October 19, 2013 archive

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On This Day In History October 19

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

October 19 is the 292nd day of the year (293rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 73 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1781, hopelessly trapped at Yorktown, Virginia, British General Lord Cornwallis surrenders 8,000 British soldiers and seamen to a larger Franco-American force, effectively bringing an end to the American Revolution.

The Siege of Yorktown or Battle of Yorktown in 1781 was a decisive victory by combined assault of American forces led by General George Washington and French forces led by the Comte de Rochambeau over a British Army commanded by Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis. It proved to be the last major land battle of the American Revolutionary War  in North America, as the surrender of Cornwallis’s army prompted the British government eventually to negotiate an end to the conflict.

In 1780, 5,500 French soldiers landed in Rhode Island to assist their American allies in operations against British-controlled New York City. Following the arrival of dispatches from France that included the possibility of support from the French West Indies fleet of the Comte de Grasse, Washington and Rochambeau decided to ask de Grasse for assistance either in besieging New York, or in military operations against a British army operating in Virginia. On the advice of Rochambeau, de Grasse informed them of his intent to sail to the Chesapeake Bay, where Cornwallis had taken command of the army. Cornwallis, at first given confusing orders by his superior officer, Henry Clinton, was eventually ordered to make a defensible deep-water port, which he began to do at Yorktown, Virginia. Cornwallis‘s movements in Virginia were shadowed by a Continental Army force led by the Marquis de Lafayette.

The French and American armies united north of New York City during the summer of 1781. When word of de Grasse‘s decision arrived, the combined armies began moving south toward Virginia, engaging in tactics of deception to lead the British to believe a siege of New York was planned. De Grasse sailed from the West Indies and arrived at the Chesapeake Bay at the end of August, bringing additional troops and providing a naval blockade of Yorktown. He was transporting 500,000 silver pesos collected from the citizens of Havana, Cuba, to fund supplies for the siege and payroll for the Continental Army. While in Santo Domingo, de Grasse met with Francisco Saavedra de Sangronis, an agent of Carlos III of Spain. De Grasse had planned to leave several of his warships in Santo Domingo. Saavedra promised the assistance of the Spanish navy to protect the French merchant fleet, enabling de Grasse to sail north with all of his warships. In the beginning of September, he defeated a British fleet led by Sir Thomas Graves that came to relieve Cornwallis at the Battle of the Chesapeake. As a result of this victory, de Grasse blocked any escape by sea for Cornwallis. By late September Washington and Rochambeau arrived, and the army and naval forces completely surrounded Cornwallis.

After initial preparations, the Americans and French built their first parallel and began the bombardment. With the British defense weakened, Washington on October 14, 1781 sent two columns to attack the last major remaining British outer defenses. A French column took redoubt #9 and an American column redoubt #10. With these defenses taken, the allies were able to finish their second parallel. With the American artillery closer and more intense than ever, the British situation began to deteriorate rapidly and Cornwallis asked for capitulation terms on the 17th. After two days of negotiation, the surrender ceremony took place on the 19th, with Cornwallis being absent since he claimed to be ill. With the capture of over 8,000 British soldiers, negotiations between the United States and Great Britain began, resulting in the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

Late Night Karaoke

Carving Pumpkins 101

First published 10/27/2012 at The Stars Hollow Gazette

Rather than try to explain how to carve a pumpkin here is a video that is a handy 5 minute guide.

How to Carve a Killer Pumpkin with Leah D’Emilio

And for the more ambitious and artistic pumpkin carvers among us, here is some inspiration with seasonal music.

Amazing Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns

Random Japan

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The giant straw sculptures of Japan

Many of you have probably heard about the massive snow sculptures of the Sapporo Snow Festival, adding a fun event to look forward to in the dead of the harsh winters of Japan’s northernmost prefecture. But what about the straw sculptures of the Wara Art Festival in Niigata Prefecture? To celebrate the end of the rice harvest and the abundance of straw that is produced as a result, the folks in Niigata put all that extra dried stuff to creative use, making huge straw sculptures that tower over the thousands of people who come to visit them.

The sculptures are actually made much like a thatched roof, but the straw is instead attached to frames to create enormous figures.

2013 Senior League Championship: Dodgers @ Cardinals Game 6

After a day of travel the Dodgers face 2 must win games away from Chavez Ravine.  Hanley Ramirez will not start and perhaps it’s just as well, he’s never recovered from his HBP.

Jon Jay of the Cardinals won’t start because he sucks.

In Game 5 the LaLas staved off elimination behind Greinke scoring early and often (most often on empty base Home Runs), 2nd inning 2 On 1 Out RBI Single.  Sacrifice and Greinke RBI Singles to help himself.  Top 3rd the Cardinals tie it up, Single, RBI Triple, RBI Double.  In the Bottom of the frame Dodgers go ahead again on a Solo Shot.  They add in the 5th with another Solo Shot and again in the 7th and 8th.  The Cards fall short in the 9th with a Leadoff Double, RBI Single, and 2 more Singles, the last an RBI.  Dodgers 6 – 4, Cards lead Series 3 – 2.

Now in Red Bird land the Cards will start Michael Wacha (4 – 1, 2.78 ERA R).  He’s never lost (2 Ws, 1 DCS, 1 LCS) in the post-season with 6 hits and 1 run in 14 innings for an ERA of 0.61.  That’s stunningly low.  The Dodgers will counter with Clayton Kershaw (16 – 9, 1.83 ERA L).  He lost Game 2 in this same matchup due to the incredibly arcane rules regarding winners and losers with 2 hits and a run scored even though his ERA was 0.00.  Overall in the post-season Kershaw has split, 1 – 1 and allowed 8 hits and 4 runs in 19 innings for an ERA of 0.47.

Not too shabby.  Did I mention he’s a lefty?  That means his move to first is exceptionally good because he can see the base as he delivers.

On paper Kershaw wins it, but they don’t play games on paper.  Thus the L.

Bigots spreading lies to demonize

Conservative media has been spreading a story that apparently first appeared on the badly named Christian Broadcasting Network about a transgender student in Florence, CO who has been accused of harassing girls in the locker room and rest rooms.

My old friend Cristan Williams debunked that story by speaking directly with Superintendent Rhonda Vendetti, who explained that there was indeed no harassment taking place.  Indeed there were rather a few parents who were opposed to the fact that a transgender student was being allowed to use the locker room of the gender with which she identifies.

Pacific Justice Institute, which is taking the lead to repeal California’s AB 1266, which protects the freedom of transgender students to pursue an equal education with that of their peers, has now basically admitted that they invented the story.