Archive for November, 2011

October 22, 1962: Cuban Missile Crisis

November 5, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 and no mention of mutants any where

October 22: General Interest
1962: Cuban Missile Crisis

In a televised speech of extraordinary gravity, President John F. Kennedy announces that U.S. spy planes have discovered Soviet missile bases in Cuba. These missile sites-under construction but nearing completion-housed medium-range missiles capable of striking a number of major cities in the United States, including Washington, D.C. Kennedy announced that he was ordering a naval “quarantine” of Cuba to prevent Soviet ships from transporting any more offensive weapons to the island and explained that the United States would not tolerate the existence of the missile sites currently in place. The president made it clear that America would not stop short of military action to end what he called a “clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace.”

What is known as the Cuban Missile Crisis actually began on October 15, 1962-the day that U.S. intelligence personnel analyzing U-2 spy plane data discovered that the Soviets were building medium-range missile sites in Cuba. The next day, President Kennedy secretly convened an emergency meeting of his senior military, political, and diplomatic advisers to discuss the ominous development. The group became known as ExCom, short for Executive Committee. After rejecting a surgical air strike against the missile sites, ExCom decided on a naval quarantine and a demand that the bases be dismantled and missiles removed. On the night of October 22, Kennedy went on national television to announce his decision. During the next six days, the crisis escalated to a breaking point as the world tottered on the brink of nuclear war between the two superpowers.

On October 23, the quarantine of Cuba began, but Kennedy decided to give Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev more time to consider the U.S. action by pulling the quarantine line back 500 miles. By October 24, Soviet ships en route to Cuba capable of carrying military cargoes appeared to have slowed down, altered, or reversed their course as they approached the quarantine, with the exception of one ship-the tanker Bucharest. At the request of more than 40 nonaligned nations, U.N. Secretary-General U Thant sent private appeals to Kennedy and Khrushchev, urging that their governments “refrain from any action that may aggravate the situation and bring with it the risk of war.” At the direction of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. military forces went to DEFCON 2, the highest military alert ever reached in the postwar era, as military commanders prepared for full-scale war with the Soviet Union.

On October 25, the aircraft carrier USS Essex and the destroyer USS Gearing attempted to intercept the Soviet tanker Bucharest as it crossed over the U.S. quarantine of Cuba. The Soviet ship failed to cooperate, but the U.S. Navy restrained itself from forcibly seizing the ship, deeming it unlikely that the tanker was carrying offensive weapons. On October 26, Kennedy learned that work on the missile bases was proceeding without interruption, and ExCom considered authorizing a U.S. invasion of Cuba. The same day, the Soviets transmitted a proposal for ending the crisis: The missile bases would be removed in exchange for a U.S. pledge not to invade Cuba.

The next day, however, Khrushchev upped the ante by publicly calling for the dismantling of U.S. missile bases in Turkey under pressure from Soviet military commanders. While Kennedy and his crisis advisers debated this dangerous turn in negotiations, a U-2 spy plane was shot down over Cuba, and its pilot, Major Rudolf Anderson, was killed. To the dismay of the Pentagon, Kennedy forbid a military retaliation unless any more surveillance planes were fired upon over Cuba. To defuse the worsening crisis, Kennedy and his advisers agreed to dismantle the U.S. missile sites in Turkey but at a later date, in order to prevent the protest of Turkey, a key NATO member.

On October 28, Khrushchev announced his government’s intent to dismantle and remove all offensive Soviet weapons in Cuba. With the airing of the public message on Radio Moscow, the USSR confirmed its willingness to proceed with the solution secretly proposed by the Americans the day before. In the afternoon, Soviet technicians began dismantling the missile sites, and the world stepped back from the brink of nuclear war. The Cuban Missile Crisis was effectively over. In November, Kennedy called off the blockade, and by the end of the year all the offensive missiles had left Cuba. Soon after, the United States quietly removed its missiles from Turkey.

The Cuban Missile Crisis seemed at the time a clear victory for the United States, but Cuba emerged from the episode with a much greater sense of security. A succession of U.S. administrations have honored Kennedy’s pledge not to invade Cuba, and the communist island nation situated just 80 miles from Florida remains a thorn in the side of U.S. foreign policy. The removal of antiquated Jupiter missiles from Turkey had no detrimental effect on U.S. nuclear strategy, but the Cuban Missile Crisis convinced a humiliated USSR to commence a massive nuclear buildup. In the 1970s, the Soviet Union reached nuclear parity with the United States and built intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of striking any city in the United States.

October 24, 1901: First barrel ride down Niagara Falls

November 5, 2011

October 24: General Interest
1901: First barrel ride down Niagara Falls

On this day in 1901, a 63-year-old schoolteacher named Annie Edson Taylor becomes the first person to take the plunge over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

After her husband died in the Civil War, the New York-born Taylor moved all over the U. S. before settling in Bay City, Michigan, around 1898. In July 1901, while reading an article about the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, she learned of the growing popularity of two enormous waterfalls located on the border of upstate New York and Canada. Strapped for cash and seeking fame, Taylor came up with the perfect attention-getting stunt: She would go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

Taylor was not the first person to attempt the plunge over the famous falls. In October 1829, Sam Patch, known as the Yankee Leaper, survived jumping down the 175-foot Horseshoe Falls of the Niagara River, on the Canadian side of the border. More than 70 years later, Taylor chose to take the ride on her birthday, October 24. (She claimed she was in her 40s, but genealogical records later showed she was 63.) With the help of two assistants, Taylor strapped herself into a leather harness inside an old wooden pickle barrel five feet high and three feet in diameter. With cushions lining the barrel to break her fall, Taylor was towed by a small boat into the middle of the fast-flowing Niagara River and cut loose.

Knocked violently from side to side by the rapids and then propelled over the edge of Horseshoe Falls, Taylor reached the shore alive, if a bit battered, around 20 minutes after her journey began. After a brief flurry of photo-ops and speaking engagements, Taylor’s fame cooled, and she was unable to make the fortune for which she had hoped. She did, however, inspire a number of copy-cat daredevils. Between 1901 and 1995, 15 people went over the falls; 10 of them survived. Among those who died were Jesse Sharp, who took the plunge in a kayak in 1990, and Robert Overcracker, who used a jet ski in 1995. No matter the method, going over Niagara Falls is illegal, and survivors face charges and stiff fines on either side of the border.

October 26, 1881: Shootout at the OK Corral

November 5, 2011

On this day in 1881, the Earp brothers face off against the Clanton-McLaury gang in a legendary shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.

After silver was discovered nearby in 1877, Tombstone quickly grew into one of the richest mining towns in the Southwest. Wyatt Earp, a former Kansas police officer working as a bank security guard, and his brothers, Morgan and Virgil, the town marshal, represented “law and order” in Tombstone, though they also had reputations as being power-hungry and ruthless. The Clantons and McLaurys were cowboys who lived on a ranch outside of town and sidelined as cattle rustlers, thieves and murderers. In October 1881, the struggle between these two groups for control of Tombstone and Cochise County ended in a blaze of gunfire at the OK Corral.

On the morning of October 25, Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury came into Tombstone for supplies. Over the next 24 hours, the two men had several violent run-ins with the Earps and their friend Doc Holliday. Around 1:30 p.m. on October 26, Ike’s brother Billy rode into town to join them, along with Frank McLaury and Billy Claiborne. The first person they met in the local saloon was Holliday, who was delighted to inform them that their brothers had both been pistol-whipped by the Earps. Frank and Billy immediately left the saloon, vowing revenge.

Around 3 p.m., the Earps and Holliday spotted the five members of the Clanton-McLaury gang in a vacant lot behind the OK Corral, at the end of Fremont Street. The famous gunfight that ensued lasted all of 30 seconds, and around 30 shots were fired. Though it’s still debated who fired the first shot, most reports say that the shootout began when Virgil Earp pulled out his revolver and shot Billy Clanton point-blank in the chest, while Doc Holliday fired a shotgun blast at Tom McLaury’s chest. Though Wyatt Earp wounded Frank McLaury with a shot in the stomach, Frank managed to get off a few shots before collapsing, as did Billy Clanton. When the dust cleared, Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers were dead, and Virgil and Morgan Earp and Doc Holliday were wounded. Ike Clanton and Claiborne had run for the hills.

Sheriff John Behan of Cochise County, who witnessed the shootout, charged the Earps and Holliday with murder. A month later, however, a Tombstone judge found the men not guilty, ruling that they were “fully justified in committing these homicides.” The famous shootout has been immortalized in many movies, including Frontier Marshal (1939), Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957), Tombstone (1993) and Wyatt Earp (1994).

Nov 5, 1605: King James learns of gunpowder plot

November 5, 2011

Early in the morning, King James I of England learns that a plot to explode the Parliament building has been foiled, hours before he was scheduled to sit with the rest of the British government in a general parliamentary session.

At about midnight on the night of November 4-5, Sir Thomas Knyvet, a justice of the peace, found Guy Fawkes lurking in a cellar under the Parliament building and ordered the premises searched. Some 20 barrels of gunpowder were found, and Fawkes was taken into custody. During a torture session on the rack, Fawkes revealed that he was a participant in an English Catholic conspiracy to annihilate England’s Protestant government and replace it with Catholic leadership.

What became known as the Gunpowder Plot was organized by Robert Catesby, an English Catholic whose father had been persecuted by Queen Elizabeth I for refusing to conform to the Church of England. Guy Fawkes had converted to Catholicism, and his religious zeal led him to fight in the Spanish army in the Netherlands. Catesby and the handful of other plotters rented a cellar that extended under Parliament, and Fawkes planted the gunpowder there, hiding the barrels under coal and wood.

As the November 5 meeting of Parliament approached, Catesby enlisted more English Catholics into the conspiracy, and one of these, Francis Tresham, warned his Catholic brother-in-law Lord Monteagle not to attend Parliament that day. Monteagle alerted the government, and hours before the attack was to have taken place Fawkes and the explosives were found. By torturing Fawkes, King James’ government learned of the identities of his co-conspirators. During the next few weeks, English authorities killed or captured all the plotters and put the survivors on trial, along with a few innocent English Catholics.

Guy Fawkes himself was sentenced, along with the other surviving chief conspirators, to be hanged, drawn, and quartered in London. Moments before the start of his gruesome execution, on January 31, 1606, he jumped from a ladder while climbing to the hanging platform, breaking his neck and dying instantly.

In 1606, Parliament established November 5 as a day of public thanksgiving. Today, Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated across Great Britain every year on November 5 in remembrance of the Gunpowder Plot. As dusk falls, villagers and city dwellers across Britain light bonfires, set off fireworks, and burn effigies of Guy Fawkes, celebrating his failure to blow Parliament and James I to kingdom come.

Nov 3, 1998:The Body is elected governor of Minnesota

November 5, 2011

On November 3, 1998, former professional wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura is elected governor of Minnesota with 37 percent of the vote. His opponents, seasoned politicians Hubert Humphrey III (son of Lyndon Johnson’s vice-president and the attorney general of Minnesota) and St. Paul mayor Norm Coleman, spent a total of $4.3 million on their campaigns. Ventura, the Reform-Party candidate, spent $250,000—money he raised by selling $22 t-shirts and accepting $50 donations from his supporters. His only political experience had been his years as mayor of Brooklyn Park, a suburb of Minneapolis, but his laid-back, straight-talking, libertarian approach to politics resonated with many Minnesotans—especially young men who had never voted before. “I voted for Jesse because he was the most honest,” one young constituent told a reporter for Newsweek. “If he doesn’t know something, he says he doesn’t know.”

During his pro wrestling career, Ventura had always been the bad guy: He wore tie-dyed outfits, feather boas and garish sunglasses, and he loudly and profanely heckled his opponents. “The Body” was shamelessly dishonest—his motto was “Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.” Ventura used some of his character’s familiar flamboyance in his gubernatorial campaign. In one ad, he wore only a pair of gym shorts and sat contemplatively, emulating Rodin’s The Thinker, while opera played in the background. In another, a Jesse Ventura action figure (cobbled together from existing dolls that a staffer found in a store, it had the body of Batman and the head of World War II General Omar Bradley) trounced Evil Special Interest Man. But when he got elected, he promised to take the job seriously. “I don’t want to cheapen the office,” he said. “I’m not about to turn it into some dog-and-pony show.”

Some of his accomplishments as governor were popular: He managed to pass a light-rail plan for the Twin Cities, drafted a novel property-tax reform package and sent tax rebates, called “Jesse Checks,” to voters every year for three years. Then the state ran into economic problems. His legislative support evaporated and he seemed to spend more time whining and lashing out at his critics (most notably—and unwisely—the droll and good-natured Garrison Keillor, who, thanks to his public-radio show The Prairie Home Companion, was a beloved Minnesota folk hero). In 2002, Ventura decided that he would not run for office again.

After leaving the governor’s mansion, Ventura hosted a short-lived TV talk show, taught a class at Harvard, and stumped for John Kerry in 2004. Two years later, he moved to Mexico. Nonetheless, some people still hope that he will change his mind and return to politics.

November 4,1956: Soviets put brutal end to Hungarian revolution

November 5, 2011

November 4: General Interest
1956: Soviets put brutal end to Hungarian revolution

A spontaneous national uprising that began 12 days before in Hungary is viciously crushed by Soviet tanks and troops on this day in 1956. Thousands were killed and wounded and nearly a quarter-million Hungarians fled the country.

The problems in Hungary began in October 1956, when thousands of protesters took to the streets demanding a more democratic political system and freedom from Soviet oppression. In response, Communist Party officials appointed Imre Nagy, a former premier who had been dismissed from the party for his criticisms of Stalinist policies, as the new premier. Nagy tried to restore peace and asked the Soviets to withdraw their troops. The Soviets did so, but Nagy then tried to push the Hungarian revolt forward by abolishing one-party rule. He also announced that Hungary was withdrawing from the Warsaw Pact (the Soviet bloc’s equivalent of NATO).

On November 4, 1956, Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest to crush, once and for all, the national uprising. Vicious street fighting broke out, but the Soviets’ great power ensured victory. At 5:20 a.m., Hungarian Prime Minister Imre Nagy announced the invasion to the nation in a grim, 35-second broadcast, declaring: “Our troops are fighting. The Government is in place.” Within hours, though, Nagy sought asylum at the Yugoslav Embassy in Budapest. He was captured shortly thereafter and executed two years later. Nagy’s former colleague and imminent replacement, János Kádár, who had been flown secretly from Moscow to the city of Szolnok, 60 miles southeast of the capital, prepared to take power with Moscow’s backing.

The Soviet action stunned many people in the West. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had pledged a retreat from the Stalinist policies and repression of the past, but the violent actions in Budapest suggested otherwise. An estimated 2,500 Hungarians died and 200,000 more fled as refugees. Sporadic armed resistance, strikes and mass arrests continued for months thereafter, causing substantial economic disruption. Inaction on the part of the United States angered and frustrated many Hungarians. Voice of America radio broadcasts and speeches by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles had recently suggested that the United States supported the “liberation” of “captive peoples” in communist nations. Yet, as Soviet tanks bore down on the protesters, the United States did nothing beyond issuing public statements of sympathy for their plight.

Seven Seas of Rhye

November 2, 2011

Fear me you loathsome, lazy creatures
I descend upon your earth from the skies
I command your very souls you unbelievers
Bring before me what is mine
At the seven seas of Rhye

Can you hear me you peers and privy councillors
I stand before you naked to the eyes
I will destroy any man who dares abuse my trust
I swear that you’ll be mine
At the seven seas of Rhye

Sister I live and lie for you
Mister do or else die
You are mine I possess you
I belong to you forever

Storm the master marathon I’ll fly through
By flash and thunder fire I’ll survive
(I’ll survive, I’ll survive)
Then I’ll defy the laws of nature
And come out alive
Then I’ll get you

Begone with you short and shady senators
Give out the good, leave out the bad evil cries
I challenge the mighty titan and his troubadours
And with a smile
I’ll take you to the seven seas of Rhye

The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke

November 2, 2011

Words and music by Freddie Mercury

He’s a fairy feller
Ah ah the fairy folk have gathered
Round the new moon’s shine
To see the feller crack a
nut
At night’s noon time
To swing his axe he swears
As he climbs he
dares
To deliver the master stroke

Ploughman wagoner will’ and
types
Politician with senatorial pipe
He’s a dilly dally oh
Pedagogue
squinting wears a frown
And a satyr peers under lady’s gown
He’s a dirty
fellow
What a dirty laddie-oh

Tatterdemalion and the
junketer
There’s a thief and a dragonfly trumpeter
He’s my hero
ah
Fairy dandy tickling the fancy
Of his lady friend
The nymph in
yellow (can we see the master stroke)
What a quaere fellow

Ah ah ah ah
ah ah
Ah ah ah ah ah ah
Soldier sailor tinker tailor ploughboy
Waiting
to hear the sound
And the arch magician presides
He is the
leader

Oberon and Titania watched by a harridan
Mab is the queen and
there’s a good apothecary man
Come to say hello
Fairy dandy tickling the
fancy
Of his lady friend
The nymph in yellow
What a quaere
fellow
The ostler stares with hands on his knees
Come on mister
feller
Crack it open if you please

Ogre battle

November 2, 2011

Words and music by Freddie Mercury

Now once upon a time
An old man
told me a fable
When the piper is gone
And the soup is cold on your table
And if the black crow flies
To find a new destination
That is the
sign

Come tonight
Come to the ogre site
Come to the ogre battle
fight

He gives a great big cry
And he can swallow up the ocean
With
a mighty tongue he catches flies
And the palm of his hand incredible
size
One great big eye has a focus in your direction
Now the battle is
on
Yeah yeah yeah!

Come tonight
Come to the ogre sight
Come to
the ogre battle fight

Ah ah ah ah ah
The ogre men are still
inside
The two way mirror mountain
Gotta keep down
Right out of
sight
You can’t see in but they can see out
Keep a look out
The ogre
men are coming out
From the two way mirror mountain
They’re running up
behind
And they’re coming all about
Can’t go east ’cause you gotta go
south

Ogre men are going home
The great big fight is over
Bugle
blow that trumpet cry
Ogre battle lives for ever more
You can come
along
You can come along
Come to ogre battle

Hair

November 2, 2011

She asks me why
I’m just a hairy guy
I’m hairy noon and night
Hair that’s a fright
I’m hairy high and low
Don’t ask me why
Don’t know
It’s not for lack of bread
Like the Grateful Dead
Darling

Gimme head with hair
Long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming,
Streaming, flaxen, waxen

Give me down to there hair
Shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there mama
Everywhere daddy daddy

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair

Let it fly in the breeze
And get caught in the trees
Give a home to the fleas in my hair
A home for fleas
A hive for bees
A nest for birds
There ain’t no words
For the beauty, the splendor, the wonder
Of my…

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair

I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy
Snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
Oily, greasy, fleecy
Shining, gleaming, streaming
Flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka-dotted
Twisted, beaded, braided
Powdered, flowered, and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!

Oh say can you see
My eyes if you can
Then my hair’s too short

Down to here
Down to there
Down to where
It stops by itself

They’ll be ga ga at the go go
When they see me in my toga
My toga made of blond
Brilliantined
Biblical hair

My hair like Jesus wore it
Hallelujah I adore it
Hallelujah Mary loved her son
Why don’t my mother love me?

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair


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