January 2nd, Stardate 2010.1 Saturday
January 2nd, 2010
Quiz: In the newspaper business, who is known as The Grey Lady?
Yesterday: No quiz yesterday, because I was too hung over and you probably were too!
History for 1/2/2010
Birthdays: Turkish Sultan Mehmed IV-1642, Frederic Opper the cartoonist of Happy Hooligan, Phillip Freneau, Roger Miller, Issac Asimov, Julius LaRosa, Tito Schipa, Renata Tebaldi, Tex Ritter, Cuba Gooding Jr, is 42, Tia Carrere is 43, Kate Bosworth is 27
1492- Sultan Abu-Abdallah called Boabdil surrendered the Emirate of Grenada, the last stronghold of the Moslem Moors in Spain to Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. Boabdil's mother, the Sultana Ayeesha, scolded him for weeping while surrendering the keys of the city. " I should have smothered you as an infant, rather than watch you live like a degenerate and surrender like a whore...!" Thanks Mom…
This completed the master plan of the Christian Spaniards to regain the whole Iberian peninsula. Called La ReConquista, it had been raging since El Cid lived 500 years before. In Rome Pope Alexander VI Borgia, who was also a Spaniard, celebrated the news by closing off Saint Peter's Square from worshippers to stage a bullfight. We have Isabella to thank for the beginnings of military hospitals. She would walk on a battlefield after the killing and think that more of her soldiers would live if they received some medical attention. As Boabdil rode out of the city between the Spanish troops, he paused on a hill for one last look at his beautiful city. The hill is today called El Ultimo Sospiro del Moro- the Last Sigh of the Moor. Antonio Banderas is doing a movie about Boabdil.
1496- Did Leonardo da Vinci try to fly? Leonardo studied the motor actions of birds and sketched numerous flying machines. In one of his notebooks Leonardo had written:” On the second day of January, I will make the attempt.” When one of his aides Antonio broke his leg it was said he broke it trying to pilot one of his masters flying machines.
1522- Adrian VI, a Dutchman was elected Pope. He was the first non Italian since 1378 and the last non-Italian until John Paul II in 1978. He really tried to be a true Christian spiritual guide and agreed with Martin Luther that the church was too corrupt and sinful in it’s ways. He demanded he and his cardinals live on only one ducat a day, about $12.50, he walled up the Belvedere Palace and it’s collection of ancient Greek and Roman art, as pagan idolatry. Poets and artists were furious that this Pope canceled all their rich contracts. The unemployed poet Aretino called the cardinals “miserable rabble” and that they should all be buried alive for electing this lousy pope. After three months Adrian died. This time the cardinals elected a Medici Pope who loved art, music and parties. The people of Rome sent flowers to Adrian’s doctor to congratulate him for losing his patient.
1611-THE BLOOD COUNTESS- Beautiful Transylvanian Countess Elizabeth Bathory was indicted for the murder of 610 people. She apparently believed that bathing in the blood of virgin girls would keep her skin beautiful- remember Oil of Olay wasn’t invented yet. The crimes of the Medieval nobility were often winked at, until like Count Giles de Rais in France, they become so outrageous they couldn’t be ignored any longer. When peasant girls kept disappearing around Csejthe Castle, word got back to her big uncle King Sigmund Bathory of Poland, the nemesis of Ivan the Terrible. When King Sigmund discovered the full horror of her crimes, he had Elizabeth walled up alive in her chamber. Daily food passed through a slit in the wall. When after a few years the empty dishes stopped being passed through that slit was bricked up as well.
1688- The great insurance house Lloyd’s of London founded. In the past they’ve insured Betty Grable’s legs, Bruce Springsteen’s lungs and offered a million English pounds to anyone who could prove Elvis Presley was still alive.
1785- Austrian Emperor Joseph II ordered the Jews throughout his empire to adopt family names. A similar law was passed in the rest of Germany ten years later. Many Jews created surnames out of their profession. So Ystchak the diamond dealer became Issac Diamondstein and Jakob the butcher became Jacob Fleischman. A Dutch friend told me some adopted funny names for a laugh, because they considered them temporary- Herr Schemmerhorn was Mr Umbrella-Handle.
1800- The free black community in Philadelphia petitioned Congress to abolish slavery. A South Carolina senator denounced the act as:” This new-fangled French philosophy of Liberty and Equality !”
1837- It was the custom at New Years for the Mayor of New York to hold an open house. Average citizens could pay a call, have a glass of sherry and pound cake and express good wishes for the New Year. But Mayor Cornelius Lawrence was a Tammany politician who had been elected with the help of hooligans from the Bowery and Five Points. When he held an open house this day all these gang toughs stormed in, got drunk, wiped their fingers on the curtains and pocketed the silverware. It quickly became bedlam. In desperation Mayor Lawrence got the police and militia troops to push the mob out and lock the doors.
1843- Richard Wagner’s opera The Flying Dutchman premiered in Dresden.
1873- Richard Connolly becomes the first American to embezzle a million dollars -he actually embezzled four million. He was the financial controller for the City of New York under Boss Tweed. Together the Tweed ring bilked New York City out of $60 million dollars. Today he fled abroad ahead of the police. Tweed was nabbed and died in jail but Slippery Dick Connolly lived in Europe happily ever after.
1878- Farmer John Martin thought he saw something shiny flying in the sky above Denizen Texas. He is the first person to describe it as a “flying saucer.”
1882- John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil company controlled almost 90% of the U.S. crude oil output but the government seemed poised to hit it with anti-monopoly laws. So anticipating this move he reorganized Standard Oil into a Trust with himself as chief Trustee. Standard Oil later became ESSO (S-O) then EXXON.
1904- The Russians surrender their big Pacific base of Port Arthur to the Japanese after a one year siege. During the boredom of the siege the game Russian Roulette was invented- of putting a six shooter to your head with one bullet in a spun chamber. When their men kept dying for no reason the Stavka-High Command were at a loss how to stop it. When they caught men playing this lethal game they arrested them for illegal use of government property- i.e. the bullets.
1909- Aimie Semple MacPherson was given her ordination by the Evangelical community of Chicago. Sister Aimie moved to Los Angeles and became one of the first great broadcast evangelists, entertaining millions with salvation and sin, while keeping toy-boys and popping pills on the side.
1937- Hollywood actor Ross Alexander had hit on tough times. He had been in a few movies like Captain Blood and Max Reinhardt’s A Midsummer Nights’s Dream but his career seemed to be stalled and he was deeply in debt. This day the 29 year old went into the barn behind his Valley ranch home and shot himself. The Warner Bros. Studio looked around for a replacement to refill their roster of male leads. They replaced Alexander with an Illinois college sportscaster named “Dutch”- Ronald Reagan.
1939- Time Magazine named Adolf Hitler it’s “Man of the Year”.
1942- The Japanese army under General Homma entered Manila. They said they had come to drive out the American colonialists and create pan-Asian harmony. But they offended the Philippines with atrocities like hanging the Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court from a flagpole when he refused to be part of the occupation regime. Homma also had the city bombed, even after they agreed to surrender.
1958- Maria Callas threw one of the more celebrated temper tantrums in Opera history when she stormed off the stage at La Scala in the middle of Bellini’s Norma, with the President of Italy in the audience. La Divina Callas was a Greek-American with a beautiful voice and the slimmest waistline since Lili Pons. She was part of the Jet-Set society and her temper was famous.
1960- Young Mass. Senator John F. Kennedy announced he was a candidate for president. When asked why do you want to be president? Kennedy replied:” Because it’s the best job there is.”
1971- Israeli archaeologists in Jerusalem discovered the 2000 year old remains of a crucified man. No, they didn’t think it was You-Know-Who. But it did provide the first physical proof that Romans really used that method of execution.
1984- The Zenith Corporation announced it would stop selling video recorders in Betamax format and go over wholly to VHS. Other electronics giants followed suit and VHS won out over the higher quality Beta system.
1995- Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry was inaugurated for a second term after winning election despite his conviction of smoking crack cocaine. As comedian Chris Rock said: “Who ran against him? Who was such a bad choice, that people said- I’d rather vote for the crackhead? “
January 1st, 2010 Happy New Year!
January 1st, 2010
Jan. 1st 2010 A.D. or 2010 of the Common Era- New Year's Day
It’s also the Hebrew year 5,768 AM or Year of the World Anno Mundane ,
in the Moslem calendar 145 A.H. or Al Hajira –since the Haj,
And the Year 1388 in the Zoroastrian Calendar
Yesterday’s Quiz question: Why is December the twelfth month when Decembrius means number ten in old Latin? For the answer look at 45 BC.
Happy Last Day of Kwanza
Birthdays: Duke Lorenzo”the Magnificent” De Medici, Pope Alexander VI Borgia, Paul Revere, Betsy Ross, Mad Anthony Wayne, E.M. Forrester, J.Edgar Hoover, Alfred Steiglitz, Xavier Cugat, Frank Langella is 71, Barry Goldwater, Kuniyoshi Utagawa, Dana Andrews, Idi Amin Dada, Kliban, Verne Troyer (Mini-Me) is 40
Welcome to the month January from IANUARIUS, the old Roman god Janus, the two faced god of doorways and portals who looks forward and back, symbolizing new beginnings. Not to be confused of course with Terminus the god of boundaries and borders. Janus’ temple was dominated by a large doorway in the Roman Forum. Whenever the temple doors were closed, it meant Rome was at peace with the world. Unfortunately, this was hardly ever the case.
45 BC.- By edict of Julius Caesar, the Roman Empire adopted the 12 month 366 day calendar Caesar ordered developed by the Alexandrian scientist Sosigenes. This was an improvement from the ten month, ten day week system. The ten month system is why December, which means ten, is counted as the twelfth month. The system had become so lopsided that the Roman civil service had to open a special office just to tell you what day it was! In order to pull the calendar back in line with the solar seasonal year Caesar decreed the last year of the old system 46 b.c. would have to be 445 days long! He called it Ultimus Annus Confusionis- the Year of Total Confusion.
Happy Feast of the Holy Circumcision, when baby Jesus had his…well,…you know…..
69AD- The Roman legion at the Rhine frontier fort of Mainz rose in rebellion under their general Marius Vindex. This is the first act of defiance that would overthrow the Emperor Nero. By years end four men would be Emperor until only one –Vespasian, remained.
1525- Despite the pleadings of Hernando Cortez to respect Aztec institutions, twelve Franciscan missionaries began to close down Aztec temples, and conducted mass baptisms of Indians at gunpoint.
1531- French King Louis XII died of sexual exhaustion from too many evenings spent with his new English queen, the sister of Henry VIII. His nephew Francis was next in line. The dying king lamented. “That big nosed boy will ruin everything we tried to accomplish!” Actually, Francis Ist turned out to be one of France’s best kings.
1586 -Sir Francis Drake plundered Santo Domingo.
1666- Sabbatai Zevi, a 22 year old Sephardic rabbi of Smyrna, announced to the world that he was the long awaited Mosiach, the Messiah. Married to the Kaballah he claimed, he and his followers were going to sail to Constantinople where the Sultan Selim the Grim would willingly hand over his crown to him, and restore the Jewish people to Palestine. Stories of his miracles worked up the hopes of Jews from Amsterdam to Kiev, but the Turkish Sultan was not impressed. Upon landing in Constantinople, the Turks clapped Sabbatai in prison and made him convert to Islam to avoid torture and execution. Sabbatai then tried to say he converted as a ruse, but was still the Mosiach. But by now everyone realized he was a fraud, and he died in obscurity.
1673- Regular mail delivery is established between Boston colony and the newly conquered Dutch territory, now called New York.
1677- Racines greatest play “Phedre” premiered at the Theatre du Bourgogne in Paris. Phedre is the role all French actresses aspire to, the way English speaking actors dream of doing Shakespeares Hamlet.
1772- Thomas Jefferson married Martha Lockwood who he called “Patsy”. She died giving him 6 children only one of whom outlived Jefferson. The grief stricken Jefferson promised on her deathbed to never remarry, but I guess he didn’t count the slave quarters or French aristocrats.
1776- The first U.S. invasion of Canada is defeated, Benedict Arnold and William Montgomery's colonial army attacks Quebec City in a snowstorm and are repulsed. Montgomery is killed and Arnold takes a bullet severing his thigh bone. Aware of the Puritan New Englanders contempt for Roman Catholics, most French Canadians did not rise up as expected to help 'Les Bostonnais', as they called the minutemen.
1776- Lord Dunmore, the Royalist Governor of rebellious Virginia, gave permission for the warships of the Royal Navy to open fire on the town of Norfolk Virginia.
1788- THE LONDON TIMES is born. Daily newspapers had appeared in Europe in the early 1600s. Publisher John Walters had started a small one sheet in 1785 called the Daily Universal Register. In 1788 he changed the name to the simpler "The Times" and created the format for newspapers around the world for centuries to come. The Walters family ran the newspaper for 125 years and Walters even had to edit it for two years while serving a prison term for libel.
1788- The Quaker Community of Pennsylvania freed all their slaves.
1801- Toussaint L’Overture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines declare the Republic of Haiti, only the second independent republic in the Americas. Originally called Sainte Dominque, they reverted to the original Arawak Indian name of Haiti. The other American Republic the United States refused any help, out of the fear that the example of a successful slave revolt would spread to their own plantations.
1831- William Lloyd Garrison first began publishing his newspaper The Liberator, openly calling for the end to black slavery in the U.S. ‘ I will not Equivocate, I will not Retreat, and I Will Be Heard!”
1839- Twelve years after Franz Schubert's death composer Robert Schumann was rooting around in an old trunk at his friend's house when he discovered the score for Schubert's Great C Major Symphony. This is why this Symphony is called # 9 when the Unfinished Symphony is called #8.
1863- Poet Walt Whitman visited Washington D.C., but skipped a chance to meet Abraham Lincoln. Whitman was looking for his brother, and the New Years reception line in front of the White House was just too long to bother. Whitman reasoned Lincoln was young and there would be plenty occasions to meet him....
1876- The first Mummers Parade in Philadelphia. Philadelphia created a fusion of Swedish custom of celebrating New Years with masquerade and noisemaking with a British custom of mummery- reciting doggerel and ribald songs in exchange for cakes and ale. George Washington received mummers when the US capitol was in Philadelphia in 1790.
The large Mummers parade that continues to this date began to welcome the US Centennial year in 1876.
1878- The Knights of Labor, the first national American Union Movement is born. They demanded unheard of: An 8 hour workday down from 14, a six day workweek down from 7, paid vacations and no child labor.
1881- Eastman Kodak Company formed. Kodak supposedly was named from the sound of the snapping camera shutter.
1890- The First Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena California.
1890- Ellis Island, the great processing center for immigrants in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty opened for business. By the 1990 census it was estimated that close to 50% of the U.S. population could trace back to an ancestor who came through Ellis Island.
1909- London astronomers say they had detected signs of a planet further out than Neptune, the furthest known planet in our little solar system. The theoretical body was called Planet -X until in 1930 an amateur astronomer named Clyde Tumbaugh found it and named it Pluto.
1914- The Archbishop of Paris threatens with excommunication young people who dance the Tango. "It's lascivious nature offends morality."
1939-ANOTHER BIRTHDAY OF T.V.. Vladimir Zworkin patented the Iconoscope ( the eye of a t,v, camera ) and Kinescope. The television process evolved over so many years -there were experimental t.v. stations in 1923 and the Berlin Olympics of 1936 were televised. So you can't really point to one Tom Edison type inventor, although Zworkin, Englishman James Logie Baird in 1924, Philo Farnsworth, and Dr. Lee DeForest all at one time tried to take the full credit .
1942- Young French Resistance leader Jean Moulin parachuted back into Nazi-occupied France to unify the scattered resistance groups under DeGaulle.
1942- Because of the fear of a Japanese attack on the California coastline, the Rose Bowl that year was played in North Carolina.
1943- Walt Disney's Donald Duck cartoon Der Fuehrer's Face premiered.
1953- 29 year old country music star Hank Williams had spent the night drinking whiskey and doing chloral hydrate. When a West Virginia policeman pulled over his car, he remarked to the driver that Williams looked dead. He was. The driver said he was just sleeping and drove on. Williams last song was “I’ll Never get out of this World Alive.”
1959- The Chipmunk Song by David Seville (aka Ross Bagdassarian) tops the pop charts..
1960- The Radio and Television Director's Guild merge with the Screen Directors Guild to form the DGA.
1963- Tetsuwan Atomu or Atom Boy, an animated television show by Osamu Tezuka premiered on Japanese TV. As Astro Boy it became the first Japanese anime show to break into the mainstream American market.
1966- An ailing Walt Disney served as Grand Marshal for the Tournament of Roses Parade. Standing in the crowd on the curb with his mother was young John Lasseter.
1976- Potheads sneak up to the Hollywood Sign and change the two “O’s to “E’s so the sign read HOLLYWEED. Awright Dudes!
1984- By court order, the phone system AT&T also called the Bell System which had dominated telephone communication exclusively since Alexander Graham Bell, was ordered broken up into 22 regional companies, the Baby Bells. The explosion of telecommunications, portable phones, Blackberries and bigger phone bills result.
For the Trivia Answer look above at 45BC, The months were named by the Romans for their gods- Janus, Februs, Mars, Aprilis, Maia, Juno, then Julius and Augustus for their deified emperors. Aferwards they ran out of names and just left the numbers- seven eight nine ten- Septembrius, Octobrius, Novembrius, Decembrius. So Ave Anno Novum!
December 31st, 2009 New Years Eve
December 31st, 2009
Funny how even when you think that New Years can be just a day like any other, you still have strong feelings reflecting upon the year just ending and the one to come.
For all of you who pause to read this little blog of mine, and to all of my friends around the world-
Happy New Year!!
QUIZ: If there is twelve months to the calendar, why is December ancient Latin for Number Ten?
Answer to Yesterday’s Question below: Why does lowering a glass ball from a flagpole on top of a building signal the New Year?
History for New Years Eve 12/31/2009
Birthdays: Henri Matisse, General George C. Marshall, Odetta (real name Holmes Felicious Gordon) , Simon Weisenthal, Pola Negri, Anthony Hopkins is 72, Jules Styne, Ben Kingsley-born Khrishna Banji is 66, Sarah Miles, Donna Summer, Patti Smith, Elizabeth Arden, Tim Matheson, John Denver, Dianne Von Furstenberg, Bebe Neuwirth, Val Kilmer is 50, Gong Li is 44
192-193 A.D.- The Roman Emperor Commodus assassinated. The natural son of the great philosopher emperor Marcus Aurelius turned out to be just another sicko tyrant in the mold of Nero and Caligula. This night during a wild New Years Party he drunkenly challenged a top wrestler named Narcissus. Narcissus had been bribed by Commodus's Preatorian Prefect Laetus and head of the Imperial Household Eclectus. So instead of just pinning him down, Narcissus broke Commodus’neck. Made for one hell of a party.
314 AD-This was the Feast Day of Saint Sylvester, the Pope who baptized the Roman Emperor Constantine who made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.
Legend had it Sylvester miraculously cured Constantine of leprosy, and in reward Constantine gave the Roman Pontiff dominion over all the world. This Donation of Constantine was the philosophical reason the Pope in Rome became the supreme head of the Christian Church over any other bishop. In the 1440’s Italian humanist scholar Lorenzo Valla proved the Donation story was a myth forged in the 700s by a Vatican clerk named Christophorous. But no one listened to him.
406AD- Huge hordes or Goths, Alemanni and Vandals trudge across the frozen Rhine River and invade the Roman Empire. This biggest migration of barbarians is the beginning of the Fall of Rome.
1502- Renaissance Prince Caesar Borgia was besieging the Adriatic town of Senigalia. Caesar invited the enemy leaders Vitelli and Oliverotto to a conference with him at the Governors Palace. After dinner and drinks Caesar had them strangled. Machiavelli praised Caesar Borgia for a “most lovely ruse”. Leonardo DaVinci was among the Borgias’ retinue at the time.
1600- England starts thinking about India... Queen Elizabeth grants a charter for exploration to the Honorable East India Company.
1711- Queen Ann of England dismissed the Duke of Marlborough from command of the British Army and from all his cabinet and government posts. John Churchill the Duke of Marlborough was one of the greatest English soldiers, ranked with Wellington, Nelson and Henry V. Yet, by now the Queen found him and his pushy wife Sarah annoying.
1772-3 THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. STROHENSEE-The King of Denmark, Christian VII was slowly devolving into insanity from syphilis. In 1770 he hired a doctor named Strohensee to try to alleviate his pain. The Doctor became more and more influential at the Danish Court as the king withdrew into seclusion. Strohensee was made a count and to top it all off he became the lover of the Queen! Soon Count Dr.Strohensee was defacto ruling Denmark. In the name of Queen Caroline he passed 1,000 acts of enlightened reform, updating the Danish civil service and outlawed torture. Finally the Royal Court couldn't stand being dictated to by a low born sawbones anymore. At a New Years ball Strohensee was overthrown and arrested by order of the Queen Mother Juliana Maria. He was quickly tried and beheaded. The King's care devolved to several regents until his son took over after his death. Queen Mum Juliana Maria said one of the greatest pleasures of her old age was looking out her window and watching the birds peck at the bones of Doctor Strohensee.
1862- Battle of Stones River or Murfreesboro - Yankees and Confederates battle it out in the thick forests below Nashville. They then declare a days truce to celebrate New Years. Then they resume killing one another on Jan. 2nd.
1862- The U.S.S. Monitor, the little ship that fought the Confederate Merrimac in the first great contest of iron warships, sank in a storm off Cape Hatteras. Her inventor John Ericsson had boasted, 'the waves shall pass over her and she shall ride the sea like a duck', but in rough seas she sank like a rock. The Monitor has recently been discovered on the ocean floor. In 2002 sections of the turret and a propeller have been recovered.
1862-3 - SLAVERY ENDS IN THE UNITED STATES-In a service at Boston's Music Hall Abolitionist leaders Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubmann, Harriet Beecher Stowe and William Lloyd Garrison sang 'Battle Hymn of the Republic" and celebrated midnight when the Emancipation Proclamation would officially take effect.
1879- Thomas Edison did a public demonstration of his new invention the Light Bulb. Special commuter trains brought people to Menlo Park New Jersey for the show.
1881- Los Angeles becomes the first U.S. city to be lit entirely by electricity.
1890- The new immigration facility on Ellis Island in New York Harbor opened.
1901-Los Angeles Angel's Flight cable tram opened. It closed down in the 1980's but was restored in 1996.
1909- The Manhattan Bridge, the second span across the East River after the Brooklyn Bridge, opened to the public.
1911-12 Dr. Sun Yat Sen elected first President of the Republic of China, replacing the 256 year reign of the Manchu Dynasty. One of his first acts was to abolish the Chinese calendar and go on to the western one for 1912. He also went to the Shrine of the Ming Emperors to tell their spirits that the Manchus had fallen. Dr Sen was a Methodist who no longer followed Chinese religious beliefs, but he was honoring a pledge to political allies.
1917- EUROPE DISCOVERED JAZZ- As the first American units entered Paris to help in World War One the New York 15th Colored Regiment serenaded the city. The band of the 15th was made up of top Harlem jazz musicians led by band leader James Europe. The French were amazed as the band performed ragtime riffs that only gradually they understood to be La Marsaillaise and Le Marche Sambre et Meuse. Local musicians accused the Harlemites of using trick instruments since no one could make sounds like that. Lieutenant Europe went on tour with the band and Europe the continent embraced the new modern sound.
1923-24-BBC overseas radio service first broadcast the Chimes of Big Ben around the world.
1929-30- New York's "21" Club opened as a speakeasy. Barkeep Jack Kramer opened the hangout at 21 west 52nd street. With a wine cellar hidden behind a two-foot thick stone wall door. The feds raided 21 once and found nothing after hours of searching. When they went back outside all their cars had been towed away by NYPD traffic cops. It seems the Mayor of New York Jimmy Walker was having dinner in the wine celler and was annoyed by the intrusion. In subsequent years it was normal to see movie stars, Lucky Lucciano, J.Edgar Hoover and John F. Kennedy eating side by side. Richard Nixon loved their tater-tots called potato souffle.
1929- Guy Lombardo and his big band the Royal Canadians first played Auld Lang Syne at midnight for New Years.
1940-41- Avant Garde artists John Sloan and Marcel Duchamp break into the Washington Square Arch in and declare Greenwich Village the Republic of New Bohemia. Like coool, daddy.
1941- A Warner Bros memo dated this day from producer Hal Wallis office announced that the movie to be made from a play by Murray Bennett called “Everybody Goes to Rick’s” has been renamed “Casablanca”. This was to capitalize on an already popular film title “Algiers” with Charles Boyer “come with me to ze Casbah” etc.. Humphrey Bogart got the lead after George raft first turned it down. Bogie told a friend about his new project: “It’s just some more sh*t like Algiers.”
1942- Chrome is outlawed on American cars for the duration of World War Two.
1943-44- In occupied Europe U.S. Navy frogmen sneak over to the future Normandy beachhead and take sand samplings to analyze if the beach could take the weight of heavy tanks and ordnance. The samples were sent to Detroit so companies could design customized tank-tread teeth. Ironically when the D-Day invasion happened a storm had washed all the sand out to sea and the tanks slipped around helplessly on gravel.
As the frogmen swam back to their midget submarine they could hear the Germans celebrating in their bunkers. One frogman yelled out "HAPPY NEW YEAR !"
1943- Four hundred policemen are called out to control frenzied crowds of bobbysoxers as Frank Sinatra played the Paramount Theater in Times Square. OOHH FRANKIE !!
1946- The first Pismo Beach Clam Festival.
1947- Roy Rogers married Dale Evans.
1958-59- As Fidel Castro's hairy-ass guerrillas close in on Havana, dictator Fulgensio Batista slipped out of a New Year's Party and boarded a plane for Miami arranged by the CIA.
1962- Romanoffs closed. One of the premier hot spots on the Sunset Strip, it was the preferred hangout of Humphrey Bogart, who liked to play chess in the afternoon with Nick Romanoff when he was between films.
1967- The Ice Bowl- Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 for the NFL championship. It was nicknamed the Ice Bowl because the game was played in GreenBay in the out doors in below zero weather, with a wind chill of 40 below zero. Referees whistles froze to their lips.
1969- United Auto Worker's President Joseph 'Jock' Yablonsky was murdered with his wife and daughter. The gangland style hit is later tied to his successor Tony Boyle who goes to jail. 20,000 miners called a wildcat strike Jan. 5th to protest the murder.
1970- The Beatles officially broke up when Paul MacCartney filed suit to dissolve their partnership. It took four years to complete the final legal separations and contractual commitments of the Fab Four.
1973- Israel held it’s first election after the Yom Kippur War. The Labor Party held on to it’s majority although Prime Minister Golda Meir and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan resigned after a report accused them of being unprepared for the Arab surprise attack. The big news of this election was how former General Areil Sharon and Menachem Begin had welded the various right wing parties into a new coalition called the Likud. They quickly became a major force in politics.
1977- President Jimmy Carter in Teheran toasts Iran under the Shah as :“ An Island of Stability in a Troubled Middle East .” Within a year the Shah is overthrown.
1985- Singer Ricky Nelson died when his band's converted old DC-9 airplane crashed near DeKalb, Texas. Nelson it was said had been living on a steady diet of cheeseburgers and Snicker's bars.
1995- The last Calvin and Hobbes comic strip by Bill Waterston.
1997- Will Smith and Jaeda Pinkett marry.
1999- Boris Yeltsin resigned as president of Russia after an 8 year rule administering the break up of the Soviet Union and the establishment of democracy in Russia. His successor was former KGB agent Vladimir Putin.
1999-2000 - The Y2K MANIA. While the world prepared to celebrate the new century and the Third Millenium the American media whipped up paranoia over a theory that the change from 1999-2000 would cause most computers to crash. Planes would fall out of the sky, nuclear missiles would launch themselves and marauders would rule the streets like something out of Mad Max. The US Government spent $65 million to prepare for the crisis. But at midnight absolutely nothing of the kind happened. Even older less sophisticated computers in Russia and China were unaffected and everything ran normally. Meanwhile many of the US public stayed home and watched the rest of the world have fun on television.
2001-2002- The European Union currency exchange went into effect. Adieu, Adios and Ciao to the French Franc, Belgian Franc, Italian Lire, German Deutchmark, Austrian Schilling, Dutch Guldin, Greek Drachma, Irish Pound, Portuguese Escudo and Spanish Peseta. Welcome the Euro.
2006- Saddam Hussein hanged.
2008- Dedication in Baghdad of the Killing Saddam Museum.
2009-Tavern On The Green, New York Cities event restaurant for 75 years, closed.
Yesterday’s question: Why does lowering a glass ball from a flagpole on top of a building signal the New Year?
Answer: In the 1700-1800s Newspaper services like Reuters and the London Times would post headlines and important news on large signboards in front of their offices for people on the street to see. Some times they would mark an important event like the death of a monarch by dropping a lantern, raising a flag, or firing a signal gun.
In New York City in 1905-6- THE FIRST BALL DROPPING CEREMONY- The New York Times hosted the first of it's giant news years party's from it's new office tower at #1 Longacre Square, now renamed in their honor Times Square. Midnight was signaled to the crowd outside by the lowering of a lantern on it's roof. -In 1907 an ironworker created a large ball covered with electric light bulbs that was lowered from a flagpole. The Ball-dropping ceremony was only interrupted twice for World War Two blackout rules. The Times Building was later sold and renamed the Allied Chemical Building, the Sony Building and the Time/Warner building. I don’t know who owns it now.
**THANKS FOR READING MY LITTLE HISTORIES. I HOPE YOU HAVE AS MUCH FUN READING THEM AS I DO WRITING THEM. HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010!
December 30th, 2009 weds
December 30th, 2009
QUIZ: Why does lowering a glass ball from a flagpole on top of a building signal the New Year?
Yesterday’s Question answered below: On a movie set, what are Apple Boxes?
History for 12/30/2009
Birthdays: Rudyard Kipling, Gen. Hideki Tojo, W. Eugene Smith, Luther Burbank, Anna Magnani, Bo Diddley, Sir Carol Reed, Sandy Koufax, Solomon Guggenheim, Jeanette Nolan -Granny from the Beverly Hillbillys, Jack Lord, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, Joseph Bologna, Fred Ward, Tracey Ullman. Tiger Woods is 34, Heidi Fleiss, Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary -when Stookey became a Born-Again Christian he changed his name to Number One.
1370- Pope Gregory XI is an example of the rather unconventional path one could take to the Throne of Peter in the Middle Ages. His genial uncle Pope Clement VI had made him a cardinal at age 18. Upon his election as Pope at age 39 someone noticed that he had never taken Holy Orders to become a Priest! So yesterday he was ordained a priest and today became Pope.
1672- Violinist John Bannister and his orchestra held a concert at Whitefriars chapel in London. It’s the oldest known music concert given not to a royalty, but to the general paying public.
1689- The opera Dido & Aeneas by Henry Purcell premiered in London.
1816- Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley married Frankenstein author Mary Wollenstonecraft Shelley.
1817- Coffee beans first planted on the Kona coast of Hawaii.
1862- During the Civil War the day before the Battle of Stone's River, Tennessee, Union and Confederate armies spent the day quietly facing each other across a creek under an icy rain. A battle of the bands started up. Blue and gray musicians serenaded each other across no-mans land with patriotic songs like Dixie and John Brown's Body, while the men sang along. Finally both bands synched up with a spontaneous rendition of " Be It Ever so Humble, There's No Place Like Home..". Thousands of throats from both sides took up the chorus.
1894- Suffragette Amelia Jenks Bloomer died; she had gained notoriety for inventing "bloomers" a way for women to ride horses and do other physical actions without cumbersome hoop skirts.
1940- The Arroyo-Seco, the First L.A. Freeway opened by Mayor Fletchor Bowron, connecting downtown and Pasadena. ( interstate U.S. route 66 is in 1932, and The Imperial Highway opened in 1936., the Ventura freeway in 1958.)
1944- Manhattan project director Gen. Leslie Groves has a private meeting with FDR at the White House. Groves tells the President the two "cosmic bombs" (Atomic Bombs) they are building will end the war. The reason they were making two was one was uranium based and the other was plutonium based. To those who believe the U.S. atomic bombed Japan out of racism Franklin Roosevelt wanted one dropped on Germany immediately to stop the Battle of the Bulge and kill Hitler. But Groves argued the A-bomb hadn’t been tested yet. He worried that if the bomb was a dud, the Germans were smart enough to take it apart and build their own from the fissionable material, which they might shoot in a V-2 at London.
1941- “I Vant to be Alone..” Film Star Greta Garbo announced she was retiring from motion pictures and all public appearances. She made her disappearing act complete and was only seen fleeting on the streets of New York until her death in the 1990s.
1963- T.V. game show "Let's Make a Deal" with Monty Hall premieres.
1988- Col. Oliver North, on trial for the Iran Contra Scandal, subpoenaed former President Ronald Reagan and President-elect George H. W. Bush. President Bush declined and Reagan testified on videotape.
Yesterday’s Question: On a movie set, what are Apple Boxes?
Answer: Small wooden boxes with hand-holes used by movie Grips. When silent movies were shot out of doors in fields, stagehands found real apple crates very handy to stack, and prop things up. Now they are made in standard sizes, two and a half apples making a Full Apple. They are still used to today for everything from propping up lights, to making a shorter actor appear taller, like in Casablanca when Humphrey Bogart had to tower over his Swedish leading lady, Ingrid Bergman.
December 29, 2009 tues,
December 29th, 2009
Quiz: On a movie set, what are Apple Boxes?
Yesterday’s question answered below: What does it mean to "go through your Kubler-Ross"..?
History for 12/29/2009
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Flavius Titus, Pablo Casals, Madame de Pompadour, Andrew Johnson, Charles Goodyear, Gelsey Kirkland, Dina Merrill, Tom Bradley, Mary Tyler Moore is 73, Jon Voight is 71, Charles Goodyear, Ray Nitschke, Viveca Lindfors, Ed Flanders, Ted Danson is 62, Marianne Faithful, Paula Poundstone, Jude Law is 37
1172- ST. THOMAS BECKET murdered. A debate that raged throughout the Europe in the Middle Ages was whether the Church could boss around Kings or visa-versa.
In England when a vacancy opened up for Archbishop of Canterbury, King Henry II arranged to get his old drinking bud, Sir Thomas Beckett elected. However Beckett took his new job so seriously he became the English Churches strongest champion. On this night Henry was so fed up with Beckett that he shouted to his court:" Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest ?!" Two of Henry's dim bulb knights took this as a hint and went over to Canterbury and stabbed the Archbishop while at prayers.
The Pope in Rome excommunicated Henry and placed England under the Writ of Interdict, which meant no local priest could administer baptism, marriage or last rites to anyone. They even took down the church bells so you didn’t know what time it was. King Henry apologized, and Beckett was made a Saint.
1776- George Washington marched his minutemen back to the old Trenton Battlefield, scene of their victory of four days before. There he praised them, then begged, pleaded and cajoled them not to go home now that their enlistments were up. Washington announced to the press that all his men had rejoined the colors, but in a private letter to Congress he admitted only about half were staying.
1851- In 1844 the Young Men’s Christian Association or YMCA opened in London. An American named Thomas Sullivan was inspired by this idea and brought it home to Boston. This day the first American YMCA meeting was held in the Old South Church. The idea soon spread across the United States. In 1979 the YMCA tried to sue the gay disco group the Village People over the song of the same name, not appreciating the fact that it gave them the best publicity they’ve had in years.
1851- Lola Montez dances on tour in America. Lola Montez was originally an Irish lass named Betty James, who created a persona as an Argentine Flamenco star. She became mistress to the King Ludwig Ist of Bavaria, who I guess couldn’t tell between a dancer from Buenos Aires or County Sligo but knew a hot babe when he saw one.
Ludwig was so besotted with her that he bankrupted his country and had anybody she didn’t care for horsewhipped.He made her Countess of Langsdorf. He finally had to abdicate his throne rather than give her up. She did dancing and lecture tours to support herself and even published books on beauty secrets. If there had been a nineteenth century Oprah show, she would have been on it.
1890- WOUNDED KNEE- The last battle of the Indian Wars. The US government reacted violently to the Ghost Dance Movement then sweeping Sioux reservations. But the Ghost Dance was not calling for physical rebellion against the US but for a spiritual attack. Ghost dancers believed if they danced with the spirits of their ancestors then the white man would be driven back across the seas by a centennial cataclysm and their towns and cities buried under 6 inches of fresh soil. Then the buffalo and deer would return.
But to the US Department of the Interior even a metaphysical rebellion is rebellion enough. Sitting Bull was arrested and killed. The army was sent to Wounded Knee reservation to demand a disarming of a few braves. When shooting broke out, the army opened up with modern rapid firing cannon and rifles. To 30 US casualties 300 Sioux, mostly women and children were killed. Reports abound of troops shooting the survivors. Ironically the unit was the Seventh Cavalry, and soldiers considered it the revenge of Custer.
1913- Cecil B.DeMille telegraphed his partners back in New York:” Flagstaff no good for our purpose. Have proceeded to California. Want authority to rent a barn in a place called Hollywood for $75 a month.” His partner Sam Goldwyn cabled back: “ Rent barn on month to month basis. Do not make long commitment.” DeMille began shooting the Squaw Man, the first Hollywood Film.
1916-James Joyce’s novel “the Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” published.
1940- Nazi planes firebomb London, causing 1500 fires. At one point they hit St. Paul's Cathedral. CBS correspondent Edgar R. Murrow achieved national fame in the US by standing on a rooftop and reporting live on the radio even as the bombs fell around him.
1941- Disney animator Bill Tytla tells Time Magazine in an interview about creating "Dumbo": "I don't know a damn thing about elephants!"
1950-Congress passed the Celler-Kefhauver Act, which sought to reign in global companies mega-merger mania. It was the last major piece of legislation to try and regulate corporate monopolies in the U.S. So…… what happened?
1964- The first transistorized hearing aid.
1965- First day shooting on Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: a Space Odyssey. It was an indoor set at Elstree Studios in England, and the first setup was the inspection of the Monolith in the moon crater Tycho.
1972- LIFE Magazine ended publication.
1975- Euell Gibbons, natural foods advocate, died of a stomach ailment.
Yesterday’s Question: What does it mean to "go through your Kubler-Ross"..?
Answer: Dr Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying, created a model for dealing with death and bereavement trauma. Her five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.