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February 4th, 2008 mon
February 4th, 2008

There is news of a breakthrough in the Writers Strike. It's hard to say if it is real or not. Being someone who has been union contract negotiations before, the best sign is that both sides have stopped talking to the press. That means the posturing for publicity is done, and the real deal is being made. I wish them all luck.

Quiz: Sometimes people wishing to be witty about a bad situation, say “ that’ll be interesting, but in the Chinese Sense.” What does that mean, and why is it Chinese?

Answer to yesterday’s question below.
history for 2/4/2008
Birthdays: Francois Rabelais, Big Bill Haywood, Fernand Leger', Charles Lindbergh, the Agha Khan, Betty Friedan, Rosa Parks, Erich Liensdorf, Alice Cooper, Dan Quayle, Ida Lupino, Conrad Bain, McKinlay Kantor, George Romero, Lisa Eichhorn, boxer Oscar De La Hoya, Clyde Tumbaugh - the amateur astronomer who discovered the planet Pluto in 1930.

211 AD Roman Emperor Septimius Severus died, despite praying every night to a line up of statues that included Zeus, Apollo, Mithras, Moses and Jesus. This guy wasn’t taking any chances! His two sons Caracalla and Geta became co-emperors. That didn’t last too long because by December Caracalla killed his brother and ruled alone.

1703- THE 47 RONIN- A Japanese story that has inspired hundreds of play novels and films.The Lord of Ako, Asano Nagori quarreled with Kiru, the chief of protocol for the Shogun, and struck at him with his sword. To attack a representative of the Shogun was an insult no matter how justified, so Nagori was ordered to commit suicide (seppuku) and his samurai declared Ronin, or discharged freelancers. The Ronin banded together to plan their revenge. They ambushed Kiru, and placed his severed head on the grave of their master. Then they sat in his house to quietly await judgement. After consulting several Shinto bishops, the Shogun could see no dishonor in what they did. So instead of executing them as criminals, on this day they were allowed to commit suicide, which they did unquestioningly. Today their gravesite is a popular shrine in Japan as a model of total dedication to duty.

1783- Britain declared a formal cease fire with it's former colonies the U.S.
ending the American Revolution.

1826- James Fenimore Cooper’s novel “The Last of the Mohicans” was published. The character of wild frontiersman Natty Bumpo called Hawkeye has been referred to as the first American superhero.

1961- United Artists released the Misfits, the last film of stars Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift. John Huston directed and Arthur Miller wrote the screenplay. The film flopped in its initial run but has since gained classic status.

1968- Old beatnik Neal Cassady was found dead in Mexico. Cassady was not an intellectual but his wild non-conformist lifestyle was the inspiration for his companion author Jack Kerouac to write his greatest novel " On the Road'. While Kerouac disliked hippie kids Cassady in 1967 drove the first Hippie Bus filled with LSD advocates like Ken Kesey. Jacques Kerouac also died in the same year 1968 of advanced alcoholism.

1983- Pop singer Karen Carpenter died of anorexia-nervosa. She was 32 and only weighed 77 pounds. Her death brought to national prominence how the social pressure to stay thin could lead to this deadly condition.

2003-Legendary rock and roll producer Phil Spector allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend, actress Lana Clarkson at his LA mansion. Spector created the Wall of Sound concert technique and produced for the Beatles among many others. Clarkson appeared in Scarface and Fast Times At Ridgemont High. The few days before, Phil Spector said to the British Daily Telegraph, "I don't know, genetically, whether or not that had something to do with what I am or who I became. I would say I'm probably relatively insane, to an extent. I take medication for schizophrenia, but I wouldn't say I'm schizophrenic. I have a bipolar personality, which is strange.” His first trial was a mistrial, now he is due for another.

Question: What religious denomination was once called the Russelites?

Answer: The Jehovah’s Witnesses, after their founder Charles Taze-Russell.