BACK to Blog Posts

The Disney classic film The Little Mermaid will celebrate it's twentieth anniversary this year. ASIFA/Hollywood will hold a panel, and other events will probably be announced as the year progresses.

Yeah, you pervs, she's legal age now...

I remember the huge arguments we had over that little bra strap on her top. Her clams were supposed to held on by magic, some argued the strap really makes it suggest lingerie, and hence lose it's innocence. But that opinion lost out to good old American Propriety.

Question: Why is the Devil always portrayed as playing a violin? Why not an oboe or tuba?

Answer to yesterdays question below: Who’s foot became the measurement for THE foot? As in feet, inches.
History for 1/8/2009
Birthdays: Elvis Presley would have been 74, Robert Schumann, Jose Ferrer, Shirley Bassey, Peter Arno, Yvette Mimieux, Larry Storch is 86, John Nierhardt, Bruce Sutter, Charles Osgood, Gen. James Longstreet, publisher Frank Doubleday, Steven Hawkings is 67, Saheed Jafray is 80, Soupy Sales,born Milton Supman is 83, David Bowie is 62

794AD The great monastery of Lindisfarne was sacked by Vikings.

871- Battle of Ashdown- English warriors of Wessex defeated a large force of Vikings led by Halfdan the Black, Bacsecg and Ivar the Boneless. On the English side second in command under his brother King Ethlered was future king Alfred the Great.

1297-MONACO FORMED- Francois the Cunning was the leader of the Grimaldis, a prominent Genoese clan. On this day he disguised himself as a monk and sneaked into Monaco castle where he stabbed the guards, then opened the gate for his troops. The Grimaldis became Princes of Monaco in 1659. In 1851 Prince Charles III Grimaldi opened the first gambling casino. In gratitude of it's success, the people named the hill town they lived in Mount Charles, or Monte Carlo. The Grimaldi family still rule Monaco today under their present Grimaldi- Prince Raynier II.

1642- Astronomer Galileo Galilei died at 77 of 'slow fever'. After being forced by the Holy Inquisition to recant his support of the theories of Copernicus in 1616 he lived under a loose house arrest. He became blind but he played his lute and still published scientific papers smuggled out to be printed in Holland. Other great thinkers like English poet John Milton could visit him. The Church admitted in 1837 that he may have been right about the Earth going around the Sun. The Vatican originally refused to allow him to be buried in consecrated ground, but relented in 1727 and he was moved to the Church of Santa Croce in Florence. During the move someone cut off three of his fingers for souvenirs. Two of the fingers were eventually recovered and his middle finger is displayed in the Florentine Museum of Science. It is displayed in the upright position.

1654- Hetman of the Ukraine, Bogdan Khmeilnitski pledged his loyalty and the loyalty of all Cossacks to the Russian Czar in Moscow.

There was originally no one race of Cossacks. The wild steppeland between the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Tatars of the Crimea and the Turkish Ottoman Empire was a refuge for criminals, runaways and fringe folks much like the American West or the Australian Outback. Cossacks formed communities adopting Turkish and Mongol dress and horsemanship and a fierce sense of independence.

Khemilnitski tapped into this independent streak to unite these disparate groups and used them to drive out the Polish Catholic overlords. He ruled the Ukraine like Oliver Cromwell in England. After several major wars maintaining a balance between the Poles, Turks and Russians Khmeilnitski decided to throw in his lot with the Czar.

After Bogdan’s death the furious Poles dug up his grave and threw his bones to the dogs, but the deed was done. The Ukraine and the Voivode of Ruthenia (Moldova-Byloruss) would stay a part of Russia until 1989. In 2004 much of the opposition in Viktor Yuschenko’s Orange Revolution began in the Cossack community.

1675- The first American Corporation chartered- The New York Fish Company.

1790- George Washington starts a custom of the President delivering an annual speech reporting on the nation's progress in the past year, later known as the State of the Union Address.

1814-"In Eighteen Fourteen we took a little Trip. With Colonel Andy Jackson down the Mighty Missa-sipp" BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS. The Last engagement of the War of 1812 and the last battle fought between England and the United States was actually fought AFTER the peace treaty had been signed. Then it took two months to cross the Atlantic with the news, too late to stop the conflict. A large British invasion force composed of Wellington’s veterans was ordered to capture New Orleans and choke off American commerce on the Mississippi River.

General Andrew Jackson ( the fellow on your twenty dollar bill ) had a pathological hatred of anything English. When he heard of their landing he roared: "By Eternal God I will not have them sleeping on our soil!" He told the terrified New Orleanaise -still more French than American, that he would defend their city to the last, then burn it to the ground.

At Chalumette plantation the redcoats were met by Jackson's ragtag force of regulars, militia, Jean Lafittes pirates and slaves dug-in in a dry canal. Interestingly enough, the slaves proved to be the deadliest shots. Many slave families were denied meat for their diet but one or two men a family were allowed to keep a bird rifle to bring home small game. To them bullets were precious so they learned to make every shot count. At Chalumette they were given Kentucky long rifles with a range accuracy 300 yds. to the British "Brown Bess" musket 's 150 yds. The British grand assault never got within range before they were annihilated. It was all over in half an hour. Never mentioned except by one British sergeants memoirs was that the redcoats also had two regiments of black troops from the West Indies in their line of battle.

Their commander Sir Francis Packenham, was a brother-in-law to the Duke of Wellington. Wellington himself declined the American command as being militarily impractical. Had the Iron Duke accepted he might have beat Jackson but would certainly have missed the Waterloo campaign. Sir Francis Packenham caught a bullet between the eyes legend has it fired by a slave child. His body was shipped back to England sealed in a rum barrel. During the voyage home the barrels were mixed up and Sir Francis was tapped for the sailor’s rum rations. Upon arriving at Portsmouth his lordship had been reduced to brown sludge.

1856- Borax discovered in the California desert by Dr John Veatch. Now where’s that 20 mule team?

1889- Herman Hollerith received a patent for the electronic counting machine. The machine fed numbers onto punch cards and was used extensively in the U.S. census of 1890. In 1896 Hollerith founded the Tabulating Machine Company, which later was renamed International Business Machines or IBM.

1904- Pope Pius X banned women wearing low cut dresses in front of clergy.

1918- THE FOURTEEN POINTS- President Woodrow Wilson had pondered the reason why the world had torn itself apart in World War One and how to stop future such conflagrations. He had his aide Colonel House chair a committee of a top intellectuals and jurists called the Inquiry. They came up with Fourteen Points to achieve lasting world peace. It asked for a lot of new ideas like people should be allowed to decide what country or government controlled them and freedom of the seas. Wilson made it the cornerstone of his foreign policy and planes dropped printed leaflets of the Fourteen Points on the Germans.

England & France were willing to use the document as propaganda, but were not interested in its ideas. French Premier Clemencau said:" God gave us Ten Commandments and we broke them. Wilson now gives us Fourteen Points. We will see."

1965- NBC TV premiered Hullabaloo, a Rock & Roll dance show with lots of mini-skirted go-go girls. ABC later came up with Shindig.

1973- Carly Simon got a gold record for "You’re So Vain".

1992- BARF! President George Bush Sr. projectile vomited on the lap of Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone in front of press cameras at a state dinner in Tokyo.

2002- Pres George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law.
Yesterday’s Quiz: Who’s foot became the measurement for THE foot? As in feet, inches.

Answer: Legend has that it was Frankish Emperor Charlemagne. That his thumb from the joint to nail was the inch, and the distance from his nose to the tip of his middle finger was the Yard. Other scholars say it was measured from Medieval King Henry Ist, but no one is really sure.