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Today in History with a Twist

Let the Games Begin!                                              

     After a 12 year hiatus due to the distraction caused by World War II, the Olympic Games are back (1948).  Not only did England win the war but they also won the right to host the Games of the XIV Olympiad in London.  Obviously there will be many comparisons to the last Olympics which were held in Berlin.  Just don't see the Brits being as extravagant as the Germans.

   The Italian athletes will probably be breaking out mom’s famous recipe - it’s National Lasagna Day!  This delicious Italian dish is usually made with layers of flat pasta sheets, tomato sauce, and cheese, but there are dozens of different variations. Some popular additions are meat, vegetables, and Béchamel sauce.  People have been eating noodles for at least 4,000 years, but culinary historians disagree over when and where the first pasta dish originated.  We do know that tomatoes are a "New World" food, which means pasta and tomato dishes (like lasagna) have only been around since the 16th century.  To celebrate National Lasagna Day, bake a big pan of lasagna.  Grab a bottle of red wine and invite some friends over to enjoy a fun, family-style dinner!  (Punchbowl.com)

    Fed up with the internal bickering the co-Emperors, Pupienus and Balbinus, the Praetorian Guard stormed the palace and took them prisoner (238).  They then dragged them through the streets of Rome and executed them.  This was followed by Gordian III, age 13, being proclaimed emperor.  Think I would follow the Praetorian's advice if I were him.  He could also visit our new Teen Center to learn some new skills. 

   Surprising news from Washington D.C. (1864) where socialite Belle Boyd has been arrested by Union troops and charged with being a Confederate spy.  She is being detained at the Old Capitol Prison.  The Yankees just couldn't bring themselves to hang a woman.

      At a peace conference held at The Hague, Netherlands representatives from the United States, Great Britain, Austria-Hungary, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Japan, and China have signed a series of agreements that out line laws for the conduct of warfare and establishing international courts to settle disputes between countries (1899).  I'm sure war will be much more civilized now that we have a set of rules to follow.

     In nearby Germany a fledgling political party, the National Socialist German Workers Party has named a new leader (1921).  He is the charismatic Adolf Hitler who can really whip up the emotions of a crowd with one of his speeches.  Keep an eye on this up and comer. 

      In Washington D.C. today (1958) President Eisenhower signed into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act.  The act creates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  To the moon Alice, to the moon!

      From the world of science we have learned today (2005) that our solar system has a new member with Astronomers announcing their discovery of the dwarf planet Eris.  Maybe one day it will grow into a full blown planet.

Today we celebrate the birthdays of:

     1805 - Alexis de Tocqueville - French historian and scientist (d. 1859) - How come a 200 year old (figuratively) old Frenchman knows more about us than us?

     1883 - Benito Mussolini - Dictator of Italy (d. 1945) - Hard to believe he was actually a European powerhouse until he hooked his wagon to the wrong star.

The following are books in our collection that relate to today's topics:

 


Chronicle of the Olympics by DK Publishing
Amazon Says: This comprehensive history captures the human drama played out over a century of Olympic Games. It offers a close-up look at triumphs and disappointments -- from Jesse Owens' more...
Amazon Says: This comprehensive history captures the human drama played out over a century of Olympic Games. It offers a close-up look at triumphs and disappointments -- from Jesse Owens' four gold medal wins at the 1936 Berlin Games to Ben Johnson being stripped of his 100-meter gold at the 1988 Seoul Games. This updated edition includes coverage of Atlanta 1996, plus a preview of the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan, and the Olympics in Sydney, Australia, in the year 2000. less...
Amazon


Pasta by Jeni Wright
Amazon Says: This book has everything you will need to know about choosing, making and cooking pasta, and includes over 350 classic and original recipes. more...
Amazon Says: This book has everything you will need to know about choosing, making and cooking pasta, and includes over 350 classic and original recipes. less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: Clandestine missions. Clever, devious, daring. Passionately committed to a cause. During America's most divisive war, both the Union and Confederacy took advantage of brave an more...
Amazon Says: Clandestine missions. Clever, devious, daring. Passionately committed to a cause. During America's most divisive war, both the Union and Confederacy took advantage of brave and courageous women willing to adventurously support their causes. These female spies of the Civil War participated in the world's second-oldest profession-spying-a profession perilous in the extreme. The tales of female spies are filled with suspense, bravery, treachery, and trickery. They took enormous risks and achieved remarkable results-often in ways men could not do. As stated on the grave marker of Union spy Elizabeth Van Lew: "She risked everything that is dear to man-friends, fortune, comfort, health, life itself." Told with personality and pizzazz, author H. Donald Winkler uses primary Civil War sources such as memoirs, journals, letters, and newspaper articles, plus the latest in scholarly research, to make these incredible stories come alive. less...
Amazon


Humanity in Warfare by Geoffrey Best

Amazon Says: Developed with NASA and the National Air & S pace Museum to coincide with the 40th anniversary of NASA an d John Glenn''s return to space on the Space Shuttle Columbia , this more...
Amazon Says: Developed with NASA and the National Air & S pace Museum to coincide with the 40th anniversary of NASA an d John Glenn''s return to space on the Space Shuttle Columbia , this collection of images chronicles the history of the U. S. space programme. ' less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: NASA launches a yearlong celebration of its 50th anniversary in the fall of 2007, and Abrams is privileged to publish this visual history of its many achievements in manned an more...
Amazon Says: NASA launches a yearlong celebration of its 50th anniversary in the fall of 2007, and Abrams is privileged to publish this visual history of its many achievements in manned and unmanned space travel. Written and edited by a team of experienced NASA staffers, and illustrated with many unpublished and rare photographs from the voluminous NASA archives scattered across the country, America in Space offers an unparalleled vision of half a century of exploration and discovery. The story of America’s space age is told with more than 400 carefully selected images. The story begins in the 1950s with intrepid test pilots venturing ever faster and higher, and opens out into the now-legendary Mercury and Apollo missions of the 1960s that made astronauts into national heroes. The space shuttle era shows us what everyday space travel might look like, while grand vistas of the universe expand our sense of wonder. The large format of the book captures both the human drama and the vast scale of NASA’s projects. America in Space is a photographic record of the greatest adventure of our time. less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: Dwarf planets (which were formerly called asteroids except for the planet Pluto), and the smaller Solar System bodies still called asteroids today, are making front page news, more...
Amazon Says: Dwarf planets (which were formerly called asteroids except for the planet Pluto), and the smaller Solar System bodies still called asteroids today, are making front page news, particularly those that are newly discovered and those that might present a hazard to life on Earth by impacting our planet. In this age of giant telescopes and space probes, these small Solar System bodies have advanced from being tiny points of light to bodies worthy of widespread study. This book describes the dwarf planets and asteroids themselves, their origins, orbits, and composition, and at how amateur astronomers can play a part in their detection, tracking, and imaging. The book is divided into two parts. Part I describes physical properties (including taxonomic types) of dwarf planets and asteroids, how they formed in the early life of the Solar System, and how they evolved to their present positions, groups, and families. It also covers the properties used to define these small Solar System bodies: magnitude, rotation rates (described by their light-curves), and orbital characteristics. Part II opens with a description of the hardware and software an amateur or practical astronomer needs to observe and also to image asteroids. Then numerous observing techniques are covered in depth. Finally, there are lists of relevant amateur and professional organizations and how to submit your own observations to them. less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: In 1831, Alexis De Tocqueville, a twenty-six-year-old French aristocrat, spent nine months travelling across the United States. From the East Coast to the frontier, from the C more...
Amazon Says: In 1831, Alexis De Tocqueville, a twenty-six-year-old French aristocrat, spent nine months travelling across the United States. From the East Coast to the frontier, from the Canadian border to New Orleans, Tocqueville observed the American people and the revolutionary country they'd created. His celebrated Democracy in America, the most quoted work on America ever written, presented the new Americans with a degree of understanding no one had accomplished before or has since. Astonished at the pace of daily life and stimulated by people at all levels of society, Tocqueville recognized that Americans were driven by a series of internal conflicts: simultaneously religious and materialistic; individualistic and yet deeply involved in community affairs; isolationist and interventionist; pragmatic and ideological. Noted author Michael Ledeen takes a fresh look at Tocqueville's insights into our national psyche and asks whether Americans' national character, which Tocqueville believed to be wholly admirable, has fallen into moral decay and religious indifference. Michael Ledeen's sparkling new exploration has some surprising answers and provides a lively new look at a time when character is at the center of our national debate. less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: A historian reveals how Italy was pushed into Hitler's arms by Anthony Eden's serious blunder. Was Mussolini's alliance with Hitler really foreordained? Could Italy have been more...
Amazon Says: A historian reveals how Italy was pushed into Hitler's arms by Anthony Eden's serious blunder. Was Mussolini's alliance with Hitler really foreordained? Could Italy have been kept out of World War II? Did the policy of England's Anthony Eden really push Mussolini into Hitler's arms instead of luring him back to his former policy of friendship with Great Britain? These are some of the intriguing questions that Richard Lamb asks in the course of examining Mussolini's foreign policy toward Germany on the one hand and Britain and France on the other. Surprisingly, Mussolini began with a deep distrust of Hitler and feelings of friendship toward England as well as France, countries he felt might stand up to Hitler's aggressive intent. He also despised Hitler's anti-Semitism. But some disastrous miscalculations, especially by Anthony Eden, who later headed Britain's Foreign Office, set the course for the eventual conflagration. These are the shocking conclusions that Lamb-in a revisionist assessment of Mussolini's diplomatic blunders in his relations with the other powers in Europe-reached after studying documents that have been inaccessible for more than half a century. Here is an indispensable new look by a leading historian at a crucial phase of World War II. 16 Pages of Black-and-White Photographs Notes/Bibliography/Index less...
Amazon

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