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February 29th, 2008

Question: When Leadbelly sang in Midnight Special: The next thing you know Boy, you’re Sugerland bound. What did he mean?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: Why was Adolf Hitler sometimes called Shickelgruber?
History for 2/29/008 Leap Year Day

Birthdays: Giacomo Rossini -Who liked to joke he was 16 years old when he was actually 67, Balthus, Jimmy Dorsey, Alex Rocco, Arthur Franz, Phyllis French, Mother Ann Lee the founder of the Shakers, Rocket Richard of the Montreal Canadiens Hockey Team, Dennis Farina, Dinah Shore, Ja Rule

Today in British custom is the only day it is considered appropriate for a woman to propose to a man.

1504- Christopher Columbus, shipwrecked on Jamaica by a hurricane, scares natives into giving him food by accurately predicting a solar eclipse.

1692- The first indictments of the notorious Salem Witch trials. Tituba was a black-indian servant of the town’s preacher, who liked to entertain his children with ghost stories of the Caribbean. She was arrested for witchcraft with Sarah Good, an elderly deaf woman who, well... just looked old and spooky like a witch. Twenty two people were executed. Salem kept up the hysteria until the Governor of Massachusetts stopped it after his own daughter was indicted.

1704- The settlement of Deerfield Massachusetts massacred and burned by French & Indians as part of Queen Anne’s War.

1776- French writer Pierre D.’Beaumarchais wrote a letter to King Louis XVI, advising France support the American colonies revolution against England. Beaumarchais, who wrote the Barber of Seville, set up spy operations under the name of a Rodrique Hortalez & Company. He used this cover to ship guns, powder and uniforms to George Washington’s beleaguered army.

1804- According to Napoleon's plans this was supposed to be the day he scheduled to cross the Channel and invade England after his navy gave Admiral Nelson the slip. His Grande Army was camped all along the beach at Boulonge waiting to board transport barges. But they never got to make the trip. Nelson destroyed Nappy's fleet at Cape Trafalgar.

1908- Former Sheriff Pat Garrett, the killer of Billy the Kid, was himself gunned down while stepping off a buckboard to urinate. The assailant was in a lawsuit with Garret over a promise to remove some goats from his ranchland.

1960- Hugh Hefner opened the first Playboy Club, this one in Chicago. The restaurant –nightclub succeeded on a gimmick of members-only keys and the famous Playboy Bunny waitresses. One Bunny said of that time-“ I served London Broil in a bathing suit and heels and made more money than anyone in my family!” The Chicago club was the last one to close, in 1986.

1968- Dr. Jocelyn Burnell of Cambridge announced the discovery of the pulsar star.

1968- The Beatles win four Grammy awards for their Sgt. Pepper album.

1960- G-Man Melvin Purvis shot himself with the gun he used to kill John Dillinger. FBI chief J.Edgar Hoover would tolerate no competitors for the title of America’s most famous cop. When Purvis' fame began to overshadow Hoovers the Director hounded him out of his job. Purvis's widow commented bitterly that the F.B.I. didn't even send a card or flowers to note the passing of their single most famous field agent. J. Edgar also ruined treasury agent Elliot Ness’ career, although some contend that the accounts of his exploits in his book "The Untouchables" were more fiction than fact.

1984- Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau announced his retirement after 15 years in power.

1992- Bosnian Moslems and Croats vote on a referendum on independence for Bosnia-Herzegovina. The vote was boycotted by the Bosnian-Serbs. This is seen as the start of the Bosnian Civil War.

Yesterdays’ Question: Why was Adolf Hitler sometimes called Shickelgruber?

Answer: Hitler lost his father Alois Schickelgruber-Hitler early and he was raised by his mother Clara Schickelgruber. He changed his name to just Hitler upon reaching school age because he even he thought it sounded silly. But the name gave great merriment to his detractors, including lots of fodder for Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.