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Jan. 12, 2021
January 12th, 2021

QUIZ: “How do you know she is a witch? Well, she turned me into a newt!” What is a newt?

Answer to yesterdays question below: Much Medieval writing about the quest for the Holy Grail is centered in England. Why?
History for 1/12/2021
Birthdays: Pilgrim leader John Winthrop, Charles Perrault (Mother Goose), John Hancock, Edmund Burke, John Singer Sargent, Jack London, James Farmer the founder of CORE, Herman Goering, "Smokin' Joe" Frazier, Tex Ritter, Martin Agronsky, Howard Stern is 66, Rush Limbaugh, Oliver Platt is 61, Wayne Wang, Tiffany, Kirstie Alley is 65, John Lasseter is 64

Festival of Sarasvati –the Hindu Goddess of Wisdom.

1493- All Jews ordered to leave Sicily.

1519- Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Spanish discoverer of the Pacific, was convicted of treason, rebellion and mistreatment of Indians and beheaded. The cause was probably more that the local colonial governor Pedro de Arias hated him.

1641- The Virginia Colony passed a law that if any Indian committed a crime, the first Indian seen, even if he was completely innocent, would be compelled to pay his fine.

1669- Buccaneer Henry Morgan convened a meeting of the Captains of the Coast, a meeting of pirates on board his frigate the Oxford. In their meeting they resolved to attack Cartagena Columbia, a rich Spanish port and staging area for Spanish treasure galleons. During the drunken celebrations someone fired a gun off in the Oxford’s powder magazine and the ensuing explosion killed 200. Arrr..!

1800- The frigate USS Experiment was attacked by ten pirate ships off Hispaniola.

1809- A group of Viennese businessmen convinced Ludwig Van Beethoven not to move to another city by paying him a yearly allowance. Beethoven constantly worried about money and pleaded poverty, yet after his death people found thousands of silver coins hidden in little pots and cupboards throughout his home. He used to charge people three marks to look at him through his window while he composed.

1812- The first Mississippi steamboat brought a cargo of cotton bales from Natchez to New Orleans to be loaded onto a transatlantic ship. This is the beginning of the riverboat trade Mark Twain made famous.

1898- Nationalist riots broke out in the Spanish colony of Cuba. U.S. President McKinley sent the battleship Maine to Havana harbor to protect American interests. Americans have coveted Cuba since James Madison's time. Just before the Civil War broke out, Southern businessmen paid mercenaries to conquer Cuba from Spain and bring her into the union as a new slave state. The U.S. threatened Spain with war over Cuba in 1870 and 1874 as well.

1928- NY police raid Alfred Knopf publishing offices, and seized 852 copies of the novel “The Well of Loneliness” by Radclyffe Hall, because it was thought to turn girls into lesbians!

1928- Henry Grey and Ruth Snyder are electrocuted in Sing-Sing Prison for the murder of Mrs. Snyder's husband. The love triangle was the inspiration for the films 'Double Indemnity, The Postman Always Rings Twice' and 'Body Heat". Press photographer Thomas Howard taped a small camera to his ankle and snapped a photo of Mrs Snyder frying in the chair. The New York Daily News published the photo on its front page.

1942- German submarine U-123 torpedoed the American tanker S.S. Norness right outside the entrance to New York Harbor. The incident sent panic up and down the Eastern seaboard. The New York Museum of Natural History even moved its Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton to Pittsburgh, to save it from Nazis attack.

1945- To the overture of thousands of heavy cannons and Katyusha rockets the Red army crossed the Vistula river in Poland and began its final offensive against the Third Reich. This would end with Hitler’s death and the fall of Berlin. The nickname the multiple firing Katyushas was “Stalin’s Pipe Organs”.

1945- Japan signed licensing contracts and received from Nazi Germany their plans for jet fighters. Work was begun on a Japanese version of the Messerschmidt ME 262, the worlds’ first jet fighter, but they were too late to affect the wars end. The first Japanese fighter jet flew over Tokyo on Aug 6th,1945, the same day Hiroshima was A-bombed.

1960-” The Scent of Mystery”- the first film in Smell-O-Vision.

1962- President John F. Kennedy signed Executive order 10988, mandating federal workers had the right to join unions and bargain collectively. In 2001 in the trauma over 9-11, President George W. Bush demanded his newly organized 50,000 member Department of Homeland Security be forbidden to unionize.

1965- NBC TV premiered Hullabaloo, a Rock & Roll dance show with lots of mini-skirted go-go dancers. ABC responded with Shindig.

1966- Holy Cult Classic! The TV show "Batman" with Adam West and Burt Ward, premiered.

1969- Super Bowl III at the Orange Bowl, Broadway Joe Namath and the underdog NY Jets upset the Baltimore Colts led by the legendary Johnny Unitas 16-7.

1970- The Biafran Civil War ended.

1971- “ ALL IN THE FAMILY” Norman Lear's TV sitcom debuted. Based on a popular British show Steptoe and Son, it broke new ground for American sitcoms by frankly discussing race working class prejudice, menopause, rape and other taboo subjects. The first show featured the sound of a toilet flushing. The networks were so worried about its explosive content ABC rejected the show twice, and CBS ran the first episodes with a long apologetic disclaimer. Carrol O’Connor, the actor who played Archie Bunker, was so convinced the show would flop, he demanded as part of his contract a round trip plane ticket home. The show ran for 13 years, a bushel of Emmy Awards and made Archie Bunker famous.

1971- Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan, nun Sister Elizabeth McAllister and several others were indicted in Federal court for conspiracy. The Catholic clerics were trying to bring an end to the Vietnam War through non-violent acts of civil disobedience. After handcuffing themselves to missiles and the gates of army bases the government alleged their scheme was to kidnap top Nixon diplomat Henry Kissinger and sabotage the State Department heating systems in the dead of winter. All charges were eventually overturned.

1987- No mystery, Agatha Christie died at 88 of natural causes.

1995- Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen announced the name of their new partnership would be 'Dreamworks SKG'. Someone in Florida immediately bought the domain name “” and waited for their buyout offer. I heard it was $5,000.

1997-According to Arthur C. Clarkes 1968 book "2001, a Space Odyssey", the HAL-9000 computer was booted up today.

1998-The LEWINSKY SCANDAL- Former White House staffer Linda Tripp was frustrated her career in the Clinton Administration was going nowhere. This day she appeared in the office of independent special prosecutor Kenneth Starr with tape recordings she secretly made of her friend Monica Lewinsky. They admitted to a sexual affair with the President. Conservative Judge Starr had been investigating Slick-Willie Clinton for years. After spending $54 million tax dollars, he hadn’t found much. So he immediately leaped at this opportunity, and asked the Attorney General for an extension of his mandate.
Ms. Lewinsky had meant to keep her affair a secret, despite telling 11 friends. By autumn, the resultant scandal brought Washington to a standstill and only the second presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history. President Clinton first lied, then admitted to the affair, but was acquitted and served out his term anyway. Then Linda Tripp asked the public for donations for her legal defense fund for her violating federal wiretap laws “I am one of you...a David against a Goliath...Even $1,000 dollars would do..” She took the money and got a facelift.

2001- The Cohen Bros film Oh, Brother Where Art Thou? Goes into general release.

2002-The Refusenik Movement began in Israel when 53 Israeli Army officers announced they refused to enforce the Likud Government’s policy in the West Bank & Gaza.
Yesterdays’ Question: Much Medieval writing about the quest for the Holy Grail is centered in England. Why?

Answer: In Medieval legend, Jesus’s friend Joseph of Arimathea supposedly kept the cup used in the Last Supper and took it with him, around the world preaching. Of course the world to him then meant the Roman Empire. Taking advantage of the empire’s freedom of travel, he went as far north as England.