Feb 8, 2016
February 8th, 2016

Question: Today people call each other’s comments “snarky”. Where did the term snarky come from?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: When someone says, “ That place was like Brigadoon,” What do they mean?
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History for 2/8/2016
Birthdays: St Proclus of Constantinople 412AD, Jules Verne, Dmitri Medeleyev- inventor of the Periodic Table of Elements, James Dean, William T. Sherman, John Williams is 84, Ivan Ivano-Vano, Lana Turner, Jack Lemmon, Alejandro Rey, Ted Koppel, Nick Nolte, Buck Henry, Gary Coleman, Robert Klein, Seth Green is 42

1587- MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS BEHEADED at Fotheringay Castle. Circumstantial evidence proved Mary had not discouraged plots to overthrow and kill Queen Elizabeth. Truth was Elizabeth could never sit on her throne securely while Mary lived. While some could argue Elizabeth’s legitimate birth, Mary’s grandmother was the sister of King Henry VIII.

Apologists for Queen Elizabeth argue she did ordered the execution with great sadness but others say she cracked jokes as she signed the death warrant. Elizabeth and Mary never met face-to-face. Mary’s son James accepted his mothers death calmly, he hadn’t seen her since he was a toddler and his Presbyterian tutors all filled him with hate for her.

It must have been a hard day at work for the headsman. First in order to ensure a good job, Mary gave a bribe to the executioner, but he muffed the first chop and had to do it in a couple of swings. Then, when the headsman picked up the head it plopped out of it's red wig. She had lost most of her hair to smallpox, as did Elizabeth and a lot of other folks. Finally, when they moved Mary's body, a yelping lap dog jumped out of her skirts and bit the headsman. The heartbroken little pet refused all food, and died soon afterwards.

1601- Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex, was the toyboy of Queen Elizabeth Ist. On this day he shocked the court by riding through the countryside declaring his intent to overthrow the old Queen. The countryside in turn surprised him when no one joined him. He was quickly captured and sent to the block.

1608- Fire burns down what there is of Jamestown and most of the food supply.

1836- Davy Crockett with twelve Tennessee leathershirts arrived at the Alamo.

1864- Abraham Lincoln visited Matthew Brady's Photo Studio and posed for the photo's that would one day be on the Penny and Five dollar bill.

1865- Russian monk Gregor Mendel publishes his laws of heredity. The science of genetics is born.

1866- Elizabeth Cady-Stanton pleaded in the New York State legislature that neglect, abandonment and wanton cruelty on the part of a husband be made grounds for divorce. Her ideas became law one hundred years later, in 1966.

1887- Congress passed the Dawes Act, which said any Indian who left his tribe and moved into white society would be granted American citizenship. All native Americans were not granted unconditional U.S. citizenship until 1924.

1893- THE FIRST RECORDED STRIPTEASE - discounting Salome. At Paris's famed Moulin Rouge an artist's model named Mona decided to get an edge in a beauty contest judged by art students by disrobing to music while walking up and down the stage. She was arrested and fined 100 francs and the students rioted.

1893- Congress repealed the Enforcement Acts, a key piece of reconstruction legislation that prevented local governments from cheating African Americans out of their voting rights.

1910- Boy Scouts of America incorporated on the British model.

1914- THE FIRST TRUE CHARACTER ANIMATION- Windsor McCay's "Gertie the Dinosaur" premiered as part of a vaudeville act. Up to then most U.S. animations were attempts to bring popular newspaper comic characters to life, but Gertie was a new character never before seen. Some critics had wondered if animated characters weren’t some kind of man in a special suit, so McCay drew a dinosaur, a character that couldn’t possibly be impersonated by a living thing. The brilliant draftsmanship and timing of this film would inspire the generation of Animation artists of the Golden Age of the 1930's-40s.

1915- THE BIRTH OF A NATION or The Clansman premiered at Clunes Auditorium in Los Angeles. Film pioneer D.W. Griffith's racist movie was considered for years the first American feature length film. The discovery in 1999 of a 1913 Richard III film predates it. Son of a Confederate veteran, it’s been thought that Griffith was making a personal statement, truth is there was a flood of films to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil War and the book the Clansman by Thomas Dixon was a best seller. President Woodrow Wilson (another son of the Confederacy ) called it :"History written with a thunderbolt and I’m afraid all too true."

Birth of a Nations’ inflammatory imagery and this politically incorrect Presidential endorsement helped a rebirth of the defunct Ku Klux Klan, and caused an increase in lynching. But despite the film’s politics, it’s technique influenced world cinema and established once and for all the feature film length as the standard for all future motion pictures. It’s original running length was 3 hours.

D.W. Griffith in latter years lost his fortune and became a drunken has-been. Watching him at Chasen's Restaurant in the 1940’s beg MGM studio head Dore Schary for work, inspired Billy Wilder to write SUNSET BLVD.

1924, the first execution by gas chamber in the United States took place at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City. It took Chinese gang member Gee Jong six minutes to die.

1928- Englishman John Logie Baird transmitted a still television image across the Atlantic from England to Hartsdale New York. It was a still image of a woman.

1949- Cardinal Mindzenty, the Roman Catholic primate of Hungary was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Communist government for treason. Nine years earlier Mindzenty had been imprisoned by Pro-Nazi Hungarians after he spoke out against the regimes treatment of Jews. He was imprisoned until 1956 when he was released and escaped to the west in 1971. Cardinal Mindzenty was then lauded a champion of human rights the way Nelson Mandela or Ang San Soo Chy is today.

1960- Adolph Coors III the heir to the Coors beer empire was killed in a failed kidnapping attempt. Joseph Corbett Jr was apprehended in Canada and charged with the crime. Ironically, Adolph Coors was reputedly allergic to beer.

1961- Nebraska teenager and future movie star Nick Nolte was busted for the first time. He was accused of selling fake Draft cards so his friends could buy alcohol.

1966- The Vatican closed its office of censorship.

1967- Georgy Girl by the Seekers goes to #1 in pop charts.

1994- Jack Nicholson destroyed the windshield of a neighbor’s car with a golf club, screaming “You cut me off!” He settled the matter out of court.

2001- Walt Disney’s California Adventure theme park opened.

2007- Anna Nicole Smith, centerfold, pole dancer, heiress and reality TV star, died from an overdose of prescription drugs. She was 39.
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Yesterday’s Question: When someone says, “ That place was like Brigadoon,” What do they mean?

Answer: Brigadoon was 1947 Lerner & Lowe musical about a magical Scottish village that appeared once every hundred years. The name Brigadoon has since become a metaphor for a desired utopia that is more myth than real


Feb 7, 2016
February 7th, 2016

Question: When someone says, “ That place was like Brigadoon,” What do they mean?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: What is an oenophile? Can it get you arrested?
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History for 2/7/2016
Birthdays: St. Thomas Moore, Eubie Blake, Sinclair Lewis, Larry "Buster" Crabbe, Laura Ingalls Wilder writer of Little House on the Prairie, Gay Talese, James Spader is 56, Chris Rock is 51, Eddie Izzard is 54, Ashton Kutcher is 38

310 AD- Feast of St. Theodore the General. He commanded a Legion under the Emperor Licinius in Pontus. After admitting he had embraced the outlaw sect Christianity he was tortured and burned in a furnace. Two years before the ban on Christians was lifted.

457AD- After the death of the Roman Emperor Marcian, General Aspar proclaimed his friend General Leo the Armenian to be the new emperor of the Eastern Empire.

1601-Elderly Queen Elizabeth Ist dallied with a courtier named Robert Deverueaux the Earl of Essex. This hot headed toyboy soon got it into his head he could overthrow the old Queen and take over her government. This night at his estate- the original Essex House, flattering friends paid for a performance of Master William Shakespeare’s play Richard II. Queen Elizabeth’s spies overheard and told her; the symbolism of Essex watching a play about a monarch justly deposed was not lost on her. Next day the Essex plot was crushed and he and all his buddies went under the headsman’s axe.

1792- The major European powers- Russia, Austria, Prussia, Spain and England announced a grand coalition to crush the Revolution in France. They considered it a pre-emptive war to prevent French people’s-style revolution from over throwing their monarchies. About the only ally the French had was the American Republic, but they were too weak and too far away to be of any help.

1796- Napoleon & Josephine’s engagement was announced.

1807- BATTLE of EYLAU- Up until the 20th century armies traditionally avoided fighting in winter because of the added hardships of weather. After chasing the Russian army up into Northern Poland, Napoleon put his French army into winter quarters and proceeded to bed down with his new mistress Countess Maria Walewska. Unfortunately a French division bumped into the main Russian force and a battle ensued. Everyone rushed there and an inconclusive slaughter raged in a blinding snowstorm. The battle was only ended when Marshal Murat massed all the French cavalry into one big juggernaut and sent it hammering through the Russian center.

1882- John L. Sullivan defeated top boxer Paddy Ryan in a ferocious bareknuckle brawl in Gulfport Mississippi. There were no official boxing championship belts yet, but John L. Sullivan boldly declared himself the Champion of the World. He’d travel from town to town building his legend: "I’m John L. Sullivan and I can lick any man in the house!!” and he always did.

1904- Great fire of Baltimore.

1910- The Town of Hollywood annexed into the City of Los Angeles.

1925- Professor Raymond Dart of the University of South Africa named the small human like skull found in a lime deposit Australopithicus, a missing link between ape and man.

1931- Aviatrix Amelia Earhart married publisher George Putnam.

1937- PACKING THE COURT-Since seizing the initiative in 1933 to battle the Depression, Franklin Roosevelt was used to having his own way with Congress. After the Supreme Court struck down important components of the NRA as unconstitutional, FDR this night informed leading Senators that he was introducing a bill to expand the Supreme Court so he could name his own men and create a majority to do his bidding. The heretofore docile Senate rose up and defeated FDR’s scheme, the resistance led by his own vice president Cactus Jack Garner. The newly invigorated Congress continued to defy Roosevelt until Pearl Harbor.

1939, Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep was published. Chandler was a 51year old ex-oil company executive who had taken up writing at the age of forty-five, after being fired for alcohol-soaked absenteeism. Over the previous five years he had published enough crime stories in the pulp magazines to survive, but this was his first novel, the first of seven featuring the inimitable Philip Marlowe.

1940- Disney's classic "Pinocchio" premiered.

1942- Despite being under heavy Japanese attack, British commander Sir Spencer Percival vowed that Singapore would resist to the last man. Singapore surrendered one week later.

1942- Detroit assembly lines ceased all production of civilian automobiles and focused exclusively on war material- tanks, planes, trucks until 1945. When President Roosevelt challenged carmakers to help make America the "Arsenal of Democracy" in 1939 they dragged their feet. Now the government sweetened their orders with guaranteed profits, labor peace and they would sell at incredible discount the factories built at government expense.

1944- German Panzergrenadiers launched a heavy counterattack on the Allied beachhead at Anzio Italy.

1950- The US recognized the nation of Vietnam not as ruled by Ho Chi Minh, but ruled by French mandate under the Emperor Bao Dai.

1960- JFK PARTYS WITH THE RATPACK-Before he created the Peace Corps and Camelot, presidential candidate John Kennedy needed to relax and raise some hell. So in total secret he helicoptered down to Las Vegas and spent this night at the Sands Hotel with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and his brother in law, actor Peter Lawford. These men were famous for their all-night Rat Pack parties, heavy drinking, girls, poker and more. Sinatra introduced Kennedy to a party girl named Judith Cambell Exner, who would claim JFK as a lover at the same time as she was sleeping with Sam Momo Giancana, the don of the Chicago Mafia. In the wee dawn hours Kennedy slipped away to continue his race for the White House.

1964- THE BRITISH ROCK INVASION BEGAN. Thousands of screaming fans welcomed THE BEATLES to New York for their first U.S. Tour. The last music out of England to be taken seriously by Americans was The Lambeth Walk, now the UK announced itself as a powerhouse of rock & roll. For a Brit to do Rock & Roll in America was as audacious as an American reciting Shakespeare in Stratford, but the welcome for the Beatles was so overwhelming that other bands like the Rolling Stones and Herman’s Hermits soon followed.

Local New York disc jockeys Cousin Brucie and Murray the K wiggled to the front of the crowds and got a national audience by following the young musicians around. The crowds of teenagers were so excited they mobbed a Rolls Royce in front of the Warwick Hotel where the Beatles were staying just because they figured a Rolls Royce would be something they drove in. They actually used taxicabs.

1964- The GI Joe action figure born. In 1974 it got the Kung-Fu Grip.

1968- During the Vietnamese Tet Offensive a US Army colonel issued a statement to the A.P. after burning the tiny village of Ben Tre.:" We had to destroy that village in order to save it." It typified the sometimes dizzy logic the Army used to justify it’s actions.

1971- Women in Switzerland receive the right to vote.

1979- Nazis Angel of Death Dr. Josef Mengele was living in hiding in Brazil. This day the old man had a stroke while swimming and drowned. His death was kept secret until 1985.

1989- Retired tennis champ Bjorn Borg was rushed to a Madrid hospital and had his stomach pumped after he tried to overdose on sleeping pills.

1992- Twelve European nations sign the Maastricht Treaty of European Union.

1994- Jean Bertrand Aristide sworn in as democratically elected president of Haiti.

2001- After being overthrown, Jean Bertrand Aristide sworn in as President of Haiti again. He was overthrown again in 2003.

2002- President George W. Bush issued a determination “…that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which would have afforded minimum standards for humane treatment, did not apply to al-Qaeda or Taliban detainees.'" This gave direct permission to torture our prisoners, something every American leader since George Washington would not allow.
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Yesterday’s Question: What is an oenophile? Can it get you arrested?

Answer: An oenophile is a lover of fine wines.


Feb 6, 2016
February 6th, 2016

Question: What is an oenophile? Can it get you arrested?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: What was Operation Rolling Thunder? (Hint: Vietnam War)
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History for 2/6/2016
Birthdays: Christopher Marlowe, Eva Braun, Ronald Reagan, Francois Truffaut, Babe Ruth, Elias Disney- Walt’s dad, Bob Marley, Queen Anne Ist of England, Aaron Burr, Robert Townsend, Mike Farrell, Tom Brokaw, Mike Maltese, Haskel Wexler, Axel Rose, Patrick McKnee- Mr Steed of the Avengers, Thurl Ravenscroft the voice of Tony the Tiger, Marty Sklar, Kathy Naijimy is 59, Rip Torn is 85, Zsa Zsa Gabor is 99

46BC- Julius Caesar defeated Cleopatra’s brother Ptolomey IX at the Battle of Thapsus. Ptolomey was found floating face down in a swamp.

1481- The first public burnings of heretics by the Spanish Inquisition. Six men and women were marched out to a public square in Seville and burned at the stake. The executions soon took on a pageant like atmosphere and were called the Auto-da-fe’, an Act of Faith.

1671- Young John Churchill, the future Duke of Marlborough, was wounded in a duel with a man named Pfenning. At the time he was the lover of the beautiful Barbera Villars the Duchess of Cleveland, who was also the mistress of King Charles II. Marlborough once had to leap out of Ms. Villars bedroom window when he heard the king at the door. At the king’s suggestion Barbara Villars was the model for the woman in the Greek helmet with trident & shield, symbolizing Britannia.

1778-The Kingdom of France signed an alliance with the rebellious North American colonies calling themselves the United States. Queen Marie Antoinette was charmed by the American ambassador Benjamin Franklin and called him 'Le Ambassadeur d'Electrique'.
In the House of Commons Prime Minister Lord North had said that he doubted any European monarch would ever ally itself to the rebels: “For it would raise in America a new Empire dedicated to missionary it’s form of radical democracy around the world. “ In Germany, the philosopher Goethe said: “We wish the Americans every success.”

1815- President James Madison signed a declaration granting a complete pardon to Jean Lafitte, Dominique Yue and all the swamp pirates of Barataria who had fought alongside Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans.

Jean Lafitte became a prosperous citizen of New Orleans. But by 1819 had tired of the legit life. He outfitted a new ship and went buccaneering again. A book about pirates written in 1837 claimed Lafitte died fighting a British warship in the Gulf of Mexico in 1829, but no other proof of that exists. General Dominique Yue was an artillery sergeant for Napoleon before becoming a buccaneer. He died one of the first citizens of New Orleans. He is buried in tomb #1 the city’s oldest cemetery.

1847- The Treaty of Waitangi- Britain settled New Zealand from the Maoris. Hobbits to follow….

1857- The first Perforated Postage Stamp.

1865- THE NERO BALL- During the Civil War as Sherman’s army burned and looted it’s way up from Georgia through the Carolina’s Sherman’s cavalry leader Judson Kilpatrick came up with newer and more novel ways to commit acts of cruelty on the civilian population. This day at the town of Barnwell South Carolina, Kilpatrick invited all the belles of the town to a “Nero Ball” The ladies didn’t understand the meaning until that evening, when he forced them to dance with his officers while he burned their homes and possessions . One of Kilpatricks officers protested:” It was the bitterest satire I ever witnessed”. Even his own men hated him, and called him “Kill-Cavalry”. But Gen Sherman defended him.”I know he’s a helluva damn fool, but I need him for my cavalry”.

1874- THE ASHANTI RING- The British Army under Sir Garnet Woolsley defeat this West African kingdom and on this day burn it's capitol Kimesha. The Ashanti practised human sacrifice and worshipped a gold covered stool, given from heaven and for only spirits could sit on. Woolsley's inner circle all became generals and were called the Ashanti Ring.

1904-The Russo-Japanese War began with a surprise attack on the Russian Manchurian base of Port Arthur, just like Pearl Harbor forty years later. Japan's defeat of mighty Russia in a modern war, after being in medieval poverty only 55 years before, amazed the world.

1919- The Great Seattle General Strike.100,000 people walk off the job and paralyze the city.

1919- Because defeated Berlin was awash in communist and rightwing paramilitary mobs fighting in the streets, the German government moved to Weimar to write it's democratic constitution. Germany in between the wars was called the Weimar Republic.

1926-Oliver Hardy tried once to be a dancer in a minstrel show, but wound up running a movie theater in his hometown of Millidgeville, Georgia. He watched the comics on screen and thought" I am better than those guys.." He went to Hollywood, and this day signed a contract with the Hal Roach Studios to appear in short comedies, usually as a villain. Next year director Leo McCarey teamed the rotund Hardy with skinny Scottish music hall comedian Stan Laurel, and a legendary team was born- Laurel & Hardy.
Interesting Note: Laurel & Hardy were both over 6 feet tall..

1935- The board game Monopoly is announced by Parker Brothers. The prototype monopoly board was round oilcloth and had street names derived from Atlantic City NJ. It now is in the toy collection of Forbes Magazine in New York.

1935- BOXERS OR BRIEFS? Arthur Kneibler patented the men’s underwear brief. He got the idea looking at Frenchmen’s bathing suits on the Riviera and called them Jockey’s.

1937- John Steinbecks novel “Of Mice and Men” published. In a result Mr Steinbeck probably didn’t anticipate was the stereotype image of a mildly autistic man as the big dumb sidekick Lenny, cartoonists used so often. “Duh, tell me about da rabbits, George.”

1943-“GET ME GEISLER!” Actor Errol Flynn was acquitted of two counts of sex with adolescents, which even if it is consensual is still considered statutory rape. The two women who brought the charges had actually tried this shakedown with other celebrities. They weren't exactly adolescents, despite testifying in court with pigtails and a lollypop. Flynn hired lawyer to the stars Jerry Geisler and he slowly took the women story apart. Geisler discovered one had a prior conviction for 'public lewdness' and the other had an abortion, which then was illegal. So Flynn got off- literally.

Flynn had just finished a film called "Gentleman Jim" and at the end of the film when he says to Alexis Smith:"I never said I was a Gentleman." Peals of knowing laughter rang out from audiences. This is also the time the slang term for living it up was coined- to be “In Like Flynn”. Flynn’s limo soon sported the license plate- R U 18?

1948- In Paris’ Cherche-Midi jail, Nazi General Von Stuelpnagel, the former commandant of occupied France, shot himself rather than face trail for war crimes. Stuelpnagel was part of the Valkyrie Plot to overthrow Hitler, and disobeyed the Fuehrer’s orders to destroy Paris landmarks, but he also executed many members of the French Resistance and transported French Jews to concentration camps.

1952- King George VI died at age 56 of lung cancer. Princess Elizabeth found herself queen at 27 years old.

1974- John Boorman’s sci-fi cult classic Zardoz premiered. Sean Connery in his red jock-strap.

1985- Steve Wozniak, the young engineer who started Apple Computer with Steve Jobs in his garage, retired from running the company. He’d rather be an engineer and teach children. He also returned to Berkeley to complete his undergraduate degree, under the name Rocky Clark. Rocky was the name of his dog.

2007- PSYCHO ASTRONAUT- Lisa Nowak, Space Shuttle commander, and mother of three, nicknamed RoboChick by the other astronauts, was enamored of another astronaut on the program, William “Billy-O” Oefelein. Today Lisa shocked America by driving 900 miles from Texas to Orlando non-stop to threaten the life of her boyfriend’s new lover. She wore a wig, a Huggies diaper to prevent having to pull over to use the restroom, and was carrying handcuffs and duct tape. She was caught and arrested before she could execute her strange plan. The incident spawned dozens of jokes-
The Astro-Nut, Lust in Space, The 150 Mile High Club, etc.
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QUESTION: What was Operation Rolling Thunder? (Hint: Vietnam War)

Today's Answer: Started in 1965, Rolling Thunder was the name for the US strategic bombing campaign over North Vietnam. It’s goal was to degrade North Vietnams ability to wage war in South Vietnam, and compel them to negotiate a peace.


February 5, 2015
February 5th, 2016

Question: What was Operation Rolling Thunder? (Hint: Vietnam War)

Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: What is a basilisk?
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History for 2/5/2016
Birthdays: Sir Robert Peel founder of London’s police force- the Bobbies, outlaw Belle Starr, John Carradine, William Burroughs, Arthur Ochs Schulzburger, Hank Aaron is 83, Tim Holt, Barbera Hershey, Charlotte Rampling, Roger Staubach, Michael Mann is 73, Bobby Brown, H. R. Giger, Red Buttons, Christopher Guest, Jennifer Jason Leigh is 55, Laura Linney is 52, Michael Sheen is 47

2BC -The Roman Emperor Octavian Caesar was given by the Senate the title Father of His Country- Pater-Patria or the Augustus.

1631- Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, arrived in America from England. Tossed out of Boston for complaining about the Puritan fathers right to lock up anybody who agree with their religious views, Williams set up a new colony where he invited those who wanted freedom of conscience to come. Rhode Island is one of the smallest states in America, so I guess that says something about the response he got.

1642- The House of Lords finally gives in and agrees with the militant House of Commons to exclude bishops from sitting with an equal vote in Parliament.

1723- Louis XV who became King of France at age 5, attained manhood at age 13. The period in French History called the Regency came to an end, even through his uncle Phillip d’Orleans continued to run the government.

1736- Briton John Wesley landed in Savannah and brought the first Methodist missionaries to the U.S. On the boat Wesley was influenced by the simple discipline of several members of the sect the Moravian Brethren.

1783- The Kingdom of Sweden recognized the United States.

1846-The Oregon Spectator, first English newspaper on the Pacific Coast, published.

1887- Verdi’s opera "Otello" debuted. Guiseppi Verdi had retired from composing after 1875, but was goaded by a new generation of composers like Arrigo Boito to take up his pen once more.

1895- PRESIDENT GROVER CLEVELAND asks BANKER J.P. MORGAN TO BAIL OUT THE UNITED STATES- The business climate of the late 1880’s & 90’s was dominated by the debate of whether U.S. currency should be backed by gold or silver bullion. Class distinctions and politics were aggravated by Gold Bugs vs. Silver Men. Wild speculation on Wall Street in both metals made and ruined fortunes overnight. In the midst of all this confusion it was suddenly noticed that the gold reserves of the U.S. treasury were so seriously depleted that the Federal government was about to go bankrupt.
So President Cleveland was reduced to going cap-in-hand to the famous tycoon for a loan. Morgan drove a hard bargain but the U.S. economy was saved. J.P. Morgan was so rich at this point he had stopped several Wall Street panics almost single-handedly.
Morgan smoked twenty fat cigars a day and on the advice of doctors never exercised because it would be bad for his health.

1916- Enrico Caruso recorded O Solo Mio for the Victor Talking Machine Co.

1919- Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith form the United Artists Studio.

1921- The Loews State Theater in Chicago opened.

1922- The Reader’s Digest began publication.

1936-THE BATTLE OF JARAMA - Spanish General Franco’s Fascist army was thrown back from the gates of Madrid with help from the Republic’s newly arrived foreign volunteers, called the International Brigades. These idealistic young Europeans and Americans (the Abraham Lincoln Brigade) were thrown into the battle with no training as they had just arrived. They suffered 50% casualties, but still won the day.

The Lincolns sang a tune to Popeye the Sailor Man:
"In a green little vale called Jarama, We made all the fascists cry "Mama!; we fight for our pay, just six cents a day, and play football with a bomb-a "

1937- Charlie Chaplin’s film Modern Times premiered. Chaplin was inspired to lampoon modern technological madness when he was invited to view the auto assembly production lines in Detroit and saw men moving like machines.

1944- British scientists at Bletchley Park booted up the Colossus Mark I, a huge early computer used to decode Hitler’s secret messages. Eleven more Colossus computers were built. After the war all but one were destroyed, and the scientists put under a vow of secrecy for thirty years.

1952-New York City is the first to adopt the three light traffic lights-red, yellow, green.

1953- Walt Disney’s "Peter Pan" premiered.

1956- Darryl Zanuck resigned from 20th Century Fox, the studio he built into a powerhouse. He later won back the chairmanship in 1962 only to be ousted finally in 1970.

1957- Mel Lazarus’ comic strip Miss Peach debuted.

1970- TWA began 747 nonstop services between New York and Los Angeles.

1971-The NASDAQ computer stock trading system starts up.

1972- After numerous airline hijackings, the U.S. institutes luggage inspection and metal detectors at airports.

1974- Hearst Media heiress Patty Hearst kidnapped at gunpoint by an underground radical group called the Symbianese Liberation Army. She is kept in a closet, brainwashed, changes her name to Tania, does prison time for a bank job, and later appears in several John Water’s movies.

1988- A new Palestinian militant group announced it’s formation. Called HAMAS meaning "zeal" They were trained in Islamic fundamentalism in the Ayatollah’s Iran. They vowed undying hostility to Israel, and refused to acknowledge the PLO as being in charge. Also around this time the Syrian backed the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah formed.

2003- Former war hero and US Secretary of State Colin Powell went to the United Nations to make the case for the United States attack on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. He was doing so in emulation of Adlai Stevenson’s historic presentation to the UN of proof of the Soviet missiles in Cuba in 1962.
But Adlai Stevenson had genuine proof. Powell had only the rumors and half-truths supplied him after the CIA declared it all suspect. Describing some trucks and aluminum tubes as proof of mobile nuke labs. In 2005 these findings were declared totally false, and Powell’s reputation damaged. He later confessed:” It was the worst day of my life.”
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Yesterday’s Question: What is a basilisk?

Answer: A medieval monster hatched from a rooster’s egg, and supposedly so ugly that merely looking at it caused you to drop dead, or turn to stone, or both.


Feb 4, 2015 thurs
February 4th, 2016

Question: What is a basilisk?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: Which NASA space project was the one that went to the Moon? Gemini? Apollo? Mercury? Nostromo?
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History for 2/4/2016
Birthdays: Francois Rabelais, Big Bill Haywood, Fernand Leger', Charles Lindbergh, the Agha Khan, Betty Friedan, Rosa Parks, Erich Liensdorf, Alice Cooper is 67, Dan Quayle, Ida Lupino, Conrad Bain, McKinlay Kantor, George Romero, Lisa Eichhorn, boxer Oscar De La Hoya, Clyde Tumbaugh amateur astronomer who discovered the Pluto in 1930. Janet Waldo the voice of Judy in the Jetsons

211 AD Roman Emperor Septimius Severus died, despite praying every night to a line of statues that included Zeus, Apollo, Mithras, Moses and Jesus. This guy wasn’t taking any chances!

1536- Henry VIII’s Parliament was presented with a Black Book cataloging all the supposed abuses and corruption of England’s monasteries and convents. They voted the Kings wish to close the monasteries and appropriate all Church wealth to the crown.

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

1775- MR. PITT’S PLAN- Legendary British statesman William Pitt the Elder, was Prime Minister during the French and Indian War (the Seven Years War) and called "the Architect of the British Empire" . Today he came out of retirement to try to solve the American Crisis before violence could break out. With the support of Whigs like Lord Shelburne, Edmund Burke, Rockingham and Charles Fox and with his friend Benjamin Franklin attending, Mr. Pitt proposed in the House of Lords that Britain legitimize the American Congress and give it seats in Parliament. He stated “The Britons in America are only doing what we Britons in Britain should be doing, namely, demanding our rights.”

But Mr. Pitts’ plan was voted down by Lord North and the government party, who passed a bill instead allocating more money to hire German mercenary troops to crush the malcontents. Ministers now placed bets on how soon they would burn Boston.
It’s intriguing to think how history would have changed had Pitt's solution been adopted, for at this time most Americans like George Washington were not yet interested in a complete break from Mother England. The hard core radicals like John and Sam Adams worried that if America did win Parliamentary seats, that the momentum for independence would be lost.

1776- General Washington took the cannon captured from Ft. Ticonderoga and had his men drag them up Dorchester Heights overlooking British occupied Boston. The British were taken unawares because it was done in a terrible winter snowstorm. Staring up into the mouths of these large guns they knew they had been outmaneuvered by these amateur soldiers. They soon evacuate the city by sea.

1783- Britain declared a formal cease fire with it's former colonies the United States,
ending the American Revolution.

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

1861- Delegates of the several Southern states meet in Montgomery Alabama to declare themselves the Confederate States of America. They decide to move the rebel capitol to Richmond, Virginia to insure that the Old Dominion State will join their cause.

1861- At the same moment in Washington D.C. a group of Virginia politicians led by old former President John Tyler arranged a covert peace conference between the slave states and free states in one final attempt at compromise. Despite long talks in a backroom of Willards Hotel they emerged more divided than before.

1861- The Apache Wars began. The U.S. Army arrested Apache chief Cochise for raiding his neighbors. Cochise escaped and declared war on the white man. The conflict would rage off and on for over 25 years and involved all the various Apache tribes as well as their cousins the Navajo.

1871- Ms. Victoria Woodhull testified before the House Judiciary Committee on the subject of women's voting rights. She was the first woman to testify before Congress, the first woman to run for President and the first woman to own a stock brokerage on Wall Street. Yet she is not as well known a figure as Susan B. Anthony or Elizabeth Cadie Stanton. The mainstream suffragette movement was shocked of her open advocacy of Free Love, Spiritualism and Socialism. Thomas Nast caricatured her as Mrs. Satan, Harriet Beecher Stowe lampooned her as Mrs. Avaricious Dangereyes.

1894- Dr. Richard Weatherill discovered the first signs of the Basket Maker culture.

1938- After being in first run houses since Dec 21st, today Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves opened in general release across the US.

1940- Soviet dictator Josef Stalin had Nicholai Yezhov, the Commissar of Internal Affairs and leader of the NKVD, the secret police, arrested and shot. Nikita Khruschev said Yezhov was an alcoholic drug addict who got what he deserved.”

1945-YALTA- Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin meet to map the postwar world. In an unguarded moment Roosevelt told Stalin that America only intended to stay in Europe two more years.
Later in the month a courier plane flying over Germany to Russia is shot down. Maps showing the agreed occupation zones of postwar Germany fall into the hands of the Nazis. Knowing how much mercy they could expect from Stalin most of the top officials of the Third Reich arrange to be captured in the American Zone. Albert Speer had Wilhelm Furtvangler and the entire Berlin Philharmonic shipped by train to an American sector after one more Wagner concert. They played "Twilight of the Gods" from Gotterdammerung as the bombs rained down.

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

1966- Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, Disney’s first Winnie the Pooh film came out with the live action film The Ugly Dachshund.

1968- Old beatnik Neal Cassady was found dead in Mexico. Cassady was not an intellectual but his wild non-conformist lifestyle was the inspiration for his companion author Jack Kerouac to write his greatest novel " On the Road'. While Kerouac disliked hippies, Cassady drove the first Hippie Bus filled with LSD advocates like Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters.

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

2004- Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, and Chris Hughes launch the social networking site called Facebook.
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Question: Which NASA space project was the one that went to the Moon? Gemini? Apollo? Mercury? Nostromo?

Answer: Apollo.


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