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Feb 17, 2014 mon
February 17th, 2014

Quiz: When Voltaire was told his mistress was sleeping with someone else, the philosopher said:” In life, one must put up with such bagatelles.” What is a bagatelle?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: London’s police are called Bobbies. What police force is called The Old Bill?
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History for 2/17/2014
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, Montgomery Ward, Red Barber, Marian Anderson, C'haim Potok, Jim Brown, Rene Russo, Michael Bay, Jerry O’Connell, Cybil Shepard, Lou Diamond Phillips is 52, Denise Richards is 43 and Paris Hilton is 33, Michael Jordan is 51, Hal Holbrook is 89, Joseph Gordon Levitt is 45.

Happy President's Day (USA), In 1971 Richard Nixon combined the federal holidays of Lincoln and Washington's Birthdays into one three day weekend with no emotional meaning to it.

3,201BC- According to Sumerian records, from today in the month of Hilu to the month of Eshil-March 30th occurred the GREAT FLOOD, that the story of the flood of Noah in the Bible was based on. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the 1920’s theorized that the Great Flood was the tidal backwash caused by the sinking of the lost continent of Atlantis.

364 A.D.-Valentinian I proclaimed Emperor of Rome. Just to show you could "Be-All that You could Be.." in the Roman Army, Valentinian was born to an army family based in Pannonia (Hungary). He rose through the ranks and served in Africa (Tunisia), Persia (Iraq) and Gaul (France).

1673- MOLIERE DIED. The great playwright was suffering from tuberculosis and was in failing health, but he insisting on playing the lead in his final play "The Imaginary Illness". Tonight when asked to rest instead he responded" There are fifty workman here who won’t get paid if we don’t play". He played Argan, a hypochondriac who imagined himself dying.

In the final act he uttered the word "Juro I swear," and was seized with a violent coughing fit. He covered with a joke and finished the play, but later was carried home where he died choking on his own blood. The local priest refused to come and give him Last Rights because his play Tartuffe made fun of religious types. Moliere was one of the greatest playwrights and poets of the age, and Frenchmen equate him with Shakespeare.

1814-Battle of Villeneuve- Napoleon beat somebody else once again. France had been invaded by 5 armies simultaneously. When Napoleon beat one force, the four others kept marching on Paris.

1817-Baltimore got the first city streets lit with gaslight .

1864-THE FIRST SUCCESSFUL SUBMARINE ATTACK-. The Confederate submarine Hunley ,after testing that drowned 23 men including the inventor, sails, err, chuggs, actually it was driven with a screw turned propeller -screws it's way to Yankee ships blockading Charleston Harbor. It attaches a underwater bomb called a david to the hull of the U.S.S. Housatonic. The david exploded sinking the Housatonic, but it also dragged down the Hunley and it’s 13 man crew to a watery grave.

The first modern diesel/electric submarine was developed by John Holland in 1894. Recently archaeologists raised the Hunley from the harbor and even found the lucky gold dollar the captain kept in his pocket. Researchers also found the graves of one of the earlier test crews under the concrete foundation of a Charleston football stadium.

1865- Gen. Sherman burns Columbia, S.C. The POPULARITY OF THE CIGARETTE- Everyone knew the Civil War was almost over, yet try and reason with Uncle Billy. Sherman's army fresh from burning Georgia spread a wide path of destruction through the Carolinas. When Sherman's men reached the capitol of South Carolina they took special revenge in destroying the city where the first vote to secede took place. Yankee's sang "Hail Columbia, Happy Land; If I don't burn you I'll be damned!"

Cigarettes were gaining popularity in Spain and Latin American while in the U.S. tobacco was taken chiefly in cigars, pipes and chaw. A South Carolina planter in Durham had just finished developing the perfect mild blend of cigarette tobaccos, Bull Durham, when Sherman's bluecoats arrived to loot and torch the factory. Instead of tragedy, things worked out well for the fellow. After the Civil War the Yankees went home to towns from Maine to California and talked of the good smoke they had in Carolina. Soon it was a national passion.

1876- The invention of canned sardines.

1877- THE SATSUMA REBELLION-Part of the modernizing of Japanese society after the Mejii Restoration was the phasing out of the Samurai class. Some moved into the officer corps of the new western trained army. Many of the samurai, rather than bear the shame of demotion to peasantry, emigrated to Hawaii under the invitation of King David Kalakaua IV. But some samurai didn’t go quietly. When ordered by the government to give up their swords, samurai led by Takamuri Saigo revolted and has to be put down in several bloody battles. Takamuri committed suicide, but later all is forgiven. One of the Satsuma clan retainers will go to the Naval Academy and become Grand Admiral Togo, father of the modern Japanese Navy.

1890- The Los Angeles City Council voted to change the name of their main street, called Fort Street, to Broadway.

1906- In a White House wedding ceremony President Teddy Roosevelt saw his eldest daughter Alice married to Congressman Nicholas Longworth of Ohio. Alice was as free spirited as her father, Once when confronted about her escapades Teddy remarked " I can run the country or control Alice, but I cannot do both."

1911- General Motors installed in their Cadillacs the first automatic starters, replacing the handcrank. It was developed by Charles Kettering, the reason he did it was because a friend of his stopped to assist a young lady's who's engine had stalled. When he tried to get the engine started again using the hand crank, it kicked back and hit him in the jaw, breaking it and eventually causing gangrene, which eventually killed him.

Kettering spent many years at GM and started the Delco brand of auto parts. He also was responsible for fast drying paint which allowed a car to be painted in almost instantly on an assembly line instead of days. He sold the idea to an unbelieving client by having his car taken from the parking lot, painted and returned over a long lunch.

1912- THE NEW YORK ARMORY SHOW-Mabel Dodge and Gertrude Stein introduce Post expressionist modern art to the U.S. public. The first U.S. showings of Picasso, Matisse, Duchamp and the Italian futurists. The show was denounced as a "chamber of horrors" and Matisse was burned in effigy in Chicago. Marcel Duchamp's "Nude Descending a Staircase" was described by an art critic as "an explosion in a shingle factory". Duchamp was highly gratified, I believe.

1925- First issue of Harold Ross’s The New Yorker magazine.

1934- Pennsylvanian Amos Neyhardt started the first drivers education course.

1942- Ernst Lubitsch’s screwball comedy "To Be , Or Not To Be" debuted. Adolf Hitler enters a room and after everyone "Seig Heil" salutes him, he replies "Heil Myself!" But the comedy flopped, in part because it’s female star Carole Lombard had died tragically in a plane crash just before the film opened.

1945- Nazi scientists abandoned the Pennemunde, the V-2 rocket testing site as Allied armies overran the area.

1958 – Johnny Hart’s comic strip "BC" 1st appears

1960- Dr Martin Luther King Jr was arrested for leading the Alabama bus boycott.

1967 – The Beatles release "Penny Lane" & "Strawberry Fields"

1979- A Prairie Home Companion radio show starring Garrison Keilor was first broadcast nationally. It was a feature on Minnesota Public Radio since 1974.

1979- Barely four years after finishing the twenty year war with the United States and France to unify the country, The Communist government of Vietnam declared war on Communist Cambodia and picked a fight with Communist China, who invaded them. Go Figure. China calls it the Pedagogical War.

1987- Soviet premiere Mikhail Gorbachev revealed President Ronald Reagan's preoccupation with space aliens: "At our meeting in Geneva, the U.S. President said that if the earth faced an invasion by extraterrestrials, the United States and the Soviet Union would join forces to repel such an invasion. I shall not dispute the hypothesis, though I think it's early yet to worry about such an intrusion..."

1989- "Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure" premiered starring the most excellent Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter. Whoah-Dude!

1992- Jeffrey Dahmer sentenced to life in prison without parole for drugging, torturing, murdering, cannibalizing 15 young men. Two years later he was beaten to death in prison by another murderer who said God told him to.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: London’s police are called Bobbies. What police force is called The Old Bill?

Answer: It’s also a nickname for the London Police.


February 16, 2014 sun.
February 16th, 2014

Quiz: London’s police are called Bobbies. What police force is called The Old Bill?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: We’ve all heard of guerilla warfare, but what does the word guerilla mean, and who coined it?
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History for 2/16/2014
Birthdays: The Great Elector Frederick William of Brandenburg-Prussia, Henry Adams, Charles Taze Russell founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Edgar Bergen, James Baskett, Sonny Bono, John MacEnroe, Frank Welker, John Schlesinger, Faith Hubley, Katherine Cornell, John Corligiano, Kim Jong Il, Levar Burton is 57, Ice-T is 56

In ancient Rome it was the Festival of Quirinalia- when Romulus the founder of Rome was taken up into the clouds to become the god Quirinus.

Today is the feast of St. Juliana, who was tortured by both her father AND her boyfriend.
I know a lot of you girls out there can relate to that. She also liked to wrestle winged devils in her spare time.

1804- To The Shores of Tripoli....The U.S. Navy goes to North Africa to try and get the Barbary Pirates to leave Yankee merchant ships alone. The Barbary Pirates had been extorting money from Mediterranean shipping for three hundred years but they weren’t a problem while American shipping was under British Royal Navy protection. But now the little republic was on it’s own. When the Bey of Algiers demanded his usual payoff the U.S. Congress said: "Millions for defense, but not one cent for Tribute!" So the US Navy was sent.

The frigate U.S.S. Philadelphia was sent to Tripoli harbor to threaten, but only managed to get stuck on a sand bar and her entire crew became hostages. On this day Captain Stephen Decatur sneaked into Tripoli harbor and burned the Philadelphia. British Admiral Nelson said it was "one of the boldest actions of the age. "Actually more valuable was when Decatur landed a small force of U.S. Marines and Greek mercenaries who overland surprised the largest Algerian fortress at Dara and terrified the Bey of Algiers into making peace.

Decatur took full credit. He said "My country right or wrong", commanded Old Ironsides in the War of 1812, and was killed in a pistol duel in 1819.

1808- Napoleon invaded Spain. After he defeated the Spanish Army and occupied Madrid, the Spanish people didn’t roll over quietly like other nations. They fought on as Guerrillas, little wars. The violence in what the French called the Spanish Ulcer raged unabated until they were driven out by Wellington in 1814.

1842- British General Charles Gordon took command of the Ever Victorious Army in China to combat the Taiping Rebellion. The Ever Victorious Army was a force of mercenaries recruited by an American named Stone to help the Manchu Emperor defeat his enemies western style. The leader of the Taipings, Tzu Wang Ti, had told his followers he was the son of Jesus Christ come to Earth to lead them to victory. Gordon’s army soon destroyed the Taipings and Tzu committed suicide by eating as much gold leaf as was necessary.

1848- Frederic’ Chopin played his last concert in Paris. Slowly dying from tuberculosis, the 48 year old retired to the isle of Majorca, and died a year later.

1862-FORT HENRY & DONELSON.- Confederate strongholds Fort Henry and Ft. Donelson surrendered to an new Union general named Ulysses Grant. Rebel cavalry leader Nathan Bedford Forrest on his own initiative cut his way out of the encircling bluecoats rather than surrender. Southern commander Simon Bolivar Buckner was a personal friend of Sam Grant before the war and even lent Grant money when he was broke. Buckner now expected favorable terms, but Grant bluntly demanded Unconditional Surrender! The initials matched his name and the little cigar smoking drunk became a hero to a demoralized North. But Simon Bolivar Buckner never forgave him and never spoke to him until Grant was on his deathbed in 1885. I mean war is war but REALLY!

1863- THE DRAFT- U.S. Congress passed the National Conscription Act. The Confederates had started drafting a year before. Riots broke out in Northern cities whenever the draft board set up. Rich men could buy their way out of the draft for $300. John Rockefeller, Grover Cleveland and Teddy Roosevelt’s father took that way out. There was a popular song of the era called "We are Coming Father Abraham, Three Hundred Thousand More" which was changed by bitter wags to We are Coming Father Abraham, Three Hundred Dollars More."

1923- Bessie Smith made her first recording-"Downhearted Blues".

1937- Chemist Wallace Caruthers working for the Dupont Company received the patent for Nylon. He was trying to find something to replace horsehair bristles for toothbrushes. What he got was a fabric that could replace expensive silk. By World War II nylon stockings for women were so popular that limited by shortages resourceful women would draw a seam in pencil down their bare leg to impersonate the effect.

1942- Operation Drumroll- Hitler sent a wolfpack of 5 large longrange U-Boat submarines to sink ships along the American coastline.

1959- Fidel Castro takes the oath as President of Cuba.

1978- The first computer bulletin board goes on live. Ward Christensen and Randy Seuss's Computerized Bulletin Board System was an S-100 motherboard and CP/M, and a Hayes 300 baud modem. It still runs to this day, but the Internet has taken the place that BBS's used to have.

1987-"Family Dog" episode on Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories show. The first direction by Brad Bird.

1994- Apple announced the introduction of the digital camera, the first camera that needed no film but could load images directly into a computer.
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Question: We’ve all heard of guerilla warfare, but what does the word guerilla mean, and who coined it?

Answer: See above, 1808.


Feb 15, 2014 sat
February 15th, 2014

Question: We’ve all heard of guerilla warfare, but what does the word guerilla mean, and who coined it?

Answer to yesterdays question below: In 1988 hesitant Democratic Presidential candidate Mario Cuomo joked:” The American people would never elect a president who’s name ended in a vowel”. This year we’ve seen Rudy Giuliani, and now Barak Obama. So, have any U.S. Presidents had a name that ended in a vowel?
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History for 2/15/2014
Birthdays: Galileo, French King Louis XV, Michel Praetorius, Susan B. Anthony, Charles Tiffany, John Barrymore, Jane Seymour, Cesar Romero, Gale Sondergard, Melissa Manchester, Chris Farley, Claire Bloom, Chris MacDonald, Marissa Berenson is 67, Matt Groening is 60

Circa 980 AD.- Today is the Feast of Saint Sigfrid, an Englishman who became the patron saint of Sweden. At the invitation of Viking King Olaf Tryggvason, Sigfrid came north from Glastonbury and baptized Swedish King Olaf the White. Once when Sigfrid was away and his nephews minding his church, the pagans grabbed them and cut their heads off. Saint Sigfrid made the dismembered heads preach to the pagans about the coming Judgement Day. Musta scared the BeeJeezus out of them.

1720- Young Francois Voltaire had begun a career as a successful playwright with his first play Oedipe. But his second play Artemire was booed as loudly as his first play was cheered. The irate poet ran up on stage and argued with the audience for over an hour, but the audience still thought the play sucked.

1764-The town of Saint Louis Missouri was established by French fur trappers ( les voyageurs) led by Pierre Ligueste.

1793- Revolutionary France adopts the Tricolor flag. After Waterloo royalists tried to go back to the white with gold Fleur du Lys banner. But from 1848 on the Tricolor remained the national banner of the French nation.

1815- Things on the Island of Elba had gotten so quiet that the British officer in charge of Napoleon's exile, Sir Colin Cambell, informed his prisoner he was going on holiday to see his girlfriend in Italy. “Will you be back by the 28th?” Napoleon asked. “Yes, why ?” Oh, nothing. it's just my sister Princess Pauline is planning a party and we'd hate for you to miss it." In reality Nappy planned to escape and reconquer Europe. Pauline had her party on the 25th. Sir Colin returned to find his prisoner, and his career, had flown the coup.

1836- The Mexican Army of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna crossed the Rio Grande into the rebellious state of Texas. Santa Anna had mortgaged his own lands back home and put his field hands into uniform to bolster up the ranks of his army.

1861- When Texas joined the Confederacy, US frontier fort commanders worried about how to proceed. This day, without waiting for orders, General William Twiggs surrendered all army posts and war material of the Department of Texas to the new Confederate Government. The rebels gained tons of munitions and guns, and even some Egyptian camels from a failed experiment to introduce them to American deserts. President Elect-Abe Lincoln called Twiggs a traitor, and Twiggs responded by trying to unsuccessfully challenge former President Buchanan to a duel.

1862- Battle of Valverde New Mexico- Pro Confederate Texans fought Pro-Union Colorado and New Mexico militia in a sleepy adobe village. Texans captured 4 Yankee brass cannon and dragged them over mountains and deserts back to San Antonio. The Valverde Guns became a famous Texas unit.

1879-President Rutherford Hayes signed a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases in U.S. law courts, even though they still were not allowed to vote.

1898- The U.S.S. Battleship MAINE EXPLODES in Havana Harbor, killing 252 sailors. The cause was never confirmed, it may have been a spontaneous igniting of fumes in the gunpowder magazine, but the American public was urged to blame Spanish sabotage.

The next day a motor launch out to the site of the disaster rescued the ships cat clinging to the mainmast protruding from the water. U.S. public opinion against Spain was pushed by "yellow journalists" like William Randolph Hearst and Josef Pulitzer who told his correspondent artist Frederick Remington: "You supply the pictures, I'll supply the war."

American expansionists had been planning a war with Spain since 1896 and had tried to pick a fight over Cuba in 1871 and 1874. President McKinley, who Teddy Roosevelt described as having :"no more backbone than a chocolate eclair" gave in and declared War on Spain to cries of "Remember the Maine!". More Americans were killed on the USS Maine than in the entire Spanish American War, which was fought and over by December of the same year. America emerges as a power player on the world stage.

1903- British Major General Hector MacDonald was one of the most famous soldiers of the Victorian Era. Fighting Mac had laughed in the face of fierce Afghan tribesmen, Boer bullets and Dervish’s spears and always triumphed.

But he had a secret. The Love that Dare Not Speak It’s Name. He married young but abandoned his wife and son and now sought only the company of men. This day while serving as military commander of Ceylon, a leading cleric and several boys accused General MacDonald of homosexuality. Gays in the British Empire were not uncommon- Gordon of Khartoum, Cecil Rhodes of South Africa, even Earl Kitchener of Omdurman were known to prefer men to women. But never in the open. MacDonald tried to flee to England on medical leave but the General Staff ordered him to return and clear his name in a court martial. MacDonald instead went into his office and put his service revolver to his temple. All Edinburgh turned out for his funeral.

Still friends and admirers refused to admit he was gone. There was a rumor that a successful World War I German General von Mackensen was actually MacDonald under an alias, since von Mackensen stayed in the Balkans and never faced English troops in battle.

1933- ATTEMPTED ASSASINATION OF FDR- In Miami unemployed anarchist Guisseppe Zangara shot a pistol at President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a rally in Chicago. He missed FDR but killed the Mayor of Chicago Anton Czermak. Guisseppe
Zangara was tried and sent to the electric chair the following month.

1942- Japanese troops take Singapore. The British were confident the Japanese couldn't get an army through the thick Malaysian jungle, so they concentrated their heavy guns facing out to sea. Gen. Yamashita, the "Tiger of Malaya" put his army on bicycles and with light tanks burst through the cities defenses from the weaker landside. The “Gibraltar of the East’ fell with depressing speed – Prime Minister Winston Churchill admitted he was humiliated. He felt the surrender had shown the world just how old and brittle the British Empire had become.

1947- The British had administered the Palestinian territories like a colony of the Empire since the end of World War I. But faced with a shattered post World War II economy, fed up with Arab-Jewish terrorism and the mortification of having to put Jewish Holocaust survivors back into camps, this day the British Government announced it was going to leave the Palestine Mandate. The new United Nations could have the whole Arab-Israeli mess and bugger off!

1947- During the anti-Communist witchhunts, the FBI revoked the visa of famed documentary filmmaker and founder of the National Film Board of Canada John Grierson because they thought his politics were too lefty.

1950- Walt Disney’s Cinderella opened in general theater release.

1954- Future President and b-movie star Ronald Reagan tried doing a stand-up act at the Las Vegas Ramona Room with the "Honey Brothers", a comedy troupe similar to Abbot & Costello.

1965- Canada first flies the Maple Leaf flag.

1969- President Richard Nixon combined the twin holidays of Lincoln’s Birthday Feb. 12th and Washington’s Birthday Feb.22nd into one three day weekend and called it President’s Day. So instead of two days off in February you have one with no emotional meaning to it. Nixon does it to us again!

1984- Touchstone Pictures created so the Walt Disney Company could do more adult PG movies. Their first film was Splash, starring a tastefully topless Darryl Hannah.

1989- The last Soviet troops leave Afghanistan.

1991- In a speech, President George H. W. Bush Ist invited dissidents in Iraq to rise up against Saddam Hussein in Iraq. He declared: ”The Day of the Dictator is Over!” Iraqi Kurds, Shiites and Marsh Arabs rose in revolt, confident the US would back them. The US instead ignored them, and left them to be bombed and nerve-gassed by Saddams’ Republican Guard. Thousands died and the dictator remained another ten years.

1994- After months of insane bidding, Viacom’s Sumner Redstone beat out QVC’s Barry Diller to buy Paramount Pictures. The cost is $20 billion, although the studio’s net worth was estimated at $8 billion. When asked, Diller replied: “What’s done is done. Next.”

2002- Scientists announced the first discovery of fossilized dinosaur vomit.

2003- Millions of protesters march in cities from Hollywood to New York, Kiev to Capetown, London to Tokyo to protest US plans to attack Iraq. Nearly a million people marched in London alone. Bush invaded anyway.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: have any U.S. Presidents had a name that ended in a vowel?

Answer : Super Mario may have been saying in so many words that almost all US presidents have been WASPS ( all except Kennedy) but there were four presidents who’s name ended in a vowel. James Monroe, Franklin Pierce, Millard Fillmore and Calvin Coolidge.


Feb 14, 2014 Valentines Day
February 14th, 2014

Quiz: In 1988 hesitant Democratic Presidential candidate Mario Cuomo joked:” The American people would never elect a president who’s name ended in a vowel”. Since that we’ve had President Barack Obama. So, have any other U.S. Presidents had a name that ended in a vowel?

Answer to yesterdays question below: Why is a detective called a private eye?
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History for 2/14/2014
Birthdays: Joshua Norton aka Joshua Ist Emperor of the United States 1819, Jack Benny- real name Benjamin Koubeilsky, Frederick Douglas, Christopher Latham Scholes- inventor of the typewriter, George Washington Ferris inventor of the Ferris Wheel, Pier Francesco Cavalli, Jimmy Hoffa, Vic Morrow, Skeezix Wallet (character in Gasoline Alley comic strip), Gregory Hines, Ignaz Friedman, Thelma Ritter, Carl Andersen, Hugh Downs, Jim Kelly, Florence Henderson, Meg Tilly, Alan Parker,
Margaret Knight the inventor of the flat bottom paper bag still in use in supermarkets today. The character Lara Croft, 1967.

Happy Valentines Day!

This holiday was originally the Roman fertility festival LUPERCALIA, when the young men of Rome wearing nothing but olive oil, would run through the streets waving oak branches over the heads of young girls to inspire fertility. Then they would all go to the orgy.
Keeping with the custom of the early Church to sanctify pagan holidays with saints days-. Pope Gelasius Ist decided to rename the holiday for St.Valentine, who was martyred by Emperor Claudius II Gothicus in 295 A.D.. The olive oil and the orgy was out, but tradition has it that Valentine in prison kept communicating with his flock by writing little notes and tossing them through the bars.. These notes or "Valentines" fused with the romance notion of the old Roman party and became a custom for lovers as early as the 14th century.

44BC- After years of Civil War Gaius Julius Caesar was now master of Rome. He kept most of the institutions of the Roman Republic but declared himself Dictator and Consul for life. He had been heard to say “the Republic is just a word, without real substance”. People wondered if he was out to make himself king. The concept of a King was hateful to most Romans, regardless of their political apathy.
This day at a Lupercalia celebration one of his biggest brown-nosing lieutenants, Marc Antony, publicly tried to put a crown on Caesar’s head. Caesar refused it twice. Instead of popular enthusiasm, this gesture alarmed many. A conspiracy formed to kill Caesar led by Marcus Brutus, a descendant of Junius Brutus the founder of the republic, and Gaius Cassius Longinus, who had fought for Pompey against Caesar.

Today in the Orthodox calendar is the Feast of Saint’s Cyril and Methodius, the “Apostles to the Slavs”, who created the Russian (Cyrillic) alphabet out of Greek and Hebrew characters.

1779- Captain James Cook was killed and eaten by angry Hawaiian natives after an argument over hostages. Despite heavy attack the shore party rallied and fought their way back to the longboats thanks to their second in command, ensign William Bligh, the future Captain Bligh of the Bounty.

1797- Battle of Cape St. Vincent. The British Navy under Admiral Jervis defeated a Spanish fleet off the coast of Portugal. Admiral Nelson was there in support.

1814 Battle of Vauchamps. Napoleon beats Marshal Blucher and his invading Prussian army. Blucher was called Old Fowvarts (Forward) because that was his favorite order.

1824- KING CAUCUS- Just in case you wished for a more innocent time in American politics, consider this election. A group of powerful Congressmen of the dominant Whig party tried to predetermine that the next president would be easy to control by nominating William Crawford, who was blind and paralyzed from a stoke. Remember in those days of poor communications most citizens would never even see a President except for an artist's picture in a newspaper.
The scheme was foiled and John Quincy Adams was elected president, even though more people voted for Andrew Jackson. This was done via another scheme hatched with Henry Clay that had manipulated entire states into his camp when not one soul had voted for him, then traded them to Adams for the Secretary of State job.
The later angry public outrage over "King Caucus" led to liberalization of the election process. Jackson easily defeated Adams re-election bid in 1828.

1848- President James Knox Polk is the first president to sit for a photograph. The daguerreotype was taken by a young Matthew Brady.

1859- Oregon became a state.

1870- The first elevated commuter railway was inaugurated in New York City at Greenwich and 9th Ave.

1876- THE TELEPHONE- One of the strangest coincidences in technology history was that two men invented the same device at almost the same moment.
Scotsman Alexander Graham Bell in Boston and Elijah Gray in Chicago were both working on a device to transmit human voices instantaneously over wires. Each knew of the others work and labored furiously to be the first. When Bell was able to get a weak sound of his voice over the wire his sponsor and future father in law Robert Hubbard wanted to file the patent. But Bell procrastinated until he felt it was perfect. Exasperated, Hubbard took the schematics and went to the office to file the patent himself. What he found out later, was he filed the patent barely two hours ahead of Gray in Chicago!

Gray tried to challenge the patent. US courts decided that since Grays attorney had filed a “caveat” to a patent- which meant I’m working on an idea” while Hubbard & Bell filed a patent “I’ve invented the idea”, they awarded the patent to Bell. Elijah Gray still went on to invent more things, founded the Western Electric Company and grew very rich. But Alexander Graham Bell got the credit as inventor of the telephone.

1884- 25 year old Teddy Roosevelt was an up and coming member of the New York State legislature. On this day he received a double shock - both his mother and young wife died on the same day. Shattered, he abandoned his political career and fled to the Badlands of North Dakota to be a rancher and deputy sheriff. He said the landscape was so bleak it "looked like the personification of a poem by Edgar Alan Poe."

1886- Los Angeles began to export its first trainload of oranges back east.

1887- Several leading French intellectuals including Guy DeMauppasant, Balzac and Charles Gounod publish a letter to the President of the Republic begging him not to build the Eiffel Tower.-" A Useless Monstrosity, which even America with it's crazed passion for commerce has the sense to reject! And what if it lasts twenty years ?" There were plans to pull down the tower 1907 but by then it had new use as a wireless radio antenna.

1907- Golden Books incorporated. One of their artists was Gustav Tennegren, who would become the stylist of Walt Disney's Pinnochio.

1917- I.A. Lilly became the first female N.Y. subway train conductor.

1919-THE SPARTACISTS- The government offices in Berlin are seized by Communists. Inspired by the Revolution in Russia they try to declare the Soviet Republic of Germany. They called themselves Spartacists after Spartacus the leader of the slave rebellion against ancient Rome. Right-wing paramilitary private militias called frei-korps led by former Imperial officers entered the city and battle the Bolsheviks for control of the streets. One of the reasons why businessmen in the west were later so cozy with Hitler was their relief that Germany didn’t turn into another Soviet Union.

1920- The League of Women Voters formed.

1927-Alfred Hitchcock’s first suspense film “The Lodger” opened in London.

1929- Dr. Fleming discovered penicillin,

1929- the ST. VALENTINE'S DAY MASSACRE- Scarface Al Capone's gang dressed as Chicago police round up a bunch of Bugs Moran's hoods at the S.M.C. Cartage Company garage at 2122 North Clark Street and blow them away with tommy guns. Dr Reinhardt Schwimmer, one of the men killed, wasn’t even a mobster but an optometrist who liked to hang out with gangsters to experience life on the edge. The seven men had 200 bullets in them. They even shot their dog. When Moran was asked who he thought had done it, he replied: ”Only Capone kills like that.” Big Al himself was in Key Biscayne Florida having lunch with the Dade County District Attorney.

One of the triggermen was Machine-gun Jack McGurn, but when questioned by police his girlfriend testified he had been in bed with her all that day. Newspapers called her his 'Blonde-Alibi". Machine Gun McGurn was bumped off shortly after.
At the massacre site amazingly one gangster- Joe Duesenberg- lived long enough for police to question. But to the end he wouldn't spill the beans. When asked who shot him full of bullets, he replied:" Nobody!" and died.

1931- Tod Browning's film of the play Dracula, starring Hungarian actor's union organizer and recreational morphine addict Bela Lugosi, premiered.

1939- The German battleship Bismarck christened in Kiel harbor.

1942- Japanese forces attacked Sumatra.

1943- Battle of the Kasserine Pass began- Rommel the Desert Fox gave the U.S. Army in Africa it's baptism by ambushing it in the narrow Kasserine Pass. The only time in WWII American troops broke and ran in panic.

1946- John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert Unveil The ENIAC, the first all electronic circuited computer, started up at the University of Pennsylvania.

1949- The United States charged that the Soviet Union had as many as 14 million people in prison camps in Siberia, called Gulags.

1962- First Lady Jackie Kennedy gave a tour to network television cameras of the private living quarters of the White House. It’s the first time most Americans had ever seen the inside of the Executive Mansion. She worked mostly without a script, adding her own details as she went along. The day after the broadcast, Pres. Kennedy called the FCC just to see how here Nielsen ratings were. They were much higher than his speeches ever were.

1965- The Detroit home of black activist Malcolm X was firebombed.

1967- Former kinky pinup model Betty Page married Harry Lear.

1968- Part of the Vietnamese Tet Offensive was the Communists overrunning the old Imperial Capitol of Hue. This day US Marines finally recaptured the cities Imperial citadel after weeks of bitter house to house fighting. The Communist command center was set up in a throne room called the Place of Perpetual Peace.

1979- Digital music composer Walter Carlos, who scored the film A Clockwork Orange, announced he had undergone a sex change and was now Wendy Carlos.

1989- Iranian Imam Ayatollah Khomeni issued a 'fatwah' -death sentence against Pakistani born novelist Salman Rushdi because he considered parts of his book "The Satanic Verses" to an insult to the prophet Mohammed. The fatwah was finally revoked in 2000 by the Supreme Islamic Council ( Iran's equivalent of the Supreme Court ).

1991-Meg Ryan married Dennis Quaid.
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Yesterdays Question: Why is a detective called a private eye?

Answer: Former Abe Lincoln bodyguard Alan Pinkerton opened the first privately owned detective agency. Their original ad featured an omnipresent eye and the catch phrase, “We Never Sleep.” It was so well known that detectives became known as "private eyes."


Feb 13, 2014
February 13th, 2014

Quiz: Why is a detective called a private eye?

Answer to yesterdays question below: Where does the term “Cloud-CuckooLand” come from?
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History for 2/13/2014
Birthdays: Giambattista Piazzetta, Bess Truman, Grant Wood, Lord Randolph Churchill, Fyodor Chaliapin, Peter Tork, Oliver Reed, Chuck Yeager, Woody Hayes, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Carol Lynley, Kim Novak is 81, George Segal is 79, Peter Gabriel, Jerry Springer is 69 Stockard Channing is 69, Kelly Hu, Mena Suvari

Happy International Radio Day!

1503- Today during the endless string of Italian wars of the Renaissance, outside the town of Barletta things were interrupted by a unique event. Angered by a French captain who said that the Italians were a race of sissy-girlie-men, thirteen Italian knights challenged thirteen French knights to single combat. Both armies lined up and cheered like a sporting event. The knights fought until all thirteen Frenchmen were down.

1547-Catherine Howard, the 5th wife of Henry VIII was beheaded. The execution was held on the exact spot where wife Number 2 Anne Boleyn was beheaded six years before.

1635- The Boston Public School for Boys opened, the oldest public school in North America.

1692- THE GLENCOE MASSACRE. Pro-English Scottish forces try to make the Highlands accept King William of Orange and renounce allegiance to the Stuart dynasty by singling out a particularly roudy clan for annihilation. The MacDonalds of Glencoe were smaller than the MacDonalds of Keppoch and nobody much liked them anyway, so they were to be the example. Ironically the leader of the clan was trying to get King James in exile to release him from his oath of obedience when the soldiers of Clan Argyl and Cambell came visiting.
The soldiers used the highland custom of hospitality to gain entrance to the MacDonald hall then started slaughtering everyone just when their hosts were bringing out wine. This blatant betrayal of hospitality and the magnitude of the massacre backfired on the perpetrators and made Glencoe a bitter symbol of Scottish Nationalism.

1693- The Virginia College William & Mary founded.

1742- The first great English Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, resigned when his Tory government fell after ruling for 20 years.

1765- Dr. Benjamin Franklin stood up in the British House of Commons and debated the American protest of the Royal Stamp Act against all the government MP’s. He won and the hated Act was repealed. This probably postponed the Revolution for a decade.

1820- Five years after Waterloo and twenty-five after the French Revolution guillotined his great uncle, the Duc de Berry, young heir of the Bourbon kings, was assassinated outside of the Paris Opera by a republican terrorist. The family's dynastic survival would now depend on the minor branch, the House of Orleans. If you’re English, it’s like if no one was left to reign after Elizabeth but Prince Harry’s kids.
In the mean time Napoleon was sitting in exile on the equatorial island of St. Helena. If you are a fan of the "Napoleon was poisoned theory", modern scientists doing radioactive analysis of hair samples noted that after this incident the arsenic content in Napoleon's body goes up 150% after this incident.

1863-President Lincoln hosted a wedding reception at the White House for P.T. Barnum star attraction General Tom Thumb and his bride. Lincoln was heavily criticized at the time for having such a frivolous party during the depths of the Civil War.

1866-The first daylight bank job. In Missouri the Clay County Savings Bank is robbed of $60,000 by a young ex confederate guerrilla named Jesse James.

1867- The Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss Jr premiered in Vienna.

1886- Artist Thomas Eakins resigned his professorship at the Philadelphia Academy of Art in disgust when he was attacked for having male nudes in his art class with women as students.

1914-ASCAP founded.

1917- German spy H-21. Also known as the beautiful Mata Hari, was arrested in Paris.

1932- Free Eats, the first Our Gang short comedy to feature Spanky MacFarland.

1933-comic character Blondie married Dagwood Bumstead.

1939- Producer David O. Selznick replaced directors on Gone With the Wind. George Cukor was out, Victor Fleming was in after completing The Wizard of Oz. Vivien Leigh liked Cukor who was known for directing women, but Clark Gable convinced the producers that they needed an action director. About 15 minutes of George Cukor’s work remains in the picture. Victor Fleming loved Clark, but didn't get along with Vivien Leigh and came to hate the controling Selznick. David O. brought in Sam Wood to direct second unit when Fleming fell behind.
At the end Victor Fleming had one more tantrum when Selznick proposed giving Wood and Cukor co- screen credit.. Yet despite it all, Gone with the Wind became a box office phenomenon. Years later Clark Gable came up to Selznick at a party and said: "Maybe I'm wrong about disliking you David, 'Gone With the Wind' keeps getting re-released and keeps me a star." Selznick once said:” My biggest fear is that all I shall ever be remembered for is producing Gone With the Wind.”

1935-German immigrant Bruno Richard Hauptman found guilty of the kidnap-murder of the Lindbergh baby and electrocuted. The chief of police in the town of Bergen New Jersey where the murder occurred was the father of Desert Storm General Norman Schwarzkopf.

1937- Hal Foster's comic hero Prince Valiant first appeared.

1945- THE FIREBOMBING OF DRESDEN.- Some experts say the annihilation of this militarily defenseless city was an act of revenge for Rotterdam and Coventry, the fact was at the Yalta conference several days earlier Stalin had asked that the major German cities on his eastern front be bombed by his Anglo-American Allies to delay Nazi divisions withdrawn from Norway and Holland to be used to slow the Red Army 's advance. Dresden was to be a major assembly point for these new reinforcements. Still, it's a legacy the Allies find troubling.
On this day in the early evening 845 British bombers followed by 700 American dropped thousands of tons of incendiary bombs in a pattern calculated to cause a firestorm. The temperature reached 800 degrees, the church bells melted and the oxygen was literally sucked out of the air by cyclonic winds. By conservative estimate 35,000-100,000 people died. Young American P.O.W. Kurt Vonnengut was in a group made to help dig out bodies. The experience changed his life, and he later wrote his accounts in the classic anti-war novel "Slaughterhouse-5"

1959 -Happy Birthday BARBIE ! Mattel introduces the plastic nymph, originally named by the German artist who created her 'Lily" but changed to 'Barbie" by an exec who's daughter Barbara was nicknamed that.

1964- The Invention of Cool Whip.

1996- The off-Broadway musical Rent by John Lawson, premiered
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Where does the term “Cloud-CuckooLand” come from?

Answer: As World War II was ending, German generals discussed in private Adolf Hitlers increasingly irrational outbursts. Ordering counter-attacks with armies that no longer existed. They called his ranting “vookencuckooschein” Cloud CuckooLand.


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