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February 4th, 2007 sunday
February 4th, 2007

Birthdays: Francois Rabelais, Big Bill Haywood, Fernand Leger', Charles Lindbergh, the Agha Khan, Betty Friedan, Rosa Parks, Alice Cooper, Dan Quayle, Ida Lupino, Conrad Bain,George Romero, Lisa Eichhorn, Oscar De La Hoya, Clyde Tumbaugh - the amateur astronomer who discovered the planet Pluto in 1930.

1703- THE 47 RONIN- A Japanese story that has inspired hundreds of play novels and films.The Lord of Ako, Asano Nagori quarreled with Kiru, the chief of protocol for the Shogun and struck at him with his sword. To attack a representative of the Shogun was an insult no matter how justified so Nagori was ordered to commit suicide (seppuku) and his samurai declared Ronin, or discharged freelancers. The Ronin banded together to plan their revenge. They ambushed Kiru and placed his severed head on the grave of their master. Then they sat in his house to quietly await judgement. After consulting several Shinto bishops the Shogun could see no dishonor in what they did, so instead of executing them as criminals on this day they were allowed to all commit suicide, which they all did unquestioningly. Their gravesite is a popular shrine in Japan today and an example of spotless dedication to duty.

1826- James Fenimore Cooper’s novel “The Last of the Mohicans” was published. The character of wild frontiersman Natty Bumpo called Hawkeye has been referred to as the first American superhero.

1961- United Artists released the Misfits, the last film of stars Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift. John Huston directed and Arthur Miller wrote the screenplay. The film flopped in its initial run but has since gained classic status.

1968- Old beatnik Neal Cassady was found dead in Mexico. Cassady was not an intellectual but his wild non-conformist lifestyle was the inspiration for his companion author Jack Kerouac to write his greatest novel " On the Road'. While Kerouac disliked hippie kids Cassady in 1967 drove the first Hippie Bus filled with LSD advocates like Ken Kesey. Jacques Kerouac also died in the same year 1968 of advanced alcoholism.

1983- Pop singer Karen Carpenter died of anorexia-nervosa. She was 32 and only weighed 77 pounds. Her death brought to national prominence how the social pressure to stay thin could lead to this deadly condition.

2003-Legendary rock and roll producer Phil Spector allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend B-Movie actress Lana Clarkson at his LA mansion. Spector created the Wall of Sound concert technique and produced for the Beatles among many others. Clarkson was the Barbarian Queen and appeared in Scarface and Fast Times At Ridgemont High. The few days before, Phil Spector said to the British Daily Telegraph, "I don't know, genetically, whether or not that had something to do with what I am or who I became. I would say I'm probably relatively insane, to an extent. I take medication for schizophrenia, but I wouldn't say I'm schizophrenic. I have a bipolar personality, which is strange.”