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January 26th, 2008 sat
January 26th, 2008

Quiz: Who coined the term: A Last Ditch Effort?

Yesterday¹s Quiz answered below- What does it mean when people call something ³ A Potemkin Village²?
History for 1/26/2008

Birthdays: General Douglas MacArthur, Stephan Grappelli, Angela Davis, Maria Von Trapp, Wayne Gretsky "The Great One" is 47, Eartha Kitt, Roger Vadim, Jules Feiffer, Henry Jaglom, Anita Baker, Edward Abbey, Scott Glenn, David Straitharn is 59, Randy Rhodes, Ellen DeGeneres is 50, Paul Newman is 83

1758 - French troops burn at the stake the Haitian rebel slave leader Mackandal. A practicioner of Voodoo, his followers believed that at the moment of death he transformed himself into a mosquito and brought the Yellow Fever sickness to kill 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".

1788-AUSTRALIA'S NATIONAL DAY.- A small fleet of ships carrying 700 convicts and 200 soldiers and families lands in Australia at Sydney Cove. The aboriginal people met them on the beach with calls of "Warra-warra!" which means "Go Away!" After a century Australians began to form their unique 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.

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.

1865-Despite his Civil War victories General William T Sherman had been criticized for having a hard attitude towards black slaves, This day he answered his critics by issuing his General Order # 15, stating that every freed black American has the right to "40 acres and a mule".

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' 18 year old autistic stepbrother who had nothing to do with the outlaws, and it blew the right arm off their mother. The James Gang were no where near the farm that night.

1911- Richard Strauss' opera Die Rosenkavalier opens in Vienna. Kaiser Wilhelm was offended by the E.T. Hoffman story about aristocrats sleeping around with 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 Vladimir Lenin to Leningrad. In 1991 they changed the name back to Saint Petersburg.

1934- Hollywood producer Sam Goldwyn bought the rights to the L. Frank Baum book the Wonderful Wizard of Oz to develop into a movie.

1939-Generalissimo Franco¹s Fascist troops capture Barcelona. The last major stronghold of the Spanish Republic.

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

1945- The Soviet Army finally liberated the Auschwitz and Birkenau death camps. The first soldier to reach the camp was a Mongolian scout on a horse. This led one Jewish survivor to wonder if the Nazis now had intended to hand them over to the Japanese! The Russians hanged Auschwitz commandant Rudolph Hoess in front of the villa in camp he and his family lived in. He was not the Rudolph Hess who flew to London in 1941 and died in Spandau Prison. Rescued Auschwitz survivors included the future Nobel Laureate Primo Levi, and the founder of Commodore Computers Jack Trammel.

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

1962- Mob boss Charles Lucky Lucciano 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 do his biography. Lucky Lucciano was the criminal genius that converted gangsters from storefront street gangs to corporate syndicates with ties to legitimate business and government. He also helped the Italian-Sicilian system of La Mafia- family clan allegiance, to supplant the earlier Irish-Jewish gangsters. Lucky was deported to Italy in the 1950¹s and retired when his appeals to return were 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 bring the city to a standstill.

1979- Nelson Rockefeller found dead in his office" en flagrante delicto" with Meaghan 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 former Vice President's death was an open secret in New York City. 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 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.

1983- the software LOTUS 1-2-3 premiered that helped make IBM¹s PC into the most popular business computers in the US.

1984-HELP ME TITO! During the filming of a Pepsi commercial a magnesium flash ignited singer Michael Jackson¹s jericurl hair gel causing him 3rd degree burns,

1988- Andrew Lloyd Weber¹s musical Phantom of the Opera premiered.

1996-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies to a grand jury, the first "first lady" to do so. The only earlier incident that comes to mind for me was in 1862 when a senate committee convened to investigate whether Mary Todd Lincoln was a Confederate spy.

1998- The Japanese town of Ito was attacked by a pack of berserk monkeys, injuring 26.
Yesterday Quiz: What does it mean when people call something ³ A Potemkin Village²?

Answer: Czarina Catherine the Great was anxious to get foreign investment and skills to modernize Russia. Her chief minister Prince Potemkin wooed overseas investment by touring western businessmen though model communities. These were just painted facades covering up medieval squalor. Later the German, English and Dutch companies were housed in a sealed off village built to be a perfect copy of a western European town. Today a Potemkin Village means a situation, village, factory, vacation villa, etc. that is presented falsely as a " typical " example available for the people of the country.