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January 9th, 2008 weds
January 9th, 2008

QUIZ: In the Disney Film, Make Mine Music, when Willie the Operatic Whale is hunted by Metropolitan Opera impresario Prof. Tetti-Tatti, he was a caricature of a real person. Who was that person?

Yesterdays’ question answer below…..
History for 1/9/2008
Birthdays: Woody Guthrie, Richard Nixon, Ray Bolger, Roy Disney Jr., William Powell, George Balanchine, Judith Krantz, Bob Denver, Crystal Gayle, Joan Baez, Simone de Beauvoir, Sir Rudolph Bing, Herbert Lom, Gypsy Rose Lee, Joely Richardson

Festival of Janus, the namesake of January, Roman God of gateways and doors, not to be confused of course with Terminus, God of borders and terminal points, Lemintinus the God of Threshholds and stoops. Cardea the Goddess of hinges or Forculus the God of the door leaves and sectioned doors.

1570- Ivan the Terrible, just getting the suspicion that the city of Novgorod may be plotting treason, surrounded the city and massacred 20,000 people. Afterwards he tells the survivors: " Forget your wrongs."

1768- Former English cavalry sergeant Phillip Astley combined trick riding in a tight circular ring with a clown and some jugglers and took it all on the road. The first Circus.

1769- Gaspar De Portola and Fra Junipero Serra set sail from Mexico to colonize California. The California coastline had been explored by Juan De Cabrillo, Francis Drake and others 250 years earlier. But since there were no gold-encrusted Aztec-type cities to plunder it was quickly forgotten. Conquistadors don’t surf. The King in Madrid was finally moved to order the colonization of California to limit the encroachments of Russian fur trading settlements and English claims to Oregon territory.

1847- THE BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES-after a small battle near San Gabriel Mission, Commodore Richard Stockton and the U.S. cavalry retake Los Angeles and end resistance by the native Mexican population 'the Californios' to U.S. rule. The Californios had driven out the Yankee occupiers three times before.

1857- The Fort Tejon earthquake shook Los Angeles This was the last major quake in Southern Cal of the great San Andreas Fault, an estimated 8.0 !

1914 -John Randolph Bray takes out patents on the principles of film animation: cycles, arcs, keys and inbetweens. He even later tried to sue Winsor McCay, who had already been using them for years.

1924- The breakfast cereal Wheaties invented.

1936- Actor John Gilbert died of a heart attack after years of alcohol abuse. The accepted reason was he was a has-been silent film star who's voice was too thin and squeaky for talking pictures. Actually his voice wasn't too bad, some of it may of had to do with his punching Louis B. Mayer in the mouth when Mayer made a crude remark about Gilbert's sexual relations with Greta Garbo -something like "Why marry her when you're getting it anyway ?.."-BOP! . Mayer got up and screamed: "I'll ruin you if it costs me millions!" Gilbert's fading popularity and decline into alcohol as his second wife Virginia Bruce’s film career blossomed was the inspiration for the story "A Star is Born".

1939- Top Looney Tunes director Frank Tashlin was hired by Walt Disney. He quit after two fruitless years and left so angry he wrote a children’s book called the "Bear that Wasn’t" about his experiences. An early vice president of the Cartoonists Guild, he also joined the Mouse House to help unionize the studio. After a stint at Screen Gems, in 1945 Frank Tashlin went to Paramount’s live action division and became the director of the Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis comedies.

1959- The tv series Rawhide debuted, starring a young cowpoke named Clint Eastwood. President Lyndon Johnson and Ladybird were Rawhide fans.

1968- THE BATTLE OF QUE SANH- Que Sanh was a U.S. Marine firebase at the western tip of the Vietnamese DeMilitarized Zone. It was so placed to interdict the Ho Chi Minh Trail. This day the Firebase Que Sanh was surrounded and attacked by huge North Vietnamese forces. General William Westmorland growled to his corps commanders "This will NOT be the American Dien Bien Phu !" Dien Bien Phu was the disastrous 1954 siege that defeated the French. The battle of Que Sanh lasted until April with the Marines fighting off huge human wave attacks. The U.S. media at the time portrayed Que Sanh as an epic showdown in the tradition of Gettysburg or Guadalcanal, but to the Vietnamese General Ngyun Vo Giap it was a feint to the real offensive when the Tet Lunar New Year holiday began....

1972- In a rare press conference by telephone from the Bahamas reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes declared the biography done of him by Clifford Irving was a total fabrication.

1976- First day of shooting in Philadelphia of the movie Rocky. It was the first movie to utilize the Steadicam, a system that balanced hand-held camera shots.

1987- THE OCTOBER SURPRISE- The Ronald Reagan White House released a memorandum from 1980 proving the sales of weapons to Iran did help bring about the release of American Embassy hostages. Even though the negotiation for the sale was begun under Jimmy Carter. The Ronald Reagan media spinners encouraged the idea that all the Old Gipper had to do was show up in the White House for the mad mullahs to release our people and hightail it outta’ town! Now the truth was out that Reagan and his people had lied to us, but too late, and not enough of a sound bite for a dazed & confused public.
Yesterday’s Question: Why do we say God Bless You, when someone sneezes?

Answer: Old tradition says when you sneeze a hole opens in your soul and the Devil might get in, so saying God Bless you plugs the hole. During a plague in 590AD Pope Gregory started a custom that when you sneezed, hinting maybe a sign of the plague, saying GBU charmed the evil away.
But it actually goes back further from that. In pre-Christian times, The Greeks and Romans believed that when you sneezed, it was the gods speaking through you. Because a sneeze is involuntary and can’t be predicted or controlled, it was a divine message. When a Greek sneezed, people kissed their hands up towards the heavens. When a Roman sneezed, people greeted it with Jove or Jupiter Bless You. ( Xenophon, Anabasis; Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)