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10:55 9/8/2008
Harvest Home
    In both continental Europe and Britain, the end of the harvest each autumn was once marked by festivals of fun, feasting, and thanksgiving known as Harvest Home. It was also a time to hold election, pay workers, and collect rents. These festivals usually took place around the time of the autumnal equinox. North American immigrants, particularly the Pennsylvania Dutch have kept the tradition alive. [So, for its Harvest Homecoming, get thee to Hanover!]
11:51 9/1/2014

Today's quotation...
"Who would have ever heard of Theodore Roosevelt outside of his immediate community if he had only half committed himself to what he had undertaken, if he had brought only a part of himself to his task? The great secret of his career has been that he has flung his whole life, not a part of it, with all the determination and energy and power he could muster, into everything he has undertaken. No dillydallying, no faint-hearted efforts, no lukewarm purpose for him!"
-- Orison Sweet Marden (1850-1924)

Autumnal Equinox

 Happy Birthday ......
    In 1791, Michael Faraday, discovered principle of the electric motor.
    In 1885, Erich Von Stroheim, film actor and director. Famed for his extravagant direction notably in the film "Greed" and for his acting roles in the films "La Grande Illusion" and "Sunset Boulevard."
    In 1895, Actor Paul Muni was born in Lvov as Muni Weisenfreund. He was best known for his roles in "Scareface," "I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang" and "The Good Earth."
    In 1927, Baseball Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda.
    In 1956, Singer Debby Boone, "You Light Up My Life."
    In 1958, Andrea Bocelli, who has been referred to by the Opera elite as "The Fourth Tenor." Bocelli possesses such a rich sound and mastery of song that he could not help but be compared to the great tenor, Luciano Pavorotti. As a matter of fact, Bocelli's rise to fame is due, in part, to Pavorotti. A songwriter trying to pursuade Pavorotti to sing his latest creation had Bocelli sing on the demo tape. Pavorotti was so impressed upon hearing Bocelli’s voice, that he told the songwriter to have Andrea sing the song himself, claiming that there is no finer voice. The duo recorded the song together, "Miserere" was a smash hit in Europe. This blind vocalist has since touched the world with gift of song, and has recorded the internationally successful albums "Romanza," "Puccini: La Boheme," "Time to Say Goodbye" and "Viaggio Italiano."
This is an important day for birthdays!
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 On this day...
    In 1776, Nathan Hale, American patriot, was hanged in New York by the British for being a spy during the American Revolution. His famous last words were, I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.
    In 1789, the US Post Office was established.
    In 1828, Shaka, Zulu chieftain and founder of the Zulu empire, was killed by his two half-brothers after he became insane.
    In 1862, [Civil War] Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is announced
    Motivated by his growing concern for the inhumanity of slavery as well as practical political concerns, President Abraham Lincoln changes the course of the war and American history by issuing the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Announced a week after the nominal Union victory at the Battle of Antietam, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, this measure did not technically free any slaves, but it expanded the Union’s war aim from reunification to include the abolition of slavery.
    The proclamation announced that all slaves in territory that was still in rebellion as of January 1, 1863, would be free. Lincoln used vacated congressional seats to determine the areas still in rebellion, as some parts of the South had already been recaptured and representatives returned to Congress under Union supervision. Since it freed slaves only in Rebel areas that were beyond Union occupation, the Emancipation Proclamation really freed no one. But the measure was still one of the most important acts in American history, as it meant slavery would end when those areas were recaptured. In addition, the proclamation effectively sabotaged Confederate attempts to secure recognition by foreign governments, especially Great Britain. When reunification was the goal of the North, foreigners could view the Confederates as freedom fighters being held against their will by the Union. But after the Emancipation Proclamation, the Southern cause was now viewed as the defense of slavery. The proclamation was a shrewd maneuver by Lincoln to brand the Confederate States as a slave nation and render foreign aid impossible.
    The measure was met by a good deal of opposition, because many Northerners were unwilling to fight for the freedom of blacks. But it spelled the death knell for slavery, and it had the effect on British opinion that Lincoln had desired. Antislavery Britain could no longer recognize the Confederacy, and Union sentiment swelled in Britain. With this measure, Lincoln effectively isolated the Confederacy and killed the institution that was the root of sectional differences.

    In 1882, severe equinoctial storm in the mid-Atlantic states.
    In 1893, first US auto built runs (built by Duryea brothers).
    In 1903, patent is granted for the Ice Cream Cone.
    In 1908, in an article in the New York Tribune on Boston Baked Beans, the following calculation was included:
    "Taking the average height of a Bostonian at 5 feet, 6 inches, and the height of a beanpot at 10 inches, one can easily figure that a Bostonian in a year eats more than two and five-sevenths times his own height in baked beans and more than his own weight." [Thus deriving the expression "full of beans."]
    In 1928, the number of people whose lives have been saved by parachutes exceeds 100 when Lt. Roger V. Williams bails out over San Diego, California.
World At War
    World War II, which had begun in Europe on September 1, 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, ended six years later to the day, September 1, 1945. The final concluding ceremony came the following day, September 2, 1945, with the signing of surrender papers by representatives of Japan, Nazi Germany's Axis partner in the Far East.

Nine Notable Veterans of World War II

    In 1939, Romania executes scores in retaliation for yesterday's killing of Premier Armand Calinescu by Iron Guard.
    In 1940, the French surrendered to Japanese demands by allowing it to station aircraft in Tongking; this gave the Japanese strategic entry into French Indochina.
    In 1941, Balkans: Reich tells Bulgaria to enter war are be occupied.
    In 1942, Burma: British attack on Japanese front.
    In 1943, the Italian army, after the armistice was announced, suffered a tragic fate. Overnight, their former colleagues in arms, the Germans, had become their enemies by order of Marshal Pietro Badoglio. At the time of the surrender, ten divisions of the Italian army were positioned in northern Italy, seven were in the central part of the country, four were in the south, and four were in Sardinia. In all they totalled 1.09 million men. The Germans had only 400,000 on the Italian mainland, but they were far better equipped than the Italians. Adding to the dire situation of the Italian army was the fact that Badoglio offered no instructions of any kind to the troops in the field at the time of the surrender. In some isolated areas, the Italian troops fought bravely but were nonetheless decimated. At Cephalonia, the Italian troops of the Acqui division put up an intense resistance against the Germans, but at the end of the battle, 1,600 men and officers had been killed in action; another 5,000 were executed by the German troops. In his November 7 report to Adolf Hitler, Chief of Staff General Alfred Josef Jodl reported that a half million Italian soldiers had been taken prisoner and that fifty-one divisions had been disarmed.
    [ -- Anonymous, ca. 1992]
    In 1945, Headline: Patton questions necessity of Germany’s “denazification”
    Gen. George S. Patton tells reporters that he does not see the need for “this denazification thing” and compares the controversy over Nazism to a “Democratic and Republican election fight.” Once again, “Old Blood and Guts” had put his foot in his mouth.
    Descended from a long line of military men, Patton graduated from the West Point Military Academy in 1909 and served in the Tank Corps during World War I. As a result of this experience, Patton became a dedicated proponent of tank warfare. During World War II, as commander of the U.S. 7th Army, he captured Palermo, Sicily, in 1943 by just such means. Patton’s audacity made itself evident in 1944, when, as commander of the 3rd Army, he overran much of northern France in an unorthodox–and ruthless–strategy.
    Along the way, Patton’s mouth proved as dangerous to his career as the Germans. When he berated and slapped a hospitalized soldier diagnosed with shell shock, but whom Patton accused of “malingering,” the press turned on him, and pressure was applied to cut him down to size. He might have found himself enjoying early retirement had not Generals Dwight Eisenhower and George Marshall intervened on his behalf. After several months of inactivity, he was put back to work.
    And work he did–at the Battle of the Bulge, during which Patton once again succeeded in employing a complex and quick-witted strategy, turning the German thrust in Bastogne into an Allied counterthrust, driving the Germans east across the Rhine. In March 1945, Patton’s army swept through southern Germany into Czechoslovakia–which he was stopped by the Allies from capturing, out of respect for the Soviets’ postwar political plans for Eastern Europe.
    Patton had many gifts, but diplomacy was not one of them. After the war, while stationed in Germany, he criticized the process of denazification, or the removal of former Nazi party members from positions of political, administrative, and governmental power, probably out of naivete more than anything else. Nevertheless, his impolitic press statements questioning the policy resulted in Eisenhower’s removing him as U.S. commander in Bavaria. He was transferred to the 15th Army Group, but in December 1945 he suffered a broken neck in a car accident and died less than two weeks later at the age of 60.
09/22/2017 1240
    In 1949, the U.S. nuclear monopoly ended as the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb.     In 1950, Air Force Col. David Schilling makes the first nonstop transatlantic flight in a jet aircraft, flying a Republic F-84E from Manston, England, to Limestone (later Loring) AFB, Maine, in ten hours, one minute. The trip requires three inflight refuelings.
    In 1955, commercial television began in Britain in opposition to the British Broadcasting Corporation. The first advertisement screened was for toothpaste.
    In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed a congressional act that established the Peace Corps.
    In 1965, The Supremes make studio recording of "I Hear a Symphony." The song tops Billboard's Hot 100 for two weeks in November.
    In 1975, an assassination attempt was made on President Gerald Ford in San Francisco by Sara Jane Moore; it was the second attempt on his life in 17 days. A bullet she fired slightly wounded a man in the crowd.
    In 1985, French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius admitted that French secret agents acting under orders sank the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand.
    In 1986, President Ronald Reagan addressed the U.N. General Assembly and voiced a new hope for arms control. He also criticized the Soviet Union for arresting U.S. journalist, Nicholas Daniloff.
    In 1989, Irving Berlin, one of America's most prolific songwriters, died in New York City at age 101. He was the author of over 1,000 songs including "White Christmas" and "There's No Business Like Show Business."
    1989 Hurricane Hugo slashed through Charleston and coastal South Carolina with 135-mph winds, claiming at least 28 lives.
    In 1991, an article in the London newspaper The Mail revealed that John Cairncross admitted to being the "fifth man" in the Soviet Union's British spy ring.
    In 1993, President Clinton unveiled his healthcare reform package in a speech before a joint session of Congress.
    In 1994, the United States stepped up its military control of Haiti, breaking up heavy weapons, guarding pro-democracy activists and giving U.S. troops more leeway to use force. Pope John Paul II, recovering from hip-replacement surgery, canceled his U.S. trip, planned for October.
    In 1995, Time Warner and Turner Broadcasting System agree to a $7.5 million merger.
    In 1997, Shoichi Yokoi, a Japanese soldier who refused to surrender at the end of World War Two and stayed in the jungles of Guam for 26 years, died. He became a national hero on his return to Japan in 1972 for his dramatic tale of survival.
    In 1998, Congressional Republicans worked to snuff out new talk of a punishment for President Clinton short of impeachment, an idea floated by Democrats as polls showed most Americans opposed Clinton's removal from office.
    President Clinton addressed the United Nations, and told world leaders to "end all nuclear tests for all time." He then sent the long-delayed global test-ban treaty to the U.S. Senate.
    The U.S. and Russia agreed to help Russia privatize its nuclear program and stop the export of scientists and plutonium.
    Keely Smith received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. [The former Mrs. Louis Prima and a sterling multi-octave voice.]
    In 1999, Actor George C. Scott, famed for powerful, driven performances and for refusing his profession's highest honor -- a best-actor Oscar -- for his role as Gen. George Patton, died. He was 71. When he was named best actor for "Patton" at the 1971 Oscars ceremony, Scott was at home in his New York State farm watching ice hockey. He described the ceremony as a "meat parade" and condemned the Oscars in general as "offensive, barbarous and innately corrupt." Born George Campbell Scott in Wise, Va., on Oct. 18, 1927, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from high school in 1945 for a four-year stint.

    The Justice Department filed a massive lawsuit accusing the tobacco industry of fraud and seeking to recover much of the cost of smoking-related illnesses. (Thereby, giving the excuse to individuals to sue over the results of the chosen bad habit.)
    Diana Ross is held in police custody at London's Heathrow Airport for several hours following an incident involving a member of the airport's security staff. Ross is arrested then cautioned and released following an allegation of assault on a female security officer during routine security checks prior to boarding a plane.
    In 2001, Isaac Stern, a violinist who in his prime was considered one of the great instrumentalists of the 20th century, and who also became an important power broker in the classical music world after he led a successful campaign to save Carnegie Hall from destruction, died at a Manhattan hospital. He was 81 and lived in Manhattan and Gaylordsville, Connecticut.
    In 2003, Gordon Jump, who played a befuddled radio station manage on the sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati" and made his mark in commercials as the lonely Maytag repairman, died. He was 71. Mr. Jump played Arthur Carlson [back row, right] in 'WKRP', which aired on CBS from 1978-82 and featured Gary Sandy, Loni Anderson, Tim Reid, Howard Hesseman and Richard Sanders as the ragtag station's crew. He portrayed the Maytag repairman "Ol' Lonely," a well-recognized advertising symbol, from 1989 until he retired from the role in July and another actor took over. So it goes.
    A bomb exploded outside the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, killing the bomber and a guard and wounding 19. Three days later, the U.N. said it was withdrawing more staff from Iraq.
    In 2004, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation removing agricultural sales barriers and student visitation limits to Cuba.
    In 2015, ...
    Yogi Berra, one of baseball’s greatest catchers and characters, who as a player was a mainstay of 10 Yankee championship teams and as a manager led both the Yankees and Mets to the World Series — but who may be more widely known as an ungainly but lovable cultural figure, inspiring a cartoon character and issuing a seemingly limitless supply of unwittingly witty epigrams known as Yogi-isms — died. He was 90.
    Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra (May 12, 1925 – September 22, 2015) was an 18-time All-Star and 10-time World Series champion as a player, Berra had a career batting average of .285, while compiling 358 home runs and 1,430 runs batted in. He is one of only four players to win the American League Most Valuable Player Award three times. Widely regarded as one of the best catchers in baseball history, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
    A native of St. Louis, he left for the minor leagues just about the time that the Old Kunnel moved to the Gateway City. Although we never met, the Old Kunnel was familiar with his home area.

 Thought for the day...

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