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Feb 28, 2013
February 28th, 2013

Question: When speaking about lenses and cameras, people use the name Argus. Who was Argus?

Yesterday’s Question: Has a horror film ever won the Oscar for Best Picture?
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History for 2/28/2013
Birthdays: Michel de Montaigne, The Marquis de Montcalm, Samuel 'Zero" Mostel, Vasclav Nijinsky, Molly Picon, Gavin MacCleod, Sir John Tenniel, Bernadette Peters, Bubba Smith, Mario Andretti, Milton Caniff- the creator of Terry and the Pirates", Ben 'Bugsy' Siegel, Tommy Tune, Vincente Minelli, Linus Pauling, Dorothy Stratton, Rae Dong Chong, John Tarturro, Jack Abramoff

Today is the Feast of St. Hilarus, who was a Bishop at the infamous Synod of Brigands. Held at Ephesus in 449 a.d., the theological debate of Church elders over where to put the Feast of Easter got so out of hand that the Patriarch of Constantinople was beaten to death, and Hilarus jumped out of a window to escape the brawl.

1574- The Spanish Inquisition sets up shop in the New World. The first two Mexican Lutherans were burned at the stake in a huge auto-da-fe in Mexico City.

1745- MADAME LA POMPADOUR- At a masked ball at the Paris Hotel du Ville King Louis XV first met his hot mistress Madame La Pompadour. She was dressed as Diana the goddess of the Hunt. The King was dressed as a Yew Tree. She was a gorgeous girl named Jeanne Poisson d’Etoiles who was not only beautiful, but highly intelligent. Even her mother predicted “she is a morsel fit for a king”. Louis ennobled her with the title Madame la Pompadour. Her husband was given a job as a tax collector and told to get lost. Madame La Pompadour spent the next thirteen years not only ruling Louis’ heart but France as well and sponsored many artists and scholars like Voltaire, Rousseau and Diderot. Long after their sexual attraction faded, Louis and Jeanne remained friends.

1753- Pope Clement XIII finally gave permission for the Catholic Bible to be translated into languages other than Latin, something people were burned for earlier.

1827- First U.S. Railroad incorporated The Baltimore & Ohio (B&O).

1835-Dr. Elias Lohnnrot published the Finnish national epic poem Kalevala,. It’s about the first man Vanjiamoimmen, who was born old and searched for the magical machine called the Samo, kept in a mountain with seven locks, guarded by seven wizards chanting Samo, Samo!

1882- The first college store opened, COOP, this one attached to Harvard.

1896- Robert Paul demonstrates a kinetograph to the Royal Institute.
The British Cinema is born.

1916- Writer Henry James died. William Faulkner said "He was the nicest old lady I ever met." H.L. Mencken eulogized: "Henry James was an idiot, and a Boston idiot to boot, of which there is no form lower." Mencken was equally caustic of other regions.

1920-.Evans vs. Gore – Al Gore’s grandfather. The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the legality of the Income Tax amendments, saying:” The power to tax carries with it the power to embarrass and destroy “. Isn’t that reassuring.?.

1920 Maurice Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin debuted..

1921-THE KRONSTADT REBELLION-The sailors of the Russian Baltic Fleet had been the most politically radical group in the armed forces, Trotsky's "pride and joy". Their naval guns trained on the Winter Palace helped win the Bolshevik revolution. But by 1921 they were disillusioned with "the nightmare rule of communist dictatorship" . The fleet in St. Petersburg harbor mutinied, demanding freedom of speech and press, and the right to form labor unions. Lenin and Trotsky’s reaction? ”We will shoot them down like partridges.” They sent 20,000 Red Army troops charging across the ice of the frozen harbor to attack the Red Navy. They crushed the sailor's revolt but the cost in human lives was so high the Finnish government complained of impending epidemics when the ice thaws start to wash corpses all over their Baltic coastline.

1938- President Franklin Roosevelt introduced in Congress a bill to make the practice of Lynching black men a Federal crime. After a lengthy filibuster by Southern Conservative Senators FDR caved in and withdrew the bill.

1940- At the Oscars ceremony Hattie McDaniel became the first black actress to win an Oscar for her role in Gone With The Wind. When the NAACP criticized her for portraying a stereotyped black mammy, McDaniel snapped:” I’d rather make $5000 a week playing a maid than $5 a week being a maid!”

1940- Richard Wright’s novel Native Son, about growing up black in America, first published.

1942- Battle of the Java Sea. Japanese forces shoot up a U.S.-Dutch naval task force.

1953-Chuck Jone’s short cartoon “Duck-Amuck” debuts- called by Steven Speilberg the Citizen Kane of Animation.

1953- Englishman James Watson walked into his local pub and announced to the barman” Barman, Set them up, I’ve just discovered the secret of life!” That morning Watson & Francis Crick had indeed came upon the DNA double helix molecule. They were building on the work of Rosalind Franklin, who died before the duo received the Nobel.

1968- Former teen idol singer Frankie Lyman OD’s on heroin.

1975- A fog bank crossing Freeway 91 near Corona California caused a 300 car pile up.

1982- BP oil tycoon J.Paul Getty had died in 1976 the richest man on earth. Getty found his immediate family so annoying he left the bulk of his estate to his little Getty Museum in Malibu California. This day after all attempts of the family to challenge his will were exhausted, the Getty Museum was endowed with two billion dollars and immediately became the richest museum on earth.

1983- The last episode of the television series M*A*S*H. It was the single most watched TV episode in history.

1986- Swedish Prime Minister Olav Palme was assassinated as he left a movie theater. The murderer has never been found.

1993- Government agents arriving at David Koresh’s Branch-Davidian Cultists Compound in Waco, Texas are met with gunfire. Six were killed. The FBI siege commences that lasts until April 19th.

2001- Seattle rocked by a 7.0 earthquake. That’ll stir your Starbucks!
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Yesterdays Question: Has a horror film ever won the Oscar for Best Picture?

Answer: In 1991, Silence of the Lambs became the first and so far only.


Feb 27, 2013 weds.
February 27th, 2013

Question: Has a horror film ever won the Oscar for Best Picture?

Yesterday’s question answered below: What does it mean to have some “hair of the dog”..?
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History for 2/27/2013
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Constantine 280AD, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Steinbeck, Ralph Nader, Marion Anderson, Chelsea Clinton, Franchot Tone, William Demarest, James Worthy, Mirella Freni, Judge Hugo Black, David Sarnoff the founder of NBC network, Adam Baldwin, Arial Sharon, Joanne Woodward, Elizabeth Taylor

In the ancient Roman calendar this was the festival of the First Equirra, the blessing of the horses of the Roman cavalry.

1776- The American Congressmen in Philadelphia received the news from overseas that the British Crown declared a halt to negotiations on American grievances. That all subjects living in His Majesties Colonies in North America who did not unconditionally surrender and renew their allegiance to their King, would be branded a traitor. That meant hanging. This must have weighed heavy on the American Congressmen’s minds when they voted on the Declaration of Independence.

1814- Beethoven’s 8th Symphony premiered.

1827- The first Mardi Gras celebration was held in New Orleans. Mardi Gras parties were first held by the French colonists of Mobile Alabama in 1709. From there the custom spread to the Big Easy.

1859-CONGRESSMAN COMMITS MURDER- While New York Representative Dan Sickles was being a Washington wheeler-dealer his lonely wife began an affair with the dashing son of Francis Scott Key, Phillip Barton Key. When Sickles found out he was horrified, even though he had cheated on her numerous times. This is the Victorian Era after all. Phillip Barton Key just then had the misfortune to be spotted passing by their house on Lafayette Square. Sickles in a rage grabbed a pistol and rushed after him, confronting him across the street from the White House: "Key, you Blackguard! You have dishonored my marriage bed and must die!" All Key could do was throw his opera glasses at him. Congressman Sickles then shot him dead.

Incredibly, Sickles was acquitted of murder by the first use of the ‘plea of temporary insanity’. His attorney was Edwin Stanton, Lincoln's secretary of war. Sickles and Stanton both were close friends of President Buchanan.

Dan Sickles went on to finish his term, become a Union General and fought at Gettysburg, won the Medal of Honor, lived to 93 and helped build New York’s Central Park. He even reconciled with Mrs. Sickles.

1860- Abraham Lincoln gave a speech at the Cooper Union Institute in New York declaring himself a potential candidate for President: " A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand." The elite New York audience at first snickered at the Illinois man’s high nasal Western twang, but they soon were inspired by his words. He received a standing ovation when he finished. That previous day he first posed for photographer Matthew Brady who made a famous photo that was copied and recopied around the country. Lincoln later said:" Brady and the Cooper Institute made me president."

1864- ANDERSONVILLE- The first Union prisoners arrive at the Andersonville Prison in Georgia. In the early parts of the Civil War the armies exchanged or paroled prisoners of war. But after the U.S. Army started enlisting Black soldiers, the Confederacy refused them equal status and declared they would treat them as slaves in rebellion. So Grant and Lincoln broke off the exchanging system.

As the crowd of captured Yankees grew into the thousands, the Confederacy placed them in open air camps exposed to the wind and cold. They drew a 'dead man's line drawn around the perimeter. Sharpshooters would shoot down any man fool enough to cross the line. Thousands died of starvation and exposure. The photos of the emaciated prisoners have a grim familiarity to photos of Holocaust survivors of the Twentieth Century. The North had it’s own equally bad prison camp for Southerners near Chicago.

After the Civil War the commander of Andersonville prison, a Swiss immigrant named Godfrey Wirtz, became the first officer executed for war crimes, and the first to say he was only following orders..

1881- Battle of Majuba Hill, Boer or White South African insurgents defeat a British army and kill it's commander Sir George Colley. The British Army and public burned to avenge the defeat but Mr. Gladestones’ Liberal Government was going through a reform phase and was uninterested at that time in acquiring any more Imperial territory .They ordered Gen. Evelyn Wood to sign an agreement with the Boers thereafter creating the Republic of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. Still, another Boer War would break out again ten years later.

1881- The German Kaiser Wilhelm II married Augusta Victoria. They had a huge family and when Augusta died after World War One the elderly Kaiser remarried in exile.

1883- Musical impresario Oscar Hammerstein patented the first practical cigar rolling machine.

1900-Battle of Paaderberg-(Anglo-Boer war). Lord Roberts -”Little Bobs” decisively defeated the Boer Army by surrounding it in it’s laager (wagon circle) and pounding it with long distance artillery. Lord Roberts directed his battles while sipping champagne.

1900- In Britain several Independent Labor Parties, Trade union and Fabian Societies form the British Labor Party under Ramsey MacDonald. After the Liberals fell apart over Irish autonomy Labor became the dominant alternative to the Tory Conservatives.

1908- Oklahoma statehood.

1914- Throughout his long life Teddy Roosevelt always reacted to bad news by a furious physical action. After losing his bid to return to the Presidency in 1912, Roosevelt responded by a trip down the most dangerous uncharted rivers of the Amazon jungle. Shooting the rapids on the 'River of Doubt" during the rainy season several of Roosevelt's party died and he developed malaria, dysentery and a dangerous leg abscess and almost died himself. They made it to safety on this day and the River was renamed the Rio Teodoro in his honor. When asked why a man his age (56) would attempt such a reckless adventure he replied: " I saw it was my last chance to be a boy."

1917-THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION BEGAN- In St. Petersburg a general strike was festering since the 23rd. Today soldiers and police start to join demonstrators instead of arresting them. Shouts of :"Cossacks! Don't shoot your brothers! Enough of blood! We want Peace and Bread!" The law courts were torched, prisons opened and the protestors grab the Czar's Rolls Royce and drive it around town draped in red flags. Government officials start to flee the city. Czar Nicholas out at his military headquarters received the news that the nations capitol was no longer under his control.

1919- Gustav Holst’s orchestral piece The Planets, first premiered in London.

1932- The GLASS-STEAGALL ACT passed Congress. This act was a reaction to the Stock Market collapse of 1929. When banks collapsed from stock speculation they dragged down average citizens savings accounts who owned no stocks. Glass-Steagall ordered banks to either do private account banking or corporate banking and stock selling, but not both. The act caused the giant financial titans like J.P. Morgan and Lehman Brothers to break up and divest. The act was finally repealed by the 103rd conservative congress in 1995, finished off by the Graham Smith Bliley Act of 2000, and the U.S. economy collapsed as a result in 2008.

1933-The Reichstag Fire- The German parliament building was destroyed in a spectacular fire. The perpetrator was never found but a Dutch Communist named Marinus Van Der Lubbe was arrested. The incident enabled Hitler to force through legislation suspending civil liberties, trial by jury and ruling like a dictator.

1936- Women in Egypt get the right to vote.

1939- The US Supreme Court outlawed sit down strikes. This was accepted in the patriotic climate of war tension but like all restrictions on labor rights it is still in effect today.

1942- The USS Langley was the first US aircraft carrier, first launched as a coal ship in 1912 and later converted. Rushed to the Pacific after Pearl Harbor this day the aged ship was sunk in battle by Japanese dive bombers.

1945- In the face of the advancing Allied armies, Hitler gives orders to the Gestapo to execute all remaining political prisoners. Included are all captured Allied spies, Dr. Goerdeler the mastermind of the General's July 20th Bomb Plot, and Christian Bishop Dietrich Bonhoeffer, author of "Letters and Papers from Prison" which became a religious classic.

1956- Elvis Presley released song Heartbreak Hotel.

1958- Columbia Pictures mogul Harry Cohn died of old age. His ruthlessness was legend in Hollywood. He once said " I don't get ulcers, I give them!" Hedda Hopper said:' You have to wait in line to hate him." The entire Columbia staff was ordered, not asked, to attend a memorial service. Looking at the large crowd around the coffin, Red Skelton quipped: "You see, give the people what they want, and they'll show up."

1973- 200 members of the American Indian Movement led by Russell Means and Dennis Banks take over the Wounded Knee historical site. The hold it and attract world attention to the plight of the Native American before surrendering to the F.B.I. and Army in May.

1977- In Toronto the Canadian Mounties bust Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones and his girlfriend Anita Pallenberg for heroin possession. The Stones agree to do two benefit concerts as punishment.

1991- President George Bush Sr. declared The Gulf War successfully completed, “The Day of the Dictator is Over!” even though Saddam Hussein remained in power.

1991- The Mitchell Brothers were tops in the pornography business, producing blockbusters like Behind the Green Door and running the O’ Farrell Theater in San Francisco. This day after doing a lot of drugs, Jim Mitchell shot his brother Arnie to death with a rifle. The Mitchell Brothers Court case marked the first use of 3D computer animation as a scenario tool.

1994- Figure skater Nancy Kerrigan skips the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer so she could begin her multi-million dollar endorsements with DisneyWorld. She blows it all later when she’s caught on camera during a Disney parade saying: “This is all so corny. I can’t believe I’m doing this !”
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Yesterday’s Quiz: What does it mean to have some “hair of the dog”..?

Answer: Short for “hair of the dog that bit you.” An old superstition that the best way to cure an alcoholic hangover is to drink a little of what you drank too much of the night before.


Feb 26, 2013 tues.
February 26th, 2013

Quiz: What does it mean to have some “hair of the dog”..?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: Has a comedy ever won an Oscar for Best Picture?
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History for 2/ 26/ 2013
Birthday:King Wenceslas of Bohemia-1361, Victor Hugo, Buffalo Bill Cody, Emma Destin, Levi Strauss, Jackie Gleason, Fats Domino, Betty Hutton, Johnny Cash, William Frawley (Fred Murtz), Robert Alda, Tony Randall, Erhyke Bahdu, Tex Avery

747 B.C. In Sumer, it is the beginning of the Age of Nabronassar.

500s BC to 391 AD, ANTHESTERION- the Ancient Greek festival of death and exorcism. The Greeks believed ghosts weren’t as scary as they were annoying. If you didn’t bury the dead properly with spices and a coin in the mouth for the Chaeron the Boatman of the River Styx, they became ghosts. They would haunt you by moping around, turning up at inappropriate moments, predicting your death, bleeding on your lunch, etc. So this festival was a sort of visiting hours for the other world.

You left your door open and cooked a meal for the spirits so they could spend a day visiting their old haunts (forgive the pun). This way they would not bug you the rest of the year. This festival was also considered a festival of flowers to usher in Spring. Most Greeks spent all three days of the festival drunk.

393AD Today is the feast day of Saint Porphyry, who made it rain in Gaza.

1773- Construction began in Philadelphia on the Walnut Street Jail, a Quaker alternative to physical punishment, where Penitents could reflect on their crimes- the first Penitentiary. The other innovation was individual cells instead of the large room common in colonial jails.

1775- Leslie’s Retreat. In Boston, British General Gage sent a Colonel Leslie with a column of soldiers to Salem Mass to confiscate a store of weapons the colonists had. The Redcoats played Yankee Doodle on the march, then a form of insult to Americans. They were stopped at a river crossing by a line of heavily armed Salem colonists. Leslie didn’t want a showdown, so he negotiated, while other neighbors smuggled the illegal weapons into the forest. The American Revolution started a few weeks later at Lexington & Concord.

1815- Napoleon and his followers escaped his exile island of Elba and sailed to France for another try for power. He had less than a thousand followers to try to re-conquer a nation of 14 million.

1854- Composer Robert Schumann went mad and jumped off a bridge into the Rhine River. He was fished out and institutionalized. His schizophrenia grew out of advanced syphilis. He said he was not committing suicide but had thrown his wedding ring into the river to free his wife Clara of him, Then he relented and leaped into the raging ice filled water to get it back.
Ironically this drama was played out during his towns winter carnival celebrations. The tragedy of seeing his friend and teacher collapse moved young Johannes Brahms to write his First Piano Concerto.

1907- British Oil and Royal Shell merge to form British Petroleum- B.P. company.

1919- Congress established Grand Canyon National Park.

1929- Congress declared the Grand Tetons a national park.

1935- Adolf Hitler revealed to the world press that Germany had built the Luftwaffe, the worlds’ largest air force.

1936- The NINI ROKU-JIKEN COUP. Young Japanese officers lead four regiments to try take over the government in Tokyo. They kill several government ministers and try to assassinate Prime Minister Inokai but fail. The coup collapses when Emperor Hirohito himself declared he would personally lead his Imperial Guard against them if they would not stand down. The anti-war Prime Minister was later assassinated by another officer.

Despite the coups failure peace-party politicians were intimidated to try and stop the Japanese army's plans for total Asian conquest. Emperor Hirohito also gave up on any more direct action on his part as a break with tradition.

1951- The 22nd Amendment ratified limiting the President to two four year terms. This was passed by a Republican Conservative dominated Congress. They were determined to never have something like Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four terms again.

1962- First day shooting on the first James Bond film Dr. No. The scene was in M's office and featured Bernard Lee, Peter Burton and the new discovery, Sean Connery.

1965- First day of shooting on the Beatle's second film 'Help!"

1983- Michael Jackson’s album Thriller went to #1 in the pop charts and stayed for weeks. In the weeks after his death in 2009, Thriller again went to #1.

1985- New York Police under District Attorney Rudy Giuliani arrested most of the leaders of the New York Mafia families called The Commission. Despite this highly touted raid, the mob rebuilt, so that another big raid was necessary in 2010.

1990- Cornell Gunther, lead singer for the DooWop group the Coasters, was shot dead at a Las Vegas traffic intersection."Yakkety-Yak, Don't Talk Back!"

1991- At a meeting in Switzerland, Tim Berners-Lee introduced the first Web Browser.

1991-The Highway of Death- During Gulf War One, The U.S. Air Force caught a long column of Iraqi army vehicles fleeing on an open desert road with no cover. No one is sure how many Iraqis were killed.

1993- THE FIRST WORLD TRADE CENTER ATTACK. Followers of Moslem extremist cleric Omar Abdel Rahman set off a large truck bomb in New York's World Trade Center. The bomb created a five story crater in level B-2 of the underground parking structure. It killed 7 and injured over one thousand. 50,000 had to be evacuated from the twin towers for smoke inhalation.
It has been speculated that one reason there were not even more deaths in the collapse of 9-11, 2001 was because much of the office workers experienced this 1993 attack, so they knew exactly how to evacuate the towers quickly. President Clinton’s Justice Dept had all the perpetrators in jail within a year. When planner Ramsay Youssef was being flown out of New York to his 240 year imprisonment the plane flew over Manhattan by the World Trade Center. A he looked down he was reported to have sighed: Should have used more dynamite.²
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Yesterday’s Question: Has a comedy ever won an Oscar for Best Picture?

Answer: Three true comedies have won. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT in 1934, ANNIE HALL in 1986 (?) and SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE in 1998.


Feb 25, 2013
February 25th, 2013

Question: Has a comedy ever won an Oscar for Best Picture?

Yesterday’s Answer below: OK 80’s Cold War fans! Who was Matthias Rust?
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History for 2/25/2013
Birthdays: Enrico Caruso, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Zeppo Marx, St. Louis (King Louis IX of France), Bobby Riggs, Carl Eller, Sir Anthony Burgess, Neil Jordan, Larry Gelbart, Tom Courtenay, Sean Astin is 42, Tea Leoni, John Foster Dulles, Neil Jordan is 63

138AD- Roman Emperor Hadrian officially adopted Antoninus Pius as his heir and successor with the proviso that he would in turn adopt young Marcus Aurelius, the son of his brother in law, as his heir.

799AD- Today is the Feast of Saint Walburga, who with her brother Saint Winebold preached Christianity in the remote forests of Germany. Oddly enough after Walburga’s death the Saint’s remains were removed to a new resting place on the anniversary of a pagan festival and her name stuck to the celebration- April 30th the Walpurgisnacht.

1525- THE BATTLE OF PAVIA. King Francis I of France was besieging this Italian city when he was defeated and captured by Spanish-German Emperor Charles V. This battle was noteworthy as the first battle in which hand held rifles were important. Medieval Gonnes or guns were slow and more dangerous to the holder than the enemy. A good archer could get off ten aimed arrows while a gun man was still loading. But improvements created a more accurate rifle called an arquebuse with a wooden stock and trigger.

At Pavia, when the French knights charged, arquebusiers safe behind a wall of spears, shot them out of their saddles. 8,000 casualties and a new era in combat was born. King Francis fought in the van like a knight and didn’t notice his army was losing until he was alone, surrounded by enemies. After his capture wrote his queen: "All was lost save honor - and my skin, which is safe."

1570- Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth of England and absolved all English subjects of their allegiance to her. Since England was very Protestant by now, it didn't mean much.

1601- The 31 year old Earl of Essex, one time toyboy of Queen Elizabeth, was beheaded for treason. She once gave him a ring and said if he was ever in trouble and needed her help he should send her the ring. One of his last acts was to send the ring to her. Whether she ever got it or she chose to ignore the summons is unknown.

1634-The ASSASSINATION OF WALLENSTEIN-Generalissimo of the Catholic armies in the Thirty Years War, which had been raging since 1618 with no end in sight. Duke Albrecht Wallenstein had so sickened of the seemingly endless conflict that he began secret negotiations with the Protestant Swedish generals to make peace in defiance of their kings. The German Emperor couldn't just fire him because his mercenary troops were so devoted to their General they would burn down their own capitol as soon as any enemy one.

So Wallenstein was murdered by a hit squad sent by his own employer. They broke into the Generalissimo’s bedroom and speared him in his bed. As the assassins dragged his perforated body down his grand staircase his head bumped on every step. Just to show how confusing the Thirty Years War was the German Wallenstein was murdered in his castle in the Czech homeland by a troop of Scotsmen led by an Irishman hired by an Austrian through and Italian intermediary named Piccolomini. The only language anybody could speak in common was Italian.

1689- James II Stuart tries to regain his throne on offer of the Irish Parliament. At Boulogne King Louis XIV of France sent him off with money and troops. He told James:" The best hope I can wish you is the hope that I never see you again."

1779- During bone chilling cold American Captain George Rogers Clark and his men stormed the frontier fort Vincennes in Illinois Territory and captured his British nemesis Sir William Hamilton. Hamilton was nicknamed the Hair Buyer for his encouraging local Indians to scalp settlers. Clark and his army of frontiersmen fought like Indians. Part of his surrender ceremony was to make Hamilton watch while Clark personally tomahawked six captive Seneca chiefs.

One chief was so tough after Clark imbedded his tomahawk in his skull the chief calmly pulled it out and gave it back to Clark to have another whack. The American Revolution on the Western Frontier effectively ended. Gen. Clark’s kid brother William Clark would be the explorer of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

1815- Princess Pauline Borghese holds a gala dress ball on the Island of Elba to distract the Allied occupation representatives away from Napoleon's secret plot to return to France. Pauline was Napoleon's kid sister and a wild thing. She drove her prudish brother nuts with her many love affairs and posing nude for artists, but when Nappy was down on his luck she was his most loyal sibling.

1836- FIRST COLT REVOLVER. Samuel Colt was given his first gun to play with at age 7. He was inspired by a ships steering wheel to invent a cylindrical gun chamber. They didn’t become popular until the price dropped with the 1860 Navy Colt. His six-shooter was nicknamed : The Great Equalizer","The Peacemaker" the "Confidence Machine" and sometimes the 'Thumbbuster". Gunfighters usually filed off the sight at the end of the barrel because it caught in your clothes during a quickdraw.

Wild Bill Hickock for instance didn't wear holsters, he carried his two Navy Colts tucked in a red sash around his waist. Shootists also learned to carry it "5 beans in the wheel', meaning leaving your gun cocked to one empty chamber while you walk around. This so your gun doesn't accidentally go off in your holster, which could be very embarrassing, as Wyatt Earp once found out.

1860- A little known former congressman from out west named Abraham Lincoln stepped off the Cortlandt St Ferry in New York City. He walked alone, carrying a moth-eaten carpet bag suitcase up to the Astor Hotel where he let the press know he was in town to declare himself a candidate for President of these here United States. He then went and traded in his old beaver skin stovepipe hat for a new silk top hat, and went to Matthew Brady’s photo parlor to pose for a photo like all genteel-type folks is supposed ta do.

1863- CIVIL WAR PRANKS - Outside the siege lines of Vicksburg, Union admiral David Porter decided to play a practical joke on the rebels. On an old barge he built a dummy ironclad with wooden logs for guns and two burning tar smudge pots nailed to phony smokestacks. The total cost to the government for black paint and wood was 15 dollars.

He then had this contraption pushed into the Mississippi and let it float with the current downstream. When the rebel shore batteries spotted the black monster they let loose a furious barrage. It only increased their panic that the Yankee ship seemed so formidable that it didn't even bother to shoot back! When the Confederate river fleet spotted the black enemy warship they fled in terror. One captain ran his gunboat into a sand bar, abandoned it and blew it up rather than let it be captured. Eventually the dummy barge stuck in some shallows. Finally a rebel sheepishly rowed out to the barge and discovered the joke.

1864- Battle of Buzzards Roost. Sherman’s army attacked Joe Johnston’s defense works in Georgia but were repulsed.

1932- TOONTOWN SCANDALS. Former Australian prizefighter Pat Sullivan was the producer of the Felix the Cat cartoons, the first true animation star. Although animator Otto Mesmer actually created him, Sullivan's name is the only one on the titles. Felix was one of the top film stars of the 1920s. Lindbergh supposedly had a Felix doll with him in the Spirit of St. Louis and his body shape was the prototype of Mickey Mouse and dozens of other characters.While Mesmer quietly drew pictures Sullivan lived the fast life of a roaring twenties celebrity.

Mrs. Marjorie Sullivan had been having an affair with her chauffeur. After a nasty scene when husband confronted wife and the chauffeur fled, Mrs. Sullivan mysteriously fell out of her window to her death. The scandal was front page news and Sullivan never got over it. He soon drank himself to death which during Prohibition was difficult to do. Sullivan's death and his failure to get Felix into sound cartoons doomed his studio. Otto Mesmer went on to animate the first Broadway light signs but did not receive any recognition for his contributions to animation until he was re-introduced to the public at a Bob Clampett night at the Museum of Modern Art in 1975. Kid animators Eric Goldberg and Tom Sito were in the audience.

1932- A minor bit of bookkeeping. Austrian born Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had to officially become a German citizen before he could run for President.

1943- Master animator Bill Tytla resigned from Disney.

1956- THE SECRET SPEECH-In Moscow at a closed session of the 20th Party Congress Premier Nikita Khruschev denounced the crimes of the mass-murderer Josef Stalin. The audience was stunned at such honesty. When someone shouted:" If he was so terrible, why did you say nothing?" Khruschev roared back: " WHO SAID THAT?................(silence)..........................that's why."

1956- Poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes met at a party in Cambridge England.

1957- Bugs Moran, the gangster who challenged Al Capone for mastery of the Chicago rackets, died in prison of lung cancer. The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre ruined Moran’s organization and he finally slipped down to petty thievery when he was nabbed.

1957- Buddy Holly and the Crickets record "That'll Be the Day."

1964- Young Cassius Clay, later renamed Muhammad Ali, defeated Sonny Liston in 2:14 minutes into the 6th round for the heavyweight boxing crown. The odds were on Liston 8-1 but Clay said he would "Float like a Butterfly and Sting Like a Bee!"
When asked to comment about his defeat, Sonny Liston concluded: "Life, a funny thing."

1971- Oh Calcutta, the first play with lots of actors shedding their clothes, premiered on Broadway at the Belasco.

1983- Famous playwright Tennessee Williams was found dead in a New York hotel room. He died when he choked on a nose spray bottle cap that fell into his mouth while he was using the spray. Others say it was a Pepsi bottle cap.

1986- President Ferdinand Marcos fled the Philippines in the face of the People-Power revolution. Former movie star turned first lady Imelda Marcos left behind her amazing shoe collection. She felt that if the poor people saw her living in luxury it would make them feel better- (?)

1994- A Brooklyn born Jewish man named Baruch Goldstein goes berserk in the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and shoots 29 innocent Palestinian civilians.

1996- Dr Haing Ngor, the doctor who survived the Cambodian Killing Fields holocaust and won an Academy Award in a movie of the same name, was killed in a robbery attempt outside his Los Angeles home.

2004- Movie star uber-Catholic Mel Gibson’s movie the "The Passion of the Christ" opened in North America. The film was criticized for it’s perceived anti-Semitism, it was the first movie in which Jesus spoke his real language –Aramaic. Pastors bought blocks of tickets for their congregations. The film earned nearly a billion dollars, most of the profit earned by Mel Gibson, who was the films sole investor.
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Question: OK 80’s Cold War fans! Who was Matthias Rust?

Answer: He was the young German student who flew a small plane through Soviet Air defenses. Passing over a forest of missiles and guns, he landed his plane right in the middle of Red Square in the Kremlin. It proved how old and brittle the Soviet military system had become.


Feb 24, 2013 sun
February 24th, 2013

Question: OK 80’s Cold War fans! Who was Matthias Rust?

Yesterdays Quiz answered below: Which one of these movies did not win a Best Picture Oscar? Annie Hall, Gone With the Wind, Braveheart, West Side Story, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
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History for 2/24/2013
B-Dazes: Roman Emperor Hadrian, Winslow Homer, Arrigo Boito, Wilhelm Grimm (a brother of the brothers Grimm), Honus Wagner- early 1900’s baseball player called the Flying Dutchman, Admiral Chester Nimitz, Edward James Olmos, Barry Bostwick, Michel Legrand, James Farentino, illustrator Zdzislaw Beskinski, Joe Leiberman, Michael Radford, Billy Zane, Steve Jobs, Abe Vigoda is 92

495BC-The Roman Festival REGIFUGIUM in honor of the overthrow of the Tarquins and founding of the ROMAN REPUBLIC. The king of Rome, Tarquinus Superbus -Tarquin the Proud, Rash, Pain-in-da-Butt, whatever, capping off a history of arrogant rule raped Lucretia, the daughter of a nobleman named Horatius. She tells her dad and he stabs her to save her further shame ( I guess that's 'tough love 'or something). The Roman people lead by the Horatius’ and his brother Marcus Brutus drive out the king and establish a republic.

For the next 450 years Rome is a democracy led by a Senate-from" senates" or elders, electing two Consuls (presidents) a year with the common peoples spokesmen called Tribunes of the Plebs who could veto. The motto the Republic Romans would carry to the ends of the earth is S.P.Q.R.- Senatus Populusque Romanum -The Senate and the People of Rome.

616AD. King Ethelred of Mercia died. He was baptized by Saint Augustine of Canterbury and he did a lot to convince the other Saxon kings to accept Christianity and stamp out pagan rituals. He built one of the earliest churches in London, and became Saint Ethelred after his death.

1582- THE GREGORIAN CALENDAR reforms announced- Because our Earth is a big wobbly rock on an asymmetrical orbit Julius Caesar’s 366 day calendar was losing 11 minutes every year since 45 bc. For centuries medieval scientists like Dennis Exiguus, Abu Abdalah Mohammed and Roger Bacon noticed something wasn’t quite kosher. By 1582 the calendar was 11 days off the solar year. Pope Gregory XI had scientist Dionysius Ingratius revise the calendar of Julius Caesar by using a 400 year cycle of 365 days with a leap day every four years and no leap year when it occurred every fourth century.

1711- Handel’s opera Rinaldo premiered in London.

1784- Alexander Hamilton established the Bank of New York, the second oldest private bank in North America. At first the Mayor DeWitt Clinton refused to grant the bank a charter. He said “corporations are sinister plots aimed at the average citizen…”

1836- As Mexican cannon pounded the Alamo, Jim Bowie took ill and was invalid to the fort’s hospital where he stayed till the end. Historians dispute whether he developed a fever or something venereal. Col William Travis now assumed overall command. He had a message slipped out past Mexican lines-“ To the People of Texas and all Americans in the World” He appealed for aid and ended his message with a bold “Victory or Death!”

The message was reprinted in newspapers throughout the US. The Alamo received no help, but the fiery message assured that the little doomed outpost would hold the attention of the everyone in North America.

1848- THE FRENCH SECOND REPUBLIC IS DECLARED. King Louis Phillipe whom Daumier caricatured as a fat pear in a frock coat and top hat, was overthrown. Austrian diplomat Baron Metternich predicted: When Paris sneezes, Europe catches cold. “ Sure enough, inspired by the French example, urban working class revolts break out all over Europe. Berliners,Viennese, Romans,Venetians, Hungarians, Saxons and Poles fight troops in the streets. 1848 is remembered as the "Year of Revolutions".

1852- Russian writer and hypochondriac Nicolai Gogol burns the second half of his masterpiece DEAD SOULS on advice of a religious mystic to atone for his sins. He died two weeks later of "brain fever".

1868- The U.S. House of Representatives voted 11 articles of Impeachment against President Andrew Johnson. Of the 11 charges only one made any legal sense, that was Johnson’s ignoring the Tenure of Office Act and firing his own Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. This act was later overturned as unconstitutional. The other charges were things like “He made such speeches wherein he spoke disparagingly of this Congress.” etc. Johnson said:” Impeach and Be Damned!” He was acquitted in the senate by only one vote.

1895- Jose Marti’ began the Cuban war of independence against Spain.

1912- The Jewish aid organization Hadassah founded.

1914- General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the Maine theology professor who became a hero at the Battle of Gettysburg, and was made a general by Grant only because he was so badly wounded Grant figured he wouldn’t live anyway, finally died of old age. Thirty years after Grant.

1928- Frenchman Nicholas Landru, called BLUEBEARD was executed by guillotine. Landru married ten times, bringing the ladies up to his home, murdering them, and burning them in his furnace. He'd then live off their estates and sell their furniture. When the prosecutor said :"So, you made a career out of the suffering and swindling of others !" Landru replied:" No monsieur, I am not a lawyer."

1937- MGM studio announced it acquired the rights to L. Frank Baum’s book The Wizard of Oz, to be made into a movie for their new star Judy Garland.

1942- The radio service the Voice of America first went on the air.

1944- Merrill’s Marauders, a special ops trained group of Army Rangers, entered the jungles of Burma to do battle against the Japanese.

1961- Dr. Richard Leakey in Tanzania discovered the oldest known human skull.

1968- THE TET OFFENSIVE ENDS- With the U.S recapture of the old Imperial city of Hue, the Vietnamese Tet Lunar offensive is declared over. North Vietnamese General Vo Giap, the mastermind of Dien Bien Phu, had planned this assault as his masterstoke to win the war. It's failure cost him his job and destroyed the Viet Cong as an effective force. And their mass executions of South Vietnamese civilian officials cost them much civilian support and lengthened the war.

Yet even though the Vietnamese communists were strategically defeated, the battle showed the world that after years of maximum effort by the most powerful military on Earth, the little Vietnamese Army was as formidable as ever. While the generals there requested more troops, they already had 450,000, White House strategists like Clark Clifford began to plan their withdrawal.

1987- US Robotics sold the first 56k modems.

1988- The US Supreme Court defended the right of public figures to be satirized by throwing out a lawsuit Rev Jerry Fallwell brought against Hustler Magazine owner Larry Flynt. Flynt published a drawing describing Rev Fallwell having sex with his mother in an outhouse. The Court ruled a public figure can be lampooned, so long as it is not portrayed as factual.

1989- According to the David Lynch television series Twin Peaks this is the day Laura Palmer’s body was found and F.B.I. agent Dale Cooper came to town to investigate.

1996- Los Angeles Angel Flight reopened.

1997- The announcement of the first successful cloning of a mammal embryo, a sheep named Dolly in Scotland. To prove even though they're research scientists 'boys will be boys', They used cells from a mammary gland to do the cloning, so they named their creation after busty singer Dolly Parton. After a series of illnesses, the animal was put down in 2003, living half the life span of a normal sheep, but she mated and had babies normally.

2003- State Farm Insurance Company announced that they would add a clause into future car insurance policies that Nuclear Explosions and Terrorist Biological Agents would not be classified as Road Hazards and so not covered. Yep, if a Hydrogen Bomb goes off in my neighborhood, my first concern will be about my insurance premiums.
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Yesterdays’ Question: Which one of these movies did not win a Best Picture Oscar? Annie Hall, Gone With the Wind, Braveheart, West Side Story, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Answer: 2001: A Space Odyssey won nothing but one oscar for visual effects.


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