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This weekend at the American Cinemateque at the Egyptian Theater, Tee Bosustow's Animazing Weekend of Shorts will premiere.

The mini-fest will feature an international student film competition and a number of seminar talks. These include ones on technique by Eric Goldberg ( Animation Crash Course), Bill Kroyer on milestones in Computer Animation, and Yours Truly on the history of animated short films. Should be fun!

Question: Who invented the fork?

Yesterday’s Question: In English slang, why does the phrase “ You don’t know Jack!” also means you know nothing.
HISTORY FOR 11/7/2009
Birthdays: Francesco Zubaran, Madame Curie, Rev. Billy Graham is 92, Leon Trotsky –real name Lev Bronstein, Albert Camus, Al Hurt, Joni Mitchell, Joan Sutherland, Judy Tenuda, Clive Barnes

1783- The last public hanging at London’s Tyburn Hill, where executions of commoners had been going on since 1196. Today the Tyburn area is called Marble Arch.

1805- “Oh Joy of Joys!” explorers Lewis & Clark first see the Pacific.

1811- Battle of Tippicanoe- General William Henry Harrison defeats Tecumseh and his united Indian tribes in a battle that decided the ownership of the Old NorthWest (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan ). When Harrison later ran for the Presidency with James Tyler, his slogan was "Old Tippicanoe and Tyler Too!"

1820- This day President James Monroe was re-elected after running unopposed for nomination and unopposed for the election. It was the most boring election in US History. One presidential elector refused to vote for him only because he wanted George Washington to go down in history as the only US President ever elected unanimously.

1865- The London Gazette is founded.

1872- The S.S. Mary Celeste sets sail from New York bound for Italy. The ship was later found mid ocean with the crew and passengers mysteriously gone....

1876- THE STOLEN ELECTION- The Presidential election between Democrat Samuel Tilden and Republican Rutherford Hayes was declared a dead heat. Tilden had actually won an overwhelming majority in the popular vote, but when did that ever matter in Washington politics? The electoral votes were even, so Republicans forced the issue to be decided by the House of Representatives. In the meantime they made a secret deal with former Confederate territories that were not allowed to vote that if they would vote for Hayes they could come back into the Union as States again. The Hayes government also promised to slow down civil rights for African Americans and withdraw occupying troops from the South. On March 3rd 1877 with the aid of the new electoral votes of Louisiana, Georgia and Florida Republican Rutherford Hayes was declared the winner. Republicans chanted: “Hooray for Hayes and Honest Ways!” while Democrats protested: “RutherFRAUD Hayes !”

1876- Three crooks try a scheme to break into President Abraham Lincoln’s tomb in Springfield Illinois while everyone was distracted by the presidential election. They planned to hold the remains hostage for money. But their scheme was foiled because nascent Secret Service had an informer among the gang and he tipped off the feds as the hoodlums were prying the lid off the sarcophagus. Lincoln’s bones stayed put.

1885- The Canadian Pacific Railway completed, linking Montreal with British Columbia.

1914- First issue of the magazine The New Republic.

1914- THE MASS MOONING OF TSING-TAO- Japan had joined the allied side in World War One to attack German colonial holdings in China. The British Navy helped the Japanese Army attack the biggest German fortress in Asia, Tsingtao, home of their famous brewery, built in 1896. The surrendering Germans were angry that the British, their fellow white Europeans, with whom they had stomped the Chinese nationalists together, would aid another Asian race against them. Hadn’t that Englishman- Kipling wrote that poem about the “White Man’s Burden”? As the British troops marched in with the Japanese, the German P.O.W.'s executed a smart about-face, dropped trousers and executed a smart "group-mooning".

1917- RED OCTOBER, THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION- As the guns of the battleship Aurora boomed out across Petrograd (St. Petersburg) Lenin's Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace and overthrew the provisional government of A.P. Kerensky ( who died in Queens, New York in 1973.) Two Bolsheviks sent to take over the Petrograd telephone exchange had forgot to bring their weapons but succeeded nonetheless.
In the ten months between the Tsar’s fall and the Communist coup Russia had tried to govern itself with a fragile democracy. But no middle class support base, powerful extremists like elitist officer corps and landless peasants pulling on either side and the disastrous decision to stay in the Great War with Germany doomed the government. It was said Kerensky was a brilliant speaker but he had no serious plans or ideas beyond ebullient oratory. He was making it all up as he went along. Red Army leader Leon Trotsky had at one point lived in exile in New York. This day a Bronx newspaper proudly put as it's headline:" Bronx Boy Seizes Power in Russia !"

1918- As the Kaiser’s collapsing monarchy tried to save itself while seeking peace talks with the allies, Fritz Ebert, the leader of the socialists in the German Reichstag was told the Allies would not sign a peace treaty until the Kaiser stepped down. Ebert warned Chancellor Prince Max of Baden:” The Kaiser must abdicate and a democracy declared or revolution and civil war will break out.” Prince Max told this to the Kaiser, but he refused to listen.

1918- American labor leader and socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debs sends Lenin a congratulatory note on the first anniversary of the Revolution.

1937- Reich Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels sent an emissary to Paris to talk Marlena Dietrich into coming home. But Germany’s greatest movie star hated the Nazis and all they stood for.

1944- President Franklin Roosevelt won an unprecedented Fourth Term as president, even though Democratic party insiders knew he was dying. After FDR the conservative Congress created a constitutional amendment barring anyone else from having more than two terms. Roosevelt joked this night with friends:” You know, the first twelve years are always the hardest. “

1945- The Weisbaden Mainfesto- at the end of World War Two thousands of priceless works of art plundered from museums across Europe were hidden by the Nazis in salt mines in Bavaria. The victorious Americans sent a squad of art curators to catalog the treasures, then were ordered to secretly ship them back to the U.S.. This order morally troubled the team, and a Colonel Obermeyer and a Captain William Farmer wrote a protest petition to the War Department and published it, saying we would be no better than the Nazis themselves if we took the artwork. Washington gave in to the embarrassment and the 200 works of Durer, Raphael, Titian and more were returned to their proper museums.

1956- Eugene O’Neill’s biographical masterpiece play “Long Days Journey into Night” first premiered.

1957- Communist East Germany debuted the Trabant automobile. Trabants or “Trebbies” quickly entered legend alongside Yugos and Edsels as one of the worst cars ever made. Eastern Europeans spent many happy hours on the side of the road trying to get them running and making dozens of Trebbie jokes. “Did you hear the Ministry of going to make Trebbies with dual extra long exhaust pipes? Why? Because then after it breaks down, at least you can use it as a wheelbarrow.”

1962- After losing the California Governor's race to Pat Brown, Richard Nixon bitterly says to assembled newsmen and women:" You boys have been having a lot of fun....well, You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore..". Nixon felt his career in politics was in shambles and a final jab from the Kennedys was the news he was being audited by the IRS. Tricky Dick spent the next few years reinventing himself before making his successful Presidential run in 1968.

1963- The movie “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” premiered at Hollywood’s new Cinerama Dome theater.

1965- the first Pillsbury Doughboy commercial debuted. ‘Tee-hee-hee!”

1965- Dorothy Kilgallen was a New York socialite who’s witty sparring with Bennett Cerf and other panelists enlivened a CBS quiz show called What’s My Line.
But beyond that role she was an accomplished reporter and columnist who uncovered facts on the famous Dr. Sam Shepard murder case. In mid 1965 she announced publically that she knew the real facts on the John F Kennedy assassination and she had interviewed Jack Ruby. She would shortly announce her proof of conspiracy in a new book .
This night she had dinner with friends then asked them to drop her off at the Regency Hotel Lobby where she was meeting a new mysterious boyfriend. Next morning police found her dead body in her bed at her Greenwich Village apartment. Pills and liquor were strewn about her night table and a book was in her lap so police assumed she took too many sleeping pills and liquor. But conspiracy buffs point out she never read without her reading glasses, which were across the room. Her files were confiscated by the Justice Department and never released.

1977- Harvey Milk won election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the U.S.

1980- Actor Steve McQueen died of an aggressive cancer at age 50.

1991- “Even Me”-Los Angeles Laker Basketball star Irvin “Magic” Johnson admitted to the world that he was HIV –positive. He said he got it from casual sex and was retiring from the NBA. Coming soon after the death of movie star Rock Hudson , Magic Johnson’s example brought home to the world that HIV/AIDS wasn’t merely a “gay plague” but that straight people could get it too. His life is also an example that an HIV positive person can still lead a full productive life.

1997- Someone published a stolen home video of Baywatch star Pamela Anderson and rock star Tommy Lee having graphic sex on their honeymoon, not to mention Tommy steering his boat with his Johnson. The Pamela-Tommy video became the most downloaded file on the Internet and rented video in history. In 1998 Pamela Anderson Lee was the subject of 1% of the Total Traffic on the entire World Wide Web!

2000-THE DEADLOCKED ELECTION- Al Gore and George W. Bush electoral votes came to a statistical dead heat. In 1960 with a population of 150 million Kennedy beat Nixon by 60,000 votes. In 2000 with over 250 million Gore and Bush were separated in Florida by 140 votes! With nothing in the Constitution about a European style second round of voting. the decision was made in courts and precincts of Palm Beach Florida. Americans learned to study chads and dimples on punchcard butterfly ballots. Katherine Harris the Attorney General of Florida who validated the election for Bush was also the Republican campaign chair. In 2004 an outraged Florida voter drove his Cadillac up onto the sidewalk and tried to run her over.
Yesterday’s Question: In English slang, why does the phrase “ You don’t know Jack!” also means you know nothing.

Answer: There are several possible origins- In the Nineteenth Century kids claimed You Don’t Know a Thing from Jackass Sh*t! which shortened to You Don’t Know Jack.
In England in the Middle Ages a common laborer was a Jack from Norman Jacques of Jakke. So Jack the Drover, Jack Tar the sailor. So you don’t know any more than an ignorant laborer. A jack was also slang for a five pound note. So, I don’t owe you jack.