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Today's quotation...
Astronomers, like burglers and jazz musicians, operate best at night.
-- Mike Kington. English journalist [b. 1941]


This day we celebrate the anniversary of the first solo transatlantic flight from New York to Paris by Charles A. Lindbergh in the airplane Spirit of St. Louis. His plane, upon takeoff, was stocked with 451 gallons of gasoline and 20 gallons of oil, but had no lights, heat, radio, deicing equipment, or automatic controls. The crossing took 33½ hours and received more press coverage than any other single event in history. American papers devoted 27,000 columns of words to reporting the story.

 Happy Birthday ......
    In 1904, Thomas "Fats" Waller is born in New York City. The 1970s Broadway musical "Ain't Misbehavin'" is based on him. Waller's first hit, "Ain't Misbehavin'," appeared in the Broadway musical "Hot Chocolates" and is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
    In 1916, Harold Robbins, author who was a millionaire at 20 and quickly lost his fortune. Robbins became a millionaire by using his entrepreneurial talents to buy crops and sell the options to canning companies, but the outbreak of World War II caused him to lose it all. Robbins started writing after he got a job at Universal Pictures as an executive director of budget planning. His first novel, Never Love a Stranger, published in 1948, told the tale of a New York orphan who died in World War II. Drawing on his own experiences as an orphan, Robbins gained critical acclaim for his poignant tale. His most popular novel, The Carpetbaggers, was published in 1961 and sold 6 million copies. Harold Robbins died in 1997.
    In 1921, Andrei Sakharov, Soviet scientist and dissident.
    In 1935, Jane Addams, American feminist, social reformer, founder of Hull House.
    In 1952, Mr. T, actor whose trademark in the 80s was his mohawk hairstyle and heavy, gold chains. Mr. T, born Laurence Tureaud, began his career as a club bouncer and a bodyguard for such high profile celebrities as Michael Jackson, Muhammed Ali and Diana Ross. In 1978, Mr. T was discovered by Sylvester Stallone while he was participating in "The World’s Toughest Bouncer" contest. Stallone built Mr. T’s role in Rocky III to suit his strength and talents. A part that was only intended to be a few lines long was made to extend throughout the picture. Since his big break in Rocky III, Mr. T has gone on to star in the TV show, "The A-Team" and has made guest appearances on the sitcoms "Silver Spoons" and "Diff’rent Strokes." Mr. T has recently bounced back into the spotlight with appearances in Inspector Gadget, Apocalypse IV: Judgement and Not Another Teen Movie.
One of the stars of the mid-'80s NBC-TV hit series The A-Team, Mr. T made his recording debut with Mr. T's Commandments, a rap record tailor-made for kids. Born May 21, 1952, in Chicago, IL, Laurence Tureaud (later changed to Laurence Tero then to Mr. T) was the second youngest of 12 children. His father left the family when he was around five-years-old and his mother raised the family on an $87-a-month welfare check in a three-room apartment. During high school, he was a football star, a student of the martial arts, a voracious reader, and a three-time city wrestling champion. After college, Mr. T served in the Army as a military policeman, played briefly for the Green Bay Packers, and also spent time working as a bodyguard -- for Michael Jackson, Steve McQueen, Muhammad Ali, Leon Spinks, LeVar Burton, and Diana Ross.
In between bodyguard gigs, Mr. T worked as a bouncer for downtown Chicago club Dingbat's. While reading an issue of National Geographic magazine, he saw the hairstyle of a Mandinka warrior. Feeling a strong sense of kinship, Mr. T adopted the hairstyle as his own. In the mid-'70s, he began working as a gym teacher in the Chicago public school system. In 1982, he appeared on the NBC-TV show Games People Play, participating in "The World's Toughest Bouncer" contest. Sylvester Stallone saw him on the show and cast him in the critically acclaimed role of Clubber Lang in the movie Rocky III. Mr. T was then cast in the role of Sgt. BA ("Bad Attitude") Baracus in the NBC-TV hit series The A-Team. His gruff demeanor, imposing physical presence, and cache of gold jewelry (about $300,000 worth) made him an instant hit with viewers, especially kids. Unlike a lot of celebrities, Mr. T was quite conscious of being a positive role model for the millions of children who admired him and he never drank, smoked, or took drugs of any kind. He turned down acting roles that cast him as the villain or as overtly sexy.
With that in mind, Mr. T recorded a 1984 album for Columbia Records: Mr. T's Commandments. Produced by Patrick Henderson (the Doobie Brothers, Carl Anderson) and sporting a multicultural cover, it's one of the safest LPs a parent could buy for their child. The first single, "Mr. T's Commandment," not only extolls the virtues of obeying your parents, but also extolls the virtues of mutually respect between parents and their kids. Mr. T also starred in later movies like DC Cab, appeared in the live-action segments of his own cartoon, and guested on the NBC-TV sitcoms Silver Spoons and Diff'rent Strokes.
~ Ed Hogan, All Music Guide []
11:08 5/20/2009

    In 1956, Judge Reinhold, actor who made a notable TV appearance as "Aaron, the close talker" in an episode of "Seinfeld." Reinhold who was born, Edward Ernest Reinhold, was given the nickname "Judge" when he was just 2 weeks old. The name might have had something to do with the fact that his father was a trial lawyer. After graduating from college, Reinhold decided to pursue an acting career. Reinhold’s big break was getting a starring role as Brad Hamilton in the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High. From there, Reinhold went on to star in such films as Gremlins, Beverly Hills Cop II, The Santa Clause, Enemies of Laughter and Camp Laughter. He recently appeared in The Santa Claus 2 and is a voice in Clifford's Really Big Movie.

 On this day...
    In 1862, [Civil War] Headline: The Siege of Port Hudson begins
    Nathaniel Banks, commander of the Union Department of the Gulf, surrounds the Confederate stronghold at Port Hudson, Louisiana, and attacks. Fortifications were built at Port Hudson in 1863 to protect New Orleans from a Union attack down the Mississippi River. On April 25, 1862, New Orleans had fallen into Union hands following an attack from the Gulf of Mexico by Admiral David Farragut. Still, Port Hudson was considered an important installation for the South since it was a significant threat to Federal ships on the Mississippi River. In 1863, the Union command began to focus attention on clearing the Mississippi of all Rebels. The major thrust of this effort was taking Vicksburg, Mississippi, the Confederate stronghold to the north of Port Hudson. In April, Ulysses S. Grant summoned Nathaniel Banks to participate in the campaign against Vicksburg.
    Banks wavered at first, preferring instead to wage an independent campaign against Confederates in Louisiana. But in May, he set out to take Port Hudson, then under the command of Franklin Gardner. Banks had some 30,000 troops under his command, while Gardner possessed a force of just 3,500. When Banks began to encircle Port Hudson, Gardner made some feeble attacks to drive him away.
    On May 21, Gardner received orders from Joseph Johnston, operating in Mississippi, to abandon the fort. But Gardner refused, and asked for reinforcements. This was a fatal mistake, and Banks soon had Gardner surrounded. For the next three weeks, Banks attempted to capture Port Hudson but failed each time. It was not until Vicksburg surrendered on July 4 that Gardner also surrendered.

    In 1881, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C.
    In 1900, taking advantage of the chaos caused by the Boxer Rebellion in China, Russia invades Manchuria.
    In 1901, Cadets at the Westpoint Military Academy were convicted of hazing and insubordination; five were dismissed and six were suspended.
    In 1902, the Prussian Landtag offers bill to intensify Germanization of Polish territories.
    In 1904, the Republican national convention opens in Chicago amid faint cheers for Theodore Roosevelt.
    France recalls ambassador to Vatican, protesting Pope Pius X's attempt to discipline two French bishops.
    In 1906, the U.S. and Mexico agree on Rio Grande waters to be diverted to the U.S. for irrigation.
    In 1907, three thousand Irish delegates swarmed into a convention hall in Dublin. Their meeting was orderly, but their message to London was firm. The proposal from Britain's new Liberal government for a limited Irish council was unacceptable to them. And, they passed a bill advocating "a measure of self-government which will give the Irish people complete control of their domestic affairs."
    A trolley and train collided in Brooklyn, New York, injuring 40 people, five fatally.
    In 1909, Standard Oil gains controlling interest in Austria; Rumania remains as independent oil producer.
    In 1917, Swedes ask separation of Grand Duchy of Finland from Russia.
    In 1919, U.S. House passes suffrage amendment 304-89.
    In 1920, General Venustiano Carranza, Mexican constitutional president since 1917, killed by government troops.
    In 1922, Communist revolt strikes Bulgaria: King Boris in flight.
    In 1924, Congress in Washington okays a $472 million tax cut.
     Nathan Leopold Jr. and Richard Loeb kidnap and murder 13-year-old Bobby Franks, a distant cousin of Loeb's in Chicago.
    In 1925, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen leaves for the North Pole.
    In 1929, Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Roseberry, had three ambitions:
  1. To win the English Derby.
  2. To marry the richest heiress in England.
  3. To become Prime Minister.

He satisfied them all: He won the Derby not once but thrice. In 1878, he married Hannah, the only child of Baron Amschel de Rothschild. And in 1884, when British Prime Minister Gladstone died, Queen Victoria called on him to form a government. A celebrated orator and wit, who wrote as well as he spoke, Lord Roseberry died on this date at 82.
    In 1927, At 10:22 p.m. local time, 25-year-old Charles Lindbergh and his silver monoplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, landed in Paris, France, making him the first aviator to successfully fly nonstop across the Atlantic from New York to Paris.
    A former barnstormer, Army Air Service cadet, and airmail pilot, Lindbergh decided to try to win the Orteig Prize—$25,000 to the first aviator to fly nonstop from New York to Paris or vice versa. Many well-known pilots of the day had attempted the flight, but all previous attempts had ended in accident or death.
    Lindbergh, a virtually unknown pilot at the time, had a hard time finding a company to sell him a plane in which to make the journey, even after he found backers in St. Louis to fund him. Eventually, he found Ryan Airlines, based out of San Diego, which would custom-build him a plane to his exact specifications—a light-weight, one-seat, single-engine monoplane with only the bare essentials to allow for extra fuel.
    The plane, named the Spirit of St. Louis, was completed in a mere 60 days...
    [Excerpted from, Historical Headline - Lindbergh's Transatlantic Flight]

    In 1932, Amelia Earhart is first woman to solo across Atlantic. flying from Newfoundland to Ireland on Lindbergh day in the then record time of 15 hours.
    In 1938, Czechs place 40,000 troops on border of Germany.
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

U.S. NAVY K.O.'S JAPANESE MAVY AT MIDWAY * * * * * * * * * * * * * GERMANY SURRENDERS UNCONDITONALLY 7 MAY 2945* * * * * * * * * * * * * U.S. NAVY K.O.'S JAPANESE MAVY AT MIDWAY * * * * * * * * * * * * *GERMANY SURRENDERS UNCONDITONALLY 7 MAY 2945* * * * * * * * * * * * *
    In 1939, In Washington, D.C., it is reported that 503 million acres in the U.S. remain uncharted. [Certainly ample enough to hide Big Foot, eh? (grin)]
    In 1940, Nazis trap Allies at Dunkirk on English Channel; Aisne River crossed, 60 miles from Paris.
    Headline: Nazis kill “unfit” people in East Prussia
    A “special unit” carries out its mission-and murders more than 1,500 hospital patients in East Prussia.
    Mentally ill patients from throughout East Prussia had been transferred to the district of Soldau, also in East Prussia. A special military unit, basically a hit squad, carried out its agenda and killed the patients over an 18-day period, one small part of the larger Nazi program to exterminate everyone deemed “unfit” by its ideology. After the murders, the unit reported back to headquarters in Berlin that the patients had been “successfully evacuated.”
    In 1941, U.S. merchant ship Robin Moore sunk by German U-boat inside defense line in territorial waters.
    In 1942, Headline: Thousands of Jews die in Nazi gas chambers; IG Farber sets up factory
    4,300 Jews are deported from the Polish town of Chelm to the Nazi extermination camp at Sobibor, where all are gassed to death. On the same day, the German firm IG Farben sets up a factory just outside Auschwitz, in order to take advantage of Jewish slave laborers from the Auschwitz concentration camps.
    Sobibor had five gas chambers, where about 250,000 Jews were killed between 1942 and 1943. A camp revolt occurred in October 1943; 300 Jewish slave laborers rose up and killed several members of the SS as well as Ukrainian guards. The rebels were killed as they battled their captors or tried to escape. The remaining prisoners were executed the very next day.
    IG Farben, as well as exploiting Jewish slave labor for its oil and rubber production, also performed drug experiments on inmates. Tens of thousands of prisoners would ultimately die because of brutal work conditions and the savagery of the guards. Several of the firm’s officials would be convicted of “plunder,” “spoliation of property,” “imposing slave labor,” and “inhumane treatment” of civilians and POWs after the war. The company itself came under Allied control. The original goal was to dismantle its industries, which also included the manufacture of chemicals and pharmaceuticals, so as to prevent it from ever posing a threat “to Germany’s neighbors or to world peace.” But as time passed, the resolve weakened, and the Western powers broke the company up into three separate divisions: Hoechst, Bayer, and BASF.

    In 1943, members of the volunteer organization “Victory Corps” carried out a variety of tasks related to the war effort. They grew Victory Gardens, conducted scrap drives, and led bond sales. The corps, created in the summer of 1942, handed out badges to its members, who wore them proudly on their uniforms of white shirts and dark trousers or skirts. By participating in the corps, students could receive academic credit. While the Victory Corps chapters across the country provided essential services to the war effort, they also kept the nation's teenagers constructively engaged in war work and out of trouble.
    [Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs]
    In 1945, small nations challenge big powers on veto rights at United Nations talks in San Francisco.
    Syria and Lebanon assert independence, breaking off negotiations with France.
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    In 1952, Dutch Queen Juliana opens largest inland navigation lock at North Sea and Rhine.
    In 1954, Senate rejects Eisenhower's plan for 18-year-old voting rights.
    In 1955, U.S.S.R. decides to sell arms to Egypt.
    In 1956, U.S. tests powerful A-bomb from a plane over the island of Namu in the Bikini Atoll.
    In 1957, thirty years later to the day, Major Robinson Risnor, U.S. Air Force, retraced Lindbergh's solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic. It took him 6 hours, 36 minutes.
    In 1962, U.S. Supreme Court voids contempt convictions of six who pleaded Fifth Amendment in congressional loyalty inquiries.
    Taiwan offers to accept refugees from China.
    In 1963, Federal court orders University of Alabama to admit two Negroes.
    Schneor Zalman Shazar becomes third Israeli president.
    In 1966, in London, Mohammad Ali TKOs Henry Cooper in the sixth round to retain title.
    In 1967, the United Arab Republic (UAR) orders mobilization of 100,000 reserves.
    In 1971, Pompidou and British Premier Heath reach accord in Paris on U.K. entry into EEC.
    In Paris, sixty Western intellectuals, including Sartre, denounce Castro for treatment of poet Herberto Padilla.
    In 1972, Michelangelo's Pieta, on display at the Vatican, was damaged by a hammer-wielding man who shouted he was Jesus Christ.
    In 1975, in Tehran, Iran, rebels (read terrorists) kill two U.S. Air Force officers.
    In 1978, vote backs Sadat's purge of the opposition in Egypt.
    In 1979, in San Francisco, Dan White found guilty of murdering Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk.
    In Montreal, the Canadiens defeated the New York Rangers 4 to 1 in the Stanley Cup competition.
    In 1980, Jean Marie Bulter becomes the first woman to graduate from a U.S. service academy.
    The "Star Wars" sequel "The Empire Strikes Back" opens.
    In 1981, on Long Island, the New York Islanders capture their second straight Stanley Cup.
    In 1982, in the Falkland Islands off Argentina, British forces seized a beachhead, claimed 16 planes but loses five ships.
    In 1984, in Bombay, India, the army moves in after 114 die in religious strife.
    In 1985, U.S. Navy cancels General Dynamics contracts over "pervasive" business misconduct.
    In California, Patty Frustaci gives birth to septuplets; six survive.
    In Britain, Mohammed Ajeeb elected in Bradford as first British Pakistani mayor.
    In 1986, President Reagan vetoes effort to block arms for Saudia Arabia.
    In 1987, Johnny Chan, known among poker players as the "Orient Express," drew a 9 of hearts for a pair, and the 29-year-old restaurant owner won the World Championship of Poker and more than $1 million in cash and chips.
    In 1988, Risen Star, a son of Secretariat, wins the Preakness; Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors comes in third.
    Three months of violent demonstrations and riots in Soviet Armenia and Azerbaijan have left Moscow to dismiss the Communist Party leaders of these southern republics and replace them with men untainted by past problems.
    In 1991, former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a suicide bomber.
    In 1992, the Ol'Kunnel experienced a hard disk crash on his original "AT" computer. At that time he was still a BBS Operator on GT Power Network and was Net 25.
    Singer-actress Bette Midler is Johnny Carson's last guest on the NBC late-night program "The Tonight Show." She sings several songs, including a short duet with Carson.
    In 1998, Frank Sinatra's wife of 22 years and his three children are left most of his assets when the chairman's will is filed. Barbara Sinatra is bequeathed most of his real estate holdings, as well as rights to market his name and likeness. Sinatra's first wife and mother of his children, Nancy Barbato Sinatra, is left $250,000. [Yepper. Ol'Blue Eyes did it his way.]
    An expelled student in Springfield, Oregon killed 2 students and wounded 23 others with a semi-automatic rifle. He had been expelled for having a gun at school.
    In Miami, five abortion clinics were hit by an butyric acid-attacker.
    Microsoft and Sega announced that they are collaborating on a home video game system.
    In 2002, the State Department named seven countries as sponsors of terror, with Iran at the top of the list. The report said Sudan and Libya had taken some steps -- but not enough -- to "get out of the business." [The others named were Iraq, North Korea, Cuba and Syria.]
    In 2005, at the running of the Preakness, near Baltimore, the second jewel in the crown of thorough bred racing, A Fleet Alex wins, Scrappy T places, and Giacomo places. The Ol'Kunnel placed a $6 bet cover-all on Giacomo and won $4.80 -- still a loss.
    In 2011,
136th Preakness Stakes

One of the three classic U.S. horse races making up the Triple Crown. It is held annually in mid-May at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course. The course distance is 1 3/16 mi (1.9 km). The field is limited to 3-year-old Thoroughbreds.

[Race run: Saturday, May 21, 2011]
  1. Win - Shackleford
  2. Place - Animal Kingdom
  3. Show - Astrology
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 Thought for the day...

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