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Jan 31, 2023
January 31st, 2023

Quiz: What are you doing when you use a depilatory?

Yesterday’s quiz answered below: What European country came into being as a result of the Brabant Revolution of 1830-31?
History for 1/31/2023
Birthdays: Gouverner Morris, Zane Grey, James G. Blaine, Franz Schubert, Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, Sir John Profumo, Phillip Glass, Johnny Rotten, Ernie Banks, Norman Mailer, Nolan Ryan, Susanne Pleshette, Anthony LaPaglia, Tallulah Bankhead, Jean Simmons, Justin Timberlake is 42, Portia DiRossi, Minnie Driver is 53, Carol Channing

Today in ancient Greece it is the festival of Hecate, Goddess of the Underworld.

Today is the Feast day of St. John Bosco, patron saint of Catholic Schools.

Happy National Dress up in a Gorilla Suit Day. First advocated by Don Martin, cartoonist for MAD Magazine.

1606- Sir Guy Fawkes cheated the executioner by leaping off the scaffold and breaking his neck. Fawkes was convicted of the Gunpowder Plot, trying to blow up King & Parliament.

1696- Dutch undertakers rose in revolt after the town of Amsterdam mandated reforms.

1795- This day Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton resigned his cabinet post to play a political boss behind the scenes. Hamilton helped develop the American economy on a sound basis, but his imperious demeanor offended many. The English job of Prime Minister evolved out of the Exchequer, so Hamilton hoped the Treasury job would make him the real power in government. Political heat as well as revelations Hamilton was seeing a married woman named Mrs. Reynolds finally made it too hot for him to stay in office. Congress then set up the House Ways & Means Committee to ensure a Secretary of the Treasury never got that powerful again.

1839- Englishman William Fox Talbot says Frenchman Louis Daguerre is full of pate' when he announces he had invented photography (1/7/39). Talbot declares HE invented it first. Actually, a Belgian priest experimenting with capturing light on chemically treated glass or paper as early as 1817, Thomas Wedgewood in 1770 and Louis Niepce, with whom both Daguerre and Talbot were familiar. While the principles of capturing a shadow had been known for some time, no one had worked out how to fix the image so earlier attempts faded away in a few hours. Niepce' work predates both Talbot and Daguerre by about 10 years and constitute the earliest "photographic" images still extant. But Talbot and Daguerre are considered the fathers of Photography, provided you like history Anglais or a’ Francais.

1843-The first recorded minstrel show. The mode became so popular that even black performers were made to wear burnt-cork blackface makeup and white lips.

1865- Passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which outlawed slavery in the United States.

1876- The U.S. Congress ordered all remaining Indian tribes to move into reservations or be declared hostile.

1925- Scotch brand invisible tape introduced by the 3-M Company.

1933- The day after he assumed power, new German Chancellor Adolf Hitler promised he would respect Parliamentary Democracy. Uh, huh….

1940- Mrs. Ida Mae Fuller of Ludlow Vermont received the first Social Security check- $22.50.

1943- End of the Battle of Stalingrad. Field Marshal Von Paulus came out of the bombed-out basement of a department store and surrendered the shattered remains of his 6th Army. The highest-ranking Nazi general to surrender until the wars end.

1945- Private Eddie Slovik becomes the only U.S. soldier in World War II to be executed by firing squad for desertion.

1950- THE H-BOMB Despite the unanimous recommendation of the civilian Atomic Energy Commission that a "Super" or Hydrogen Bomb "would not be a weapon of war but an instrument of mass murder," President Harry Truman announced to the world that the U.S. was going to build one anyway. Physicist. I. G. Rabi was shocked that Truman should have announced a bomb we still didn't know how we were going to build and accelerate the arms race. When Dr. Robert Oppenheimer protested, Truman called him a “sissy-scientist.” Secretary of State Dean Acheson groaned privately to a friend: “What a horrible world we’re living in.”

1954- Howard Armstrong, the inventor of FM Radio, driven to despair by constant lawsuits with RCA Corporation over his patents, jumped to his death out of a hotel window. He first put on his hat, overcoat and gloves because he didn't want to be cold. Armstrong normally loved heights and used to climb hundreds of feet in the air to meditate on top of his radio antennas. By 1977 his family won all the lawsuits. Today, most radio, television and air traffic communications are by FM band.

1958- The U.S. enters the Space Race with the launching of satellite Explorer- 1.

1963- U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara declared to the press:” The War in Vietnam so far is going quite well…”

1968- The TET Offensive- This day the North Vietnamese army combined with the Viet Cong guerrillas surprise attacked American forces all over South Vietnam. Even the capitol Saigon and the American Embassy became battle zones. Despite an alert issued the night before, 200 US intelligence officers attended a pool party, and were as surprised as everyone else. Although all the Vietnamese attacks were defeated the U.S. public was shocked that such an attack could happen from what they kept being told was “A defeated enemy” It was the turning point of the Vietnam War. The Army of course, blamed the media, and asked for a bigger budget. Even with 450,000 soldiers there, they felt it was not enough.

1968- The Seattle city council concluded that there was no legal means to curb hippies hanging out in the downtown U- District.

1974- Apollo 14 blasted off for the moon. This voyage is chiefly remembered for Alan Shepard playing golf on the lunar surface.

1978- Polish director Roman Polanski fled the U.S. for exile after being charged for drugging, then having sex with a thirteen-year-old girl in Jack Nicholson’s house. On the eve of sentencing after learning that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Laurence Rittenband intended to send him back to prison, Polanski skipped town.

1978- Famed animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston retired together.

1989- Michael Jackson’s sister LaToya Jackson posed nude for Playboy.

1995- First Meeting of the WTO- World Trade Organization.

1999- The first episode of Seth McFarlane’s show Family Guy premiered.

2003- DOWNING STREET II- The Downing St. meeting minutes proved without a doubt that President Bush planned to invade Iraq after the 9-11 attack, even though Iraq had nothing to do with it. In this days’ meeting between English Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George W. Bush, it was stated, “It is unlikely that the weapons inspectors will discover any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.” President Bush responded that it was too late to change their plans. They would start bombing Iraq on March 10th. The Downing I memo were made public in 2005, and Downing II was not made public until 2009, when Bush was safely out of office.

2005- The documentary Dream On, Silly Dreamer premiered at the Animex Festival in England. Dan Lund and Tony West’s doc about the loyal Disney 2D animators jobs being eliminated in 2002.

2020- Brexit- Great Britain officially withdrew from the European Union.
Yesterday’s Question: What European country came into being as a result of the Brabant Revolution of 1830-31?

Answer: The Catholic parts of the Netherlands separated and declared themselves the Kingdom of Belgium.

Jan. 30, 2023
January 30th, 2023

Quiz: What European country came into being as a result of the Brabant Revolution of 1830-31?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: What is the origin of the term “a podunk town”?
History for 1/30/2023
Birthdays: Barbara Tuchman, Walt “Moose” Dropo, Olaf Palme, Dick Martin, Louis S. Rukeyser, Dorothy Malone, Boris Spassky, John Ireland, Douglas Englebart, Phil Collins, Vanessa Redgrave is 86, Gene Hackman is 93, Christian Bale is 49, Former VP Dick Cheney is 83

1649- KING CHARLES I of ENGLAND BEHEADED-The Parliament, led by Oliver Cromwell condemns the King "That man of Blood" and abolished the English monarchy. As Charles laid his head upon the block he said:" I go from a corruptible crown to one which is Incorruptible." -Splat!
Cromwell’s government worried that if the identity of the headsman Richard Brandon was ever found out avengers may harm his family. They kept the secret so well that his name for a time was lost to history. In Alexander Dumas' sequel to “The Three Musketeers”, he makes the executioner to be the son of Madame DeWinter and the Duc de Rochefort.

1661- HAVE YOU SEEN OLIVER CROMWELL'S HEAD? English dictator General Oliver Cromwell died of natural causes in 1658. After the restoration of the British monarchy, The King’s sheriffs exhumed Cromwell’s body and exacted revenge by beheading it, and placing the head on London Bridge, where criminals are usually exhibited. A mob joyfully bounced around the rest of the corpse and threw it in the Thames.
After a year, the head fell off it's spike and rolled around on the ground. A priest took it home and sold it to a travelling circus. Eventually it was donated to Cambridge University, to whom Oliver Cromwell had been a benefactor. The college interred it but will not divulge where.

1790- Sir Malcolm Greathead invented the lifeboat.

1835- THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL ASSASINATION ATTEMPT –An unemployed house painter named Richard Lawrence who thought he was King Richard III, emerged from a crowd in the lobby of the House of Representatives and fired two pistols at President Andrew Jackson. They both miss. Jackson, an old army man who already carried around two lead bullets in his body from Indian fights and duels, was so outraged that he grabbed Lawrence and started drubbing him on the head with his silver tipped cane. He beat him so badly that the police had the strange task of saving the assassin from his intended victim.

1862- John Ericsson’s radical design for an all-ironclad ship, the USS Monitor, was launched at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

1889- THE MAYERLING AFFAIR-Archduke Rudolf Von Hapsburg, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, committed suicide with his mistress, Bavarian baroness Maria Vestera. Rudolf was already married, and even if he could divorce, he could never marry so below his rank. Some say that there was more intrigue to it, that German statesman Otto Von Bismarck had Rudolf murdered because Rudolph planned on challenging Berlin’s hold over German unity, but that theory is a longshot. His family felt Rudolf was an emotionally troubled man, who finally found a girl dumb enough to follow him in his suicide pact. The Baroness had taken poison and then Rudolf had blown his brains out. Austrian funerary makeup artists worked overtime to make the Archduke's shattered face fit for an open casket wake. His mother the Empress Elizabeth refused to go: "I won't go see that thing! It's head is made of wax!"

1894-Charles King of Detroit patented the pneumatic jackhammer.

1917- During WWI, The German General Staff gambled that resuming unrestricted U-boat warfare would economically destroy England and win even if it angered the United States enough to declare war. Admiral Keppel told the Kaiser that even if the United States did enter the war, they could never get enough soldiers across the Atlantic to accomplish anything. “The threat from America is less than nothing. Nothing!”

1931- The Premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights at the Los Angeles Theater. Albert Einstein came as his guest. Later at a dance at the Biltmore Hotel, writer Herman Mankiewicz (Citizen Kane, Duck Soup) got into a drunken fistfight with producer David O. Selznick (Gone With the Wind, Rebecca). You’ll never eat turtle-soup in this town again!

1933- HI-YO SILVER!! The Lone Ranger debuted on radio. The Masked Man was invented by the WXYZ Detroit station owner George Trendle and writer Fran Striker with absolutely no experience of cowboys or Indians. They just wanted a hero like Zorro with a strict moral code. He was later voiced by actor William Conrad who did the Rocky & Bullwinkle narration and the TV series Cannon.

1934- Artist Salvador Dali married Gala.

1933- ADOLF HITLER TAKES POWER. After a general election President Von Hindenberg was forced to appoint the Nazi Party leader Chancellor. Hindenberg had earlier growled” Chancellor? I’ll make him a postmaster so he could lick stamps with my face on it!” But he was forced to give in. Germans were fed up with skyrocketing inflation and political anarchy, so they voted for the little man with the Charlie Chaplin mustache.
The Nazis didn’t win by a landslide vote, it was a 37-42% majority, with the rest divided among splinter parties. The German Army at first didn’t cooperate with the Nazis. Their real power came when Hitler made a bargain with the major German corporations like Krupp, Seimans, Bayer and Daimler to take the ‘socialist” out of National Socialists and arrest all communists, unions and other bad-for-business types. All this was applauded by big business in the US like JP Morgan, Chase and Hearst who floated loans to Germany. With their new corporate clout, the Nazis quickly called a new election to gain an overwhelming parliamentary majority in the Reichstag.
After ancient President Hindenberg died in 1934 the Reichstag voted dictatorial powers to Hitler, making him Der Fuehrer.

1943- At Stalingrad, as the freezing remains of the German 6th Army were wiped out by superior Soviet forces, this day Berlin received the last radio message from Field Marshal Von Paulus’ headquarters in the basement of a bombed out department store:” Russians at the door. We are preparing to destroy the radios. We are preparing……”

1945- As the Red Army pushed the borders of the Third Reich back into Germany the German populations of isolated Baltic cities like Memel, Riga and Konigsberg tried to escape by sea. It was a Nazi Dunkirk, evacuations with ships full of people being bombed and strafed from the air. This day a large ship named the Wilhelm Gustoff was torpedoed by a Russian submarine. 1,500 people died on the Titanic, 7,700 people drowned in the frigid waters from the Wilhelm Gustoff- the most deaths ever in one sea disaster.

1946- The first US dimes with Franklin Roosevelt on the head were issued.

1948- At Birla House, 78 year old Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi was shot three times in the chest by Hindu extremist Nathuram Godse while walking to morning prayers.

1956- Elvis Presley recorded Blue Suede Shoes.

1958- Britain’s House of Lords admitted women for the first time.

1960- For years after the making of Fantasia, critics had pondered Igor Stravinsky's cryptic reaction to Disney's portrayal of his "Rite of Spring". Disney publicity said he was "speechless with admiration!" Today in a Saturday Review article, Stravinsky said Stokowski's editing of his music was 'execrable' and the visuals "an unresisting imbecility". His opinion still didn't stop him from selling the studio film the rights to several other of his pieces including "The Firebird' in 1942. Igor needed the cash.

1961-Hanna-Barbera’s The Yogi Bear Show premiered. The other sections were Snagglepuss and Yakky Doodle.

1963- MIT grad student Ivan Sutherland published his thesis Sketchpad, the first animation software. For the first time, a computer could draw lines instead of just numbers. When students at the University of Utah like Ed Catmull, Nolan Bushnell and Jim Blinn were learning about CGI. The first thing they were asked to read was Sutherland’s Sketchpad. Everything from Woody & Buzz, Avatar, Groot and Mortal Combat results.

1969- The rock band the Beatles last public appearance as a group. They tried to do a free concert in the London streets but were banned by police for fear of congestion and noise complaints. So they withdrew to a rooftop above their recording studio at 3. Savile RD. and played anyway. John Lennon ended the concert by saying: ‘Thank you very much on behalf of the band and myself, and I hope we passed the audition.”

1972- BLOODY SUNDAY- British troops attempting to quell Irish sectarian riots in the poor neighborhoods of Londonderry fired into a crowd of unarmed civilians, killing 14 and wounding dozens more. British authorities attempted a spin by saying the troops were responding to perceived snipers, but no evidence of any snipers was ever proven. None of the soldiers were ever disciplined for their actions. The incident outraged world opinion and angered the Irish Republic.

1973- White House operatives G. Gordon Liddy and James McCord were convicted of burglary in the Watergate break in. President Nixon hoped sacrificing these two small fish would end the investigation. It didn’t. Liddy did some jail time, and today is a highly paid conservative radio talk show host.

1976- George H. W. Bush Sr. became head of the CIA. Poppy Bush revived the organization which had been wracked by scandal after the Frank Church Congressional Committee revealed details of the Allende coup in Chile, overseas assassination, illegal surveillance of Americans and schemes to put chemicals in Fidel Castro’s food to make his beard fall out.

2001- Shortly after becoming president, George W. Bush held the first meeting of his National Security Council. Secty of State Colin Powell and Treasury Secty Paul O’Neill were shocked when Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Condy Rice immediately start talking about how to invade Iraq and replace Saddam Hussein. Nine months before 9-11.

2002- President George W. Bush Jr. saluted his Vice President Dick Cheney on his birthday by saying “You are the best Vice President this country has ever had!” He may have forgotten that his own father was also once vice president. I’m sure his mom reminded him about that later.
Yesterday’s question: What is the origin of the term “a podunk town”?

Answer: In the 1920s, famed Broadway composer Irving Berlin (White Christmas) liked to visit friends in Kentucky and take in the Kentucky Derby. When there, he would sometimes stay near a small rural town called Podunk Junction. The locals used the name as a joke for a backward rube. Back in New York City, Irving Berlin’s use of the phrase spread through NY high society. It became popular slang in the 20’s to call someone or something backward and ignorant as “Podunk”.

Jan 29, 2023
January 29th, 2023

Quiz: What is the origin of the term “a podunk town”?

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: What is the difference between jam, jelly and preserves?
History for 1/29/2023
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Didius Julianus, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Thomas Paine, William Claude Dunkenfeld known as W.C. Fields, Victor Mature, Paddy Chayefsky, Ed Burns, Bill Peet, Greg Louganis, John D Rockefeller Jr., Claudine Longet, John Calcott-Horsley (1817) the inventor of the Christmas Card-1842*, Oprah Winfrey is 69, Tom Selleck is 78, Heather Graham is 53.

*Horsley was a Victorian artist at the Royal Academy in London who refused to draw nudes because it offended his morality. This earned him the nickname- Clothes Horsley.

282BC- Death of Pharoah Ptolomey II Philadelphus. Philadelphus meant Friend of the People.

1728- At this time all the rage in London was Italian Opera based on adaptations of Greek Mythology sung by castrated male sopranos. This day John Gay and Johann Pepusch’s THE BEGGARS OPERA was first produced in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The play was a sensation because it was an opera in English, using popular tunes of the time and told a story not of gods or noble heroes, but highwaymen, bawdy girls and innkeepers. Considered the first true musical.

1774-The COCKPIT, or BEN gets his ASS CHEWED- Benjamin Franklin was postmaster general of the American Colonies and had been feeling pretty good about his ability to represent American interests in London. He successfully argued the American's opposition to the Stamp Tax in the House of Commons. He offered to pay back exporters who lost money from the Boston Tea Party. He considered himself a good Englishman.
On this day he was invited to the Kings Privy Council for what he thought was a private meeting. He was ushered into a room called The Cockpit, where he faced a delegation from The Kings Privy Council. The ministers spent the next 4 hours dressing him down. The Lord Chief Justice finished by shouting in 70 year old Ben’s face:" Spy, Traitor, Rebel, Thief! " He was sacked as postmaster and ordered home to America before they clapped him in prison. Ben Franklin entered the room a loyal subject, and left a committed revolutionary.

1813- Jane Austin’s novel Pride and Prejudice first published.

1820- After spending the last ten years of his long reign as a blind insane shut-in, King George III died at age 82. His son the Prince Regent finally became King George IV. Americans remember George III as the tyrant of the Revolution, but Britons truly loved their old monarch and his simple family-man tastes. While his German grandfather George II was barely mourned at all, all the Empire lamented the passing of Old Shopkeeper George.

1834- President Andrew Jackson sent U.S. troops to shoot at striking workers at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal project. It was the first but sadly not the last time Federal troops were used to "settle" a labor strike.

1842- The Republic of Texas authorized the raising of a company of rangers to keep the peace- the Texas Rangers. Stephen Austin had commissioned rangers as early as 1833, but from this date on their regular service began.

1845- Edgar Allen Poe's poem The Raven first published. Quote the Raven, Nevermore.

1861- Since Kansas Territory was going to be organized as a state slaveholders and union men fought over whether she would be a free or slave state. Ten years later as the Civil War was breaking out Kansas announced statehood- as a free state.

1863- THE BEAR RIVER MASSACRE- The Shoshone Indians along with the Bannocks and Utes had been raiding wagon trains through Utah and Nevada. Col Patrick Connor led 300 US cavalry in subzero cold to attack Chief Bear Hunter’s winter camp in a hot-springs ravine near present day Preston, Idaho. After a daylong battle, 224 warriors were killed. The soldiers went berserk destroying tepees and raping the Indian women. Chief Bear Hunter was shot, beaten, whipped, and when he still would not die, a red-hot bayonet was rammed through his skull via his ear. One soldier called it “A frolic”. The Shoshone, Utes and Bannocks, who a generation earlier had helped Lewis & Clark, now asked for peace.

1886-In Karlsruhe Germany, Dr. Karl Benz patented the internal combustion engine. To prevent gasoline explosions it utilized a fuel distribution system based on a ladies perfume atomizer spray (the carburetor). He called his horseless carriage at first a Motorvagen, but later names it after his partner Godfried Daimler’s daughter, Mercedes.

1891 After the death of King David IV Kalakoua, Liliuokalani was proclaimed Queen of Hawaii. Besides being the last monarch of Hawaii, Liliuokalani composed the song "Aloha-Oi, Aloha-Oi, Until We Meet Again."

1918- The new Bolshevik revolutionary government ordered the immediate demobilization of the Russian Army, preparatory for pulling out of World War I. After Civil War broke out Leon Trotsky began to form a new army of Communist volunteers, the Red Army.

1920- Walt gets a job. Nineteen year old WWI veteran Walt Disney and his buddy Ub Iwerks were hired by a local Kansas City Slide Company to draw ads for newspapers and slides for theaters.

1935- The first inductees to the new Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown announced- Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Matthewson and Walter Johnson. Hall of Fame dedication ceremony was on June 12th 1939.

1936- Benito Mussolini dedicated the first stone of Cinecitta’ Movie Studios.

1943- Fredrich Von Paulus was the commander of the German Sixth Army, now totally surrounded at Stalingrad. The few survivors were huddled in basements in the destroyed city, freezing, starving and being wiped out by superior Russian forces. Von Paulus and his men prayed for a miracle to save them. This day he heard via radio that Adolf Hitler had promoted him to Field Marshal, with a suggestion that no German Field Marshal should ever be taken alive…..

1944- DARBY’S RANGERS were an elite American commando unit trained for the toughest assignments, the forerunners of the Green Berets and Delta Forces. On this day the bungling generals of the Anzio beachhead sent them into a suicidal battle at the Italian town of Cisterna. Germans were had anticipated the attack and set a trap. 761 rangers went in, 6 came out. Colonel Darby himself survived the battle, but was killed two days before the World War II ended.

1957- Patsy Cline recorded "Walkin' After Midnight."

1959- Disney's " SLEEPING BEAUTY "opened. Despite earning the fifth highest box office for that year, it made 1 million less what it cost. The animation staff had swollen to it's largest to finish the production. Meanwhile Disney’s cheap live action films like The Shaggy Dog were raking in profits. The studio’s animation dept had a big layoff, dropping from 551 to just 75. Staff level will not return to these same levels until 1990. Sleeping Beauty was never re-released in Walt’s lifetime, but since then has earned almost $681 Million and is considered one of Walt Disney’s most classic animated movies.

1964- Stanley Kubrick's nuclear comedy "DR STRANGLOVE –OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB." premiered. It's use of handheld camera for action sequences and cutting, inspired by WWII newsreels and the European New Wave, ushered in a new style in Hollywood cinema. So, who was Tracey Reed? She played Miss Scott, George C. Scott’s bikini clad secretary, and the only woman in the entire movie.

1964- Actor Alan Ladd (Shane), accidentally overdosed on tranquilizers and scotch. He was 50.

1975- The Weather Underground set off a bomb in the US State Department. They were a violent offshoot of the Student Anti-Vietnam War protest movement,

1977- Comic TV star of "Chico and the Man " Freddy Prinze (23) shot himself. Some said he suffered from a survivor's depression about why he had succeeded in life while all his friends from the Barrio were dead from gang killings or drugs. Family members said that he was just stoned on Quaaludes and was clowning around with a gun.

1979- President Jimmy Carter commuted the jail sentence of Patty Hearst.

1986- The National Geographic Society announced the discovery of the largest fossil find in North America. Estimated 10,000 fossilized remains in Nova Scotia They include penny sized dinosaur footprints, the smallest ever found. Best guess are they are from the Triassic-Jurassic boundary – a time of mass extinction.

2002- THE AXIS OF EVIL- In his State of the Union speech President George W. Bush coined the term " The Axis of Evil". He labeled as members Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Iran is a Shiite religious theocracy, Iraq a Sunnite secular fascist dictatorship and North Korea an atheistic Communist state- all with nothing in common and little mutual contact. The speechwriter originally wrote "Axis of Hate" but the Bush people like the Good vs. Evil thing. They also substituted North Korea for Libya because they wanted a non-Muslim power included they wouldn’t seem prejudiced.
We learned from a retired CIA operative that up till now Iran had actually been cooperating with the USA in rounding up Al Qaeda agents. After 9-11 Iran arrested 16 Al Qaeda operatives. At the request of the US, they handed them over to Saudi Arabia, who promptly let them all go. But after the speech, the Iranians broke off all contact.

Yesterday’s Quiz: What is the difference between jam, jelly and preserves?

Answer: Jelly is made with fruit juice and has no fruit pieces at all. It is the thinnest of the three fruit spreads. Jam has fruit pieces in the mix; its texture is between jelly and preserves. Preserves contain chunks of fruit and is the thickest spread. (Thanks FG)

Jan 28, 2023
January 28th, 2023

Quiz: What is the difference between jam, jelly and preserves?

Yesterday’s quiz answered below: What is an autogyro?
History for 1/28/2023
Birthdays: King Henry VII Tudor, Jose Marti, Colette, Jackson Pollack, Claus Oldenburg, Arthur Rubenstein, Ernst Lubitsch, Connie Rasinski, Susan Sontag, Barbie Benton, General George Pickett, William Burroughs (1855) the inventor of the calculator, Mo Rocca, Frank Darabont, Alan Alda is 87, Elijah Wood is 43

1393- DANSE MACABRE- (Bal des Ardents) At a masquerade ball given at the French court King Charles VI and several of his friends dressed up as 'wild men' to amuse the court. They had fur and animal hair attached to their bodies with tar.
While everyone was enjoying the capering of these strange anonymous creatures, a torch touched their tar covered bodies and the group exploded into flame. While the court watched these creatures writhe in agony, The Duchess de Berry screamed" Oh My God! That's the King!" King Charles was saved when that same duchess smothered his flames in her skirts. Another duke saved himself by diving headlong into a vat of Beaujolais, but the others roasted to death.
The common people weren't sympathetic. As you kneeled, one duke liked to step on your neck, sneering 'Down Peasant!". As his barbecued remains were carried through Paris, people laughed, danced, and cried 'Down M’lord!" Edgar Allen Poe wrote a story called “Hop Frog” about the incident. Roger Corman put it into his 1964 film- Masque of the Red Death.

1547- English Henry VIII died, leaving his ten year-old sickly-son Edward VI "Gods Imp" king. He was 55 years old but his hard living had aged him early. Increasingly suspicious of all around him as he aged, one of his last acts was to have the Earl of Surrey beheaded for changing the coat of arms of his father the Duke of York into something more like a Royal Heir-Apparent. The Duke was also scheduled to be executed but was saved when the old king died first.

1596- Sir Francis Drake died at sea off the coast of Nicaragua while trying to mount one more big raid on the Spanish Main. The Devonshire preacher's son had raided there as a young man. But by now, the Spaniards had learned his tricks so they were prepared. The trip was a failure and he died on deck of yellow fever in late middle age.

1782- The Congress called for the use of the Great Seal of the United States, even though no one had designed one yet. But the British had one and so..uh, we had to have one too !

1829- BURKE & HARE- In the early nineteenth century scientific experiments on cadavers were still outlawed as desecration of the dead so doctors secretly hired grave robbers to get them specimens to experiment on. Burke & Hare were the most infamous of Edinburgh's "resurrectionists" because they didn't always wait for the subject to die, but murdered them in their boardinghouse. To Burke someone became slang for suffocating them. Doctors and later police became suspicious of the freshness of their specimens and Hare finked on Burke to save himself.
On this day Burke was hanged before a crowd of thousands and his body later medically dissected. The notoriety of this case helped pass laws allowing doctors more legal use of mortal remains. Their story was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's story "The Body Snatcher."

1863- Ulysses Grant arrived at Vicksburg to begin the epic campaign that would end on July 4th with the capture of the 'Gibraltar of the Confederacy'.

1878- First commercial telephone switchboard.

1884- A British relief force reached the city of Khartoum just two days too late. After a one year siege, the Sudanese Dervishes had sacked the city and massacred all the inhabitants including General Gordon, dancing with their heads on spears. The desert relief force was held up until all their supplies were complete, including 20,000 black umbrellas, apricot jam, and cricket bats. Mad Dogs and Englishmen….

1902- Andrew Carnegie was a rough crude tycoon with a ruthless streak that saw him ruin his competitors and pay vigilantes to murder his striking employees. But after all the rough and tumble of the Gilded Age business world, he showed a new side of his character in retirement. He set up the Carnegie Institute in Washington and resolved to give away the bulk of his $350 million dollar fortune in philanthropic causes. The reason why so many colleges, hospitals and concert halls in America today are named Carnegie. Carnegie declared “A man who dies rich, dies disgraced!”

1915- The U.S. Coast Guard born, combining the Lifesaving Service and the Revenue Cutter patrol. In 2002 the Coast Guard was folded into the Cabinet office Department of Homeland Security.

1916- President Woodrow Wilson nominated Judge Lewis Brandeis to the Supreme Court. Brandeis was the first Jewish American to be so honored.

1917- After 11 months fruitlessly chasing Pancho Villa through Mexico and skirmishing with the Mexican army, Pres. Wilson ordered General John Pershing’s army home.

1918- In Germany, one million industrial workers, fed up with the endless carnage of World War I, went on strike, paralyzing factories nationwide.

1926- Composer Kurt Weill married his Pirate Jenny- Lotte Lenya.

1930- Warner Bros Cartoons Born. Leon Schlesinger, the head of Pacific Art and Title, signed a deal with several unemployed Disney animators who had left Walt to form their own studio to draw Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, but had been stiffed by their contacts. Schlesinger had connections with Warner Bros. since he helped them get funding for the 'Jazz Singer'. They created Leon Schlesinger's Studio Looney Tunes, in imitation of Disney's Silly Symphonies. Their first character was Bosko, but eventually they would create Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd and more. Schlesinger sold his company to WB outright in 1944 when he retired.

1949- The Admiral Broadway Review premiered on television. The one and a half hour comedy review starred Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. The show was so popular Admiral was swamped for orders for new televisions and ironically was forced to cancel the show to focus on their production needs. The show was revived as Your Show of Shows, one of the great shows of early television.

1956- Young singer Elvis Presley first appeared to television audiences on the Dorsey Brothers Stage Show.

1958- Brooklyn Dodger catcher Roy Campanella paralyzed in an auto wreck. He spent the rest of his life as a spokesman for the rights of the handicapped.

1978- Hanna-Barbera's the Three Robonic Stooges.

1982- Danny DeVito married Rhea Perlman.

1986- THE CHALLENGER DISASTER- As the world watched, the Space shuttle Challenger exploded 74 seconds after takeoff killing all twelve crew members. They included New Hampshire schoolteacher Christie McAuliffe who had won the space ride in a contest. It was blamed on defective O-rings in the rocket booster.

2003- President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address said that he had proof that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had sent agents to the African nation of Niger to buy uranium yellowcake, a component to make atomic bombs. It is one of the major excuses for the war with Iraq. This was later proved to be a complete lie. Bush blamed the intelligence service, after giving the head of the CIA George Tenent the Medal of Freedom. When special CIA envoy Joseph Wilson, who knew Niger, tried to point out the falsehood, the Bush White House destroyed his career and outed the cover of his CIA wife, Valerie Plame. She had been working on exposing the Iranian nuclear program.
Yesterday’s Question: What is an autogyro?

Answer: An autogyro was a weird 1930s hybrid flying vehicle, with an airplane propellor in front and a helicopter prop above. It was thought to be the future of civilian aviation. But it could never manage to carry more than one or two people and little else.

Jan. 26, 2023
January 26th, 2023

Quiz: What is a dreadnought?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What was Julius Caesar’s first name?
History for 1/26/2023
Birthdays: First Lady Julia Dent Grant, General Douglas MacArthur, Stephan Grappelli, Angela Davis, Maria Von Trapp, Wayne Gretsky, Eartha Kitt, Paul Newman, Charles Lane, Roger Vadim, Jules Feiffer is 94, Henry Jaglom, Anita Baker, Edward Abbey, Scott Glenn, David Straitharn, Ellen DeGeneres is 65

404 A.D. Today is the Feast of Saint Paula, who built the first abbey and monastery where all the monks and nuns wore identical uniform sackcloth, demonstrating that we are all equal in the eyes of God.

1500- Captain Vincente Pinzon, who had once commanded the Nina for Columbus, discovered the coast of Brazil while serving the Portuguese navy.

1536- English King Henry VIII was a very active and virile 44 years old. This day he was participating in a joust, when his opponent knocked him off his horse. Not only did he hit the ground in full armor, but his horse rolled on top of him. He sustained a deep gash in his leg that never fully healed. It marked the end of his active life. He grew sedentary and very fat. His leg gave him pain for the remaining 11 years of his life. Many noted the king became more moody and irascible after the accident. Which meant, off with his head!

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

1787- SHAY’S REBELLION- Just four years after the Revolutionary War ended, New England farmers rebelled again, against unfairly heavy taxes and a confused local government. Daniel Shays led 1,200 Massachusetts farmers in an attack on an armory that quickly fell apart, but the shock of the incident scared the Founding Fathers to convene a special Constitutional Convention to create a stronger central government.

1788- AUSTRALIA DAY, The First Fleet, a small group of British ships carrying 700 convicts, 200 soldiers and their families, landed at Port Jackson, New South Wales. Governor Arthur Phillip raised the Union Jack over Sydney Cove. The aboriginal people met them on the beach with cries of "Warra-warra!" which meant "Go Away!" Eventually 50,000 convicts were sent there. After a century Australians began to form their special 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. The quest for citrus is also the root of Americans calling British people “Limeys”

1799- Thomas Jefferson wrote to Elbridge Gerry “I am for freedom of religion, and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.” Another time he said,” It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.”

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.

1824- Artist Theodore Gericault was famous for his paintings of horses. This day he died, from a fall off a horse.
1837- Michigan became a state.

1865- Despite his Civil War victories, General William T Sherman had been criticized for having a biased attitude towards black slaves. This day he answered his critics by issuing his General Order # 15, stating that every freed African-American had the right to "40 acres and a mule". Many former slaves took this to mean they would take ownership of the lands they tended, parceled from the great plantations where they lived. Alas, corruption and racism of local white authorities during Reconstruction ensured this became an empty promise.

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’ younger mentally handicapped stepbrother, who had nothing to do with the outlaws, and blew his mother’s the right arm off. The James Gang were nowhere near the farm that night.

1884- The Sundanese capitol Khartoum fell to the forces of messianic leader the Mahdi. The Liberal Government of William Gladstone had sent the famous Victorian general Charles 'Chinese' Gordon to oversee the British evacuation of the Sudan. Gordon was a courageous eccentric who instead of evacuating the Sudan barricaded himself into Khartoum and resolved to fight it out to the end. "We are all pianos" he once said:" And events play upon us".

1911- Richard Strauss’ Opera, Der Rosenkavalier Premiere at The Koniglisch Operahaus in Dresden. Kaiser Wilhelm was offended by the Hugo Hoffmanstahl story about aristocrats sleeping around with their 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 Lenin to Leningrad. In 1991 they changed the name back to Saint Petersburg.

1934- Hollywood producer Sam Goldwyn secured the rights to L. Frank Baum’s book the Wonderful Wizard of Oz to develop into a movie. Walt Disney and Hal Roach were trying to get it also.

1939- Generalissimo Franco’s Fascist troops captured Barcelona, winning the Spanish Civil War.

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

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

1962- Mob boss Charles Lucky Luciano 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 write his biography. Lucky Luciano was the criminal genius that converted gangsters from waterfront street gangs to national syndicates with ties to legitimate business and government. He also imported the Sicilian system of La Mafia- family clan allegiance and code of honor, to supplant the earlier Irish-Jewish gangsters. Lucky was deported to Italy in the 1950’s and retired when his appeals to return were all 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 brought the city to a total standstill.

1972- Walt Disney’s The Mouse Factory premiered on TV. Ward Kimball created the show of old Mickey cartoons introduced by comedians like Phyllis Diller, and Jonathan Winters in a Laugh-In style pace to attempt to modernize the characters for a new audience.

1979- Former Vice President of the United States, Nelson Rockefeller, was found dead in his office" en flagrante delicto" with Meghan 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’s death was an open secret in New York City. The legend was fueled by the fact that Ms. Marshak's first call was not to 911 or the cops, but to her friend, local TV newswoman, Ponchitta Pierce. Pierce made the call to summon help nearly an hour after Rocky was cold.
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 and the edge of the bed 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. Catharine Bach’s cutoff jeans became thereafter known for her character- Daisy Dukes.

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

1988- Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical The Phantom of the Opera premiered.

1996- First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton testified to a grand jury, the first "first lady" to do so. The only earlier incident that comes to mind was in 1862 when a senate committee convened to investigate whether Mary Todd Lincoln was a Confederate spy.
Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State in the Obama administration, and so was the frequent target of vengeful Republican investigations. They once made her testify for 11 hours straight and tried to forbid her going to the bathroom. She met it all without a protest. Before the last Republican House adjourned at New Years 2018, their last order of business was to bring in former FBI director James Comey and question him about….what else? Hillary Clinton.

1998- The Japanese town of Ito was attacked by a horde of berserk monkeys, injuring 26.

2003- After the Super Bowl, ABC premiered a new late night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live.

2020- Basketball star Kobe Bryant and 8 others including his daughter were killed in a helicopter crash in heavy fog in Calabasas, California. He was 41.
Yesterday’s question: What was Julius Caesar’s first name?

Answer: His first name was Gaius. Julii was the family clan name.