Feb 13, 2016
February 13th, 2016

Quiz: Would you ululate in public?

Answer to yesterdays question below: How old is our Sun?
History for 2/13/2016
Birthdays: Giambattista Piazzetta, Bess Truman, Grant Wood, Lord Randolph Churchill, Fyodor Chaliapin, Peter Tork, Oliver Reed, Chuck Yeager, Woody Hayes, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Carol Lynley, Kim Novak is 83, George Segal is 81, Peter Gabriel, Jerry Springer is 70, Stockard Channing is 71, Kelly Hu, Mena Suvari

Happy International Radio Day!

1503- Today during the endless string of Italian wars of the Renaissance, outside the town of Barletta things were interrupted by a unique event. Angered by a French captain who said that the Italians were a race of sissy-girlie-men, thirteen Italian knights challenged thirteen French knights to single combat. Both armies lined up and cheered like a sporting event. The knights fought until all thirteen Frenchmen were down.

1547-Catherine Howard, the 5th wife of Henry VIII was beheaded. The execution was held on the exact spot where wife Number 2 Anne Boleyn was beheaded six years before.

1635- The Boston Public School for Boys opened, the oldest public school in North America.

1692- THE GLENCOE MASSACRE. Pro-English Scottish forces try to make the Highlands accept King William of Orange and renounce allegiance to the Stuart dynasty by singling out a particularly roudy clan for annihilation. The MacDonalds of Glencoe were smaller than the MacDonalds of Keppoch and nobody much liked them anyway, so they were to be the example. Ironically the leader of the clan was trying to get King James in exile to release him from his oath of obedience when the soldiers of Clan Argyl and Cambell came visiting.
The soldiers used the highland custom of hospitality to gain entrance to the MacDonald hall then started slaughtering everyone just when their hosts were bringing out wine. This blatant betrayal of hospitality and the magnitude of the massacre backfired on the perpetrators and made Glencoe a bitter symbol of Scottish Nationalism.

1693- The Virginia College William & Mary founded.

1742- The first great English Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, resigned when his Tory government fell after ruling for 20 years.

1765- Dr. Benjamin Franklin stood up in the British House of Commons and debated the American protest of the Royal Stamp Act against all the government MP’s. He won and the hated Act was repealed. This probably delayed the American Revolution for a decade.

1820- Five years after Waterloo and twenty-five after the French Revolution guillotined his great uncle, the Duc de Berry, young heir of the Bourbon kings, was assassinated outside of the Paris Opera by a republican terrorist. The family's dynastic survival would now depend on the minor branch, the House of Orleans. If you’re English, it’s like if no one was left to reign after Elizabeth but Prince Harry’s kids.
In the mean time Napoleon was sitting in exile on the equatorial island of St. Helena. If you are a fan of the "Napoleon was poisoned theory", modern scientists doing radioactive analysis of hair samples noted that after this incident the arsenic content in Napoleon's body goes up 150% after this incident.

1863- President Lincoln hosted a wedding reception at the White House for P.T. Barnum star attraction General Tom Thumb and his bride. Lincoln was heavily criticized at the time for having such a frivolous party during the depths of the Civil War.

1866-The first daylight bank job. In Missouri, the Clay County Savings Bank is robbed of $60,000 by a young ex confederate guerrilla named Jesse James.

1867- The Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss Jr premiered in Vienna.

1886- Artist Thomas Eakins resigned his professorship at the Philadelphia Academy of Art in disgust when he was attacked for having male nudes in his art class with women as students.

1914-ASCAP founded.

1917- German spy H-21. Also known as the beautiful Mata Hari, was arrested in Paris.

1932- Free Eats, the first Our Gang short comedy to feature Spanky MacFarland.

1933-comic character Blondie married Dagwood Bumstead.

1939- Producer David O. Selznick replaced directors on Gone With the Wind. George Cukor was out, Victor Fleming was in after completing The Wizard of Oz. Vivien Leigh liked Cukor who was known for directing women, but Clark Gable convinced the producers that they needed an action director. About 15 minutes of George Cukor’s work remains in the picture. Victor Fleming loved Clark, but didn't get along with Vivien Leigh and came to hate the controlling Selznick. David O. brought in Sam Wood to direct second unit when Fleming fell behind.
At the end Victor Fleming had one more tantrum when Selznick proposed giving Wood and Cukor co- screen credit.. Yet despite it all, Gone with the Wind became a box office phenomenon. Years later Clark Gable came up to Selznick at a party and said: "Maybe I'm wrong about disliking you David, 'Gone With the Wind' keeps getting re-released and keeps me a star." Selznick once said:” My biggest fear is that all I shall ever be remembered for is producing Gone With the Wind.”

1935-German immigrant Bruno Richard Hauptman found guilty of the kidnap-murder of the Lindbergh baby and electrocuted. The chief of police in the town of Bergen New Jersey where the murder occurred was the father of Desert Storm General Norman Schwarzkopf.

1937- Hal Foster's comic hero Prince Valiant first appeared.

1945- THE FIREBOMBING OF DRESDEN.- Some experts say the annihilation of this militarily defenseless city was an act of revenge for Rotterdam and Coventry, the fact was at the Yalta conference several days earlier Stalin had asked that the major German cities on his eastern front be bombed by his Anglo-American Allies to delay Nazi divisions withdrawn from Norway and Holland to be used to slow the Red Army 's advance. Dresden was to be a major assembly point for these new reinforcements. Still, it's a legacy the Allies find troubling.
On this day in the early evening 845 British bombers followed by 700 American dropped thousands of tons of incendiary bombs in a pattern calculated to cause a firestorm. The temperature reached 800 degrees, the church bells melted and the oxygen was literally sucked out of the air by cyclonic winds. By conservative estimate 35,000-100,000 people died. Young American P.O.W. Kurt Vonnengut was in a group made to help dig out bodies. The experience changed his life, and he later wrote his accounts in the classic anti-war novel "Slaughterhouse-5"

1959 -Happy Birthday BARBIE ! Mattel introduces the plastic nymph, originally named by the German artist who created her 'Lily" but changed to 'Barbie" by Mattel co-owner Ruth Handler who's daughter Barbara was nicknamed that.

1964- The Invention of Cool Whip.

1996- The off-Broadway musical Rent by John Lawson, premiered

Yesterday’s Quiz: How old is our Sun?

Answer: A relatively youthful 3-6 billion years.

FEB 12, 2016
February 12th, 2016

Quiz: How old is our Sun?

Answer to yesterdays question below: Guess the communist: Sterling Hayden, Rita Moreno, Gale Storm, Vivian Vance.
History for 2/12/2016
BIRTHDAYS-Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin are born on the same day in 1809, although an ocean apart; Austrian Emperor Francis II, Thaddeusz Kosciuszko, Joe Garagiola, Luigi Boccherini, John L. Lewis, Bill Russell, Franco Zeffirelli, Lorne Greene, Joe Don Baker, Arsenio Hall, Christina Ricci is 36, Josh Brolin is 48.

Today is the feast day of Saint Julian the Hospitaller- Julian was a nobleman who one day when arrived home to his castle, mistook his parents for intruders and killed them. He was so distraught he ran off into the woods and became a hermit, helping people across a wild river. One day he helped a leper across who turned out to be an angel. He said:" Julian. God has forgiven you." He is the patron saint of travelers and ferrymen.

1502-Ferdinand and Isabella had thrown all the Jews out of Spain, now what about the Moslems? This day all Moslems not accepting baptism were given until April 30th to leave the country. They complained that when the Moors ruled they tolerated all religions, but the Spanish monarchs were deaf to all entreaties. Up to 3 million Moors eventually left. A century later, Cardinal Richelieu called the Edict of 1502 "the most barbarous act in history."

1554- Lady Jane Grey was beheaded after being queen of England for nine days. This poor 16 year old kid was a pawn in the power struggle after the death of Henry VIII's sickly son Edward. The Protestant court knew the real next in line was the Catholic Mary Tudor, and Elizabeth wisely kept a low profile for now. Archbishop Cranmer and the Seymour clan pushed forward this cousin as a serious claim to the throne. It didn't wash and Mary became queen and earned the name "Bloody Mary", not for her ability to mix a mean cocktail.

1709- Sir Alexander Selkirk shipped out for the South Pacific on a Chilean schooner. During the voyage he got into an altercation with the eccentric captain who marooned him on a deserted island. That ship later sank and the crew imprisoned in Peru. Selkirk survived on his own for four years on goats until he was rescued by a passing British ship that saw his signal fire. His story became the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's book-"Robinson Crusoe".

1733- General James Oglethorpe landed with a prison colony near present day Savannah to found the colony of Georgia.

1789- Ethan Allen, the frontiersman who's Green Mountain Boys were heroes of the American Revolution, died from injuries gotten from drunkenly falling out of a sleigh crossing frozen Lake Champlain. His last words were when someone said :"Ethan, the Angels await thee!" Allen replied:" They do? Well G-ddamn 'em, let em wait!"

1790- In Philadelphia a group of Pennsylvania Quakers present a petition to the US Congress calling for the abolition of slavery. But the real sensation was that the bill was written and endorsed by Benjamin Franklin. The ancient patriot regretted sweeping the slavery issue under the rug in the past and now at the end of his life he wanted to show where he stood. It was Franklin’s last public act. Three weeks later he died. The furious debate in Congress almost split the brand new government and in the end the Senate chose to do nothing and let the issue pass for a future time.

1793- Congress enacted the Fugitive Slave Law, making it a crime for anyone to help a slave trying to get away to freedom.

1797- First performance of the German national anthem. Composer Franz Josef Haydn was worried about the spirit of the French Revolution radicalizing the Austrian peoples. When in London he saw how the anthem God Save the King brought all Englishmen together in song. He thought his country could use a song, too. So with poet Leopold Hashka and an old Croat drinking song, Haydn composed GOTT ERHALTE FRANZ DER KAISER! God Bless Our Kaiser Francis. It was later reamed Deutschland Uber Alles and Deutschlandlied.

1798- LORD NELSON AND MRS. HAMILTON DO THE NASTY... Admiral Horatio Nelson had been increasingly shivering his timbers over his friend Sir William Hamilton's sexy young wife Emma. He was staying with the Hamilton's in their villa in Naples during his tour of duty in the Mediterranean. According to historians analyzing their love letters to each other Emma and Nelson make specific references to the 'Delightful Twelfth of February", and Mrs. Hamilton bore a daughter nine months later she named Horatia. Their open love affair in the face of polite society was one of the scandals of their age.

1809 -Happy Lincoln's Birthday, Because of Richard Nixon’s law creating President’s Day in 1970, you do not have today off as a holiday. One of my favorite Lincoln quotes is :" If I'm supposed to be two-faced why did I settle for this one?"

1814-Battle of Chateau-Thierry- Napoleon beats somebody yet again.

1817- Battle of Chacabuco- Argentine leader Jose de San Martin defeated the Spanish Royalist Army.

1839- The Aroostook War- Maine and New Brunswick lumberjacks scuffle over their border. There was a lot of war talk but not much else happened.

1909- African American civil rights leaders like W.E.B. DuBois and Oswald Villard call for a new militant organization to combat the growing violence against blacks. the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or NAACP is born.

1912- Following Dr Sun Yat Sen’s declaration of the Republic of China, the last Manchu Emperor, Henry Pu Yi abdicated his throne.

1924- RHAPSODY IN BLUE- Band leader Paul Whiteman had commissioned a rhapsody for Jazz Band from the famous composer George Gershwin. Tonight at a concert at the Aeolian Hall in New York City it premiered in a long bill of "Modern Music". Also on the bill was jazz interpretations of "Yes We have no Bananas" and "Kitten on the Keys." Sergei Rachmaninoff, Fritz Kriesler, Igor Stravinsky and Leopold Stokowski were in attendance.
Interestingly enough Gershwin’s orchestrator was Ferde Grofe’ the composer famous for the Grand Canyon Suite. It was Grofes’ idea to bring in a jazzman named Ross Gorman to do the opening clarinet solo. While rehearsing the piece Gorman took Gershwin’s opening 17 note ascent and ‘smeared’ the riff to the long high note, creating the famous opening. Gershwin liked it so much he told him to play it always that way.
Gershwin was originally going to call his piece Concert Rhapsody for Jazz Band & Piano or American Rhapsody but his brother Ira Gershwin was inspired by some Whistler paintings he saw recently at a museum called Nocturne in Blue and Green and Harmony in Grey and Green. He suggested Rhapsody in Blue.

1941- General Irwin Rommel lands in North Africa to take over the Italian forces and his new Afrika Korps. Using lightning tactics and brilliant improvisation in the desert he became legendary as the "Desert Fox". He took over from an Italian general named Barbazioli, who because of his wild facial hair was nicknamed "Electric Whiskers".

1947- THE BIRTH OF THE 'NEW LOOK' The Paris fashion show where designer Christian Dior defined the look for women of the 1950s into the early 60's: Wasp waists, gloves and patent leather accessories, pleated mid length skirts.

1964- Miles Davis and his band played Carnegie Hall.

1967- London police arrest Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Marianne Faithful for doing drugs and doin’the nasty.

1976- actor Sal Mineo was killed outside his car port in West Hollywood. Marilyn Monroe and Shelley Winters once shared an apartment in the same building. Mineo's murder remained unsolved for many years and there were rumors that he was done in by a gay acquaintance, but the killer turned out to be a routine robber who wanted money.

1986-Since 1977 Soviet human rights activist Anatoly Scharansky was imprisoned for demanding the right for Russian Jews to emigrate to Israel. This day he was freed by Soviet Premier Mikail Gorbachov. Scharansky moved to Israel, changed his name to Natan, converted to a conservative branch of Judaism and got involved in Likud politics.

1994-"WHY ME! WHY ME?!" The Winter Olympics at Lillehammer began, which are remembered mainly for figure skater Tanya Harding hiring a hit man to break her rival Nancy Kerrigan's kneecaps with a steel pipe. Despite all the hub-bubb the gold was won by Ukrainian skater Oksana Baiyul who was arrested a year later for drunk driving.

Nancy Kerrigan signed a multi-million dollar endorsement contract with Disney, which she succeeded in blowing within a month by making fun of Disneyworld during a parade. Within range of a microphone she whispered." This is all so corny!" When someone asked if Tanya Harding could get any commercial endorsements, it was pointed out that she's an asthmatic who smokes Marlboros.

1999- President Bill Clinton was acquitted in his Impeachment trial in the Senate stemming from his affair with young intern Monica Lewinsky. During the trial word leaked out that several of the president’s chief critics like Representative Robert Livingston and Newt Gingrich also had extramarital affairs or sexually harassed their female employees. Chief Justice William Rheinquist, high on painkillers, presided over the trial with his dark Justices’ robes adorned with some gold stripes on the sleeves, the first time any Supreme Court Justice robes had any such adornment. He got the idea watching the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta Iolanthe.

The Parker Pen Company had created special monogrammed pens for the Senator’s use during the trial. But when the pens were used it was discovered they all had the name United States misspelled on them- they read the Untied States of America. Others said it was a fitting statement on the state of the government at the time.

2001- The Near Spacecraft landed on Eros, an orbiting asteroid. The first
landing on an asteroid.

2006- New York City has a record breaking snowfall of almost 27 inches.

2010- Happy Death Ray Day. A USAF high intensity laser beam shot down a missile in flight.
Yesterdays Question: Guess the communist: Sterling Hayden, Rita Moreno, Gale Storm, Vivian Vance.

Answer: Actor Sterling Hayden admitted to once being recruited into the Communist Party of the USA.

Feb 11, 2016
February 11th, 2016

Quiz: What is a portmanteau? In the 1800s, a gentleman seldom travelled without one.

Answer to yesterdays question below: Guess the Republican: Gene Kelly, James Garner, Bing Crosby, Paul Newman.
History for 2/11/2016
Birthdays: Thomas Edison, Leslie Nielsen, Eva Gabor, Tina Louise-Ginger on Gilligan’s Island is 82, Rudolph Firkusny, Joe Mankewicz, Sidney Sheldon, Burt Reynolds, Sergio Mendes of the band Brazil 66, Al Eugster, Brandy Norwood, Bobby Picket -who recorded the Monster Mash, Jennifer Aniston is 47, Sheryl Crow is 54, Sarah Palin is 52

11AD- In order to become his heir, Augustus’ stepson Tiberius married Augustus’ only daughter Julia. Tiberius was angry he had to divorce his wife Druxilla whom he actually loved. Julia despised Tiberius and slept with every man in Rome but him.

1759- A Danish importer in the Caribbean Island of Saint Croix named Johann Michael Lavien filed for divorce against his estranged wife Rachael Faucette. She had been living on the isle of Navis with a James Hamilton and had two children with him. Johann Lavien asserted in the court papers that his wife was a Scarlet Woman and that her spawn were "Whore-Children". The divorce was granted and James Hamilton abandoned his little family. One of the little ‘whore-children" was Alexander Hamilton- future American patriot, founder of the US economy and the fellow on your ten dollar bill.

1789- In Italy William Short wrote his friend Thomas Jefferson that as per his request he had obtained for him a pasta mold. The first known introduction of pasta in America.

1801- THE FIRST DEADLOCKED PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION decided in the House of Representatives after 35 separate votes were held. Upstart Aaron Burr managed to come out of nowhere and put together enough anti-Jefferson and anti-Adams votes to tie the election with Thomas Jefferson. President John Adams and Senator Charles Pickney were a distant 3rd and 4th. Former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton was furious that fellow New Yorker Burr threatened to eclipse his power. New York and Pennsylvania were the swing votes in any deal between Yankee New England and the South. Since foreign born Hamilton could never be President, he liked to play kingmaker.

So in retaliation Hamilton gave Adam's 36 votes to Thomas Jefferson, not out of any love for him, but just to screw Burr. Cranky old John Adams was furious that he was rejected by the public: "Damn Them! Damn Them! Anyone can see this elective government won’t work!" He took his sweet time moving out of the White House, making the president-elect wait in a tavern. All this political chicanery doomed the Federalists, the first American political party, and Burr would get his revenge on Hamilton with pistols in 1804.

1812- Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry signed a redistricting act that divided up his state into politically convenient if geographically tortuous congressional districts. In England such juggling of the voting populace to ensure your candidate’s election was called a "Rotten Borough", in America it became named for this governor- Gerrymandering.

1814- Battle of Montmiral. During the battle Napoleon saw a cannon emplacement in such a dangerously exposed position that all it's crew was dead or wounded. He dismounted his horse and proceeded to aim the guns himself under heavy enemy fire until help arrived. Whether or not he was hoping for a death on the battlefield he later says publically:"The bullet that gets me has not been cast yet!" But privately: "It's no use, I'm fated to die in bed."

1929- Benito Mussolini signed the Lateran Concordat that recognized the sovereignty of Vatican City while the Pope blessed his Fascist regime. The threat of godless world communism scared the Holy See into a number of questionable relationships with right wing extremists like Hitler, Franco and the Eustache in Croatia.

1933- 19 year old Japanese schoolgirl Kiyoko Matsumoto committed suicide by jumping into the thousand foot crater of a volcano on the island of Oshima. This act started a bizarre fashion in Japan and in the ensuing months three hundred girls did the same thing.

1936- Famed German Expressionist animator Oscar Fishinger escaped Nazi Germany for the U.S.

1937- General Motors settled a bitter strike and becomes the first major plant to recognize the United Auto Workers union.

1945- Yalta agreement signed. If you were a Czech or Hungarian, it meant Roosevelt and Churchill had just traded you to Stalin for the next fifty years.

1948- Famed Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein died of a heart attack.

1963- Bell Jar author Sylvia Plath laid out bread and butter and two glasses of milk for her children, then stuck her head into an oven and committed suicide. Her poet husband Ted Hughes who had abandoned her, waited until 1998 to tell his side of the story. Hughes wrote stories for his children like The Iron Giant.

1975- Margaret Thatcher became the first woman to lead the Tory Party in England. The green-grocers daughter from Finchley became the Iron Lady and dominated British politics until 1990.

1976-Chuck Jone’s TV special "Mowgli’s Brothers."

1979 - The Iranian Revolution Day. With Shah Reza Pahlevi fled, the fundamentalist Shiite mullahs led by Ayatollah Khomeni declare Iran an Islamic Republic.

1990- Nelson Mandela was freed by South African authorities after 27 years in prison. He was jailed in 1962 for a life sentence and became the conscience and symbol of the black resistance to white South African rule, called Apartheid.

1995- Disney Studios planned neighborhood suburban community Celebration opened.

2000- Disney’s The Tigger Movie premiered.

2003- A small satellite named U-Map, while studying the faint glow at the center of the Universe, calculated the exact age of our Universe to be 13.7 billion years old. That stars first appeared at 200 million years after the Big Bang, and that the Universe will ultimately expand forever, not crunch back in on itself or explode in one big cataclysm.
Since then, more scholars now believe ours may not be the only Universe.

2005- Playwright Arthur Miller died at 90.

2006-While hunting for quail, Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot his hunting partner. After being treated for buckshot in his face, the victim, an attorney named Whittington, went before the press and apologized to the Vice President. In 2009 it was admitted that Whittington was not a close friend of Cheney, and that his wounds were more life threatening than first reported. Dick Cheney became the first Vice President since Aaron Burr in 1804 to shoot someone while in office. Nothing happened to Burr either.

2012- Singer actress Whitney Houston was found dead in her bathtub. She was 48, She was preparing for the Grammy Awards when she had a heart attack and drowned in the water.
Yesterday’s Question: Guess the Republican: Gene Kelly, James Garner, Bing Crosby, Paul Newman.

Answer: Der Bingle, Bing Crosby.

feb 10, 2016
February 10th, 2016

Quiz: Guess the Republican: Gene Kelly, James Garner, Bing Crosby, Paul Newman.

Answer to yesterdays question below: What is the term for American politicians re-drawing borders of a district to heavily favor one party? In England it is called a rotten borough.
History for 2/10/2016
Birthdays: Former British PM Harold Macmillan, Jimmy Durante, Bertholdt Brecht, Leontyne Price, Roberta Flack, tennis great Bill Tilden, Lon Chaney Jr., Stella Adler, Mark Spitz, Boris Pasternak, Dame Judith Anderson, Greg Norman, Donavan, Dr Alex Comfort author of the Joy of Sex, Michael Apted, Jerry Goldsmith, Robert Wagner, Laura Dern is 49

1531- King Henry VIII demanded the Convocation of English Bishops acknowledge him as “ Supreme Head of the Church and Clergy of England” After much dallying, rejected compromises and threats, the Bishops agreed. Their spokesman archbishop Warham later denounced the decision on his deathbed.

In the myriad of Protestant sects popping up as the Reformation spread throughout Europe the most radical was the Anabaptists. They took the idea of living simply like the Old Testament to an advanced form of anarchist communism- no leaders, no private property. This day mobs of Anabaptists drove out the Bishop of the German City of Munster and declared the city The New Jerusalem. Their leader John of Leyden lived like an Old Testament King in rich clothing with several wives.

After the Imperial German forces recaptured the city with horrible massacre (see June 24th) the Anabaptist movement was suppressed- except… one Anabaptist preacher named Menno Simmons reformed the movement stressing simple non-political farmlife. His group the Mennonites established communities in the America, Canada and Russia.

1722- Although not as famous as Blackbeard or Captain Kidd, Bartholomew Roberts was one of the most notorious pirates that ever flew the Jolly Roger. J.M. Barrie used him as the model for Captain Hook. This day he met his end when the British warship HMS Swallow caught up with his ship the Royal Fortune near Cape Lopez in Gabon. The pirates had taken a merchantman the night before so most of them were too drunk or hung-over to fight. Captain Roberts bellowed defiance, but as luck would have it he was struck dead by the first cannonball from the very first broadside the British fired. “ARR-MATEYS, ARR ….OUCH!”

His men threw his body overboard and after a short fight surrendered. The pirates were rounded up and sent in chains to the Cape Coast in Ghana where an Admiralty Court hanged 54, the largest one time pirate hanging ever.
This stern treatment brought to an end the high period of piracy in the Atlantic and the Caribbean.

1763- THE TREATY OF PARIS- Ending the Seven Years War ( The French and Indian War). Europe makes peace and France cedes to England all of her territory in India and Canada. Spain gets Louisiana. “Half a continent changed hands with the scratch of a pen”. To ensure speedy approval of the treaty, Prime Minister Pitt the Elder set up a booth outside the Parliament to hand out cash bribes to the M.P.s as they went in to vote.
The French were bitter but philosophical. Minister Choiseul predicted:" With our threat removed, the Americans will try for independence in ten years." American colonial representative Benjamin Franklin assured London:" Freedom is the last thing Americans want...."

1799- Napoleon marched out of Cairo at the head of his French expeditionary Army. He headed north towards Jerusalem, but was stopped at the city of Jaffa.
Around this time French soldiers discovered marijuana in Egyptian bazaars The tough old soldiers thought it cheaper than brandy and didn’t leave you hung-over the next morning.

1814- THE GREAT WEEK- Napoleon's enemies, figuring the little bastard can't be everywhere at once, invade France from five directions with five armies, all aimed at Paris. Napoleon with a small force of 15-year-old draftee’s defeated all five spearheads in one week. Today was the Battle of Champaubert.

1825- Gideon Mantell reported the discovery of an Iguanadon from the sandstone in Tilgate Sussex. He called it such because the teeth of the fossil resembled to him those of a large iguana.

1837- Russian poet Alexander Pushkin dies of wounds from fighting a duel defending his wife's honor. His last words were to his books "Farewell, my friends..." Pushkin was the great, great grandson of a black man Abram Gannibal brought from Cameroon to serve Czar Peter the Great in his Moorish Guard.

1840- English Queen Victoria marries a minor German prince named Albert of Saxe Coburg-Gotha. It becomes a real love-match and they produce children who will occupy the thrones of Europe. Their common belief in strong moral values above all transform English society into something truly Victorian. Albert set men’s fashion trends like tuxedos, neckties and sideburns; he also introduced to Britain and later to America the German custom of Christmas trees.

1846- After their temples in Navoo Illinois were burned by mobs, the Mormons under Brigham Young leave for their trek to Utah.

1862- After a hard night partying with fellow poet Swinburne, pre-Raphaelite Dante Rossetti returned home to find his wife dead of an opium overdose.

1863- Alanson Crane invented the Fire Extinguisher.

1870- The town of Anaheim Cal founded. No Disneyland yet. The name means Ana, as in Santa Anna River and Heim, the German word for home.

1888- The City of Long Beach incorporated.

1906- DREADNOUGHTS -King Edward VII launched a new British design superbattleship called HMS Dreadnought. In the early twentieth century battleships were like nuclear weapons, the number and size showed the world how important a power you were. The Dreadnought class launched a new arms race, as the world’s navies spent millions to build more..

1907- THE EUHLENDBERG SCANDAL- Three of Kaiser Wilhelm's closest aides are accused by a labor newspaper of being homosexuals. The aides, including the Kaiser's personal friend Count Phillip zu Euhlenburg, sue in court, but were disgraced and ostracized in the same way writer Oscar Wilde was in England. The scandal shocked German society, and the Kaiser suffered a nervous breakdown.

1920- Major League Baseball banned the spitball pitch, scuff ball, licorice ball, all attempts to effect a baseball by defacing its surface.

1929- Elsa Lanchester married Charles Laughton.

1938- RKO screwball comedy with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant “ Bringing Up Baby” premiered.

1940-MGM's "Puss gets the Boot" the first Tom and Jerry cartoon and the first collaboration of the team of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.

1940- Despite the dangerously low manpower to fight the Nazis in North Africa, the British Cabinet voted to overrule Prime Minister Winston Churchill and not arm the Jews in Palestine for fear of angering the local Arabs.

1941- Nazi planes bombed Iceland.

1949- The premiere of Arthur Miller’s play "Death of a Salesman".

1962- U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, shot down over Russia in 1960, was finally traded back to the U.S. for top Soviet spy Alexander Abel. In his memoirs, Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev later confided to Kennedy that he kept Col. Powers through the American election of 1960, because he didn't want "that s.o.b. Nixon" to have the advantage.

1966- CBS co-ops broadcasting the senate Kennan Hearings on the conduct of the Vietnam War with reruns of "I Love Lucy'. CBS news division president Fred Friendly quits in protest.

1966-Jaqueline Susanne’s novel The Valley of the Dolls first published. Although critics considered it cheap and trashy- Time Magazine called it “Dirty Book of the Month”, and Truman Capote called Susanne in her heavy sixties eye shadow, a “Truck Driver in Drag” Valley of the Dolls sold like wildfire. Its frank portrayal of single women enjoying casual sex and taking drugs was a big step in the sexual revolution of the 1960’s.

1966- Author Ralph Nader gained national fame when he testified to the Senate about the lax standards of auto safety. His greatest criticism was for GM’s Corvair. General Motors responded with a smear campaign trying to paint Nader as gay and anti-Semitic. Nader successfully sued them in court. Many of his consumer advocates ideas are mandatory today like seat belts and listing gas efficiency on the sales sticker.

1992- The children’s book- The Stinky Cheese Man debuted.

1996- IBM computer Deep Blue defeated world chess master Garry Kasparov. The first time a computer ever beat a human chess champion.
Yesterday’s question: What is the term for American politicians re-drawing borders of a district to heavily favor one party? In England it is called a rotten borough.

Answer:. Gerrymandering, Elbridge Gerry. In 1812 while Gov of Massachusetts Gerry redrew all the political districts to suit his own party.

Feb 9, 2016
February 9th, 2016

Quiz: What is the term for American politicians re-drawing borders of a district to heavily favor one party? In England, it is called a rotten borough.

Answer to yesterdays question below: Today people call each others comments “snarky”. Where did the term snarky come from?
History for 2/9/2016
Birthdays: Constantine XI Paleaologus- the last Byzantine Emperor 1404, President William Henry Harrison, Samuel Tilden, Carmen Miranda, Alban Berg, Ronald Colman, Ernest Tubb, King Vidor, Mamie Van Doren, Roger Mudd, Alberto Vargas, Carole King, Bill Veeck, Fred Harman, Joe Pesci is 73, Zhang Zhu-Yi, Disney animator Bill Justice, Frank Frazetta, Mia Farrow is 71, Mena Suvari is 37, Ciaran Hinds is 63, Jerry Beck.

Happy Mardi Gras - Fat Tuesday- The day before Ash Wednesday ushering in the Catholic season of Lent is the cause for wild parties in many cultures- Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Venice, Quebec and other cities. Carne-Vale is Latin for Goodbye to Meat, the Lenten fast. The Mardi Gras custom in America started in Mobile Alabama around 1708 then went to New Orleans. It died out in more somber Victorian times but was renewed after the Civil War- so-' Lesse Le Bon Temps Rolle’! “Let the Good Times Roll!”

Today is the Feast of St. Apollonia, who wore a necklace of her own teeth, yanked out by her torturers. She is the patron saint of Dentists. She finished the session by throwing herself on the bonfire prepared for her. I wonder if she paused to rinse...

1267- The Polish-German town of Breslau ordered all Jews to wear funny hats.

1268- St. Louis declares his second Crusade. Crusade #8 if you're keeping score.

1540- First recorded horserace in England. Roodee Fields, Chester.

1555- John Hooper, the Anglican Bishop of Gloucester, was burned at the stake by Catholic Queen Bloody Mary Tudor.

1567- Young, sexy Mary Queen of Scots had tired of her abusive husband Lord Darnley and had the hots for macho Lord Bothwell. Darnley was convalescing from the Pox in a small cottage outside Edinburgh castle, annoyed that the Scottish parliament refused to confirm him as king. Mary had the cellar filled with gunpowder, so she could say he accidentally exploded -after all, isn't everybody’s basement filled with gunpowder? The scheme didn't work. After the explosion Darnley staggered out of the smoldering ruins alive. So Lord Bothwell had to "accidentally " throttle him. Hoot-Man!

1674- The British had taken New Amsterdam from the Dutch and renamed it New York in 1661. In 1671 a Dutch battle fleet came back, recaptured the port and renamed it New Orange. Today another British fleet arrived and made it New York again. Oiy! Make up yer minds!

1800- France first received news of the death of American leader George Washington who had died December 14th. Napoleon ordered all French flags at half mast and ten days of official mourning in honor of "This great champion of the rights of man".

1807-THE GREAT SANHEDRIN- The French Revolution had finally given its Jewish citizens political rights and spread these rights throughout Europe as the French armies conquered. This day Napoleon had called for a grand council of European rabbis to discuss issues dividing Christians and Jews. A Sanhedrin (Greek for sitting together) of the Jews had not met since 66AD. Napoleon himself wanted to attend but at the time he was busy in Poland conquering more people.

1824- The House of Representatives decided a deadlocked presidential election in favor of John Quincy Adams even though he didn’t win the popular vote.

1856- An early tabloid The London Illustrated News reported a live Pterodactyl dinosaur popped out of a rock and flew away when workers were excavating a railroad tunnel in Culmont France. Believe it or Not!

1861- The new Confederate States elected as their first and only president former US secretary of state Jefferson Davis. Among other projects Davis was once in charge of introducing Egyptian camels to the Southwestern deserts and creating the First US Army Camel-Corps. When the Southern states seceded Davis was hoping to become a general of Mississippi volunteers since he went to West Point, but not be made president. Old Sam Houston said Davis was "cold as a lizard and ambitious of Lucifer".

1864- George Armstrong Custer married Miss Elizabeth Bacon. Despite Custer’s reported taking Indian women as mistresses he remained wildly in love with his Libby. He once risked a court martial for leaving his post to go see her. After Custer was killed at the Little Big Horn Libby Custer became the custodian of his memory. She created the romantic image of him with books like "Mornings on Horseback" and " They Died With Their Boots On". She lived for 60 years and met President Franklin Roosevelt before dying in 1933 in her 80s.

1870- Congress created the U.S. Weather Service.

1900- Collegiate tennis player Dwight Davis created the Davis Cup.

1909- The First US narcotics legislation, this one against opium. At this time heroin, morphine and cocaine were all available in patent medicines. Marijuana wasn’t outlawed until after prohibition in the late 1930s. Cab Calloway reminisced about the Reefer Man on the streets of Harlem selling marijuana cigarettes, 3 for 25 cents.

1914- “Mabel’s Strange Predicament” The Max Sennett Keystone short where Charlie Chaplin first donned his baggy pants, little mustache and derby to create The Tramp, one of the most beloved characters in cinema history. He was so famous, even young Adolf Hitler was once admonished to change his mustache, because he looked too much like Chaplin.

1923- Russia’s passenger airlines Aeroflot established.

1932- Mobster Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll was a hit man for Dutch Schultz when he decided to go on his own and start shooting up New York. He earned the name "Mad Dog" for gunning down school children who accidentally strayed into his crossfire. Finally, he was so violent even the mob couldn't stand him any more. This day Mad Dog Coll was waiting for a meeting in a soda shoppe on 23rd and 7th in Manhattan. Some one called him to the phone. While waiting on the line two gunmen jumped out and sprayed the phone booth with tommy gun fire.

1942- When war broke out the US had impounded the worlds largest luxury ocean liner, France’s Normandie. Remember France at this time was occupied and part of the Nazi Reich. The Normandie was being refitted in a New York drydock to become a troopship when this day she caught fire. In a spectacular conflagration she rolled over and sank. Everyone feared it was the work of Nazi saboteurs, but and investigation showed the real culprit was a welding torch left near some flammable solvents.

1943- After 6 months, the Battle of Guadalcanal finally ended. G.I.’s reached the opposite beach and shot at Japanese soldiers running out into the surf. Evacuating Japanese forces had left behind wounded who could still fire a gun with orders to hold off the Americans as long as you can, then take a cyanide pill or blow yourself up with a hand grenade. So many warships had been sunk in the waters in between the archipelago’s islands that it is now named Ironbottom Sound. The last Japanese soldier came out of the jungle in 1947. Even 70 years later local people could still show you ancient fighter planes still dangling from the vines of the jungle canopy.

1945- The US Air Force drops tons of incendiary bombs on Tokyo, destroying the city in a firestorm and killing 130,000, more people than Hiroshima 90,000.

1950- THE WHEELING SPEECH- Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy "Tail-Gunner Joe" delivered his speech in Wheeling West Virginia in which he blamed Communist subversion for all the ills of American society: the Soviet atomic bomb, the loss of China, fluoridated water, post nasal drip, the works. He dramatically waved a paper:" I have in my hand a list of 205 names- names given to the Secretary of State of known Communists who continue nevertheless to work and shape policy in the State Department !" The paper was blank, he had no such list. But the effect was electric.

1959- The AFL and CIO unite.

1964- Ed Sullivan introduced the English rock band the Beatles to a nationwide TV audience. It was a "Rrrreally Big Shewww!" ( Sullivan’s signature line)

1967- The" Lindsay Snowstorm". John Lindsay was the handsome if confused mayor of New York in the sixties of whom the Robert Redford character in "The Candidate" was partially based. He tried to cut budget expenses by stripping New York of it's snowplow fleet, thinking they were unnecessary. The city was immediately paralyzed by 14 inches of snow. Plows had to be brought from as far as Montreal. Even then, he ignored the outer boroughs for days, focusing on Manhattan.

1968-"You did it! You Finally did it! Oh, Damn you all to Hell!!" the film the Planet of the Apes with Charlton Heston premiered.

1971- The Sylmar Quake (6.8) rocks L.A.

1989- In testimony before the New Jersey State Senate World Wrestling Federation President Vince McMahon admit that the sport of wrestling is purely entertainment, and no one actually gets hurt. I’m shocked, shocked!

1990- Singer Del Shannon, who had a hit with the 1961 song Runaway, shot himself with a 22 rifle. Del Shannon was supposed to replace Roy Orbison in the Travelling Wilbury's, the group that featured Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynn. Orbison had died the previous year of heart failure and the Wilburys were starting to rehearse with Del Shannon. After Shannon's suicide, the group decided to disband.

1991- Lithuania voted for independence from the crumbling Soviet Union.

1996- German World War II fighter ace Adolf Galland died at age 86. While other aces had skulls or dice painted on their planes, Galland preferred a Mickey Mouse on the tail of his Messerschmidt ME109F. Achtung Adolf, ist dat der RAF on your tail? Worse, izt der Disney Legal Department! Ach Himmel!

2001- Actor Tom Cruise filed for divorce from Nicole Kidman.
Yesterday’s Question: Today people call each others comments “snarky”. Where did the term snarky come from?

Answer: The term is from the Lewis Carroll story The Hunting of the Snark, about a mythical monster. Other authors picked up on the funny work and used it. Jack London named his boat The Snark. Today it means irritably critical or bitchy.