Feb 11, 2020
February 11th, 2020

Quiz: Why is a detective called a private eye?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: What does it mean when something is ad hoc?
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History for 2/11/2020
Birthdays: Thomas Edison, Leslie Nielsen, Eva Gabor, Tina Louise-Ginger on Gilligan’s Island is 86, Rudolph Firkusny, Joe Mankiewicz, Sidney Sheldon, Burt Reynolds, Sergio Mendes of the band Brazil 67, Al Eugster, Brandy Norwood, Bobby Picket -who recorded the Monster Mash, Jennifer Aniston is 51, Sheryl Crow is 58

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 on 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 Nevis 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 so 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, and the hottest ticket on Broadway.

1789- In Italy, American consul 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 electoral 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 Fischinger 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. Pole 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-laureate husband Ted Hughes was in bed with another woman when he got the news. Hughes wrote stories for his children like The Iron Giant to explain death and loss.

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 Jones 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 to be 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.

2016- A Wrinkle in Time. While studying two black holes colliding in deep space, scientists announced they discovered Gravity Waves. It was one of the last unproven theories in Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity in 1905. That space and gravity ripples.
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Yesterdays Question: What does it mean when something is ad hoc?

Answer: Ad hoc is a Latin phrase meaning "for this". In English, it generally signifies a solution designed for a specific problem or task, non-generalizable, and not intended to be able to be adapted to other purposes. It can also mean a hastily improvised, like an ad-hoc committee.


Feb 9, 2020
February 9th, 2020

Quiz: In Elon Musk’s sports car, currently in space, one panel in the dashboard bears the sign DON’T PANIC! Where is that originally from?

Answer to yesterdays question below: Tomorrow stars will walk the Red Carpet. Who invented the idea of important people walking the Red Carpet?
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History for 2/9/2020
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 77, Zhang Zhu-Yi, Disney animator Bill Justice, Frank Frazetta, Mia Farrow is 75, Mena Suvari is 41, Ciaran Hinds is 67, Jerry Beck.

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. Oij! Make up your 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 in Paris 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, but not be made president. Old Sam Houston said Jeff 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 guardian of his memory. She created the romantic image of him writing books like "Mornings on Horseback" and " They Died With Their Boots On". She lived into her 80s and met President Franklin Roosevelt, before dying in 1933.

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.

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 film history. He was so popular, even young Adolf Hitler was advised 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 start his own gang. 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. Someone called him to the phone. While waiting on the line two gunmen jumped out and sprayed the phone booth with machinegun fire. Dutch disliked freelancers.

1942- When war broke out the US had impounded the worlds largest luxury ocean liner, France’s Normandie. 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 side of the island, 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 75 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 and refused to back up his charge with proof. But the effect was electric. America went commie paranoid.

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)

1969- 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. Hey Adolf, is that the RAF on your tail? Worse, its the Disney Legal Department! Ach Himmel!

2001- Actor Tom Cruise filed for divorce from Nicole Kidman.
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Yesterday’s Question: Tomorrow stars will walk the Red Carpet. Who invented the idea of important people walking the Red Carpet?

Answer: From ancient times, the idea of walking on a red path, like rose petals, was seen as something god-like. Red hued carpets were used since at least medieval times as carpet runners leading up to thrones and other royal landings.
In the early 20th century, Luxury railroads like the Twentieth Century Limited used a red carpet to direct passengers to their first class coaches (ie: "red carpet service”) and then, during the silent movie era, a red carpet was sometimes used for big-ticket film premieres. The Motion Picture Academy in 1960 started using a red carpet as the path stars and movie moguls would walk as they entered the ceremony. When the Academy started televising the event in the mid 1950s , the red carpet became an event in itself and now “waking the red carpet" may be the single most watched portion of the Oscar telecast, reviewed the next day by nearly every news outlet, especially to get glimpses of the passing fashion parade.


Feb 8, 2020
February 8th, 2020

Question: Tomorrow stars will walk the Red Carpet. Who invented the idea of important people walking the Red Carpet?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: What nation’s head of state is called the Taoiseach (tee-soch)?
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History for 2/8/2020
Birthdays: St Proclus of Constantinople 412AD, Jules Verne, Dmitri Mendeleev- inventor of the Periodic Table of Elements, James Dean, William Tecumseh Sherman, animator Ivan Ivano-Vano, Lana Turner, Jack Lemmon, Alejandro Rey, Ted Koppel, Nick Nolte, Gary Coleman, Robert Klein, Seth Green, composer John Williams is 88

1587- MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS BEHEADED at Fotheringay Castle. Circumstantial evidence proved Mary had not discouraged plots to overthrow and kill Queen Elizabeth. Truth was Elizabeth could never sit on her throne securely while Mary lived. While some could argue Elizabeth’s legitimate birth, Mary’s grandmother was the sister of King Henry VIII.
Apologists for Queen Elizabeth argue she did ordered the execution with great sadness, but others say she made jokes as she signed the death warrant. Elizabeth and Mary never met face-to-face. Mary’s son James accepted his mothers death calmly, he hadn’t seen her since he was a toddler and his Presbyterian tutors all filled him with hate for her.

It must have been a hard day at work for the headsman. First in order to ensure a good job, Mary gave a bribe to the executioner, but he muffed the first chop and had to do it in a couple of swings. Then, when the headsman picked up the head it plopped out of it's red wig. She had lost most of her hair to smallpox, as did Elizabeth and a lot of other folks. Finally, when they moved Mary's body, a yelping lap dog jumped out of her skirts and bit the headsman. The heartbroken little pet refused all food, and died soon afterwards.

1601- Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex, was the toyboy of Queen Elizabeth I. On this day he shocked the court by riding through the countryside declaring his intent to overthrow the beloved old Queen. The countryside in turn surprised him when no one joined him. He was soon captured and lost his head.

1608- Fire burns down what there is of Jamestown and most of the food supply.

1836- Davy Crockett with twelve Tennessee leathershirts arrived at the Alamo.

1864- Abraham Lincoln visited Matthew Brady's Photo Studio and posed for the photo's that would one day be on the Penny and Five-dollar bill.

1865- Russian monk Gregor Mendel publishes his laws of heredity. The science of genetics is born.

1866- Elizabeth Cady-Stanton pleaded in the New York State legislature that neglect, abandonment and wanton cruelty on the part of a husband be made grounds for divorce. Her ideas became law, one hundred years later, in 1966.

1887- Congress passed the Dawes Act, which said any Indian who left his tribe and moved into white society would be granted American citizenship. All native Americans were not granted unconditional U.S. citizenship until 1924.

1893- THE FIRST RECORDED STRIPTEASE - discounting Salome. At Paris' famed Moulin Rouge club an artist's model named Mona decided to get an edge in a beauty contest judged by art students by disrobing to music while walking up and down the stage. She was arrested and fined 100 francs and the students rioted.

1893- Congress repealed the Enforcement Acts, a key piece of reconstruction legislation that prevented local governments from cheating African Americans out of their voting rights.

1910- Boy Scouts of America incorporated on the British model.

1914- THE FIRST TRUE CHARACTER ANIMATION- Windsor McCay's "Gertie the Dinosaur" premiered as part of a vaudeville act. Up to then most U.S. animations were attempts to bring popular newspaper comic characters to life, but Gertie was a new character never before seen. Some critics had wondered if animated characters weren’t some kind of man in a special suit, so McCay drew a dinosaur, a character that couldn’t possibly be impersonated by any living thing. The brilliant draftsmanship and timing of this film would inspire the generation of Animation artists of the Golden Age of the 1930's-40s.

1915- THE BIRTH OF A NATION or The Clansman premiered at Clunes Auditorium in Los Angeles. Film pioneer D.W. Griffith's racist movie was considered for many years the first American feature length film. The discovery in 1999 of a 1913 Richard III film predates it. Son of a Confederate veteran, it’s been thought that Griffith was making a personal statement, truth is there was a flood of films to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil War and the book the Clansman by Thomas Dixon was a national best seller. President Woodrow Wilson (another son of the Confederacy) endorsed the film, when he called it :"History written with a thunderbolt and I’m afraid all too true."

Birth of a Nations’ inflammatory imagery and this politically incorrect Presidential endorsement helped a rebirth of the defunct Ku Klux Klan, and caused an increase in lynching. But despite the film’s politics, it’s technique influenced world cinema and established once and for all the feature film length as the standard for all future motion pictures. Its original running length was 3 hours.

D.W. Griffith in later years lost his fortune and became a drunken has-been. Watching him at Chasen's Restaurant in the 1940’s beg MGM studio head Dore Schary for work, inspired Billy Wilder to write SUNSET BLVD.

1924, the first execution by gas chamber in the United States took place at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City. It took Chinese gang member Gee Jong six minutes to die.

1928- Englishman John Logie Baird transmitted a still television image across the Atlantic from England to Hartsdale New York. It was a still image of a woman.

1949- Cardinal Mindzenty, the Roman Catholic primate of Hungary had been imprisoned by Pro-Nazi Hungarians after he spoke out against the regimes treatment of Jews. Nine years later this day he was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Communist government for treason. He was released in 1956 and in 1971, escaped to the west. In his time Cardinal Mindzenty was celebrated as a champion of human rights like./÷lop; Nelson Mandela or Ang San Soo Chy.

1960- Adolph Coors III the heir to the Coors beer empire was killed in a failed kidnapping attempt. Joseph Corbett Jr was apprehended in Canada and charged with the crime. Ironically, Adolph Coors was reputedly allergic to beer.

1961- Nebraska teenager and future movie star Nick Nolte was busted for the first time. He was accused of selling fake Draft cards so his friends could buy alcohol.

1966- The Vatican closed its office of censorship.

1967- Georgy Girl by the Seekers goes to #1 in pop charts.

1976 - TAXI DRIVER, directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader, starring Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, Cybill Shepherd, Peter Boyle, and Albert Brooks, was released.

1994- Screaming, “You cut me off!” Jack Nicholson destroyed the windshield of a neighbor’s car with a golf club. He settled the matter out of court.

2001- Walt Disney’s park California Adventure opened.

2007- Anna Nicole Smith, centerfold, pole dancer, heiress and reality TV star, died from an overdose of prescription drugs. She was 39.
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Yesterday’s Question: What nation’s head of state is called the Taoiseach (tee-satch)?

Answer: Ireland. It is Gaelic for Prime Minister.


Feb 7, 2020
February 7th, 2020

Question: What nation’s head of state is called the Taoiseach (tee-satch)?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: What does it mean to speak parenthetically?
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History for 2/7/2020
Birthdays: St. Thomas Moore, Eubie Blake, Sinclair Lewis, Larry "Buster" Crabbe, Laura Ingalls Wilder writer of Little House on the Prairie, Gay Talese, James Spader is 60, Chris Rock is 55, Eddie Izzard is 58, Ashton Kutcher is 42

310 AD- Feast of St. Theodore the General. He commanded a Legion under the Emperor Licinius in Pontus. After admitting he had embraced the outlaw sect Christianity, he was tortured and burned in a furnace. Two years before the ban on Christians was lifted.

457AD- After the death of the Roman Emperor Marcian, General Aspar proclaimed his friend General Leo the Armenian to be the new emperor of the Eastern Empire.

1601- Elderly Queen Elizabeth I dallied with a courtier named Robert Deverueaux the Earl of Essex. This hot headed toyboy soon got it into his head he could overthrow the old Queen and take over her government. This night at his estate- the original Essex House, flattering friends paid for a performance of Master William Shakespeare’s play Richard II. Queen Elizabeth’s spies overheard and told her; the symbolism of Essex watching a play about a monarch justly deposed was not lost on her. Next day the Essex plot was crushed and he and all his buddies went to the headsman’s block.

1792- The major European powers- Russia, Austria, Prussia, Spain and England announced a grand coalition to crush the Revolution in France. They considered it a pre-emptive war to prevent French people’s-style revolution from over throwing their monarchies. About the only ally the French had was the American Republic, but they were too weak and too far away to be of any help.

1796- Napoleon & Josephine’s engagement was announced.

1807- BATTLE of EYLAU- Up until the 20th century armies traditionally avoided fighting in winter because of the added hardships of weather. After chasing the Russian army up into Northern Poland, Napoleon put his French army into winter quarters and proceeded to bed down with his new mistress Countess Maria Walewska. Unfortunately a French division bumped into the main Russian army and a battle ensued. Everyone rushed there and an inconclusive slaughter raged in a blinding snowstorm. The battle was only ended when Marshal Murat massed all the French cavalry into one big juggernaut and sent it hammering through the Russian center.

1882- John L. Sullivan defeated top boxer Paddy Ryan in a ferocious bareknuckle brawl in Gulfport Mississippi. There were no official boxing championship belts yet, but John L. Sullivan boldly declared himself the Champion of the World. The title stuck. He’d travel from town to town, building his legend: "I’m John L. Sullivan and I can lick any man in the house!!” and he always did.

1900- In Barcelona a new young talent named Pablo Picasso had his first show.

1904- Great fire of Baltimore.

1910- The Town of Hollywood was absorbed into the growing City of Los Angeles.

1925- Professor Raymond Dart of the University of South Africa named the small human like skull found in a lime deposit Australopithicus, a missing link between ape and man.

1931- Aviatrix Amelia Earhart married publisher George Putnam.

1937- PACKING THE COURT-Since seizing the initiative in 1933 to battle the Depression, Franklin Roosevelt was used to having his own way with Congress. After the Supreme Court struck down important components of the NRA as unconstitutional, FDR this night informed leading Senators that he was introducing a bill to expand the Supreme Court so he could name his own men and create a majority to do his bidding. The heretofore docile Senate rose up and defeated FDR’s scheme, the resistance led by his own vice president Cactus Jack Garner. The newly invigorated Congress continued to defy Roosevelt until Pearl Harbor.

1939, Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep was published. Chandler was a 51year old ex-oil company executive who had taken up writing at the age of 45, after being fired for alcohol-soaked absenteeism. Over the previous five years he had published enough crime stories in the pulp magazines to survive, but this was his first novel, the first of seven featuring the inimitable detective Philip Marlowe.

1940- Disney's second animated feature "Pinocchio" opened at the Central Theater in Manhattan. It cost a staggering $2.6 million to make.

1942- Despite being under heavy Japanese attack, British commander Sir Spencer Percival vowed that Singapore would resist to the last man. Singapore surrendered one week later.

1942- Detroit assembly lines ceased all production of civilian automobiles and focused exclusively on war material- tanks, planes, trucks until 1945. When President Roosevelt challenged carmakers to help make America the "Arsenal of Democracy" in 1939 they dragged their feet. Now the government sweetened their orders with guaranteed profits, labor peace and they would sell at incredible discount the factories built at government expense.

1944- German Panzergrenadiers launched a heavy counterattack on the Allied beachhead at Anzio Italy.

1950- The US recognized the nation of Vietnam not as ruled by Ho Chi Minh, but ruled by French mandate under the Emperor Bao Dai.

1960- JFK PARTYS WITH THE RATPACK-Before he created the Peace Corps and Camelot, presidential candidate John Kennedy needed to relax and raise some hell. So in total secret he helicoptered down to Las Vegas and spent this night at the Sands Hotel with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and his brother in law, actor Peter Lawford. These men were famous for their all-night Rat Pack parties, heavy drinking, girls, poker and more. Sinatra introduced Kennedy to a party girl named Judith Cambell Exner, who would claim JFK as a lover at the same time as she was sleeping with Sam Momo Giancana, the don of the Chicago Mafia. In the wee dawn hours Kennedy slipped away to continue his race for the White House.

1964- THE BRITISH ROCK INVASION BEGAN. Thousands of screaming fans welcomed THE BEATLES to New York for their first U.S. Tour. The last music out of England to be taken seriously by Americans was The Lambeth Walk, now the UK announced itself as a powerhouse of rock & roll. For a Brit to do Rock & Roll in America was as audacious as an American reciting Shakespeare in Stratford, but the welcome for the Beatles was so overwhelming that other bands like the Rolling Stones and Herman’s Hermits soon followed.

Local New York disc jockeys Cousin Brucie and Murray the K wiggled to the front of the crowds and got a national audience by following the young musicians around. The crowds of teenagers were so excited they mobbed a Rolls Royce in front of the Warwick Hotel where the Beatles were staying just because they figured a Rolls Royce would be something they drove in. They actually used taxicabs.

1964- The GI Joe action figure born. In 1974 it got the Kung-Fu Grip.

1968- During the Vietnamese Tet Offensive a US Army colonel issued a statement to the A.P. after burning the tiny village of Ben Tre.:" We had to destroy that village in order to save it." It typified the sometimes dizzy logic the Army used to justify its actions.

1971- Women in Switzerland receive the right to vote.

1979- Nazis Angel of Death Dr. Josef Mengele was living in hiding in Brazil. This day the old man had a stroke while swimming and drowned. His death was kept secret until 1985.

1989- Retired tennis champ Bjorn Borg was rushed to a Madrid hospital and had his stomach pumped after he tried to overdose of sleeping pills.

1992- Twelve European nations sign the Maastricht Treaty of European Union.

1994- Jean Bertrand Aristide sworn in as democratically elected president of Haiti.

2001-After being overthrown, Jean Bertrand Aristide sworn in as President of Haiti again. He was overthrown again in 2003.

2002- President George W. Bush issued a determination “…that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which would have afforded minimum standards for humane treatment, did not apply to al-Qaeda or Taliban detainees.'" This gave direct permission to torture our prisoners, something every American leader since George Washington would not allow.
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Yesterday’s Question: What does it mean to speak parenthetically?

Answer: It means to speak incidentally, making remarks that help to explain or exemplify the topic of conversation.


Feb. 6, 2020
February 6th, 2020

Question: What does it mean to speak parenthetically?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: What is an oenophile? Can it get you arrested?
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History for 2/6/2020
Birthdays: Christopher Marlowe, Eva Braun, Ronald Reagan, Francois Truffaut, Babe Ruth, Elias Disney- Walt’s dad, Bob Marley, Queen Anne I of England, Aaron Burr, Robert Townsend, Mike Farrell, Tom Brokaw, Mike Maltese, Haskel Wexler, Axel Rose, Patrick McKnee- Mr Steed of the Avengers, Thurl Ravenscroft the voice of Tony the Tiger, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Kathy Naijimy is 63, Rip Torn, Marty Sklar

46BC- Julius Caesar defeated the Egyptian army of Cleopatra’s brother Ptolomey IX at the Battle of Thapsus. The boy Ptolomey’s body was found in a swamp, floating face down.

1481- The first public burnings of heretics by the Spanish Inquisition. Six men and women were marched out to a public square in Seville and burned at the stake. The executions soon took on a pageant like atmosphere and were called the Auto-da-fe’, an Act of Faith.

1671- Young John Churchill, the future Duke of Marlborough, was wounded in a duel with a man named Pfenning. At the time he was the lover of the beautiful Barbera Villars the Duchess of Cleveland, who was also the mistress of King Charles II. Marlborough once had to leap out of Ms. Villars bedroom window when he heard the king at the door. Luckily the King paused to urinate in a hallway planter. At the king’s suggestion, Barbara Villars was the model for the woman in the Greek helmet with trident & shield, symbolizing Britannia.

1778- The Kingdom of France signed an formal alliance with the rebellious North American colonies calling themselves the United States. Queen Marie Antoinette was charmed by the American ambassador Benjamin Franklin and called him 'Le Ambassadeur d'Electrique'.
In the House of Commons Prime Minister Lord North had said that he doubted any European monarch would ever ally itself to the rebels: “For it would raise in America a new Empire dedicated to missionary it’s form of radical democracy around the world. “ In Germany, the philosopher Goethe said: “We wish the Americans every success.”

1815- President James Madison signed a declaration granting a complete pardon to Jean Lafitte, Dominique Yue and all the swamp pirates of Barataria who had fought alongside Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans.
Jean Lafitte became a prosperous citizen of New Orleans. But by 1819 had tired of the legit life. He outfitted a new ship and went buccaneering again. A book about pirates written in 1837 claimed Lafitte died fighting a British warship in the Gulf of Mexico in 1829, but no other proof of that exists. General Dominique Yue was an artillery sergeant for Napoleon before becoming a buccaneer. He died one of the first citizens of New Orleans. He is buried in tomb #1 in the city’s oldest cemetery.

1847- The Treaty of Waitangi- Britain settled New Zealand from the Maoris. Hobbits to follow….

1857- The first Perforated Postage Stamp.

1865- THE NERO BALL- During the Civil War as Sherman’s army burned and looted it’s way up from Georgia through the Carolina’s Sherman’s cavalry leader Judson Kilpatrick came up with newer and more novel ways to commit acts of cruelty on the civilian population. This day at the town of Barnwell South Carolina, Kilpatrick invited all the belles of the town to a “Nero Ball” The ladies didn’t understand the meaning until that evening, when he forced them to dance with his officers while his soldiers burned their homes and stole their possessions. One of Kilpatricks officers protested:” It was the bitterest satire I ever witnessed”. Even his own men hated him, and called him “Kill-Cavalry”. But Gen Sherman defended him.”I know he’s a helluva damn fool, but I need him for my cavalry”.

1874- THE ASHANTI RING- The British Army under Sir Garnet Woolsley defeat this West African kingdom, and on this day burn it's capitol Kimesha. The Ashanti practiced human sacrifice and worshipped a gold covered stool, given from heaven and for only spirits could sit on. Woolsley's inner circle of officers all became generals, and were called the Ashanti Ring.

1904-The Russo-Japanese War began with a surprise attack on the Russian Manchurian base of Port Arthur, just like Pearl Harbor forty years later. Japan's defeat of mighty Russia in a modern war, after being in medieval poverty only 55 years before, amazed the world.

1919- The Great Seattle General Strike. 100,000 people walk off the job and paralyze the city.

1919- Because defeated Berlin was awash in communist and rightwing paramilitary mobs fighting in the streets, the German government moved to Weimar to write it's democratic constitution. Germany in between the wars was called the Weimar Republic.

1926- Oliver Hardy tried once to be a dancer in a minstrel show, but wound up running a movie theater in his hometown of Milledgeville, Georgia. He watched the comics on screen and thought" I am better than those guys." He went to Hollywood, and this day signed a contract with the Hal Roach Studios to appear in short comedies, usually as a villain. Next year director Leo McCarey teamed the rotund Hardy with skinny English music hall comedian Stan Laurel, and a legendary team was born- Laurel & Hardy.
Interesting Note: Laurel & Hardy were both over 6 feet tall.

1929- Introduction to Photoplay, the first lecture of the first college film course ever in the USA, was given at the University of Southern California.

1935- The board game Monopoly is introduced by Parker Brothers. The prototype monopoly board was round oilcloth and had street names derived from Atlantic City NJ.

1935- BOXERS OR BRIEFS? Arthur Kneibler patented the men’s underwear brief. He got the idea looking at Frenchmen’s bathing suits on the Riviera and called them Jockey’s.

1937- John Steinbeck’s novel “Of Mice and Men” published. In a result Mr Steinbeck probably didn’t anticipate, was the stereotype image of a mildly autistic man as the big dumb sidekick Lenny, cartoonists used so often. “Duh, tell me about da rabbits, George.”

1938- The first automatic donut making machine invented in Dubuque, Iowa.

1943- “GET ME GEISLER!” Actor Errol Flynn was acquitted of two counts of sex with adolescents, which even if it is consensual is still considered statutory rape. The two women who brought the charges had actually tried this shakedown with other celebrities. They weren't exactly adolescents, despite testifying in court with pigtails and a lollypop. Flynn hired lawyer to the stars Jerry Geisler and he slowly took the women story apart. Geisler discovered one had a prior conviction for 'public lewdness' and the other had an abortion, which then was illegal. So Flynn got off- literally.

Flynn had just finished a film called "Gentleman Jim" and at the end of the film when he says to Alexis Smith: "I never said I was a Gentleman." Peals of knowing laughter rang out from audiences. This is also the time the slang term for living it up was coined- to be “In Like Flynn”. Flynn’s limo soon sported the license plate- R U 18?

1948- In Paris’ Cherche-Midi jail, Nazi General Von Stuelpnagel, the former commandant of occupied France, shot himself rather than face trail for war crimes. Stuelpnagel was part of the Valkyrie Plot to overthrow Hitler, and disobeyed the Fuehrer’s orders to destroy Paris landmarks, but he also executed many members of the French Resistance and transported French Jews to concentration camps.

1952- King George VI died at age 56 of lung cancer. Princess Elizabeth found herself Queen of England at 27 years old. She is still queen today.

1956- Invasion of the Body Snatchers opened in theaters.

1974- John Boorman’s sci-fi cult classic Zardoz premiered. Sean Connery in his red jock-strap.

1985- Steve Wozniak, the young engineer who started Apple Computer with Steve Jobs in his garage, retired from running the company. He’d rather work as an engineer and teach children. He also returned to Berkeley to complete his undergraduate degree, under the name Rocky Clark. Rocky was the name of his dog.

2007- PSYCHO ASTRONAUT- Lisa Nowak, Space Shuttle commander, and mother of three, nicknamed RoboChick by the other astronauts, was enamored of another astronaut on the program, William “Billy-O” Oefelein. Today Lisa shocked America by driving 900 miles from Texas to Orlando non-stop to threaten the life of her boyfriend’s new lover. She wore a wig, a Huggies diaper to prevent having to pull over to use the restroom, and was carrying handcuffs and duct tape. She was caught and arrested before she could execute her strange plan. The incident spawned dozens of jokes-
The Astro-Nut, Lust in Space, The 150 Mile High Club, etc.

2018- First launch of the Space X Falcon Heavy, the first privately owned reusable rocket, capable of taking people to the Moon or Mars. This rocket took into orbit entrepreneur Elon Musk’s personal red sports car with a dummy astronaut in the drivers seat, with the music playing David Bowie’s Space Oddity in an endless loop. Also the words from Hitchhiker’s Guide Don’t Panic in a panel in the dashboard.
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QUESTION: What is an oenophile? Can it get you arrested?

Today's Answer: An oenophile is a lover of fine wines.


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