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January 7th, 2009 weds.
January 7th, 2009

Quiz: Whose foot became the measurement for THE foot? As in feet, inches.

Answer: What is the origin of the phrase- He’s on the level?
History for 1/7/2009
Birthdays: Jacques Montgolfier, Joseph Bonaparte- Napoleons older brother, St. Bernadette of Lourdes, Revolutionary War General Israel Putnam, Francois Poulenc, Butterfly McQueen, Adolph Zukor, Charles Adams, E.L. Doctorow, Jean Pierre Rampal, Millard Filmore*, Katie Couric, William Peter Blatty the author of Jaws, David Caruso, Nicholas Cage- originally Nicolo Coppola is 45


Millard Fillmore is famous, if you could call it that, as Americas most irrelevant president err…So far. This day the Millard Filmore Society has a banquet in his birthplace of Buffalo, N.Y.

1610- Galileo aimed his telescope into the heavens and first noted moons of Jupiter- Ganymede, Io and Europa.

1785- Aeronauts Jean Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries crossed the English Channel in a gas balloon. To keep from crashing before attaining the French coastline they had to jettison most of their equipment, including silk covered oars intended to use to row through the air. Blanchard even threw his trousers overboard to lighten the load.

1789-THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION -Meaning when the electors nominated by the various state legislatures cast their votes .The Electoral College is a remnant of this. Popular elections really didn't catch on until the 1820's. At this time only white, male, landowning literate, freeborn men could vote, so out of a population of 4 million about 160,000 voted; in England at this time only 10% of the male population could vote.

George Washington won overwhelmingly over John Adams and John Hancock.

The first election also produced the first sore-losers. Hancock, who after all was the leader of Congress all through the Revolution and had that really big signature, was so disgusted that when Washington paid an official visit to his home state of Massachusetts, Hancock snubbed him. John Adams was annoyed about being only Vice President of a country he felt he invented under a man he felt he created. He was the one who suggested the big Virginian with the bad teeth head the army. John Adams hoped his position of Vice President would evolve powers not unlike an English Prime Minister, with the President a powerless figurehead. But Washington's annoyance with Adams ensured he, and consequentially all future vice presidents, would have little serious work to do, uh...except for Cheney...

1839- Frenchman Louis Daguerre announces the invention of Photography.( Just three weeks later on the 31st William Fox Talbot will say HE invented it first ). Despite the controversy of credit, the Daguerrotype photgraphic process becomes the popular system worldwide in the nineteenth century. The image of Lincoln on the five dollar bill is from a daguerreotype.

1894-" The Sneeze" The first motion picture film to be copyrighted by Thomas Edison and his engineer Canadian W.K.L. Dickson

1924- George Gershwin completed his Rhapsody for Jazz Orchestra, popularly called the Rhapsody in Blue. Ira Gershwin came up with the name after seeing a museum show of Whistler paintings with names like "Composition in Grey, Nocturne in Green," etc.

1926- George Burns married Gracie Allen.

1927- The first private telephone call from America to England.

1929-With the approval of Edgar Rice Burroughs, artist Hal Foster began drawing the Tarzan comic strip.

1934 –The First Buck Rogers adventures starring Olympic gold medal swimmer Buster Crabbe.

1935- Roger Sherwood’s play the Petrified Forrest opened to smash revues at the Broadhurst Theater on Broadway. Leslie Howard got great notices, but the real find was an obscure hard drinking actor with sad eyes playing the gangster Duke Mantee – Humphrey Bogart. In the audience was Jack Warner of Warner Bros, who decided Mr Bogart might just make it in motion pictures.

1942-BATAAN-Gen. Homma's Japanese army attacked Gen. Douglas MacArthur's American and Phillipino last stand defense line on the Bataan Peninsula. From today until late April,the American's wage a desperate fighting retreat against overwhelming Japanese forces down the Florida-shaped peninsula, hoping for reinforcements from America that would never come. They sang:

"We're the battling bastards of Bataan,
No moma, no papa, no Uncle Sam.
No aunts, no uncles, sisters or nieces;
no pills, no planes, no artillery pieces.
We're the battling bastards of Bataan,
And nobody gives a damn.."

MacArthur his long life would never forgive Franklin Roosevelt for his lack of support for the Philippines. When he heard of FDR’s death in 1945, the general ungraciously quipped: " He never told the truth where a good lie would do..."

1943- Nicholas Tesla died. The inventor of AC current, rotary field motors and the Tesla coil, in his last years he had been experimenting with telegraphy and trying to develop a death ray for the US Army.

1961- In Providence Rhode Island a bunch of kids were stopped by police for driving a round a neighborhood store suspiciously carrying guns and masks. One 21 year old who did three days in jail for carrying a concealed weapon later became a pretty good actor- Al Pacino.

1966- A hippie group from what would become Silicon Valley, called the Grateful Dead, got their first gig playing a club called the Matrix. They would be one of the most successful rock bands in history, only breaking up after the death of their leader, Jerry Garcia in 1995.
Yesterday’s Quiz: What is the origin of the phrase- He’s on the level?

Answer: The symbol of the medieval guild that became the Freemasons was a builders level. Saying you were a member meant that you were honest, without quile and pure, on the level.