Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 30, 2014
James Dean

James Dean

September 30, 1955: A cultural icon dies prematurely in a car crash. James Dean was born in Marion, Indiana on February 8, 1931. The family moved to Santa Monica, California. Dean was close to his mother and she was said to be the only person who understood the child. She became ill in 1938 and died from uterine cancer when her son was only nine. Dean’s father could not care for his son and James was sent to his aunt’s farm back in Indiana. He was raised as a Quaker. James was a mediocre student in high school but was popular and played sports. After high school, he moved back to California to attend college, majoring in pre-law.

James transferred to UCLA and changed his major to drama. His first TV appearance was in a Pepsi commercial. He quit college to pursue acting fulltime. He got his first speaking part in a made for TV Easter special. He next got walk-on roles in a few movies. He worked as a parking lot attendant for CBS Studios and met Rogers Brackett there. His new mentor suggested he move to New York City which he did and got more work there. He also picked up more TV roles. He eventually got starring roles and made three box office successes. East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant were his three major films.

He was also interested in racing, fast cars, and motorcycles. He purchased some of both. He traded up and eventually acquired a Porsche 550 Spyder. On this day, he was taking his new car to race over the weekend. The first plan was to tow the car behind his Ford station wagon. But the car was new and James needed to get some miles on it as well as learn the handling. He left home with Rolf Wutherich, a Porsche factory-trained mechanic, in the sports car with him and with Bill Hickman (movie stuntman) and Sandford Roth (a professional photographer) following in the Ford. Their route along the path to Salinas was well documented.

Around 5.15 PM, the two cars left Blackwells Corner and the Porsche pulled away from the Ford, passing cars along the way. They were speeding toward the junction of Route 466 and Route 41 going about 85 mph. Donald Turnupseed made a left turn onto Route 41 and as he headed toward Fresno, Dean tried to pull a side stepping racing maneuver but had not enough time or space. The two cars hit, nearly head-on. Donald’s heavier car was pushed 39 feet down the road. The Spyder flipped into the air and landed back on its wheels in a gully. Dean survived the crash with many injuries, both visible and internal. He was taken to Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival at 6.20 PM. He was 24 years old.

Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.

If a man can bridge the gap between life and death, if he can live on after he’s dead, then maybe he was a great man.

Being a good actor isn’t easy. Being a man is even harder. I want to be both before I’m done.

Studying cows, pigs and chickens can help an actor develop his character. There are a lot of things I learned from animals. One was that they couldn’t hiss or boo me. – all from James Dean

Also on this day: Meet the Flintstones – In 1960, The Flintstones come to prime time television.
FBI HQ – In 1975, The J. Edgar Hoover Building was dedicated.
Farm Work – In 1962, the first meeting of the National Farm Workers Association took place.
Magic – In 1791, The Magic Flute premiered.

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Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 29, 2014
1967 Chevrolet Camaro

1967 Chevrolet Camaro

September 29, 1966: Chevrolet Camaro hits the market. The Ford Mustang had been in production since 1964 and Chevy needed a response in the sports car market. Reports leaked in April 1965 of a new car, Panther, coming soon. On June 21, 1966 a telegram was sent out to about 200 automotive journalists. It was signed by John L. Cutter – Chevrolet Public Relations – SEPAW Secretary. The next day they got another telegram about the Society for the Eradication of Panthers from the Automotive World’s first and last meeting on June 28 and signed by the same person.

On June 28, 1966, General Motors held a live press conference at the Statler-Hilton Hotel in Detroit. It was the first time fourteen cities were hooked up in real time for a press conference using telephone lines. Pete Estes, Chevrolet General Manager, announced a new car line, project designation XP-836. Like many other Chevrolet products: Corvair, Chevelle, Chevy II, and Corvette, the new car line’s name would start with the letter C. Camaro. When asked what it was, the audience was told it was “a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs.”

On September 12, the world got its first look at a press preview in Detroit. A week later, the car was shown in Los Angeles. A public introduction was made on September 26 and on this day, the car was finally available in dealerships for the 1967 model year. This first generation Camaro had a rear-wheel drive and was available as a 2-door coupe or convertible with 2+2 seating. Engines came in a variety of sizes and power with both V6 and V8 varieties. It was hoped that the front engine, rear wheel drive would favorably compare with the Mustang, something the rear-engined Corvair could not do.

The car was produced from 1967 to 2002 when it went out of production for a few years. The fifth generation Camaro was a complete redesign and became available in 2010. The LS and LT models are powered by a 312 hp V6 engine with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The SS model is powered by a 426 hp V8 engine with a 6-speed manual transmission or a 400 hp automatic transmission. The new generation also sits on a Zeta platform body which is a 2-door coupe or convertible. The 2014 model year also brought back the Z/28 model Camaro and the body design was once again updated. The new Z/28 car comes with 7.0 liter LS7 V8 engine which produces 505 hp which is the same engine used in the Z06 Corvette. There are many upgrades available in the Camaro which help produce faster speeds and quicker lap times. Also, like the original, air conditioning is available but only as an option.

The inside of the old Camaro smelled like asphalt and desire, gasoline and dreams. – Maggie Stiefvater

I love fast cars… and to go too fast in them. – Lara Flynn Boyle

I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered. – George Best

Fast cars are my only vice. – Michael Bay

Also on this day: Come Up and See Me Some Time – In 1650, the first documented dating service opens in England.
Physics – In 1954, CERN was established.
The Met – In 1829, the Metropolitan Police of London were formed.
What a Headache – In 1982, the Tylenol murders began.

Nice Guys Finish Last

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 28, 2014
Duke Wenceslaus, Statue by Peter Parler

Duke Wenceslaus, Statue by Peter Parler

September 28, 935: Good King Wenceslaus is only a Duke, but still murdered. Also known as Wenceslas I, he was the Duke of Bohemia. He was born around 907 and was the son of Vratislaus I from the Přemyslid dynasty. Vratislaus benefitted from a Christian upbringing after his own father was converted by Saints Cyril and Methodius. Wenceslaus’ mother, Drahomira, was the daughter of a pagan tribal chief but was baptized at the time of her marriage. Vratislaus died in 921 and his mother, Ludmilla, took over the raising of the children. Ludmilla’s fervent Christianity as well as removal of the children, led to bitterness between her and Drahomira.

Ludmilla fled to Tetin Castle in nearby Beroun. Drahomira was trying to gain support from the nobility and with the loss of control over her son, this was lessened. Therefore, Drahomira arranged to have her mother-in-law strangled on September 15, 921 and get her children back. There are legends which claim that afterwards, she attempted to convert her son to her own pagan roots. Wenceslaus was said to be exceptionally pious and humble as well as highly educated and very intelligent.

Great Moravia fell and the Bohemian rulers were left to deal with raids from many factions. The political landscape changed dramatically when an alliance formed by Vratislaus and King Henry the Fowler disintegrated. At the age of 18, Wenceslaus assumed governmental control for himself and Drahomira was then exiled. He was able to defend his claim against the Duke of Kourim. In early 929, Prague was again attacked and the Duke was once again forced into paying tribute begun in 895 but having been ignored for some time.

On this day, a group of nobles who had aligned themselves with Boleslav, the younger brother of Wenceslaus, plotted to kill the Duke. Boleslav invited his brother to the feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian in Stara Beleslav. Tira, Česta, and Hněvsa (Boleslav’s allies) murdered Wenceslas on his way to church after the brothers had quarreled. Boleslav then became the new Duke. Wenceslaus was considered a martyr and became a saint shortly after his murder. Both England and Bohemia had a rich legend built up just decades after the young man’s death. He is immortalized in the Saint Stephen’s Day song in which his temperament and piety are praised. He also got a posthumous upgrade to the status of King.

Truth made you a traitor as it often does in a time of scoundrels. – Lillian Hellman

This principle is old, but true as fate, Kings may love treason, but the traitor hate. – Thomas Dekker

Tis not seasonable to call a man traitor, that has an army at his heels. – John Selden

I would be a traitor to these poor burned bodies if I came here to talk good fellowship. – Rose Schneiderman

Also on this day: Victory – In 1781, George Washington began his assault on Yorktown, the last battle of the Revolutionary War.
Hostage Taking – In 1975, the Spaghetti House siege began.
Black Sox – In 1920, eight Chicago White Sox players were indicted.
Races – In 1919, the Omaha Race Riots began.

Help Wanted – Again

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 27, 2014
Pope Urban VII

Pope Urban VII

September 27, 1590: Pope Urban VII dies. He was born Giovanni Battista Castagna in 1521. Although born in Rome, he was of Genoese origin and his father, Cosimo Castagna, was a noble. He became a priest in 1553, receiving his consecration on April 4 of that year. He became a Cardinal on December 12, 1583 with the blessing of Pope Sixtus V. Before the separation of church and state, religious persons often held public office as well. Giovanni had also been the governor of Bologna and the archbishop of Rossano. He served for many years as nuncio (ecclesiastic ambassador) to Spain.

He was chosen as successor to Sixtus with the help of the backing of Spanish factions. He was raised to the papacy on September 15, 1590. Pope Urban VII gave the world the first known public smoking ban. He threatened to excommunicate any person who “took tobacco in the porchway of or inside a church, whether it be by chewing it, smoking it with a pipe or sniffing it in powdered form through the nose”. He died shortly before midnight on this day from malaria. He was 69 years old and became (and has held the record so far) the shortest reigning Pope.

Prior to this, the shortest reign had been Boniface VI’s 16 calendar days in April of 896. There have been nine popes who held the office for less than a month before dying. Celestine IV reigned for 17 days in 1241 and managed to die before his official coronation.  Stephen (March 23-26, 752) died of a stroke three days after his election and before his consecration. He is not considered to be a valid pope but was added to the list during the 15th century as Stephen II and has made it difficult ever after for the name of future popes choosing the name Stephen.

There is no official list of all Popes of the Catholic Church. There is debate over who was an official pope during some of the upheaval caused by Middle Ages popes vying for the Holy See. There is particular issue with legitimate succession in regards to Pope Leo VIII, Benedict V and some mid-11th century contenders. Pius IX was Pope from 1846 to 1878 which covered 31 years, 7 month, and 23 days (11,560 days) making him the longest reigning pope. The second longest reign was John Paul II who held the papacy from 1978 to 2005 which is a span of 26 years, 5 months, and 18 days (9,665 days). There have been ten popes with tenures lasting two decades or more with Pope Urban VIII barely making the cut with 20 years, 11 months, and 24 days (7,664 days). While he was the next Urban pope, he did not rule immediately after the shortest reign, but was elected in 1623.

Teach us to give and not count the cost. – St. Ignatius de Loyola

Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity. – St. Vincent de Paul

Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. – St. Ignatius of Antioch

There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers. – St. Teresa of Avila

Also on this day: Tonight – In 1954, the Tonight show premiered.
Jesuits – In 1540, the Society of Jesus was formed.
Liberty Ship – In 1941, the SS Patrick Henry launched.
Aquarius – In 1968, Hair opened in London.

Pop Gun Kelly

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 26, 2014
Machine Gun Kelly

Machine Gun Kelly

September 26, 1933: “Machine Gun Kelly” is arrested. George Francis Barnes, Jr. was born in Chicago in 1900. During the 1920s and 1930s he worked as a bootlegger for himself as well as for others in the Memphis, Tennessee area. After several scrapes with law enforcement, he changed his name to George R. Kelly to protect his family. In 1928 he was arrested in Tulsa, Oklahoma while smuggling alcohol onto an Indian Reservation. He was sentenced to three years in Leavenworth Penitentiary, Kansas. He was reported to have been a model prisoner and was released early. After his release, he married Kathryn Thorne and she purchased his first machine gun for him. She also broadcast his “talents” throughout the underground crime scene as well as helped him plot some bank robberies.

Things were going as well as could be expected, considering Kelly’s career path. Then he decided to kidnap a wealthy Oklahoma City man, Charles F. Urschel and his friend, Walter R. Jarrett. Urschel was able to give incriminating evidence after his release. Even though he had been blindfolded, he remembered background sounds and had been able to count footsteps. He was also able to leave fingerprints behind. This gave the police much to work with.

They found the Kellys were living at the residence owned by JC Tichenor. Special agents from the Birmingham, Alabama FBI office were sent to Memphis. In the early morning hours on this day, they approached the house. George and Kathryn were taken into custody. George, unarmed, allegedly yelled, “Don’t shoot, G-men! Don’t shoot, G-men!” as he surrendered. The term had been used for all federal or government agents but after this, the term became specific to the FBI. The arrest was overshadowed by even bigger news when ten men (the future Dillinger gang) escaped from prison later that night.

George and Kathryn’s trial began on October 12, 1933 and both were convicted and sentenced to life in prison. During the investigation, it was found that money from the ransom of Urschel had been stored on Cassey Coleman’s ranch and he and Will Casey were both arrested, too. The trials were sensational for several reasons. The first was that movie cameras were permitted to film during the trial. The second was this was the first case of kidnapping after the Lindbergh Law was passed which made it a federal crime. Third, it was the first major case solved by J Edgar Hoover’s FBI. It was also the first time prisoners were transported by airplane. George served 21 years, 17 of them on Alcatraz. There he earned the nickname Pop Gun Kelly since he was a model prisoner and not at all the tough guy his wife had claimed him to be. He died of a heart attack on his birthday. He was 54.

I was raised in Chicago and I guess that was one of the special breeding grounds for gangsters of all colors. That was the Detroit of the gangster world. The car industry was thugs. – Quincy Jones

The classy gangster is a Hollywood invention. – Orson Welles

Every human being has a bit of gangster in him. – Binyavanga Wainaina

Old Americana vintage gangster stuff has a fantastical feel; it feels less dirty in a way. It feels like the opera of crime. – Shia LaBeouf

Also on this day: The Parthenon – In 1687, part of the Parthenon was destroyed during a bombing attack by the Ottoman Turks.
Apples – In 1774, Johnny Appleseed was born.
Lurking Evil – In 1937, The Shadow premiered.
Thrown Games – In 1908, Big Ed Reulbach pitched a no hitter double header.

Off Course

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 25, 2014
Alexander Nevsky type ship

Alexander Nevsky type ship

September 25, 1868: The Alexander Nevsky hits a sandbar. The ship was part of the expansion of the Russian Imperial Navy built in response to US naval expansion and Great Britain’s Royal Navy. The ship was designed by Americans and carried American armament. She was a 51-gun screw frigate and one of the two largest ships in the squadron visiting the US in 1863. The squadron stayed in America for seven months even though the country was in the midst of a Civil War. The ships visited Washington, DC and even anchored in the Potomac River. During this time, Alexander Nevsky had some engine trouble and had to return to New York for repairs.

On this day, the ship was sailing back from Greece. The ship had been part of the contingency sent to help George I of Greece celebrate his wedding to Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia which had been held in October 1867. On board the ship was Grand Duke Alexei, son of Tsar Alexander II. The ship was travelling by sail and both the admiral aboard (who had trained the Grand Duke) and the captain had miscalculated the ship’s position due to drift in a storm. The ship struck the sandbar and was in immediate distress. The masts as well as some of the ship’s cannon had to be thrown overboard to keep the ship from immediately capsizing. They fired a gun and fishermen from the small village of Thyboron in Jutland, Denmark, came out and saved all aboard, except for five men who had died trying to reach land via a lifeboat.

The ship eventually sank in 60 feet of water only about 300 feet from the shore of the tiny village. Both the captain and the admiral were court-martialed for their role in the disaster. They were convicted of dereliction of duty. It was then the tsar intervened and granted a pardon to both men since they had been faithfully serving in the navy for many years.

The Grand Duke was 18-years-old at the time of the wreck. He was the fourth son of the tsar and was destined for a naval career. He began his military training at the age of 7. His personal life included an affair and possible unsanctioned marriage to Alexandra Zhukovskaya. Her father was a poet and not an aristocrat which was a problem. She was also the illegitimate child of the poet, which made matters worse. She and the Grand Duke had a son in 1871. The tsar refused to acknowledge the child and refused to grant any title to the mother, which would have given their son some standing. In 1883, Alexander III (the Grand Duke’s brother) finally gave a title to the now teenaged boy.

I’d much rather be a woman than a man. Women can cry, they can wear cute clothes, and they’re the first to be rescued off sinking ships. – Gilda Radner

Often undecided whether to desert a sinking ship for one that might not float, he would make up his mind to sit on the wharf for a day. – Max Aitken

It sounds mercenary and it smacks of rats leaving the sinking ship. But get real, when everyone is bailing out, you don’t want to be the last man standing. – Robbie Fowler

His style has the desperate jauntiness of an orchestra fiddling away for dear life on a sinking ship. – Edmund Wilson

Also on this day: The Supremes – In 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman to sit on the US Supreme Court.
Fasssssst – In 1997, a new land speed record was set.
Lots of Water – In 1513, Balboa reached the Pacific Ocean.
Spread the News – In 1690, the American colonies got their first locally printed multi-page newspaper.

Not Rigid Airship

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 24, 2014
Broken airship

Broken airship

September 24, 1911: His Majesty’s Airship No. 1 doesn’t take off. Designed and built by Vickers, Sons and Maxim in Cumbria, England for the British Royal Navy, the ship was the first rigid airship built in the country. It was to compete with the dominance of the German airship program. The ship was called Mayfly by the noncommissioned naval crew assigned to her. Public records show her designation as HMA Hermione because the naval contingent was stationed at Barrow aboard HMS Hermione, the ship assigned as the airship’s tender. Her story began three years earlier when the Royal Navy decided to venture into rigid airships in response to Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin’s success.

It was decided the Navy could afford £35,000 for the venture but Vickers said they could build the ship for just £28,000, not including the gas-bags and outer covers, which the Admiralty would acquire through private contractors. Vickers would also build a construction shed at their own expense but they would then have a ten year monopoly on airship construction. This was similar to the deal they had brokered with the Crown for submarine construction. Vickers got the contract, but the ten year monopoly line item was refused.

Mayfly was intended to be an aerial scout. There were some differences in the designs between the British and German models. Mayfly was 66 feet longer than LZ 6 with 50% greater volume. The Zeppelins of the time had a useful load of 10,000 pounds and could fly at 37 mph. Vickers’s ship was intended to be moorable on water, carry radio equipment, and have a cruising speed of 46 mph while carrying a crew of 20 comfortably. The mooring was to be via a mast and the Mayfly was the first ship to have the mooring equipment in the nose of the ship. Experimental sections were built and wood seemed preferable for the frame, but the Navy wished it to be made entirely of metal and when duralumin became available, it became the method of choice.

Trials had been held and the airship had been in and out of the Cavendish Dock building. The crew had practiced maneuvers both with getting the ship out of the hanger and with handling in the air. Previous static trials had proved successful. On this day, the Mayfly was being moved from the shed as high winds were blowing. Just as the nose cleared the hangar door, a gust caused the ship to roll onto her beam end and break in two pieces. The crew abandoned ship and there were no fatalities as the wreck was returned to the shed the same day and never flown. Winston Churchill took over as First Lord of the Admiralty in October 1911 and preferred heavier-than-air aircraft. The airship idea was forever grounded.

Altogether, compared with other navies, the British aeroplane service has started very well… I have a less satisfactory account to give of airships. – Winston Churchill

The ‘May-fly’ broke three years ago, and nothing further has been done. In non-rigid airships, Germany has seventeen, and against that we have two very inferior ones and two on order, but we are not doing anything in this respect. – Bolton Eyres-Monsell

The mishap which destroyed theMay-fly, or the Won’t Fly, as it would be more accurate to call it, at Barrow, was a very serious set-back to the development of Admiralty policy in airships. – Winston Churchill

Two crews were used to look after the ship whilst out, as the work was new. They lived on board the airship and suffered no discomfort at all although no provision had been made for cooking or smoking on board. – from the Handbook for HMA No. 1

Also on this day: Powerful Serve; Best Backhand – In 1938, John Donald Budge became the first tennis player to win the Grand Slam of tennis.
Majestic 12 – In 1947, Harry S Truman did not form a secret society.
Devil’s Tower – In 1906, this landmark was declared a National Monument.
Byzantine – In 1180, Manuel I Komnenos died.

Firefox Comes Online

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 23, 2014
Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox

September 23, 2002: The initial release of Mozilla Firefox takes place. The project was an experimental branch of the Mozilla project created by Dave Hyatt, Joe Hewitt, and Blake Ross. It was their opinion that the “feature creep” of Netscape was compromising the browser. In order to combat this, they designed Firefox as a stand-alone browser. On April 3, 2002 an announcement from the Mozilla Organization told of their change of focus from the Mozilla Suite to Firefox and Thunderbird, an email, news, and chat service. The project has undergone several name changes. Originally it was called Phoenix, then Firebird which was too close to the database software project. They added Mozilla to the front end on February 9, 2004 and the name became Mozilla Firefox or the single name, Firefox.

Firefox is a free and open-source browser. It was developed for use with Windows, Apple products, and Linux as well as a mobile version for Android. As all things technological, there have been several versions available during the last twelve years. The last stable release was on July 22, 2014 when version 31.0 was released. The last Beta release was on August 19, 2014 when 32.0 Beta began preview. The program uses a Gecko and SpiderMonkey engine and is written in a variety of computer languages. It is available in 79 languages. The size of the source code (uncompressed) is 510 MB. The size for use on Windows is 22 MB, OS X is 44 MB, Linux is 27-28 MB, while Android’s version is only 22 MB.

The first web browser was invented in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee and was called WorldWideWeb but later named Nexus. The first graphical user interface available commonly was Erwise. Mosaic came on the scene in 1993 and made the web more accessible to the regular user. With this and the graphical options now available, the web became far more user friendly. Netscape, designed by the same person but now in his own company, came online in 1994. Microsoft responded with Internet Explorer in 1995 and the first browser war began with IE bundled with the Windows OS. IE usage peaked in 2002 when it held 95% of market share. Opera came out in 1996 and while clean and easy to use, it has never had much market acceptance. Safari by Apple released in 2003 and Chrome has came late to the party in 2008. Even so, it holds 45% of market share today.

While Firefox began life to stamp out feature creep, it is imperative that we can use our browsers effectively or we will just switch to a new, free browser. Firefox has the following features available in their latest version: tabbed browsing, spelling checking, incremental find, live bookmarking, Smart Bookmarks, a download manager, private browsing, and location-aware browsing based on a Google service. Extensions from third-party developers are also an option.

The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow. – Bill Gates

The internet could be a very positive step towards education, organization and participation in a meaningful society. – Noam Chomsky

The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life. – Andrew Brown

The Internet is the most important single development in the history of human communication since the invention of call waiting. – Dave Barry

Also on this day: I Shot the Sheriff – In 1980, Bob Marley played his last concert.
No Crash – In 1999, Qantas suffered its worst incident of the century.
40-40 Club – In 1988, Jose Canseco began the 40-40 Club.
Lost at Sea – In 1641, the Merchant Royal, a British merchant ship, sunk.

Ford Tough

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 22, 2014
President Ford immediately after shots were fired

President Ford immediately after shots were fired

September 22, 1975: An attempt to assassinate US President Gerald Ford takes place. Squeaky Fromme had just attempted to kill the President 17 days before. Rather than hide in safety, the President continued his normal routine. Sara Jane Kahn Moore was born in West Virginia in 1930. She entered nursing school and served in the Women’s Army Corps. She went on to become an accountant. She was divorced five times and had four children before she turned to revolutionary politics earlier in the year. She was obsessed with Patty Heart and her kidnapping by the Symbionese Liberation Army. Randolph Hearst created People in Need to feed the poor as an attempt to appease the group holding his daughter. Moore was a bookkeeper for People in Need and an FBI informant when she became the second woman to attempt a presidential assassination.

Moore had been evaluated by the Secret Service earlier in the year and she was said to be no threat to the President. On September 21, 1975 she was picked up and released but not before police confiscated her .44 caliber revolver and 113 rounds of ammunition. On this day, she purchased a .38 caliber revolver but did not have time to test the gun. She was standing in the street outside the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. She saw her target and took a shot. The sights on the gun were off and she narrowly missed the President. She again raised the gun to shoot, but before she could get a shot off, former Marine Oliver Sipple grabbed her arm and saved the President’s life. He also pulled Moore to the ground.

Moore was brought to trial and pled guilty to attempted assassination. She was sentenced to life in prison. In 1979, while at Alderson Federal Prison Camp in Alderson, West Virginia, Moore escaped only to be recaptured hours later. She was returned to prison, but transferred to a more secure one. She served the remainder of her prison term at a women’s prison in Dubin, California where she worked as an accountant earning $1.25 per hour. On December 31, 2007, Moore was released from prison. She was 77 years old at the time. President Ford had died of natural causes on December 26, 2006. She remained under supervised parole for five years after her release.

Fromme was also sentenced to life in prison and eventually she, too, was at the women’s prison in Dublin, California. Fromme was transferred from there to the Alserson prison where she, too, escaped. She was attempted to get in contact with Charles Manson. She was captured two days later and then sent to Fort Worth, Texas. She was first eligible for parole in 1985 but did not pursue it. She was finally granted parole in July 2008 but was not released because of her prison. She was finally released from prison on August 14, 2009 and moved to New York.

I do regret I didn’t succeed, and allow the winds of change to start. I wish I had killed him. I did it to create chaos.

I didn’t want to kill anybody, but there comes a point when the only way you can make a statement is to pick up a gun.

The government had declared war on the left. Nixon’s appointment of Ford as Vice President and his resignation making Ford President seemed to be a continuing assault on America.

I know now that I was wrong to try. Thank God I didn’t succeed. People kept saying he would have to die before I could be released, and I did not want my release from prison to be dependent on somebody, on something happening to somebody else, so I wanted him to live to be 100. (2007) – all from Sara Jane Moore

Also on this day: Manassa Mauler v. The Fighting Marine – In 1927, “The Long Count” fight takes place.
Regrets – In 1776, Nathan Hale was executed as a spy.
Tevye’s Family – In 1964, Fiddler on the Roof opened on Broadway.
Movies – In 1910, the Duke of York’s Picture House opened.

Dead Poet’s Society

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 21, 2014


September 21, 19 BC: Virgil dies. The poet’s official name was Publius Vergilius Maro. We know of his life via a lot biography by Varius which got incorporated into works written later by Suetonius, Servius, and Donatus. Because of the imprecise nature of the writings, Virgil’s true biographical information is somewhat problematic. According to tradition, he was born in the village of Andes, in Cisalpine Gaul on October 15, 70 BC. There is a suggestion of Etruscan, Umbrian, or possibly Celtic roots. It is said he was from humble beginnings, but modern scholars feel he was instead from an equestrian landowning family who could afford to educate their son. He attended several schools and briefly considered careers in rhetoric or the law before turning to poetry.

The poet is known for three major Latin works – the Eclogues or Bucolics, the Georgics, and his most famous work, the Aeneid. The first of these is a group of ten poems modeled on the Greek poet’s Theocritus’s method of hexameter poetry. Some believed it was autobiographical and written after the loss of his lands after the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC. Today, this seems to be unsupported inference. The Georgics was published later. The superficial meaning of the work is how to run a farm and each of the four books tackles one area of land management or animal husbandry. The entire book is influenced by the political times and the power struggles between Augustus and Antony.

The Aeneid is considered to be Virgil’s finest work and one of the most important poems in western literature. The epic poem, based on the Iliad and the Odyssey, has 12 books written in dactylic hexameter verse which is a rhyming scheme used by classic poets based on six feet with stress given to specific syllables. In the Aeneid, a warrior fled from the sacking of Troy and came to Italy. Eventually, after six books rather akin to the adventures in the Odyssey, we come to the founding of Rome. The final six books are more connected to the Iliad. Virgil worked on the epic poem for the last eleven years of his life. He traveled to Greece in 19 BC in order to work on revisions for his poem. He met Augustus in Athens and returned home.

On the return trip, he got ill and died on this day. He had left instructions that this final work be burned. Augustus insisted that it be published with as little alteration as possible. Lucius Varius Rufus and Plotius Tucca were his literary executors and they followed the orders of the Emperor rather than of their client. There are few obvious errors other than a few lines which do not carry the hexameter rhythm. While Virgil was impressed by and followed in the footsteps of Homer, his own work was also later appreciated. Dante honored the influence by having Virgil guide us through hell and purgatory in his own Divine Comedy.

They succeed, because they think they can.

Every calamity is to be overcome by endurance.

It never troubles the wolf how many the sheep may be.

Myself acquainted with misfortune, I learn to help the unfortunate. – all from Virgil

Also on this day: Yes, Virginia – In 1897, Virginia finds out there is a Santa Clause.
Got Milk? – In 1995, the Miracle of the Milk began in India.
Monday Night Changes – In 1970, Monday Night Football premiered.
Ablaze – In 1776, New York City was on fire.

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