Luftwaffe coat and helmet, hoping to slip into Austria with some German soldiers. His subterfuge proved incompetent, and he and Petacci were discovered by partisans and shot, their bodies then transported by truck to Milan, where they were hung upside down and displayed publicly for revilement by the masses.

357 - Emperor Constantius II visited Rome for the first time.

585 - War between Lydia & Media ended by solar eclipse

1192 - Assassination of Conrad of Montferrat (Conrad I), King of Jerusalem, in Tyre, two days after his title to the throne confirmed by election. Killing carried out by Hashshashin.

1202 - King Philip II throws out John without Country, from France

1253 - -May 7th) Utrecht destroyed by fire

1253 - Nichiren, a Japanese Buddhist monk, propounds Nam Myoho Renge Kyo for the first time and declares it to be the essence of Buddhism, in effect founding Nichiren Buddhism.

1282 - Villagers in Palermo led a revolt against French rule in Sicily.

1376 - English parliament demands supervision on royal outlay

1503 - Battle at Cerignalo: Spanish army under G Cordoba beats France

1521 - Treaty of Worms: Emperor Charles names his brother Ferdinand Arch duke of Neth-Austria

1550 - Powers of Dutch inquisition extends

1611 - Establishment of the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines, the oldest existing university in Asia and the largest Catholic university in the world.

1635 - Virginia Gov John Harvey accused of treason & removed from office

1655 - English admiral Blake beats Tunen pirate fleet

1686 - First volume of Isaac Newton's "Principia" published

1770 - Captain James Cook, aboard Endeavor, landed at Botany Bay in Australia

1788 - Maryland becomes seventh state to ratify constitution

1789 - Fletcher Christian leads a mutiny on the British ship HMS Bounty took place when a rebel crew took the ship and set sail to Pitcairn Island. The mutineers left Captain W. Bligh and 18 sailors adrift.

1796 - Cease fire of Cherasco

1804 - 31 English ships sail Suriname river demanding transition colony from the Dutch

1818 - American President James Monroe proclaimed naval disarmament on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain.

1829 - Dutch parliament accepts new press laws

1847 - George B Vashon becomes 1st black to enter NY State Bar

1848 - Free last slaves in French colonies

1855 - 1st veterinary college in US incorporated in Boston

1865 - Giacomo Meyerbeer's opera "L'Africaine," premieres in Paris

1892 - 1st performance of Antonin Dvorák's overture "Carneval"

1901 - 1st soccer game between Belgium (8) & Netherlands (0)

1901 - Cleveland's Bock Baker gives up a record 23 singles as White Sox beat Blues (Cleveland Blues!) 13-1

1902 - Using the ISO 8601 standard Year Zero definition for the Gregorian calendar preceded by the Julian calendar, the one billionth minute since the start of January 1, Year Zero occurs at 10:40 AM on this date.

1910 - 1st night air flight (Claude Grahame-White, England)

1914 - 181 die in coal mine collapse at Eccles WV

1914 - W H Carrier patented the design of his air conditioner

1916 - The British declared martial law throughout Ireland, following the Easter Rebellion.

1919 - The League of Nations (predecessor to the United Nations) was founded.

1919 - First jump with Army Air Corp (rip-cord type) parachute (Les Irvin)

1920 - Azerbaijan SSR joined USSR (first time)

1922 - WOI (Ames, Iowa) country's 1st licensed educational radio station

1923 - Wembley Stadium opens-Bolton Wanderers vs West Ham United (FA Cup)

1924 - 119 die in Benwood West Virginia coal mine disaster

1925 - Kurd rebels surrender to Turkish army

1925 - Netherlands & Great Britain return to gold standard

1930 - 1st night organized baseball game (Independence KS)

1931 - Program for woman athletes approved for 1932 Olympics track & field

1932 - The yellow fever vaccine for humans was announced.

1932 - 1st broadcast of "One Man's Family" on NBC-radio 1932 - Yellow fever vaccine for humans announced

1934 - FDR signs Home Owners Loan Act

1934 - Soccer team Blue White '34 forms 1934 - Spanish government of Samper forms

1934 - Tigers' Goose Goslin grounds into 4 straight double plays

1935 - Moscow underground opens (81 km long)

1937 - The first animated-cartoon electric sign was displayed on a building on Broadway in New York City. It was created by Douglas Leight.

1937 - 1st commercial flight across Pacific, Pan Am

1939 - Hitler claims German-Polish non-attack treaty still in effect

1940 - Glenn Miller records "Pennsylvania 6-5000"

1940 - Rudolf Hess becomes commandant of concentration camp Auschwitz

1941 - Last British troops in Greece surrenders

1942 - "WW II" titled so, as result of Gallup Poll

1942 - Nightly "dim-out" begins along East Coast

1943 - 1st performance of Marc Blitzstein's "Freedom Morning"

1943 - German-Italian counter offensive in North-Africa

1943 - US 34th Division occupies Djebel el Hara North Tunisia

1944 - Stalin meets Polish/US priest S Orlemanski

1944 - Exercise "Tiger" ends with 750 US soldiers dead in D-Day rehearsal after their convoy ships were attacked by German torpedo boats

1945 - British commands attack Elbe & occupies Lauenburg

1945 - Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci were executed by Italian partisans as they attempted to flee the country.

1945 - US 5th army reaches Swiss border

1946 - The Allies indicted Tojo with 55 counts of war crimes.

1947 - Thor Heyerdahl & "Kon-Tiki" sail from Peru to Polynesia

1949 - Former Philippine First Lady Aurora Quezon, 61, is assassinated while en route to dedicate a hospital in memory of her late husband; her daughter and 10 others are also killed.

1952 - Patty Berg wins LPGA Richmond Golf Open

1952 - St Louis Browns lend 2 black minor leaguers to Hankyu Braves of Japan

1952 - WW II Pacific peace treaty takes effect. The U.S. occupation of Japan officially ended when a treaty with the U.S. and 47 other countries went into effect.

1952 - Dwight D. Eisenhower resigns as Supreme Commander of NATO.

1953 - French troops evacuated northern Laos.

1955 - WBIQ TV channel 10 in Birmingham, AL (PBS) begins broadcasting

1956 - Last French troop leave Vietnam

1956 - Reds Frank Robinson hits his 1st of 586 HRs

1957 - Patty Berg wins LPGA Western Golf Open

1957 - WSOC TV channel 9 in Charlotte, NC (ABC) begins broadcasting

1958 - Great Britain performs atmospheric nuclear test at Christmas Island

1958 - Vanguard TV-5 launched for Earth orbit (failed)

1958 - Vice Pres Richard Nixon begins goodwill tour of Latin America

1959 - KLOE TV channel 10 in Goodland, KS (CBS) begins broadcasting

1959 - KPLR TV channel 11 in Saint Louis, MO (IND) begins broadcasting

1960 - "Christine" opens at 46th St Theater NYC for 12 performances

1960 - WIPM TV channel 3 in Mayaguez, PR (PBS) begins broadcasting

1961 - Lt Col Gueorgui Mossolov takes E-66A to 34,714 m altitude

1964 - Japan joins OECO 1965 - Barbra Streisand stars on "My Name is Barbra" special on CBS

1965 - Lindsey Nelson broadcasts game at Astrodome from a hanging gondola

1965 - Richard Helms replaces Marshall S Carter as deputy director of CIA

1965 - US marines invade Dominican Republic, stay until October 1966

1965 - William F Raborn Jr replaces John A McCone as 7th head of CIA

1967 - Muhammad Ali refuses induction into army & stripped of boxing title

1968 - 11 year-old Mary Bell strangles 4 year-old

1969 - Charles de Gaulle resigns as president of France

1969 - King Crismson with Greg Lake & Ian McDonald debuts

1971 - Dutch social democratic party/D'66/DS'70 win parliamentary election

1971 - Samuel Lee Gravely Jr becomes 1st black admiral in US Navy

1972 - Courts awarded Kentucky Derby prize money to 2nd place winner because winner was given drugs before race

1973 - Over 6000 Mk. 82 500 pound bombs detonate over the course of 18 hours in a railyard in northern California. 5500 structures are damaged, and the town of Antelope, California ceases to exist, with every building being reduced to the foundation. This accident leads to the passing of the Transportation Safety Act of 1974 which makes the NTSB an independent agency.

1974 - The last Americans were evacuated from Saigon.

1975 - John Lennon appears on "Tonight" & Ringo on "Smother Brothers"

1975 - South-Vietnam Gen Duong Van Minh sworn in as president till April 30

1977 - Christopher Boyce convicted for selling secrets

1977 - Andreas Baader & members of Baader-Meinhoff jailed for life after a trial lasting nearly 2 years in Stuttgart, Germany

1977 - The Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure is signed.

1980 - Cyrus Vance, Carter's Secretary of State, resigns

1981 - Galician current Statute of Autonomy.

1983 - Argentine government declares all 15-30,000 missing persons dead

1983 - NASA launches Geos-F

1985 - Billy Martin named NY Yankee manager for 4th time

1985 - Fernando Valenzuela sets record of 41 scoreless inn to start season

1985 - The largest sand castle in the world was completed near St. Petersburg, FL. It was four stories tall.

1986 - Chernobyl, USSR site of world's worst nuclear power plant disaster

1987 - NBA announces expansion to Charlotte NC & Miami Fla in 1988 & Minneapolis Minn & Orlando Fla in 1989

1987 - American engineer Ben Linder is killed in an ambush by U.S.-funded Contras in northern Nicaragua.

1988 - Aloha Airlines Boeing 737 roof tears off in flight; kills stewardess 1988 - Baltimore Orioles lose AL record 21 games in a row

1988 - NJ Devils set all time playoff mark for penalty minutes

1989 - Argentina, hit by rocketing inflation, runs out of money

1989 - Iran protests sale of "Satanic Verses" by Salman Rushdie

1990 - "Chorus Line" closes at Shubert Theater NYC after 6,137 performances

1990 - Boston Celtics score most points in a playoff, beat NY Knicks 157-128

1990 - Last issue of Dutch communist daily De Waarheid (The Truth)

1991 - "Taking Steps" closes at Circle in Sq Theater NYC after 78 perfs 1991 - Space Shuttle STS 39 (Discovery 12) launched

1992 - The Milwaukee Brewers defeat the eventual World Series champion Toronto Blue Jays 22-2 with AL record 31 hits in 9 innings

1992 - Italian President Francesco Cossiga formally resigns

1993 - Carlo Ciampi forms Italian government with ex-communists 1993 - Zambian plane crashes at Libreville, Gabon, 30 soccer players die

1993 - NY Islanders beat Washington Capitals 4 to 1 in playoffs, Caps Dale Hunter attacks Pierre Turgeon after scoring, in hockey's worst cheap shot

1994 - First multi-racial election in South Africa ends [3 days]

1994 - Aldrich Ames, former CIA officer & wife Rosario plead guilty to spying

1994 - Freddy Thielemans sworn in as mayor of Brussels Belgium 1995 - Gas explosion in South Korean metro, 103 die 1995 - Sri Lankaan BAE748 crashes at Palaly, 52 die

1996 - Martin Bryant shoots & kills 35 in Port Arthur Tasmania

1996 - American President Clinton gave a 4 1/2 hour videotaped testimony as a defense witness in the criminal trial of his former Whitewater business partners.

1997 - A worldwide treaty to ban chemical weapons took effect. Russia and other countries such as Iraq and North Korea did not sign.

1999 - The U.S. House of Representatives rejected (on a tie vote of 213-213) a measure expressing support for NATO's five-week-old air campaign in Yugoslavia. The House also voted to limit the president's authority to use ground forces in Yugoslavia.

2001 -A Russian rocket launched from Central Asia with the first space tourist aboard. The crew consisted of California businessman Dennis Tito and two cosmonauts. The destination was the international space station.

2004 - The Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal first comes to light when graphic photos of U.S. soldiers physically abusing and humiliating Iraqi prisoners were shown on CBS's 60 Minutes II.

2005 - The Patent Law Treaty goes into effect.

2012 - Tent collapse in St Louis, Missouri, kills one and injures 110 people





Saturday, April 27, 2013

Germans continue to be fascinated by Nazi era, and Hitler's Taster

In the spring of 1940, Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany invaded Western Europe, and were successful in taking over their traditional rivals, France, among other nations. Hitler and many Germans felt that much of the world, perhaps particularly the French, had humiliated Germany numerous times, from the days of Napoleon and French occupation in the early nineteenth century, until the years following the Great War, and the horrible German inflation and staggering poverty, with French armies marching in at will into Germany to collect perceived debts owed by Germany for reparations, as Germany was held essentially exclusively responsible for World War I.

So, when Hitler reversed all of that, it was hailed as a triumph by many Germans. The Germans had taken several steps, from rearming the Rhineland, to the Anschluss (the annexation of Austria), to the occupation of the Sudetenland (and all of Czechoslovakia), to the takeover of Poland. With the victories in 1940, it seemed that this man, Hitler, was a miracle worker for many Germans. He seemed almost unbeatable, untouchable. He had restored that German sense of pride in their nation. If the Olympic Games of 1936 in Berlin had seemed to showcase the potential for the "new Germany", then the victories in 1940 seemed to be the fulfillment of that promise.

Germany would go on to take over even more lands to the East, but these were quickly tempered by the fact that (a) Germany would soon struggle in a nightmarish Eastern Front war with the Soviets, which it would eventually lose, and (b) the United States entered the war later in 1941, giving the Germans a dreaded sense of deja vu that many did not want to think about.

The truth was that the peak for Hitler and Nazi Germany came in 1940, and specifically, in the spring of 1940, with some stunning (and far too easy) military successes on the field. Many were indeed beginning to believe in Hitler's "Thousand Year Reich".

Just five years later, the arrival of spring saw the crumbling of that empire. Germany had recently seemed to rule over Europe, for all intents and purposes. But invading armies from both the East and the West were closing in, finishing the stranglehold on Nazi Germany, and the capital of the empire lay in rubble. In late April of 1945, Adolf Hitler shot himself (although it was officially announced that Hitler had fallen bravely in battle). Within days, the Germans gave the Allied forces what they had been demanding all along - unconditional surrender.

It was a stunning reversal, and it had all happened remarkably quickly. What only five years earlier had seemed unparalleled successes for the new Germany - a Germany that suddenly had appeared invincible - now marked unparalleled failures. The country was ruined, and the Nazi regime in disgrace like no other in history. The evidence of crimes were everywhere, and the sense of guilt associated with Germans at that time has not fully gone away. Hitler, who had been seen as a genius and the savior of Germany, was now seen as a human monster unlike any other figure in history. His regime has unofficially been considered the lowest and most criminal in history, with such an extent of horrors that it was responsible for, the likes of which had never been seen before, or since (and that is saying something, given the history of the world). The "Thousand Year Reich" had, mercifully, lasted only twelve years. Not even a decade and a half, although the memory of it might last well beyond a thousand years. Everything about those times and those years was demonized, and Nazism, which had officially ruled the land (and much of Europe) for years, was now officially illegal.

World War II, and the European part of it that Germany mostly dictated, was one of the most remarkable and surreal chapters in history, and it occurred at a time when technology was able to capture these events like never before. We see images of those times (mostly in black and white), and see the pictures of mass party rallies and goose-stepping soldiers, and German armies winning early victories, and Hitler standing triumphant. We also see images of the war in the East, and the reversal of German fortunes, the battering that Germany was taking to the East and to the West, the bombings, and the rubble and poverty that Germany was reduced to.

No wonder it continues to fascinate, even after so many decades have passed.

This date in particular marks some significant landmarks in Nazi history. It was on this date in 1937 that Germany leveled a Guernica (in Spain) during the Spanish Civil War (the glimpse of the bigger war that would quickly follow). On this date in 1940, Himmler ordered the establishment of Auschwitz Concentration Camp. A year later, Germans occupied Athens. A year after that, Belgian Jews were forced to wear the Star of David. And, of course, three years later, the final days of fighting in Europe, with Nazi Germany kicking it's death throes. Austria had been conquered, and the Second Republic of Austria established on this date in 1945. Benito Mussolini was taken prisoner on the same day, and American forces entered Genua. On the same day, the official Nazi party newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, ceased publication. And Berlin was being bombarded, the Soviets already in the city, the inevitability of the takeover, and the end of the European war culminating with the final defeat of Nazi Germany, evident to all.

Below are two articles that talk about this subject. The first is about the continued fascination of Germans to the Nazi era in Germany. The second is about Margaret Woelk, Hitler's taster. The entire articles are available here, and the links to the websites they can be found at are located on the bottom of each article:

Germans fascinated by Nazi era eight decades later

By Gareth Jones of Reuters (4/26/13)

BERLIN (Reuters) - An exhibition chronicling the Nazi party's rise to power draws tens of thousands of visitors. Millions of TV viewers tune in to watch a drama about the Third Reich. A satirical novel in which Hitler pops up in modern Berlin becomes an overnight bestseller.

German interest in the darkest chapter of their history seems stronger than it has ever been as the country marks several key anniversaries this year linked to the Nazi era.

On TV talk shows, in newspapers and online, people endlessly debate the Nazi era - from what their own grandparents did and saw, to how the regime's legacy constrains German peacekeepers on overseas missions today, or why unemployed Greek and Spanish protesters lampoon Chancellor Angela Merkel as a new Hitler.

Next month, Germans will also be painfully reminded that the Nazis can still pose a threat today, when a young woman allegedly inspired by Hitler's ideology goes on trial over a spate of racist murders committed since 2000.

"The interest (in the Nazis) is especially visible just now because of the anniversaries," said historian Arnd Bauerkaemper.

January marked 80 years since Hitler became chancellor, May will see the 80th anniversary of the Nazis' symbolic burning of books they considered "un-German" and November the 75th anniversary of the 'Kristallnacht' pogrom against German Jews.

Adding urgency to the commemorations is the realization that the war generation is dying off and young people interested in what happened often have to seek information from other sources.

"Like the undead the demons keep coming back to life from the darkness of abstract history," said the Spiegel weekly in one of its numerous recent articles on the Nazi era.

"It's never over," was the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung's headline on an interview with Nico Hofmann, producer of a three-part TV drama about five young Germans in 1941-45, "Unsere Muetter, unsere Vaeter" (Our Mothers, Our Fathers). The film drew more than seven million viewers when it aired in March.


Hofmann said he produced the series partly for his own father, who volunteered to join Hitler's army aged 18.

The focus on individual stories is typical of the current interest in the 1930s and 1940s, said Bauerkaemper.
"This personalized drama really struck a chord, especially among young people who asked themselves how they would have coped if they had been alive at that terrible time," he said.

The TV series does not shy away from depicting the cruelty of the war or German guilt - prompting Bild to ask: "Were German soldiers really so brutal?" It also drew criticism from Russia and Poland, showing how sensitivity lingers seven decades on.

The Polish ambassador complained it showed Polish resistance fighters as anti-Semites. About a fifth of Poland's population, including most of its Jews, perished under Nazi occupation.

With his novel "Er ist wieder da" (He is Back), Timur Vermes taps into the perennial fascination with the personality of Adolf Hitler. It has sold more than 400,000 copies, is being translated into other languages and is being made into a movie.

The striking cover compresses the title into the shape of Hitler's trademark square moustache and the book sells for 19.33 euros ($25.14), a cheeky reference to the year the Nazis came to power.

In the novel, Hitler wakes up in 2011 to become a celebrity on German-Turkish TV and launch a new political career campaigning against speeding and dog muck on the pavements.

"I want to show that Hitler would have a chance to succeed today just as he did back then but in another way," Vermes said, lambasting what he called German complacency about the Nazis.


All year Berlin is staging exhibitions, plays, films, readings and other events under the rubric 'Diversity Destroyed' to commemorate the rich artistic and intellectual life of Weimar Germany destroyed by Hitler, and to provide glimpses into the life of ordinary people.

An exhibition in the German Historical Museum uses posters, newsreel, jazz, eyewitness accounts and artifacts from Nazi SS boots and pistols to ration cards to recreate the drama, horror and hopes of the time. Curator Simone Erpel said over 40,000 people visited the exhibition in its first three months.
"This strong interest in the Nazis is not new, of course, but what is relatively new is the level of official backing for such exhibitions," she said.

"It has become part of our common political culture to face the Nazi past. It is now very politically correct to remember the various victims, the Jews, the Roma, homosexuals, physically and mentally handicapped people and others," Erpel said.

Information stands in the city recount episodes from the era and the stories of opponents of the regime like Albert Einstein, Marlene Dietrich and writers Thomas Mann and Bertold Brecht.

"The diversity of cosmopolitan Berlin in the 1920s and 1930s was destroyed by the National Socialists in a short period of time," said Berlin's openly gay mayor Klaus Wowereit.

"That we can claim today to have regained such a degree of diversity is not a foregone conclusion. It is an achievement on the part of our city that we must actively seek to preserve."

(Reporting by Gareth Jones, editing by Stephen Brown and Paul Casciato)

Hitler's Food Taster Tells of Poisoning Fears

They were feasts of sublime asparagus — laced with fear. And for more than half a century, Margot Woelk kept her secret hidden from the world, even from her husband. Then, a few months after her 95th birthday, she revealed the truth about her wartime role: Adolf Hitler's food taster.

Woelk, then in her mid-twenties, spent two and a half years as one of 15 young women who sampled Hitler's food to make sure it wasn't poisoned before it was served to the Nazi leader in his "Wolf's Lair," the heavily guarded command center in what is now Poland, where he spent much of his time in the final years of World War II.

"He was a vegetarian. He never ate any meat during the entire time I was there," Woelk said of the Nazi leader. "And Hitler was so paranoid that the British would poison him — that's why he had 15 girls taste the food before he ate it himself."

With many Germans contending with food shortages and a bland diet as the war dragged on, sampling Hitler's food had its advantages.

"The food was delicious, only the best vegetables, asparagus, bell peppers, everything you can imagine. And always with a side of rice or pasta," she recalled. "But this constant fear — we knew of all those poisoning rumors and could never enjoy the food. Every day we feared it was going to be our last meal."

The petite widow's story is a tale of the horror, pain and dislocation endured by people of all sides who survived World War II.

Only now in the sunset of her life has she been willing to relate her experiences, which she had buried because of shame and the fear of prosecution for having worked with the Nazis, although she insists she was never a party member. She told her story as she flipped through a photo album with pictures of her as a young woman, in the same Berlin apartment where she was born in 1917.

Woelk first revealed her secret to a local Berlin reporter a few months ago. Since then interest in her life story has been overwhelming. School teachers wrote and asked her for photos and autographs to bring history alive for their students. Several researchers from a museum visited to ask for details about her life as Hitler's taster.

Woelk says her association with Hitler began after she fled Berlin to escape Allied air attacks. With her husband gone and serving in the German army, she moved in with relatives about 435 miles (700 kilometers) to the east in Rastenburg, then part of Germany; now it is Ketrzyn, in what became Poland after the war.
There she was drafted into civilian service and assigned for the next two and a half years as a food taster and kitchen bookkeeper at the Wolf's Lair complex, located a few miles (kilometers) outside the town. Hitler was secretive, even in the relative safety of his headquarters, that she never saw him in person — only his German shepherd Blondie and his SS guards, who chatted with the women.

Hitler's security fears were not unfounded. On July 20, 1944, a trusted colonel detonated a bomb in the Wolf's Lair in an attempt to kill Hitler. He survived, but nearly 5,000 people were executed following the assassination attempt, including the bomber.

"We were sitting on wooden benches when we heard and felt an incredible big bang," she said of the 1944 bombing. "We fell off the benches, and I heard someone shouting 'Hitler is dead!' But he wasn't. "

Following the blast, tension rose around the headquarters. Woelk said the Nazis ordered her to leave her relatives' home and move into an abandoned school closer to the compound.

With the Soviet army on the offensive and the war going badly for Germany, one of her SS friends advised her to leave the Wolf's Lair.

She said she returned by train to Berlin and went into hiding.

Woelk said the other women on the food tasting team decided to remain in Rastenburg since their families were all there and it was their home.

"Later, I found out that the Russians shot all of the 14 other girls," she said. It was after Soviet troops overran the headquarters in January 1945.

When she returned to Berlin, she found a city facing complete destruction. Round-the-clock bombing by U.S. and British planes was grinding the city center to rubble.  

On April 20, 1945, Soviet artillery began shelling the outskirts of Berlin and ground forces pushed through toward the heart of the capital against strong resistance by die-hard SS and Hitler Youth fighters.

After about two weeks of heavy fighting, the city surrendered on May 2 — after Hitler, who had abandoned the Wolf's Lair about five months before, had committed suicide. His successor surrendered a week later, ending the war in Europe.

For many Berlin civilians — their homes destroyed, family members missing or dead and food almost gone — the horror did not end with capitulation.

"The Russians then came to Berlin and got me, too," Woelk said. "They took me to a doctor's apartment and raped me for 14 consecutive days. That's why I could never have children. They destroyed everything."
Like millions of Germans and other Europeans, Woelk began rebuilding her life and trying to forget as best she could her bitter memories and the shame of her association with a criminal regime that had destroyed much of Europe.

She worked in a variety of jobs, mostly as a secretary or administrative assistant. Her husband returned from the war but died 23 years ago, she said.

With the frailty of advanced age and the lack of an elevator in her building, she has not left her apartment for the past eight years. Nurses visit several times a day, and a niece stops by frequently, she said.

Now at the end of her life, she feels the need to purge the memories by talking about her story.

"For decades, I tried to shake off those memories," she said. "But they always came back to haunt me at night."