Jan 29, 2023
January 29th, 2023

Quiz: What is the origin of the term “a podunk town”?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: What is the difference between jam, jelly and preserves?
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History for 1/29/2023
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Didius Julianus, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Thomas Paine, William Claude Dunkenfeld known as W.C. Fields, Victor Mature, Paddy Chayefsky, Ed Burns, Bill Peet, Greg Louganis, John D Rockefeller Jr., Claudine Longet, John Calcott-Horsley (1817) the inventor of the Christmas Card-1842*, Oprah Winfrey is 69, Tom Selleck is 78, Heather Graham is 53.

*Horsley was a Victorian artist at the Royal Academy in London who refused to draw nudes because it offended his morality. This earned him the nickname- Clothes Horsley.

282BC- Death of Pharoah Ptolomey II Philadelphus. Philadelphus meant Friend of the People.

1728- At this time all the rage in London was Italian Opera based on adaptations of Greek Mythology sung by castrated male sopranos. This day John Gay and Johann Pepusch’s THE BEGGARS OPERA was first produced in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The play was a sensation because it was an opera in English, using popular tunes of the time and told a story not of gods or noble heroes, but highwaymen, bawdy girls and innkeepers. Considered the first true musical.

1774-The COCKPIT, or BEN gets his ASS CHEWED- Benjamin Franklin was postmaster general of the American Colonies and had been feeling pretty good about his ability to represent American interests in London. He successfully argued the American's opposition to the Stamp Tax in the House of Commons. He offered to pay back exporters who lost money from the Boston Tea Party. He considered himself a good Englishman.
On this day he was invited to the Kings Privy Council for what he thought was a private meeting. He was ushered into a room called The Cockpit, where he faced a delegation from The Kings Privy Council. The ministers spent the next 4 hours dressing him down. The Lord Chief Justice finished by shouting in 70 year old Ben’s face:" Spy, Traitor, Rebel, Thief! " He was sacked as postmaster and ordered home to America before they clapped him in prison. Ben Franklin entered the room a loyal subject, and left a committed revolutionary.

1813- Jane Austin’s novel Pride and Prejudice first published.

1820- After spending the last ten years of his long reign as a blind insane shut-in, King George III died at age 82. His son the Prince Regent finally became King George IV. Americans remember George III as the tyrant of the Revolution, but Britons truly loved their old monarch and his simple family-man tastes. While his German grandfather George II was barely mourned at all, all the Empire lamented the passing of Old Shopkeeper George.

1834- President Andrew Jackson sent U.S. troops to shoot at striking workers at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal project. It was the first but sadly not the last time Federal troops were used to "settle" a labor strike.

1842- The Republic of Texas authorized the raising of a company of rangers to keep the peace- the Texas Rangers. Stephen Austin had commissioned rangers as early as 1833, but from this date on their regular service began.

1845- Edgar Allen Poe's poem The Raven first published. Quote the Raven, Nevermore.

1861- Since Kansas Territory was going to be organized as a state slaveholders and union men fought over whether she would be a free or slave state. Ten years later as the Civil War was breaking out Kansas announced statehood- as a free state.

1863- THE BEAR RIVER MASSACRE- The Shoshone Indians along with the Bannocks and Utes had been raiding wagon trains through Utah and Nevada. Col Patrick Connor led 300 US cavalry in subzero cold to attack Chief Bear Hunter’s winter camp in a hot-springs ravine near present day Preston, Idaho. After a daylong battle, 224 warriors were killed. The soldiers went berserk destroying tepees and raping the Indian women. Chief Bear Hunter was shot, beaten, whipped, and when he still would not die, a red-hot bayonet was rammed through his skull via his ear. One soldier called it “A frolic”. The Shoshone, Utes and Bannocks, who a generation earlier had helped Lewis & Clark, now asked for peace.

1886-In Karlsruhe Germany, Dr. Karl Benz patented the internal combustion engine. To prevent gasoline explosions it utilized a fuel distribution system based on a ladies perfume atomizer spray (the carburetor). He called his horseless carriage at first a Motorvagen, but later names it after his partner Godfried Daimler’s daughter, Mercedes.

1891 After the death of King David IV Kalakoua, Liliuokalani was proclaimed Queen of Hawaii. Besides being the last monarch of Hawaii, Liliuokalani composed the song "Aloha-Oi, Aloha-Oi, Until We Meet Again."

1918- The new Bolshevik revolutionary government ordered the immediate demobilization of the Russian Army, preparatory for pulling out of World War I. After Civil War broke out Leon Trotsky began to form a new army of Communist volunteers, the Red Army.

1920- Walt gets a job. Nineteen year old WWI veteran Walt Disney and his buddy Ub Iwerks were hired by a local Kansas City Slide Company to draw ads for newspapers and slides for theaters.

1935- The first inductees to the new Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown announced- Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Matthewson and Walter Johnson. Hall of Fame dedication ceremony was on June 12th 1939.

1936- Benito Mussolini dedicated the first stone of Cinecitta’ Movie Studios.

1943- Fredrich Von Paulus was the commander of the German Sixth Army, now totally surrounded at Stalingrad. The few survivors were huddled in basements in the destroyed city, freezing, starving and being wiped out by superior Russian forces. Von Paulus and his men prayed for a miracle to save them. This day he heard via radio that Adolf Hitler had promoted him to Field Marshal, with a suggestion that no German Field Marshal should ever be taken alive…..

1944- DARBY’S RANGERS were an elite American commando unit trained for the toughest assignments, the forerunners of the Green Berets and Delta Forces. On this day the bungling generals of the Anzio beachhead sent them into a suicidal battle at the Italian town of Cisterna. Germans were had anticipated the attack and set a trap. 761 rangers went in, 6 came out. Colonel Darby himself survived the battle, but was killed two days before the World War II ended.

1957- Patsy Cline recorded "Walkin' After Midnight."

1959- Disney's " SLEEPING BEAUTY "opened. Despite earning the fifth highest box office for that year, it made 1 million less what it cost. The animation staff had swollen to it's largest to finish the production. Meanwhile Disney’s cheap live action films like The Shaggy Dog were raking in profits. The studio’s animation dept had a big layoff, dropping from 551 to just 75. Staff level will not return to these same levels until 1990. Sleeping Beauty was never re-released in Walt’s lifetime, but since then has earned almost $681 Million and is considered one of Walt Disney’s most classic animated movies.

1964- Stanley Kubrick's nuclear comedy "DR STRANGLOVE –OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB." premiered. It's use of handheld camera for action sequences and cutting, inspired by WWII newsreels and the European New Wave, ushered in a new style in Hollywood cinema. So, who was Tracey Reed? She played Miss Scott, George C. Scott’s bikini clad secretary, and the only woman in the entire movie.

1964- Actor Alan Ladd (Shane), accidentally overdosed on tranquilizers and scotch. He was 50.

1975- The Weather Underground set off a bomb in the US State Department. They were a violent offshoot of the Student Anti-Vietnam War protest movement,

1977- Comic TV star of "Chico and the Man " Freddy Prinze (23) shot himself. Some said he suffered from a survivor's depression about why he had succeeded in life while all his friends from the Barrio were dead from gang killings or drugs. Family members said that he was just stoned on Quaaludes and was clowning around with a gun.

1979- President Jimmy Carter commuted the jail sentence of Patty Hearst.

1986- The National Geographic Society announced the discovery of the largest fossil find in North America. Estimated 10,000 fossilized remains in Nova Scotia They include penny sized dinosaur footprints, the smallest ever found. Best guess are they are from the Triassic-Jurassic boundary – a time of mass extinction.

2002- THE AXIS OF EVIL- In his State of the Union speech President George W. Bush coined the term " The Axis of Evil". He labeled as members Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Iran is a Shiite religious theocracy, Iraq a Sunnite secular fascist dictatorship and North Korea an atheistic Communist state- all with nothing in common and little mutual contact. The speechwriter originally wrote "Axis of Hate" but the Bush people like the Good vs. Evil thing. They also substituted North Korea for Libya because they wanted a non-Muslim power included they wouldn’t seem prejudiced.
We learned from a retired CIA operative that up till now Iran had actually been cooperating with the USA in rounding up Al Qaeda agents. After 9-11 Iran arrested 16 Al Qaeda operatives. At the request of the US, they handed them over to Saudi Arabia, who promptly let them all go. But after the speech, the Iranians broke off all contact.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: What is the difference between jam, jelly and preserves?

Answer: Jelly is made with fruit juice and has no fruit pieces at all. It is the thinnest of the three fruit spreads. Jam has fruit pieces in the mix; its texture is between jelly and preserves. Preserves contain chunks of fruit and is the thickest spread. (Thanks FG)


Jan 28, 2023
January 28th, 2023

Quiz: What is the difference between jam, jelly and preserves?

Yesterday’s quiz answered below: What is an autogyro?
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History for 1/28/2023
Birthdays: King Henry VII Tudor, Jose Marti, Colette, Jackson Pollack, Claus Oldenburg, Arthur Rubenstein, Ernst Lubitsch, Connie Rasinski, Susan Sontag, Barbie Benton, General George Pickett, William Burroughs (1855) the inventor of the calculator, Mo Rocca, Frank Darabont, Alan Alda is 87, Elijah Wood is 43

1393- DANSE MACABRE- (Bal des Ardents) At a masquerade ball given at the French court King Charles VI and several of his friends dressed up as 'wild men' to amuse the court. They had fur and animal hair attached to their bodies with tar.
While everyone was enjoying the capering of these strange anonymous creatures, a torch touched their tar covered bodies and the group exploded into flame. While the court watched these creatures writhe in agony, The Duchess de Berry screamed" Oh My God! That's the King!" King Charles was saved when that same duchess smothered his flames in her skirts. Another duke saved himself by diving headlong into a vat of Beaujolais, but the others roasted to death.
The common people weren't sympathetic. As you kneeled, one duke liked to step on your neck, sneering 'Down Peasant!". As his barbecued remains were carried through Paris, people laughed, danced, and cried 'Down M’lord!" Edgar Allen Poe wrote a story called “Hop Frog” about the incident. Roger Corman put it into his 1964 film- Masque of the Red Death.

1547- English Henry VIII died, leaving his ten year-old sickly-son Edward VI "Gods Imp" king. He was 55 years old but his hard living had aged him early. Increasingly suspicious of all around him as he aged, one of his last acts was to have the Earl of Surrey beheaded for changing the coat of arms of his father the Duke of York into something more like a Royal Heir-Apparent. The Duke was also scheduled to be executed but was saved when the old king died first.

1596- Sir Francis Drake died at sea off the coast of Nicaragua while trying to mount one more big raid on the Spanish Main. The Devonshire preacher's son had raided there as a young man. But by now, the Spaniards had learned his tricks so they were prepared. The trip was a failure and he died on deck of yellow fever in late middle age.

1782- The Congress called for the use of the Great Seal of the United States, even though no one had designed one yet. But the British had one and so..uh, we had to have one too !

1829- BURKE & HARE- In the early nineteenth century scientific experiments on cadavers were still outlawed as desecration of the dead so doctors secretly hired grave robbers to get them specimens to experiment on. Burke & Hare were the most infamous of Edinburgh's "resurrectionists" because they didn't always wait for the subject to die, but murdered them in their boardinghouse. To Burke someone became slang for suffocating them. Doctors and later police became suspicious of the freshness of their specimens and Hare finked on Burke to save himself.
On this day Burke was hanged before a crowd of thousands and his body later medically dissected. The notoriety of this case helped pass laws allowing doctors more legal use of mortal remains. Their story was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's story "The Body Snatcher."

1863- Ulysses Grant arrived at Vicksburg to begin the epic campaign that would end on July 4th with the capture of the 'Gibraltar of the Confederacy'.

1878- First commercial telephone switchboard.

1884- A British relief force reached the city of Khartoum just two days too late. After a one year siege, the Sudanese Dervishes had sacked the city and massacred all the inhabitants including General Gordon, dancing with their heads on spears. The desert relief force was held up until all their supplies were complete, including 20,000 black umbrellas, apricot jam, and cricket bats. Mad Dogs and Englishmen….

1902- Andrew Carnegie was a rough crude tycoon with a ruthless streak that saw him ruin his competitors and pay vigilantes to murder his striking employees. But after all the rough and tumble of the Gilded Age business world, he showed a new side of his character in retirement. He set up the Carnegie Institute in Washington and resolved to give away the bulk of his $350 million dollar fortune in philanthropic causes. The reason why so many colleges, hospitals and concert halls in America today are named Carnegie. Carnegie declared “A man who dies rich, dies disgraced!”

1915- The U.S. Coast Guard born, combining the Lifesaving Service and the Revenue Cutter patrol. In 2002 the Coast Guard was folded into the Cabinet office Department of Homeland Security.

1916- President Woodrow Wilson nominated Judge Lewis Brandeis to the Supreme Court. Brandeis was the first Jewish American to be so honored.

1917- After 11 months fruitlessly chasing Pancho Villa through Mexico and skirmishing with the Mexican army, Pres. Wilson ordered General John Pershing’s army home.

1918- In Germany, one million industrial workers, fed up with the endless carnage of World War I, went on strike, paralyzing factories nationwide.

1926- Composer Kurt Weill married his Pirate Jenny- Lotte Lenya.

1930- Warner Bros Cartoons Born. Leon Schlesinger, the head of Pacific Art and Title, signed a deal with several unemployed Disney animators who had left Walt to form their own studio to draw Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, but had been stiffed by their contacts. Schlesinger had connections with Warner Bros. since he helped them get funding for the 'Jazz Singer'. They created Leon Schlesinger's Studio Looney Tunes, in imitation of Disney's Silly Symphonies. Their first character was Bosko, but eventually they would create Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd and more. Schlesinger sold his company to WB outright in 1944 when he retired.

1949- The Admiral Broadway Review premiered on television. The one and a half hour comedy review starred Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. The show was so popular Admiral was swamped for orders for new televisions and ironically was forced to cancel the show to focus on their production needs. The show was revived as Your Show of Shows, one of the great shows of early television.

1956- Young singer Elvis Presley first appeared to television audiences on the Dorsey Brothers Stage Show.

1958- Brooklyn Dodger catcher Roy Campanella paralyzed in an auto wreck. He spent the rest of his life as a spokesman for the rights of the handicapped.

1978- Hanna-Barbera's the Three Robonic Stooges.

1982- Danny DeVito married Rhea Perlman.

1986- THE CHALLENGER DISASTER- As the world watched, the Space shuttle Challenger exploded 74 seconds after takeoff killing all twelve crew members. They included New Hampshire schoolteacher Christie McAuliffe who had won the space ride in a contest. It was blamed on defective O-rings in the rocket booster.

2003- President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address said that he had proof that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had sent agents to the African nation of Niger to buy uranium yellowcake, a component to make atomic bombs. It is one of the major excuses for the war with Iraq. This was later proved to be a complete lie. Bush blamed the intelligence service, after giving the head of the CIA George Tenent the Medal of Freedom. When special CIA envoy Joseph Wilson, who knew Niger, tried to point out the falsehood, the Bush White House destroyed his career and outed the cover of his CIA wife, Valerie Plame. She had been working on exposing the Iranian nuclear program.
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Yesterday’s Question: What is an autogyro?

Answer: An autogyro was a weird 1930s hybrid flying vehicle, with an airplane propellor in front and a helicopter prop above. It was thought to be the future of civilian aviation. But it could never manage to carry more than one or two people and little else.


Jan. 26, 2023
January 26th, 2023

Quiz: What is a dreadnought?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What was Julius Caesar’s first name?
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History for 1/26/2023
Birthdays: First Lady Julia Dent Grant, General Douglas MacArthur, Stephan Grappelli, Angela Davis, Maria Von Trapp, Wayne Gretsky, Eartha Kitt, Paul Newman, Charles Lane, Roger Vadim, Jules Feiffer is 94, Henry Jaglom, Anita Baker, Edward Abbey, Scott Glenn, David Straitharn, Ellen DeGeneres is 65

404 A.D. Today is the Feast of Saint Paula, who built the first abbey and monastery where all the monks and nuns wore identical uniform sackcloth, demonstrating that we are all equal in the eyes of God.

1500- Captain Vincente Pinzon, who had once commanded the Nina for Columbus, discovered the coast of Brazil while serving the Portuguese navy.

1536- English King Henry VIII was a very active and virile 44 years old. This day he was participating in a joust, when his opponent knocked him off his horse. Not only did he hit the ground in full armor, but his horse rolled on top of him. He sustained a deep gash in his leg that never fully healed. It marked the end of his active life. He grew sedentary and very fat. His leg gave him pain for the remaining 11 years of his life. Many noted the king became more moody and irascible after the accident. Which meant, off with his head!

1758 - French troops burned at the stake the Haitian rebel leader Mackandal. A practitioner of Voodoo, his followers believed that at the moment of death he transformed into a mosquito and brought the Yellow Fever sickness to kill all the Europeans. Haitian Independence was achieved a generation later under Toussaint l'Overture and Dessalines. Mackandal's dance, done at all his rallies and voodoo religious ceremonies was the 'marenga".

1787- SHAY’S REBELLION- Just four years after the Revolutionary War ended, New England farmers rebelled again, against unfairly heavy taxes and a confused local government. Daniel Shays led 1,200 Massachusetts farmers in an attack on an armory that quickly fell apart, but the shock of the incident scared the Founding Fathers to convene a special Constitutional Convention to create a stronger central government.

1788- AUSTRALIA DAY, The First Fleet, a small group of British ships carrying 700 convicts, 200 soldiers and their families, landed at Port Jackson, New South Wales. Governor Arthur Phillip raised the Union Jack over Sydney Cove. The aboriginal people met them on the beach with cries of "Warra-warra!" which meant "Go Away!" Eventually 50,000 convicts were sent there. After a century Australians began to form their special character. The Aussie nickname name for British people is Poms or Pommies. This was for the initials printed on British prison shirts POM- or Prisoner Of his Majesty. Another version has it that British sailors regularly picked the pomegranate trees clean of fruit to ward off scurvy. The quest for citrus is also the root of Americans calling British people “Limeys”

1799- Thomas Jefferson wrote to Elbridge Gerry “I am for freedom of religion, and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.” Another time he said,” It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.”

1815- Congress votes to purchase Thomas Jefferson's book collection to replace the fledgling Library of Congress that was burnt by the British in the War of 1812.

1824- Artist Theodore Gericault was famous for his paintings of horses. This day he died, from a fall off a horse.
1837- Michigan became a state.

1865- Despite his Civil War victories, General William T Sherman had been criticized for having a biased attitude towards black slaves. This day he answered his critics by issuing his General Order # 15, stating that every freed African-American had the right to "40 acres and a mule". Many former slaves took this to mean they would take ownership of the lands they tended, parceled from the great plantations where they lived. Alas, corruption and racism of local white authorities during Reconstruction ensured this became an empty promise.

1875- Late at night, Pinkerton detectives on the trail of Jesse James threw a bomb into the window of the James family home. The explosion killed Jesses’ younger mentally handicapped stepbrother, who had nothing to do with the outlaws, and blew his mother’s the right arm off. The James Gang were nowhere near the farm that night.

1884- The Sundanese capitol Khartoum fell to the forces of messianic leader the Mahdi. The Liberal Government of William Gladstone had sent the famous Victorian general Charles 'Chinese' Gordon to oversee the British evacuation of the Sudan. Gordon was a courageous eccentric who instead of evacuating the Sudan barricaded himself into Khartoum and resolved to fight it out to the end. "We are all pianos" he once said:" And events play upon us".

1911- Richard Strauss’ Opera, Der Rosenkavalier Premiere at The Koniglisch Operahaus in Dresden. Kaiser Wilhelm was offended by the Hugo Hoffmanstahl story about aristocrats sleeping around with their servants. He called it "A dirty little play".

1924- The Russian city of Saint Petersburg was also called Petrograd. This day the Bolshevik Government changed its name in honor of Lenin to Leningrad. In 1991 they changed the name back to Saint Petersburg.

1934- Hollywood producer Sam Goldwyn secured the rights to L. Frank Baum’s book the Wonderful Wizard of Oz to develop into a movie. Walt Disney and Hal Roach were trying to get it also.

1939- Generalissimo Franco’s Fascist troops captured Barcelona, winning the Spanish Civil War.

1939- the first day of shooting on the film Gone With the Wind.

1950- In India today is Constitution Day, when the Indian Constitution went into effect.

1962- Mob boss Charles Lucky Luciano dropped dead of a heart attack at Naples airport as he was about to shake hands with an author who had arrived from the U.S. to write his biography. Lucky Luciano was the criminal genius that converted gangsters from waterfront street gangs to national syndicates with ties to legitimate business and government. He also imported the Sicilian system of La Mafia- family clan allegiance and code of honor, to supplant the earlier Irish-Jewish gangsters. Lucky was deported to Italy in the 1950’s and retired when his appeals to return were all denied.

1967- THE BIG SNOW- The people of Chicago pride themselves on their ability to handle the toughest winters. But this day was one of the worst- 23 inches of snow in 27 hours, driven by 50 mile an hour cyclonic winds brought the city to a total standstill.

1972- Walt Disney’s The Mouse Factory premiered on TV. Ward Kimball created the show of old Mickey cartoons introduced by comedians like Phyllis Diller, and Jonathan Winters in a Laugh-In style pace to attempt to modernize the characters for a new audience.

1979- Former Vice President of the United States, Nelson Rockefeller, was found dead in his office" en flagrante delicto" with Meghan Marshak, his young director of the Rockefeller Foundation. His second wife Happy Rockefeller had also been one of his office staff once. The method of the 70-year-old billionaire’s death was an open secret in New York City. The legend was fueled by the fact that Ms. Marshak's first call was not to 911 or the cops, but to her friend, local TV newswoman, Ponchitta Pierce. Pierce made the call to summon help nearly an hour after Rocky was cold.
I had a friend at art school at the time who was a receptionist for a Park Ave. doctor who was Rocky's physician. She said the paramedics found him and the edge of the bed with his pants down but his tie still in place. His will left $50,000 and a Manhattan townhouse to Ms. Marshak.

1979- The Dukes of Hazard TV show premiered. Catharine Bach’s cutoff jeans became thereafter known for her character- Daisy Dukes.

1983- The software LOTUS 1-2-3 premiered that helped make IBM’s PC into the most popular business computers in the US.

1988- Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical The Phantom of the Opera premiered.

1996- First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton testified to a grand jury, the first "first lady" to do so. The only earlier incident that comes to mind was in 1862 when a senate committee convened to investigate whether Mary Todd Lincoln was a Confederate spy.
Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State in the Obama administration, and so was the frequent target of vengeful Republican investigations. They once made her testify for 11 hours straight and tried to forbid her going to the bathroom. She met it all without a protest. Before the last Republican House adjourned at New Years 2018, their last order of business was to bring in former FBI director James Comey and question him about….what else? Hillary Clinton.

1998- The Japanese town of Ito was attacked by a horde of berserk monkeys, injuring 26.

2003- After the Super Bowl, ABC premiered a new late night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live.

2020- Basketball star Kobe Bryant and 8 others including his daughter were killed in a helicopter crash in heavy fog in Calabasas, California. He was 41.
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Yesterday’s question: What was Julius Caesar’s first name?

Answer: His first name was Gaius. Julii was the family clan name.


Jan 24, 2023
January 24th, 2023

Question: What was the Gang of Four?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Where and when are we talking about when we say the Belle Epoque?
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History for 1/24/2023
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Hadrian AD117, Frederick the Great, Farinelli the Castrato-1707, Pierre De Beaumarchais, Swedish King Gustavus III, Edith Wharton, Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan the Barbarian, German Field Marshal Model, Sharon Tate, Ernest Borgnine, Mary Lou Rhetton, John Belushi, Disney director Wilfred Jackson, Spiderman cartoonist Johnny Romita, Warren Zevon, Yakov Smirnoff, Daniel Auteuil is 72, Orel Roberts, Natassia Kinski is 64

41AD- CALIGULA ASSASSINATED- The psychotic Roman Emperor left a gladiator bout to have lunch when in an isolated hallway of the amphitheater his own bodyguards turned on him. His chief assailant was the captain of the watch Chaerea. After two sword thrusts, the bleeding emperor shouted: " I still live! Strike again!" Which they did until he was finally dead. They threw Caligulas’ corpse in a hole in the Lamian gardens. It was said his ghost continued to scare people there for years afterwards.
Realizing that without an Emperor an Emperor's Guard isn't much use, the guards looked about for a member of the Imperial family that hadn’t already been butchered. They dragged Caligula's simple old uncle Claudius out from under a table and made him Caesar. He immediately gave them a heavy bribe.

1075- In a direct challenge to Papal authority German Emperor Henry IV held an ecclesiastical council at Worms where he declared Pope Gregory VII to be a “licentious false monk” and ordered him deposed. The Pope responded by excommunicating Henry. What happened? See tomorrow.

1848- James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter's Mill, California. This event will spark the first big gold rush the following year, the '49 ers. Swiss immigrant John Sutter had bought the land from the last Russian settlers and set up his town while still under Mexican rule. Marshall operated his sawmill. Ironically the gold rush ruined them both. Thousands of prospectors ignored his jurisdiction claims, trampled his crops and slaughtered his cows for food. Within a year or two They went broke and spent the rest of their lives trying to get the US Government to reimburse them. John Sutter was also annoyed that the new settlement of Sacramento was not named Sutterville.

1863- Arizona Territory was formed out of New Mexico. The Southern Confederacy at one time tried to make it one of their states. Around this same time Lincoln also pushed statehood for Nevada, and West Virginia. He was hoping to stack Congress for his Constitutional amendments outlawing slavery, and granting full citizenship and voting rights to African-Americans.

1865- The Pioneer Oil Company set up to prospect for petroleum in the L.A. area.

1874- Modest Mussorgsky’s opera Boris Gudunov premiered in Saint Petersburg.

1875- Camille Saint-Saens orchestral work Danse Macabre premiered in Paris.

1900- Battle of Spion Kop. (Boer Woer) The British Army rush an enemy position on top of a small hill, take it, and after the cheering noticed they are alone on the bald hill completely surrounded by the enemy. OOPS! It was said that the British commander was a much better watercolorist than a military strategist. One of the stretcher-bearers bravely running up and down the hill saving wounded men was an Indian law student –Mohandas K. Gandhi.

1901- Activist Emily Hobhouse toured one of Lord Kitchener’s “concentration camps” that the British were using to corral the Boer guerrillas in South Africa. This one was near Bloemfontein. Her reporting of the poor sanitation conditions and hardships of the Boer civilians there caused a scandal back home. Four out of five South Africans that died in the Boer War were civilians.

1916- The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the federal Income Tax.

1927- The Pleasure Garden premiered, the first film directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

1936- The first motion picture of a solar eclipse taken from a dirigible, The Los Angeles.

1942- Producer David O. Selznick signed young star Jennifer Jones. He became infatuated with her and left his wife Irene, the daughter of Louis B. Mayer, to marry Jones.

1961- Warner Bros. cartoon voice actor Mel Blanc had a terrible auto crash. He lingered in a coma for several weeks. The way the doctor brought him around was to say: “Hey Bugs Bunny! How are we today?” Blanc replied in character:” Ehhh…fine, doc!” Mel recovered and lived another thirty years.

1965- Winston Churchill died at 90. His last words were "Oh, I'm so bored of it all..." At 75 Churchill said :"I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the ordeal of meeting me is another matter." His granddaughter revealed he told her he intended to go on the same day his father died in 1895. And he did. David Lloyd George once quipped of how Churchill would behave in Heaven: "Winston would go up to his Creator and say he would very much like to meet His Son, about whom he has heard a great deal."

1972- Japanese soldier Soichi Yokoi was found in the jungles of Guam unaware that World War II had ended 27 years earlier. He had stolen a radio and listened to the news. But he thought the stories of American forces in Korea and Vietnam were just propaganda. He was returned to Japan a healthy, if somewhat confused hero.
He died peacefully in 1997.

1983- Hulk Hogan pinned the Iron Sheik to win his first World Wrestling Federation title.

1986 –The Voyager 2 space probe flew by Uranus. So far the only space probe to ever visit that planet. It discovered its unusual rotation and that it had rings like Saturn, but they are thin and dark grey, due to the weak light of the sun.

1989- Serial killer Ted Bundy was executed by electric chair.

2000- The entire computer system of the super-secret National Security Agency crashed and was down for several days. No explanation given.

2006- The Walt Disney Company directly acquired CG animation studio Pixar. Apple and Pixar head Steve Jobs got a seat on Disney Board, Ed Catmull was named head of the studio, and director John Lasseter became its creative head.

2020- China became the first country to lock down their country to combat the spreading pandemic of Covid 19.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Where and when are we talking about when we say the Belle Epoque?

Answer: In Europe, particularly France from the end of the Franco-Prussian War to the beginning of World War I, 1871-1914. It was considered a period of peace, prosperity, optimism and high culture. Strauss waltzes, Impressionists, Freud, Lautrec and the Folies Bergere. Great advances in technology, invention of motion pictures, telephones, plastics.
They called it The Beautiful Era. La Belle Epoque.


June 22, 2023
January 22nd, 2023

Quiz: Where precisely is Washington Irving country?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What does it mean to be in your birthday suit?
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History for 1/22/2023
St. Vincents Day- "If Vincents Day be Rainy Weather, shall rain then 30 days together.”

Birthdays: Sir Francis Bacon, D.W. Griffith, Lord Byron, August Strindberg, Andre Marie Ampere (electric Amps), 1960’s UN Secretary General U-Thant, Ann Southern, Sam Cooke, Bill Bixby, John Hurt, George McManus, Joseph Waumbaugh, J.J. Johnson, Seymour Cassell, Jim Jarmusch is 69, Linda Blair is 64, Piper Laurie is 90, Diane Lane is 57

1503- Pope Alexander VI Borgia has his enemy Cardinal Orsini poisoned while imprisoned in the Vatican.

1506- THE SWISS GUARDS. Many European monarchs hired foreign mercenaries to be their personal bodyguards. They were often more trustworthy than their own subjects. The most famous were the Swiss. While the Swiss home cantons stayed at peace, her hardy mountaineers hired out as mercenary troops all over Europe. The Swiss had a reputation as incorruptible and tough fighters. This day the warrior Pope Julius II hired a troop of Swiss and had Michelangelo design their uniforms. The Swiss Guards still guard the Vatican today, and are still recruited from the non-commissioned officers of the Swiss Army.

1522- Andreas Carstadt, an early follower of Martin Luther, set a new precedent by being a priest who openly got married. He was forty, she was fifteen.

1552- Because Henry VIII’s child was only ten at the time of the old king’s death Edward Seymour the Duke of Somerset ruled England as regent-administrator. But Somerset’s rule was troubled with corruption and religious friction between Catholics and Protestants. His own brother Thomas Seymour the Lord High Admiral was executed for trying to become king. Somerset soon fell and was replaced by the Duke of Northumberland. He charged Somerset with treason based on evidence given by Sir Thomas Palmer. Today Somerset’s head was cut off. Later Northumberland and Palmer lost their heads too. They confessed on the scaffold that they had fabricated the charges against Somerset.

1555- THE FIRES OF SMITHFIELD. When Mary the Catholic daughter of Henry VIII became queen she at first tried to be lenient towards her Protestant subjects. But continuous plots by Protestant nobility, and her own desire to restore England to the old faith hardened her heart. This day she began the mass trials and executions of those accused of Protestant heresy. Six clergymen including the Bishop of Gloucester were sentenced and burned at the stake. Hundreds more would follow. Even Spanish King Philip II urged Mary to calm down. Mary had an observation tower built nearby so she could watch and enjoy the screams while she ate lunch.
Mary’s executioners added a new twist to the old system of burning at the stake. Before lighting the bonfire, if they liked you, a bag of gunpowder was stuffed between your legs, so you went out quick with a bang. Bloody Mary and her cruelty in the name of Roman Catholicism all but convinced the English people to stay Anglican.

1787- 17 year old French cadet named Napoleon Bonaparte, on furlough in Paris, wrote in his diary that after exhausting negotiations with a streetwalker he "…sampled the joys of Woman for the first time.." Today he’d do an Instagram post.

1840- The first English colonists reach New Zealand.

1863- THE MUD MARCH- Union General Ambrose Burnside (who created the fashion for "side-burns") tried to avenge his humiliating defeat at Fredericksburg by a winter march up the Rappahannock River to maneuver around Robert E. Lee. In so doing he discovered why all pre-industrial age armies took the winter off. Burnsides army was pelted by blinding sleet storms and bogged down in oceans of gooey mud. When Burnside finally called it quits he had as many casualties from sickness as if had he fought a battle. A bitter army joke based on a children’s prayer went:
"Now I lay me down to Sleep, In mud that’s eighteen fathoms Deep."
"If you can’t see me when we Awake, please dig me up with an oyster Rake."

1879- Battle of ISHANDLWANA- The worst defeat ever inflicted by native peoples on a modern western army. The British thought they were brushing out of the way just another spear throwing tribe when they attacked the Zulu Empire. They were unconcerned that the Zulu marched in regiments -impis, had generals -indunas, and practiced strategy and tactics. A Zulu impi was trained to run in tight formation for 20 miles barefoot then fight a battle. Lord Chelmsford had invaded Zululand searching for the Zulu army when he was tricked by a simple diversion into dividing his forces. The Zulu then flanked Chelmsford’s force in a maneuver Napoleon would have admired, fell on his camp and wiped out two regiments of the 24th Welsh Fusiliers. It was a massacre similar to Custer at the Little Big Horn.
Lord Chelmsford and his staff were eating lunch several miles away when an aide noticed in his telescope flashing and running around the base camp. Lord Chelmsford dismissed it as nothing but sent a courier to investigate. The courier at first saw men in red coats and white pith helmets walking amongst the tents. As he got closer he noticed that they all had black faces.

1901- Queen Victoria died after a reign of 64 years, the longest for a British monarch until Elizabeth II. When she assumed the throne at age 19 in 1837 there were still many alive who remembered the Battle of Waterloo and white periwigs. She died in a world of electric lights, telephones, autos and motion pictures. She was buried with some tokens of her husband Prince Albert. Correspondence of Victoria’s daughter recently revealed that by Queen Victoria’s instruction she also be buried with tokens of her equerry Mr. John Brown, including his pocket watch.

1912- The first bridgeway connecting Key West and the Florida Keys opened.

1912- U.S. Marines occupied the Chinese city of Tientsin to "protect American commercial interests".

1918- A Manitoba judge tries to outlaw movie comedies, because they tend to make the public "too frivolous".

1923- The day after Ub Iwerks quit Walt Disney, music director Carl Stalling quit as well. When work at Iwerks new studio didn’t pan out, he ended up at Warner Bros. scoring the Looney Tunes.

1930- Work began on the foundation of the Empire State Building in New York.

1938- On a bare stage, Thorton Wilder’s play Our Town premiered.

1939- At Columbia University for the first time scientists split a uranium atom.

1944- Argentine Colonel Juan Peron first met radio actress Eva Duarte or Evita.

1944- ANZIO- The Allied armies advancing up the Italian boot had been fought to a standstill by fierce German resistance around Monte Cassino north of Naples -the Gustav Line. So the decision was made to amphibiously land a large invasion force in the rear of the German army with the intention of taking Rome. They completely surprised the enemy and their scouts reported the road into Rome was wide open. But the American commander General Lucas hesitated.
In the meantime the Germans recovered and rushed up elite SS divisions that turned the battle into a bloody stalemate. Churchill said: "I thought we were hurling a wildcat onto the shore, but all we got was a beached whale!" Instead of two days, the allies didn’t take Rome until June 4th, five months later.

1947- Hollywood first commercial television station KTLA went on the air for regular broadcasting. At the time in all of Los Angeles there were only 350 TV sets.

1949- Mao Zedong and the Communist People’s Liberation Army captured Peking (Beijing).

1949- Tex Avery’s cartoon "Bad Luck Blackie".

1950- Preston Tucker tried to compete with the big auto giants like Ford and Chrysler with his revolutionary designed Tucker Automobile. But the giants bogged him down in court with charges of fraud. This day he was acquitted of all charges, but the legal expenses ruined him. Only 40 Tuckers were ever made. Francis Ford Coppola made a movie about his life.

1951- During winter baseball tryouts, a promising young left-handed pitcher from Cuba was scouted by the New York Yankees. But after losing a game for the Washington Senators and getting dropped from their roster, he gave up on sports to pursue a career in politics- Fidel Castro.

1954- The Los Angeles Fire Department is ordered by federal courts to integrate.

1968-T.V. comedy review show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In premiered. It launched the careers of Lilly Tomlin, Goldie Hawn and Eileen Brennan. You bet your sweet Bippy!

1972- In an interview with Melody Maker magazine, rocker David Bowie outed himself and said he was gay. Technically he would be bi-sexual since his wife Angela did catch him in bed with Bianca Jagger. Others called him a closet-heterosexual.

1973- While President Richard Nixon celebrated his second inaugural with a concert, Leonard Bernstein conducted a Concert for Peace at the Washington Cathedral. While Nixon’s orchestra played his favorite classical piece Tchaikovsky’s Overture 1812 with real cannons, Bernstein played Haydn’s Mass in a Time of War to 15,000 people against the War in Vietnam.

50th Anniv. 1973- The Roe Vs. Wade Supreme Court Decision 7-2 legalizing abortion. Before 1880 most abortion practices were legal, they were referred to as "quickening". The first prohibitions were more about banning dangerous quack drugs used in the process. Far Right politicians spent years slowly getting like minded judges on to the Supreme Court. Finally in 2022 In the Dodd Decision, the Supreme Court overturned Roe.

1975- Hollywood agents Ron Meyer and Michael Ovitz leave William Morris and form the Creative Artists Agency, or CAA.

1977- The day after his inauguration President Jimmy Carter was shown the first pictures from the KH-11, the first imaging orbital spy satellite. An American mole sold the technology to the Russian KGB a year later and soon France, Britain and Israel also had spy satellites in orbit.

1984- Amazon Indians attack an oil drilling crew with blowguns.

1984- Apple released the Macintosh I personal computer.

2020- When asked about the first cases of Covid-19 in the U.S., Pres. Trump replied: “We have it totally under control. ... It’s going to be just fine.”

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Yesterday’s Question: What does it mean to be in your birthday suit?

Answer: A nice way of saying being naked. Nude, au natural.


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