August 13th, 2008 weds
August 13th, 2008

Quiz: Why are black crayon grease pencils called China Markers, in UK a Chinagraph?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: What is a Ponzi Scheme?
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History for 8/13/2008
B-Dayz: Annie Oakley, Alfred Hitchcock, Don Ho, Buddy Rogers, Bert Lahr, Ben Hogan, Richard Baseheart, Saul Steinberg, Regis Toomey, Johann Christoph Denner (1655)- inventor of the clarinet. Danny Bonaduce, John Logie Baird one of the inventors of television, Hockey great Bobby Clarke, Daniel Schorr is 91, Bombay movie star Viyayanthimala, Fidel Castro is 82

Egyptian Festivals of Isis & Serapis

Festival of the Greek goddess Dianna of Ephesus. She had six breasts. According to the Acts of the Apostles during one of these festivals Saint Paul tried to spoil the fun by preaching his sermon to the Ephesians. They responded by running him out of town. Diana in her Greek form as Artemis from the older Near Eastern goddess Cybele. She had the dual nature of Virgin & Mother. Sound familiar?

These three pagan festivals of Isis, Serapis and Artemis were in the Middle Ages converted into the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. In the Italian city-state of Sienna this is the date for the Pallio, the traditional horse race through the streets in medieval splendor.

Today is also the Feast Day of Saint Cassian, the Patron Saint of Stenographers.

1521- The Aztecs surrender to Cortez. After Montezuma was killed the Aztecs chose Guatamoc as their new emperor and he drove the conquistadors from their capital Tenochtitlan vowing:" We will eat the Spaniards flesh with salsa ! " remember that image next time you order fajitas. But smallpox ravaged the population and Cortez soon returned with heavy reinforcements of allied Indian tribes from Texcoco who hated Aztec dominance. After 80 days of bloody house to house fighting that destroyed most of the capitol. Guatamoc and a few survivors surrendered. Cortez built Mexico City upon the ruins.

1642- Astronomer Christian Huygens noticed that Mars had a southern polar ice cap too.

1790-The PEOPLE OF NEW SPAIN BECOME MEXICANS. almost 269 years after the Aztec surrendered workmen in Mexico City were clearing a building site for a convent when they unearthed a giant statue of the snake skirted Aztec goddess Tonnantzin Coatlicue. The find galvanized Mexican society. Indians and Mestizos crowded around the statue and recalled their once mighty civilization. Worried Spanish colonial authorities quickly reburied the statue but the damage was done. Dominican monk Servando De Meir preached that the Aztec god Quetzalcoatal was actually St.Thomas the Wandering Apostle so that Mexico was Christian before Spain. Twenty years later when Father Hidalgo rang the liberty bells he called for revolution in the name of Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonnantzin. The people of New Spain named their country after the old Aztec name Mexica or Mexico.

1805- LEWIS GETS LAID, or, THE END OF A MYSTERY-historians have always puzzled why Meriwether Lewis, of Lewis & Clark's famous trek to the Pacific, killed himself in a lonely cabin on the Natchez Trace in 1809. Lewis was a personal protege of Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe and was first Governor of Upper Louisiana -everything from Missouri to Wyoming. He was likely to one day become President. Yet despite his coolness under extreme hardship after his death stories evolved about his manic-depression, alcoholism or even that he was murdered.
Recently a Seattle scholar theorized that on this day in 1805 he spent the night with a Shoshone woman to celebrate getting safely across the Continental Divide. The Shoshone regarded sexual contact as hospitality and that particular tribe was known to be rife with syphilis. Lewis subsequent illnesses and his increasing suicidal depression was clinically symptomatic with the final stages of the disease. And this would also explains why Jefferson and Captain William Clark would have been so quick to hush up any further investigation of his death, even resorting to calling Lewis an alcoholic, which in those days had far less social stigma than a venereal disease.

1845- Commodore Stockton with a contingent of U.S. Marines rode up from his fleet in San Pedro Harbor to Ciudad Los Angeles. Without any orders from Washington he interrupted a local fiesta to inform the startled inhabitants that they were now part of the United States.

1889- The first coin operated telephone set up in a Hartford Conn. bank.

1907-The first motorized TAXICABS hit the streets of New York. Taxi comes from Taximeter, a little machine that tallied the fare based on distance traveled. Cab is short for the earlier form of hired horse drawn carriage. Originally called a Cabriolet, then a brand name of Hansom Cabs, then just Cabs.

1914 - Carl Wickman begins Greyhound, the 1st US bus line, in Minnesota.

1920- PONZI SCHEMES- This day U.S. investors attacked the offices of financier Charles Ponzi, demanding their money back. Carlo Ponzi had emigrated from Italy and came up with the idea of talking investors into giving him money without being specific about how he would make them rich. He used the millions to buy suits, cars and mansions. Like all pyramid schemes this one finally blew up. Ponzi spent some jail time and was deported. Mussolini gave him a job in the finance ministry and Ponzi proceeded to embezzle another fortune. He escaped to Brazil where he died comfortably in 1949. He gave his name to the term Ponzi Schemes.

1932- German President Von Hindenberg had a fifteen minute meeting with Adolf Hitler. He rebuked Hitler for tying up the Reichstag and the violence in the streets. Hitler refused any partial role in the government short of full power. After Hitler left the old general grumbled:" That man for a Chancellor? I’d rather make him a postmaster so he could lick stamps with my head on it!"

1934- First Little Abner comic strip by Al Capp. Dogpatch, Mammy Yokum, Daisey Mae, Kickapoo Joy Juice, Jubilation T. Cornpone and the Schmoo are born. Al Capp was a hard drinking old curmudgeon of a cartoonist who lost one leg when as a child he fell off a streetcar. In his old age he gloried in being a right wing chauvinist who got into arguments with radical pop stars like John Lennon.

1941- James Stuart Blackton certainly had an interesting career. The English born artist became a top newspaper cartoonist, a vaudevillian drag act as Mademoiselle Stuart, the first American animator, founder of the Vitagraph Company, the movie fanzine Motion Picture World. He even successfully faked a newsreel of the battle of Manila Bay in 1898 using toy boats, sparklers and cigar smoke. He made fortunes and lost them just as quickly. On this day, penniless, he was struck and killed by a bus on Pico Blvd.

1942 Disney's Bambi opened in theaters nationwide. Today the film looks quaint but in its time artists felt it was as realistic as artists could attain. Designer Rico LeBrun had a hunter friend bring in a real deer he shot in the Sierras. LeBrun set up drawing and anatomy sessions to study the dead animal. But LeBrun was so inspired by the opportunity he refused to dispose of the carcass even after several days it began to smell badly and attract flies. Finally the other animators waited until LeBrun had left for lunch and tossed the rancid thing.

1945-After the atomic bombings Japan prepared to surrender. A note delivered to the Swedish Embassy in Tokyo expressed the wish of the Imperial Japanese Government to accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration. Emperor Hirohito pre-recorded a radio message to prepare his people for something they had never faced since the days of Kublai Khan- foreign occupation .

1946- MGM cartoon Northwest Hounded Police, the short in which Tex Avery perfected the 'Tex Avery Take" - used since in films like Mask, Roger Rabbit and Casper.

1955- Shooting wrapped on Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. He was remaking the film he had done as a silent movie in 1925. One wag said: DeMille has done God one better, because he has now parted the Red Sea twice."

1960- French West Africa declared independence from France and became the nations of Chad and the Central African Republic.

1991- Jack Ryan died. The Toymaker was the inventor of Hot Wheels toy cars, and helped launch the doll Barbie.

2000- In a presidential debate with AL Gore, candidate George W. Bush attacked the Clinton presidency for being too quick to use the military. He declared “ The U.S. should not be in the business of nation building.”
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Yesterday’s Question: What is a Ponzi Scheme?

Answer: See above 1920. A Ponzi scheme is named after Carlo Ponzi, who invented a pyramid scheme where investors were promised double their money in a very short period of time. In reality, later investors' funds were used to pay off the earlier ones, and Ponzi made off with the rest.


August 12, 2008 tues.
August 12th, 2008

Quiz: What is a Ponzi Scheme?

Yesterday’s question answered below: Why are police called cops?
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History for 8/12/2008
Birthdays: King George IV, Cecil B. DeMille, The alien Alf- 1757, Cantinflas, Buck Owens, George Hamilton, Edith Hamilton, Diamond Jim Brady, screenwriter William Goldman, Mtsislav Rostropovitch, Xenia Sharpe (educator who invented the childrens reader Dick and Jane, See Dick Run...etc.) Kathy Lee Bates-the author of the song America the Beautiful, Klara Schickelgruber- Hitlers mom, Dominique Swain, Pete Samprass, John Casale-I'm not Fredo!
(note: I mentioned that Robert Redford and Patrick Swayze were born Aug 11th, they are actually born Aug 18th. Mea Culpa!)

The Golden 12th. In England this is the beginning of Grouse hunting season.

1658-Happy Birthday NYPD! The first city police force in America was set up in New Amsterdam ( I wonder if they said-"Booeck'eym²)

1799- Napoleon spent the night meditating at the Great Pyramid of Egypt.

1805- Meriwhether Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame climbed a mountain peak in the Bitterroot Range of Rocky Mountains near the present day Montana -Idaho border. He had traveled this far on the theory of Thomas Jefferson¹s that the Missouri River and Columbia River were the same river so one should be able to travel by water from New Orleans to the Pacific Ocean undisturbed. When Lewis climbed this mountain he expected to see on the other side gentle rolling plains to the Pacific. Instead he saw even higher Snowcapped Mountains and more mountains behind them, the Great Continental Divide. It dawns on Lewis that this is one big mother of a continent and that river theory was all wrong.

1821- Stephen Austin entered Texas with the first group of Anglo colonists invited by the Mexicans to bolster their sparse population. It brought a land rush of poor families from the U.S. They would write on their doors before they left G.T.T. or Gone To Texas.

1822-Vicount Lord Castelreagh, chief British diplomat and statesman during the Napoleonic wars, goes mad after eating hot buttered toast and kills himself with a butter knife. He had been warned by his doctor Lord Graydon against eating hot buttered toast.
Shortly afterwards his doctor Lord Graydon also committed suicide, but he didn't have any hot buttered toast. A satirical epitaph was penned by Lord Byron:
The human race will ne'er survey
A nobler grave than this;
Here lie the bones of Castlereaugh...
Stop, Traveller, and piss.


1869- San Francisco lunatic Joshua Norton, who called himself Norton Ist, Emperor of the United States, today published an Imperial Edict outlawing the Democratic and Republican Parties. Hmmm… he may be on to something!

1877-THE BIRTH OF RECORDED SOUND. Thomas Edison announced his sound recording invention and demonstrates it by recording "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on a tin cylinder. Edison never quite understood the possibilities of a music industry and was convinced that the recorded sound was going to be a used primarily for people to listen to the voices of deceased family, sort of like a voice from the grave. That idea was so popular that it translated to the Logo of the RCA Company with the familiar image of the dog listening to "His master's voice". The original incarnation of that dog listening to his master's voice supposedly had the dog & recorder sitting on a coffin. A few years later Emile Berliner from Georgia later invented the flat record disc. Edison thought the disc was clumsy and too fragile. In the future he declared, everyone would use recording cylinders.

1915 - "Of Human Bondage," by William Somerset Maugham, published.

1927- the William Wellman movie ³WINGS²opened with Howard Arliss and Buddy Rogers, the only silent film to win best picture at the Academy Awards- because the awards were only started the following year and by then sound was all the rage.

1932 Aldous Huxley's Brave New World first published. Before anyone ever heard of stem cells Huxley had written a scholarly paper on the moral dangers inherent in controlled eugenics. Writer H.L. Mencken urged him to put his ideas in a fiction form to reach a wider audience. The title comes from Shakespeare's the Tempest " Oh Brave New World, that has such people in it!'

1951- Bob McKimson’s Warner Bros short Hillbilly Hare. The short includes the long routine animated by Emery Hawkins when Bugs Bunny takes over calling a square dance and uses it to torture the two twin brother Hillbillies who are after him.

Courtesy Yosemite-Sam.net, a site that charts the relatives of Yosemite Sam.

1953- The Soviet Union exploded its first Hydrogen Bomb, nicknamed by the CIA "Joe-4" for Joe Stalin. The scientific team led by Andrei Sakharov called it the Layer Cake-alternating layers of hydrogen and uranium fuel wrapped around a conventional atomic bomb. Like Robert Oppenheimer in America, Andre Sakharov later became a leading critic of the nuclear arms race.

1961-Soviet and East German troops start building the Berlin Wall, which remained a symbol of Cold War tension until it was pulled down spontaneously by Berliners in 1989.

1981- IBM introduced its first PC- personal computer and PC-DOS I.. Unlike Apple, IBM shared the basic hardware design, so a myriad of cheaper competitor PC’s soon flooded the market.

1988- Martin Scorcese’ film The Last Temptation of Christ opened in theaters to howls of protests from religious groups. There had been more inflammatory interpretations of the Christ story on screens in the past like Pasolini¹s Gospel According to Saint Matthew and the Canadian film Hail Mary, but the church groups weren¹t that media savvy yet. Like all these protest efforts, all the controversy did was boost it's box office.

1999- In Yorkshire England Tish, the world’s oldest goldfish, died at age 43.

2000- In the waters off Norway the Russian submarine Kursk suffered an explosion and sank. No one is sure what happened, the theory is an old torpedo exploded in the bow. Out of pride Russian Naval authorities refused offers of international help to rescue the remaining sailors trapped on the sea bottom. By the time they relented and accepted help, all 116 men were dead.

2007- Entertainer and producer Merv Griffin died at age 81. The creator of games shows like Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, his last statement on his website was " I was planning to go on vacation, but this is not the destination I intended."
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Yesterday’s Question: Why are police called cops?

Answer: According to the Policeman’s Encyclopedia, the word "cops" is not from Constable On Patrol but from the copper badges police wore on their helmets in the nineteenth century. They were the coppers, then just cops.


Aug 11th, 2008 mon
August 11th, 2008

Spent a wonderful night last night at the Motion Picture Academy in Hollywood. The panel was a tribute to composer Normand Roger and animator Frederic Back. They screened Crac!, Every Child, Petrov's Old Man and the Sea and Michael Dudok DeWitt's Father and Daughter. All amazing films scored by Roger, who also did the sound effects. BLISS!

Frederic mentioned that since Man Who Planted Trees debuted in 1987, it has inspired people to plant over three million trees. Pretty good for a cartoon!

Now, on to Siggraph!! I'm appearing at the FJIORG competition on Monday. On tuesday night,John Lasseter will interview Fredric and screen The Man who Planted Trees at Siggraph. On weds at 10:30AM I will chair the tribute to Frank & Ollie, that will include Andreas Deja, Don Hahn, Kevin Koch, Randy Cartwright, Dave Burgess and Ted Thomas.
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Lately, I still run into people who ask if I'm still involved with my old partners Gang of 7 Animation. So for an update: I quit them in June 2006 and have had nothing to do with them since. I am not aware if they are even still in business. So the answer is no.
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Quiz: Why are police called cops?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: Has Antonio Banderas done any other voices for animation other than Puss in Boots in Shrek?
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History for 8/11/2008
Birthdays: Antonio Salieri, Frederick Ludwig Jahn 1778- founder of the Gymnastics Movement, Alex Haley, Jack Haley, Rev Jerry Falwell, Claus Von Bulow, Hulk Hogan- real name Terry Bollier- he’s 57,Dick Browne the creator of Hagar the Horrible, Steve Wozniak the co-founder of Apple Computers, Lloyd Nolan, Mike Douglas, Patti Duke Austin

Today is the Feast day of Saint Claire of Assisi, who followed Saint Francis into renouncing the world and formed the sisterhood of nuns called the Poor Claires. Their rule of poverty was so harsh that the Vatican criticized them for being too poor and making everyone else in the Church look bad.

1866 - World's 1st roller skating rink opens (Newport RI)

1896 - Harvey Hubbell patents electric light bulb socket with a pull chain.

1932- Rin Tin Tin died. The German shepherd was the first animal movie star and for awhile was the mainstay of struggling little Warner Bros studio. Jack Warner called him “our little rent check.”


1949- Margaret Mitchell, author of "Gone With the Wind" was hit by a taxicab and died 5 days later.

1956- Abstract Artist Jackson Pollack, known as Jack the Dripper, died when he drunkenly drove his car into a tree near East Hampton. 1957- The Toyota Car Company of Japan introduces itself to the United States with a car called the Toyopet. It's first years sales are so bad they almost gave up on the U.S.

1962- actor Sir Lawrence Olivier founded the National Theatre in London.

1965- BURN, BABY, BURN- THE WATTS RIOTS- 6 days of urban warfare began when an angry crowd attacked some LAPD apprehending a drunken black motorist named Marquette Frye. 34 deaths, 1000 injured. This was the first of similar riots, which erupted in a number of U.S. cities that year including Detroit, Newark and Washington D.C.

1972- San Antonio Texas holds it’s first Cheech & Chong Day.

1984- COLD WAR CHUCKLES- President Ronald Reagan was asked to do some sound checks for a nationwide radio address. He said into the mike: "Today we have passed legislation that will ban Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes..."
The joke got out to the press and didn't do much to calm new cold war tensions.

1997- LA police wrestle down and arrest actor Christian Slater. They encountered him in a cocaine delirium shouting “The Germans are coming to kill us all!”

2001-First day shooting on the film Hero, directed by Zyiang Yi Mou.

2002- The Parliament of the Republic of Turkmenestahn passed a bill renaming the months of the year for their President Saparmurat Niyazov the Turkmenbashi- Father of all the Turkmen. He was made president for life in 1999. Mr Niyazov had ruled the country since he was appointed Communist Party chief in 1985 when it was still part of the Soviet Union. He quickly developed a cult of personality, suppressing legitimate political opposition. Much of the cash for grandiose palaces and statues is thought to stem from deals involving Turkmenistan's rich oil and gas reserves. He has also issued a decree officially extending adolescence until the age of 25 and postponing old age officially until age 85. Saparmurat Niyazov died in 2006.
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Yesterdays Quiz: Has Antonio Banderas done any other voices for animation other than Puss in Boots in Shrek?

Answer: Antonio is the voice of the big bee in the Nasonex commercials. He said he’s amazed that at times he gets more recognition and celebrity over the commercial, than his movie roles.


August 10th, 2008 sun.
August 10th, 2008

Quiz: Has Antonio Banderas done any other voices for animation other than Puss in Boots in Shrek?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What is an Epicurean?
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history for 8/10/2008
Birthdays: Alexander Glauzunov, Billie Holiday, Eddie Fisher, Leo Fender, Herbert Hoover, King Jan III Sobieski, Norma Shearer, Rhonda Fleming, Jimmy Dean, Rosanna Arquette, Antonio Banderas is 48

70 A.D.- JERUSALEM DESTROYED BY THE ROMANS- After a prolonged siege, the Roman legions of Vespasian and Titus break into the city and crush the Zealot Jewish revolt with great slaughter and destruction. The cedar panels and muslin curtains of the Great Temple of Herod catch fire and the entire temple is destroyed but for an outer building retaining wall, known thereafter as the Wailing Wall.

256 AD- St. Lawrence's day. He was the Saint who's emblem is the grill he was roasted on. Supposedly he showed his contempt for his torturers efforts by saying:" I think I'm done on this side." The Perseid Meteor Shower occurs around this time. It has been called the Burning Tears of Saint Lawrence.

1536- CANADA GETS ITS NAME-French explorer Cartier discovered a great river on St. Lawrence's day which he calls the St. Lawrence River. Cartier asks the Huron people "what people lived upstream ?". They replied people who work with red copper, in their language" Caignetdaze". Cartier names the land "Chemyn de Canada".

1628- The King of Sweden Gustavus builds a huge battleship called the Vasa. In front of the whole court he launches it into a fjord and it immediately sinks straight to the bottom.Doh!

1629- Spanish painter Diego Velasquez traveled to Italy to study the Renaissance Masters on the advice of his buddy painter Peter Paul Rubens.

1787- Mozart completes his Eine Kleine Nachtmusik -A Little Nightmusic.

1788- Mozart’s on a roll! This day he completed his Jupiter Symphony #41. It was his last symphony. He never heard it performed in his lifetime.

1889 - Dan Rylands patents the screw -on cap.

1897 -German chemists working for the Bayer Company invent Aspirin, the first mass market over the counter drug. A powdered tree root that was known to the Native Americans for years. The Roman's drank Willow-Water.

1928- Calvin Coolidge dedicated the cornerstone of the monument at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota. The last time a President of the United States rode a horse to deliver a speech.

1945- Even after two atomic bomb attacks and their navy and airforce destroyed the Japanese cabinet is still divided 3 - 3 on whether to surrender. Defense minister Anami is worried about a mutiny of the army and Prime minister Suzuki still thinks he can get Russia to negotiate separately -Stalin had just declared war and sent troops to invade Manchuria and the Kurile islands. Anami said the National Honor demanded a final battle on the home soil:" Wouldn't it be wonderful to see all of Japan destroyed...like a beautiful flower !"
The impasse was broken by Emperor Hirohito who breaks tradition and personally intervened "The time has come to bear the unbearable". Next morning a note requesting negotiations based on Japan's acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration is sent to the Swiss and Swedish Consulates in Tokyo .

1948 – The Birth of Reality TV.- Allen Funt's "Candid Camera" TV debut on ABC.
When it's least expected, you're elected, youre the star to-day..SMILE! Youre on..

1970 - Jim Morrison is tried in Miami on "lewd & lascivious behavior"

1973 –San Francisco’s first BART train travels through the transbay tube to Montgomery St Station.

1978- Ford announces a recall of it's Pinto series car after tests prove when bumped from behind the auto explodes into flames.

1983- Discovery of the Vega Galaxy. This was the first physical proof of a planetary system outside our Milky Way.

1987 - Clara Peller, the elderly actress who gained last minute advertising fame by saying Where's the Beef?, died at 86 The director and writer of the spots was the father of J.J. Sedelmier, who created the Ambiguously Gay Duo and other TV Funhouse animations for SNL.
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Quiz: What is an Epicurean?

Answer: Originally a follower of philosopher Epikouros of Samos (341BC), who said that the Gods are too busy to worry about if you sin or not. They set up things in nature to regulate your free will. So if something is painful, that means it’s bad. If it feels good, it can’t be bad. That would be unnatural, and so against Gods laws. The Romans took this philosophy a bit too far with their orgies and gluttony. Today an Epicurean is a name for someone who appreciates the finer things in life, fine wine, gourmet food, good animation, etc.


August 09, 2008 Sat.
August 9th, 2008

Quiz: What is an Epicurean?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: Who created the voice of Woody Woodpecker?
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History for 8/9/2007
Birthdays: King Henry V of England, John Dryden, Sir Issac Walton-author of the Compleat Angler, Melanie Griffith, Whitney Houston, David Steinberg, Deion Sanders, Bob Cousy, Jill St. John, Robert Shaw, Robert Aldrich, Sam Elliot is 64, Gillian Anderson is 40, Pamela Lyndon Travers –the creator of Mary Poppins, Eric Bana is 40, Audrey Tautou is 30

378A.D. HADRIANOPLE-The "Custer's Last Stand' of the Roman Empire.
The Emperor Valens and his legions were wiped out by a horde of Goths led by Fritigern the Visigoth. This battle is considered the last battle of the ancient world and the beginning of the Medieval superiority of armored horsemen -which was the way the Goths fought. Valens co-emperor Valentinian gave him the Empire of the East because it was the easier of the two theaters and Valentinian was confident even a dummy like Valens couldn't mess it up. The Nordic peoples migrations into western Europe we call the Barbarian Invasions the Germans called "Die Volkvanderung-the Wandering of the People".

1588- Queen Elizabeth I visited the camp at Tilbury to inspect the troops that would defend England from a landing by the Spanish Armada. The Armada had been driven off ten days ago but they were still somewhere in English waters so it still seemed like a good idea to visit. She thrilled the men by delivering the most famous speech of her career: “ I know that I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, Aye, and of a King of England too!”

1854- Henry David Thoreau published “Walden”, the first great work about nature conservation.

1910 - Alva Fisher patents the electric washing machine.

1929- Hollywood theater mogul Alexander Pantages was convicted of assaulting a young woman in a broom closet. The conviction was later overturned. It was the first successful defense case of attorney Jerry Geisler, who became famous for getting movie stars and other Hollywood hoi poloi out of trouble with the law. The word in the studios when a movie star was naughty was “Get Geisler!”

1930- Max Fleischer's cartoon "Dizzy Dishes" introduces Betty Boop. A singing star named Helen Kane sued Fleischer claiming that they stole her distinctive Boop-Ooop-a-Doop from her, but the case was thrown out when it was revealed Kane had stolen it herself from another singer. Betty was supposed to be a dog character to match her male couterpart Bimbo. But Animator Grim Natwick had done a lot of drawing of girls in Paris and New York and turned the character into a saucy little flapper.

1936- Jesse Owens wins four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics. Host head of state Adolf Hitler refused to shake hands with him.

1941- One of the more legendary British air aces in the Battle of Britain was Wing Commander Douglas Bader. He was all the more novel because he was had no legs. This day Bader’s Spitfire was finally shot down by the Luftwaffe over Belgium. Bader bailed out and was captured. But the German pilots were so impressed with this handicapped ace that they treated him like a rock star, touring him around airfields where other pilots could wine and dine him. Bader’s tin legs were damaged when his plane went down so the RAF dropped a substitute pair over a German airfield for him. But later as a POW he tried so many times to escape the German commandant of his prison camp took away his legs. “I wish all my prisoners were so easily manageable.”

1942- Walt Disney's "Bambi" premiered.

1944- Antoine Du Saint-Exupery, the author of the Little Prince, died when he crashed his fighter plane. He was not shot down by the Germans, he was just a terrible pilot. The main protaganist of the little prince is an aviator who crashes his plane.

1945-NAGASAKI- the second Atomic Bomb "Fat Man" was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. The B-29 bomber "Boxcar” was plagued by a violent thunderstorm and they wasted precious fuel searching for their target. When they made it back to base after the 14 hour flight two of their four engines had run out of gas. Nagasaki was the second choice target. The first Kokura, was so fogged in scientists couldn't study the bomb's effect. 63,000 people killed was one effect.

1945- At the same time President Harry Truman was reporting to Congress and the nation about his trip to Potsdam and plan for post war Germany. He said among other things that it was vital for democracy in Germany to break up the huge centralized corporations and foster the rights of workers to form unions. Hmmm…we could use a plan like that in the US today….

1947 -The British government in an attempt to bolster revenue for their shattered postwar economy, announced a 300% import tariff on Hollywood films. The Big Eight-Hollywood studios retaliate by stopping the export of movies to Britain. The British film industry has a heyday and Disney starts producing films locally in Britain like 'Rob Roy Highland Rogue' and such.

1960- Near Cuernavaca Mexico, Harvard professor Timothy Leary took some magic mushrooms and experienced his first hallucinogenic trip. He called it “ a conversion.”

1963 - Britain's rock & roll TV show, Ready Steady Go, premieres.

1967 - Joe Orton, English actor/playwright (Leaf, Murdered), died at age 34.

1969-HELTER SKELTER- Charles Manson's cultists murder pregnant actress Sharon Tate and several houseguests of her husband/director Roman Polanski. One other guest killed was socialite Jay Sebring, who made cocaine fashionable and invented the 1970's blow-dry hair style for men. A Polish tourist named Dominic Frykowski who had the misfortune to be visiting that night was shot twice, bludgeoned and stabbed 51 times. Kill the Pigs was scrawled on the wall in blood. Charles Manson had a messianic concept that he could lead the Apocalypse devolving out of a race war if his followers first killed celebrities to advertise their cause. Manson had a hit list that included Frank Sinatra, Steve McQueen and Liz Taylor. The California spawned Hippy-Flower-Child culture lost it’s innocent fun after Manson.

1974- “KNEEL WITH ME, HENRY.” Richard Nixon, aka Tricky Dick, resigned and left the Presidency of the United States in disgrace. New President Gerald Ford of whom Lyndon Johnson once said "Sometimes I think Jerry played football once too often with his helmet off" assumed office.
Tricky Dick, courtesy of the Guardian UK
I recall hearing the news, while I was sitting in the offices of Penthouse Magazine, where I was trying to sell some spot cartoons. I had already worked for Playboy under Harvey Kurtzman, so I thought I could diversify. That night I went to my girlfriend's house in Queens and her dad and I drank many toasts and laughed, as Nixon teared up and blubbered his resignation speech. Life was good then.
Afterwards, Nixon moved to New York City. His logic was: In NY, no one likes each other there, so I'll blend in." Today President Bush's popularity is lower than Richard Nixons.

1995- THE HIGH TECH BUBBLE- Netscape first appeared on the stock market. The 15 month old company started by a Silicon Graphics exec and a 22 year old college senior immediately shot up to $1.07 billion dollars in value. This IPO signaled the beginning of the gold rush in high tech stocks which five years later came crashing down as violently. Stocks like Lucent Technology which sold at $84 dollars a share in 1998 dropping to 39 cents a share in 2001.

1999- The US Government tax people closed Nevada’s Mustang Ranch, the most famous legal house of prostitution in the US.
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Quiz: Who created the voice of Woody Woodpecker?

Answer: In 1940 Mel Blanc initially created the voice of the famous bird, then Walter Lantz’s wife Gracie assumed the job until her death in the 1985.


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