A Brief History On August 3, 1921, the Commissioner of Baseball, Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis, reaffirmed the ban from baseball of the 8 players involved in the “Black Sox” scandal, even though they had just been acquitted in criminal court.  Accused of throwing the 1919 World Series, the group included the immortal Shoeless Joe Jackson, one of the game’s most popular players.  The world of sports has since been beset by scandals over the years.  Here we list 10 of the most famous and most interesting cases.  Which cases would you include in this list?  Do we need a sequel? (Hint:…

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A Brief History On August 2, 1916, Austrian saboteurs managed to sink the Italian battleship, Leonardo da Vinci as the great ship lay in Taranto harbor.  Was the magazine explosion an accident, or did the Austrians use some sort of novel booby trap to sink the mighty vessel?  Either way, World War I, like other wars, saw the imagination of arms designers and military engineers run wild.  Here we list 10 of the weird weapons or contraptions dreamed up to help one side or the other win the war.  What items would you add to the list?  (See our follow on article,…

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A Brief History On August 2, 1343, Olivier Clisson, a French nobleman from Brittany, was convicted of treason in Paris and beheaded.  He had been fighting the British in the Hundred Years War, and when his success tapered off, he was criticized and accused of treason, perhaps to deflect blame from French losses. Digging Deeper Olivier, miffed and sensing danger, then defected to the English for real and was later arrested.  Taken to Paris for trial, he was beheaded, as was the fate of traitors in those days.  His head was placed on display at Nantes, and his enraged wife (widow)…

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A Brief History On August 1, 1831, the new London bridge spanning the River Thames in central London, was completed.  Replacing a medieval stone arch bridge, the new bridge was also of stone arch construction and is what we normally think of when “London Bridge” is referred to. Digging Deeper Prior to 1176 a series of wooden bridges had spanned the Thames, but the sturdy construction of the stone bridge completed in 1176 would last over 650 years.  This “old” bridge was built with a chapel in the middle dedicated to Thomas Becket and had shops crowded along its way. …

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A Brief History On Thursday, August 1st, 1991, actress Hedy Lamarr was arrested for shoplifting.  Hedy’s life and accomplishments were presented in Part 1 of our series on German-speaking women in English-speaking roles. In this article, we present the next group of German actresses. Digging Deeper Part 2: The Post-War Years 1) Hildegard Knef (1925-2002) During World War II, Hildegard Knef, a young aspiring actress, had an affair with Ewald von Demandowsky who was the head of a film production company responsible for making many Nazi propaganda movies. In the final year of the war and to be able to stay…

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