Friday, March 31, 2006

This Day in History: April 1, 1954***

The U.S. Air Force Academy was established at Colorado Springs, Colorado

The idea surfaced almost four decades ago, but did not become a reality until April 1, 1954, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill establishing the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Many of America's pioneer airmen advocated the creation of an academy to prepare officers especially for the air service. One of them, Brig. Gen. William "Billy" Mitchell, tried in vain to persuade first, the government, then, private interests to establish such a school.

In 1948, the Air Force appointed a board of leading civilian and military educators to plan the curriculum for an Air Force academy. The idea made little progress outside the Air Force, until 1949 when Secretary of Defense James Forrestal appointed a board of military and civilian educators. This board headed by Dwight D. Eisenhower, then president of Columbia University, and Robert L. Stearns, president of the University of Colorado, was tasked to recommend a general system of education for the Army, Navy and Air Force.

In 1950, this board found the needs of the Air Force could not be met by a desirable expansion of the older service academies. The board recommended that an Air Force academy be established without delay and proposed that, in peacetime, not less than 40 percent of the regular officers taken into each service should be academy graduates.

Congress authorized creation of the Air Force Academy in 1954. Harold E. Talbott, then secretary of the Air Force, appointed a commission to assist him in selecting the permanent site. After traveling 21,000 miles and considering 580 proposed sites in 45 states, the commission recommended three locations. From those, Secretary Talbott selected the site near Colorado Springs. The state of Colorado contributed $1 million toward the purchase of the property.

On July 11, 1955, the same year construction began, the first class of 306 men were sworn in at a temporary site at Lowry Air Force Base, Denver. Lt. Gen. Hubert R. Harmon, a key figure in the development of the Academy since 1949, was recalled from retirement to become the first superintendent.

Two years later, Maj. Gen. Briggs took over as the Academy's second superintendent. During his tour, on Aug. 29, 1958, the wing of 1,145 cadets moved to its present site from Denver. Less than a year later the Academy received accreditation. On March 3, 1964, the authorized strength of the Cadet Wing was increased to 4,417 and later reduced to its present number of 4,000.

Perhaps the most controversial event in academy history was the admission of women. President Gerald R. Ford signed legislation Oct. 7, 1975, permitting women to enter the nation's military academies. Women entered the Air Force Academy for the first time on June 28, 1976. The first class with women graduated in May 1980.

As with any other institution, the Air Force Academy has suffered growing pains. But in its relatively short period of existence, the school has excelled in its quest for excellence to a degree that similar organizations achieved only after much longer periods.

The Academy has provided the Air Force with a corps of officers dedicated to upholding the high standards of the United States. The Air Force has provided a proving ground for these officers and a source for the dedicated staff members who have come to the academy to educate and train these future leaders.

Throughout its history, one theme has been constant and persistent ﷓ a "Commitment to Excellence." And, it's with that theme that the Air Force Academy looks forward to the future. (United States Air Force Academy)

***I know today is not April 1, but because this is so important and I do not post on Saturday’s I thought that I should post this today.

My Grandpa was in the Air Force. My mom told me that he was on his first trip overseas to fight in World War II when the war ended. He was disappointed, but my Grandma was sure happy.

So do any of you have plans for this weekend? I have my family coming in along with my new puppy (a West Highland White Terrier!!), my boyfriend and a few of his friends from Texas. It should be a busy weekend!! Wish me luck!!
Related Products

Check out our Air Force blanket. Each soft, woven jacquard throw features the seal of one of our nation's Armed Forces. Crafted in the USA of 100% cotton with fringed edging. 50"x60".

We also have this Air Force Military Walking Stick. The next time you step out for a leisurely stroll, have the Air Force there to support you. Each brass-handled walking stick is emblazoned with the symbol of the Air Force. The tempered aluminum shaft delivers remarkable strength and exceptional handling (each is balanced to create the ideal pendulum swing to match your natural walking rhythm). 35½".

Next we have this Air Force insignia watch. Show your patriotic spirit with our striking watches, featuring the Air Force insignia. Japanese quartz movement in water resistant, stainless steel casing. Sweep second hand. Leather strap with silver-finish buckle closure. Presented in tin gift canister.

Lastly, we have these USAF Aviator Sunglasses. Our classic aviators are produced to the demanding standards of the U.S.A.F. by government contractor American Optics. True Color™ lenses are distortion free, scratch resistant and provide 100% UV protection. Lightweight, steel frames with golden finish. Handy carrying case included. In either 52mm or 57mm.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

This Day in History: March 30, 1981

President Reagan shot

On March 30, 1981,a deranged drifter named John Hinckley Jr. shot President Ronald Reagan in the chest outside a Washington, D.C., hotel.

The president had just finished addressing a labor meeting at the Washington Hilton Hotel and was walking with his entourage to his limousine when Hinckley, standing among a group of reporters, fired six shots at the president, hitting Reagan and three of his attendants. White House Press Secretary James Brady was shot in the head and critically wounded, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy was shot in the side, and District of Columbia policeman Thomas Delahaney was shot in the neck. After firing the shots, Hinckley was overpowered and pinned against a wall, and President Reagan, apparently unaware that he'd been shot, was shoved into his limousine by a Secret Service agent and rushed to the hospital.

The president was shot in the left lung, and the .22 caliber bullet just missed his heart. In an impressive feat for a 70-year-old man with a collapsed lung, he walked into George Washington University Hospital under his own power. As he was treated and prepared for surgery, he was in good spirits and quipped to his wife, Nancy, ''Honey, I forgot to duck,'' and to his surgeons, "Please tell me you're Republicans." Reagan's surgery lasted two hours, and he was listed in stable and good condition afterward.

The next day, the president resumed some of his executive duties and signed a piece of legislation from his hospital bed. On April 11, he returned to the White House. Reagan's popularity soared after the assassination attempt, and at the end of April Congress gave him a hero’s welcome. In August, this same Congress passed his controversial economic program, with several Democrats breaking ranks to back Reagan's plan. By this time, Reagan claimed to be fully recovered from the assassination attempt. In private, however, he would continue to feel the effects of the nearly fatal gunshot wound for years.

Of the victims of the assassination attempt, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and D.C. policeman Thomas Delahaney eventually recovered. James Brady, who nearly died after being shot in the eye, suffered permanent brain damage. He later became an advocate of gun control, and in 1993 Congress passed the "Brady Bill," which established a five-day waiting period and background checks for prospective gun buyers. President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law.

After being arrested on March 30, 1981, 25-year-old John Hinckley was booked on federal charges of attempting to assassinate the president. He had previously been arrested in Tennessee on weapons charges. In June 1982, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. In the trial, Hinckley's defense attorneys argued that their client was ill with narcissistic personality disorder, citing medical evidence, and had a pathological obsession with the 1976 film Taxi Driver, in which the main character attempts to assassinate a fictional senator. His lawyers claimed that Hinckley saw the movie more than a dozen times, was obsessed with the lead actress, Jodie Foster, and had attempted to reenact the events of the film in his own life. Thus the movie, not Hinckley, they argued, was the actual planning force behind the events that occurred on March 30, 1981.

The verdict of "not guilty by reason of insanity" aroused widespread public criticism, and many were shocked that a would-be presidential assassin could avoid been held accountable for his crime. However, because of his obvious threat to society, he was placed in St. Elizabeth's Hospital, a mental institution. In the late 1990s, Hinckley's attorney began arguing that his mental illness was in remission and thus had a right to return to a normal life. Beginning in August 1999, he was allowed supervised day trips off the hospital grounds and later was allowed to visit his parents once a week unsupervised. The Secret Service voluntarily monitors him during these outings. On December 30, 2005, a federal judge ruled that Hinckley would be allowed visits, supervised by his parents, to their home outside of Washington, D.C. The judge ruled that Mr. Hinckley could have up to three visits of three nights and then four visits of four nights, each depending on the successful completion of the last. All of the experts testifying at Mr. Hinckley's 2005 conditional release hearing, including the government experts, agreed that his depression and psychotic disorder are in full remission and that he should have some expanded conditions of release.

This story is crazy. I can’t believe Reagan didn’t even realize he had been shot in the chest, collapsing a lung. Eek. Nor can I believe that the guy who shot Reagan and his entourage wasn’t found guilty. Wow.

In other news, I don’t have class today or tomorrow, thanks for Caesar Chavez day, pretty much the only holiday my school acknowledges. So that is pretty sweet.

Have a good day everyone!
Related Products

Check out our Ronald Reagan Pot Belly box. These handcrafted Pot Belly boxes, designed in Gloucestershire, England, feature presidential caricatures carved into crushed marble bodies. Each boasts hand-painted, "politically correct" details and vivid colors that even Congress would surely approve of. Perfect for storing tiny treasures; great gift, too.

Next we have this Ronald Reagan inaugural invitation. A select few received personal invitations to the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan. Join this elite gathering with your very own, genuine Presidential invite. We have a handful of these historic invitations, each printed on heavy card stock. Set in an archival fabric mat and framed, under glass, in an elegant gold-tone, wood frame. Brass story plaque. Certificate of authenticity.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

This Day in History: March 29, 1879

British victory at Kambula

On March 29, 1879, at Kambula, in northwest Zululand, a force of 2,000 British and Colonial troops under the command of British Colonel Henry Evelyn Wood defeated
20,000 Zulus under King Cetshwayo, turning the tide in the favor of the British in the Zulu War.

In 1843, Britain succeeded the Boers as the rulers of Natal, which controlled Zululand, the neighboring kingdom of the Zulu people. Boers, also known as Afrikaners, were the descendants of the original Dutch settlers who came to South Africa in the 17th century. Zulus, a migrant people from the north, also came to southern Africa during the 17th century, settling around the Tugela River region.

In 1838, the Boers, migrated north to elude the new British dominions in the south, first came into armed conflict with the Zulus, who were under the rule of King Dingane at the time. The European migrants succeeded in overthrowing Dingane in 1840, replacing him with his son Mpande, who became a vassal of the new Boer republic of Natal. In 1843, the British took over Natal and Zululand.

In 1872, King Mpande died and was succeeded by his son Cetshwayo, who was determined to resist European domination in his territory. In December 1878, Cetshwayo rejected the British demand that he disband his troops, and in January British forces invaded Zululand to suppress Cetshwayo. The Zulu War had begun.

The British suffered severe defeats at Isandlwana, where 1,300 British soldiers were killed or wounded, and at Hlobane Mountain, but on March 29 the tide turned in favor of the British at the Battle of Khambula. At Ulundi in July, Cetshwayo's forces were utterly routed, and the Zulus were forced to surrender to the British. In 1887, faced with continuing Zulu rebellions, the British formally annexed Zululand, and in 1897 it became a part of Natal, which joined the Union of South Africa in 1910.

It’s funny how in America we don’t really learn about this war, at least before college.

I hope you all have a great Hump Day (Wednesday)!
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Check out our Zulu helmet. For more than 100 years, canvas covered pith helmets have been a staple in hot climates. Zulu helmet, like those worn by the British 24th Regiment during the Zulu war of 1877-79, has a sloped and pointed brim.

We also have this 24th Infantry breast plate. The 24th Infantry breast plate is a replica of the Foreign Service badge worn on the 24th Regiment's helmets. Die-stamped brass with copper lug mounts.

Lastly, we have these Rorke's Drift lead figures. On January 22, 1879, 139 British soldiers armed with breech-loading rifles and biscuit boxes, successfully defended Rorke's Drift against 4,500 Zulu warriors. British dominance was restored and many soldiers received the Victoria Cross, the highest military award for gallantry and valor. Our set of six lead cast figures, in exacting 1:32 scale, are entirely hand-painted. Includes four VC winners, one wounded British soldier and one Zulu warrior. Lead cast. 54mm.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

This Day in History: March 28, 1979

Nuclear accident at Three Mile Island

At 4 a.m. on March 28, 1979, the worst accident in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry began when a pressure valve in the Unit-2 reactor at Three Mile Island failed to close. Cooling water, contaminated with radiation, drained from the open valve into adjoining buildings, and the core began to dangerously overheat.
The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant was built in 1974 on a sandbar on Pennsylvania's Susquehanna River, just 10 miles downstream from the state capitol in Harrisburg. In 1978, a second state-of-the-art reactor began operating on Three Mile Island, which was lauded for generating affordable and reliable energy in a time of energy crises.

After the cooling water began to drain out of the broken pressure valve on the morning of March 28, 1979, emergency-cooling pumps automatically went into operation. Left alone, these safety devices would have prevented the development of a larger crisis. However, human operators in the control room misread confusing and contradictory readings and shut off the emergency water system. The reactor was also shut down, but residual heat from the fission process was still being released. By early morning, the core had heated to over 4,000 degrees, just 1,000 degrees short of meltdown. In the meltdown scenario, the core melts, and deadly radiation drifts across the countryside, fatally sickening a potentially great number of people.

As the plant operators struggled to understand what had happened, the contaminated water was releasing radioactive gases throughout the plant. The radiation levels, though not immediately life-threatening, were dangerous, and the core cooked further as the contaminated water was contained and precautions were taken to protect the operators. Shortly after 8 a.m., word of the accident leaked to the outside world. The plant's parent company, Metropolitan Edison, downplayed the crisis and claimed that no radiation had been detected off plant grounds, but the same day inspectors detected slightly increased levels of radiation nearby as a result of the contaminated water leak. Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh considered calling an evacuation.

Finally, at about 8 p.m., plant operators realized they needed to get water moving through the core again and restarted the pumps. The temperature began to drop, and pressure in the reactor was reduced. The reactor had come within less than an hour of a complete meltdown. More than half the core was destroyed or molten, but it had not broken its protective shell, and no radiation was escaping. The crisis was apparently over.

Two days later, however, on March 30, a bubble of highly flammable hydrogen gas was discovered within the reactor building. The bubble of gas was created two days before when exposed core materials reacted with super-heated steam.

On March 28, some of this gas had exploded, releasing a small amount of radiation into the atmosphere. At that time, plant operators had not registered the explosion, which sounded like a ventilation door closing. After the radiation leak was discovered on March 30, residents were advised to stay indoors. Experts were uncertain if the hydrogen bubble would create further meltdown or possibly a giant explosion, and as a precaution Governor Thornburgh advised "pregnant women and pre-school age children to leave the area within a five-mile radius of the Three Mile Island facility until further notice." This led to the panic the governor had hoped to avoid; within days, more than 100,000 people had fled surrounding towns.

On April 1, President Jimmy Carter arrived at Three Mile Island to inspect the plant. Carter, a trained nuclear engineer, had helped dismantle a damaged Canadian nuclear reactor while serving in the U.S. Navy. His visit achieved its aim of calming local residents and the nation. That afternoon, experts agreed that the hydrogen bubble was not in danger of exploding. Slowly, the hydrogen was bled from the system as the reactor cooled.

At the height of the crisis, plant workers were exposed to unhealthy levels of radiation, but no one outside Three Mile Island had their health adversely affected by the accident. Nonetheless, the incident greatly eroded the public's faith in nuclear power. The unharmed Unit-1 reactor at Three Mile Island, which was shut down during the crisis, did not resume operation until 1985. Cleanup continued on Unit-2 until 1990, but it was too damaged to be rendered usable again. In the more than two decades since the accident at Three Mile Island, not a single new nuclear power plant has been ordered in the United States.
I had no idea about how this happened. I guess it was covered up pretty well. I thought it was important to know though.

I hope you have a wonderful day, and I have to give a shout-out to my co-worker because it is her birthday today! Happy Birthday Truda!
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Check out our "Keep out" metal sign. Don't miss these high-gauge, enameled steel English keep out signs, nearly an exact replica of the '50s-vintage originals. Ready to hang. Signs imported from England. 16"x12".

We also have this Steel fallout shelter sign. Remember civil defense drills? Duck and cover! Fortunately, those days are over, but there was something oddly calming about those yellow and black signs pointing the way to a safe haven. These high-gauge, enameled steel signs are nearly exact replicas of the 50's vintage originals. Ready to hang. Imported from England. 14"x10".

Lastly we have this "Radiation Safety in Shelters" book. Published by FEMA in September 1983. 128-pages.

Monday, March 27, 2006

This Day in History: March 27,1794

President George Washington and Congress Authorize the Creation of the U.S. Navy.

In accordance with the Constitution, Congress and George Washington ordered the construction and manning of six frigates on March 27, 1794 after the American War for Independence where Congress sold the surviving ships of the Continental Navy and released the seamen and officers. In1797 the first three frigates, USS United States, Constellation and Constitution went into service. All together, the Continental Navy numbered some fifty ships over the course of the American Revolutionary War, with approximately twenty warships active at its maximum strength. The frigates became famous in the War of 1812, where they unexpectedly defeated the British Royal Navy on a number of occasions.

During the American Civil War, the Navy was an innovator in the use of ironclad warships, but after the war slipped into obsolescence. A modernization program beginning in the 1880s brought the U.S. into the first rank of the world's navies by the beginning of the 20th century. The Navy saw relatively little action during World War I, but in the years before World War II, it grew into a formidable force, which Japan realized would be a threat to their strategic interests. Japan resolved to remedy the situation with a surprise attack in late 1941. The primary goal of this attack on Pearl Harbor was to cripple the Navy in the Pacific Ocean. The action was strategically ineffective, however, and during the next three years of hard fighting, the U.S. Navy grew into the largest and most powerful navy the world had ever seen.

This weekend my friend was in town, so I was able to entertain her. I have known her since I was in 3rd grade, so we know each other pretty well, and have a lot of fun every time we hang out.

Although we had a lot of fun, we did have one small snag, when I locked my keys in my car, along with my purse, wallet and cell phone. Luckily, we were able to get help, fast, which was awesome. Thank you Ocean Beach people!!

I hope you have a fantastic week! I am looking forward to this weekend, because I get a new puppy, a West Highland White Terrier!
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Check out our Navy insignia watch. Show your patriotic spirit with our striking watches, featuring the Navy insignia. Japanese quartz movement in water resistant, stainless steel casing. Sweep second hand. Leather strap with silver-finish buckle closure. Presented in tin gift canister.

We also have this Navy Insignia Blanket. Each soft, woven jacquard throw features the Navy seal. Crafted in the USA of 100% cotton with fringed edging.

Lastly, we have this Navy Insignia Walking Stick.The next time you step out for a leisurely stroll, have the Navy walking stick there to support you. Each brass-handled walking stick is emblazoned with the symbol of the US Navy. The tempered aluminum shaft delivers remarkable strength and exceptional handling (each is balanced to create the ideal pendulum swing to match your natural walking rhythm). 35½".

Friday, March 24, 2006

This Day in History: March 24, 1765

Parliament Passes the Quartering Act

On March 24, 1765, Parliament passes the Quartering Act, which outlines the locations and conditions in which British soldiers are to find room and board in the American colonies.

The Quartering Act of 1765 required the colonies to house British soldiers in "barracks provided by the colonies." If the barracks were too small to house all the soldiers, then localities were to accommodate the soldiers in local "inns, livery stables, ale houses, victualling houses, and the houses of sellers of wine."

Should there still be soldiers without accommodation after all such "publick houses" were filled, the colonies were then required "to take, hire and make fit for the reception of his Majesty’s forces, such and so many uninhabited houses, outhouses, barns, or other buildings as shall be necessary."

As the language of the act makes clear, the popular image of Redcoats tossing colonists from their bedchambers in order to move in themselves was not the intent of the law; neither was it the practice. However, the New York colonial assembly disliked being commanded to provide quarter for British troops--they preferred to be asked and then to give their consent, if they were going to have soldiers in their midst at all. Thus, they refused to comply with the law, and in 1767, Parliament passed the New York Restraining Act.

The Restraining Act prohibited the royal governor of New York from signing any further legislation until the assembly complied with the Quartering Act. In New York, the governor managed to convince Parliament that the assembly had complied. In Massachusetts, where barracks already existed on an island from which soldiers had no hope of keeping the peace in a city riled by the Townshend Revenue Acts, British officers followed the Quartering Act’s injunction to quarter their soldiers in public places, not in private homes. Within these constraints, their only option was to pitch tents on Boston Common. The soldiers, living cheek by jowl with riled Patriots, were soon involved in street brawls and then the Boston Massacre of 1770, during which not only five rock-throwing colonial rioters were killed but any residual trust between Bostonians and the resident Redcoats. That breach would never be healed in the New England port city, further, George Washington drove them the British soldiers out of Boston with the Continental Army in 1776.

I think class should be illegal on Friday’s. At least I only have… 7 Fridays left for the entire semester. It is funny to think of it that way.

Anyway, do any of you have plans for the weekend?

My friend is in town, and we are going to just hang out and probably check out the beach. It should be fun. I am excited.

I hope you have a good weekend.
Related Products

Check out our British Bobby helmet. The London Metropolitan Police have been wearing hard-shell police helmets like these since the 19th century. Each is fitted with an adjustable leather chinstrap, padded interior and the official emblem of the Metropolitan Police. (One size fits all.)

We also have this Bobby police nightstick. This 22" solid ash nightstick, featuring a leather strap and a sure-grip handle, has been faithfully reproduced.

And this British Bobby whistle. The London Metropolitan Police have been using whistles like these since the 19th century. Produced by the official supplier to the Metropolitan Police and engraved with the official Metropolitan trademark and "Made in England," complete with certificate of authenticity.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

This Day in History: March 23, 1903

The Wright brothers obtained an airplane patent

On March 23, 1903, the Wright Brothers applied for a patent for the novel technique of controlling lateral movement and turning by "wing warping".

The Wright brothers, Orville Wright and Wilbur Wright are generally credited with the design and construction of the first practical airplane, and making the first controllable, powered heavier-than-air flight along with many other aviation milestones. However, their accomplishments have been subject to many counter-claims by some people and nations at their start, and through to the present day.

In 1903, they built the Wright Flyer, later referred to as the Flyer I, and today referred to as the Kitty Hawk. The Kitty Hawk had carved propellers and had an engine built in their bicycle shop, called the Wright Cycle Company in Dayton, Ohio. The propellers had an 80% efficiency rate. The engine was superior to manufactured ones, having a low enough weight-to-power ratio to use on an airplane.

Then on December 17, 1903, the Wrights took to the air, both of them twice. The first flight, by Orville, of 39 meters (120 feet) in 12 seconds, was recorded in a famous photograph. In the fourth flight of the same day, the only flight made that day which was actually controlled, Wilbur Wright flew 279 meters (852 ft) in 59 seconds. Four lifesavers and a boy witnessed the flights from the village, making it arguably the first public flight.

The Kitty Hawk cost less than a thousand dollars to construct. It had a wingspan of 40 feet (12 m), weighed 750 pounds (340 kg), and sported a 12 horsepower (9 kW), 170 pound (77 kg) engine.

So at work today, for some reason I brought up the cartoon David the Gnome, which used to be on Nickelodeon (Not sure if it still is). Only one person here remembered it. Do any of you remember it?
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Check out our Nose art clocks. Turn back the clock to a time when scantily clad beauties decorated our bombers. Made using a proprietary process that imbeds the image into the surface of the metal dial. Set in an aluminum riveted case with a polished acrylic crystal. Accurate, quartz movement powered by one AA battery (not included). 14" diameter. Made in U.S.A. Choose from B-25, B-17 or Memphis Belle.

We also have these Vintage Aircraft Nose Art books. These contain a unique and interesting collection of color photos depicting a variety of warbird nose art. Over 1,000 wartime photos show artwork close up, with explanations of art, aircraft, and pilots.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

This Day in History: March 22, 1933

FDR legalizes sale of beer and wine

On March 22, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Beer and Wine Revenue Act. This law levies a federal tax on all alcoholic beverages to raise revenue for the federal government and gives individual states the option to further regulate the sale and distribution of beer and wine.

With the passage of the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act in 1919, temperance advocates in the U.S. finally achieved their long sought-after goal of prohibiting the sale of alcohol or “spirits.” Together, the new laws prohibited the manufacture, sale or transportation of liquor and ushered in the era known as “Prohibition, defining an alcoholic beverage as anything containing over 0.5 percent alcohol by volume. President Woodrow Wilson had unsuccessfully tried to veto the Volstead Act, which set harsh punishments for violating the 18th Amendment and endowed the Internal Revenue Service with unprecedented regulatory and enforcement powers. In the end, Prohibition proved difficult and expensive to enforce and actually increased illegal trafficking without cutting down on consumption. In one of his first addresses to Congress as president, FDR announced his intention to modify the Volstead Act with the Beer and Wine Revenue Act.

No fan of temperance himself, FDR had developed a taste for alcohol when he attended New York cocktail parties as a budding politician. (While president, FDR refused to fire his favorite personal valet for repeated drunkenness on the job.) FDR considered the new law “of the highest importance” for its potential to generate much-needed federal funds and included it in a sweeping set of New Deal policies designed to vault the U.S. economy out of the Great Depression.
The Beer and Wine Revenue act was followed, in December 1933, by the passage of the 20th Amendment, which officially ended Prohibition.

Maybe this is the true reason why FDR is one of my favorite presidents to learn about. Haha. This story is great!
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Check out our Franklin D. Roosevelt Pot Belly box. These handcrafted Pot Belly boxes, designed in Gloucestershire, England, feature presidential caricatures carved into crushed marble bodies. Each boasts hand-painted, "politically correct" details and vivid colors that even Congress would surely approve of. Perfect for storing tiny treasures; great gift, too.

Check out our 50s-vintage moose mugs. For more than half a century, Russians have enjoyed their favorite brews from classic tankards like these. Our heavy glass mugs, produced from the original molds, hearken back to the days when men were men. Each holds a full pint (16 oz.) and is embossed with the image of a bull moose. Say "nyet" to ordinary glasses!

Check out our Personalized leather koozies. These, handcrafted of handsome Italian bridle leather, marry form and function beautifully. Koozies keep libations cold and refreshing with 3mm neoprene liner, the same material used in wet suits. Solid brass rivets. 4¼" diam. Please allow two weeks for delivery.

Check out our Gas pump liquor dispenser. Our liquor dispenser, in the shape of a retro gas pump, will take you back a generation or two, along Route 66. Just fill with your favorite libation and pump to serve. Base reads, "High Octane, Contains Alcohol". Tarnish resistant chrome-plated finish. 19". Holds one liter. Seen elsewhere for $70+, here for only $35!!

Check out our Beer mug checkers. The rules haven't changed, but the stakes have. Fill each mini-mug with 1.7 oz of refreshing brew. When you take your opponent's piece, cheers! 13 frosted and 13 clear glass mini-mugs. 15" frosted glass board.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

This Day in History: March 21, 1804

The Napoleonic Code was adopted

On March 21, 1804 the original Napoleonic Code, also known as the French civil code, was established and put into law by Napoleon I.

The Napoleonic code was not the first legal code to be established in a European country with a civil legal system but it is considered the first successful codification, in addition it also strongly influenced the law of many other countries. The development of the Code was a fundamental change in the nature of the civil law legal system for it made laws much clearer.

The Napoleonic Code dealt only with civil law issues, such as filiations and property; it also later dealt with criminal law, criminal procedure and commercial law. However, it did not deal with how laws and regulations were to be passed, for that was supposed to be reserved for a constitution.

The Napoleonic Code was based on both earlier French laws and Roman law, and followed Justinian's Corpus Juris Civilis in dividing civil law into:
1. Personal status;
2. Property;
3. Acquisition of property.

The intention behind the Napoleonic Code was to reform the French legal system in accordance with the principles of the French Revolution. Before the Napoleonic Code, France did not have a single set of laws. Prior to the Napoleonic Code laws depended on local customs, and often on exemptions, privileges and special charters granted by the kings or other feudal lords.

During the Revolution the vestiges of feudalism were abolished, and the many different legal systems used in different parts of France were to be replaced by a single legal code, whose writing Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès had been elected to lead. However, due to the turmoil of war and unrest, the situation did not advance until Napoleon's era ensured more stability. Once this stability was in place, the Napoleonic Code was finally formed, and put into action on March 21, 1804.

Today I dressed very warm because the weather information I read everyday said it was going to be raining with a chance of thunderstorms. It rained this morning, but now I only see blue skies. Oh well for warm clothes.
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Check out our Crown of Napoleon. When Emperor Napoleon went head to head with Tsar Alexander I, their crowns bumped with such force that it changed the course of European history. This miniature, handcrafted in England under Royal Warrant, is an exact 1:12 scale replica of the actual crown of Napoleon. Cast in pewter, gilt in gold and/or plated in silver, then hand-set with dozens of sparkling Swarovski® crystals.

We also have this Napoleonic Chess Set. Relive the Battle of Waterloo. Hand-painted, molded resin figures capture exquisite detail, from the peaks of their hats to their boots. Inlaid walnut board. Felt-lined holder protects pieces inside storage drawer. 21"x21"x3". Kings 4½".

Next we have this Napoleonic Dagger. When Napoleon took a stab at world domination, he had his custom-made dagger (crafted in 1809 by Martin Biennais, his court goldsmith) close at hand. This remarkable, museum quality rendering was re-created by metalsmiths in Spain. Features ornate scrollwork and intricate details, like the Emperor's profile and the Imperial eagle. Solid alloy construction. Highly polished, non-sharpening, 10" blade. 16" overall.

Monday, March 20, 2006

This Day in History: March 20, 1952

Bogart Receives an Oscar

On March 20, 1952 Humphrey Bogart receives his first and only Oscar, for Best Actor in The African Queen.

Born in 1899 in New York, Bogart planned to become a doctor like his surgeon father, but he was expelled from prep school for bad behavior. He joined the Navy during World War I and was injured in an attack on his ship, the Leviathan. His upper lip was scarred and partially paralyzed during this attack, which gave him his tough-guy poker face and slight lisp that characterized his acting. When he returned from the war, a family friend gave Bogart a job as an office boy at a theater. Eventually, Bogart became a tour manager and stage manager for the company and became interested in acting in the early 1920s.

Sadly, the reviews of an early play called Swiftly in which he appeared, called his acting "what is usually and mercifully called inadequate.” Bogart kept at it despite the bad reviews. In 1935, he co-starred with Leslie Howard in a Broadway production called The Petrified Forest where he played the role of Duke Mantee. When Warner Bros. bought the film rights, they wanted to keep Howard but recast Bogart's role, but Howard said the two were a package deal. The film, released in 1936, was a hit, and Bogart began landing movie roles. He played gangsters and other mediocre parts until 1941, when he played a gangster in High Sierra, written by John Huston. Huston was impressed with Bogart's abilities and cast him as detective Sam Spade in the noir classic The Maltese Falcon.

Bogart's most famous features followed: Casablanca in 1943, The Big Sleep in1946, and Key Largo in 1948. Bogart had been married three times when he starred in To Have and Have Not with 21-year-old actress Lauren Bacall. The two fell in love and married. In 1947, he formed his own company, which produced Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), The African Queen (1951), and Sabrina (1954). Bogart died of cancer in 1957, but college students in the 1960s rediscovered his films and launched the "Bogey" cult that still continues today.

Sorry for the lack of blogs on Thursday and Friday. I took a sort of vacation for my spring break. It was really nice. Too bad it went so fast.

I hope you are all doing well! Happy Monday!
Related Products

Check out our Bogart fedora. Sport this debonair lid and journey back to Casablanca, Morocco, circa 1942. Crafted of 100% wool felt with a grosgrain band and sewn-in cotton sweatband. Crushable and waterproof. Available in M, L and XL.

We also have this Casablanca poster. Bring home the magic of the silver screen with these reprints of famous theatre lobby posters. Casablanca shows dashing Rick (Humphrey Bogart) with beautiful Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) – their heart-wrenching romance was unforgettable. Must-haves for film buffs and fans alike. Custom framed under glass. 27"x39".

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

It's Your Lucky Day!!

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This Day in History: March 15, 44 B.C.

The Ides of March

Today in history, 2050 yyears ago, on March 15, 44 B.C., Gaius Julius Caesar, dictator of Rome, was stabbed to death in the Roman Senate house by 60 conspirators led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus.

Caesar, born into the Julii, an ancient and somewhat distinguished Roman aristocratic family, began his political career in 78 B.C. as a prosecutor for the anti-patrician Popular Party. He won influence in the party for his reformist ideas and oratorical skills, and aided Roman imperial efforts by raising a private army to combat the king of Pontus in 74 B.C. He was an ally of Pompey, the recognized head of the Popular Party, and essentially took over this position after Pompey left Rome in 67 B.C. to become commander of Roman forces in the east.

In 63 B.C., Caesar was elected pontifex maximus, or "high priest," allegedly by heavy bribes. Two years later, he was made governor of Farther Spain and in 64 B.C. returned to Rome, ambitious for the office of consul. Two politicians on an annual basis shared the consulship, essentially the highest office in the Roman Republic. Consuls commanded the army, presided over the Senate and executed its decrees, while also representing the state in foreign affairs. Caesar formed a political alliance--the so-called First Triumvirate--with Pompey and Marcus Licinius Crassus, the wealthiest man in Rome, and in 59 B.C. was elected consul. Although generally opposed by the majority of the Roman Senate, Caesar's land reforms won him popularity with many Romans.

In 58 B.C., Caesar was given four Roman legions in Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum, and during the next decade demonstrated brilliant military talents as he expanded the Roman Empire and his reputation. Among other achievements, Caesar conquered all of Gaul, made the first Roman inroads into Britain, and won devoted supporters in his legions. However, his successes also aroused Pompey's jealousy, leading to the collapse of their political alliance in 53 B.C.

The Roman Senate supported Pompey and asked Caesar to give up his army, which he refused to do. In January 49 B.C., Caesar led his legions across the Rubicon River from Cisalpine Gaul to Italy, thus declaring war against Pompey and his forces. Caesar made early gains in the subsequent civil war, defeating Pompey's army in Italy and Spain, but was later forced into retreat in Greece. In August 48 B.C., with Pompey in pursuit, Caesar paused near Pharsalus, setting up camp at a strategic location. When Pompey's senatorial forces fell upon Caesar's smaller army, they were entirely routed, and Pompey fled to Egypt, where he was assassinated by an officer of the Egyptian king.

Caesar was subsequently appointed Roman consul and dictator, but before settling in Rome he traveled around the empire for several years and consolidated his rule. In 45 B.C., he returned to Rome and was made dictator for life. As sole Roman ruler, Caesar launched ambitious programs of reform within the empire. The most lasting of these was his establishment of the Julian calendar, which, with the exception of a slight modification and adjustment in the 16th century, remains in use today. He also planned new imperial expansions in central Europe and to the east. In the midst of these vast designs, he was assassinated on March 15, 44 B.C., by a group of conspirators who believed that his death would lead to the restoration of the Roman Republic. However, the result of the "Ides of March" was to plunge Rome into a fresh round of civil wars, out of which Octavian, Caesar's grand-nephew, would emerge as Augustus, the first Roman emperor, destroying the republic forever.

I remember reading Julius Caesar in my 10th grade class. But we got to act out a scene as our final project. It was pretty neat. I think I got to say the last words of the play: “Et tu, Brute?” Or maybe we just repeated that line a lot. I was in all honor classes, so I was quite the nerd. Hah.
Related Products

Check out our Ancient Roman coin. This coin is 1,500 years old! These recently discovered coins are from the reign of Constantine, who converted Rome to Christianity in 312 A.D. We have several different styles featuring Constantine or one of his three sons on the obverse and a religious or military theme on the reverse. Coins made in the ancient way by striking a metal blank between two dies. Presented in a handsome leatherette folder with certificate of authenticity. Let us make the selection – we're sure you'll be pleased.

We also have this Roman Centurion Miniature helmet with stand. Each handcrafted helmet faithfully recalls period armor in perfect detail – down to the materials used (steel, horse hair, buffalo horn and genuine leather). Presented with wooden stand.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

This Day in History: March 14, 1964

Jack Ruby Found Guilty for Lee Harvey Oswald’s Death

Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed Lee Harvey Oswald--the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy--is found guilty of "murder with malice" of Oswald and sentenced to die in the electric chair.

This was the first courtroom verdict to be televised in U.S. history.

On November 24, 1963, two days after Kennedy's assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald was brought to the basement of the Dallas police headquarters on his way to a more secure county jail. A crowd of police and press with live television cameras rolling gathered to witness his departure. As Oswald came into the room, Jack Ruby emerged from the crowd and fatally wounded him with a single shot from a concealed .38 revolver. Ruby was immediately detained and claimed he was distraught over the president's assassination. Some called him a hero, but he was nonetheless charged with first-degree murder.

Jack Ruby, originally known as Jacob Rubenstein, operated strip joints and dance halls in Dallas and had minor connections to organized crime. He also had a relationship with a number of Dallas policemen, which amounted to various favors in exchange for leniency in their monitoring of his establishments.

Ruby is mentioned in many Kennedy-assassination theories, where a lot of people believe he killed Oswald to keep him from revealing a larger conspiracy.

In his trial, Ruby denied the allegation and pleaded innocent on the grounds that his great grief over Kennedy's murder had caused him to suffer "psychomotor epilepsy" and shoot Oswald unconsciously. The jury found him guilty and sentenced him to die.

In October 1966, the Texas Court of Appeals reversed the decision on the grounds of improper admission of testimony and the fact that Ruby could not have received a fair trial in Dallas at the time. In January 1967, while awaiting a new trial to be held in Wichita Falls, Ruby died of lung cancer in a Dallas hospital.

The official Warren Commission report of 1964 concluded that neither Oswald nor Ruby were part of a larger conspiracy, either domestic or international, to assassinate President Kennedy. Despite its seemingly firm conclusions, the report failed to silence conspiracy theories surrounding the event, and in 1978 the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in a preliminary report that Kennedy was "probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy" that may have involved multiple shooters and organized crime. The committee's findings, as with those of the Warren Commission, continue to be widely disputed.

I figured that because I am on spring break, I might be able to get some sleep. But this week so far, I have gotten NO sleep. Hmmm. Maybe tonight….

Related Products

Check out our JFK silver dollar pocket watch. JFK's immortal image graces this handsome timepiece. The intricately embossed, chrome watchcase is set with a 90% silver JFK half dollar. Powered by a precision quartz movement with sweep-second hand. Fob chain included. Certificate of authenticity. One-year warranty.

We also have this John F. Kennedy Pot Belly box. These handcrafted Pot Belly boxes, designed in Gloucestershire, England, feature presidential caricatures carved into crushed marble bodies. Each boasts hand-painted, "politically correct" details and vivid colors that even Congress would surely approve of.

Lastly, we have these Kennedy silver half dollars. In 1964, Congress decided that silver would no longer be used in U.S. coins. The one exception – the Kennedy half dollar. Known as "silver-clads", these highly-collectible coins were produced between 1966-1970. Each features an inner core of copper and silver and is plated in silver. Our set features five coins in a leather pouch with certificate of authenticity.