BACK to Blog Posts

VIEW Blog Titles from February 2023


Blog Posts from February 2023:

Feb 28, 2023
February 28th, 2023

Question: When Leadbelly sang in The Midnight Special: The next thing you know Boy, you’re Sugerland bound…”. What is that?

Yesterday’s Question: What is a diva?
History for 2/28/2023
Birthdays: Michel de Montaigne, The Marquis de Montcalm, Zero Mostel, Vasclav Nijinsky, Molly Picon, Gavin MacCleod, 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, Frank Gehry, Sir John Tenniel, John Tarturro, Gilbert Gottfried, Bernadette Peters is 75.

468AD- Today is the Feast of St. Hilarius, who was a bishop at the Synod of Brigands. Held at Ephesus in 449AD, the theological debate of Church elders over where to place the Feast of Easter got so out of hand that the Patriarch of Constantinople was beaten to death, and St. Hilarius 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 de POMPADOUR- Jeanne Poisson d’Etoiles was not only beautiful, but highly intelligent. Even her mother predicted “she is a morsel fit for a king”. This day at a masked ball at the Paris Hotel du Ville, King Louis XV first met her. She was dressed as Diana the goddess of the Hunt. The King was dressed as a Yew Tree. Louis ennobled her with the title Madame de Pompadour. Her husband was given a job as a tax collector and told to get lost. Madame de 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, Jeanne remained the king’s close friend and confidante.
The champagne glass was supposedly modeled from Madame de Pompadour’s breast.

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

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! Modern scholars cannot agree just what the samo was, or what it did.

1882- The first college store opened, the COOP, this one attached to Harvard & MIT. The COOP means Harvard Cooperative Society.

1896- Robert Paul demonstrates a kinetograph to the Royal Institute. The British Cinema industry 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 cities.

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 began to wash corpses all over the Baltic coastline.

1938- Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev toured the Walt Disney Studio, and performed his piece Peter and the Wolf for Walt and his music director Leigh Harline.

1938- President Franklin Roosevelt introduced in Congress a bill to make the practice of lynching a Federal crime. After a lengthy filibuster by southern conservative senators, FDR caved and withdrew the bill.

1940- At the Oscars ceremony Hattie McDaniel became the first black actress to win an Oscar for her supporting role in Gone With The Wind. When some criticized her for portraying a stereotype 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.

1949- Bob Clampett’s live puppet show Time for Beanie premiered. Albert Einstein was a fan. Ten years later it was revived as the popular animated series Beanie and Cecil.

1953- Chuck Jones “Duck Amuck” premiered.

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 fellow scientist Rosalind Franklin. It’s been argued that Franklin was the one who actually made the discovery, but she died before Watson and Crick were awarded the Nobel Prize.

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 was never caught.

1986- Disney animator Eric Larsen retired. Larsen had stayed on to train the next generation of animators who created the 2D Rennaissance of the 1990s.

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

2001- Seattle rocked by a 7.0 earthquake. That’ll stir your Starbucks!

2012- Pope Benedict XVI stepped down. The first pope to resign since 1419. He died ten years later in 2022.

2023- The last Worthington Ford car dealership closed. Oklahoman Cal Worthington began selling autos in Southern California in 1951, making distinctive commercials. He died at age 96.
Yesterday’s Question: What is a diva?

Answer: A word in India for a goddess. In the English speaking countries it later became a term for someone absorbed with their own self-importance or vanity.

Feb 26, 2023
February 26th, 2023

Quiz: How many English Kings were beheaded?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: In a famous Shakespeare play one character says ” This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,….This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.” Who says it?
--------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------
History for 2/ 26/2023
Birthday: King Wenceslas of Bohemia-1361, Frances Marion, Victor Hugo, Buffalo Bill Cody, Emma Destin, Levi Strauss, Jackie Gleason, Fats Domino, Betty Hutton, Johnny Cash, William Frawley, Robert Alda, Tony Randall- born Arthur Rosenberg, Erhyke Bahdu, Fred “Tex” Avery

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

500s BC-391AD, HAPPY ANTHESTERION- the Ancient Greek holiday of Death and Spring. Dedicated jointly to Dionysus and Hermes Kthoninos- (Underworld). 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 annoy 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 Massachusetts colonists. Leslie didn’t want a showdown, so he negotiated, while other neighbors smuggled the illegal weapons into the forest. Leslie went back empty handed. 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. He then relented and leaped into the raging ice filled water to get it back.
Ironically this drama was played out during his town’s winter carnival celebrations. The tragedy of seeing his friend and teacher collapse moved young Johannes Brahms to write his First Piano Concerto. It was rumored that Clara Schuman and young Brahms had a fling as well.

1907- British Oil and Royal Shell merge to form British Petroleum- BP Company.

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. This was a direct violation of the restrictions placed on Germany in the Versailles Treaty. Germany awaited the response, which was nothing.

1936- The NINIROKU JIKEN. Or the Coup of 2-26. Young Japanese officers led four regiments to attempt a takeover the government in Tokyo. They killed several government ministers, including two former prime ministers, and tried unsuccessfully to assassinate Prime Minister Okada. The coup collapsed when Emperor Hirohito 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 coup’s failure, the surviving peace-party politicians were intimidated to block the Imperial Army plans for continued conquest in Asia.

1942- Walt Disney received the Irving Thalberg Award at the Academy Awards. Leopold Stokowski got a special Oscar for his work on Fantasia, Frank Churchill and Oliver Wallace won Best Score for Dumbo.

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 their 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. Twenty-six year later, after Jackson’s death in 2009, Thriller again went to #1 around the world.

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.

1986- Dragon Ball Z premiered in Japan

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 fighter bombers 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 but easily over a thousand.

1993- THE FIRST WORLD TRADE CENTER ATTACK. Followers of Muslim 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. But the Twin Towers remained standing.
It has been speculated that one reason there were not even more deaths in the collapse of 9-11, was because much of the office workers experienced this 1993 attack, so they already 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. He was reported to have sighed: “….should have used more dynamite.”

1996- Silicon Graphics Corp (SGI) bought Cray Research.

2012- In Florida, 16 year old Trayvon Martin was walking home after buying a bag of Skittles, when he was shot to death by a self-appointed vigilante George Zimmerman. Zimmerman claimed self-defense and was acquitted in a trial with heavily racist overtones.

2014- Putin’s Russia invaded the Crimea, which was then part of Ukraine.

2017- Disney's Zootopia won best animated feature Oscar, and Pixar's Piper won best animated short.
Yesterday’s Question: In a famous Shakespeare play one character says ” This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,….This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.” Who says it?

Answer: John of Gaunt, the father of Henry IV Bolingbroke, in Shakespeare’s Richard II.

Feb 25, 2023
February 25th, 2023

Question: In a Shakespeare play one character says ” This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,….This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.” Who says it?

Yesterday’s Answer below: What was the only Hollywood movie to have 2 Nobel Prize winners working on the script?
History for 2/25/2023
Birthdays: Enrico Caruso, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Zeppo Marx, St. Louis (King Louis IX of France), Bobby Riggs, Carl Eller, Dicky Jones the voice of Disney’s Pinocchio, Sir Anthony Burgess, Neil Jordan, Larry Gelbart, Tom Courtenay, Sean Astin is 53, Tea Leoni, John Foster Dulles, Neil Jordan is 73, Rashida Jones is 47

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 most times 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 a harquebus with a wooden stock and trigger.
At Pavia, when the French knights charged, harquebusiers, 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 very 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 carnage 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.
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. Then the assassins dragged his perforated body down the grand staircase as 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. United Europe.

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 Indian style. 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 handed it back to Clark and invited him to try 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 escape confinement and 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 Hickok 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 through the busy streets 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 the United States. He went and traded in his old beaver skin stovepipe hat for a new silk top hat. Then he went to Matthew Brady’s photo parlor to pose for a photo like all genteel-type folks is supposed to do.

1863- CIVIL WAR PRANKS - Outside the siege lines of Vicksburg, Union admiral David Porter decided to play a joke on the rebs. 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 for black paint and wood was $15 dollars.
He 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 own gunboat into a sand bar, abandoned it and blew it up rather than let it be captured. Eventually the dummy boat stuck in some shallows. A rebel sheepishly rowed out to the barge and they’d been fooled.

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 Adolf Hitler had to officially become a German citizen before he could run for President.

1955- Davy Crockett at the Alamo with Fess Parker premiered on Walt Disney’s Disneyland TV show.

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 revelations. 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.

1956- Chuck Jones Bugs Bunny short “ Broomstick Bunny” with Witchy Hazel, premiered.

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 recorded "That'll Be the Day."

1964- Young Cassius Clay, later renamed Muhammad Ali, defeated Sonny Liston in 2:14 minutes into the 7th 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 replied: "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. He was 71.

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- In Hebron, A Brooklyn born Jewish man named Baruch Goldstein went berserk in the Tomb of the Patriarchs and shot 29 innocent Palestinian civilians at prayers.

1996- Dr Haing Ngor, the doctor who survived the Cambodian Killing Fields 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 conservative-Catholic Mel Gibson’s movie the "The Passion of the Christ" opened in North America. The film was criticized for its 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.
Question: What was the only Hollywood movie to have 2 Nobel Prize winners working on the script?

Answer: Howard Hawks film “To Have and to Have Not”. Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner collaborated with Hawks on the screenplay.

Feb 24, 2023
February 24th, 2023

Question: What was the only Hollywood movie to have 2 Nobel Prize winners working on the script?

Yesterdays Quiz answered below: Take no quarter and give no quarter. What does that mean?
History for 2/24/2022
B-Dazes: Roman Emperor Hadrian, Winslow Homer, Arrigo Boito, Wilhelm Grimm (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, Michael Radford, Billy Zane, Steve Jobs, Abe Vigoda, Bob Kinoshita who designed the robot from Lost in Space.

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, capped off a history of arrogant rule when he raped Lucretia, the daughter of a nobleman named Horatius. She tells her dad, so he stabbed her to save her further shame. I guess that's 'tough love 'or something. The Roman people led by the Horatius family and his kinsmen Marcus Brutus drove out King Tarquin and established a republic.
For the next 450 years Rome was a democracy led by a Senate, from "senates" or elders, electing two Consuls (presidents) a year, with the common people’s spokesmen called Tribunes of the Plebs, who could veto legislation. 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.

138AD- Antoninus Pius adopted as co-emperor by the aging Emperor Hadrian.

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 of Britain 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 45BC. For centuries medieval scientists like Dennis Exigius, Abu Abdalah Mohammed and Roger Bacon noticed something wasn’t quite right. By 1582, the calendar was 11 days off the solar year. Pope Gregory XI had scientist Dionysius Ingratius revised 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 remained until 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 all rose up and battled royal troops in the streets. 1848 is remembered as the "Year of Revolutions".

1852- Russian writer and hypochondriac Nicolai Gogol burned 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 in 1864 only because he was so badly wounded, Grant figured he wouldn’t live much longer anyway. Gen. Chamberlain actually outlived Grant by thirty years and today finally died of old age.

1928- French serial killer Henri 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. They won out over Walt Disney and Hal Roach.

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

1943- Fed up with the bad climate in the studio because of the Strike, master animator Bill Tytla resigned from the Walt Disney Studio.

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 was 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 worlds most powerful country, the little North Vietnamese army was as formidable as ever. While American generals requested more troops, they already had 450,000, White House strategists like Clark Clifford began to think withdrawal.

1981- Long Island socialite Jean Harris was convicted of murdering Dr. Herbert Tarnnower, author of the popular Scarsdale Diet.

1987- US Robotics sold the first 56k modems.

1988- PARODY LAWS- The US Supreme Court upheld the right of public figures to be satirized, by throwing out a lawsuit Rev Jerry Falwell brought against Hustler Magazine owner Larry Flynt. Flynt published a gag about Rev Falwell having sex with his mother in an outhouse. Falwell tried to sue for libel. The Court ruled a public figure can be lampooned, so long as it is not presented 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 healthy 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.

2008- Pixar’s Ratatouille won the Oscar for best animated feature.

2013- Pixar’s Brave won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

2019- Spiderman into the Spiderverse won the Oscar for best animated feature.

2022- Vladimir Putin’s Russia invaded the Republic of Ukraine. A year later he still can’t seem to explain why. Expected to fall in a week, the Ukrainian people rallied behind their President Vlodomir Zelensky and fought back heroically. When the U.S. offered him and his family a flight out of the country to safety, he replied, “What I need is ammunition, not a ride….”
Yesterday’s Question: Take no quarter and give no quarter. What does that mean?


Feb 23, 2023
February 23rd, 2023

Quiz: Take no quarter and give no quarter. What does that mean?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: Which character is older? Mickey Mouse, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Felix the Cat, Betty Boop.
History for 2/23/2023
Birthdays: George Fredrich Handel, Samuel Pepys (pronounced 'peeps'), Mayer Amschel Rothschild-1743- founder of the Rothschild banking dynasty, Victor Fleming, W.E.B. DuBois, Johnny Winter, Peter Fonda, William Shirer, Allan MacLeod Cormack-inventor of the CAT Scan, Kelly MacDonald, Tom Bodet, Neal McDonough, Kristin Davis is 58, Emily Blunt is 40, Dakota Fanning is 29.

303 A.D. DIOCLETIAN RENEWED THE BAN ON CHRISTIANITY. The Roman Empire recognized a cult as ‘religo’ (officially sanctioned ) or “supersticio” ( banned ). After Nero's death in 64, the pattern of Christian persecution raised and lowered with each emperor. When Diocletian became emperor he made it his mission to stop the Roman Empire's decline. So, if weirdo cults like Christianity were part of the problem, then it had to go.
While Nero tortured people only in Rome, Diocletian demanded a systematic quota of executions in every part of the Empire. A lot of saints date their martyrdoms around this time 295-305 AD.
What Diocletian couldn't foresee was that ten years later the son of one of his own generals, Constantine, would make Christianity the official religion of the Empire in 312.

1539- The Viceroy of New Spain Antonio Mendoza organized an expedition under Don Francisco de Coronado to march north from Vera Cruz and find El Dorado, the fabulous Seven Cities of Cibola. For two years Coronado wandered the American Southwest as far north as Kansas and Oklahoma. He discovered marvels like the Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert, but found no cities of gold. When he returned to Spain, he was arrested for wasting government money.

1568- Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great stormed the great Rajput fortress of Chitoor. His warriors fought with Mongol bows, cannon, matchlock rifles and armored war elephants, trained to squish enemies.

1593-The Uppsala Murta- the Uppsala Declaration. The Swedish Diet declared that the national religion of Sweden would forever be Lutheran Protestantism.

1819- The CATO STREET CONSPIRACY- English radicals led by Sir Roger Thistlewood plot to murder the entire British cabinet including the Duke of Wellington as they dined after the opening of Parliament. Then would institute a French Revolutionary style republic in Jolly-Old England! Odds Fish! But fear not, an informer disclosed the plan to the government. On this night constables raided the nefarious plotters at their Cato-Street hideout and nabbed the whole bunch! Britain was safe once more!

1821- In a house in Rome’s Piazza de Espagna, 25 year old English poet John Keats died of tuberculosis. As he was dying he joked: ” I can feel daisies growing over me”. He instructed that his grave marker bear only the self-deprecating message” Here lies one Who’s Fame was Written in Water.”

1836- Santa Anna's Mexican army of 7,000 surrounded the mission called the Alamo, which had 185 Texas defenders. Santa Anna ordered the buglers to call to parley. Col. Travis answered with a cannon shot, which Jim Bowie thought was rather rash. Santa Anna then called for the raising of a red flag from a church steeple in San Antonio de Bejar, and his trumpeters sounded the Deguello, a call signifying that he intended to take no prisoners.

1847-Battle of Buena Vista- General Zachary Taylor defeated the Mexican army.

1861-Warned of death threats, and riots in pro-secessionist Maryland towns, President-elect Abraham Lincoln snuck into Washington D.C. at 3:15 AM. Abe, sporting his newly grown whiskers, was dressed in disguise and escorted by his bodyguard Lehman and Charles Pinkerton, a former Scottish barrel maker, who had set up the first detective agency in the United States. Pinkertons advertising created the name Private Eye for detective.

1873- Seattle Mayor Corliss B. Stone embezzled the towns entire treasury, $15,000, and skipped town with his girlfriend, who was married to another. Bye-bye!

1886- the Johnson Wax Company formed.

1892- Rudolph Diesel patented the Diesel Engine.

1898- French writer Emile Zola was arrested and charged with libel for his J'Accuse newspaper article that exposed the cover up of the Dreyfus Scandal. He jumped bail and fled to England until the scandal brought down the government.

1905- The Rotary Club founded.

1915- In Berlin, a secret pact was concluded between the German government and Irish nationalist leader Sir Roger Casement. In it Germany pledged to supply Casement with guns, artillery and even German officers to aid the Irish people to revolt against Britain. The Irish never got more than a shipload of rifles, but the Easter Sunday Uprising of 1916 was the result. Casement was arrested on the beach by the British trying to stop the rebellion from breaking out.

1926- President Calvin Coolidge said he was against the creation of a large US Air force because it “would be a menace to world peace.”

1927- Animator Les Clark began work at the Walt Disney Studio. He was the first of Walt’s Nine Old Men.

1935- Walt Disney cartoon "The Band Concert." The first color Mickey Mouse cartoon.

1939 - Walt Disney received a special Oscar for his classic 83-minute animated film SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, at the 11th Academy Awards held at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California.
Eleven-year-old child star Shirley Temple presented Walt with one statuette and seven miniature statuettes for "a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field for the motion picture cartoon." (Film director Frank Capra came up with the idea of a full-sized Oscar statuette with seven smaller ones descending in a row.) A regular category for animated feature would not exist until 2001.

1942- In the dead of night a Japanese submarine surfaced off the California coast and fired its cannon at lights it thinks is a city. In reality it was an oil refinery just north of Santa Barbara. The brief bombardment caused $150 dollars in damage. The sub broke radio silence to report to Tokyo that " Enemy coast sighted. Los Angeles is in Flames." The incident was lampooned in the Steven Spielberg comedy "1941."

1960 - The Day Brooklyn Cried'- After the Dodgers moved west to Los Angeles, Flatbush’s Ebbets Field baseball stadium went under the wrecking ball and became a low income housing project.

1981- The Moscardo Coup. Disgruntled Spanish Fascists missed the good old days under Franco who died 6 years ago. This day 200 members of the Guardia Civil police attacked the Spanish Parliament and held the lawmakers hostage. A Colonel Moscardo yelled threats on television and waved a pistol in the air. The coup was crushed after 18 hours thanks in no small part to King Juan Carlos, who appeared in nationwide television in uniform and called upon the people to defend their democracy.

1991- DESERT STORM, The Ground War to liberate Kuwait began. The US Army was led by Gen. Colin Powell, who was originally from the South Bronx, and in the spearhead column was the French Foreign Legion, then recruited from unemployed Liverpool and Manchester soccer hooligans. Scary bunch.

1994- The Russian Mir space station had been in space since 1986 but was starting to show it’s age. A booster ship sent with supplies collided with Mir during a bad-docking maneuver. This day an oxygen fire filled the Mir Space Station with smoke. The fire is put out but it’s just the beginning of 6 months of privation, accidents and hair-raising close-calls for the joint Russian-German crew, and lone American astronaut Jerry Leninger. Mir was retired in 2002 and burned up on re-entry.
Yesterday’s Question: Which character is older? Mickey Mouse, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Felix the Cat, Betty Boop.

Answer: Felix the Cat, (1919)